Disclaimer: I do not own Adventure Time or any of its characters.
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I'm ten years old. Jake and I are walking through the Grass Lands along the eastern side of the river that forms the border between the forests and the Candy Kingdom to the west. We've traveled further than we thought we would from our old home just south of the Mountain Kingdom. We miss our family, but we don't miss home. It was time for us to grow up and move on. The green backpack my mother- or Jake's mother, anyway- made for me is starting feel heavy. I think about asking Jake if he wants to stop and take a dip in the river, but instead, I spot the tree. Its trunk is huge and sturdy, with vine-like branches that hang from the top, creating a dome shape, and there are three slightly smaller green domes covering the branches to the sides. Past the tree to the north, we can see the Ice Kingdom in the distance, but here, it's warm.
"Whoa, bro," I say to Jake.
He scopes the tree too and gives me a knowing look. "New home?"
He doesn't really have to ask. I make a fist and push it toward him. He smiles, then pounds it.
I'm thirteen. I'm looking around the dank underground ruins beneath the old taffy tree forest at the base of the Rock Candy Mountains, searching for signs of life. There are none. The tribe of folks I thought were humans is gone, like I knew they would be. Scared away, probably for good. Susan's gone as well. I want to believe she really was a human, but I know in my heart that she wasn't. She was a creature, just like the rest of them. I'm still alone.
No, I'm wrong. Jake puts a comforting hand on my shoulder, and I remember that even if I am the last of my kind, that doesn't mean I'm really alone.
I'm five years old. I'm crying into my mother's furry yellow chest because some of the forest folks were mean to me and said I didn't belong. That I wasn't a dog like my parents or my brothers. She's making a comforting shushing sound like only moms know how to do, but when I look up at her, I see the reluctance on her face. She tells me I do belong, that I am loved, but that I'm not a dog. I'm a human. I listen, horrified, as she tells me about how they found me as a baby in the forest below the Lost Cliffs, naked except for my white bear hat, helpless and alone, and they took me in. I see my brother Jake, peering around the corner, listening, looking sadder than I've ever seen him. I wonder if he knew.
It's the day after my seventeenth birthday. Princess Bubblegum is sitting next to me and I'm arguing with her. "None of that stuff used to matter before," I say, more to my hands than to her. "You were always a princess and I was always just a boy."
"And now my father has returned and I must do what he expects of me." She sounds like she's reading from a script.
"I don't get it." I start to raise my voice and look at her again. "You never even mentioned your dad to me. I didn't even know you had one, and all of a sudden you'll do anything he says?"
That look of pity is still on her face. "Of course I have a dad. Everyone comes from somewhere."
She keeps talking, but those words echo in my head. Everyone comes from somewhere. Everyone except me.