‘How had it come to this?’ was one of the many thoughts racing through the mind of one Dr. Harold Pontiff Coomer as he stared at the figure floating menacingly in front of him. His dear husband Bubby had not taken the news well when Coomer told him about the nature of their reality, or lack thereof, but he could hardly believe that it had driven Bubby to this.
No, that was a lie, of course he could believe it had driven Bubby to near madness, pushing him to a precipice of breakdown that made the idea of lashing out at someone, anyone, everyone, very alluring; Harold had been to that same precipice himself before. The only thing that had pulled him back from it was the shocking sensation of dying dozens of times over in rapid succession as Tommy had mowed down his clones to protect the vulnerable and delirious Gordon that had been at his side and had been the target of Coomer’s aggression.
So yes, he understood exactly where Bubby was mentally in this moment, as his husband loomed over the rest of their team, burning as bright as a star with the blue flames that engulfed his extremities. There was a crown of soul fire atop Bubby’s head, and he admittedly looked amazing; Coomer had to give credit to his husband’s excellent sense of aesthetic, but that wasn’t exactly an important thought at the moment.
Bubby was monologuing - knowing him, he probably wrote and rehearsed it all before they got here after following the trail of clues he’d left for them - and he was going on about the boss fight that was scrapped from their original game, with him as the boss, and how it was scrapped because the developers didn’t think he was good enough. Coomer could barely focus on what Bubby was saying; he was still reeling from the apparent betrayal the other was committing. ‘Why didn’t I notice he was going down this path?’ he thought to himself. ‘I should have recognized the signs. If I had just tried harder-’
“Of course, as you so very much love to say, we are more than our code,” Bubby sneered at the team, his eyes trained on Gordon. “I don’t have to kill all of you.”
Could this be an opening? Perhaps they could still talk him down, if Coomer could just think of the right thing to say…! ‘Think, Harold! Think!’
“In fact, I would hate to kill you, Harold,” Bubby’s cruel expression turned on Coomer, whose mind went blank as he stared up at his husband, “my dear.”
Oh, he’s going for that again. A third attempt to convince Coomer to join him, to turn his back on their team; he had already tried twice, but evidently was not done. “Look up here, at my throne,” Bubby shot up into the air, drifting back toward the large throne that floated behind him, lined with the same blue flames present throughout his… decor.
“I made sure there was room for two.” He sprawled across the large seat, and peered down at the group, at Coomer. “Please join me. I want you by my side while I finally succeed at what I was made for.” He leaned forward, and Coomer could hear a spark of desperation and fear in his husband’s voice as he added, “Don’t make me kill you, Harold.”
Harold Coomer tore his eyes away from the sight of Bubby’s harsh facade that he knew was a front to hide from his fears, and he looked down at the blackstone in front of him. He was faced with a difficult decision: stand by his dear husband in his greatest moment of need, and thereby turn his back on the rest of their team, or refuse him, and die by Bubby’s hand who knows how many times before they get through to him.
Somewhere, in an unused corner of Coomer’s code, in some distant subconscious part of his digital brain, a coin was tossed. Harold, Harold, give me your answer do…
On one hand, Bubby needed him; it would be cruel to let him suffer alone. He might be trying to kill them, but considering none of them can die permanently, they could just keep trying until they hit a nerve and bring him to his senses. In the long run, they would all be fine, perhaps the others would be afraid of Bubby for a time, but they’d all be able to move past it eventually. Bubby however would have to live with the guilt of killing all of them forever, and Coomer knew that would be crushing for him.
The coin kept spinning. I'm growing old, awaiting an answer from you.
On the other hand, if Coomer joined Bubby, he’d be betraying the rest of the team! They were his friends, his family; he couldn’t just do that to them! Gordon was like a son to him, as were Tommy and Benrey, and even Benrey’s little skeletal friends - Josh and Friendly, he thinks they introduced themselves as - seemed nice enough! Sunkist was a bit odd at times - both of them were, that is, but the hoodie-wearing one in particular was generally more present - but she was wonderful company, too. And while the ex-soldier’s presence was unexpected, Forzen seemed to be quite a polite young man as well. Coomer didn’t want to hurt any of them.
The coin began its descent. It will be a stylish boss fight, if you lend me all of your might.
Coomer glanced around at the Science Team, all of whose eyes were on him, waiting with baited breath for his answer. He looked back up at at his husband, who was sitting on the edge of the throne looking almost scared for any answer he might get.
The coin hit the ground, rolling around itself for just a moment before settling. And we'll look sweet, upon the seat, of my fiery throne for two.
In another version of events, another save file one could say, the coin landed heads side up, and Harold Pontiff Coomer told his husband, “I will never join you. Not in a million years.” When when Bubby desperately asked if that was his final answer, he said, with no uncertainty, “Yes.”
This is not that save file, and not that series of events; as the coin settled, it was clear that it landed on tails. When Coomer’s gaze met that of his husband, a forgotten line of code ran in the background of his mind, and a dark look overtook his face. “I’m here for you, dear. Let’s give ‘em Hell.”