The light that filtered into the cave was swallowed by the never ending darkness. Sound seemed absent as Gumball and Fionna could hear their organs functioning, their heartbeats pounding in their ears. With every step they took, the darkness slowly surrounded them, wrapping its haunting fingers around them.
Then, a thud came from Gumball's right, followed by a struggled grunt of pain from Fionna. Puzzled, he reached out in front of him, touching wood not too far from him. The wood felt cold, chilling to the touch, and brittle. What it a house?
"Fionna," Gumball whispered. He pawed around for Fionna in the dark. He touched her shoulder and slowly went down from there. She seemed to understand and quickly took hold of his hand before he could go any lower. Fionna grimaced.
Gumball maneuvered himself around the house, sliding against the wall and around the corners until his hand met something metal, the cold biting into his skin. A door handle.
Gumball swallowed and bit his lip. The stories, the legends of vampires he heard when he was a kid flooded his mind. Images of fangs, of claws, of blood flashed in front of his eyes.
He shook his head. This is for the kingdom. Calm down. Exhale. His eyes focused and he gripped the door handle, twisting the handle as the cool metal sent needles of ice up his spine. He pulled, the door resisting against him, letting out a groan as it slowly jutted open.
Gumball scanned the inside of the house, his eyes accustomed to the dark. He made out dark silhouettes, of walls, of furniture. He gently pulled Fionna forward as his other hand was outstretched, feeling his surroundings. Fionna's mind was on overdrive, her head buzzing as her hand gripped the handle of her sword.
Screeching suddenly filled their ears, shattering the silence. Gumball yelled out and covered his ears in vain as Fionna drew her sword, looking for something, anything to swing at. Red eyes glared at them from the darkness, wide and filled with rage. But, seeming as if they had a sudden realization, they softened and looked away.
A small light flickered on beside them and Marshall's figure slowly touched down. His hair was disheveled and his eyes unfocused, with dark bags under them.
"You know, you could knock," he said, scratching his head and smiling slightly. His voice was raspy, as if he'd been asleep. Gumball and Fionna let out a breath of relief, Fionna putting her sword back behind her back. Marshall looked down.
"It's a surprise to see you guys here. What do you want?" Gumball shoulders fell.
"We were worried about you," he said, his purple eyes filled with concern. Marshall made a noise.
"Worried? Why? You don't need to be," he replied. Gumball sucked in his breath, straightening his back as his eyes narrowed.
"Because, we're your friends, Marshall," he stated, his voice sounding authoritative. Marshall was taken by surprise, looking up at Gumball. But, his eyes darkened and he looked down again.
"Friends? I don't have any friends. And I don't need any, either." His voice started to shake. "Because when you live as long as I do, you start to go insane. Every person, every friend, everyone you hold dear, dies right in front of you. You can't do anything about it. The worst part? You can't die with them. It's hard for me to trust anyone. Because when I do, when someone finally trusts me, they disappear. They slip away from my fingertips. I can never get them back. And it hurts."
Fionna took Marshall by his collar and pulled his head upward, her blue eyes shining with anger.
"What's with you?!" she yelled, shaking Marshall. "What's with this negative attitude?! Because, honestly, we all have a terrible past! I've never met my parents. I know Cake is always trying to cheer me up by saying that her parents are mine, but I know they're not! Do you know what it's like to not have a plan for you? A set of footsteps to follow? It's hard to be all alone to make a name for yourself!" Marshall flinched, receding away from Fionna.
"And, Gumball," Fionna started, turning to Gumball, who looked down at the mention of him, "Gumball's had the weight an entire globbing kingdom on his shoulders ever since he was born. He never had a break, never had much time to be a kid, and always had to put his people first. We all have our problems, but you know what? We learn from the past and we move on. Instead of focusing on what we should've done, we focus on what we can do now."
Fionna paused, letting go of Marshall's collar and apologetically brushing it out. She swallowed and looked into Marshall's eyes.
"What happened? What was so bad that you can't let go of your past?" she asked, her voice almost a whisper. Marshall's eyes narrowed and he turned away.
"Someone was killed because of me," he said. "It was a long time ago, over 900 years, before you two came along. He was the only friend I had. And he died because of me."
Marshall felt a hand wrap around his. He turned to meet Gumball's purple eyes. Gumball smiled comfortingly.
"Do we look like that boy?" he asked. "We don't. So, we promise to stay with you. We promise."
As promised, here is chapter 6! ;w;
Thank you so much for your support, and I hope you all have an amazing start to the week!