(Cover art by @BloodyBoots)
Hey, I’m a newish fluffy owner currently taking care of my sister’s pet. He’s a sweet little guy, he loves to cuddle and watch TV with me, but he’s developed a bit of an accident problem. I’ve tried withholding treats, I even graduated to flicking him on the nose but there’s no change. The other day he left a big puddle on my bed and I may have gone a bit too far in disciplining him, I don’t want a repeat of that if it can be helped. He didn’t behave like this when he first showed up, so I feel like I’ve done something wrong. Any help getting my little buddy back would be appreciated!
After staring at it for an additional hour to be sure he hadn’t missed anything while also not revealing private information, Steven hit post. After the episode where he beat Mister Kindly he was feeling out of his depth, and needed to consult the wider world of fluffy experts. After a day of searching he found a website full of kind and creative people who knew everything fluffy. His post had been flooded with welcome messages, as well as questions and comments about his situation. The internet chorus had focused on Mister’s speech and behavior, which was odd since Steven was sure he was the cause for Mister’s misbehavior. But one thing hadn’t sat well with him. He saw a comment asking if Mister Kindly had used his name, or referred to himself as “fluffy” during any of these incidents. The cries of FWUFFY NU WAN rang in his ears as he responded and Steven was hit with a bombshell. Fluffies lie, and when they lie they can’t use their own name. The very notion caused resistance to bubble up within him. His fluffy, sweet and cuddly as he was, could be intentionally lying to him? It just couldn’t be so. There had to be a way to prove his innocence.
Many people told him the same thing: a sorry box/stick combo is a necessary litmus test for any fluffy. Apparently those Hasbio guys didn’t just commit crimes against god when they made fluffies, but also wallets. Fluffies are programmed to respond to those two specific pieces of equipment, sold conveniently at your nearest Hasbio provider until fluffies became a global plague and Hasbro couldn’t keep their monopoly. Oh well, every day someone fucks it up for everyone else, and we’re left to deal with it. As much as it pained Steven to deliberately upset Mister even more, the forum people insist that he try it and see if it changes his behavior. A good fluffy, Steven’s internet friends explained, would shape up after a night in the sorry box, but if not then they were doing it on purpose.
Steven thought as he read over the replies and came up with a plan. Next day delivery let him put it into action almost immediately. When he was eating his lunch he made sure it was macaroni salad, Mister’s second favorite food, and used his phone to turn on the new bluetooth camera facing the couch. Standing up, he addressed Mister Kindly.
“Okay Mister,” he said seriously, “I’m just going to the bathroom, don’t touch my food while I’m gone.”
With an “otay Daddeh-me” Steven glided to the bathroom, where he immediately whipped out his phone to check the camera. He saw Mister Kindly watching the tv cheerfully, humming to himself in a tuneless trill. Before he had time to be reassured, Mister suddenly came to attention as his ears swiveled in the direction Steven left in. A beat, then he turned to Steven’s macaroni salad and took a moderately sized mouthful that he just as quickly swallowed. He smiled, making squeaky sounds of pleasure and licking his lips before going in again, and again. Well, the plan was working so far, although it annoyed Steven just how quickly Mister had started misbehaving. After enough time had passed he flushed the toilet which made Mister move back into position, humming that tuneless hum.
Steven entered the living room casually, and took his seat as though he hadn’t just been betrayed by his small friend. He looked to see the video that had been playing had ended, and a new one had automatically started up. This gave him an idea.
“Mister, did you change the video?”
“Wha?” Mister swings his head around at the unexpected question.
“When I left we were watching a video about Oblivion, why is there a video about black holes playing?”
“Siwwy Daddeh-me, fwuffy nu can changie teebee!”
“You’re right, it must have been autoplay. Silly me. Oh, and one more thing; did you eat my macaroni?”
Without blinking Mister Kindly responded. “Nuh uh Daddeh-me, fwuffy am gud fwuffy, nu eat hoomin nummies.”
Steven stared at the liar sitting in front of him. It was true. The fucker could lie. He had BEEN lying! That fucker! He ran through all his previous disagreements with Mister and spotted it again and again. A fist of anger kneaded at his ribs as he reflected. Not only had he been lying the whole time, but Steven had believed him. He had given him the benefit of the doubt, had even ignored things because of his “low intelligence.” Well there was no denying it now. Steven wanted to grab the sorry stick and beat the embarrassment away, but he caught himself. Mister Kindly still wasn’t /his fluffy, however he felt about him this was all for his sister Helen. He had to exercise control.
“That’s not true. I saw you eating it while I was in the bathroom.”
“Wha? Daddeh-me nu can see Mistew if Daddeh-me in da bafwoom.”
“I used a cam- human magic to watch you from far away Mister, I know you ate my macaroni salad. I saw you do it. That was a bad thing to do! Bad fluffy!”
“WHA? Buh… buh dat nu am faiw! Fwuffy jus’ hab tummy huwties an nee bestest Daddeh-me nummies fo tummy huwties. Nu knu hoomins hab magic! Fw-MMistew am gud fwuffy, nu huwties pwease? Sowwy pwease?”
“No Mister, you directly disobeyed me, which means you need to be punished. Today you get the sorry stick.”
Steven ignored Mister’s wails of horror as he went to retrieve the sorry stick, so new it was still in its box. It was basically a marked up riding crop, complete with a leather tongue on the end. Upon his return there was silence. Mister Kindly was in the far corner of the room, hiding underneath a curtain. His quivering black butt was clearly visible, and the outline of a fluffy head and shoulders could be seen in the drapery. Crossing his arms, Steven called for him to come. After no response, he gently but firmly scruffed Mister and sat him in the open, facing himself. With a mask of calm authority, Steven addressed him.
“Mister Kindly. You ate my macaroni salad behind my back, and because of that I’m going to punish you. You ate five bites of my macaroni, so I’m gonna give you five swats with the sorry stick. Understand?”
Without waiting for a response Steven pinned a struggling, nervous Mister Kindly and delivered the first swat with the leather tongue. It was a light thing, more percussive force than a stinging swat, but a shrill “EEEEEEEEEEE” started to come from Mister which rose in pitch with every followup. By the fifth swat the cry had devolved into hiccuping sobs. Even with betrayal fresh in his mind, it pained Steven to see his little friend upset by his own actions. He let him go, hoping that whatever machinery was in his fluffy head would respond to the sorry stick. He listened to him sniffle while he walked away, grateful at least that he seemed to be calming down quickly. Steven felt his ears twitch as he zeroed in on the sound of a fluffy voice, low but not hushed.
“Dummeh Daddeh-me gib Mistew huwties, Mistew hatechu! Gonna gib sowwy poopies, an peepees, AN sicky wawas.”
Electricity jolted through Steven’s entire nervous system. His pupils dilated, hands flexed, feet set themselves apart; it was as if those words had activated every cell in Steven’s body and set them to attack mode. “NO YOU FUCKING DON’T,” he roared as he charged towards the disobedient little shit. As he gripped Mister in one hand, the other still white-knuckling the sorry stick, thoughts of his sister Helen were absent. As were thoughts of Mister’s wellbeing. All his reptilian brain could see in his fist, which was only slightly constricting its windpipe, was a willful, disobedient little fucker that he had the displeasure of tending to. He had manipulated Steven, eaten his food, shit on his floors, his bed, eaten his shoelaces… He probably thought he was the king of this castle! He had to break it of that persuasion, using the most terrifying and effective tool he could think of: pain. He rang Mister’s bell setting him on the oaken table, not hard enough to crack his skull but enough to cause dizziness. Before, Mister Kindly had struggled like a child who didn’t want his nose wiped. Along with Steven’s energy, his efforts had changed significantly. His eyes were like saucers, wide and alert, searching for an escape from death. He tried to plead with Steven even as he was screamed at, even if it was hard to breathe, even as his head was slammed against the table, but what good are the words of a liar?
The sixth swat fell like a thunderclap. Bright, white-hot agony assaulted Mister Kindly’s flank as his mouth opened in a silent scream. Every single muscle in his body clenched in response to the pain, the blow from Daddeh-me enough to leave blood and fluff along the length of the sorry stick. After five or six forevers he recovered enough to scream. But Daddeh-me wasn’t done, he brought the sorry stick down again, and again, and again! With every hit Mister struggled with an urgency that went beyond selfishness, clawing at munstah Daddeh’s hand with marshmallow hooves, wriggling and twisting and bucking and ducking his body to try and avoid the blows, or lessen their effect. He tried to squeak out an apology, a threat, anything to make munstah Daddeh stop it! All it seemed to do was make munstah Daddeh angrier! His hand was so strong and heavy, making it hard for him to breathe. Mister Kindly choked on phlegm and tears as he felt boo boo juice run all down his flank, making his pretty fluff sticky and clumpy. Then, munstah Daddeh’s hand held on to his hoofies and he got the WORSTEST hurties on his leggies! When he was finally done, Daddeh-me took him to where the vroom vroom munstah lived and put him in a sowwy box. Before he had time to think about that, munstah Daddeh banged on the box, giving biggest scardies!
“You’ve been a BAD fluffy!” Munstah Daddeh said. “Maybe if I leave you in this sorry box long enough, you’ll become a good fluffy when I take you out.”
Then Mister was alone. It was cold inside the vroom vroom munstah’s housie, not as cold as outside but definitely colder than in the housie with Daddeh-me. The boo boo juice on his flank and leggies is dark and sticky, and now providing a chilling effect in the cold sowwy box. Unknown to Mister Kindly, he was also going through the effects of shock after such a traumatic experience and injury. After thirty forevers of being alone he was wracked with uncontrollable shivering and curled in on himself as much as possible to keep his leggies warm. They were so, so cold, his leggies. That was all he could think about. The cold, and the hurties. He didn’t have time to think about his Daddeh-me, or his Mummah, or nummies or blockies or balls. He just sort of sat, shivering and waiting. When he finally needed to use the wittah bocks, Daddeh-me didn’t come to get him. He went where he lay, and began to cry again. All the while shivering.
When Steven slammed the garage door shut he was still running white hot. Using the sorry stick had done nothing to calm him down, and only the sight of Mister crying so hard that he choked had pulled enough heartstrings to bring back his restraint. His hands started shaking as adrenaline turned to poison in his veins. Had he just done that? He fixated on the sorry stick, still in his right hand. The “safe” instrument was dripping red which ran down the handle and coated Steven’s grip, gumming it up. Steven thought of himself as a good person. He had never gotten into trouble growing up, never got into fights or stole, and certainly had never hurt others, yet here he was. He had just beaten the mental equivalent of a child in hot blood, going so far as to inflict maximum pain on its legs once spanking had run its course. The bonfire of righteousness and fury, the urgency of catching someone in the act had been so seductive that Steven’s humanity took a back seat. What… right did he have? Just because he was angry, he got to beat and terrify something that can’t fight back?
Steven found himself drowning in regret. Here he was, Mister Kindly, his cuddle buddy, his soft little friend, and he had traumatized the little guy over a few messes? Some misbehavior? He was a failure of a pet owner. He wanted more than anything to rush back into the garage and beg Mister for his forgiveness, to promise him that something like this would never repeat itself! But, heartbreakingly, Steven realized he couldn’t. Mister Kindly had misbehaved after all, and he couldn’t back down now. It would send the message that crying forgives all sins. He breathed a prayer that by tomorrow he would be forgiven, and everything could go back to the way that it was. The rest of the day was spent in a sort of fuge. Steven’s guilt was a millstone hung around his neck. Everything he did, Mister Kindly’s absence was there, reminding him of the terrible thing he had done.
When Steven woke up the next morning, he just couldn’t take it anymore. Without even getting dressed, he made his way to the garage. It had gotten into the forties last night, and Mister was already more miserable than Steven had wanted him to be. He opened the door slowly, and softly. Every aspect of Steven’s body language was being monitored, making sure to not spook an already injured Mister. He unlatched the sorry box at arm’s length. When he spoke it was low and gentle, and nervous.
“H-Hey Mister… it’s time for you to come out of there.” Silence greeted him.
“Mister Kindly, come on, I’m not mad at you anymore. Just… come out, ok? It can’t be comfortable in there.”
The Mister Kindly that emerged from that sorry box was a shadow of his former self, at least in Steven’s eyes. In truth, he had tears staining his cheeks, and his head and tail were hunched in a defeated posture. The vicious welts covering him weren’t too pretty either, but with a fluffy’s constitution and healing ability, granted to them by the benevolent engineers at Hasbio, Mister would look brand new within the week. Steven, being the novice that he is, didn’t know this and saw Mister’s appearance as utterly waifish. The slug of guilt in his heart grew three sizes that day.
“Daddeh-me…” Mister’s lip quivered, real emotion showing in his face. “Daddeh-me, Mistew am SOWWYY-he-he-he-heee!”
With that sobbing apology, it was all just too much for Steven. He gently scooped Mister Kindly up, cradling him against his bare chest. All the frustration, anger, indignity, resentment, and guilt that he’d been harboring popped like soap bubbles, overcome with the desire to take care of this small creature. He carried him to his bathroom, and ran body temperature water in the tub. Steven wept as he saw what he had done. He washed blood, piss, and shit out of Mister’s fur, who didn’t complain once about wawa being bad for fluffies. The entire time Mister submitted to his ministrations Steven would give him reassuring scritches and pats, breathing words of apology and affection. Following this was a thorough blow-drying, and Steven’s best attempts to bandage an animal without using google. He didn’t think to shave off the fur to make it easier. It probably would have upset Mister anyway.
The rest of the day was quiet, and gentle. Steven put on his best Bob Ross impression, Mister was much less rambunctious than usual. Neither of them spoke about what had happened the day before. They didn’t speak much in general. Just sat in each other’s company, feeling each other’s body heat. They ate all their meals together, and relaxed by watching TV in between. Steven enjoyed the weight of Mister in his lap, and Mister enjoyed the weight of Steven’s hand. Steven made spaghetti for dinner, the good kind. When they went to bed that night, Mister Kindly was nestled into the crook of Steven’s arm.
Jeez! Wasn’t that a journey? If you were enjoying Changing Hearts and Minds and were disappointed by the lack of updates, rejoice! I plan to do more of these in the future, this isn’t anywhere near the end.
I’ll admit this story is fairly personal for me, it’s about 50% art and creative expression and 50% public therapy. Other series like Fluffy Hell are more for the pure joy of writing, but I like to add some things that I think are important for people to know more about or some “deep” double meanings to things here lol.
Super secret FEELINGS and stuff
Previously it’s been disassociation, anxiety, and other sad things, but today I’ve got gentleness on the brain. Now, is Steven and Mister Kindly’s relationship a healthy one? FUCK no. BUT, if we were to replace their dynamic with a consensual one, the final few chapters would still be the most important ones to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about emotions, and experiences that bring out intense emotions like therapy, getting tattooed, kink, and I think I’m a little obsessed with the idea of aftercare. And “care” in general. So I put a little of what I need into my story, as a treat. As insane as it sounds, I found myself a little jealous of Mister.
Anyway, as always let me know what you think! I’m not going to say when the next one will come out anymore, it’ll just come when it’s ready. That way it’ll be good. If you’re reading this, thank you for taking the time to hear what I have to say, and have a good day! <3