Marceline Abadeer's eyes fluttered open to the faint rays of sunlight streaming into the small bedroom she shared with her boyfriend, Ash. Wrapping a thin blanket around her slender form to protect herself from the sun, Marceline glanced around the room, looking for the shirt she had discarded the night before. Upon finding it and discovering that Ash had torn most of the buttons off while undressing her, Marceline threw it on the floor and floated out of the room. She had more important things to worry about than getting dressed.

"Hey Mar-Mar," Ash said, standing up from the kitchen table. The wizard put his arms around Marceline's waist. "You're getting fat, babe. Lay off the red today."

Marceline froze, and her face lost what little color it had. She had known that she was pregnant for nearly two months now, but had assumed that she could avoid telling Ash for a little while longer.

"I guess today is as good a day as any," Marceline thought. "And tonight is the Festival of Kingdoms, and Ash should be in a good mood. He loves festivals. I can tell him when we get home and he won't be too angry with me. He may even be hap-"

Marceline was snapped out of her thoughts by Ash roughly grabbing her chin and forcing her to look up at him.

"Did you hear me, you cow? I said to lay off the red today."

"I-I heard you, Ash," Marceline whispered.

"Good girl," he replied, roughly pinching the vampire queen's nipple.

Ash sat back down at the table, where he opened a small plastic bag of white powder and poured a bit onto Marceline's makeup mirror. Using a razorblade, Ash sorted the powder into thin lines and lowered his head to the mirror. Marceline walked out of the kitchen and into the small bathroom so she didn't have to see the blood trickle from her boyfriend's nose.

As soon as the bathroom door was shut behind her, Marceline sunk to the floor and buried her face in her knees. As much as she had tried to convince herself that Ash would be okay with her pregnancy, she knew that he would be furious. He had made it clear that he hated children.

Marceline couldn't quite remember having unprotected sex with Ash, but she wasn't surprised. Shortly after they had gotten back together, Marceline had developed a taste for the alcohol and hard drugs that Ash brought into their home. She chalked up her newfound interests to the stress of ruling the Vampire Kingdom, but, in reality, Marceline needed an escape from Ash's harsh words and violent outbursts. It was easier for the queen to submit to Ash's will when she was less aware of the world around her.

"Get your fat ass out here, Marceline! I'm hungry," Ash yelled from the kitchen.

Marceline sighed and stood up. She went to her bedroom to find some clothes that would hide the small bump on her stomach, and steeled herself for the day that was to come.

Later that evening, Marceline floated in front of her dingy full-length mirror as she tried to decide what outfit to wear to the Festival of Kingdoms. Although Marceline had never been the kind of person to worry about her appearance, Ash has laid down a strict set of rules regarding what she was and was not allowed to wear when they went out in public. He forbade Marceline from showing too much of her body, while insisting that she still look sexy. It was even worse when Marceline was expected to appear in a royal capacity, like at tonight's festival.

The Festival of Kingdoms was a highly anticipated yearly event. The royalty of every kingdom in Ooo, along with many of their citizens, traveled to the Candy Kingdom's fairgrounds, where they would showcase examples of local food, music, dancing, and art. On the third day, Princess Bubblegum hosted a meeting where treaties were renewed and alliances were strengthened. After the political business was attended to, nearly everyone gathered in the Candy Castle's ballroom to dance, eat and drink well into the next morning.

Marceline had never attended the festival as the Vampire Kingdom's ruler, but recently she had been forced to take on the official responsibilities that she had ignored for nearly a two hundred years. After a misunderstanding between a vampire and a high ranking member of the Flame Kingdom's congress ended in a skirmish that caused the death of fifty-three men, Marceline recognized the growing need for an active leader. She had made her best efforts to be responsible and stop acting like a teenager. So far, Marceline had drafted a treaty between the vampires and the people of the Fire Kingdom that was to be signed on the last day of the festival, and she felt that her efforts had somewhat paid off.

Marceline finally settled on a demure red sundress, which she spread out on the small, unmade bed. She was putting on a bit of makeup when the bathroom door opened and Ash stepped out. He walked over to the closet, throwing his wet towel on the bed as he went by.

"Cute dress, Mar-Mar," Ash remarked.

Marceline smiled and stepped into the dress. While smoothing out the wrinkles, Marceline let her hand linger on her stomach.

"It will be okay. Mama promises," Marceline whispered to her reflection. She couldn't quite shake the feeling that, although her words were right, she didn't believe what she was saying.

A few moments later, Marceline was burying her face into Ash's neck as they soared through the sky. Nearly everyone now used the automobiles that Princess Bubblegum had reproduced using pre-Mushroom War designs, but Marceline much preferred the intimacy of flying above the world in Ash's arms. Before long, the twinkling lights from the carnival were below them, and Ash began to float closer to the ground.

Marceline and Ash wove through the crowd hand in hand, taking in the sights and sounds of the festival. Marceline was pleased to see that Flame Princess, who had risen in rank to the Flame Queen after her father's death, had decided to attend the festival along with many of her citizens.

"Ash, may I go speak to Flame Queen about the treaty?" Marceline asked.

"Sure babe," he replied. "I'll be at the Emerald Kingdom's booth."

Marceline approached Flame Queen and gently touched the fiery woman's shoulder.

"Oh, hello Marceline. You look…lovely," the Flame Queen sneered.

"I was just thinking the same about you!" Marceline replied, cringing at the fake sugar

she had forced into her voice. "My subjects and I are very happy to be forming a bond with the Fire Kingdom."

"Likewise," the Flame Queen said, turning around just in time to see a small creature made of fire approaching a display of woven grass wreaths made by the citizens of the Grass Nation. "Flambo, no! Look, I have to go."

Marceline waved the queen away to deal with Flambo's curiosity and turned to see her friend Finn the human standing behind her

"Boo!" He shouted.

Marceline jumped, then smiled at Finn. He had grown quite considerably, both physically and in maturity, since their first meeting six years ago when Finn was a twelve year old boy.

"What's up, dweeb?" Marceline asked.

"Not much, just looking around for Jake and Lady Rainicorn. They were chasing after the kids and we got separated." Finn looked behind Marceline. "Is Ash here?"

"Yeah, he should be around here somewhere."

"Oh," Finn replied, disappointed. He hadn't been fond of Ash since the incident in which he had tricked the heroes into entering Marceline's memory core in order to make her forget that they had broken up. "How have things been going?"

"Uh, great," Marceline said, casting her eyes to the ground as she remembered the things Ash had said to her throughout the day.

Finn leaned close to his friend. "Marcy, tell me the truth. Is something wrong?"

"Well…Finn, it's complicated. Ash is a good guy…but helping me run the Vampire Kingdom has been stressing him out and…" Marceline trailed off when she noticed Finn's eyes get wide.

"What's going on, babe?" Ash asked, an obvious edge to his voice. "I thought I told you not to speak to humans."

"You did Ash, I'm sorry," Marceline said.

Ash roughly grabbed her wrist and pulled her away. Finn looked on helplessly as Ash twisted Marceline's arm. She was looking up at him with fear in her eyes. Finn could tell that she was apologizing, and he started to go after them, but by the time he could make his body move, they were already lost in the crowd.

"How dare you embarrass me like that?" Ash hissed in Marceline's ear. "Stop apologizing and smile you dumb cunt, people are staring. We're going home. Ashicus Flyicus!"

Marceline clung to Ash as he took off into the night. She internally scolded herself for even talking to Finn. Ash had told her over and over again that mortal beings were beneath them, and they were, but Finn was…different. He had been her friend when everyone else was too scared to see past her fangs.

Ash floated to the ground and pushed Marceline away. She stumbled to the ground, and floated after her boyfriend.

"Ash, please. Don't be angry…"

Ash spun around and grabbed Marceline by the collar of her dress.

"Are you fucking him? Is that why you always want to be around him?"

"No," Marceline said. "I would never do that, Ash. I love you"

"I love you too, Mar-Mar. That's why I have to yell sometimes. I'm just watching out for you." The wizard hugged Marceline close to him and stroked her hair. "Now promise me that you won't pull stupid shit like again, okay?"

"Okay," Marceline said meekly.

Ash smiled. "Now go inside and make me a sandwich, then go on in the bedroom. I'll be in soon."

Marceline made Ash's sandwich and then went to get ready for bed as instructed. She put on a simple lace nightgown, and climbed underneath the blankets. Her head was pounding, and a light bruise was already forming at her wrist. She buried her face in her pillow, and briefly wondered if she should still tell Ash about the baby. Running her hand across her stomach, Marceline realized there was no point in putting it off another day. Ash found something to be angry about every day; it would useless to try to wait until he was in the perfect mood.

After a few minutes, Marceline heard the door open. Ash slid into bed next to her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

"I'm sorry, Mar-Mar," he whispered.

"I'm sorry too, Ash. Look I have something to tell you. I-"

"Shhh. Tell me later."

Ash began lifting Marceline's nightgown while tugging his pants down. He kissed her neck slowly, and slipped his finger into her thong.

"Ash…No, I need to talk to you," Marceline said.

"It can wait," Ash said, his breath speeding up. He started to spread Marceline's legs, but she pulled away from him.

Marceline stood up ran to the other side of the room.

"Ash, globdammit, I said stop!"

Marceline's body tensed with fear. She had never spoken to Ash like that before.

"What the fuck did you say to me?" Ash asked, advancing towards the cowering woman.

"I don't want to have sex, Ash. I need to talk to you."

"What is so important that you felt the need to talk to me like that?"

Marceline took a deep breath. "Ash, I'm pregnant."

Ash stopped and stared at Marceline. She had backed herself against the bedroom wall, and they stared at each other silently for a few agonizing moments.

"Please don't be mad," she whispered.

Marceline's voice seemed to break the spell over Ash. He rushed forward and grabbed her throat, pinning her against the wall.

"I. Will. Not. Be. A. Father," Ash said, punctuating each word by slamming Marceline's head against the wall.

Marceline began to panic as the world around her dimmed. Ash suddenly released his grip and walked out of the room. Marceline gasped as and filled her lungs with air, then tried her best to crawl back to the bed, but couldn't. She settled for curling up as tightly as she could on the floor. She briefly wondered if Ash had left, but his heavy footsteps in the hall soon provided her with an answer.

Ash was holding a knife from the kitchen. He kneeled on the floor next to Marceline and spread her legs.

"I love you, Mar-Mar," he whispered, "but I'm not having a kid to fuck up everything I've worked for."

Marceline weakly tried to stop Ash, but as soon as she felt the sharp, cold kiss of the knife entering her vagina, she slipped into darkness.