(A/N: I don't own Adventure Time. If I did, I would have a lot more money.)
Those Left Behind
Simone Petrikov had been many things over the years: An antiquarian, a historian, and a professor of archeology. When the war hit and wiped out nearly all of humanity, she became something no one ever expected: A survivor.
And that sort of thing can change a person.
It can twist and disturb the mind, break the spirit, and age the body, especially when an ancient and powerful crown used to transcend mortality was placed into the equation.
In short, Simone was drifting into insanity in order to survive, and she wasn't sure if that was much better than the alternative. Her body had already begun to mutate, steadily erasing with it all vestiges of humanity. She had long since chased away those closest to her. In the chaos that followed the bombings, it was uncertain whether or not those people were even still alive.
Simone was scared and alone.
These were the thoughts that ran through her head as she made her way down a destroyed street in a silent town. The asphalt had been broken apart by the war, and she carefully stepped over the wide cracks.
Step on a crack and break your mother's back.
That rhyme was much more entertaining in her youth.
The crown that attached to her belt bounced against her thigh, constantly reminding her of its presence. It was always there, in the back of her mind, telling her to place the jeweled gold atop her head. Let the snow touch her face. Embrace insanity. Forget the memories of the past war and drift calmly into an icy kingdom of her own making.
She gritted her teeth together and marched forward, her eyes carefully scanning the crumbling buildings around her for supplies. Most things had been destroyed or radiated from the bombings and were unusable, but she had been lucky in finding quite a few canned goods.
It was during her final sweep of the city that the sound of crying caught her attention. A survivor? That was unlikely. Survivors were rare, especially in this city, which had been hit hard by the bombs. Still, she followed the sound, expecting to see a television still playing a movie in an electronic store window or a radio that had been left on and was catching a distant signal somehow. Anything other than a living, breathing person.
But when her eyes landed on a small boy in tiny denim overalls, she gasped. He was humanoid, but not completely human. Then again, neither was she. His skin was a bluish-tinted gray, and his ears came to two points amongst his jagged pitch black hair. A mutation, perhaps?
Whatever he was, he was just a child, and he needed help. Simone spotted a nearby toy store and darted over to it. Scanning over the ash-covered stuffed animals, a red bear-like toy caught her eye. That would work.
She carried the toy over to the kid, approaching him gently so she wouldn't frighten him away. His gaze leapt up to hers and traveled slowly over her face before landing on the outstretched stuffed animal. With a tiny smile quirking the edges of his lips, he sniffled and reached one hand out cautiously to retrieve the toy. Immediately, he pulled it into a hug and half-buried his face. Simone knelt beside him. "What's your name, sweetie?"
He looked over her distrustfully. From that close, she could see that his eye color was an eerie solid black. "I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
"There's nothing left here but strangers. At least find the ones that want to help you."
His gaze landed on the crown by her side. "Are you a queen?"
She laughed, and if the sound was harsh, he didn't notice it. "Yeah. I'm the Ice Queen."
His eyes widened. "Really?"
"No, sorry," she answered, wincing. "You'll have to excuse me if I'm a little bitter."
The boy roughly wiped the dampness of a stray tear from his cheek. "I'm Marshall Lee."
"That's a lovely name. I'm Simone. How old are you, Marshall?"
"Five." But he held up four fingers.
"And where are your parents?"
That question caused him to hesitate. "Mom went through the portal and can't come back. Daddy didn't wake up."
"Oh. I'm so sorry." The war always took the most important things from people. Her mind touched upon her once-fiancee. Was he still alive? She couldn't even remember the last meeting they had. There was screaming… and the cold. To rid herself of that thought, she asked, "You said there was a portal?" The scientist in her was instantly intrigued by the idea.
"It's a long story. Are you a demon?"
That question caused Simone to hesitate. "I'm sorry, what?"
"You're not like the humans. And look, your skin is similar to mine." To prove his point, he held his arm against hers. His tone was a lot more gray than hers, but she could see where he came to the conclusion. They were both different from everyone else.
"Oh." The question appeared to disappoint him, and he dropped his arm and stared thoughtfully into his toy animal's eyes.
He wanted her to be a demon? The question created an ominous feeling in the pit of her stomach. "Why do you ask?"
"I was hoping you could take me to my mom."
Simone's eyebrows drifted together in concern. "Marshall, are you a demon?"
"My mom is," he stated.
A demon. The word repeated itself over and over in her mind as she stared at the boy. Simone was already on a hell-bound trip due to her crown. She didn't need a demon to help her along on the journey. But he was just a child, and the world had ended. He needed someone, and if the truth was told, so did she. Maybe, if she had someone to care about, she could retain her sanity. Maybe it would be a demon that could keep her out of hell.
Simone swallowed nervously, knowing even as she did what her decision entailed. Another mouth to feed. Another person to protect… against both the apocalypse and herself. And the distinct possibility that she could be rescuing a very evil being that could only make things worse.
She placed a hand on the boy's shoulders, and he looked up at her with wide, watery eyes. "I have a place to stay a few miles outside of town. It's safe, Marshall. How about we go there and get some dinner? My treat."
With a muted smile, Marshall reached his tiny hand out and took hers. "Okay."
And hand in hand, the two made their way through the wreckage of the city.
(A/N: I plan on writing a few more chapters of this. This story is sort of a backstory to my Into the Dark series, so if you like this one, check that one out as well. ^_^ As always, please review!)