3 - Wilted Roses

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

This is still a work of fiction and nothing shown here should be attempted in real life. In fact, don't take anything I write as being serious. I am a stranger on the internet writing indulgent erotica with an abundance of mental health issues written close from the chest.

Autumn decided that she never wanted to be in a silent room again. The yawning void of noise was a veritable playground for her brain to echo against with her own fears and regrets. Every time she closed her eyes she could only see the faces of her crew being consumed by the plants. When she opened them she was trapped in the reality of her own guilt. Why had she called in the affini? It was betrayal. She should have… she didn’t know what she should have done. But now the Verdant Dawn’s light had winked out for good and it was all her fault.

She should have just died. That’s what she should have done. Walked up to the airlock and thrown herself out. Or confessed to everything when she had met the Affini the first time. She should have borne that burden all by herself alone and with nobody else and maybe then she wouldn't be seeing the jeering faces in the edges of her mind screaming at her about what she’s done and how she deserves to be tortured for all eternity and torn up and left in the trash and- A knock on the door announced the arrival of a now familiar face.

The Affini normally would have had to bow down to fit under the door, but she walked with a depressed sort of slouch such that she just barely grazed the top of it on the way in. “Hello there, dear. Are you feeling okay?” No. Autumn didn’t have the will to answer. Maybe her old antipsychotics would at least do something about the hell inside her skull. She tried to close her eyes and relax, but all that played out behind closed lids was a vision of her guest revealing rows of thorns dripping with venom and flaying her alive. She whimpered at the thought. “Ah, is this a bad time? I can leave once you’ve taken your pills if you’d like.”

“No!” Autumn surprised herself by shouting. Anything but being left alone with her thoughts again. So she was an Affini, whatever, she’d been polite enough last time and she wasn’t *currently* trying to hurt her (though she surely would later, this is just part of some nefarious trick) and that was good enough for Autumn. “Please stay. I’ll talk.”

Actually looking at an affini head on was still unnerving to her. They way their body flowed to move, how their faces were simulacra bent to resemble a humans, the myriad of flowers and needles and vines and- bad thoughts, bad thoughts, focus on something else. Like her leaves? They were a myriad of autumnal tones, tapering off into dried husks that occasionally detached from her to float away. Between that and the way her eyes had flowed with a dull red tone it gave the impression that she was either a dying plant or an alien equivalent of goth. Probably the latter considering she was dressed and all black and talked with a slow, even- oh shit she was talking. What was she saying? Fucking hell she missed it.

“Could you please repeat that?” Autumn asked meekly.

“Of course, dear. I was just saying that I’d like to play a little question and answer type game with you if that’s okay.” The affini was now standing beside her again, grabbing the pill bottles and setting aside her dose for the day. She proceeded to unstrap Autumn’s hands and neck again, only gently pressing her fingers into Autumn’s shoulder as she rose to remind her that she *would* restrain Autumn again if she lashed out.

Autumn knocked back her pills dry and immediately regretted it all over again. She’d gotten used to taking her pills this way on the Verdant Dawn (for the brief time she still had them) but it was a nasty habit. The water was RIGHT THERE!!! She just had to- wait what if the water was drugged? She didn’t see the affini pour it earlier, and it didn’t come in a sealed container like the pills. “What kind of game?” She answered once her mouth stopped tasting like battery acid.

“It’s very simple, we take turns asking each other questions and answering honestly in kind.” Oh no. Interrogation. “Don’t worry, I won’t ask about anything stressful like military secrets or whatever. I just need to compile information on you for now.” Was her tension showing that obviously? Of course it was. The affini was looking right at her. Had she mentioned her name before? It felt weird to talk to someone she only knew as “That Affini.” in her mind.

“...why?” Her voice was practically a whisper.
"I believe that you would benefit from learning some proper information about the Affini. What better way to do that than to hear it straight from the salmon's mouth, hm?"
She gave Sol a look that could best be described as a mix of concern and confusion.
"...is that not the right phrase?"
"It's supposed to be the horse's mouth, I think."
"...what's a horse?"

Shit. Uh. Some kind of mammal, maybe? Or was it a fish. Autumn couldn’t recall. "I uh, I don't know, honestly."
"Fair enough, I don't know what a salmon is either. Anyway, I believe that should count as my question, your turn."
She sat in silence for a long moment, one hand weakly clenching and unclenching the sheets. What should she even start with? There was so much to know, so many rumors still bouncing around inside her skull. Fuck it, just pick one. Pick uhh… pick…  "Are you going to eat me?"
This time it was Solanum's turn to look confused. "Why would I do that?"
"I heard that Affini eat people. Like, claw open their guts and-" She blanched as her voice trailed off. Too much. Different topic. “Nevermind, it’s silly, I’m sorry. Of course that one is wrong” Her voice stumbled. Apologizing for her thoughts was a practiced habit at this point. Solanum was about to speak but Autumn cut her off. “Your turn. To ask a question.”

“Very well,” Solanum flipped open a small file and pulled out a pen. “How long have you been aware of your mental health problems?”

“Since I was twelve. I was convinced that a truck was going to kidnap me and wound up so scared that I couldn’t sleep for fear it would come out of my closet. Saw a therapist after that.” Easy answer. That’s just recounting history. No need to mention the weeks of doubt and mistrust and shame and struggle and- a lot. There was a lot to NOT mention. Does this mean it’s her turn now? She should ask something. What about… thorns? She thought about thorns a lot but didn’t actually see any on the affini. Wait, no. “What’s your name?”

“Solanum Vitis.” She answered with a smile. “Why did you decide to signal an Affini ship to come to you?”

Oh. Straight to the hard questions then. “I, uh-” A familiar knot coiled in her stomach. “I felt- I,” Just close her eyes and let it spill out. She’d done this with therapists many times before. Not that it made it easy, of course. “I felt like the fight was pointless. Like I was just adrift in space waiting for something to inevitably come get me, and like dragging it out any longer was just… wasted time.” Autumn sighed and slumped back into the bed. That was a taxing one to get out. At least Solanum wasn’t sniping her on it. “What’s going to happen to everyone else?”

“They’ll be treated in accordance with the human domestication treaty. We’re going to find them some nice homes and, once they’re properly broken in, they’ll have a lovely comfortable and happy life under an Affini’s care.” Broken in. She said it so casually. All Autumn could picture was Solanum’s hands wrapping around her wrists and snapping her bones for a much more literal sense of breaking. “Do you believe I’m going to hurt you?”

“Yes,” Autumn answered immediately. “Are you?”

“I’d rather not. Do you want me to?”


“Well then I think we’re in agreement on how much pain you should feel.”

“Can Affini really shapeshift?” The words were slipping from her more easily now. Less thought to interrupt them.

“Sort of, we can bend our bodies to take a form we need. For example, before I was assigned here and took a human form I quite liked to spend my time imitating the shape of this- you probably haven’t heard of it now that I think about it. It’s this quadrupedal type of life native to the Allium system.” Solanum answered as she wrote some more notes down. “Would you be amenable to taking xenodrugs as part of your treatment?”

“No.” Autumn snapped again. “Absolutely not. Not now, not ever, not- just, just no.”

“A shame. I think we’d be better equipped to handle your psychological issues than these outdated things.”

She was probably right, given that Autumn still felt a nagging worry that the rest of her old crew were going to claw through the walls and strangle her at a moment’s notice. “What’s going to happen to me if I don’t get better?”

Solanum stopped suddenly, her pen scraping awkwardly as her thought was completely halted by the weight of the question. She had to pause. Think. Consider her words carefully. Then sighed and leaned over towards Autumn. “I’m going to be honest, dear. You’re a suicide risk and we can’t take that. Your fear and paranoia towards us makes me reticent to recommend shipping you off for domestication, but if we’re not capable of assuaging your mind then I won’t have much choice in the matter.”

Autumn wanted to cry. Or scream. “I wouldn’t-”

“Let us? Little one, you’d be pumped up to your earlobes with xenodrugs by then. You wouldn’t be capable of thinking about stopping us. But you also wouldn’t be suffering inside yourself either.”

“Please don’t.” Autumn didn’t even try to hide the fear in her voice.

“And how is your mind doing?” Solanum rose up to her feet and stepped closer, taking Autumn’s wrist into her hand. She turned it over to look at the bandages that covered her from palm to elbow.

“It’s fine.” Autumn answered. Too quick. Obvious lie. Barely any effort.

Solanum tightened her grip lightly. “Dear, I can’t treat you properly if you’re not honest with me.”

“It’s bad.” Autumn felt like she was crumbling. “I’m afraid of everything and everyone and even you and all I can see the faces of my crew damning me and i’m afraid you’re about to hurt me just like everyone else and please don’t drug me I’ll be good I’ll do whatever you want just don’t- don’t- don’t” Autumn’s voice died out into pained gasps. Her free hand clutched at her chest meekly, while the other struggled in vain in Solanum’s grip. She couldn’t see clearly through the tears that were blurring her vision. She, needed, something, air, peace, silence, not silence, only voices when it’s silent, anything-

Oh dirt, Solanum cursed silently to herself. She’d fucked up and slipped back into a domineering mode when she didn’t mean to. Now the terran was breaking down all over again. “Shh, shh,” Solanum tried to soothe the poor thing. Anything to slow her. “It will be okay. I think this is enough for today. Would you like me to get a human nurse to bring some more sedatives for you?”

She nodded fervently. Those human drugs were so… basic, but it was important to keep to her comfort zone. Solanum gave her a small reassuring pat on the back of her hand. “I am sorry for causing you discomfort, you’ve done very good today.” With that, Solanum promptly turned about face and exited the room.

Solanum’s flight from the medical wing was swift, spurred on in no small part by internal shame of slipping up like that. She needed to be better than this. Keep it contained. Somewhere along the way she instructed the human nurses, but she must’ve shown more agitation than she meant as the staff had practically run away from her afterwards. Whatever. As long as the human doesn’t explode again.

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