Finn paced the floor of the meeting room in the Candy Castle, repeatedly removing his hat, running his fingers through his filthy hair, and then replacing the garment. He had rushed over here as soon as the trio had gotten home, mumbling something about needing to see PB. Deep in his gut, Finn know something was going on— and he needed to discuss it with the smartest person he knew. "Something's not right. The Ice King does not usually give up that easily- and he never passes up a fight. The old coot said something to Vienna before he let her go- but no matter how many times I ask she refuses to talk. All she wants to do is sleep. I-i-is that normal?"
Sitting calmly in her chair, Princess Bubblegum observed the troubled youth. He was quite a bit more distressed than usual, and the princess suspected it had to do with that human girl. It was a bit odd for the boy to travel to the Candy Kingdom alone- without his brother that is. So when Peppermint Butler rushed into her room, claiming Finn needed to speak to her alone, the Princess quickly set her experiment aside and met her knight in the conference room.
"Finn," she began slowly, looking at the blue-eyed teen before continuing. "I've been meaning to tell you something. Smaller kingdoms have been attacked- the citizens savaged by a beast that no one can seem to name. It's been roaming around Ooo and attacking innocent people..." The Princess paused, "It needs to be stopped."
PB fell silent and watched as Finn processed the new information. "What are they describing this beast as?"
"No survivor has been able to sum up the creatures appearance. All they can say is that it uses your worst fears against you, and as of now– no one has been successful in stopping it's rampage."
"Well... It hasn't faced me yet. And I never run away!"
The princess just smiled, walking over to the teenager and placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "I would never ask you to run, Finn. That would insult you, and I know that. No," The pink woman began, turning Finn so he looked at her. "All I ask, is that you- the Great Hero of Ooo- go to the remaining kingdoms and assure that their defenses are well prepared."
Finn blinked, "That's it?"
"And," she added, looking at Finn with serious eyes. "If you happen to come across the monster- you have to kill it. Whatever it is, it is dangerous and deadly. It needs to be stopped before more people are hurt,"
Finn nodded, his hand touching the sword strapped to his back. "Of course, PB. This monster is as good as gone."
Finn sighed, sitting down next to Beemo on their clutter table. Handing Jake a slip of paper PB had given him as Finn had left the castle. "I visited the Candy Kingdom this morning and PB said there was a monster attacking the outer kingdoms of Ooo."
Jake looked up at his brother, his normally cheerful face transformed into something much more serious. "Do you think it could be The Linch, man? Cause that's one tough mamajamma..."
The teen shook his head, "Yeah, I know man. But whatever it is, this'll be one of our toughest fights. My guts are telling me that much–" The teen explained, leaning against the table.
There was a moment of silence as the two guys mulled over their thoughts; Jake eventually looked up at his younger brother "So what does she want us to do about it?" The dog asked, looking over the list of kingdoms on the slip of paper.
"She wants us to go and check on all of those kingdoms- make sure that their defenses are up and prepared. And," he stopped, looking in his brother's eyes. "She wants us to kill it if we get the chance. It's already ruined several kingdoms and destroyed nomadic tribes in the further grasslands and forests… We can't allow this thing to keep terrorizing Ooo, you know?"
Jake nodded, scratching his head. "Yeah, but what about…. You know who?"
Finn shrugged, scratching his arm as his answered his brother. "The entire quest should only take a few days, PB said that Vienna welcome to stay at Candy Kingdom while we're away- or she could join us. Peebs said it was up to us,"
"So…?" Jake asked, prolonging his 'o' just to annoy his younger brother.
The blond looked up at him, "I think that we should-"
Jake looked at his brother earnestly, "There's no way we can take her. First of all, her ankle; she's only been healing for a couple of days. There's no way she'll be able to walk by then! Secondly, something about that crazy chick is not right. I don't know what it is… But my doggy senses always tingle when I'm around her,"
"All the more reason we should take her," Finn argued back. "That way, we can keep an eye on her while also doing our hero duties."
The yellow dog looked at his brother before giggling like a little pup. "You said duty… As in duty duty!"
Finn groaned, grabbing his brother's shoulders. "Look, something inside of my gut is telling me that she needs to go with us. As in there's no way I can leave her behind,"
"You're really serious about this, aren't you?" Jake said, looking at his brother. "We can take her, but she's slow. We'll have to split up the kingdoms and just meet up at the end."
Slowly, Finn's face changed. Something was telling him that wasn't a good idea- that the two brothers shouldn't separate and leave as individuals. No... Something was telling him they had to stick together. "I don't know man... That doesn't seem like a good idea for some reason."
Jake easily dismissed his younger brother with the wave of his paw. "It'll be fine. We'll just be separated for the night- then we can meet up at Wildberry's place for some victory pie!"
"That does sound pretty awesome..."
"See, I told you!"
Finn sighed, tugging on his hat childishly as he stuck out his bottom lip- thinking. "But, Jake..."
Jake sighed, "Dude. Grow a pair and just go on the quest with Vienna; maybe you could stop at Marceline's while you're over checking on the Fire Kingdom."
"Nah, Marcie's visiting her friends in the Nightosphere for the week..." Finn paused, he rest of his brother's words sinking into his brain. The teenager suddenly became a violent shade of pink, then quickly turned white- his voice becoming higher and much more strained. "Did you say I would be visiting the Fire Kingdom?"
The dog nodded, grabbing Beemo's controller and waking up the sleeping game console. "Yup- it's on the list."
"Can't you go?"
Jake snorted, "Are you kidding me? I'm banned from the Fire Kingdom, remember?"
Finn groaned, "Come on! Can't you go?"
"Nope, I guess you'll have to see her again... Come on Finn. It's been almost a year now- it's time to move on."
The teenager quickly averted his eyes, the small noises of Jake's resumed game filling the awkward silence. Silent thoughts began to well in his mind when he thought about her- that beautiful, vibrant, spontaneous, crazy girl that had undoubtably stolen his heart. Who still had his heart. But she was no longer his; she could never belong to anybody fully. It was just who she was, and yet... Finn had still fallen for her.
He knew her violent, harsh nature. He's seen her at her worst, his lovely Fire Princess, when she wanted nothing more than to destroy everything in her path and begin anew. But, Finn had also seen her at the best moments. When she tenderly kissed his cheek before disappearing into the shadows and the way he could feel it for hours afterward, when she tried to hold his hand in the rain- ignoring her burnt out flames just so they could have one tender moment together, when she cried and little embers began to fall to the ground and she allowed Finn to hold her for as long as he could stand.
But, her father had decided to marry her off to the Lava Prince. Someone who could control her anger without getting hurt. Someone that wasn't Finn.
Heartbroken, Finn had begged the King to let his daughter decide her own fate. But FP obeyed her father, unable to fight back for once in her life. Her spark gone. She had realized there was no hope and had given up, she had given up and lost what had made her her in the process- leaving just a shell of what she used to be: fiery and passionate and his.
That's what had hurt Finn the most when he left, knowing that only her golden stare would follow him out the door.
And nearly a year and a half later- he was still recovering. A shiver still traveled up his spine whenever he thought of her flames licking the crisp air. The way her hair danced in the night. Her laugh. Her smile. Her eyes. Her.
He was still in love.
"Hello Miss Sleeps-a-lot,"
There was a short pearl of laugher, "You mean Sleeping Beauty?" Finn looked up, and then at Jake. Vienna had never laughed before– and the sound was actually quite pleasant. The girl was standing in the doorway in an old t-shirt of his and some shorts while rubbing her eyes. The red-head saw the looks and assumed they were confused by her joke, "Nevermind- it was a joke between me and my dad."
Finn cleared his throat, "So here's the down-low, Vienna. Me and Jake have some hero business we have to do... And you're coming with us. Well... Me."
"You?" Vienna questioned while she drank some water she had snagged from the fridge.
"Yeah, there's been some monster attacking the outer regions of Ooo- PB asked me and Jake to travel to some of the other Kingdoms and check on them. We decided to spilt up to save time and meet up at the Berry Kingdom." Finn explained, looking out the window absent-mindedly as his thoughts slowly returned to the trip ahead.
There was a moment of silence before anyone spoke again, "Well in that case, I have to leave."
Finn's head snapped back, his gaze on the stranger in his home. "What?"
Vienna sighed, taking a small, calculated sip of water before answering. "Do not worry, I will be gone before the afternoon. I cannot thank you enough for everything, but I must go."
Finn's brow furrowed, "No, you can't leave. You're going with us, Vi. Whatever is out there- it's dangerous. You can't go out there alone,"
"I will leave whenever I see fit. Once again, I thank you for everything that you have given me but—"
"No" The teenager interrupted. "You won't leave." Looking at the girl with determination, he spoke firmly— leaving little room or argument. "You're going with us because I promised you that I would keep you safe— and I could never forget a promise like that."
"I will go if it puts you in danger, Finn. You will not have broken any promise by letting me leave— you've already kept me alive this long."
Finn sighed, frustrated with the girl. Why did she have to be so globbing stubborn? She was the one who asked for help, Finn was just trying to do his job as a hero. He took a moment to think before answering, "Fine. If you want to leave, then leave. But," he added before she could make another sound, "You have to at least let me take you to the Fire Kingdom; on the edges of Ooo. After that, you can either stay with me and Jake— or leave."
The girl pursed her lips, frustration obvious on her face. "Fine, I'll go as far as this 'Fire Kingdom'. But tell me, is the kingdom actually made of fire?"
Both Finn and his brother nodded, "But don't worry– Flambo can give us a protection charm. Why?"
Vienna was staring at Finn, a look of humble admiration and curiosity flitting across her face. "How have you survived this Turvy for so long? If there are truly kingdoms of fire and ice... It can't be anymore safe here than out there."
The blond looked back at her, "What do you mean I live in a Turvy? And it's plenty safe in Ooo– I don't know what you're talking about."
She shrugged, "A Turvy is a word our people call places like this." The girl's voice had taken a softer tone, loosely gesturing out the window onto the empty grasslands that surrounded them. "It's a place that was directly hit with a nuclear bomb during the War; most of them are desolate, deadly places that human's cannot survive in for long. The things inside these Turvies are usually mutilated beyond hope— carnivorous, dangerous things that roam around attacking anyone who dare enter. But here... Here it's different."
Finn faintly remembered PB showing him a book a long time ago; but it had described a 'nuclear bomb' as something that was used in horrid wars— a weapon of mass destruction that destroyed entire cities in seconds, melted flesh off bones and left countries in shambles for centuries.
His stomach began to twist uncomfortably. "Oh, is that it?"
Vienna nodded slightly before her eyes flickered up towards Finn. "You must be one brave human, Finn. Truly one-of-a-kind,"
Finn shrugged, picking up the second controller to Beemo's game. "All in a day's work, Vienna. All in a day's work,"
A/N: Well... It's been a while— hasn't it? I'm not going to bore you with the standard excuses that most authors give, but simply appologize and promise to try and do better.
I really hope you all enjoyed this chapter- the story's turning out a bit more serious than I originally planned, so many thanks to my beta for keeping me on track! Though this story does not have a set match, I do love FP and I know that something would happen with them in the future. If you don't like them together— never fear, there won't be any make-up scenes or anything.
Reviews are always appreciated :)