The Florette's Dilemma

31- Forgive

by Motherlygirl

Tags: #dom:female #drugs #Human_Domestication_Guide #pov:bottom #scifi #anxiety #depression #dom:plant #f/f


Shortest chapter yet but I'm proud of it! TFD Chapter 31, cw for mention of rebels and a bunch of angst

Mane froze. I...I love you? Had she just told her ex, after everything she'd done, I love you? A sinking feeling in her gut signaled that she had, indeed, done just that. Oh god, Mane thought to herself, what have I done? She was already, just, waltzing unannounced back into Melody's life with a battleship's worth of baggage chained to her neck like the ancient mariner's slain albatross, and she just...had the audacity, now, to also tell the poor girl "I love you?" Fuck, fuck, no no no, this wasn't okay! She wasn't allowed to just up and say that, it wasn't OKAY for her to just up and say that! 



To Mane's incalculable shock, Melody smiled patiently back at her. She pranced over to where Mane stood and took one of Mane's hands in each of her own. She smiled gently, softly, with warmth and patience and care. Her body was soft, it was close, Mane could even feel the gentle pulse of Melody's heart in her fingers. Mane fought the urge to, like a coward, flinch and hide her face. Instead she devoted all the energy she had to facing Melody and making eye contact. At this task, however, she ultimately failed. Melody's eyes were too sweet and gentle, far too loving, far too full of care and tenderness and infinitely, INFINITELY too forgiving. To let herself be lost in those beautiful eyes would mean accepting that she had any right to indulge in them after everything she'd done. That...was not something Mane could permit herself to do. 



"I love you too, sweetheart." 



What? What had Melody just said? That couldn't be what she said, could it? It was unthinkable, it was incomprehensible, it-if it weren't for the fact she definitely just made it up in her head Mane would call it inconceivable. Mane grimaced at the terrible weight of having to ask for clarification. Some selfish part of her wanted to leave things be, to feast on the sweet lie that she had heard her ex correctly and that she was still loved and that maybe everything would be okay. It was an enticing notion, powerful and tempting and it promised her that maybe it was telling the truth, and that if she so out of hand rejected it Melody might be made sad or even angry. Mane knew better than that. 



"C-could you repeat that-"



"I love you."



"But I-"



"I love you."



Tears were rolling down Mane's face. What? 



"I don't understand-" 



"I love you." 



Mane was trembling. Her voice had fallen to a weak, infirm husk of a whisper. This couldn't be happening. After the vile things she'd said to Melody before she departed from Gisk, after Melody invited Mane to see her off and she'd torn the invitation in half and mailed it back in pieces-



"B-but I hurt you," the words practically fumbled out of Mane's mouth of their own accord. "I hurt you, I-"



"That was years ago," Melody lowered her voice in an effort to make a soothing whisper and not make Mane feel she was causing a scene. "You were scared and backed into a corner. Your family had you trapped, you-you made mistakes, okay?"



"Mistakes," Mane repeated in a failed effort to convince herself it was somehow true. Mistakes. A mistake was when you put the wrong laundry together, or packed the wrong lunch, or worded things poorly. What she did were not mistakes. What she did was not magically okay because time had passed. 



"I forgive you, sweetie," Melody said with a smile. She let go of one of Mane's hands and tentatively reached up towards Mane's face. She was standing mere centimeters away now. Their breaths were probably overlapping. "It's okay, I-"



"No." Mane shook her head. Melody still loving her was absurd, it was unreal, it was absolutely farcical. Melody forgiving her, though, would be outright WRONG. "Don't." 



"Don't what, dear?" Asked Melody. Her face was scrunched up with pain and concern. Guilt took another stab between Mane's ribs but she pressed on anyway. Mane reached up and pressed a nail into Melody's implantation scar. There was no malice behind it, nor any intention to cause harm. Melody, to Mane's surprise, did not budge an inch. She did grow tighter almost instantly though, perhaps as an involuntary reaction driven by reflex. 



"You shouldn't," Mane said. The sadness was gone now. Her voice was pained, still, but it was a more neutral and detached sort of pain this time."I hurt you."



"Everyone hurts the people they love, inevitably," Melody said back. The care in her face was marred by frustration. A small part of Mane felt reassured by that, because it meant Melody was still a person. She hadn't been so thoroughly flattened that she would ignore her own rights and needs and forgive Mane because the bush in charge of her brain told her to. 



That wasn't enough though. Melody was, after all, quite literally brainwashed. All the confirmation Mane needed was in the scar tissue under her nail. It was pretty and pristine, as far as scar tissue went, of course. The scar behind Mane's ear was pretty stately by human surgical standards from before the Protectorate, yet the grace of the one on Melody's neck put that one to shame. Mane's nail pressed in a bit harder. She'd heard from rebels that if you pushed-



There it was. Faint, but she could just barely feel it. Melody's implant shifting. There it was. 



Melody might have forgiven Mane on her own. She was far too trusting, far too gentle, far too...traumatized former Catholic schoolgirl. Mane had been the first, or at least the closest thing at the time to a first, "authority" figure in her life to respect her boundaries and care what she wanted. 



The implant squirmed more. Melody's body started getting antsy. Was she staying still out of stubbornness, to show Mane she trusted her, or because this had paralyzed her somehow…?



Interesting. On one hand, that seemed far too exploitable for the affini to let their precious pets have such a weakness, even if they should never be in a situation where it might get them hurt. On the other, it was kind of like how kittens worked, which in a sense was undeniably cute. 



"What are you getting at?" Melody asked. Mane narrowed her eyes.



"You aren't the person I hurt. You don't get to forgive me." 



"Are you sure about that?" Melody asked. Whether it was a barb, a genuine question, or intended as an insult Mane couldn't tell. 



"What do you mean?" Mane asked. A tingle informed her-



Fuck.



Melody was stroking her hair. She was smiling. 



"I'm still Melody, sweetie. I have my wants and fears and insecurities, just like I used to, because Cordelia went out of her way to accommodate that, because I asked her to." 



"And how am I supposed to know you're telling the truth?" Mane asked. Melody leaned in-



She touched Mane's scar. She...remembered?



"I've never touched it before," Melody whispered directly into Mane's ear, "it's smooth and soft, just like you."



"That's-" Mane was struggling to stay upset. "What are you getting at?" 



Melody slipped behind her and held her close. Melody's embrace was warm and gentle and sweet. 



"Your anger is because of trauma. You only ever TRULY got angry with people who wronged you."



"S-so-"



"So," Melody purred, "You were angry because I was leaving you. Selfish, maybe, controlling, but...human."



"And I take it you mean I wouldn't have if I was a floret?" Mane's voice was so venomous it threatened to dissolve her tongue on the way out. Melody nuzzled the back of her head in such a way that it doubled as shaking her head no. She gave a soft, affectionate squeeze as well.



"To tell the truth, my implant doesn't seem to like you," Melody whispered wistfully. "He gets on edge around you, and a third of the memories that upset him are of you." She paused for a second before she continued. "But you were there for me when noone else was. You showed me there was a life where I didn't have to be a cookie cutter imitation of my mom, that I was allowed to be...other things. I've always struggled with being my own person, still, but...thank you." Another squeeze. Long, close, intimate. "I love you, Mane. I've missed you every day since I left. When I was recovering from the implantation surgery I never once let go of the plushie you gave me for weeks. When Cordelia tried to take it from me so she could give him a wash I bit her." 



"You...still have him?" Mane felt like God had punched her in the very soul. Melody nuzzled her again, except this time it was also a nod. 



"I can show you, if you want. When I got my surgery they gave him little scrubs and a matching mask, cause I told them the story about your stuffed kitty getting a set like that when you had...you know." Melody kissed Mane's scar. A gasp of shock speared Mane's entire nervous system simultaneously. 



"Th-th-thank you," Mane managed to get out. Melody gave one more reassuring squeeze. 



"Come on, sweetie. Let's get your clothes in a bag."



"Oh," Mane managed to say as she remembered where they were and for what purpose, "okay, yeah, I can help okay." The two gathered up the clothes she had picked out and packed them into a reusable and highly biodegradable paper bag. Melody took one of Mane's hands and smiled, using the other to pick up the bag. 



"Let's find the others, okay?"

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