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Where Are We Going

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Howdy. This is my first venture into the world of writing fanfic. The impetus came from my love of the series, though I stopped around season 5. I tuned in for the finale and if I were being completely honest I felt a little empty after viewing it. So here we are, as I try to tackle some of the issues I personally had with the ending. I should note that since the last time I properly watched AT was season 5 I maybe be misinformed in some areas, though I do try to wiki dive for information feel free to point out any inaccuracies or things I just flat out got wrong.


 


It was a calm day in the land of Ooo, it's inhabitants winding down from the invasion of Golb and relishing in the peaceful days that followed his, or rather her, departure. Marceline in particular was quite jovial having just finished a date with Bubblegum. All that was left was to figure out how to finish her day.

"I wonder what hero boy's been up to." She settled on hanging with Finn and Jake. A good idea considering they would be leaving soon to group with the Humans and aid them in their integration into the land of Ooo.

There was no telling how long he would be gone, perhaps the humans would colonize far from the reaches of the candy kingdom. What if Finn decided he liked the humans, enough to stay with them for the rest of his life and abandon his old friends?

"Nah. That kid's gonna get bored in a month, two tops. He'll come back to us" Marceline reassured herself. The idea still left her feeling sad, however. Finn may not have been there for even a fraction of her life but the impact he had on the Vampire Queen and all of Ooo was massive considering the short time he had spent in the world. Imagining a scenario where Finn was absent didn't sit right with her, it made her feel empty. Marceline tried her best to shake off these thoughts as she arrived at where the once stood Tree Fort.

She floated in noticing Jake sifting a bunch of luggage but no Finn. "Yo Jake, where's-" She was cut off by a shriek.

"AAAIIIIIEEEEeeeesh, will you quit scarin me like that?" Due to Marceline's silent floating Jake hadn't even noticed the intrusion prior to her call out.

"Dude I wasn't even trying to, you're just a pansy" she stifled a giggle to avoid annoying Jake any further.

"Yeah yeah, whatever. And for your information I haven't seen my bro since the morning. He was looking kinda messed up, but not in like the super sad way. More in the 'I got a lot occupying my mind space and I need to try and sort all this junk out' kinda way" Jake said as he rubbed his temples and closed his eyes trying to emulate someone under heavy concentration.

"Uhuh...Any idea where he went?" Marceline was only slightly concerned, after all that had happened it would be stranger if Finn wasn't troubled.

"You know Finn, he never really knows where he's goin, just that he's goin" Jake shrugged.

"Okay, well I'm gonna try and find the little guy. Catch ya later" She waved as she made her exit. "Good luck!" could be heard in the distance as Marceline left to begin her search.


 

Her journey would end atop Mt. Cragdor, where she found a young boy trapped in contemplation under the moon's glow. This time Marceline would intentionally scare her target. She crept behind him and morphed into her enlarged bat form before roaring her mightiest roar. It shook the ground around them startling any nearby wildlife, not Finn though.

"Sup Marceline" Finn's voice was monotone.

His response was flaccid to say the least. "Well you're no fun" she said with a pout.

"Sorry" the human's indifference was unfaltering.

The short responses annoyed her, mostly because she didn't like seeing Finn so apathetic. "You okay dude? You seem...out of it" she morphed back and sat next to him, opting not to float. Given the tone it simply didn't feel right.

"Not really" he made no attempt to hide his current mood which caught Marceline off guard. What's gotten into him? the vampire thought, she wasn't prepared for things to get so heavy this quickly. Silence filled the air briefly before Finn continued to speak, "Can I be real with you for a sec?" for the first time in this interaction he showed some emotion, and it felt dire. He gave her the option to decline but she wouldn't let herself refuse.

"Go for it man, if you think I can help I'm all ears" she tackled it with positivity to counter his negativity. She'd been having a good day so far so where was the harm in sharing those good vibes?

Finn was quite for a moment as he collected his thoughts. He took a deep breath, preparing his lungs for the jumbled mess of words that were about to escape his mind out his mouth, "I don't know where to start, I don't even know what's happening. The whole thing with the war and Golb happened so fast and I barely even did anything." Finn's pride as hero was one the more fragile aspects of him.

"I'm supposed to be the Glob dang hero of Ooo! I mean, sure, I managed to get Bubblegum to calm down but then Gumbald tried to backstab her anyway! She could've gotten seriously hurt cause of me." The thought didn't strike him at the time, but upon reflection he realized how much danger he put the princess in.

"Then there's Fern...Fern...I wish I could talk to him again. I feel like I said the wrong things, but I was panicking! I wanted him to feel like we were riding on the same wavelength, that I knew what he was going through. That wasn't his deal though, he hated me because he felt like he had to be me. You don't gotta be me dude! That's what's so mathematical about being your own person! You can be better than me, you can be the hero you wanna be and make people love you for you! And he died never knowing that…" Finn dreaded looking back on this moment, the aching regret he would feel.

"Simon and Betty... Maybe there was nothing I could do about what happened there but my heart feels all jank everytime I think about it. And Huntress! We have this thing, err, had? Still have? I don't know. She's so mysterious and I can't figure it out but I really wanna make it work and-"

Marceline put her hand to his mouth signaling that he needed to calm down. "Deep breaths, Finn" she said removing her hand. "I think...that...hmmm…" it was her turn to delve in to the realm of deep thought. His worried expression didn't help her concentration.

Marceline started with a sigh "Yeah things did kind of go by in the blink of an eye huh? But who cares if you didn't play a big role in the end of it? It wouldn't be far fetched to say that we made it this far because of you, so what if you took the backseat on this one and got to enjoy the ride? I think you earned the break."

"You managed to talk bonnie down and that was something even I couldn't do, and were dating! Seriously, you gotta pat yourself on the back for that one. When I saw Fern, I dunno about you but he looked like he went out pretty happy. Besides, you planted him like he asked so there's always a chance you'll be able to talk to him again."

"Betty is gone, you're gonna have to let that one go Finn. What you can do is make sure to keep contact with Simon and make him happy, I know I will. He's going through a lot right now and he needs our help, plus, it's what Betty would've wanted. As for your tree girl, ehhh I don't got much info on her. But I know you, Finn, and I know that you're capable of learning from your past experiences and those around you. Learn from what Jake does wrong and what me and Bonnie do right. And don't be afraid to ask me for help yeah? I wanna see you happy dude." Marceline gave him a reassuring smile and nudge of the elbow.

"Marcy I...That was...Thank you." He said giving her a content smile and a hug. Marceline returned the hug in full. They embraced each other for a few more moments before parting.

"So you're gonna be leaving soon huh?" She sighed with a hint of sadness.

"Yeah, it's an chance I never thought I'd get. To hang with my people. Show em the best parts of Ooo and fight the worst together. It's rad." Finn noticed a frown creep on her face as she looked away. "I'm gonna miss you guys, but I ain't gonna be gone forever. What kinda henchman would I be leaving my master all alone like that" Finn elbowed back in jest with a smile.

"Finn…" Marceline contemplated for a brief moment commanding him to stay.

"Yeah?" he responded.

"...you're a dork" she giggled. She couldn't take this away from him, it wasn't her place to do so. Marceline might've done it near the beginning of their friendship, but her respect for the boy had grown all too much.

"If I'm a dork then you must be a turbo dork" They shared laughter before returning to silence.

"Well, I should be going then" Marceline began to float away until Finn spoke up one last time.

"Hey, Marcy. Is it weird that I've been thinking about all that stuff so much? I mean, it's just that I usually try to deal with these things as they come or ignore em. But ever since I got rid of my vault it doesn't feel right to just let these things sit at the back of my head anymore. I can't help but try and think about my problems more and how to fix them. Even if it makes me feel like junk."

A look of concern washed over his face. Finn always let the bad vibes pass through him and kept the worst vibes locked away. With his vault gone that was no longer an option. He didn't want to escape these feelings by running and hiding anymore. But he was hurting and he didn't know if he was supposed to be.

Marceline raised an eyebrow and smiled, "You kidding? I mean yeah it's weird to see you do it, never took you for the type to try and solve your issues like that. But that's super mature of you Finn. Our little boy is growin up where it counts the most" she tapped her skull with a single figner. "I'm really proud of you dude. Excited to see how you'll turn out." She said floating away.

"Peace homie" he said throwing up a peace sign.

"Peace" she returned the gesture.

I'm excited too, he thought to himself.

Chapter Text

 


4 years later

"Man that Cyclops-Hugwolf-Wizard hybrid was insane! Moreover, I ain't never seen you beat down a baddie so hard before!" Jake recalled the events of their most recent adventure. "I mean he was all like 'ZAP ZAP PEWSH' and you were all like 'HA HU, WHOOSH, KACHINK'. For real dawg that was some finessin' and stylin' back there." Jake excitedly re-enacted the action in the living room of the Tree Fort.

"Haha, I dunno man I feel like you're givin me too much credit. It wasn't that different from my normal butt kickin. Just that the bad guy was a little bit stronger this time so I had bust out a little more skill y'know?" Finn gave a humble response.

"You kidding me? Ever since you got all that training from Huntress you've been slaying derriere with flips, dips, and loop de loops flawlessly!" Jake made reference to the fact that Finn had spent some good time hanging out with his girlfriend, Huntress Wizard, over the past four years. When the two had the opportunity to be with each other they would always adventure and slay monsters, always.

"Huntress didn't teach me any of that dude, she taught me about magic stuff and some cool tricks on how to hunt monsters. All the fancy combat tech I learned was when I was training the other humans." Finn hung up his green satchel that replaced his old backpack long ago. He reminisced of the time spent with his kind.

Adventuring with them was less about the fun, though he did enjoy it, and more about the protection and survival of his people. It had a greater purpose. Teaching them how to thrive and guiding them through Ooo with his familiarity of the land taught him something about himself. Exploring and being a hero for fun is great and he would never let that part of him go. However, thinking beyond that, giving a reason to his hobby, to set a goal where the reward was more than just self fulfillment, that was a whole new level of mathematical. In the end the humans would pay him back ten fold.

"That's true. You taught them a lot but they took your fighting smarts and ran with it, in the end they showed you more than you showed them!"

Finn made his way towards the cupboards to grab some cereal. "They really did man. I learned so much more than just fighting from those guys, like-"

"You found me!" BMO exclaimed.

"Ooooh jeez…" Jake winced.

"Uhhh BMO, how long have you been hiding in there?" Finn wore a look of concern on his face.

"Four years, one month, two weeks, three days, twelve hours, sixteen minutes, and thirty seconds!" He counted with joy. "Wow Finn you look big and strong! How did that happen?" His cheerful tone continued.

"Oh! I...uhhh...had to...fight a bunch of monsters looking for you! Yeah, oh yeah, it was a long and hard battle but I would do anything to find you little buddy!" Finn struggled to lie through his teeth.

"Wow! That's amazing!" BMO hopped down and waddled away. "Let's play again sometime, okay?"

"Sure thing BMO!" Jake said walking up to his brother.

"Dude, should we tell him we've been back for a year and we just forgot about him?" Finn whispered.

"He'll be fine bro, he seems happy enough."

"Yeah but I feel bad"

"You'll get over it"

Just then a Mock Hawk perched itself on a window grabbing their attention. It opened its beak wide, "Hey Finn, it's Huntress. I was thinking of going on a date. I acquired a map of this area called 'Velo-City', apparently it's home to a bunch of speed demons. Could be fun. Meet me at my place, four thirty…"

The birds beak remained open as if there were more to the message but no sound came out its mouth. Jake and Finn stared at each other confused, unsure if they were free to talk.

"...you can go now...shoo...message complete! Go! BUZZ OFF! AUGH!" sounds of an altercation between the bird and wizard could be heard before the audio cut off and the bird shut its mouth.

Finn stepped up to the Mock Hawk and forced its mouth open and spoke into it, "Sounds cool." He shut the birds mouth and scratched it under the beak signaling the message was finished, with that it took its leave to Huntress.

He gave a dejected sigh before planting himself on the couch. Finn dreaded his dates with Huntress these days.

"Bro, I know you hate hearing me say this but I really think you need to call if off with Huntress. She might be havin fun, but I haven't seen you excited to go out with her for like half a year now."

Finn's expression sunk deeper in to sadness. "Dude I've been feelin jank about me n her for way longer than half a year." His displeasure spawned from never having gone on a "real date" as he put it. Her idea of romance was always packed with action and four years ago this was ideal for Finn, but as they continued to spend time together he felt a longing for something more. A type of romantic intimacy was lacking between the two, they never took the time to slow down and appreciate each other on a personal level. To Finn, their smooching sessions were hollow; all he craved was a cuddle and a conversation.

"That's exactly what I mean man! You know you're in a bad way, so why won't you do anything about it?!" Jake's brotherly love shined on through his concerns for Finn's happiness.

"I have tried! It always ends the same way! I say 'hey babe I really think we should talk about this' and she pretends like nothing's wrong and says 'there's no issue that needs addressing' and she walks away and I can never get a word in!" Finn shouted in frustration. She neglected to handle any of her issues with delicacy, much like he used to do. Huntress walked away from any confrontation between the two believing that all personal issues could be solved via meditation. That may have worked for her, but it did nothing for Finn.

"I'm talkin about doin something for you dawg! You need to look out for number one and right now that's you!" his word's bounced off Finn.

"Jake just drop it, okay? I'm not gonna run away with my tail between my legs just because things are getting tough. I'll make it work. I gotta…" Finn got up and headed to his bedroom to get ready for his date.

Jake got up and ran to the phone and began quickly dialing a number. The phone rang but with no answer. "Aahhhh cmon, cmon!" he whispered, redialing the number.

"Finn? What's up man I'm kinda busy can you make it quick?" Marceline's voice came through.

"Not Finn, it's me Jake" he continued in a low whisper.

"What do you need Jake? Kinda busy with stupid royal candy duties." an annoyed Hey! could be heard from bubblegum in the background. A scoff came out of the vampire's mouth.

"I'll make it snappy. Finn needs help. Things aren't workin with Huntress and the guy's bent on makin it happen. He won't listen to me. Talk some sense into him will ya? I'm beggin ya!"

"Uhhh, I dunno it's not really my place to-" Marceline cut herself short, the memory of her promising to help Finn when he needed it permeated her mind. She was surprised she even recalled that moment. "I got a lot on my plate with the candy kingdom, it'll be tough to rearrange my schedule and all that. But I'll make it happen. In fact, I'll be there tomorrow night. Tell Finn I'll be hangin with him then."

"Marcy c'mon we gotta get this finished by tonight!" bubblegum shouted.

"Bonnie, lay off I'm tryna talk to Jake!" she retorted with an annoyed cadence.

"Hi Jake!" Bubblegum shouted.

"Tell her I said what's poppin. Oh! And thanks a ton Marcy" he whispered.

"Will do, catch ya later dude!" she said with enthusiasm and hung up.

"What did Jake want?" Bubble gum asked as she was filling out paperwork and looking at detailed schematics for new experiments.

"He says 'What's poppin' and asked if I was free to hang out tomorrow night, I told him I'd try." She said floating over to Bonnie and resting her head on her shoulder, wrapping her arms around her.

"Well you better tell him you can't. We got a loaded day tomorrow. First we got a royal dinner with slime princess, then a better part of our day is gonna be spent traveling out to the Human Kingdom to make some negotiations with Minerva. She's got some really cool new tech that I've been wanting to-"

Marceline removed herself from her shoulder and groaned in frustration. "Seriously Bonnie? You can't let me have one night? We've been here practically the whole day!" It was true, Marceline had spent her entire day working tirelessly with the Princess. She never enjoyed these royal and formal duties. Her displeasure with such things was a core part of the tension between her and her father. However, she put that aside for her partner. The vampire knew that she would have to change some things about herself to make this relationship work and she was happy to do so, at first.

"That's exactly it, it's just one night. Why can't you postpone it for another day?" Bubblegum kept calm where Marceline was hasty to raise her voice.

This only served to make Marceline angrier, as if she were being childish in comparison. "Why do you always make it sound so simple? You make it sound like my time isn't worth as much as yours!"

Bubble gum stood up and shouted in defense, "I never said that!"

"You don't have to! You never have to! You never mean it like that, but the bottom line is is you always come across that way! And you would think, you would think, after doing this enough you'd get it! But what do you know! Here we are!" Marceline continued in a frustrated tone. These types of fights seemed to be the norm for the past two years, but that never made them any easier to deal with.

"If you know I don't mean it that way then why do you continue to act like this?!" Bubblegum's voice grew louder.

"ACT LIKE WHAT?! LEMME GUESS, A CHILD?! I'M NOT ACTING LIKE ANYTHING BUBBLEGUM! I WANNA BELIEVE MY GIRLFRIEND WOULD HAVE THE DECENCY TO TRY AND ACCOMMODATE ME FOR A CHANGE!" Marceline screamed in anger.

"I DO accommodate you." Bonnie was no longer yelling but offering a stern rebuttal with a furrowed brow.

"Not when it counts!" Marceline responded in kind before leaving in anger.

Bubblegum sighed before slumping in her chair and looked at her paperwork. "I'll deal with her later…" The princess opted to continue chipping away at her work load.

Chapter Text

 


Finn was torn from his sleep by a knocking on his front door. He was ready to be annoyed but one glance at the time told him that he would have to be up soon anyway. It took Finn a moment to get dressed, having traded his sleeping bag and pajamas for boxers and a bedsheet made heading to bed and getting ready for the morning a slightly quicker process.

The stranger outside knocked once more, his banging was a rhythm incomplete, presumably left for the person on the other side of the door to finish the beat. Definitely Simon, Finn thought to himself with a smile. He made a game out of trying to identify guests by their styles of knocking. He headed downstairs and opened the door with a warm welcome and open arms, "Simon! How ya doin?"

"I'm doing quite well Finn, thank you for asking." He returned the hug. "And how about yourself? Still getting taller I see?"

"Hah, you're just saying that. And I could be better, you woke me up pretty early so I'm tryna get in the groove." He stated as he did some minor stretching.

"Oh, I apologize for intruding at, uhh, such an early time? I suppose? Perhaps I could prepare you a cup of coffee to make up for it?" Simon offered.

"Uh, yeah sure." Finn never enjoyed the taste of coffee nor did he appreciate its practical use of waking up the tired. Nevertheless, he took Simon up on his offer. The coffee was simply a set piece for a discussion the former Ice King wanted to have, usually a long one. Knowing this, the young man obliged out of respect for his friend. Finn pulled out some chairs for the two of them and sat down. "So what's got ya comin down to my shindig, Sim." a nickname given to him by Finn some time ago.

"Oh you know, I was just in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by for some pleasantries!" He was never a good liar.

"C'mon man, you don't gotta hide nothin from me. You're my bro, just like Jake!" There were many things that led to Finn and Simon becoming close friends over the years. He did what Marceline suggested and kept contact with him via letter, at the time he didn't realize how much this meant to the antiquarian. When the hero returned to the Grasslands he often received visits from Simon and gladly accepted the opportunity to chat.

While Finn had talked to many humans since his departure none of them were quite like him, none had the perspective and knowledge that Simon had; Finn let him know that and Simon couldn't be any happier to have a friend who listened so well. That didn't devalue Marceline's company, but having a new face in his life to share a deep bond with was something Simon ached for after the passing of Betty.

"Okay then, from one 'bro' to another, I'll get straight to the point. My little Gunter is caught in a big mess and refuses to tear herself out of it. I've tried my best to console her and talk her out of it but she absolutely will not listen to me under any circumstances. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she views me as a father figure? Children tend to not take the concerns of their parents all too seriously. But if it came from a third party, specifically a close friend whom she has much respect for." Simon stared at Finn raising his eyebrows.

"Oh, you mean me?" He stated in confusion.

"Who else?" Simon replied with a similar tone of bewilderment.

"PB?" Finn felt like he was stating the obviousness.

"Ah right, I haven't told you what the issue is exactly. Bonnibel IS the problem Finn."

"Wha- wait wait, hold up. You need to do some more explaining." He was astonished to hear that the Princess was the core of trouble's plaguing the Vampire.

"I can't say I blame you for not picking up on it sooner, you've only been back for a year. Not to mention her lack of free time these days. From what I understand this has been going on for roughly two years now, though Marceline only began to speak to me about her relationship troubles about a year and a quarter since they've started bickering."

"At first it seemed like small squabbles that every couple has, but I know my Gunter and I know that she wouldn't come to me unless it's really been affecting her psyche. So I offered my ears and words of encouragement, I wanted her to be happy like any good father would. The tension gradually escalated, the problems would vary in size but they were never colossal, it was the frequency of bouts between the two that would prove fatal to their relationship."

"Over time they compounded, all the small things would combine to create a great boulder of mental strain that Marceline would have to carry all on her lonesome. Try as I might, she would never accept my assistance. I would have talked to Bonnibel had she let me but I was careful not to overstep my boundaries, she would not let me intervene."

"Just last night I hastily brought up the idea that maybe they were not meant to be, that it was possible they broke apart in the first place for a good reason and that there was no shame in admitting that. I immediately realized that I should not have said what I did and anticipated an outburst on her part, but what I heard hurt me more than virulent language she could've tossed my way."

"She was silent, then I heard whimpering. She was crying and hung up before I could say anything more. Finn I beg of you, if not for me do it for her." Simon's stress could be seen in his eyes. He was desperate for assistance.

"Okay. I'll do it." Finn quickly accepted with resolute confidence.

"I- Are- Are you quite certain? I mean no disrespect in fact I couldn't be any more happy but I want you to be sure that you want to do this." Simon could barely hide his enthusiasm.

"She's a good friend in trouble, you're darn tootin I'm certain. My hero gut tells me all I need to know to be sure. Only problem is trying to get a hold of her, she's stupid busy these days. But you can count on me, I'll make it happen." Finn got up and rested his hand on Simon's shoulder, giving him a smile of reassurance. Simon rested his hand on Finn's nodding with a silent thanks.

With impeccable timing, Jake kicked the door open. "See ya later sweetie!" He walked in and directed his attention to Finn and Simon, "You know they say don't pick favorites but I'd be lying if I said I didn't like Bronwyn a lot." He just returned from hanging out with his grand daughter. After receiving an earful from Finn's mother, Jake made greater attempts to connect with his children and grandchildren. He hadn't been the best father, or even a good one, but it was never too late to change. Jake just needed a swift kick in the butt to be reminded of that. "Hey Simon! OH SNAP! You just reminded me, Finn!" The dog attention seemed to jump all over the place.

"What's up bro."

"Marceline's makin her way here tonight, I met her when I was hangin with Bronwyn and she told me to relay the message."

"Wow, talk about a coincidence." Simon interjected.

"Yeah we were just talkin about finding a way to get a hold of her." Finn added.

"Oh for real? Why? Is there somethin goin on?" Jake's curiosity was piqued.

"Nothing to important, I just kinda missing hangin out with her y'know? To be honest I barely remember the last time we even spoke face to face. Glob, that had to have been right before we left." he said as he tried to recall old memories.

"Well, since you don't have much time, I suppose I'll be taking my leave." Simon stood up and made his way toward the door.

"What do you mean I don't have much time? It's still super early dude." Finn said, perplexed.

"Bro are you okay? It's like six o'clock." Jake said in bewilderment.

He turned to look out the window and saw that the sun was already setting. "Oh snap what the heck! Simon why didn't you tell me anything?!"

"Don't look at me, I thought you just decided to sleep in late today. One simple look out the window would've told you all you needed to know." Simon giggled at Finn's mishap. "Anyway I'll be taking my leave now. And Finn, thank you, sincerely." He gave a warm smile and a wave as he walked out the door.

"What was that all about?" Jake raised an eyebrow at his brother.

"Eh, don't worry about it." Finn shrugged.

"Well, if you say so. I'm gonna hit the hay, catch ya later homie." He began to climb the ladder upstairs.

"Later, bro." Finn sat back down at the table. All that was left was to await his Vampiric friend. He gripped his untouched coffee and took a sip. "Eugh, it's cold."

Chapter Text

 


Marceline had just left her house after begrudgingly leaving a voice message for Bubblegum, even though she felt like she shouldn't have to give her girlfriend tabs on where she was going. However, considering the vampire had spent the entire day away from her partner to blow off some steam it felt like the right thing to do. And possibly to spite Bonnie as well, as if to show that even though they're fighting she still knows how to practice common decency.

"Why do I even care so much…" she spoke to herself.

The Vampire Queen hated getting so emotional. She spent most of her life maintaining a facade of aloofness and apathy. It was only in the past decade she began to drop the act due to the influence of her close friends. She thought her new sense of empathy would strengthen her relationship with the Princess. She would come to find out that it did anything but.

Marceline saw the Tree Fort on the horizon and ceased all thought of her relationship. She looked forward to being able to ignore this stuff for a moment and hang with her good friends. She decided to try and scare Finn and Jake as her introduction, for old times sake.

There was no sign of Jake in the house, Guess he must be sleeping, she thought to herself. Finn was sitting on the couch polishing a sword never before seen by Marceline, but that didn't matter to her at the moment. She was thankful he hadn't taken notice yet and turned invisible in preparation for her scare, slowly creeping behind the human. She latched onto the boy and hissed, contorting her face into a horrifying mess.

Much to her own surprise, Finn popped like a balloon. She was left with a dumbfounded and slightly horrified look. "I- I- Wai- Wha-?!" before she could process what had just happened Finn came up behind her and spooked her with a "BOO!"

"AHH!" she shouted quickly turning to Finn and floating away.

"Gotcha" He said with a playful smile and giggle.

Marceline tried put on an annoyed face but failed miserably as a smile forced itself on her and she began to laugh.

"That was good, how'd you pull it off?" She floated back down his eye level.

"Just a bit of magic I learned from Huntress." he said dusting his hands off in an act of pride.

"Uhuh, well try and pull something like that again and you're gonna wish you had let me scare you." she followed up with a punch to the shoulder but recoiled in surprise when her fist met solid muscle. "Dang dude! When did you start pumping iron?" she grabbed his arm and squeezed his bicep.

"Dunno to be honest, happened when I was training with the humans. Guess three years of non-stop training and knockin bad guy domes does that to you." Finn flexed his arm, showing off his muscles with hubris.

"Wait, three years? What happened during to the fourth?" Marceline inquired.

"What do you mean? We've been back for a good year and then some." He gave her a puzzled look.

A wave of stress came over Marceline. "No way, I thought you guys only came back a few months ago!" she felt like a terrible friend for missing out on their return.

Finn could see her mood deteriorate. "Dude don't even worry about it, you got a lot on plate these days. What's Bubblegum got you doin anyway?" Finn saw this as an opportunity to segway towards the issue of Bubblegum.

For Marceline it only felt like an inescapable problem. "Can we not talk about her, like, at all. Please." Marceline hopped over and hovered above the couch, lying on her back with a look of melancholy.

"Well, when you put it like that" he pulled out a chair and sat on it backwards, facing Marceline. "There's no way I can't ask what's up."

She furrowed her brow and sighed in exhaustion. "Dude, now's not the time okay?" She asked herself why she even came in the first place, right, his girl problems. "Oh yeah, you were talkin about Huntress earlier. How's that ship sailin?"

Finn grimaced. "Err, it's...goin...we had a date yesterday, kind of. How about you and PB? Go on any fun dates lately?" he quickly tried to change the subject back.

"We would if we had the time. Not like I can imagine them ending well, though. Hey why don't you tell me about your date, you guys do any adventuring?" she turned the conversation back.

"We suuuure did. We'll probably go adventuring again on our next date. Then the next date. Then the next date. Then she'll mix it up with, wait for it, combat training!" That last bit was emphasized with fake enthusiasm. "So like, Bubblegum. What's she up to?" Finn was beginning to become annoyed at continued deflection and constant talk of his girlfriend.

Marceline was feeling exactly the same. She sat up and planted herself on the couch, her body now facing away from Finn with her arms crossed. "Doesn't matter, don't care. And how about your girl, what's she up to? Huh?" The irritation in her voice was clear.

Finn hung back from his chair and raised an eyebrow as if to say 'What's your problem?' "Will you not get so snappy with me dude?"

"I dunno dude, will you quit bugging me about Bonnie?!" now Marceline was raising her voice.

"I could say the same to you! Huntress is a bit of a sore spot for me right now!" He started to yell as well.

"Oh, but it's okay to bug me about my girlfriend HUH?!" It turned into a shouting match between the two.

Meanwhile Jake was lying in bed upstairs wide awake, a worried look splayed on his face as the muffled yelling continued in the other room. "I don't think it's goin well…" He rolled onto his side, all he could do was hope they would settle it eventually.

"You don't gotta keep giving me attitude! Will you just quit acting like this?!" Finn clenched his fists in frustration.

There were those same words Bubblegum had gave her, coming out of the mouth of her best friend. " ARGH! No, you know what Finn, I'm done! I'm tired of trying to help you! I'm tired of caring about people and then just getting stepped on! I. AM. TIRED. Okay?!" Despite her best attempts at hiding her tears some still seeped through, but she never lost her look of anger.

"And you think-" Finn interrupted himself and paused to think about what she had just said. His face of rage was replaced with one of worry. "Wait. Help? What do you mean? You came here to help me? With what?"

"Jake! He asked me to try and sort your stupid girl problems. That obviously ain't happening, so I'm ditching this joint." Marceline began to make her retreat before being stopped by Finn.

"Marcy wait! I'm sorry. Like, seriously sorry." The irony of the situation would've made him laugh had he not felt so much guilt.

She stopped mid flight before speaking, "Yeah right, you're just saying that cause I'm leaving." She had performed this song and dance with Princess Bubblegum all to often. However, despite her opposition, she stayed in place.

"No, I mean it." Finn sat on the couch and hung his head in shame. "I'll be honest with you, Simon wanted me to talk to you about PB."

It was then that she noticed the two coffee cups sitting on the table from earlier. "You're not lying are you." She floated back to the couch.

"Glob I'm so dumb. I don't think I could screw this up any worse if I tried. I just- Marcy I'm such a bad friend, I can't believe this is the first time we've hung out in four years and this is how I treat you. I'm better than this..." he held his head in his hands. Finn would've continued his verbal self flagellation had she let him.

"Finn, chill. I'm in the same boat as you, it's not like I acted any better…" this was nice change of pace from how her fighting with Bonnie usually went. Sorry's meant nothing to Marceline anymore after hearing them so much, they never resulted in change. But hearing Finn be honest and reprimand himself told her that his remorse was genuine. Though, seeing him beat himself up so hard wasn't much fun for her. "Why'd you have to go and apologize like that, I had like at least 5 hours of rage built up and now it's all gone, jerk" she teased with elbow to his side.

Finn giggled at her ribbing. "But Marcy I...nah, you're right. Enough apologizing. Thank you, for staying, that really means a lot to me." He expressed his gratitude with a hug.

Marceline was surprised at the sudden display of physical affection but quickly returned the gesture. "I should thank you too, for trying to make things right and apologizing." This was nice, fighting and making up, the real kind of making up. Where both sides were right and wrong to some degree, yet they both admitted their mistakes. Choosing to tend to each others wounds as opposed to inflicting more.

This is something she wanted for a long time and although she didn't know it, Finn desired it as well. She held the hug for quite some time before becoming embarrassed at how much she was enjoying this moment and caught herself blushing. She pulled away and coughed, "Anyway. Let's forget about our girlfriends and chill, yeah?"

Finn contemplated the idea of dropping this whole mess and having fun instead, but that didn't jive with his new principles. "I don't think that's a good idea. I mean, I'm not gonna bug you to talk about PB but I know you wouldn't listen to Jake unless you really cared. I don't mind telling you about my junk so much anymore. Besides, I owe you after all that."

Marceline was stunned, is this the same Finn?, she thought to herself. Passing the chance to have fun so that they could sit down and take the time to talk about their problems? It was the last thing she thought she'd be doing with him. Funnily enough, this would be the second time it's happened. "You don't-...Only if you're comfortable. I'm not gonna put that pressure on you." The Vampire tried to show the same kind of care and compassion.

"Don't worry about it. Now where to start?" Finn reclined with his hands behind his head and sighed. "It was fun at first, slayin monsters and adventurin. She would show up whenever she felt like it and the more we hung out the more she stayed by my side when I was with the other humans. I thought we were growing closer and maybe in some way we were, but not the way I wanted. Didn't figure that out till it was too late though…" the stress was palpable in those last words.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, if you asked me when I was seventeen if I thought dating someone who wanted to do nothing but fight and explore was awesome I'd say heck yeah. But I'm not seventeen anymore and what I want is more than that. Sure, I still love slayin monster booty and dungeon crawling, but when it comes to romance it can't be just that y'know?"

"Doin the same thing over and over with nothing to mix it up can drive you crazy."

"But it's more than that. It's almost like she doesn't wanna get all touchy feely with our emotions. When we kiss it just feels like our lips are meeting, nothing more."

"So there's no intimacy between you two?"

"Exactly! The one time I felt like we were beginning to feel something more was when I asked if we could sleep together. It was real embarrassing but when she said yes I couldn't have been any happier! I tried pushing my luck and I held on to her as we were falling asleep and it was so nice, nothing felt better...then next thing you know I'm holding on to a log! I was freaking out and then the log turned into Huntress and I asked her what the heck was that all about. Apparently when she says she sleeps like a log she meant it literally. So I couldn't even have that!"

"Yikes, that really does sound rough buddy. Can you really not ask her to, I dunno, try and show more emotion? Actually nevermind, I just realized how stupid that sounds."

"Funny that you mention that because I did ask her if we could try things like watching movies, going out for a nice dinner, or even just sitting down and talking about stuff. Everything we tried failed, that's just not what she's about. I don't plan the dates anymore, she does. I'll try and talk to her about how something needs to change but she will not listen. It's not like we fight either, she just...walks away...and it sucks major butt."

Marceline hadn't thought about that before, the idea of no conflict whatsoever as opposed to constant fighting. It was sad in its own way. It didn't make her appreciate the incessant bickering with Bubblegum, but it was unique perspective she never considered before.

"I don't wanna assume anything but, does she even like you? It kinda sounds like neither of you are having a good time."

"When were out adventuring she's having a blast. She smiles. She laughs. Heck, I still catch myself having a good time every now and then. Not enough to make it worth it though…"

"Worth what?"

"The pain. The stress. The effort. But I can't just walk away. She's not the one complaining, I am! So is there something wrong with me? Is there something I'm not getting?! What do I have to change?!" his voice was beginning to strain.

"Finn...You ever try and make something work, but you just can't. You tell yourself, I know there's something here! I've felt it before! I want to feel it again!, and so you hold on to that feeling. You try, and you try, and you try even though nothing seems to be working. All because of some feeling you can't bring yourself to let go of? We don't think about what it costs us to try so we keep at it. Every attempt chips away at us, our motivation, our emotions, our sanity. How many times do we have to try until it costs so much that giving up becomes the right option?" Marceline adopted a somber tone. Her own words applied to her just as much as Finn.

"But...but...the only way to-"

"Fail is to give up. I know. It's not that simple dude. Sometimes phrases like that are made just to get people to do things, without ever thinking about what's best for the other person…"

It was silent. He didn't know how to follow that up, mostly because he knew she was right.

"I love Bonnie, or maybe I love what we could be. I love when we're happy, but we haven't been happy in a long time. Everytime we fight I remind myself of the good times so I can calm down, but it doesn't work like it used to." This time Marceline would let herself cry openly.

Finn wanted to stop her from speaking, but he knew that she wouldn't be talking if she didn't want to.

"I get it, she's busy with her responsibilities. She's gotta deal with the Human kingdom and Lolly Land. I know I'm not as important as her kingdom but I just wanted to believe that-"

"Lemme stop you right there. You do deserve that kind of attention. You don't just walk into a relationship thinking you can toss your partner to the side when they need you. So what if Bubblegum has a lot of responsibilities, you're one of them too and you should be at the top of her list!"

"Finn you don't get it, it's not like she can just ignore all of the candy people."

"No offense Marcy, but I think you don't get it and neither does PB. You don't go taking on more than you can handle, if your plate is full then put down the extra cupcake because it ain't gonna fit on that plate! She shoulda taken a step back to look at what she was dealing with, but no, she wanted to have it all and now you're suffering for it. Why is that okay?" Finn stepped up to bat for his friend, he couldn't stand to see her like this.

Marceline laughed as she wiped away her tears, somewhere in his speech her mood seemed to brighten. "This is weird I dunno how to feel about this."

"About what?" He became confused at the change in emotion.

"You making sense. I wanna argue but I can't. I feel like everything you're saying is right. When'd you start talking like that? Where's the real Finn?"

"Oh, I guess I learned it from my mom. Back in the Human Kingdom you had a lot people who had trouble adjusting, it led to a lot of arguing. Instead of just threatening them with some kind of punishment she sorta, like, sat them down and talked with them. She was calm, she made sure she knew what the dealio was before makin any judgements. Mom always tried to make sure each side knew what was goin on. She couldn't make everyone happy, but she made sure they were satisfied."

He puffed up his chest and crossed his arms. "Oh! And I'm glad you think I'm right, because I think I'm right too! And I really think you need to sort this biz with the Princess. Simon's worried about you and I am too. I know you'll probably hate hearing this but, maybe a break up is needed?" He put his hand on her shoulder.

She was quiet as she tried to formulate a response. "Lemme ask you something. You know it ain't working with Huntress. You also probably know that there's nothing you can do to fix it. Would you break up with her if I asked you to? I don't like seeing you upset either, y'know?"

Finn bit his lip. She was right, but even still he didn't wanna call things off with his girlfriend yet.

After enough silence Marceline spoke up. "Yeah, that's what I thought. Look, I'm glad you care, and hey, if it means anything you really did cheer me up. But I don't think I can split with her just yet."

Why am I so weak, he thought to himself. Not in the physical sense, but in the emotional sense. He loved to love and he was afraid that if he broke up with Huntress he'd never feel that again. He didn't want to end up in a rut like he did after his break up with Flame Princess. He also knew that staying together wasn't doing him any favors, he might even be worse off. Regardless, he was afraid and couldn't bring himself to move forward.

"Hey Finn, let's just leave this for another time yeah? Let's go cause some trouble, for old times sake." Her offer didn't seem so bad this time.

"Yeah, okay. Let's do it!" He accepted, having felt like everything that could be said was said. With that, they dashed out the Tree Fort in much higher spirits.

Chapter Text

 


Another day, another date with Huntress for Finn. They had been exploring "The Dungeon of Incredibly Obtuse Secret Passages" for the better half of a day. Currently they were stuck in a seemingly endless hallway with the wizard attempting to solve a puzzle.

She had just finished playing a game of simon says with color coated buttons on a wall which caused a key and a door to appear. She opened the door which led to an area familiar to her, a circular room with six different doors and an archway leading to the entrance of the dungeon.. "Hmm, this leads back to the hub room. And this key has the impression of a monkey on its head. Do you remember any monkey-like doors Finn?"

Finn's mind was preoccupied. The entire time they were together he couldn't help but think of his conversation with Marceline. He knew what he needed to do, so why won't he? There wasn't a single moment in this adventure that he cracked a smile. He felt something worse than sadness, he felt hollow. Almost like he accepted that their relationship was built on never to be fulfilled expectations and it was going to be that way forever.

Huntress clapped her hands, "Finn snap out if it. You've been off your game today. Come to think of it, you didn't even bat an eye at some of the wicked loot we found."

"Huh? Oh, yeah, I think I remember that door somewhere this way." He said stepping into the hub room.

Huntress followed and stopped Finn short by placing a hand on his shoulder. "Finn, if something is bothering you you need to let me know."

He froze, was that the first time she's tried to reach out to him? Maybe not, but he couldn't recall any other attempts off the top of his head. Did she really want to talk? What changed? Had she been feeling remorse? Could it be that his words finally broke through to her? Who cares, it doesn't matter how they got here. What matters is that things are finally looking up for his relationship.

"If you can't perform at your best then you may as well go home and get some rest. I'll finish clearing the dungeon. Oh, and don't worry about the gear, I'll be sure to divide it evenly. Well, I'll give myself a bit more since I'm soloing the rest of this."

Why. Why did he assume it would having any to do with his mood. Of course it was because he couldn't perform at his best and nothing more. A wave of embarrassment washed over him, he wanted to cry. "Stop it. Remember, heroes don't cry" he thought to himself. He was frustrated and angry, but above all else he was tired.

"I. AM. TIRED. Okay?!" Marceline's words echoed in his head. Was she going through something similar? Once he put his friend in his shoes he became disgusted at the lack of inaction. Imagining his friend doing nothing despite feeling so awful; how could someone just take it and be okay?

"This is it" he thought to himself.

"I can't do this anymore H Wiz" Finn spoke in a sombre tone.

"I figured, go home Finn. I'll catch up with you later." She turned to head deeper into the dungeon and gave him a wave.

"No, I can't do us anymore" he grabbed his shoulder with one hand, his nervousness caused him to fidget.

"..." she stopped in her tracks, dead silent.

"Let's just break up…" he figured it best to get this over with as quick as possible. Perhaps it was tactless, but he didn't care right now. Heck, maybe she preferred it this way.

"What do you mean." She didn't turn around, not giving him a chance to read her face. Regardless, he assumed it was blank.

"I stop being your boyfriend and you stop being my girlfriend, what else could I mean?" He shrugged. Every word out his mouth hurt him. He just wanted to be done with it.

"Why?" Huntress' voice was monotonous.

"Now you wanna know why? Every time I'd try to talk to you about it you'd just push me away, what gives?"

"Why?" She repeated herself in the exact same cadence.

"...Because we don't work. Because I don't work with you. I get it, you don't wanna talk about our feelings. Emotions are bad or whatever. That's not me though, that's you. I wanna sit down and be all dumb and mushy with each other. I wanna yell together. Cry together. Love together. I want all that and you don't. So maybe this whole thing is my fault. You could say I'm being a big stupid baby about this and I'd agree with you. That doesn't change that I'm not happy with us, I haven't been happy with us for a long time. I've tried to fix things but you know what you want, and that's cool. Maybe you can find it with someone else, not me though. Sorry..." Finn didn't know why he was apologizing, for all he knew this was probably no big deal to her.

There was a stretch of silence between the two. It was uncomfortable for him, he could only see her back. What was she doing? Why was she so silent? What was she thinking?

"I guess...I'll leave then-" he was cut off as she whipped around, preparing to loose an arrow at him.

"If you leave me I'll have to kill you." Tears were running down from cheek to chin. She maintained a poker face, however.

He was stunned, how long had she been crying? Apparently he was capable of hurting her, yet she still tried her best repress those emotions. Instead of talking it out she offered an ultimatum. Perhaps if Huntress had tried anything else Finn would've reconsidered, but now his feelings were cemented.

"And why do you gotta kill me?" He gave it one more shot, maybe there was something she could say to change his mind. Maybe she would break down and admit she was wrong to treat him like that and they would kiss and make up and live happily ever after.

"...Because...because you know too much about me and...that...information could prove detrimental to my safety…" her arms were beginning to shake. Her face twitched in pain, but Finn swore he was just seeing what he wanted to see.

He felt awful, so much worse than he ever had in his life. This was the most emotion she'd ever shown, even if she were trying to hide it and in some twisted way he was kinda happy his departure made her feel something.

"Bye H Wiz." He turned his back to her and walked towards the entrance of the dungeon.

He made it outside, the arrow never flying to meet his back. He found the nearest tree and rested next to it. "Well she didn't kill me so that's a plus" he joked to himself.

Tears were forming at the edges of his eyes. "Argh, get back in there. Stupid things." He wiped them away.

Finn anticipated feeling like complete trash, and he did. But he'd be lying if he said his chest didn't feel a little lighter. "I had to…" he reassured himself.

After sitting in silence for a bit he brought out a phone and dialed the number to the Tree Fort, hoping to reach Jake. There was no response. After a few attempts he looked at his contacts before stopping on Simon. He dialed the number.

"Hey Simon, whatcha up to?...Nah nothing's wrong, I'm fine man. Promise. I just wanna talk y'know?...oh just about some stuff that's been happening. Say, are you free right now?...Cool, where you at?...Marcy's? Well do you mind coming to the Tree Fort then?...Alright, dope. See you in a bit."

Chapter Text

 


Finn and Simon were spending their day exploring an abandoned area in search for artifacts of interest. They were traversing an upturned city, hopping from floating rock to floating rock, careful not fall into the sky.

"I must say Finn, you've been an invaluable friend to me. Your knowledge of the more unique parts of Ooo has led us to such fascinating relics! You truly are the best companion and antiquarian like myself could ask for." Simon jumped, barely landing on the edge of a chunk of floating road.

"No probs S man. I remember comin across this place and thinkin of you, glad you're havin fun."

"And what exactly is the name of this place?"

"I dunno. I just call it The Town Upside Down on account of how everything is, y'know, upside down." Finn looked up, or rather down, at the earth below them. Or perhaps above them? A rather large piece of the ground was torn from its roots, presumably where the city used to be located.

"Quite the apt name. Would you like to know how this all happened?" He followed after Finn who had just jumped a large gap. Simon landed but unfortunately lost his footing. He was caught in the nick of time by the young man.

"You know what happened here?" He said with curiosity.

"Not for certain, but I can hazard a guess using context clues given to us by some of the relics we've found here." Simon found a tree to sit under and opened his duffle bag, revealing all kinds of trinkets.

Finn joined him. "Alright lay it on me!" He was eager to hear him out. Listening to Simon analyze his artifacts and explain their significance was a joy for him. He himself never had the know how or intuition to deduce the history of the lands or dungeons he explored, not the he cared much when he was younger. However, these days not only was it opportunity to gain some wicked insight into the world, but it was also good for bonding with Simon. And Simon loved sharing his hobbies with Finn and Marceline, anyone who would lend an ear, really.

"So first we have this ID Card, which we found in the debris of what looked like a research facility. See here where it says Gennedy Space Institute? This means that that old building was most likely performing studies and experiments to further our understanding of the cosmos." He said handing the card to Finn.

"And who is Mike Hunt? Is he important?" He said reading the name on the ID.

"Probably not all too important, just a researcher who had a good chance of being bullied as a kid." Simon giggled to himself.

"Why? Cause he was a nerd?" Finn handed back the ID.

"Mmm, not quite." He giggled more while the hero was simply couldn't find the humor.

"Ah now here is the real culprit of this mess." Simon held out a purple crystal and released his grip, the object hovered in place. "This is gravinite and it has some kind of effect on gravity, I don't know the specifics but if you look down, erm, I suppose given our orientation I should say if you look up. You can see something peculiar." He pointed towards the earth.

Finn looked to where Simon was pointing, he saw nothing at first but after squinting and focusing his sight he noticed something. "Whoa wait, the ground is littered with those things!"

An uncountable number of crystals were embedded in the crater, they were hard to notice because of how deep they were buried.

"How did they get there?" Finn inquired.

"Do you remember that big glowing machine we came across in that rundown research facility? When we were in close proximity this crystal had a strong reaction, my whole bag began to float upward while the crystal pushed itself downward. My guess is this; the researchers came across a large deposit of gravinite. They would come to discover its strange effects on gravity and built something to enhance those powers. Perhaps they placed these crystals in the ground and super charged them with the machine thinking that they could suspend the city in the air."

"Why would they do that? I'm not sure; maybe for show? In the name of science? Because they could? Regardless, things didn't go as planned, clearly. I've come across gravinite in my studies before, theoretically their idea should have worked. These crystals seemed to be pushed from Earth instead of being attracted to it, that is how they levitate; if enough of them are gathered together they can even lift any objects they surround. But that machine they used didn't supercharge them, it gave the gravinite different properties. The gravity here is completely reversed! That is why, even though we've been flip turned upside down for a considerable amount of time, we haven't experienced any nausea or blackouts! Fascinating, isn't it?" Simon's face beamed with excitement.

"Wow, I never woulda pieced that together. All that knowledge juice you got swishin in your dome is absolutely friggin amazing! It's always a trip hearing you talk."

Simon blushed at the compliment. "Oh hush, you contributed just as much as I have. I couldn't have navigated this place without your adventurer's wisdom y'know?"

"Heck ya, we make a rockin team! Alright let's close off this adventure the right way." Finn stood up and held his fist out.

"Indeed!" Simon stood up and prepared to slam his fist into Finn's.

When the two made contact they shouted in unison.

"ADVENTURE TIME!"

The antiquarian danced in place. "That's always so much fun! I can see why you and Jake do it so often!" Simon's face lit up.

"Speakin of, I think I see him comin this way." He pointed in the direction of a giant yellow dog off in the distance.

"Oh, and I think I see Marceline resting on his back!" The vampire was chilling with Jake as he rushed to meet Finn and Simon.

"Heads up Marcy, I think I see em!" He alerted her to their friends in the distance.

"Sweet" she got up and waved. Once the figures waved back they knew they were in the clear.

"I wish they woulda called me sooner, this place looks rad. I wonder what kind stuff my bro and Simon have been up to heeeeEEEERE AHHHH!" Jake reverted to his normal size as he quickly began floating upwards once he stepped past the edge of the crater.

Marceline caught him and delivered the dog to their friends. Thankfully she didn't have to obey the laws of gravity.

"Sup guys." She said tossing Jake to Finn.

"Yo Marcy."

"Good evening, Gunter." he said going in for a hug before stopping short. He was unsure how to approach due to her not being affected by the gravity reversal like they had.

"Oh, lemme just" Marceline re-orientated herself to match her friends and hugged Simon.

Jake was on his knees and hands hyperventilating from his near death experience.

"Oh calm down Jake, I wasn't gonna let you go just like that." She scoffed.

"I ALMOST DIED!"

"Pansy" She stuck her tongue out at him.

"I like the hoodie and cap combo Marcy, it's a nice switch from your usual day time get up. Very cute." Finn noted.

"Glad someone noticed. Bonnie was being a major butt today, she was giving me the silent treatment. Guess she's mad about me being gone yesterday and probably will be for a while. Can't say I'm bothered too much at this point though, I just left and decided to hang with you guys till she learns better."

"Ain't that just gonna make her more mad?" Jake retorted.

"Not my problem." She shrugged.

"Hey at least you got us! We can all hang out together at the Tree Fort!" Finn pulled everyone together for a big hug.

"I guess you dweebs will have to do." She said with a grin.

"I'm a dweeb?" Simon pouted.

"My favorite dweeb" She gave him a kiss on the head which caused him to smile.

"Who's up for some of your home boy's Most Famous, Supremely Delicious Yet Not Quite Nutritious, Revamped To Get The Crowd Amped, Steakn' Sausage With Bacon Pancaaaaaakes!"

"Aw heck yeah! You guys have gotta try Jake's new Most Famous, Supremely Delicious Yet Not Quite Nutritious, Revamped To Get The Crowd Amped, Steakn' Sausage With Bacon Pancakes!"

Simon's interest was piqued. "I'd love to sample some of Jake's Most Famous, Supremely Delicious Yet Not Quite Nutritious, Revamped To-" He was cut off by Marceline.

"Okay we get it! They're good! You guys seriously gotta shorten the name on that one." She picked all three of them up and took them outside of the reverse gravity field.

"Let me take if from here sister" Jake said morphing in to a bigger form to carry the others.

"Oh Jake! You mind if we stop by and grab some red dye? We also got some strawberry syrup if you wanna try that Marcy."

"Aw, thanks for the consideration. And I'll pass on the syrup, my body don't jive with that stuff."


The sun was setting and the four of them had collected their groceries with Finn carrying to bulk of the load. Now they were walking towards the Tree Fort.

"Finn you sure you can carry all that? I don't mind takin some." Marceline offered.

"S'all good, I got this." He hadn't even broken a sweat the entire trip.

"Somethin you gotta learn about my Bro here is that while he may be humble, if you give him the chance to show off his newly gained muscles he'll take it." Jake said slapping Finn's abs.

"Wha- N-no I don't!" His face turned red from embarrassment, like a child caught in the act.

"That would explain why he suggested we walk from the store. I had thought it was odd then." Simon giggled.

"Hey I ain't gonna shame the guy, if I had a sexy bod like that I wouldn't be afraid to flex" Marceline flexed and kissed her bicep for emphasis.

"Why thank you Marcy" Finn tilted his head up with a smug grin feeling vindicated.

"Hey Finn there's somethin I've been meaning to ask. What's up with you callin the house like ten times yesterday?" Jake swerved the conversation in a new direction.

"Oh that was, uhh…" Finn became nervous. He managed to forget all about Huntress up till this point and he wasn't ready to have a discussion about her right now.

Simon chimed in as well. "That reminds me, you said you wanted to talk yesterday but I ended up doing most of the talking. And then you said you wanted to discuss something important today but then we went exploring which led to me doing all the talking again. What exactly did you want to discuss?" Simon turned, eyeing Finn with an inquisitive look.

"Uhh...Uhh...I…" now he was beginning to sweat. He struggled to find a way out of this conversation.

"You okay dude?" Marceline begun to prodd too.

"HEY LOOK I CAN SEE THE FORT!" Finn laughed nervously as he ran ahead of the group.

The three looked at each other and shrugged. They assumed he was just being weird.

When they had caught up Finn was already inside, but what was most peculiar was the fact that he had left the groceries at the door alongside a large package. Marceline went to pick up the box and discovered a note attached.

"Your share of loot. Evenly divided. I did not keep more. Other items belonging to you included. Goodbye, Finn" she read aloud. It was signed by Huntress Wizard. The message came off as cold and robotic. Marceline's heart sank and her expression immediately became sullen. She knew what had happened.

"Did she break up with him?" Simon said with concern.

"That's not it Sim" Jake shook his head with worry.

"He broke up with her…" Marceline's tone conveyed great stress.

She floated inside to find Finn reclined on the couch head thrown back staring at the ceiling and arms limp at his sides. His bear hat was thrown on the ground.

"Finn…" Jake and Simon stepped in to see for themselves.

"It must've take her a lot to write that...the harder she tries to hide her emotions the more you can tell how much she cares…" his voice was despondent. He knew there was no way out of talking about the issue now.

Marceline floated towards him, giving a hug from behind the couch. Simon and Jake joined from the sides.

"I had to. I didn't wanna stay stuck where I was. I wasn't happy...Kinda mad it took me a while to move forward though… I was a wimp, for the longest time I was afraid of losing love. Truth is I had already lost it, ain't that funny?" his voice was weak. He didn't know what to say, so he simply voiced the thoughts that ran though his mind.

"Bro, don't be mad at yourself like that." Jake hugged tighter.

"Finn do not mistake your pain for weakness. In fact I'd say you're much stronger than anyone in this room. That was four years of your life you dedicated to her, it's only natural that you harbor some fear of seperation." Simon patted his chest.

"I'm pretty bad at this whole relationship biz huh? I funked up real bad with FP, but we smoothed it over didn't we? I thought I learned from that. Guess I didn't because here I am again, sitting at rock bottom. I don't like it here. I wanna go back in time and stop myself from breaking up with Huntress. It's dumb and it's the wrong move, I know. But I really don't like this feeling guys… I just… ARGH!" He shut his eyes, grit his teeth, and clenched his fists in frustration. He hated those stupid little drops of water that kept finding their way to the corners of his eyes. He fought against them, managing to keep them tucked away.

Marceline was oddly quiet. She gave Simon a look to which he nodded his head. He knew she liked to be alone when her conversations were more personal.

"Jake lets go make those pancakes now, yes?"

"But I can't just leave my baby bro-"

"Jake…" he said flicking his head to Marceline.

He understood immediately "I'm gonna make the best darn pancakes in the universe! You better get that stomach ready Finn!" he said with strong determination, marching to the kitchen with Simon.

"Hey, Finn. Let's head up stairs, yeah?" She spoke with a soft voice.

"I really don't feel like moving right now…"

She grabbed him from underneath and floated upstairs. "I gotcha covered."

He made no attempt to fight back.

She laid herself on his bed with her back to the wall and laid Finn down placing his head on her stomach. She held his head, looking down and trying to stare him in the eyes. Her hair fell down covering the sides of both of their faces, acting as curtains narrowing their vision to just their faces. He tried his best to avoid eye contact.

"I'm not gonna sit here and tell you you did the right thing. I won't tell you everything is gonna be okay either. That's something you gotta decide." It wasn't her job to tell him how to feel, she wanted to but she knew that's not how this works. "Finn, you got it rough right now but beating yourself up isn't gonna make things any better."

He frowned, still averting his gaze.

"You absolutely have grown, it's honestly kind of crazy seeing how much you've matured in four years. Meanwhile here I am, a one thousand year old vampire who still throws dumb temper tantrums and uses her disposition as an ageless demon as an excuse for a lack of moral understanding." She remembered telling him how excited she was to see how he'd grow. She was right to be, he was an outstanding young man and a part of her was sad to miss his growth. However, there was one area he still lacked in and she was hoping she could teach him.

"That's not fair Marceline!" He looked her in the eyes now. "You've grown too! You're nowhere near as mean and nasty as you used to be! And those tantrums you have, they're not dumb! You've got every right to throw em' cause you got heavy biz goin on." Finn was dead set on convincing his friend she was doing just fine.

"Oh? So it's not okay for me to ignore my growth and berate myself, but you can?" She gave him a warm smile while maintaining eye contact.

"I-I...right…" He blushed, she was right. His eyes shied away as he was unable to refute her point.

"Finn, look at me." His eyes slowly met hers. "Tell me how you did it."

He fidgeted out of nervousness. "I...I thought of you."

She raised an eyebrow out of curiosity. "Go on."

"Huntress did something and I wanted to be mad and frustrated, but I was just tired. And then I remember you saying that you were tired. I was like this feels so awful and the idea of you feeling the same thing, yet not doing anything about it made me realize how dumb I was being. So I put my foot down and finally made the move to break up, no matter how much I didn't want to…"

Marceline simply chuckled.

Finn realized his words could be interpreted as calling Marceline an idiot for dealing with her own problem poorly. "Wait! I don't mean, like, you're stupid or anything! We're like two different people so, y'know, everything applies differently. So just because I did one thing doesn't mean you gotta!" He tried to salvage himself.

"Simon was right, you really are stronger than anyone here."

"You're strong too Marcy…"

She ignored him, he was just trying to be nice but she couldn't believe him until she did what needed to be done.

"But, just because you're strong doesn't mean you gotta act tough." Hopefully she could help Finn with one last problem of his.

"Huh?" He wasn't sure where she was going.

"Do you know why you keep beating yourself up?"

"Because I deserve it?" Did she know something he didn't?

"Nuh uh" she said shaking her head. "Lemme tell you what I think. I think your just distracting yourself from a different type of pain. Finn don't think I don't notice when you're trying to stop yourself from crying."

He was shocked, his face burning red.

"You probably get mad at yourself so you can cover up your sadness with frustration. Is it because you're supposed to be a rough and tough adventurer and only little sissies cry?" She used these words not because she wanted to tease him, but because these were things he most likely told himself.

She was right, he quickly shut his eyes as he could feel those nasty droplets resurface. He didn't wanna be a sissy, he's supposed to be strong and sissies aren't strong.

"You're not a sissy Finn. You're the strongest person I know. You deserve a chance to cry. Everyone gets hurt, even the meanest people, and no one should be refused the right to let it all out. So go ahead hero boy, bring on the water works. You've earned it." She closed her eyes hoping that would help Finn become more comfortable.

Her words touched his heart, despite that he still tried his best to hold back. It was clearly becoming a futile effort as his face twitched between angry and grief ridden. His breathing was quick and raspy as he choked on his tears and his macho facade crumbled away. His crying slowly ramped up until it all came bursting out. He turned over and pressed his face in to Marceline's stomach sobbing uncontrollably and holding her tightly. She ran her fingers through his long strands hair to help soothe him.

"Why am I so bad at this?! Why do I care so much?! Love is stupid! I hate it! Why do I want it so bad?!" He shouted into her. His words were shaky as he took frequent deep breaths.

Right now Finn reminded Marceline of much younger version of himself. This piece of him was hold over from his youth, one he never thought worth acknowledging. What was happening here wasn't a bad thing, it was necessary. Now that they've brought out this undeveloped part of Finn he could work towards making it grow, just like he had with every other aspect of himself.

After he had his fill and was sated they would go down stairs feeling much better. They would join Simon and Jake in high spirits and feast upon his Most Famous, Supremely Delicious Yet Not Quite Nutritious, Revamped To Get The Crowd Amped, Steakn' Sausage With Bacon Pancakes.

Marceline laughed and enjoyed the time spent with her friends, soaking in all the good vibes flowin around the room. She was gonna need as much positivity as she could get to face Bubblegum and do what needed to be done.

Chapter Text

 


Marceline decided to enjoy another day away from Bubblegum. Currently she was participating in a game of "Uno, Dos, Tres!" with Simon over a breakfast he had prepared for them. She grinned as she looked at her hand

Six cards in my hand, we got a purple 17 in play right now. I can play my purple skip, then play my purple double turn. Follow with a wild color 9, now I'm down to 3 cards. Play your white skip, call "Uno!" Play your white reveal, call "Dos!" and look at Simon's hand and laugh as there's no way he's gonna win next turn with ten cards in his hand. Then claim sweet sweet victory.

She set her plans into motion, everything went just as she predicted. Marceline cackled, playing her white reveal card. "Dos! Well, Simon? Let's see what a loser's hand looks like, shall we?" she couldn't look any more smug if she tried.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" he responded with a wry smile.

"Oooh? Tryna act tough huh? Accept defeat with grace why dontcha?" Marceline folded her arms.

"If you say so." He laid out his entire hand; all ten cards were wild draw 8's.

"WHAT?!" She shrieked in surprise.

Simon simply giggled to himself at her shock.

"No! You can't- that's not- UGH!" Marceline threw her remaining card in the air and rested her head in the palm of her hand. "This game is wack." she said in defeat.

"Let's be honest Gunter, you should've seen this coming." Simon collected all the cards and placed them in a comically large card pack.

There are three types of people in the world of games. The disturber, the casual, and the hardcore. Much like rock, paper, scissors the three keep each other in check; the hardcore dominates the casual, the casual dominates the disturber, and the disturber dominates the hardcore. Simon was a disturber, he did not play to win, he played to cause chaos. Marceline was a hardcore, the absolute destruction of her opponent's was the only real victory and unfortunately for her, Simon would never give away such a thing so easily.

"I WILL beat you one day!" Her fist met the table, she was determined as ever to reach her long goal of beating Simon at a game, any game.

Their banter was interrupted by a knock on the door, it was sporadic and rapid.

"Who the?" Marceline floated to the door and opened to find Finn.

"Hey Marcy! Hey Simon!" He leaned to the side, waving past Marceline to Simon.

"Sup Finn."

"Greetings Finn!"

"Is it cool if I come in?" Finn had an unusually large smile on his face.

"Uhh, yeah sure" Marceline stepped aside making room for the young man.

It wasn't until he walked past her that she noticed a large, black, rectangular case on his back.

"What's that?" She closed the door behind him.

"It's a gift! I've been meaning to give it to you for a while but you were all busy and I kinda just forget." He said removing the straps and placing it gently on the ground. Finn revealed a logo that Marceline was all too familiar with. There were four stars in a square; one gold, one silver, one pink, one blue.

"That's...Finn I don't think I've talked about the Nova Kids to like, anyone. How did you know I was a fan?!" The Nova Kids were an old rock band that Marceline was particularly fond of, but she never shared this interest with others due to them having broken up long ago.

"I didn't, actually. But I'm glad you are!" He knelt next to the case preparing to open it up but stopped himself short when Marceline began to speak.

"They had the most radical bassist, she slapped that thing like nobody's business. She ain't the reason I picked up the bass but dang if she didn't inspire me to get better. Too bad she had to date one of the members. You never date another member Finn, always leads to the band breaking up. She tried doing this whole solo thing; called herself Miss Midas but it just wasn't the same." She was happy to recite her knowledge of the group, the opportunity to present it in natural conversation was typically nill.

"Oh...so do you not like Astra then?" Finn grimaced, worrying that he may have made a mistake.

"No dude, I love her! I just like to remember her for what she was and not what she became. So tragic." She wiped a fake tear away.

"Then you're gonna dig this." He prepared to open the case once more but stopped yet again.

Marceline's mind raced at what could possibly be in the case. It looked official, could it be a replica instrument? No, that would be insane. She tried to play down her expectations. Maybe it was a fan kit containing a bunch of shirts, pictures, and all sorts of memorabilia. Regardless, she would be immensely grateful. If only he would just hurry up and open it already.

"Here, why don't you open it up?" he said pushing the case towards her.

Her heart pounded, it was hard not to be excited. She knelt down and placed her hands on the two locks and flipped them open. A heavenly glow escaped from case as she slowly opened it, finally revealing the prize inside. Marceline instantly recognized the black and gold, star shaped bass guitar.

"No...no way. No no no no, there's no way this is THE Gilded Glory." The majesty of the bass brought a single tear her eye which she quickly caught before it could land on the instrument.

"Is that what it's called? I just asked Astra if I could have it, I even had her write something at the bottom for you!" Finn hopped on the couch.

Marceline took a gander near the bottom of the bass, sure enough there was writing that read "Keep it punk, scream queen. -Astra"

"Wait, you MET Astra Gold Star?! And she just, gave it to you?!" She said in bewilderment.

Simon walked over and shared a seat next to Finn, wanting to sit in and listen.

"Yeah! I met all her friends too. Kenny, Michael, Ellie." He counted each name on his fingers.

"You- you met all the Nova Kids...Hold on, were you at that reunion concert?!" Marceline closed the case and gently set it against the wall.

"Boy, Marceline do I have a story for you. Think you got some time to spare?" He leaned back, resting his arms along the couch and crossing one leg over the other.

Marceline quickly floated over to the couch and wedged herself between Finn and Simon. "I gotta know how this all went down, hit me with it." She planted herself firmly on the couch bringing her knees to her chest, resting her head on his outstretched arm.

"Alright. So you know me, I adventure, I explore. Traveling all across Ooo with the Humans gave me some good opportunities to check out new stuff. For example, The Big Thirteen, ever heard of em?"

"Probably, but I forget. Give me the cliff notes."

Simon chimed in. "I recall coming across them in my studies. They're thirteen titans roaming the ocean, with each resembling a different animal. If I remember right, they even have miniature ecosystems on their backs, correct?"

"Bingo! Anyway I was able to meet three of them. First I found Titan Pendy, he's this HUUUUGE bear!" Finn would've used both arms to emphasize the size of the creature, but he didn't wanna disturb Marceline who was resting on his left arm. He opted to raise his right as high as he could.

"He's like always tired, but he's super nice! He pointed me to Titan Aday, big dog with a little pup on his back! Well actually she was pretty big compared to me, but still cute! Fun guy but he's pretty busy. He introduced me to Titan Reby, she's this radical like, flying Manta Ray who loves music."

Marceline eyed Finn. "Are you gonna tell me she introduced you to the Nova Kids?" She had no reason not to believe him, crazier things have happened, but part of her didn't want to. Hearing him detail his exploits over the past four years reminded her how much she missed going out for the simple sake of exploring and causing mischief. It's not like she didn't do that stuff anymore, but it was extremely rare. Marceline had to cut back on her antics for Bubblegum, causing a huge ruckus didn't do Bonnie any favors. Whenever Marcy wanted to have rebellious fun it was the Princess who would have to answer for the damages. And since they were partners, Bonnible's problems were her problems too. It sucks… she thought to herself. Marceline understood how hard she was making her and her girlfriend work so she had no choice but to calm down. She had become more docile and it was grinding against her urges to have fun. The vampire found more enjoyment in the past few days away from Bonnie than she had in the past two years with her. Hanging out with her friends made it feel like she could breathe easy again.

"Yeah she did! Okay so, apparently when the Nova Kids first formed they went on this epic rock quest to achieve their inner sound, whatever that means. Their journey led them to Reby, she gave em a place to practice their music with no interruptions while flying around the sky. Rockers paradise they called it. She could feel the vibrations of their music course through her soul, meaning she had musical insight that they lacked. So Reby mentored them and ever since then they were indebted to her, but Reby is super chill and she was like nah you guys go have fun, just don't forget to visit me."

"But they did, right? As far as I know they never talked about Reby." Marceline leaned forward removing her feet from the couch and rested her elbows on her thighs. Finn did the same with Simon following suit.

"Yep. When Reby was talking about them she sounded super sad so I asked what's up. She told me they hadn't been around since they left. I told her I'd get them to come visit her no matter what. Of course she was against it and of course I didn't listen. I made her land somewhere in Ooo for me and told her to wait a few months, thankfully she did. It took me two months to find each of them and I couldn't get them to budge until I brought up Reby, turns out they really did just forget about her. So I guilt tripped them in doing one last concert together, for their old mentor, and they were happy to do it. Word got out and spread like wildfire. Reby's back was packed and she was so happy, it was really sweet. And MAN the music was rockin, those guys were legit."

"Ughhh, dude cmon you don't gotta brag like that…" Marceline's mood took a dive after hearing how amazing the concert was.

"How come you didn't go sweet heart?" Simon said rubbing her back.

"I wanted to! But I promised Bubblegum I'd be helping her that week and to be fair I did kinda flake out on her the month before that. But still, I just…" She could've easily bailed on her promise to go to the event but she wanted to be better than that. She put aside her desires as a show of love for her girlfriend and it wasn't as if Bubblegum didn't appreciate it. But if she knew that her relationship would come to be what it is now she would've left for the concert without hesitation. She knew now that no amount of self sacrifice could mend the problem that lied at the core of their relationship; Bonnibel was strict, focused, prideful and Marceline was rebellious, free, mischievous. It wasn't as if such a dichotomy couldn't work, but the compromise necessary to make their relationship flourish was lacking on Bubblegums part.

Finn wrapped his arm around Marceline and pulled her close, surprising her. "Awww c'mon, even if it didn't pay off you gotta recognize that that was pretty cool of you Marcy. I don't know many peeps who'd just skip out on something they're so passionate about for their partner."

Had he always been this physical in his affection? She recalled them hugging after they had fought, once more after she and jake met with him and simon, and then later that same day when Finn had cried. She wasn't complaining, in fact she found herself enjoying it.

Marceline's fighting with Bonnible had her mind all messed up. She knew she wasn't to blame for things ending up the way they did, but that didn't stop that nagging voice at the back of her mind. Maybe it's your fault it told her. It didn't help that she still cared for Bonnie. Though they may fight it's not like Bubblegum was an evil monster. Sometimes she'd feel like she was the monster and as awful as it sounds, it kinda made sense to her. After all she was a demon vampire queen who enjoyed causing trouble; it's a tad bit hard to convince yourself otherwise with a title like that.

It never used to bother her this much, but having friends will do that to you; love made her soften up. It sucks when it's bad, but it's beyond wonderful when it's good. She was trudging through the bad right now, chasing the good. The strangest part was that she felt herself getting closer to it when Finn hugged her then and even now. There was no catch to it, she never felt like she did anything that warranted it other than just being herself. That hugging served as an affirmation, telling her "Hey. You're doing good. YOU are good." How could she refuse such a nice and warm feeling?

This isn't weird, right? I mean it's not like I'm asking him to do this. It does feel nice though, really nice. I think I could get used to this. Ok now I'M making this weird. Her mind struggled to switch topics as she felt like her train of thought was headed in an inappropriate direction.

"He's right you know? You're an absolute treasure, sweetie." Simon hugged Marceline as well causing her to snap back to reality.

"For real, I said it once and I'll say it again. You're a radical dame and from what I can tell, an even more radical girlfriend."

She blushed. "Bleh, y'all are gonna make me gag." She forced herself out of their grasp and floated towards the middle of the living room. There was a pause before she turned around and crossed her arms.

"Finn, I need you to come with me and be there when I talk to Bonnie." her request was sudden and surprised the other two.

"Uh, sure, but what about Simon?"

Simon hadn't said anything, but he did feel excluded.

"It's not that I don't want Simon to be there, but he's gonna be biased towards me and I need someone who knows us both." She had selected Finn to serve as the middleman in case things became heated between her and her girlfriend, which there was no doubting it would.

"But aren't I already kinda biased?" Since Finn's return he had spent more time with Marcy than Bubblegum. Not to mention the intimate moments they shared in recent days.

"Yeah, but she doesn't know that. Plus, I trust you to not take any sides. You've already shown me that you got your head on straight for this." She smiled at him.

He returned the smile. "Alright Marcy, you can count on me!" He stood up and puffed his chest with pride. Finn felt nice knowing that she put this much faith in him.

"Pardon my prodding, but I must ask, how do you intend this to play out?" Simon interjected.

"What do you mean?" Marceline had an idea about what he meant but she needed to be sure.

"You know what I'm asking sweet heart."

"I...I don't know. I feel like I should...I know should? Maybe? But what if it's the wrong move? What if it's a mistake? I just-" She was interrupted by Simon who raised his hand and stood up.

"You can't let fear impact your decision making process." He walked over to her and embraced her. She returned the hug and squeezed tight as the anxiety continued to eat at her. "I understand that you're scared, but if you can learn to let go of that terror I assure you that everything will be alright." He released his hug and held on to her shoulders, looking her in the eye with a warm smile. "Marceline, my little Gunter, believe me when I say that no matter what I know you'll make the right decision and that I'll be there to support you all the way."

His words eased the burden; it was as if a weight on her chest was beginning to lift.

Finn prepared to offer his own words of encouragement. "I'm with Simon on this. Jake told me something a few days ago, and sure maybe I didn't listen then, but I wish I did. You need to look out for number one and right now that's you. It's gonna be scary, trust me I know, but that's what we're here for."

With that, Marceline no longer felt anxiety. She could count on these friends of hers to pick her up from the worst of falls. Her confidence was bolstered. She could smile now, so she did.

"Marceline...when you talked with me that night...well it meant a lot to me." Finn rubbed the back of his head and chuckled as he blushed from embarrassment. He wasn't used to being so openly sentimental. "I'm gonna do everything I can to pay you back, if that's cool with you."

She blushed as well, it was nice to know how much he appreciated her help. Once again feeding into the idea that maybe she was doing alright. "Yeah, I'd like that. I mean only if you wanna that is!" Marceline stumbled over her own words, fearing that she sounded too eager to accept his offer.

Finn held out his fist. "Anytime, anywhere. Just hit me up and I'll make the time for you." He smiled with a furrowed brow, it was a look of determination that told her he meant every word.

She pounded his fist with her own.

As much as Marceline appreciated everything Finn was doing she couldn't help but ask herself something, why was he being so friendly? That's not to say he wasn't a friendly person before, but this was many steps above the norm.

Did something wild happened in those four years? It's not like he's completely changed though, he's still got a lot of that same Finn I remember. Is it cause he's older? That doesn't make any sense either, you don't get all touchy feely just because you had a few more birthdays. Maybe it was Huntress? He did say he was lookin to be more intimate. Wait...what if...is he into me? No...Maybe? That might explain it…

She wasn't aware that she had been staring at Finn during her thought process. He glanced to the side, feeling awkward and coughed.

Her attention snapped back. "Oh right! Yeah, okay, I've made up my mind. I'm gonna break up with her, even though it hurts it feels like the right thing to do. We'll head out after I get changed, don't think I wanna go out there in a tank top and pj pants." She made her way to her room to get dressed, leaving Finn and Simon to themselves.

"So, Finn, I see you've taken a liking to my Gunter have you?" Simon cocked an eyebrow with a wry smile.

"'Course dude, she's a total bro. A one of a kind friend y'know?" He jumped on the couch and relaxed while he waited for Marceline.

"Oh don't you play dumb with me, I can tell you like her more than that. I must commend you on moving past your ex so quickly. Her talk must've done a lot of good for you in that regard."

"What are you on about dude?" Finn had a look of genuine confusion.

Simon had begun to second guess his assertion. "Do you sincerely not view Marceline as more than a friend?"

"Oh what? No way man. We're just like, super tight friends. There's no way we would work." He waved his hand, dismissing the idea.

"And why is that?" His phrasing seemed off to Simon.

"Well cause like...we're like...I'm sorta…" He struggled to think of a reason. Finn never humored the idea after Marceline misunderstood him when he wanted to go to the movies all those years ago.

"She... uhh... she... I dunno man!" Finn shrugged, he couldn't think of a good answer.

"Let me ask you this, what would you do if she were to ask you out?" Simon crossed his arms as he waited for an answer.

"Look Sim, this is gettin kinda weird. Marcy is into bad boys and good girls, I'm not either of those things. This ain't even worth talking about." He shrugged once more and threw his head back.

"My little sweet heart isn't so shallow Finn." Simon was stern. He was displeased with the assumption that Marceline's interests were only surface level.

"Who's not so shallow?" Marceline snuck up behind Simon in her new change of clothes. She was sporting a varsity jacket and ripped jeans with sneakers and a beanie to match.

"Oh, no one in particular. Well I don't wanna keep you waiting so I'll be off for a walk. Good luck Gunter." He gave her a kiss on the forehead and departed for his walk.

"Still got a sick sense a style huh?" Finn complimented her choice of outfit.

"You know it. Can't say the same for you, why do you still wear the same thing since you were like, 12?" She flicked his chest.

"It's iconic man! Can't just go flippin my image like that." He crossed his arms in defiance.

"Well you got rid of your old backpack no problem. Here at least try this." She floated up close and pulled down his bear hat so it hung around his neck. His hair spilled down, it was roughly shoulder length, possibly longer. He maintained his golden locks well even if he never bothered to show them off.

She smiled. "I like your hair dude, it's outrageously beautiful, like seriously it's better than most girls I know." She ran her fingers through his hair.

Finn blushed and stepped back. "Thanks. I guess I could leave my bear hat down then, but I ain't gettin rid of it!" Beautiful wasn't a descriptor he was used to when referring to his looks, it made him feel girly but he liked it nonetheless.

Marceline chuckled, seeing him get flustered was cute. She was still operating under the assumption that he had a crush on her.

"Well I guess we should get going huh?" He reminded her of the task at hand.

"Yeah…" She only offered one word as a response as she picked up an umbrella and mader her way to the door. The two began their trek to the candy kingdom with Marceline steeling herself for the confrontation to come.


The human and vampire found themselves at the front of the candy castle. Both of them stared at the doors waiting for the other to make a move.

"You gonna knock?" Finn asked.

"I guess I should be the one to do it huh?" She said hesitantly.

She prepared to knock on the door, but before her fist could make contact it opened slightly. Peppermint Butler appeared before them.

"How may I assist you miss Abadeer." He said with a bow.

"I told you to stop being so formal little guy" She gave him a pat on the head.

"Force of habit." Peppermint maintained a professional atmosphere.

"I need to talk to Bonnie, it's important."

"Allow me a moment while I relay the message." He bowed once more and took his leave.

Finn spoke up, "You didn't say much on the way here, gotta imagine you're really trying to wrap your brain around this one huh?" He turned to look at her but her eyes were focused on the door.

"Yeah. I dunno how this is gonna end, but I just hope we can still be friends...I really care about her y'know?" She tried not to think about how their confrontation would finish, she would rather focus on what she needed to say.

Finn thought about his own break up and how both he and Huntress seemed to end things on rocky ground. He wanted to still be her friend, but he wasn't sure if that was possible now. It made him sad. "Yeah...I feel ya…"

Peppermint Butler re-emerged. "She is quite busy at the moment attending to matters of the utmost importance and she kindly requests that you visit later."

Marceline rolled her eyes. "More important than her own girlfriend huh? C'mon Finn let's go"

He stomped his foot in retaliation. "NO. Pep But you are gonna let us in to se-" he was cut off by the candy butler slamming the door. "Hey get back here!" he shouted while trying to pry the door open.

"Finn, I didn't say we were leaving. I know where she likes to go when she's upset." Marceline picked up Finn from under his arms and floated up to a window. She entered the castle and swiftly navigated through its interior before stopping in Bubblegum's lab.

They found the princess under heavy concentration performing a variety of different experiments all at once.

"She likes to do angry science when she's mad" Marceline whispered to him.

"Angry science?" He whispered back.

Just then Bubblegum shouted "RAAHHH" while tossing a vial with red liquid at an empty corner of the room. The glass erupted in a vicious flame pillar before collapsing in on itself and imploding for a second burst. Bonnibel stared at the flame with an angry look before grabbing a nearby vial containing blue liquid that had been cooking. She shouted again while tossing it at the burning corner. This bottle exploded into a large mound of snow, dousing the flames.

Finn decided to speak up, "Hey PB."

Her eyes widened in surprise. "Finn? How did you- oh…" she turned around only to be greeted by her source of frustration. "I told Peppermint Butler to tell you that I am very busy right now." She turned back around, tending to her pipes and beakers.

"Oh yeah, real busy throwing bottles at the wall. More important than talking to to your girlfriend I'm sure." She said with venomous sarcasm.

"Oh you mean like how you've been ignoring me the past few days?! Neglecting our duties that, mind you, I told you about in advance?! Do you know how embarrassing it was for me to go to that dinner alone?!" PB was the one to initiate the shouting match this time.

Marceline lost some of her bravado, after all she did ditch her. But she shook it off. She had been trounced on in the past as well, giving her every right to be just as mad. "Oh BOO HOO, bet you weren't thinkin about me every time you forced me to go to these stupid meetings or all those dumb balls!"

"There you go AGAIN, putting words in my mouth! I never forced you to do anything!"

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It's not like I can just bounce whenever I feel like it, lest I meet the wrath of PRINCESS BONNIBEL BUBBLEGUM!"

"HEY!" Finn stood between the two and shouted at the top of his lungs, prompting the two to stop. "You ever think about how messed up it is that gummy bears don't taste like gum?"

His completely unrelated question left both parties dumbfounded.

"Now that I've got both of your guy's attention, think you can stop fighting and talk it out like the mature people I know you are?" His request was reasonable and he hadn't talk down to them even though he easily could have.

PB was shocked, he handled it with a surprising tactfulness. Regardless, her ego wouldn't let him have one up on her. She was about to shout about how he has no say in this conversation, but Marceline spoke before she could.

"He's...he's right. Bonnie I didn't come here to fight." She was significantly more calm than before.

Bubblegum found herself in shock once again. She still had a boiling rage brewing within her but she knew if she flared up now it would come off as childish. "If you didn't come here to fight then you've done a poor job thus far."

"Babe, seriously, we need to talk." Marceline pleaded.

Bubblegum heard the strain in her girlfriend's voice, despite that she let her hard headed attitude get the best of her. "Marcy…Not now okay...we can do this later." She turned and immediately began to work again.

Her words pierced Marceline's heart, part of her hoped that maybe there was a chance she could salvage their relationship. She stood stunned, feeling herself cry but unable to do anything about it. "I'm breaking up with you..."

Bonnibel dropped what she was doing, the glass broke upon impact with the floor. Her heart pounded in fear, surely she didn't hear what she did? She offered no words but began to breath faster, holding on to the table in front of her.

The silence and tension was all too familiar to Finn and he didn't like where it was going. "Bubblegum, you gotta say something."

Tears crept up on her face as well. "Wh-why?" She struggled to say much of anything.

Marceline felt herself getting angry again. She told her why before, it wasn't as if these were new issues. Still, she kept her words calm. "Because I'm tired of being pushed aside. I get it, your work means a lot to you, but what about me? Why do you keep ignoring me? Why do I keep giving myself to you when you just won't do the same?" Now she was full on bawling, choking on her own tears as she attempted to speak.

Marceline's tears were infectious, Bubblegum had streams pouring down her face. "Marcy I never wanted to push you away! I tried to include you in everything I did! Did I not give you enough room?!" She turned to get a view of her girlfriend.

The vampire queen fruitlessly wiped her tears as they kept flowing. "I can't keep doing this...I just...can't." Marceline couldn't keep repeating herself. What was the point? Bubblegum never listened.

"So what now? That's it? You're just gonna leave me?" Bonnibel was in disbelief, she slumped onto a cabinet on the floor. Despite her recent treatment regarding her girlfriend, she still harbored great love for Marceline. The vampire brought ease and comfort into her life. A major contributor to her happiness was her neglect for her partners needs and desires. She genuinely thought Marceline was fine the entire time. Even though they fought she never considered that she may be driving her girlfriend to insanity. "Don't leave...not again...please..." The princess couldn't help but sniff and cough as she spoke through her tears.

Finn decided he needed to intervene once more. "Bubblegum, she's not gonna just bounce out like that. Sorry Marceline, I know you probably don't like me speaking for you but I know you both still love each other a whole bunch. PB I know you can't just ditch this whole princess biz and Marcy understands that too, that's why we're not asking you to. But at the same time you can't expect to take on the world and have everything just work. Something's gonna suffer for it and right now that's Marceline, is that what you want for her?"

"Well no of course not… but I never-" She stopped as Finn knelt down next to her.

"Peebs, I get. You never meant to hurt her. But do you get to decide if she's hurt or not?"

Bonnibel was speechless. She couldn't offer any answer that favored her side. She simply closed her eyes and shook her head.

The young human gently wiped her tears and gave a warm smile. "Chin up, princess. I think there's something Marcy wants to tell you." He held out his hand for Bubblegum, she took it and stood up. They walked up the vampire with PB adopting a more timid posture. She had, more or less, accepted defeat; convinced that her relationship was broken, and unlike last time, beyond repair.

Marceline looked her in the eye. "Bonnie, you may be frustrating, egotistical, neglectful, uncooperative-" Finn forced a loud, fake cough.

"COUGH." It was less than subtle.

"I still love you and I still wanna see you." Marceline grabbed Bubblegum's hands.

The princess looked up with a glimmer of hope in her eyes. It killed Marcy because of what she would say next.

"But not as my girlfriend…" Her voice was despondent.

Bonnibel opened her mouth but no words found their way out.

The vampire hugged the her ex. "You're still my best friend and nothing will change that. I still love the good times between us and I don't want the bad times to ruin what we have. I don't blame you for being who you are just like I hope you don't blame me for being me. I want us to still be happy around each other and have fun." Marceline squeezed tight.

Bubblegum did the same. "I'm...I'm sorry Marcy!" She began to cry again as she realized this was the end for their chapter. It was as if the reality of the past two years finally caught up to her and the pain and regret hit her all at once.

Marceline continued to hug and console her best friend, she was just happy to have her stick around. Bonnie needed her right now and she would be there, as a friend.

Finn understood that he was no longer needed and let the two work out the rest for themselves. He was happy for the two, he loved them both as well and couldn't bare to see his close friends hurt each other like they had.

He walked home with peace of mind and a prideful stride. Sometimes being a hero is more than just swinging a sword.

Chapter Text

 


"Alright, alright. I just think you should consider takin a small break one of these days...Next weekend?...Yeah I'm down to hang!... Yeah sure I can whip up some plans, see you then. And Bonnie, take care of yourself, k?...Love ya too, bye." Marceline had just finished checking up on Bubblegum after spending a few days away from the world. She thought it best to avoid all drama if possible by stowing away in her home and writing songs. It was a good decision on her part, it gave her time to think and breathe. She eased into this new reality of hers. No more business, no more royal duties, she was free to do whatever, whenever.

That freedom felt strange, lonely almost. She tried asking herself what she wanted to do but nothing immediately came to mind. I guess I could chill with Simon but I don't really feel like listening to a documentary right now. She hovered on her back with her head hanging upside down. There's Finn and Jake, he did say to hit him up whenever I wanted. He's already done so much though, should I really keep asking him for more? Marceline debated ringing up her friend but hesitated in fear that she might come off as bothersome.

Her phone rang, disturbing her thought process. She didn't recognize the number and paused as a result. "Who the?" Marceline felt herself running out of time and opted to answer at the last second. "Uh, hello?" Her voice was cautious.

"Hey Marcy!" What a coincidence that it would be Finn on the other end of the line.

"Yo Finn! Is this your new phone or something?" She was relieved that he had called her, it meant that she didn't have to go through the trouble of making the decision to call him herself.

"Yeah me and my mom made it!"

A female voice unfamiliar to Marceline could be heard in the background. "Oh don't be so modest Finn. You made it all yourself, I just gave you some guidance."

"Oh yeah sorry about not giving you my number by the way."

Is his mom there? Where is he right now? She had a few questions on her mind but one was more important than the rest. "Nah don't worry bout it, I have it now anyway. So what's up? Ya need something?"

Another voice was caught in the call, this time it was BMO. "No! Neptr! Don't touch that!"

"But I only wish to help my creator!" Another voice Marceline was barely familiar with, this one was robotic and stilted.

"Young Neptr, if you wish to assist our Creator I can think of a way you could provide great help! All you must do is simply walk to the corner of the room and stare at the wall. It is important that you hold that position until one of us says otherwise, do you understand?" This voice was completely alien to her, it sounded posh and proper and, once again, robotic.

"Hey can you guys quiet down? Anyway, I was just callin to check in, haven't seen you around lately so I just wanted to know how you're holdin up."

Marceline smiled. "I'm doing pretty good, thanks for checkin up on me. How about you? Sounds like you got a party goin on."

"Neptr!" BMO shouted.

"Oh dear, excuse me, creator?" The posh robot had concern in his voice.

"Uhhh, Finn? Sweetie?" His mother also was filled with worry.

"Guys! Seriously I'm trying to talk to my friend right now! Sorry bout that. And yeah I'm doin some stuff, actually I was gonna ask if you wanted to come down to the fort and check out what I got goin on. Me and my Mom have got this dope-" Finn was cut off by his mother yelling.

"FINN, BABY, YOUR SHIRT!"

"What! What's with my- AHH FIRE FIRE!" Finn screamed.

"Do not worry creator! I will throw pies and douse the flames!"

The line was cut off and all Marceline could do was stare at her phone in shock.

"Uhuh...Guess I better get ready and head over…"


It would be a half hour until Marceline left for the Tree Fort.

She arrived on the scene with umbrella in hand floating up to the front door and knocking for her friends. After a few moments of waiting she knocked again, still nothing. The vampire became impatient and started banging on the door until she was interrupted by a loud BOOM coming from a large shed not too far away from the house itself.

She made her way to the source of the noise when the shed's garage door burst open unleashing a cloud of black smoke. A shirtless Finn escaped the miasma with Neptr, BMO, an unknown robot, and Finn's mother on a TV screen flying via propeller.

Marceline scanned Finn, I knew he was cut but wow that's like, chiseled to the max. She quickly cut the mental commentary and averted her gaze as he noticed her.

"Marcy!" Finn coughed while waving away the smoke. "When did you get here?"

"Just now. What happened to you guys?" She glanced over at the shed.

"We had a bit of a mishap, thankfully it was unrelated to our main project." Minerva spoke while her son continued to clear his throat.

"Oh, you must be Finn's mom. I don't think we've ever met." Marceline found herself a bit shy to meet his mother.

"No I don't believe we have! You may call me Minerva, mother to this wonderful young hero." The monitor flew over to Finn and rubbed itself against his cheek.

"Mom…" He groaned and blushed, his mother was very proud of her progeny and was never afraid to let others know. Though he seemed to grow tired of it the truth was he was always happy to know how much she loved him.

Marceline giggled at the sight. "I'm Marceline the- uhh, the girl." She was about to introduce herself as the Vampire Queen but refrained from doing so in fear of putting off his mother. She wasn't sure why she was so concerned with leaving a good impression but decided to try and roll with it nonetheless.

"Marceline the girl?" Minerva cocked an eyebrow and smiled. "You don't have to hide your identity from me, Finn has told me plenty about you miss Demon Vampire Queen."

Marcy exhaled in relief, she was glad to know she didn't have to try and keep up appearances. "So what did he tell you?" Her curiosity was piqued, what was there to say?

"Well, and these are his words, you're quite the radical rocker, you're down to earth and keep it real, you've got smokin sick style, and that you can kick butt better than he ever could."

Finn piped up to make a correction. "Scratch that last one, though. I've been grindin and leveled to the max so I'm pretty sure I'm the baddest butt kicker this side of Ooo now." Finn crossed his arms with a smug grin.

"Oh yeah punk? Wanna wrassle and find out?" Marceline crossed her arms as well, furrowing her brows and giving him a smile.

Minerva laughed as she watched their playful banter. "I can see why you were so eager to meet her again sweetie, quite a fine pick for your only friend."

"Mom!" Finn's face burned red as he wore a look of shock.

He was rather embarrassed to admit that Marceline was his only real friend aside from BMO. Jake didn't count in his mind, that was his bro and that made it different. Bubblegum was a good friend but, as much as he hated to think about it these days, their relationship started as a one sided puppy love. While he had many acquaintances, none were truly friends like Marceline. They started as good friends and have only gotten closer since then.

"I'm your only friend?" Marceline was touched and surprised. Even someone like herself had her fair share of people she could call friends. It wasn't like Finn was an introverted recluse, he knew how to be social and probably could have as many friends as he wanted, so what's the deal? What made her special?

"I-I got other friends now! There's Daniel a-and Marmaduke!" Finn stuttered as he tried to recall some of his new friends he made in the past four years.

"Honey, you've got more of a mentor and student relationship with them rather than an actual friendshi-"

"ANYWAY Marcy wanna see what me and my mom have been doing?" Finn sweat bullets as he quickly veered the conversation.

"Yeah sure, lead the way."

"Allow me to explain some of the details of our project. It all started when Finn asked me if you could make people, I told him of course you can, after all I made many Minerva bots. But then he clarified, he meant if it were possible to create a unique individual consciousness much like how we are born into the world with different minds and personalities. This question gave me pause, I assumed he didn't mean simply programming a special AI to act a certain way, rather, making an algorithm that could produce random conscious' that functioned similar to ours."

"Yeah, and I didn't want them to be simple like PB's candy people, they're actually what inspired me to do this. I wanted them to be as smart, or as dumb, as we are. The program would pop em out at random ages, with random interests, random personalities, random everything."

Marceline understood the gist of it. She never knew Finn was into this kind of stuff. "Ok, I got a few questions. One: isn't it kinda weird from them to be like, 30 years old but have no memory of living a life?"

The unknown robot chimed in, he followed on his tank treads. He had a cylindrical body with one eye and noodly limbs with appendages resembling hands at the end of them. "That is where I come in. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Meepole"

"Meepole?" Marceline raised an eyebrow at the curious name.

"Precisely. Machine In Pursuit Of Learning, M.I.P.O.L! I was designed to start with the intelligence of an infant, and would gradually learn as I interacted with the world in attempt to emulate the way humans acquire knowledge, albeit at an accelerated rate. The entire process took approximately 6 months for me to reach the age of what humans would consider 50 years old. All of the data was recorded for Minerva and Finn to analyze and experiment with."

Minerva interjected. "Mipol's data was critical to perfecting the algorithm, without him it would be impossible to accurately replicate mental development in the procedurally generated minds. On top of that, you can thank Finn for coming up with the idea. He's the one who proposed we make Mipol and took the lead on that project."

They all entered the shed, it was packed with tools and computers with wires decorating the walls and floors. In the middle rested a robot connected to some computers. The machine's anatomy was similar to that of a humans, but comprised of basic shapes such as rectangles, squares, and cylinders

"Second question, since when were you into all of this? You never struck me as an actual turbo nerd, no offense." Marceline's question was aimed at Finn as she spread her arms gesturing to all the technology around them.

"S'all good. I dunno to be honest. When I was hanging with mom and the humans she had all these robots and stuff and she was super smart. I wanted to be smart like her too I guess." Finn smiled warmly at his mother. The time they had spent together showed him how selfless and kind she was to her people, he saw a hero in her and was proud to be her son. In his admiration he sought to learn from her, it just so happened that he had a passing interest in building robots and she was an exceptional engineer.

"Aww sweetie, don't you downplay yourself! You were plenty smart when I met you. Remember during our first few months of reunion when I desperately searched for opportunities to bond with you? I attempted to share your enthusiasm for adventuring and slaying to no avail. Then one day I saw Finn staring at one of my Minerva bots, I asked if there was something wrong with them, aside from his fear of being sedated by them, he wondered who made them and how. When it was revealed that I had built them myself his ear perked up. After a bit of conversation I learned that my little boy had already made his first robot all on his own!" Minerva smiled as she looked down at Neptr.

Neptr smiled up at Finn. The small bot attempted to move closer to him but tripped on a pebble and fell on his side. Finn smiled back as he reached down and picked up Neptr. "Yeah, I guess I did huh? Maybe brains runs in the Campbell blood." He let out a small chuckle.

Marceline eyed Finn. "Campbell?"

He put down the robot as he spoke. "Yeah, I go by Finn Campbell now and I can say I'm proud to be one."

When he discovered his mother's surname he wasn't hesitant to drop his. The name Mertens held no real meaning to him, especially not after his encounters with his father. When the opportunity to replace it arose he gladly took it, how could he not when his mother was so awesome?

"But yeah, my mom taught me a whole bunch about building robots. And today you're gonna see all that brain power put into action, hit it BMO!" Finn energetically pointed at a big red button next to the computer that was connected to dormant robot.

BMO climbed on to the desk and jumped as high as he could to slam down on the button with his rear end. All the monitors had numbers and letters racing from the bottom to the top of screens. Lights began to flicker on and off. Marceline was skeptical of the situation but Finn and Minerva smiled as they watched the process continue.

After a few moments everything came to a halt, it seemed things returned to a state of normalcy. Suddenly the robot began lighting up, it made a low whirring that gradually grew louder.

"wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwWWWWWHOA!" It sprang to life and stumbled forward.

Finn stepped forward to support the bot.

"Thanks dude" The machine seemed to have a female voice.

"Welcome to the waking world." Minerva greeted the machine.

"Looks like I got a pretty gnarly welcoming party huh?" She looked around at the group in front of her.

"Mind if we ask some questions?" Finn stepped back as she gained her footing.

"Go for it bro."

"Do you have any urge to wipe out the human race?" Minerva asked the first question.

"Wha? Nah no way man, you guys are pretty righteous."

"Okay second question, do you know what you are?" Finn seemed to take turns with his mother.

"I'm a totally dope robot is what I am!"

"Alright, third question. What is your name?"

"Madeline's the name, don't wear it out homie."

"K last question, what do you want to do?" Finn seemed to be much more serious as he asked this.

"..." she paused as she formulated a response. The room's mood seemed to grow tense, even Marceline felt herself get anxious. "I wanna to do some sick kick flips, that's what!"

The project was a success, a completely randomized personality, name, life, and goal.

"Ah! Amazing!" Minerva's monitor swayed back and forth in joy.

"HECK YEAH!" Finn picked up Marceline in his excitement and gave her a great hug.

Marceline blushed profusely. "Uhh, Finn, I don't mind all the hugging but you don't got a shirt on soooo."

"O-oh! Sorry!" It was Finn's turn to blush as he released Marceline. "Lemme me just- I'll go put on a shirt!" His embarrassment caused both his mother and the vampire to stifle a giggle as he ran to grab a change of clothes.

"So, you gonna go grind some rails or somethin Madeline?" Marcy turned her attention the new born machine.

"Call me Mad, and that sounds like a plan my man. Catch you guys on the flip side." Madeline made her exit, presumably to start her skating career.

"Should we allow her to just up and leave like that madam?" Mipol spoke with concern.

"Ofcourse! We made life, it only make sense to let it live. That goes for you too Mipol, I know you've been itching to explore the world and learn. Go have fun!" Minerva gave him the freedom to do what he was made to.

"Oh my! Well, if you're certain! I can't wait to study all the world has to offer!" Mipol excitedly made his way out the shed.

"BMO want to play tag?" Neptr spoke to the little computer.

"Hmmmm...Okay! Tag you're it!" BMO tapped Neptr and ran, his opponent hot on his trail.

"I guess that leaves you and Finn then doesn't it?" Minerva flew up to Marceline.

"Yeah, we'll probably go mess up some baddies or something."

There was a short pause between the two as they waited for the young man.

Minerva broke the silence. "I won't lie, when I first heard he made friends with a Demon Vampire I went into full mother mode. I forbid him from ever interacting with you." The remorse in her voice was tangible, regardless she smiled.

"He had none of it, I don't think I've ever seen him get so mad, not to mention he yelled at his own mother. Finn genuinely put his heart towards defending you and while I don't know you personally, I can only imagine how great of a person you must be for him to cherish you so much."

Marceline couldn't help but become flustered. If she wasn't convinced that Finn had romantic feelings towards her before she sure was now. It put butterflies in her stomach but at the same time it didn't sit right with her. This whole thing didn't feel right. She had just gotten off of a break up, was it really okay for her to just bounce back into the dating scene? I mean the break up went as smoothly as it could've gone, we're still good friends. And it's not like I came out of it looking for another hook up. Finn just kinda, ticked all the right boxes at the right times I guess. Ugh, the more I think about it the more okay I feel about it. I don't like that I feel okay with it. But why though? AUGH! Why does my brain gotta be so stupid sometimes. I really just need to sit down and think about this at some point.

While Marceline struggled with her internal conflicts Finn had finished getting ready with satchel and sword equipped. His mind wasn't preoccupied with complicated feelings like her's, he was just happy to spend time with his best friend. He began to make his way from the Tree Fort to the shed.

"Marceline, as his best friend, can you do me a favor?" Minerva spoke softly.

The vampires train of thought was derailed. "Huh? Oh sure whatcha need?"

"Take care of him. Keep him safe. I know it sounds like a lot coming from his mother who you just met, but I can tell you care about him as much as he does you. I'm confident you have it in you to protect him."

Had she just given Marceline her blessing? She had trouble interpreting her words but she responded nonetheless. "Yeah, for sure."

"Hey guys!" Finn arrived with joy and energy.

"Hello sweetie! I'll actually be taking my leave for now. You two have fun!" Minerva waved bye to the two before floating into the shed and shutting off her monitor.

"How's that TV thing work anyway?" Marceline asked.

"It's just something I rigged up so I could talk to my mom while she's out there in the human kingdom."

"Neat. You ready to go cause some mayhem?" Marceline wore a mischievous smile.

"You know it!"

Marceline led the way for the two. She could push aside her thoughts for the time being and enjoy what the two had right now. After all, with the way things are going between them now who knows if these moments will last?

 

Chapter Text

Jake and Simon were currently wandering around Ooo while babysitting Jake’s grandson Gibbon. The old dog thought it would be a good idea to take him to go visit his cousin, Bronwyn, who was spending her days shredding boards with her crew.

 

“Thanks for always taggin along Sim, I’m still tryna learn the whole grandpa business so havin someone who’s great with kids is some big help.” Jake didn’t have much trouble with Bronwyn, she was already well grown. Time spent with her was more akin to hanging out with a good friend. Gibbon ,on the other hand, was still a young pup at the age of 7 and Jake was clueless as to how he should handle his grandson. It didn’t help that he did a pretty botched job taking care of his own children. This caused his approach to change from clumsy and unattentive to cautious, yet overly supportive.

 

“The pleasure is all mine, I mean just look at that adorable face” Simon knelt down to reach Gibbon who was walking alongside them and scratched him under the chin causing him to wag his tail and yip in excitement. “I can’t believe he’s already seven, it feels like he was three just a few months ago.”

 

“Yeah, we all kinda grow fast, it runs in the family. I remember Charlie going on about how she just couldn’t wait to have him so she ended up finding this guy and they hit off. It was almost like she knew they were soul mates or somethin. Then next thing you know, bam, we got sweet little Gibby. Ain’t that right little man” Jake picked up his grandson and raised him above his head.

 

“Granba!” Gibbon threw his arms up and shouted with joy.

 

“So precious, can you say my name Gibbon?” Simon looked at the young pup in anticipation as Jake turned him around to face Simon.

 

“Shi-si-simin!”

 

“Daaaww!” Simon rubbed his head.

 

“How bout my name?” The three turned to see Bronwyn walk up to them.

 

“Bru-bro-brown!”

 

“Good enough little dude” Bronwyn pat his head.

 

Jake put Gibbon back on the ground. “Hey sweetheart, how ya doin?” He gave his granddaughter a big hug.

 

“Doin aight” She returned the hug. “Let's go to the park up ahead Madeline is waiting for me” Bronwyn took the lead as she moved forward.

 

Simon chimed in. “Madeline? The same Madeline Finn and Minerva created?”

 

“Tall robot that loves to skate?” Bronwyn gave him a better description to see if they were talking about the same person.

 

“That’s the one.” Jake confirmed.

 

“Yeah, she joined the crew a while back, wasn’t long until she made her way to the top of the chain. She challenged me to skate a duel a few weeks ago, loser had to listen to the winner. She kicked my butt pretty hard and then asked me out. Took me by surprise but hey it worked, my attention was caught. We’ve been goin pretty strong since then.”

 

“Aye, way to go girl! You got your old man’s lady killer charm eh?” Jake morphed his hand into a comb and swooped his fake head of hair back.

 

She smiled and laughed. “Pffft, yeah something like that. Just don’t tell dad okay? He still won’t let me date. It’s so annoying! I’m not a kid anymore, y’know?”

 

“I’m sorry honey, I know your dad can be a party pooper sometimes. He does it out of love for you though!” Jake was somewhat relieved to know that his own children seemed to be having parental issues just as he did. He ignored the fact that his own parenting might have something to do with it.

 

“Yeah, well maybe I don’t want his love anymore.” her tone was cold, it sent shivers down Jake’s spine.

 

I’m gonna have to do something to fix that aren’t I? Once you start bein a dad you never stop huh? Yeesh. His thoughts were cut off by a synthesized voice.

 

“Aye baby girl, see you brought the family with ya.” Madeline rolled up on her skateboard, greeting the group.

 

“Yeah, this is my grandpa, Jake.” She pointed to the dog of interest.

 

“Oh hey, is this the same gramps that tried to ban you from your own turf?” Bronwyn had shared some of the history between her and Jake with Madeline.

 

“Way to open old and healed wounds man.” Jake pouted and looked down. The past four years offered Jake an opportunity to grow and he took it. It helped him mature mentally. He would never change anything he did in the past, but the old dog sometimes found himself looking back and feeling remorse towards some of his actions.

 

“Don’t worry about it dude, s’all old blood now anyway. I think you’ll like him Madie, he’s pretty rad now.” She gave her old man a thumbs up.

 

“And who’s this guy?” Madeline pointed at Simon.

 

“Simon, good friend of the family. Basically a second grandpa, like Finn.”

 

“Pleased to meet you Madeline, I recall Finn telling me you’re the first of your fully sentient robot kind.” He held out his hand.

 

Madeline slapped his hand and performed an esoteric hand shake which Simon clumsily attempted to follow.

 

“That’s right my man. And who’s this cute little fella!” Madeline bent down to pick up and raise Gibbon.

 

“Gib!” He raised his arms towards the sky as he spoke.

 

“That’s my baby cousin, Gibbon. Ain’t he adorable?” Bronwyn stepped up to the pup and gave him a scratch under the chin.

 

He yipped in excitement as he pointed to something behind Madeline. The object was a food vendor patrolling the skate park up ahead.

 

“WEENIE IN A CONE, COME GETCHA WEENIE IN A CONE.” The man shouted his advertisement as he slapped a hot dog weiner into an ice cream cone and drenched it in it ketchup and mustard.

 

Jake open his maw wide and reached down his gullet, after an uncomfortable few seconds he pulled out a wallet and handed Bronwyn some money. “Here you go sweetie, grab Gibby some snacks and whatever is left over you can go nuts with.”

 

“Oh, Gramps are you for real? That’s awesome!”

 

“Hey don’t mention it, you go have fun y’hear?” The two shared a hug before Bronwyn, Madeline, and Gibby departed.

 

“Since when did you get a job?” Simon eyed Jake quizzically.

 

“What? I ain’t got no job man.” Jake matched his confusion.

 

“Then where did all that cash come from-” Simon gasped as he rushed to a conclusion. “Jake have you been stealing money?!”

 

“WHAT?!” No man! I’ve just been selling and pawning off stuff me and Finn get from our adventures. Figured we gotta do something with all that junk.” Jake walked up to a nearby bench and planted his rear end on the seat.

 

Simon joined him. “Oh. I apologize for jumping the gun. Still, it’s very odd to hear you call that loot junk . I always assumed you two love hoarding treasure, almost like it were a trophy of some sort.”

 

Jake let out a melancholy sigh. “Yeah something like that. It’s not like we sell everything we get, we keep the really cool stuff. But I started needing some dough, not for me though.”

 

“Ahh, for the kids?”


“Bingo. Don’t get me wrong, bein a good grandpa makes me pretty happy, really happy! Still, I can’t help but feel like we gotta worry about more things these days, new problems that never really bothered me and my bro before. Some of the old goofs we used to do we can’t do anymore.” The pensive tones in Jake’s words were very clear.

 

Simon smiled and rested an arm on the dog’s shoulder. “I believe they call that growing up, Jake.”

 

“But I’ve been an adult! Why do I gotta keep growin up, I’m gonna be all old and wrinkly by tomorrow.” As Jake spoke he morphed his body to emulate an elderly person. “Oh dearie me sonny boy I can feel the arthritis in my bones”

 

Simon flicked him in the jowls.

 

“Ow!” Jake snapped back to his original form.

 

“To put it bluntly, you’re a man child. You may be an adult according to your dog years, but mentally I’d say you and Finn are the same. It only makes sense that your mental maturation would occur at similar times. Though if I were being honest I thought you’d never reach that point.” Simon giggled at his own teasing.

 

“Hey! I’m plenty capable of being mature!” Jake placed his hands on his hips in defiance.

 

“And I believe you, you’ve already proven yourself with your grandchildren, Jake.”

 

“Oh yeah, I guess I have huh?” He looked down at the ground and kicked his feet back and forth for a few moments before speaking. “Y’know I’m not really afraid to talk about some of my junk, heck I’m always talkin to you about how I should take care of my grandkids.”

 

It was silent for a few more moments. Simon raised an eyebrow. “I feel like there was more to that. Is there something wrong Jake?” Simon was a very good listener, he could even hear things that were left unsaid.

 

“Sometimes I wonder what’s goin through my bro’s mind. If I got my own kinds of problems I gotta imagine he’s got a whole world issues scratchin at his dome. What’s worse is that if he does, he doesn’t talk about none of it, not even to me. Is that my fault? I know I don’t spend as much time with him these days, I gotta be with lady and the grandkids. But he’s my little brother, I should be there for him twenty four seven! Aw jeeze how could I abandon my baby bro like that! I’M SORRY FINN!” Jake began to panic and shout in his delusion.

 

Simon rubbed Jake’s head. “Simmer down friend. Firstly, Finn doesn’t require you as much as you seem to think, nothing indicates that he needs someone to coddle him. If you ask me I think it’s you who needs him.”

 

Jake managed to calm down some. “Hehe, that’s funny, Minerva told me the same thing…”

 

“That being said, you’ve come a long way and I think you’ve grown enough to stand on your own two feet. So stand proud with your chin up will you?” Simon beamed a smile and puffed out his chest in an act of encouragement.

 

Jake bulked up his body, he looked like a beefy bodybuilder. The two laughed at the absurdity.

 

“Secondly, I think you might be paranoid for no good reason. Finn tossed aside his vault did he not? He’s made it clear that he has no intention of repressing his negative thoughts anymore.”

 

Jake went silent for a moment. “I think that’s the problem Sim, he ain’t got anywhere he can lock them away so he keeps thinkin about them. Just because they aren’t in his vault doesn’t mean they’re gone. You don’t hear him talkin about his issues cause he keeps em to himself.”

 

Simon frowned as he realized there was truth to Jake’s words. “I suppose that may very well be true, but why wouldn’t he talk-”

 

Jake cut him off,  “I’m lucky enough to feel comfortable talkin about my problems in the open, I got you and lady and all sorts of people I don’t mind spillin my beans to. But I think Finn keeps that stuff to himself because it’s what he thinks a hero should do or some horse hockey like that. What if one of these days he can’t do it anymore? I don’t want my brother snappin, knowin I coulda done something.”

 

Simon struggled to think of any supportive words. “Well, how do you know all of this?” Despite being skeptical, Simon could easily see where Jake was coming from.

 

“I know my bro, Sim. I was there for those four years. It wasn’t all fun and games. Some bad stuff went down and we grew up, like you said, whether we liked it or not.” His tone was sullen and the words were filled with grim implications.

 

The way Jake worded himself implied something dire might’ve happened to Finn and Jake in their absence, unfortunately he was so vague that Simon’s imagination constructed horrible scenarios that he’d rather not think about. “I may not know what occurred in your leave, but I do know who and what you both are now . I can safely say that no matter how serious the situation with Finn may be, we can help him through it. After all, my little Marcy managed to get him to open up. There is hope, my friend.” He beamed another smile at Jake. If Simon had a trademark trait it was his reassuring smile. It exuded a warm confidence, he could follow any statement with that smile and you’d bet your behind you would believe every word he said.

 

Jake smiled back, feeling calm and safe. “Yeah, I guess you’re right huh? Man I can see where Marceline gets her people skills from.”

 

Simon chuckled. “You have it all wrong, my Gunter was the one who rubbed off on me.”

 

“Say why do you keep calling her your old penguin’s name?” This was something that had been on both Finn and Jake’s minds for a while.

 

“Oh, that’s a hold over from her youth. When she was under my care as a small child the crown’s influence slowly crept up on me. During the final stages of my lapse into insanity I would refer to her as Gunter . She must’ve thought it was my nickname for her, but truth be told I said the name unconsciously. When we reunited she asked that I still call her that from time to time. I agreed, if it makes her happy then I’d do anything.” Simon shrugged.

 

Simon hated thinking about what he did to Marceline, of course it wasn’t his fault and he knew that but it didn’t change the fact that he abandoned her. When Simon first reemerged from the persona of the Ice King he despised anything and everything relating to his old life as an insane wizard. However, when Marceline approached him about the nickname, he couldn’t refuse. He owed her. That event marked the beginning of Simon’s acceptance of the Ice King as part of his life, something that he was working on to this day.

 

“Man don’t I know the feelin. Oh! Speakin of kids, one sec.” Jake stretched a third arm from his back but maintained eye contact with Simon. The arm continued to stretch out all the way to the skate park which was many yards away.

 

Gibbon was cheering on Bronwyn and Madeline as they shredded their boards. He inched closer until he tripped and fell in the bowl they had been skating in. Jake’s elongated arm managed to grab the pup mid fall before any harm was done and pulled him back up and set him down with a pat and rub to the head.

 

Jake’s makeshift arm retracted back into his body.

 

“What was that about?” Simon questioned with a puzzled look.

 

“Just my grandad senses. Anyway, back to Marcy, my bro’s been spendin a lot of time with her huh? Like almost every day. You think there’s somethin goin on between em? Is it bad that I kinda hope there is? I know I shouldn’t be playing matchmaker or nothin but I just want him to find someone who can help him be happy. I’m thinkin if anybody can help him out, it might be her.”

 

Jake loved his brother, but even he knew there were limits to what he could do for him. The dog expected the day where Finn would crave a romance but nothing prepared him how strong the love bug was. Watching Finn struggle through each of his crushes killed Jake on the inside, mostly because he knew there wasn’t much he could do to remedy the emotional pain that would linger. Finn was a sappy romantic, the boy wouldn’t admit it but Jake knew. This meant that Finn would probably continue his quest for love and potentially continue to fail. All Jake could do was hope that his brother would find the right one soon.

 

“Well I hate to be there bearer of bad news but I don’t think those two will be dating any time soon, though who knows. Things may change in the future.” Simon crossed one leg over the other and rested an arm on the head of the bench.

 

“What makes ya say that?”

 

“Like you, I thought there may have been a spark in Finn’s eye for Marceline. But when I confronted him about it he seemed to have zero interest in her romantically. I was shocked, honestly, I could’ve sworn he was warming his way up to her but it turns out Finn is just a very loving friend.”

 

Jake let out a hearty laugh.

 

“I wasn’t aware I had said something funny.” Simon furrowed his brow with a red face. The antiquarian had a fear of unintentionally embarrassing himself.

 

“Nah man, it’s just that you don’t know Finn like I do. You’re right when you say he loves his friends, almost everything he’s done for Marceline he’d do for any one of us. The devil’s in the details Simon. I know I said Finn likes to show off his muscles, but when he’s around Marcy he does it more, just a little bit more but if you pay attention you’ll notice. I heard he even invited her over to see his robot stuff, he always saves that for him, the other bots, and his mom. But he asked her to go check it out! Now I know he said he ain’t interested but that that’s friggin lie and he knows it. You know what’s really goin on? He’s scared dude. I mean the guy just got off a pretty bad break up so his brain is all messed up about this love stuff right now. He really cares about his relationship with Marceline and he doesn’t wanna funk that up by adding love in the mix. Last thing that boy wants is to ruin one of best friendships. So I bet you he’s telling himself I can just be her friend, right? Wrong, bro, wrong. I’m tellin you that love bug is gonna creep up on him and if he keeps trying to fight it it’s gonna be bad news. I just hope he can accept his feelings soon and give it a shot. The worst she can do is say no, right? It’s not like that’s gonna be the end for them, they care about each other too much.” Jake threw his arms behind his head and leaned back, satisfied with his analysis of the situation.

 

Simon bought into Jake’s reasoning. “Hmm, well if that’s the case then I too hope for the best for them. That being said, I’m unsure of Marceline’s feelings for him. She cares about him greatly, but whether or not that extends beyond the boundaries of friendship has yet to be seen. And it’s not something I would like to ask her about either, lest she assume I’m trying to influence her. I can only hope for the best for my little sweetheart.” He put his hand to his chest and closed his eyes, silently giving his well wishes to Marceline.

 

“Same, I’m not gonna push him to do anything but I’m hopin he’s got the cajones to try and ask her out.”

 

Jake was caught off guard by something warm and fuzzy landing on his head.

 

“Granba!”

 

“Hey little buddy!” Jake reached above his head and set Gibbon on his lap.

 

“Thanks for cash gramps” Bronwyn thanked Jake by giving him a hug from behind.

 

“Don’t mention it sweetie, thanks for hangin out with your little cousin.” Jake gave his granddaughter a pat on the head before she separated herself.

 

“So what are you two dudes gonna do now?” Madeline directed her question to Simon and Jake.

 

“If I recall correctly Charlie wanted us to be back by-” Simon looked down at his watch and shot a look of shock as he reached to grab his head. “JAKE WE’RE LATE!” he shouted in fear.

 

“WHAT?! Oh no no no, sorry honey we gotta get goin!” Jake dashed with Gibbon in hand and Simon following suit. He turned around while running backwards to offer Bronwyn a few final words, “SEEYALATERTAKECAREILOVEYOU!” He rushed them all out in a single breath.

 

The couple waved bye with Bronwyn shouting “LOVE YOU TOO!”

 

Chapter Text

“Unacceptable...UNacceptable... unacceptable… ” Lemongrab paced back and forth in his room within Castle Lemongrab while flipping through the pages of an unknown magazine. His cadence became increasingly irritated, culminating in a burst of frustration. “ UNACCEPTABLLLEEEEEEEEE!!! ” He slammed the book down on the ground as he screamed.

 

Lumpy Space Princess burst into his room with urgency, “What?! What the flip is going on?! Are you okay smoochums?!”

 

Lemongrab quickly jumped in the air and landed on the magazine, laying down in a somewhat suggestive pose. “Ow.”

 

LSP smirked. “Oh baby, if you wanted some time with me all you had to do was ask.”  She slowly began to float towards Lemongrab.

 

“You will assume nothing.” Lemongrab threw his hand out signaling her to halt. “Do you have Finn’s cellular number? I require his assistance.”

 

“Oh! I knew you’d finally see it my way! Now we just gotta convince Huntress to let Finn-”

 

“Just call the man, woman!” Lemongrab cut off his girlfriend.

 

“Alright, sheesh. You weren’t this eager last time I asked…” LSP uttered those last few words under her breath. She whipped out her phone and dialed Finn’s number. A couple seconds passed before the automatic message played.

 

“Yo this is Finn! If you’re hearing this I’m probably busy doin hero junk so just leave me a message! And if this is LSP, stop.” The message closed with a loud beep.

 

She scoffed, “Ugh whatever. I’ll get a hold of Huntress and get to him that way.” She dialed the number for Huntress, after a few moments someone picked up.

 

“What do you need?” thankfully it was indeed Huntress.

 

“Hey gurl how’s it hangin!”

 

“LSP I’ve told you time and time again this line is for emergencies only .” Huntress was reminded of the countless times Lumpy Space Princess would call just to gossip.

 

“But this is an emergency! My sweet wittle wemon head needs Finn’s help and he won’t answer so will get him for me?”

 

“Please stop calling me that” Lemongrab interjected.

 

“...” Huntress was silent.

 

“Uhh gurl?” LSP cocked an eyebrow.

 

The wizard gave a frustrated sigh. “We don’t associate anymore, I’m hanging up now, bye.” And with that the line was closed.

 

The Lumpy Space Queen gasped in shock and shrieked, “NO. FLIPPIN. WAY.” She quickly dialed the first contact that came up on her phone.

 

After the connection was established LSP shouted into her phone, “ MAAAAAARCAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

 

“I think I just got tinnitus. What’s up Lumps?” Marceline’s voice came out the other end.

 

“DID. YOU. KNOW. THAT FINN AND HUNTRESS BROKE UP?!”

 

“Oh, yeah that’s kinda old news to me girl. How’d you find out though?” Marceline made sure not to gossip about Finn’s situation out of respect. As far as she knew she, Simon, and Jake were the only ones who had that intel, that was until LSP rang her up.

 

“You knew and you never told me?! Tch I see how it is. Well fyi I called up Huntress and after a bit of talking she spilled the beans to me.” In true LSP fashion, the truth was skewed slightly.

 

“Wait, she told you ? Sorry but I find that hard to believe.” Marceline knew LSP had a knack for embellishing her stories, still, she needed some confirmation on the off chance LSP was being straight with her.

 

“Mhmmm! I called her up and she was all like Yeah me and Finn are totally done, I’ve already got a new boo and I was like Girl you did NOT! It’s true, it’s all true.” LSP nodded her head to herself.

 

“She’s already got a new boyfriend?” Marceline was surprised to hear that Finn’s ex had already found someone else, but more than that she was angered. The guy gives you four years of his life and then you just move on like nothing happened? What was the point?! Were you just messing with him you psycho?! She gave a mental sigh. Okay, slow your roll Marceline. Maybe LSP is just being LSP. Let’s just try and find out how Finn is feeling about all this, haven’t heard him speak a peep about the break up since that one day.

 

Her thoughts were scrambled as Lumpy spoke up, “And guuuuurl you would not believe-”

 

AHEM ” Lemongrab cleared his throat to catch his girlfriend’s attention and reminder her of the task at hand.

 

“Oh right! Marcy, me and Lemon need Finn do you think you could get a hold of him for us?”

 

Marceline’s ears perked up, this was perfect. It gave her an excuse to hangout with Finn, not that she needed one, and potentially check his feelings on his break up now that some time has passed. “Yeah, can do. Be there in like thirty.”

 

“Mmmkay gurl, see you then!” LSP hung up and turned to her boyfriend. “So how about that offer hmmm?” she struck a pose with a hand on her hip in a way that she deemed sexy.

 

“Perhaps later, I have something important I need to attend to.” Lemongrab’s eyes shifted back and forth in a suspicious manner.

 

“I get it, you wanna save this for dessert. Don’t wanna spoil your appetite.” She leaned on the doorway, sticking her lumps out. “Too much of a good thing, am I right?”

 

“Vacate the premises.” Lemongrab remained on the floor.

 

“I love it when you play hard to get.” She took her leave.

 

Lemongrab looked around thoroughly before running up to the door and locking it. He walked up to the crushed magazine and bent down to pick it up. The book was revealed to be a catalogue of a variety of wedding rings.

 

He whispered to himself, “It has to be acceptable. No, exceptional…”

 


 

 

Finn was relaxing in his home cooking up some egg rolls. He received a heads up from Marceline that she would be on her way soon. For this reason the rolls were dyed with red food coloring.

 

“I’m on a roll with these rad red egg rolls” he sung to himself as he cooked. “BMO can you bring out the sauce?” The little computer had been playing a tune for Finn on the kitchen counter.

 

“You got it chef!” He hopped down and waddled to the fridge.

 

These days Jake spent most of his time with Lady, he would only stay over during the weekends. It was a freedom Finn had to fight for as Jake insisted he should stay. Finn felt like he needed the space being a twenty one year old adult. The young man told himself that it would build character.

 

One of the first character building exercises was learning how to cook more than just basic meals. Thankfully Jake and Simon were more than willing to help, both were fairly skilled in the culinary arts. Simon was more of a baker and created some wonderful pastries with Finn. Jake, on the other hand, showed his brother how to prepare some excellent dishes from different parts of Ooo. Finn had become a master chef in his own right, he even came up with some specialty meals like his meat lover egg rolls.

 

BMO slammed the bowl of sauce down on the table with a loud THUD .

 

“And there’s the pièce de résistance” he said kissing the tips of his fingers. “Red Rolls done, all that’s left is to wait for Marcy.” Finn grabbed a pair of tongs and set the egg rolls on a large plate before placing them on the table next to the sauce. He grabbed a cover for the rolls before jumping and laying on his couch.

 

BMO hopped onto his lap. “Is it game time now?” He said with a smile.

 

“Gimme a sec BMO, gotta set the schedule for today. Let’s see what the Heroes Guild has got posted.” Finn took out a smartphone and opened an app labeled Heroes Guild DB and navigated to a tab labeled Quest Board .

 

“Don’t you get tired of doing hero stuff everyday?” BMO said dancing on his stomach.

 

“It’s not something I can just stop doing BMO. You wouldn’t understand. Besides it’s not like it’s the only thing I do, that’s why I got a schedule. I make sure I got time for everything else.”

 

Finn always made sure to meet his heroes quota, this consisted of taking on an assortment of jobs ranging from finding someone’s lost pet to saving an entire city. Depending on the scale of the mission he would give himself Hero Points . Every day he made sure to accumulate at least twenty hero points. No one was forcing him to do so, it was something he required of himself. Finn couldn’t rest easy if he felt like he wasn’t doing enough good for the world. So he came up with this system to try and pace himself.

 

There were days where keeping such a stringent schedule felt taxing. Sometimes Finn would feel drained to the point of burn out and yet he never took a break. He couldn’t. The anxiety and stress that came from inaction were much worse; so while nobody else was forcing him to do this, he forced himself. He could always reason that it was just a fleeting moment of sadness and he would feel much better the next day. This was true, but how long could he keep up this performance? It was a question he had asked himself before. What scared him the most was that he had no clear answer, maybe it would be this way until he died?

 

In the end he knew one thing, anything was better than doing nothing. Every bit of his fear stemmed from inaction. All because one day he decided he’d rather do nothing. The twelfth of October. An event that brought him restless terror and haunted him to this day.

 

“Hmm, nothing exciting today. Looks like I’m takin a buncha small jobs.” He continued to scroll through the quest board until he heard a knock on the door, two loud bangs. “Coming Marcy!” BMO jumped off Finn as he hopped over the couch to make his way to the door. He swung it open and gave a gentleman's bow. “To what do I owe this pleasure O most unholy one.”

 

She knocked him upside head for laughs. “I gots a job for us squire.” She closed her umbrella and set it near the door. Today she was repping a tan sweater with high rise shorts coupled with stockings and sneakers. Her hair was rather messy, yet she managed to pull it off.

 

“Oh dope, what do we got?” He walked over to the table and took a seat with Marceline following.

 

“LSP hit me up, she said something about Lemon Head- what’s that smell?” a wonderful scent hit the vampire’s nose. Not only could she identify a rich red color but she also smelled great food.

 

Finn gently placed his hand on the cover before ripping it away to reveal the egg rolls he prepared. “WUH BAM! It’s one of your home boy’s specials. Meat Lover Egg Rolls, now with extra red!”

 

“Yo this is like, a clean crimson color. How did you manage?” Marceline’s eyes glistened and her mouth watered.

 

“Glad you noticed, took me a few tries to figure out how get em be the perfect red. Give em taste after you suck the red too, I think they came out pretty good.” Finn grabbed a roll and dipped it in the sauce before taking a bite.

 

“I think I’ll do that, I haven’t eaten yet so thanks.” Marceline sucked the red out of a roll, tasted just as rich as it looked. Then she dipped it in the sauce and munched the whole thing down. She wasn’t expecting much as she never knew Finn to be an expert cook but she was pleasantly surprised at the explosion of flavor. “Hey these are actually really good! Not often I find food that’s red and delicious.” She stuffed another in her mouth.

 

“So you said something about Lemongrab?” Finn grabbed another bite. Thankfully he made a dozen and a half egg rolls as Marceline was chowing down.

 

“Yeah sho anywaysh Lemongab neesh ouw help” the vampire spoke with a full mouth.

 

“What for?” Finn grabbed his fourth while Marceline gulped down her sixth.

 

“Dunno, forgot to ask. Could be interesting though. You in?”

 

“You said LSP called you? Man she better not ask me what I think she’s gonna ask me.” Finn rested his head in the palm of his hand with an annoyed expression.

 

“What’s she gonna ask you?” Marceline asked as she grabbed her ninth roll.

 

Finn shivered, “I don’t wanna talk about it. You comin with yeah?”

 

“‘Course dude, I was gonna go whether you liked it or not.” She kicked her feet up on the table with a cocky smirk.

 

“Well it’s a good thing I like it then huh?” Finn gave a smile and got up and grabbed a white sword with a hexagon indented in the handguard. The sword seemed to have no blade, just a handle. “Normally I save this baby for the big bads but I kinda just wanna show it off now.”

 

“You’re not taking the Swiss Army Sword?” Marceline finished her last egg roll and floated up to Finn.

 

“Nah, today you’re gonna witness the genius of Finn and Minerva Campbell.” He held the sword hilt high. “Check out the Miracle Sword!” he shouted.

 

“So is the blade invisible or something?” Marceline cocked an eyebrow, she had trouble seeing the apparent majesty of the weapon.

 

“Watch this!” he brought the sword down to chest level and held it between him and Marcy with the the would-be blade facing away from them. He spat into the hexagon shaped indent.

 

“Wow you can spit on it? Wish I could do that with my bass” she chuckled. Her mockery was cut short as a water blade ejected from the hand guard. “Whoa!” She flinched back in surprise.

 

“Water sword, pretty slick eh?” He waved the blade around to demonstrate that it was fully functional.

 

“Does that work with anything?” She was curious about the Miracle Sword’s limits.

 

“Put some of your blood in it!” Finn held out the sword once more, pointing away from the two.

 

Marceline used a claw to cut a small slit in her skin, a drop of blood fell into the indent. As soon as the blood made contact with the sword a dark maroon blade shot out in place of the water blade.

 

“Vampire Demon Blood sword, rad.” Finn reached in his satchel and pulled out a bottle with lightning trapped inside. He popped the cork off and aimed the bottle at the hexagon, the lightning shot off into the sword and out popped an electric blade.

 

“Okay, that’s pretty wild. You and your mom made that huh?”

 

Finn pressed a button and the blade disappeared. “Yup, I came up with the concept but she’s the one who made it all work in the end. Its sleek and aerodynamic design allows it for maximum swinging potential. Leave your foes in shock, they’ll be thinking WOW did I just get murked by the most awesome sword in existence? Yes my fiend, yes you did. It’s compact build makes it easy to travel with. This bad boy can be all yours for the low low price of nothing because it’s mine and I’m keeping it.” He put the sword in his satchel. “You ready?” Finn took steps towards the door before being pushed back by Marceline. “What’s up?”

 

“I’m not gonna let you wear the same outfit for the millionth time, especially not after we went shopping last week.” She had annoyed tone and agitated look.

 

Finn groaned in response. “Aww c’mon Marcy, do I gotta?” he slumped his shoulders and threw his head back. Wearing anything aside from his iconic outfit felt awkward.

 

“What, are you saying the clothes I picked are trash?!” She contorted her face and hissed at him.

 

Finn laughed nervously, “N-no, in fact I’ll go put em on now!” he rushed up stairs to change into his new get up.

 

BMO passed by Marceline while riding a small vacuum robot. “Onward my noble steed!” She giggled at the sight.

 

Finn jumped down the ladder and struck an action pose after hitting the ground. He was dressed in a royal blue jacket with the sleeves rolled up, the zipper placement was off center as the right side of the jacket overlapped the left. He sported navy blue jeans with black and white boots to compliment. And, of course, he hung his bear hat around his neck. “How do I look?”

 

Marceline let out a whistle as she scanned him. “Lookin sharp. Now we’re ready to bounce.” She made her way towards the door and held it open for him.

 

Finn marched outside with Marcy grabbing her umbrella and following behind him. “You want me to hold that for you?” he gestured to the umbrella.

 

“Nah it’s cool- Actually, y’know what? Knock yourself out.” She handed him the umbrella. Why not take the offer? Her arm had been getting a little stiff from holding it so much anyways.”But if I get a lick of sunlight on me you’re gonna pay, got it?”

 

“I’ll hold this solar radiation blocking device like my life depends on it.” He held his free hand up to his heart.

 

“Good cause it does, now let’s roll.”

 


 

 

Lemongrab waited impatiently, sitting on the edge of his bed that faced the door leading outside. He had maintained the position for quite some time now. His eyes narrowed as he hummed in frustration. A few more moments of silence passed until Finn burst through the door in panic sending Lemongrab into a state of panic himself.

 

“AHHHHHHHHHH!” He shrieked as Finn quickly closed the door.

 

“Lemongrab! You have to go! Run! There’s demon in-” Finn’s shouts of terror we interrupted by a black tendril busting through the door and wrapping around his head. Whatever creature the appendage belonged to ripped Finn back, breaking the entire door in the process.

 

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! ” Lemongrab’s scream was even louder than the first. He froze in terror, he could do nothing but scream. His fright began to die down when he heard laughter coming from outside his room. “AAAAaaaahhhhh?”

 

“Try and hold back next time, I think you pulled something in my neck”

 

“My bad dude. I’ll give you like a neck rub or something later, kay?”

 

Lemongrab’s fear turned to irritation when he saw Marceline and Finn walk in with satisfied smiles on their faces. “mmmmmMMMMMM, HOW DARE YOU MAKE A FOOL OF ME! I SHOULD HAVE YOU TWO ARRESTED!” he pointed and shouted at the duo in anger.

 

“Calm down Lemon Head, you still need our help right? So what’s up?” Marceline made light of his fury.

 

“I require Finn’s help.” He turned his head to face Finn.

 

“She comes with the package, hombre.” He shrugged.

 

“You want him? Then ya gotta have me.” Marceline crossed her arms and gave Lemongrab a smug look as she leaned against Finn.

 

“Mmmmm. I need you two to procure a jewel for me. However, it must be the most exquisite jewel in the entire universe! I will accept nothing less!” He crossed his own arms as he awaited their response.

 

“No probs sour man. Let’s get it Marcy.” He turned one hundred and eighty degrees before being spun another one hundred and eighty by Marceline.

 

“Nah nah nah nah nah, we’re not just gonna do this for free. You’re sending us out treasure hunting and we don’t even get to keep the treasure? Gotta compensate us with something.” She stuck her hand up and rubbed her thumb against her fingers.

 

“C’mon Marcy, I’m a hero! I don’t do this stuff for the reward, if they wanna pay me then I’ll accept.”

 

“Yeah? And how often do you get paid?” She cocked an eyebrow, she assumed he didn’t get much in the way of monetary gain.

 

“Enough…” His response was sheepish.

 

“Finn…” She furrowed her brow at him.

 

“Like five times out of ten I get paid…” He shied away from her, sweat forming at his brow.

 

“Finn!” She floated in front of him.

 

“Okay fine! More like two times out of ten!” He put his hands in his pockets and puffed his cheeks in faux anger.

 

Marceline sighed. “You’re way too nice dude, good thing I’m here to help. So how you gonna help us help you out Lemongrab.”

 

He pulled out a sack of gold. “Will this suffice?”

 

“Man I don’t feel good about this.” Finn frowned.

 

Marceline grabbed the money. “Yeah, but your pockets will.” She counted the cash, there was roughly one hundred gold coins. “This’ll do nicely, thanks Lemon man” She tossed the bag to Finn.

 

“You’re not gonna take a cut?” Finn said in surprise.

 

“Nah, you’re taking me shopping later after all, right?” She gave a playful wink as she passed him by, making her way out the door. She did so to tease the young man, the idea of flustering Finn was fun to her.

 

“Huh, guess I am!” Unfortunately for Marceline, he took it at face value and was simply happy to treat his friend.

 


 

 

“Okay, but remind me again why we can’t just take one of the gems off these walls? They’re beautiful, I’m sure Lemongrab wouldn’t mind.” Marceline ran her hand along the jewel encrusted walls of a rather large cave she and Finn had been exploring.

 

Finn’s knowledge of the land of Ooo made it easy for the two to decide where to start looking. His first suggestion led them here; the Crystal Caverns ,unrelated to the Crystal Dimension,  which was located deep within the earth.

 

“I mean sure we could just grab one off the wall but where’s the adventurer’s spirit in that? I want it to be special, I wanna earn it.” He continued to lead Marceline further down the cave.

 

She rolled her eyes and smiled. “You wouldn’t be Finn if you didn’t wanna do it the hard way.”

 

She didn’t hate doing hero work, but to her this felt more like running an errand. Had it not been for Finn she’d most likely have given up long ago.

 

The two marched onwards in search of the perfect gem. Unbeknownst to them, a large cluster of crystals had been trailing them on the ceiling for some time.

 

“Y’know there’s a rumor that a super strong monster hides out down here.” Finn began to slow his walking speed.

 

Marceline’s ears perked up. “Oh? How strong we talkin?”

 

“Very, at least that’s what I heard. Not a lot of info except here-say. They call it the Prism Troll; it’s got hulking strength but the real kicker is the crystals it’s got on its back and arms.” Finn’s movement slowed to a crawl, he listened very closely as his hero gut told him something was off.

 

“What’s up with it’s crystals?” Marceline eyed Finn quizzically. She seemed to have no clue about his intentions.

 

“Apparently every once in a blue moon it goes up to the surface and stores solar energy in its crystals. It can shoot that stuff back out at will and from what I’ve heard it can do some major damage.” He came to a halt and knelt down.

 

“Make that double major damage for me. If that stuff comes from the sun like you said then we better watch out. That is if we run into- Finn what are you doing?” She couldn’t take it anymore, she had to ask about his strange behavior.

 

Finn didn’t move from his kneeling position yet footsteps could be seen forming in front of him, as if he were still moving forward. Just as Marceline was trying to wrap her head around the situation Finn slowly turned his head and whispered to her, “Marcy jump back NOW! ” Without hesitation she leapt backwards. As if in response, a giant creature slammed down from above crushing Finn.

 

FINN! ” She shouted in panic.

 

“I’m fine! We need to focus!”

 

She was momentarily confused as she turned her head to see Finn standing in front of the beast. Her mind clicked the pieces of the puzzle together. This was the same trick Finn pulled when she tried scaring him and the footprints were Finn’s as he performed his magic. He wasn’t teleporting, he placed a decoy and moved while his real body was invisible. She needed to ask how he was able to puppet the decoy after they finished taking this monster down.

 

Finn inspected the Prism Troll, it resembled a large hairless Gorilla but it lacked eyes. Not to mention the crystals and gems that decorated its arms and back. The creature roared at Finn but he was unphased as he planned his actions. Marceline took advantage of the beasts narrow focus and transformed into a large bat, rushing him into the wall.

 

Finn acted immediately by aiming his mechanical arm at the monster and launching the limb with rocket force. “Watch out Marcy!”

 

She took heed of his warning and backed off as Finn’s arm made its way. Marceline anticipated a great punch to be delivered but was disappointed when the arm simply latched on to a crystal on the beast's back. Right before she could voice her complaints a flash of light came from his detached arm and then appeared Finn, reattached to his arm. “So you can teleport! Dope!” she cheered him on.

 

Finn ripped a chunk of crystal from the Prism Troll’s back and he pulled out his Miracle Sword, shoving the the rock into it. As the blade formed he hopped off the back of the creature, noticing it reaching for him. Marceline thought to take advantage of the fact that the beasts back was facing her, but was caught off guard when the troll leapt backwards and shoved her against the wall. She had a few crystals lodged in her, however the real issue was that the crystals had pinned her to the wall. The monster turned to face her and roared as the crystals in his arm began to glow and whir.

 

She panicked as she tried to removed herself.

 

Finn could be heard shouting, “BO! GET OUT THERE AND SHIELD HER!”

 

The beast let out a final roar before extending its arms forward and firing blinding beam of light towards the vampire. Marceline braced for the worst of it, but was surprised to find that she had felt nothing change after the light had subsided. She looked up to find a white bear whose size challenged the troll was standing on its hind legs, protecting her. She wore a look of shock. “Finn?”

 

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Finn rush in to face the monster, meaning this creature was a separate entity. This was one more question that she would ask him about after their adventure was over, for now she opted to free herself and focus on the fight.

 

Finn snapped his fingers as he ran forward. The bear responded and charged the troll, their arms locked in combat. Finn sliced the beasts achilles tendons while it was distracted and forced it to its knees. “These crystals are pretty strong huh? Cut through like butter.” The hero's banter was cut short as the monster attempted to stand back up, despite the tendons in his feet being sliced. “Jeez this thing doesn’t quit huh? Bo!”

 

The bear and Finn seemed to understand each other without using many words. The white beast wrapped its arms around the troll and gave a great squeeze, following it up by tossing the monster behind itself in the direction of Finn.

 

He took a stance as if he were preparing to catch the flying troll. Just before the beast could land on him an invisible force held the Prism Troll high above his head. Finn’s actions made it look like he were the one lifting the monster.

 

Marceline was confused yet again. Upon closer inspection Finn’s arms seemed to be surrounded by a semi-transparent white aura. She witnessed as he slammed the troll down with tremendous force. He grabbed it by leg and whipped the beast around with unprecedented strength, tossing it to her.

 

“Catch Marcy!”

 

Marceline readied her fists and when the troll came within range she swung with all her might, delivering a fierce uppercut. The beast spun in the air from the impact before finally landing on its stomach. It lied unconscious.

 

“I think we did it.” She breathed a sigh of relief as she returned to her normal form.

 

Finn walked up to the Prism Troll and thrust his sword into the head of the creature, it flinched before finally being put to rest. “Just wanna make sure.” He put the miracle sword away and sat against the corpse of the monster, Marceline joined him.

 

“You know all things considered, that was a pretty quick slay. Up top.” Marceline raised her hand up.

 

Finn returned the high five. “We make a bomb duo!”

 

The giant bear walked up to the two and sat down, his weight shook the ground beneath them.

 

“So uhh, care to explain?” Marceline pointed at the bear while she looked at Finn.

 

“Oh, that’s Bo.”

 

“Bo?” Marcy scanned the creature.

 

The bear huffed.

 

“It’s short for Bogard, but don’t tell anyone. It supposed to be our secret ain’t that right buddy?”

 

Bo let out a low whine.

 

“Okay but like, where did he come from. Cause unless I’m just straight up blind, I don’t remember us coming in with a giant polar bear.” Marceline scratched her head, she just couldn’t understand what was going on.

 

“He’s my spirit animal. Something I picked up like two years ago.” Finn shrugged. “Alright back in my spirit you go buddy.” Bo responded to the command by bursting into white particles. The white dust flew into Finn’s chest and Bo was gone.

 

She was incredulous towards his response. “You just, picked it up ? I don’t think that’s something you just pick up .”

 

“It was this whole thing that happened. I met this guy, called himself Hero King and he showed me a buncha stuff but it turned out to be a raw deal. I mean kinda? It wasn’t bad , but it wasn’t something that I ended up wanting. In the end I had it forced on me anyway. But yeah, I guess I’m the Hero King now. Not like that really means much to me.” Finn stared off into nothing, his tone was a mixture of annoyed, angry, and sad but mostly exhausted.

 

Marceline placed a hand on Finn’s shoulder and smiled. “Dude it’s okay. You don’t gotta talk about it if you don’t wanna.” In truth she cared to know what was ailing Finn very much. However, she could also tell that whatever he was talking about came with some emotional baggage and didn’t want him stressing himself when he didn’t have to.

 

Finn looked up at her and gave a warm smile. “Thanks.” He appreciated her empathy. It was in fact a very touchy subject for him that he’d rather avoid talking about if at all possible.

 

It was moments like these that Finn found his feelings for Marceline grow stronger. He appreciated her ability to understand the emotions of her friends. She was down to earth when the situation called for it and always seemed to know what to say put him at ease. All these things and more attracted him to her.

 

Calm down Finn, you’re letting your heart go all out of whack again. You can stay good friends and still be close to Marceline. You can hang out with her when you’re feeling down, talk when you got problems, cry on her shoulder when you’re hurting, hold hands when your walking, cuddle when you’re feeling lonely, kiss when you’re feeling romantic… Wait friends don’t do some of those things. AUGH stupid dumb brain, quit it! She’s just your friend!

 

Marceline eyed Finn curiously as he gave her a black stare. She snapped her fingers in his face. “Earth to Finn, we still gotta grab a gem for Lemon Head.”

 

“Huh? Oh! Yeah yeah! Let's take one off the back of this bad boy.” Finn slapped the body of the Prism Troll. “These things should still have a bunch of solar energy in them so maybe they’ll look prettier?”

 

“Only one way to find out.” Marceline floated up to the back of the beast. “Yooo…” her tone conveyed a sense of bewilderment.

 

Finn stood and climbed up the monster. When he reached the top of the back he witnessed the sight that had Marcy awestruck. “Wow…”

 

All the gems and crystals raidiated a heavenly glow.

 

“Oh! Look at that one!” Marceline pointed to a transparent tetrahedron shaped Crystal lodged in the beast. The object had a rainbow dancing within it.

 

“You think Lemon will like that?” Finn pulled out his sword and placed another gem in the socket, preparing to cut the prism loose.

 

“Not really, he’s probably lookin for something a bit more yellow... But I’d like it!” She knew the perfect spot for the crystal in her room.

 

“Say no more.” He cut the figure out perfectly and handed it to Marceline.

 

She held the object and rotated it, getting a good look at her new decoration. “And here I thought we weren’t gonna get anything for ourselves. We’re keeping the cash though.”

 

Finn spotted a radiant amber diamond, despite it being slightly smaller than his thumb it stood out amongst the rest. “Think we found our needle in the haystack.”

 

Marcy floated over to see what Finn had discovered. “Oh definitely.”

 

He plucked the stone from the back of the troll. “Like pickin bugs off a monkey’s back.” Finn raised the diamond above his eye to get a good inspection.

 

Marceline giggled. “Weird metaphor but okay. Let's get movin, with any luck the sun’ll be down.”

 

Finn stuffed the gem in his bag along with an assortment of random crystals he took from the beast. “You got it boss.”

 


 

 

Lemongrab maintained the same position on the edge of his bed, there was no telling if he even moved since the two left.

 

“Hey Lemongrab!” Finn poked his head in the still broken doorway.

 

“Guess what we got?” Marceline poked her head above Finn’s.

 

Lemongrabs eyes widened in anticipation. “Do you have the gem!?”

 

Finn walked in with Marceline and tossed the diamond to Lemongrab who clumsily caught it.

 

“How bout it? Pretty good eh? Eh? Ehhhhhhhh?” Finn leaned closer to Lemon with every eh, excited to hear his response. He was sure it would be overwhelmingly positive.

 

Lemongrab scanned the gem with great care, he rolled it around in the palm of his hand, pressed it against his eye, sniffed it, licked it.

 

Both Finn and Marcy wore winced.

 

Lemon hummed while rubbing his chin. “Unacceptable.”

 

“Scuse me?” Finn was baffled.

 

“This gem is unacceptable.”

 

“What do you mean it’s unacceptable?! It ain’t gonna get more perfect than that!” Marceline exclaimed in frustration.

 

“It’s roughly point three micrometers too large in width. A-and the height is off by fifty nanometers. Not mention, of course, that the color is approximately a half shade lighter than what is optimal. Fetch me another!” Lemongrab tossed the gem to Finn and crossed his arms.

 

“Are you serious?! What kinda gem are you looking for any way and why do you care so much?!” Marceline had no doubt that they could find another gem, but she was convinced that Lemongrab was just being a stingy nuisance and she wasn’t about to go on a wild goose chase for no reason.

 

“Do not raise your voice at MEEEEE! How can you possibly expect myself to propose to Lumpy-!!!” Lemongrab quickly covered his mouth realizing he said something he hadn’t meant to.

 

Marceline and Finn’s eyes widened in shock.

 

Lemongrab stared at them in silence before speaking, “You will forget what you heard.” He spoke in a calm manner.

 

Something in Marceline’s mind clicked. “You got it Lemon Head. We out Finn.” Marceline made her way out the door.

 

“Wait- but- he- the gem- I-”

 

“Let’s go hero boy.” Marceline came up to Finn, grabbing him by the arm and leading him out the door and down the hall. She stopped when she figured she was out of Lemongrabs hearing range.

 

“Marcy are we really just gonna leave him hangin like that? I mean now that I know it’s for Lumps I kinda really wanna help the guy out.” Finn may not have been friends with Lemongrab, but he loved the idea of helping out two love birds.

 

“Of course we are, we got already got the perfect gem right here.” Marceline raised Finn’s hand that contained the amber diamond.

 

“But I thought he said it was unacceptable?”

 

Marceline laughed at Finn’s lack of understanding of the situation. “Dude he’s just super nervous. We could bring him anything and he’d say it’s unacceptable . Thankfully I know how this works; we’ll wait a bit out here and then walk back in, hand him the same gem, and he’ll think it’s a different gem, and accept it.”

 

“Huh, well I hope you’re right cause I don’t think we're gonna find a better gem than this.” Finn leaned against the wall and waited, as instructed by Marceline who joined him by his side.

 

“Crazy how those two are gonna tie the knot and yet a couple of losers like us can’t seem to find someone huh?” she elbowed Finn with a friendly smile. She saw an opportunity to segway on to the topic of relationships and hopefully ask him about Huntress.

 

“What do you mean?” the idea of Lemongrab and LSP getting married didn’t seem far fetched to Finn.

 

“Well I mean, look at em. You telling me you thought Lumpy the queen of vanity would keep it steady with Mr. loud and awkward?” She knew better than to assume that all relationships were based on personality compatibility but she still had a hard time seeing the two make it work, and yet they were getting married.

 

“I didn’t think anything of it really. Something I learned is that nothing in this world is black or white, it’s like this weird grey that can be more white than black or it can be more black than white. Same thing can be said about the color of love. Sometimes personality is nothing and sometimes it’s everything. Opposites don’t always attract and the perfect match can be the perfect trainwreck. Like you and PB for instance, not to say you guys were a trainwreck, but I never really thought there was much point in thinkin about whether you two would work. I was always just cheering you guys on cause I wanted y’all to be happy. Turns out it didn’t work, but what are you supposed to do? Blame each other? Blame yourselves? Nah. Love ain’t some kind of algorithm you can pin down. That’s why I prefer to try and focus on what made me happy, makes me happy, will make me happy. And I can only hope everyone else does the same.” Finn was blunt in his honesty. His words were kind and wholesome, but more than that they carried wisdom. The sentiment came from a place of genuine understanding and it was this way of thought that appealed to Marceline.

 

There was a time when she thought Finn’s attitude was naive, that it could be attributed to his young age and when he grew up he would be jaded like most people. But that never rang true. It was clear that he had matured emotionally and that he was aware of the world around him. She had no idea what he could’ve gone through in his life but she could only assume he didn’t have it easy. And yet he never stopped being empathetic towards others. He never lost his optimism. Finn was always sure to help those in need be it physically or emotionally. Marceline found herself craving that empathy.

 

“That’s… That’s really thoughtful of you Finn.” She wanted to give him a peck on the cheek, something she had practiced in the past with ease. But now she found herself flustered at the notion. What was it that made her hesitate? Marceline tried to reason with herself.

 

Just give him a quick little kiss on the cheek, it’s not like you haven’t done it before. If you think about it for too long it’ll be weird, just do it! ...Too late. What is up with me, for real?! You’re Marceline the flippin vampire queen! You’re rockin girl full of punk attitude! … Or I was… Things have changed, I’ve changed. I may be punk but I got other stuff goin on in me too. If I kissed him right now it’d feel like I mean it, cause I do mean it. I like Finn. Marceline laughed at herself in her mind. Oh wow I can’t believe it, I really do like this kid. Well calling him a kid ain’t fair, the dude is probably the most mature out of all of us at this point. Having him around me makes me feel good. He’s a hero, the de facto good guy with no ill will, and he’s always wanting to hang with me, despite me not always being the greatest person. Means I’m doing something right, right? Heck, I was able to help him with his issues. I used to never care this much about what I thought of myself. Back then being sad was the norm and clownin on people to make myself feel better was okay. Then these losers had to show up and make me feel good. Now I’m a loser. I like being a loser. I like what we have and I want more, is that selfish? Now that I think about it I don’t really know how he feels about me. He likes me, right? He’s gotta. Unless he’s still caught up on Huntress. Oh! Right! Huntress.

 

Marceline looked over to her side where Finn had been leaning on the wall, lost in thought. “So, you hear anything from Huntress?” She hoped her question didn’t push any wrong buttons.

 

“Not a peep. Why? Have you?” Finn was curious as to what brought up this topic.

 

Marceline debated in her head whether she should tell Finn what she heard from LSP. In the end she decided it best to tell him, she felt he could handle it. “Well, I heard this from Lumps so take it with a grain of salt but, word is she’s found a new partner.”

 

Finn was quiet as he closed his eyes with a furrowed brow and crossed his arms. At first he felt his heart sink slightly, but after some thought he opened his eyes and smiled. The weight was gone. “I’m happy for her.”

 

Marceline was surprised at his response. “You are?”

 

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” Finn placed his hands in his pockets.

 

“Well it’s just that, don’t you think she moved on a little too fast? You two went out for like four years and it just kinda seems weird that she’s already moved on.” Marceline remembered her initial burst of anger and to see Finn happy at the news bewildered her.

 

“What’s the alternative? I be miserable and wish she was having a terrible time? I don’t hate Huntress, I never did. We just couldn’t maintain a relationship. I’d like to think that over time we can still be friends, after all she’s still a good friend in my heart. And I want my friends to be happy. It’s honestly kind of relieving to hear that she’s doin okay.” Finn’s smile was genuine, as were his words.

 

Marceline took a moment to process his words. She had trouble understanding how someone could be so virtuous but after hearing him explain himself it made sense. Then she found herself applying the same logic to her situation. Marceline didn’t hate bubblegum, and if bonnie ended up finding someone else why shouldn’t she be happy for her best friend? Whatever leftover weight she carried from the break up was gone.

 

She smiled at Finn. “You’re a good dude, seriously, I mean that.”

 

“Well, I gotta thank you. I said it before but, that talk we had that one night did me a lot of good. It’s thanks to you that I got my brain case all cleared up.”

 

Marceline blushed, receiving such heartfelt compliment made her feel warm and fuzzy. “No problem. Let’s give this gem to Lemon, I think we're good to go.”

 

“Lead the way.”

 

Marcy floated down the hall and into Lemongrabs room with Finn following close behind. Lemon was in the same position, looking down at the floor until the two walked in.

 

“Why have you returned?” Lemongrab squinted at Marceline.

 

Marceline smiled as she floated up and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. “Well we thought long and hard about this whole thing, and y’know we just couldn’t stand by idly while our good friend Lemongrab-”

 

Lemon cut her off, “On with it!”

 

“We got you a new perfect jewel.” Marceline floated back to Finn who tossed the amber diamond to Lemongrab.

 

He held it and gave the same inspection as last time, licking and all. He was quiet for a few moments.

 

“Thisssss…”

 

Finn felt a bead of sweat form on his brow.

 

“This isssssss…”

 

Marceline began to tug at her own arm out of anxiousness.

 

“This is...EXPCEPTIONAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!” Lemongrab exclaimed in excitement.

 

“Oh thank glob.” Finn exhaled in relief.

 

“Glad we could help you out Lemon Head. So we invited to the wedding yeah?” Marceline crossed her arms and laid back, satisfied with the work she had done.

 

“I’ll think about it, now leave!” Lemongrab pointed towards the door, demanding their exit.

 

Marceline wore a look of disgust as she left. “Pfft, whatever.”

 

“See ya Lemon.” Finn waved goodbye as he followed Marcy.

 

Finn decided to speak up as he and Marceline left the castle. “Hey...do you think that we could…” He was hesitant with his words.

 

“Spit it out dude.” She was curious about what had him choked up.

 

“...I really like it when we have those serious talks, y’know those down to earth convo’s. Hangin out with you is a blast and all but I was just wonderin if… Well if we could just like, sit down and spend some time talking cause that’s a lot of fun for me. We don’t gotta if you don’t wanna though! It’s no big deal if we don’t, really.” Finn was nervous as he spoke. He thought his request lame, he wouldn’t fault her for denying. He expected it.

 

Marceline found herself slightly shocked that Finn enjoyed their talks as much as she had. She thought he loathed these long drawn out discussions about life and their feelings when he, in fact, loved them. “Of course man, I’m totally down to just talk and chill with you.” The two made their way out the castle doors.

 

“Does tomorrow night sound good? Your place?” Finn pointed a finger at Marcy.

 

“Then it’s a date.” Marceline give him a peck on the cheek. She was able to now that she accepted her feelings, she meant this kiss. She also wanted to see Finn become flustered and blush, it was a cute mental image for her.

 

“You got it homie, I’ll give you a call when I leave tomorrow.” He pointed finger guns at her.

 

She was stunned when she witnessed Finn completely unphased. “Tha-that was joke by the way. Like y’know we’re not, uhhh, it’s not actually a date.” She tried to clarify the situation. It seems she had become the flustered one.

 

Finn laughed. “Yeah I know, thought that was obvious. Well anyway, you take it easy alright? Peace Marcy!” He waved goodbye as he walked off.

 

Marceline stood still in shock as she processed what had just happened. A new thought hit her mind for the first time, one she never even considered. She uttered a few words under her breath, “Wait… does he not like me?”

Chapter Text

“And then we’ll set the timer…” Simon mumbled to himself as he set a batch of cookies and muffins in an oven. The antiquarian removed his apron, he wore beige slacks with a tucked-in black turtleneck sweater and loafers to match. The sweets were baked on behalf of Marceline, she wanted herself and Finn to have something they could snack for the night.

 

“So, when will Finn be arriving?” Simon rested his arms on the kitchen counter top overlooking the living room.

 

Marceline adjusted the right strap of her tank top. The top was grey, she sported red pajama pants with black slippers and her hair tied in a ponytail. She sifted through a pile of dvds haphazardly splayed in the middle of her living room.

 

“It’s like, what, six o’clock? He’s probably on his way right now. Oh, Cyber Soldier 3 is definitely going in the watch pile.” Marceline placed the box behind her, so far she had two movies ready for the night.

 

“No wild adventures for the day huh?” Simon grabbed a cup of tea he had prepared earlier and began to take sips.

 

“Nah, we’re gonna take it easy tonight. Bumbo’s Quest for Coin? This movie sucks, why do I still have it?” Marceline took aim with the DVD in hand and shot for the trash can located in the corner. The case sunk perfectly into the bin with an audible swoosh. “Yep, still got it.”

 

“And the crowd goes wild!” Simon played along by chanting and waving his hands in the air. “Nice of you to curate what you’ll be watching, I hate it when a real stinker of a film ruins movie nights.”

 

“I honestly don’t know why I am. They’re gonna be background noise if anything.” Marceline placed another DVD in the unwanted pile.

 

“Why’s that?” Simon asked.

 

“Finn told me he just wanted to chit chat and chill. Apparently the guy really likes talking to me.” Marceline smiled, she reveled in the fact that Finn was eager to spend time with her.

 

“Ah, that’s wonderful! Finn is such a great conversationalist let me tell you. Why, I relish every opportunity we have to talk. I could go on and on and he wouldn’t miss a beat. Just a few days ago we were exploring Wham Bam Canyon and I had this whole spiel about the history of the giants that formed said canyon. It was quite fascinating really, but of course I understand that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for such things. However Finn listened to every word! Now, I’m not one to call into question my friends but I decided to test him by blah blah blah blah-” Simon’s speech devolved into gibberish as Marceline tuned out. She developed a knack for faux listening. It may have seemed rude from an outsider's perspective, but if she had an apple for every time Simon had one of his long talks she’d have enough to last her immortal lifetime. And that was a lot of apples.

 

His compliments to Finn reminded Marceline of the good friendship he and Simon fostered, she never properly thanked him for that. Finn’s continued contact with the antiquarian did wonders for his mental health, she wasn’t sure what Simon would do without him.

 

Marceline tried her best to be there for him twenty four seven but there were times she found herself unable to do so. The sinking ship that was her relationship made it difficult for her to always be by his side; thankfully Finn was there to aid him when she couldn't. He took good care of Simon, and that meant more to her than he would ever know.

 

“Blah blah blah, blah! I couldn’t believe my ears! To think something like that existed in Earth’s massive crater, and that that was only a mere fraction of what was contained in there. I began to understand why he dubbed it the Hyper Unknown. Finn says it’s too dangerous for me but I do hope I get to visit it one day.” Simon finished his speech along with his tea.

 

“Dang that’s pretty rad.” Marceline responded despite not hearing a lick of what was said. She simply pulled from a list of phrases she stored in a mental filing cabinet, it saw its use against Bonnie as well. “Hey Simon, you and Finn talk on the regular. Has he...ever mentioned me? At all?” Finn’s behavior from the end of yesterday's adventure lingered in Marceline’s mind. It bugged her to no end and she figured Simon could offer some sort of insight into the situation.

 

Simon tapped his finger on his chin in contemplation. “Hmmm, there aren’t any times that I can recall. Why do you ask?”

 

“Oh, no reason. I was just wonderin is all.” She placed one more movie into the watch pile before grabbing the unwanted DVDs and placing them back in her room.

 

If there was something her and Simon had in common, it was their terrible lying skills. That said, Simon didn’t know how to approach this. He was always careful not to overstep his boundaries with her.

 

Marceline returned and offered no more words. She simply floated in the middle of the room until the awkward silence was too much to bare.

 

“Okay, I lied. Simon...there’s something I wanna tell you, but you gotta keep it a secret! Promise me you won’t tell anyone?” Marceline hovered over to the counter as she pleaded with him.

 

There was a clear desperation in her voice. He used his finger to draw an X on his heart, “You have my word.” A smile was offered for reassurance.

 

Marceline returned the smile. “Simon I...I think I like Finn. No, I know I do. I like him a whole bunch and it makes me feel weird, but like, not in a bad way?” Marceline held her knees close to her chest and floated in the air, slowly spinning around. She had trouble wording herself, it were as if her brain couldn’t decide what feelings she wanted to vomit out. “He’s my friend, he’s been my friend for years. We’re bros, y’know? And this, thing , I got for him don’t feel right. But sometimes it does feel right? I keep going back and forth, one minute I’m okay with it and the next I’m not. I just… this is stressing me out and I wanna be done with it already.”

 

Simon was shocked to hear Marceline’s confessions, he had his hunches but prefered not to guess. You know what they say about assuming.

 

Hearing it from the source like this caught him off guard. “Before I say anything I must ask you, why do you think you’re so uncertain?”

 

Marceline hummed as she tried to collect her thoughts. “So I know for a fact I like him, that much I’m sure of. I’d like to try and make something work between us but I feel like there’s so much getting in the way.” Marceline spoke with a melancholy tone.

 

“Such as?” Simon tilted his head in curiosity.

 

“Well, I’m scared of how Bonnie might feel about all this. I still care about her a whole bunch and I don’t want her to feel like I was taken away, I guess. Nobody took me away, we just didn’t work together. But I don’t wanna walk up to her and say hey I’m gonna date our best friend, don’t worry, he’s not why I broke up with you! Our relationship was just bad! A) I’m scared to, and B) that’s just sounds weird.” Marceline knew in her heart that the princess would become extremely upset upon seeing Marceline and Finn dating. Who wouldn’t be after seeing your ex and your best friend getting together?

 

“Do you think it’s okay to let Bonnible’s disapproval factor into your decision making process?” Simon offered a rhetorical question.

 

She quickly caught on. “You’re right… but even if I can bring myself to look past that, there’s still Finn.”

 

“What’s wrong with Finn?” This question from Simon was genuine.

 

She stopped spinning and frowned, opting to lean her back against the counter. “There’s nothing wrong with him. I guess if anything there’s something wrong with me. I keep trying to get a read on him, I’m teasing and flirting but he’s giving me nothing.” Marceline scratched the back of her head, it was hard to stand still while speaking about a sensitive subject. “Just last night I dropped the biggest hint and he just took it as a joke! Okay well I did present it like a joke, but I was being half serious! I ended up getting all embarrassed because of it and he just didn’t seem to care.” Marceline continued to sound distressed throughout her talk. “Simon, I… I don’t think he likes me like that. Not even a little bit. Maybe I’m just having a hard time accepting that this is one fish I can’t catch… No, that’s silly, he’s gotta like me! And if not then that jerk doesn’t know what he’s missing! Maybe he’s just not ready yet? I can wait, give him some time, y’know? Who am I kidding, the guy could probably find anyone he wants. Why would he choose me. And maybe that’s okay. We can still be good friends. We don’t have to date. As long as I still got him in my life I’m good.” Marceline somehow managed to go through all five stages of grief in a matter of seconds.

 

It wasn’t about just having him in her life. She cherished their friendship without a doubt, but she wanted more. Marceline felt comfortable around Finn, there was no worry that she would say the wrong thing or be too expressive. She wanted to spend more time with him, show him more of who she was and could be. The idea of being herself and being loved for it was wonderful, it reminded Marceline of the early years between herself and Bonnie. It was something she wanted to secure and reciprocate; to her, the best way to do so was to become more intimately involved with Finn.

 

Unfortunately she had been convincing herself that it wasn’t possible. After all, Finn showed no signs of attraction despite her efforts. There was only one conclusion she could come to, something she’d dare not admit. That Marceline Abadeer wasn’t good enough. That she was the problem. Any time she spent with Finn served as a sort of personal affirmation of her character and the idea that the two could never become closer because of an issue that lied with herself ran counter to that. If she let these negative thoughts progress it would become the only thing running through her mind during their hang out sessions. She feared she the loss of that solace.

 

Marceline's words tugged at Simon’s heart strings, it was painful to hear her lie to herself. What killed him the most was the knowledge that Finn potentially has similar feelings for her. In reality, her concerns were moot. How was he to handle this? He wanted to let her know what Jake had told him, would that go against the trust of his best friends? But how could he let Marceline, someone he cared for as if she were his own daughter, suffer when she didn’t have to. It took some arduous internal debate before Simon could find his answer.

 

Finn, Jake, I hope you can forgive me. Simon apologized in advance in is thoughts before proceeding. “Marceline, I may have lied earlier. Well it wasn’t a lie. The words didn’t come from Finn himself, more so his brother. On that note, I can’t say it’s a hard confirmation as it is only hearsay but I’d like to believe that there’s some-”

 

“You’re rambling, Simon.” Marceline interrupted. She knew he would go off on a tangent again if she didn’t redirect him.

 

“Oh right! Sweet heart, Finn does have feelings for you. He’s just trying his best to hide them.”

 

Marceline quickly turned around to face Simon. “Wait, how do you know that? I thought you said he never mentioned me?”

 

“Well he didn’t, Jake did. To be more specific, he mentioned how Finn has been withholding his feelings for you to preserve your friendship.”

 

Now she was just confused. “What do you mean he’s trying to preserve our friendship?”

 

“Again this is coming from Jake, but I trust his analysis. Finn’s afraid that if he gets romantically involved with you he’ll wind up destroying the bond you two have cultivated. Think about it, his first relationship ended as quickly as it started and left him with severe heartbreak. I’m honestly surprised he didn’t close his heart to the idea of romance for good. Then you have his second relationship, which became a painfully slow decline that he refused to let go of despite how much it was taxing him. Only for the whole thing to end up falling apart anyway. I’m sure his relationship with both girls also took a hit as a result and has never been the same since. One hundred percent of his attempts went up in flames. Well I suppose the one with Flame Princess was literally in flames from the beginning.” Simon giggled at his observation. “Sorry, bit of poor humor on my part. What I’m trying to say is he’s convinced that if he dates you he’ll be the one to mess it up. He cherishes what you two have to a great degree and he can’t handle the thought of losing it. It’s not you, Gunter, it’s him. In a roundabout sort of way.” Simon smiled warmly at Marceline, noticing her mood brighten.

 

She tried to conceal a grin, her lips quivered as she failed to do so. The vampire laughed at her own embarrassment and rested her head on the counter. “And you’re not yankin’ my chain, right?” She avoided eye contact as she spoke.

 

“Sweet Heart you know I would never, not in a situation like this.” He gave Marceline a gentle rub on the head.

 

Marceline picked herself up and hovered above her couch, laying on her back with her hands on her stomach. “Okay… So that’s good news. But where do I go from here?” She stared at the ceiling as she tried to process the new information.

 

“Well if I may make a recommendation. You need to make the first move, as it stands Finn won’t budge on his own. If he knew your true feelings, however, I think he’d be more than happy to have someone like you.”

 

“Yeah, I think you’re right.” She continued to speak in her thoughts. Now it’s just a matter of when. How long do I wait before I make the move? Do I just warm him up to the idea over the next few months? Or is that too soon? Maybe I’m thinking too hard about all this, but I don’t wanna funk it up either. What to do... Her train of thought was derailed by the ringing of her phone, she reached in her pocket only to realize it wasn’t there. “Hey Simon have you seen my-” She looked to Simon who held her phone in his hand. He tossed it from the kitchen to her hands. “Thanks!” Marceline didn’t bother to look at the ID before picking up, “Yo, who’s this?”

 

“Hey Marcy! It’s Finn. I’m on my way now but I’m gonna stop by a store and pick up some snacks, just thought I’d call and ask if there’s anything you wanted.”

 

This small gesture of kindness wouldn’t go unnoticed by Marceline. She had already been in a good mood and Finn’s call only served to elevate her higher. “Thanks a ton but I’m good. Actually wait no, can you get me some Cheezy Bits?”

 

“Yeah, no problem. You want the regular ones or the hot ones?”

 

“Hmmmm, get me the hot ones.”

 

“Lava Lime or Spicy Ranch?”

 

“Oh dang, uhhh. Both?”

 

“You got it. Want me to grab a red cola or something too?”

 

“Yes please! Also I picked out a couple of movies we could watch if you’re up for it later. And if not we could just use em as background noise.”

 

“Oh dope, what movies?”

 

“Cyber Soldier 3, Necro-Commando X, and Love In A Box.”

 

Finn Laughed. “One of those things ain’t like the other. Never thought you’d be into Romcoms.”

 

“There’s a lot about me you don’t know, maybe you can find out more tonight?” She decided to try and be more playful in her speech knowing that Finn truly had feelings for her.

 

Finn prevented himself from getting flustered. For a moment he thought she was flirting, but quickly convinced himself it was all in his mind. “Oh? Hold on lemme try and guess one. Yooooouuu don’t actually like punk rock?”

 

Marceline giggled at his response. “I’m gonna sock you in the arm for that one. Lookin’ forward to tonight, then I can learn some more about you too, yeah?”

 

This time Finn couldn’t stop himself from blushing. “Y-yeah, I’d like that. I’ll catch ya around in a few, peace.”

 

“Peace.”

 

Finn hung up his phone exhaled. Keep your emotions check, keep your emotions in check. He repeated this to himself as he walked through a forest to a nearby market.

 

Finn trekked down the path in his usual attire, the only thing different was a hoodie that was white on the top half and navy blue on the bottom. The walk was long and quiet, which left Finn alone with his thoughts. He soon found that trying to ignore his thoughts of Marceline lead him to thinking about her more. Augh! I need something, anything! I gotta get my stupid brain off of this.

 

“Looks like ya got something bothering ya.” A mysterious voice caught Finn’s attention. He scanned his surroundings until his eyes caught a figure hanging in the trees.

 

“Tyrius? What are you doing here?” Finn recognized the figure as his former mentor in magic. Tyrius taught both Finn and Huntress alongside each other for the better part of a year. While Huntress tried her best to bestow her wicked mysticism on him she found that he had a rough time getting most of it to stick to his cranium. Tyrius, however, seemed to find the perfect way to relay the knowledge to him. In the end Finn only opted to learn only the essentials. He reasoned that learning anymore would spur him too far down the path of madness and sadness. Huntress, on the other hand, wanted to see everything Tyrius had to offer. Once the mentor had taught all she could she vanished without a trace, appearing every so often to check on her former pupils.

 

She hopped from the branch and gently floated down, landing on the tip of her toes with her back turned to Finn. Tyrius towered over him at a staggering eight feet tall. She was thin and her head resembled a mannequins as it lacked any facial features and was a solid white color. She wore what looked like a butler's outfit, however the sleeves were far too long and reached past her knees. On top of that, they seemed to be empty, implying she lacked any arms at all. The lower half of her was decorated in white khakis and black, untied sneakers. She twirled around to meet him, her incredibly long sleeves slapping Finn in the face.

 

“Ow.”

 

“Young man, what did we say about addressing me?”

 

Tyrius and Finn spoke in unison, “Always use honorifics”

 

“My bad, sorry Mrs.Tyrius.” Finn rolled his eyes.

 

“There we go, the pun doesn’t work without it. So how ya been?”

 

Finn shrugged. “Pretty good. I’m heading over to friends house right now to hang out.”

 

“Ooooh, gonna spend some quality time with the girlfriend?” If Tyrius had eyebrows they would be wiggling right now.

 

“Uhh, about that…” His face scrunched up as he tried to find a way to explain what happened between him and his ex.

 

“Just kidding, I know all about what happened.” She squatted down, pretending to sit on an invisible chair.

 

“You do? Wait, how?” His expression turned to one of surprise.

 

“Oh sweetie, you of all people should know how I operate. To put it simply, I’ve been stalking you two, like, every day.” Tyrius crossed one leg over the other, nearly hitting Finn again in the process.

 

“Hey that’s not cool! You can’t just go and invade our privacy like that!” Finn furrowed his brow as he exclaimed in disapproval.

 

“Yeah, and?” Tyrius responded with nonchalant demeanor, knowing he could do nothing to stop her.

 

Finn pouted as he acknowledged his loss. “So how’s Huntress? I heard she’s hooked up with someone else.”

 

“So much for privacy. I also find it funny that that’s what you choose to believe.” Tyrius chuckled, implying she knew something he didn’t.

 

“What?” Finn wasn’t sure what to gather from her response.

 

“Oh nothing. I’ll take care of her. You worry about your little date okay?”

 

“It’s not a date! We’re just-” despite Finn keeping his eyes on Tyrius, he lost track of her. This was something he was used to, her magic was unfathomable to him and thinking about it made his head hurt. “-friends… whatever…” He pouted again at his second loss in a row.

 

“Friends don’t wanna smooch and cuddle like you two do, my boy!”

 

Finn spun around, hearing a voice from far behind. Tyrius was hanging by her toes from a branch high up in the trees. He debated arguing but he knew it would amount to nothing. Finn turned and continued down his path. Why she gotta get inside my head like that… wait… you two?

 


 

 

Marceline had just finished preparing for the night. The T.V. and DVD player from her room were brought down along with some blankets for the two. The cookies and cupcakes had been decorated with frosting. All she could do was lie on her couch and wait.

 

Marceline had already spent some time figuring how to handle her situation with Finn and she was finally able to come to a conclusion. I know what I gotta do. Let’s just try no to think about it any more. I don’t wanna have second doubts... more like fifth doubts with how much I keep going back and forth.

 

A rhythm was being pounded on the door. “Coming!” Marceline swung the door open to meet Finn holding bags of snacks. She laughed, “Did you knock with your head?”

 

“Yeah, pretty good beat, huh?” Finn walked inside as Marcy moved to make way.

 

“Coulda just put the bags down, y’know?” She closed the door behind her.

 

“Oh yeah huh.” Finn placed the bags on the counter. “Yo you got Simon to bake us some snacks! Awesome!” He scarfed down a muffin with haste.

 

“And how do you know I didn’t make em?” She floated up to the counter alongside him, unpacking the contents of the bags.

 

“Because I can actually eat these.” Finn’s mockery was met with a punch to the shoulder.

 

“Jerk. I still owe you one for earlier by the way!” Marceline laughed as Finn stuck his tongue out at her.

 

The two continued their banter for a short while more before grabbing their snacks and drinks and settling down.

 

“I’m gonna go ahead and put on a movie.” Marceline made her way to the T.V. and picked up her copy of Love in a Box .

 

Finn sat down in front of the couch with a blanket covering his lap, his snacks set beside him. As the movie began to play Marceline made her way to the sofa and sat down.

 

“Why don’t you sit up here. I don’t mind sharing” She scooted over and patted her hand on the available seat.

 

Finn looked behind him to see Marceline physically sitting on the couch, he assumed she’d be floating and laying as usual. Part of him wanted to refuse in fear of seeming too eager to accept the proposal, he also realized it would be rude to do so. The young man grabbed his things and sat beside her. “Uh, thanks…” he felt butterflies in his stomach sitting this close to her. “I like this couch by the way, I can actually get comfortable with this one.”

 

“Ain’t it nice? I had to get it when Simon moved in with me. He never complained about the old one but I could tell he was getting tired of it.” There was a moment of silence between the two, save for the movie playing in the background.

 

Neither was sure how to initiate the conversation, on any other given day they’d find themselves naturally flowing from topic to topic. However, today's atmosphere was different; there was a certain touch of intimacy that filled the room. Perhaps it was because they were both relaxing in Marceline's home, sitting side by side while covered in blankets with nothing but the glow of the T.V. lighting the room. Perhaps it was because they both realized how much they enjoyed simply being near each other with nothing forcing them to move forward, they could take their time and soak in the mood.

 

Marceline searched her mind for something to discuss. “Hey Finn.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“You ever feel like you’re not enough?” This was an issue that bothered Marceline from time to time. She normally managed to deal with these negative thoughts on her own, but with Finn she saw an opportunity. Marceline was reminded of it earlier in the day when she thought he had no feelings for her. The issue had been present long before that, however. It was there when her and Bubblegum were fighting. When her father ate her fries. When Simon left her. There were even times where she thought herself to blame for her mother's passing.

 

"Enough?" Finn said with confusion. "What do you mean, like, tough enough or?" He made a punching gesture. Finn had trouble grasping the deeper meaning of her question, or rather, he didn't want to.

 

"No. More like, no matter what you do or how hard you try, you as a person will never be enough to satisfy the people you care about. Let alone yourself." Marceline wore a thousand-yard stare. She didn't mean to get so heavy, in fact she was quite scared of putting Finn off of talking. But she needed to see where she should draw the line with him.

 

Finn frowned. He wasn't sure what to say, he had an answer, but he didn't like it. His eyes looked around the room as he attempted to find a new topic of discussion.

 

"It's cool if you don't wanna talk about that kinda stuff. I'm just bein melodramatic." Marceline tried to play it off as a joke, except her tone conveyed anything but.

 

"I... I guess I do, yeah..." Finn spoke up.

 

"Huh?" Marceline turned her head towards him in surprise, she hadn't expected an answer.

 

Finn struggled to find a way to put his thoughts into words. "There are days when... I'm doin my hero stuff and... it gets kinda hard?" He took pauses as he tried to word himself as best as he could. "But it's not like I wanna stop doin hero stuff. I just get tired, I guess. And getting tired scares me, a hero doesn't get tired of being a hero. So if I get tired of being a hero, then what does that say about me..." It was killing him to even begin to talk such a fragile subject. "I try not to think about it, I usually get better the day after. But still..." His words were melancholy. The human placed his elbow on the arm rest and held his head in his palm. He hated questioning his legitimacy as a hero.

 

It was times like these that the young man wished he still had his vault, a place to lock away these inescapable issues.

 

"Just because you get exhausted some days doesn't mean you're not a hero, Finn." Marceline spoke with a soft voice. "Just like everyone needs to cry sometimes, everyone needs a break once in a while, y'know?" She looked over at him and smiled.

 

Finn wanted to shake his head and tell her it wasn't that simple, that she didn't understand where he was coming from. But then she'd ask him "why?", then he'd have to explain how he became the Hero King and what that means, and that was a can of worms he wasn't ready to open. So instead he sat up, nodded, and smiled back, it was easier this way. "Thank's. I never really told anyone that before so it was kind of embarrassing." He rubbed the back of his head with a flushed face. His problems may not have been solved, but right now simply talking about them was enough.

 

Marceline felt like she was beginning to understand Finn. She didn't know the specifics but she could see there were complexities to his character underneath the surface. She hoped they could continue to explore more of each other going forward.

 

"You talk about this stuff with Jake too? Or your mom?"

 

"Nah, I try to make sure they don't know about this junk."

 

"But, why?" Her question was straight and to the point.

 

"I dunno, part of it is cause it makes me feel like a big dumb baby. But thanks to you I've been learning to deal with that. The part of it is because I feel like... if I were to tell Jake, my mom, or even Simon, they'd just feel bad for me. And I ain't really lookin' for pity points." Finn never liked it when others would look down on him. To him, sympathy was equal to that.

 

"Then next question: Why me?"

 

"Hmm?" He titled his head.

 

"What makes me any different from those guys?" Maybe there was a case to be made against Simon, but his own brother and mother? What put her above them on the totem pole?

 

"Well, with you, I'm not really scared to get a little emotional. There's like a... a bond between us. I don't know how to describe it other than: you get it. Ya feel me?" He gave her a smile.

 

Marceline blushed, she felt her heart pound in her chest. To hear that he valued their relationship in a way similar to hers brought her joy. It made her feel indispensable Marceline was reminded of the time she saved the humans all those years ago, it felt something like that.

 

"Ye-yeah I get what you mean." She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

 

"Sorry for all the questions, but I gotta know one last thing. You make it sound like you can't tell anybody, like it's a bad thing if anyone finds out. What's that all about?

 

Finn took a second to think about how to convey his thought process. "So, you ever have someone in your life be really good and awesome at something, and you tell yourself Wow! They're so good and awesome at that thing! I wanna be good and awesome at that thing!"

 

She tried looking for an example and found the image of Simon pop into her mind. Back when Marcy was just a little girl, she remembered when he would play the drums for her amusement. It was him who planted the seeds of music in her soul. Seeing him rock the tubes inspired her. "Yeah, I have actually."

 

"Now imagine if one day that person couldn't do that thing anymore, at least for, like, a week. It just was too hard for them or it made them too sad. Wouldn't that make you scared? You'd probably tell yourself, if someone like them can't do it, how can I?"

 

"Where are you going with this?" She cocked an eyebrow at him.

 

"I'm that guy for a lot of people. Being the hero of Ooo, slaying monsters and exploring dungeons all over the place, I've inspired tons of peeps to follow in my foot steps. It's crazy wild to think about that, in a good way! But if they ever found out how hard it can be sometimes, I get scared they'll quit before they even get started. So I try to make it look like nothin's gonna stop this guy! And they'll think nothin' is gonna stop them!" Finn pumped his fist in the air to deliver that last line with some extra oomph.

 

The idea of being an idol for others out there brought him immense joy, not because of any narcissistic reasons, but because he remembered looking up to Billy at a young age. If he could motivate others like his hero did for him, then gosh darn it he was gonna try his best.

 

Marceline, on the other hand, was somewhat suspicious about all of this. He was essentially creating a false image of himself. It's not like it was out of any ill intent, but there was a chance it sent the wrong message to the people Finn was trying to motivate: I'm perfect, so you should be too!

 

She didn't bring up her concerns, however. Right now she figured it took him a lot of effort to even mention any of this stuff. Marceline was content with their talk. There was a lot of deep stuff in there that made her feel closer to Finn and Finn closer to her. That was all she wanted.

 

"What brought that up that whole Enough thing anyway? Something bothering you?" Finn reclined in his seat.

 

She did the same and their eyes met. She didn’t feel flustered, however. She felt calm, warm, happy. “There… was. Not anymore though.” Marceline smiled at him.

 

“Oh, that’s awesome. What happened to it?” Finn gave a smile before reaching for his snacks.

 

“You.” She continued to look at him.

 

Finn turned with a mouth stuffed full of cookies. “Me?” He pointed to himself as he struggled to get the words through the food.

 

Marceline giggled as he rushed to swallow his food. “Yeah, you.” She had a soft and caring look in her eye as she spoke.

 

Finn coughed into his fist and shied away in embarrassment. “I didn’t really do anything, but you’re welcome I guess.”

 

“Hey Finn?” Marceline leaned against him.

 

Finn blushed profusely. “Ye-yeah- yeah? What’s- what’s up?” he couldn’t stop stuttering. He dug his fingers into his thighs to try and calm himself.

 

Marceline shut her eyes and steeled herself for the words she was about to utter. “I like you. Like, like like. A whole bunch actually.” She felt her heart pound with great force, she swore she could hear it loud and clear. Upon further inspection she realized what she was hearing was actually Finn’s heart pounding.

 

“I- uhhhhhhh- aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-” Finn could only produce strange noises from his mouth. His face was flushed red with beads of sweat forming at his brow.

 

A loud crash came from the other end of the room, acting as a proverbial record scratch that shattered all tension in the atmosphere. The source of the disturbance had been Simon who fell from the top of the ladder. Apparently they had an eavesdropper.


Simon scrambled to find his glasses on the floor. Once he found them he quickly put them on.

 

“I- uhhh. You see, I lost my glasses, they fell a-and I tripped down here. How did the glasses end up here in the first place? Oh well you see that’s quite simple-” Simon quickly dashed up the ladder, followed by loud footsteps and the slam of a door.

 

Marceline turned back to Finn who was shaking in his nervousness. Seeing him so flustered and embarrassed helped put Marceline at ease, knowing she wasn’t alone in her feelings of fret.

 

“I think I broke him.” She waved a hand in front of his face.

 

“Wha?! No! Uhhh?! Haha?!” Finn ran his fingers through his hair to try and calm himself.

 

“Breathe, Finn, breathe.” Marceline shook him by the shoulder.

 

He exhaled. “Marcy, you’re making a mistake.” Finn’s voice were shaky as he had wore a look of concern.

 

“What?! How?”  She snapped into a state of disbelief. She was expecting a good and proper explanation.

 

Finn shut his eyes, he couldn’t bring himself to look at her. “I’m sorry Marcy… I just- I just can’t do this.”  He didn’t know what to do.

 

She could tell how hard he was struggling. Marceline rubbed his back, hoping it would help ease him. “Finn, it’s okay. I don’t really know what the deal is but the last thing I want is for you to feel scared of talking to me.” She couldn’t tell if this was the fear Simon mentioned earlier or a completely different issue and she wasn’t about to push him for answers. Marceline continued to try and cheer him up despite the despair in her heart. She hoped Finn could confide in her no matter how severe the issue.

 

Wishful thinking , she thought to herself.

 

It was then he realized he his actions had gone against his words. He said he trusted Marceline, that he wasn’t afraid to be emotional around her. Yet here he was closing himself of with no explanation. Finn wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.

 

Finn quickly sat upright, Marceline was taken aback. He took deep breaths before psyching himself up by repeatedly slapping his face. The last strike in particular was quite powerful. “Ow, okay that was kinda stupid.” He rubbed his cheek to soothe the pain.

 

Now she was just confused. “I might’ve actually broken you…”

 

Finn hunched forward and rested his elbows on thighs. “Nah it’s more like I broke myself, but I’m fixed now. I think? Anyway, look Marcy… I’ll be really real with you, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel the same. Heck, you could even say I’m crazy about you! I don’t know when it happened but somewhere along the way you meant more to me than just my best friend. It scared me. Marcy, I’m not good with this whole romance stuff and if ever did something to make you hate me, I wouldn’t-” he found himself cut off by her.

 

“No, let me stop you right there.” She removed the blanket on her lap and floated in front of Finn, looking him in the eyes. “Finn I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, I’m scared too. Hanging out with you these past few weeks has been some of the most fun I’ve had in a long, long time. I never woulda thought that I’d start crushing on you mad hard, but just like you I found myself saying oh snap I really like this dude, when did that happen? I was in denial for a bit too. I told myself that I couldn't do this to Bonnie, that me and you were just good friends, that there was no way you liked me. Even though I really wanted to make something work between us I was scared. I didn’t wanna lose our friendship.”

 

Marceline planted her feet on the ground and crouched down to meet Finn at eye level. Their faces were mere centimeters apart. “And yet here I am, confessing to you. I don’t want you to think I’m trying to convince you to be my boyfriend. Right now I’m trying to tell you something more important than that. I bet these emotions are scarier than any monster you’ve ever fought, huh?” She gave him a gentle smile.

 

Finn responded with a small laugh. “Well, it’s a solid second place.”

 

“Don’t let that monster stop you from doing what you think will make you happy. And if you feel alone, don’t worry, because a lot of people are fighting the same battle. Take it from someone who's beaten this boss, the loot is worth it.” She delivered that last line knowing how painfully cheesy it was. Marceline hoped that it’d brighten the mood slightly.

 

Finn was stunned by Marceline’s approach. It may have seemed like no big deal to her but for Finn it was everything. Her words, her understanding, her compassion. It all just seemed to resonate with him.

 

He could only utter the word “Thanks” before closing his eyes and leaning forward, delivering a kiss directly to her lips.

 

Marceline was caught off guard for a split second before raising an eyebrow out of curiosity. She pulled away blushing and laughing. “Do you kiss all your girlfriends day one?”

 

Finn’s face was beet red, he scratched the back of his head in embarrassment. “Yeah, kinda…”

 

“Dang, we got a playboy on our hands.” her eyebrows bounced up and down.

 

“Hey, what about you and PB, you two totally just went and smacked face on the battlefield that one day.” His face returned to a normal color, that atmosphere was calm and friendly once more.

 

“You serious, home boy? We were totally dating behind the scenes before that.” Marceline sat back down on the sofa, nudging herself against her new boyfriend.

 

“Huh, I mean I had my guesses but I didn’t wanna assume nothin’.” Finn leaned back and wrapped an arm around Marceline.

 

“Well if that’s how you do things I can’t say I mind the change of pace.” She was the one to initiate the kiss this time.

 

The feeling of affection coursed through both parties, understanding that this kiss wasn’t just spur of the moment surprise like the one before it. It was born out of a mutual care for one another. Solidifying their new relationship.

 

They slowly parted lips. Marceline closing her eyes and snuggling into Finn’s arm.

 

“Should we take the speed down a notch?” Finn stared off blanky, drunk with love.

 

“Nah, like I said, I don’t mind it. Besides we’ve been tight for years now. I don’t see our relationship changing much, it’ll be like our friendship but with more intimacy and smooching. Unless you wanted to take it slow and have us dance around the subject for a few years till some major event forces us to confront our feelings and then we kiss and start dating openly.” Her words came off as sarcastic

 

Finn giggled. “Where’d that come from?”

 

Marcy crossed her arms and sunk in her seat. “I dunno I just- looking back I’m kinda mad it took me and Bonnie so long to hook up again, let alone kiss. Not even saying that cause we fell out, there was no reason it should’ve taken us that long to finally go hey maybe we got a thing goin’ on, let’s smack face .”

 

Marceline picked herself up to look at Finn. “Oh speaking of Bonnie, this might sound weird but could we keep this relationship on the down-low? I mostly say it cause I don’t want her flipping out. I just need some time to figure how to break the news to her.” She dreaded the conversation but figured it was her responsibility to do deal with it.

 

“You think she’ll be upset with us?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Well then, my lips are sealed.” Finn brought his fingers to his lips and made a gesture to zip his lips.

 

“That goes for you too, Simon!” Marceline shouted through cupped hands.

 

“I heard nothing!” Simons muffled voice from the second floor was barely audible.

 

The two looked at the T.V. only to notice the credits wrapping up.

 

“Oh the movies already over? Not gonna lie I paid zero attention to all of that.” Finn tilted his head to the side as he tried to recall any of the events from the movie.

 

“Guy loves girl, girl loves guy. They have a good time together. Guy falls on hard times and has to move away. Guy opens old gift from girl, it’s a heart locket with her picture. Guy saves up money to go back, girl was waiting for him to come back. The end.” Marceline gave a quick, spoiler filled plot synopsis.

 

“Sounds cheesy.”

 

“Yep, just the way I like it. Wanna watch Necro-Commando X?”

 

“Heck yeah!”

 

The new couple continued to ignore the movies as they found more enjoyment in simply talking to each other. It would be a few more hours before they parted ways, both looking forward to spending more time with each other in the coming days.

Chapter Text

A large creature tears through the trees of a massive forrest, trailed by a shadowy figure. The beast leaves a stream of ice and fire as it rolls over the land. It’s lightning speed and disregard for its surroundings implies it is in a flight of panic. Once the monster reaches an open patch of land within the forest it stops to unfurl from it’s ball-like shape and survey the area.

 

The shadowy figure does not step into the plain. Freezer Burn Porcudillo… it thinks to itself. The figure places a hand on the ground and the earth beneath its palm begins to writhe.

 

Once the porcudillo deems the opening safe it calms its breathing and lies down. The beasts back is covered in jagged ice spikes, some broken, that sparkle and shimmer under the sun. The underbelly, littered with cuts and scars, resembled molten rock with red and orange veins gently pulsing and glowing. It was quite the peaceful scene, save for the trail of destruction behind the creature.

 

The shadowy figure stepped toward the monster, revealing itself to be Huntress Wizard. Something was off, however. She donned all sorts of magical gear and trinkets. And while she was never the most expressive person, there was something greatly unsettling about her cold dead gaze.

 

Hearing the threat move closer the porcudillo attempts to rise and run away again, but is unable to do so. It looks down only to notice it’s limbs are constricted by absurdly sturdy vines. The harder it struggles, the tighter they grip. It cries out in fear as Huntress walks closer and closer.

 

Huntress Wizard stops some feet away from the monster and calmly stares at it in its panic. She takes her right hand, covered by a magic gauntlet, and points it at the beast. The wizard motions to grab the porcudillo but her gestures seem violent. A ghostly image of a massive hand scoops the beast in its palm. Huntress raises her arm high in the sky and slams down, the giant hand sends the monster crashing into the ground. The raw force creates a crater in the earth and the creature is slain on impact.

 

She stares at her lifeless prey, silent. Huntress takes a deep breath and exhales before throwing her hands back and shouting to the heavens. “ I AM THE MIGHTIEST!

 

“Who you shouting at?” Said a mysterious voice.

 

The wizard whipped around, preparing to cut down whoever it was that snuck up on her. The perpetrator was none other than… air? She could’ve sworn the voice was directly behind her.

 

“Yikes, don’t you think all this stuff looks tacky?” The voice spoke again.

 

Huntress turned once more and swiped with her gauntlet, except that the gauntlet had been removed from her hand. She looked at her person and realized most, if not all, magical items had been removed from her possession. “Who is doing this?!” She shouted in frustration.

 

“Dang, you really beat the snot outta this thing, huh? And look at the forest, it’s all torn up. But from what I can tell that doesn’t matter right now, does it?”

 

Huntress Wizard was able to identify the voice after hearing it once more. She slowly turned to the body of the dead beast to find an eight foot tall practitioner of magic. “What is your business here Mrs.Tyrius?” Her tone was stern.

 

Tyrius stared at the slain monster. She found some irony in Huntress’ savage attack.

 

Freezer Burn Porcudillo’s aren’t native to the forest, it was likely chased here. Now why would the protector of this great orchard lead such a destructive force to her home? If Tyrius had to guess, Huntress Wizard was challenging herself and unknowingly lead the beast to this place. Which was strange because she was never this careless.

 

Tyrius looked toward Huntress. “Hey, you remembered to call me Mrs.! That’s more than I can say about Finn.”

 

The mere mention of her ex caused the wizard to clench her fist. “What do you want?” She repeated her question.

 

The demands went ignored. “Speaking of Finn, I heard you two weren’t doin all that hot.” Tyrius tilted her head. This pale woman didn’t need a face to be smug, her body language and tone were practically oozing it.

 

Huntress hurled an arrow at Tyrius without hesitation. It bounced off of her chest with a comedic tink . She looked down at where the projectile hit, then back at furious girl.

 

“Are you angry? Did I make you mad? You look upset, I may have made you upset.” The mentor continued to playfully bait her rage.

 

Huntress firmly planted her feet on the ground and spread her arms wide, causing two slates of rock to rise from the earth on Tyruis’ left and right.

 

“Oh my.” It was clear that she wasn’t threatened in the least.

 

Huntress Wizard clapped her hands together, causing the two rocks slam against each other and crush the pale woman. Huntress eyed the newly made Tyrius Sandwich, even she knew it couldn’t have been that easy.

 

The tall pale woman slipped out between the rocks, as thin as paper. She turned to the side to make herself completely visible. “Seriously? ‘That it? I thought your break up would’ve given you that madness and sadness most wizards dream of. Could it be that you never really cared for Finn at all?”

 

“Could it be that you need to stick a sock in it!?” Huntress conjured a spear and dashed for her mentor.

 

“So fiesty.”

 

Huntress Wizard thrusted her spear forward once she was in range, only to strike at nothing. “You said you taught me everything! I surpassed you!” She looked from left to right, searching for Tyrius in a seething fury. “My magic is-”  She was interrupted by a hand clamping itself on her head and lifting her up.

 

“Oh Hun, I said I taught you everything I could. Which is far, far different from everything I know.” Tyrius held onto Huntress with a firm grip. Her incredibly long arm made it impossible for the wizard to strike at the body.

 

Huntress Wizard summoned an arrow and imbued it with lightning. Tyrius quickly caught on and released her grasp.

 

“Okay, I’ve had enough fun. Hunie I would ask that you come with me peacefully but I think we both know you won’t oblige. So allow me to deliver you the hardest smackdown this side of Ooo so that I may drag your butt out of here and talk some sense into your psycho brain.” Up to this point, only one of Tyrius’ arms had been revealed. The other now made its way down her left sleeve.

 

Huntress was momentarily disgusted by the weird cracking noises the arm made as it slithered out.

 

Tyrius threw her arms up and stretched from side to side. “It’s not often I get to bring out these bad boys, so do me a favor and try to last more than a minute okay?” She waited with hand on hip, emanating sass.

 

Huntress mimicked pulling back a bow string, when she let loose a volley of magic arrows flew at blinding speeds. Tyrius swiped her arms across one another and managed to catch every single bolt.

 

The mentor revealed her hands to show that she caught the arrows between her fingers. She flung them back at her enemy and Huntress held up her magic cloak, shielding herself against them.

 

She peeked her head out the cloak noticing that nothing had hit her. The wizard found that the arrows were suspended mid air in front of her. An arm wrapped itself around her waist twice over. Electricity coursed through her body as the limb squeezed down.

 

Watts the matter Hun? You like that one? I thought it was pretty good.” Tyrius reeled her arm back causing Huntress to spin like a top.

 

Once Huntress Wizard reoriented herself she lunged at the pale woman with an arrow in each hand, acting as daggers.

 

Tyrius made no effort to dodge the strikes as they seemed to phase through her body. She crossed her arms and leaned against the air. “No idea why you’re focusing on me when the real danger is behind you.” She pointed behind the wizard.

 

Normally Huntress knew better than to trust the warnings of her enemies, but in her raging madness she took a glance behind her.

 

The once suspended arrows blitzed by her. She managed to dodge some and the ones she couldn’t only grazed her. However, the assault didn’t end there. The blots wrapped around and homed in on her as if they were being controlled. She did her best to maneuver around them but her legs were caught on something and caused her to trip.

 

The arrows stopped their attack and fell to the floor. Huntress Wizard looked down at her feet to see two hands sprouted from the earth grabbing at each of her ankles. She scanned the area for Tyrius who was nowhere in sight. “Wha?!”

 

The hands pulled her into the ground. She was helpless as she was dragged to who knows where.

 

After a few seconds she saw the light of day and the face of the woman who brought her here. Tyrius dangled the wizard in front of her at eye level.

 

“You done throwing a tantrum yet?” Tyrius asked.

 

Huntress spit the dirt and grass she had collected in her mouth along the way onto the pale womans face.

 

“Okay, fine.”

 

Tyrius squared off her feet and held Huntress up high.

 

She tried her best to squirm out of the grasp to no avail.

 

The mentor swung Huntress Wizard over her shoulders, spun around, and whipped her arms toward the sky all in one fluid motion. Releasing the girl at the apex of her swing and causing Huntress to go flying.

 

She could do nothing as she watched the earth beneath her shrink in size. The wizard wasn’t even able flail about as she burst through cloud after cloud; the force of the winds hitting her back restricted all movement. I’m going wicked fast and I’m not slowing down, at this rate I’ll soon leave the stratosphere… , she thought to herself.

 

I have to do something and fast, but what?! She struggled with all her might to extended a hand out and cast a spell. Huntress wasn’t even sure what she would cast she just wanted to know that it was possible. After enough exertion and no results she gave up.

 

Was this the end for her? She didn’t wanna believe it, she had too much to do, too many regrets left unattended.

 

...I’m sorry.

 

She might as well use what time she had left to reconcile with herself.

 

Finn, I know that it was me who caused us to break up. I didn’t even try to fix it. Instead I let myself get angry. I channeled that rage into magic. But it was just an excuse for me to wallow in my own world of madness and sadness. Our love was rad, but unfamiliar to me. All my life I thought becoming soft was a bad thing. So when I felt myself becoming soft around you I closed myself off. You too, forest. That which I swore to protect. My home. My family. I funked up and let you get hurt. I was blind in my pursuit of the arcane. And know I’ll never get to make it up to you, either of you. I’m sorry.

 

Huntress closed her eyes and accepted her fate. All she could do was wait for the end.

 

And wait she did… and wait… and wait… and wait.

 

Huntress opened her eyes to see the clouds just as far away as they were ten minutes ago.

 

What the butt? I should be halfway to Mars by now. How is this- her thoughts were halted when she caught a familiar featureless face in her peripheral.

 

“You good? You lucid?”

 

Huntress fell on the ground at Tyrius’ feet. She turned over and immediately surveyed her surroundings. She ran her hands through the grass beneath her, she was indeed on Earth. In the same spot she’d presumably been flung into space from.

 

Huntress Wizard was speechless, she knew and had seen all kinds of different magic but this was different. It was on a whole other level. All the spells were high level, quick to cast, without any incantation, and no tools in sight. She slowly picked herself up.

 

“Are you feeling better?” Tyrius dropped the playful attitude in favor of being sincere. Her arms were also gone again, signaling that the fighting was over.

 

“How did you do that?” Huntress said in bewilderment.

 

“Answer my question first and I might tell you.”

 

“I’m… as okay as I can be. Sorry for going psycho and attacking you.” She extended her arm for a handshake. It took her a moment to realize the awkwardness of the gesture.

 

Tyrius did her best to meet her half way and swung her sleeve into her hand. “We all gotta cope somehow.”

 

Huntress shook the sleeve and let go.

 

“So you want to know how I perform my magic?”

 

“You don’t have to teach me, but I am curious”

 

“What if I offered to teach you?” Tyrius sat cross legged on the ground to try and meet huntress at eye level. Sitting on her butt wasn’t enough though, she had to hunch forward to accomplish her goal.

 

“I have some… stuff I need to work through right now. I don’t think I could accept.” Huntress Wizard didn’t feel right jumping back into magic in her current emotional state. She knew she needed to fix herself right now, the problem was she didn’t know where to start.

 

“I understand, that’s why I’m offering.”

 

Huntress eyed Tyrius quizzically. “What are you getting at?”

 

“Oh Hunie, you really believe magic is tied to madness and sadness?”

 

“It’s not?” The wizard’s eyes widened.

 

Tyrius stood up and spun around, hitting Huntress with her sleeves and stopping with her back turned to the girl. “Tell you what, I’ll be back in a few days. In the meantime, clear your head and clean up the forest. Then I can begin to show you the true meaning of magic.”

 

“The true meaning?”

 

The pale woman looked over her shoulder to Huntress. “Clarity and sanity!”

 

With that, Tyrius was gone from view.

 

Huntress Wizard stared at where her mentor once stood. “Clarity and sanity? Why have I never heard of this before?” Her contemplation stopped when she realized the forest was catching fire. “Oh Glob. This is what I get for leading that porcudillo here.”

 

She dashed off to fulfill her duties as the protector of the forest, eventually tending to all the wounds she wrought on her home.

Chapter Text

The sounds of metalworking and science echoed through the halls of Bubblegum’s castle, originating from the Royal Garage. It was a rather large room filled with all sorts of cabinets, cables, computers, and doohickeys. In the center of the garage appeared to be a giant, four legged, spherical robot in the process of being built.

 

“Hey princess, could you hand me another plate?” Finn lifted his welding mask from atop a ladder.

 

Bonnie grabbed a hefty slab of metal with both her arms and waddled to him. “Here... You... Go!” She struggled to lift the plate above her head.

 

Finn reached down and took the metal sheet with ease. “You da man PB.” He slotted the slab into what appeared to be the buttocks of the machine, shut his welding mask, and continued working.

 

“I think we might actually be able to finish this today. Sorry I had to drag you out here though, my work keeps piling up and I wanted to have a gift ready for the wedding.” The princess walked over to a monitor covered in strings of numbers and words. She began typing away on a keyboard.

 

Finn shouted over the loud buzzing of his arc welder. “No big deal Peebs, makin bots is my jam so I’m more than happy to help!”

 

“Saying it’s your jam is an understatement.” She grumbled to herself.

 

“What’d you say?” Finn paused his welding to hear Bonnie more clearly.

 

“Oh nothing, I was just wondering if you got an invite to the wedding.” She was surprised he managed to hear her and scrambled to cover herself.

 

“Yeah I did, Lemongrab actually wants me to be his best man.”

 

“How sweet!”

 

“He said it was because he didn’t have any friends to pick from ‘cept me”

 

“That’s… sad, but still sweet.”

 

Finn went right back to welding.

 

Bubblegum began thinking to herself as she made a copy of the code written on the computer and ran some tests. I know he said most of the foundation is borrowed from his combat bots but still, retrofitting this stuff to work with my project couldn’t have been easy. In fact a majority of the job was done by Finn, from the machine’s programing to the schematics and even down to the actual construction of the robot. Bonnie knew she should’ve been nothing but grateful, yet there was something gnawing at the back of her mind.

 

The kid leaves for three years and comes back with all sorts of smarts and wisdom and junk. Meanwhile me and Marcy had to work our butts off trying to manage the Candy Kingdom. Does he even know how hard we had it? If he just stayed he could’ve helped lightened the workload for us, maybe then we wouldn’t have fought so much. But nooooo, he was too busy having fun on his adventures and becoming the “Hero of Ooo”.

 

It was evident that Bonnie still had trouble accepting what had happened between her and her ex. The girl’s mind needed some time to overcome the initial shock but everything after that had been about figuring who to blame. Unsurprisingly, she pointed fingers at everyone but herself.

 

What was I supposed to do? I had a kingdom to run, negotiations to make, science to attend to. You told me you were scared of neglect, so I made sure you were involved in every aspect of my life. How was that not enough? Bubblegum’s inner monologue was broken by the placement of a hand on her shoulder.

 

“The bot’s all done.” Finn pointed over his own shoulder.

 

“What? Really?” The princess turned to see the finished product. The quadrupedal machine hung in the air, suspended by cables attached to the ceiling. She noticed the shine emitting off the curves of the robot. “You even polished the dang thing, nice work! That only took a fraction of my estimated time.” Bonnie looked down at the watch on her wrist.

 

“Ain’t no thang for a couple of geniuses like ourselves, right PB?” Finn held his hand up for a high five.

 

He finally felt equal to the princess in some respect. Normally she was leagues above him when it came to anything and everything relating to science and math, but on this occasion he felt like they were on even ground. This was a first for him and man did it feel good.

 

“Uh, yeah, haha, ain’t no thang.” She meekishly returned the high five. What was a proud moment for the human was an awkward one for her. She wasn’t used to having an equal in what she considered one of her many fields of expertise. For someone who was keenly aware of the dangers of powerful variables outside of her control, she often saw peers as threats. Right now that included Finn. The line between well intentioned concern and paranoia was always blurry for Bubblegum.

 

Finn looked to the monitor. “Oh hey, looks like you got the program ready. Also is that a copy of my code?” His eyes wandered off to a suspicious file on the computer.

 

“Oh! Uhhh, yeah it is! I just wanted to be able to study it later. I figured I could learn a thing or two from you! Haha.” She gave a sheepish smile. Definitely not so I can reverse engineer it for a contingency plan in case you bots ever go haywire.

 

“Aw shucks PB, stop it, you’re gonna make me blush.” It was too late, he was already blushing.

 

“So I know this is a pretty late ask but why’d you want the robot to have a ridiculous badonkadonk?” Finn looked at the machines particularly firm posterior, it was quite nice looking.

 

“When’s the last time you heard of a party bot with no rump to shake?” The princess ran the program on her computer.

 

The robot detached itself from the cables and stood still. Cylinders slowly protruded from its body. The lights in the garage dimmed. All was silent for moment.

 

Finally the machine erupted in an explosion colorful radiance and dance music blared from within the construction. It bobbed up and down along with the beat.

 

“WOO, PARTY MACHINE!!!” Finn rushed to dance beside the bot.

 

Bubblegum giggled as she watched two boogy.

 

“C’mon PB! You know what they say, three’s a party!” Finn beckoned for her as he begun to breakdance.

 

I really should get back to work, buuuut… Bonnibel was about cave in to the funky rhythm. They did finish early after all.

 

When did Finn learn such fresh moves? The princess took a step forward to join the human and robot but was distracted by a white light coming from the desk behind her, it was Finn’s phone. She decided to take a peak.

 

It was a text, from Marceline no less.

 

“Huh…”

 

At first she thought nothing of it, but it didn’t take long for her mind to race with intrigue. What does she want with Finn?

 

She grabbed the phone and made sure her back was turned to the human. Bubblegum attempted to unlock it before being prompted to enter a password. What would he use as a password?

 

Her first guess was four one’s.

 

No that won’t work, the password looks to be seven characters long. What would Finn use that’s seven numbers? She grabbed her chin between thumb and index finger.

 

After a few moments of heavy contemplation she rolled her eyes and input: eight, zero, zero, eight, one, three, five. The phone unlocked.

 

She quickly navigated to Finn’s contacts to find his chat log with Marceline and began reading the messages to herself.

 


 

“Hey hero boy, when your done doin nerd stuff with Bonnie wanna hang?”


 

 

Ah, of course they’re just gonna hang out. It was silly of me to assume anything else… How did she know Finn was here? Bonnible’s curiosity took over and she scrolled to view the previous messages.

 


 

“Hey Marcy, just thought I’d give you a heads up, gonna be hanging with PB for a bit today.”

 

“Oh for real? What you two got planned?”

 

“Nothin big, she just needs help building some kind of robot.”

 

“Ah okay well you guys have fun.”

 

“Well as much fun as two dorks can have building toys”

 

“Hey! D:<”

 

“>:P”


 

 

Okay so nothing out of the ordinary, but that doesn’t explain why he felt the need to give her tabs on his schedule.

 

She scrolled further.

 


 

“Hey Finn”

 

“What’s up?”

 

“I’m sorry”

 

“For?”

 

“Asking you to come over last night”

 

“Don’t be, I would’ve stayed the whole week, day and night, with you if I had to. And I’d be happy to do it.”

 

“Glob that’s so cheesy”

 

“And you love it too”

 

“...”

 

“Yeah"

 

“<3”


 

 

Excuse me? The heck was that all about?!

 

Her chest began to pound rapidly as she started to realize the truth of the matter.

 

No. No no no no. This isn’t- they can’t be- They’re friends! They’re just friends! Right?!

 

She continued her search, looking for any evidence supporting her denial.

 

---

“Yo lover boy”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Hope you have tomorrow free cause I got us a date planned”

 

“Oh snap. What are we doin?”

 

“That’s a surprise Finnie”

 

“Awww c’mon, just a hint?”

 

“It involves food”

“A lot of it”

“It may be at that one place you keep talking about wanting to go to.”

 

“THE INTER-DIMENSIONAL TACO TRUCK?!”

 

“Mayhaps”

 

“It’s gonna stop in our dimension?! How’d you find that out?!”

 

“I got my ways”

 

“AAAHHHH you’re the best Marcy!”

 

“I know ;)”


 

Bubblegum felt her heart in her throat. She put the phone down and rested her hands on the desk. The princess shut her eyes in an attempt to stop the incoming tears but to no avail. The feeling of grief soon turned into a scalding fury.

 

This was the last thing she needed right now. It already felt like the weight of the world was on her shoulders, what with all the royal duties continuing to pile up one after another. Then to have the one bit of comfort in her life leave her side? Bonnibel had hit rock bottom, she was sure it couldn't possibly get any worse.

 

But it did. Not only did Marceline move on, she was dating their best friend in secret. The princess had been looking for someone to blame and right now that person was in her garage, dancing without a care in the world.

 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

 

The garage lights returned and the music was cut off. Finn halted in place while the robot slipped and fell down. It held a leg up as if to say “I’m okay”.

 

“A lot of things.” Finn responded to Bonnie’s question with a straight face.

 

She stormed toward him and held the phone in his face. “I’m talking about this!”

 

“Oh snap! Did you make phones illegal in the kingdom again? I didn’t know, my bad.”

 

“What?! No!” Bubblegum retracted the phone, unlocked it, then placed it front of his eyes to reveal his conversations with Marceline.

 

“What the hey?! You broke into my phone!”

 

“And you’re dating Marceline behind my back!”

 

Finn opened his mouth but couldn’t offer any words, nor could he look Bonnie in the eyes.

 

“Well say something! What, are you just gonna keep quiet?! Finn you better have some explanation for this. No, you know what, there is no good explanation for this! I just- I can’t believe you Finn!” It was clear nothing would satiate her anger.

 

The princess continued to scold him and he could do nothing but quietly stare at the ground. This was an eerily familiar feeling to him. It reminded Finn of when he was a young boy and obsessed with Bubblegum.

 

It was a time he didn’t look back on fondly, not because of the princess but because of how submissive and unquestionably loyal he was. He thought of his old self as a fool. Always vying for the attention of the princess.

 

But he grew out of that. The human learned to look past his idolization of Bubblegum and see her as a good friend, a great friend. Except that the air of superiority always lingered around her. She may have been his good friend but something in his mind always cemented her as “The one who knows what’s best”.

 

She’s right… I’m a terrible friend for doing this to her… I shouldn’t- wait… How is she right? This is dumb bonkers! How am I in the wrong here?!

 

Perhaps she was always right because he never properly challenged her, part of him was always scared to. But it seems that today Finn was feeling rather confident.

 

Nah, I ain’t about this stuff anymore . He thought to himself.

 

The human furrowed his brow, crossed his arms, and looked at Bubblegum.

 

“How could you do this?! How could either of you think this was okay-”

 

“Why is it a problem?” He cut her off with a stern tone.

 

Bonnie’s eyes widened in surprise. “Wha- what do you mean why?! It’s pretty obvious why!” She shouted in frustration.

 

“Oh well if it’s so obvious then tell me why.” His voice was commanding.

 

“Well be- because she’s my-” Bonnible stopped herself from finishing that sentence.

 

Finn said nothing in response, he didn’t need to. He simply looked at her and waited.

 

She took a moment to collect herself. “Was that your plan then? To just walk back into our lives and take her away from me?! What, because you’re still mad over Flame Princess or something?! You’re upset about you and Huntress so you just HAD to take what was mine?!”

 

The comment about FP annoyed him but he could look past it. The mention of Huntress stung but he could forgive that. What made him livid was how she referred to Marceline as hers .

 

“I took her from you?! Listen to yourself PB! What are you trying to say? That she belongs to you? She aint yours and she’s definitely not mine! She’s hers! And that means everything Marcy does is because she chose to! You gotta have a real messed up brain if you think I made her break up with you.” Something about the idea of Marcy being treated like someone to be owned drove Finn up the wall. He saw it as a mad disrespect of one his closest friends and that did not fly with him.

 

“Don’t lie to me! We were happy!” The princess couldn’t help but cry again. “We were happy until you came back! It’s YOUR fault!” She shouted in frustration.

 

It became disturbingly clear to Finn what was happening with Bubblegum.

 

He no longer felt angry, instead he felt pity. “Peebs, it’s not your fault.” His tone was much more calm now.

 

“Yes it is! It’s absolutely your-... what?” It took her a moment to realize he hadn’t said what she thought he did.

 

“Marcy said it herself, she doesn’t blame you for being you. She knew how important all this stuff is to you and she wasn’t about to ask you to throw it all away for her. And she would hate seeing you blame yourself for her decision. I hate seeing you do this to yourself, PB.” Finn understood that Bubblegum’s toxicity was born out of fear. She denied any notion of their break up being her fault, at the end of the day she was only doing what she thought was best.

 

“Don’t- don’t pretend like you care about me! You left us for three years Finn!” Bonnible began to feel the ridiculousness of her claims, but she was nothing if not stubborn. However, there was a pinch of truth to that statement.

 

The absence of Finn’s presence made life dull for those who were used to him being around. At first it was hardly noticeable; she figured he’d be back soon enough and would use this as an opportunity for a break from all the silly antics the human and dog would bring. It didn’t take long truth of the matter to settle in, he wasn’t coming back, at least not for a while. The years that followed had her aching the company of her champion. She envisioned a life where he had stayed: Finn would assist the candy kingdom, Bonnie and Marceline wouldn’t be so stressed, the princess and the queen would have time to mend their relationship, the trio would create all sorts of silly adventures to go and have fun on. It was an idyllic paradise completely removed from reality.

 

“Bubblegum are you serious? I dedicated my life to you since, like, forever ago! Sorry if I felt like I needed to some time off to handle important business. But I want you to know that I never meant to hurt you.” Finn continued to try and reason with her as calmly as possible.

 

“You only did that cause you had a crush on me…” Her tone was meek. Bonnible wasn’t even sure why she kept talking, nothing she was saying made her feel any better.

 

Finn sighed. “Yeah, maybe I did when I was fifteen. We both know when that stopped being the case. But check it out, I’m still here! I’ve been here! You know why? Because I still love you man, not romantically but as one of my best friends. You’ve done so much for me and there’s a ton to like about you.”

 

The human owed a lot of his life to her, and he made sure to pay it back whenever he could. The same could be said about the princess. He had forgiven a lot of her transgressions against him and the many kingdoms of Ooo, but this wasn’t something he was gonna let slide. He had to draw the line at some point.

 

“...” Bubblegum fell to the floor. She sat down feeling completely defeated.

 

“You also do a lot to drive me flippin bonkers and I can’t keep ignoring it. Just- Just take some time to chill and talk to me. Okay?” Finn reached down and offered her a hand.

 

The princess hesitated to grab his hand but accepted it in the end. “I’m sorry Finn…” Now she was the one staring at the ground, unable to look him in the eyes.

 

Finn recalled Marceline mentioning something about Bubblegum’s “sorry’s” and how they never amounted to much.

 

“Don’t be. Instead, promise me you’ll try not to blow up at me like this again. I don’t like doin’ this kinda thing with ya Peebs.” Finn wore a look of sincerity as he spoke.

 

Bonnie looked up to see him staring at her with a soft smile. “Alright, I promise.” Her tone was resolute.

 

He brought her in for a hug, which the princess returned.

 

After a brief moment he pulled away to speak. “Also could you do me a favor and not mention this happened to Marcy. She was dead set on telling you about us herself.”

 

“She was?” Bubblegum was astonished.

 

“She didn’t wanna keep it a secret from you, she was just tryna figure out the best way to tell you cause she didn’t want you getting mad.”

 

“You mean like how I just did…” Bonnie frowned realizing how predictable her actions were.

 

Finn chuckled. “Yeah kinda, but chin up princess. The fact that she’s going through the trouble of trying to soften the blow is because she doesn’t wanna hurt you. She still cares a whole bunch about you.”

 

Bonnible gave a small smile. “I guess that’s true.”

 

“Well I’m gonna get goin then PB. Unless you need something else with the bot.”

 

The party machine, still toppled on the ground, waved at the two as they looked at it.

 

“I should be fine. Oh and Finn.”

 

“What’s up?”

 

“I wouldn’t recommend keeping secrets from Marceline, if she finds out she’s not gonna be happy with you. You should tell her about today.” Bubblegum handed Finn his phone and walked off to her computer.

 

“I’ll, uhh, keep that in mind…” With that Finn made his way out of the garage.

 

The two separated on seemingly good terms. Finn would later meet up with Marceline and they spent the rest of the day together. He never told her what transpired between him and the princess.  What she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her, right?

Chapter Text

“Hey Jake, you mind speeding up? My telekinesis is giving me a headache.” Finn groaned while pinching his brow. A scalding, white metal ball was levitating above the two brothers.

 

He took off his bear hat, hoping it would make things slightly more comfortable. He a was ready to remove his shirt and shorts too, if need be.

 

The object in question was a Fire Kingdom treasure, the Infernium Orb. Phoebe had given it to them as part of a trade deal between her and Bonnibel.

 

“I’m tryin man. Just bein around that dumb thing is gonna give me a heat stroke, I gotta conserve energy y’know?” Jake towed Finn on his back as they made their way through trees and towns to the Candy Kingdom.

 

The two were sweating up a storm due to the Infernium’s insane heat. To the unsuspecting individuals below the duo, it might’ve seemed like rain.

 

Finn decided to lie down, hoping it would help him relax. Jake’s sweat ridden dog fur made it hard to do that, though. The young man contemplated sitting up to get away from the perspiration, but couldn’t be asked at this point.

 

He squinted at the Orb floating above them. If he didn’t know any better, he’d think it was the sun staring them down.

 

“How much longer? I just wanna be done dude.” Finn made his irritation clear.

 

Jake saw the top of Bubblegum’s castle peak through the horizon of the pink forest. “I can see the kingdom from here so you can take a chill pill.”

 

“I wish, Simon don’t got ice powers now so he can’t make em anymore.”

 

“Hey, as long as we have Simon and not Ice King I ain’t complainin’.”

 

“Aww c’mon man, don’t be like that. Sure Ice King was crazy but he still had his qualities.”

 

“Yeah, but Simon still has some of those quirky Ice Kingisms on top of being an awesome smart dude.”

 

“Fair enough, I just feel bad when Simon beats himself up over being the Ice King. It’s not like he could’ve helped it. Just hope the guy can learn to accept it as part of his past.”

 

Finn recalled some of his conversations with Simon centered around the topic of the Ice King. Simon loathed his old persona. Whenever he spoke of it it was either about how much he regrets his actions as the Ice King or how never wanted to think about it again. Finn would do his best to reassure Simon that it was all in the past. Some of his words would get through to him, but it was never enough to completely convince Simon.

 

“I’ll getcha there Simon, one day…” Finn said to himself.

 

“Wuzzat?” Jake asked.

 

“HALT!” A voice shouted from below.

 

Jake came to an abrupt stop causing Finn to jerk and drop the ball on the dog’s dome.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ” Jake screamed as the orb sizzled the hairs on his head.

 

He shrunk back to his normal size, causing the two brothers to helplessly fall on the ground in a puddle of their own sweat. Jake fell on his back while Finn landed with an ungraceful belly flop. The orb dropped like a rock beside them and instantly evaporated the puddle.

 

Jake sat up and touched his newly bald scalp. “Y’know, losin’ all my fur from the neck down wasn’t that bad, but this is twelve levels of messed up.”

 

A figure clad in a white hazmat suit stepped onto the scene, looking down at the two. “I take it Flame Princess enjoyed the Everburn Lumber?” Without a doubt, this voice belonged to the one and only ruler of the candy kingdom.

 

Bubblegum made reference to her end of the bargain between herself and Flame Princess. She promised the Fire Kingdom a fuel source that was guaranteed to last at least one millennia: Everburn Lumber. It was wood from a rare tree found deep within the nightosphere. Not even Marceline or her father knew where to look. But the princess swore she’d find it under any circumstances and offer it to Phoebe. So of course she had Finn and Jake hunt it down for her.

 

Finn lifted his head to look at the Princess. “Definitely. She also told me to tell you that she’s working on convincing her family to let you look at last fire giant.”

 

Bubblegum removed the head of the suit and held it in her arms. “Really? That’s amazing! BANANA GUARDS!” She shouted behind her.

 

Two hazmat wearing Banana Guards came from behind the princess. One held a heavy duty container and the other a large pair of metal pincers. The guards carefully secured the ball, as carefully as a Banana Guard can anyway, and hauled it off to the kingdom.

 

“I don’t mean to sound rude, but I almost can’t believe you two are on good terms. Like, really good terms.” Jake said as he helped his brother on his feet.

 

“I’d certainly hope so. I’ve been workin’ my butt off the past few years to make sure I’m in good graces with every kingdom and faction willing to cooperate.”

 

Bubblegum had an uphill battle to fight after the events of the Gum War and Golb’s arrival. Not only did she call upon her allies to prepare for a war that ultimately amounted to nothing, thus rendering all their gathered resources wasted, but she also unknowingly put them in harm's way with the abrupt appearance of the deity of chaos. While the latter wasn’t her fault, it didn’t stop rumors from forming. Some theorized that Bonnibel set up the whole thing as a scheme to dwindle the supplies of her allies and secure her kingdoms place at the top of the chain. Others thought it was another experiment gone wrong. Regardless of the truth, the princess seemed to have scornful eyes on her from all sides.

 

She understood this better than anyone and immediately began her quest for wide spread camaraderie. There was no way she could convince everyone of her innocence with words. Instead she proved it through her actions. And after many negotiations, Bubblegum regained most of her alliances and then some. Those who didn’t wish to ally themselves maintained a neutral bond with her. The princess may have overworked herself, alienated her girlfriend, and permanently ruined her sleep schedule, but she knew how to produce results.

 

“Hey PB, this isn’t part of some scheme to get ahold of the last fire giant so you can finish the job, is it?” Finn didn’t like questioning his friends like this, but he had to look out for the interests of all the kingdoms. It was part of his duty as the Hero of Ooo.

 

Finn missed the days where the Candy Kingdom was one of his only priorities. A time where his schedule wasn’t dedicated to helping anyone and everything, where he had room to adventure simply for the fun of it. It seemed like the only time he could adventure was when it was at the request of someone other than himself. For some reason that took a bit of the joy out of it and that sucked. But such is the life of a Hero, one he felt he couldn't help but submit to.

 

“Absolutely not and I’m offended that you would even assume such!... But if I were being completely honest I do have intentions to look for exploits in the Fire Giants structure. Not so I can attack the Fire Kingdom, though! It’s just a precautionary measure. I wanna be able to protect my people in any situation, you know?” The princess had already learned some lessons about overstepping boundaries in her first confrontation with Phoebe. She still had some of that paranoia buried deep within her psyche, but at least no one was actively being harmed with this decision of hers.

 

Jake raised an eyebrow at Bubblegum. “Well I guess that ain’t really malicious. Still, I feel like you owe her a bit more than that.”

 

“Yeah, I dunno PB, wasn’t it you who wrecked all those giants? And then your peace offering was promising not to destroy the last one?” Finn had heard what had gone down between the two princess’ from FP herself.

 

Jake continued off of Finn’s statement. “Haha, yeah! That’s like walkin’ into some dude's house, breakin’ all their family heirlooms, and then going Alright, I promise not to break this last one if you don’t get mad at me!

 

“Well, what would you have me do then?” Her question was sincere.

 

“Hmmm, if she’s letting you study her giants, maybe you could let her study the Gumball Guardians?” Finn suggested a one to one exchange.

 

“Not happening, even if I did allow her to I’m not sure she would have much to gain. She’s not the tech savvy type. How ‘bout this, I’ll try and see if I can build two replacement Fire Giants using my studies.”

 

“Make it three!” Jake retorted, holding up three fingers.

 

“You’re pushing it.” The princess responded with a look of annoyance.

 

“I think two would be really awesome of you Peebs.” Finn gave the princess a thumbs up.

 

She smiled. Bubblegum was happy to know that she was on good terms with the human again. After the events that occured the other day she wasn’t sure if she deserved his companionship, but he returned and treated her as if they were still the closest of friends.

 

“Now that we’ve got that all settled, you wanna come inside for some tea? After you take a shower, that is.” Bonnibel pointed out the nasty B.O. the two accumulated after having sweat so much.

 

The young man gave an exhausted sigh. “Princess, you have no idea how good that sounds.”

 

It wasn’t until now that she noticed the exasperated look in his eyes.

 

“Is everything okay, Finn?” She asked with concern.

 

“Huh? Yeah I’m good. Why, do I have something on my face?” Finn rubbed his face, hoping it would fix the issue.

 

“Nah, she’s sayin that cause you look dead on the inside.” Jake commented.

 

“What? No I don’t!” In truth, he had been very tired, but he had hoped it didn’t show.

 

“How would you know?” Jake stated in a matter-of-fact way.

 

Just then a monkey jumped out from the nearby trees and landed in front of the three. It had a letter in its tail which it delivered to Finn.

 

“Oh, it’s from Jungle Princess.” Finn opened the letter.

 

“‘Scuse me, that’ll be two silver coins.” The monkey said in a rough, gravelly voice.

 

“Need me to cover you bro?” Jake offered.

 

“S’all good, I got it.” Finn pulled out two gold coins from his pocket and tossed it to the monkey. “Keep the change” He snapped his fingers and pointed at the chimp.

 

“You got it boss!” With that, the monkey leaped away.

 

“Let’s see what we got.” Finn’s eyes panned from left to right as he scanned the letter. After a few seconds he frowned, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath.

 

“Sorry PB, looks like I can’t hang right now. Jungle Princess needs my help taking down a colony of spider snakes.” He folded the letter and placed it in his pocket.

 

“That’s okay. You take care of yourself, alright?” The princess waved as she walked away.

 

“Later Bubblegum!” Finn and Jake waved back.

 

“You ready, Jake?” Finn looked over to his brother. He was quite annoyed at the turn of events, but as long as he had his brother by his side it wouldn’t be so bad

 

“Nah man, I gotta pass. I promised Lady I’d be back early today. You should do the same, you’re startin’ to stress out hard.” It was easy for Jake to see that his brother had no interest in the task at hand.

 

“Jake, you know I can’t do that. C’mon it’ll be real quick I promise!” Finn pleaded with his brother to join him.

 

“Well, I guess- wait no! Kim invited me and Lady to dinner and I don’t wanna stand ‘em up, plus I gotta talk to him about Bron Bron.” Jake had to put his foot down and refuse.

 

When the dog started his journey to reconnect with his family he was afraid of some push back. But much to his surprise, they welcomed him with open arms. They may have aged rapidly, but the child within them still yearned for the affection of their father.

 

“Bron Bron?” Finn asked.

 

“Hehe, yeah. It’s what I call Bronwyn when she’s not around. Don’t tell her that though, she hates it when I say that.” Jake giggled at the thought of a flustered Bronwyn.

 

“Anyways, we’ve been doin’ quests since the moment we got up. You’re way past your hero quota by now, right? Just relax!” Jake shrugged with a smile.

 

Finn shook his head. “Just because I’ve done my quota for the day doesn’t mean I can ignore when someone asks for help, that’s not the hero code dude.”

 

The hero code was a set of rules that Finn followed religiously, well, he followed the important rules at least. Some rules were simple: never demand money for a job well done. Some were difficult: always maintain peak physical form. Others were… strange: never consume dairy products on the fourth of every odd numbered month. But of all the rules, one stuck with Finn the most, for better or for worse: A hero is ALWAYS a hero. This meant that no matter the time of day, his state of mind, his surroundings, he must always act as a hero.

 

“I’m just trying to look out for you, homie. Can’t have you shutting down again. It freaks me out when you do that.”

 

“Wha?! C’mon bro that only happened twice! I’m doin fine, trust me.” Finn crossed his arms.

 

Jake squinted his eyes and rubbed his chin. “SURPRISE CHECK UP! Show me those pearly whites!” Whenever the dog was concerned about his brothers well being he would conduct a “surprise check up”.

 

Finn smiled wide and revealed his shining white teeth.

 

“Quick! What’d you have for breakfast.’”

 

“Buttered toast with eggs, sausage, and OJ to wash it down.” The young man quickly listed his morning food.

 

“Touch your toes!”

 

Finn complied.

 

“Let’s see those pits!”

 

Finn raised his arms.

 

Jake stretched his face out to his brothers armpits to get a whiff. He winced in disgust. “Eugh, smells awful!”

 

“I mean, yeah. We been sweating nonstop for about an hour.”

 

“Oh yeah, I forgot.” Jake retracted himself. “Looks like ya pass, for now.”

 

Finn chuckled. “You’re such a goober, dude.”

 

“I only do it cause I love ya. No matter how old you get you’re still my baby bro, got that?” Jake poked his stomach.”

 

“I know.” The younger brother gave a smirk and said nothing more.

 

Jake looked at him, expectantly. “...well?”

 

“Well what?” His tone was playful.

 

“Aren’t ya gonna say it back?” Jack pulled out his puppy dog eyes and pouted. The eyes trick was too convincing, probably due to the fact that he is a dog.

 

Finn gave a hearty laugh, picked up Jake with both arms, and gave a great hug. “Of course I love you man!”

 

Jake responded with the same enthusiasm. “Don’t go playin with my emotions like that!” He laughed and hugged him back.

 

The young man took a few more seconds to relish the moment. He was reminded just how much he loved his brother. Ever since he started living on his own he realized how lonely it can be in the tree fort sometimes. Of course there was BMO and Neptr, but they were very simple minded beings and couldn’t offer the type of social interaction Finn craved at home.

 

Jake never wanted to leave, but Finn was convinced that he had to learn to stand on his own two feet. And so after much debate Jake conceded, if his young brother felt like the path to manhood was a solo trip, then he wouldn’t stop him. From the way Finn described it, he’d be alright.

 

Finn let his brother down.

 

“So, other than helpin’ JP you ain’t got nothin else goin’ on today?” Jake asked.

 

“I’m gonna go hang with Marcy at six, but that’s in an hour so I got time.”

 

“So when are you gonna do it man?” Jake cocked an eyebrow at Finn.

 

“Do what?”

 

“Ask out Marceline!” The dog threw his hands up.

 

At first Finn wore a look of confusion, then hit him, oh right nobody knows but Simon . “Whaaaaat, psshhhhh, that’s crazy dude. Me and Marcy? Marcy and Me? Naw dawg it totally ain’t like that. Not one bit. Nope.”

 

“You can’t hide it from me anymore buddy, you’re head over heels for her! Listen Finn, I know you’re probably scared cause of all your lady troubles, but trust me when I say you gotta swallow that fear and just go for it! The quest for love is a trial by fire. Sure you’re gonna mess up here and there, but that just means you’re one step closer to finding the one!”

 

Finn found some humor in Jake's wasted pep talk. He wanted to tell him that he had already beat his brother to the punch, but Marceline wanted to keep their relationship underwraps until she broke the news to Bonnie. As far as she knew, Bubblegum was still in the dark. To make sure that was the case he couldn’t tell Jake either.

 

“Alright you got me Jake, maybe I have a thing for Marcy. Just don’t tell anyone. I’ll ask her when the time is right, okay?” He hoped this would keep Jake’s mouth shut for a while, at least until Marceline was ready.

 

“Hah! And they say I can’t read people. Your secret is safe with me, brother. You should hurry and finish up with jungle princess, don’t wanna keep the vampire queen waitin’!” Jake was eager to see his younger brother get back into the dating scene. He always knew Finn was a love chaser, so the sooner he found it, the better.

 

“Don’t worry pooch, I got time.”

 


 

 

“So it’s nine pm and Finn still isn’t here…” Marceline hovered above her couch, belly up and hands behind her head.

 

“You sure he hasn’t texted back, Gunter?” Simon sat on a stool beside the kitchen counter top as he read a book.

 

She held up her phone to see her three unanswered calls and two unanswered text messages asking where are you? and is everything okay?

 

“Nope…” Despite the unfortunate situation, she wasn’t angry. Just incredibly sad.

 

Simon stood up and walked to the couch. Marceline sat down to make room for him. The vampire queen slouched in her seat, every fiber of her being just reeked of despair.

 

The antiquarian patted her head. “Go to the tree fort, you may find him there and have the chance to talk it out.”

 

“If he wanted to talk he would’ve answered his phone…” She slumped further into her seat, by this point her back was on the cushion.

 

“Marceline, I’m not trying to justify his actions, but there’s always two sides to a story. What if you go to the tree fort and come to find he isn’t there? Maybe he was kidnapped or caught up in some mess? Wouldn’t that knowledge at least bring some modicum of comfort?” Simon urged her to take action, he knew she was the type to stew in their own sadness if allowed.

 

“I guess…” She sluggishly got up.

 

“Take care, sweet heart.” Simon spoke softly.

 

“I’ll try…” she exited through the door and offered no more words.

 

Finn, whatever you’re doing right now, I hope you have a good reason for it. Simon thought to himself before continuing his book.

 


 

 

Marceline took advantage of the silence during her flight to try and sort her thoughts. She didn’t want to blame Finn right off the bat, but she was hurt and needed somewhere to direct the pain.

 

Why, man? Marcy tried to find the answer herself. Was he actually caught up in some adventure? For three hours? Could’ve gave me a heads up or something. Did he decide to stand her up? That’s dumb, he wouldn’t. Right? Maybe he simply forgot about the whole thing? How unimportant do I gotta be if you can just forget about our plans like that.

 

She sighed to herself. Back to the same old junk again, huh Marceline? I thought I left this stuff behind with Bonnie.

 

Obviously thinking about it was doing her no favors.

 

As she arrived to the tree fort she noticed BMO and Neptr sitting outside the front door. Both of them wore sullen faces.

 

She came down to meet the two. “What’s wrong lil’ dudes?”

 

BMO was silent. He grabbed a handful of grass and tore it from the ground, tossing it to the side. The patches of dirt told her that he had been at this for a while.

 

“My creator is sad and we cannot assist him. That makes us sad.” Neptr stared at the ground as he spoke.

 

So Finn IS here, and he’s… sad? Marceline’s expression was a cross between confusion and concern. Something doesn’t add up. If you’re havin a bad day why not send me a text or something? I’m not gonna rag on ya for not wanting to hang out, but completely ignoring me? She stopped herself. Contemplating the matter anymore would likely have her assuming all sorts of nasty things. The best option right now would be to go and ask Finn directly.

 

She stepped between the two bots and let herself inside. The living room was pristine and the kitchen untouched. You wouldn’t have thought Finn was home had it not been for his satchel hanging beside the door. Didn’t even make himself some food?

 

Marceline became aware of the sound of running water coming from the second floor. She headed straight for the source. When she got upstairs she saw the bathroom door wide open, he was likely taking a shower.

 

She was ready to walk in and adopt a sassy attitude. Marceline could picture it now, she’d walk in and lean on the door way, fold her arms and ask So what’s the deal? Depending on his answer she’d chew him out with no remorse or give him a light scolding.

 

Marcy walked in with hand on door frame and immediately lost all confidence to the scene before her.

 

Finn was sitting in the bathtub, stark naked, knees to his chest, hunched over with his left arm wrapped around his legs . The other arm was detached and sitting in the sink. The young man was motionless as the water from the shower head above him struck his deadpan face. To top it all off, his eyes were red. She could handwave it by saying it was simply the water hitting his eyes, but that’d be willful ignorance. He was crying and probably had been for some time.

 

Marceline was in shock. She didn’t know what she expected, but it wasn’t this. This looked more like something she would do, not Finn. Not the happy-go-lucky hero boy.

 

She opened her mouth but all she could muster was an incredulous “Dude…”

 

Finn’s head snapped in her direction, as if he were broken from a trance. “M-Marcy!?” At least he finally had some animation to him.

 

Their eyes met, but it was difficult for her to maintain eye contact. He just looked so tired and sad, it didn’t feel like Finn, it felt unnatural.

 

She tried to defuse the tension with playful dialogue. “Did- did you get hit with, like, a sad spell or something? Ha, haha…” Her words fell flat and neither of them bought it

 

He wanted to do something, anything, to make it less awkward. Play it off as a joke, apologize, explain himself, do a backflip out of the tub and hightail it out of there in his birthday suit. But he did none of those things. Instead he looked away from Marceline and put his head down.

 

In his mind there was no right answer, he funked up. Bottom line. It was his job to make all the right decisions and he failed. Normally Finn was pretty good at avoiding a situation like this, but on the rare occasion he couldn’t he would give up and shut down.

 

If his vault was his coping mechanism to deal with complex issues he didn’t understand, then shutting down was its replacement. Whenever things got too heavy and scary for him he would cease all thought, find a remote location, think, berate himself, promise never to do it again, and return to normal the next day. However, this was much more unhealthy than his vault. The process meant that Finn was constantly raising the bar for himself, to the point of unattainable perfection.

 

Marceline had an inkling that this was an issue of his, but she could never guess how real it was.

 

Marcy was tired of the silence and decided to sit on the toilet adjacent to the tub. “What’s wrong Finn?” Simply talking about the issue was a good starting point.

 

Finn didn’t know what to say then and he didn’t know what to say now, so he was silent.

 

She hunched forward and rested her elbows on her thighs. “I’m not mad at you, dude. Annoyed, maybe. But I don’t know what kinda day you had. I’d like to know, though, if you don’t mind telling me.”

 

Marceline had been so patient with him and yet Finn couldn’t even look her in the eyes. He had to give her something to work with, he felt like he owed her at least that much.

 

“I don’t know what’s wrong…” Finn’s voice was meek.

 

It took her a second to realize he was answering her first question. “What do you mean?”

 

“I don’t know why I’m like this…”

 

That second response was a cause for great concern. “Let’s take it slow now. So when did things start to go wrong?” At least she was starting the path to figuring out what was plaguing Finn.

 

“I was helping Jungle Princess with stuff, but it took way longer than expected. When we finished I ran home and that’s when I realized I was an hour late to get our tux’s fitted for the wedding. I started panicking. I thought about how much I must’ve let you down. Then I started to think about how much I suck and how I should be better than this. My brain wouldn’t stop thinking about a bunch of dumb and nasty things. It just got worse and worse. I wanted to ask Jake for help but then I remembered he doesn’t live with me anymore. Then I started to feel all lonely. It felt like it was gonna be this way forever... I miss Jake…” He shut his eyes and squeezed his legs together as he began to whimper. “I want my big brother back. I’m tired of standing on my own two feet. I… I don’t wanna be a hero right now.” That last line was delivered with extra strain.

 

Marceline was stunned. Now she didn’t know what to do. What was she even supposed to say? There was way too much for her to unpack in all that. Marcy desperately wanted to help him and rushed to process everything he told her. She almost began to panic herself, but it was on the edge of anxiousness that she found her answer. She smiled and laughed.

 

Finn turned to look at her with confusion. Was she laughing at him?

 

“Sorry, I’m not makin’ fun of ya. It’s just that, well, I think you’re having an anxiety attack.” Of all the things, she never expected hero boy to be dealing with anxiety.

 

“What’s anxiety? And why is it attacking me?” He asked with sincerity.

 

“You seriously have never heard of- Finn do you even know what depression is?”

 

“That’s like, when you’re sad a bunch, right?”

 

She covered her mouth and furrowed her brow. Wow , she thought to herself.

 

It was easy to forget Finn’s parents died at such a young age, well, his foster parents.She thought about what it must’ve been like for him, It reminded her of her own formative years, somewhat. She assumed that Jake, just like Simon, focused on making sure they were happy. But unlike Simon, Jake never left. Marceline was exposed to many of the cold hard truths of reality at a frighteningly young age due to his abandonment. She had one thousand years to understand and come to terms with those feelings, even then she barely had a grasp on them. Finn had four, tops. Where Simon was absent early in her life, due to the influence of his crown, Jake left later in Finn’s, due to his duties as a father. It wasn’t far fetched to assume no ever taught him how to deal with these feelings.

 

Marceline remembered all too well the crying, kicking, and screaming she did. She wished she had someone to talk to back then. Looking at Finn repeating some of the same things she did made Marcy want to fulfill the role that no one did for her.

 

She got up from the toilet and shut the shower off.

 

“What are you doing?” Finn asked.

 

She grabbed a towel hanging on a rack and threw it at his face. “Dry up and head to bed.”

 

He removed the towel and held it in his hands. “Oh, okay. Guess you’re heading out then?” He frowned.

 

Marceline spun around before exiting the bathroom and smiled. “Nope, I’m staying the night. Gonna borrow some of your clothes too, hope ya don’t mind.” With that, she left.

 

Finn blushed. He paused in bewilderment before doing as he was told.

 


 

 

Finn stepped out the bathroom with only his boxers on. He reached for a shirt in his closet.

 

“Forget about the shirt. I wanna see them muscles.” Marceline called out to him on his bed. She was laying above the covers with her hands behind her head, dressed in nothing but one his shirts and boxers. Her other set of clothes had been haphazardly tossed to the bedside, that included her undergarments.

 

Finn’s face became beet red once more as he sheepishly stepped towards her.

 

“Aww c’mon ya big baby we ain’t doin anything like that, at least not tonight.” She gave a wry smile.

 

“Not tonight?!” His voice cracked. The implication startled him.

 

Marceline burst into laughter. After all the attempts to tease him since he came back, she finally got the reaction she was looking for.

 

She flew to Finn and rushed to pick him up bridal style. He did nothing to stop her. She took him to the bed and laid him down, then she placed herself to the left of him and wrapped an arm around his shoulder.

 

The two sat there in silence. Finn locked his fingers together and placed his hands on his stomach. He had no idea what was supposed to be happening and decided to ask, “Marcy-”

 

He was met with a soft, “Shhh.”

 

And so he kept his mouth shut. At first, nothing was changing. However, slowly but surely, he noticed the atmosphere shift.

 

Everything was calm, all was quiet save for the sound of nature, Finn felt warm . He didn’t know how she did it, but Marceline managed settle his emotions and return him to a state of normalcy.

 

“How did you-”

 

“I’ve done this song and dance before. Wish you woulda called me earlier. Coulda helped a lot sooner y’know?” Marceline turned to smile at him.

 

“Yeah… I kinda made a lot of mistakes today, huh?” He gave her a weak smile.

 

“Yup, we all do though, doesn’t matter if you’re a hero or not, it’s just a part of livin’.” She used her left hand to play with his hair.

 

Finn thought back to what he said earlier. “Some weird stuff came out my mouth back there…”

 

“I don’t think it was that weird.” Marceline continued to use a low, calming voice.

 

“You don’t?” He raised an eyebrow in curiosity.

 

She shook her head. “Nah. It had to have come from somewhere. Think you could tell me where?”

 

Finn looked down with worry.

 

“Does it have something to do with the Hero King stuff you told be about when we took down that troll?” Marceline recalled how stressed he was when it first came up. She told him they didn’t need to talk about it before, but now she couldn’t ignore it. Especially if she was gonna try and understand the root of the issue.

 

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them he made eye contact with her.

 

“If I ever shut down again, I promise I’ll tell you everything. But until then, you think we can avoid talkin’ about it?” Marceline could tell he was pleading with her.

 

She thought about it for a second and silently nodded, this little act of compromise would suffice.

 

Marceline felt herself uncontrollably smile like an idiot. There was something about the dynamic between the two that brought her so much joy. The idea that the Hero of Ooo was suffering through emotional issues and she was the one to help him made her feel beyond good. Once more, she was reminded of her time with Two Bread Tom and the humans. What she did for them made her feel important, she felt like a hero. For countless years she yearned to feel it again.

 

Her time with Bubblegum was one such attempt to reach that nirvana. Despite how it ended between them, she did find it for a time. However, it faded as time passed. After they went their separate ways she began her search elsewhere and found her spark with Finn.

 

There was no guarantee it would last forever, she understood that, but right now she felt like Finn’s hero. A priceless aspect of his life. She was gonna hold onto that feeling and maintain it as long as she could.

 

Finn would do the same. He was never able to analyze his issues properly, he simply knew that he had them and wanted some way to deal with them. There was a part of him that was always looking for someone to talk to, but he never acted on it. Now that Marceline was in his life he looked back and wondered how different things might’ve been if he was just willing to be more open.

 

It didn’t matter now, though. They had something special and both were ready to try and make it work.

 

Finn rolled onto his side and held Marceline close. “Thanks” he whispered.

 

“Ain’t a thang, babe.” She responded with a sultry tone.

 

They closed their eyes and proceeded into a blissful sleep, everything felt good .

Chapter Text

Out on the edge of the forest, atop the peak of a cliff, amongst a mass of trees intertwined, was the home of Huntress Wizard. She attempted to search for a way to rid herself of her morning drowsiness. She squinted down at the creek that ran through her home and studied her reflection. Huntress looked dead and groggy, probably due to her lack of sleep in the past few days.

 

Huntress Wizard had a lot on her mind recently. For starters, she owed it to the forest to work overtime after her manic episode. She did a lot of harm to what she considered her home and family.

 

The young wizard simply wanted to find a productive way to veer her mind off of the break up. What better way than to expand her mystical knowledge? It was harmless, at first. But as her magical prowess grew, so did her madness and sadness. Eventually, she became too far gone to notice the severity of the situation. Huntress became reckless, unable to act like herself, and invited danger to the woods. Had Mrs. Tyrius not intervened she likely would’ve lost herself completely.

 

Then, after being snapped back to reality by Tyrius, she thought of Finn. What she did to him ate away at her. Huntress felt nothing but guilt for how things went down between the two. She wanted to apologize, to try and mend their relationship, but a stubborn part of her brain insisted that that was weak.

 

She furrowed her brow in anger as she knelt down beside the river.

 

Huntress cursed the madness and sadness corrupting her mind. It always had a nasty grip on her psyche, but it never bothered her much before. Prior to meeting Finn, she was a loner who didn’t have to worry about social interactions outside of purchasing scrolls and elixirs.

 

Then he came along. Something about Finn’s fantastical nature attracted her to him. What started as a passing curiosity soon turned into an indefinite infatuation. He showed Huntress that having someone by your side isn’t all that bad, in fact it was pretty great. Unfortunately her underdeveloped people skills began to show. Monsters and animals were easy to read, they always followed a pattern and once you studied it long enough there was nothing to fear. If people had one constant it was that they were always changing.

 

Finn’s desires morphed into something vastly different from when they first started dating. He wanted intimacy, for them to open up to each other, for her to show some sense of vulnerability. Huntress didn’t know how to handle that, so she stuck to her ever true play book: hang out, go on adventures, smooch, rinse and repeat. It was this uncompromising game plan that proved catastrophic to their relationship.

 

Huntress Wizard knew that it was her inability to adapt in this situation that caused their downfall. Why couldn’t she get over her fear of being weak?

 

“Stupid magic, madness and sadness… eat my butt…” She grumbled, blaming the arcane elements. It was much easier than addressing her own inner flaws.

 

She scooped up a handful of water, ready to throw it on her face and wake up for the incoming day. The process was expedited by a mysterious figure falling into the river from the leaves that composed the ceiling above her. Huntress was covered from head to toe in water by the splash.

 

The object in question was the other thing that kept her up at night.

 

“How people sleep in trees, I’ll never understand.” Mrs. Tyrius spoke while winded.

 

Huntress was told of a magic that did not entail madness and sadness, something she thought impossible. But if there was anyone who’d know of it, it’d be Tyrius. With that in mind, she patiently waited for her mentor to contact her. Mrs. Tyrius said it would be a few days, but few seemed to mean whenever I feel like it .

 

“So, I guess it’s time then?” Huntress was more than eager.

 

“Yeah, something like that.” Tyrius groaned as she picked herself up. She stood tall, so tall her head burst through the ceiling. “Lemme just find a spot to sit.” Mrs. Tyrius planted herself by the rack that Huntress kept all her dead game. The young wizard joined her.

 

Huntress began to feel warm, extremely warm, and for a split second it was a blazing heat. Then, puffs of steam erupted from her person. All of the water had evaporated off of the two.

 

“I’m guessing that was you?” She asked.

 

“I dunno, do you know how to steam dry clothes using magic?”

 

The young wizard rolled her eyes at the rhetorical question. She had almost forgotten just how much Mrs. Tyrius could be a smug jerk.

 

“Clarity and Sanity. What’s that all about?” Huntress got down to the brass tacks.

 

“Right, right. Hmmmm, where do I start.” The mentor swung her head from side to side as she formed her lesson plan.

 

“Have you never taught this magic before?” It was curious to Huntress that Tyrius wasn’t sure how to even begin teaching. Did this mean that she would be the first person ever shown?

 

“Oh man, many many MANY years ago I did. I don’t even think there’s a word for a number that big. But if we’re talkin’ recent, there was this human chick. Her name was Betty, you know her?”

 

“She’s got a bit of fame in the wizard community for defeating Bella Noche, then a bit of infamy for some other nasty stuff. She was a bit crazier than most wizards, but that’s just how magic do.” Huntress shrugged.

 

Mrs. Tyrius laughed. “Nah baby, that wasn’t magic that made her crazy, it was her broken heart. She was a little somethin’ like you, honestly.”

 

Huntress cocked an eyebrow.

 

“Sure magic can make you mad and sad, but even if you removed that magic you’d both end up insane. I saw it in Betty and I see it in you, y’all got sucker punched in the heart. Both of you needed to cope with it, both of you turned to magic. I’m no love doctor, but I am a sucker for love stories. So I had to step in to try and help. That, and I can’t have you dive into the wretched abyss that lies beyond madness and sadness.”

 

“Beyond madness and sadness?” Huntress said with intrigue.

 

Tyrius’ tone became much more sinister and the air around the two became cold. “You felt it, did you not? Before I intervened. The gnawing claws of the arcane digging into your mind. It felt much worse than madness and sadness, correct? You were teetering on the edge of the most vile gifts that magic had to offer: mania and dysphoria .”

 

Huntress Wizard felt a chill run down her spine.

 

“Good thing I stopped ya, eh?” Tyrius hunched forward, the playful attitude was in full effect once again. “Betty was headed down that path too, so I showed her that magic don’t gotta come with that stanky mad and sad business. I showed her the truth, clarity and sanity. For the most part she was sane, any crazy you saw in her was cause she was desperate to get her fiance back. Probably shoulda stopped her from summoning Golb, though. I mean, I was the one who told her that it was the quickest way to see Simon again. Ah well, y’all handled it just fine.” Tyrius shrugged.

 

“And now you’re gonna teach me?”

 

“I’ll be honest, it’s kinda different for everyone. I do have a good starting point, though. Do you have a favorite spell?”

 

Huntress tapped her chin while she searched for an answer. “Tangling Vines is one I use a lot.”

 

“Could you explain to me how you perform this spell?”

 

“First I place my palm on the ground to establish a connection with mother nature, then I ask for her to lend me her strength and bind my target, she takes care of the rest from there.”

 

Mrs. Tyrius nodded her head. “I see. Mind if we step outside?”

 

“Yeah, lemme get changed first. Not too keen on slinging spells in pj’s.”

 


 

 

Huntress stepped out between the twisting trees that made up her doorway.

 

“Took ya long enough, eh? Whadda ya doin in there, puttin’ on makeup? Gettin’ ready for a dinner date?” Tyrius tapped her foot against the ground.

 

“Try combing caterpillars out of your hair and then get back to me on that.”

 

“Meh, who needs hair.”

 

“You wouldn’t be saying that if you had any.” Huntress placed a hand on her hip.

 

“YOU WANNA LEARN THIS STUFF OR NOT?!” Mrs. Tyrius shouted and snapped her head towards the young wizard.

 

“Teach away.”

 

“Really tryna piss me off…” The pale woman grumbled under her breath. “Okay, so, Tangling Vines.”

 

“What about it.”

 

“To summarize, establish a connection with mother nature and have her do all the work.”

 

“Essentially.”

 

“And that’s not your own original spell, correct?”

 

“No. Creating spells from scratch requires more time and power than I’m willing to spend. I’d rather just use what’s out there. Where are you going with all of this?” Huntress had next to no clue what would come next.

 

“You’ll see.” Tyrius stomped her right foot down and dug her heel into the earth. After a few moments of silence and Mrs. Tyrius nodding and shaking her head at seemingly nothing, she looked at Huntress. “Okay, go ahead and cast Tangling Vines and aim it at that rock over by the river”

 

“Alright.” Huntress Wizard knelt down and placed her palm to the ground. After asking mother nature to bind the rock in her head she stood up. Nothing happened. “Okay, what did you do? You cast some kind of anti-magic field?”

 

“Nope. You said I gotta talk to mother nature, so I did. We talked about her day, how life is going, and about how you called her a fat lard with no sense of style. She’s not really in the mood to help you anymore, as you can tell.”

 

“Hey, I never said that! Wait, you had a full fledged conversation with mother nature? How? That’s not possible.” Huntress was dumbfounded.

 

“I mean, why not? You told me the spell required I make contact with mother nature.”

 

“But- but it doesn’t work like that! You ask for help and then she does the thing. You don’t go having pleasantries with her!” Huntress Wizard threw her hands in front of her in disbelief.

 

“Or could it be that the spell simply didn’t think that far ahead? Using the rules dictated by the spell, everything I did was in the realm of possibility. If whoever made that spell didn’t want me to be able to do that, they should’ve been more specific.”

 

“But the spell never mentioned anything like that! You can’t just bend the rules! At least, I didn’t think you could.” Huntress rubbed her head.

 

“Let me ask you this, what is a spell?”

 

“It’s a set of instructions required to manipulate the magic that exists all around us to do our bidding. Right?”

 

“Okay, so you manipulate magic . What is magic in this context?” Tyrius hunched over looking down on Huntress.

 

“It’s… it’s uhh… the energy that makes up the unknown universe?” She had no real answer to offer.

 

“It is the grass we stand on, the air around us, our dreams when we sleep, that fish that just jumped out of the river and is now dying because it can’t breathe!” Tyrius and Huntress turned their heads towards the creek.

 

“Help…” the sea bass said, flailing about.

 

“It is you. It is me. Magic. Is. Reality .” Mrs. Tyrius looked up to the sky.

 

“Reality?” Huntress said in utter confusion.

 

Tyrius looked at her and engaged her teacher mode . “To be more precise, each individual's perception of it. Reality is clay waiting to be molded and your mind acts as the hands.” She began to walk in circles around Huntress. “When you learn a spell you are indoctrinating another's reality into your own and THAT is where madness and sadness come into play. The more spells and magic you consume the more you are flooding your mind with others realities. Eventually they will begin to conflict and you lose your grasp on your own reality. Imagine having bits and pieces of other people's minds forced upon your own and how that could drive you insane. Am I making sense so far?” She stopped in front of her student, leaning forward to meet her fact to face.

 

“I- I think so. So everyone has a different perceived reality? And when I learn a spell, that’s me forcing their reality into mine?”

 

“Exactly.” Tyrius nodded.

 

“But reality is realit- at this point I’m not sure what’s what to be honest. So you’re telling me I can just... change my understanding of the way the world works and that’s how I cast magic?” The young wizard felt like her head was spinning.

 

“When you performed magic before you never questioned how you did it, much, did you? You accepted what you were taught as fact.” Tyrius stood upright.

 

“I mean, I saw it work. When I did it, it worked. I never had a reason to believe otherwise.” Huntress crossed her arms.

 

“Good, keep that in mind, because that is part of the core principles of clarity and sanity. I’m gonna do a little experiment with you.” Mrs. Tyrius extended her right arm out of her sleeve.

 

Huntress Wizard shivered. “I’m never gonna get used to the sound that makes.”

 

“Hush. Now just listen to me for a moment. Heat is caused by friction, yes?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“The greater the force, the greater the heat, correct?”

 

“Uhuh.”

 

“Theoretically you could start a fire with enough friction using anything. For this example, why don’t I just use my hand.” Tyrius snapped her fingers together and sparked a flame that rested above her thumb. “You can do it too! Quick, just try it, hurry now!”

 

Huntress scrambled to extend her hand and snap her fingers as hard as possible and sure enough, there was a flame. “Whoa. I never studied pyromancy and yet-”

 

“Okay now think about why that shouldn’t work.”

 

“Huh?” The young wizard tilted her head.

 

“You had no flammable objects. What, you mean to tell me you just ignited the air? Even if that were possible, your fingers ain’t gonna cut it.” Tyrius laughed.

 

“But I have the flame in my-” When she looked to her hand it had extinguished. “What the…”

 

“Allow me to give you a quick rundown of what just happened. I presented to you a form of logic, i.e. a spell, and, using those rules, I created fire. Then, I urged you to do the same. Because you saw me do it and you didn’t have time to think about it, you had to assume it would work, so it did. Your perception of reality was: Friction causes fire, I can create friction with my fingers, if I try hard enough I can create fire with my fingers. But then I convinced you that couldn’t work, you bought into a new perception of reality. You no longer believed the process would work, so it didn’t.”

 

“So you’re basically saying, just believe it will work and it will ?” Huntress’ tone was incredulous.

 

“You make it sound so easy.” Tyrius chuckled.

 

“Now you’re gonna tell me it’s not so simple.” She gave a dejected sigh.

 

“It’s not so simple. While you think you understood everything I said, you don’t exactly know how to employ it. If I asked you to freeze the water in the river over there, you wouldn’t be able to.” Mrs. Tyrius pointed towards the river that ran through Huntress Wizard’s home. “Go on, give it a shot.”

 

Huntress pointed an open palm at the stream, nothing seemed to be happening.

 

“See? You don’t-” Tyrius was cut off by the sea bass.

 

“Oh j-jeez, it’s f-f-freezing. Y-you guys doing that? C-c’mon this isn’t f-funny. J-just toss me back in the water, p-please” The fish was shivering as it spoke.

 

Mrs. Tyrius noticed the frost forming on and around the lake. “Aye hold up now, you’re ACTUALLY doing it!” Now it was the mentor who was in disbelief.

 

“Kind of, it’s not exactly frozen, though.” She was disappointed in her inability to complete the task at hand.

 

“I don’t think you understand how astonishing it is that you managed to get that close. Tell me your thought process while casting the spell.” Tyrius was eager to hear her students findings.

 

“Well, water begins to freeze at a certain temperature. So I had to find a way to make the area around the river cold. To accomplish that, I thought about what it meant to be cold and I figured it was the absence of heat. And then I just, extracted the heat around the river till it got cold enough.” Huntress shrugged.

 

“And you stopped yourself from overthinking it, correct?”

 

“Yeah. From what I understand, if I thought about it too much I’d end up convincing myself it shouldn’t be possible. Then I wouldn’t be able cast the spell. I only got so far, though. It’s kinda hard to stop yourself from thinking about something like this.” Huntress Wizard tapped her foot in frustration.

 

Mrs. Tyrius scoffed in amusement. “You did pretty darn good for learning about all this, what, ten minutes ago? Hunie, you’re unlearning the things you thought you knew to make room to learn the things you want to know that you didn’t already know you knew. It ain’t gonna be easy, but you’re makin’ quick progress.”

 

Huntress looked down at her hands and closed them into fists. “Madness and Sadness: accepting things the way they are without question, despite your own feelings. Clarity and Sanity: understanding why things are the way they are, then changing them to fit a perspective you’re comfortable with. The former is quick and easy, but it has some nasty side effects. The latter can be difficult to comprehend and even more difficult to master, but will ultimately serve you better. That sound about right?”

 

“There’s a bit more nuance to it than that, but we can save that stuff for another lesson.” Tyrius patted Huntress on the head. “I like students like you. Quick to pick up what I’m puttin’ down.”

 

Huntress Wizard blushed a shade of blue. She was self taught, so she never had someone to praise or scold her. Even when Mrs. Tyrius mentored her with Finn, she would only ever mess with them. Huntress kind of liked it, though she’d never admit it.

 

“So where do we go from here?” The young wizard spoke with an eager cadence.

 

I’m goin’ down to Philly Bill’s Phillie Cheesestakes , you’re gonna go and fix some of those issues that’s been messin’ with your brain.” Tyrius retracted her arm.

 

“What issues?” Huntress looked off to the side, pretending she had no idea what the pale woman was on about.

 

“Look, girl. The Clarity part means you got a clear mind and right now you got a whole world of junk in your brain case. You’ll never master magic when you can’t devote one hundred percent of your attention to it. Go make amends with Finn. And don’t give me none of that I don’t wanna be weak! nonsense.” Mrs. Tyrius mocked her student. “We both know that’s a bunch of bologna. You need to get over that mindset. Otherwise you can kiss your chance of learning true magic goodbye. And I swear to Glob if you mess it up again I’m gonna slap the everlivin-”

 

“I GOT IT. I got it.” Huntress held her hands up in front of her.

 

“It doesn’t gotta be right now, but it’ll be good for you. Trust me.” There was a hint of sincerity in her tone.

 

Huntress grabbed her right forearm and fidgeted. “Hey… do you think there’s still a chance that he and I could… y’know.” She avoided eye contact as she spoke.

 

Mrs. Tyrius laughed, knowing that Finn was already taken. “Who knows? Only one way to find out!”

 

“Right… well if we're done here, I got forest duties to attend to. See you whenever you feel like, I guess.” Huntress dashed off to begin her daily routine.

 

Mrs. Tyrius gave a satisfied sigh. “Man… I’m a terrible person…”

 

The fish managed to flop itself back in the river. “You’re tellin’ me… jerk…”

Chapter Text

Marceline strummed her Axe Bass, humming along side the melody to create a copacetic tune. She held the instrument up to her chest to make room for Finn, whose head was resting in her lap. The two were smiling with closed eyes as they relaxed on the couch in the main room of the Tree Fort.

 

“Remember when you said this bass holding style was wack?” She spoke with a low cadence, maintaining the calm atmosphere in the room.

 

“That was, like, five or six years ago.” His intonation matched hers. “How do you remember that?”

 

“So I still have a hard time letting things go, sue me.” She smiled to herself

 

“Well I still think it looks silly, you should try doing it in front a mirror. You’ll see what I mean.” He gave a low chuckle.

 

Marceline stopped plucking her bass and looked down at him, unamused.

 

Finn returned the gaze with a puzzled expression, then it hit him. “Vampire. Right.”

 

She resumed playing her bass.

 

“I don’t think I’ve seen Finn chill this long in forever!” BMO exclaimed from atop Marcy’s head.

 

“That’s not true BMO, what about that time I slept the whole day after I killed the Hydra-Cerberus?”

 

“That was a loss of consciousness from the brain trauma.” Neptr spoke from the foot of the couch, beside Marceline's feet.

 

“Come on guys, let’s just enjoy the moment. We ain’t got a care in the world right now and I wanna keep it that way. That right, Finn?”

 

“We as cool as ice” He said with a sultry tone.

 

The two were ready to spend the rest of the day in doors and revel in each other’s comforting company.

 

Then Finn received a text.

 

Marceline spoke up before he could reach for his pocket. “Can’t you deal with it later? It’s probably just spam or something.”

 

She didn’t want anything to disrupt the slow flow of their day, it had been a while since Marcy felt so serene and she wanted to preserve these emotions.

 

“It won’t hurt to check.” Finn reassured her. He retrieved his phone and took a glance at the message. “Okay, it hurt. I got some hero biz that needs attending to. Call ya when I get back.” The human got up and collected a green, single strap backpack hanging on rack near the front door.

 

Marcy frowned. “Didn’t you finish up all that hero stuff this morning so we could hang out?”

 

Finn grimaced. She was right, he cleared his hero quota in the morning to ensure the rest of his day was open for Marceline. The young man was even willing to brush off any minor distress calls, not wanting to repeat the same mistake as last time. Unfortunately this emergency wasn’t quite minor.

 

Finn faced his girlfriend. “I did and I promise I wouldn’t bail on you if this weren’t important. But the humans need my help, they wouldn’t ask me unless they really needed it.” He scratched the back of his head. The remorse in his voice was palpable.

 

Marcy sighed and gave him a warm smile. “Well, as long as you aren’t ditching me for nothing. Do what ya gotta do hero boy.” She rested her Axe Bass on the arm of the couch.

 

BMO jumped down from her head into her lap.

 

“Hey, you should come with!” He spoke with enthusiasm. “You can meet some of the humans!”

 

Now it was Marceline’s turn to wince. “Ehhhh, I dunno about that one.”

 

“What’s wrong? I thought you kinda liked doin hero stuff.”

 

“That’s not it…” She looked off to the side with an uneasy scowl.

 

Finn sat beside her. “Well, do you think you could tell me what it is?” He was always eager to lend an ear to Marceline, especially if it meant easing any issues on her mind.

 

She scratched her head, wondering how to word her woes.

 

Marcy didn’t know how to explain that it was the humans that gave her pause. She didn’t hate them, it was more like she was scared to meet them. There was a history between the two that Marceline cherished. The fear stemmed from the thought that the sentiment may have been one sided.

 

There were two memories Marcy clinged to when the going got tough: the vague recollections she had of her mother and the time she played the role of hero for the humans. The latter once brought her comfort during the times she thought herself a cold, heartless, and worthless monster.

 

That was a thousand years ago. There’s no way any of ‘em know who I am, or worse, they know me as “Marceline the Vampire Queen” and think I’m some kind of evil jerk... Why do I even care?! They had generations to get over it and so did I! That junk is in the past, it doesn’t matter anymore.

 

In truth, she wanted to believe that the humans had some memory of her deeds. Not all of them, not even half of them had to remember, just one. That’s all she wanted. Then she could secure that feeling of validation she so desperately wanted.

 

Marceline had an opportunity to meet the humans years ago, when Finn traveled out to the islands with Susan. But the fear of being forgotten consumed her. At the time, she insisted that she would be better off not knowing and would rather take comfort beside Bonnie. Unfortunately that lack of closure would constantly gnaw at the back of her mind.

 

Maybe I should go. Find out once and for all. I mean, I already know they’ve forgotten me, but I guess seeing it for myself would be nice...

Marceline placed BMO on the floor and got up from the couch. She let out a frustrated sigh. “Alright, I’m comin with…”

 

Finn followed suit. “Hey, it’s cool. I don’t wanna push you do something you don’t wanna.” He placed a hand on her shoulder.

 

“No, I wanna. Need to prove a point to myself.” Her final words were whispered to herself.

 

“What was that?” Finn asked.

 

“Nothin. Let’s get goin.” She made way for the front door.

 

“Go on ahead outside, I need to do something real quick.” Finn headed towards the ladder leading to the second floor.

 

“M’kay.” Marcy grabbed her umbrella and took her leave.

 

Once she was gone he climbed up. Finn looked all around the room, his eyes didn’t focus on anything in particular, he just seemed to take in his surroundings and smiled. After a few moments the young man walked up to the nearest wall and he placed a hand on it.

 

“Things are lookin’ good for me bud. I’m dating my best friend who’s super down to earth and helps me out with all this emotional junk I dunno how to deal with. The humans are nice and settled. Jake is livin’ his best life, being a good pop. Simon is pretty happy. Mom is awesome and I love hangin’ out with her. Me and Bubblegum are tight. Oh… I’m a pretty big hero too… I guess…” The surrounding atmosphere became melancholic at the mention of being a big hero. “I’m sorry I couldn’t save you dude. I’ll figure something out for ya, ‘kay Fern? I promise…” He fist bumped the wall before turning away.

 

“So, what’s that all about?” Marceline popped out of her invisibility, standing in front of him.

 

Finn let out a shrill shriek. “AHHHHHHHH”

 

Marcy giggled. “Dude chill, it’s just me.”

 

“How much of that did you hear?” He wore a look of embarrassment.

 

“All of it.” She shrugged.

 

“Oh Glob.” He looked down and rested his hands on his knees. It felt like he just received a punch to the gut.

 

“So, the new Tree Fort is Fern? That’s gotta be poetic in some way, like he’s protecting you even though he’s gone.” Marceline threw an arm around him.

 

“Huh, I guess so, yeah.” Finn gave a content smile. “Okay, let's head out for real now.”

 

“Lead the way my guy.”

 


 

 

What normally would’ve been a two hour trip was cut down to a mere half hour thanks to Marceline’s flying. They blitzed passed mountains, cities, and kingdoms to reach a valley on the edge of Ooo. The humans had settled out quite far.

 

“How ya holdin up?” Marcy called down to the young man she held in her arms.

 

“Pretty good, shoulders feelin kinda sore though. You can land us around here, the meeting spot isn’t far.” Finn pointed to an open field.

 

Marceline did as she was told and brought them down.

 

“Alright, just a short walk, or float in your case, and we should find Duke and Danny waiting for us.” Finn took lead with Marcy trailing by his side.

 

They made their way through a thick, luscious forest. The tree’s themselves were tall and an off white color while the leaves were a bright shade of blue.

 

“Mind if I put my umbrella in your backpack? Not much sun gettin’ through this forest so I should be fine.” She closed her umbrella.

 

“Sure thing.” Finn turned so his back was facing her.

 

Marceline opened the flap of the backpack and shoved the umbrella inside. Surprisingly, the whole thing fit. “How much room you got in this thing?”

 

“Enchanted bottomless bag. Nothing gets lost either, unless you completely forget about it. All you gotta do is think of the item you wanna pull out and you should be able to find it.”

 

“Neat. Oh by the way, I remember your mom mentioned some peeps named Marmaduke and Daniel, are they the same guys we’re meeting up with?” Marcy asked.

 

“Yeah. They’re adventurer’s in training. I took em under my wing a year or two ago and taught em the basics. These days they’re doin’ on the job training by protecting the human kingdom.”

 

“You did say you inspired others, should be fun to see what kinda people would follow a doofus like you.” Marceline teased.

 

“I’m lookin at one right now.” Finn’s rebuttal had the two giggling.

 

Finn looked towards Marcy. “So, I’ve been thinkin. You’ve been around like, a thousand years, and the humans have been around forever. Did the humans… ever… y’know… hurt you or anything like that?” He tried to wrap his mind around whatever made Marceline apprehensive. He remembered meeting her for the first time and his negative first impressions. He only need to perform minor mental gymnastics to reason that maybe the humans from generations ago might’ve done her wrong.

 

Marcy took note of the fact that Finn assumed she was the one who got hurt by the humans, not vice versa. Little things like that always put a smile on her face.

 

“Nah, nothing like that. I’m happy you’re lookin out for me, but it’s not worth worrying about, honest.” Her tone was slightly sullen.

 

Finn grabbed her free hand and locked their fingers together in an attempt to brighten her mood.

 

She looked at the young man, whose eyes were focused forward. His beet red face betrayed his calm demeanor. She chuckled smiled to herself. Who cares what the humans think. Life is pretty good right now and I’m not about to let some dumb stuff ruin that.

 

“SNEAK ATTACK!” An unknown voice shouted from behind the two. A small creature attached itself to the back of Finn.

 

“Danny, stop! You’re gonna make him mad! Also why would you shout sneak attack? That defeats the whole point of a sneak attack.” Another voice unfamiliar to Marceline came from ahead of her.

 

“If this were a real fight, you’d be dead .” The creature spoke.

 

Marceline got a good look at the thing on Finn’s back. It was a young human girl with dark brown skin and curly black hair tied in a ponytail. She wore a white and orange shirt with tan shorts. The girl looked no older than thirteen.

 

“Oh? You wanna make it a real fight then?” Finn smirked.

 

The girl hopped off Finn’s back instantly. “N-no! That’s fine! We’re cool! We good!” She spoke in a nervous manner.

 

The figure up ahead walked towards the girl. It was a boy of the same age. He had a pale complexion, freckles, and messy orange hair. He sported a red shirt and blue jeans. “Told you...” He seemed to be somewhat reserved.

 

“Hey now, I ain’t mad. Just having a little fun!” Finn turned to meet the two and knelt down to rub the children’s heads. They smiled at him.

 

“So this is Danny and Duke?” Marceline looked down at the two with a smile, they were pretty cute. Little kids with a thirst for adventure, she understood why Finn took them under his wing. He probably saw a little bit of himself in them.

 

“That’s right! What’s it to ya?” Danny spoke with hands on her hips. Seemed like she was filled with feisty attitude.

 

“Name’s Marceline kid and I like your moxie.” She chuckled.

 

The young girls eyes opened wide with mouth agape as she looked up at the Vampire Queen. She stared for an uncomfortably long time.

 

“Uhh… Somethin’ on my face?” Marcy cocked an eyebrow.

 

The young girl shrieked and threw herself at Marceline’s leg, clinging with iron grip.

 

“Finn, what’s going on?” Marceline looked at him with a confused expression.

 

He shrugged.

 

“Pale blue skin, pointy ears, sharp fangs, midnight blue hair. If I didn’t know any better I’d say you’re-” Duke was cut off by Danny.

 

“YOU’RE MARCELINE THE VAMPIRE SLAYER!” The young girl laughed and screamed in joy.

 

Marceline’s undead heart skipped a beat, which was rare for a vampire. “H-haha. Wh-who now? Who’d you say I am? Spell it out for me loud and clear kid!” She picked up Danny and shook her, eager to know what exactly the child meant.

 

“Everyone said you were just a fairy tale. They said you were a story to tell kids so they’d go to bed. Not me, though! I knew you were real! Great granny Jo ain’t never lie!” Danny’s eye glistened as she grinned.

 

“Jo?! Like, Jo and Tom and all them from way back?! She’s your grandma?!” Marceline was in disbelief, she felt nothing short of euphoric.

 

“Yeah, yeah! She’s my great great great great great great great great great great grandma! She told her daughter who told her daughter who told her daughter who told her daughter-”

 

“Gimme the long story short, please!” Marcy urged Danny.

 

“They passed down the story of Marceline the Vampire Slayer ! The radical Demon girl who kicked butt and took names. You saved all the humans from being wiped out by smacking down all those nasty no good vampires didn’t ya?” Daniel spoke with boundless enthusiasm.

 

Marceline couldn’t contain her joy. She placed the girl down and gave a fake cough to regain her composure. The vampire puffed out her chest. “I don’t mean to brag but-”  Marcy placed a hand on her hip and flicked her nose with her thumb. “I slapped all them wimps six ways to sunday.” She adopted a strong sense of bravado.

 

Danny danced in place out of excitement with Duke staring in awe.

 

“Wait, you saved the humans from extinction? How come you never told me?” Finn asked.

 

Marceline’s eyes widened in surprise. “Oh! Uhh, y’see the thing is- well y’know I just-” She quickly became embarrassed. It weren’t as if she were trying to hide it from him, the vampire just never thought it important enough to mention. In retrospect, it was quite silly of her to never reveal her history with his people.

 

Finn smiled at her. “It’s cool, maybe we can talk about it later?”

 

“Y-yeah, sounds good.. She was still recovering from her embarrassment

 

“Why didn’t you tell us you were friends with the legendary vampire slayer?” Duke asked.

 

“Y’all never asked.” Finn shrugged.

 

“Marceline the dark and demonic Vampire Slayer and Finn the bright and shining Hero of Ooo. Now THAT’S a killer tag team! You even got opposite colors!” Danny pointed out Finn’s white and blue hoodie and Marceline’s black and red flannel shirt.

 

“Huh, look at that.” Marceline looked at their clothing.

 

“So, what’d you call us down for?” Finn got to the matter at hand.

 

“There’s a group of wizards messin’ up our biz.” Danny crossed her arms and grunted.

 

“Why not get the Tri Force on it?” Finn suggested.

 

“Tri Force?” Marceline raised an eyebrow.

 

Duke stepped up to explain. “Mrs. Campbell, Finn, and some of the other humans all got together to build three combat bots that would protect the human kingdom in place of the guardian. I feel bad for leavin the big guy behind, though. Anyway, the Tri Force can’t do anything cause the wizards aren’t attacking the kingdom directly, they wait outside the reach of alarm systems and wack anybody who goes out too far.”

 

“Why not just enable one of ‘em to target threats outside the perimeter?” Finn asked.

 

“They're wicked strong. We'd need all three of them.” Danny responded

 

“Then send all three.” The answer seemed obvious to Finn.

 

“But if we send all three then who's gonna protect the human kingdom?” Daniel followed up with a question.

 

“What's stopping you guys from staying in the kingdom and protecting it?” Finn responded in kind.

 

“The truth is we promised Mrs. Campbell we could do it on our own and we couldn't and now we're too embarrassed to admit it so we called you.” Marmaduke grew tired of the games and told the truth.

 

“Aww c'mon Duke why you gotta be like that?” Danny whined.

 

“S'all good guys, we got your backs. You two made it out here fine. I'm guessin’ you know where those wizards are at?” Finn was more than happy to help his students.

 

“Sure do. Follow me!” Danny immediately began walking away.

 

The three followed right behind her.

 

“How long have you known Finn?” Danny decided to strike up some conversation.

 

“Hmmm, nine years now?” Marceline looked to Finn for confirmation.

 

“Just about.” Finn nodded his head.

 

“Whoa, that’s a long friggin time!” Danny exclaimed.

 

“Danny, she’s been around for at least one thousand years. Nine probably seems like a drop in the ocean to her.” Duke interjected.

 

“Kid, when you’ve been around as long as I have, you stop categorizing things by time and you go by moments. And Finn’s provided more than his fair share of memories in my lifetime.” She looked towards the young man and smiled, causing him to blush.

 

“I bet! Finn’s always goin on crazy wild adventures, they don’t call him the Hero of Ooo for nothin! I bet when you first met him he was on some awesome adventure and slayed a titan or somethin’ and you were all like Finally! Someone worthy of slaying monsters by my side! That’s gotta be at least forty percent accurate, right?” Danny’s bottomless imagination seemed to know no end.

 

“Not even close.” Finn chuckled.

 

“Him and Jake crashed in one of my places and I scared the pants off of ‘em till we became friends.”

 

“Oh… that’s cool too!” Danny began kicking a rock forward.

 

“You guys seem to look up to Finn a ton, huh?” She questioned their idolization of the young man. He was a good guy with a big heart, no doubt about it. However, she couldn’t help but recall all his little foibles she experienced in their time of knowing each other. Marceline would never downplay his accomplishments, but he certainly wasn’t some infallible super hero like these children portrayed him as. At least as far as Marceline knew.

 

“Yeah, I mean, who wouldn’t? Finn’s saved the humans a bunch of times while we were trying to find a place to settle. On top of that, he’s always helping anyone he can, taught us how to fight for ourselves, built cool machines, and whole buncha other stuff. He’s awesome!” Marmaduke eye’s glistened as he spoke of his heroes exploits.

 

Jeeze, I wonder what happened in four years to make these kids love Finn so much. Marceline thought to herself.

 

Finn picked up Duke and placed him on his shoulders. “Hey now, I ain’t perfect. I make mistakes too.”

 

“Yeah, like that one time way back! I think it was in October, right?” Daniel’s hyperactive tendencies got the best of her and she spoke without thinking.

 

“Danny… not cool…” The young boy made her aware of her error.

 

Daniel’s energy seemed to drain immediately. “Oh… yeah, sorry…”

 

Finn remained silent.

 

Ooookay… Just another addition to the list of junk Finn doesn’t wanna talk about.

 

Marceline had been very respectful towards him, but she found her patience running thin at times. His tendency to close himself off emotionally around these touchy subjects was beginning to become tiring. After the things they had talked about already she figured they could be open about almost anything. But now wasn’t the time to pressure him about the matter.

 

“SO! I heard you two are Finn’s little students. Got any neat tricks or something you can show me?” Marcy switched topics in attempt to clear the heavy atmosphere.

 

“Heck yeah I do! Check this out!” Danny reached in her pocket and pulled out a yoyo. “But this ain’t no regular yoyo. Peep this!” She swung the yoyo like a whip. As the tether began to reach its apex, blades porturded from the spinning body. She seemed to have some level of mastery over the weapon, evident by the way she was able to slice branches off of the trees above them.

 

Marceline whistled, impressed by her skill. “That’s pretty rad, mind if I give it a shot?”

 

“Sure, but I gotta warn ya, it’s a lot harder than it looks. Try not to hurt yourself.” She said, handing off the razor yoyo.

 

“Or any of us, for that matter.” Duke chimed in.

 

Marceline started off by simply letting the yoyo fall and spin. She tugged her hand upwards, pulling the yoyo back in her hand. The blades seemed to be activated via the extension of the string, rather than the force of the spin.

 

“Not bad! It took me a couple of tries not to smack myself when flingin’ it back.” Danny complimented.

 

Marceline placed her hand behind her and flicked the yoyo out, throwing it for a few loops before catching it in her palm.

 

Daniel cocked an eyebrow. “...Why do I get the feeling I’m about to get blown up right now?” She said with a smile.

 

Marceline gave her a smirk. She threw the yoyo out, spinning it around and catching the string with her finger. The yoyo wrapped around and bounced on the teather. She flicked the body of the yoyo out and, with blinding speeds, whipped it at a tree, striking multiple times to carve her initials into the bark. Marcy then tugged the yoyo back, performing another trick by wrapping the string in all sorts of intricate ways around her fingers. Bouncing the body of the yoyo between threads. Once more, she attacked, striking the branches of the trees with precision. She managed to cleave the leaves off and nothing else. She snapped the yoyo back and handed the weapon to Daniel.

 

“WHY ARE YOU SO COOL!” Danny shouted.

 

“Some people are just born cool bab- AHH” Marceline shrieked and hissed. She had cut enough leaves down to let a good chunk of sunlight in. Before she knew it, she was being burned. Marcy recoiled back into the shadows.

 

“Whoa, you okay Marcy?” Finn put Duke down and came to her aid.

 

“Yeah I’m fine, kinda brought that on myself.” She laughed, trying to play off the pain.

 

“What the heck was that?” Danny asked.

 

“N-nothing! A… uh… a spider or something must’ve jumped from the branches and bit me.” Marceline lied through her teeth. She didn’t think the kids would take too kindly to the news that the Vampire Slayer herself had become the monster that tried to wipe out the humans. She didn’t wanna stop being their hero.

 

“You’re a vampire, huh?” Marmaduke stated, bluntly.

 

“WHAT?! No no no, I-I’m not a vampire!” Marcy quickly became anxious.

 

“You have bite marks on your neck and your skin burned when it came into contact with sunlight. I may be young but I’m not stupid.” Duke crossed his arms.

 

Marceline frowned and looked away. She hadn’t felt so embarrassed and defeated in a long time.

 

Danny looked straight at Marcy. “That’s… That’s just… YOU’RE SO HARDCORE!” She spoke with elation.

 

“Say what now.” The vampire was bewildered by the child’s reaction.

 

“Not only did you kick those vampire’s butts, but then you took their powers too?! Now you’re walkin’ around Ooo all like This is what a real Vampire be like! That’s some mad disrespect to those losers!” Daniel jumped up and hugged the Vampire Queen’s waist.

 

Marcy looked down and smiled at the girl, giving her a pat on the head. “I like this kid, can I keep her?” She looked towards Finn.

 

“I don’t think her sister would appreciate that.” He chuckled.

 

Daniel released herself and continued to lead them forward.

 

“Since when have you been so good with a Razor Yoyo?” Finn asked Marceline in amusement.

 

“That’s actually a really funny story. So after I killed all the Vampires, this guy named Cymen Belmondo found me and told me he was part of a vampire hunting clan. So I was like dude you’re late to the party and he-” Marcy was interrupted by Duke.

 

“Hey guys I think I can see the wizards from here.” The young boy alerted everyone to the presence of a group of wizards approaching.

 

The four hid themselves behind a bush. Marceline was able to hear the band from a distance.

 

“I know I heard I girl screaming from over here. Sounded like she was saying why are you a tool ? You think she was talking to a tool or like, calling someone a tool?” A large, muscular and shirtless wizard with orange skin lead the pack of three. He had a bag covering his face. He spoke with a deep and gravelly voice.

 

A monkey flying on a cloud chimed in. “I feel like we would’ve seen them by now, are you sure we should be listening to this buffoon Knight Wizard?”

 

“Hey I’m not a primate, you are!” The Muscle Wizard said with irritation.

 

“I said BUH-FOON, not baboon you idiot!” The Monkey Wizard spoke with equal aggression.

 

“Quite! Both of you!” A figure clad in blue knight armor stood between the two. He wore a purple wizards hat and cloak. “Remember, some kids slipped by us so there a high chance he’s correct on this matter.”

 

“Heh, that’ll be a first.” The monkey taunted.

 

“What’s the supposed to mean?! You callin’ me dumb?” The Muscle Wizard shouted.

 

“When am I not calling you dumb?!” The two began to bicker.

 

“FIVE MINUTES?! CAN WE JUST GO FOR, LIKE, FIVE MINUTES WITHOUT YOU DING DONGS ARGUING?!” The knight voiced his own complaints.

 

While the three wizards were fighting amongst each other, the four took this time to come up with a gameplan.

 

“That’s them?” Finn asked Duke.

 

“Sure is.”

 

The young man looked through the bushes. “They look pretty tough, but-”

 

“Still ain’t no match for us.” Marceline smirked.

 

“This is gonna be stomp.” Finn grinned back.

 

“EEEEEEK” Danny quietly shrieked to herself. “Marcy, Marcy, Marcy. Can you use my yoyo, pleeeeeease?!” The young girl begged.

 

“Give her here.” Marceline held out her palm and received the yoyo.

 

The vampire leaned into Finn’s ear to whisper. “Hey let’s put on a show for the kids, yeah?”

 

“You wanna?” He whispered as well.

 

She looked behind her to the children, their eyes filled with anticipation. “Oh absolutely.” She told Finn. Marcy seemed to be eager to impress her newfound fans.

 

“Okay, the knight dude looks like the strongest one and the other’s are his goons. If I had to bet, I’d say we can scare the two off if we flex on ‘em.” Finn used his hands as makeshift binoculars.

 

“Give them a little taste of the good stuff, I like it. Let’s go” Marcy was ready to start the fight but was interrupted by Finn pulling her back down.

 

“Hold on now, we still got Mr. Knight Wizard. Let’s see, the dude’s got a rapier on him and rapier users are typically thinking fighters.” Finn relayed his analysis to Marceline.

 

“Okay, but like, can’t we just punch him into the ground? You said it yourself, this’ll be a stomp.”

 

“And you said you wanted to put on a show. Besides, we shouldn’t underestimate our opponents too much. If we play our cards right we’ll crush em, but any tiny mistake could have us six feet under.” He seemed well versed in the art of fighting. Much more so than he used to be.

 

“Fair ‘nuff. So what’s our strategy here?”

 

“That hat and cloak look like tier three magical items, that’s pretty high on the list. So he’s either compensating for his lack of magical ability or he’s a very powerful wizard. I’m going with the latter. Here’s what I’m thinkin’, between the knight motif, the rapier, and the high level magic, this dude probably loves stroking his ego. He’s gonna rely mostly on fancy swordplay, the only spells he’ll use are high level ones and he’s only gonna cast them when he really needs to.”

 

“Man, you’re really speaking from experience here huh?” Marceline was impressed by Finn’s breakdown of the situation.

 

“You don’t even know the half of it. Okay, so, we’ll start off by scaring the two goons. Then, were gonna taunt the Knight Wizard, use his hubris against him to screw with his jive. From there, I’ll use my decoy step, that spell where I go invisible and leave a double behind, to get in close. You’ll stick with my decoy till I’m close enough to strike, once I do, I want you to go invisible and wait till he notices your gone. And when he does, I want you to start fighting with me. I’ll keep using decoy step to fake him out, he’ll think I’m doing one attack while I’m actually running around him for another. You’ll be going in and out of invisibility, only showing yourself when you’re striking him.”

 

“But why do I gotta wait? And why is it so complicated?” Marcy pouted.

 

“Remember how I said he’s a thinking fighter? He needs to plan all actions before he can be confident in his attacks. We’ll be taking advantage of that by giving him too much to think about while also not giving him enough time to think about it. Make sense?”

 

“Oooohhhh- I mean, psshhh. I knew that.” She looked off to the side, avoiding eye contact. “We game then?”

 

“Let’s show these jerkwads what happens when you mess with us.” Finn stood up from the bushes and walked towards the three. “HEY!” He shouted at the trio.

 

Marceline followed right behind. “Heard you nerds were lookin to cause trouble.” She crossed her arms.

 

“I’m not stupid, I just need a little bit more time than most, okay?” The beefy wizard sniffled.

 

“I know, I know. I’m sorry Muscle Wizard.” The monkey spoke with remorse.

 

“See? Patience and understanding will solve all our problems.” The knight patted the two on the back.

 

Marceline coughed to grab their attention.

 

The three looked at the human and vampire who stood in front of them. “EXCEPT THIS PROBLEM!” Knight Wizard drew his sword and pointed it at Finn. “I knew you would arrive eventually, Finn the Hero of Ooo! Now I can finally test myself against you and prove that I am the greatest swordsman in all the land!”

 

“Really man? That’s all you wanted? Could’ve just asked.” He shrugged.

 

“It’s much more dramatic this way, y’know? Adds tension! Now duel me! Mono e mono!” The knight stepped forward.

 

“You’re thinkin of Mano a mano , which means hand to hand by the way, not man to man.” Marceline interjected.

 

“What the- get out of here! Can’t you see I’m trying to have a legendary battle?”

 

“I never agreed to fight you one on one dude. Were both takin’ y’all down!” Finn pointed downward in an aggressive manner.

 

“Bold of you to assume I’d not utilize my companions in an unfair fight. MUSCLE WIZARD!” He called to his companion on his right.

 

“I’m gonna squash you like a bug with my magic! AND MY MUSCLES!” He flexed as hard as he could.

 

“MONKEY WIZARD!” He snapped his fingers to his companion on his left.

 

“I-I’ll sh-show you a th-thing or t-t-two about going ba-ba-ba-bananas…” He shivered incessantly and spoke through chattering teeth.

 

“Psst. Monkey Wizard, what’s wrong?” The knight whispered to his ally.

 

“He’s super scared of vampires, boss. And I’m pretty sure that’s the Vampire Queen.” The muscular man whispered back.

 

“Oh, that’s unfortunate. Listen, Muscle Wizard will handle the Vampire, you and I can take down the Hero. Sound good?”

 

Monkey Wizard nodded his head.

 

Marceline caught wind of their chit chat and grinned. “Scared of vampires huh?” She morphed into her giant bat form. “I’LL GIVE YA A REAL GOOD REASON TO BE AFRAID OF ME PIPSQUEAK!” Marcy spoke with a monsterous voice as she punched the earth.

 

“NOPE, NO NO NO, NUH UH, I’M OUT!” The monkey flew off on his cloud in the blink of an eye.

 

“HAH, what a baby! It’s still two versus two!” Muscle Wizard slammed his fists together.

 

Finn snapped his fingers and summoned Bo who took on a hulking size. The animal slammed his front paws down and gave his mightiest roar.

 

“AHHHHHHHH!” Muscle Wizard gave a high pitched shriek in terror and ran off as well.

 

“Curse his crippling phobia of bears.” Knight Wizard clenched his fist. “No matter! I am more than enough for the both of you.” He placed his feet heel to heel, holding one hand behind his back and sword his chest.

 

Finn recalled Bo and Marceline returned to normal.

 

“Dude the only way you’d stand a chance is if you caught us in a coma.” Finn began the taunting.

 

Marceline caught on and added to the insult. “Actually, I’m pretty sure I could merk this guy while sleepwalking.”

 

“Wha?! Don’t underestimate me! You can’t even sleepwalk during a coma! I think… Anyway that’s not the point! My swordsmanship is unparalleled and my magic is unfathomable!” The knight was fuming.

 

Finn’s plan took quick effect, he initiated the next phase and performed his decoy step. Marceline took notice of his spell cast and pretended to lean on the decoy, reinforcing the idea that the real Finn was still there.

 

“The only thing unfathomable about you is your sense of style. What’s with that shade of blue against that purple? Seriously? And ditch the hat and cloak dude, you look like some role play reject.” Marceline pointed at the knight and sneered.

 

“REALLY?! MY FASHION?! THAT’S THE THING YOUR GONNA ATTACK?! THAT’S A LOW BLOW MAN!” Her ridicule was extremely effective.

 

“I’mma be honest, I don’t think this guy really knows any spells. Does he even know how to use a sword?” The decoy continued to outrage the wizard.

 

EXCUSE ME?! I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW I’VE COMPLETED ALL OF MY WIZARD TRAINING WITH TOP MARKS! I’VE READ NUMEROUS ANCIENT SCROLLS, MY ARCANE LEXICON CONTAINS OVER THREE HUNDRED SPELLS. I’M THE ONLY WIZARD WITH WORLD CLASS FENCING SKILLS. YOU’RE NOTHING BUT AN INSIGNIFICANT PHILISTINE!” Maybe their mockery was a little too effective.

 

Daniel and Marmaduke couldn’t help but snicker to themselves at the sight.

 

By this point Finn had already circled behind Knight Wizard and readied his Miracle Sword with the toughest metal he had in his backpack.

 

“Wow, that’s neat. I’m pretty okay at swingin my blade and I only know like, seven spells? Cause that’s all I need to take down punks like you.” Finn scoffed with a smirk.

 

OKAY I HAVE HAD ENOUGH. WHY DON’T YOU COME AT ME IF YOU’RE SO TOUGH! ” The knight stomped forward towards the two.

 

“Aight, sure.” Said a voice from behind the wizard.

 

“What?!” Before Knight Wizard could turn around he received a swift strike to the back.

 

As Finn struck, his body became visible again.

 

The chevalier grunted and recoiled in pain. “N-no fair! That was foul play!”

 

Finn dashed forward for another attack. Knight Wizard reacted by defending with his rapier.

 

Once Marceline was sure his attention was divided she went invisible and circled around the two, waiting for her opportunity to join the fray.

 

Finn and the Knight became engrossed by their duel. It was a clash of blades filled with flawless parries and precision spacing.

 

“I gotta hand it to you, ya really know how to use that thing!” Finn cheered as he feinted an overhead strike, then spun to his right and delivered a powerful arced swing.

 

Knight Wizard hopped back, barely evading the slash and giving him enough room from his opponent to breathe. “Haha! Come now, I can tell you’re barely trying!” He seemed to be enjoying himself immensely as he contemplated his next action.

 

The wizard thrust his rapier forward at the humans face with blinding speeds. Finn’s utilized his lightning reflexes and held off the attack with his right arm, the rapier digging into the back of his palm. “Gotta love robot arms, quicker than normal arms and they can take hits like a champ!”

 

“Now THIS is the kind of duel I was anticipating! A one on one-... one on... “ The swordsman had an epiphany. He looked around. “The vampire girl?! Where did she-” His words work cut off by a crushing dive kick to the head. The force of the blow sent the knight back some feet.

 

“She’s stompin on yo face!” She delivered her attack and concealed herself once more.

 

“Awww c’mon! I thought we were having a honorable duel!” The wizard whined as he got up.

 

“Honor kinda goes out the window when you attack my people!” Finn jumped forward, prepared to swing at his enemy.

 

Knight Wizard slashed at the approaching threat, only to have his attack phase through and Finn pop like a ballon. “Huh?!” Before he could process the event he received a devastating strike to the gut.

 

He looked down to see Finn with his fist to the knights stomach. He raised his rapier to stab the human, but found himself unable to swing it. When he observed the weapon he noticed a yoyo had spun itself around it.

 

“Don’t think so pal!” Marceline whipped the yoyo back and disarmed the wizard before shrouding herself once more.

 

Finn readied another overhead strike.

 

“Oh no you don’t!” The knight turned around and punched where he thought the young man would be next. Much to his surprise, nothing was there. His mistake caused him to take a swift kick to the spine from what he assumed to be Finn’s decoy.

 

Marceline and Finn continued to deliver rapid strikes, constantly blinking in and out of sight.

 

Danny and Duke were beyond amazed.

 

“Dude this is flippin awesome!” Daniel shrieked.

 

“I know right?! And they’re not even trying, this is just a front row show for us!” Marmaduke spoke with glee.

 

“Marceline is so sick, I bet you she could kick Finn’s butt!”

 

“What? No way! You know how strong Finn is in a real one on one fight, he’s practically untouchable!”

 

“Your dumb! Marceline is the Vampire Slayer AND Vampire Queen. I mean, did you see her transform?”

 

“You’re the dumb one here! Finn has fought all kinds of crazy monsters before and I bet he’d have no problem taking Marceline down!”

 

“Call me dumb one more time and I’m gonna sock you in the face!”

 

“Fine, I won’t call you dumb… stupid.”

 

Unfortunately the two were unaware of their level of volume in their excitement.

 

Βίαιοι άνεμοι! ” The Wizard shouted an incantation causing extreme winds to send the two fighters back.

 

“I AM NOT ABOUT TO LOSE TO CHEAP PARLOR TRICKS! GIGANTUS SWORDUS!” As the winds raged on, Knight Wizard uttered another incantation that cause a giant, bright blue light to erupt from the tips of his fingers.

 

Finn took a solid guess as to what would come next. “EVERYONE DOWN!” This message was delivered to Marceline as well as the children.

 

The wizard swung his mighty magic sword and cleaved all the trees in the immediate vicinity.

 

Once the attack was finished Finn made a mad dash for Marceline and tackled her to the ground. She lied on her back, looking up at him

 

“Finn? What are you doing?” She asked, befuddled.

 

The rampaging winds carried off the cut down trees, enabling the sun's gaze down on the battlefield.

 

“Oh snap… quick thinking bud.” Marceline became painfully aware of the situation they were now in.

 

Once the storm settled he reached in his backpack for the umbrella, opened it and handed it to her.

 

He removed himself off of her and got up. “Now let's finish off this donk!”

 

Marceline picked herself. “Ya hear that ya pansy?! You’re- Finn, where’d he go?” She looked around and saw that their foe was missing.

 

“Guys! Help!” The voice clearly belonged to Daniel.

 

The couple turned to see the children trapped in the arms of the knight.

 

What made the scene horrifying was an unconscious Marmaduke and the sight of what appeared to be blood dripping from his face.

 

“So this is just a joke to you huh?! I’m just some kinda clown for children!” He wailed. His ego had been decimated. “Well who’s laughing now!” He gripped the kids tighter.

 

Finn was filled with anger at the sight, but his rage didn’t hold a candle to Marceline’s. She scowled with the intensity of the sun itself.

 

“If you had just let me fight you Mono e Mono like I asked it wouldn’t have come to this! Th-this is your fault! These kids are gonna get hurt unless you promise me a fair rematch!” The wizard’s whining was abhorrent.

 

The vampire queen bore her fangs, if she grit her teeth any harder they would surely break. Marcy clenched her fists with herculean strength, crushing the handle of the umbrella. Her eyes were stark red and filled with hysteria as she snarled.

 

Marceline was typically a cool, calm, and collected girl on an average day. It weren’t as if she were completely averse to displaying her emotions either, but never like this. Only once did she allow herself to give into her feelings of frenzy, when someone very near and dear to her was hurt.

 

This would be her second time.

 

She flung herself at breakneck speeds, dropping her umbrella and ignoring any damage the sun would cause her.

 

Before Knight Wizard could respond he dropped the kids and found himself pinned to a tree. The force of the tackle almost knocked the tree out of its roots.

 

The knight attempted to speak while winded, “I-I give! I’m sorry!” He coughed between words. It was clear that he had been fully intimidated into submission.

 

The Vampire Queen did not care.

 

Marceline used beast like hands to wring neck of Knight Wizard, her skin sizzling and recovering from the sun. “ YOU GET A KICK OUT HURTING KIDS, HUH?! YOU WANNA GO HAND TO HAND, HUH?! I’LL USE MY HANDS ALRIGHT! I’LL USE ‘EM TO RIP OUT-

 

“MARCELINE!” Finn shouted at the top of his lungs, hoping to get the attention of his partner.

 

Marcy broke out of her berzerk-like trance. Her eyes and arms returned to normal and she dropped the wizard on the ground.

 

That… probably wasn’t very hero-like . She thought to herself.

 

She looked over her shoulder at Finn, he had the two children secured and safe.

 

I really hope the kids didn’t see that . Marceline didn’t want to tarnish the image that Danny and Duke had of her, especially not within thirty minutes of meeting them.

 

“HAHA YEAH! GIVE IT TO HIM MARCY! KICK HIM IN NO-NO SQUARE!” Daniel cheered.

 

Marceline breathed a sigh of relief and chuckled at the sight, feeling a bit silly about having worried at all. She looked down at the knight cowering in fear. The vampire struck him in the groin with her foot and stuck her tongue out before heading back to her friends.

 

“How ya doin champ? Is Duke okay?” Marcy asked Danny.

 

“Yeah I’m fine. Danny decked me in the face and I kinda blacked out for a bit. What’d I miss?” Duke wiped the blood dripping from his nose.

 

Finn and Marceline looked at each other. The simultaneous epiphany that it wasn’t the knight who hurt Marmaduke had them both laughing.

 

“You kids are somethin’ else, you know that?” Marceline bent down to pat them both on the head.

 

“Hey, Marcy! Now that the wizards are all beat up n’ stuff you wanna come to the human kingdom and prove to em that you’re really real?!” Danny bounced as she spoke.

 

“Maybe another time kiddo, I’m feelin kinda drained right now.” Marceline smiled at the young girl.

 

Daniel pouted. “Okay… but promise you’ll visit again!” Danny stuck her hand out and raised a pinky.

 

“I’ll do ya one better give you a super promise.” Marcy stuck her pinky and index finger out. Daniel imitated her and they touched the tips of their fingers together. Marceline finished it off by balling her hand into a fist and bumping her knuckles against Daniel’s.

 

“What about you, Finn?” Duke asked.

 

“I’m thinkin I’m gonna go home and chill.” Finn said as he stretched his arms.

 

“But ya ain’t gonna do it with Huntress huh.” Daniel spoke with a cocked eyebrow and teased.

 

“What the- how do y’all know about that?!” The young man said with incredulousness.

 

“Gossip. We didn’t know for sure until you just told us, though.” Marmaduke shrugged.

 

“Now you can finally get with a princess! You know I hear Breakfast Princess has her eyes on you, she’s pretty cute.” The young girl always imagined the hero shacking up with royalty. She loved the story book idea of the shining knight and lovely princess.

 

“What princess doesn’t have their eye’s on Finn?” Duke added.

 

“How about you keep that stuff to yourself huh?” Finn gently bopped the children on the head.

 

“Wait no I wanna hear this, what kinda girl do you think Finn should be with Danny.” Marceline wore a cheeky smile.

 

“I’m glad you asked!” Daniel had a smug look directed at the young man.

 

“Oh dear glob” Finn said under his breath as he covered his eyes in frustration.

 

“Finn is like, a super duper good guy hero right? So it only makes sense that he gets down with a nice and proper princess. If I had to pick one it’d be Bubblegum, every time I see her come down here I look at her and she’s like, the perfect description. But I heard she’s taken, I wouldn’t know by who though cause they never come down with the princess. So my next pick is Breakfast Princess. Ya feel me?” Danny rubbed her chin.

 

Duke chimed in. “Well, isn’t Princess Bubblegum single now? I heard something happened with her girlfriend, not one hundred percent sure what though. Gossip and rumors are kinda hard to parse when we live all the way out here.”

 

Daniel gasped, turning her attention toward Finn. “Y’here that big guy?! You can’t tell me you ain’t interested in Bubblegum, she’s so pretty and all regal-like. Marcy! Help me help this guy get a princess!” She begged.

 

Marceline giggled at the little girl. “Hmmm. What if I told you Finn already found someone else and they weren’t anything like a proper princess.” She looked over to her partner and gave a wry smile.

 

Finn looked at her in confusion. Is she really gonna tell em?

 

“What the dang, Finn! You already got a new girl?! And you didn’t tell us?!” Daniel placed her hands on her hips and scowled at him.

 

“I- uhh-” Finn sweat bullets. He didn’t know how to respond and wasn’t sure if Marceline still wanted the info to be underwraps.

 

“Well c’mon! Spit it out!” Daniel urged.

 

Marceline could barely contain her laughter at the struggling Finn.

 

“You two are dating, aren’t you?” Marmaduke chimed in.

 

The three looked at him in surprise.

 

“Duke don’t be silly, Marcy’s probably lookin for someone more dark and extreme-”

 

“Guilty as charged.” Marceline shrugged

 

Daniel’s and Finn’s eyes widened. The young man was especially surprised, given that she was the one who wanted to keep their relationship on a need to know basis.

 

Finn was quite happy with this development, he figured it meant she had adopted a more lax position on the secrecy of the two’s romance. He wasn’t too keen on admitting that Bonnie discovered about their relationship through his phone. While he didn’t voluntarily give out that information he still felt like the blame was on his shoulders. Maybe now he could fabricate a story about how he told his brother and then Jake spilled the beans to Bubblegum.

 

“How’d you figure that one out?” Finn asked.

 

“I dunno, just a hunch.” Marmaduke shrugged.

 

“You for real Finn?” Danny asked, still in shock.

 

“Yup.” He nodded his head.

 

“But like… Finn you’re like…” The young girl drew a circle in the air. “And Marcy you’re like…” She attempted to draw a dodecahedron.

 

“I have no idea what you’re trying to say but I feel like I she be insulted.” Finn scratched his head.

 

“I dunno man it’s weird.” Danny crossed her arms.

 

“I think she’s trying to say that you’re simple and Marceline is complex.” Duke explained.

 

“Okay, yeah, definitely insulted.” Finn said with furrowed brows.

 

Marceline wrapped an arm around the hero. “Finn’s a lot more deep than y’all give him credit for and relationships ain’t black and white, they’re a complicated and unsolvable mystery. Sometimes opposites don’t attract and sometimes a perfect match is a perfect trainwreck.” She winked at him.

 

“See! That’s what I mean! Finn would never say something like that!” Daniel continued to argue.

 

“But I literally said-” Finn was cut off by Marcy.

 

“Just drop it babe.”

 

“Well, I think me and Danny should get goin, I can see the sun setting.”  Marmaduke walked up the young girl.

 

“Me and this guy got some important relaxing to get back to, so you two stay safe now. Oh and one more thing, promise to keep our relationship a secret, kay?” Marceline said, waving goodbye.

 

“Got it!” The children said in unison as they walked away.

 

Finn felt a wave of stress wash over him as he realized he wasn’t going to get out of telling Marceline what happened so easily.

 


 

 

The two decided to spend the rest of their day at Marceline’s home. They were currently laying on her bed with Finn relaxed against the bedframe and the back of Marcy’s head pressed against his stomach. They had a quick debate about who got to hold who and decided that it was Finn’s turn.

 

They spent the next hour or so talking about Marceline’s time with the humans thousands of years ago. She recalled the quiet moments and how she would play and teach music for them. The times she scoured the land, slaying any vampires she could find. The events that led up to her battle with the Vampire King and how she became a vampire herself. All for the sake of the humans.

 

“After I got bit I ran… I never saw them again after that…” She frowned at the recollection.

 

“I don’t get it, they loved you. Why couldn’t you stay with them?” Finn couldn’t wrap his mind around her leaving.

 

“Finn, I became the same monster that terrorized them. I didn’t even know I could drink red until years later. If I stuck with them and did anything to hurt them I couldn’t live with myself. I was just trying to protect them.” Her tone was somber.

 

He smiled down at her. “And you did to the very end. You’re probably one of the most rad hero’s I know.”

 

She blushed profusely and laughed nervously. “Haha, I dunno about that. It was a thousand years ago and I don’t think anybody would consider me a hero since.”

 

Finn picked up Marceline under her arms and raised her to about his eye level. He rested his on her shoulder and wrapped his arms around her waist. “You’re absolutely my hero. You always help me with things that nobody else can. Heck, I wouldn’t be alive if you didn’t do what you did back then. And sure, maybe you got a bit of punk and mischief in ya, but that ain’t ever gonna take away the good things you do home girl.”

 

Marceline’s entire face was now beet red. “Bleeeeehhhhhhhhh.” She slumped in his arms.

 

“What’s wrong?” he laughed.

 

“Sorry, I’m just allergic to all these good vibes and mushy feelings you dumped on me.” She spoke with a smile.

 

“Well that’s too bad ‘cause I’m gonna keep ‘em coming.” He gave her a kiss on the cheek.

 

“Dang I just remembered. The wedding is tomorrow, huh?” Marcy asked.

 

“Yeah, why?”

 

“I’m thinkin’ of talking to Bonnie during the after party. I just wanna go over everything that happened between me n’ her and get some proper closure. I’ll also probably tell her about us.” Marceline sighed, the mere thought gave her some stress.

 

“YOU CAN’T!” Finn quickly shouted.

 

The vampire raised an eyebrow in shock. “And why can’t I?”

 

“Uhhh, because…” Finn rushed to find a reasonable explanation. “It’s a party, y’know? A wedding party, even! Y-you don’t wanna ruin the mood by talkin’ about that junk, right?” He struggled to come up with an excuse.

 

“Maybe, but if I don’t do it now, when will I? I know myself too well. I just gotta buckle down and get it over with.” She removed herself from his arms. “I’m gonna go grab some snacks, you want anything?”

 

“Death…” he said with a worried and defeated look.

 

“I might have a jar of that in the back of my fridge, unless Pepbut took the rest. I'll go check.” Marceline left to her kitchen.

 

“I am so screwed…” Finn uttered under his breath.

Chapter Text

“네가 나를 때렸을 때 고통 스럽다. 놈 !” Lady Rainicorn shouted. She was currently carrying Finn and Jake on her back as she flew to Marceline’s house.

 

Her colorful language caused Jake’s eyes to widen. “Hey, Finn? Lady say’s… uhhh, she says she appreciates the back scratch but if you could tone it down a notch.” Jake looked over his shoulder to his brother who was digging his fingers into the back of the rainicorn.

 

Finn’s attention snapped to his brother. “Huh? What? Oh! My b, Lady!” He removed his hands from Lady’s back and locked his fingers together, twiddling his thumbs to and trying to steel wavering nerves.

 

Jake took notice of his brother’s unrelenting fidgeting and turned to meet him face to face. “Got Marceline on the mind?”

 

Finn was shocked once more. He knows?! How does he know?! Who the flip told him?! His thoughts raced as he panicked.

 

“Look, bro, I get that your brain feels like jelly and knees like spaghetti. But check this out, Marcy coulda flown to the wedding on her own but she wanted to head in there with you!” Jake poked the human’s chest. “Ain’t no way she’d do that if she didn’t like you. That’s ninety percent of the work done right there, the last ten is all about you makin’ that push and askin’ her out!”

 

Finn gave his brother a dumbfounded look as he tried to process what the dog was on about, then he recalled the fact that his brother was in the dark as to the status of his current relationship. “What? No dude, that’s not what I’m worried about!” He blurted out.

 

“Oh... Then what’s got your noggin joggin’?” Jake asked.

 

An instant feeling of regret washed over Finn, who now realized the difficult situation he put himself in. He wished he had just played along and humored Jake’s first guess, but the stress had been eating away at his psyche and he couldn’t think properly. Finn was unable to conjure a convincing lie, not that that would matter, he knew all too well how keen his brothers intuition could be. His addled mind told him that coming clean might be the best course of action.

 

He breathed a deep sigh before speaking, “Look, Jake, the truth is me and Marcy have been diggin’ each other for a while now. We’ve been trying to keep it under wraps, though.”

 

Jake’s eyes widened in surprise, “Nuh uh! You mean to tell me you two have been tangoing behind everyone’s back and that not a single soul knows?!”

 

“That’s the problem Jake, a soul does know! And it’s the single worst possible soul to know!” Finn exclaimed in worry.

 

Jake gasped as he came to his own conclusion, “We gotta find a way to take out LSP. Oh I know! We can hire that Scorcher guy to- oh wait no, fire don’t work on her...”

 

“What? No, It’s Bubblegum!” The young man shook the dog by the shoulders.

 

“Oooh, the ex knows. Yeah, that’s bad brother. She’s probably pretty peeved huh?”

 

Finn released Jake from his grasp. “Nah, Peebs ain't really peeved. Well she was, but we talked it out.”

 

Jake wore a look of bewilderment. “Then what’s all the fuss about?”

 

“Marceline!” Finn continued to shout in terror.

 

“Wait, I thought it was PB?” Jake responded with even greater confusion.

 

Finn grabbed his brother once more, “No, listen Jake! Marceline wanted to tell Bubblegum herself, that’s why we kept it a secret, that’s why PB knowing is a problem! And I flubbed up big time by letting the princess find out. I’ve been trying to keep it need-to-know but I’m at my limit man! Marcy’s going to spill the beans to her during the after party and I don’t know what to do!”

 

Jake narrowed his eyes with furrowed brows and simply stared at his brother with an open mouth, he couldn’t look more stupefied if he tried.

 

Finn stared back in anticipation and anxiousness, hoping his brother would speak up first. It took a few moments before the young man caved and asked, “What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

 

Jake pinched the ridge of his nose before responding. “Okay so lemme get this straight, you and Marceline have been dating in secret for a while now.”

 

“Yeah.” The brother answered.

 

“And Marcy wanted to keep it that way, but you donked up and let Bubblegum find out.” Jake pointed at Finn.

 

“That’s right.” Another quick confirmation from the human was given.

 

“And you know for a fact that Marcy is gonna talk to PB about your relationship today and you haven’t told her about your mishap because…? ” Jake slowly pointed both of his hands towards Finn to emphasise his incredulousness.

 

“Because I don’t wanna let her down like that man! She was counting on me to keep it between us and I messed it up, heroes don’t mess up Jake!” He spoke with remorse.

 

Jake groaned. “Look, brother, you know I love and respect you. You’re an adult and I ain’t gonna tell you how to live your life. BUT FOR GLOB’S SAKE MAN YOU GOTTA STOP WITH THIS HERO HORSE HOCKEY! I get it, you wanna do the right thing, help people, be the good guy. There ain’t nothing wrong with that! But that don’t mean you gotta be larger than life! It used to be all about slayin’ monster booty and lending a hand for fun, but ever since that Hero King dude got inside your head you’ve been trying to do everything and you’re killin’ yourself doin it! Nobody's gonna think less of you for kickin’ it down a notch and taking care of yourself. I’m worried about you bro, please.” He pleaded.

 

Or at least, that’s what he thought to himself.

 

Finn looked at his brother who was playing out their conversation in his head. “Yo, Jake.” He snapped his fingers to get his attention.

 

The dog was broken out of his trance, “Huh? Wha happen?” He looked around in a daze.

 

“Help me out with this please? Marceline’s way past rad and I don’t wanna ruin things already. I’m beggin’ ya dawg!” Finn was desperate for help, even going so far as to prostrate in front of his brother.

 

Part of Jake wanted nothing more than to help his brother. Upon seeing how desperate and vulnerable Finn had become, he caved in. “Oh alright” he whined.

 

The young man beamed at his brother. “Really?! You’re the best Jake!” He lunged forward to hug Jake.

 

Despite his reluctance, he was overcome with a sense of brotherly love. At the end of the day, Jake just wanted Finn to be happy.

 

The dog returned the hug before pulling away and speaking up, “Don’t go thanking me yet, we still gotta come up with a game plan. What is it exactly that you’re tryin’ to accomplish here?”

 

“I just wanna stop Marcy and PB from talking to each other at the party. I’ll handle whatever comes after that.” Finn explained.

 

Jake cocked an eyebrow. “I dunno man, that seems a little short sighted, don’tcha think?”

 

“I’m tellin’ ya, we can worry about that later. Right now we need to think of a way to keep those two apart without seeming suspicious.” Finn rubbed his chin.

 

Jake aped his brothers gesture. “Hmmmm. Okay, step one, we gotta get our table as far away from PB’s as possible.”

 

Finn’s tongue poked out of the side of his mouth as he formulated an answer. He clapped, “Oh! I know what I can do, just leave it to me, Jake.”

 

“And I’ll handle step two, getting Lady to talk to the princess about the kids and grandkids.”

 

너 뭐라고 했니?” Lady called out.

 

Jake responded with haste. “Nothing sweet heart!” He leaned towards his brother and whispered into his ear. “Once she gets goin’, I can keep Peebs locked down for a good two hours plus.”

 

“What’s step tri?" Finn asked.

 

“Well, bromide, that depends. You think you can convince your undead dame to mosey on out of there in two hours?”

 

“Maybe, if the party ain’t bumpin then it shouldn’t be too hard to get her to bounce.”

 

“There you go amigo! You stall her till she gets bored and then you bail her out and take her somewhere fun!” Jake clapped his hands together.

 

The young man’s face lit up. “You know what? That’ll probably do it!” he exclaimed as he slammed a fist into the palm of his hand.

 

The Rainicorn careened her neck to face the two boys. “ 우리가 도착했습니다.”

 

Jake looked back to catch his wife’s words before facing Finn once again. “Perfect timing. Lady says we’re here.” He translated for his brother.

 

The Rainicorn swept down for a smooth landing in front of the entrance to Marceline’s cave.

 

“Be back in a sec” Finn said as he hopped off Lady and made his way towards the house of his partner.

 

As he walked towards Marceline’s home he couldn’t help but notice how uncomfortable his tuxedo had been, or how hot the day was, or how sick he had felt.

 

He used a finger to loosen the collar of his shirt. “What the heck is going on?” He muttered to himself.

 

Every step he took gave way to new concerns that plagued his brain. Was his outfit too much or too little? How did Marceline look in her own tuxedo? What were they going to do once they got to the wedding? What had she expected out of their day together?

 

However, any and all thoughts ceased once he found himself at her front door.

 


 

Marceline grunted in frustration as she looked at a photo of herself on her phone. “Knew I should’ve gone with something less loud…”

 

Sporting an undercut with a fancy suit and ruffled tie, she wore jeans that reached above her waist, fastened with a loose belt and ending with leather boots, topping the outfit off with a pair studded bracelets and bat shaped earrings. The black, white and red color scheme tied everything together nicely.

 

A flash of light blinded Marceline momentarily. “Hey!” She shielded her face in reaction.

 

Simon brought the camera down from his eye to look at the recently taken picture. “I think you look absolutely stunning, Gunther.” He looked up at the vampire with a warm smile.

 

“I could be dressed like a clown and you'd say the same thing.” Marceline joked.

 

Simon giggled. “Well maybe you’ll believe me when you hear it from Finn”

 

Marceline blushed at the thought.

 

The flow of their conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door.

 

“Speak of the devil” He said with a wry smile.

 

The vampire floated still for a moment before finding the nerve to make her way to the door, every inch closer felt like an eternity. She couldn’t help but wonder what he looked like in his own tuxedo. Or how the rest of the day would play out for the two of them. But what troubled her the most was how anxious she was, where had all this nervousness come from? She thought she had gotten used to their relationship by now.

 

Marceline hadn’t the time to contemplate any further as her hand was already on the door knob. In an attempt to rid herself of all hesitation she swung the door open. However, the flustered feelings she had were only amplified upon seeing Finn.

 

The young man was wearing a white coat that faded into turquoise star patterns at its ends, a black tie lied over his aqua vest. His charcoal pants weren’t held up by any kind of belt, rather, his entire midsection was tightly covered in teal cloth wraps. The outfit ended with paper white dress shoes and a pair of blue butterfly cufflinks for accessories.

 

The two stared at each other breathlessly, taking in the others appearance.

 

Marceline attempted to break the silence with a “Y-yo…”

 

“Y-yo…” Finn shared the sentiment of awe.

 

The vampire coughed into her fist to try and relieve herself of some tension. “You- you look good. Really good!” She gave a sheepish laugh as she rubbed her shoulder.

 

“Yeah, you look... like… hot.” Finn immediately pressed both his hands against his face and hung his head back in shame. “WHAT THE-! What the butt am I trying to say” He looked down and shook his head.

 

Marceline could barely stifle a giggle.

 

Finn brought his attention to Marcy and pointed at her with his palm facing up. “Uhhhh. You look amazing-  BEYOND amazing, actually. S-seriously, you’re drop dead gorgeous.”

 

Such honesty caught Marceline off guard, her face was flushed and she was shocked for a moment. Those feelings quickly morphed into joy as Marcy put on a smile and delivered a playful punch to Finn’s chest. “Laying it on a lil’ thick there dontcha think? ...You look amazing too, though.”

 

The nonchalant atmosphere the two had been accustomed to was restored, thanks to the humans fumbles and the vampires chill attitude.

 

Finn blushed and laughed at the compliment. “We should probably get goin’, I got Jake and Lady waiting for us outside.” He pointed a thumb over his shoulder.

 

Marceline floated past him and took hold of his free hand. “See ya later, Simon!” She looked back inside the house and waved goodbye.

 

“Try and be back before midnight!” He waved back.

 

The vampire gave a dishonest “Sure thing!” before shutting the door and heading out with Finn.

 

The two began to make their way towards the cave entrance. “How long you think the wedding’s gonna last?” Finn asked.

 

Marceline hummed in contemplation as she formulated an answer. “Knowing LSP, she’ll probably stretch the ceremony out, then she’s got the after party and I’m thinkin’ that’s gonna be a three hour bore, the real stuff is the after after party. That shindig is probably gonna go past midnight, and if the party god shows up? Well it’s free for all at that point.”

 

Finn chuckled. “You think it’ll be that long? Even with PB doing the planning?”

 

“You kidding me? Without Bonnie you’re lookin at a fifteen hour wedding, minimum. And that’s not even counting the after after party” Marceline spoke with confidence.

 

“I’m honestly kinda surprised the princess agreed to help Lumps at all.”  Said Finn.

 

Marcy shrugged. “They got a weird thing goin’ on. Sometimes their friends, sometimes they’re not. Speakin’ of Bubblegum, you think it’d be better to talk to her during the after party or the after after party?”

 

Finn wanted to suggest the after after party, this would guarantee that Marceline and Bubblegum had no chance of interacting before he could convince her to leave. But the young man knew how self serving that was. He felt guilty for even thinking about it.

 

“Uh, probably the first party? If it’s gonna be lame like you said then you’ll have more time to chat with her, right?” Finn had to give an honest answer. He already felt bad about omitting the truth and scheming with Jake. The human didn’t want another weight on his conscious.

 

“Yeah, y’know what that ain’t a bad idea. Thanks babe!” She said, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

 

“Any time!” Finn spoke with extra enthusiasm to try and mask his nervousness. I really hope this plan works, Jake . He thought to himself.

 


 

Finn and Marceline found themselves sitting around a circular table at the eastern end of a large banquet hall. The young man managed to secure this spot after asking around and calling in some favors. The benefit to having this placement was that Bubblegum had been seated at the western end of the hall.

 

Marceline rubbed her temples in frustration. “Thirty minutes… LSP’s vow’s were THIRTY MINUTES long!” She hung back in her chair.

 

“Lemon ain’t a romantic, but at least his was only three words long.” Finn’s face was resting on the table.

 

The after party had been going for a good hour. Nothing but idle chatter and easy-going music filled the room. It was a fine gathering, but not the excitement Marceline needed at the moment.

 

Finn could see that as clear as day, in fact, he felt the same. Which meant that the possibility of him persuading her to flee the scene was ever increasing.

 

The vampire queen rested her elbows on the table and her head in the palm of her hand. “Dude, how long are Lady and Jake gonna be talking to PB?”

 

“I give it two hours, Lady can be a chatter box sometimes.”

 

“You’re joking…” Marceline whined.

 

“Wanna try and pass the time?” Finn raised his head.

 

“Got something in mind?”

 

Finn looked around the hall to see a variety of people slow dancing on the open floor. He figured it a perfect opportunity to explore the subtle and romantic aspects of a relationship. “We could… I dunno… dance?” There was a hint of trepidation in his voice.

 

“That’d be nice.” She smiled.

 

Finn did his best to contain his enthusiasm.

 

“But I’m not sure that’s the best idea right now.”

 

The young man frowned. “Why not?”

 

“What are we gonna do if PB sees us? And even if she doesn’t, someone else might, Glob forbid LSP finds out before I can break the news.” Marceline sighed, her disappointment was tangible.

 

Finn took some comfort in knowing that Marcy had been eager to dance as well. “Guess there’s nothing we can do about it-”

 

“Hey Finn!” A joyful voice interrupted their conversation.

 

Confused, Finn turned to find the source only to be hugged from behind.

 

“BP?” Marceline said with even greater bewilderment. “The heck are you doing here?”

 

“What are you trying to imply, Marceline?” Breakfast Princess spoke with sass.

 

“That LSP hates your guts.” Marcy said, nonplussed.

 

“Oh, true. And yet I still got an invite, so here I am.”

 

“You can probably thank Peebs for that.” Finn looked up to see BP.

 

“I’ll have to thank her for our opportunity to dance as well” She smiled as she pulled Finn by his arm and out of his chair.

 

“Uh, I’m kinda chillin’ with my girl- my home girl right now.” He pointed at Marceline.

 

“I’m sure she doesn’t mind, right?” She beamed at Marcy, hoping to get her approval.

 

The vampire queen hummed. On one hand, it’d be funny to see Finn dance unwillingly, on the other, she’d be forced to suffer through boredom alone. Marceline decided the trade off wasn’t worth it. “Let the man go Beeps-”

 

“Hey! We picked straws, I get the first dance!” Jungle Princess stormed in taking Finn’s other arm.

 

“Wuh?! Wait, hold on a sec, Princess’!” Finn was too nice to force the girls off of him, hoping he could settle it with a civil discussion.

 

He felt another tug at his back.

 

“Treaty broken, every girl for herself!” Lizard Princess shouted.

 

A rush of other princess’ were enroute to sweep Finn away. Desperate and sweating bullets, he looked towards Marceline for help. Any hope the human had was dashed upon seeing his girlfriend on the verge of bursting with laughter. His body went limp, succumbing to his fate.

 

The wave of princess’ swept Finn off onto the dance floor, vying for the opportunity to dance with the hero.

 

“Oh man, that’s bad.” Marceline swept a tear. But I can make it much worse . She thought to herself.

 

A devious scheme flashed into the vampires mind and, without hesitation, she cloaked herself. Marceline slipped through all party goers between her and the DJ’s booth, located at the north end of the hall behind some curtains. When she arrived she found the station empty, save for a mess of audio equipment tangled in cables and a note reading “Potty Break”. Marcy found the source of the music, a laptop, and navigated its music library.

 

“C’mon, c’mon. Where’s the real music… ‘Bangin Beats to Bump your Booty to’? Oh I gotta hear this.” Marceline set the playlist to follow up the current song. Now I wait.

 

Finn had been managing his own struggles in the form of politely dealing with all the princess’.

 

“Guys I can’t- Hey, if you could just- LADIES!” The fighting stopped, all eyes were on Finn, including those who weren’t part of the squabble. The human wore a look of shame. He kept his voice down moving forward, “There’s too many of you to do full dances with and you obviously don’t want to take turns. Let’s try and figure something out-”

 

Finn was interrupted by the speakers blaring excessively loud party music. Without warning, the crowd began dancing with newfound energy. Each and every princess took the opportunity to force their way towards the young man so that they could bump and grind against him. His face turned beet red, unable to handle all the physical contact. Much to the delight of one mischievous vampire.

 

Marceline had been crying with laughter, thankfully the music drowned out her howling. Something caught her eye as she began to calm down, however. “Is that... Jake and Lady?” She narrowed her eyes to catch a better glimpse. The dog and his wife had indeed been boogying on the dance floor. Marcy quickly turned her gaze to where Bubblegum had been seated, and sure enough, she was sitting with a table all to herself. “Talk about clockwork!”

 

Bonnibel quietly watched the chaos unfold on the dance floor. She shook her head, “I ain’t getting paid enough for this.”

 

“You’re getting paid?”

 

“What the- Marcy?” Bubblegum turned her head to find Marceline leaning back in a chair, facing her.

 

“Sup, Bubs” She said with a smug grin. ”What happened to the other two?”

 

“Oh, Lady was telling me about Gibbon and Bronwyn when, all of a sudden, this song started up. Jake said something about it being their song. Then they left and you showed up, almost as if on cue.” She smirked at Marceline.

 

“Okay, hold on. I had nothing to do with that. Well the music thing was totally me, but I didn’t expect Jake and Lady to get funky on floor.” She shrugged.

 

“Regardless, I’m probably gonna be hearing from LSP later, so thanks for that” she laughed, conveying a playful tone.

 

“When am I not causing trouble for ya?” Marceline joked back.

 

Bubblegum gave a half hearted smile. “So where’s Finn?”

 

Marceline pointed to the crowd of princess’. “Almost getting mauled by a bunch of girls deprived and thirsty for some action.”

 

“You’re okay with that?” The princess cocked an eyebrow.

 

“Why wouldn’t I be? It’s hilarious!” She laughed as Finn attempted to back away from one girl only to trip and fall into the arms of another. Bonnibel joined Marcy with her own chuckle.

 

“So, why’d you come over?” Bubblegum wasn’t hesitant to be straightforward with her thoughts.

 

The vampire was surprised, but quickly acclimated herself. “You mind if we go outside? It’s kinda busy in here.”

 

Bonnie stood up. “Lead the way.”

 

Marceline made her way outside with Bubblegum following.

 

Meanwhile, Finn was crawling his way out of the pit of princess’. After some struggle he pulled himself free, but he knew it wouldn’t be long before the girls caught on. The young man looked for any kind of out.

 

“Psst! Finn! Over here! This way!”

 

Finn looked towards the origin of the voice. He saw two cat like eyes hiding in the shadows underneath a table. He questioned the sight for a moment before hearing a voice calling out from behind him.

 

“Where’s Finn?!”

 

Those two words sparked a flight response from the Human and he dove into the table.

 

Before he knew it the music had become muffled. Finn looked around only for all the princess’ to be gone, in fact, the entire banquet hall was gone. He looked up and saw the night sky.

 

“We’re on the rooftop, if you couldn’t tell.” Said a voice from behind.

 

He turned over on his back to see Huntress standing before him. She leaned down to lend a hand.

 

“Huntress? How’d you? When did you? Why’d you?” He muttered in utter confusion while accepting her assistance.

 

“Magic, about ten minutes ago, and because it looked like you were caught between a rock and a horde of hungry beasts.” She picked him up and dusted his shoulders.

 

“Thanks for that by the way.” Finn said with a sigh of relief. “I need to get back there though.”

 

The wizard crossed her arms in a disapproving manner. “Don’t tell me you’re eager to be hunted by those girls.”

 

“Trust me, I’d rather be hunted by some turbo-mega-dragon than have to deal with them. But I need to meet up with Marcy so we can ditch this popsicle stand”

 

“With Marceline? For what reason?” She asked.

 

“Oh, y’know, just that… the whole formal ball type stuff ain’t really our thing so we’re just gonna bail. Probably go jam out or something.”

 

“Oh…” The wizard said, feeling a tad dejected.

 

“Yeah…” Finn felt awkward. It didn’t hit him before, but this was the first time he had spoken to Huntress after the break up. With that in mind, finding his next words became much harder.

 

A stiff silence welled up in the air.

 

“Well… I’m gonna… get goin now” The young man slowly turned away, unsure if he had the okay to leave.

 

Huntress looked to the ground, clenching her fists in frustration. Now’s your chance! Say something! You can’t keep putting this off! She screamed to herself.

 

Finn looked past the ledge of the roof. “That’s a long way down… I’m sure my legs will be fine.”

 

“Finn!”

 

The young man turned.

 

“I wanna talk, about me and you, about how things ended between us, and... about how I treated you and all that nasty gunk.” She took off her hood and mask, symbolizing that she wasn’t on the job right now, that the person before Finn was truly just a girl looking to have dialogue.

 

Finn noticed her pained expression and distressed voice. Every part of his body was perfectly still, except his heart which was moving at a mile a minute.

 

He couldn’t help but think of how strange these turn of events were. Why now? What changed? More than any of that, however, he decided he would lend an ear, like any good friend would.

 

“Alright, what’s up?”

 

Chapter Text

Marceline had lead Bonnibel to an unpopulated side of the building, for a reason unknown to the princess. Marcy was perched on what seemed to be an AC unit with Bonnie leaning back against a wall. Both refusing to make eye contact. The two were quiet, but all was not silent. Music playing from within the building could be faintly heard, the vibrations leaking through the walls. The night sky was dotted with brilliant shapes and a cool breeze accompanied them. If a snapshot of the scene had been taken it would’ve been considered picturesque, but a photo would omit the strained and uncomfortable air between the girls.

 

Princess Bubblegum folded her arms with eyes directed at the ground. “We’re outside, now what?”

 

The vampire grasped the edge of the AC with both hands and crossed her legs. She looked up at the girl in front of her, “You know you’re still one of my best friends and that I love you a whole bunch, right?”

 

Bubblegum kept quiet. Whether she was refusing to respond or didn’t know how to respond was unclear to the asker. Marceline shrugged it off regardless.

 

“You ever have a song that you vibe with, it feels like you could listen to it twenty-four seven. But after the hundreth play you start to hear the notes you didn’t notice before and, for some reason, they don’t sound so great, or that some of your favorite chords start to grow old after a hot minute.”

 

“So you got tired of me.” Bonnie blurted out. Though unintentional, there was venom in her voice.

 

Had Marcy not prepared for this moment, she’d have likely been riled up, but she was more zen than ever. “Nah, what I’m trying to say is: Hanging as friends means we only gotta show the parts of us the other person likes. But when we dated we couldn’t hide those bits that got under each others skin. I tried my best to ignore it, I really did, but I couldn’t keep it up forever. And you can’t tell me I didn’t do things to drive you up the wall too.”

 

Bubblegum did her best to hold back any emotions she had been feeling, the tears welling up in her eyes betrayed her, however. She wiped away what she could. “It was never so bad that I felt like splitting up.”

 

Marceline almost began to panic, fearing that they might be replaying the events of their recent breakup. Don’t lose composure, this isn’t just for you, it’s for her too , she told herself in an attempt to maintain her nerves. “And that’s part two, I get that I can be a handful sometimes, I’m a rascal, it’s in my nature! Still, I knew that if we were gonna work, something had to give. So, I took a look in the mirror, well maybe not a mirror cause I’m a vampire- look what I’m trying to say is, I took a step back to reevaluate myself, I changed certain things about me and I thought that would help bring us together. All in all, I think I did a pretty bang up job. But you know what they say, relationships are a two way street…” She threaded her fingers together, feeling remorseful in advance for the words she was about to utter.

 

Bonnibel beat her to it. “I never did the same for you.”

 

The princess had ample time to consider the matter of their break up, and if her confrontation with Finn taught her anything it was that lying to herself yielded nothing but anguish.

 

What followed was what could only be considered a pity chuckle from the vampire. “Hey, your words, not mine.”

 

“Marceline, what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to get me to fess up? Admit that I was the problem? Fine! It was me! It was my fault, alright?! Are you happy now?” The frustration in her voice was palpable.

 

Both held their tongue after the outburst.

 

The vampire began to lose more of her cool. Marceline felt the anxiety making its way to the forefront of her attention, doing her best to stave it off. Yet, she couldn’t help but heed Bubblegum’s words. What was she trying to accomplish here?

 

What the funk is wrong with me, I didn’t come here to make her feel bad, but that’s all I’ve been doing! Okay, calm down. Think, Marcy, what exactly am I doing wrong? I was trying to soften the blow, be nice about it, explain it in a heartfelt way that wasn’t supposed to hurt her feelings. But of course, she didn’t take it that way. She never does. She never did! I’m always trying my best and it’s never good enough for her! How come she never meets me halfway?! I always gotta feel like the bad guy! It’s like she doesn’t give a flying turd!

 

Marceline, brimming with rancor, nearly voiced her complaints. However, a thought crept up on her, one that tempered her emotions and offered clarity.

 

...That’s stupid. She cares, I know she does. Augh! So then what’s the deal? It’s not her fault, but it’s not mine either. Unless...

 

She mulled over the answer, running through a multitude of conclusions and tossing just as many out.

 

Bubblegum, growing tired of the dead air, spoke up, “Marcy, I’m just gonna go now-”

 

She was cut off by a faint, but still audible, screaming in the distance. Both girls swore it came from the rooftop. They opted to focus on the situation at hand, however, and continued where they left off.

 

“I’m leaving Marc-” Bonnie was cut off once again, this time by Marceline.

 

“Wait! I think I got something!”

 

Bonnibel furrowed her brow in equal parts frustration and curiosity.

 

“It’s not about us not doing our best for one another, it’s more like our best isn’t what each other need!” Marceline snapped her fingers, quite excited with her epiphany.

 

“Huh? Elaborate.” PB requested.

 

“Okay so, I spent all this time trying to come up with some kind of metaphor about why our relationship fell apart and that obviously didn’t work, despite it being a pretty dope analogy. It drove me bonkers cause I did my best to try and soften the blow for you but instead you just kept getting angry.”

 

Bubblegum rubbed her arm in a demure manner, feeling sorry for previous transgression. “I’m sorry, Marcy. But I wouldn’t have gotten so frustrated if you’d just been more straightforward with me.”

 

She pointed at the princess with enthusiasm. “That’s the thing, Peebs. That ain’t me. It never was. For better or for worse, I’m all driven by my emotions and empathy and junk. But you? You’re pragmatic, love is all chemicals and stuff to you. Our worldviews are like Mayo and Pizza, they just don’t go together.”

 

“Mayonnaise on Pizza is totally a thing, but I get what you’re trying to say.” Bonnie paused to collect her thoughts. “...I can’t argue that my mind leans more towards logic and reason, but would that really prevent us from maintaining a stable relationship?” She frowned.

 

“Bonnie, I think you're underestimating how big an effect that has on our relationship. Let me toss something your way that I think’ll help demonstrate what I mean. Peebs, what kind of future did you want for us? And don’t tell me what I wanna hear, speak from your heart on this one.”

 

Bonnibel took another moment to drum up a proper response. “I guess I saw us ruling together as the Queens of the Candy Vampire Kingdom. You would borrow some resources from your dad, maybe a few demons and relics from the nightosphere. We’d redecorate the kingdom, maybe give the Gumball Guardians new vampire duds, make ‘em hot. Marceline and Bonnibel , heads of the strongest and most fashionable dominion in all of Ooo.” PB chuckled to herself. “A pipe dream, huh?”

 

“Well, lemme tell you mine. It was just you, me, and Lil’ Pep out somewhere in a cottage, away from everything. One way or another, I’d grow old and you’d grow with me. We’d jam out together, I’d play any and every song just to make you smile. Nothing else mattered, you were my priority and I was yours.” Marceline did her own share of giggling. “But now I know how selfish it was to expect that. That kingdom is important to you, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. You’ve dedicated so much time, love and care to that thing, even before we met. I mean, heck, the only reason we caught up like we did was because you got dethroned.”

 

“Is that what it takes? Giving up my title as princess? Marcy, I’m sure I can figure something out if you-”

 

“Peebs, c’mon. You and I both know that ain’t true. In the hundreds of years I’ve known you, how many times have you gotten fed up with the royal biz, only to come back around on it? The candy people need you, Neddy needs you, and despite how hard it gets, I know you enjoy taking on the world.”

 

Marceline hopped down from the AC and floated to meet Bubblegum eye to eye. “You said it yourself, you don’t like relaxing, you like science.” She wore a bittersweet smile.

 

Bonnibel sat on the words she was given. I took the princess a moment, but she managed to register it all. Bonnie gave her own melancholy smirk. “I hate this. Part of me wants to believe that there's still something I can do to fix things between us. I wanted to blame everyone but myself at first. Then I couldn’t blame anyone but me, and if I’m being honest, that was a lot easier. At least with that mindset I felt like I could change myself and make us work.”

 

The vampire pulled the princess in for a hug. “Nah, princess, we both got some blame in this.” 

 

Bubblegum embraced Marceline. The two felt a sense of sincerity from their touch, and neither could be more content.

 

“You’re not the only one who gets tired of their faults. Sometimes I wish I could get rid of those gunky parts of my personality too. They’re just a burden and do crud like cause rifts in relationships.” Marceline held tighter as she spoke.

 

Bubblegum pulled away, noticing a few tears rolling off Marcy’s face. She wiped them away and wore a determined smile. “Don’t say that, just because we clash here and there, that doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re still one of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of being friends with. I mean that. You’ve always had trouble giving yourself the credit you deserve, I can only hope that Finn will help you realize that.”

 

Marceline giggled. “Yeah, that guy sure- wait. Finn?”

 

“Well, yeah? Aren’t you two- oh. Oh, dear. He didn’t tell you, did he?” Bonnibel winced.

 

“Did Finn really go and tell you before I could? I specifically told him not to!” Though there was irritation in her voice, she was only slightly upset.

 

Bubblegum shifted her eyes to the side, painfully aware of her role in discovering their relationship.

 

“How long have you known?” Marceline demanded.

 

“Uh, about a week or two?” The princess smiled sheepishly.

 

The vampire gave an intense grunt. “I’m sure that boy has some sorta explanation for this, I just gotta hear it from his mouth.”

 

“나는 그들을 발견했다!”

 

The two turned their heads to see Lady Rainicorn rounding the corner of the building. She called out to someone behind her.

 

Jake slid into view. “BUBBLEGUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-aww nuts.” He hung his head in shame upon discovering he had failed his objective.

 

“What’s up?” Bubblegum chimed in.

 

“Guess the cat’s outta’ the bag, huh?” Said jake.

 

Marceline rushed up to Jake. “Hold up, you knew too?!” It was only now that she began to grow angry.

 

Jake shrank and cowered in fear. “Whoa, hey, chill! I only found today!” 

 

“Lady, what’s going on?” The princess asked.

 

“제이크가 내 도움을 요청 했어. 그는 당신이 핀과 마르셀린의 비밀에 대해 이야기하기를 원하지 않았습니다.”

 

Marceline looked to bubblegum, “What’d she say?”

 

“Lady says she was helping Jake with a plan that he and Finn came up with. They wanted to keep us apart for the night so you wouldn’t find out that I found out.”

 

“He what ?!” Marceline expressed her anger with a rather aggressive groan. “Okay, we need to talk NOW. Jake, where’s Finn?!”

 

Jake grew back to his normal size. “I kinda lost him when me and Lady hit the dance floor. Lemme just use my trusty bro detector.”

 

Jake’s nose stretched off of his face a few inches before proceeding to sniff the air for the scent of his brother. The snout caught hold of a smell and followed it to its source with Jakes torso stretching along behind it. The hunt stopped at the rooftop, Jakes upper body reconnecting with his snoot. The yellow dogs mouth trailed all the way down his frame, resting atop his butt, under his tail. “Haha, look at that. My tail looks like a nose!” He said as he wagged his rear.

 

Marceline stared blankly at the mouth. “Dude, isn’t that where your buttho-” 

 

“I can’t hear you cause I left my ears up top, but I’m assumin’ you just asked if Finn is up here. To which the answer is yes.”

 

Bubblegum tilted her head quizzically. “What could Finn be doing up-”

 

“You’re probably thinkin’ about why he’s up here, I’m not sure, but Huntress is up here too. It looks like they’re talkin’ about some serious biz. You should check it out.”

 

The three shrugged, Marceline floated up and Bonnibel caught a ride on Lady’s back.

 

Jake continued to speak, “Just go ahead and give my tush a tap when you decide to-” he cut himself off with a dire gasp. “WAIT! ABORT! ABORT! DON’T COME UP!”

 

It was too late, the trio had already traveled the distance to the top of the building.The scene on the rooftop was cause for shock, but for Marceline, it only incited fury.

 

FINN!!!

 


 

“Alright, what’s up?”

 

Finn was still recovering from the shock of seeing Huntress so distressed. He tried to wrap his head around what her intentions were and where her change of heart came from. Yet he could discern no answer.

 

Huntress clenched her fists till her knuckles turned white. It hadn’t been minutes before she found herself paralyzed once more. Her burst of emotion lead her to drabble on about the remorse she felt and how Huntress found herself to blame. That declaration of guilt left her feeling compromised, far more than she had ever felt in any fight.

 

Just remember, fear is but a thin wall between you and confidence. Treat this like drinking a really rank potion, ya just down the whole bottle.

 

The wizard squared off her feet, squatted, and grit her teeth. She was brimming with exertion.

 

Finn watched with concern. “Huntress, I don’t mean to interrupt whatever it is your doing, I mean for all I know you could be casting a spell, but it really looks like your about to rip one.”

 

AHHHHHHHH” She shouted to the heavens and punched the sky, psyching herself up to press forward. She looked towards Finn, who stared in awe, and pointed a finger at him.

 

“It’s my fault! I was the one who destroyed our relationship because of my inability to adapt to the situation! When we first started dating I never considered the possibility that your desires would morph as we continued to be an item, I only understood that I was happy and you seemed to be happy too! When you attempted to bridged the gap between our hearts I became scared of the unfamiliar implications of taking our love to the next level! So I did what I always do, I kept my eyes forward, ignoring your needs and prioritizing mine! That was real wack on my part, and it took you breaking up with me to realize how much of a dill weed I’ve been! But I like to think I’ve learned from my mistakes and I'm ready to try again!” Her speech was followed by heavy panting. Somehow, the wizard managed to get all her words out with very little breaths. “...I-if you’ll have me, that is.” Her hand dropped, as did the rest of her body. She hugged her knees on the floor. “I suck nards at this.” Huntress spoke with a flat intonation.

 

Finn walked up to the girl and took a seat next to her. “Nah. Well I mean, yeah, but a lot of people do. Heck, I still have trouble getting a grip on my feelings sometimes.” He laughed, helping put Huntress at ease. “So I take it you’re not seeing someone right now?”

 

“What?! No! Who told you that?” Huntress spoke with disgust.

 

“It was gossip from LSP, so I figured it was a fib.”

 

Finn offered no more words and the encroaching silence made Huntress uncomfortable. She held her breath for a few moments before breaking the reticence in the atmosphere.

 

“Everything alright?” The wizard said with concern.

 

Though he may not have let on, Finn was emotionally exhausted. He had broken up with Huntress, confessed to Marceline, confronted bubblegum, and shut down, all within the span of two months. Try as he might, he couldn’t find the perfect words to express his thoughts.

 

“Oh! Sorry, it’s just that you said a lot of stuff and I’m trying to process it all right now.”

 

“Ah. Take your time.”

 

The silence returned, as if it had never left. Huntress fidgeted around with her fingers in an attempt to calm her nerves. When that didn’t work, she looked towards small talk.

 

“So, I met up with Mrs. Tyrius again. Well, meet implies some kind of mutual agreement to see each other, so it was more like she busted in from the sidelines uninvited.” Huntress flicked a tuft of hair off her face.

 

Finn turned to the girl and chuckled. “You too, huh?” 

 

“Yeah, she gave me the smackdown of a lifetime too, but I’m glad she did. I was in a rough spot after… y’know,” She shrugged, “and she really helped me get it together. She’s actually the reason I’m here right now.”

 

“She told you to come make good with me?” Finn questioned if she had come of her own free will.

 

Huntress shook her head, “It’s not like that, I’m doing this because I want to. I mean everything I said, Finn. I really miss you.”

 

The boy realized he couldn’t leave Huntress hanging any longer, so he had to speak from his unfiltered gut.

 

Finn breathed an exasperated sigh. “I won’t lie, I’m kinda mad this happening right now.”

 

His words caught Huntress off guard. “What do you mean?”

 

“If you had done this sooner, things wouldn’t be so complicated.” He rubbed his face in irritation.

 

“I don't think I follow.”

 

Finn stood up and Huntress followed.

 

“I’m happy that you feel that way, really, I am. As messed up as it sounds, it’s kind of heartwarming to know that losing me made you do a one-eighty on the whole ‘hard meat don’t get eat’ thing.” He rubbed the back of his head.

 

“It’s not messed up, I was being a dumb donk. You gave me the reality check I needed. Now we can have a do-over, but this time I promise to do it right.” She smiled.

 

The young man scowled. “I… We… Hdubs, I’m sorry, but that’s not gonna happen.”

 

Her heart sank. Before she could even muster a response, Finn continued.

 

“I’m dating someone else right now.” He stated, bluntly. His response was tactless, but his mind couldn’t conjure anything better in his current mental state.

 

Huntress Wizard was at a loss for words. Finn couldn’t bring himself to look her in the eye, he simply waited for her to speak up.

 

“Y-you serious?” Her tone was incredulous.

 

“That would be one messed up joke, if I wasn’t.” He gave a half smile, hoping to disperse some of the negative atmosphere.

 

Huntress couldn’t accurately describe why, but she felt betrayed. “We haven’t even been apart, what, two months?! And you’ve already moved on?!”

 

Finn looked daggers at her, he wasn’t about to let himself feel like the villain. “What are you trying to say?! That you wanted me to mope around and be sad because I couldn’t get over you?! Heck, even when I thought I was done with it, I never completely moved on. You know what I did want, though? That, somehow, you got past it all and were out there being happy! Because, despite everything, you’re still my friend and I care about you a whole bunch! And, FYI, it’s not like I went out there looking to hook up with someone, it just… happened alright?!” 

 

The human paused and frowned, rubbing his shoulder in regret for his fit of anger. “...sorry, I… I didn’t mean to yell.”

 

Both of them took a moment to collect themselves.

 

“...who.” Was all Huntress could assemble.

 

He shook his head. “I can’t tell you that.”

 

“For what reason?” The distress in her voice was gathering.

 

Finn bit his tongue.

 

“Lemme guess, you can’t tell me that either.” Huntress’ expression was rife with pain and anger.

 

“I promise I’ll tell you eventually, maybe even soon. It’s just that things are complicated right now and I need some time.” He finally looked into his ex’s eyes, praying that it would be enough for her. “I’d like to keep being your friend, though. If that’s cool with you.”

 

Huntress felt like she was missing something, that it was, in fact, some cruel joke. Could it be that he had been lying about hooking up with someone and that he just needed more time settle his emotions. What did it matter, though? Her chance was gone. It was clear Finn had no interest in becoming romantically involved once more.

 

Finn did his best to be patient and wait for a response, but he only had so much time to spare. “I really gotta get going HWiz. You take care, alright?” He attempted to walk away, but before he could even lift a foot, Huntress caught his face. Without warning, she pulled him in for a deep kiss.

 

Perhaps, in a fit of panic, she convinced herself that she could win him over with this. Or maybe she was just desperate for one more intimate moment with him.

 

Finn was in utter shock. Unfortunately, before he could pull away, he had been caught.

 

FINN!!!

 

He ripped himself away from the wizard. “Huh?! W-what are-”

 

Marceline dashed over to the two in the blink of an eye. “WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM ?! ARE YOU TRYING TO TICK ME OFF?! FIRST YOU BREAK YOUR PROMISE, NOT ONCE BUT TWICE , THEN YOU SCHEME BEHIND MY BACK?! I DON’T KNOW HOW-” Marceline kept the berating going.

 

Finn was choked with terror. But before he could even begin to compile his explanation, his attention split to Jake, who joined in on the conversation.

 

“I’m sorry dude! I- I got caught up in the groove with lady and before I knew it, I lost PB and Marceline and I tried my best to find em bro I really did! But it was too late and-”

 

As Jake went on, Finn’s eyes caught a look at Bubblegum who looked on and shook her head in disappointment. He recalled her warning and how he proceeded to ignore her advice.

 

“WHAT THE LUMP IS GOING ON.”

 

As if it weren’t enough already, LSP came into view from the edge of the rooftop and floated over.

 

“Finn! There’s a buncha rowdy princess’ lookin’ for you and I can’t keep them under control. So you better-” LSP rambled on and on.

 

The heroes heart pounded, his brain feeling like it was being pressed against his skull, hands shaking uncontrollably, sweat forming at the brow. The whole world was spinning right now and a terrible nausea plagued him.

 

The last thing Finn heard was Huntress, who placed a hand on his shoulder and apologized. 

 

“Finn, this wasn’t my intention. I swear!”

 

And with that, his face was vacant. He only heard a droning ringing in his ears that muffled every other sound around him.

 

Without so much as an ‘excuse me’, he walked straight past the crowd, whose shouting died down as a result of his bizarre actions.

 

“Finn? Where are you going?” Bubblegum asked.

 

He offered nothing and made his way to the edge of the building and hopped down.

 

The crowd gasped as he jumped and looked over the edge of the railing to find the boy picking himself up off the floor and dusting his clothes.

 

“Ow.” Finn said and continued to walk away.

 

“Oh no. No, no, no, no, NO!” Jake exclaimed.

 

“What’s his malfunction?” Lumpy Space Princess asked.

 

Marceline grasped the rail guard on the edge of the roof and tapped her fingers along it in vexation. “He’s shutting down” She sighed.

 

“That makes three times now.” Jake said with melancholy.

 

“Four.” The vampire corrected him.

 

The dog held his head in disbelief. “Four?!”

 

“Look on the bright side Marceline, at least you get to hear about that stupid hero king mumbo jumbo now!” She said to herself, feigning enthusiasm.

 

“Wait, you know about that biz?” Jake asked.

 

“No, but I’m about to.” The vampire flew off after her boyfriend.

 

“...So, who’s gonna dance with all those princess’?” LSP asked, looking around for volunteers.

 


 

Finn walked through a forest on the way to his home. His mind was empty at the moment, waiting to scold himself when he got to the Tree Fort. The human was so focused on not thinking that he hadn’t realized he was flying through the air right now. He turned his head to see Marceline wearing an annoyed look on her face, carrying him bridal style. She didn’t speak a word and Finn offered no resistance, he figured she deserved to chew him out. He’d take the verbal beating on the chin, then wait till she finished so that he may leave and reprimand himself.

 

Thanks to Marceline’s blazing speed, they arrived at her house within minutes.

 

She kicked the door open to find Simon cleaning his drum kit. “Oh! When I said to be back before midnight I didn’t actually mean it.”

 

Marceline threw Finn on the couch and forcefully undressed him to his underwear.

 

“Hey! What the heck are you doing?!” He said with a flushed face.

 

It appeared that Marcy had successfully broken his trance.

 

“Fighting absurdity with absurdity.” She was curt with her response. Marceline took the young man’s clothes and flew upstairs.

 

The room now only consisted of Finn and Simon, who awkwardly attempted to avoid eye contact.

 

“...So, you drink a lot a protein shakes or?” Before Simon could get an answer, Marceline returned with one of Finn’s jackets and a pair of his shorts. She herself had been dressed in nothing but her underwear and a tank top.

 

“Put ‘em on.”

 

While Finn put on his new change of clothes, the vampire made her way to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of red wine and glasses for the two.

 

Marcy look at Simon and flicked her head. Understanding her implication, he set his drum kit in the corner and took to his room. Once he had left, the girl poured a glass for her partner.

 

 He put a hand up. “I- I don’t really drink.”

 

She took a seat next to him. “Well you better start, cause you’re gonna need some liquid courage if you’re gonna spill the beans on all that baggage you’re so scared of.”

 

 

Chapter Text

“You really- hng! Think this- unf! Will be alright for the humans HWiz?” Finn struggled to speak as he lifted a large, cheesy feline onto a transformed Jake. The dog had also been carrying a number of other creatures.

 

Huntress counted the twelve large beasts on Jake. “This should suffice, but if you have reservations, I wouldn’t mind hunting more prey with you, Finn.” Huntress Wizard grabbed her boyfriend’s hand and delivered a kiss to his cheek.

 

Finn giggled sheepishly. “I-I mean I was more worried about the cheese makin’ the peeps back home toot all day, but I’d be down to hunt with you some more.”

 

“Ah, to be young and in love. Too bad I feel old and tired, let’s haul this bad boy back to the Human Camp and then you two can slay creature posterior to your heart's content.” Jake lifted himself off the ground and started walking with Huntress and Finn following by his side.

 

Finn had been shining a smile for the majority of the day, how could he not? Life was more than perfect for the recently turned adult. Though they were somewhat needy, he was getting along fantastically with his people. He and Huntress found themselves going steady for almost a year now. The boy managed to form a strong connection with Minerva, Finn truly felt like her son and she, his mother. And to top it all off, he had his loving brother by his side.

 

Man, what more can a guy ask for? The young boy thought to himself.

 


 

“Aww, sweet little baby boy Finn sounded so happy.” Marceline giggled.

 

“Baby? C’mon I was eighteen! Ain’t no eighteen year old babies in Ooo.” Finn huffed.

 

“Babe, when you’re one-thousand plus years old, anything under a hundred is basically a baby.”

 

“Well, technically I’m over a hundred. I even had kids, still weird to think about. ” He muttered to himself.

 

“You what now?” Marcy raised an eyebrow.

 

“Oh, nothin’, just some dream I had.” The young man paused for some time, long enough for Marceline to become concerned. “... You’re right, though, I think I was happier back then.” he said with melancholy.

 

She frowned and hesitated to speak, feeling as if she had chosen her words poorly. “I didn’t… Finn, that’s not what I meant.” She spoke with remorse.

 

Finn shrugged. “It’s cool. I should get back to the story. After that we heard-”

 


 

A haunting wail erupted to the east of the group.

 

The three froze in their tracks, Finn looked to Huntress for further instruction. The Wizard held her hand up then pressed a finger to her lips. The gang held quiet as they waited for some sort of followup to the strange noise.

 

The pained groan repeated.

 

“This way.” Huntress ran to the source of the sound, pulling Finn by his arm. Jake dumped their haul and followed suit.

 

After a mile of running, they closed in on their target. The trio hid behind a bush, careful not to disturb whatever it was they were observing.

 

They appeared to be some sort of humanoid, comparable to Billy in size, clad in ornate gold armor, save for their right arm which was silver, detached and floating beside them as if it were still connected. The helm sported three prongs aimed upward, mimicking a crown. His face was indiscernible, the only thing that could be seen were his eyes behind a Y shaped opening on the front of his helmet. A long, luscious, blue plume stuck out from behind his head. The figure was decorated with a long blue cape and a belt that had a buckle with the letters H and K engraved on it.

 

The person did naught but sit on a rock and look incredibly sad..

 

“Whoa, who the heck is that?” Jake whisper shouted.

 

Both Finn and Huntress shrugged, the knight before them was an enigma.

 

The mysterious figure wailed once more, however, now that they were much closer, the group identified the noise to be more of a depressed moan than a pained cry.

 

“They seem pretty beat up about something, maybe we should help ‘em.” Finn suggested.

 

He was about to move forward before Huntress stopped him with a hand to his chest. “What if it’s some kind of trap? No one just sits in the middle of the forest and groans like that unless they’re banking on some sucker to respond.”

 

Finn tapped his chin in contemplation. “Hmmm. What about those letters on their chest? That’s might be, like, a hero thing. Maybe it stands for Helper Knight!”

 

“Or Hellacious Killer.” The wizard retorted.

 

“Honey Kombucha!” Jake excitedly added.

 

The two looked at him with blank expressions, the dog returned the gaze.

 

“I gotta find some way to stay relevant to the conversation.” He explained.

 

Finn stood up from the brush and called out to the person. “Yo! Something wrong, dude? We might be able to help.”

 

Huntress stood as well, realizing the futility in arguing with Finn. “We can also eviscerate you if need be.”

 

“But we’d rather help you.” Jake smiled.

 

The knight only gave a melancholy sigh in response.

 

“Ooookay.” Finn said while stepping forward. Huntress followed cautiously while Jake matched his brothers stride. Finn took a seat next to the knight on the rock. “What’s gotcha down big fella?”

 

“...heroes.” They mumbled.

 

The gang’s ears perked.

 

“What’s wrong with heroes?” Finn asked with vigilance, perhaps Huntress was right.

 

Huntress slowly reached for a dagger on her hip.

 

“Do you maybe wanna fight some heroes cause you don’t like ‘em or something?” Jake inquired with a suspicious look in his eye.

 

“What? No! I’m the Hero King, why would I hate my own people?” The king spoke, making his annoyance crystal clear.

 

“Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!” Finn exclaimed.

 

“I don’t trust this guy, Finn. For starters, we’ve never heard any mention of a monarchy for heroes. Secondly, anyone can claim they’re royalty, especially from a kingdom that doesn’t exist.”

 

HK scoffed and stood up, towering over the three. “I’m a holdover from a cycle of this universe that far precedes yours, in that cycle I was the greatest hero that ever- oh what’s even the point!” The king feel to his knees and held his head in his hands. “My dreams are dead!” He sobbed, looking towards the sky.

 

Jake walked up to the King and stretched an arm around his shoulder. “Listen amigo, your dreams don’t die until you do, as long as you're still breathin’ you can make those dreams happen!”

 

“And we can help!” Said Finn.

 

“I didn’t agree to that.” Jake responded.

 

“You literally said you would help him earlier.” Huntress reminded the dog.

 

“That was before I remembered how tired I was.”

 

“Don’t bother, it’s not like you could offer me the assistance I need anyway.” HK perched himself on the rock once more.

 

“Why not?” Finn asked.

 

The king exhaled. “I’ve tried for thousands of years to find someone worthy of becoming the next Hero King. Someone who’s legend will transcend time itself! An everlasting icon that will ignite the flames of altruism in the hearts of the masses for as long as time persists! But no dice… When that didn’t work I tried training some homies to become the Hero King, ‘cept none of ‘em could handle it.” He grumbled.

 


 

“Wait, hold up, thousands of years? I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never heard of any hero king, unless he’s way older than I am?” Marceline stated, quizzically.

 

Finn scratched his head and sighed. “Where do I even begin. To make it quick, there’s a bunch of different cycles. Right now we’re in the elemental cycle, y’know, ice, fire, candy, slime. There was another cycle before that like, a bajillion years ago, it was about stories? Or something? Stuff like comedy, mystery, fantasy, and some other stupid stuff. And then there’s HK’s cycle, his was about brain and brawn.”

 

“Cycles on cycles, huh? That’s a bit much.” Marcy scoffed, unamused.

 

“Dude, you don’t even know the half of it.” Finn threw his head back and sighed.

 

Marceline cocked an eyebrow, curious as to what he meant by that.

 

“Okay, keep going with the story, I wanna hear what happens next.” She asked.

 

“Oh, right, right. Then I had the idea to ask HK-”

 


 

Finn and Jake looked at each other and gasped.

 

“I can do it! I’m a hero!” Finn jumped up and down.

 

“Yeah! Yeah! My bro here has hero’d around Ooo so hard you don’t even know!” Jake pointed at his brother with intensity.

 

Huntress giggled at the boys’ excitement. “I can vouch for him as well.”

 

The Hero King eyed Finn, analyzing him from head to toe. He shook his head. “Sorry, kid.”

 

Finn ceased his jumping in disbelief. “Hey! I’m no kid! And what do you mean ‘sorry’?”

 

“Yeah! You tryna say my bro ain’t a hero?” Jake said with arms crossed.

 

“Not at all, being the Hero King I’m able to measure one's inner hero. For example, you, dog, have a faint hero light emanating within you. And you, wizard, have a light that burns slightly brighter than the dog. But both pale in comparison to the radiance this boy exudes.” The king said, pointing at Finn.

 

Finn puffed his chest, feeling quite proud of himself.

 

HK sighed. “But the one I’m looking for requires an absolutely blinding brilliance.”

 

“Well, can’t you take me on as, like, a protege? You said you were training other peeps, right?” Finn asked.

 

“Hey, Finn, let’s ditch this bozo, if he can’t appreciate you for the hero you are then he ain’t worth your time!” Jake’s tone was filled with anger.

 

“I’m with Jake on this one Finn, he sounds like he just wants a pity party. Plus, I still don’t buy his story.”

 

Finn looked at the king with sullen eyes.

 

The Hero King held his head in his hands. “...Kid-”

 

“Dude, I’m eighteen.” Finn said with a stern voice.

 

HK paused for a moment and stared at Finn. “...I’m done looking, I’ve given up. You know how tiring it is to be disappointed over and over for multiple giga-annum? Just let me wallow in sorrow.”

 

Finn blew a raspberry at the King. “Jake’s right, you’re one wacky old coot.”

 

The three turned their backs to the man and walked away. After a few steps Jake turned to HK, still walking forward and shouted, “My brother was a comet in his past life y’know! What were you? A big loser, I bet!”

 

Huntress looked at the dog, unamused. “Jake, that wasn’t even clever.”

 

“Cut me some slack! How many times I gotta say I’m tired. And I’m hungry!”

 

The Hero King’s head perked up. Comet? , he thought to himself. His eyes darted towards Finn and focused on the boy’s metal arm. The gears in his head turned until everything clicked into place. “Of course! How’d I miss that?!”

 

His shouting caught the attention of the trio. All three were caught off guard and slightly creeped out by the Hero King dashing towards them on all fours.

 

“You have a comet shaped mark somewhere on your body, don’t you?!” HK eagerly said on hands and knees.

 

Finn took a step back. “I’m uncomfortable with the fact that you know that.”

 

HK laughed in excitement. “I do too! And take a look at this!”

 

The gang shielded their eyes, anticipating an unsavory sight. Finn peaked at the King, only to see him holding his right arm, detached from his body, out in front of him.

 

“Oh, I see… What am I seeing?” Finn said with curiosity.

 

Jake and Huntress uncovered their eyes and found themselves just as confused.

 

“It’s one of the trade mark signs of a comet incarnation!” The excitement in his voice was palpable.

 

Finn had trouble grasping its significance for a moment, but then it hit him. “Wait, you got a weird birthmark and you lost your right arm? You’re one of my past lives?”

 


 

“Okay, so now you’re telling me you got past lives? Like, you’re the reincarnation of a bunch of other dudes?” Marceline asked

 

Finn nodded.

 

“And this dude, who’s older than the oldest piece of gum on the bottom of the universe's oldest desk, is one of your incarnations?”

 

“Yup” Finn stated with fatigue.

 

“Which means that you are technically as old as- y’know this whole thing is starting to sound dumb and convoluted” Marcy laughed.

 

“Tell me about it! I mean, how do you think I feel?! I got all this stupid cosmic mumbo jumbo, the universe is all like ‘ YOU’RE DESTINED TO BE A HERO FINN ’, as if I was always gonna end up in this spot no matter what I did. Makes me feel like I never had a choice… it sucks monkey butt man…” Finn finished his miniature rant by falling over and resting his head in Marceline’s lap.

 

The vampire raised her eyebrows in surprise, I was just poking fun, but Finn really hates all this cosmic business huh? , she thought to herself.

 

Marceline started run her fingers through Finn’s hair and pet him. “Alright Finnie, wanna keep that story going?”

 

“Yeah. Where was I? OH! Jake! He was telling me-”

 


 

“Hold on a second, Finn. Any ol’ Joe Schmo can lose an arm. Besides, I don’t remember you mentioning anything to me about being some big knight dude in a previous life.” Jake contested.

 

“Ah, so you’ve performed a lineage dive before?” HK asked.

 

“A what now?” Huntress tilted her head.

 

HK sat cross legged. “It’s when you access the memories of those who came before, and I don’t mean yo mama n’ papa. I’m talkin’ about your previous incarnations. Typically, the only way to perform such a feat is to have a past life call out to you first, then you’ll experience an assortment of lives at random until you reach the incarnation that beckoned to you. After the initial experience you can dive at will! But without a specific target in mind, the lives you experience are chosen arbitrarily.” The king held out his hand to Finn. “So take hold, and experience my truth.”

 

Finn glanced at the hand, seemingly unsure of how to proceed. He looked to his girlfriend and brother, both wearing looks of disapproval. The boy held up his hand and slapped aside the kings offer. “Nah, I’m good, I got better things to do and homies to chill with.”

 

Jake let out a hearty laugh.

 

“Atta boyfriend!” Huntress said proudly, taking his hand.

 

The Hero King was stunned as Finn rejected him and walked off with his friends.

 

“Wha?! W-wait! I admit that I was wrong about you! You do have the capacity to become the greatest hero our history has ever known! I can train you!” HK pleaded.

 

Finn spun around to face the king while walking backwards. “I’m already a great hero, my dude.” He pointed both thumbs at himself. “Ain’t nothin you can teach me that I can’t learn on my own.” He spun back around and continued to strut forward with his pals.

 

The Hero King watched the three walk off into the forest. “Oh, you poor naive boy. I can only hope you’ll come to your senses soon.”

 


 

Thousands of humans gathered around the center of their encampment, situated in an opening in the center of a large forest. They were engaging in discussions ranging from the food prepared by Jake to their experiences adjusting to the alien land of Ooo and everything in between. From an outsider's perspective, it might’ve appeared as if a local fair had set up shop.

 

Setting up the accommodations had been stupidly easy. The humans had come well equipped with all sorts of technology that made transitioning to their new life a mostly smooth ride. All their tents and buildings could be easily stored in tiny, compact cubes, set to pack and unpack at the press of a button.

 

Finn sat on a log in front of a fire with his mother to his left and partner and brother to the right, relaxing under a starry night and chitchatting the rest of the day away.

 

“You coulda just made us a buncha grilled cheese, y’know?” Finn laughed elbowing Jake.

 

“You kiddin’? Ain’t no way I’m gonna pass up the opportunity to learn some new cookin’ tech. I never woulda thought to sing barbershop quartet style to help the cheese settle. Or what about that crazy displaced time microwave, that thing keeps the bread from getting stale but also ages it like crazy! Who knew three thousand four hundred and twenty four years was the perfect age for ciabatta bread!” Jake excitedly recalled his new cooking experiences with the humans.

 

“Happy to hear we could teach you a thing or two, Jake!” Minverva said through one of her Minerva Bots. “As I recall, our chefs had quite the glowing review for you as well.”

 

“You have no idea how good this stuff is mom, I wish you could try some with us.” Finn said with a hint of sadness.

 

Minerva smiled. “I don’t see why I can’t.” She reached over and took Finn’s fork, grabbing a cluster of poutine and carefully stuffing her mouth.

 

Finn and Jake were stunned with mouth agape. Huntress, however, had trouble seeing what was so significant.

 

Minerva’s eyes lit up as she finished her bite. “Oh my goodness, this is absolutely amazing!”

 

“Mom are you okay?! I thought your robot bod couldn’t properly digest food or whatever?”

 

“I’m fine sweet heart, better than fine, in fact! As you can see, this isn’t a standard Minerva bot, honestly I’d prefer it if you referred to it as, well, just me, Minerva.” She spoke with a soft sincerity.

 

Finn stared in fascination. “You built a whole new type of body? But, why?”

 

Minerva looked at her son, her eyes giving off a feeling of sympathy. “As we spent more and more time together I felt a stronger sense of remorse towards my inability to properly connect with you like a true mother, what with my ‘robot bod’ and all. So I began building this new body, I have a simulated heart beat now that reacts to my emotions, dynamic temperature regulation system to mimic a real body’s heat fluctuation, and I can eat! I mean, what kind of mother would I be if I couldn’t enjoy a meal with my son?”

 

She didn’t pursue this endeavor just out of her own concerns, though it played a major part, Minerva kept her son in mind while completing this project of hers. Finn was never bothered much by her previous bodies, but he’d be lying if he said there still wasn’t ever the slightest disconnect. She’s my mom, I ain’t got no problems accepting that , he would tell himself, but something is just off , was always the thought that followed. Perhaps it was the memories of Margaret, who had set the bar of what a mom should be. Unfortunately for Minerva, there were certain qualities she lacked by simple nature of being made of metal. That was no longer the case, however.

 

The mother and son exchanged warm smiles. Finn embraced Minerva, who returned the hug two fold. The boy appreciated this, more than his mother could understand.

 

Jake shed a tear. “Ain’t that the sweetest thing?” He asked Huntress.

 

She rubbed the back of her neck and shrugged. “I… guess? No, it is, I just... “ She paused and fidgeted with her fingers.

 

“Ooooh, you got mommy issues or somethin’?” Jake’s tone implied a sense of understanding.

 

“Huh? No, nothing like that. This is… awkward is all.” She Winced, admitting such wasn’t easy for her.

 


 

“Awkward?” Marceline said with absolute bewilderment. “You’re joking, right?”

 

Finn shook his head. “That’s just how she is, ain’t nothing wrong with that.”

 

“Man, you’d think the girl was allergic to emotions or something” Marcy joked.

 

“That’s pretty rich coming from you!” The young man laughed. “Who was the one that faked having their junk stolen by the Door Lord just they could hangout with their friends?”

 

The vampire blushed a deep red. “What the?! That was, like, eight years ago! Why the funk do you even remember that?!”

 

Finn slapped his knee and cackled. “You’re just mad ‘cause I’m right!”

 

Marceline pinched his nipple with the strength of a vise grip.

 

His laughing was replaced with his iconic shriek.

 

“Get on with it already…” She said, folding her arms and still blushing.

 

The human attempted to rub the pain away. “What happened next was… intense, to say the least…”

 


 

Jake recoiled in confusion. “Awkward? What’s so awkward about a mother and her son-”

 

An ear piercing screech interrupted Jake, the immense power of the sound vibrated the air. Each and every human cupped their ears on reflex, including Minerva, due to her new body. After the moment subsided Finn quickly surveyed the area.

 

“What in the everloving FLIP was that?!” Jake panicked.

 

“Huntress, you see anything?!” Finn quickly urged his girlfriend for an answer.

 

She employed magic to get analysis of her surroundings. Her eyes caught no sign of arcane trickery. Not content with the results, she conjured a magic eye and stuck it to the tip of an arrow. She pulled back on an ethereal bow and let the arrow loose in the sky. She had vision on the entire encampment and then some. “I’m not catching anything, I’m not sure what that was but it did not sound friendly.”

 

Minerva stood up. “It’s been almost a minute and there’s no signs of trouble, but still, I feel it’s too soon to say it’s safe.” She began to speak into a watch on her wrist. “Minerva bots! Collect all amenities and accommodations. Provide aid and comfort to all distressed citizens, then proceed to round them up-”

 

The ground shook and a heavy gust of wind caused the group to stumble. They turned to the epicenter of the commotion to be met by a gargantuan bird. The creature had pitch black feathers, wings and talons tipped with gold, as well as gold accents placed symmetrically along its body. It had exceptionally long tail feathers ebbing and flowing, not adhering to any law of gravity. The most stand out feature, however, was its white mask that covered it’s face whole, beak included, with two black dots acting as eyes.

 

It recovered from its landing, head held high, and looked down at the humans quietly. For a moment, Finn thought it had focused on him, but it was clear that it was simply observing humans at random.

 

Minerva took the opportunity to covertly press a button on her watch, signaling all seekers to be at the ready.

 

“Hey, bird brain! Who do you think you are, crashing our shindig like that?” Finn shouted angrily.

 

The crow like creature gave no sign of acknowledgement.

 

“Finn, maybe antagonizing the massive ominous crow thing ain’t the best idea!” Jake whispered to his brother.

 

“Can’t you feel its hostility? I don’t think any name calling is gonna change the outcome of this encounter.” Huntress interjected.

 

The bird spread its massive wings, reinforcing its intimidating presence. A faint caw could be heard, then it grew louder and louder, similar to an echo being played in reverse. The sound reached its apex, then all was silent for a brief moment until a glass shattering screech erupted from the crow. The raw strength of its voice blew the wind in all directions.

 

Everyone shielded themselves again, but unlike the others, Finn locked his eyes to the target and pressed forward.

 

Having fully recovered from the sound blast, the young hero pulled out his Night Sword and broke into a full sprint.

 

Huntress and Jake followed suit, albeit a short moment later. The wizard dug into the earth while the dog expanded to match the beasts size.

 

The humans attempted to withdraw from the fight, guided by the Minerva bots. Minerva herself was positioned so that she may observe the fight without being directly involved

 

She began to shout at her watch. “Seekers prepare your defensive armaments! Split into groups of fifteen to twenty! Then gather clusters of roughly one-hundred humans and form phalanxes around them! Your first priority is to keep the citizens safe, any left over seekers are to assist my baby boy!” Minerva referred to Finn in a motherly manner in a fit of panic.

 

The creature ignored the three warriors approaching and turned to face the fleeing humans.

 

Finn frowned. “You’re gonna ignore us like that? That’s just plain rude, dude!” He spoke with annoyance.

 

At the tip of the beasts beak, particles of golden light gathered, forming an orb that grew larger with each passing second.

 

“Oh no you don’t!” Jake shouted while preparing to slam down his giant fists on the bird.

 

Before he could make contact, however, he found his wrists grasped by the crow’s tail feathers.

 

“What the-”

 

The dog was flung with extreme force, not even given the chance to process what had occurred.

 

Finn was able to climb up on the beast, unhindered, thanks to Jake’s distraction. He made his way to the top of the crow’s head. “Alright, I think you need to flock off!” the hero yelled while plunging his sword into the birds skull.

 

The creature did nothing but let out an annoyed grunt.

 

Finn was stunned, he was sure the strike would’ve debilitated the monster in some manner. “Wha?!”

 

Without warning, the orb shot off with blinding speeds, aimed directly at one of clusters of humans.

 

One of the defending seekers held up a shield made of hard light, bracing for impact. The hard light folded around the orb upon contact, trapping it. They aimed the shield upward and launched the projectile into the sky. Finn looked up in time to see the orb explode a safe distance away and the humans unscathed.

 

Finn wiped the sweat forming on his brow in relief. He pulled his sword from the crow’s cranium, but before he could commit to another action a tail feather wrapped itself around him and whipped him towards the earth. He left a small crater upon impact.

 

“Finn!” Minerva cried out in fear, but the boy, resilient as always, stood up completely undeterred.

 

The giant corvid rushed towards the humans on foot, only making a few steps before tripping and falling. The bird looked to its feet to find a myriad of vines binding it to the ground. Another glance at the field revealed even more traps lying in wait.

 

A volley of red arrows pierced the monsters visage. It quickly turned to see the origin of the arrows and found a green wizard with a wry smile.

 

Huntress snapped her fingers, causing the arrows to explode in rapid succession.

 

Unphased, the crow tore itself from the vines and took to the air.

 

Finn ran to his partner’s side with Jake following close behind.

 

“This thing is crazy strong, we haven’t even put a scratch on ‘em!” Jake exclaimed.

 

“And now it’s in the sky, how are we supposed to fight it?” Finn said in frustration.

 

Huntress pushed an item onto Finn’s chest, it revealed itself to be a flower. “Take this and pin it somewhere on the beast, it doesn’t matter where! Jake, you get Finn up there at any cost, got it?!”

 

“Okay, but what is it?” Finn said looking down at the flower in his hands.

 

“It’s a Gatling Cactus Targeting Flower, now hurry up and get it on that beast!” Huntress pushed the boys forward.

 

Finn and Jake ran towards the center of the would-be encampment. Their eyes caught the monster circling the area. Finn hopped onto Jake, who proceeded to stretch as fast as he could in the direction of the bird.

 

The corvid took action by launching its tail feathers once again. Jake anticipated the attack and retaliated by splitting himself into multiple appendages, all doing their best to weave around the birds grasp while making headway. Unfortunately the monsters speed out matched the dogs, stopping Jake just short of his target. It mattered little, however, as Finn continued by leaping off of his brother, landing on one of the many occupied tail feathers and running along them.

 

He made quick progress to the crows back. Finn placed the flower down and pinned it into the creature with his sword.

 

As the brothers made their assault, Huntress set into motion her end of the plan. She conjured four arrows that began to carve runes into the earth in a sizable circle around her. Once the arrows finished their job they dissipated, leaving the wizard in the middle chanting in a language that had her rolling her R’s and stretching certain vowels. Huntress shouted her final words, “ ¡Crea desierto!” and slammed her hands on the ground. The grass and dirt around her crumbled and morphed into sand, the air in the circle grew hotter, creating a miniature desert.

 

She scooped a handful of sand and planted a seed. Not a moment later a giant cactus erupted from the ground.

 

“They did it!” She shouted with joy. The wizard pulled an arrow and loosed it at Jake to get his attention.

 

The dog felt a painful prick on his tush. “AH! My tush!” He whined, turning to see Huntress beckoning to him. Jake shrunk and pulled himself from the monsters grasp, then ran to the girl. “Did we do it?” He said in excitement.

 

“Flawlessly. The Gatling Cactus is revving up and about to fire full force and when it does that oversized bird is gonna come crashing down. Good thing y’all made it down here as fast as you did.” Huntress wore a satisfied smile, until she realized something was off.

 

“Uh, was Finn supposed to come down with me?” Jakes concern began to grow.

 

“You- he didn’t- WHY DIDN’T YOU BRING HIM DOWN?!” Huntress screamed.

 

“What’s going on? Have you the situation under control?” Minerva interrupted from behind.

 

The Jake and Huntress grimaced in unison.

 

The Cactus began to make a whirring sound as it spun at high speeds, then it fired thick needles with incredible velocity in the direction of the monster.

 

With no other option available to it, the crow folded its wings and tail feathers, guarding itself at the cost plummeting downwards. As it fell, it created a small gap between its feathers and sent a ball of light hurtling towards the cactus.

 

Though the projectile was much more modest, its power was still significant enough to destroy the entirety of the miniature desert.

 

Before the corvid hit the earth, it spun around, redirecting all the needles within its feathers back at the assailants.

 

Jake stretched to shield Minerva and Huntress. A number of needles dug their way into his hide. “Ow-” he moved his face to count the needles lodged in his back side, then faced the girls again. “Ow times thirty-two.” The dog shrunk back to his normal size, popping every needle off of him.

 

The trio turned in time to see see Finn on the ground, tossed off the back of the creature due to the force of its earlier rotation.

 

Finn got up to face the creature once more, he grunted in frustration. “What’s it gonna cost to take you down-”

 

The corvid interrupted Finn by leaping on top of him, pinning the boy down and clutching him with its claws.

 

Something in the atmosphere changed, a malicious and sinister aura emanated from the monster.

 

Sensing this, Jake and Huntress dashed for Finn post-haste.

 

With great reflexes and speed, the crow twitched its head in the direction of Huntress and fired an orb at her. Huntress managed to avoid direct contact, but was still hit by the explosion, incapacitating the wizard.

 

Jake anticipated another assault from the tail feathers, what he didn’t expect was from the attack to come from below. The feathers burst from the ground and took hold of the dog, slamming him into the ground repeatedly.

 

“Th- that was just- just plain dirty m- man” He mumbled weakly.

 

The corvid pulled its tail feathers it had dug in the ground and directed its attention to the boy in its claws. Finn did his best to escape the birds grasp, but to no avail.

 

A handful of seekers, bearing high tech weaponry, broke from their formations to assist him. Some held rifles, others were equipped with weapons better suited to close quarters combat, all had no effect. Their energy based projectiles fizzled and not a single individual could make it to the beast before being swatted away like a fly.

 

Dread began to set in for the hero. He wasn’t worried for his own safety, the boy was more concerned for his friends, his family, the humans. What was gonna happen to them? Who would protect Ooo in his place? As the thoughts progressed his feelings morphed into fury. Being so helpless, the inability to keep those close to him safe, enraged him.

 

“THIS IS BUTTS!” He screamed. “I know I can stop you, I HAVE to stop you! So what gives?! I’ve fought bigger baddies, I’ve murked the Lich, like, frice! I should be able to-”

 

The crow repeatedly pounded Finn into ground with ferocity, before grinding him into the dirt.

 

It cackled maniacally. “ REALLY NOW?! ” His voice was cold, deep and echoed.

 

“Y-you can talk?” Finn spoke through pained groans.

 

“I’m to believe you fought the LICH on four different occasions, and each of those confrontations saw you coming out on top?!” The bird studied Finn. “Such a small and weak mortal. It seems impossible, yet I smell the unmistakable stench of necromantic death on you. And I’m not aware of any mortal beings who have collided with that… thing, and have survived.” The creature let out an amused chuckle. “What series of lucky coincidences could’ve possibly lead to your success?”

 

“It wasn’t luck! I just don’t know when to quit!” Finn retaliated by biting down on one of the monsters talons.

 

The beast hummed in intrigue. “No kidding, seems you possess extraordinary willpower. I’ll snuff it out before you can inconvenience me further.”

 

The corvid peered down at Finn, gathering its tail feathers around its beak. Each appendage shot a beam of golden light at the tip of his bill, creating a beautifully brilliant orb accompanied by high pitched, ghastly whistle.

 

Finn squirmed with all his might, he couldn’t let it end like this, he wasn’t going to let it end like this. Not before he could save the others. But nothing he did worked, he was tightly secured in place.

 

I need something, anything! He begged in his thoughts.

 

APOCOLYPTICORVID! ” A voice roared.

 

“Wha- ACK!” The beast squawked as a hand wrapped around its beak and pulled his head back.

 

The ball of light fired upward and detonated beyond the clouds. A magnificent explosion went off and cleared the skies entirely, the light illuminating a large portion of the surrounding area.

 

Finn managed to escape the birds clutches. He put some distance between himself and his foe, gazing upon the back of the creature to see a familiar face.

 

Hero King jumped off the corvid’s back while still holding his beak, pulling him into the air. He spun around and whipped his arm, sending the beast crashing into the earth. The king landed with finesse and conjured a great sword that matched his already large size.

 

“H- HK… ” Finn said with awe.

 

The King held his right arm out, angling the sword downward and in front of him. His left arm was positioned at chest level with his hand loose and at the ready. Hero King’s chest was puffed and his feet were squared off. His plume and cape flowing in the wind served to further emphasize his graceful aura.

 

“Seems I’ve arrived in the nick of time.” His tone was playfully smug.

 

The crow gathered itself and stood up, looking his new enemy in the eye. “ Interesting .”

 

HK turned his attention to the beast. “Your presence isn’t welcome here, I suggest you flock off.”

 

“Don’t insult me with such lame quips!” The monster shouted while launching its tail feathers forward.

 

“Hey, I said the same thing and you just ignored me!” Finn whined.

 

The feathers tore through the air with blazing speeds, but Hero King remained steadfast and held his position. The attack was inches away from its target, then, in the blink of an eye, the tail feathers were severed from their person.

 

HK twirled his sword and rested it on his shoulder. “Yep, still got it.” His attitude exuding cockyness.

 

The beast winced in pain and fear, realizing that this opponent would prove far more challenging.

 

“Whoa…” was all Finn could muster.

 

“Finn! Baby!” Minerva called to him.

 

The boy turned to see his mother running up to him.

 

“Mom? Mom!” He said, sprinting to meet her half way and give her a hug. “Is everyone else okay?”

 

“Just feelin’ a little tenderized, I need a minute.” Jake said with raspy breaths as he crawled towards the two.

 

Huntress limped up to Finn and placed a hand on his shoulder. “I’m with Jake, I think we should let big knight hero dude over there handle this and focus on getting everyone to safety.”

 

“Finn, I know your instincts are probably screaming about how you need to run in there and fight, but please realize that this is one battle you cannot win!” Minerva pleaded, grabbing her son by the shoulders.

 

She was right, Finn did want to run into the frey, knowing that he didn’t try till his last breath felt worse than losing. The boy looked at the ongoing battle one more time to see the King calmly wait for his opponents next move.

 

The corvid was patient as well, analyzing Hero King for a moment.

 

Gold particles began forming at the birds beak, readying another blast.

 

“You must take more for a fool.” HK scoffed.

 

Finn couldn’t take it anymore, seeing such an intense showdown play out before him riled up his heroic spirit. “I’m sorry mom, but I can’t just sit by while things are goin’ down like this!” The boy spoke with determination as he tore himself from his mother's grasp.

 

The hero that he was, Finn charged fearlessly towards the monster. His game plan? Fight with all his might, a method tried and true. The boy knew that with a will like his, he could manage to eke out a victory. So he held his sword high and gave a warrior's cry.

 

The corvid snapped his head in Finn’s direction and fire his attack. Finn dodged it with surprising ease, feeling more confident than ever.

 

Until he remembered the three individuals he left behind. Finn turned to see the blast heading towards the trio.

 

He was choked for words, he couldn’t think fast enough. He just knew his loved ones were in grave danger.

 

Before Finn could even muster a breath, a large wolf with silver fur caught the golden orb with lightning speed. It skid along the ground in an attempt to stop itself. The canine looked the corvid in the eye before chomping down on the projectile and consuming it.

 

“WHAT?!” The bird shouted.

 

With his enemies attention drawn elsewhere, the king dashed in for an attack. He swung his sword in a great arc and managed to cleave a giant gash within the birds chest.

 

The beast cawed in pain and flew back.

 

HK chased the monster down, continuing to lay the pressure with unrelenting force.

 

Finn looked on as Hero King accomplished what he could not. He had failed not once, but twice in the same fight. Self doubt finally began to set it, maybe he should leave it to someone else. Maybe this was a fight he couldn’t handle.

 

… No! I know I can! Right?! I can still fight! B- but should I? His reservations had him frozen in place.

 

He could faintly hear the voices of his family and partner calling him back. Maybe- maybe they’re right…  

 

Before Finn could finalize his decision, the silver wolf walked up to him and stared him dead in the eyes.

 

The boy stared back, unsure if the wolf’s gesture had any significance. “What? Why are you looking at me like that?” He grumbled.

 

He was given no response.

 

“What do you want?! Are you trying to get me to give up too?! Is that what you’re after? Fine! I can’t do it! I give up, man… dog… whatever… ” Finn sighed in anguish.

 

“Hey, Finn! Stop talkin’ to that dog and come talk to this dog, dawg!” Jake shouted for his brother.

 

The wolf’s gaze was unwavering, almost as if it was unsatisfied with the boys answer.

 

Finn couldn’t take those judging eyes any longer and shouted in frustration. “Do you want the truth from me or something?! Alright, here’s the truth! I wanna get back in there! I wanna keep fighting! My inner voice is screaming at me! It’s saying Hey! You nard! You ain’t dead yet! You can still fight! So get that pansy butt back in there and fight till you can’t no more! And you know what?! I AM gonna get back in there, Glob darn it!”

 

With his resolve revitalized, he took charge once more.

 

“Sweet heart, please, be reasonable!” His mother cried out.

 

“Third times the charm!” Finn shouted back.

 

Minerva pulled her hair and grunted. “I can’t believe his father's bullheaded attitude is genetic!”

 

“We should’ve expected this to be honest, the best we can do for now is cheer him on and get the others to safety. C’mon!” Huntress said while running to gather any stray humans.

 

Jake followed with Minerva begrudgingly tailing behind.

 

Finn dashed into battle, eager to prove himself. He felt a tug at the back of his shirt, then he was promptly lifted off the ground. He turned his head just in time to see the wolf tossing him in the air and catching him on its back. The hound carried him with greater speed.

 

“Oh yeah, I’m feelin’ this one!” He said with a smile and thirst for battle only a seasoned adventurer could have.

 

As the hero drew close to the battle he gazed upon the king. Finn expected to be met with disapproval, to be reprimanded and told to leave this fight to the pro. Not that it mattered, nothing was going to stop him from throwing down.

 

Which was why Finn was so stunned to see Hero King’s head turn to meet him for a brief moment, the king giving a resolute nod with eyes of understanding.

 

The boy returned the nod and stood on the wolf’s back.

 

The bird attempted to take flight again to avoid the king.

 

With quick thinking, Finn shouted for the wolf to jump. Then, at the apex of their leap, he hopped off to gain extra height. He barely managed to latch onto the beasts feet and began climbing his way to its back.

 

“Hey Apocalypse crow!” Finn yelled.

 

“It’s Apocolypticorvid! And what in the Golb are you doing there you nuisance?!” The crow began to fly upside down in an attempt to shake off the human. But Finn held on with no indication of slipping off.

 

“How come when I told you to flock off you didn’t care, but when HK told you to, you got all mad!” Finn said, still hung up on the minor detail.

 

“What?! Are you serious?! It’s because you weren’t worth the breath!” The corvid laughed.

 

Finn, visibly upset by the comment, started to climb to his right wing.

 

“Hey! What are you doing back there!” The monster called out.

 

The hero demonstrated great strength by holding onto the wing with one arm and pulling out his sword. He proceeded to stab the beasts wing and tear a hole, he repeated this as many times as he could.

 

“WAIT, NO! STOP THAT THIS INSTANT.” The bird cried out in fear.

 

It was too late, his aerodynamics had been thrown off due to the severe damage and began tumbling towards the ground.

 

Finn had exhausted all his strength and released his grasp, now he too was hurtling down. Thankfully Hero King was able to catch him and soften the landing.

 

The boy sat in his hand and looked up to the king. “How’d I do?” He smiled.

 

HK let out a boisterous laugh. “I’d say your actions were quite befitting of a hero! And, with training, maybe even the greatest hero time has ever known.”

 

Finn’s eyes lit up. He didn’t buy the king's words before, but now, after seeing the man in action, he couldn’t help but believe him.

 

“Let's discuss those matters after we’ve bopped this feather face to next tuesday, shall we?”

 

The young hero stood up with his sword at the ready, “Let’s end this!”

 

They both looked to where the crow had crash landed, the beast just recovering.

 

“Simply stabbing him won’t work. A beast like that will only be defeated by inflicting a massive amount of damage all at once.” Hero King said urgently.

 

“So what’s the plan?” Finn asked.

 

“I’ll drive my Even Greater Sword into its body, then you’ll hop onto its head and plunge your sword in its skull and drag it along the monsters length. Yeah, that should do it. You ready?” HK looked at Finn.

 

“Ready!”

 

The king twirled his sword in his left hand and dashed with incredible speed.

 

The crow barely had time to think before he found the entire blade of Hero King’s sword buried in his chest. It let out a pained caw.

 

Finn leaped onto the birds head and drove his sword into it. Following HK’s instructions, he tore a massive gash along the beast, finishing off his run by jumping into the air and performing a number of flips before landing.

 

The corvid shook violently, light pouring out its body from the open wound. It let out one final screech before bursting into a cloud of gold particles.

 

Finn stood up and sheathed his sword. He smiled as he walked towards the king. “Sorry for dissing you earlier.” The boy said, rubbing his shoulder in guilt.

 

“Bah! Twas nothing but an exercise in caution. Sometimes things must be learned through trials and tribulations.” Hero King kneeled and gently patted Finn on the back with his massive hand.

 

“Hey what was up with that-” before Finn could finish, he was tackled to the ground by the canine from earlier. “-wolf…”

 

It barked in joy and began to lick the boy’s face.

 

“This here good boy is Skull, he’s my astral beast!” HK snapped his fingers and the wolf burst into dust before being absorbed into the king.

 

“Whoa, you have an astral beast too!” Finn said with excitement.

 

“Ah, I assume you have one as well? Care to show me?” HK asked.

 

“Yeah! It’ll take a second though-”

 

Finn was interrupted once again, this time by his mother and friends.

 

“Finn! Oh, Finn, sweetie, you’re alright!” She said grasping him tight.

 

Finn laughed with embarrassment. “I’m fine mom.”

 

“No need to apologize for your previous transgressions.” HK humbly aimed his statement at Huntress and Jake.

 

“I mean we weren’t gonna, but okay.” Jake shrugged.

 

“I think we had every right to be skeptical. Still, ‘preciate the help back there.” The wizard smiled.

 

“Oh, well you’re welcome… I suppose.” HK said, awkwardly.

 

The rest of the humans poured from beyond the woods, realizing they were now safe from danger. One human in particular pushed his way to the forefront. “Minerva bot! Minerva bot! I must have a word with you!”

 

“She’s not a bot, Malloy. Just call her Minerva.” Finn protested.

 

“Forgive me, Finn. I understand that she’s your mother, but we’ve always seen her as a guardian force. Plus, there’s so many, calling them all Minerva feels off.” Malloy reasoned.

 

“Not this body, however. What seems to be the matter, Malloy?” Minerva extended her hand.

 

The man returned the gesture, but was caught off guard by how real her skin felt. To the point where her hands were sweating from the earlier fright given to her by her son. Malloy wiped his hand on his shirt. “I understand I have no power over the development of our colony, you earned that right fair and square through vote. But please heed my words when I say we should just hunker down and start fortifying ourselves.”

 

“I’m sorry Malloy, but we didn’t come all the way out here just to become isolationists again. Otherwise we should’ve just stayed on the islands. I’m trying my best to compromise, find us a place where we can thrive free from danger and also maintain open borders.” She looked at Finn and smiled, then back to Malloy. “Yes, it may be hard going, but I believe that’s helped us grow as a collective.”

 

Malloy grew frustrated. “But what if something like this happens again . We might not be so lucky to have some deus ex machina come to our rescue.”

 

Finn wanted to offer a rebuttal, but his mind flashed back to when he put Huntress, Jake, and Minerva in harm's way. How helpless he had been without Hero King.

 

“Nonsense, with a boy such as this at your side? There’s no danger to fear.” HK let out a hearty chuckle.

 

“I’m sorry, Mr…” Malloy paused so that HK may state his name.

 

“I wear the title of Hero King, but I suppose it would not hurt to be a tad more informal. You may call me Grand Luther.” The king said while holding his hand out for a shake.

 

“Informal. Grand. Of course.” Malloy sighed and extended his hand as well. HK gently grabbed the man's appendage with his thumb and index finger.

 

“Mr. Luther, first of all I’d like to thank you for what you did here today, I’m not sure how we can repay you.” Malloy thanked the king, albeit, begrudgingly. He didn’t like the idea of owing favors to an outsider.

 

“Please, I was simply doing what was right.” HK waved off his concerns.

 

“You’re too kind. Secondarily, and I say this with no ill will towards Finn, but you all must’ve seen how he faired in the battle? Don’t get me wrong, he’s been invaluable to us, guided us, saved us. But if today has taught us anything, it’s that there are some threats even he can’t handle. We need to be prepared for that, instead of wasting our time travelling the continent!” Malloy argued.

 

Hero King held a hand up. “Allow me to stop you right there. While it is true that the boy’s skills were insufficient at the present moment, I can assure you that, under my guidance, he’ll be able to defend you from any threat. He has the potential to be an even mightier force than myself.” HK looked at Minerva. “I assume you are this magnificent child’s mother?”

 

Finn grumbled, “Not a child.”

 

Minerva laughed, both at Finn’s reaction and the praise from HK. “Why yes, I am this magnificent young man’s mother.”

 

“Then may I have your permission to train him?” The king asked politely.

 

“A hero with manners? Color me surprised, I certainly think Finn could learn a thing or two from you.” She giggled.

 

Minerva looked at her son and sighed. “As much as I fear for your safety, you are an adult now. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say you’ve earned my absolute trust over the past year.” She knelt down and met Finn eye to eye. “Just promise me you’ll be safe, okay?” She pleaded.

 

Finn beamed at his mother and hugged her in response. “Of course.”

 

His mother embraced him harder than ever.

 

“Hey big hero man.” Huntress called out.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Mind if I tag along for some of this training stuff. He is my boyfriend after all.”

 

“Me too! I’m his best bro, we do everything together!” Jake interjected.

 

HK tapped his chin. “Hmmmm, I suppose I see no harm. However, I also reserve the right to ask that you leave during certain parts of our training regimen. There are things that must remain between heroes, you see.”

 

The two shrugged.

 

“Fine by us.” Jake said.

 

Finn pulled away from his mother to face HK. “Man, this is gonna be awesome. Y’all ready for some HERO TIME?!” He shouted excitedly, striking a pose.

 

“Oh! Wait, wait! Let’s do that together, but let’s do my pose. You know the one I did earlier where I held my sword out and everything?” Hero King adopted a giddy nature.

 

Finn nodded and stood in front of him.

 

“Alright, on the count of three.” The king said.

 

“One… two… THREE!”

 

“It’s… HERO TIME” they shouted in unison, striking similar poses.

 

Malloy gave up and sighed, Minerva clapped, Jake jumped with joy, Huntress rolled her eyes and smiled.

 


 

“That- that sounds stupidly happy.” Marceline chuckled. “I’m having a hard time seeing this all go south.”

 

“Yeah… so did I.” Finn said with a depressive cadence.