33 - That nervous feeling of meeting old friends after you transition

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

“I’m nervous.” Solanum muttered as she ran her fabricated fingers through the wide, flat leaves that made the facsimile of her hair. The needles that rattled beneath the sheets of leaves twitched with her movements, reflecting her awkward anxiety all the while.

Autumn, who had already dressed herself and was ready to go about half an hour ago casually tossed one of Solanum’s sleeves at her face. “You’re always nervous. What’s on your mind?”

Solanum growled in response, but plucked the sleeve off of her face and slipped it over her green arm. “I’m afraid they’ll find my proper appearance to be disconcerting. Or, worse, try to give me ‘comforting remarks’ about how my origins don’t mean I need to be a bad person so on and so forth blah blah blah. What about you? Are you sure you’ll be comfortable with Qiru being there?”

Autumn hummed thoughtfully at that, “It’s not going to be able to hurt me again, right?”

“Yes, apparently Pyrus has *somehow* got it wonderfully trained and calm already.” Leaves above if she knew how, Exima seemed to be as surprised and confused to tell her the news as she was to hear it.

“And it was pressured into doing the attack under threat by the rebels, right?”

“You have no obligation to forgive it regardless of that.”

“I like Pyrus though, so I’m willing to try for his sake.”

Solanum saying she was nervous had perhaps undersold her anxiety. She was absolutely terrified of meeting all of her friends again after having rebloomed. Would they give her the same shocked stare of strangers on the street? Concern? Disgust?

Turns out all that happened was Celasia turning to say, “New look? It suits you.” The rest didn’t even bat an eye. Solanum stood there in dumbfounded shock even as Autumn quietly pulled up seats for the two of them and took hers.

“Do… does nobody care?” Solanum asked

“We’ve always known you were goth.” Pyrus answered offhandedly.

Allium butted in after that, “I don’t know what ‘goth’ is and I’m afraid to chime in without that context.”

“I’m pretty sure it means Solanum sacked Rome.” Exima answered. “Impressive, considering the time frame.”

“Oh nevermind,” Solanum huffed and took her seat. Around the table sat her usual gaggle of friends, all with florets in tow. Exima held Feather to their side, Pyrus had Qiru hooded and bound on the floor next to him, Hesplex, of course, held Dawn between them and were busy showering her with affection as ever. Celasia’s was supposedly sick again. Solanum suspected she just hated social interaction involving any more than two people at a time.

Allium’s florets pinnate, Wave and Tide, were a pair of rinans that were perched on her shoulders. A largely nocturnal species, they were currently sound asleep despite the noise around them. Solanum honestly believed that Allium went for those two as she wanted to mirror their habit of sleeping all day.

“Anyway, the reason I called- Pyrus why is Qiru trussed up like that?” It took Solanum a few minutes before her brain caught up to what she saw sitting beside the affini

Pyrus tugged on the machine’s ropes, and it gingerly let itself be pulled up into his lap where Pyrus wrapped his arms around it defensively. “it was overstimulated!”

“...and the ropes?” Solanum followed up flatly.

“it feels more comfortable being held than not, and this bind nicely covers it’s back as well.”

“I cannot believe you, any of you.” Solanum sighed and flopped face first into the table. “All of the affini in space and I’m stuck with the fools and hooligans of this sector.”

“The point of calling in everyone was to announce that I’ve asked Solanum to take me as her floret.” Autumn interrupted. Dawn gasped excitedly and broke into a polite golf clap that was faltered only by her tendency to miss her hands entirely.

Exima shrugged. “Yeah, we figured as much.”

Solanum popped back up, “Excuse me?”

Celasia idly thumbed her glass of opaque blue liquid. “Everyone knew you two were on a collision course except for you two dumbasses.”

“I still don’t get what the intelligence of posteriors has to do with this.” Allium sighed.

“Either you’d get your head out of your metaphorical ass long enough to notice that you too are capable of feeling romantic emotions, or you’d die first and Autumn would be so distraught that she’d fall into our arms begging for chemical release from her grief.” Hesperia followed up.

Ilex ruffled Dawn’s hair as she followed Hesperia’s lead, “We would have been miserable too of course, but we tried to focus on the silver lining for that possibility.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No, I’m pretty sure I would have started self-destructing all over again if you had up and died suddenly without any emotional closure after all this.” Autumn answered casually.

Solanum sunk awkwardly into her seat and rumbled in blatant embarrassment. Feather flashed a series of lights that, generally speaking, translated to a mean jab at Solanum’s obliviousness. “Oh don’t you start too, Feather.”

Autumn suddenly gasped excitedly and leaned over the table towards Feather. “Wait, was that communication via bioluminescence?”

Exima ruffled the frills that burst out the back of Feather’s head, eliciting a series of pink and blue lights across her surface. “Yes! It’s her primary form of communication-”

“SUCK MY DICK, PROFESSOR STAX!” Autumn shouted and pumped her fist into the air. “I called it!!!!” She burst into proud laughter, then winced at the wound on her gut again before falling back into her seat.

“One, language, two, I’m going to need you to explain yourself there, Autumn.” Solanum grunted.

“Okay, well, see, while I was studying xenolinguistics one of our seti satellites picked up a weird signal from way outside Terran Accord- should I say Protectorate now or Accord since it was a while ago? space, but no matter how we tried to parse it, it was complete nonsense. I proposed a theory that the nonsensical color patterns created when it was translated to a video format *was* the intended message and that it had come from an extraterrestrial species that communicated via bioluminescence and my professor at the time gave me a failing grade for ‘absurd leaps’ and an ‘unreasonable conclusion’, but NOW I can objectively say they were WRONG! And they can SUCK MY STIFF, FEMININE D-” Solanum interrupted her with a hand on her shoulder. “Er, sorry, I mean, they can go kick dirt.”

Autumn proceeded to scoop up her chair, dash around to the other side of the table, plant it down next to Exima and take it again before breaking off in an excited flurry of words.

“So tell me everything. Are you capable of other forms of communication? How many shades of colors can you use through a luminous display?  Do you use a strict noun, verb, etcetera sentence structure? Wait, what am I even saying this is rude of me.” She patted her cheeks in an attempt to calm down and then held her hand out towards the jellyfish woman. “Hi, I’m Autumn. It’s nice to meet you! ...wait, do you even speak or hear through sound, or, oh jellybellies am I being rude oh no-”

Feather took her hand and gave it a polite shake before moving into gestures for sign language. Autumn gasped in shock, then mirrored the gestures back before following up with a few of her own, limited as she was by only having one hand to use for it.

Solanum blinked. Autumn knew a sign language? Feather seemed to quite literally light up with excitement at the opportunity to converse at length with her, and Exima similarly was happy that Feather finally had someone besides an affini to hang out with. Solanum just… watched, really. Fascinated by the way Autumn’s face lit up with joy and danced with expressions as she gestured.Now that she’d actually admitted to herself that she had feelings it was impossible to ignore how they squirmed about tugging at her lung strings all day at the sight of her human looking so happy.

After a particularly energetic exchange Feather gestured a circular pattern, shook her hands, then gestured towards Exima. “What she’s trying to say is that she’s genetically engineered.” Exima picked up from the conversation. “She’s from a species of jellyfish-like people that picked up one of your signals some time ago. Since your two species were so different they decided the reasonable thing to do was try to create an intermediary point and establish contact with that. They made twelve such models before an affini ship showed up by surprise and said hello.”

Feather flashed a series of darker reds and warm greens in response. Autumn replied with a series of gestures then pointed to Solanum, which Feather replied to in kind before the two broke into a small fit of giggles. Well, Autumn giggled. Feather just clacked her headplates together to simulate such noise.

“Sorry Solanum,” Exima said with hints of sympathy. “Looks like she figured out where you got your fashion sense from.”

Solanum looked down at herself. Dark sleeves, pencil skirt, a dark liquidy material forming a cloth band around her belly. She looked up at Feather. Same outfit. “It’s comfortable,” Solanum muttered defensively. Well, it was more than just comfortable, she *had* literally picked up most of her current wardrobe from the same lab Feather had stormed after them out of. It didn’t cover her chest! Which made it feel all nice and comfy and happened to work well now that her chest was also her actual-for-eating-mouth-slash-stomach again.

“Ask where she got her chuffing habit from sometime,” Pyrus spoke up towards them, interrupting his side chat with Allium and Celasia to do so. He’d slipped Qiru’s hood up over it’s face just enough to feed it as he talked. Qiru, for it’s part, was shockingly calm and compliant as it was handled by the affini. No, more than compliant. Solanum could see the rush of red over it’s lips and peeking out from under the dark material. It enjoyed being handled this way already. Stars, it even shivered in excitement as Pyrus slid his thumb along it’s lower lip.

Solanum furrowed her false brows in confusion. How HAD Pyrus broken it so fast? “In the interest of defending myself I’ll just up and admit that I got it from Streum’s people.” She answered. Whatever, Autumn would learn all of this eventually she supposed.

“They’re kind of like tigers, expressive but loud.” Hesperia said with a grin.

“Also they can moo.” Ilex added. Streum was *adorable* when they mooed, Solanum mentally added.

Dawn smiled softly as she spoke, “Their language sounds so beautiful when Solanum speaks it though.”

Solanum chuffed, then cursed to herself for proving Pyrus’ point so soon. “I’ll show you later, then.” She acceded to the topic.

Qiru silently raised a hand, and Pyrus let it speak. “What happened to those jellyfish?”

“They surrendered basically immediately. Imagine how it was for them, they spend 150 years trying to engineer an intermediary species just for a spaceship they never saw coming to pop in on their backdoor and shapeshifters to crawl out, then reveal that in all their time building a new subspecies they never thought to ask what if those other xenos speak via sound?”

Feather buried her face in her hands and shook her head. Qiru just snorted with satisfaction, “Good.” it said. “If they’d actually contacted those dumb fucks at the terran accord they’d’ve probably gotten glassed like the rinans anyway.”

“Qiru,” Pyrus said sternly. “What did I say about language?” Oh, great, Pyrus of all affini now cares about curse word usage. The world really has turned leftside down.

Qiru took a sharp breath in, tensing up visibly. “Sorry, I still get emotional about that.”

“It’s okay, what have I told you?”

“That a moment of weakness is not the same thing as disobedience.” Qiru answered automatically, then relaxed into comfort against him. Solanum was positively bewildered. This was a complete whiplash of personality compared to the kicking and screaming thing she’d seen in the surgical theater. Stars, it was even *smiling*. Not the drugged up forced bliss kind of smile that was so typical of new florets but a genuine comfortable one as it rested against it’s owner. “Thank you, sir, I’ll endeavor to be better, sir.”

Autumn looked on silently, thoughts broiling inside of her head all over again. Solanum wished she was… what was that terran word? Psychic? To figure out every little thought that bubbled up in there. After a minute Feather snapped her out of it by going into another flurry of motion to communicate with her.

Hesplex, meanwhile, scooted their seats over right next to Solanum and leaned in to whisper to her. “So,” Ilex started.

“Did you have fun whipping Autumn the other night?” Hesperia continued.

Dawn looked between the two in confusion, then went wide eyed as revelation hit her. “You mean those noises-” She went bright red, then zoned out before collapsing into Ilex’s waiting arms.

Solanum wanted to go back to wilting JUST to up and die instead of being stuck in this conversation.

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