This story was written using the Big Damn Table from the Fanfic100 challenge community (see here at fanfic100 . livejournal . com / profile).

Author's Note: Mothface and I challenged each other to write a Valentine's Day fic, 1000 words in 30 minutes. Well, I exceeded both of those limitations, but I am happy with the results.

Rating: T for a single bad word.

Prompt: #96 Writer's Choice(Valentine's Day)

What the plum do you get your girlfriend for Valentine's Day when she lives in a kingdom made of candy?

This had been the question on Marceline's mind for the past few days, and each time it came up, she had drawn a blank. So each time, the laid back vampire queen did what she did best: she shrugged her shoulders, pulled out her bass, and jammed until she forgot what she had been so worried about.

But now it was Valentine's Day, and Marceline was out of time. Well, almost. She was supposed to be at the castle for her date with Bonnibel in 15 minutes, so she had until then to throw something together.

Chocolates were out. That would be so totally lame. It would be like 'Oh here Princess, I got you some candy that you could eat in your castle made of candy surrounded by your subjects made of candy. I thought it would, you know, remind you of how much you love candy.'

Pfft. As if.

Stuffed animals were another Valentine's Day standard, but Marceline was still pretty traumatized about Hambo, and she just couldn't bring herself to go looking for a new bear. Or rabbit, or anything else. Even though it would technically be for Bonnibel, it felt too much like betraying Hambo's memory for Marceline to be comfortable picking one out.

Flowers had always been a possibility, but Marceline couldn't for her life remember what Bonnibel's favorite flower was, and if she got the wrong one, well, she'd just look like an idiot.

She even thought about writing a new song for Bonnibel. That was actually her favorite idea, but she had just done that for the Princess' birthday and Bonnibel might be let down if she repeated a gift like that so soon. She always made up songs and jammed on her bass. It would look like she wasn't even trying.

Marceline groaned in frustration and finally took off for the Candy Kingdom. She had just ten minutes left. She was going to meet Bonnibel by the front gate, and then they were supposed to go on a romantic night picnic by Smoothie Falls. Glob! She couldn't even take Bonnibel on a surprise date because the Princess had requested to handle the date arrangements for the evening.

Outside of the Tree House, the air was cool and crisp. It was the kind of cool that left plenty of opportunities for "I'm cold" snuggling without actually being uncomfortable. The sky was clear and the moon was bright. It was the perfect night for a picnic.

Yet as she took to the air, for the first time in a LONG time, Marceline felt a growing anxiety in the pit of her stomach. She usually avoided anything that even RESEMBLED serious commitment and she flew away as fast as she could from situations where anyone might EXPECT things from her. Yet here she was with Bonnibel, so concerned about making her girlfriend happy that the idea of failure was making her sick. Why was she putting herself through this again?

Marceline was rapidly approaching the castle, and she was no closer to an idea now than she had been days ago. She should just accept that it wasn't going to happen. She had shrugged off more important commitments in the past. Why was it so hard to let this go?

She caught sight of the edge of the walls and quickly flew down to the ground. She didn't want Bonnibel to see her flying in with empty arms. She didn't want Bonnibel to see her until the last second.

Marceline went to take a step closer to the castle, but her foot refused to move. Glob this was terrible! How could she face the look of disappointment on Bonnibel's face? Why couldn't she have worried about this sooner? Maybe jamming on her bass and avoiding her responsibilities worked for ruling the vampires, but it totally didn't work in this relationship. Marceline had never felt so important as she did with Bonnibel, but she had NEVER felt so terrified of failure. And here she was, failing her girlfriend on their first Valentine's Day together.

Marceline felt her cheeks begin to heat with shame and her eyes began to mist. Oh man, she was not going to cry. That was so NOT going to happen! She was Marceline, the Vampire Queen! Ruler of the vampires, killer of the Vampire King, baddass rocker girl, and legendary bass player. She was so NOT going to cry because she couldn't find a Valentine's gift for some pink candy chick she had barely known for a year!

Then the first few tears started to fall. Man, she totally WAS going to cry. She had blown off getting something nice for the best thing to happen to her in two hundred years, and she felt AWFUL about it.

Marceline sunk down to the forest floor in the clearing amidst the cotton candy trees. She hugged her knees to her chest and pressed her forehead against the ripped fabric of her jeans. Her hair fell in a heavy curtain around her, blocking out the world and leaving her alone with her inadequacy. Her throat felt tight, her eyes felt hot, and her nose felt stuffed. She sniffed.

And suddenly, something sniffed her back.

Marceline reared back and hissed – her face contorted into a fanged snarl aimed at the THING that had just sniffed her leg. There on the ground was a tiny candy corn rat. It had a fat little body with a yellow tail and a white head. It looked up at her, eyes bright and curious, inspecting her as thoroughly as she was inspecting it. Marceline's monstrous visage relaxed back into her normal one as she slowly lowered herself and stretched out her hand. The rat trotted forward, whiskers twitching alertly as it sniffed every inch of her it could reach.

Marceline turned her hand over cautiously, and the little guy jumped into her palm like he owned the place. She lifted the rat into the air and brought it to her chest. He nestled happily against her flannel and squeaked slightly, for all the world like he wanted her to know that he was ready to go.

Slowly, eyes wide with wonder, Marceline drifted back into the air. There was the castle, and there was Bonnibel by the front gate, tapping her foot with impatience and scanning the sky. She caught sight of Marceline and her slight scowl of annoyance smoothed into a smile of happiness.

Marceline quickly brushed away the tears that were still hovering in the corners of her eyes and glided in to land in front of her girlfriend. Bonnibel glanced curiously at the vampire's hand which was still tightly clasped to her chest.

"Happy Valentine's Day Marceline," Bonnibel said sweetly.

"Happy Valentine's Day Bonnibel," Marceline replied, a touch of amazement still in her voice.

"Is something wrong?" The Princess asked, suddenly worried.

Marceline shook her head. "No. No, everything is right." She brought her hand away from her chest and held the little rat out for Bonnibel to see. He sat up slightly and rested his front feet on Marceline's ring and pointer finger, stretching himself forward to sniff at the Princess. Bonnibel's eyes went wide and her hands flew to her mouth. She crouched slightly and held out a finger for the little guy to sniff. "I figured," Marceline uttered softly, "That a lab rat like you needs a buddy to help you out with your experiments, since I'm no good at that junk."

Bonnibel's eyes locked with hers, and the vampire could see the tears shining there. If she lived to be a million with Ooo turned to dust around her, Marceline would never forget the way the Princess was looking at her right now. This was why she let Bonnibel and only Bonnibel expect things of her. For these rare, wonderful moments when Marceline managed to exceed those expectations. She never wanted to fly away from this.

"So Bonnibel," Marceline's voice failed her for a moment under the intensity of the Princess' gaze. She stepped forward and took Bonnibel's hands and turned them over, then tenderly slipped the rat into her palms. "Meet Science."