Side?story - Loaf

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 Feelings and Contemplations of Ethics by a himbo

Pyrus was an energetic sort in public. He was loud, always talking, up front to outright abrasive with his opinions, and ever willing to interject himself into the middle of a conversation even when he had nothing meaningful to add. Yet, every night Qiru and it’s owner were alone his energy would shift dramatically. At the end of the day he’d gently remind Qiru that it needed to sleep, lead it to the solitude of their room, then give a gentle rumbling sigh as all the energy seemed to slip out of his leaves before he’d collapse by the window. In the moment the facade of the hyperactive child disappeared, and the affini that stood in his place was a quiet thing wrapped up in his own head.

Every time it reminded Qiru of how little it really understood it’s owner’s mind. This fact only became more glaring along it’s date with Salix, where it saw the way Willow would positively fawn over his floret endlessly when they interacted. There was no barrier to contact, no hesitant waiting for permission, no tension in Salix’s body before the affini’s vines met skin and sent visible shivers of pleasure through the pet’s flesh. The sight lingered on it’s mind even as the two florets spent the rest of the day at each other's side. There was a sort of casual comfort there that it wasn’t used to, an ease in physical contact where the two could just *touch* without worry or warning any time they wished.

it’s relation with Pyrus was nothing like that, it realized. This fact only became more glaring as it saw the other florets being endlessly adored, touched, held, drugged, teased, everywhere it looked over and over again, even as Salix walked it home and wished it a good night. When it stepped through the door it saw the familiar forms of Exima and Feather draped over each other on the couch, half-read books forgotten in their hands as the floret flickered from gentle blues to soft purples in comfort and- Guilty. it felt guilty. The weird feeling that'd taken hold of it's gut and demanded it's attention was 100% pure, uncut, raw guilt slithering through it's veins.

Qiru gave a polite call that it was home before walking directly to Pyrus’ room, slipping through the door to see the familiar affini once more perched by the window. His head rested against the glass, eyes flickering across blues and greys as he stared out at the growing light of Mars in the distance. When he heard his floret step in his body curled in on itself, a burst of energy forming on his lips until he saw that it was just Qiru sneaking in. Then it was gone again, back to a relaxed laze as he slumped back into his spot.

“I’m home, Mistress.” Qiru said with a slight bow.

“Welcome home, dear.” Pyrus replied with a small smile. “You don’t need to use those titles when it’s just us in private, by the way.”

Qiru just nodded quietly. Another lax attitude in private. Pyrus was always like that. He’d earnestly followed Qiru’s request for minimal contact without permission, hadn’t once drugged it into compliance even when it got scared- stars they barely even cuddled, they might as well be normal ass roommates. Qiru couldn’t shake the feeling that it was some kind of bad floret because of that. Like the right thing to do by now was to fall head over heels in love with the plant and morph into some kind of needy blob of gay emotions? Maybe? it didn’t know 
Qiru snaked underneath Pyrus’ bed to enter it’s own makeshift sleeping quarters. A mess of blankets and pillows and cushions all made a veritable nest of soft materials and darkness that Qiru had learned to find greater comfort in than any of the wider options available to it. That and Exima compared it to a rodent once when they saw it wiggle out from under the bed, which was a nice bit of gender euphoria bonus for the day. But this time Qiru blindly reached around to grab it’s favorite pillows and blankets, then backed up to the surface to dump the found goods on top with the mess of elaborately shaped cushions and quilts that Pyrus had for his sleeping spot.

“Looking to steal the bed tonight?” Pyrus asked, only a hint of his usual lackadaisical attitude on his wooden lips.

Qiru turned to answer him, still billowing out it’s blankets as it moved. “Actually, I- well, I wanted to try sleeping beside you tonight? If that’s okay.”

“Of course,” Pyrus’s voice played with an amused sort of lilt as his vision drifted back out towards the red planet.

Qiru continued to stand there awkwardly, completely unsure of how to either continue talking or what to do with it’s hands or- where did it put the Pyrus plushy? Probably under the bed still- oh, no, Pyrus already snuck it out and moved it to the top of the bed. “Thank you,” it muttered as it plucked the plushy out and hugged it tight into it’s arms. “Pyrus- are you okay?”

“Just thinking,” He answered curtly.

“That’s a dangerous activity.”

“It’s why I try to spare you from doing it much.”

Qiru paused, reflecting on the dazed faces of blissed out pets that it’d become acquainted with. “You don’t, actually.” Pyrus chuckled quietly to himself at that, leaves rattling as he did. Qiru decided to take that moment to press it’s anxiety forward. “Pyrus, I- am I a bad floret?”

Pyrus immediately scrunched up into himself in what was a universal expression of sudden confusion. “No- what?” He said as he looked over Qiru, then settled down into an attentive state towards his floret. “Qiru, elaborate.”

Finally, an *order*. Qiru’s altered brain knew how to handle those easily enough, the implant sending chemical and electrical impulse dancing through well trained neural paths that sorted out the nonsense for it. it gave a sigh of relief as it’s body flooded with a compulsory forwardness that let the words come together, then slip free from it’s tongue in short order. “You don’t treat me the same way I see other florets being treated by their owners and I’m afraid that it means I’m a disappointing floret or, or that I’m just a burden for you,or I don’t know any number of other possibilities.”

Pyrus stared at it flatly, his eyes focused and unblinking. Under the weight of that gaze Qiru felt like it could just completely crumble away to nothing, afraid it’d said something bad or- a shiver along it’s spine marked the cool touch of the implant severing that worry at the bud. Pyrus scooted to the side and patted the surface next to him, compelling Qiru to stumble forward and drop into a seated position at his side. Even then it saw how his vines would curl and fall apart just to give it a bubble of comfortable space even as it was so close to his body. “Qiru, do you want me to treat you like those other florets get treated? Be honest with me.”

“I don’t, honestly.” it answered automatically. Liquid obedience made these sort of things so simple to do. “But I’m worried that maybe you want to, and that I should be able to be a proper floret for you, and, and I don’t know if that’s just the implant affecting me or my own thoughts inherently but I don’t think there’s much of a difference anymore?”

Pyrus’ body rumbled with a thoughtful sort of hum as he looked over his machine. “I won’t deny that I wish for a more comfortable relationship with you, little rat. But, at the same time, I don’t want to just crash over your discomforts along the way.” Qiru went silent at that, eyes tracing down to the sphere of safety he’d kept around their position. Comfort, huh?

The rat scooted closer to Pyrus, and once it saw him try to move a bit further away for it’s sake it surged forward, limbs awkwardly scattered as it chased down the retreating vines to grab them in it’s arms before dropping into Pyrus’ lap, holding him tight against it’s own torso as it leaned up against him. “There,” it muttered, knuckles white from how tightly it gripped the bundle of vines. “I’d like to try. Being comfortable with you, I mean.”

As it nestled up against his body Pyrus flowed around the smaller thing to become a more welcoming sort of cushion, wooden plates giving way to softer vines and leaves where it moved. He wrapped his arms around it, which elicited another spike of shivers and tension from the machine that he, in turn, flinched at before pushing through to embrace it anyway. Qiru whimpered, gripping Pyrus’ vines tighter but urged him not to stop with a whispered breath. When the plant-woven hands moved up to it’s face it flinched, then instinctively bit at one of the stray vines. After a moment with the vine held tight between it’s teeth, Qiru relaxed once more and allowed Pyrus to run his fingers through it’s hair in loving petting motions.

Qiru felt delicate sap spilling from the inflicted wound of the plant in it’s mouth. The liquid slipped out of the thin tendril to pool down against the gums beneath it’s tongue, running warm against it’s teeth and spreading a fresh tingling sensation over the muscle. It was like blood, warm and coppery and fresh upon it’s tongue and Pyrus wasn’t doing anything to stop it from continuing to nurse the fucking wound why wasn’t he doing anything wasn’t this ba-aaa ahh, aaa, another wave of twitches spiraled out from it’s spine, bringing another calming dose into it’s mind of gentle reminders that it was safe here. Protected. A good pet. A heavy handed approach, but one of the rare occasions where it could almost feel that the words were as much from the implant as conjurations from it’s own brain. A small moment of realization before the invasive touch slipped back behind the curtain for subtle controls.

Qiru’s body relaxed into place, tension leaving it in slow pieces until it was limply accepting the affini’s touch, silently swarmed by pleased neurons firing off in response and chewing idly upon the green mass inside of it’s mouth as it did. Safe, protected, comfortable. Inside the privacy of their room it could handle this. “Tell me your thoughts,” Qiru mumbled around the vine, eyes half-lidded and unfocused amidst the fog of oxytocin in it’s head.

Pyrus’s chest rumbled once more, this time a clicking sort like two gears just out of place of each other. “They haven’t been pleasant thoughts,” He whispered.

“I want to know what goes on in your head,” Qiru retorted.

Pyrus’s voice slipped into a quiet huff of warm air brushing out from his sternum and playing over Qiru’s face. “Fine, fine.” He said. “It’s been three things in particular.” As he spoke he moved his left hand before Qiru’s face, twin thumbs folding in to leave the three central fingers splayed out.

“This one,” Qiru reached out and pulled on the leftmost finger.

“That’s not- okay sure,” He folded his finger down, pulling his head back to rest against his cushions and once more stared out into the void of space. “I’ve been trying to contemplate how we assign blame. I- you- this is difficult to articulate right into words.”

“Is this about what I did?” Qiru looked up towards him, seeing Pyrus’ eyes had slipped into a dull blue tinged by red dots.

“In part, but more a matter of the system as a whole. But to use you as an example, for your- act we pinned the punishment directly upon you, but... should we have? Or should the blame sit more upon the shoulders of the one who gave you the knife, or the one who ordered the attack, or the people above even them, or the whole stars-damned system of leadership that leads resistance entirely, or to the wider echelons of terran governance as a whole? And what about us, the affini? Did we not corner the beast we saw to force them into collars, then act surprised when it tried to bite us? Did we not act as the rock that pressed the people who abused you into desperation?” Pyrus’ voice slipped over itself, words echoed by slight tones of dread.

“How much of what happened to you is our own fault, Qiru?”

Qiru locked up. it didn’t know how to answer that, stars it didn’t even know where to start. All the emotions broiled apart with the enforced calm that followed, leaving it in a state of paradoxical worry and complete relaxation even as it tried to parse the meaning of everything. The result left it frozen in place, clinging to the affini and shivering. “I don’t know,” it mouthed around the vine.

“I had hoped you’d be a soldier when I heard of you. That would have made this easier, a soldier with beliefs I could break apart and piece back together into something safe again, a soldier I could ignore the moral dilemma with, by reminding myself that you were dangerous, but instead this- you, you were scared! You were scared and desperate and I can’t help but feel that it’s in part our own damn fault and it’s too late to make amends for that because we’ve already done things to you that can’t be undone and, and I-” He grunted, tapping the back of his head against the wall. “You should hate me but you can’t. You should blame me for every ounce of pain you suffered and wail against the systems that couldn’t protect you and left you alone and defenseless in a dark place, you should hate that same fucking system that blamed you for all of that misery and broke you over it’s fucking knee and left you in my lap.”

Qiru flinched at that. “I don’t-”

Pyrus cut it off by grabbing it’s shoulders and pulling it up to a seated position, leaning forward to look it in the eyes. “Don’t? Qiru, you *can’t*. Do you understand how much you’ve given me? The very ability to hate me for what’s been done to you has been stripped away, and as much as it’s spared you the pain it’s also cut you off from understanding how deeply we’ve all failed you to begin with. And yet, even when I say it to your face you can’t even *begin* to muster the will to hate me for it, can you?”

it couldn’t. Not even an iota of contempt bubbled up from within the controlled neurochemistry of it’s brain, nor regret nor pain nor understanding of the message as a whole. it stared past Pyrus as it’s brain spun in place, thoughts cut off at random as fast as they fired off, unable to even piece itself together again as it was stuck stranded on the topic.

“I’m sorry, Qiru.” Pyrus muttered, his head now hanging low. “I’m so fucking sorry and I don’t even know how to make it up to you anymore.”

Qiru leaned forward. This was too much to try to process. it just rested it’s head against Pyrus’ chest. “Thank you, Mistress.” it said, quietly. “Can we move to the next subject?”

Pyrus nodded and curled another finger. “This isn’t an easier matter to broach, but it’s about the previous agreement of your surrender.” Qiru poked it’s head up to look at him. “...I wasn’t able to get clearance for class Os on Hattock. Apparently they’re spilling lots of, to quote Ilex’s words, ‘fun information about naughty fish’.”

Hattock? Spilling information? That was so absurd that Qiru couldn’t help but break out into a sudden fit of laughter at that. The same asshole who wouldn’t shut up about ‘terran supremacy’ all the stars-damned time was a fUCKING COWARD! Oh of all the things to come out in the end it almost wished it could travel back in time just to spit in the fuckers face the last time it saw them. It’s raucous laughter had it rolling off to the side, nearly falling out of the perch entirely if not for Pyrus’ vines swooping in to roll it back over. A few minutes more and it was wiping the tears off of it’s face, joyous laughter finally dimming into contented giggling.

“Pyrus, that’s quite alright, hearing that asshole is spilling everything at the tip of the hat is enough for me, honest.”

“But-” Pyrus protested, but Qiru cut him off this time.

“It was your idea, dork.”

“I made a promise to Qiru Aglis, I should keep it with Qiru Vulgaris.”

“Top surgery?”

Pyrus blinked. “I’m already a top.”

“For me, dumbass.” Qiru ribbed him in the side.

“Oh! Feather got a great doc when she wanted top surgery, I can call the same one if you like how her’s turned out.”

“*Feather* had top surgery?”

“I’ve been told having huge tits is rather inconvenient, part of why I don’t want any.”

“You’re a plant.”

“Yes and onto the third point I’m a plant that has some insecurities about my status as your owner considering you didn’t get a chance to choose this life and by extension you didn’t get a chance to choose me.” Pyrus curled the third finger down, then relaxed his hand to rest it beside his rat. Qiru snatched the hand on it’s way down and put it into it’s lap.

“So, really more of an extension of the first two thoughts.” Qiru said.

Pyrus just shrugged weakly. “You did say thinking was a dangerous activity.”

“Do you not want me?” Trepidation slithered from between the folds of it’s minds.

“If you’d permit me to admit my selfish desires, I want you.” Pyrus’ voice rolled with the rarest sound of all, actual anxiety.

“And, if we’re still admitting selfish desires, do you want to treat me the way other affini treat their pets?”


Qiru awkwardly shuffled back into place in Pyrus’ lap, once more maneuvering the mess of vines around itself as it placed itself up against his chest. Once it was comfortably in place it returned his arms to be wrapped around it’s sides as well. “I’d like to try,” it spoke softly. An attempt at genuine intimacy, nothing too bad, just the most terrifying thing for an anxious soul to do. “Maybe… in private, you don’t have to ask before you can touch me? As a start.”

In response, Pyrus’ vines once more slithered around the prone machine’s form, hands following suit to grip it tightly as well. Qiru *wanted* to calm down, but they couldn’t stop the shivering from coming back. Nervous energy took hold, followed by the ghosts of fear that were chased by the implant’s control. it wasn’t quite able to truly feel scared, but it couldn’t relax either.

“Could you, the smell?” Qiru muttered quietly. Something inside Pyrus’ chest clicked, and the scent of cinnamon and cloves once more took over Qiru’s senses. With a practiced ease it’s body slipped from it’s own mind’s control and plunged into an enforced state of comfort instead.

“I’m going to be honest with you, Qiru.” This close Qiru could feel the affini’s voice vibrate through his chest and into it’s body. “I’ve kept your implants’ influence down to a minimal level for now, with that language filter acting as a little diversion so you wouldn’t notice-”

“You can raise it.” Qiru answered before Pyrus could ask the question. it couldn’t feel the shape of the implant’s touch on it’s mind, it didn’t know if Qiru Aglis would have been okay with this had it known what would become of it, stars it didn’t even know whether worrying about it was really it’s own thoughts or not. But the more it had spent trying to parse that out the more it has realized a simple answer: it simply didn’t care at this point.

The affini flinched. “Are you sure?”

“I don’t know if the feelings I have are truly my own or the implant’s, but I don’t care anymore. They’re the emotions I’ve got, and they tell me to get closer to you. So, please,” it tightened it’s grip on his vines. “Indulge in me, and let me learn to be something that can enjoy it.”

Something shifted in Pyrus’ body, and soon after a small set of vines plucked the tablet from within him. With some fiddling he flicked through a few screens of charts and graphs, then shortly after another wave of comfort began to bloom up from it’s spine. An intense sensation of relief chased through Qiru’s body, followed by another of joy at being so close to it’s owner. The rat’s mouth slipped into a smile as it nuzzled up against him, body fully unwinding from it’s practiced tension.
The two remained in each other’s arms for a long while, silently enjoying their shared warmth and the growing light of Mars in the distance. From there they could even see the shape of Summer Station looming against the planet, a brilliant white light against the darkness of the void where it’s many solar panels and metal sheets decorated the endless array of rings and pillars in a vast appearances like flower petals. From within the centermost section of the station a great column rose up in many parts before weaving together at the end in a fine point and-

Pyrus stirred. “Dear, I think I have an idea on how I can make things up to you.”

“Hrm?” Qiru stirred from a dreamy daze of comfort.

“Well, the thing is, it’s a little bit of a fun crime.”

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