Just as expected, the outside world was… Well. It was refreshing for once. Alice can’t recall the last time she got some fresh air… Right… The Domestication Clinic was… This way? No--That way.. Uhm..
Why is the city always so confusing? Disorienting… Alice lived by herself in an apartment complex… Small, but cozy in her opinion. There was a nice sandwich shop nearby, so that’s a bonus.
The problem is, however… It’s been a good while since Alice went outside to go somewhere. Infact, she’s… Oh. Oh fuck. Fuck. She’s lost, isn’t she? No--It’s fine! The Library’s down the road, that means… She doesn’t know IN FACT THAT’S NOT EVEN WHERE THE LIBRARY IS.
Alice checked her phone, holding her head… Trying her best not to bump into any more people (and failing miserably.) Muttering hushed apologies in her breath, she stared at the map on her phone screen. This.
No--Shit--Where was the domestication facility again? Damn it--She needed--No. No no no no no fuck she’s stranded. Lost. surrounded. Drowning in a sea of noise. No wait--She. Just deep breaths. No? No she can breathe. Deep. Breath. Noise…
Fuck. fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck
NO SHE CAN’T HAVE ALREADY FUCKED UP--SHE CAN’T HAVE MESSED UP HERE! NOW! Oh god. She’s gonna curl up. She’s gonna die. She’s gonna drown in this sea of noise. Why aren't her headphones working WHY AREN’T HER HEADPHONES WORKING WHY AREN’T HER HEADPHONES WORKING WHY AREN’T HER HEADPHONES WORKING WHY AREN’T HER HEADPH
“..Alice, oh gosh--hang on… Are you okay?”
“Deep breaths, it’s okay… I’m here, I’m here. Grab my hand, let’s get you back home.”
Alice found herself back home with a familiar face. Kai Dusty. An… Oldish friend of Alice, someone who was aware of some of her ‘issues’. Someone who she could rely on the rare chance. Kai wore a trench coat and scarf over their buttoned shirt and jeans. Their hiking boots were well worn from various outings and nature walks. It seems that he’s started dying his hair green since Alice last saw them. However…
They still had that amazing hat. The kind of hat you’d see on a person and think to yourself “Wow, now this is one cool dude.” A hat that’s near impossible to not look at in awe. A hat--Considered by professionals to be “Really fucking cool.” Safe to say, Alice was completely transfixed by her friend’s extraordinarily cool hat.
“..Alice, you good?” Kai asked, snapping their fingers, looking concerned. Their expression changed that to relief when Alice seemed to actually snap back to reality. “Man, I’m thankful to see you and all, but.. What happened?”
Alice was hugging one of her more notable plushies… A big ol’ grinning cat, its eyes a brilliant gold, covered in striped fur that’s simply divine to feel and brush against. She felt a compulsion to buy it when she saw it online. Her wallet screamed and begged, but her heart would not listen.
“...um.” Alice started, trying to get back to the conversation at hand and stop monologuing to herself about random events in her past life. “...I--got lost--Um. I.. uh. I was going somewhere, right? And… I.. Kind of.. Forgot how to get there and.. Um.”
Kai hovered their hand over Alice’s head, only patting her when she nodded. “Hey, it’s okay. Probably the first time you’ve been out in a while. I can’t blame you for getting overwhelmed like that. I’m just thankful I found you before you could make too much of a scene, y’know..?” They chuckled, adjusting their extremely cool hat. “...That being said… Where have you been?”
Alice squeezed her Grinning Cat Plush Has No Relation To Any Sort of Fictional Feline Plush, thinking on how to respond, before mumbling out a meager “...inside.”
“I’ve been inside and just kind of--Vibing.” Alice continued to explain.
Kai looked around the messy apartment. Much like their hat, they couldn’t even comprehend how rancid the so-called ‘vibes’ were. It.. Was obvious that Alice needed help. Like--Seriously, this is kind of depressing. It’s better off that you don’t know how bad Alice’s apartment was. (...Okay, well, it’s not that bad… But it’s… Y’know. Yeah.)
“Alice--Um. This… I don’t know if you can call it “vibing”, judging from this place. Has the whole Affini takeover hit you that hard?” Kai questioned, raising their eyebrows as Alice shook her head.
“No! No, not.. Not really, I think I was like this before the whole… Thing with the thing happened.” Alice said, twirling a strand of her hair… “I mean, uh.. They are nice and all--Killed off capitalism or whatever-- But.. Um.. I guess.. I’m still getting used to it..?”
Kai nodded. “I see. Well… I dunno about you, but… I don’t.. Really like this. I mean.. Sure, things have always been pretty crappy, but.. Dunno. Something doesn’t sit right with me--The whole.. Domestication thing.” They took off their cool hat, looking it over, frowning. “I mean, people should be able to live independent lives if they want to, right? That’s what I want. That’s what some people should get.”
Alice nodded, saying nothing and biting her tongue. This… Is getting a bit awkward.
“So… Just.. Keep it a secret between me and you… But I’m rebelling against the Affini.” Kai stated, exhaling sharply. “I’m gonna join a cause that I believe in--That people should be free to experience their own lives. I want to be free to be who I want to be--Not just.. Some pet, you know?”
Mx. Dusty put a hand over their chest, giving a warm, determined smile. Alice cocked her head to the left, before laying her head on top of her plush.
“I know times are tough, Alice. And-- I’ll be honest, I only understand so much of what you go through, but… I just want to let you know that you’re still a dear friend of mine. And I’ll be fighting for you--For all the cool people I’ve met. I want all of us to have an adventurous life.”
Alice coughed into her hand… Glancing to the side. “..Cool, cool… That’s um.. That’s great… For.. you, I mean. Really.” She squeezed her Grinning Cat. “...I do.. Need to be going somewhere, though.”
“Oh yeah? Where are you going?” Kai asked.
“Um.” Alice bolted up, already panicking internally. “Well. um. You see. Uh.”
“Um. i. May. be… goingtogetmyselfdomesticated?”
A long silence fell between the two. A heavy, awkward silence. An awkward silence so unbelievably out there it’d put the already bad vibes of Alice’s living room to shame.
“Alice you what.”
Alice smacked herself on the forehead. GOD STUPID IDEA WHY DID SHE BLURT THAT OUT PLEASE JUST GO TO THE NEXT CHAPTER TIME SKIP TIME SKIP TIME SKIP ANYTHING.
...no? No. okay. Okay crap. Fuck.
“UMLOOK I CAN. EXPLAIN--”
“Alice! I just gave a whole… Heartfelt speech about how I’m gonna rebel against the Affini! And you’re just--”
“I know, I know..! But-- Look around you! I’m a mess! I can’t take care of myself..!”
“I get that, Alice, I really do--But… Can’t you get yourself a caretaker…? A Terran caretaker…?”
“..I want a cute plant caretaker.”
“I MEAN.. THATS… GOOD AND ALL BUT.. YOU KNOW???”
“...An Affini came in and gave me headpats!”
“That--That can’t be the entire reason.”
“It’s partially the entire reason!”
“...Yeah honestly I kind of expected that. But-- Just--”
Kai took a deep breath, rubbing their temples. “...Ayayayay… I mean.. On one hand.. I’m happy that you’re at least acknowledging that.. Something needs to change around here-- On the other hand… Really? Getting yourself domesticated?”
“...Yeah, I’m serious.” Alice sharply exhaled. “...I’m sorry if you hate m--”
“Alice, my girl. I don’t think I’m physically capable of hating you. I’m just… Surprised. That’s all. Look--Um. If that’s what you think is best for you, then go ahead and get yourself domesticated. I just--Hope you’ll be alright… Alright?”
Alice nodded. “..I think I’ll be okay. The Affini are super nice (and cute) anyways…”
“Well, in that case…” Kai let out an awkward chuckle. “I’ll try not to blast whoever ends up owning you, alright?”
Another awkward silence filled the room, the possible-irony now settling in. A future rebel, and a future pet sitting in the same room. Different sides of the Metaphorical Terran Coin. (Which, I suppose means that you’re either a Rebel or a Floret. The Side of the coin obviously being just a normal-ass civilian.)
The two then kind of sat around and watched TV until Alice was able to work up the courage to go outside and get herself domesticated (for reals this time). It was the last time they’ve watched TV together. ….Maybe.
It’s a mystery.