Princess Bonnibel Bubblegum sat at the desk in her study, pouring through her never ending paperwork. Her staff had seen the monarch fall into a slump of sorts in the weeks following the mysterious disappearance of the human. She hadn't seemed to have fallen into depression, more like she'd just lost all drive to pursue any goal.

Not that this was the worst thing that could have happened. The general consensus throughout the castle held that this was probably the best thing they could have hoped for considering how important that kid had seemed to her, especially given her past tendencies for violent reaction when things didn't go her way.

The Princess had a different view of the situation, as well as on her life on the whole. Ever since she'd taken the reigns of the kingdom, she'd had one ultimate goal driving every other motivation of hers. Now she had no dream to pursue. Although, she had to admit, it was liberating to some degree. But in light of recent events, she just couldn't seem to muster any enthusiasm towards anything else. Her political career, her scientific pursuits, personal relations, nothing seemed to captivate her desire any longer. Now she just went through the motions, more simply due to her being accustomed to the work rather than any real sense of duty.

Bubblegum set her pen aside, needing a break from the monotonous and tedium of her work. She cast a bored glance to the still sizable stack of papers she'd eventually haft to sift through. Her eyes then traveled to the spot which, for a short while, usually held the presence of her guest. Even for how poor a company he really was, it still held more comfort than being left alone to her devices.

She briefly pondered if she couldn't have done things differently. If she had been nicer, if she had been … more like Her, would that have changed anything? Could she have won over the child that way? But she decided it was best not to dwell on these things. What happened happened, there was no getting the child back now.

"Nothing ever really changes." She sighed out to herself, tipping her chair slightly back and staring towards the ceiling. Half the ceiling was bathed in golden light from the setting sun the intruded through her window. The other half was hidden in the shadow.

A knocking emanated from the door, but did little to shake the Princess from her thoughts. She mechanically shouted, "Come in", voice monotone. As the door opened, she rolled her eyes down to see which of her servants had come to check on her.

Peppermint Butler stepped through the door, bowing respectfully to his Princess. She just looked at him in apathy, waiting for him to explain how she would have to deal with some minor crises in the city, or how all her paperwork would now need to be filled out in triplicate.

But the small candy man had no news of the sort to bring. Knowing she wouldn't order the information from him of her own volition, he began formally. "Good evening, Princess. Your new personal body guard has just arrived. He's been cleared all the way through, and he's waiting to meet with you for your personal inspection."

Bubblegum blew a raspberry. Now she remembered. After she'd released Finn, she started to grow fearful that her former co-conspirator would catch wind and be less than pleased with her action. Not trusting her standard security detail to stand against this wicked individual, she'd tasked Peppermint Butler with finding her someone she could trust to stand by her guard at all times. She trusted Pepper to fulfill this task; if he wasn't exactly the straightest arrow in the bunch he was certainly the sharpest.

She understood the necessity for the sake of her own life, but she wasn't exactly excited to have some hulking banana or whatever standing over her shoulder all day. She waved to her servant. "Send him in." She said, no attempt to hide her lack of enthusiasm.

Pepper bowed again before leaving the room. A few seconds later a much taller figure entered the room. "Greetings Princess." Bonnibel got her first good look at the new guard. She nearly tipped back in her chair, waving her arms wildly to regain her balance before setting the chair back on the ground with a dull thud. The man took a knee before her, bowing his head and introducing himself. "My name is Braco."

She couldn't believe what she was seeing. The figure before her looked almost… human! The man was nearly her height, maybe even taller. Although he was clearly a candy person, he definitely shared certain characteristics with her banana guards, his overall humanoid appearance lent him a sense of incredulity, at least in the Princess' eyes.

He rose back to his full height. His solid black eyes seemed to shine as her stared into her own bewildered ones. He sent her a nervous smile, crossing his arms behind his back. "I guess I'll be your personal guard from now on. It's really a great honor."

The Princess could feel a slight blush forming on her cheeks. "I…uh…" She coughed unconvincingly to over her embarrassment, quickly composing herself. "Yes, well. I'm sure I'll enjoy… working with you, too." And for the first time in a long while, the Princess gave a real, genuine smile of her own.

Pepper had had his ear pressed to the door. After confirming his expectations, he began walking down the corridor, smiling to himself. He had guessed that the Princess would be… appreciative of who he'd selected.

He was no idiot. He understood that his ruler had done questionable, even morally reprehensible things in the past. She'd even come to close to ridding the world of two of the very few people he genuinely considered his friends. But for all her flaws, she was still his Princess, his creator, his… Mistress. He didn't like to link that term to her, but in this sense it seemed most appropriate. And for those reasons, he didn't like to see her unhappy.

And besides, it wasn't like she didn't do good things too. Under her rule, the Candy Rule had achieved new heights of peace and prosperity. She'd made astounding advances in the fields of science and medicine. Pepper figured that at some point she deserved at least a little bit of happiness. All the better when it didn't take away from the happiness of others.

He'd found it much easier to forgive the Princess for her actions once he heard from Marceline. He didn't think he'd be so surprised to learn Finn had succeeded, but when he actually heard how both he and Marceline had made it out alive, Pepper realized how much he was actually expecting Finn to fail.

It was a pleasant surprise at least. Now, he was just happy to be working towards restoring a bit of normalcy in his routine. Soon enough he'd have to start delivering Marceline her blood supply again. Although he never did learn why her demand suddenly decreased.

Jake sat in the windowsill of a turret high atop a cathedral in the Candy Kingdom. His legs dangled in the open air as he watched several guard wagons role up to investigate an incident at the First Royal Bank. He laughed heartily to himself, knowing full well the guards would find no trace of the perpetrator there.

As he watched the scene play out safely from his perch he flipped a dazzling gold coin along his knuckles. A large bag of identical pieces was laid against the wall just behind him, the product of a hard day's work. He felt immense exhilaration for the heist he had just pulled off; no easy task with quite an impressive payout.

Giddy as he was for the day's events, he was anticipating even more the following week. He and Finn had reached an understanding of sorts. Finn was reluctant to go into finer details, but he'd somehow managed to assure that they could periodically meet up. Jake had already drawn up plans for an 'excursion' into the Rock Kingdom. A gallery of priceless art was slated to make an appearance there, and afterwards he'd heard a carnival would be operating nearby.

But the important part would be that he'd be there with Finn by his side. No more deadlines, no overt need for secrecy, no looming sense of danger (well, no more than in his usual work), just him, his brother, and a chance to finally act like family after far too long a separation.

Jake had a warm feeling in his chest, a sense that everything was right in his life. He positioned the coin at the tip of his thumb and flicked it to the street below. Let that brighten someone's day a little.

Finn sat on the side edge of a large and soft bed, looking out through the open balcony upon the Candy Kingdom as it was bathed in brilliant twilight. He and his reclaimed Mistress had taken temporary residence in the city in the wake of their home being destroyed. Marceline had been nearly as devastated as he had been to learn the fate of the happy home she'd built. But having Finn back in her possession served as a reminder that she hadn't really lost anything irreplaceable.

A warm breeze blew into the hotel room, the flash freeze having dissipated in recent days, and pleasantly caressed Finn's skin. His torso was bare, with the exception of a blue cloth sling cradling his injured left arm.

Marceline walked out from the bathroom wearing suitable lounge attire, purple cotton shorts and a loose gray tank top. She raked her fingers through her long raven locks, pleased with their silken texture. She set her sight on her dear slave, his back turned to her as he stared through the door.

She wore a sad smile as she took in his appearance. He still wore the scars from his last battle. Immediately following their escape, his whole upper body had nearly been painted in shades of black and blue, like he'd just become one giant bruise. He still had yet to fully recover, splotches of tender, discolored skin still spread across his skin.

Then there was the arm, currently out of her view save for the sling which was tied around his back. She'd taken him to the best doctor that wouldn't ask a lot of questions and gotten him the best medicine she could afford. His arm had certainly recovered a significant degree, but she held a slight worry he wouldn't ever recover full use of it.

And despite all this, Finn still seemed… intact. Her thoughts constantly went back to his younger physique, back when he'd been so fragile. It was hard to think that, given what he'd had to start with, he could undergo so much and remain, more or less, in one piece.

Thoughts of his injuries always threatened to bring tears to Marceline's eyes, but she always managed to hold back, taking solace in the knowledge that he was okay, he was present, he was still there with her.

Putting aside any unpleasant thoughts, Marceline made her way over to the bed, climbing on from the side opposite that Finn sat. He felt her weight shift the mattress, letting a smile cross his lips as he felt her slide close to him.

Coming to rest on her knees just behind him, Marceline slid her arms around his stomach, careful not to move to quickly or too forcefully. Finn groaned as he felt her slender limbs lock around his abdomen, as her soft chest pressed up against his sore back, vocalizing his discomfort but more-so his approval.

Marceline laid her chin on his right shoulder and closed her eyes, simply contenting herself with his presence. Before too long though, she raised her head and removed her arms from him, separating just an inch from him. She reached over to pick up a small object she'd placed on the bed.

"Are you sure you really want this?" She whispered just behind him, her warm breath tickling his neck. Finn needed no time to think it over. "I'm positive." He replied softly. With his final confirmation, Marceline brushed the hair away from Finn's neck and over his shoulder. She reached in front of him again quickly before bringing her arms back, and with them the object,

As her hands retreated back behind his head, Finn felt the soft velvet encircle his neck. Marceline locked the back, ensuring a snug but comfortable fit. "Okay… turn." Finn followed her order, bringing his feet up and onto the bed, sliding his body closer to the head so he could turn to face his Mistress.

Marceline first noticed the stupid grin her wore before her eyes trailed down to his neck, appraising the brand new collar he wore. This one was a far cry from the oppressive metal one he'd known his whole life. This one was crafted from soft, purple leather, lined with velvet to further improve the comfort.

A shining silver 'M' was displayed proudly on the front, proclaiming to all the world that Finn was Marceline's property. What held even more significance to her, however, was not her crest marking him in her name. It was what went unseen, the back side of the collar.

This was no device meant to chain Finn, a simple buckle providing the only assurance that it remained connected, one he'd have no trouble undoing if he so chose. A simple mechanism, but it meant the world to Marceline. It signified that Finn had given himself to her totally willingly. He had the choice, and he chose to remain by her side. He had forsaken his own freedom in preference for a life to serve her.

Never before had she known such utter devotion, but that didn't mean those feelings only traveled one way. Marceline knew that she would devote herself to Finn as fully as he had to her. Even though the social hierarchy had been established, it was a mutually agreed affair. She may be master and he may be slave, but they each belonged to the other.

"Well? How's it look." Finn asked in only a half-joking manner. She smirked at him, crawling towards him and running a finger down his chest, causing him to shiver. "It suits you." She purred at him.

He let loose a slightly nervous chuckle. He didn't think he'd ever become totally comfortable with Marceline's more… playful nature. "I'm glad… It didn't feel right not having one." Marceline shuttered against him, bringing her mouth by his neck. She loved his admittance to a real desire to be owned by her.

She breathed heavily against his ear while Finn, hesitantly, reached his hand up to caress her side. "That's good. Cause you know, now there's no going back. Now you're mine for good." She placed alight kiss just under his jaw.

Finn groaned again as she slid her body against him. "I never wanted anything else." He spoke in full honesty. There wasn't a fate he would trade for his own. Marceline pulled away just enough to lock her vibrant violet eyes with his own brilliant blue ones. She saw that he meant what he said, one hundred percent and without question.

Totally secure in the knowledge that Finn would never leave her, never lose his loyalty, she leaned down and placed a loving kiss on his lips. As her hands trailed to caress all of Finn they could get to, her mind settled in a fuzzy contentment. She had a good life to look forward to.