EDIT: Thanks to TheJamjam for pointing out a glaring error in this chapter. I really need to start finding a beta reader . . . or four . . .

"We are opposites, you and I." She said with an aching sorrow in her voice. She was giving up; she had wanted it, he had wanted it, but his tears had been the ultimate betrayal to them both. "It is impossible for us to be together; we cannot help but hurt each other."

"Can't we at least try?"

"You . . . would defy nature for me?" That instant, that one look, would forever be etched into his soul. Standing there, in the middle of the goblin city, all of creation burning down around them, he had suffered an epiphany. What he'd thought he'd felt for Princess Bubblegum, was nothing, a simple boy's crush. That small display blackened and crumbled to dust before the conflagration of passion that burned between them in that glimmer of hope in her starry eyes. He would have defied anything for her in that moment. The wild, untamable sea of her fiery hair had seemed as if it reached out to him; her silhouette, the most beautiful shades of copper and ruby, seemed to glow even brighter as he approached her, the all-consuming flames slowly dying. She let him take her in his arms, the supreme sign of her desire for him, a force of nature bowing to the greater tempest of his own raging desire. For an instant, as her head burrowed into the crook of his neck, seeking his acceptance, all of time hung suspended on that single moment of perfection.

Then, he began to burn. He struggled with it, stifled the animal noises of agony that begged him to tear away from the source of his pain, and what brought it to an end was not his instinct of survival, but her realization that she was hurting him. The rage had been conquered, the hurt burned away, all she could feel was her need for him . . . and she had hurt him. Her special one. They could never be together because she was a monster, and she hated herself for being what she was. "Goodbye, Finn."

And she was gone. He had seen her tears before, just before they finally came to understand the torturous dilemma of their existences, and now she would disappear forever from his life. Anything to never hurt him again. That one act of unbridled compassion was more cruel to the both of them than anything the Lich could ever have done to all of Ooo.

"Finn!" Jake's shout broke through the din, "Oh my Glob, it's horrible. Everyone's dead! They're all barbequed, bodies everywhere!"


"Naw, I'm just kidding, everyone's fine." His brother gestured off the side of the carnage, to the safe villagers who cheered for his heroism. He had banished the burning monster that had threatened to destroy them all. They did not know who she was or what she was motivated by, all they could do was conjecture on her story and judge her based on their own narrow view of the world. He immediately felt guilty over the pang of rage he felt towards them for their feelings. "So, what happened?"

"She hugged me . . . and then she left me." As he watched her go, he quietly raged against whatever fool deity found merit in giving so young a boy such complex feelings. No thirteen year old boy should be able to perceive these feelings, let alone understand them so completely.

Jake's expression was one of awe. "How'd it feel, man?"

He could feel the heat of his burns slowly sink into his core, caressing his heart. Her warmth, her love, had become a part of him in some small way. "It hurt."

"No worries, buddy." Jake slapped his back. "We still have that bottle of magic Cyclops healing tears back at the house. We'll get you fixed up."

Not yet, he silently bemoaned, Don't take the last part of her away from me yet. Please, just a little longer, just a little more time. "Yeah, I know." He chuckled and turned away from her dwindling trail and started for home. She was returning to the Fire Kingdom. He would never see her again.

Jake chuckled, "Guess we could have used Flambo's 'Immunity to Fire' spell right about now."

Finn stopped so abruptly that Jake crashed into him. "What spell?"

"Immunity to Fire," Jake chuckled, "Flambo made me immune to fire when I courted the Flame Princess for you. Man, that fire kingdom is so intense, I'd have died the moment I set foot in there if he hadn't." Jake saw the determined gleam in Finn's eye, "Finn? Hey, what's up brother?"

"You just gave me an idea." Finn smiled boldly as he turned to face his adopted brother, "You know what time it is?"

"Adventure time?"

"No," Finn struck his fist against his open palm, "It's time to defy nature."

This is the beginning of a three part story, maybe even more (depending on if it goes well). Jake's simple comment has sparked a resolve in Finn, now our hero has undertaken a grand quest for the greatest treasure of his life. Will he succeed?

Stay tuned . . .