24 - Big Spoon

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

A brief distant rumble was the only thing that reached Hesplex’s hab from the open warfare outside, barely even a footnote on the edge of anyone’s awareness. Ilex wasted no time in drying off Dawn and getting her ready for bed, but Hesperia took a more leisurely approach with Autumn. More fussing over whether the pajamas were comfortable enough, asking if she needed any water or a late snack first, and naturally an abundance of ruffling her hair all over again just to watch Autumn dizzily stumble about before the affini would catch her and hold her up.

Solanum was perched off in a soft corner of the living room, having bundled up and rolled over to face the wall earlier before drifting to sleep. “Is she okay?” Autumn asked while Hesperia still sifted through a startling abundance of shirts.

“She’s pretty late into her wilting, so she doesn’t have much energy anymore sadly.” Hesperia sighed. “We’ve tried everything we could think of to stir her out of her depression, but sadly nothing has worked so far. I apologize if the way Ilex and I have acted has caused you discomfort. We’ve become rather desperate, I’m afraid.”

“I knew it,” Autumn attempted to snap her fingers but just made a clumsy sort of hand waving gesture. “You’ve been fucking with her the whole time.”

“It’s true.” Hesperia gave an apologetic expression paired with a modest shrug. “But if it’s any comfort, our offers to keep you have been genuine. Should you wish, we would be more than happy to give you a life of endless comforts beside Dawn at a moment’s notice. Please understand that part is not a facade.”

“...thank you.” Autumn blushed. All of the words flowed through her mind like warm honey, but the emotions that stirred from them were mixed. Should she be happy about the offer? Some part of her was. Upset? Discomforted? Nothing stirred like that. But there was also a morose sort of emptiness at the thought of being swept into Hesperia’s arms and having her worries torched away. She replayed the idea again and again and again and every time it left her hollow in some portion of her heart. “I... don’t know yet, but thank you.”
“You’re more than welcome.” Hesperia smiled warmly, then produced a pajama set that was in a genuinely horrifyingly bright splay of colors. “Now, how about this?”

“Hesperia, I fear that if I don’t pick something for you we’ll spend the entire night sifting through clothes with no answers.”


“Then this is more than fine, thank you.”

Autumn was no longer surprised by the extravagance that was found anywhere Hesplex would lead her, and thus when she actually set foot inside the bedroom she was no more than mildly amused to find it patently ridiculous. Dawn looked positively tiny in the massive sprawl of a bed, and the entire ceiling was a translucent mass of winding, flourishing organic shapes that accented the view into the center of the ship and beyond. As Hesperia laid her down next to Dawn, she looked out beyond the sky to see distant flashes and streaks of light of the struggle beyond.

“Sweet dreams, little ones.” Hesperia and Ilex gave them each a kiss on the forehead, alternating in position to take turns. “We’ll be back in later, so do please keep Dawn company while we’re out.” Ilex whispered to her in particular before the two swept up and out the room with a dramatic twirl.
The immediate comfort of the bed practically sunk in all around her. Within seconds she was full of a slothful weight that turned any minor whim to move into a sort of contentedness to wait for sleep to catch her instead. Save for the part where the room was still spinning. That was disorienting to say the least.

Beside her Dawn lay still for a while, still coming down from her euphoric haze. Over time she slowly rose to a state of mild twitches, followed by the familiar shaking in her forelimbs before some light squirming paired with a soft groan. Then all at once she bolted to an upright position, gasping the words, “Wait! Where- I’m- it…” She blinked, her eyes glancing about the room with a dull lack of focus. “It’s.. over?” She tilted her head up to the sky within the ring, then sighed before looking down to see Autumn next to her. “OH!” She practically shouted in surprise.

“Hi,” Autumn gave a tiny wave.

“AAaaahhh,” Dawn’s voice warbled awkwardly. “I think I said something embarrassing things earlier I’m sorry it-”

“Shh, I’m tired.” Autumn pouted. “And it’s okay, Dawn. I was surprised but… it was flattering.”

Dawn quietly slunk back down to bed, lowering her voice to quiet whisper as she laid upon her side to face her guest. “Well, I meant what I said. Even if I was kind of, very, out of it.”

Autumn chuckled. “Thank you. I, uh, well I guess I’m not disinterested? I don’t think I’ve ever really had a crush before. I don’t… really know what to do at this point.”

“Honestly I didn’t plan on getting this far so I don’t know what to do either.” Dawn admitted shyly. “I mean, it’s just like, a crush? So like don’t feel too obligated to do anything about it. I think this is the part where we go on a date or something and figure out how we feel about each other?”

“Would Hesplex get jealous?”

“I don’t think so. Affini seem to have a very different idea of relationships than we do. I think it’s because they reproduce with like, pollination and stuff? Like they’re plants and one time Hesperia mentioned that their evolutionary biologists believe that their ancestor plants reproduced with an alcoholic nectar that made the pollinator bugs super drunk and thus more likely to stumble about and spread the pollen to other plants and like-”

“You’re much more lucid than you usually are.”

“Oh! I, uh, I think Ilex said that can happen sometimes when ‘intellectually stimulated’ or whatever? Or like, particularly emotional, or, am I rambling? I feel like I’m rambling.”

Autumn put a hand on Dawn’s cheek to calm her down. “It’s cute. C’mon, let’s sleep and figure out a date later, okay?”

“Okay!! I’ll try to calm down and-”

“Shh,” Autumn slid her hand along the side of Dawn’s face, and was rewarded with her expression quickly slowing down from an excitable grin to a more calm sort of look, followed by her eyes regaining some of their dull appearance from before.

“Sleep… time… spoon?... tired.” Dawn’s voice petered out into random thoughts, quickly followed by the rest of her body collapsing beside Autumn entirely, eyes closed and fast asleep. Autumn smiled softly and tucked Dawn up to her as the little spoon, quickly following off into dreams after her.

“Done pretending to sleep, Solanum?”

“Depends, are you done 'fucking' with me?”

“Depends, are you ready to admit that you’re capable of feeling emotions?”

Solanum hissed. “No, I guess not.”
Ilex casually strolled across the room, plucking her tablet off a table before producing a headset that she put on and went mumbling into. Probably something to do with all the new captures they were getting, Solanum assumed. She should be down there helping process them. Wasn’t the Baiera always offloading to her, afterall? Solanum rose to her feet with a pained grunt that was met with Hesperia’s foot arcing out to kick her back down. “Hey!” Solanum bit out.

“You are staying here, Sunflower. Even if we wanted your help, you are in no position to do so.”

Solanum stared up angrily. Work would have been a perfect distraction from the feelings she wished to ignore. “Do I at least get to know how it’s going?”

Hesperia flipped out her own tablet and skimmed through her messages. “Four of the six rebel ships are already fully restrained within the Baiera and are being cleared as we speak. The last two are attempting to escape but we’ve shut off their escape vectors. We’ll be catching them within the hour.” A small blip echoed out from the tablet. “You’ll be pleased to know that Autumn’s assailant has been captured alive.” Hesperia turned the tablet to face Solanum, revealing a picture of an androgynous human laying unconscious, an unspent rifle left beside them.

Solanum tightened in on herself.

“Yes, yes, I know, you’re mad because you didn’t get to this… Qiru? Before anyone else.” Hesperia snorted. “Let me guess, you had a bag of scalpels you wanted to bring out for…” Hesperia checked the messages again, “it’s medical review, didn’t you?”
"Obviously." Solanum growled.
“Seeking revenge?”

“Of course.”

“Are you mad because it hurt her, or because it hurt her before *you* could?”

Solanum groaned and rose again, this time spitting out that she wasn’t going anywhere before Hesperia could knock her down again. “I wouldn’t hurt her,” Solanum mumbled as she paced up to the window, resting her forehead against it to see the brief flashes of light dance off the Baiera’s hull. “She doesn’t want to be a pet, and even if she did I can’t take her.”

“Why not?”

“I’m dying, dirt clod.” Solanum threw her arms out to the side, sending a fresh wave of fallen leaves dancing about in the air around her. “By all the stars in the sky I’d’ve died weeks ago if she weren’t around making me…” Solanum twirled her hand around in the air. “Feel things again.”

“Hrmm, frustrating, isn’t it?” Hesperia strolled up behind her and grabbed her hand by it’s back thumb, pulling it back to push Solanum to face her directly.

Solanum grunted in a fashion akin to a revving engine. “Oh could you drop the act and speak plainly if we’re going to do this all night?” She spat out. “I have feelings and I don’t like that fact, I know. You know. We all know. Unfortunately, Autumn probably knows too.”

Hesperia sighed, moving Solanum’s hand over to her shoulder as she stepped in closer. “Solanum, we’ve talked about this a dozen times now.”

“And I haven’t budged once.”

“Still longing to rest with your old flame?”

“I’d be there already if it weren’t for her.”

“Then how about this, tell me what you honestly want and I’ll let you watch in on Qiru’s medical review tomorrow.” Hesperia held Solanum’s cheeks, looking her dead in the eyes. “And not just your old plans, I want to know those feelings you hate too.” The silence between the two drew on for a long silent moment, Hesperia holding firm in her position while Solanum squirmed in place, fists clenching and unclenching beside the other affini.

“I don’t want to lose Streum again, but I don’t want to lose her either.” Solanum admitted slowly, as if each word stung over her tongue. “Even if she did decide to surrender herself to someone it shouldn’t be me, she deserves better.”


“You were THERE when it happened with Pollyon, Hesperia.” Solanum gripped her shoulders tightly, wood creaking from the tension. “It’s the first clear memory I still have, the *screaming*. It’s been echoing in my mind for all these years, I can’t just rebloom to hurt her like that. I can’t, I can’t be so selfish as to take her just for my own sake.” Sol’s voice hitched in a pained gasp. “I’m so tired of feeling these things all the time, I just want it to end already and rest beside Streum. Is that too much to want?”

“You say that like I should just stand back and let you go, Sunflower.” Hesperia stepped forward, arms wrapping around Solanum to form a tight hug followed by her vines mirroring the gesture, lacing between Sol’s as they went.

“...you’re right, I know.”

“Solanum, if there is anything I can do to change your mind.”

“If only it were so simple. I’m past the point of just choosing now, I’ve got no spark left nor will to use it.” Solanum slumped to the side and sighed. “Can I rest now? I’m tired.”

“Fine, but come I think your ward would at least like to wake up beside you again.” Hesperia answered. Solanum took a step towards the bedroom, but was quickly shoved towards the baths instead. “Oh no you don’t, we only allow clean bodies in bed here.”

“Hesperia, I can bathe myself.” Solanum protested in vain, lacking the actual energy to do much more than get pushed around by the other affini.

“Too bad, our house, our rules. C’mon.”

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