The Florette's Dilemma

38- Helpful

by Motherlygirl

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

Mane looked up from her little rented virtual pet and frowned. The light streaming in from the rest of the ship would make the entrance easily recognizable from somewhere close to it, but as things stood it was a long ways away from her. She had no idea which direction it was in. Her legs started taking her in the direction she automatically assumed to be "forwards," for whatever value that could have. She stuffed her hand in her coat pocket and swished Baron Von Buddyfriend's home gently about within the grasp of the other. She tried not to let her mind wander, if she could avoid it...but it seemed at the moment that she couldn't. Would she be in trouble for taking too long? It didn't seem like she would be, but some part of her brain insisted that she should worry she would. She tried in vain to shake the thoughts from her mind. 

Mane stopped in her tracks. A recognizable sound had caught her attention. Off against a wall, a girl in what was obviously floret garb sat against a wall, crying inconsolably. Mane felt an almost maternal instinct activate in her brain and scurried immediately into position kneeling over next to them. Her brain seemed to shut halfway down: this was her current priority, and nothing else. She only sputtered with her words for a moment before a part of her brain she hadn't accessed for years, its mechanisms rusty but not quite atrophied from misuse, seized the controls. 

"Hey, little lady. What's wrong?" Mane asked in the softest and most comforting voice she could muster (which, naturally, was a richer and slower variation of her girl voice). The girl, who Mane could now tell was in the fetal position, looked up at her with tears in her eyes. There was no fear in her, no disgust, no disdain. No barely-disguised contempt either. She looked up at Mane with sadness, which quickly became tinged with highlights of hope and relief. 

"H-hii," she sputtered, "I...dropped something important." She gulped tears down, though Mane couldn't tell whether she was trying to save face or just attempting to make it so she could talk. Mane nodded patiently. 

"What did you drop, sweetheart?" She spoke slowly, gently, as one might to a small rabbit. "Would you like help looking for it?" 

"I…." The girl wiped at her face with one of her palms. "Th-there's a sh-shelf of cute virtual pets here, right?" She asked, seeming almost ashamed of being so upset over something Mane might find trivial. Mane flashed a soothing smile and held the device of her own out so they could see it. They seemed somewhat reassured and nodded. "Y-yeah, like that one. Anyway, owner got me one custom made, and so I was returning th-the one I got here, but I d-dropped it!" The girl heaved in a heavy gulp of air. Mane nodded back to her.

"Awwwww, I'm sorry, that's awful! Do you want a hug?" The girl nodded and put her arms out. Mane pulled her into a slight embrace and stroked her hair. She seemed to relax. "Theeeeere, there. I'll help you look for it okay?" She contemplated just giving the girl Baron Von Buddyfriend, but she didn't want to like, accidentally trick her into breaking a promise with her affini and getting punished. She helped the girl to her feet. "There, there. C'mon sweetie, let's breathe. Innnnn...out. Innnn...out." The floret did as she asked and Mane's instructions quickly helped her calm down. She was still sniffling, but it no longer shook her entire body. 

"Thank you…" the girl muttered shakily. She tried to smile for Mane, and...she mostly succeeded. "I...I had it in my pocket when I came in, but I stumbled a few must have fallen out. I'm...I'm sorry…" Mane reached over and pressed, gently, the back of a hand against the girl's cheek. It seemed to immediately put her more at ease. 

"It's okay, sweetheart," Mane reassured her. She stroked the girl's face slightly with her hand. "Do you know...about where you were when you did?" 

"I...I only remember the worst of them, sorry…"

"Then it's the most likely to have made it fall out of your pocket," Mane said with a slight bit of a teasing lilt. "C'mon, let's go there and take a look, okay?" The girl nodded, hesitantly, and turned to lead Mane. Mane stuffed Baron Von Buddyfriend in her pants pocket...or, she tried to. Then she realized she was wearing a tiny skirt. THEN she poked around and discovered she was wearing a tiny skirt...with pockets. Hell yeah. She put the device in one of them. 

"It's…" the girl walked over to a row of desks with small tvs set up on them, outfitted with consoles and controllers. "I bumped my hip on the corner of one of these, and then my legs got crossed up and…" she twiddled her thumbs. "I...fell over…" Mane felt both amused and bad for her, not to mention bad for being amused. In any case, she smiled and gave a thumbs up. Then she dropped to the ground. The underside of the desks didn't seem to have much going on. Mane dug around on the floor with her arm and didn't see, feel, or hear anything. The devices each came with a thin, jangly little keychain connector, so theoretically it was a safe bet that if she didn't find one doing this, none were there. After she'd done enough pawing around to feel confident they weren't in the right place, Mane crawled out from under the table and stood back up. The girl, who must have been watching her, stood straight and was biting her nails. Odd, Mane thought to herself, she would expect the affini to train a habit like that out of their florets. Perhaps she hadn't been one for very long. 

"Not-not this corner," Mane said with a smile. "I'll go around and check all of them for you though, okay dear?" The girl shook a little but seemed to accept. Mane followed the grid of tables all across its perimeter, dropping to the floor and inspecting the space under and around each corner much like she had that first one. Once she'd investigated each corner, she thought about giving up. The affini probably wouldn't punish her too harshly…

No, said the part of her brain which led her here. The girl was clearly upset. Mane was going to HELP HER. 

Mane went around again and checked under EACH section this time, not just the corners, and that included a second investigation of each of the latter. Still, her arm and eyes and ears all came together each time and reported to her that, unfortunately, what she was looking for wasn't there. Mane stood up the last time from this second sweep and crossed her arms as she started to think. The girl's emotions seemed to pick back up. 

"I'm sorry," she tearfully apologized, "it'll be okay, really I mean it, you don't have to-" 

"Shhhhhh," Mane whispered affectionately. She once more put a hand to the girl's cheek, this time just right for a tear sliding out of her eyeball to roll onto Mane's finger with scarcely a second on its maker's face. "I want to help you. I'm happy to. Just relax. It'll be okay. We'll find it, okay? Let's track your path from the entrance, kay?" The girl seemed stunned. She sniffled slightly and gave a nod-this one was a little forced, but her face wasn't completely devoid of determination. 

"Okay," she mumbled, "okay, that's...let's go, I guess, yeah." She turned again and walked on shaky, uncertain legs. Mane followed closely behind her and all the while inspected the ground as best she could using her eyes. She didn't see the lost device anywhere, but she didn't let that discourage her. The girl moved along, mumbling to herself. She was probably narrating her thoughts as she played out her path from the entrance to where she realized she'd dropped it, Mane figured. The girl's voice was pretty, but obviously hurt. Mane resolved almost automatically not to leave her side until she felt better. The girl would sometimes stop and go in circles, or try without success to remember which of two places she'd gone; in these times, Mane contented herself by searching the ground or having her stay put and investigating both potential ares herself, respectively. Inevitably, Mane's searches failed to produce any results beyond the disheartening phrase "not here." As time went on the girl seemed to become more and more guilty, rather than upset. 

Eventually they sood by a row of puzzle game cabinets that was close to the entrance. The light of outside made the floor much more searchable here. The girl seemed to give up. 

"I'll never find it…!" She pouted, again on the verge of tears. "It was what got me through domestication and I wanna give it back so it can help other florets do the same and I lost it and I'm such a failureeeeee-"

Mane was holding her. The girl's eyes went wide. 

"Awwwww, such a sweetheart," mane purred like a bear. She gently scratched the floret's scalp. "It's in the arcade, we know that much, so SOMEONE will find it soon. You're not a failure, sweetheart, okay?" 

"Oh...okay…" the girl shoved her face against Mane's chest and reverted back to uncontrolled wailing. Mane squeezed her gently and rested her chin on the girl's hair. With time, she grew calmer. "…"

"Of course, sweetheart," Mane replied in a tender whisper. The words "I love you" jumped up her throat by instinct but she found the common sense not to say that. Instead she settled for stroking her hair slowly and gently. The floret seemed comforted by this gesture and, slowly but steadily, her body stopped heaving and she stopped crying. Even then, she leaned limply against Mane's embrace for a while longer, not wanting to leave the kind stranger's soft touch or sweet words. Mane, for her part, was happy to let her stay in place for as long as she liked. 

"I'm...glad you were there," the girl whispered back. "I'm...sorry you had to get on the floor so much." Mane giggled a little. 

"No, no, darling, you have nothing to apologize for. You wanted to do a good deed for someone else and it seemed like you failed, of course you were scared and upset." It was a feeling Mane knew all too terribly well. Mixed with the emotional investment that plushies and electronic pets naturally coaxed out of humans who spent time with them, and...only a truly heartless bastard would have done any less than she had, for this poor girl. "Will your owner be mad that you lost it?"

"N-no," the girl whimpered. "She didn't expect me to return it. But...I wanted to…!" More heavy sniffles.

"There there, it's okay." Mane squeezed her again. "I'm sure your owner will forgive you." Mane's tablet beeped. She could investigate later. "You' very giving. If she wouldn't forgive you, she doesn't deserve you." Wait, was...was that treason? Mane felt like that may have been treason. Oops. 

"I...I wouldn't go that far…" the girl sighed. "You don't think she'll take my new one away?" Standard protocol here would normally dictate that Mane respond "if she does, I'll kill her" but, for too many reasons to list, including that it probably wasn't as comforting coming from someone who had actually killed a man, that was an obviously horrible idea so she didn't. 

"I doubt it sweetheart. And if she does, I can give you mine." The girl gasped and looked up, tears in her eyes. Mane could hardly meet the sparkling brown of her eyes, such was the admiration pouring out of her. 

"Thank you…!" The girl squeezed Mane back, let go, wiped at her face one last time, and scrambled off for the entrance. Mane felt...lots of emotions. 

Her tablet rang.

Oh god oh god. It was Effus!

"H-hello?" She asked into the device. 

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