22 - Special Interest Rant

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 wished solving complicated psychological issues was as simple as having one conversation and then it was done. Unfortunately the next day Solanum was still wilting, Autumn was still horridly injured and drugged clean off her ass, and time still continued to move forward even when she just wanted to lay in bed for about three more years straight.
Autumn felt like her body was swimming around her at all times. Whatever cocktail still burned through her veins left her brain feeling unusually awake, but her flesh still only barely listened to anything she had to say. Waking up felt more like a struggle to push against tidal waves just to move her hand, then as if she had to kick for her life for even the slightest ability to open her eyes.

Naturally, this meant that she had to try more times than she was actually alert enough to keep track before her body actually stirred once. Over and over again she tried to grasp at alertness, slipped, and fell back into a brief pleasant dream before the lights burned through her eyelids once more. “Little one, I’m going to wake up now.” Solanum’s voice rang dry and raspy through her unconscious ears.

Wake up, Autumn. She told herself a few dozen times, slipped back into sleep again, then struggled back to the surface before she finally moved her good arm. The movement sent a spiralling wave of alertness all over her body, jolting her out of her stupor in a spiralling sensation that blossomed up from her wrist, coursed through her chest, deftly dodged the numbed areas around the implants, and then finally kicked her brain back to the real world. 
Autumn attempted to sit up and found that her body still had a fifty fifty shot at best for actually listening to her. So instead she made a rasping sort of groan that made her throat sting, followed by a cold wave as the implant chased after the pain with ever more xenodrugs. Solanum tilted her chin up towards her, looking into her half-lidded eyes with an expression of silent contemplation. A rumbling hum echoed out of her affini’s chest, followed by a quiet whisper. “Struggling to wake up, little one?” Her voice had an odd tilt to it. “No worries, you can rest. I’ll take care of your needs until your body can catch up to you.”
Everything happened in a blur of colors and sensations after that. She was moved, stripped, bathed, all the while weakly squirming inside of a nest of vines that grabbed firm hold of her body and left a myriad of feelings all blossoming into firework explosions across her nerves. It could have been five minutes or five hours in such a whirlwind of feelings for all she knew. Then, slowly, everything coalesced back together with her being draped over a familiar seat in the kitchen, and Solanum quietly fixing them some breakfast.

By the time food was in front of her she had thankfully come together enough to actually move and talk on her own, even if it was still rather sloppy. Solanum was drinking something red again. Always red, she realized. A pale translucent red with bits of… something barely visible drifting through the mixture that’d cling around the surface of her roots within it. Another piece of the puzzle that she didn’t quite know where to put yet.

Autumn opened her mouth to speak at about the same time that Hesplex came bursting through Solanum’s front door, eliciting an angry groan from her affini and a shocked yelp from herself. Dawn rushed over on awkward footsteps and practically leapt into Autumn, wrapping her hands around her into a tight, if shaking, hug.
“Did you assign me this room just so you could come in whenever you feel like?” Solanum growled.

“Of course we did.” Hesperia answered as she walked up behind Autumn.

Ilex, similarly, came up to stand on the other side behind Autumn, then the two of them put a hand on both of her shoulders. “We’re stealing your little human again.”

Solanum’s growl revved up a beat after that, then settled as her eyes flattered out to the side. “It’s her choice, she’s not my pet.”

“And you.”

“I don’t have the energy for whatever games you’re playing, Hesplex.”
“Spent it on adoring her?” Hesperia asked, moving her hand to ruffle Autumn’s hair.

“It’s a fair choice to do, she obviously deserves all the love and attention she could want.”

“We know you’re a dry withering mess, Sunflower. Come, we’re taking you both back to ours so you can rest and your dear little human can play.”

Play, in this case, turned out to be rather literal as before Autumn could entirely parse what had happened she was in Hesplex’s hab, sitting beside Dawn and goofing off on some antiquated video game console that Dawn had apparently painstakingly repaired in her free time. Dawn rambled on with no end about the entire process of ripping apart several old machines she had found with Hesplex, figuring out the inner workings of the programs, and then creating copies of the games themselves off cartridges that had long burnt out their internal batteries. 
“I’m not, actually, very good at the games, though.” Dawn admitted with a touch of shyness. “My hands, they, well, you know. But there are some I can play! On the easy difficulty. They have a co-op mode, too. Sometimes Hesplex will play with me.”

Autumn’s head was resting against the side of some pillows, looking towards Dawn with wide eyes and open mouth. “Dawn, I think this is the most I’ve ever heard you talk.”

“Is it?” Dawn tapped her palms against her thighs as a blush spread over her face. “I, sorry, is it too much? I can tone it down, we don’t have to play anything if you don’t want I just got super excited-”

“No, no, it’s okay, I’m just surprised to see a different side to you.” Autumn smiled. “C’mon, show me one of those games you like.”

“Okay!” Dawn jumped to her feet, drifting to the side while mid-air due to the spin gravity before stumbling awkwardly across the room to fish out a pile of games and some controllers. “Here, I think I have one of these that’s good for one-handed play. The buttons are a little packed together but it should still be good, I think.”

Autumn quickly realized that she was not the best judge for determining how high she was, as her attempt to play the game on normal resulted in a wide array of missed steps and fumbled swings as she learned just how little her body was actually listening to her fine commands. So they switched it down to easy and had a much more fun time being bad at the game together. In short order Autumn and Dawn had subtly shifted their positions, resulting in the two of them leaning against each other’s bodies, Dawn with her head on Autumn’s shoulder and Autumn with her head upon Dawn’s. 
They lingered together until their hands and minds grew tired, and then instead let their vision drift up to the full window that revealed the spiraling architecture that drifted by beyond. The entire room was cast in a soft golden light, with the voices of Hesplex drifting about from another room in the complicated sprawl of their hab, only occasionally joined by the dry rumble of Solanum’s voice chasing after them. Autumn could almost piece together the gist of the conversation from what little affini she had actually managed to internalize. Something about music shows and scheduling.

“Ilex told me that they grow these rings as a solid block to get those shapes, then carve the actual hab units into it while preserving whatever shapes the ring took on it’s own.” Dawn said quietly, gesturing to a particular spiraling branch of dizzying fractals. “I think she likes to brag about affini tech.”

“Did she give you the whole tour when you first got picked up, too?”

Dawn hummed in thought, absentmindedly wrapping her arms around Autumn’s good one as she did. “Not so soon, no. I wasn’t allowed to leave my room at the labs at first. It was kind of sad, really. This brightly lit sterile room with white tile walls and all these medical tools they were always using on me.”

“Ah,” Autumn flinched internally. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, they saved my life and it was better than dying.” Dawn replied. “After I got my implant I got better for a while, so Hesplex took me on a tour then.”

“Did she explain the trick about the ice to you then?”

Dawn laughed. “No, I think she made that up just to see if I’d believe her.”

Autumn snorted. “Roots, I actually believed her.”

Dawn burst out into a fit of laughter, this time grasping at her own sides and kicking out into the air before flopping over into Autumn’s lap entirely. “You actually believed her?”

Autumn huffed, turned bright red, and positively refused to answer.

“Oh stars, you actually believed her.” Dawn smiled, then gave Autumn a pinch on the cheek. “Dork.”

Sometime in the middle of dinner within the Hesplex abode a slight rumbling noise echoed throughout the halls. Autumn whipped her head around in confusion. “What was that?” She asked.

“The thing we’re distracting you two from.” Hesperia said in her usual chipper tone. Solanum shot up from her spot immediately just to get grabbed by Ilex and shoved back down.

“It’s fishing time already, it seems.” Ilex spoke, twirling meals through the air with a casual sort of grace just to dazzle Dawn. So soon…?

“How long was I out?” Autumn asked.

Ilex bent over so she was face to face with the human as she answered. “We left the station about… five days ago, I believe. So you were asleep for two of those, then mostly asleep for the third.”

“And until we’re done catching every tiny little ship that’s been hiding here you two are going to stay right-” Hesperia tightened her grip over Solanum’s shoulder. “Here, whether you like it or not.”

Solanum growled at the two other affini, but she was too weak to even try getting out from Hesperia’s grip. After a minute of weak wiggling she finally sighed in defeat and deflated into place. Autumn glanced over towards Dawn with a confused look, but she seemed too interested in her noodles to notice any of the conversation going on. Autumn leaned over and whispered to the human, “Did you know about this?”

“Know what?” Dawn blinked back.

“The... fishing, thing?”

Dawn shrugged. “I figured it was weird to go fishing in space since there isn’t like, a lake or anything to cast reels into?? But I’m not going to judge.” Oh stars she didn’t get it at all. Well at least it meant all of their time together wasn’t a pretense.

“Don’t worry about that, little flower.” Ilex trailed her hand down the side of Dawn’s face, which elicited a series of shivers from her body with a soft moan as she leaned into Ilex’s touch.

When Dawn spoke again it was with a breathy gasp that lingered after the affini’s touch, filled with a bareface want that even left Autumn blushing. “Yes, Mistress.” She said with a soft smile.

“Good girl!” Ilex gave her a kiss on the head. “We’re sending you to sleep early tonight though, so be ready to bathe right after dinner.”

This time Dawn gave a ‘yes, mistress’ with a bit of more of a whiny tone in her voice.

“Does every owner control their pet that much?” Autumn asked casually.

Dawn shrugged, “I don’t know, but they’ve said they need to give me special care since my body is so fragile now.”

“Also Hesperia has a fetish for such personal levels of control,” Ilex added.

“Well that too but I don’t mind that.” Dawn cut back in. The soft tilt in her voice suggested that she more than just ‘didn’t mind’ indulging the affni’s kinks.

“You’re welcome to spend the night with us, by the way.” Ilex winked.

This time Solanum was the one who spoke up defiantly before being pinned back down by Hesperia. Dawn turned several shades of bright red. “O-okay, if it’s not too much trouble.” Autumn answered, and Dawn turned several more shades of red before turning and hiding her face in her bowl.

The occasional rumble would echo out throughout the remainder of the dinner after that, punctuated by the sporadic updates shot to Hesplex’s tablets which they would proudly proclaim to the room. “It seems all those nasty ships are stuck with us now. Lucky for the strays still inside of them.” Ilex’s voice laced with a calm sense of satisfaction as she read off the names of all of the ships. Hedon’s Grove, Twilight Retribution, Ceaseless Wind, all names that Autumn recognized

Autumn felt as if she should feel something at the news of their fall. Perhaps regret. Or maybe fear? But the only thing that rolled around in her heart was a strange sense of relief.

“Bath time, little flower.” Hesperia said as she led Dawn out of her seat, then reached over to put a hand on Autumn’s shoulder. “You too, dear.”

“What?” Autumn, Dawn, and Solanum all said at once, with various reactions of surprise, embarrassment, and unsubtle jealousy.

“If you want to sleep here you’ll need to be clean first,” Ilex answered as she swept up beside Hesperia. “Of course, if you’re not comfortable then you’re welcome to bathe after Dawn, or change your mind entirely.”

Autumn froze up somewhere between shock and embarrassment. Was everything so wobbly before? She’d been rather busy hanging out with Dawn and hadn’t actually tracked her trip so clearly. Maybe it was just the high making her chest feel weird. “Um, it’s okay. If Dawn’s okay with it.”

Ilex turned towards Dawn, who looked around sheepishly before answering quietly, “I’d be okay with that.”

Solanum reeled up with a low growl, but froze once again at Hesplex’s combined stare. “What’s wrong, Sunflower?”

Ilex slipped lower around Autumn, arms draped over her shoulders. “Are you feeling jealous?” Autumn blinked with a sudden sort of clarity. Oh stars they were just fucking with Solanum this whole time, weren’t they? Ilex’s hand rested against the side of Autumn’s face, sending some pleasant fireworks dancing over her skin and directly into her brain.

“...no.” Solanum answered, slowly lowering down to her previous seat.

“It looked like it,” Hesperia continued.

“Which would be quite shocking since you seem to want to insist you don’t want this little human. Now, come along Autumn.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Autumn answered automatically, taking Ilex’s offered hand as she led her off. She could’ve sworn she heard Solanum’s wooden plates crack from how hard she was gripping them as Autumn left the room.

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