Abscission

10 - Dirt

by Fluxom

Tags: #cw:gore #cw:noncon #D/s #drugs #f/f #graphic_violence #hurt/comfort #scifi #accidental_conditioning #anxiety #blood #depression #disassociation #dom:female #dom:internalized_imperialism #dom:plant #Human_Domestication_Guide #medical_play #mindbreak #paranoia #self_care_is_over_were_doing_drugs_now #self_harm #self_harm_is_over_were_still_doing_drugs #sub:female #xenophobia
See spoiler tags : #awake_surgery #parasite/symbiote #plant_vampirism #sadomasochism #torture

Autumn awkwardly picked at the edges of her dress. “Do I really have to do this?” She whined, glancing over at Solanum who was busily tidying her hair.

“It’s important to get you out and socializing again. It wouldn’t do you any good to be released from here just to be shut in for the rest of your life, now would it?” Solanum’s voice as was flat and stern as ever, but Autumn could see the subtle shifting of the scaled leaves on her vines and pulsing of the flowers in her arms that matched a sense of trepidation inside Solanum’s mind. She was worried, plain and simple. “It’s just a little meet and greet with some of my friends, they already know about your situation and they won’t judge you, I promise.”

Autumn couldn’t stop trying to pick at the edges of her sleeves, wishing that she could get them to spontaneously grow longer and cover her forearms. The marred flesh where she’d injured herself felt too visible now that she knew someone else might actually see it. What if the other affini saw her and just, just decided she didn’t have a chance? “Is there a different dress I could wear?” Her voice was wavering nervously.

“Do you not like that one?” Solanum tilted her head a little. Leaves curled outward, vines relaxed, eyes softly glowing. Confusion.

“I, I do, but it doesn’t cover my scars.” Unbidden thoughts of a stranger seeing the marks and deciding to save her from herself wouldn’t stop plaguing her mind. Or even just something as hurtful as a pitying glance.

“Ah, I see.” Solanum’s vines spread out to the side and ducked into her room, returning a moment later with strips of dark cloth. She gave Autumn a tap on the side of her upper chest and said “Arms up.” Autumn obeyed, and Solanum slipped the sleeves down over her scars. “How about now?”

Autumn looked herself over in the mirror once more, admiring how the dark tones of her tight sleeves contrasted against the glaring bright yellows of the dress. All scars covered. Good. The wide neck of her dress left her shoulders, neck, and collar practically highlighted but… she wasn’t a pet. It was just there for her own safety. Not to control her.

...right?

Right.

Right!!!! She wasn’t controlled or domesticated or anything- “One more thing.” Solanum gave her a tap on the side of her jaw. “Teeth.” Aw fuck if she knew this was coming she wouldn’t have brushed her teeth- NO! She did brush her teeth and she’s proud to have done that to save herself the humiliation. The human opened her mouth obediently. Even if she DID turn several shades of red in the process. “All good, we can go now.”

Autumn breathed a small sigh and told herself several times that it was a sigh of relief at not having her mouth handled all over again.



The affini hab ring boasted an abundance of living quarters, gardens, kitchens, meandering paths built solely for enjoyment of walking them, sculptures created by artists from beyond the solar system, and at least once social space filled with questionably large tables, chairs, couches, a small library, several glass-door fridges in the place of vending machines, and about 30 affini relaxing with each other and their florets. 
 
"Autumn, this is Exima, Pyrus, and- where's Allium?" Solanum broke the middle of the introductions.
 
"Her floret got sick again." The taller affini, Exima apparently, answered.
 
"Apparently it's not contagious, just..." The shorter one, Pyrus, tapped his knuckles against his false stomach.

“I’m sure she’s weeping at needing to use the same excuse again.” Solanum sighed, then bent her arms backward to pluck the human from behind her and put her before the two other affini. “Autumn, these are my friends. Please, chat, socialize, do whatever it is that you do to make friends andpleasedon’tgetscared.”

“I promise I don't bite.” Exima said with a small shrug.

“Unlike Sol-” Pyrus was interrupted by an elbow slamming into his side from Solanum, sending him bowling over with arms and vines wrapped around his side.

Solanum quietly pat the top of Autumn’s head. “Don’t be afraid to beat Pyrus up if he’s rude.”

Exima gave Pyrus a playful tap on the side. “I can help.”

“I can’t believe I’ve been betrayed by my own kind.” Pyrus wheezed.

Autumn couldn’t help but break into a small giggle fit over the whole scene entirely at the poor affini’s expense, falling back into her seat in the process and completely missing Solanum quietly exiting the scene behind her.

“Pleased to meet you, Autumn” Exima spoke as they pushed Pyrus down to sit beside them.

“I gotta say, I’m impressed that you haven’t fallen into the class o list yet.” Pyrus said, still gripping his side.

Exima shot the other affini a confused look. “I don’t think that’s much of a compliment, Pyrus.”

“What? It’s a good thing, isn’t it?”

“Weren’t you the one who suggested she get put on it in the first place?”

“I don’t like dragging out suffering. Also, I think we’re talking over her head right now.”

Exima slapped their own cheeks. “Right!” They said, turn turned towards Autumn once more. “Sorry about that. It’s nice to meet you properly. I’m Exima, part of the medical exchange program here. This is Pyrus, my… what is the word?”

“Platonic life partner fits the bill.”

“Roommate?”

“We’ve known each other for basically our whole lives.  I’m older though, and therefore better.”

“And yet you’ve never taken a floret for yourself yet.”

“I’ve yet to meet the *right one*, we’ve been over this. Besides, I enjoy bothering yours plenty.”

“You’re so rude to Feather.”

Autumn blinked in open confusion. “I can barely keep up with anything you two are saying.” She admitted.

Pyrus slapped his own cheeks this time. “Right!” He said. “So how about you, Autumn. What do you do, where’ve you been, met any affini before?”

“...uh,” Autumn awkwardly glanced around the room. “I don’t really do much right now because I’m still technically your prisoner?”

“....right.” Pyrus awkwardly looked around after that as well. Exima muttered something in affini under their breath, which Pyrus shot back at in the affini language as well. Soon the two were quipping at each other in the affini language, speaking in quick but whispered tones back and forth. Autumn tried to latch onto their words, associate anything with what she had learned off her tablet earlier until something just barely blitzed by her memory. “Wait,” she spoke up between them. “What was that word you just said?”

Both of the other affini glanced towards her, then back to each other with a bit of a perplexed expression. “Which word, little one?” Autumn tried to repeat the word that stood out, which caused them both to go wide eyed in surprise. Pyrus covered their mouth in a poor attempt to suppress a chortle, while Exima stuttered in surprise and nearly bent themselves over in awkward guilt. “It’s, uhm, well, it’s not a *polite* word, little one. Why did that stand out to you?”

“Solanum keeps saying it, but like real quietly to herself”

“Ah, I, uh, maybe I shouldn’t explain-” Exima stuttered.

Pyrus, meanwhile, caught his voice long enough to string an actual sentence between giggle fits. “Have you been studying our language?”

“Just a little,” Autumn felt a touch awkward being a focus of attention like this. “Solanum put some programs on my tablet that I use to try to figure things out, but, I feel like it’d also help to hear the language straight from the salmon’s mouth.”

Pyrus broke out into another fit of laughter while Exima just looked confused. Autumn needed a moment to realize what she had said before the embarrassment hit her all at once.

“Shit, I mean, uh” She flung her face into her palms. “I meant the horse’s mouth.”

“Wait, what was that word?” Exima’s head was tilted to the side, leaves curled every which way aimlessly.

“Shit?”

“Yes, that.”

“It’s, uh, not a very polite word, I probably shouldn’t have said it.” Autumn’s voice stumbled, then wavered into a mumbled whisper. “It’s a curse word, in reference to like, excrement?”

“Well the word you asked for was dirt, as a curse word as well.” Pyrus couldn’t keep their continued humor down.

Exima leaned over Pyrus to try to keep him from off in that conversational direction. “I really don’t recommend repeating it. She probably just said it ‘cause she was frustrated or angry at something and didn’t want you to understand what she was saying. It's really not all that good for polite company.”

Autumn mentally noted that the last time she heard Solanum say it out loud was when she had forgotten her change of clothes after a bath and had to run past the affini butt naked through the living room. She decided not to share this tidbit of information.

“Want to learn some more curse words?” Pyrus poked his head up from behind Exima’s shoulder. “I’ll tell you some if you tell me some human ones.”

“We are absolutely not doing this,” Exima attempted to intervene.

“Have you ever heard of the word fuck?” Autumn answered, which caused Exima to practically faint in shock and Pyrus to promptly lean over the other affini and pin them into his lap in interest.

“No, tell me more.”

“You’re both terrible.” Exima’s muffled voice arose from within Pyrus’ frame.

---

A good hour and some VERY colorful words later it became time for Exima and Pyrus to leave together. They both wished her a good time, though in Pyrus’ case he wished her a ‘good time fucking’ that resulted in an awkward explanation in what order the words should be used before Exima dragged him off by the roots. Autumn walked back over to Solanum’s side and practically fell into the seat beside her, draping herself against the affini’s body and nestling in for comfort. Only then did it really click that Solanum was in the middle of a conversation when she did that, as whatever the other other affini had been saying before had broken into adoring gasps at her actions.

Autumn then also realized what she had done and sat straight up, then scooted slightly away from Solanum while blushing intensely the whole time. She glanced towards Solanum to see that she, similarly, was wide eyed in shock with all of her leaves flattened against her body defensively.

“Cute pet.” One of the affini sitting across from them said in a playful tone.

“She’s nO-” Autumn cut off Solanum’s outburst by grabbing one of the vines in her thigh, which caused her voice to go from an instinctive shout to a mild whelp. “Nnnot my pet.” Solanum grumbled quietly, then paused to collect herself before continuing. “This is the human I am caring for. Autumn, this is Hesperia, Ilex, and their cotyledon Dawn.”

“Shame, she’d make a cute one.” Hesperia said with a wide smile.

“We could take her if you don’t want her.”

“Dawn could use a cute friend to keep around.”

“She doesn’t want to be a pet.” Solanum answered flatly. “Please don’t press her on that.”

“As you wish.” Both of the affini answered in unison, then leaned back and draped their arms over the human in the middle between them. Now that she had a good look Autumn was struck by the appearance of this human. Small surgical scars poked through on the sides of her neck and shoulders, surrounded by discolored skin, all culminating in a bright red flower that burst through the side of her neck. Additionally, her left leg had been replaced above the knee with a mass of living plant matter that blended into her thigh, sending a scattering of colorful roots barely visible through her skin crawling up and between the muscles to reach into her body. Her eyes were blown out, staring off into some distant place a million miles or more away. 
 
Ilex produced a colorful flower from the palm of her hand and held it out before Dawn’s face, sending it twirling around in a bright display of color. “Come back to us now, little Dawn.” She said, bringing the flower out from the full extension of her arm closer and closer to Dawn’s face. The human’s eyes caught the twirling display of color and slowly focused in on it, tracking it closer and closer until *SNAP!* Dawn woke up once more.

“Did I drift off again?” Dawn spoke, and her voice was a frail whisper in the wind. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s quite alright little one, we know how your mind likes to wander.” Hesperia answered.

Ilex spoke right after. “That’s why we’re here after all, to keep you nice and comfy and bring you back whenever you’re needed.”
 
"You've already had such a long day, afterall."
 
"It's perfectly fair for your mind to feel oh so heavy right now."

Dawn leaned in to plant a kiss on the cheeks of each affini, earning a loving pat on the cheek back each time. “Thank you two.” She then turned to face Solanum, leaning forward a little as she did. “Sunflower!” She gasped. “Did you finally get a new-”

“No, dear.” Ilex interrupted.

“Just a human in need of her care” Hesperia continued.

Dawn pouted. Autumn had the distinct sensation that this exact same conversation would loop a few more times if she didn’t intercept, so she thrust out her hand towards Dawn as soon as an opening arrived. “I’m Autumn, it’s nice to meet you.” She said, internally begging for them to stop asking if she were Solanum’s pet already.

Dawn took the other human's hand in hers, though her grip faltered as her hand kept twitching erratically and couldn’t quite grasp right. Autumn felt a bit guilty for not having noticed that sooner, but Dawn didn’t seem to mind it at all. “Dawn, it’s a pleasure.” She smiled. “I’m glad to know Sunflower has someone in her life again at least, even just temporarily.”

“You two friends?”

“Back when I lived in the labs she brought me snacks sometimes. It was nice. My favorite was the…” She gestured with shaking hands as if trying to peel back an invisible wrapper before her. “What did you call it? With the green wrapper?”

“Sugar pops,” Solanum answered.

“Rots your teeth,” Hesperia chided.

“They were so sweet,” Dawn’s gaze started to drift off to the side from Solanum, unfocusing gradually as her voice started to trail off in turn. “I didn’t understand what anyone was saying back then, but this pretty sunflower would come by and hand me a little treat. I’d smile and… and…” Her expression faltered, then sunk into a neutral tone, her eyes once again unfocusing into the great distance.

“One second.” Ilex spoke.

“I’ll bring her back.” Hesperia produced a colorful flower from the palm of her hand and held it out ahead of Dawn.

Autumn, meanwhile, shot Solanum a quizzical glance. “Is she… okay?”

“Sort of. Cotyledons are the first batch of any pet species. There’s… usually complications amongst them. In her case the haustoric implant overgrew it’s intended bounds and interfered with her muscles.” Implant? Autumn’s confusion must have been visible as Solanum quickly added “I can explain the implant later. It’s much safer these days.” A soft snap resounded through the air. “But we do our best to ensure every cotyledon can still live a comfortable life.”

“Are you talking about me?” Dawn leaned forward back into the conversation.

“I- yes, sorry.” Solanum stuttered awkwardly.

“It’s okay, lots of people do.” Dawn’s smile was purely innocent. “I could try to help explain things if you have any questions?”

“As long as you don’t stress yourself out, little one.” Ilex ran a hand through Dawn’s hair.

“We’ll be here to pick up anywhere you wish to leave off.” Hesperia continued.

Autumn glanced between the three nervously, feeling an all too familiar knot of uncertainty in her stomach. Should she…? It felt weird to press on someone who was so out of it, but Dawn had invited her. She gulped, and hoped that it wasn’t too weird to follow up on. “What happened to you?”

“Ah,” Dawn idly kicked her feet through the air without a care in the world. “I was… where was I?”

“Adrift in space, dear.” Hesperia answered.

“Oh, yes. I was flying into deep space some years ago, but my ship was damaged. It’d ended up falling apart around me, even injured my leg in the process. I was fortunate enough to have put on my space suit before the cabin tore apart down the middle and I…” A familiar dullness leeched into the edges of her voice. “I… I was left spinning through the void. Nothing but stars and stray metal around me.” Her eyes unfocused once more, her voice slowly going cold. “I thought I’d be dead out there. Forced myself to sleep to conserve air and… and…” She was gone again. Ilex quietly tucked her head into her shoulder and produced another colorful flower to dance before her eyes.

“She had fired off some flares beforehand, and the Baiera managed to pick her up before it was too late.”

“A good thing too. We’d barely seen any humans in person before,” Ilex added, then snapped to awaken Dawn once more. “After your rescue, little one.”

“Ah,” Dawn answered, rubbing some of the daze out of her eyes before continuing. “We didn’t have any language overlap then. I was… scared?” Hesperia nodded. “I was scared at first, but they did their best to help me. I was kept in a lab at that time, and there were so many tests every day… it, it wasn’t very nice, but it was for my care, I think?” Ilex nodded. “It was for my care. After a few months they put something in my back, and at first I thought it had helped me but then it started to hurt. I couldn’t feel my hands, I couldn’t… couldn’t…”

“Shhh, little one. Enough of the bad thoughts.” Hesperia put a hand reassuringly on her back.

“Complications in the implant’s growth, as Solanum mentioned.” Ilex continued. “In other cases where this had happened it’d rooted into the subject's mind and damaged their higher functions, but we were able to do some… clever gardening to preserve her. Though she’s still prone to drifting off, as you see.”

“We’ve very happy to have saved her.” Hesperia added.

“Most of the cotyledons have ended up on class o series drugs, and we’d be remiss to let that happen to our dear little flower.” Ilex continued.

“Are you two twins or something?” Autumn blurted out before her conscious brain caught up with her.

“Oh by the stars no,” They answered in perfect unison.

“We’ve just gotten very good at finishing each other's sentences.”

“Dawn finds it cute.”

“And we find Dawn to be adorable.”

“We like to make eachother happy.”

“She’s very good at making us happy.” The two affini proceeded to shower Dawn’s dazed body with loving affection, eliciting a series of pleased yelps from her in the process. Even as she seemed to drift in and out of the real world she still smiled and clung to the affini’s side all the time, nuzzling back up into their touch. Autumn couldn’t help but have her own mind drift to the catatonic face of the woman she once knew a ways back in comparison. To once again see that person being left behind as the Verdant Dawn pulled out into space.

“Solanum,” She turned to her own affini to ask. “This might be an odd request, but could you please look someone up for me?”

“Of course, dear.” Solanum answered, pulling out her tablet from within her chest in the process. “Anything you remember of them?”

“Her name was Whisper Theta, and a year ago she was left at the Mars Garden Medical Station in a catatonic state.” Her brain couldn’t detach itself from the association. Whisper had gone completely silent, she was so frail, so vulnerable, they’d just *left* her behind and now it was all she could see in contrast to Dawn’s state. Solanum just nodded silently along and tapped the data into the tablet before sliding it back into her chest

Dawn grasped the two affini with her fumbling hands and whispered something to them in a quiet tone. The two nodded, then stood up lifting Dawn in their arms. “I’m sorry, but it seems like our flower is tired for today.”

“It was good to see you again, Sunflower.” Dawn smiled sweetly. “I hope it won’t be our last. And… Autumn, was it?” Ilex nodded at her side. “I hope we get to meet again as well. If you’re ever aboard the Baiera please do ask for me. “

“And if you change your mind about being a pet then we’d gladly take you.” Hesperia added. Ilex, meanwhile, scooped Dawn up into her arms bridal style and tucked her head into her shoulder, neatly adjusting her leaves and flowers to drape over Dawn’s form in the process. The two affini waved Autumn and Solanum farewell as they walked off, human cargo already sleeping preciously away in their embrace.

Once they were out the door Autumn turned to Solanum and grabbed one of her vines tightly. “Details. Now.”

Solanum looked around the room, face ever stoic but with vines twisting around in discomfort inside of her chest. A rumbling noise echoed through her for a moment before she caved to Autumn’s demands. “Fine, I helped with early studies of human medicine by learning what I could about their psychology, and along the way I felt sorry for that girl so I’d give her some candy whenever I came by.” Solanum clenched her hands together tightly, leaves folded in and flowers held tight against her.

“You’re not telling me something.” Autumn leaned up against her, chin against Solanum’s chest and eyes staring up into hers.

“And how do you know that?” Solanum tried to keep her voice calm.

“You’re good at keeping your face flat but I’ve figured out the rest of you.” Solanum cursed loudly and recoiled backwards from Autumn, her face suddenly split into an openly shocked expression. “Also Pyrus told me what that word means.” Solanum muttered a series of even more colorful words in the affini language which Autumn now knew how to recognize, before deflating back into a seated position, face now showing it’s nervous streak in the open.

“Okay, fine, look, she was in pain, she couldn’t move her limbs, it reminded me of Pollyon and whenever Pollyon was in a bad state I’d get him some of his favorite candy. Happy now?”

Autumn looked thoughtful for a moment, then opened her mouth in shock as the layers of meaning unfolded in her mind. “You’ve been holding onto Pollyon’s favorite candy all this time!?”

“Yes.” Solanum was bent over in embarrassment. “They’re just sugar pops. They’re nothing unusual.”

“Do you have it with you *right now*?”

“Yyyyyyyes.” Solanum whined. “It’s on the top shelf in our kitchen.”

“Solanum you maSSIVE SOFTIE!” Autumn couldn’t contain it anymore. How was this overgrown houseplant so fucking cute!? She practically tackled Solanum over the side of her seat and pinned her cheeks into a pinch, delighting in how Solanum’s leaves flared out in surprise then scattered in every direction in confusion. “I can’t believe I was ever scared of you!”

“I can be scary.” Solanum’s voice was anything but confident.
 
“I bet you couldn’t even bring yourself to dose me without worrying about hurting me in the process.”

Solanum pouted silently.

“I’m right, aren’t I?”

Solanum rolled over onto her side and looked away from Autumn.

“Softie.”

“Look, you've been scared and nervous about everything and I was worried that even something as minor as a bruise would set you off again.”

“Soooooooooftie.”

“Or maybe the pain would have set off a bad memory or, or, or-”

“Softie.” Autumn poked Solanum’s cheek.

“Okay fine I’m a big softie.”

“So what about the implant?”

Solanum paused in contemplation for a long while, vines tightening back up against her body and face twisting uncomfortably. “This might be a bit harder to swallow.”

“Try me.”

“Fine, fine” Solanum plucked Autumn off her body and rose up to a seated position. She placed Autumn down next to herself, then pressed one of her fingers into the base of Autumn’s skull. “Part of the domestication process is having cells cultured from their owner grown into a little lump, which is then implanted in the subject right about here.” Solanum’s finger slowly trailed down along Autumn’s spine, eliciting a shiver from the human as she continued talking. “It then grows to connect to the person’s nervous system, allowing the implant to exert influence over their mentality. Additionally, it will have a few glands that grow within it that will allow the owner to deliver doses to their pet without the need for intrusive needles.”

Autumn felt a cold wave wash over her all of a sudden. “You… what?” Her voice faltered, sharply remembering all of the small scars she had seen along the human pets necks. Autumn’s hand flew to the back of her own neck, still feeling an echo of Solanum’s finger tracing the path of her spine.

“That’s the haustoric implant in a crabshell. If you were to be assigned as a pet your new owner would have one made and implanted within you in short order.”

“And it’d affect my mind?”

“Alter moods, interfere with or create certain thoughts, adjust hormones - not a total mind control tool but something that helps with the domestication process greatly.” Solanum spoke it all so matter-of-factly, but Autumn just felt a growing sense of dread crawling up her spine with each word.

“Do all of the pets…?”

“If their body can handle it, yes.”

“...I see.” Autumn stood up abruptly.

“Are you okay, little one?”

“I’ve just been reminded why I was afraid, sorry.” Autumn kept her grip on the back of her neck, afraid of a phantom sensation of unknown things crawling through her spine. “I’d like to go home now, if that’s okay.”

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