The Florette's Dilemma

32- Back

by Motherlygirl

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

Chapter 32! Content warning for a panic attack, references to kidnapping, the aftermath of growing up under adults who exploit you to their own petty ends, and rebels being offhandedly shitty about florets

The rest of the shopping spree was largely uneventful. Mane zoned in and out of the headspace to pay attention, lured and occasionally yanked out of it by the memories of her interaction with Melody earlier in the changing room. The warmth that it had instilled in her chest stubbornly clung to life somewhere between her ribs and its glow pulsed with her beating heart. Did she truly deserve the affection, trust, and forgiveness Melody was so visibly eager to offer up to her? Perhaps, no, not just perhaps, plausibly- even probably- she was not. And yet, there she was anyway, feeling the light of those precious unearned feelings churning ever so gently within her heart. They felt so foreign, so wrong, and yet she hadn't the strength to reject them the way she felt she ought to. As she watched Aida joke about some mishap of Melody's, forced herself to laugh along, as she held Melody's angelic hand in one of her own, as she used the other to support the weight of her own bag of spoils...it was all surreal. Mane, if she didn't know better, would fear the prospect of waking up from this sickeningly kind dream back in the clutches of her family. Did her mother know? Almost certainly. The affini didn't tend to unmake information to the extent that rebel propaganda so angrily accused. It was a crime they partook in suspiciously frequently, Mane felt, but it was still one which had occurred far more often when the spread of information had been in the hands of the Terran Accord.

Did she...want, for her mother to know? Did she want to call…

Call her mother. 

Fuck. Mane squeezed her ex's hand with fear and need. She wasn't sure if she had physically winced but it felt certain that she must have. She was ten again, asking her aunt fearfully if she could call her mother. Scared of what her father was doing, scared for her mother, away from home and wanting to go back-

"Mane?" Who had said her name? Mane wasn't terribly sure-

"She's safe, there's no need for that," her aunt had said, so disgustingly eager to trample over the fears of a child. The message had been crystal clear: You are a prisoner here. Even as a child she could see clearly through her aunt's plasticine facade of reassurance and been able to tell she could not possibly give less of a shit. Mane's blood began to curdle in rage, in disgust-

"Mane? Sweetheart are you ok-"

Touch. Touch bad. 

Mane ripped her hand away from the one grasping for it. 

I am alone I am alone I am alone I am alone

A pawn a pawn a pawn a pawn a pawn a pawn

The giant pink plant leaned over and lowered itself to its "knees," its eyes full of concern. All Mane could see was another figure lying to her for their own gains, another fake smile intended not to console but to silence. Her breathing accelerated. Rage flooded her nervous system like the chemicals were notes banged on a drum of war. Mane's body burned with directionless fury, her mother didn't care, not really, her mother cared about Christian, she missed her obedient youngest child that threatened to run away rather than let her ex get custody, she missed the starry-eyed youth that idolized her because their only frame of reference was a boar that impaled any who threatened its ego, she didn't care she didn't care she didn't care-

"MANE!" Melody threw her arms under Mane's and hugged her tight. Melody was…



Crying?

The factories turning Mane's blood and bones to furious shrapnel ceased production instantly. Mane threw her arms back around Melody, grounded once more and unable to think of anything besides reassuring Melody. 

"I-I'm okay now, promise, see?" Mane sputtered out, smiling gently down at Melody. Her tears hadn't dried yet but the heat and red of her face, and the puffiness of her eyes, were fading rapidly. They all vanished completely in seconds. "I just had a bad thought and it, it spiraled." 

Melody made a long and pained sort of mewling noise which suggested she was far from convinced. She squeezed tight and buried her face in Mane's chest, obscuring it from Mane's view. This left the girl in the red coat with nothing to look at save for Aida and Cordelia, who both looked very deeply concerned (and, in Aida's case at least, also a little bit spooked). Mane's face went flush with embarrassment and shame compelled her to avert her gaze, lest she expose to Cordelia what a wreck she was-

"Poor human," Cordelia murmured with a sadness so thick it felt almost physically tangible. She reached out with a thin pair of two vines, and used them to brush tears and hair out of Mane's face. She was soft, gentle, kind, things the Greshuls punished unless they were expressed as adulation towards the family's elders. Mane felt...she didn't know what she felt. "We're here, sweetheart. Do you want to talk about it?"

".....no," Mane whispered. "I don't."

"Okay. We're here for you. All of us," Cordelia purred gently, "Okay, darling?" Mane trembled as the vicious weight of this care struck her like a bull burying its horns in her torso. She had ruined a cute little outing of theirs twice now, first by inviting herself along and second by...doing this. After that, it was absurd for this trio to still care so much about her wellbeing. Why? What reason could they POSSIBLY have to waste kindness, to waste PATIENCE and time, on such a vitriolic wreck of a person as she was? She was poisonous, she was a walking whirlwind of teeth and venom, a hurricane of fury towards the damned and toxic loathing towards her own being denied the power or opportunity to enact it! Why should a killer, a monster, a murderer, a WILD ANIMAL like her be treated so gently!?

"O….okay…" Mane forced herself to whisper back. 

"Would you like some fruit laced with xenodrugs to help ease your hormones back to normal?" Cordelia asked gently. A vine reached inside her body and procured something resembling a weird...geometric...purple mass of cubes in cosplay as a bunch of grapes. Mane, feeling an impending emotional crash, nodded and accepted. The fruit had predictably weird texture to it, but it was surprisingly pleasant to taste. She scarfed it down and it was like soft pools of water were being poured into her soul where metal rods had been made almost molten by her outburst. It was...freeing. Mane felt...normal.

"Holy shit…" she mumbled. "Thank you, I-what's in that?" 

"A concoction of hormones and chemicals that encourage production of other hormones," Cordelia elaborated, "it's meant for helping with aftercare but it's useful post-panic attack too. For flashbacks and emotional flashbacks as well, really. In all honesty it's surprisingly versatile. Would you like if I had Effus graft some onto herself?"

"The-the fruit?" Mane asked incredulously, the image invading her mind of Effus welding a fruit onto herself with a blowtorch or suturing one into her back. 

"The plant that sprouts it!" Aida poked in to offer correction. "Affini can do that. It's how they have all those flowers and xenodrugs all the time. Quite handy! Once the plant is integrated into their body they can use it to grow flowers, fruit, pollen, sap, really just about anything that's part of the plant, from that part of their own body."

"Interesting," Mane said back. Melody squeezed her one last time and then let go and returned to holding one of her hands. "I...yeah, I guess. I think I'd like that." Mane's tablet beeped. She checked it. Effus had sent a message, and it said that her class G's and psychiatric prescriptions had arrived. It also said paperwork was available for more specific class-G's, but Melody had filled some out if she wanted to go with those."more...specific class G's?" Mane muttered. She looked over to Melody. "Wait, what does that mean you filled the paperwork in already?"

"You'll never know!" Melody teased with a flirty fluttering of her eyelashes. "But uh, it means I told them you wanna be a soft-skinned babe with huge tiddies."

"HEY!" Mane swayed the shopping bag and lightly "hit" one of Melody's legs with it. "Rude!"

"You wouldn't fill the paperwork if I didn't!" Melody protested. Mane turned crimson and felt her ears getting hot. 

"So!?"

Aida and Cordelia were both giggling. Mane stomped a few times (but not very hard, she didn't want anyone thinking she was genuinely angry). "Cordeliaaaaa she's bullying meeeee!"

"And it's CUTE so it's allowed~" Melody teased. "Right Cordi~"

"Absolutely, darling!" 

"Myrrrr," whined Mane in protest. 

-----------

Vincent Vandover checked his tablet. One message, from the boss. 

"Did you find what you wanted?" 

God. Having to speak in code was one thing, but his boss' method was was the most obnoxious one he'd ever seen. 

"Not really. All I found was twelve to fifty." "Twelve to fifty" was their unit's code for "abort." 

This had to be suspicious, right? Sure, the sheer quantity of affini bullshit basically guaranteed that this exact exchange could theoretically be held by two subjugated Terrans with no spine or will of their own, but it still felt like entirely too many risks. 

"Unfortunate. I'm right here when you're ready." Of course, using this kind of messaging wouldn't be on the table at all if Vincent were here on an actual mission. His boss strictly ensured no such risks were taken by his subordinates. He looked over the last hour in his head: the soon-to-be traitor he had overdosed on Class B's, the guard he'd run afowl of during their stop on the Crest, this conversation. It all felt like such a damn waste. He'd wasted three full syringes of stolen xenodrugs- and those were NOT easy to come by!- and all he'd gotten was confirmation of which ship housed their target and the name of their favorite restaurant. If Vincent were less acclimated to constant failure then this would make him want to puke out of rage.

Still, though, even as it was today felt like acid in his eyes. He made his way back towards the Crest's entrance. Where was the Son of Cain now, he wondered? Eating food crafted by brainwashed shells of humans, or doing tricks for one of the damn weeds, perhaps. High off his fucking gourd, maybe. What an easy life, he contemplated with loathing, for the feckless traitors and their detestable ilk. 

This one, though. This one had murdered a man first. Vincent took small consolation in knowing there was a chance the Son of Cain didn't actually want to have a disgusting alien blob stapled to his spine to usurp his nervous system, and had only submitted out of fear of people like him. He fought the urge to rest his hand on the needle he used to check his comrades for alien corruption. The satisfying feeling of the horrible things squirming in terror gave some small meaning to his doomed struggle. 

Vincent found his way back to the docking bay and saw his boss sitting with some kind of replacement cigarette in his mouth. It was human-made, and predated the treacherous "protectorate-" none in their unit would trust any device that wasn't. His adam's apple and buzzcut made him prominent next to the inexplicable sea of overtly feminine forms that affini ships crawled with for some reason. 

Perhaps his boss was right, and the affini's greatest weakness was audacity. 

"All ready?" Asked Vincent's boss. He stood and stretched. "A shame, really."

"Yeah," Vincent mumbled, eager to be hundreds of miles away from the stench of the nearest "floret." 

The two walked onto the small personal transport ship they came in, which was now loaded with food, communicated over the radio as they had to, and departed back to their base. 

Once they were far enough away (and that was a while later), Vincent allowed himself to relax.

"How the fuck do you do that, boss?"

"Do what?"

"THAT!" The other man's posture and expression hadn't relaxed at all- they didn't NEED to. He'd been more lax on the Crest than Vincent was allowing himself to be just now. 

"I dunno," Vincent's boss answered,"I guess it's easier not to be scared when you're the only human alive who can hurt them."

"Daisy killed one," Vincent interjected.

"Yeah," the pilot responded, "But she's not around anymore, in all likelihood. If she is then her fucking sword is DEFINITELY toast, and she's about as powerless without it as any other Terran." 

"I suppose so," Vincent admitted. "But-even with-"

"The Genesis Moon?" The boss chuckled. "I dunno, I don't think a station...ship...which is it? It's a station right?" Vincent shrugged. "I don't think a structure of that magnitude is really a threat to a single personal carrier unless the carrier is stupid enough to try and attack it. Anyway," 

Vincent's boss whipped a needle out of his pocket and pressed it against the back of Vincent's neck. Both stood still for a moment, confirming that there wasn't any wriggling.

"Okay, now me." 

Vincent pulled out his. 

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