Things a Tree Knows

Originally posted on Patreon in Nov 2019 and part of the Great Patreon Crossposting to WordPress.
The character(s) in this story are the grandsprouts of Curry, from Addergoole Year 9, especially this chapter and this outtake and this hiatus fic.
(note: as of posting in mid-January, Year 9 is temporarily down.  Sorry about that!)

Short version: Curry, and “his” children, reproduce more or less asexually, and thus produce clones.  But possibly not really.

This story is set a (short) generation after the apocalypse (2011-2012) in the Fae Apoc setting.

Quercus  and their siblings are all “they”, because gender can be interesting when you’re a magical fairy not-quite-clone tree person.

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There were things Quercus knew that didn’t really matter.   Their siblings were not quite clones, but everyone thought they were; they weren’t quite clones of their parent, but everyone thought they were.

(They knew something that did matter, which was that their family line’s exact method of reproduction continued to confuse both botanists and fae geneticists, but it still seemed to work, although Quercus hadn’t been interested in trying themselves yet.)

They knew they grew up slowly, they had longer before they had to go to “school” than most people by almost twice as long, and they got to play in their garden as much as they wanted as long as they did their schoolwork and chores first.They also knew their siblings weren’t nearly as interested in gardens as them – Grevillea spent most of their time in the orchard, where, paradoxically, Casuarinaca liked small animals.; Lithocarpi preferred mostly mosses but mostly liked people.  Which meant that their time in their garden was almost always alone-time, a blessing they had very little of.

They also knew, as a matter of course, that when one is part of a clone-set of four (five, five, Quercus always whispered, but it was always a very quiet whisper, way in the back of their mind), quiet, peace, and time with one’s own thoughts aren’t things that come easily. So they’d gotten help with a fence around their garden and they worked hard to be sure that they did everything they were supposed to to keep that time growing carrots and potatoes and spinach and kale.

Another thing Quercus knew – all four of them (five) knew – was that the world was “a mess”, as their foster-parents said.  The world was “a mess.”  It had “fallen apart” when their parent was still a child.  A lot of people had died, and a lot more were hungry, sick, starving or dying.

Quercus couldn’t really picture a lot of people in the numbers that their parents used, but they could picture hungry.  And Lithocarpi liked people and, weird as they were, Lithocarpi was Quercus’ favorite sibling.

Quercus spent as much time as they could in their garden, learning everything they could about plants and how they grew, what they didn’t like and what they did.

When they were grown up, whenever that came, whenever a person that was mostly a tree reached maturity, they were going to go out there.  And they were going to plant carrots and potatoes and kale until nobody was hungry or sick anymore.

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