Somewhere in the Land of Ooo…
“Haha, yeah!” a joyful boy exclaims around a leap over some giant mushrooms. The night air is a little chilly on his naked arms, and he vaguely wishes that he had worn longer sleeves. But this is the only time he can be here; these are special mushrooms that only appear at night. “I bet the tops of those things are bounce-a-rific!”
“You bet they are, dude!” his stretchy canine companion assures him as the two of them jump mushroom top to mushroom top until, finally, they are on the largest mushroom in the patch. “Ready, Finn?”
Jake crouches down, arms clutched to his stomach, and next to him, Finn does the same. They prepare to jump, counting down the seconds to lift-off. “One, two, thr–”
“Hi, Finn!” a casual voice cuts in from behind the pair.
The blue-clad boy and his goldenrod-coated dog nearly leap out of their skins. Finn whirls around to find Marceline the Vampire Queen floating just outside of the outer edge of the gigantic mushroom’s umbrella. “Marceline!” the adventurer nearly shouts in surprise. “You scared the bajeebus outta me!”
“Oh, sorry about your Bajeebus, Finn,” she says with mock sincerity. “How can I make it up to you?”
He rolls his sky blue eyes at her. “By leaving me alone,” he grumbles under his breath. He turns his back to her and bends his knees, about to jump again. Marceline stops him by flying around to his front and touching a manicure-nailed hand to his chest. He freezes in place.
“Aw, don’t be that way,” she teases. “What about all the good times we’ve had together~?”
“Good times?” Finn snaps back. “All those ‘good times’ –” double-handed air quotes “– involved you messin’ with my head!”
“I was only kidding around,” Marceline replies with a slight pout. She places her hands on her hips, her feet settling onto the rubbery mushroom top. “I promise I won’t do it again, okay? Cross my heart and hope to die.”
The boy narrows his eyes and points a finger at her. “…Hey, wait. Aren’t you already dead?”
She shrugs and flips back a stray chunk of her long raven hair. “Technicalities,” she says offhandedly, dismissing it. “It’s arguably not true, since I’m right here talking to you. But hey, everybody has their opinions on vampires.” She shrugs again, but then turns her eyes back on Finn’s own. “So, will you trust me, Finny-boy? I just want to be friends, honest~.”
He frowns. “How can I trust you won’t mess with me again? For all I know, you’re messing with me right now!”
“Are too,” Jake shakily interjects, having disappeared the second she appeared, due to his fear of vampires. He thought that he killed her! Tricky girl. But from his viewpoint, she’s crossing her fingers behind her back. “I can see your truth-knot.”
“Is that what it’s called?” Marceline says brightly, ignoring the fact that she’s been caught red-handed. (Mmm, the color red. Yum.) She brings her hand from behind her back and glances at her crosses fingers. “Huh. Weird.”
“Weird?” Finn shouts, leaning forward. “The only weird thing here is you! I really don’t get you!”
She laughs maniacally. “Duhh, you’re not supposed to ‘get’ me. I’m a complicated person,” she replies, folding her arms over her chest and lifting her chin defiantly. She suddenly looks wounded. “And I thought we were buddies after out last encounter when you saved my bum from getting fried in the sun.”
“Yeah, but…” Finn falters, his face flushing a little at his lack of speech. “Argh!” He scratches at his scalp through his hat. “You’re frustrating! My brain always feels like scrambled eggs when I talk to you!”
The vampire laughs. She glances up at the moon, a pretty little sliver in the sky. “And that’s half the fun.” She looks back at him and steps closer. “But you know you like all the attention. I can tell that you love it when pretty older girls fawn over you~.”
“H-huh? What? No! I don’t! I-I mean, I don’t think about that stuff… I’m only twelve!” Finn argues, but his growing blush says all.
Marceline smirks and swoops around to Finn’s left side, her arm draping across his shoulders casually. “Of course not. What was I thinking? And besides, I’m sure you probably have a crush on somebody else. And I wouldn’t want to steal you from her.”
Princess Bubblegum flashes in Finn’s mind, but he shakes the image away to prevent further blood vessels from rising on his cheeks. “I don’t like anybody,” he says defensively.
“No?” Marceline pretend-gasps. “No one at all?” She grins, her fangs glistening in the moonlight. “I’m hurt. You don’t like me? Or Jake? Or anyone?”
“Th-that’s not what I meant!” Finn retorts quickly. Too quickly.
“Oh?” Marceline smiles, ever the playful one. “Then what did you mean?”
“I meant,” he clarifies slowly, his hands curling into fists by his sides. But he still hasn’t shaken her arm from around his shoulders. “That I don’t have a crush. But I like… Jake. As a friend.”
“And me? What about me?” she asks suggestively, leaning down to peer at his face. He immediately turns away from her gaze, half hiding in the confines of his white hat.
“I… guess I like you, too. As a friend,” he adds, stressing his meaning. He slips out from under her arm, finally. “But you’re still weird. And confusing.”
“Oh, Finn,” the rocker-girl chuckles as she yanks him back into her grasp, but this time to pull back his hat until it hangs around his neck. She dives her opposite hand into his pale hair, knuckles grinding against his skull, giving him a nasty noogie. “You’re so cute when you’re flustered~!”
“Ah, argh! Stop it, Marceline!” He grunts, fighting her. She laughs all the while, and when he wriggles free, she simply grins at him again. He tries to flatten his shaggy, mussed hair, but to no avail. It remains tangled without proper brushing. “Aw, now look what you did! It looks all goofy.”
“I like it,” she says, tilting her head to the lift, shielding her bite marks from view as one of her hands cup her chin in thought. She looks like she’s studying fine art. “It makes you look… rugged.”
The adventurer ignores the comment and tries to put his hat back in its proper place. But his head is killing him, now; it burns, and feels like the beginnings of a headache. “You’re such a bully. And I fight bullies.”
“But not girls, huh?” Marceline says.
“As if you count! You’re not like any girl I know!”
Marceline nods. “I don’t doubt that.” She notices, though, that while he says this, he’s rubbing his abused scalp with one hand under his hat. The vampire steps closer, real concern on her features. “Aww, did I hurt you, Finn?”
He doesn’t look at her. Instead, he focuses on the mushroom under his feet. He thinks vaguely about how Jake has vanished again, and right after saying only one thing. What a coward.
“Here, let me make it better,” Marceline winks, and before Finn can look up and ask what she means, Marceline is stepping forward and gently gripping his wrist to cease his petting. Then, she leans down and sweeps the hat back long enough to plant a little kiss on the sore spot amidst blond locks.
Finn tenses, one again out of shock. He blinks once, twice, and then waits to unstiffen until Marceline is at least three feet away again. When she is, he feels his face heat up. Embarrassment ever his hated enemy.
“All better?” the vampire asks with a mischievous smile on her lips.
He says nothing. He simple stares at her, caught between wanting to punch her arm and wanting her to kiss his head again. He opts to do neither, instead choosing to hop up and bound into the air off of the mushroom’s surface.
“I’ll take that as my sign to leave,” Marceline calls after him, but he’s already touching the clouds. She smiles softly to herself. Then, with a flush-that-isn’t-a-flush, she turns into a bat and flies into the distance.
When Jake decides to show up again, he finds Finn panting from bounding too much. Clearly, he’s letting off steam.
“You okay, Bro?” Jake questions, coming to sit beside Finn at the edge of the huge mushroom. He lets his feet dangle like the boy’s, and he doesn’t bother to try to look into Finn’s face to see his expression. He’s sure he knows how it must look in this moment.
“…Jake?” the blond says after a little while.
“…Girls are crazy.”
The dog nods sympathetically and pats the preteen on the back. “Only the vampire ones.”