"The Reluctant Queen"
His voice so even and so kind caught her between hick ups. The small girl looked over her shoulder and through her tears. Simon was there, nervously twisting his hands in knots. He hung his head low, using the long white hair that fell about his face to hide his shame. Little sparkling droplets fell from his beard and wet the ground between his worn shoes.
"Marceline?" he looked up at her, the whites of his eyes irritated from his hot tears. "Marci…sweetheart, p-please hear me out"
If the truth be told she wanted to run away sometimes. But after two years of travelling with Simon she had grown attached to him. When Simon was well he was kind and loving, like a father. Other times, Simon said cruel things to her or ignored her needs for the purpose of fulfilling his own ridiculous ones. It seemed to her that she lived with two different people.
Her voice broke through the sobs as she inched towards him. Simon smiled desperately and walked towards her with trembling open arms. He scooped her up and held her close, snuggling the child till she felt smothered. Marceline let him hold her because that was what made him better, made him the happy Simon she loved. Simon began to walk. And when he started walking he did so till he couldn't anymore. Closing her eyes Marceline felt the place she had called home for the past month getting further and further away.
Marceline opened her eyes and looked around. She gripped the blankets in her fists and sat up to find she was no longer in the lab. Instead Marceline found herself in some sort of room. The first things she noticed were the round walls made of ice so thick she couldn't see what was on the other side. Was this a cell, obviously the Ice King made it for her?
This place, it was cold but admit tingly beautiful; everything was an assorted shade of blue, contrasted heavily her guitar was in the corner on a stand made of ice, the vanity had a mirror but that was ice too. Marceline floated out of bed and up to her reflection. She reached out and gently touched the surface. As she pulled her hand back she rubbed her fingertips together to warm them.
The woman in the mirror looked tired and that upset Marceline even more. That and the strange gown she had somehow been put in. She tugged at the ribbon on the long white finely tailored nightgown and it slipped over her clothing. Leaving it on the floor she turned away. Beneath she still had her jeans and turtleneck but the room was made of ice. Marceline felt like she was walking around in a refrigerator.
She saw her breath leaving her and sought warmth. Pulling a blanket from her bed she wrapped it around her body and continued to explore. She noted that there were no windows or a door of any kind. Marceline could be imprisoned anywhere in Ooo.
Curling her feet beneath the blanket Marceline floated back over to her guitar. On the vanity besides it Ice King had left several things; a brush, a note, a basket of fresh red apples and a toothbrush. Deciding she wasn't hungry Marceline shifted her eyes towards the note he left which read 'Dear Marci, you will find everything you need to be comfortable plus some. You know I treat my guests better than I treat myself baby'.
Rolling her eyes she ignored the doodle he'd drawn of himself shooting hearts and instead occupied her attentions with her guitar. It took a few warm ups to defrost her fingers. After her joints loosened up she was able to let a few of her fears flow into melancholy melodies.
Part of her hated him for going into her house, part of her was glad she wouldn't die of boredom. Still, as she picked up the familiar weight of her guitar Marceline felt a little disinterested in singing or playing it. Her fingers rested on the chords but could not be willed to play.
Too many concerns were piling up inside her. Thoughts of Bubblegum and Finn and Jake…what became of them? Surely Simon hadn't killed them. Finn and Jake were better heroes then that and Bonnie…she was smarter than that wasn't she? And Marceline…she was trapped in the Ice King's little snow globe. So maybe everything wasn't as dandy as she hoped for the others if she was here.
It was true that deep down Marceline wanted to forget about the others and get out of this jam but still…they were her friends. She wanted to know if they were okay. After she broke out of here she'd stop by the tree house to harass the boys if they didn't come barging in to 'rescue' her first. Until then what could she do but figure a way out, which there seemed to be none at the moment. Marceline learned her lesson with Ice King's Ice. She couldn't break it easily. So till he or the boys showed up she was stuck and…helpless?
Marceline hated feeling helpless.
"Stupid donk", Marceline muttered as she shifted chords. "Can't we ever just hang out like old times without something catastrophic happening?"
Marceline floated up a little, drifting to the center of her bed as she began to play a melody that helped through times like this. It was bittersweet like the story of her life but it was also able to fill her with hope.
"Is it just you and me in the wreckage of the world?" she whispered as her fingers lightly played the chords. "That must be…so confusing for a…little girl", Marceline took a seat, crossed her legs and continued to play, her voice drowning even in the meekness of her chords. "And I know you're going to need me…here with you. But I'm losing myself and I'm afraid…you're going to lose me…too"
A tear ran down the side of her face as he fell back. She set her guitar aside to free her hands. Marceline dug her palms into her eyes to rub out the tears. Now wasn't the time to get emotional. That creep would be back any moment, smiling and acting kind like they were friends. Marceline lowered her hands when she heard the strange sound of two ice cubes rubbing together.
Rolling onto her side she saw him standing in her room. His hair had gotten a bit longer since she last saw him. He was wearing Simon's suit and the crown, his old blue wizard robe drawn around his shoulders like a cape. The Ice King's step was a hop and a skip as he made his way to her bedside. Marceline glared and turned her back on him.
"Aw, hear me out"
That was the last thing she wanted him to say. Marceline flew up and punched him square in his pointed blue nose. His head whipped around till she could hardly see his face but that was a good thing. Every time she looked at him hope sparked in her heart that those eyes would gloss over and Simon would come back. But they never did and he never did. Simon was officially lost in the dark. In her attempt to save him she had completely lost him. And this…this thing had taken him away…again!
"Don't talk to me!" she sobbed. "Don't look at me, don't touch me! Just…leave me alone"
"Ungrateful little brat", he muttered loud enough for her to hear. "Aren't you even going to say thank you for this room? I decorated it myself you know, with my own hands! That's a lotta work for an old toot like me"
"I didn't ask you to do it", she said through her tears, curling her legs up to her chest.
"Yeah…but I want you to be, you know happy", he sounded sincere which quieted Marceline. "You look ugly when you cry"
She turned on a dime and punched him again, this time without holding back. The king hit the ground in a heap, the crown somehow remaining on his head. Grumbling curses under his breath he collected himself. Marceline looked at him only so he could see the hate burning in her eyes.
"I don't want to talk to you", her voice was more composed if not a bit hoarse. "I want to talk to Simon"
Something cold and strong grabbed her arm, pulled her off the bed. It happened so fast. She focused on keeping her feet from slipping as her nose pressed against the pointed tip of her captors. Luckily that gave her nearly a foot of distance between her face and his. Her eyes opened wide as saucers as his mouth blared pointed teeth.
"Simon is DEAD!" he screamed anger and spit flying towards her. "That sad pathetic little man is GONE! Gone! GONE! GONE!" In his fit he'd dug his nails into her arms, shook her, and tossed her back onto the bed. "I'm the Ice King! Call me…The…The Ice King…"
His chest rose and fell roughly as if he were having trouble breathing. Simon had a bad heart, a side effect of the crown and it worked briefly in Marceline's favor as he focused on clutching his chest instead of strangling her neck. He glared through her wishing he could harm her but something, no someone kept him from doing so.
Marceline was determined to get answers. This cage wasn't going to be her new life. This man wasn't going to be the only person she'd ever see. She would escape and see her friends again, fly in the night breeze and bring her old gentle friend back. The two of them would travel the land of Ooo exploring and she'd be necklace and he would be her voice of reason. It would be like the old days.
This twisted reality wouldn't be the swan song of Simon Petrikov.
"If Simon is gone then why am I here!?" Marceline argued defiantly. "Why can't you just get rid of me like you did Bubblegum?"
"That trollop", he growled while soothing his disheveled attire. "She means nothing to him compared to you…his little girl, his precious Marceline. I wanted to kill you and all those sappy little feelings", he admitted, adding bitterly. "But I can't bring myself to do so"
"Because you're my queen", he said with a smile, swirling his fingers till he formed a delicate ice flower. "You're my Marci"
The vampire queen remained frozen as the Ice King walked around her bed and took a seat on the edge. His presence was different then she expected, somehow calm and collected. She recognized this was just another example of his inconsistent madness. He'd explode soon enough for something absolutely stupid.
He slid the flower in her hand gently and lifted her guitar. He placed the instrument in his lap like it belonged there and tuned it. There was a moment of anticipation as Marceline wondered if he really was going to play. Simon always had a way with music. When the notes hit the air Marceline's breath caught in her chest. She stilled as the bittersweet melody spoke for his inner turmoil.
Simon was in there despite the Ice King's inability to accept so.
And somewhere deep down Marceline felt hope swell. Maybe, just maybe Simon could still hear her. When the crown had corrupted his mind it was the Ice King clouding his judgment. Perhaps now that The Ice King was in control Simon could do the same? It was a somewhat solid theory. Marceline gently tightened her grip on the flower, careful not to shatter the delicate glass.
The music stopped.
"This world will be ours you know", he told her gently. "And we will rule it…just you and me and Gunter…together forever", he sighed as the thought made him happy. "Just like you wanted Marci"
Ice King lifted the guitar and began to play again. The tune was lighter than before.
"You don't know what I want", she pulled the covers over her head to keep from having to look at him. "Here's a hint, I'm not your frickn queen I'm your prisoner. You're keeping me against my will"
"Only because you'd leave if I let you out", he responded seriously as his fingers froze.
"Those are hurtful words, Marceline", his icy voice chilled her to the bone, but did not elicit the response he wanted.
Marceline ignored him. She lay there beside him and pretended he wasn't there. But he was and he wanted her to talk to him, eat with him…smile for him. A cold burning sensation ate away his insides, made his veins freeze over.
"Don't ignore me!" he roared with a monstrous tone. "I'm right here you impertinent brat! Look at me!"
The Ice King reached down and yanked the blanket. Marceline spun around as he uncovered the top half of her. Her eyes met his and the intensity of his stare stole her breath. Anger was bubbling inside of him physically manifesting in the slight trembling of his body.
"I let you live because you're supposed to love me!" he screamed. "You're my Marci, my only true friend", his fist clenched and smoked like dry ice in water. "Love me! Love me!" In a fast fit of rage he grabbed the flower and threw it against the wall. "Say something!"
Marceline felt the silence consuming them. Her feelings for Simon were unconditional. He had been there for her, raised her through childhood. He was more her dad than her dad ever was. Who was this thing to demand her affections? Telling someone she loved them was something she had only told to three people. When she was little, Simon was the first person who earned her love after her mother passed away.
"I love Simon"
Ice King's bottom lip trembled as his upper curled back into a gnarling grimace. This disobedience wouldn't do. She would learn. The unruly brat would learn to play.
"Maybe if you skip a few meals that tongue of yours will learn a lesson"
And without another word he stood and walked into the wall. The ice shifted as he touched it allowing him passage. Marceline processed his words too late and he was nearly gone by the time she reached the ice. Banging her fists on the surface she called out to him. His silhouette faded to blue.
"Get back here you jerk!" she hissed. "You'll pay for this!"
"How come we always have to move?" she pouted.
Simon brushed the short ebony bangs from her face with a tenderly touch. When he put her down the man always took a knee to be at eye level with the little girl. His words meant more if he looked her in the eye when speaking them.
"Sometimes leaving things in the past is a good thing", he told her with a softly spoken tone. "A new home means a new beginning. Do you understand?"
Marceline thought about what he was telling her. She bit her bottom lip.
"You want me to forget those things you said?"
"I…um, Marceline", Simon rested his hand on her shoulder. "Let's play pretend…I'd never try to hurt you, you know that. That man who said those awful things wasn't me. I'd never try to hurt you"
"How come?" she asked.
"Because you're my Marci", he told her as his thumb gently wiped away the last of her tears.
Marceline heard all she needed to and rushed into his arms, reaching around to squeeze him the best she could. She was just a little girl surviving in the aftermath of a war. There was little food and hardly any people left but Marceline had Simon. Simon was all she needed. And even if he wasn't perfect he was hers.
Marceline decided that she should get out of bed. True to his word no food had been brought to her, something that was hard to ignore when her darn stomach had to keep sounding the dinner bell. Growl! She grumbled, punching the bed a few times as she floated into the air and searched again for anything that had any red in it. Of course there was nothing but looking kept her occupied enough to waste some time.
"I should have rationed those apples better…" she groaned woefully. "I didn't think the toot would actually try to starve me"
Marceline looked over her shoulder. Her bass was red but she'd starve before she drained the red from her family heirloom. Marceline slammed her dresser drawer closed when she realized that something new was in her room. Her captor must have brought it when she drifted off. It was a blue dress and half jacket with ice themed print. Feeling the material Marceline admitted that it was made with fine fabric. A note was left on her dresser in place of the other.
It read 'Dear Marceline, these past few days have been empty without your presence. When you are ready to talk things over, say during dinner then show me'.
Rolling her eyes Marceline picked up the gown and set it down and picked it up. She was hungry. Maybe if she got back on his good side she could sneak attack him and knock the crown off. Once it was off she could beat the living crap out of him and then heal him with some of those tears Finn thought she knew nothing about.
An hour passed filled with contemplation. Did she really want to play this game?
Reluctantly Marceline changed into the dress. Chills ran up her spine like a hundred crawling spiders as she quickly threw it on, feeling that he'd have to be watching her to know if she put it on or not. The thought was beyond creepy. When she turned to look at her reflection he was in the background, standing with his arms folded behind his back and a sly partial grin on his face. Startled Marceline spun on her heel, throwing the brush from her vanity at him.
"My you look lovely", he smiled even as the brush bounced off his shoulder. "Also hungry"
"That's cause I am you jerk", she grumbled, gesturing to the room. "There's nothing in here for me to eat"
"Yes, I decorated it myself", his voice dropped and his brow lifted. "I mean, we wouldn't want you getting fat, now would we?" Ice King chided jokingly as he walked towards Marceline, quickly throwing his hand up as she opened her mouth. "I'm just protecting you Marceline. I have only your best interests in mind"
"Then let me out of here", her eyes were childlike as she nearly pleaded with her oldest friend. "This is crazy…you can't keep me in here, in your little snow globe like a pet", her hips tilted to one side. "I'm not going to play damsel in distress for you. My patience only lasts so long Ice King"
Ice King smiled smittenly making Marceline's stomach lurch. Narrowing her eyes she turned her back on him. He snapped his wrist, snapped his fingers with a quick flourish and a green penguin came through a small tunnel formed in the barrier of her prison. It set a raw steak down at Marceline's feet, made a small penguin noise and vanished. Marceline looked down at the steak and the red juices seeping onto the plate.
"What. The. Hell?" she spun from insult, from the sheer audacity he had to present this as her first meal in days. "What the junk is this!?"
Ice King flashed a crooked, lightly demented and taunting smile. He strolled smugly to the plate, bowed at her feet and picked it off the floor. Hand cupping the bottom of the fine china he presented it to her with a suave kind of flourish. Shaking her head Marceline looked from the plate to Ice King and back to the plate in disgust. What did he think she was some kind of animal?
"Deep down within all of us lies a heart of darkness", Ice King sneered as he locked eyes with Marceline, leaning over the plate to taunt her. "You are no better than me, vampire. Demon, you have desires like I have desires and those morals you have disillusioned yourself with…they mean nothing to creatures like us", gently he set it on her vanity, making sure to brush against her arm as he did so.
"I'm not eating that", she said flatly.
"But if I recall that's your favorite shade of red", He mused mockingly.
"Well I'll leave you to enjoy your meal, freshly prepared by the way", Ice King chuckled. "Good day Marci sweetheart, I have business to attend to elsewhere"
"Good", she spat. "Get out of my room"
"Very well", he nodded, nibbling on his lower lip excitedly. "I will get out of your room"
Ice King walked to his throne room, an elaborate collection of finely crafted ice fixtures. But his finest was his throne, which nearly reached the ceiling and was his most comfortable chair. Atop the inward peak rested the diadem of the candy princess, the first casualty of war. She made such a lovely centerpiece for his base of operations and if he looked carefully he could still see her lovely face beneath the thick layer of ice separating the two of them.
Taking a seat he waited for his minions to file in, a hundred emerald penguins lead by his precious Gunter. Gunter crawled up into his lap and nestled there, wenking happily. Atop her head rested a poorly fitting white bear hat and as Ice King pet it, the adornment was soft to the touch. Around his pet's neck was an amulet, which she wielded quite effectively. Even if he didn't share the same level of affection the creature's love for him was unyielding. There was doubt of loyalty.
"Has the newly acquired territory been occupied?" he asked his pet gently. "Like I asked?"
"Good", Ice King cooed as he scratched beneath her chin gently. "What a good girl you are to daddy"
"Wenk", Gunter sighed affectionately as she cuddled into her beloved owner, wings wrapping as best they could for a hug.
"There is something else I need you to do sweetie", he smiled as he twisted his head to one side, gently pushing her off him. "Now that our kingdom has grown we need to defend it. We're going to need some more weapons. Can you do that for daddy? Help him get weapons?"
"Oh don't worry about those two", he responded with a slight bitter twinge to his tone. "I will deal with them when the time comes"
"Wenk?", Gunter worriedly sighed.
"Marci? Don't worry Gunter…she'll come around sooner or later", he assured his penguin sweetly. "And you'll have a momma too, won't that be nice?"
"Wenk", the penguin smiled as she flapped her arms. "Wenk!"
"I know sweetie", he smiled as he tilted his head the other way. "And daddy thanks you"
Um, hopefully you guys enjoyed the first chapter? By the way I am loving writing this darker, more insane version of Ice King...so much fun...so much fun. R&R i'd love to hear your guy's thoughts
PS: Thanks Rabias for catching the reflection bit. (slaps face) I'm not sure how I forgot vampires have no reflections