41 - The chapter with the implanting

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

cw for open surgery being performed on an awake and willing individual (nobody dies or otherwise has serious long term harm from this (well there'll be like bruising and stuff and recovery but in the normal way not the 'oh god my life is ruined' way) )

On the day of her surgery Autumn was led down to the medical wing by a trio of nurses. Solanum and Ilex followed after her, one taking each hand. “Dawn won’t be joining us,” Ilex had said as a soft apology. “We worry it would be too much of a shock for her to see this, sorry.”

Autumn squeezed her hand even tighter in response. “You don’t have to join us either if you don’t-”

“Nonsense,” Ilex cut her off. “Hesperia and I would be worried sick all day if one of us didn’t sit in on this.”

“It’s true,” Solanum added. “Everyone I know has told me to message them as soon as it’s done.”

“Well, aren't I popular?” Autumn mused.

Once inside the medical wing the trio of nurses led Autumn into a small room where they cleaned her body, gave her a change of clothes, then led her to the surgical theater. Meanwhile, Solanum was led off to the side and Ilex was led directly to the viewing room. The familiar form of the mechanical spider lurked within the ceiling of the surgical theater, greeting Autumn when she walked in with the soft gleam of light reflected off it’s many limbs. The scaffolding of metal poles were there as well, in addition to the array of machinery that would soon be attached to her body. Unbidden memories of Qiru’s surgery replayd over in Autumn’s mind as she looked at them, but this time she was so close she could practically touch them.

Her brain intrusively suggested that the big robot spider thing could just reach down and stab her right now, which, rude.

Fortunately for Autumn she didn’t actually have to *do* much at this point. As her brain spun about the otherwise austere room grasping over memories and phantoms of paranoia, the team of nurses had already led her to stand on the white line, stripped off her shirt, and begun leading metal poles to connect to her flesh.
"This will sting a little," One of them said. Autumn then felt more than a little sting as metal bits clamped onto her wrists. She audibly winced, but internally was more than a little grateful for the physical distraction. A small series of red lights danced across her hands, followed by more metal bits that clamped in around it and forced them into an open position. "Your body will need to remain still throughout the surgery, so once the first clamps are in place you won't be able to move. Please test your hands now." One of the nurses spoke.
Autumn tried to close both hands into fists and found that she couldn't budge a single millimeter from the forced position.
"Good girl." The nurse casually commended her. As more metal was placed against her flesh and locked up her arms and shoulders, Autumn began to feel a familiar knot of discomfort form inside of her stomach. What was the word Sinapis had used? Paradoxical claustrophobia? She could feel the air flow free around her arms, dancing along the skin around and under the clamps yet her limbs were trapped in place. Paradoxical, indeed.
With a sense of finality the nurses stripped her collar and had a pair of metal rods bite into the side of her neck, eliciting a sharp hiss from her in the process. Smaller metal wires were then attached to all the clamps that were already in place, followed by the nurses beginning to attach a series of pads to her chest.
You Implant and You! Bonus Chapter 3 - In The Unlikely Event of Open Surgery had told her that her heart and lungs would be placed under external control just in case the initial connection scrambled her body's intended rhythm. For Qiru's surgery, they had delayed activating it for the sake of the intimidation factor. For Autumn, the attending affini flicked it on as soon as the first wires were plugged into her chest.
The human felt a brief tingle along her sternum, exhaled as she normally would, and then became immediately aware that her body began to draw in breath before she consciously ordered it to. The shift was subtle, in a way. No jerking alteration of her biorhythm, nor heavy grasp biting into her brain to yell it's commands. Just a passing of the baton from her own brain stem to the machine's orders between pulses.
Autumn considered it a blessing that deep breathing exercises were a form of relaxation as having her body puppeted in life-necessary tasks was a touch nerve-wracking. The affini handily placed the remainder of the tubes and wires to Autumn's neck and torso in the time frame that it took for Autumn to realize she was genuinely scared and remembering that she was still here. "Are you okay, little one?" One of them asked. She didn't see which one.
Autumn only breathed in response for a minute. Mouth open, eyes wide, fresh air circulating in a healthy supply as she tried to mentally configure how to fit speech into the queue of machine-controlled throat activity. How did it happen earlier? Baton pass? In. Out. In. "Please hold my hand?" Out.
The affini gave her a sympathetic smile and slipped a vine around Autumn's extended fingers. "Of course, dear." A small comfort, but a necessary one. Something in one of the multiple tubes slipped through her body and whisked away the feeling of slight pain she had from the metal clamps. There wasn't even a fog to replace it, just the loss of the sting and burn in favor of a flat pressure. "If this gets too stressful let us know and we can knock you out." Absolutely not. Autumn didn't want to go without the certainty of seeing Nyx placed there.
With a small flick metal bolts slid out of the clamps and pierced her skin, anchoring to bone and mercilessly thwarting her nerves along the way. Still, she felt no pain. "Try to move your hand, please." A different affini asked. Maybe. She couldn't turn her head to check now. Autumn attempted to close her hand into a fist, and this time found that the muscles simply refused to listen to her entirely.
Paradoxical claustrophobia. She was wide open with exposed flesh to the air, yet trapped more thoroughly than if she was buried.
"Good girl." The affini proceeded to strip her shorts before fastening more bolts along her sides, her waist, her legs, her ankles, more and more until every section of her body was firmly anchored in position and perfectly trapped in turn. 
One of the affini flicked a few buttons on a nearby console, commanding the complicated scaffold that held her to tilt Autumn's body until it was nearly perpendicular to the ground. Two of the affini quietly left after that, but the third remained to keep a vine in her hand.
Okay. So far, not too bad? Autumn almost wished the restraints would actually hurt instead of mocking her with the absence of pain, just so it'd remind her that her body was truly all there.
After a moment the two affini who exited returned, Sinapis and Solanum in tow. One placed a mirror before her and positioned a second one behind her, granting the human a reflected view of her own back.
Huh. She didn't know she had a birthmark there.
The second attending affini placed a seat across from Autumn for Solanum to use. "For your emotional comfort I'm allowing your owner to join us here. She'll be able to hold your face or your hands, but that's about it." Sinapis said before turning to the other affini and whispering quietly with her.

Solanum, meanwhile, took her seat and bundled herself up to be as unobtrusive as possible. “How are you feeling, love?” She asked in a small whisper.

In. Out. “Nervous,” Autumn admitted. “It feels a bit weird to be held like this?” Back to forced breathing cycles immediately afterwards. Stars, it was awkward to try to work around that. In. “Hold me?” Out. “Please?”

Solanum slipped a vine with red tape banded around it over to brace itself against Autumn’s cheek, bringing with it a familiar sense of physical comfort that always lingered with the affini’s touch. “Once we’re done here I’ll hold you properly all night, promise.”

“Thank you.”

Sinapis leaned in between the two. “Autumn, if at any time this gets to be too stressful just say the word and we can knock you out.” They then produced a thin silver tube marked with several blue lines. “We can also administer amnesiacs at a moment’s notice if necessary. There’s no shame in tapping out, you’ve already proven your bravery by suggesting this in the first place.”

Autumn would have nodded if she were capable, but the attempt just reminded her of how incapable she was of controlling her own body now. “Where’s Ilex?” She asked instead. Sinapis tilted the mirror and flicked a switch to reveal that a section of the far wall was actually a window, with Ilex sitting in the viewing room next to a handful of techs. She said something, but it was muffled behind the glass. Ilex then paused, considered, and settled for just waving at Autumn instead. “Okay, I’m ready.”

Sinapis flicked something on the console again, and this time all of the lights cut out save for the ones that painted Autumn in glaring detail. The metal scaffold shifted to raise her body another step, folding back around her and leaving her back fully exposed to the machine above. Memories flashed over Autumn’s mind again of seeing Qiru in this exact position, struggling to scream. But her mind seemed to be more interested in listening to the rhythm of her heart and lungs than giving in to it’s own panic.

Mechanical whirring announced the spider’s awakening, soon followed by the noise of metal arms spinning in the air. After a moment of noisy calibration a series of thin limbs descended from the darkness to coat Autumn’s back in a familiar series of colored dots and lines. Marks for muscles, veins, nerves, bone, like a painting of all of her body’s deepest secrets that were about to be unearthed. All she felt directly was a small shift in pressure along her skin as they passed.

“Autumn, I dare say you’re the best specimen I’ll have had my hands on in the last month.” Sinapis said with a touch of satisfaction.

“Am I supposed to feel flattered or worried for the rebels?”

“They *were* horribly malnourished, but you should take that as a compliment.” As Sinapis spoke another pair of affini wheeled in Nyx to rest beside her. “Ah, and I see your implant-”

“Nyx,” Autumn impulsively appended.

“Giving it a pet name? Adorable.” Sinapis said with a soft smile. “But don’t expect a second lollipop for Nyx after this, you still only get one.”

“Even if I asked nicely?”

Sinapis remained silent for a moment. “...okay maybe then you’ll get two lollipops, but only for good behaviour!” They gave a mock coughing noise as they recentered themself and looked over the implant. “Anyway, little Nyx here has grown wonderfully. I dare say you two will get along quite well once you’re together.”

“T-thank you?” Autumn didn’t know how to take that compliment, especially given the visceral nature of the joining to happen. Thought it *did* act as a reminder of the gravity of this moment. She wasn’t just here to be picked up and held by metal, after all. Oh stars it was actually happening. She glanced over at Nyx, the dark spectral shape in the liquid marked by it’s thorns and organs and tendrils. It was actually happening now and there was increasingly little she could do about it.

Autumn felt as if she might have been gasping from the sudden spike of anxiety if her lungs were not effectively puppets at the time.

“Now, let’s not waste any more time.” Sinapis said, and the words washed over Autumn with a shocking sense of finality. It was time. This was happening. Okay. This was her last chance to back out without knowing what it felt like to be split open like a flower of gore and- Autumn felt something that was no different from the back of a nail being slid across the length of her skin. She gasped, her eyes instinctively casting over to Solanum to see her eyes begin to sparkle with a golden light. Oh. OH!!!

Autumn looked down to the mirror to see the mechanical limbs were already slicing her skin to delicate ribbons and splitting it open. It… it didn’t hurt. It was unsettling how much it didn’t hurt, actually. A small shift in pressure, the feeling of something smooth against her back, and then a little pinch as the mechanical limbs picked the two sections of skin and split them apart. Then there was just the bewildering sensation of air flowing on both sides of her flesh at once and ah, ahh, maybe it would have been better if this actually did hurt. The casualness of cold air brushing against her exposed muscles and skin tissue layers was… less than pleasant.

“Solanum,” She whimpered, and a second vine braced the other side of her face. Right. She could handle this. Solanum was here and Solanum wasn’t scared so nothing was wrong. Autumn continued to remind herself that nothing was wrong as the second set of arms began to drape down after the first set folded up.

Autumn would have figured the sensation of her muscles being parted from their anchors would have been more shocking than what happened. She barely felt it directly, just in the sensation of- well, she would have said invisible based on the feeling but she could very clearly see the muscle structures being delicately spread apart before being snipped. So instead she’d describe it as very visible puppet strings being snipped one by one. A small spike in pressure somewhere deep in her back she couldn’t quite place, followed by a quick relief that echoed along the length of her body as more and more of her strings fell apart to be folded back.

As the cuts slid up the length of her back she felt the mechanical bolts tighten on her ribs, compensating for her muscles' new inability to exert tension to open her lungs. In. Out. Rhythm enforced by mechanical hands gripping her sides. It didn’t hurt. None of it hurt, even as her veins and arteries and capillaries and connective tissue and every other fUCKING thing hidden deep within her flesh became exposed to the open air, plugged, redirected, with the cold breeze flowing around it just like it was flowing around her.

Paradoxical claustrophobia. She was exposed to the air, body heat escaping rapidly from within her core as all of her innards were free to bloom apart yet restrained into perfect stillness. Even without the bolts prohibiting her she doubted she could move a muscle in this state. Maybe a pectoral? Commands to anywhere else would simply falter in trying to leave her spinal cord, she imagined. Was she sweating? Solanum had wiped something against her forehead a moment ago. She was saying something, but Autumn was focused on the sight of her own rib cage.

With one last sweep of it’s pointed blades the machine parted the last layer of tissue from Autumn’s tailbone to the top of her neck, peeling it back to reveal the intended prize. The human was, for a moment, overtaken by the realization that she now qualified for the very select “I know exactly what color my spinal column is” club.

Maybe it was a long form sort of shock at the weight of her own choices coming back upon her but Autumn mostly spent the time in between that revelation and Sinapis retrieving Nyx trying to ponder how she could use that fact as a conversation starter.

Just like with Qiru, Sinapis handled the new implant with a series of adoring coos and gentle compliments as they lifted it out of the box and brought it up behind Autumn. The thing twitched erratically at the contact, eliciting a surprised gasp from the affini in the process. “Well aren’t you a lively one?” Sinapis said with a wide smile. “Very good, that means this will heal faster than usual. Come along, I’ll get you home in a moment.” The bladed tendrils at the front twitched slightly in the air. “Yes, yes, I know you’re impatient.”

“Does it… uh…?” Autumn tried to speak, but her voice only came as a hoarse whisper. Stars she felt so cold now.

“Oh, no, I just tend to treat them like such for my own sake, dear.” Sinapis said with a small chuckle. Yeah, okay, fair. Autumn glanced up to Solanum to see how she reacted, but Solanum didn't seem to notice the exchange at all. Her eyes were flown open wide, rich golds spiralling around each other with a misty quality and her tight-lipped mouth tilted into a smile at the edges. A true sadist taking in a work of art before her.

Autumn reminded herself that if anything were to go wrong that Solanum wouldn’t have the ability to hide her worry, and thus concluded that the affini’s comfortable silence at the sight was as much a mark of her relief as it was her enjoyment.

Sinapis moved the implant over the length of Autumn’s spine. This was it, Autumn told herself. This was the last moment she was Autumn alone and the first one of her becoming the gestalt of herself and Nyx. The very last chance to panic and change her mind and have them wheel everything back. This was probably the worst time to start pondering the ship of Theseus, but that didn’t stop Autumn from shooting off a few stray synapse cycles at the last moment.

The touch of Nyx against the back of her neck was unexpectedly cold and wet. Or maybe she was just really hot or- oh geeze she could feel it’s tendrils starting to slither around inside of her neck. Some part of her brain tried to protest that she wasn’t supposed to be feeling things in THAT layer but well too late brain, she couldn’t exactly do much about that any more. In the reflection she could see the thing pinch between two vertebrae, and in that instant the whole of her body disappeared into empty static. Meanwhile, she got the exciting *new* sensation of a second spine being held above her body hidden beneath yet another blanket of pins and needles. 
The bladed tendrils at it’s tip reeled back, thinner pieces wound at the ready, then plunged up through her flesh and into her brain. Autumn didn’t particularly like that this came with new knowledge of how her own brain felt, but she also wasn’t particularly surprised to find it was basically warm salty jell-o. She gasped the moment it connected, shock and tension blanking out her consciousness with an electric jolt over her body. The world seemed to bend awkwardly away from her, colors fading, flickering, then snapping back towards her.

All at once she could feel the implant’s sensations with a dizzying clarity as it was draped across the length of her spine. She felt the endless rows of legs and thorns and other pieces spreading apart and blindly searching for it’s fated place to be within her. She felt something hazy in the back of her consciousness, no doubt mirroring the fact that it was literally inside the back of her skull. In her own reflection Autumn could see her eyes begin to dilate into wide flat discs, her mouth hanging open in the stance of a silenced gasp and frozen in place.

Was she spinning? All of a sudden Autumn felt as if the world had tilted on its axis and she was at risk of spilling apart into the void in that tumble. Everything looked stable though so what did she- right, right- Nyx was in her brain it was probably messing-ing-ing-ing-ing-ing-white flashes danced across Autumn’s vision. She tasted a phantom savory flavor across her tongue. Emotions surged up all at once, causing her to feel simultaneous elation and despair in equal measure that brought fresh tears dripping from her eyes and falling upon the mirror below her. A small sensation of something shifting behind her brought another feeling of light pouring over her consciousness. Aha! She was probably just dying and going to heaven now. It’s nice to know that an afterlife was real afterall and wait no wasn’t that a bad thing- Autumn blinked. She was still in the surgical theater.

Nyx at this point was now comfortably rested against the inside of her back. “You’re doing very well, dear.” Sinapis spoke to Autumn, and Autumn still kind of mostly understood what those words meant. The affini’s gloved hands slid along the length of the implant, guiding its roots to work its way through the exposed portions of her body. Mechanical limbs followed after to weave the pins and thorns into her spinal cord. They worked in rapid sequence, and each one triggered another shock to Autumn’s nervous system that cast off the pins and needles fugue in favor of electric clarity. From her neck on down again and again the implant bit into her, another branch of nerves lit back into alertness, and she felt that portion of her own body return to her.

After the mechanical arms weaved lightning across the length of her ribs Autumn saw the vascular lines of the implant begin to squirm into place, then burrow into her flesh. Oh that’s fine, it’s probably just digging into her heart- oh *fuck* she felt the moment they connected by a sharp drop in blood pressure hitting her like a brick. Dizziness returned, unhelped by her brain's inability to determine which way was up at the current time. One of the many tubes in her chest helpfully supplied her with replacement blood to make up for the new expansion on her system. But until it was finished helping her she was still stuck feeling extra lightheaded all the while.

From the reflection Autumn could see a fresh wave of purple colors flush into the implant as it gorged on her blood and grew warm in the process. Thin black roots swelled, color spread along it’s veins, bit by bit Nyx began to more closely resemble Solanum’s color patterns. At this point Autumn felt less and less worried by this decision. Her emotions, a second ago wild and raging, had finally begun to settle into a pool of calm comfort. No doubt Nyx’s triage of things to do in her brain started at ‘stop any panic attacks’ and ‘make sure she doesn’t die’, and so far she hadn’t died so it must also be hard at work with her emotions. Good. Wonderful.

Autumn’s mouth slowly settled back to a neutral breathing position, air still flowing in a forced pattern. Her eyes were still dilated, but she could also see the start of a bruise forming under them. This was to be expected, an intrusive thought suggested. ‘Boy do I hope that’s a Nyx intrusive thought and not my normal intrusive thoughts’, Autumn mused to herself. She’s safe here, and everything is going to be okay. Ah, Nyx thoughts then. Vague and ephemeral but still just barely coherent as something that was, literally, intruding into her mind space.

Autumn mentally reached out to that feeling inside of her and clutched to it tightly. Ran her metaphorical fingers across the boundary between Her and It and begged it to stay close as she felt the rest of the pins and needles be cast away from her body. It seemed… surprised? No. It was piggybacking off of her own brain to form itself right now. Relieved, probably? Formed of her own anxieties and worries that slipped underneath her own conscious examination that she wouldn’t be able to interface well or that something would inevitably go wrong.

“It will be okay,” She told the nebulous shape in her mind. It wrapped itself around her consciousness in turn, the two hugging each other tightly. Everything will be okay, we’re here now. Their metaphysical fingers trailed lines around each other's silhouettes, reminding each other of the boundaries that were, moment by moment, fading apart. Dimly Autumn noticed red drops of a nosebleed joining the clear drops of tears against the mirror below her.

“I dare say, Solanum, your floret might just be one of the best patients in open surgery I’ve ever had.” Sinapis said with no small mark of pride. Solanum just chuffed in reply, her face still enraptured at attention of Autumn’s surgery. Autumn looked up at her affini, her eyes wide disks of darkness that spun with the warping mindscape within her, and smiled at her. ‘I love you’, she silently mouthed, and Solanum returned the gesture.

Before Autumn knew it, the implant was fully in place and it was time to stitch her back together. In the mirror she saw that it had unfolded along it’s center, already positioning itself to grow around her spine and spread throughout her body in the following days. The first layer of tissues were pinned down, with more roots placed between them before the next layer of muscles. Layer by layer it repeated, each time sealing the gaping hole where her warmth escaped a touch more. She didn’t need that hole anymore. The precious thing that needed to come in was with her now, and she loved to feel it against her back so closely. If it had the ability to, it would have been shivering out in the cold anyway.

By the time the various layers of muscles were pulled back down and pinned by the implant’s burrowing roots Autumn had fully let the comfort in. The fear, the worry, and the anxiety, it had all been shuffled off in place of an overwhelming sense of calm and certainty that things would be good from now on. The tears that still flowed from her eyes had become ones of joy, an emotion forced upon her by the entity she now shared brainspace with and that she accepted gratefully. 

Last was the envelope of skin being brought in around her, pinned with stitches of roots and tightened fiercely against her flesh. Autumn felt an acidic burn rise up from within her and grinned at the sensation of comforting pain coming back to greet her. This was *her* body again. Here, concrete, and real with the clarity of masochistic feelings that waltzed within it. Stars she wished she didn’t feel so cold inside right now though.

A phantom sensation bristled along the length of her spine, followed by a painful tension before the three scales ripped through her skin with a sudden ferocity. Fuck that hurt. It hurt!! Autumn wanted to laugh until she cried as the feeling of hurt had finally come back fully. Even Sinapis was caught off guard by that, stumbling back in shock as the three prongs vibrated proudly in the air before flattening against Autumn’s back. The affini said something into their earpiece, paused through their response, then sighed and shrugged to Solanum after.

“Autumn, dear.” Solanum spoke calmly, having leaned forward and crossed her legs such that her wicked heel was visible to her human now. Her elbow was planting on her crossed knee, chin resting on her hand, grin spread wide into a cruel smile of sadistic glee. “I can’t begin to describe how beautiful you are right now.”

Autumn’s smile widened in reply. She was beautiful! A right mess of blood and tears and probably snot and with her body still at risk of falling apart entirely behind her but- stars she just wanted to laugh and jump into Solanum’s arms and kiss her all over. Maybe get a comfy sweater, too.

Sinapis, meanwhile, quietly got to work applying some cold bandages over the lingering wounds. “You’ll need to remain in this scaffold for a few hours for everything to settle before we can move you, at which point we’ll do a review to ensure everything is good before taking you back to Solanum’s hab. Understand?” They asked.

“Yes, Doctor.” Autumn replied automatically.

“Very good, you’ve been very brave today dear. You should be proud of that. Here,” Sinapis curled a vine before Autumn, revealing two lollipops wrapped up in it. “For excellent behaviour. Solanum will hold onto these for when you can eat again.”

Autumn wanted to laugh in amusement, but at that point the relief of tension hit her hard enough that she just made an exhausted chuckle before abruptly slipping into sleep.

the real fantasy of this story is having someone hold my hand during stressful medical situations

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