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Monday 7th September 2015

Bonnibel pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose, staring back down at the ever-growing stack of papers on her desk. She had absolutely no motivation to mark them, and in hindsight it was probably a bad idea setting a test on the first day back for her classes. She flicked through the papers – most were from the aforementioned test, but there were a few essays that she'd set as optional summer homework.

(If Bonnie had known that there would be so much paperwork, maybe she'd have changed her mind about teaching back in college.)

She pulled the stack of test papers towards her, letting a heavy breath out through her nose. She glanced over at the clock; she only had ten minutes left of her lunch break until her next class – ninth grade physics. It wasn't as bad as it sounded; it was still only the first week of school so the freshmen were still settling in and mostly stayed quiet in class. In a few weeks, that'd definitely have changed. She tried not to take their good behaviour for granted.

She quickly marked her way through a few test papers – she was just glad that she'd made them multiple choice rather than essay questions – before taking a sip from her mug, cringing as the cold coffee met her lips. She put the mug down, shaking her head. She'd need to venture into the staff room to make another, and Bonnibel hated the staff room.

It's not that she didn't like her fellow teachers – she did – but she could only talk to a select few without wanting to rip her hair out after five minutes. There were a couple that she couldn't talk to at all; those were the ones that wrote her off on her first day, thinking she was too young to be a teacher. There was another one that she didn't talk to, but Bonnie didn't want to get into that.

In fact, it'd been a year since Bonnibel had started teaching. Her first day was terrifying – Bonnie had never been good at meeting new people, so it goes without saying that her first impressions on people weren't very good. Most of the other teachers in the science department were in at least their forties, and Bonnie was only twenty-three. There were a couple of other teachers around her age, and one or two slightly older – who she managed to make horrible first impressions on too – but since then she'd made a few close friends and her students preferred her teaching methods to the others in her department, so she couldn't complain too much.

She made her way to the staff room, a few greetings sent her way by a couple of students in her earlier classes, and pushed open the door, sending her co-workers an awkward smile as she walked over to the coffee maker.

Her first time in this room was probably the most awkward. She still felt uncomfortable whenever she made her few appearances in the teacher's lounge, but nothing could compare to her first day. One of the other science teachers had shown her the way, and she'd hovered in the doorway for a few moments before making herself a cup of chamomile tea, avoiding the gazes of the rest of the staff. Then, she'd scurried back to the safety of her classroom without talking to anyone else.

"Hey, Bonnibel."

Bonnie nearly knocked over an empty mug as she jumped at the unexpected voice, relaxing when she turned to face Lady.

Lady Rayner was the head of the art department and Bonnibel's best friend at work. The bubbly blonde woman had been Bonnie's only friend for a while, before she was introduced to Jake; Lady's boyfriend and head of P.E. She was young, only a few years older than Bonnie at twenty-six. She'd been working at the school for three years and she was known for her more relaxed teaching methods – for her older classes, she took on more of a supervising role, letting them work on tasks independently. Bonnie had tried that out a few times, but the hands-on approach suited her the best.

"Hi, Lady. How's your day so far?" Bonnibel politely smiled as she stirred her coffee. She hardly got to see Lady outside of classes – this year, there had been significant clashes in their schedules. Sometimes Lady would stop by Bonnie's classroom, but only once in a while.

Lady let out a huff, "I just had a freshman class. Half of them spent the lesson flicking paint around, so as a punishment they've been cleaning up their mess over lunchtime."

Bonnie felt a knot in her throat. Maybe her next class wouldn't be as easy as she'd initially thought. "Great. I have the ninth graders next. Any advice?"

Lady's eyes narrowed, and she muttered in a rather sinister voice, "Don't turn your back on them." Bonnibel laughed, taking a sip of her coffee as Lady's demeanour significantly lightened, "You'll gain control of them. Eventually."

"I hope so," Bonnie's gaze drifted over the door and she twisted her wrist upwards to check the time on her pink watch. Her class started in six minutes. Great. "I should probably head back to my classroom."

She turned towards the door again, her breath catching in her throat as red crept up her neck, staining her cheeks. Oh no. Leave, Bonnibel. Now.

Her face flushed even more when Lady followed her gaze and laughed, "Oh, wow. Still crushing, huh?"

"What do you think?" Bonnie sent Lady her best attempt at a glare, but it wasn't really very effective due to her flushed cheeks and that nervous tremor in her voice. "God, it's been an entire summer. That's three months. I should've stopped caring about her by now, right?"

Bonnie's gaze flicked back over to the doorway, staring over at the school's impossibly attractive music teacher, who was checking her phone and making her way over to the refrigerator.

"Maybe," Lady murmured, her hand coming to rest on Bonnie's shoulder, "but that's how I used to react every time Jake walked in here."

Bonnibel kept staring as the other woman opened the refrigerator door, grabbing a water bottle and closing it again – all without looking up from her phone. The pink blush didn't leave her cheeks and the room had suddenly become horrifically humid, like someone had just dropped her in the middle of a desert. She had to open her lab coat a little to give herself some air.

"Hey, just go over and talk to her," Lady's hand had moved to Bonnie's upper arm, and she gave it a reassuring squeeze, "Marceline's harmless. She won't bite."

Bonnie finally tore her gaze from Marceline and sent Lady an incredulous look. The last time Bonnie just talked to her didn't go so well; she ended up spilling her cup of boiling hot coffee down Marceline's shirt.

That was on her second day working at the school. She hadn't made an attempt to talk to Marceline since.

(The excruciating embarrassment she'd felt was kind of a deterrent.)

Bonnie just waved Lady off and spared her crush one last glance before slipping out of the teacher's lounge and making her way back to her classroom. She used the fact that class was about to start as her excuse.

She was fine with just staring at Marceline from across the teacher's lounge. She was fine with just pining after her. Perfectly fine.

It's not like music teachers and science teachers had any business being near one another, anyways.

Chapter Text

Friday 9th October 2015

Bonnibel glanced at the card on her desk. She couldn't remember it being there when she left the room, and she couldn't think of any circumstances that would explain its presence. She doubted that it was from a student – unless it was a joke – and her colleagues had no business in bringing her cards or invitations to things.

She was the newest teacher and the one that had the least friends. Maybe it was from Jake or Lady. Possibly Simon, the other decent science teacher, but that was a push.

Bonnibel tapped her pen on the edge of her desk in thought, staring at the envelope for a few seconds longer. Curiosity got the better of her; she dropped her pen on her desk and picked it up, digging her fingernail under the tightly sealed tab and ripping it open.

She slid the card out; to her surprise, it was an invitation.

To Marceline Abadeer's twenty-fifth birthday party. No way.

This couldn't be right. Marceline wouldn't invite her to her birthday party. She was just that weird new teacher that spilled coffee on her on her second day. Aside from that, Marceline had no other interactions with her to judge her on. Therefore, this was a mistake. Right?

Bonnibel felt a little jitter in her stomach as she imagined Marceline in her classroom, a smile spreading across her face. God, she sounded like a teenage girl with a silly high school crush.

(Instead she was an adult with a silly high school crush.)

Still, she should probably make sure that this invite was definitely for her and not for one of the other teachers in the science department; it was possible that Marceline may have got the wrong room.

Except the other three teachers in her department were at least in their late forties, and the only other person Bonnibel had seen her interact with was Simon, an aging man who specialised in physics but taught all three sciences, much like herself; except her specialty was chemistry.

Bonnibel made her way to the teacher's lounge, the envelope containing the invite still in her hands. She was going to keep hold of it as long as she could – with her luck, Marceline had the wrong room and she'd get the invitation ripped from her hands. That was probably as close as she'd ever get to being invited to a social gathering with her colleagues. Especially a social gathering with Marceline.

It wasn't just that Bonnie was infatuated with the other woman; Marceline was ten times cooler than her, too. Bonnie knew that sounded lame, but she really meant it. Marceline was so relaxed with her students – she was more of a friend to them than an authority figure – and yet she still managed to keep them under complete control. Bonnie was certain she must've been some kind of witch. Maybe that was why Bonnibel was so interested in her.

She peeked around the door of the staff room, sighing when she didn't see Marceline's slender frame and familiar dark hair that resembled the tail of an angry cat. Bonnie knew what she'd have to do; she needed to visit Marceline's classroom and ask her there.

The thought made her stomach jump and her head spin. At least she didn't have anything that she could spill on her this time.

Bonnibel made her way to the section of the school that was dedicated to the creative arts. She passed the drama studio, sending the teacher a small wave, and felt her heart jump to her throat when she stopped outside the door to the music room. She could hear the soft strumming of a guitar from where she was stood, which amplified as she carefully pushed open the door.

Marceline's back was to her, her hair flowing down to her hips in perfect waves as usual, and she was demonstrating some sort of chord sequence to two or three students – they looked to be seniors, probably only taking the class to make up credits or because of Marceline's good reputation.

Nervously, Bonnibel adjusted her lab coat and rapped on the door she'd just come through with her knuckles to gather Marceline's attention.

A frown crossed Marceline's face momentarily as she twisted her head around to meet Bonnie's gaze. "Sup, Miss B?"

Sup? How the hell was Bonnie meant to respond to sup? And in front of students, who were all in Bonnie's class. She wished Lady was here to do the talking for her.

Bonnibel blinked, trying to clear her head of any irrelevant thoughts like oh god she's so cute or why does she look so good in plaid, or anything else that usually crossed her mind when Marceline was so much as in the same room as her.

Realising that it was probably unacceptable to take this long to reply to a simple question, Bonnie cleared her throat and said, "Um…nothing is up. I just wanted to check something with you."

Marceline put her guitar to one side and spun on the desk she was perched on completely, so her back was facing the students she was tutoring. "What did you want to check?"

Bonnie had to swallow the lump in her throat as she met Marceline's gorgeous green gaze. God, I'd forgotten how pretty her eyes were.

She shook her head, trying to snap herself out of that. That wasn't what she was here for.

Bonnibel held up the invitation between two fingers, pushing her glasses up from the tip of her nose with her other hand. "I think you may have gotten the wrong room with this. I just wanted to give it back to you."

Marceline's frown settled deeper onto her face. "Well, it was meant for you, so clearly I didn't get the wrong room."

Bonnie blinked in surprise, red staining her cheeks. It was meant for her? And how was she supposed to respond to that? Usually, Bonnie would've come right back with "Why?" but she didn't think it would be acceptable to start hammering Marceline with questions in front of some students.

Instead, she just mumbled an, "Oh, okay," and made a quick exit, fast-walking back to her classroom and staring at the invitation with a lovesick smile on her face.

31st October, huh? Bonnie thought, see you then, Abadeer.

 Saturday 31st October 2015

Bonnibel paced at the foot of her bed, taking her glasses off and carefully rubbing the lenses with the material from the pink dress she was donning for the evening. Sliding them back on, she looked over herself in the mirror.

Should she wear her glasses? The round lenses made her look a little dorky, but usually she didn't worry about her appearance. Most of the time she was in a lab coat with her blonde hair in a messy, loose ponytail, so she never worried about her glasses. But now after she'd spent most of the night straightening her hair until it was perfect and had put a lot of effort into her makeup, she was starting to contemplate leaving them behind.

Then again, she'd rather not walk around half blind and spill something on the woman she was trying to impress.

She nodded at her reflection. The glasses would stay. It wasn't like Marceline had never seen her in them before. Although she was trying to impress her…

Bonnibel shook her head, trying to get her brain to shut up – usually something that never happened. She took one last glance in the mirror and tried a smile, before leaving her bedroom and walking into her apartment's living room.

If Bonnie was being honest, she hated living alone. She loved her apartment – everything was neat and organised, just how she liked it – but it was missing something. Missing someone. Bonnie wished she could unlock the door and walk into a girlfriend on the couch, watching a television show. She longed to be greeted by kisses and hugs when she got in from work. She craved affection.

It kind of worried her that in her little fantasies of coming home to someone, it was usually Marceline's face that she saw.

Bonnibel checked the time on her pink wristwatch, pacing around her living room as she waited for Jake and Lady to come and pick her up. She didn't want to show up too late to the party, but she didn't want to be abnormally early. It was probably weird for her to be this nervous about a party, right?

She was overthinking things. Marceline wouldn't think she was strange for showing up a little while after the scheduled time. For once, Bonnibel wanted to just shut her brain off – she was overly analytical of things and if Marceline so much as looked at her tonight, she'd probably overthink it for the next few weeks. Either that or she'd just faint.

She jumped when she heard a knock on her apartment door and she rushed over to answer it, frowning when she looked over Lady's attire. She was dressed as a witch; a broomstick in her right hand, with a pointed hat, purposely scary makeup and a messy black wig to top it all off. And of course, Bonnie's stomach lurched.

"You're – why are you dressed like…in a costume?" Bonnie finally responded, nervously playing with her hair. It couldn't be a costume party. It hadn't said that on the invitation and it's not like she could've talked to Marceline to confirm it. Lady hadn't said anything either.

"Bonnibel, it's a Halloween party. Of course I'm dressed in a costume." Lady sent her an odd look, and Bonnibel looked down at her dress. It was a Halloween party. Oh no.

"Was I meant to – did I -" Bonnibel huffed, glancing at herself in the reflection of her phone screen, "Am I overdressed?"

"Severely," Lady tried to lighten Bonnie's predicament with a laugh, "but that's okay. Just say it's your costume. You're…a wedding goer."

Bonnie stared at Lady. She couldn't be serious, right? Bonnie couldn't say she was a wedding goer. That was the most ridiculous idea she'd ever heard. "You know what? I just won't go. I'll just watch Friends reruns until I decide go to sleep."

Lady sighed, checking her watch for the time. "Look, Jake is waiting in the car and wasted gas to get here. Come on, let's just go. It took enough to get Marceline to invite you, and now you're backing out?"

Bonnie could understand that Lady's main point was just go, have fun, but there was something that she picked up on in the middle of that argument that she couldn't let go of.

"It took enough to get her to invite me." Bonnie repeated, taking her glasses off and chewing one of the arms. "She didn't invite me of her own volition, did she? You talked her into it."

"I…might've done a little persuading," Lady slowly began, "but if it helps, it didn't take long. All I did was ask her if you could come when she gave me mine and Jake's invites and she thought about it for a moment and said yes."

Bonnibel sighed, taking another nervous glance at her reflection as she debated with herself. If Marceline had said yes without any pushing from her friend, then she wanted Bonnibel there, so she shouldn't disappoint her. But what was she going to do about her outfit?

Bonnie turned back towards her bedroom, digging around in her closet where she hoped what she wanted would still be. She positively grinned when her hand came in contact with it. She pulled the fake crown out of her closet and perched it on her head; she was so glad she hadn't thrown it out – she'd worn it at a Halloween party she'd attended in college when she went as a princess.

Then, Bonnie made her way back over to Lady, smiling. "There. Princess Bonnibel Butler at your service."

Lady flashed her a bright smile, "Good idea. Let's go."

Bonnibel followed closely behind Jake and Lady as they headed towards Marceline's apartment – Jake and Lady knew where they were going. Apparently they'd been invited to Marceline's party ever since she'd started working at their school, and they were pretty much the only members of staff there. It was mostly full of Marceline's other friends, who were as Lady so delicately put it, alternative.

Bonnie hadn't really known what that meant until she walked into Marceline's apartment and almost straight into a heavily pierced and tattooed man dressed as a zombie. In fact, as Bonnibel did a quick survey around the room, she was fairly certain that she, Lady and Jake were the only people in the room that didn't have some sort of tattoo or piercing.

"Hey, guys. Didn't think you'd make it." Bonnibel nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of the sultry, husky voice. "Miss B, I like the...princess costume."

Bonnibel blinked. Marceline was talking to her? That was a delightful surprise.

"Oh, thank you," Bonnie was thankful for the dim lighting in Marceline's apartment. Otherwise her blush would've been pretty obvious, "and please, call me Bonnibel."

Marceline's gaze flicked over her and she smirked, "Will do." Then, looking back at Lady and Jake, "There are drinks over on the table that way," she jerked her head to the right, "and you can help yourself to snacks in the kitchen. Have fun."

With that, she sauntered away, melting into the crowds of people that Bonnie was certain she wouldn't be getting to know.

Lady flashed Bonnie a smile, "See, she bought your princess thing. Now you don't look overdressed."

Jake raised an eyebrow, looking between Bonnie and Lady. "Wait, you mean this thing," he gestured over to Bonnie's outfit, "wasn't intentional?"

Bonnie was fairly certain that the red hue on her cheeks answered that question perfectly well, but Lady responded to it anyways, furthering her embarrassment. "Yeah, she didn't know it was a costume party. I don't think she read her invitation after the words Marceline Abadeer."

Bonnie lightly smacked Lady on her upper arm, hoping to convey her annoyance. She coupled the gesture with a nervous, forced laugh. "Shut up! I don't want anyone else to know about that, okay?"

"It's funny," Lady reiterated, nodding to a laughing Jake, "See? Jake finds it amusing."

"And I find it embarrassing." Bonnie finished, hoping that Marceline wasn't anywhere near. As long as she wasn't in earshot, Bonnie was happy. "Please shush."

Jake rolled his eyes, "Chill out, Bonnibel. We're going to get some drinks, if you want to come with?"

Bonnie sighed, glancing around the room. No, she'd let them have some couple time; she wasn't too big of a fan of third wheeling. She'd find somewhere to sit down and keep to herself for a little while, maybe join up with Jake and Lady in half an hour or so. Yes, that sounded like a good plan to her.

"No, I think I'll go and find a place to sit." Bonnibel declined Jake's offer, smiling politely. If she was being completely truthful, she didn't really know what she'd drink at this party. All she'd seen other people with was different kinds of alcohol, and Bonnibel didn't drink. She could always get herself some tap water later, though.

"Okay," Lady squeezed her hand before heading off with Jake, "I'll catch up with you in a bit, alright?"

Once Jake and Lady had disappeared from Bonnie's sight, she scanned the room for a lesser populated area. She knew she wouldn't get anywhere quiet unless she tried one of the bedrooms, but judging by the type of party she was at, she didn't think going into a bedroom was a good plan.

Eventually, she slid through the crowds of intimidatingly pierced and tattooed people and sat down on the couch, kneading her lower thighs with her hands to help calm herself down; she felt rather awkward and out of place around these people. Maybe she could make a friend?

Bonnie scoffed; that was an idiotic idea. Only about three people at this party looked sober, Marceline not included – Bonnie had seen her holding a bottle of beer, which she was certain wasn't her first.

The couch dipped beside her and Bonnie spun around to see a dark haired girl had sat down next to her – not Marceline, but she seemed slightly familiar. Bonnibel took in the girl's warm hazel eyes, her flawless coffee coloured skin and her worryingly realistic fake fangs. "Hello. Have I met you before?"

The girl looked her over, a frown settling on her face, "You're from that school. The one Marceline teaches at."

"Yes, I am." Bonnie stuck out a hand, still unable to place the girl, "Bonnibel. Science teacher."

"Keila," She responded, shaking her hand, "I own the local music store and I'm the lead guitarist in Marceline's band. Are you two friends, or…?"

"Um…" Bonnie paused, unsure of how to answer, "Not exactly. Just acquaintances, really. We don't really talk but I guess she likes me enough to invite me here."

Keila opened her mouth to respond, but she spotted something behind Bonnibel and flashed whatever it was a huge grin.

"Keila, I see you've met Miss –" Marceline stopped herself, wedging herself between Keila and Bonnie, "You've met Bonnibel."

"I have," Keila confirmed as Marceline leaned forward and put her beer bottle down on the coffee table, "Wouldn't have thought you'd make friends with a science teacher, Marce. You hate science."

She was crushing on someone who didn't like science? What was wrong with her? Bonnie thought, "You can't hate science. If it wasn't for science we wouldn't have electricity, you wouldn't have your cell phone. You wouldn't have all sorts of stuff without it."

Aware that was probably the first coherent sentence Bonnie had ever said to the other woman, she reasonably perked up. If she could do that, she could keep talking to her and hopefully avoid any babbling.

"Yeah, but it's still boring." Marceline retorted, stretching her arms back so one of them was rested on the couch behind Bonnibel. "Music lets you have fun while you're doing it."

Bonnibel tried to ignore the placement of Marceline's arm – it was virtually around her. She had to be overthinking this as usual, but she had to have had some reasoning for putting her arm behind Bonnie. She could've easily put it behind Keila, her seemingly close friend.

"Well…did music invent almost all of the things we use today?" Bonnie knew her reply was shaky, "Case in point. Science wins."

Keila laughed, nodding over to Bonnie, "I like her." Marceline's expression soured and she took another swig of her beer as Keila turned to Bonnie, "What'd you say your name was again? Bonnie, was it?"

"Bonnibel." Bonnie corrected her. Nobody had ever called her Bonnie, aside from her high school girlfriend who had broken her heart. Usually she steered clear of that nickname.

"Ah, okay, Bonnibel," Keila repeated, smiling, "Well, I'm going to leave you two now, I think Bongo wants me."

And before Bonnie could protest, Keila had stood up and walked – okay, more like staggered – over to a bigger man with a curly mop of hair. Leaving her alone with Marceline.

"Did you not want a drink?" Marceline held up her beer bottle as an example of what she was offering, "I have all sorts of stuff."

"I don't drink alcohol," Bonnibel focused herself on smoothing out her dress, "I was thinking about getting some tap water later."

Marceline raised an eyebrow at her, but thankfully didn't comment. "Okay. Either way, it's probably better that you don't drink. You spill whatever you're drinking on people when you're sober. I don't want to be caught in what's bound to be a tsunami of beer when you're drunk."

Bonnie felt her cheeks burning. Naturally, Marceline had brought that up. "I'm so sorry about that, by the way. I really didn't mean to do that, I was just nervous and it was my second day and my hand slipped and -"

"Bygones, dude," Marceline flashed her a toothy grin that made Bonnie's knees weak. She was so glad she was sat down. "I don't know why you were nervous, though. I don't bite."

Oh, just because you're devastatingly attractive and I got a little bit too flustered wasn't a very good answer to that question, so Bonnibel just shrugged, "It was only my second day of teaching. I was really nervous in general and I've never been very good at socialising."

"You were doing fine until you dropped your drink all over me." Marceline took another sip of beer, "And then you didn't talk to me again until earlier this month. Why?"

Because I have a huge crush on you, you insufferable idiot, Bonnie thought. That's not what she said, although her answer probably wasn't satisfying enough. She just shrugged, "I was worried that you thought I was weird and didn't like me."

"I wouldn't have invited you here if I didn't like you." Marceline pointed out, gesturing around the room, "Not that I thought you would come. This doesn't really seem like your scene."

"It isn't." Bonnibel concurred. But I came to see you. "But I figured I might as well try new things. I need more friends than just Jake and Lady."

Marceline hummed, staring at her like she hadn't been expecting that last part. Bonnie hadn't expected that to come out herself, if she was being honest. "Do you not spend time with any college friends? High school friends?"

"I didn't really – um," Bonnibel stopped herself, trying to reword that, "I mostly kept to myself in college, and high school was – they didn't really like me there for…it was – people were wary of making friends with me because I'm gay. It was the mid 2000's. I'm over it."

Marceline scoffed, "That's fucking stupid. It's not like it's contagious."

Bonnie smiled, allowing herself to shuffle a little closer to Marceline, "That's exactly what I used to say."

"But hey, I can relate," Marceline flashed her another one of those grins that made Bonnie's stomach do a backflip, "High school kids weren't exactly cool about bisexuality, either."

"You're bi?" Bonnibel blurted out, her cheeks flushing red as she looked down at her lap, "Sorry, I -"

"Yeah, I am." Marceline smiled at her, "Nothing to apologise for. You were just curious."

She's bi, I have a chance, oh my god, Bonnie kept repeating to herself in her head like a broken record. "Well, at least we have someone else who understands, right?"

"Right," Marceline agreed, turning her head to the left and quickly standing up, "I should probably go and be a good hostess. See you round, Bonnie."

As she disappeared into the mess of house guests, Bonnibel realised that Marceline had called her Bonnie.

And for once, Bonnibel didn't mind.

Chapter Text

Wednesday 18th November 2015

Bonnie had found herself spending a lot more time in the teacher's lounge, as of late. The bell signalling lunchtimes and breaks would ring, and once her classes had cleared out, she'd make her way down to the teacher's lounge and make her routine coffee.

(She'd just make it for a little bit longer than she usually would.)

Then, she'd loiter until Marceline showed up, send her a quick smile and a "Hello," in greeting, and head back to her classroom.

Except today, she stayed for even longer. She'd found some new form of bravery ever since their conversation at Marceline's party. It'd been almost a month since they'd talked, but Bonnibel figured that a few murmured hellos and smiles from across the room counted as progress. It was a lot better than Marceline not so much as looking her way and Bonnie sitting across the room pining after her.

So that was why Bonnie was going to take this to the next level. She didn't want the unspoken bond – if you could call it that – between her and Marceline that had recently developed to fizzle out due to lack of communication.

When Marceline walked into the teacher's lounge to grab a water bottle as usual, Bonnibel – instead of pausing her conversation with Lady to send the other woman a soft smile – sucked in a deep breath and murmured a quick apology to Lady, "Hey, I'll be right back. I'm going to say hey to Marceline."

Lady's smile morphed into a teasing smirk, "Okay, have fun. I'm going to head back to the art room so I'll see you at lunch."

"Bye, Lady," Bonnibel flashed her a slightly nervous grin as she made her way over to where Marceline was stood, sipping on her water bottle and checking her phone.

Marceline noticed her presence before she even announced it. "Hey, Bonnie."

"Marceline," Bonnibel tried a smile, aware that it had a nervous edge to it. It perfectly replicated how her insides were jumping and her heart was trying to break out of her rib cage. "How have you been?"

"Fine." Marceline took another sip from her water bottle, locking her phone and sliding it into one of the back pockets of her incredibly tight black jeans. "What about you? How're your classes going?"

"Oh, they're okay. Now that the freshman have settled in, there are a few kids that get a little mouthy and that's quite awkward to deal with. I never really know how to react." Bonnie rambled, realising that talking to tipsy Marceline was a lot easier than talking to the sober one. "I was never good with conflict."

"You have to set them straight on the first day. Tell them that they won't get away with any shit." Marceline leaned against the wall, "Obviously don't use those words, but make it clear that you're the authority figure. Works for me."

Bonnie paused in thought – she didn't think she could pull something like that off. She wasn't exactly very intimidating. Marceline on the other hand… "Well, I'm not the most frightening person in the world. They'd probably find it more funny than scary."

Marceline raised an eyebrow. "I could help you out with that. Maybe give you some ripped jeans, dark makeup, teach you how to glare. You'd be terrifying. They'd run in the other direction."

"Or they'd laugh at me." Bonnibel was laughing at the mental image herself; if the picture in her head was anything to go by, Bonnie was certain she was right, "But thanks for the offer."

"When do you have the freshmen?" Marceline asked. "Today at all, or…?"

"Yes, after lunch. It's a double period," Bonnie responded, unsure as to why she wanted to know, "I'm not looking forward to it; I'm teaching them the human anatomy as a part of the biology syllabus and biology really isn't my favourite thing in the world."

"What happened to 'you can't hate science', huh?" Marceline's left eyebrow quirked up, hiding behind her bangs. "Here you are hating on biology and you're a science teacher."

Bonnie was a little stunned that Marceline remembered part of their conversation, but her surprise quickly morphed into flattery. Apparently Marceline had actually been paying attention to her.

"I never said I hated it," Bonnibel countered, "It's just tiring because it's not part of the syllabus that I personally find interesting. Surely there's something that you don't particularly like teaching?"

"Nope," Marceline replied, popping the 'p', "I like all the stuff I teach. Music is great."

"Lucky you," Bonnie murmured, rolling up the sleeve of her lab coat to check the time on her watch, "I should get going. I have a class next."

"Yeah, same here," Marceline concurred, nudging her arm, "Have fun in class, nerd."

Bonnibel's face flushed bright red at the sudden initiation of contact, and she let out a spluttered goodbye before rushing back to her classroom and trying to make herself a little less flustered before her next class walked in.

Bonnie only realised that she hadn't done a very good job of that when one of her students asked her if she was too hot.

God, this crush was going to be the death of her.

"Does everyone understand what I'm asking?" Bonnibel spun on her heels, turning to the class of freshmen who were donning safety goggles. She motioned to the perfectly detailed instructions she'd written on the board, "Follow these steps and be careful as this is a practical experiment. I want a write-up of a risk assessment that I will check before you start."

Then, Bonnie walked over to her desk and pulled out a stack of homework papers that she hadn't finished grading for her sophomore class, pulling the cap from her pen and reading over the first one in the pile. She put ticks in the correct places and wrote a few corrections, setting a positive and a target for each paper.

She'd gotten through about five when there was a knock on her classroom door and she glanced up, suspecting a late student or maybe Simon asking where she'd left something in the office.

She definitely wasn't expecting Marceline to walk through.

"Oh, Marce – I mean, Miss Abadeer. What brings you here?" Bonnie sent her an awkward smile, sending a collective prayer to any force she could think of that she wouldn't make a fool of herself in front of one of her classes.

Marceline cut through the tables and made her way over to Bonnie, leaning against the blonde's desk, holding out a mug of coffee. "Hey, Miss B. Figured I'd be a good colleague and bring you a surprise coffee."

"Oh," Bonnie repeated, blinking in shock. She managed to compose herself quickly enough to send Marceline a small smile. "Thank you. That was really thoughtful of you."

"No worries, dude," Marceline slipped behind Bonnie's desk, setting the mug down, "Lady told me how you liked it."

Hopefully Lady hadn't told her anything else about Bonnie's likes and dislikes. "Well, I really appreciate it. Thanks."

Aware that some of her students had started to stare, Bonnie broke eye contact and looked back to her papers. She jotted down a positive point about one of her students' work, nearly jumping out of her skin when Marceline's cold hand rested on her shoulder.

"Listen up, monsters," Marceline called for the class' attention, surprising both Bonnie and her students, "If any of you say so much as a foul word to this one," she squeezed Bonnie's shoulder, "there'll be hell to pay with me. Got that?"

Bonnibel glanced up at her, smiling. She mouthed the words "Thank you," before nodding and concurring with, "That's right."

Marceline grinned back, nodding to the door. "I'm going to head off. Got no more classes and all my marking is done. See you tomorrow?"

"Yeah," Bonnie replied as Marceline headed for the door, calling after her, "See you tomorrow!"

Bonnibel tried to focus herself on her marking, smiling every time she took a glance at the mug of coffee on her table. A few times, she got up and asked a student or two if they'd finished the risk assessment and allowed them to get on with the practical, and all was going well until she overheard a conversation from a couple of students – their ringleader a girl who even the teachers knew was notorious for gossip – and her heart stopped.

"You know, I heard that they were dating." Elle whispered to one of her friends – who probably could be classed more as a follower.

"Who?" The other girl, Melissa, leaned closer to her friend with a curious look on her face. If only Bonnie had known you were still part of the high school gossip as a teacher.

"Miss Butler and Miss Abadeer." Elle clarified, picking at her purple-painted nails in apparent disinterest. "Apparently they have a thing going."

Bonnie felt her heart jump in her chest and every muscle in her body tense up at the exact same time. How did they know that Bonnie liked her? How did they know that she was gay? And how many people knew?

Melissa let out a sound similar to a gasp. Bonnie felt like doing the same. Either that or vomiting. "How did you find out? I didn't even know they were lesbians."

"Have you not seen the way they look at each other?" Elle raised an eyebrow, "Miss Abadeer got all defensive about us getting into trouble around Miss Butler. And Miss Butler always gets all…flustered whenever Miss Abadeer is near her. I think it's kind of cute, actually."

"Yeah," Melissa nodded, and out of her peripheral Bonnie saw them both look her way, "It is, isn't it? How come they're not open about it? Mr Mertins and Miss Rayner are."

"Maybe because they're both girls?" Elle suggested, "I don't know. Either that or I heard wrong and they're not together at all."

Bonnie hoped she'd settle with that one. She didn't want the whole student body to know she had a thing for Marceline. That would be a disaster. And it would get to Marceline somehow, and that wasn't a conversation she wanted to have with the other woman. No, that would be far too awkward.

Bonnie collapsed back into her desk chair with a sigh, taking a sip of the coffee that Marceline had made her and trying to clear her head.

She'd find a way to set her students straight without explicitly saying anything. She had to.

"You should ask her for music lessons," Lady laughed as she sat down on one of the chairs in the staff room during their shared spare before last period, "and then she'll lean around you and help you out and guide your hands to the right places. Then your eyes will meet and you'll kiss passionately."

Lady burst out laughing at her own joke as Bonnie rolled her eyes in annoyance. Lady had made suggestion after suggestion of awful ideas that would probably make Marceline laugh at her in a manner similar to the way Lady was doubled over already.

"Sounds like a bad teen romance novel." Bonnibel deadpanned, "I'm not asking Marceline for music lessons. She'd laugh at me because I have the musical talent of a dead fish."

"Ask her to hang out, then." Bonnie waited for the silly continuation that she likened to trashy romance novels, but surprisingly Lady's following advice wasn't too bad. "Ask her out for coffee on the weekend and get to know her."

"Yeah, we all know how well the combination of me, Marceline and hot liquids will go down." Bonnie's voice stayed monotonous. "Maybe I'll ask her out for a bite to eat."

Lady smirked. "A bite to eat, huh? Like a d -"

Bonnie cut Lady off before she could say anything that would frighten her even more. Love and dating and romance were definite unchartered territories for her. "Don't say that. I can't ask her out on a date."

"Ask who out on a date?" Marceline collapsed into the seat beside Bonnie, frowning, "Got a crush on someone, Bonnie?"

Bonnibel's face turned bright pink, matching the shade of the dress she was wearing under her lab coat. She self-consciously adjusted her glasses. "Marceline? What are you doing here? You said you were going home."

"Forgot my guitar." Marceline patted the guitar case that she'd set down next to her, "But what's this about a crush, huh? Got a girlfriend, have you, Bonnie?"

Bonnibel cleared her throat, aware that she probably looked like a distant relative of one of the cherry tomatoes in Lady's lunchbox. "No. Of course not."

Marceline sent her a doubtful look that was coupled with an eyebrow raise, "Judging by your bright red face, I'm inclined to think that you're lying about not having a crush. Come on, spill. Who is she?"

Bonnie was absolutely mortified. Marceline was the last person she'd want to talk about that with. "I'm not lying. I don't like anyone?"

It came out more like a question and Marceline rolled her eyes, turning to Lady. "She's lying, right?"

"Oh, yeah," Lady nodded, earning her an indignant glare and a smack on the arm from a horrified Bonnie, "She's crushing on this woman harder than I was crushing on Jake when I first started here."

"I can play matchmaker, if you want," Marceline offered, sending her a teasing smirk that Bonnie wanted to kiss right off her annoyingly pretty face.

Because unless you're willing to make out with me right now, I don't think that's a good idea wasn't a very good response, Bonnie just scoffed, the effect of it mitigated by her glowing red cheeks. "No thanks, Marceline. I can handle not being with her. I've been doing fine for the past year, so…"

Marceline's amused smirk faded into a surprised look, "A year? You need to make a move, Bonnie. Can't spend all that time pining over someone."

"I'm not pining." Bonnie took a sip of her coffee, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose, "I just…look at her. I can look at the menu and not order anything."

"In that case, you need to get out. Meet some ladies, you know?" Marceline leaned back in her chair, "Have a one night stand."

Bonnie scoffed, "Please. I'm not depraved."

Lady frowned in disapproval, "While I don't think a one night stand is a good idea," she paused to roll her eyes at Marceline's pout, "I do think that Bonnibel needs to do something. Staring at your crush from across the teacher's lounge isn't a good way to live."

Marceline's emerald green eyes lit up with interest, "It's another teacher."

Bonnie wanted to slap Lady. She couldn't believe that she'd just said that. That completely narrowed it down, cutting out all of the older teachers and all of the male teachers. In fact, there was only two or three people left that it could be, none of which Bonnibel interacted with.

"It's not, I don't know why –" Bonnibel tried to make amends, but Marceline held up a hand and cut her off.

"I bet it's that new math teacher. You're into all that smart stuff, right?" Marceline's smirk had returned and Bonnie wanted nothing more than to be engulfed by the chair she was sat in.

This was a disaster. If she said yes to throw Marceline off, she'd probably try to get them together, and if she said no, she'd keep guessing until it hit her that Bonnie had been crushing on her for the past year.

Eventually, Bonnie just sighed, "I'm not telling you who I like. Sorry to disappoint."

Marceline pouted and Bonnie's heart melted, her serious, almost glare-like expression crumbling away into a soft smile. "But I want to gossip with you two. I can always corner Lady in the art room later and get her to tell me."

Bonnie couldn't deal with this anymore. She knew she had to change the topic quickly, and of course the first words that came tumbling out of her mouth were stupid ones. "Do you want to do something with me this weekend?"

Marceline blinked in confusion, "What?"

Bonnie couldn't believe she just said that, but she ran with it. At least it was a distraction. "You. Me. The weekend. Coffee. How about it?"

"I…yeah, I guess so," Marceline frowned to herself, "Yeah, sure. Which day?"

"I'm free on either." Bonnibel said, sucking in a deep breath and pulling a pen from her lab coat pocket. This was probably pushing her luck, but she was going to do it. She grabbed one of Marceline's cold, pale hands and jotted her phone number on the back of it, "Here's my number. Call me later tonight to confirm."

Lady's shocked expression perfectly replicated how Bonnie felt, but she didn't let that distract her. She just waited for Marceline's response, which hopefully wouldn't be the dark haired woman being weirded out in any way.

Marceline stared at the numbers on the back of her hand, "Uh…yeah, sure. I'll call after I've seen Keila."

"Alright. Let me know what you want to do, as well. I'm up for anything." Bonnibel beamed at her, the light feeling in her chest – a mixture of relief and happiness – was a big indicator that she'd done well. She was actually quite proud of herself, even if asking Marceline out was a spur of the moment, blurted out thing.

Almost instantly, the shock faded away and Marceline's teasing smirk made a reappearance. "Up for anything, huh? Well, it shouldn't take me too long to think of something."

Bonnibel blushed, alarm bells ringing in her head. Was Marceline flirting with her? It took Bonnie about half a second to come up with the conclusion that no, she most certainly wasn't. Marceline would never flirt with someone like Bonnie; Bonnibel was dorky, awkward and introverted, and Marceline was so cool and casual, talking to everyone she met with ease. This was just Marceline's confidence. Just playful teasing between colleagues. Nothing more.

"Well, I'm going to take off again." Marceline stood up, her guitar case slung over her shoulder in a manner similar to that of one of the students with their backpacks. "See you guys tomorrow."

"Bye, Marceline," Lady sent Marceline a casual smile, although she still looked a little shell-shocked at Bonnie's sudden spurt of confidence.

Realising that she should probably say something, Bonnie awkwardly waved, calling after Marceline, "Take care!"

She slapped herself on the forehead for that one when Marceline had left the room, although she was quickly pulled out of her mental reverie by Lady, placing a hand on her shoulder. "I can't believe you just asked her out like that."

"It got her to change the subject." Bonnie pointed out, "That's what I intended to do. I didn't want her to find out about my infatuation. That would've been horrific."

Lady laughed, "Maybe on your date you'll meet each other's eyes over your coffees and kiss."

Bonnie rolled her eyes, but listened to Lady's multiple clearly romance novel influenced theories about what might happen on Marceline and Bonnie's totally not-date. In fact, she found herself hoping that a few of them – however far-fetched they may be – would happen.

She could dream, right?

Chapter Text

Sunday 22nd November 2015

Bonnibel kneaded her thighs with her palms through her purple jeans as she sat on the park bench, waiting for Marceline to arrive. Marceline was exactly two minutes and thirty-three seconds late, and Bonnibel was getting impatient. She knew that she was overreacting, but she was the woman that got nervous when her bus was over a second late; overreacting was a bad habit of hers.

She bounced her leg subconsciously, adjusting her glasses and glancing around her, searching for Marceline's familiar slender frame. She pulled out her cell phone, turning it over in her hands for a few moments before staring at her reflection in the blank screen. Was it too clingy to text Marceline if she was three minutes late? Yes, definitely. Bonnie slid her phone back into the tight pocket of her jeans, deciding that if Marceline wasn't here in ten minutes, Bonnie would send her a text message.

(Okay, maybe more like five minutes.)

Thankfully, she didn't have to. Marceline collapsed onto the bench next to Bonnie, shooting her a casual grin, "Hey, Bonnie. What's the plan?"

Bonnie was incredibly relieved that she didn't text her after all. That would've made her look slightly obsessive. "Hi, Marceline. We can go and get some coffee and a bite to eat if you'd like? Maybe…talk about ourselves, get to know one another."

"Alright. Sounds interesting." Marceline stood up almost as quickly as she'd sat down, holding out a hand to Bonnie. "Shall we?"

Bonnibel flushed bright red, taking her friend's hand. Marceline helped her up from the bench, flashing her another one of her lopsided grins, but dropped Bonnie's hand as soon as the blonde had regained her footing.

Feeling a little awkward, Bonnibel decided to put a little distance between herself and the other woman, aware of her bright red face. "We could go to Starbucks if you'd like. It's just over there."

Marceline watched as Bonnie jabbed a thumb over her shoulder towards the aforementioned coffee shop. "Yeah, sure."

Marceline set off and Bonnie scurried after her, falling into pace beside her. Bonnie wasn't sure if she was the only one feeling a little tense – this was probably the longest she'd ever been around Marceline – so she decided to make conversation.

(About what, she didn't quite know yet.)

"So…" Bonnie paused in thought, trying to think of a decent conversational topic. Nothing too invasive, but nothing dull like the weather. If she crossed either of those lines, Marceline probably wouldn't want to hang out with her again, "How are your classes going? Midterms are coming up."

"They're all fine." Marceline easily responded, "They're not causing me any hassle or stress, so I'd say that's pretty good. You?"

"Oh!" Bonnie let out in surprise; she hadn't expected Marceline to ask her. "Yes, they're alright. The freshmen are a lot less abrasive since you stepped in. Thank you for that, by the way."

"No worries." Marceline smiled as she held the Starbucks door open for Bonnie to quickly walk through, "Can't have the little goblins annoying my favourite science teacher, can I?"

Favourite science teacher. It took Bonnie's brain a little while to register those words, and her stomach did several consecutive backflips. I'm her favourite science teacher. "Oh, thank you. Don't you know Simon?"

"Yeah," Marceline bobbed her head in confirmation. Bonnie was desperate to ask how, but that would be invasive. Unfortunately for her, Marceline could see the question teetering on the tip of Bonnie's tongue. "You want to know how, don't you?"

Bonnie was fairly certain that her blush gave her away. If it didn't, her sheepish smile definitely did. "If it's okay with you, obviously. I wouldn't want to do anything intrusive."

"Tell you what," Marceline nodded over to the menus, "get me a caramel latte and I'll tell you."

With that, she slid past Bonnibel and made her way to an available table for two in the window, leaving the blonde flustered and red faced as she ordered their drinks – Marceline's caramel latte and a normal cappuccino for herself.

Bonnie picked up the tray that their mugs of coffee and the giant cookie she'd bought to share were currently residing on, carrying them over to Marceline who had her phone out and was tapping around on it - Bonnie looked out of curiosity, allowing herself a reserved, secret kind of smile when she saw that Marceline was playing Angry Birds.

Bonnie carefully set the tray down in the middle of the table, taking the drinks and cookie off it and discarding it on an empty table nearby. Usually she'd put it where it was supposed to go, by a trash can or something, but she wanted to get as much time with Marceline as she could.

She sank down in the seat opposite Marceline, nodding to the drink. "There's your caramel latte. Spill, Abadeer."

Marceline seemed impressed by Bonnie's confidence. "Alright, Butler. I know Simon because he's my foster dad."

Bonnibel blinked in surprise. She hadn't been expecting that at all. All she managed to blurt out was small, "What?"

"Yup," Marceline stirred her drink with a plastic spoon, "Simon fostered me and my twin brother Marshall from when we were eight until we turned eighteen. That's how I know him."

There were so many questions bouncing around Bonnie's head, and ninety percent of them were far too intrusive to actually voice. She couldn't exactly think of a decent answer to that, her brain going haywire as she just stared back at her friend, looking a little dazed.

Eventually, all Bonnie could get out was a strained, "Oh. Alright then."

"I know that it's a little heavy and you probably have a few questions," Bonnie couldn't help but agree with that last part. A few questions? More like a million. "But I don't like treating it like it's a big thing. Simon's my foster dad. So what? It's just because my dad couldn't handle loud – to put it lightly – twins by himself."

"What about your mother?" Bonnie couldn't help but cringe as that sentence came tumbling out of her mouth. Yep, definitely far too nosey.

"My mother is dead." Marceline's voice was monotonous, but she noticed Bonnie's guilty expression and sent her a soft, albeit sad smile. "Hey, don't worry about it. It happened nearly twenty years ago. I'm alright."

"Well…I'm sorry for being so prying." Bonnie nervously drummed her fingers on the table, taking a sip of her coffee. "I didn't mean for that to come out. I'm really sorry."

"It's okay, Bonnie. Calm down." Marceline's smile brightened significantly. "I'm not mad at you. You would've found out eventually anyways."

"That's…I mean – I guess so. Yeah." Bonnie tripped over her words, her face flushing bright red. She tried distracting herself by stirring her coffee. "Do you want to split the cookie I bought?"

"Sure," Marceline reached forward and snapped the cookie in half, passing the bigger half to Bonnie, "You know about my family. Tell me about yours."

Bonnie's throat closed over. Usually she would change the subject entirely, but she felt like she owed Marceline something. Especially after her blatant curiosity. Bonnie decided to shorthand it – too much detail was bound to upset her, and bursting into tears would make this not-date even more horrifically awkward.

She sucked in a deep breath, trying to ignore the dull pain in her chest. "I was raised by my Uncle Peter. My parents died in a car crash when I was two. I don't remember them."

Bonnie jumped when she felt a cold hand on top of her tense one. Her face flushed and she glanced up at Marceline, blue eyes shining.

Marceline squeezed her hand. "I'm really sorry, Bonnie."

Bonnie swallowed the lump in her throat, taking a brave jump and curling her fingers around Marceline's. "It's alright. I know I shouldn't be sad over people that I can't even remember, but it's just…I should still have them now. That's what makes it worse."

"I know. I totally get it. I'm not a stranger to loss." Marceline's thumb traced over Bonnie's freckled knuckles, "Let's talk about something a little less upsetting. Like your girlfriend."

Bonnie rolled her eyes before she could stop herself, feeling a little upset pang in her stomach as Marceline's hand left hers. "I don't have a girlfriend."

"Fine," Marceline folded her arms, "Crush, then. Asked her out yet?"

Bonnie allowed herself a knowing smile. Yes, but she wasn't telling Marceline that. "I might've. But that's none of your business. Unless we discuss both of our love lives in detail, you're not getting anything out of me."

Bonnie really hoped that would've been a deterrent, but judging by Marceline's interested smirk, it wasn't.

(The last thing she wanted was to discuss her crush's love life.)

"Alright, fine. Ask me whatever you want." Marceline raised a challenging eyebrow and Bonnie wasn't sure if she liked having this kind of power. "I'm an open book."

Bonnie quickly analysed the situation she was in. Asking Marceline if she was single seemed like a logical choice. If she wasn't, Bonnie would distance herself so she could move on and be able to be just friends. If she was…Bonnie would decide what to do later.

"Okay…are you single?" Bonnie tried to look casual and not as interested as she actually was. It wasn't like the answer to this question would determine what Bonnie would do next.

"Right now, yes," There was a flash of something in Marceline's impossibly green eyes, and Bonnie didn't know what to think, "but I've got my eye on someone."

What the hell do I say to that? Bonnie tried searching her brain for any decent responses. Marceline liked someone, someone who probably wasn't her.

"Oh…well…who?" Was that too pushy? Probably. Either way, Marceline had asked her about her crush, so it was her turn.

"A friend." Marceline's elusive reply did nothing to soothe Bonnibel. "She's pretty cool. No names, though."

Bonnibel squinted at her, as though she was trying to find a hole in Marceline's story. Which she sort of was. "Does she work with us?"

"Yes." Marceline sipped her coffee, "But that's all I'm saying in that department."

Bonnie took a bite of her half of the cookie, "How long have you been single for?"

"A few months." Marceline tapped out a rhythm on the table with her fingers as she talked, "I dumped my jerk of an ex-boyfriend and as much as he wants me back, it isn't happening."

"It didn't end well, huh?" Bonnie tried a laugh; it came out awkward and forced.

"Not at all." Marceline finished off her latte and sent Bonnie a smile, "That's enough about me. Now I get to ask you questions. You asked five, so I'll ask five."

Bonnibel braced herself for the worst. "Alright."

"You said you liked another teacher. Which department does she work in?" Marceline leaned towards her, a spark of interest in her green eyes. "Mathematics, science, English, the arts, humanities?"

Answering that question would narrow it down dramatically and Bonnie was fairly certain that Marceline knew that too. "Um…the arts."

(If that didn't give her away, her flushed face certainly did.)

"Interesting." Marceline said that like she knew something and that was enough to make Bonnie's chest tighten with fear. "How old is she?"

"She's in her twenties like me, but a little bit older." Bonnie wasn't giving out specific ages. All of the female teachers in the arts department were in their twenties. If Marceline could be elusive, so could Bonnie.

Marceline hummed. "And which subject does she specialise in?"

"There's no way in hell I'm answering that." Bonnie was quick to respond. Answering that would make this afternoon impossibly awkward.

"Art? Drama?" Marceline pressed on. With a teasing wink, she added, "Music?"

Bonnie scoffed, trying to ignore the burning in her cheeks, "God, full of yourself much?"

"What?" Marceline innocently batted her eyelids and Bonnie's heart lurched, "I'm just curious."

"We're done, here." Bonnie folded her arms across her chest in the hope of conveying I'm putting my foot down. "No more questions about her."

"You're only saying that because I'm close to figuring it out." Marceline taunted her in a sing-song voice. "I'll hook you two up, you know. You're doing yourself a favour by telling me."

Something in Marceline's eyes made her wonder if she would be doing herself a favour by letting it slip. Marceline had been saying some…flirtatious things, and Bonnie wasn't sure if that was just her personality or if she actually meant them.

"Yeah, I don't think so." Bonnie eventually settled with keeping it to herself, "That's something I'm going to keep in my head. It could never happen, so…"

"What makes you think that it could never happen?" Marceline asked.

There were a number of reasons that it couldn't happen. A list that was far too long to get started on right now, but Bonnie gave her a few. "Well, she's creative and I'm analytical. We have nothing in common. She's so much more attractive than I am. To name a few."

Marceline shook her head. "Opposites attract. And for the record – in a totally professional, between colleagues kind of way – you're pretty hot."

The words shocked Bonnie enough to make her stumble over her words and reduce her to putty. "Oh, I – wow. I really – thank you, that's very…wow."

Marceline laughed, "I'm wow, huh? Thanks."

"I really appreciate the compliment, Marceline." Bonnie composed herself long enough to actually thank her, "And you're very…aesthetically pleasing, yourself."

Marceline laughed again – not in a mean way, but lightly, like she genuinely appreciated Bonnie's awkward attempt at a compliment. "Thanks, man."

"You're welcome." Bonnie murmured in response, fiddling with the hem of her t-shirt in nervousness. Usually she played with the buttons on her lab coat, but she didn't wear it to casual get-togethers.

Marceline seemed to pick up on this, "You know, it's weird seeing you without your lab coat."

"It's weird seeing you not in plaid." Bonnie countered. Marceline had surprised her when she'd shown up in black jeans and a grey shirt with the 'no smoking' symbol. "Can you believe I was actually convinced that every piece of your wardrobe was plaid?"

Marceline shrugged, "I'm not surprised that you thought that. Back in college, Keila didn't think I owned anything other than black clothing."

"You've known her since college?" Bonnie's forehead dipped into a frown, her nose crinkling.

"Nope," Marceline sent her a proud smile, "Been friends since pre-school."

"Wow." That seemed to be the only thing Bonnie could say around Marceline. Probably because the other woman was wow. She was…ineffable. "That's really cool. I think the longest I had a friend was my high school girlfriend, who I dated for three months until she told me she wasn't really gay and didn't like me."

Marceline scowled. "What a bitch. You really liked her, huh?"

Bonnie's sad smile must've given her away, "Yeah, I did. I felt…accepted, when I had her. People used to avoid me for the whole gay thing, and she made me feel better because at least I had someone who understood."

"Damn. That's really lame of her." Marceline sent her a smile, "But hey, at least you've got friends like me, Lady and Jake to talk to."

Although Bonnie hadn't been certain of their status as friends, the confirmation of that fact made her face break out into a grin that stretched from ear to ear. There was a warm feeling in the pit of her stomach, coupled with a swarm of butterflies. They were friends. Marceline liked her.

"Yes, that's a plus," Bonnie tried to play it cool in her answer, "and I have you, who understands what it's like to be oppressed due to a trivial little thing like your sexuality."

Marceline nodded, spinning her empty coffee mug on the table, "It's stupid, don't you think? Why should who a person dates be such a big deal? If I want to date a girl, I will. Fuck what anyone else thinks."

"Amen to that, sister." Bonnie smiled. She drained the last of her coffee mug and nodded over to the door. "Want to get out of here?"

Marceline replied with an easy shrug. "I don't mind. I walked here, so I could walk you back to your apartment?"

Bonnie was a little discouraged; Marceline, as it appeared, didn't want to spend any more time with her. "Yeah, sure."

She followed Marceline's lead and stood up, leaving their coffee mugs on the table. Marceline held the door open for her again – Bonnie squeaked out a thank you as she ducked under the other woman's arm.

Marceline zipped up her black coat as they stepped outside, stuffing her hands in her pockets. "Where to, Bonnie?"

Bonnie jabbed her thumb to the left, pointing in the general direction to her apartment. "This way. My apartment is around a five minute walk."

"Good, it's freezing out here." Marceline announced, falling into stride next to Bonnibel as they walked across the grass in the little community park.

That last comment made Bonnie's over-analytical brain jump into overdrive. It's freezing out here? Did Marceline want to come into her apartment? If she did, would it be rude for Bonnie not to ask her in? And what if she said yes? Bonnie would have to make her stay outside while she threw any potentially embarrassing things into her closet. That would be weird, wouldn't it? But what if Marceline saw something that Bonnie didn't want her to see? Of course, the blonde didn't really know what kinds of embarrassing things she owned. She kind of hoped she didn't own any, and that she was just overthinking this far too much.

Either way, when they stopped in front of her apartment building and Bonnie struggled for her keys – dropping them twice, which Marceline laughed at – she ended up at a standstill. Should she ask her to come in?

Bonnie opened the door, glancing towards the elevator and then to Marceline. "Um…would you like to come up?"

"Sure," Marceline replied. Bonnie wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

(It was probably a mixture of the two.)

Bonnibel pushed the button on the elevator, nervously adjusting her glasses. Marceline was going to be in her apartment – naturally, she was freaking out. God, she hoped that her cleaning was sufficient.

The elevator's ding cut through Bonnie's worries, and a warm smile settled on her face when the doors opened to reveal her elderly neighbour, Ms Trunks.

"Oh, hello, Bonnibel." The woman smiled at her as she passed Bonnie on the way out of the elevator.

Bonnie pushed the button to hold the doors open, "Hi, Ms Trunks. How are you?"

"I'm fine, dear," She replied. She glanced to Marceline, a smile on her face, "Who is this? Is this the musician?"

Bonnibel's throat closed over. Although she hadn't exactly gushed about Marceline to her neighbour, she'd said enough for the older woman to have realised that Bonnie's feelings towards her colleague weren't exactly platonic.

Marceline just smirked, "That would be me. Marceline Abadeer. Nice to meet you."

"I'm Bonnibel's neighbour, Ms Trunks." The older woman introduced herself, "I'll let you two get back to whatever you were doing. Nice to see you, Bonnibel."

"Yeah, you too." Bonnie's reply came out weak and strained, but neither Ms Trunks nor Marceline seemed to pick up on it.

The elevator doors closed, leaving an awkward silence – at least for Bonnibel. She knew that her face was bright red, which wasn't really a shock around Marceline, but she felt so embarrassed.

After a few moment's silence, Marceline turned to her, still wearing the same smirk. "The musician, huh?"

"Shut up," Bonnie groaned, her cheeks burning, "Yes, I may have mentioned a few things about you. Don't look so cocky."

Marceline raised an eyebrow, "A few things? Enough for her to know who I am."

Bonnibel cringed. Maybe discussing Marceline's gorgeously long black hair with Ms Trunks hadn't been the smartest move. Or talking about how incredible her legs looked in the tight pants she wore at school.

Or the ones she's wearing right now, Bonnie thought. If she wasn't already flustered, she was now. She made a mental note to stop thinking about the tightness of Marceline's jeans. It really wasn't good for her mental health.

"Just…details." Bonnie had no idea how she was going to talk her way out of this one. "I mentioned once that I really liked your hair. I think long and black would ring a bell."

Marceline didn't look like she believed her at all. Bonnie was just grateful that she was finding this amusing and not creepy. "Right. Details. Okay."

Bonnie quickly changed the subject as they left the elevator and headed down the hallway to her apartment, number 307. "Would you like to watch a movie?"

Marceline shrugged, still smirking. Bonnie wanted to kiss it right off her irritatingly smug face. "Sure. I'm down for whatever."

"Alright," Bonnie unlocked her apartment door, pushing it in to allow Marceline to walk in, "Have you ever seen 500 Days of Summer? It's one of my favourites."

Bonnie closed her apartment door behind them, glancing around nervously. Everything seemed to be in order – there were no crumbs, no articles of dirty clothing left on the couch. It was tidy enough for her to have guests over.

"Romantic comedy?" Marceline raised an eyebrow as she sat down on Bonnie's couch, "Interesting."

"We can watch something else if you'd like." Bonnie walked into the kitchen to grab a glass of water, trying to act casual. "Would you like a drink?"

"I'm good," Marceline responded, watching as Bonnie filled her glass up with tap water, "I'm fine with a romantic movie day with you. Just no tongue."

Bonnie nearly dropped her class of water. She spun around to look at Marceline, stumbling over her words with a bright red face. Her answer came out stammered and broken. "Um – I don't…w-w – that's…it wasn't – what?"

Marceline burst out laughing as Bonnie set her glass down on the coffee table with a shaky hand. "Oh my god. I was kidding," Bonnie breathed out a sigh of relief, but it was short-lived, "You can use all the tongue you like."

Bonnibel's face burned like she'd just been set on fire, her brain going haywire. She couldn't tell if Marceline was flirting with her or had realised the effect she had on Bonnie and decided it would be fun to get her riled up. It was probably the latter, but Bonnie couldn't help but have a small flicker of hope in the pit of her stomach that Marceline might like her back.

Bonnie adjusted her glasses, clearing her throat. She grabbed her TV remote and pushed the 'on' button, switching over to her planner and scrolling down all the things she'd recorded – mostly just scientific documentaries – until she found the movie.

"Let's just…watch the movie," Bonnie cast a glance over at a smirking Marceline. She didn't know if she wanted to kiss her or slap her.

"Alright," Marceline responded. "Sorry, by the way. Didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."

Yep, kiss her, Bonnie thought, definitely want to kiss her.

Bonnie cleared her throat again, kneading her thighs through her jeans. "It's alright. I know that you think it's funny. It's just your sense of humour. It's okay."

"I don't want to make you uncomfortable, you know." Marceline's hand came to rest on Bonnie's shoulder, and everything about that was the dictionary definition of uncomfortable. "You're my friend. Tell me if I'm going too far."

Bonnie just nodded and kept her gaze on the television, her heart threatening to beat out of her chest when Marceline's arm moved around her, pulling Bonnie closer. In a moment of bravery, Bonnie rested her head on her friend's shoulder.

Even though she was comfortable, Bonnie couldn't relax. Not with Marceline so close to her. Not while Bonnie could feel her breathing against her side, while her cold arm was wrapped around her, how she smelled like dusk and pavements after rain and the wood of aging guitars all wrapped into one.

Nope. No relaxing happened.

When the end credits rolled, Bonnie sat up and brushed her now messy blonde hair with her fingers. She adjusted her glasses, which had fallen to the tip of her nose, and blinked at her friend.

"I should probably get going," Marceline sat up, "Thanks for having me over."

"Yeah, it's – thanks for coming over," Bonnie smiled, "I had a really good time."

"Me too." Marceline replied, stretching her arms out in front of her. She stood up and Bonnie mimicked her, following her to the door.

Bonnibel pulled the door open for her, watching as Marceline stepped through. "I'll see you on Monday."

"Yeah. I'll sit with you in the teacher's lounge." Marceline replied. Bonnie made a mental note to hold her to that. "Bye."

Bonnibel smiled up at her, staring into Marceline's green eyes. Then down to her lips. Then back to her eyes. And then Bonnie finally managed to switch off her overly-analytical brain and pushed herself onto her tiptoes, pushing her lips onto Marceline's.

Marceline still tasted like the caramel latte from the coffee shop, mixed with the chocolate from the cookie and something underneath it all that Bonnie just couldn't place. Bonnie's fingers traced Marceline's sharp jawline before disappearing into inky black hair and locking around the back of her neck, pulling her closer.

It wasn't until then that she realised Marceline wasn't kissing her back.

Bonnie abruptly pulled away, her content smile replaced with a look of horror. "Sorry. I – oh, god. I shouldn't…I just…"

Bonnie looked around the hallway, nothing to distract her from the confused beauty in front of her. She looked back to Marceline, her throat closing over at the frown on her face. Bonnie couldn't tell if she was angry or surprised or anything.

And that terrified her.

She squeaked out another "Sorry," and slammed her apartment door, sinking down to the floor. She smacked herself, trying to ignore how her heart was beating a million times too fast and how her chest felt like it was going to collapse in on itself.

Most of all, she tried to not think about how she didn't regret kissing her at all.

Chapter Text

Thursday 3rd December 2015

Bonnie had avoided the teacher's lounge for the past two weeks. She'd been avoiding Marceline for the same length of time, too. She hadn't spoken to the other woman since she so stupidly kissed her, and she was dreading any coinciding staff briefings.

She'd seen Marceline in the hallways a few times, and she always made a beeline for Bonnie. And Bonnie just ran. She knew that Marceline had been asking Lady about her, and she'd had a number of texts asking to talk, but Bonnie couldn't talk. She didn't have any excuse for what she'd done.

Except Lady and Jake had stopped bringing her coffee, and she couldn't make it through the school day without her daily dose of caffeine, so she had to brave the teacher's lounge eventually.

Bonnie went in at the end of break – it never took her too long to make her coffee, and it was most likely that Marceline had already been in and picked up her water bottle. She peeked around the door, breathing a sigh of relief when it was empty; no Jake and Lady, and most importantly, no Marceline.

She headed towards the coffee maker, feeling a little better about her day. At least until she tripped over a textbook that had been left on the floor and ended up sprawled on the ground, her glasses knocked off in the process.

Bonnie managed to get onto all fours, hands stretched out front of her to try and find her glasses through the blur. She tried not to worry about her class in two minutes. She'd find her glasses before then.

She crawled across the carpet, patting it as she went along in the hopes that she'd grab her glasses; if she couldn't find them, there was no way that she could teach her next class. She could barely see two feet in front of her without them.

When she heard a loud crunch, her heart jumped to her throat.

"Oh no," Bonnie groaned, "This cannot be happening to me."

Relief washed over her when she heard the familiar creaking of the door opening. Thank god. Someone else could tell her where her glasses were – hopefully not the sharp thing that cracked under her knee.

"Bonnie?" When she heard the voice, all of her internal organs seemed to plummet to the pit of her stomach. Not Marceline. Anyone but Marceline. "Why exactly are you on the floor?"

Bonnibel spun in the general direction of Marceline's voice, hoping that it wasn't actually her, that it was just a figment of Bonnie's imagination. A cold sensation washed over her shoulders when she made out a slender, blurry figure by the door. Crap.

She tried to act casual; she wasn't exactly in a position to turn down help, even if it was from the woman she idiotically kissed. "Um…I dropped my glasses. I think I crushed them."

Marceline approached her. Bonnie inched backwards. "Can you go without them?"

Bonnie barked out an awkward laugh. Going without her glasses? She'd probably walk into a table without realising it and knock over some corrosive or toxic chemicals. "I can't even tell it's you, Marceline. If I didn't know your voice, I wouldn't have a clue who you were."

Marceline crouched down in front of her – they were about a foot apart when Bonnie could finally make her out. She was blurred, like someone had taken a portrait drawn in oil pastel and smudged it with their thumb, but still recognisable. And still beautiful.

Marceline wrapped an arm around her, guiding her over to the nearest chair; Bonnie's stomach lurched and her nerves set alight at Marceline's touch. She picked up Bonnie's glasses, holding them out in front of her with a frown. "Yeah, you've cracked one of the lenses and snapped off one of the arms."

"Oh, crap," Bonnie cursed. She fiddled with the buttons on her lab coat, "I can't teach like this and I have a class that I'm probably already late for."

"Don't worry," Marceline gave her a soft squeeze and Bonnie's nerve endings fizzled, "I know that Simon has a free period so I can get him to cover for you. Unless you have a spare pair."

"You can't ask him to do that for me. He barely knows me." Bonnie sent Marceline an incredulous look. "And I have a spare pair at home, but I can hardly walk for the bus like this."

"Simon knows that you're my friend. He'll do you a favour." Marceline said, tucking Bonnie's broken glasses into the blonde's lab coat pocket. "Come on. I have a free period and I know where your apartment is. I'll drive you. It's no problem."

"I couldn't ask you to do that for me. Not after…" Bonnie trailed off, realising that mentioning the kiss probably wasn't a good idea. She shook her head, trying to reword that. "You don't have to help me."

Marceline laughed, straightening the collar of Bonnie's lab coat. "Of course I do. I can't have my favourite science nerd walking into things all day. The little monsters would take advantage of your blindness and we can't have that, can we?"

Bonnie allowed herself a small smile. Favourite science nerd. "No, we can't."

"Exactly," Marceline smiled back, and Bonnie's stomach flipped in the best way possible, "Come on. How long is the lesson you're supposed to be teaching now?"

"Double period," Bonnie murmured, "With the juniors. How long are you free for?"

"A double period." Marceline slung an arm around her shoulder, "Works out perfectly."

"It does." Bonnie concurred, fiddling with her hair, "I'm really sorry, Marceline. I shouldn't have ignored you for the past two weeks. You didn't deserve it, I was just freaked out."

Marceline shrugged, "I forgive you. I wasn't even mad at you in the first place, Bonnie."

Bonnie wanted to ask if Marceline had been okay with the kiss. If she'd liked it, even. If she'd want Bonnie to do it again. But she didn't. "Aren't you going to ask Simon if he can cover my class for me?"

Marceline blinked in surprise, shaking her head to empty it of whatever she was thinking about. "Oh, right. Yeah. Of course. Be right back."

Bonnie stared after her as she slipped out of the teacher's lounge, breathing a sigh of relief when she was left alone. Although she was glad that she'd been forgiven, she still felt a little tense around Marceline. It was awkward – Marceline knew that Bonnie had feelings for her, and it still hurt to be referred to as a friend.

Bonnie decided that she'd just not think about it. Marceline was acting as if the kiss had never happened, so Bonnie could too.

It couldn't be that hard, right?

Marceline opened the passenger door to her car, helping Bonnibel inside. Bonnie steadied herself with her hands, sitting down in the seat – her heart stopped beating when Marceline leaned over her to buckle her in and when it decided to start up again it overcompensated and blood rushed to her cheeks.

Bonnie let herself breathe when she heard the car door shut, and blindly looked to her left as Marceline climbed into the driver's side. "Thanks again for this, you really didn't have to -"

"Bonnie," Marceline cut her off, "Shut up. You're my friend, of course I'm going to help you."

Bonnibel smiled, drumming her fingers on her lap, "Well, I certainly owe you. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you."

"You can stop avoiding me." Marceline said as she turned the key in the ignition. "I'd appreciate it if things could go back to normal."

As if the kiss never happened, Bonnie thought. "Yeah, okay. Yeah. Sorry."

"Good." Marceline flashed her what Bonnie could barely decipher as a smile, "Do you want me to put some music on?"

Music sounded perfect to make this situation at least a little less awkward. Bonnie was hoping that the music would be Marceline's, but the other woman slid in a disk that Bonnie couldn't read but recognised from the first note of the opening track.

"Taylor Swift." Bonnie announced, humming along to the intro of Welcome to New York. "I wouldn't have pegged you as a Swiftie."

"There's a lot of things about me that might surprise you," Marceline elusively replied, "but yeah, I like her. I put this album because you look like you'd be into her."

"You're basing my music taste off of my looks?" Bonnie raised an eyebrow, "That seems a little closed minded for a musician like yourself."

Marceline frowned. She tilted her head to the side but kept her gaze on the road. "I only take a few guesses just to see if my perception of genre is good enough. I mean, judging by your looks I'd say you're not really too into music as whole but you can jam to Taylor Swift and other bubblegum-pop songs on the radio."

Marceline had guessed it exactly right, but Bonnie wasn't about to let her have the satisfaction of figuring her out. "Maybe. Judging by your looks I'd say you're into all of that punk rock stuff. Maybe classic rock like my Uncle Peter and his friends."

"I listen to all sorts. There's good stuff to be found in every genre," For a moment, Bonnie felt guilty for assuming, until Marceline continued, "but you're sort of right. Rock and its subgenres are my favourites."

"Knew it." Bonnie continued, explaining herself, "You have that whole alternative thing going on, you know?"

Marceline burst out laughing, "I have no idea what that means."

Bonnie's cheeks burned in embarrassment. "Well…you had a nose piercing at your Halloween party. Unless that was fake. And you have that stretcher in your ear. You seem like you have a secret tattoo somewhere."

Marceline hummed in thought. "I guess I know what you meant now. And how did you know I have a tattoo? Been creeping on me, Bonnie?"

If it was possible for Bonnie's face to get even redder, it did. "Don't flatter yourself. It was just a guess."

"I'm starting to wonder if you have peepholes in my apartment." Marceline teased her, "It wouldn't surprise me. I am pretty hot."

"You're such a narcissist." Bonnibel muttered. Even though she knew it would make things weird by bringing it up, she decided to say what was on her mind anyway. "Just because I kissed you, it doesn't mean I like you."

Marceline laughed, "Why would you have kissed me, then? If you didn't find me irresistible?"

"I hate you. You're an asshole." Bonnie stuck up her middle finger in Marceline's general direction. "Stop teasing me."

Marceline smirked. "Make me."

And if Marceline hadn't been sending her so many mixed signals, Bonnie probably would've kissed her to shut her up.

Instead, she just stared out of the window at the blurred surroundings until she felt the car come to a stop. Bonnie heard the jingle of Marceline's keys as she pulled them out of the ignition, jumping a little when she heard the car door shut.

Bonnie's door opened, and Marceline leaned across her to unbuckle her seatbelt. Bonnibel staggered out of the car, Marceline's arm wrapping around her waist in support as they walked over to Bonnie's apartment building.

"You know, you're lucky I trust you enough to look after me in this state," Bonnie looked up to Marceline, "I can't see two feet in front of me right now."

Marceline smiled at her, "Thought you hated me?"

"You know I was joking, don't act so hurt." Bonnibel retorted, digging around in her pocket for her keys. She handed them to Marceline as they neared the first door. "The silver one is for the front door and the one with the patterns on is for my apartment door."

She dropped them into Marceline's palm, waiting as her friend helped her through the first door and into the elevator. Marceline slipped her keys back into the pocket of her lab coat, and allowed Bonnibel to hold onto her arm as they waited for the elevator to reach her floor.

Bonnie breathed a sigh of relief as the elevator dinged to signal her floor, and kept a tight grip on Marceline's arm as they walked down the empty, drab hallway to Bonnibel's apartment. Marceline stopped them in front of the right door, and Bonnie fumbled with her keys as she pulled them out of her pocket, feeling around for the door handle and the key hole.

A steady hand grabbed her wrist, taking the keys from her palm. She heard the familiar jingle of her keychain – a picture of her, Lady, Jake and Jake's younger brother Finn on a rollercoaster from their trip to Six Flags a few months back – as the key turned in the lock, and Marceline pushed the door open and helped her through to her apartment.

Bonnibel heard the door close behind them – the result of Marceline's foot kicking it – and then she was sat down on her familiar couch. Bonnie shrugged her lab coat off as Marceline sat down next to her.

"Where are your spare glasses?" Marceline asked.

Bonnie stood up, trying to navigate her apartment alone – she could do this by herself, but then Marceline's arm was around her waist again and Bonnie knew she wouldn't get to do this independently. "They're in my bedroom."

Marceline nodded, walking her across her apartment and into Bonnibel's bedroom, setting the blonde down on her bed. Marceline grabbed the glasses – equally as round as her broken pair – from Bonnie's nightstand, sliding them onto her face.

Bonnibel blinked to adjust her eyesight, glancing around her completely clear room; it was like she'd just switched over to a high definition television channel. Her gaze inevitably landed on Marceline, and she beamed at her. "Thank you."

"It was nothing." Marceline replied, smiling at the shorter woman, "You needed my help. I shouldn't be thanked for being nice."

"No, it wasn't nothing." Bonnie folded her arms in defiance. "You did that for me after I ignored you for two weeks straight, when I should've just talked to you. We could've sorted things out and now there's just a resonating weirdness between us, and I don't know if it's just me that feels that but I know I screwed everything up."

"Bonnie -"

"And I'm sorry that you had to drive all the way out here for me in your free time and I probably wasted your gas and I promise that I'll pay you back but I just feel so guilty since you were probably going to use your time to mark your students' work and -"

Marceline cut her off by pulling Bonnie over to her by the collar of her shirt and kissing her. Bonnie let out a small squeak, her eyes snapping open in surprise. She didn't let that last long; Bonnie melted into the kiss, her hand resting on Marceline's sharp jawline as her friend's teeth grazed her bottom lip. Bonnie felt like every single one of her nerve endings had been set on fire as she tried not to think about what Marceline's tongue was doing and tangled her fingers in velvety dark hair.

Bonnibel's head met her pillow as Marceline's mouth detached from hers and focused on the bend where her neck met her collarbone, sucking on the sensitive skin. Marceline's cold hands slid underneath Bonnibel's pink blouse, and she glanced up at the blonde. "You're cute when you ramble."

Bonnie smiled, pushing forward and kissing her again, Marceline's cold hands leaving gentle touches on her as she sucked on Marceline's bottom lip, her fingers playing with the top button of Marceline's shirt.

Bonnibel slowly undid the buttons on the other woman's plaid shirt, until it was eventually discarded and slung across to the other side of the room. Bonnie took a moment to stare at the smooth, pale skin, "You're beautiful."

Marceline smiled, working on the buttons on Bonnie's pink blouse, "So are you, Bon."

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Bonnibel played with a lock of Marceline's hair, kissing her friend's sharp jawline.

"Of course I want this," Bonnie's shirt joined Marceline's on the other side of the room, "Do you?"

Bonnie laughed, slipping a finger under the black bra strap on Marceline's left shoulder, "I've wanted this for over a year."

Marceline kissed her again.

Chapter Text

Friday 11th December 2015

Eight days. Eight days had passed since Bonnibel and Marceline had slept together. And Bonnie had barely spoken to the other woman since. It was back to passing smiles in the hallways and occasional Hey, Bonnies as Marceline passed her in the teacher's lounge. It was both confusing and annoying as hell.

Bonnie didn't know what to make of any of it. They'd slept together, and she'd shared something intimate with Marceline, something special that she couldn't bring herself to share with people that easily. She'd thought that Marceline was hers when they'd gotten dressed and headed back up to school. Now she wasn't so sure.

And naturally, her overly analytical brain was going into overdrive.

She was stressing every single detail, no matter how tiny. Every seemingly friendly smile Marceline sent her way, every little glance from across the teacher's lounge. Everything. Not even a blink of an eye was swept under the rug, and it still didn't make any sense.

The stress was making her rather irritable, too. She'd been snapping a lot more easily lately – if a student talked back to her, they had detention until the end of the week. No compromises. So much as a whisper and it was an after-school detention. Her colleague made a comment about her in the staff room? Bonnie would unapologetically put them in their place, and she could tell that everyone, even the students were confused about her sudden change in behaviour.

So after worrying about it for over a week, she decided that the only way she was going to be able to get some rest was to talk to Marceline about it.

She knew that they had a shared free period just before lunch, so after dealing with her class of seniors and dismissing them five minutes early, she psyched herself up to talk to Marceline. At the sound of the bell, she made her way through the hallways and made her first stop – the teacher's lounge.

She ducked through the door, scanning the room for the raven haired woman that she was looking for. She came up short and was about to leave the room, but she felt a hand on her shoulder and was spun around to meet Lady.

Lady sent her a warm smile. "Bonnibel, hey. I've barely seen you this past week. Where have you been?"

Although she was distracted with finding Marceline, Bonnibel decided to sit down and talk to her friend – ever since last week's glasses debacle had happened, Bonnie had been neglecting her best friend duty.

"I've just been hanging out in my classroom," Bonnie explained, "I've had a lot of marking to do, you know?"

Bonnie knew that Lady didn't care about her marking. Lady did care about other ongoing problems in her life, however. "How's it going with Marceline?"

"Um…well, I told you that I kissed her," Bonnibel started, fiddling with a button on her lab coat, "I broke my glasses last week and she offered to help me get my spares at home…she said that everything could go back to normal so I felt a little better about that."

Lady smiled at her, nudging her on the shoulder in a way that Bonnie assumed was supposed to be comforting. "See, I told you things would work out. Even if you don't want things to be strictly platonic between the two of you, at least she's not weirded out. It could be worse. You could've done what I did with my high school crush -"

"We slept together."

"What?" Lady stared at her with wide eyes. Bonnie knew that it sounded crazy.

(She still found it hard to believe right now.)

"Marceline and I slept together." Bonnie repeated. She couldn't believe she'd told, but she needed all the advice she could get right now, and Lady was usually helpful. "We haven't really spoken since it happened and I'd like some advice."

"Are you going to talk to her?" Lady asked, looking around the room, "Is that why you're in here? Are you looking for her?"

"Yes." Bonnibel confirmed, "I wanted to ask her if we're…anything other than friends, really. If anything has changed."

Lady sent Bonnie an encouraging smile. "You should do it. Obviously she likes you back if you two slept together. Just try to relax and ask her in the calmest way possible if you two are more than friends. That should work."

"Um…and what if she says no?" Bonnie asked. The possibility of Marceline rejecting her lingered in the back of her mind. She didn't know how she could take that after what they did.

"Ask her why she slept with you if she didn't have feelings for you." Lady suggested, "And tell her she and I are no longer friends if she was just taking advantage of you."

Although that last part made Bonnie feel a little lighter, the thought of Marceline just seeing her as a one-time thing broke her heart. Either way, Bonnie tried not to think about that possibility. Hopefully Marceline would laugh at her and tell her that they've been in a relationship for this past week.

Bonnibel thanked Lady for her advice – although it didn't do much to settle her nerves – and headed towards the arts block, trying to avoid any other distractions. She had to talk to Marceline if she was going to stop being so tense and irritable. It wasn't good for her, or the students that she needed to teach.

She approached Marceline's classroom, glancing through the little window on the door. Marceline was with some students, so she loitered outside the music room for a moment, waiting for them to leave – they must have been asking about homework or an assignment. Maybe asking Marceline for tutoring. When they left the room and – surprisingly – said hello to her, Bonnie pushed open the classroom door as Marceline collapsed into the chair behind her desk.

Unsure of how to announce her presence, Bonnie cleared her throat. "Um…hey, Marceline."

Marceline looked up from a few papers on her desk, "Bonnie. Hi."

Taking that as her invitation in, Bonnibel stepped away from the door and walked over to her friend's desk, perching on the edge of it in an effort to look relaxed and nonchalant.

She paused for a moment, mulling over her thoughts before voicing them. "So…I wanted to talk to you about something."

Marceline edited something on the sheet in front of her in red ink – compositions, by the looks of it. "Alright. Talk. What's going on in the life of Bonnie?"

"Well…you are." Bonnie cringed at how blunt that was. She was hoping to subtly explain what she was feeling. "I just…I've been worrying all week about our friendship and what we did and I just wanted to talk to you about it."

Marceline still didn't look up from the compositions she was marking. "What do you mean? We're still friends."

"Well…I was hoping that -" Bonnie stopped herself. She needed to reword that. "I have genuine feelings for you, and even though what we did made it clear that these feelings are at least slightly reciprocated, I just want to know if anything has changed between us."

"I just told you – we're still friends." Marceline finally put the cap on her pen and looked up, "So why are you still stressing out?"

Bonnibel nervously adjusted her glasses. This wasn't going the way she'd hoped. "No, but it had to have changed something. Doing something as intimate as that would naturally change the way we perceive one another. So…are we anything other than friends?"

Marceline laughed, but it did nothing to soothe Bonnibel. All it did was set her on edge. "What do you mean by that? It was just sex, Bonnie. Chill out."

Bonnie's world came crumbling down onto her shoulders. The words smacked her right in the chest, and her stomach formed a tight knot at the words it was just sex. It had meant nothing to the other woman.

And to think, for the past week, Bonnibel had been hoping that Marceline was her girlfriend.

"It was just…" Bonnie squeezed her eyes shut, trying to forget that the words had ever been spoken. "Do you not like me like that? Did it not mean anything to you?"

Marceline blinked at her, tilting her head to the side. That irritating smirk had disappeared. "Did you want it to mean something?"

"Yes, you insufferable idiot!" Bonnie wanted to smack her and kiss her at the same time. How was that even possible? "I like you! I've liked you since the day we met and I spilled coffee on you because I was so nervous talking to such an attractive woman. And we slept together and you're acting like it was nothing."

Marceline stared at her, her expression unreadable. Not even a flash of emotion in her beautifully green eyes. It was making Bonnie even angrier.

Yep, slap her, Bonnie thought, I definitely want to slap her.

Eventually, Marceline spoke. Her voice was quiet, like she was unsure of what she was saying. Bonnie really didn't like where any of this was going. "Why didn't you tell me? I wouldn't have -"

"Wouldn't have what?" Bonnie interrupted her, fists clenched at her sides in fury. She knew she'd started shouting and for a moment, she didn't care if any of her colleagues or students heard them. She was just so mad. "Had meaningless sex with me? Flirted with me at every opportunity you had? Sent me so many mixed signals? Made me think that you really, really liked me, when in reality all you wanted was to fuck me and then ditch me? You know what, Marceline? I'm done with your head games. I'm done being confused. I'm done being teased. I'm done with you."

Bonnibel spun on her heels and stalked towards the door in a final act of defiance. She was going to go back to her classroom and think about everything that wasn't Marceline. She was going to cut the other woman from her life completely.

At least, she would've, if Marceline hadn't grabbed onto her wrist and stopped her from leaving.

"Bonnie, don't." Marceline still looked so calm and Bonnie couldn't understand why. The only reason she could think of was that she wasn't all that upset about Bonnibel trying to hate her. "Please don't go."

"Give me one good reason why I should stay here." Bonnie folded her arms across her chest, trying to calm herself down. She was fairly certain both she and Marceline knew that she wouldn't leave without hearing the other woman out.

Marceline led her over to one of the paired desks, sitting her down and sliding into the chair next to her. "Honestly, I don't have one. You have every right to hate me."

It's safe to say that Bonnibel hadn't been expecting that. "What?"

Marceline drummed her fingers on the desk, "I'm sorry. I really like you and I don't know how to deal with stuff like that and I'm just…there's no excuse. I'm sorry that I sent you so many mixed signals, but I like you. A lot. Yeah."

Bonnibel blinked in confusion. "You like me?"

"Of course I like you." Marceline murmured, "Why wouldn't I? You're smart, fun to hang out with, beautiful. Interesting. You have a great sense of humour."

"So…you want this," Bonnibel motioned between herself and Marceline, "to happen? You want to be in a relationship with me?"

"I…" Marceline bit on her lower lip, calculating her next words, "Yes. But…I'm not good at relationships. Every single one I've ever been in has crashed and burned or been…unhealthy. I don't want that to happen to us."

"Is that why you pushed me away after we slept together?" Bonnibel questioned. She felt any residing anger slowly melting away into sympathy at Marceline's nervous nod of the head. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to shout at you."

Marceline shook her head. "It's alright. I deserved it for being such a jerk about it."

"So," Bonnie played with one of the buttons on her lab coat, "You're my girlfriend now? Just double checking."

Marceline laughed, curling her fingers around Bonnibel's. "Yes. I'm your girlfriend now."

Bonnie beamed, launching herself forwards and wrapping her arms around the back of Marceline's neck. She buried her face into the other woman's shoulder, smiling into the crisp plaid shirt. "Good. You don't know how happy I am."

Bonnie pulled back with a smile, pushing her lips onto Marceline's as her stomach twisted and squirmed and her chest filled with this feeling that was impossible to describe as anything other than warm. Maybe light.

"For the record," Marceline jabbed her finger into Bonnie's breastbone, "You are absolutely adorable when you get mad."

Bonnie replied by threading her fingers through Marceline's.

They were still holding hands when Marceline's next class walked in, but Bonnie couldn't care less.

Chapter Text

Thursday 17th December 2015

"Can everybody please sit down?" Bonnibel exclaimed across the cafeteria, glancing down the clipboard. All of the students' names were ticked off, and usually at this point they'd have jumped on the bus to make their way to the museum, but they were missing something important.

Simon. All of the other science teachers had been present in the cafeteria since 8AM sharp in order to tick off students from the register as they arrived so they could be ready for a 9AM departure. They were supposed to be setting off in about ten seconds, and Simon still hadn't shown up.

Bonnie couldn't comprehend it. Simon had been on time last year for the annual trip to the local science museum. Apparently he'd never been late. So why was he still not there?

Bonnibel rolled up the sleeve of her lab coat to reveal her pink watch, checking the time. 9:05AM - if they weren't on the bus soon, they'd be late to the museum and wouldn't get as much time to look around, but they couldn't go without four teachers.

She turned around to one of her colleagues. "Start getting them on the bus. I'll check his classroom just to make sure he's not here and just forgot about the trip, and if he isn't, I'll go to the principal's office and ask him if there's any other teachers he can afford to let us take along since we can't go without a fourth member of staff. Hopefully we'll get set off by half past nine at the latest."

They nodded at her, and Bonnibel spun on her heels and made her way out of the cafeteria, speed-walking back into the science department. She peered around the door of Simon's classroom, which was completely empty, and then double checked the science office in case he was doing paperwork or something. Again, no sign of him. So, she'd have to face Principal Citron.

Principal Citron was a sour man of his mid-fifties who Bonnie was fairly certain hated everything about the school and his job. He wasn't nice to any of the teachers and he was even worse to any students who crossed his path – once he'd given a student a month's detention just for chewing gum in class. She knew that the students hated him just as much as he hated them.

She felt a hand on her shoulder and nearly jumped out of her skin. "Simon, is that you? We have to be on the bus now."

She turned around and met a pair of emerald green eyes that definitely didn't belong to Simon. "Simon's sick. I'm your replacement."

Bonnibel's face sunk into a frown, even though she was very happy about this new development. "No offence, Marceline, but what does a music teacher know about science?"

"Absolutely nothing," Marceline responded with a smile and slipped her fingers through Bonnie's, "but the only supply teacher they could get for such short notice is one for music, so I get to spend the day watching my girlfriend nerd out. Not a bad turn of events at all, if you ask me."

Bonnibel beamed, squeezing Marceline's hand, "Well, you might learn something new. Maybe once all of the students go off in groups we could get coffee and then go for a little walk around the museum. I could tell you all about the different topics."

Marceline found Bonnie's enthusiasm adorable. Usually, when given the task of stepping in on a school trip outside of the arts department, Marceline complained virtually all day and usually sided with the students when they announced their boredom. A few years ago when she'd stepped in on the same trip for a different science teacher, she'd nearly fallen asleep. Maybe it'd be different with Bonnibel. Apparently she made science lessons interesting.

"Alright then," Marceline dropped Bonnie's hand as they made their way outside and headed towards the bus, "I've heard good things about your teaching methods, so this should be interesting."

Bonnibel brightened, looking up at Marceline with a smile, "Really? What kinds of things? I didn't know people talked about my teaching methods that much. That's really cool!"

Bonnibel cringed at her keenness. She still had worries that Marceline would find her strange for being so passionate about certain things like science or what people thought of her teaching. She could get a little bit too excited about particular topics – Lady and Jake usually laughed at her when she went off on one of her scientific rants, but Marceline might have a different reaction.

Marceline just shrugged, letting Bonnie climb onto the bus in front of her. "Usually stuff like how you make it really interesting and easy to understand. Apparently the other teachers can be kind of patronising."

Bonnibel beamed, "Wow, that's cool. I didn't know that the students said such nice things about me. How come they said all this to you?"

"It was only two of them," Marceline told her, nodding in greeting to Bonnie's other colleagues, "Um…Elle Smith-Parker and that Melissa girl she's always with? It was a few months ago and they asked me if we were friends."

Bonnie stood aside to let Marceline sit down, putting her backpack on the seat next to her to reserve it. She had to address the students first, but she had to admit that her usual plucky introduction wasn't as cheerful and engaging as usual as she was too busy thinking about why Elle and Melissa would be asking Marceline about her. She had heard them gossiping about any possible more than platonic relationship she and Marceline had, and she wouldn't be surprised if Elle wanted proof of that before telling the entire school and possibly costing Bonnibel her job.

After addressing the students and reeling off the agenda for the day, she sat back down next to Marceline with a sigh of relief. "I think Elle is up to something."

Marceline rolled her eyes, "You're ridiculous, Bonnie."

"No, seriously! I overheard her and Melissa gossiping about us in my classroom a few months ago, around the same time they asked you about me." Bonnibel folded her arms across her chest in the hopes of conveying that she wasn't about to drop it, "I think they know something."

"How could they possibly know something?" Marceline raised an eyebrow, taking one of Bonnie's hands in hers and rubbing her thumb across the blonde's knuckles to calm her down. "We barely knew anything about each other then."

"They said that we were in a lesbian relationship!" Bonnibel whispered into Marceline's ear rather frantically. "If it got out to parents, they could have us both fired. I don't want to lose my job just because of meddling students. I don't want to be the new teacher at a different institution. I don't -"

Marceline slung an arm around Bonnie's shoulder, rubbing her upper arm. "Come on, Bon. It's going to be fine. It's 2015 and it's not like we're in Texas or some other infamously homophobic state. I'm pretty sure there are laws here that make it illegal to discriminate in the workplace because of a person's sexual orientation. We'll be alright."

Bonnibel nodded into Marceline's shoulder. "Yes. Of course. I need to stop overreacting. You're very good at this, you know."

"Good at what?" Marceline raised an eyebrow, looking down at her.

"Comforting me." Bonnibel murmured, a slight pink tint to her cheeks as she met Marceline's emerald gaze and smiled. "I shouldn't have freaked out. It's just that I really like my job since I get to see you every day. And teach science, obviously, that's my priority, but -"

Marceline cut Bonnie's nervous rambling off with light laughter, "Calm down, nerd. You've gone all red."

Naturally, that statement made Bonnie's face flush even redder until she was sure she was the same colour as Marceline's plaid shirt. "You make me nervous."

Marceline curled her fingers around Bonnibel's and gave her hand a soft squeeze. "Why? It's not like I'm some super cool and famous scientist that would make you swoon. I'm just…me. Some lame musician who wears a bit too much plaid and likes to flirt with you."

"You're not lame," Bonnibel laughed at Marceline's self-analysis, "Sure, you're not a famous scientist, but that doesn't mean you don't make me swoon. You're gorgeous and my heart likes to overcompensate when I look at you."

"Look at that," Marceline murmured, her cheeks turning a colour to match Bonnibel's, "Your nerdy compliments are making me swoon."

Bonnibel felt a proud warmth in her chest. She'd managed to make Marceline's cheeks pink. Bonnibel, the nerdy, awkward scientist who rambled a bit too much, had made Marceline blush. It was probably the best thing she'd done all year.

"Well, I can be flirty if I want," Bonnie shrugged, like it was the easiest thing in the world. In reality, Bonnie's flirting techniques were rather awkward and she usually ended up tripping over her words and making a fool of herself. But, knowing that Marceline liked her and wanted to be with her made flirting with her a whole lot easier. "Sometimes I mess up and end up embarrassing myself, though."

Marceline laughed, "I guess you're lucky I find your inability to flirt endearing, aren't you?"

"Hey!" Bonnie sent her an indignant scowl and smacked her lightly on the upper arm for good measure. "I'm not unable to flirt. My nerves get the better of me sometimes, that's all."

Marceline hummed in thought, "Yeah, because spilling boiling hot coffee all over the woman you're trying to flirt with is really able, isn't it?"

Bonnibel glowered at her girlfriend, "You're insufferable. Why do I like you again?"

"Because I'm gorgeous and it makes your heart overcompensate." Marceline teased her, repeating her words from earlier and sending her an irritatingly beautiful smirk.

Bonnibel let out a long sigh. "Ugh, fine. I guess you are."

"Guys, listen up!" Bonnie called for the class' attention, trying to ignore the pounding in her chest when she looked to her right and saw her girlfriend standing next to her, glancing around the museum with mild interest. "You can go around the museum as you'd like, but you need to stick in groups of at least two. We've handed around some question sheets for you guys to fill out to make sure you actually make use of this trip, and one of us will be here every hour on the hour to answer any questions you have. If it's really urgent, we'll probably either be looking around the museum ourselves or in the café. Remember to have fun as well as learn something new, and we'll be collecting your sheets in at the end to make sure you've done the work set. Have fun!"

Bonnibel lingered in the main entrance of the museum for a moment to wait for the students to disperse – her two other colleagues walked off almost as soon as she'd finished her speech – and Marceline stayed by her side until they were finally alone.

"So, Bonnie," Marceline turned to her, spinning around in a swift motion, "What's the plan? Are we going to hit up all of the exhibitions and go for coffee afterwards, or grab coffee first and then go and look around?"

Bonnibel hummed in thought, "I think I'd like a little time with my girlfriend. Coffee. Definitely coffee."

Marceline smiled, bobbing her head in concurrence, "I hoped you'd say that. That way the little monsters won't interrupt us."

Bonnibel laughed, "You know, for such a well-liked teacher, you really don't like your students."

"It's not that I don't like them, but they can be really annoying sometimes," Marceline admitted, linking her fingers with Bonnie's as they made their way to the café, "If they're music students, I like them. If they're not, then I don't care."

Bonnibel raised an eyebrow, "I don't think you're allowed to be selective in the students you actually help, Marceline. Like, what if an art student wanted to use your room for some peace and quiet?"

"Then I'd let them. As long as they're not loud or anything," Marceline shrugged, "but on a lunchtime I usually help out some freshman who aren't really getting things. They like music and want to get better, so I'm going to help them. Isn't that the point? Helping people who're actually passionate about the thing you're teaching?"

"Maybe when you're teaching an option subject," Bonnibel replied, "but with science it's different. You have to get the ones that don't care for it to pass, too. That's probably why I love my advanced classes so much – they're all really interested in what I'm teaching so I gel with my students better."

Marceline pulled out a chair for Bonnie, allowing the younger woman to sit down before she sat across from her. "I guess you raise a good point. At least you guys get enough funding to go on trips and things. I can't do that."

"Seriously?" Bonnibel's eyes widened, "You can't take your students on trips?"

"Nope. The arts are always overlooked for things like academia and sports. It's just the way it works. Why do you think there's only one music teacher? And one drama teacher? And two art teachers?" Marceline reeled off, "No funding. Something has to get cut and like hell is Citron going to give any less money to the precious sports or academics."

"That's ridiculous!" Bonnie scowled, a few choice words she'd like to say to Principal Citron popping into her mind, "The arts are just as good as sports and academic subjects. Better than sports for definite. I can't believe he only hired one teacher for drama and music, though."

"Oh, it's not that," Marceline shook her head, "I think it was the year before you came, he did a load of cuts and fired the least competent. There used to be two other music teachers. I got all of their classes dumped on me – it was halfway through the school year – and ended up working more than what I signed up for. I only taught three days of the week before that."

Bonnibel tilted her head to the side in confusion, "If you only worked three days, why didn't he keep on one of the more full time people?"

Marceline shrugged, "I don't know. Apparently he asked the students and parents who they liked more, which is kind of weird considering he basically hates them all."

"If you think about it, I wouldn't have met you if he'd laid you off and not someone else," Bonnie said, mentally thanking Principal Citron for his one good idea, "and that'd have sucked because I might've missed out on your pretty face."

Marceline smirked, "You know, I was going to resign at the end of last year. Glad I didn't, though, because now I have a really pretty girlfriend who's amazing in bed."

Bonnibel's face flushed bright red and her breath caught in her throat. Change the subject, Bonnie, there are students barely three feet away from you, she thought, allowing herself a few moments to cool down.

She cleared her throat, sending Marceline an awkward smile as her girlfriend cackled at her reaction. "You – um, said you were going to resign? Why is that?"

"More time to work on my music." Marceline shrugged, "My band got signed in the last week of school last year and we're working on an album right now. Keila convinced me to stay for another year or so, and told me that I needed a steady income until our album is finished and released."

"Remind me to tell Keila that she's the best person ever the next time I see her." Bonnie took a sip of her coffee. "I'd like to think that I would've talked to you if I'd known you were leaving. That way I'd have been fine had I embarrassed myself. At least I'd have the assurance that I'd never see you again."

"So you'd want my lasting memory of you to be one of your dorky screw up moments?" Marceline raised an eyebrow and snorted with laughter, "That's hilarious."

Bonnie's cheeks burned with embarrassment. "Well, when you put it like that…you're horrible."

Marceline tilted her head to the side and smirked, "Not what you told me when we were having s-"

"You know what a really fun thing to do is?" Bonnie cut over Marceline's distasteful comment in the hopes that her colleagues and nearby students couldn't hear it. "The guessing game."

Marceline blinked at her. "That sounds lame."

Bonnie let out an indignant scoff. "I'll have you know that I played this with my Uncle Peter when I was little, and I found it very fun."

Marceline just sighed, rolling her eyes. "Fine. Let's play little Bonnie's idea of a 'fun' game."

"Alright. Close your eyes," Bonnie commanded. She glanced around the table for something to hide, fixating on a packet of sugar near Marceline's mug.

Naturally, Marceline planned on being difficult. "Why?"

"Just close them." Bonnie ordered, sending her girlfriend a pleading look. "Please?"

Marceline huffed, but complied. "Fine. This already seems weird. How do I know you're not going to spike my drink with some sort of new chemical element you've been developing in your nerd lab?"

Bonnibel raised an eyebrow as she grabbed the packet of sugar, "Why would I feed you a chemical element?"

"I don't know, to see if it works or something?" Marceline drummed her fingers on the table as she waited for Bonnie, "Can I open my eyes yet?"

"Yes," Bonnie confirmed, beaming at her girlfriend as her emerald gaze fixed on her. "Look around the table and guess what's missing."

"You could've told me that's what we were doing," Marceline scowled at her. "You could've at least given me a change to memorise what's on the table."

Bonnibel sent her a look that roughly translated into 'really, Marceline?' "If I'd told you, you would've said 'no, Bonnie, that's lame' and refused to do it."

Marceline muttered something under her breath that sounded like no I wouldn't, and then her eyes swept across the table. She took a sip of her coffee and then smiled at the empty saucer. "You stole my spare sugar. I win."

"You don't win the game yet. You won a round." Bonnie corrected her, closing her eyes, "You take something, now."

She heard Marceline move something across the table and then she cleared her throat. "Okay. Done."

Bonnibel opened her eyes, hesitating only for a moment before rolling them. The napkin dispenser had moved slightly and the one that was sticking out was in the complete opposite direction to the one that had been in there a few seconds ago. "Nice try, but there's a napkin missing from here."

Bonnie tapped the napkin holder with the back of her hand, and Marceline just looked at her with wide eyes. "How the…what? There's no way you noticed that. You were cheating."

"Marceline?" Bonnie reached across the table and grabbed Marceline's hand, "I wasn't cheating. I have a photographic memory."

Marceline's expression soured, "That's basically cheating. You could've told me that."

Bonnie just shrugged, "Well, it isn't. It's not like I can turn it off."

"Still could've told me," Marceline muttered, scowling at her, "It's like me challenging you to a game of Guitar Hero. Since I'm good at it, I'd win automatically. With this, the odds are in your favour."

Bonnie smiled, "You know, I like the idea of you teaching me a little bit of guitar. Whether it's virtual or real."

Marceline smirked at her, "I feel like that could go one or two different ways. Either you're surprisingly really good, or…not."

Bonnibel had to admit that Marceline was a lot closer to defining her musical talents with the latter guess. Her Uncle Peter played acoustic guitar and he'd tried to teach her when she was little. It didn't work out very well. She snapped a few of his guitar strings and was never able to get chords quite right.

For all Bonnie knew, Marceline was a better teacher than her uncle. She'd heard lots of positive comments across the school, from both other staff members and students – in fact, Marceline's apparently excellent teaching was one of the things that initially drew Bonnie to her.

(That, and her incredibly good looks.)

"You never know," Bonnie tried to be elusive when she responded, "I might surprise you."

Yeah, with how horrifically bad you are, she tacked on in her head. Of course, she wasn't going to let Marceline know that. Bonnie didn't really have a knack for things that required creativity. She preferred strict rules, the analytical and mathematical side of her brain favoured over the creative one.

Marceline hummed. "Yeah, you might."

"So, basically, our senses are built to filter out things we're used to. Did you know that you can actually see your nose? It's filtered out by a sort of…parallax effect, since both of our eyes see our noses at a different angle since it's so close," Bonnie came to the end of her fourth rant about senses as she followed Marceline to her car. They'd just arrived back from the museum and dismissed the students – since it was already four, they were allowed to go straight home, and Marceline had offered her a ride. "I think it's fascinating. I'm sorry if I'm talking your ear off about things you don't care about. Just stop me if you feel yourself getting bored."

Marceline responded by threading her cold fingers through Bonnie's. "I'm not bored. Besides, it's really cool watching you dork out."

Bonnie glanced around them, ensuring that they were completely alone before boosting herself up on her tiptoes to kiss Marceline – she could never be too careful, especially as they were in the staff parking lot. "Okay. As long as you're certain that I'm not boring you. I wouldn't want to make you think that all I care about is science. I have other interests."

"Oh, yeah?" Marceline raised an eyebrow, like she didn't believe that at all, "Like what?"

"Like you." Bonnie beamed when she noticed that Marceline's cheeks flushed a subtle pink. She squeezed her girlfriend's hand, "I might be a little bit of a movie buff, too."

"Remind me to take you on a date to the movies sometime, then." Marceline replied, "Maybe something scary so you have an excuse to cuddle me."

"I'm pretty sure I have an all-access pass, Marceline," Bonnie reminded her of her girlfriend status as she sat down in the passenger seat of Marceline's car, "I don't need excuses to hug you."

"All-access pass, huh?" Marceline smirked, "Well, maybe you'd like to make use of that tonight."

The car suddenly felt a hell of a lot hotter, and Bonnie tugged at the collar of her polo shirt in an effort to cool herself down. "You're very irritating, you know that?"

A noise similar to a laugh reverberated at the back of Marceline's throat. "You've told me." After a short pause, she continued, smirk completely wiped from her face. "I was kidding, by the way. In case you were unclear."

Bonnibel raised an eyebrow. "Really? That's a bit of a shock. Usually your irreverent teasing has some form of honesty behind it."

Marceline just shrugged and Bonnie noted that her typical confident demeanour was nowhere to be seen. Marceline looked small and vulnerable and Bonnie had no idea what could've brought that on. Was it something she said? Did Marceline want to break up with her?

"Listen, Bonnie, I -" Marceline stopped herself with a sigh, "I know that I joke about inappropriate – or, to quote you, distasteful things, but I don't really mean them. Like, I just…want to take things slow. If that's okay with you."

Bonnibel blinked at her. Out of everything she expected Marceline to say, that definitely wasn't one of the things she had in mind. "Um – yeah, I mean… we've already – whatever you want."

Marceline frowned at her. "Really? Because you don't seem so sure."

"I'm not unsure," Bonnie quickly assured her, "I'm just a little stunned."

Marceline's frown sunk further into her face, "Why?"

"Well, I really didn't interpret you as the type of person that would want to take things slowly." Bonnibel adjusted her glasses out of nervous habit. "I assumed you'd like to jump straight into things. Start off…heavily."

Marceline shrugged, but it wasn't as casual and relaxed as usual. She actually looked nervous, and around Bonnibel of all people. "I am, mostly. But I think about all of the other relationships that I've been in and they've ended up turning unhealthy and self-destructive to the point where all we'd do is fuck one another and then argue. My last boyfriend was emotionally abusive. I don't – the thought of this turning into that? It terrifies me. I just thought that taking things slow would maybe…reduce the chances of this turning sour."

Bonnibel wanted to hug Marceline as tightly as she could, but she had to refrain from it. Marceline needed to focus on driving.

Instead, she offered a comforting smile as a consolation. "I'm happy to drop the pace. More than happy. I'd still like to hang out with you tonight, though. We can order takeaway and hang out in our sweats at one of our apartments, if you'd like?"

Marceline's frown was completely replaced by a toothy, lopsided grin. "Yeah. That sounds awesome. We can grab pizzas on the way back to yours if you'd like? My apartment is a total mess right now. It always is after my bandmates come over."

Bonnie bobbed her head in confirmation, "That sounds like it'll be amazing. Want to call it our first date?"

Marceline laughed, "Yeah, alright. It'll take the pressure off for the real thing."

"The real thing? You make it sound like you've planned something already," Bonnie narrowed her eyes at her girlfriend, "Hopefully a good something."

"I've got absolutely nothing planned," Marceline assured her with a casual shrug. Bonnie took that as a sign that she was feeling better. "I don't plan things. I wing it. Spontaneity is a great thing."

"I'm definitely much more methodical," Bonnie replied, "Everything I do is usually planned. The only thing I've ever done spontaneously was ask you out on that totally not-date a few months ago. And that was just to get you off the topic of my crush."

Marceline grinned, "You know, I kind of suspected that it was me."

Bonnibel sighed, rolling her eyes, "Please don't go into this. I'll just get embarrassed."

"All the more reason to go into it," Marceline sent her that irritatingly beautiful smirk and Bonnibel wanted to slap her and kiss her at the same time. "Actually, your embarrassment was kind of the main point. I'd just glance over at you and you'd turn the same shade as my bass guitar. You stuttered all the time when you talked to me-"

"I'm going to slap you." Bonnie warned, jabbing her pointer finger into Marceline's upper arm.

Apparently, that wasn't much of a threat. "-and you'd always glance down at my lips and I'd just be internally yelling at you to kiss me."

"Why didn't you make a move, huh, Abadeer?" Bonnie challenged her, "If you wanted me to kiss you so much, why didn't you just make the first move? Were you scared of a little nerd like me?"

"Oh, so you admit that you're a nerd?" Marceline raised an eyebrow, "And no. I didn't for the same reasons why I want to slow things down. Never thought you'd actually kiss me, though."

"Didn't think I had the guts, right?" Bonnie smiled as Marceline sheepishly nodded, "Well, nobody else did, either. I don't blame you. Even I didn't think I had the guts. Can I ask you why you didn't kiss me back that first time?"

"Literally just shock," Marceline told her. Bonnie felt a strange sense of relief in her gut. "I was completely taken off guard since I never thought you'd actually do it. But then you did. And then we slept together. And now you're my girlfriend. Still kind of shocked now, to be honest."

Bonnibel laughed, "Same here. I'm not complaining, though."

Marceline glanced over to her with a smile. "Yeah. No complaints over here, either."

Chapter Text

Monday 12 th  December 2016

Mondays were always a drag.

Bonnie couldn't stand her 2016-17 timetable – her Mondays were the only days she didn't get any free periods, so she'd fallen behind on a lot of her marking. Naturally when the final bell rung, she breathed a huge sigh of relief as she dismissed her final class of seniors.

Usually, she opted to stay after school to finish grading a few more papers, but today had been exceptionally tiring, so Bonnibel packed up the worksheets from her classes that she needed to mark and switched her classroom lights off, relieved that she didn't have a staff meeting on a Monday.

She stopped by Lady's classroom on the way out, waving through the window when she noticed that her friend had a few students staying behind to complete work, and headed to the main office to sign out. After sending the receptionist a smile, Bonnibel left the school and made her way to the bus stop, fiddling with the buttons on her lab coat as she waited.

She hopped on the bus and sent a bright smile to the driver as she scanned her pass, sitting in her usual spot near the front. She pulled her phone from her pocket and untangled the earbuds that she'd recently been instructed to buy, plugging them in and pressing the 'shuffle' button on the only playlist that she had – she didn't even make it, and had copied it from someone else's iTunes after listening to it on a late night drive. She loved listening to it when she was on the bus; it brought good memories back and put her in a great mood.

When the bus finally pulled up at the stop near her apartment, Bonnie got off and headed to the store. She bought her usual groceries and spent a little extra on a cute little box of chocolates for a special someone – it'd been a while since she'd done something like that. Romantic gestures meant a lot to some people.

Spinning the handle of the plastic bag around her wrist, Bonnie made her way back up to her apartment, fumbling with her keys as she unlocked the door. She opened it with her foot, dropping her work bag on the floor and carrying the groceries into the kitchen, smiling when she registered the sounds of the television. She pulled the chocolates out of the bag, her smile stretching even further when she felt a pair of arms snaking around her waist.

"Those for me?"

Bonnibel rolled her eyes, spinning around to kiss Marceline, "They're to share. But I may have had you in mind when I bought them."

Marceline laughed, twirling a lock of Bonnie's blonde hair around her index finger, "You know I'll probably beat you to it and eat them when you're not looking, right?"

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, "You wouldn't do that to your loving girlfriend, would you?"

"Ah, you got me." Marceline let go of her, leaning back against the counter, "Nah, I wouldn't. Dibs on the strawberry ones, though."

"I'm pretty sure we've established that you get the strawberry ones," Bonnie forgot about her groceries, curling her fingers around Marceline's and leading her girlfriend into the lounge, "It's some sort of unspoken rule."

In fact, they had a lot of unspoken rules. There had been many developments in the span of a year - Bonnie had come to understand Marceline completely. Her likes, her dislikes, what kind of things made her laugh, her favourite movie genre and the types of music in her nerdy record collection that she'd started when she was younger and still added to today.

Marceline laughed at her, flopping down on the couch, "Yeah, I guess so. How was the rest of work?"

"Tiring, as usual. You're lucky that you only have two morning classes. I wish I taught an elective rather than a compulsory subject." Bonnie fiddled with Marceline's fingers - another thing that Marceline really liked her doing - and looked over to the television, "What're we watching?"

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Marceline responded, "I finished grading everything that I needed to, so I figured I'd treat myself to the season two box set. Angel has just turned back into Angelus and shit is getting real. You'd like this show, actually."

"Did you manage to finish unpacking the rest of your stuff?" Bonnie disregarded Marceline's comment, knowing that you'd like this usually translated into we're binge watching it this weekend. "I know that you were already nearly done, but I was just wondering if you'd finished completely."

"Yeah, Keila came over and helped me out at around two." Marceline confirmed, draping an arm around Bonnie's shoulders as she leaned against her, "I find it hard to believe that we've been together for a year. I know we celebrated it by moving in together, but I'm going to cook a couple of steaks for dinner tonight as a sort of…thanks."

"Thanks?" Bonnie raised an eyebrow in amusement, "You're thanking me for dating you? I mean, I know you can be kind of annoying sometimes, but you're not too bad."

"That's not what I mean, nerd." Marceline rolled her eyes. "I mean more along the lines of sticking with me and stuff."

Bonnie wanted to point out that she'd be an idiot not to stay with Marceline. She was fun to be around, told funny jokes, was outstandingly beautiful and was a good chef. Plus, she could play music to Bonnie on demand. What wasn't to love?

She smiled and kissed her girlfriend on the forehead, "You don't need to thank me. Making out with you on demand is thanks enough. Although, steak does sound quite pleasant after my long and arduous day of working. I take mine medium well."

"Noted. It's rare for me." Marceline flashed her canines in Bonnie's direction, but that melted into a smile within seconds, "And hey...maybe later, we can do something else to break in the new bed."

Bonnibel scoffed, smacking her on the arm – albeit lightly. Marceline's irreverent jokes always made Bonnie's chest feel warm, even though she pretended to dislike them. She was sure that Marceline knew her reactions were false. "You're so distasteful."

Marceline cackled, pressing her soft lips against Bonnibel's cheek and eliciting a soft pink colour. "Yeah. And you love it."

Bonnie smiled, turning her head to the side to meet her girlfriend's lips. And honestly, while kissing Marceline, she couldn't disagree with that at all.