39 - Don't even THINK about running with scissors

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

you can't ship my characters faster than I do

cw for a brief bout of self-harm intrusive thinking type stuff

“I’m home!” Autumn shouted excitedly as she walked into her hab unit.

“I’m home!” Hesperia also shouted excitedly as she followed the human in.

“I’m not home as I am a guest but I'm visiting regardless!” Exima said, followed by Feather, then Pyrus, then Qiru who was busy being distracted by Salix as he leisurely strolled in and gave Solanum a familiar hug, then lastly Willow who similarly strolled in to give Solanum a familiar hug. Ilex and Dawn were already perched around the island, and while Ilex still looked visibly tired Dawn was happily waving her feet around in the air as she enjoyed some green bubbly drink.
“Yes, yes, welcome, welcome, I guess we’re having a dinner party tonight so make yourselves at home.” Solanum spoke as she went through all the guests, coming to Autumn last and picking her up in her arms to give her a kiss before whispering to her. “Did you *intend* to get the entire Baiera to come over tonight?”

Autumn shrugged meekly. “It just kind of happened?” Although now that she thought about it this was probably a little rude and maybe mean and oh no did Solanum hate her for this now, fuck, uh, how does she back out of this one-

“It’s fine, by the way.” Solanum pet her head before putting her back down on the floor. “I’ll entertain the guests, call if you need my help with cooking.”

“Yes, ma’am!” Autumn said before dashing into the kitchen. Right! She was going to make dinner for Solanum. And apparently everyone else now, too. In the kitchen itself she found Pyrus and Exima had already begun sorting through everything, handily setting aside the endless rows of red whatevers Solanum had stockpiled for the atomic reclaimers. Solanum grumbled, of course, but was quickly pulled back by Willow wanting to take a look at her portfolios of body art.

Fresh produce had all arrived earlier in a series of bags, all labeled with small form receipts on the side. The meats, similarly, arrived in tight packaging with labels from the lab where they’d been grown. Convenient! Autumn thought. Poisoned and trying to actively kill her, an intrusive thought suggested.

Autumn chose to ignore the intrusive thought.

By the time Autumn looked back the pair of affini had already cleared up the space and sorted things away, Exima sorting out ingredients all the while. “While I’m the nutritional expert I am loathe to admit that Exima got all the chef skills between us, so I’ll leave this part to them.” Pyrus said as he dipped out of the kitchen entirely, giving Autumn a small pat on the head as he did.

“...speaking of, did you intend to cook all of this yourself?” Exima asked.

“Of course! I wanted to do something nice for Solanum.” Autumn replied as she pulled up the recipe, double checked the ingredients, then promptly got stuck trying to scale up the ingredients to the number of people over who would be eating. One and a half tablespoons times ten people was… 11? Tablespoons? Or, no, was there 11 people, or, hrm. Autumn huffed. “Okay actually maybe I do need help.”

“I can help.” Qiru poked it’s head out from behind the island. “I used to make this ph- ppphhhhh- ffh-” Every time it tried to say the type of food a series of shivers would dance across it’s bodies, each time making it slightly more irate until it stood right up and stomped over to Pyrus to lightly punch at his back. “Why can’t I say that, it’s not even a swear word!?” it practically shouted.

Pyrus broke out into laughter, pretending to be injured by the weak blows and shying away. “Maybe it’s too similar?”

Qiru huffed and shoved it’s hand into Pyrus’ side, pulling out a plush doll of him out of the affini. “Well you can take that rule and go-” Qiru interrupted itself by squeezing the doll, ‘causing it elicit a recorded voice line of Pyrus saying ‘Fuck!’ “yourself with it.”

Pyrus stood still for a moment, then burst into an uproar of laughter before grabbing the doll back and stuffing it into his side again. “Okay, okay, okay, that’s a good one you get a free pass on this once and I’ll adjust the speech control later, but for tonight you’ll just have to deal with it.” Qiru huffed again but quietly walked back into the kitchen soon followed by Salix.

“I can help too!” He said with a broad smile. Qiru, of course, glanced back then quietly shuffled away to hide it’s face as it turned bright red at the sight of the boy. Stars, not subtle.

Exima put their simulated hands on their simulated hips. “None of you three should be allowed to cook unsupervised. Especially you.” They tapped Salix on the nose, which elicited a small ‘beep!’ from the boy. “...but you’re too cute for me to say no to, so fine but as long as we’re cooking together you’ll follow my orders, understand?”

“Yes, chef!” All three said in unison.

Autumn hadn’t considered the part where making a proper broth took a few hours. Fortunately the first part of preparing everything was rather incident free, save for Qiru’s tendency to space out once the scent of cinnamon and clove started to emanate from the spice mix. This, for some reason, was deeply amusing to Pyrus who insisted on teasing the poor rat every time it’d blank out.

“Has anyone sliced the onions yet?” Exima asked as they strained the cleaned bones, lab spun supposedly, to prepare them for the broth with one set of hands while scrubbing the rest of the scum off the stockpot with another set.

Autumn moved the onions to the cutting board with a cheery “I’ll take care of that!” She then plucked the cutting knife from a selection of cutlery Exima had prepared and moved it over the funky lil vegetable. The lights of the hab unit glistened off of the sharpened edge of the tool, and that shine caught Autumn’s eye with a clarifying wave. This thing was sharp! And deadly!! And in her hand!!!

Autumn paused. She had a knife in her hand? It felt unusually heavy in her grip. Did she always find knives to be this heavy? Was this safe? She could seriously hurt herself with this that was a risk wasn’t it, well, it’d be really EASY to it wasn’t hard for her to picture the blade slicing through her fingers instead of the onions and then she’d be bleeding all over the place again but haha that’s silly she wouldn’t do that she’d more likely slide it through her forearm and spill that way with a grotesque tidal wave of red liquids that’d be such a waste Solanum would want to drink that later wouldn’t she- this was bad. Something was wrong. She shouldn’t be holding this. Autumn’s body was shaking softly as she stared more and more at the blade, her grip alternating between a faltering limpness and a firm tightening around the handle.

Was someone saying something to her? She couldn’t hear it over the sound of her own reflection along the blade.

Qiru’s fingers slid through her grip, swiping the tool out of her hand as it gently nudged her aside. Autumn numbly stepped backwards, body frozen in position even as Exima curled around her wrists and lead her away. “Are you okay, dear?” Exima said softly. Damnit. Shit. Damnit. Fuck. She’d spaced out on a weapon and now she fucked everything up didn’t she, she was just supposed to do something NICE for solanum not fuck all the progress she’d made in her care and now everything was ruined and everyone probably hated her and- Exima put a wooden spoon into her hand as they lead her around to the stockpot. “Just stir this for a bit, dear. We’ll take care of that scary part for you.”

Right. Just stir the pot. Nice and easy and nothing sharp to lose herself on. It’d be such a waste of blood if she’d actually done anything anyway that’s all Solanum’s blood even if it’s inside of her for now and that’d be rude and- ah fuck it. “Deep breaths, Autumn.” Salix was leaning over to her, one hand resting on her side. He motioned to breathe in, and Autumn followed, letting the smells of all the cooking foods pour into her senses to distract her. “And out.” She exhaled, letting her tense worries slip just a bit more into the warm fog that danced over her senses. The two repeated this a few times, only accented by the moments where Salix handed her something to add to the broth. Charred onions, ginger, fish sauce, a sachet of spices, stir gently to get it all mixed up- hey how did they spin those bones anyway?

Autumn realized she didn’t know a thing about the finer details of lab grown animal products. She’d figured the sheets of meat would be grown on a tray or in some kind of petri dish, but as she looked at the oddly uniform bone structures floating in the broth all she could picture was some sort of… 3d… printer thingy? Maybe. Autumn furrowed her brows. That didn’t seem right. Autumn tried to ponder that subject more, and before she knew it her fugued panic had been replaced by an idle calm state as she focused on her task. Eventually, Salix took her wrist and moved it aside to set down the wooden spoon while Exima slithered up next to her. 
“Now we need to let this sit for about 3 hours, but if you see any foam or scum forming on top you’ll need to scoop it off. Do you think you can handle that, dear?” Exima said. Autumn nodded quietly. “Wonderful, would you like to talk about what just happened?” Autumn shook her head. “Understandable, I’ll be right here beside you if you need me. Especially if you feel like complaining about your problems, I love to complain just for the fun of it.”

“Is that why you’re always the grumpy one of the group?” Autumn asked.

“It’s my form of fun. And affection.” Exima hummed casually as their body unwound around her, plucking all the used dishes and setting them aside to be cleaned. “Salix, Qiru, you two are free from duty for now. I’ll call you when I need you again.”

“Hell yeah!” Salix excitedly whipped off his apron, then promptly dived in front of Qiru real casual like. “Hey,” He said, and Qiru positively melted. Autumn giggled at the poor machine’s expense, even as Feather slipped in to rescue it.

“Pyrus’ pet seems to be adjusting pretty well.”

“Indeed,” Exima replied. “It’s even formed an emotional bond with my floret. See those marks? Right under the shirt.” Exima gestured towards Qiru, pointing towards a series of dark purple rings over it’s lower stomach.

Autumn gasped in surprise. “Really? Those two?”

“I may have encouraged Feather’s interest, and it seems Qiru has a preference for nonhuman relations.” Exima glanced towards Salix. “And soft masculine aesthetics as well. Oh, froth.”

Autumn turned around to see a layer of bubbly stuff already forming across the surface of the broth, made a small ‘eep’ noise, and got to work skimming it off.

Having nothing but free time watching over food gave Autumn plenty of chances to spend it all on quiet appreciation. Like appreciating the fact that she actually seemed to have a social circle, as demonstrated by how much noise was coming from throughout the hab. Or the fact that Solanum would dip into the kitchen every now and then to check on her, then give her a little kiss before the human would chase her out.

When it came time to set the table Autumn was similarly appreciative to find that the other guests had already done all the hard work for her, having organized enough table space for all the myriad guests as well as sorting themselves out with their silverware and drinks ahead of her. All she had to do was bring in the bowls, which was itself fun as all of the guests would thank her personally as she put the plate in front of them. Except for Qiru who was too busy being flirted at by Salix and thus mumbled something that was somewhere between thanks and a desperate whine for freedom.

Autumn decided to be a touch mean and give Salix an encouraging nudge as she passed.

Solanum’s reaction to the new kind of food was one of confused interest, following a rattling series of clicks from within her chest that was apparently how her body expressed actual hunger. She found it rather embarrassing to hear her stomach growl. Autumn, however, thought it was downright adorable.

“Dear, you’ve been having nothing but, what, affini energy drinks for years now?” Autumn teased as she plucked the chopsticks up in one hand and rolled the noodles up with it.

“Perhaps for a *few* centuries but Autumn I must admit I have no idea what this dish actually is and I’d hate to let you down by not-” While Solanum attempted to explain her nerves, Autumn simply grabbed one of her dark plates on her chest, pulled it open, and dropped some noodles inside before snapping it shut. Solanum leapt up in surprise, freezing in place as her mouth seemed to bend in all sorts of different directions around the edges. Golden rings of light circled slowly inwards around her eyes, creating a bulls-eye pattern that spiraled ever inward.

After a moment of silent tension, a small growl escaped from Solanum’s throat, followed by more rapid clicking from her stomach. Vines shifted around her neck, thorns bristled along the sides of her ribs, then all at once her body exploded forward in motion, humanoid appearance breaking apart into a monstrous maw of teeth and fangs that descended upon the bowl with a hungry fury. The spiralling mass of plant matter that had a second ago been Solanum properly paid little mind to manner or decorum as it picked clean the meal within moments, only then collapsing on the table with a deeply satisfied sigh. Then, slowly, she pieced herself back together bit by bit until once more the humanoid form returned, this time slumped back against her seat.

“Okay maybe I needed that more than I thought I would.” Solanum rumbled. Autumn beamed broadly as she dashed out of her seat, grabbed the shattered empty bowl, and ran into the kitchen to get her seconds.

It took five whole bowls of pho before Solanum was sated, and once she was she promptly draped herself over her human and fell apart into gay spaghetti all over again, purring happily as she did. Autumn noted with some satisfaction that the usual splays of purple and red seemed to intensify over her body as it took in the meal, green flesh blooming with ever more intricate patterns of color that actually persisted this time instead of lingering only as long as Solanum’s embarrassment did. On the flip side, this seemed to also drop her into a food coma rather quickly, and Autumn was thus stuck in place underneath her for the time being.

The rest of the visitors with actual stomachs similarly enjoyed their meals, and the affini enjoyed drinking the broth, then gave their thanks before mulling back into a quieter social group, all smiles and laughter as they chatted amongst themselves. Save for Dawn, who had simply draped herself up against Autumn’s side and clung to her tight enough that Solanum had pinned the poor thing in place as well when she passed out.

“Sorry, Dawn. I think we’re stuck together.” Autumn mused as she tried to shift the unkempt mass of vines around her lap.

Dawn just wrapped her arms around Autumn’s waist tightly. “That’s not so bad.” She said with a soft smile. “Hey, uhm,” Dawn began to ask, chewing her lip with a small spiked of nervousness as she did. “Are we dating now?”

Autumn was glad she wasn’t drinking anything then because she *would* have spat it up otherwise. “I-what?”

Dawn attempted to flinch back, moving one hand up to wave defensively but found herself unable to make any distance before the unyielding grip of Solanum’s sleeping body stopped her. “I-I’m sorry, I don’t mean to like, put pressure I just- here let me start over,” Dawn spat out quickly. “Um, I, well, I had a lot of fun last night and I like being with you and, would you like to go out? LIke, go steady, like, be girlfriends?”

Autumn felt like her head tried to spin up a thought, then promptly kicked the train out of station via the side and crashed that whole line of thinking before it could even get started, leaving her in a sort of empty thoughtless state in which all of her steam-powered wheels were spinning at the highest speed possible. “Uh-” She sputtered. “Uhhh.”

“I-I’m sorry if that’s too forward, I mean, I didn’t mean to like pressure you or anything-” now Dawn was spiralling up with worry, a familiar twitch rising up the side of her neck,

Autumn snapped out of it and put a hand on the cotyledon’s shoulder. “My answer is yes but also I am very surprised but like in a good way???”

“Well then I’d like to also add now just in case I space out soon that I also had a lot of fun last night and I really enjoyed being with you and I hope to do so sometime again in the future.” Dawn spat out quickly, then raised a hand with a single finger up as she looked around. Silence stretched out between the two as she glanced left, then right, then up and down before giving a small sigh of relief. “Never mind it looks like I’m good fooohh flowers.” She then slumped forward and dazed out into Autumn’s arms.

As if on cue as soon as Dawn was down a rumble rolled through the ship. All at once the party crashed into silence, all awake heads turned towards the general direction of the noise. Hesplex, who were both reclining together on a far couch by a window were particularly tense. The two glanced at each other, then slipped their tablets out of their chest to check them before another concerned expression crossed their faces.

“I should handle this-” Ilex started.

“No, no, I was out with Autumn today. I should handle this one.” Hesperia interjected.

“It’s probably just Ziggy’s Defiance again, this will just be a phone call I’m sure.” Ilex continued.

Hesperia plucked the tablet from Ilex’s hand. “Either way I’m deciding it’s my problem to deal with tonight. You relax, you need it dear.” The two rose from their spot together, making their way through the now quiet party towards the front door where they hugged. Hesperia then gave the lot a small wave before saying, “Sorry to interrupt this. You all enjoy your party, everything will be handled shortly.”

Once the door was closed, everyone returned to quietly mumbling together, most checking their own tablets in turn. Autumn looked around to see the rest of the florets, and soon found Qiru pinned between Salix and Feather into a far corner where the two and Pyrus were all bullying the poor rat into a flustered mess.

Well, at least those four were taking it well.

“Excuse me,” Ilex spoke softly as she crouched down next to the human. “Can I borrow Dawn for a bit? I think I’d like to just hold her for a while and hope that things will be okay.” Autumn nodded, and tried her best to help Ilex unravel Solanum enough to pluck the cotyledon out of all the vines. Once that was done Ilex held Dawn tight to her chest, silently walked back towards the couch and practically collapsed bodily into it.

Autumn found another point of appreciation when the night wound down in the form of Pyrus and Willow volunteering to handle all of the dishes, while Exima and Salix cleaned up around the hab. By the time everyone was truly done and tired and going home, it was as if nothing had even happened in this space. Save for the part where Ilex was fast asleep around Dawn on their couch still. By then Solanum had pieced herself back together as well, though still sleepy as all get out as she wished everyone a good night.

When everyone save the sleeping pair departed, Solanum and Autumn were left standing side by side in the surprisingly clean kitchen, casually holding hands as Autumn looked over the abundance of food left to them.

“I suppose this means that I’m not allowed to stick to my old diet, now is it?” Solanum asked in a mock tone of aggravation.

“Nope! I’m gonna cook you something nice tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and-”

Solanum interrupted Autumn’s reply but ruffling her hair into a mess. “Okay, okay, fair, but I’m going to return the favor to make sure *you* get a good meal too.”

Autumn puffed out her cheeks. “I can eat properly.”

“And what have you eaten without my supervision?”

Autumn paused, mentally rolling over the previous events in her mind’s eye. “...cheese and crackers?”

“Great, we’re both incapable of self care.” Solanum chuffed.

Autumn stretched her arms high above her head, giving a great big yawn as she did. “Bed time?”

“Bed time.” Solanum replied, mirroring Autumn’s gesture in turn. As she reached high up and yawned her chest loosened up around the sides, allowing a rush of air to fly through her and send the deep layers of vines and thorns rattling about inside in the process. Autumn chose this moment to move her hand into a knife position and dive it deep into Solanum’s now vulnerable chest. Solanum’s false yawn broke into a surprised gasp, body tensing reflexively around the human’s forearm and flinching back. But it was already too late.

Autumn practically leapt onto the affini, gripping her tightly like some kind of monkey as she wiggled her hand about inside of her. Fingers brushed through a seemingly endless splay of knots and vines all bundled tightly together, pushing through layers of false ribs and past an assortment of other objects tucked safely in there. Her fingers brushed against something smooth and- no, that was the tablet. How about- hrm, no, that’s a false spine structure. Whoopsie.

Solanum, all the while, had stumbled across the entire kitchen in surprise, arms flown around Autumn’s body tighty as her voice broke in a series of surprised gasps and concerned giggles form the weird feeling of being practically tickled from within. “A-autumn what are you doing??” She asked incredulously, but Autumn just smiled as she continued digging around inside the woman.

Let’s see, let’s seeeee…. A series of pens, a roll of crackers, a handful of those injector thingies with those copper tips, some flowers, some more flowers, a vhs tape????, ow- some thorns, OW! More thorns, ow ow ow ow barbed thorns was she bleeding whoops oh!!!! Autumn’s fingers brushed against a roll of paper, which she immediately wrapped her fingers around and yanked out of the affini’s chest.

Autumn then leapt off the still confused affini as soon as she had her prize in hand, wiggling her way out of Solanum’s bewildered arms and skittering across the room. Blood dripped from small wounds across her forearm, but she paid it no mind as she unrolled the form, whipped the pen back out of her pocket and signed it along the bottom. Then added a bloody thumbprint just for aesthetic bonus. Once that was done she popped back up onto her feet, spun around, and presented the now filled form to the still shocked and confused affini.

“Autumn, what-”

“Autumn *Vitis*, now.” she said with a soft smile.

Solanum froze, leaves flown wide at the human’s action and shock having taken over her body. The affini’s simulacra of a mouth gaped open several times as her mind struggled to catch up, followed by her falling to her knees before the human. “I, you, that-” She said.

Autumn grabbed the affini’s hand and put the form into it. “Here, for you.” She then took Solanum’s other hand and put it on her own head. “Also for you.”

“I… I thank you for this gift, Autumn.” Solanum closed her hand around the form, setting it aside before she leaned forward to wrap herself around the human tightly. Her voice shook softly from a readily apparent blend of fear and relief, joyous emotions overflowing from under the surface as she did. “I promise to cherish this gift, and to repay you for it every day for the rest of your life.”

Autumn slipped her hands around Solanum’s chest, embracing her just as tightly in turn. “I love you too, dork.”

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