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1 – Mommy took care of it

These days disasters in the Candy Kingdom had been few and far between. She had been up for three straight nights but still Bonnibel smiled fondly thinking of latest – now under control – as though it had been a trip to Lake Butterscotch. She was so far on other side of sleep deprivation she knew she would never be able to fall asleep. Still, she thought as she made her way slowly up to bed, to lie horizontally would at least be something.

When she did get to her bed she found one extra body than she had been expecting. What it was about this relatively benign sight that made her suddenly punch drunk she couldn't quite say. Dimly she was aware it had something to do with being over-tired but she did not really care and allowed this sudden feeling of love overwhelm her like a wave. All thoughts of the disaster, the Candy Kingdom, and even being horizontal were doused as she watched these two most precious bodies sleep.

The rhythm of their breath was almost perfectly in sync. The arrangement of their limbs mimicked each other just as much and the limbs themselves – and the bodies they were attached to – did. Bonnie marveled at their similarities. She was nearly nine years old but it seemed there was always a new piece of Marceline to find in their daughter.

Bonnibel had lost track of the number of times she had said to Marceline, "I can't believe how much she looks like you!" Marcy would always smile and give her retort, "Maybe. But she basically is you, Bon. Besides, when was I ever purple?" In a way Marceline was right. For all the girl's long, lean and angular features – not to mention those teeth – even the casual observer could hardly fail to recognize Bonnie as her other parent. Certainly they had in common their candy coloring, but what they truly shared was more than bone deep. Like Bonnibel she was curious, a helper, and a problem solver. Most conspicuous, however, was her self-possession and that undeniable air of a natural-born leader (or, as Marcy called it, being a total boss baby). Marceline attributed this trait to Bonnie meaning it to be, for the most part, flattery. The Princess was not so sure she could claim full credit.

When they had decided to have a baby Bonnibel's greatest fear was that the child would be like her. She had never told Marceline this. She would have dismissed it outright anyway. But Bonnibel knew she was right to fear it - Goliad had proven that. Her fear turned out to be for naught. Though the girl's personality greatly recalled Bonnibel's, there was sweetness in her not even candy could account for. This softer nature was something that had taken Bonnie centuries to learn but was natural to the child. It came, the Princess knew, from Marceline. Bonnibel had never anticipated the pleasure of watching such a person grow up.

She turned her gaze to Marceline, her wife she supposed. Through a millennium their paths had crossed on occasion, entwined on others, but it had always been undefined and always proved impermanent. As Bonnibel built her kingdom and began her quiet lesson in softness, Marceline was learning the coarser lessons of self-preservation through hardness and apathy. Bonnibel knew she acted as teacher in at least one of those and it had left them standing on opposite sides of a wide, deep canyon.

What was it that brought them back together? Certainly it was attraction; you cannot live a thousand years driving each other crazy and not find it. Perhaps it was the journey into to the canyon, learning the mysteries of their deeper nature – both within themselves and each other. But Bonnibel understood that more than anything it was Time. Time bumps and batters us all, scraping against us until we yield to its inevitability. Mortals know this as death. For an immortal it is the notion of permanence that is destroyed. Or nearly so. When they relented their hard scrabble against Time they found in one another the closest thing to permanence either one could ever know. And for now – however long now might be – they had made peace with Time and found happiness. The proof of this slumbered sweetly in front of Bonnibel.

She bent to softly kiss Marceline; the vampire inhaled sharply and floated a few inches off the bed but did not open her eyes. Smiling Bonnie sat on the edge of the bed and whispered her name. A sleepy smile broke and Marceline open one eye and yawned, rubbing the other.

"Hey P Bo Cheeks. All fixed?"

Bonnie nodded, then pointed to their daughter.

"What happened?"

"Fever."

Worry must have shown on Bonnie's face because Marceline rushed to explain, "She's better though. Mommy took care of it." Marceline grinned widely and winked. Bonnibel knew better than to take this for pride, or all of it anyway. Normal, human childhood things – even fevers – brought to Marceline the happy relief she had not given the child the worst of her.

Marceline's eyes had closed again. Bonnibel kissed her once more before moving to the other side of the bed. A muffled, "Get some sleep Princess," followed her. She crawled in next to their sleeping child, propped herself on her side, and continued to watch her little family sleep while she herself was wide awake and awash with nostalgia.