Flashing Room

Rooftops in cities that never sleep

They all search for something like you and me

- 2am Club


The Ice King eats all her food. He goes on and on about traveling and fanfiction. And then he passes out in mid-soliloquy, right there on the kitchen table. Marceline would throw any other intruder out of her house but she'll never throw out Simon, especially not when he's looking like a hobo and face-planking on a sandwich.

"Is he dead?" Marshall Lee wonders.

Ice King releases an eruptive snore. Sleeping on a sandwich never looked more comfortable. They poke him for a while but all he does is mumble literary terminology.

Marceline shrugs. "Well he's got the right idea."

"Seriously."

"I'm sleep."

They exchange low-fives at the foot of the stairs; this is the part where she goes to her room and he goes to the couch. But then Marceline backtracks and says "Hey Marshall."

He looks up. She's nonchalant. He likes going in and out of her room as he pleases anyway but this is the first time she asks.

"Wanna come up?"

\/\/\/\/

She's annoyed that he's gone when she wakes up. But if Marshall Lee managed to get up and go to work despite the fact that spooning in the dark is the bomb-diggity, then he must be serious about finding a way back to Aaa. Marceline can be a morning person, too. She rolls out of bed and starts her day.

How should she kill time today?

The Ice King is gone now too but he left a little present on her coffee table. Marceline picks it up.

"'Fifty Shades of Grey'" she reads out loud. It's a tattered, faded book, looking about a thousand years old and 500 pages too long (where do you even find human books anymore anyway). This must be Ice King's idea of a souvenir from wherever it was he went to. Briefly, Marceline considers the act of reading.

Loud banging on her front door makes her look up. Outside, Jake shouts "I got a bone to pick with you, Vampire Queen!"

Less aggressively, Finn says "Marcy wanna play Card Wars?"

Marceline tosses 50 Shades away and doesn't think about it again.

\/\/\/\/

Nothing productive is ever done during adventure time with Finn and Jake. Marceline might as well continue the trend tonight. She lounges on the couch now and flips through cable TV using every body part but hands. Ah, the things you can do with immortality...

The front door unlocks after midnight. Marshall Lee is back.

Marceline looks over. "Yo."

"Sup," he yawns

Something's not right. Marceline looks again. She can practically see the imprint of goggles on his soot-covered face. "Are those bags under your eyes?"

"I have bags under my eyes?" Marshall Lee says, alarmed.

"Dude," Marceline exclaims and her eyebrows rise and Marshall Lee runs self-conscious hands through a dozen cowlicks. Slowly and surely, the fact that he looks like death and smells like science sinks in.

Marshall Lee gasps in horror. "I'm a nerd."

So that's what a twelve-hour workday does to you.

"Poor baby," Marceline says and he heads forlornly for her open arms.

"This doesn't count as motorboating."

"It's okay just hold me."

She'd ask how his day went, but Marceline has a general idea of what Princess Bubblegum on a laboratory spree is like.

"You know," Marceline says idly some time later. She likes running her fingers through his hair, cowlicks or no. "You really don't have to do all that work for Bonnibel."

She's not a cushion but Marshall Lee just digs deeper. The weight of him is oddly pleasant. This kind of getting laid (on) isn't all bad. "No, Marceline, I'm not gonna ask your wizard ex-boyfriend to help me get back to Aaa."

"So you ask my other e—"

"Shh."

Marceline emits smugness but it seems like Marshall Lee is too snug to care.

\/\/\/\/

"How about now?" Marceline asks casually the next night, same time same place same scenario except a lab incident turned Marshall Lee's hair bright pink.

"No," Marshall Lee says stubbornly but he's not too proud to find solace in her arms.

Marceline stops fingering the luscious magenta locks for a moment. "Marshy… are you trying to make some kind of statement?"

"I'm an independent vampire who don't need no man."

"That's the straightest thing you've said yet."

"Mm-hmm."

"But Marshall… why?"

Marshall Lee just pats her hand. "I want to."

\/\/\/\/

The pink hair fades but the bizarre workflow doesn't. Marceline was going to tag along today since Marshall Lee is hyped up about "Project RDIS", but she legit falls asleep on the table as he explains space travel over breakfast.

"Whoa," Finn exclaims when she comes over to the tree fort. "Marceline your face."

"What?"

Finn just stares and Jakes comes to the door saying "Hey Finn is that the pizza dude I mean whoa, Marceline?"

The two dweebs start snorting snickering laughing and Marceline repeats "What?"

"I moustache you a question," Finn wheezes on his knees.

"Sit down I'll get you a beard," Jake adds.

Marceline says "Oh my Grod is this what I think it is?"

Her reflection doesn't appear in mirrors anymore but one video recording later, Marceline confirms that an elegant balbo has been drawn upon her face.

\/\/\/\/

"No payback?" Marshall Lee asks later on.

Marceline laughs darkly. "Oh there will be. You just won't see it coming."

"I'm scared."

"You better be."

It's a little strange to make threats when he's chilling in her arms again, but it would be stranger to not be spooning.

"Hey Marshall?"

"Yeah?"

"So what happens when you get back to Aaa?"

Easily, he tells her "Finna get my bass back."

"Did you just say finna?"

"Then I'll go home and clean and you can crash anytime, I have shirts."

It's more complicated than that but Marceline doesn't doubt that, more or less, that's exactly what's going to happen. Briefly, she envisions how a meeting between LSP and man-LSP will go. And didn't Bubblegum mention that candy peoples can, in fact, explode in the face of mind-blowing revelations? What does happen when two parallel, gender-bent earths get connected?

"My world and your world are gonna freak out."

"I kind of don't care how everyone else handles it," Marshall Lee admits. "Do you?"

"Nah." Then Marceline pauses. "'I have shirts'? Why would I need your shirt?"

"Oh you know." He glances up at her. Marceline grins.

"Hurricane jam sesh hell yeah," they say and low fives exchanged for minimal repositioning.

The minutes tick by. Marceline wonders how the rest of her life will go once Ooo and Aaa can be traversed and once the mortal shenanigans of a doubled population will be twice as hard to ignore.

Marshall Lee stiffens a little upon realizing "Crap, we finna have two LSPs."

Marceline looks forward to killing an infinite amount of time, in any world where he exists.

"But the shirt thing was a tier joke right?" she asks before she forgets. Marshall Lee laughs. Marceline tugs insistently on his pointy ear. "Well?"

"Would you me believe me," Marshall Lee replies, but she can't see his expression when he's lying on her chest. "If I said I don't think about that stuff?"

"Let's see… no."

"Ouch."

"Well do you?" Marceline smirks but she actually does wanna know forreal. Marshall Lee shifts. He's up on his elbows and he looks right at her with that irrepressible grin…

Someone goes tap-tap-tap on the front door. There are a lot of unexpected visitors to her house these days; Marceline throws the door an irritated side-glance.

Tap-tap-tap.

"We're not here." She pulls on his shirt; what Marshall Lee thinks of Tiers 9 and over is a conversation to be continued upstairs.

"Gotcha."

TAP-TAP-TAP and this time, Lumpy Space Princess' voice wails "Open up you guys I lumping need you!"

Then she starts sobbing and pounding like her world is ending and the anguish is just too real to be ignored. Marshall Lee shrugs with a crooked, rueful smile. He flies over and opens the door…

LSP stumbles inside, blubbering and bedraggled and the total opposite of the glowing creature they last saw headed into the sunrise. Is this what eloping to the wilderness does to you?

LSP crumples right into Marceline's arms. "Oh my Glob Marceline, boohoohooo."

"LSP what's wrong?"

"Everything, lumpin' everything!"

They sit down with LSP between the two of them and before long, Marceline runs out of tissue boxes.

"I don't –hic- get it, we were –hic- having an awesome time!" LSP says in between crying and blowing her nose. "And then Tony just disappeared, you guys, just straight-up left me!"

"How do you know he's not, like, shopping or whatever?"

"Don't be dumb Marceline he'd toootally text me about that."

Marshall Lee pats her back as Marceline plucks out leaves and twigs. He suggests "Maybe Tony went back to the wild?"

"But we were in the wild!" LSP starts crying all over again on Marceline's lap, goodbye perfect-blue skinny jeans.

"Poor baby," Marceline croons.

"Such sad," Marshall Lee says solemnly.

"Wow."

LSP, too despondent to move, cries herself to sleep after a while. Marceline is left wondering how the hell did this majorly distraught dame end up on her doorstep when there are so many other shoulders in the land to cry on.

"Is she your first?" Marshall Lee asks from across LSP. He smiles knowingly.

First person ever to seek out the Vampire Queen and cry about a break up? Wryly, Marceline smiles back. "Yeah."

"Nice. You're getting friendlier."

"Damn."

They high-five to congratulate her on this milestone and Marceline doesn't really think about his comment after that.

\/\/\/\/

They go to Bubblegum's laboratory the next day because according to the princess, "Project RDIS" is ready for a test run. Marceline points out that they've only been working on that project for a day, but Marshall Lee proudly presents the fruit of their sporadic labor: a blue 1960's police phone booth.

"You guys made a TARDIS?" Marceline asks, floating in incredulous circles around it.

"Well no, we don't have the Time part down yet," Bubblegum corrects. Her eyebags speak volumes about sleepless nights and much calculation. "However, we have been working on the Relative Dimention in Space part, and that's where Finn and Jake come in."

"Yeah we do!" Finn and Jake say in front of the RDIS, bumping fists and putting on protective gear. It's like Bubblegum expects them to land on Mars or something.

"What do you think?" Marshall Lee nudges her. He's dressed like Bubblegum and her many scientist employees, looking official in white coat and badge ID. Just when Marceline thinks he can't be any more lame and fly at the same time…

"Is this copyright infringement?"

"Nah, no one watches BBC."

"Find pieces of my broken flippin' heart while you're at it, Finn and Jake!" LSP calls out. She didn't want to be alone, so she tagged along and is now eating post-break up ice cream.

Trial run #1 will transport Finn and Jake to Ice Kingdom, in the northernmost region known to man. The two heroes enter the RDIS.

"Remember to use the right coordinates!" Bubblegum instructs them on a walkie-talkie. "What do you mean 'where's the start button'?"

Lights blink, wheezing ensues, and the RDIS dissolves into empty space. Bubblegum's lab personnel cheer. Marshall Lee and Bubblegum bump fists.

"Nice job."

"You helped too, I guess."

But Finn and Jake take all day to return. They come back on foot because apparently the RDIS ran out of power the moment it got to Ice Kingdom. Trial run #1 is an epic fail by Bubblegum's standards.

"My formulas!" Bubblegum flips a table.

"My baby!" Marshall Lee sadly caresses the phone booth that was clearly dragged across three kingdoms and a swamp.

"Sorry dude," Finn pats his back.

"But on the flipside, check out these awesome scarves we bought," Jake says.

Bubblegum calls it a day.

As they leave Candy Castle, Marceline hears the loud shattering of glass windows. Intuition tells her that Ice King has decided to visit. Overhead she sees smoke and hears shouting.

"Oh Princess Bubblegum, I brought you souvenirsss~!"

"Not now, Ice King!"

"We gonna kick your bubble-butt outta here, Ice King!"

"Wait you guys I got you this mathsauce wolf pelt—"

"RAWR FUR IS MY LUMPING TRIGGER RAWR asdfgh."

Marceline thinks she'll see go see Ice King another day.

"I feel compelled to rescue my boss," Marshall Lee says.

"You feel compelled to hold my hand," Marceline corrects. He takes the hand not holding the axe bass.

"Oh true."

When she asks, science takes a backseat. They cut across the forest where afternoon shadows make for easier travel.

"I didn't tell you earlier, but good job on the TARDIS," Marceline says.

"RDIS," Marshall Lee corrects but he grins at the compliment.

"And I still don't get why you wanna bust your balls doing science or whatever, but I can respect that."

"Thanks, Marcy."

She catches him laugh quietly, a small snicker that lets itself slip as he looks at her with fleeting transparency.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Tell me, dork," Marceline demands because deep and private thoughts are the best kind.

A rustle in the bushes turns their attention to the left.

A raggedy hobo with a big straw hat and cloak jumps out, singing "Did someone say teleport~?"

"Wha… no, get lost." Marceline isn't creeped out, just annoyed.

"You there!" The hobo points to Marshall Lee. His nose kinda looks like an asscrack in this evening lighting. "Did you think about my offer?"

"Oh," Marshall Lee says, surprised. "It's you."

"You know him?" Marceline glances sideways.

"From prison," he explains.

"Oh, that makes sense."

"Hey now!" The hobo protests, and he's dancing closer why is he dancing closer. "Believe it or not I'm not really a beggar, I'm actually a…" He trails off and waits for guesses but no one replies. "A..?" Crickets chirp.

"Yeah so we're gonna go now," Marshall Lee coughs and tugs Marceline along by the hand.

"No!" The hobo insists. "Let me do you jerks a favor~! A mystical magical favor~!"

"I told you I don't want a favor!" Marshall Lee snaps but the hobo already whips out his wand. Sparkles fly. Incantations are sung. He has dreadful falsetto.

"Bodacious badonkadonkus~!"

Marceline and Marshall Lee say Groddammit but purple hobo-magic envelops them at once. There's whooshing, there's weightlessness, and when the earth stops spinning in color she finds that they've been transported to another place entirely. Marshall Lee's grip on her left hand slackens.

"Whoa," he says, looking at the expanse of fire stretching to the horizon and the city outlined in black before them.

Well, she did say she'd take him to the Night-O-Sphere one day.

"This is why I don't like wizards," he tells her with a frown.

"Trifling-ass buncha hobo-looking clowns," Marceline agrees. While they're here though, "Wanna go party?"

"Hell yeah."

They go down to the Night-O-Sphere and forget about the hobo.

\/\/\/\/

They float through crowded streets. Marshall Lee watches everything they pass by: red demonfolk, red buildings, red skyline, red everywhere. He looks up at the one building that towers over the city, taller than any other structure. Somewhere inside, doing taxes or some other corporate affair, is her father.

Marshall Lee grins. "Do I get to meet daddy?"

Marceline imagines the encounter. "Do you wanna lose a pair?"

"Your Night-O-Sphere," he declares, "Is just like my Night-O-Sphere. That means I already know where all the bars are at."

"Oh really."

"Watch."

True to his word, Marshall Lee takes her bar-hopping in her own hometown. He even locates the top-secret ultra-hipster joint located under a manhole.

A big red bouncer dude adorns them with colorful leis upon entry. "You must win righteous games and collect righteous garlands to descend to the next floor."

"I don't remember this part," Marshall Lee exclaims, dubiously examining his lei.

"You don't even go here," Marceline snickers, but she hasn't been here in a while either.

"Since when is this joint a tower of power?"

"You. Don't. Go here!"

"I must speak to the owner of this establishment," Marshall Lee declares but bouncer dude shakes his head.

"Only the worthy may see His face and party with His Righteous Chiefness."

Marceline knows that look. She gives the same one right back.

"Challenge accepted," they say and enter the fray with the highest of fives.

Marceline doesn't ask how many floors there are. Amid loud surfer music and throngs of lesser beings playing pong, they cruise through to the next floor. And the next, and the next, because what's a liver and are we shotgunning this floor ok no problem. Progressively, the crowds grow sparser and the challengers fewer. The lei thing looks stupid after a while when there's 20 of them hanging around your neck.

She doesn't have a purse but Marshall Lee holds her bass when she throws down. They leave the last couple of imps lying flat in their wake.

"Few have ever completed the tower of righteous power," the last bouncer dude congratulates. "You are worthy to party with His Righteousness."

He opens the humble wooden door to the last and final level. They step inside…

"Party Pat?" Marceline says, astounded. Here, surrounded by neon lights and lava lamps and bumpin' dance music, dwell the Party Bears. The throng parts like a red sea to make way…

Party Pat emerges, chill as ever. "Hey you guys, you made it!"

"You really did it." Marceline is surprised. "You actually moved your peeps to the Night-O-Sphere."

"How are you guys not eaten alive yet?" Marshall Lee asks, incredulous.

"Only the truest of partygoers can make it here." Party Pat claps his hands in the air. "Party brothas and sistahs, show our honorable guests here some love!"

Furry hands pull Marceline into the masses. She'd have never thought it possible, but she actually loses sight of Marshall Lee amid 3-foot tall bears jiving under disco lights. The party bears thrust red waffles in her right hand and a guitar in the other (hey, where'd her bass go); Marceline comes face-to-face with a big-ass screen for Guitar Hero XIV, shining gloriously from ceiling to floor.

She couldn't say no if she tried.

Later, Marceline crip-walks over to Party Pat after demolishing half the Party Bears at the swaggiest game ever made. She finds him on his throne of a futon, chillaxing with Marshall Lee and the axe bass over a hookah pipe. Grey tendrils float overhead; they've got their own atmosphere going on over here.

"Check this out." Party Pat blows an elaborate trail of smoke rings. They dance, translucent in eerie lighting.

"Yours look like Funyuns." Marshall Lee blows smoke squares. "Far out."

"That's deep, man."

"I try, man."

Marceline might as well join in the vaping. She takes a hose, tastes strawberry smoke, blows out respectable triangles. "How's the venue, Pat?"

"Très excellent." Party Pat airily waves both index fingers to the music. "It's the danger, babe. My people and I have never felt so alive."

Well, everyone has their own kind of high. Marceline says "Much respect."

Party Pat turns to Marshall Lee. "I sense a disturbance in you, my plaid-partaking brotha."

"Hmm?" Marshall Lee nods absentmindedly to background noise.

"Leave behind the struggles of the workplace. Only then will you feel free."

"But the struggles are real."

"Shh, shh." Party Pat shakes his head and places a sagely finger on Marshall Lee's lips. "There is no earthly struggle that cannot be outpartied by the spirit."

"Damn," Marshall Lee sighs. "He's deep."

"So deep." Marceline agrees. She looks at the slender tube in her fingers. It's not opium but if she gets anymore chill she'd be dead, leggo. There's a quiet exuberance in her gut that always manifests when she's killing time in an excellent, excellent way.

"Let us spray," Party Pat says in that benevolent soothing voice that convinces you holistic partying will bring world peace.

All together, pipe bubbling, they take a deep breath.

\/\/\/\/

It's dawn in the Night-O-Sphere by the time they reemerge from the manhole. The streets are empty.

"I guess we should head back," Marceline sighs. She leans against Marshall Lee; her temple finds his shoulder. The equivalent of sunrise in the Night-O-Sphere is a purple sky turning orange.

"Do we have to?" Marshall Lee wonders. There's a hotel in front of them anyway.

She nudges him. "Hurry up and get your bass back so we can jam."

"Right."

The buildings tower, but her father's house is the highest of them all. He just might build a giant flaming eye with which to survey the land one of these days. Inside, the hallways are as antiquated as ever. Marshall Lee checks out the suits of armor and the ancestral paintings as they fly past.

"Your nana looks like a man."

"I bet she looks like your granddad."

"Truth."

Marceline hasn't been here in a long time. Just a little, she feels guilty. On the last staircase, Marshall Lee turns to her. Thoughtfully, he asks "Is your dad home?"

"Maybe."

"Are we gonna run into him?"

"Maybe."

Marshall Lee strokes his chin. Decisively, he says "I might as well meet him now."

Her jaw drops. Maybe he's had one fume too many. "You might lose a pair."

"I'll take my chances, yolo swag." And he pulls her along again with that cocky grin…

"Marshall wait," Marceline insists when they get to those mahogany double doors. "I'm not ready."

Marshall Lee is amused. "Marcy… am I your first?"

The first guy she'll ever take to meet her father?

Well yeah, she's always been pretty sure he'd suck out her boyfriends' souls or some messed up shit like that.

"I just don't want you to lose a pair," Marceline admits, frowning. Marshall Lee laughs.

"I'll be good."

Well, they're going to pass her father's study anyway. Marshall Lee squeezes her hand. They open the polished doors.

Hunson Abadeer is not home. The fireplace is cold. The curtains stay undrawn. The whole study reeks of books and business like always, but the place is immaculately empty.

Marceline is relieved. "He's on a business trip. Let's bounce."

The last room in the house makes Marshall Lee gasp. "My heart."

"Shut up."

But he's already dragging her over to the zillion family pictures hung on stone walls. Some of them are of her father. Some of her mom. Most of them, though, are of young Marceline.

"Nice trike," Marshall Lee says. He's totally ignoring the portal in the middle of the room, that swirling mass of blue light that serves as the only exit from the Night-O-Sphere.

"Yeah, I was a young thuggah back in the day," Marceline says dryly. She doesn't like remembering her childhood, or much of the first few centuries of her life for that matter. But Marshall Lee walks through those pictures, intrigued. They go from newborn Marceline to Marceline's first dump in the potty to seven-year-old Marceline with a bowl cut. She always did have pointy ears.

"Happy now?" she asks.

Marshall Lee snickers at the bowl cut picture. "You could've been mini-me. I could've raised you."

"Oh Grod. And that's hella creepy by the way." The thought of her or any child being raised by Marshall Lee sounds like a struggle for survival. They go through the last few years of her half-human life. Marshall Lee looks up at the last picture. Marceline is sixteen, there.

"No more?"

"Nah. Remember the fries thing?"

"Right." Then his expression grows somber. She knows why. Not long after cutting ties with her father, Marceline met the Vampire King; the same would have happened to Marshall Lee.

"What are you thinking?" Marceline asks quietly. When he finally turns to her, Marshall Lee smiles wryly. His eyes look right into hers.

"I kinda wish I was there with you."

"You're here now." He shrugs. Marceline returns that wry smile. "That was a long time ago Marshall Lee."

"Well you gotta admit," Marshall Lee says, and he's still looking at her with those green eyes. "That would've been…"

"Yeah."

"Yeah."

A world where they both just existed in the first place is too sentimental to think about.

"Let's bounce."

"Let's."

But not before Marshall Lee leans over and kisses her. The kiss is simple and sweet and uncalled for and Marceline smiles against his lips. Their hands stay held. They turn to go.

Across the portal, straight before them, is Hunson Abadeer.

"Marceline..?" he says in a choked-up voice that doesn't go with the spruced-up business suit. Marceline tries not to roll her eyes because damn, Dad, don't cry that was nothing and stop looking like you saw me in a porno.

"Uhh hey, Dad," she says, keeping it cool. "This is—"

There's a black blur. Marshall Lee's fingers slip from hers.

"—Marshall!"

In a split second, Hunson Abadeer has Marshall Lee on the ground.

\/\/\/\/


A/N: Just a chapter of shenanigans, but I promise the shenanigans are hints and will culminate to the next reveal. Kinda like the Jerome chapter. Recap:

1) Whoa, what happened to Tony?

2) Whoa, is Marshall Lee actually prude?

3) Whoa, it's Hunson. What extreme measures will he take that will back fire and actually bring MarceLee closer? Huehue lolz.

s/n: It's summer, I'm alive, and I will write. Ayee.

By the way, can whoever posted this fic on Wattpad take it down? Idk man I would prefer that this story stays here, thx.

And thanks to everybody who showed this humble fic some love, even during those long months where I ain't write shit. Feel free to drop comments/critiques!

Dani4Short: Thanks brah. I do believe the groove is back. Ayeee.

Doctor: I can't give you dong lover I'm sorry, but take these TARDIS references idk I thought they were kinda funny. L0l.

XoX-Sugar Quill and Ink-XoX: Thanks, I hope to move the plot along to the reveal soon. :-D

FictionFiend259: Nah they didn't do anything yet haha

tsukuneXmoka: Thanks breh!

EraticMind: Finna try, thank you.

Guest: :'D haha. #thugtears

missfrolatina: Indeed, the plot is a-thickening.

For These Texts: I feel you. Next chapter, friend.

ayyy: Awk... Yeah, that wasn't me. Lol.

Guest: Today is the day rawr

Guest: THAT'S MATHSAUCE I like psyc. Hah.

theTwentyNineth: I will try to deliver!

guest: Haha yeah I do try. Such man, wow.

Guest: Nice, I'm glad you read Saudade :-)

whoa: o/o lel senpai noticed me. Thanks, I try.

makoto: Haha what episode was that? Nah, no word magics going on, just me. :/ Glad you like, though!