In the darkest hour, when the light no longer shines, I will be there.
Though you feel no hope, it always exists, no matter how small.
When you struggle for breath, are pale with fear, and silent with sickness, I will be there.

And I shall bring the light.

"Pepper!? Pepper could you please read though my list of things to do before the party tonight?" The adored and royal Prince Bubba Gumball called as he lied on his bed, face down and in the covers. He was clad in soft pajamas, made of silk and cotton. The clothing was purple, and baggy, very comfortable. The sound of Pepper walking through the hallway made Gumball lift his head in response, not wanting to be rude.

"Well, sir, you need only to go speak with the King and Queen of Lumpy Space over that incident with LSP…" She said, eyes rolling to the side. "Yeah... Anyways after that you just have to get ready for the auction. I want you to look desirable, as the lady who wins might just keep you from an entire century more of loneliness."

"Right! Perfect." The prince's voice was dry and heartless. It was clear there was little enthusiasm. "Who do you think will bid the most for me?" He looked only a little less than half amused.

"My money is on Fionna. But, I shouldn't lie. Have you ever noticed Miss Candy Cotton?" She looked over at him, noticing his furious blush. "I'm taking that as a yes."

"I don't want to worry about feelings. Feelings for no one."

"Your highness, this is a date. The lady will be bidding money for a chance to go on a date with you." She sat down, smoothing her skirt. "And I expect you will treat her nicely. I know you raised me to treat others with kindness no matter what…" Her voiced was strong and powerful, causing Gumball to groan.

"You're right." The prince mentioned, looking up at the high vaulted castle ceiling. He lightly closed his eye, reevaluating the situation. "The only reason I'm doing this is to give needed money to the orphanage. Now I think I should take a chance... Maybe it could benefit me."

"You should. Who would spend money just to hang out? They want to support a cause and go on a date. A date to hopefully steal your heart. I'm sure they will want to go on a second."

"Okay! Okay okay okay." Gumball stood and went into the bathroom. "I'll maybe give it some consideration."

"That's all I'm asking you to do sir." She exited his room to make breakfast, leaving him to sit and rethink every defiant and love-hating thought in his mind.

Gumball didn't have much luck with love. His parents didn't care much for another, or him. Couples he knew fought and bickered about the dumbest things. Girls never gave him a second glance. He had always felt alone, lacking attention and affection. He built up his walls and turned a blind eye when someone smiled his way. He let no one in, afraid of being let down. It truly was an 'It's not you, it's me,' situation. But truthfully, he did secretly and desperately desire all the wonderful things a romantic partner could offer him.

Love, affection, kindness, close contact, and even intimacy. Pursing his lips, Gumball sat up straight and allowed himself to think about all those things. Were they worth it? Yes. Of course they were. But were they worth the heartbreak of a death one hundred years later? Were they worth a potential fight, break up, divorce, anger? He immediately shook his head.

"Nope."

"Nope what? You're going on that date."

"I am!" He said loudly. "I am going on the date. And I'll treat her like a princess. But I am not going to fall in love. It didn't work for my parents and it hasn't worked for any of my friends throughout all the years I've been alive. I don't want to be let down. Alright?"

"You are ridiculous!" She slammed her tray down. "How do you know a date will go poorly if you've never gone on one? How do you know that you won't fall deeply into love and have a partner you're incredibly fond of?"

"I just know. I do. Alright? It won't go well. Relationships don't ever work out. Thank you Pepper. You're dismissed…"

"Fine." She turned and walked off, frowning deeply at him. He sighed and stood, then got dressed and left for Lumpy Space. The Prince of the strange place had stormed in to the Candy Castle drunk and belligerent, cursing and yelling while whacking into a bunch of the candy people. He had tried to make out with Peppermint maid in an attempt to make his ex-girlfriend, Bradi, jealous. After chatting for a very short amount of time, it was decided that the prince be forgiven so long as he stayed away from the Candy Kingdom for a while.

When the bubblegum prince returned from his meeting, he sat in a bathtub and closed his eyes. He bathed in a sweet honey mixture, relaxing, trying to clear his mind of anything and everything that would go on that night.

Fionna? Miss Candy? Any of the other tons of girls there were who liked him would be there, betting for the win a date auction. It made him nervous, but he couldn't just cancel. So he washed himself off and stood, dried, dressed, then went into the kitchen to bake his troubles away. Soufflés, cupcakes, candies, cream puffs, cakes, brownies, bread, and cookies.

After baking enough treats for an army, Pepper walked into the kitchen and sighed dramatically. "What the heck are we going to do with all of this?" She said, rubbing her forehead. He baked a lot, and always had so much left over.

"Treats for the auction." He said dryly and she nodded.

"Alright, I'll have them taken there. Please, I beg of you, go get dressed into your purple suit. Please."

"Alright alright. I'm going." He headed off with a small huff and got dressed into a sharp dark purple suit, with his bubblegum pink tie and purple velvet shoes. He combed his hair back and sprayed on some cologne, then walked to the park where the auction was taking place. A few hours later Pepper began to speak, explaining the rules. A huge crowd of girls had collected, watching excitedly, among them Fionna, candy people, a few random young ladies, even a few princes.

Gumball stepped out when his name was announced, and sat on a chair, smiling sheepishly as a bunch of young giddy girls giggled and waved. He scanned the crowd, and Miss Cotton caught his eye. She stood in small heals, and was pink skinned like he. His heart thumped and he bit his lip, smiling lightly. If anyone was to win this, he hoped it was her.

"We will start the bidding at $100." Pepper said, and Fionna stood and yelled.
"$500!" The sweet young blonde stood and grinned. Gumball blushed deeply, mind jumping to their noticeable age difference, and how insistent the girl was.

"$1,000." Candy stood and grinned, and Fionna just slumped into the seat with a groan. She didn't have that much money, and she could just hang out with Gumball whenever she wanted.

"$2,500!" Somebody screamed out, a deep and sensual male voice. Everybody turned their heads, eyes widening. A finely dressed, tall, snarky Marshall Lee grinned and waved. It was clear the only reason he was there to be a jerk and drive up the price. "Hey Gummy!"

"Somebody get him out of here! None of his numbers matter! Ignore him… He's just here to ruin the event…" Gumball stood and yelled, pointing right at Marshall. "He lives for chaos and wants to ruin everyone's good time."

"No no… I'm not ruining anything. I'm betting on a date… and that's allowed."

"It is allowed…" Peppermint told him apologetically and Candy stood, determined.

"$5,000." She stated, very confident. She wanted to win this. Gumball grinned and nodded, encouraging her. Just when the auction seemed out of reach, Marshall strolled right onto the stage and bellowed.

"$10,000." He bowed and everyone just stared in shock. No one had any idea where he got all that money, or what his problem was. Gumball covered his eyes and blew out a large, angered sigh. He ignored the annoying gloating pale man and peered over at Candy, who sat quietly. She didn't have that kind of money, and she didn't want to get into a conflict with Marshall. He looked to her expectantly, and when she turned her head down, he frowned.

"C-congratulations Marshall Lee… You've won the date with Prince Gumball…" Peppermint Maid announced and blushed, and suddenly Marshall shook his head furiously.

"I take that back. No way in hell I'm going on a date. I am not paying actual money to go on a date with this monster." He pointed to Gumball with a frown, and he stood up.

"Me!? A monster!? YOU are the monster. You are the horrible nasty person Marshall. I was supposed to go on a lovely date with one of these ladies and now, because you're an idiot, I have to go with you! Ten thousand dollars is fantastic for our orphanage though…" He said dryly, and Marshall spat in his direction.

"Forget it. I'm leaving." He stormed off, and Gumball grabbed his ankle and yanked him back down. The vampire pulled against him but somehow Gumball pushed him onto his butt.

"Give Pepper the check and smile. We're going on this date whether you want to, or not." Gumball's voice dropped and he looked at Marshall, lip curled in anger. He was dressed in a black blazer and red undershirt with skinny blue jeans and converse. Marshall pulled out his check book and grudgingly wrote a check for ten thousand dollars, gave it to Peppermint Maid, and stood up.

"Forget the date. Just take my money." He hissed, dark black hair in his red eyes. He began to leave again, but Gumball grabbed his wrist.

"Oh, you aren't leaving. We're going on this date for a reason. You came to this event and bid money for me, and now you get to date me. Suck it up, vampire." Gumball growled and dragged Marshall by the wrist to the car they were supposed to leave in together. Once they sat in the car Gumball looked longingly out the window to see Candy Cotton carrying her purse, headed home in a beautiful baby blue dress.

"Ooooo, Gummy is that your lovey?" Marshall teased, and Gumball pushed him away.

"No. She isn't. Don't touch me!" Suddenly, it was war. Marshall shoved Gumball away and raised his voice louder.

"What is your problem Gumball?!"

"You, Marshall Lee Abadeer! YOU are my problem." After being shoved, Gumball took a swing at Marshall, but wasn't fast enough. In a rage, Marshall grabbed his arm and bit down on him, fangs digging deep into his arm. Bubba screamed at the top of his lungs, the pain searing.