34 - Solanum and Pyrus have a great idea

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

The small party of collected affini rambled on long through the day, going from a polite breakfast to idling through the leisure hab to enjoy various goods throughout the Baiera, which then became a slightly less polite lunch, then a run to one of the grand arcades the affini had built which rapidly turned into an openly drunken mess of a dinner in which Hesperia demonstrated supreme skill at a combination light gun space racing game that left the rest of the lot in shame before Feather proved to be the best speed eater by virtue of having a horrific spiky lamprey mouth inside of her chitinous plates.

“Feather, why do you always need to challenge people to speed eating?” Exima groaned in discontent. Qiru, meanwhile, groaned from a deep satisfaction that only came from eating a concerning amount of pizza all at once and then laying down to sleep immediately after.

Feather signed back ‘I think funny see mouth scare others’ and emitted a series of rainbow flashes that Autumn had quickly learned to interpret as laughter. Which was more than fair, as Autumn had nearly passed out from shock when Feather had opened her head to reveal the wide abyssal mouth-piece in the first place, then nearly passed out again when the rows of razor teeth spun to eradicate the pizza in rapid order and convert it to the slop that fell through her transparent chest.

Across the way Pyrus, Exima, and Solanum were stumbling around the arcade losing at one machine to the next. Autumn wouldn’t have expected that the affini could actually get drunk or whatever other term she could have used for it but seeing the three of them get increasingly clumsy and prone to fits of laughter over the last two hours had handily proved it. She also learned that Solanum’s laugh tended to favor a sound closer to a tiger roaring mixed with a staccato of breaking plates that sounded more threatening than anything else at first. At first being the key word as after Solanum had lost so hard at some light gun game that she had flopped over the console and burst out into a fit of self-mocking chuckles that sounded lovingly musical to her human, if still akin to a threatening shatter.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen her like this,” Ilex hummed happily.

Hesperia leaned over backwards, draping herself over Ilex’s shoulder to look towards Autumn. “It’s so wonderful to hear her laugh again. We truly can’t thank you enough, little human.”

“Excuse me,” came a soft voice beside the trio. Autumn turned to see the speaker and briefly froze up at the realization that it was Qiru, awkwardly posed with it’s arms wrapped around itself. Feather stood by it’s side, one hand intertwined with it’s for reassurance. “If you’re okay with it, I’d, ah, I’d really like to apologize to you, Autumn.” Qiru glanced nervously towards Feather, who gave a comforting flash of soft reds in response. “Only if it’s okay, if you don’t want to, you have no obligation of course, I can just go if you’d prefer.”

“I’ll listen,” Autumn answered. Truth be told she thought she would panic and run at the sight of the machine facing her again, but as soon as she saw it’s eyes she froze up. They were so green. That realization hit her before anything else, but soon after she was the telling way they had become slightly dilated to the setting. She saw how Qiru’s gaze was unfocused, drawing lazy lines about her general direction before darting back to the silhouette of Pyrus for comfort or squeezing Feather’s hand for reassurance. She saw the white knuckled grip in it’s other hand that drew tight against it’s jacket. That machine was more scared than she was.

Ilex leaned in close to whisper into Autumn’s ears. “We can stay close if you want.” Autumn nodded silently, and Hesplex both shifted their position to sit together right behind her, dramatically crossing their legs over their laps in opposite directions as they did with a threatening sword swish in the air.

“I, thank you, I.” Qiru stuttered, then stopped to draw a deep breath. In a sudden burst of energy it shot down into a deep bow before Autumn. “I’m sorry! I, I hurt you, and I know there are excuses I could be making but that wouldn’t change the fact that it was my hands that wounded you and my actions that left you in that state and I shouldn’t have done that but- but I, I, I’m sorry.”

Autumn awkwardly glanced from the prostrate machine to the transparent lady behind it, then up to Hesplex. She wasn’t one to be the center of this sort of attention and now that she was here she didn’t know what to do with it. “Uh, thank you?”

Qiru stood up, confusion plain on it’s expression.

“What she’s trying to say is that she’s on the spot, surprised, and confused.” Hesperia said as she ruffled Autumn’s hair. For a moment Autumn’s world dissipated into a pleased sort of blur as the sensations washed over her, but when she shook it off all the marbles in her head happened to land together into a better spot.

Feather stepped in this time, quickly signing ‘Bread regret genuine.’

“Bread?” Autumn asked in confusion.

Qiru flinched away from the transparent xeno. “Feather!” it whined.

‘Translation literal.’ She pointed to Pyrus. ‘Fire’. Exima. ‘Fool’.

“Your… your name translates to bread?” Autumn giggled. She couldn’t believe she was scared of this thing. Even with the dark skin it had found a way to turn various bright red colors and bury itself behind Feather in embarrassment. Autumn’s giggles shifted into outright laughter as the anxiety slipped through her system, bleeding out into a moment of cathartic relief. It was harmless! Adorable, even. She would have toppled over entirely if it weren’t for Hesplex holding her up.

“H-hey!” Qiru bristled up. “I’m serious! I hurt you, I could have even killed you!”

“I-I know, I’m sorry, it’s just, I was so scared but you’re... you’re not scary at all.” Autumn sputtered out between fits of giggles. She had to pause and take deep breaths of air to try to slow her humours down for even one second. “Okay, I, okay,” She took a sharp breath. “Qiru, I accept your apology. I don’t know if this means we can be friends or anything, but-”

“HEY SLUTS!!! WE GOT A GREAT IDEA!” Pyrus drunkenly stumbled into the group, Solanum under one arm and Exima trailing regretfully off the other. Her affini was various bright red colors, still stumbling about after his lead and clutching a teddy bear to her side that was as tall as she was.

“Autumn!” Solanum beamed openly once she saw her human again, eyes wide with a prismatic spray and mouth revealing rows upon rows of fang like shapes behind her false lips. “I love you!”

“I love you too!” Autumn replied, one hand over her mouth in an attempt to not devolve out into another fit of laughter over their antics.

“We got a great idea.” Pyrus said, confidence marked by an equal amount of physical imbalance.

“They’re drunk and it’s a terrible idea.” Exima, who was also noticeably drunk chimed in as they followed in.

“It’s the best idea!” Solanum retorted. “The bestest ever.” She held up the teddy bear proudly. “Stuffed animals!” She shouted as if that made sense.

Autumn glanced to Qiru who glanced to Feather who glanced to Exima who shrugged futilely.

Solanum glanced at Pyrus, who puffed out his chest and mirrored Solanum’s pose as he elaborated. “They’re very cute.” After a moment of silence Autumn realized that was the entirety of his grand speech.

“...yes?” Autumn answered. Solanum and Pyrus high-fived and cheered excitedly. “I didn’t know affini could get drunk before tonight.” She whispered to Hesplex.

“Those three always did find a way to get into antics together.” Ilex answered.

“Even Solanum? Really?”

“The obligate goth of the gremlin gang.” Hesperia sighed.

“Come on, let’s go, they’re still open!” Solanum passed off the teddy bear to Hesplex before turning to the door and going into a run, making one whole step before she flopped over face-first into the floor. Pyrus took off after her, tripped over her body, and fell forward into a roll that had him land against a far wall.

Autumn couldn’t hold it in at that point and fell into a laughing fit at their expense, practically falling off her seat entirely from how hard her body heaved with the absurdity.

“Perhaps you three should sober up a little, first?” Ilex commanded in the form of a soft question.

“I’ll get some water. And figure out where Allium and Celasia ran off to.” Hesperia added.

Several gallons of water, one awkward attempt to drag Solanum and Pyrus into a seat, and one mildly awkward bout of drunken flirting later Autumn finally got to discover what the ‘brilliant idea’ the great minds of the intoxicated affini had come up with actually was.

As it turned out, it was to go get custom made stuffed models of themselves for their florets. Exima had wished the lot well before heading home for the night, Dawn was simply too tired to participate, meanwhile Celasia and Allium had given a stumbling excuse before running off together hand in hand with Allium’s rinan florets pinnate on each of their shoulders.

“They’re fu-.” Qiru started to speak, but cut itself off when Pyrus glanced towards it with an unspoken reminder. “...having intimate relations?”

Feather flashed a warm green tone in response.

“Back on the subject.” Pyrus leaned in dramatically, sweeping his arms towards the ...store? Autumn really wasn’t sure to call these places without the context of capitalism. “This spot’s run by a couple of tailors and their assistants who like to make these big plushies.”

“They’re *really* big, and *really* complicated.” Solanum leaned over with him, and the two swayed awkwardly in what remained of their now-manageably-drunken stupor. “Hesplex got a fish here once, you should see it sometime.”

“Anyway, when Sol here got that teddy bear.”

“Super big teddy bear!” Sol said excitedly.

“I said ‘aw geeze I should get one of those for my robot in case it ever misses me’” Pyrus moved in a mocking mirror of what was probably his movements back then.

“Really?” Qiru had turned another shade of soft reds.

“Yes, verbatim.” Pyrus answered.

Sol shoved his head aside and said with a sly grin. “That is a lie what he did was start crying because he was jealous of me for getting that teddy bear, and started going on and on about how much he treasures you and wants to get you something like that as a gift so you can know how much he cares.”

“R-really!?” Qiru turned another brighter shade of red.

“Yes, verbatim.” Pyrus answered with a defeated huff, then shoved Solanum aside. “But in the interest of revenge I must disclose that Solanum has spent the entire night talking about how pretty you are Autumn, and how much she loves you and how much she hopes she never hurts you in a bad way because she just wants to shower you in love forever and ever and ever and also sometimes hurt you in the kinky way.”

“Yeah, that tracks.” Autumn replied, and Solanum stumbled back in embarrassment. “Softie.” 
Solanum gave a rumbling whine in response, then composed herself enough to turn around as if nothing happened. “Anyway I suggested he get one made of himself.”

“And then I suggested she get one made of herself too.”

“And I suggested it have one of those pockets in the chest like I do.” Solanum demonstrated by popping open one of the dark plates on her chest, giving a single puff of pink smoke that billowed up into the sky before snapping it shut.

“To which I suggested she get one made of Autumn since she spends so much time talking about her ‘adorable, lovely human’ anyway.”

“At which point I just had to.”

“Autumn you need to understand, she *has* to do this.”

Autumn quietly turned to Feather and signed ‘Am I really that cute?’.

‘Plant aesthetics you adorable.’ Feather replied.
“Okay then.” Autumn answered the affini’s unspoken request. The pair then highfived all over again and practically danced on into the store together in a flurry of excited if clumsy movement.

A jarring amount of colorful cloth materials spilled out from over the shelves and created a cramped canopy of woven goods surrounding the three florets on all sides. Occasionally they would see Pyrus and Solanum rush by, bundles in their arms as one of the many attendants chased after them.

“Do… do we need to do much?” Autumn asked.

Qiru shrugged, idly tracing a finger across the surface of the cloth bolts as it walked leisurely through. “I think those two dorks are a bit too excited to actually figure out what they need us here for yet, honestly.”

Autumn hummed quietly in response, following after Feather and Qiru’s idle walk without much other direction for her at the time. After a small slip through some particularly vibrant patterns and a stop by a bizarrely wide selection of buttons she quietly broached the two’s space to ask, “Qiru, would it be okay if I asked you a personal question?”

Qiru tensed up, but Feather gripped it’s hand tightly to help it calm down. “Of course.” it said.

“Why did you do it?”

Qiru chewed it’s lip nervously before it could answer. “The rebels promised me they’d release me if I did it. I’d been abused by them for so long I was desperate for the nightmare to be over, and…” Shaking nerves reached a sudden spike and small gasp, followed by a wave of calm chasing a shiver from the base of it’s neck across it’s body. The implant kicking in, no doubt. “They told me that you were a captured rebel who’d thank me if you could still think, repeated it until I believed it, and sent me out with a gun at my back to do it. I… I…” Another shiver, another wave of forced calm. “It was a lie, of course. They thought I’d get caught, it’s why they used me for it, I- I’m sorry. I just wanted it to be over.”

Autumn sighed. “Stars damnit, you’re too relatable for me to hate.”

Qiru glanced around nervously. “...thank you?”

“Don’t get too comfy, I might still bully you later for revenge.”

“That’s fair.” As the three turned another corner they came upon a vast pile of pre-made plush animals, ranging from three feet tall at the shortest to nearly matching an affini’s height. “Cheese on rice, how do they make all this?” Qiru mumbled.

“By hand!” A mystery affini suddenly popped up from between a bed-sized sloth and a couch-sized snake with wings. “It would be easier to have atomic compilers make everything in seconds but I find that when such perfection is easy the appreciation for the little hand-made mistakes starts to shine through and- oh sorry did I scare you?”

The moment the new affini had jumped out suddenly the three florets had gasped in surprise, leapt into the air, and then scrambled back to hide behind an elephant for safety. “Absolutely not, we’re not scared of anything.” Autumn answered.

“I’m scared of a lot of things.” Qiru replied.

“Me too but forward facing eyes are the mark of a predator and I refuse to be seen as weak by it in fear that they’ll eat my stomach.” Autumn retorted.

“Do… do affini do that?”

Feather gave a bright series of greens and yellows in reply.

“Oh well in that case,” The affini dipped into a low bow, then folded into itself before spiralling out into a form more reminiscent of a deer. If a deer was about eight feet tall, had eight eyes, and eight horns covered in brilliantly colored leaves and fine needles. “I am Ambrosia Granum, twelfth bloom. It’s a pleasure to meet you! Am I correct to assume you’re with those two hooligans?”

The three florets nodded.

“Wonderful” A pair of arms popped out of the affini’s back to clap twice, then folded out into delicate butterfly wings. A pair of those borzoi-slash-nightmare-demons ran by with clipboards in hand to chase after the two drunken affini. “As I was saying, I and my lovely assistants make all of these models with our two-or-more-hands! I find the art to be quite lovely, and they bring our florets a wonderful level of comfort.”

Autumn peeked out from behind the elephant. “You made *all* of these?”

“My florets assist me of course, but here in this workshop we spend most of our days goofing off with thread and needle to make these.” Ambrosia giggled in the form of a breeze flowing through their branches. “This area is for models I’ve made based on the local fauna. If you want to see some more… what is the word in your language? Extraterrestrial? Options I’d recommend taking a right over there.” A vine popped up to gesture down the aisle and around a bend.

Pyrus chose that moment to stumble in with arms full of rat-themed plushes, most of which wore large funny hats as well. “Qiru, look! I found a bunch of tiny yous!”

QIru unleashed a wide open gasp for air in shock, then ran over into Pyrus’ arms with an excited yell. “Yes! It’s me!” it laughed jollily as it buried itself into the rodents. Feather gave Autumn and Ambrosia a polite curtsy before running off after it, leaping headfirst into the pile as well.

Autumn silently watched the three all bundled together in their messy heap of laughing bodies and flailing limbs until Ambrosia stepped in front of her and offered her a vine. “Come along, little one. I believe your owner went this way earlier.” Autumn gave a polite nod and took the offered vine, obediently following the affini on it’s trek through the cluttered halls. The familiar forms of earth animals soon were replaced with unfamiliar shapes and species that decorated the halls, all rendered in softest detail of more plush forms.

“This is a lot to have made yourself,” Autumn quietly observed as they passed by a collection of at least 20 models of something that vaguely resembled a shark as much as it resembled a boar.

“It’s my life’s work, so to speak.” Ambrosia answered with no small mark of pride. “I also contribute designs for the… what was the word in the local language now? Overnet? So that others may compile replicas of their own if they wish, but nothing quite catches the same feeling as handmade goods. Like this, see?” A vine swept out to pluck a bird-like serpent off an upper shelf. “The stitching is precise, but imperfect. The thread broke when I originally made this and I compensated with a light blue one instead right there.” They pointed to a small brush of color that stood out against the light green cloth. “That’s the sort of detail I like more than perfection. A uniqueness to act as a physical reminder of the emotional history of the thing.” They giggled again with a rustling wave.  “Was there anything you wished to find for yourself, or are you just here for Solanum’s wishes?”

Autumn tapped her chin in thought as she looked over the endless rows of xenofauna. “Do you have anything that’s like a tiger?” She asked, mentally reconfiguring her memories of what Streum had looked like.

Ambrosia produced a vine that tapped their own wooden chin to mirror her gesture. “Tiger, tiger, tiger… that’s with the stripes, right? I believe there was a species like that from a ways away from here. Lived on this hostile little planet, terrible place really.”

Autumn snapped her fingers, or rather attempted and and had to repeat the gesture a few times before giving up and just pointing dramatically instead. “That might be it! Can I see those?”

Ambrosia happily sauntered forward, leading the human through a row of spaceship models (which Autumn stopped to get a copy of the Baiera at), then a row of planetary models (which Autumn stopped to get a replica of Jupiter at), then a row of local celestial bodies (which Autumn stopped to get a replica of nice looking asteroid at), before coming upon a section dedicated to the tiger-like species. Most of their bodies were covered in intricate layers of robes and scarves, with many having decorative clear eyecaps over their button eyes as well. Ambrosia had even mirrored a touch of fur bleaching that marked the edges of their exposed surfaces.

“This is perfect, thank you.” Autumn said before sifting through the mass of dolls. How had they looked again? Were there horns? What about the eye color? Were they tall? She poked one then another then a third, giving little huffs of discontent each time as it didn’t seem quite right. Over and over until a heavy shape draped in behind her, wrapping around her closely as a familiar face draped over her shoulders and familiar hands plucked a doll from hers.

“If you’re trying to flatter me,” Solanum spoke, voice still wavering with signs of inebriation. “I suggest this model. The eyes are the right color, and Ambrosia can easily add a little bit of a paler tone here and there.”

Oh stars the gig was up. Autumn huffed. “I wanted to surprise you.”

“Too bad, I need your help.” Solanum moved a series of pink sheets of cloth in front of Autumn. “I can’t decide what pattern to use for the inside of a model of me for you.” As soon as she was done talking Solanum gave a rumbling hum, nuzzling up against her cheek and smaller vines sliding alongside her as she did.

Autumn took the doll out of Solanum’s hand and passed it off to Ambrosia to add to the growing pile. “Do you have a full palette?”

“Kind of.”

“How much?”

“...this selection of pinks.”

Autumn turned to face her affini. “Solanum, have you spent this entire time being indecisive over one color?”

“.......Yes. You’re soft, by the way.” Solanum had her eyes closed and mouth in a smile as she tightened her grip on Autumn. “Soft and nice.”

Autumn huffed and puffed and practically lifted Solanum as she stood back up. “Okay, okay, let’s figure out your color options.”

Solanum cursed herself for being, apparently, a lightweight again. Not that getting surprisingly tipsy off durataxin was necessarily a problem in and of itself. She did enjoy slipping into a more carefree version of herself again, where she’d laugh and dance and sing with Pyrus and Exima in her arms and lose spectacularly at arcade games all over again. That part was fun.

Being extra adoring to Autumn wasn’t a problem either, as she honestly felt that Autumn deserved every ounce of love that she could give and more. It was only a rapidly fading veneer of politeness that had her doing anything but petting and adoring that little human all day every day. That part was wonderful.

Being a clumsy mess while picking out colors and planning a plush model of herself and Autumn was also anything but a problem. It gave her plenty of excuses to lean all over her lovely little human and have her pick out the prettiest patterns and threads while Ambrosia had spent their time prancing about hopping over the halls shouting excitedly about zippers and wooden prongs or whatever that eccentric plushsmith was on now. She was entirely confident the results would be stellar as always once the custom pieces were finished, and Autumn seemed already smitten with the… dozen? pieces she had carted home with her as well.

The problem was that now Solanum was laying face down in bed and reckoning with her life choices as she fought with the elusive but powerful hangover monster once more. Now everything was too bright and her body hurt and she just wanted to sleep it all off for about a dozen hundred thousand years.

“Solanum, you need to drink some water.” Autumn, ever the sweet bean who tried her best, had spent the last half hour doting about Sol’s hungover form to comfort her.

“I don’t want to drink water, I want to sleep.” Solanum groaned. “Preferably forever.”

“Well as relatable as that is I still need you to hang around or else I’ll cry a lot.” Autumn answered calmly as she set down a pitcher of water on the nightstand and forcibly moved Solanum’s hand over it. “There, now do your root thing. Do you need to eat, too? Terrans usually rely on bread at this point, I think.”

Solanum growled softly. “Not now.”

Autumn gave an affirming nod, then took to organizing the various new plushes she had acquired around Solanum to effectively pin her into place. Once done, she attempted to turn and leave the room to fetch more water, but Sol was having absolutely none of that. No sooner had Autumn turned than did the affini grab her and pull her under the sheets of plush material. Autumn struggled a touch, but quickly conceded her position. “I guess I live here now?” Autumn asked.

“Yes.” Solanum rumbled.

“I haven’t showered yet.”

Solanum tightened her grip on the human, tucking her in close to the affini’s face to give her a kiss on the forehead. “Don’t care. Keeping you.”

“I love you too, Solanum.” Autumn said with a soft sigh of defeat.

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