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C's Get Degrees

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Bonnie glanced over the cramped dorm room, biting back a sigh. Her few boxes and suitcase were stacked on her bed, begging to be unpacked. She tapped her foot, humming to herself. Her roommate hadn't arrived yet, which was odd given that she herself had moved in rather late. Bonnie considered beginning unpacking immediately, but the move had taken a lot out of her. For no other reason at all, she decided to visit some friends instead. She shoved her dorm key in her pocket and walked out of the room, opening her phone as she went.

 

Bonnie: Hey. I'm all settled now, so I'm coming over to your dorm for a bit.

Before Bonnie could shove the phone into her coat pocket, the phone buzzed in response.

Lady: That's a weird way of asking to come over. Most people say 'please'?

Bonnie: Can I come over PLEASE? I'm freezing out here. It's like, -2. I'm going to freeze to death, and when they go through my texts, they'll know that you're to blame

Lady: >:(

Lady: Okay fine <3

 

Bonnie grinned and shoved the phone into her pocket. She hadn't been lying- it was cold for early September, and she hadn't bothered to unpack any of her warmer clothes yet. Squirrels darted across the cracked pavement, clearly all-too used to being around people. When she arrived in front of the building, she bounced from one foot to the other as she waited for her friend. Lady's dorm building was older than Bonnie's, but the showed similar signs of age- the same holes drunkenly punched into walls and halfheartedly patched up, the same unidentifiable stains that somehow ended up on the ceiling, and so on.

Lady practically leaped down the stairs a few moments later. With a grin, she opened the door and waved at Bonnie, “Dang, it is cold, get in here.”. Bonnie nodded and followed her in. Lady was a tremendously tall Korean girl only two weeks older than Bonnie. They'd known each other since they were tiny- Lady always said that her skyrocketing in height was revenge for all the times Bonnie teased her about being a couple centimeters taller all through elementary school. Of course, this didn't explain all their other friends being taller than her. Not that Bonnie would ever be petty enough to be bothered by that.

Bonnie smiled, poking lightly at Lady's newly dyed deep pink hair, “Trying to copy the cool kids?” she asked, gesturing to her own hair.

Lady rolled her eyes, smiling, “It was meant to be more red, actually. Jake was gonna do it with me, but when he saw how it turned out he backed out. Uh, Prismo, on the other hand,” she smiled, “well, you'll see.”

When they entered the dorm room- almost exactly the same as her own- Prismo wasn't there. Jake was nestled on Lady's bed, staring at his 3DS screen intently. He shot a wide grin at them as they entered, but quickly shifted focus back to his game. Lady and Bonnie sat at the foot of her bed, chatting among themselves about generic things- going over what classes they had for probably the fourth time, complaining about how much they were going to have to spend on textbooks, the usual college student affair.

“Oh, hi fellas,” Prismo said as he ducked into the room, pointedly avoiding eye contact with everybody and throwing his hood up over his coarse, curly, deep pink hair. Bonnie smiled sympathetically- Prismo liked to blend in with crowds, even though he naturally stood out- being almost seven feet tall did that to a guy. He made it his goal to blend into shadowed corners at parties that he went to with Jake and Lady, and she imagined this would make that more difficult than ever.

“It looks good, Pris,” Bonnie said, reaching up to pat his shoulder. It wasn't untrue. Through it didn't match his usual style, she certainly thought it looked cute. Prismo blinked and offered a small smile before settling down next to Jake, nestling against his boyfriend. Lady plopped down on Jake's other side and cuddled up too, ignoring his drawn-out sarcastic whine as they distracted him from his game.

Bonnie smiled, leaving them to that, and scooted over to Lady's roommate, Bianca. Bianca was absolutely adorable- always wearing a wide grin, with short black hair that usually shot out in all directions. They'd shuffled into Bonnie's friend group in their last year of high school and thoroughly disrupted Bonnie's college plans, not that she minded. Much.

Lady had always been one for inviting new kids into their group, and so when excitable, eccentric Biana showed up and most people wanted to laugh at the weird kid, Lady practically scooped them up and adopted them.

Soon afterwards, at a party of Lady's, they slipped up and told everyone that they were nonbinary, and promptly panicked, though the group quickly silenced any fears they may have had. Everyone in their circle of friends knew a decent amount about transgender terms- Lady had made it pretty much a rite of passage to being admitted among them after a certain former friend had made some major mistakes. Besides, Lady would have promptly murdered anyone who tried to hurt Bianca. Honestly, Bonnie would be there to back her up most of the time.

Shortly after that, Lady had pulled Bonnie aside and told her that she wanted to move in with Bianca in University. She didn't want the optimistic person's happiness crushed by some shitty roommate. Bonnie had understood- she wanted to stay with her best friend, but she'd manage.

Probably.

That probably had been nagging at her a bit.

Bianca glanced up from their game, “Hello, Bonnie! Are you not hanging out with-” they glanced towards the bed, where Lady was now in Jake's lap, “I see,” they said, closing their game and scooting closer to Bonnie. “Have you met your roommate yet?”

Bonnie sighed, “No. Maybe I don't have one. That happens sometimes, right? Mistakes and all that biz. I could totally live with that. No loud roommate to interrupt my studying.”

Bianca stuck their tongue out, “You would get lonely and do nothing but study, and then you'd spiral downwards and explode!” they tossed their arms into the air as the finished, making a series of explosion noises for emphasis.

When Bonnie only rolled her eyes and smiled, they added, “And maybe it would be a cute girl. I bet you would like that, huh?”

Bonnie rolled her eyes again, but couldn't force her smile back down, “Somehow, I think I'll survive without, y'know,” she gestured towards the cuddle pile forming on the bed, earning a soft 'hey' from Prismo, who was the only one even remotely paying attention to the two of them.

Bianaca smiled, “You love them,” they cooed, drawing out the 'o' sounds. Bonnie laughed lightly. Couldn't argue that.

 


 

Not long after, Prismo and Jake headed out. They attended a University on the other side of the city for its Culinary arts program, and hadn't finished unpacking yet. With a simultaneous, exaggerated sigh of relief from both Bianca and Bonnie, the two hauled themselves onto the bed next to Lady, who rolled her eyes at their mock exasperation.

“Dinner please,” Bianca said, weakly trying to pull them by their sleeves, not that they offered much resistance to that idea.

The three arrived to a mostly empty cafeteria, and Lady spared no time in openly expressing her distaste for the selection- dating two chefs would do that. She was kind enough to not do so in front of the underpaid servers, at least. To be fair, it didn't take a master chef to realize the food was stunningly mediocre. Her pasta was practically swimming in the bland marinara sauce. Did the chefs know what salt was? Whatever. Bianca ate it all with a wide grin on their face and even made a comment about it being good, but nothing seemed to displease Bianca.

Bonnie, meanwhile, had become lost in thought, gazing into a boring marinara sea, when Bianca spoke.

“Oh, Bonnie, what intro English class are you taking?” Bianca asked between mouthfuls.

“Uh, literature- the one that's at one thirty.”

Bianca's grin widened, if that were possible, “Amazing! Me too. I was so worried I would have no friends in it!” they bounced a bit in their seat, “we can study together! Won't that be fun?”

Bonnie agreed that it sounded fun, and majorly unproductive. Bianca was nice and tested well, but they were the last person she'd want to study with- they always found an excuse to go on fifty errands instead, and at the end of it all they got no studying done. “Uh, yeah, sure,” she said. Not quite convincing. She hadn't really wanted it to be. Still, she felt bad when she saw Bianca's crestfallen look.

“I mean, sure! Sorry, got distracted thinking about something else.”

Bianca immediately brightened and went back to eating their meal. Lady blinked across the table, “You should probably go back to your dorm after this. I know you're avoiding it because you don't want to meet your roommate.”

Bonnie clenched her teeth. She didn't like that Lady knew so much about her, but she hated when she she made that knowledge public, “Right,” she said curtly. Lady either didn't notice she was annoyed or didn't care. Bonnie knew she was right, but still, she didn't like being caught off guard. Bianca didn't seem to notice she was on edge either. That was probably for the better.

She forced down the rest of her pasta and stood up, waving goodbye to her friends. Lady sent her a reassuring smile that sent a pang of guilt through her chest. Bonnie let her brief anger dissipate a bit- her friend really was only looking out for her. She walked quickly out of the building, hands shoved deep in her pockets as the night air tugged at her ears and nose. She faced a brief moment of panic as she misplaced her keys, but quickly found them in her back pocket of all places- she had no idea why she'd put them there.

During her walk up the stairs she mentally prepared herself for her roommate. They would probably just be an average student, just wanting to do their thing, keep out of her way. Maybe have a boy over. Or a girl. Nope, nope. She wasn't going to get her hopes up for a non-straight roommate. She managed to mostly calm her nerves by the time she made her way up to her dorm door. The white board that hung there, she noticed, had a new addition. At the top, she had written 'Welcome to the Room of Bonnie,” and at the bottom “feel free to introduce yourself :)”, and her roommate, she assumed, had added “and Marceline” in a scratchy scrawl. She knew her name then. She was beyond ready.

However, as she opened the door, she was struck by the realization that she had not mentally prepared herself for the possibility of her new roommate having her tongue shoved down a guy's throat.

First of all, quite an introduction.

Second of all, gross.

And finally, it was going to be a long damn year.

 

Chapter Text

Bonnie really wanted to just sneak back out, but her instincts apparently had other plans, because a startled squeaking noise slipped past her ever-treacherous lips. The couple broke apart suddenly and the man made very- very uncomfortable eye contact with her. Bonnie rapidly regained her composure, thankfully, and tried to lean around to view her roommate “Er, you must be Marceline, sorry about-”

“Ever heard of knocking, pink?” the boy snapped.

Bonnie placed her hands on her hips, “Pink?” she said. Real original. Let this man into Mensa and make him their leader.

“Yeah, pinkie” he taunted, voice raising. Marceline's face contorted into a hard frown as she eyed her partner.

“Well, I'm sorry, but last I checked I lived here, and I could be wrong, but I don't think you're Marceline, so-”

“I'm Ash.”

“Didn't ask. My point is, I should be able to walk into my own dang room without knocking,” and find somewhere else to munch on each others faces, my god, she added mentally.

“Alrighty then!” Marceline spoke for the first time, “this has been rad, really, but I got some serious unpacking to do,” she leaned up to kiss Ash's cheek, and for some reason he found it appropriate to shoot Bonnie a smug look as she did so. Bonnie raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He left after that, waving at Marceline, and flipping Bonnie off. Classy. As the door closed, Bonnie suddenly felt very nervous. She had developed a game plan before walking in here- to see Marceline, probably unpacking, introduce herself, talk about classes for a bit, hobbies maybe, and be on civil terms. The whole eating face thing had kinda thrown that off.

“Hey, uh, sorry about that,” Marceline said, running a hand through her hair. Bonnie blinked at her, finally able to see her completely for the first time. She was quite short, she noted, probably a couple inches shorter than herself- a change of pace from the people Bonnie usually spent her time with. She had short, fluffy black hair that framed her dark, angular face nicely. She was pretty.

Shit, was she staring?

“Uh, earth to Bettie? Sorry?” Marceline repeated, a slight edge to her voice.

Bonnie frowned, “Bettie?”

“Is that not your name?”

“Bonnie.”

“Shit. Sorry.”

“Right, well, either way it's fine on both counts,” she sat on her bed, “and uh, sorry for snapping at that guy.”

“Ash.”

“Sure.”

God, this was awkward.

Marceline shuffled on her bed, hands clenched in the blanket, “I'm really sorry about that, though. I told him it was a bad idea, but he can be,” she dragged the last word out a bit, tapping her fingers, “stubborn, I guess.” She stared down at her feet.

Bonnie opened her mouth to speak, but Marceline cut her off, “But I mean I was fine with it of course, just wish we'd done it somewhere else, wouldn't want to freak out my new roomie,” she shuffled around until she was propped comfortably against her pillows, “so tell me about yourself, Bonnie, you know the drill, major, hobbies, lay it on me.”

Marceline's quickly worded defense definitely sat oddly with Bonnie, but she barely knew her. It wasn't her business, so she wouldn't pry. Yet. She hummed, “I'm a polisci major, creative writing minor- yes I know it's an odd choice.”

“Wasn't gonna say anything, but go on.”

Bonnie smiled, “Uh, I write a lot, have since I was little, mostly I just hang out with friends and well,” she furrowed her brow in thought- she wasn't often asked what she did, “I like sciences too- sometimes I research something for like a week, like a month ago I went on a binge for information on black holes. That kinda stuff- it's real cool.”

Marceline nodded thoughtfully, “You sound like a nerd,” she said, then continued before Bonnie could repeat that, in fact, it was cool, “I'm a compsci major, and before you call me a nerd, I gotta tell you that it involves like, video games and computers, which are objectively cool. Though, even if it wasn't cool, I play bass as a hobby, which definitely is, so it balances out.”

“Of course, I would never ever insinuate otherwise,” Bonnie said, rolling her eyes, “anyway, cool cat-”

“Cool cat? That's weak, Bonnie.”

“You can have dates over, just gimme a heads up, alright? I have like, four friends on campus I can crawl to.”

Marceline grinned, “Back 'atcha. And he really isn't that bad. Ash, I mean, he can be nice...” she trailed off at the end, fiddling with her fingers, and Bonnie definitely wasn't convinced. Marceline leaned off the side of her bed and picked up her red bass guitar and began to fiddle with the strings instead, seemingly aimlessly.

If anything, Marceline's defense of her boyfriend was only making her suspicions worsen, but she still didn't feel like it was her place to say anything. She would if she thought Marceline might listen, but generally people didn't like getting dating advice from total strangers, and admittedly she didn't know the whole situation yet.

Then again, Bonnie found she was usually right, but that sounded smug. Whatever.

She tapped her foot as she began unpacking her clothes, folding them and placing them neatly into the drawer. She didn't normally do that, honestly. It took a lot of time and she was usually busy with other things. All that mattered was that she knew where things were- organization was relative. Regardless, she wanted to make a good impression on Marceline- if she could be her friend that would be favorable.

She eyed Marceline, who was now lazily strumming the guitar and muttering under her breath. Maybe being neat wasn't the way to appeal to her though.

That sounded rude, she didn't know why her mind had gone there. What did people like, again? Conversation, right.

“Hey so what English class did you decide to go with?”

Marceline blinked, looking dazed. Shit, had she actually been focused on her music? She didn't sound annoyed when she responded, at least, “Uh, intro lit, at one thirty.”

Bonnie brightened up, “Oh, we share that class! My friend Bianca is in it too, so we can sit together, get to know each other.”

Marceline laughed, “Dude, I have like, friends you know.”

Bonnie flinched. Had she implied otherwise? “Of course, I meant if you didn't have anyone else to sit with.”

Marceline hummed and went back to strumming her guitar, “Yeah, sure, none of my friends go here anyway.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes and went back to unpacking- why had Marceline responded that way if she didn't have any other friends here? Was she trying to get under Bonnie's skin? She knew that was irrational, but it was still the first thought that came to mind.

Had she said something to Ash or whoever to set her off?

Whatever, she could do without her friendship.

Marceline didn't offer any more conversation through the rest of the night as Bonnie shifted her belongings around and eventually settled down in her bed with her laptop, popping her headphones in. She cast occasional glances over at Marceline, hoping that conversation ideas would pop into her head. She was glad Marceline was playing guitar, though, because her occasionally staring at her, eyes narrowed in thought, would probably look way past weird.

Nothing came to her, though, even after an hour of weird one-sided staring contests. Whatever, she had a year to win her over. Or she could just not, whatever. She flicked off her lamp and hoped that was enough indication that she wanted to sleep.

To her credit, Marceline was kind enough to stop strumming her guitar at that point.

Bonnie still didn't have high hopes for their relationship.


 

Marceline barely managed to drag herself out of bed the next morning. She still felt terrible after the previous night. Bonnie had already left, and she seemed pissed last night.

Cool.

It really wasn't cool, but it was easier to convince herself that it was. She didn't need friends. She had, like, two friends. Two was, statistically, a decent number of friends. She was sure that was accurate based on the non-existent research she had done.

She groaned and lazily dressed herself in a loose gray hoodie and sweatpants. She didn't even bother to brush her hair- she didn't expect to run into Ash, who was the only one who would give her shit for it.

She knew this whole day was super pointless. All they did was introduce people to the school, then tell you why your department was the best. But there was free food at some point, she was told, so that was something. She made her way down to the building assigned for the opening ceremonies, placing herself at the end of the annoyingly long line, the wind pulling at her hair. She waved at Bonnie, who was further down, but the girl didn't acknowledge her.

God, fine.

She shoved her hands into her pockets and tried not to pout about how her roommate didn't like her or whatever, because it definitely wasn't bothering her. People in front of her and behind her chattered in small groups, not even glancing her way.

And the line moved.

Calmly.

Gradually.

Haltingly.

The thesaurus she'd pulled up on her phone informed her that there weren't actually that many synonyms for 'slowly', but regardless, it was slow, and tapping her foot impatiently wasn't making it go faster. It felt like it had been hours by the time she was ushered into the room for the much-unanticipated event.

The opening ceremonies went about as boring as she had anticipated. The dean gave a speech, introduced some alumni who probably gave the same speech every year, and it wasn't the worst. It just wasn't anything that trumped sitting in bed and doing nothing. See, this was basically doing nothing, except she was sitting on wood for two hours and her legs hurt.

After what felt like a whole day, the group was escorted out and divided intro groups by department. In the flurry of people, she almost knocked over a short, black haired person in her path.

“Hello!” they piped up, grinning widely.

“Uh, hey,” Marceline said. Did she know them?

“I'm Bianca- Bonnie said you are her roommate. She thought I might want to talk to you since we'd be in the same area- oh, oh- she mentioned that we have the same English class!” Bianca sounded remarkably excited about this, which was sort of weird. Regardless, the enthusiasm earned a smile from Marceline.

“Yeah, nice to meet you Bianca. You as bored as I am?”

Bianca glanced down at their feet, “Well, I think that they're trying their best to get us hyped up,” they said, shuffling their feet, “but it's pretty boring. Bonnie spent the whole thing giving us a lecture about how the dean is, according to her, a huge 'dillweed'.”

Marceline was taken aback by that. Bonnie didn't seem the type to mock people like that. The thought made Marceline a bit nervous, though, against her better judgment, it also made her a bit curious.

Evidently noticing her discomfort, Bianca began speaking again, “She would never make mean comments about people who don't deserve it,” they insisted, “the dean has... quite a reputation,” they wrinkled their nose up, which was pretty darn cute, and Marceline found herself smiling again. “He's a huge butt. She wouldn't make jokes about you or anything. She just says you two are awkward. She wouldn't tell me why though,” they trailed the last part out, staring hopefully at Marceline.

Yeah, she wasn't about to explain that.

“Right, well let's say we ditch and try to snag some free food early. You can come back to my dorm after if you want,” she wasn't sure why she offered that, but they seemed nice, and Bonnie wouldn't mind, unless she was more uptight than Marceline had assumed.

Bianca's smiled widened- Marceline wasn't sure how- and was accompanied by vigorous nodding. The two walked towards the center of campus, on the way getting onto the subject of video games. Bianca went into a rant about their favorite franchises, and Marceline was left to listen, not that she minded that too much.

The free food advertised turned out to be burgers, so she got a veggie burger for herself. It was as mediocre as she had anticipated- it had a weird dirt-like texture to it, but hell, she wasn't one to complain about free food, and Bianca was certainly satisfied.As promised, the two retreated back to Marceline's dorm, Bianca still rambling on about video games between bites. Marceline was sure they'd been talking about Pokemon, generation by generation, for the past twenty minutes, but that was fine. They settled onto Marceline's bed, Bianca not missing a single beat as they clambered on, continuing in their seemingly endless ramble, and only paused when Marceline waved her 3DS in front of their face.

“So, wanna battle?”

Bianca bounced excitedly, causing the bed to let out agonizing squeaking noises, and pulled their game out of their large jacket pocket. They both started up their games, and Marceline almost immediately regretted challenging Bianca. As soon as she saw what she was up against, she could tell Bianca actually cared about team building and all that. They didn't comment on Marceline's obviously under powered team, but there was still an obvious disadvantage.

Still, it ended up being fun. They played a few rounds, messing around with some random play styles for fun, for what must have been a couple of hours, because they were interrupted by Bonnie arriving. She glanced between the two of them, confusion clouding her features for a moment. Then, she smiled at Bianca, not really looking at Marceline, and settled on her bed with her laptop.

“Hey Bonnie, wanna join us?” Marceline offered.

“No, thank you,” Bonnie said, not taking her eyes off her screen.

Marceline forced herself not to be bothered. She clearly wasn't on bad terms with her roommate. Was she? She hadn't done anything.

Still, Bonnie seemed cold. Maybe it was just neutrality, but Marceline didn't think she liked it.

 

Chapter Text

Bonnie's Canadian politics class felt like it dragged on for something like ten hours. That was an exaggeration but honestly, this professor's syllabus was so detailed she was surprised it didn't also include his Christmas wish list, favorite colour, and social insurance number. It didn't help that he spoke in long, drawn-out syllables, making Bonnie feel like time was slowing around her.

He talked about plagiarism for like, twenty minutes, in case someone missed high school, where they pretty much told you that you would be hanged for plagiarizing three words on accident. Hell, the amount of detail he went into made her wonder if he assumed most of the class had missed the 'stealing is wrong' lecture from kindergarten.

Kate sat on her right, doodling absently on her notebook, and occasionally showing Bonnie her doodles, which usually involved weird things she noticed classmates doing. It made time pass marginally quicker, anyway.

The man sitting next to her on several occasions leaned over and tried to give his opinions on some of Kate's drawings. On one that Kate drew of a classmate a few rows down, he pointed at his mustache and said, without intonation of any sort, “I mustache you a question,” and broke into unreasonably loud laughter. He laughed alone, interrupted only by the professor loudly clearing his throat before continuing on with the lecture everyone had long since stopped listening to.

After twenty long, happy minutes where they were not uncomfortably dragged into conversation, Bonnie found a hand jutted awkwardly in front of her face. The man gave her an unnervingly large smile and, god, was he sweating? He cleared his throat, “I'm Braco,” he said.

Bonnie gave a hesitant smile back, “Yeah well I am,” she glanced down at her phone, “Whoops, looks like everyone's backing up, so I'll be going, in fact, thank you,” she dragged Kate to her feet and dragged her behind. Kate raised an eyebrow at her but said nothing.

“Hey, let's get some lunch,” Kate said as they exited the classroom.

Bonnie sighed, “Can't, sorry. I've got lit in a half hour.”

Kate began prodding Bonnie's arm, “Skip! Skip! Skip!”

“I'm not skipping my first class, ya dingus,” Bonnie laughed, shoving her away lightly, “besides, Bianca is in that class,” then, after a pause, “my roommate too.”

“All right,” Kate said, drawing out the word, “I'll walk you to class, how 'bout that?” before Bonnie could respond, though she wouldn't have said no, Kate continued speaking, “and how're you and your roommate gettin on, anyway?”

Bonnie clenched her teeth and drummed her fingers on the textbook she was holding, “I don't know,” she said, “she seems fine, but she seemed really annoyed with me after Bianca left last night.”

“Were you all standoffish? Ya' get that way 'round new people, y'know. Makes folks think you're angry all the time.”

Bonnie felt anger rise like fire in her throat, but she batted it down, took a deep breath, “I'm not a standoffish, and I'm not angry,” she, admittedly, sounded fairly angry when she said that. That was because she was angry. Damn it.

The two walked a bit in silence, observing their surroundings. Kate was almost hit in the head by a stray frisbee, and tried to joke about it with Bonnie, but Bonnie wasn't really paying attention any more.

Kate frowned, “Hey, Bonnie-butt, chill. I'm just messin' with ya, but you do kinda,” she paused, trying to make eye contact with Bonnie, “act weird sometimes. All distant and junk. If anything's wrong you can trust us you know. She doesn't want me to say anything, but Lady gets worried. We-”

“That's fine, Kate. Thanks.”

“You say that every time we try to bring it up, Bonnie. We're your friends you know.”

Bonnie didn't honor that with a response. She was honestly frustrated with herself. Worrying people was the last thing she wanted- it was why she did what she did. Not that she distanced herself or whatever Kate was going on about. What she did was responsibly removing herself from the presence others. Just damage control, really. Either way, it was none of Kate or anyone's business.

And Marceline acting all annoyed with her wasn't her fault, either. That whole thing was probably just her persona, or whatever. Chill rocker thing and whatnot.

Uneasy silence remained the duration of the walk, causing resentment to grow inside the pit of Bonnie's stomach. She did not appreciate her emotions being read so well- not even by someone like Lady. That stuff happens inside your mind for a reason, as far as she was concerned.

Luckily for Bonnie, the walk ended and Bianca noticed her the instant she walked into the classroom. Bianca's smile was infectious and could trump any bad mood.

Well, most of them.

But it could cure this one, so bad moods Bianca's smile couldn't cure weren't relevant in this particular instance. Marceline sat on one side of them, next to the wall, head firmly planted on the desk and one headphone barely in her ear. When Bonnie sat down in the surprisingly comfortable chair, Bianca eagerly prodded Marceline, “Bonnie's here!” they announced, motioning to her. Marceline didn't sit upright, but did turn her head to face the two of them, waving lazily and smiling before returning to her face-down position.

The professor handed out the syllabus and went into an explanation about textbooks and the usual first-day things. One student in the corner all-too frequently asked questions that could be answered by 'it says later in the syllabus', and yet the teacher kept answering them, with almost eerie calm. By the fourth time this happened she heard what sounded like a growl from Marceline. The black-haired girl was glaring at the boy from across the room, “Is this wad serious? His answer is half a page down, just read the thing, you nut.”

Bonnie let out a sharp laugh at that, earning a look from someone in the row in front of them, and a sly grin from Marceline. She dropped her expression into an exaggerated frown, and Marceline smiled wider, leaning across Bianca, “I predict his next question will be when the due date for the analysis paper is.”

“Excuse me, and when is the paper due?”

Marceline reached her hand out towards Bonnie for a high five. Bonnie rolled her eyes, but couldn't keep back a grin, and leaving someone hanging is mad rude.

Bianca gently tapped both of them, “Don't be mean,” they whispered, but they were clearly fighting back a smile.

Marceline scooted closer to the two of them, leaning over to doodle on their syllabi. She drew a quite messy version of each of them on their respective papers. On Bonnie's she drew her with an exaggerated frown and furrowed eyebrows- noting that that was the look she wore when they were together. When Bonnie rolled her eyes and begrudgingly laughed at that, Marceline erased it and replaced it with a sloppy smiley face, complete with absolutely lopsided eyes.

Unfortunately for the poor professor, the talkative student managed to push the class beyond its time limit. All the while, Marceline effortlessly predicted the next question he would ask, though Bianca kept scolding them for being mean. As students began to shuffle and leave, the professor looked at the clock and sighed, hurriedly telling them to read over the rest and email him if they had any questions

Bonnie walked with Marceline and Bianca back to their dorm building, and Bonnie was feeling a lot more confident about this whole roommate business.


 

Marceline awkwardly shuffled the food she was carrying into the nook of her arm, hoping none would get on her shirt. She fiddled with the door handle for a bit, but ultimately found she couldn't manage, “Ugh,” she groaned, “Bonnie!” she knocked on the door with her foot.

Just as she was about to knock again, Bonnie opened the door, wearing an impassive expression. She sighed and crawled back into her bed, pulling her laptop onto her lap. Marceline deposited her dinner on her desk before holding a bottle of iced tea out to Bonnie, “You like the peach flavor, yeah?”

Bonnie hummed in response and clumsily took it from her hand, missing twice because she refused to take her eyes off her computer screen. She mumbled something that was probably meant to be a thank you, but Marceline couldn't be entirely sure.

Marceline arched an eyebrow. She didn't know Bonnie well yet, sure, but she was pretty sure she was acting weird. She plopped herself down next to Bonnie and looked over her shoulder, earning a shoulder to the face. Ouch.

Also, rude.

“What're you up to, nerd?”

“Studying,” Bonnie said curtly.

Marceline laughed- there was literally nothing to study for in the first week. She had no idea what Bonnie could possibly be going on about. She had to be joking.

Except now Bonnie was glaring at her, so clearly, she wasn't joking.

Well, how the hell was she supposed to know that?

“What're you studyin' for, dude? We don't even have anything goin' on yet.”

“I am preparing in advance, Marceline. I'll have you know that I have four things due within one week in November and if I don't want to be a colossal stress ball-”

“I'm pretty sure being a colossal stress ball is, like, part of the college experience, Bonnie. C'mon, chill out, have some tea, don't go berserk on me just yet, okay?”

“Buzz off, Marceline,” Bonnie snapped, shuffling further away from her. Marceline blinked in confusion.

Frustration soon replaced the confusion, gnawing at her insides. She turned to glare at the pink-haired girl, internally preparing the ultimate rude comeback, and, wait, had Bonnie been crying? Or was she just tired? Her eyes looked red, regardless, and she was pretty sure that wasn't good. She cleared her throat, “Uh, you doin okay?”

“Fine. Studying, like I said.”

“Um, all right, but are you sure, because you-”

“Pretty darn sure, thanks, talk to you later, bye.”

Marceline raised her hands dramatically and backed off, “Whatever dude,” she said, maybe sounding a bit more waspish than intended. She didn't care right now- Bonnie was being uptight. She hunched up on her chair and watched videos while she ate her bland cafeteria fries and soda. A balanced meal if she'd ever known one.

As she was finishing off, Skype began to buzz in her ear, and the call screen rudely interrupted her video, displaying Ash's icon and name. She frowned- he knew she hated it when he called her without warning. Regardless, she popped off one ear bud and tuned to Bonnie, “Hey, you mind if I talk to Ash?”

“I'm studying.”

“So?”

“No.”

“Dude, you've been studying for, what, two hours?”

“Twenty minutes.”

“On the first day,” she rolled her chair over to Bonnie's bed, “c'mon, you can talk to him. Meet him when he's not in a bad mood.”

Bonnie sighed, suddenly looking very tired, but she quickly gathered herself and sat up straight, “Alright, I'll stop studying for now, but I'm not meeting that ann-” she paused, “Ash. Uh, another time, maybe.”

Bonnie didn't wait for a response before slipping on her own headset. Marceline rolled herself back over and typed a message to Ash, saying he could call again when he was ready. She wasn't sure why so many people, like Bonnie- so many of her friends didn't seem to like him. He was nice. Most of the time.

And when he wasn't nice, he made up for it later, so it didn't count.

Skype buzzed again, and this time she answered. Ash's video popped up, in all its distorted, lagging glory. He smiled and waved, “Hey babe, what's up?”

She told him about her day, trying to ignore that he stopped listening after the first thirty seconds or so. The nodding wasn't really convincing her. At least he was trying.

“And how's that uptight roommate of yours?” he asked, motioning vaguely behind her.

Marceline laughed, “That's mean, Ash. She's good. We got along well in class today- I think you'd like her.”

“Yeah, and uh, pigs might uh. Listen, I don't know the saying, Marce, but I doubt it.”

Marceline gave a tiny smile in reply, glancing back at her roommate. She was tapping away at her laptop, she guessed back to studying in spite of her previous reassurance. She flashes Marceline a small, if not very convincing, smile, though, and that was something.

Yeah, that would have to be enough for now.

 

Chapter Text

Marceline was in Bonnie's Women's studies class. That surprised her- she wasn't an expert, but she figured that a computer science major wouldn't allow much wiggle room for electives. What also surprised her, though it really verged more on annoyance, was that Marceline was sitting as far away from her as physically possible. Bonnie glanced at the two empty seats next to her, then shot a glare back at Marceline, who only raised an eyebrow in response.

Bonnie opened her mouth to say something, but she, admittedly, wasn't sure what that was, so it was probably best that the professor walk in then. Well, it was more like stumbled, carrying her laptop and notes in one hand, a coffee in the other, curly black hair covering most of her face. She shot a quick smile at her class before promptly tripping over thin air. The sound of expensive electronics hitting the ground caused Bonnie to grind her teeth. Oh, and her professor might be hurt- that was probably bad too.

Marceline, sitting at the front of the room- another odd thing- hesitantly stood and helped the professor to her feet, then mumbled something before sitting back down.

The professor laughed nervously and set her laptop up, straightening her long skirt. The coffee, though not much, remained spilled on the floor. Was she not going to clean that up? Was she just going to leave it there for someone to slip on? Why was Marceline avoiding her? Would the coffee leave a stain if it was there too long? She couldn't pay attention with all this coffee business going on.

A finger jabbed into her shoulder. Bonnie blinked in confusion, hey eyes landing on Marceline, who was staring back with an eyebrow raised. She blinked and turned to the professor, then finally the person who had prodded her, who was also staring at her, smiling awkwardly. “Uhhh,” she said, tapping her fingers.

Her professor looked almost as uncomfortable as she felt, “We were just saying out names and one thing you like.”

“Oh, uh, I'm Bonnibel, or, most people call me Bonnie, and I like.. uh,” her gaze drifted back to the floor, “c-clean, cleaning. I like cleaning,” she paused, “and politics.”

Most students didn't seem to think much of that disaster, or just didn't say anything. However, she did hear Marceline's distinct laugh, and found herself blushing, and perhaps a bit more angry than was reasonable as the person next to her introduced herself.

Bonnie barely managed to pay attention for the rest of the class as papers were handed around and the professor rambled on about something she'd forget moments later.

When class let out, she forced herself not to appear flustered, and headed straight to her dorm. Marceline walked in the other direction, not sparing her a glance. Not that she cared. Why would she care about that?

It certainly didn't occupy her thoughts for the entire walk home, no sir. It wasn't like she cared what Marceline thought.

Upon arriving in her dorm room, she flopped onto her bed and looked at her phone. Of course, as she did every day, Lady had texted her.

Lady: Hey, wanna hang out this weekend? ;0

Bonnie clicked her tongue and opened up her work schedule. Eight hours both days. Not happening.

Bonnie: Sorry, can't. Work.

Lady: :(

Lady: All weekend?

Bonnie: Pretty much, lol

Bonnie: My boss is evil. I should be boss

Lady: LOL, of course you should. Do you need me to seduce her for you ;)

Bonnie: Lady what the fuck

Lady: ;) ;) ;)

Bonnie: No. I think I'll manage.

Lady: You're no fun :(

Bonnie sighed and let her phone fall to her side. She chewed the inside of her cheek as she stared at the ceiling, pondering what to do next. She couldn't really study for anything- she'd already prepared all the projects she could prepare at the moment. Her mind kept wandering back to Marceline. Had she done something to upset her? She didn't remember anything. Then again, her friends always told her that she was a bit oblivious to that sort of thing.

In the end, she decided to watch some videos online for a while, allowing her mind to drift into space, until she was interrupted by Marceline opening the door. The other girl spared her a quick glance before shuffling over to her desk and pulling out her laptop. Ignoring her, again.

Bonnie glanced at her phone, dismissing another message from Lady. 5:02. She'd have to leave for work soon. Perfect time to confront Marceline and escape consequences if there were any. She stood up and cleared her throat.

No response. Bonnie rolled her eyes and tapped Marceline on the shoulder. The dark haired girl removed her headset and smiled pleasantly up at her. Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “What's up with you?”

Marceline's eyes darted away, “Uh, I'm alright. Just playin' some games-”

“No, what's up with you?”

Bonnie could almost see question marks physically manifesting above Marceline's head as she tried to figure out what her roommate could mean. Bonnie sighed, “Why do you have a problem with me?”

“I uh, don't?”

Bonnie paused, “You were avoiding me.”

Marceline tilted back in her chair, “You snapped at me? I was giving you space, dude.”

Bonnie bit her lip, “Oh.”

“Yeah.”

This was more awkward than she had planned. She muttered an apology and began to get ready for work. She hadn't had a chance to wash her work pants yet, gross. She sighed and shoved it in her bag anyway. It wasn't like anyone was going to notice.

“Shit,” Marceline hissed, “Aye, Bonnie, mind if Ash comes over? He's being a wad.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “I guess. I'm going to work. Just don't get, I dunno, too wild or whatever.”

Marceline nodded, seeming absent, and maybe a bit worried. The thought crossed her mind to ask if she was alright, but they were already on shaky enough ground as it was. Bonnie glanced down at her phone and hurriedly shoved the rest of her uniform into her bad before walking briskly out the door, waving a quick goodbye to a still-distracted Marceline as she went.

 


 

Bonnie could very well have heard the clock ticking away on the wall if it weren't for the same tired music looping all-too loudly, echoing off the walls of the empty store. She stood next to her register, trying to find something to occupy her before the store closed, a half hour from now. She mapped out her duties in her head- she'd cleaned, put returned items back on the shelf, swept, helped put out stock for tomorrow. There was literally nothing she could do. There were only so many times she could adjust her pony tail, or straighten out the white dress shirt that made her look far too pale.

Having nothing to do caused her mind to wander back to her dorm room. She'd gotten over embarrassing herself with her outburst, but something was definitely still bugging her- Ash. Marceline did not seem content whenever she was talking about him, and it concerned her. It was possible she was reading too much into it- she didn't know her very well. Still, she found she was usually right in her assumptions, and she assumed Ash needed a good punch in the jaw.

She sighed and began to wander from her checkout, glancing around to make sure her manager wasn't around. Most management was pretty lax, but the one closing today got a bit snippy when people weren't meekly doing their assigned task.

She could feel the bottoms of her shoes sticking to the floor as she walked- it was almost like they were never properly washed. They probably weren't, come to think of it.

Her target was down the snack aisle, mumbling to herself as she glanced over the under-stocked shelves. Her blonde hair had been cut down into a pixie cut since the last time they'd had a shift together. Bonnie tapped her on the shoulder, earning a small jump in response.

“Hey Bonnie!” Fionna said, almost too enthusiastically, her voice cracking as it often did.

“Hey Fi, you as bored as I am?” Bonnie said, forcing a smile. She really wanted to cut to the chase and ask Fionna her opinion, but she knew the girl liked to ramble, and it wasn't like she didn't like talking to Fionna. She just had something specific on her mind.

“Yeah, I've just been staring at these chips for an hour pretending I'm trying to figure out how to fix them.”

Bonnie laughed genuinely at that, “And how's your roommate situation going- Phoebe is it?”

Fionna blushed, “Uh, yeah, s'going good,” that was odd- she was a lot quieter than usual. Bonnie decided it wasn't time to pry, however. There would be opportunities for that some other time.

“That's good- my roommate and I are alright too. We don't get along as well as I'd like though and, I don't know, I guess I'm a bit worried about her. That's reasonable, right?”

“Might wanna clarify why you're worried before I decide that. I know you got a big brain, Bon, but you aren't always right.”

Bonnie furrowed her brow, “She gets all mopey and weird when she talks about her boyfriend,” she clarified.

Fionna whistled, leaning against the chip shelves, carelessly crushing a bag of kettle chips in the process. She chewed lightly on her lip for a moment before responding, “Yeah, I guess you're right this time. That doesn't sound very good,” then after another pause, “But we shouldn't make assuptions, she could just-”

“Mhm yeah sure, now, here's the thing- folks don't like when I get all up in their biz when we're not close. I know I have a point but I don't know how to get through to her.”

Fionna frowned, “Thought about gettin' close to her?”

Bonnie sighed, “I have enough friends to juggle, Fi, I dunno.”

Fionna's frown deepened, “We aren't chores, Bonnibel.”

Bonnie flinched, “That is not what I meant. I mean I have a lot of stuff to do. I love you guys but it just gets difficult to manage things, you know?”

Fionna didn't look pleased with that answer, but she just sighed, “That doesn't sound much better, Bonnie. Whatever, I gave you my advice, 'kay?”

Bonnie nodded and began to wander back to her register, annoyed for having upset Fionna. The other girl interrupted her before she could leave, though.

“Hey, a bunch of us are going out for dinner Thursday night- figure I might as well do something before we get flooded with assignments. You in?”

Bonnie answered without thinking, “No thanks, I'm busy,” and earned another sigh from Fionna. She forced herself not to care. She had lots of stuff to worry about- she didn't want to add upsetting Fionna to that if she could help it.

Besides, she'd get over it.

 


 

When Bonnie staggered into her room after work, knees aching, Marceline was already asleep. Ash was cuddled close to her on the single bed, snoring loudly. Bonnie rolled her eyes and retreated back out to the washroom to change. She didn't trust the creep.

What she needed to do was find a way to break the ice with Marceline. She lay awake for a while in bed, staring at the ceiling which was lost in darkness. Ash's snores echoed through the small room, and she was honestly surprised no one had knocked on the walls yet. She didn't know how Marceline was sleeping through this. It was loud enough that for a moment she'd almost convinced herself that he was fake sleeping, and snoring loudly to annoy her.

Not that that was reasonable.

Probably.

Maybe.

She decided, eventually, that it was best to let it go for the night. She'd find a way to get closer to her roommate. She always figured out people- it was her thing. Her friends might argue that, but she wasn't dense. She could totally do this.

Probably.

Maybe.

 

Chapter Text

At this point in the semester, three weeks in, Bonnie was already entertaining the idea of dropping out. Not seriously, of course, but she was certainly beginning to grasp the nihilist university student mindset. She flipped her hood up over her head as gusts of wind began to tug at her. Her last class for the day was all the way on the far end of campus, a good fifteen minute walk to her dorm. At least it allowed her to pass every single food shop on campus along the way.

She purchased some fettuccine with alfredo sauce- she'd learned quickly that it was usually more bearable than the marinara, save for the occasion where it was floury- and a coffee, which had quickly become one of the main things that kept her awake and moving. That probably wasn't a problem.

Bonnie lost herself in thought once again as she continued her walk back to her dorm, as she had begun to do on these walks. Why waste time doing nothing when she could be planning, right? There was a lot more planning to be done, it turned out- more than she anticipated. More than other students seemed to care about. Lady and Fionna continued to invite her to seemingly endless get-togethers and parties, and though she wasn't opposed to them- she quite liked parties- she just didn't have the time, and frankly she wasn't sure how her friends did. Most of them worked on top of class, and all of them had to sleep, unless some of them had turned into vampires or something.

The main thing that was bothering her, then, was that she hadn't had time to get to know Marceline. Even though they had two classes together, they didn't have much time to interact. They didn't talk during class, and Marceline seemed to be with Ash five times per week.

Not that she seemed happy about that, which made Bonnie even more anxious.

She really wasn't sure why she let it get to her.

Ideas rattled through her mind, offering an endless array of possibilities on she could break the ice as she fiddled with the door to her dorm. However, she had to admit, the idea of covering all of Marceline's belongings in tinfoil had not really occurred to her.

She brought this up in particular because the thought had, evidently, occurred to her roommate.

Wordlessly, she deposited her food and coffee on her desk- the only thing not completely enveloped in tinfoil, and stared at her roommate. The other girl stared back, a grin tugging at the ends of her lips. Bonnie tried several times to say something- anything- she really hadn't been expecting this. In the end, she managed, “My mattress, too?”

At that, Marceline finally broke into loud, intense laughter. Bonnie could do nothing but stare at her in dismay as she doubled over, tears forming in her eyes. She just didn't understand it. It was funny, sure, but how the absolute hell had she managed to get this much tinfoil?

“How did you get all this tinfoil?” she said, almost too quietly

“Really, Bonnie? That's your question? Not why?”

“That could be my next question, but you can tell me why first if you- Marceline did you wrap my laptop and its charger separately?”

Marceline took a deep breath, wiping tears from her eyes, and smiled broadly at Bonnie. After a pause, she said, “Yes I did, I bought the tinfoil, and I did it because you looked like you could use a laugh.”

“I-laugh? Marceline, a cat video could have made me laugh.”

Marceline shrugged, twirling in her desk chair, “Yeah, but this is cooler, and its more fun if it's something you couldn't do yourself. You didn't laugh, though, so I might just have to resort to cat videos.”

Bonnie allowed a small laugh at that, “What do you mean something I couldn't do myself? I can prank people too.”

Marceline smirked, “I didn't say you couldn't, but you can't prank yourself, brain lord.”

Bonnie huffed, “Yeah, well I'm gonna get you back.”

Marceline stood up from her chair, hands tucked neatly in her pockets and leaned in close to Bonnie, face alight with an impish smirk. By god she was close. Bonnie felt blood rush to her cheeks, in spite of he attempts to control her feelings, which seemed to cause something to flicker in Marceline's eyes- oh my god, Bonnibel, calm yourself. Then Marceline spoke, her smile widening, “Try me.”

Marceline's face broke into what was more of a goofy grin after that, wishing Bonnie luck in cleaning up before bolting out the door. Bonnie let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding, and got to work on her retaliation before she could begin to analyze the thoughts that Marceline was forcing on her.

All that mattered right now was that she was not going to be out-done.


 

Marceline sat at a cafeteria table, eating a hummus wrap. Honestly, at this point she thought she would have about the same experience if she simply began shoving garlic into her mouth. She liked garlic but hot damn. Motion caught her eye and suddenly, in spite of dozens of empty tables, there was a sweaty nineteen year old guy sitting in front of her.

“I'm Braco.”

“Yeah I bet,” Marceline said, placing her hummus wrap down, “so tell me Braco, where'd ya' learn cafeteria etiquette?”

“Uh, well, my mom? I guess, uh, so you're Bonnie's roommate right? Pink hair, super gorgeous?”

Marceline's shoulders slumped. She didn't know Bonnie very well, but she was pretty sure she wasn't interested in this guy. He didn't seem her type- unless she was into weird stalkers who interrupted their roommate's mediocre meals. She doubted that was the case. Braco blinked at her expectantly. Preparing her most convincing uninterested voice, she shrugged, “Never heard of her.”

“I saw you together! I mean I-”

“That's real strange, because I've never heard of her, and even if I had, isn't seeking out someone she knows kinda creepy- and why roommate in particular? I'll call security on your butt, buddy, or maybe I'll just punch ya'” she slammed her fist on the table for good measure. Marceline wasn't actually very good in fights, but this guy didn't need to know that.

Braco stood abruptly, stumbling slightly, “Uh, I actually have to go, sorry, talk soon.”

“No thanks, bye dude.”

She watched him leave, munching absently at her wrap. She should probably warn Bonnie about him, but she might freak out. Better than being surprised, she supposed. Abandoning her garlic monstrosity, she headed back to her room, popping her headphones in as she went. She didn't understand how people walked without music. Maybe they just listened to the sound of wind or something. Wild.

Once she entered the dorm building she was confident enough on where she was going to shift into auto-pilot. She closed her eyes and hummed along to her music, tapping her hands against her thighs as she went. She only opened her eyes to double check her room number, and even that she'd get down soon.

Hey, Bonnie,” she sang as she swung open the door, popping her headphones out, “What is u- what the shit.”

The moment she grasped what had happened to her room all other thoughts evaporated. Bonnie sat on her tinfoil-free bed, shooting her a smug look, “What is it, Marceline?”

Marceline looked her side of the room up and down, and yep, pretty much every last inch of it was covered in bright, neon-pink post-it notes. She walked over to take a closer look at her bed, which was the only thing not completely covered. In stilted, barely legible post-it note text, her bed read, “Your move, Abadeer.”

Marceline couldn't help it, she burst out laughing. Bonnie's smug look turned to one of dismay as Marceline's laughter shook her body, to the point where she was leaning on her bed for support. Bonnie furrowed her brow, “What, what's so funny?”

Marceline forced deep breaths between bouts of laughter, trying to calm herself, “God Bonnie, you really are something.”

“Something?” Bonnie echoed.

“Yeah, a royal pain for one,” Marceline had finally managed to stop laughing, “but mostly,” she sat down on Bonnie's bed, wrapping an arm around her roommate, “some solid competition.”

Marceline jumped to her feet, flashing Bonnie a wide grin, and went to work cleaning post-its off her wall, “This was good, but it was basically the same as mine. You're gonna have to be more creative if you're gonna match up to a pro.”

“Excuse me,” Bonnibel's annoyed voice almost forced another laugh out of Marceline, but she didn't want to actually anger her, so she kept it contained. She felt Bonnie looming behind her, “I had about a half hour to get this done. You had all day, and however long you were planning it. If we measure it that way, my prank was-”

She was cut off as Marceline turned to face her, standing nose-to-nose with the slightly taller girl. Bonnie stared at her, mouth slightly open, as Marceline fixed her with the most fake-intense look she could muster, before unleashing perhaps the most ridiculous phrase to ever leave her mouth, “No rules in prank town, Bonnie.”

Bonnie actually laughed at that. She covered her mouth as she did so, and even accidentally butted heads with Marceline, managing a quick apology before going back to fits of giggling. Marceline smiled in turn, placing her hands on her hips, “Hey, actually made ya' laugh this time.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Yeah, whatever, you're a loser.”

Marceline waggled her finger, “I'm cool,” she said as she went back to removing the ocean of pink that had assaulted her side of the room, “And I'm still gonna get you back.”

Bonnie hummed as she settled back into her bed with her laptop, “I look forward to it.”

And for the first time since the start of the school year, Marceline was actually excited about something.

 


 

When Bonnie awoke she felt odd. Not bad per-se, but maybe a bit unclean? She wasn't sure why- she'd showered the previous day, but she felt, what was the word? Sticky? That sounded a bit too gross, actually.

Groaning, she hauled herself out of bed and lazily chose some clothes for the day before hobbling to the washroom. She liked to get up early to beat the rush, but the downside to that was, obviously, that she had to wake up early. Still, a good shower should wake her up.

The bathroom wasn't empty- she found it almost never was, but people minded their own business. Usually.

Though today there seemed to be an abnormal amount of giggling. Rubbing sleep from her eyes, Bonnie squinted at the other students, “What?” she growled, sounding more menacing than she had intended. Regardless, it got them to answer her question instead of dancing around it.

“You, uh, might wanna look in a mirror,” one of the girls offered.

Bonnie shrugged and turned around, faced the mirror for maybe thirty seconds, and stormed out of the washroom, ignoring the eruption of laughter that came from behind her. She threw open her dorm door and shook Marceline's shoulder.

Marceline swatted at her hand and mumbled something incomprehensible in response, rolling away from her and cuddling up against the wall. Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Marceline are you twelve years old?”

Marceline blinked up at her, sleep still clouding her gaze, “I'm uh, I'm nineteen, actually,” she managed.

“Not what I meant. Marceline did you seriously, seriously draw tiny penises all over my face?”

Marceline laughed, shakily sitting up, “Oh, yeah, you're a heavy sleeper dude. Also not just your face.”

Bonnie blinked, looking down at herself for the first time. Her arms, too, were plastered with tiny drawings. She groaned, “Is this sharpie?”

Marceline had buried her face partially in her pillow again, “Yeah, s'not a good prank if you use anything else. Goodnight.”

“You're gonna pay for this one,” Bonnie said, picking her discarded clothes back up. She paused and then tore Marceline's blanket off for good measure, tossing it on the floor. Marceline let out a low whine at that, burrying her face further into her pillow.

“You're not gonna get me to get up. You underestimate my sleeping abilities.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Whatever, my next move is gonna blow your tiny penises out of the water,” she said, realizing after she said it how silly she sounded.

Marceline only waved her hand in response. As Bonnie made her way back to the washroom, she had already began to lay out a plan in her mind.

 


 

Marceline had already gotten out of bed, changed, and pulled a brush through her thankfully short hair when she realized Bonnie had already left. Nine o'clock wasn't early for her most days, but it was a Saturday- and the first one she'd had free since Marceline had met her. She'd thought that she would want to sleep in. Then again, if she had learned one thing about the girl, it was that it wasn't easy to predict what she would do.

The pondered for a moment how she should dress. Staying in her pajamas all day didn't seem like a bad idea, but then again, she'd probably be seeing Ash today. She hadn't planned anything, but he liked to show up unannounced, especially lately, much to the annoyance of her roommate. She sighed, deciding finally to stay in her pajamas for now, but get breakfast before Ash could show up to mooch off of her. He was a good boyfriend, just a bit unreasonable sometimes.

Yeah, that sounded accurate.

She slipped on a pair of worn sneakers and open the door, only to be met by the grim reality that was wet socks.

Well, wet socks and what appeared to be a hallway filled with styrofoam cups.

“What the,” she whispered, staring at her feet in dismay. A quick glance down the hall revealed the answer to her unsaid question that she probably should have expected- Bonnie. The girl was asleep, propped up against a large, white bucket. On one side of her, a half-used package of cups lay among the discarded packaging of several more. The sleeping part wasn't good- Bonnie could sleep through half the world blowing up from what she'd seen.

Marceline tapped her foot, leaning against the door frame, and examined her surroundings. Bonnie had really done a number on the hallway. There had to be hundreds of cups, blocking not just their door, but everyone's. Oh, that was going to get bad fast. Marceline glanced down at her feet, and seeing only one option, took a cup and threw it at Bonnie.

It missed. She'd never had good aim.

Cursing quietly, she picked up another and aimed carefully this time. She tossed it, and this time, it missed again, but it did land next to her and splash her with water, so it was close enough.

Bonnie jolted awake, took a moment to take in her surroundings, then clumsily got to her feet. She smiled, wider than Marceline had ever seen, “How you gonna get past this one, Abadeer?” she practically shouted down the hallway.

Marceline motioned around her, “Bonnie I don't think anyone's gonna get past this.”

“So you admit defeat?”

“If you want to count getting in shit from the janitors as winning, maybe?”

“So yes?”

“Didn't think you were one to go out looking for trouble.”

“I go out looking for victory, and I've won, correct?”

Marceline paused, pressing a balled fist to her mouth, “Hm, eh? I guess.”

Excuse me?” Bonnie shrieked, “This is brilliant! I woke up at four to do this.”

Marceline laughed, “Why'd you do that, nerd?”

“Why'd I-”

“What is going on here?” a third voice cut through their squabble.

Marceline flinched, looking down the other way. A janitor stood, eyes wide, mouth hanging open.

“Oh, uh,” Bonnie began.

“Listen, I don't care, as long as you start cleaning up right now, I ain't gonna report you two-”

“Two?” Marceline interrupted, but was cut off by a sharp glare.

Two,” he continued pointedly, “As long as you get this cleaned up within the next half hour.

Bonnie made a noise that sounded more annoyed than anything, but immediately went to dumping her cups back into the bucket. Marceline grinned over at her. The janitor grunted, muttering something about how he wasn't payed enough for this, which sent a wave of pity through Marceline. Though, the feeling didn't last long, and was soon replaced by amusement as she turned to meet Bonnie's glare.

“Aren't you going to help?”

Marceline shrugged, “Can't. Stuck over here, guess your prank was just too good.”

Bonnie blinked up at her, “So does that mean?”

“You win? God, if it means that much to you.”

Bonnie pumped her fist triumphantly, “See, I told you I could kick your ass! I'll kick anyone's ass!”

Marceline let out a barking laugh at that, “Yeah, Bonnie, sure,” she paused, thinking for a moment, “After you're done wanna get some breakfast?”

“Together?”

“Dunno what else I'd mean.”

Bonnie nodded, “Sounds nice.”

Marceline smiled and Bonnie actually smiled back, nice and wide. She'd be lying if she said it didn't cause a pleasant warmth in her chest. She could get used to that.

 

Chapter Text

Bonnie was awake when Marceline's alarm sounded in the morning. She wasn't just awake though- Marceline was pretty sure that she had not slept the entire night. Her eyes were bloodshot, her movements slow. She kept sticking her tongue out and narrowing her eyes in concentration. The last bit was pretty cute, actually.

Before she could say anything, Bonnie evidently used her superhuman senses to detect Marceline waking up, “Oh, Marceline! I'm glad you're awake. I've been working on uh, well, a lot of things, but right now I'm working on the analysis paper we have to do for lit. Do you want to work on that with me?”

Marceline blinked, “Uh, I haven't done the readings for that yet.”

“It's due in a week and a half, you should probably get on that.”

Marceline shrugged sheepishly, “I was gonna look it up online the night before or something.”

Bonnie frowned, “You're not going to do well that way.”

With an exaggerated groan, Marceline rolled over in her bed, “Bonnie,” she drew out the name, causing Bonnie to scoff, “it's an easy class- I just gotta pass, it doesn't matter.”

She felt Bonnie standing over her a moment later, “Your goal should be to do well, not to just pass.”

Marceline rolled over so she was facing her roommate, then carefully reached up and patted her nose, causing the other girl to recoil in surprise, “You get all pushy and grumpy when you're tired. Go bed.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “According to some people, I'm always pushy and grumpy.”

Marceline smirked, “Yeah, well maybe if you slept more you wouldn't be.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes, but closed her laptop anyway, “Alright, but you really should start on the project- you don't want to accidentally fail. Retaking classes is bogus.”

Marcy hummed, “Yeah, yeah, don't worry your pretty head,” she hauled herself to her feet, “I'm going on a date. You best be dozing happily when I get back, alright?”

Bonnie didn't respond to that. Her face was buried into her pillow, her frazzled, uncombed hair sprawled out behind her, and blanket haphazardly covering a single leg. Marceline almost laughed at that- was she already asleep? That was pretty impressive.

Marceline smiled to herself and got to work getting ready. She always had to put more effort in when it came to Ash, but it was worth it. Usually. What colours did he say looked good on her again? Red? She clicked her tongue and checked the weather app on her phone- yeah, it was probably still warm enough for a dress.

She slipped on the only dress she owned- a simple red getup that reached down to her knees, and actually brushed her hair for what was probably the first time all week. Whatever. She frowned at herself in the mirror, then sighed- it'd have to do.

Ash was waiting for her outside her dorm, as usual. She shot him a smile and reached up to give him a peck on the cheek. He reeked of alcohol, but she didn't mention it. His hand was sweaty too when he took hers, but again, she didn't mention it.

“Hey, have I mentioned your haircut yet?” Ash asked as they walked.

Marceline perked up, “Uh, no, you haven't,” she ran her available hand through it, “I really like how it turned out, y'know?”

Ash frowned, not meeting her gaze, “Yeah, I dunno, it just looks kinda boyish, y'know?” the comment slammed hard into Marceline's chest, “not like, you're a dude, but it's kinda a dude haircut.”

Marceline tore her hand from his, “You know I don't like when you call me things like that.”

Ash raised his hands defensively, “Hey, there's no need to get upset, I'm just sayin you look way hotter with long hair.”

Marceline breathed deeply, pushing back the tears that were fighting their way up, “Whatever, you know I don't like it when you say shit like that. Just, I'll grow it back out, okay?”

Ash sighed, “Look, I'm sorry, Marce, I'm just giving my opinion.”

Marceline nodded, taking his hand again. He said sorry. It was fine. He didn't mean it. She was overreacting. She repeated that to herself a few times, making sure it sounded real. Anything sounded real if you repeated it enough.

Eventually the ended up at a cafe- the location for the date, she assumed. It looked like something within Ash's budget. She really wished he would let her pay sometimes, but he always got all defensive and weird about that. He told her to sit down, assuring her that he knew what she wanted, and headed off to order. She sighed and sat down, popping open her phone. She meandered through her short list of contacts before tapping Keila's name.

Marceline: Hey, K, what's up?

She waited for an answer, but she didn't reply before Ash sat down five minutes later. That seemed to be the norm since class started back up.

Ash slid a small coffee across the dusty tabletop. Marceline frowned into it, “Uh, I'm actually a bit hungry, I'm just gonna go order a-”

“C'mon, Marce, you know I don't like you paying for things. I'll get you something later, I promise.”

Marceline sighed, taking a sip of her coffee, “Fine, so how've you been? I didn't see you like, all week.”

Ash shrugged, “Not much, went out with some dudes,” he laughed, “so many girls tried to get with me, but I was like, nuh-uh, I got a super hot babe already and I don't gotta do her any favors to get her to suck my-”

Ash,” Marceline hissed, slamming her coffee down, thankfully it splashed away from her.

Ash chuckled, “Sorry, sorry, but no one's here, babe, don't worry about it.”

Marceline rubbed her neck, “Still, don't say that stuff. It's weird.”

“Uh, right, well, what did you do?”

Marceline felt her muscles relax a bit, “Oh, I actually had some fun. Bonnie was acting all uptight, so I-”

“Is that your roommate?” Ash asked, cutting her off for what felt like the tenth time today, “I don't like her, maybe talk about someone else?”

“All... right,” Marceline said, tapping her fingers on the table, “Uh, well, there's this person in my program- named Bianca.”

“Is she hot?” Ash asked, leaning back in his chair.

“Uh, they, and they're cute, yeah.”

“They?”

“Yeah, they?”

Ash stuck his tongue out, “I can never remember that stuff. Why not keep it simple, y'know?”

“It's not that hard, Ash,” Marceline said, her right hand forming a frustrated first, “just, use the right pronouns, alright?”

Ash reached his hand across to place it on Marceline's tense one, which didn't help, “C'mon Marce, I remember the pronoun stuff where it matters,” a range of implications shot through Marceline like bullets. She tried to ignore them, but it didn't really work. They still bounced back and forth in her mind as he continued, “it's just hard, y'know?”

Marceline sighed, forcing herself to relax, “Sure,” she managed.

Ash sat back and sipped his coffee and Marceline forced herself to relax. She glanced down at her phone, hoping Keila might be able to help, but there was no reply. Probably at work.

The remainder of the date was fairly uneventful- Ash went on about some new magic tricks he'd been learning about, Marceline talked a bit about her classes and she was fairly certain that he was actually listening. Eventually he stood up, helped her to her feet and they started their walk home.

She locked fingers with him as they went, gazing around at the scenery- it was a fairly nice area, to be honest. It wasn't extravagant, but there was a lot of wildlife around, more than there was on campus. She noticed a group of rabbits huddled together in a park across the street. She reached up to tug on Ash's sleeve, “Hey, c'mon, there's no need to have such a short date. Why don't we go lie down in the park or something?”

She tried to do that a lot, make the date go longer.

Never worked.

Didn't this time, either.

Ash sighed, “Sorry, Marce, I got stuff to do.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “Stuff?”

“Work stuff- I dunno how to explain it, let's just get you back or whatever.”

Marceline rolled her eyes and put her hands stiffly to her sides as they continued, standing deliberately further from Ash. He didn't seem to care.

Their parting went the way it usually did. He kissed her and they exchanged I love yous. He promised to text her later, apologized for the date sucking. Marceline assured him that it didn't.

God, she was getting tired of lying.

But he was a nice guy, it was okay.

She didn't bother to listen to music on her way to her dorm. She didn't have the energy. She opened her door, expecting a sleeping Bonnie and for her to be able to collapse on her bed and do something. She wasn't sure what. Cry? Whatever.

Instead Bonnie was wide awake and positively beaming at her. She couldn't help but want to smile at that. Still, she forced a fake frown, “This doesn't look like sleeping.”

Bonnie laughed, “Alright, I'm not, but hear me out, I was thinking about uh, y'know that guy in lit, when we were talking about Shakespeare's sonnets?”

Marceline flopped down on Bonnie's bed, raising an eyebrow at her, “We have a fair number of guys in that class, so you'll have to be more specific.”

Bonnie waved her hand, “Yeah, yeah, well the one who was all,” she scrunched her face up as she spoke in a nasally, exaggerated voice, “is it possible that Shakaspeare was um, how should I say, uh, hom- no, uh, gay?”

Marceline broke into loud laughter, “Oh, how could I forget? He looked like we would murder him if he said the wrong word.”

Bonnie nodded enthusiastically, “Right, well I was sleeping for like, two hours, and then I woke up and I was like, wow, I'm going to write our term paper about how everything Shakespeare ever wrote was really, really gay.”

Marceline smiled, “Romeo and Juliet is gay?”

Bonnie nodded, “I think I can argue that like, Mercutio? Is gay.”

“For Romeo.”

“You got it, sister.”

Marceline hauled herself up and rested a hand on Bonnie's shoulder, who stared at it as if it were an entirely alien thing to her, “Listen, Bonnie, pal, you're overtired.”

Bonnie huffed, “I'm talking genius here, Marceline! I'm literally shooting genius out of my butt right now, as we speak.”

Marceline chuckled, “You ain't shooting anything out of you but nonsense right now.”

Bonnie shook her head, “Marceline shut up, you're donkin' up my sick planning,” Marceline raised an eyebrow as the other girl flipped frantically through her notes. After a minute she triumphantly presented a page to her. On it were illegible notes, titled, “Bonnie's super great final project”, and in the margins were adorable doodles of what appeared to be characters made out of sentient candy.

She poked at one in particular that she had doodled several times, “What's so special about this one?”

Bonnie turned the page towards her and squinted at the corner Marceline had pointed to, “Oh, that's Mr. Creampuff.”

“Mr. Creampuff?” she leaned in closer so she could have a better look, “is he, like, your boyfriend?”

Bonnie stuck her tongue out, “Ew, uh,” she dug through her blankets to retrieve a pencil, and quickly scribbled what looked like weird lumps all along his arms, “here, now he can be your ripped boyfriend. He'll make Ash super jealous but trust me, he's worth it.”

Marceline snorted, “Ash isn't tough, but I think he can take on a cream puff in a fight.”

Bonnie shook her head, “Nah, Marcy, Mr. Creampuff is shredded.”

Bonnie was slurring her words at this point, and wobbling around, barely able to sit up. Marceline sighed and gently pushed on the other girl's chest. She flopped back against her pillows, letting out a low whine.

“Sleep,” Marceline said, standing up and covering her roommate with a blanket.

“Read me a bedtime story, Marcy,” Bonnie slurred.

“I'm... I'm not gonna do that.”

Bonnie let out a strange rasping noise, “Marceline,” she whispered, “my dying wish, is that you do... you do whatever... whatever it was I just said.”

Marceline rolled her eyes, but sat down next to Bonnie again, “Okay. Once upon a time there was a weird pink princess. She went the fuck to sleep.”

Bonnie nodded, giving Marceline a wonky smile, “Nice.”

Marceline smiled back, “Yeah. Now actually sleep this time.”

Bonnie nodded and closed her eyes, muttering something inaudible. Marceline shrugged and migrated to her own bed, booting up her laptop and popping her headphones in. She pushed away the nagging thoughts of Ash that lingered in her mind. She wasn't gonna let it bother her. She glanced at Bonnie, her notebooks and laptop sprawled across her bed, and smiled.

Yeah, today was a good day.

 

Chapter Text

Lady paced the small kitchen of Prismo and Jake's cozy apartment. Prismo eyed her with a frown, while Jake's attention was apparently entirely focused and carefully lifting cookies into a tupperware container. A few times, Prismo looked like he was going to interrupt Lady's insistent pacing, offering a few “Uh”s and “Hey, so”s, but they didn't go anywhere.

Eventually Lady gave up on waiting, “Jake,” she said, a bit too loudly.

Jake flinched in response, dropping the cookie he'd been transporting awkwardly into the container. He groaned quietly, “Lady,” he whined, “it was almost perfect.”

Lady sighed, “I'm sorry Jake. For what it's worth, I'm sure the kids will love the cookies,” she leaned down to kiss his forehead, “and also the stacks will probably fall over in transit.”

Jake grumbled crossly but his smile betrayed, as it often did, that he wasn't actually annoyed. Prismo, having raised his hand meekly at a couple of points during the exchange, cleared his throat and glanced between the two of them. Jake smiled and nodded encouragingly, causing Prismo stand a little straighter, “Uh, right,” the taller man mumbled, “I was just wondering, and you were probably going to get to it anyway, but uh, it's probably obvious and I'm missing something, but what's on your mind, Lady?”

Jake hopped on the counter next to where Prismo was leaning and smiled at him, which allowed his boyfriend to relax a bit. Lady smiled at them both reassuringly, “Sorry to worry you, Pris. I'm just concerned about Bonnie. She hasn't been answering my texts much, and we haven't hung out since we started classes a month ago,” she frowned at her phone.

Prismo glanced from Jake, then to Lady. He did that every time he spoke- both Jake and Lady had learned to leave gaps in between their speaking to let him inject himself in conversation, “You've been friends with Bonnie since you were like, six, right? I'm sure she's just busy,” he offered.

“Yeah,” Jake agreed, hopping off the counter with container of cookies in hand, which, she noted, immediately fell from their neat stacks. He stood on his toes to give Lady a peck on the cheek, “she's Bonnie. She's probably knees deep in homework for next semester or somethin'. Probably hacked all the teachers' computers or some other mad scientist biz. We can talk about it later, though. We're gonna be late, and Pris still has to change.”

Prismo glanced down at his attire- a loose-fitting pink shirt and white knee-length shorts. Nothing fancy, sure, but Lady was equally as confused as Prismo before Jake elaborated, “Pris, you wore your binder all day yesterday, even on our jog, which you're not supposed to do. I didn't say anything because I want you to be comfy, but I can hear you breathin' all weird, and we're gonna be rough housin' with the kids today.”

Prismo flushed, “You noticed that?”

Jake narrowed his eyes, “I notice everything. I got eyes like a dog.”

“Hawk,” Lady corrected, flipping through her most recent conversations with Bonnie.

Jake laughed, “See? You two still got a connection,” he took her available hand in his own reassuringly, “you're gonna be fine,” he nodded to Prismo, “go change buddy. You're tough but you ain't got God-like powers.”

Prismo glanced pleadingly at Lady but she shook her head, offering him a smile, “He's right, Prismo. We don't wanna hurt your ribs, right? The kids will be too busy eating cookies and playing to notice. Just wear a baggy jacket.”

Prismo nodded and shuffled past the two of them, not escaping a peck on the cheek from Lady as he went, which, to her delight, tore a smile out of him again.

Jake paced in front of the entryway, tapping one hand on the top of the cookie container rhythmically, until Prismo finally returned. As soon as their boyfriend returned, Jake practically bolted out the door, leaving Prismo and Lady to smile at each other and trail behind for a few moments before he finally realized he was several meters ahead.

The trio made their usual light conversation on the way to the elementary school a few blocks down the road. Lady's mind still rattled with thoughts of her childhood friend, but she tried to keep her mind off of it for a few hours. The day wasn't the best, and the heavy gray clouds threatened rain, so she imagined they'd be inside today. Jake injected the conversation with energy as he listed off the activities he remembered loving as a kid playing in the school gym, and how the kids would totally love them too. Lady and Prismo, for their part, mostly nodded along and occasionally laughed.

Upon entering the school, Prismo was immediately tackled to the ground by an six-year-old. The boy had immediately bounded off from his classmates upon seeing the trio, and now eagerly clung around Prismo's neck, “Pris'o!” he exclaimed, “You were gone las' week!”

Prismo laughed, ruffling the child's hair, “Yeah buddy, I had some stuff, but don't worry, I won't miss another week.”

Lady grinned widely at the sight. She'd been worried about Prismo at the beginning of the year. She and Jake had been volunteering weekly at local elementary schools for three years now, being assigned to be an older mentor to a struggling student, but it was Prismo's first time, and his match was his polar opposite. The child was probably the most energetic that Lady had ever seen in the program, to the point where his peers found it off-putting, and he hadn't yet developed an inside voice. Even physically, the two had immediately come off as almost comically opposite. While Prismo was absurdly tall, with a very dark complexion, and pink hair that had now begun to fade back to its original black. His match, meanwhile, had pale, pink-tinged skin, dark brown hair, and even four a six year old, was tiny.

Jake and Lady's partners peeked around the corner a moment later, smiling widely as they found them. They smiled back and waved them over, inviting them to take one of Jake's cookies. Lady's match, Belle, reminded her a lot of Bonnie at her age, with long, light brown hair and crooked classes, and Jake's reminded her a lot of herself. That wasn't helping her keep her mind on track.

The group made their way to the school gymnasium, being stopped several times to catch up with random kids they met in the halls. The children they were partnered with tended to become popular after a little while- everyone wanted to be close with the kids who had cool, old friends who could stay up past seven. The children seemed especially drawn to Prismo, whose height very nearly brought him to the old building's ceiling. Several students, she noticed, peered up at him from a distance, muttering among themselves with wide eyes.

Belle was rambling on about her week. Lady was fairly certain she had mentioned the amazing home-made mac and cheese her mom had made four times, but she nodded each time and told her it sounded delightful, and Belle would once again expertly list off all the types of cheeses she'd help her mom put in the sauce. She was a very precise child- she seemed to think in the form of nice, organized lists, much like someone who she wasn't thinking about because there would be time for that later.

She was staring off into space.

Jake and Prismo were definitely exchanging glances.

Woops.

She poured herself into conversation with Belle, asking her how the new episode of My Little Pony was. It turned out there hadn't been one that week, but the girl still indulged her in a long ramble about her favorite ponies. The way she described the scenarios was said in such a serious manner it was almost funny to Lady. The girl went on and on about subtitles she had managed to pick up on, but when characters were named things like 'Twilight Sparkle', it was a bit hard for her to take seriously. Regardless, she did her best not to laugh- she didn't want to accidentally dishearten her.

The ramble went on as they entered the gym and Jake and Prismo began to busy themselves with entertaining their partners. At that point, Lady allowed herself to drift again, glancing over at her open text conversation. The last time Bonnie had texted her was a week ago. Her heart sank to the pit of her stomach and she felt tears began to well up. She tried to push them down, steady her breathing. God, Belle was gonna notice-

“Hey, Belle, I hear Prismo's giving piggy backs,” Jake interrupted her disordered thoughts, patting Belle on the head. The young girl's eyes lit up and she looked at Lady with a wide grin, bouncing excitedly.

“Oh, uh, go ahead,” Lady said, smiling weakly.

Jake took Lady's hand in his own, “Hey Lady, are you feeling okay?”

Lady sighed, “I dunno Jake. I'm just worried about Bonnie. I feel like I should be doing something. What if she needs help?”

“I'm sure she'll tell you if she needs help.”

Lady raised an eyebrow, “Bonnie?”

Jake laughed, “Okay, maybe not, but you're not her mom, Lady. Why don't you try to invite her to a get-together. Beg her a little if you gotta, but you know deep down Bonnie loves parties and secretly hates passing them up.”

Lady crossed her arms, “I should be her mom- I'd be a great mom.”

Jake punched her arm playfully, “You'll have to stick with being a mom friend for now. Here, lemme see your phone.”

Lady sighed and slipped her phone into his hand, taking an opportunity to make sure Prismo wasn't too overwhelmed. He'd managed to keep all three kids from climbing on his shoulders at once. However, the compromise seemed to be that one child- Belle, at the moment- would ride on his shoulders while the other two clung to his legs. He smiled weakly at Lady and waved. Belle smiled and waved as well, using both hands and almost falling off in the process.

“Okay, how's this sound,” Jake said, proudly holding up her phone, “Hey Bonnie, my lovely childhood friend whom I love. I miss you so much that I cry to my cool, muscular, amazing boyfriend Jake about it every night while he cooks me amazing meals. Because of that, I would like to not cry because that makes my cool, muscular, amazing boyfriend sad, and think we should have a party or something whenever you're free.”

Lady laughed, “Yeah, don't send that.”

“Uh.”

“Jake.”

“I-”

Jake.”

Jake's eyes darted towards Prismo, then back at her, “I already sent it.”

Lady stared at him, mouth open in disbelief, “Why'd you do that?”

“You always say my texts are cute and funny!”

“Yes dear, because I love you,” she snatched her phone back, “but Bonnie only likes you and she-” she felt her phone buzz in her hand.

Bonnie: Jake steal your phone?

Lady stuck her tongue out at Jake before replying.

Lady: Sort of. Uh, offer's still up though.

Lady turned to talk to Jake but they were interrupted with a startled yelp from across the gym, followed by a loud thump. Not much to Lady's surprise, Prismo had found himself sprawled on the ground with three giggling children on top of him. Lady shoved her phone in her pocket and jogged over to help her boyfriend to his feet, ignoring the urge to immediately grab her phone when she felt it vibrate.

Prismo thanked her quietly, shooting a playful glare at Jake, who was standing off to the side trying to hold in laughter.

Belle tugged at her shirt, “Lady, we still have twenty minutes left. Can I read a book to you?”

Lady glanced at Jake, who waved her away, mouthing something he probably thought she'd understand, but she didn't. Really, he could have mouthed anything. Cookies and cake? What? Whatever.

Regardless, she spent the remaining time sitting next to her partner, mustering all the self-control she could to be a good influence and not look at her phone. Belle read the book confidently, every page or so glancing up at Lady to make sure she was doing okay, which she always was. Dang kid was a genius, as far as she was concerned. It was pretty adorable.

Those twenty minutes sure did drag, though.

When she finally parted ways with Belle, she opened her phone eagerly. There, to her disbelief and joy, was a positive response from Bonnie.

Bonnie: Psh, sure. I'm free friday and don't work until late saturday. Marceline says you guys can come to my place. I'll invite Bianca, too.

Prismo and Jake arrived by her side then, grinning when they noticed how wide she was smiling. Prismo rested a hand on her shoulder, “I knew it'd work out. You and Bonnie have been friends forever.”

Lady nodded, “Yeah, you're right.”

Though, she still felt like something was bothering her. She was missing something important, she was sure.

Whatever. She could worry about that later.

 

Chapter Text

“Didn't you ask your friends to bring their own food?” Marceline sat on her desk chair, headset hung around her neck, music still filtering quietly through them. Bonnie was stumbling through the door, several shopping bags filled with chips and soda in hand.

Bonnie hummed affirmatively, setting the snacks down on her desk, “Yeah, but they'll all just bring like, one bag of chips and then we'll eat them all in like, ten minutes.”

“Your friends sound like a riot.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “Was that sarcasm, missy?”

“Pretty sure most things I say are.”

“Yeah, well, what's your idea of a good time?”

Marceline smirked and raised her eyebrows, and alarm jolted through Bonnie- had she implied something? Oh, geez, keep it cool. Marceline shrugged, “I mean, I'm sure this'll be fun, I just, y'know, usually assume there'll be alcohol at like, any college get-together.”

Bonnie frowned, “Well, I'm sure bitter death juice would make anything better, but-”

“Bitter death juice?”

“Interrupting people is rude. As I was saying, I think we'll have just as much fun without. Besides, none of us are nineteen.”

Marceline stood up, sticking her hands in her pockets, “Bitter death juice is great, and I'm nineteen so,” she drew out the last word.

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Maybe next time, Marceline. You don't have to stay if you don't want to.”

Marceline shook her head, oddly quickly, “Uh, no, I'm super not doing anything,” when she noticed Bonnie staring at her questioningly, she added, “I mean, Bianca's gonna be here, right?”

Bonnie laughed, flopping down on her bed, “Yeah, they are. You can admit you totally wanna hang out with my nerd friends, though.”

“I don't. Bianca's cool.”

Bonnie paused for a second, considering if the following comment would be weird. She decided her roommate would just find it funny, “Oh, is that it? You sure you aren't sticking around to see if we play spin the bottle? Are you hankerin' for a smoochin'?”

What she'd expected had been an annoyed laugh, maybe an eye roll to go with it. What she got was Marceline's face heating up and her spluttering as she tried to form words. Bonnie grinned widely, “Oh, Marceline! What would Ash say?”

Bonnie!

“I mean, you've barely met my other friends-”

“Stop, stop, no!” Marceline grabbed one of her pillows and promptly smacked Bonnie over the head.

Bonnie laughed, dodging away and trying to ignore the fact that being hit by a pillow hurt a bit more than anticipated, “You should see your face! You look like you're gonna catch fire!”

Marceline made a strange, angry humming sound and shoved the pillow against Bonnie's face, smothering her. Bonnie laughed into the fabric, breathing in what she could only imagine was dust and hair. She flailed her legs, “Holy shit, Marceline, have you ever cleaned your pillowcase?” she said. Though, since she was still being smothered, it probably sounded more like a series of impossible-to-make-out mumbles.

“Uh,” Prismo's voice barely cut above Bonnie's laughter. Immediately, Bonnie felt Marceline stumble back. She was still blushing, probably more than before, as she made eye contact with the newcomer. Prismo looked between them and pointed backwards, “should I come back later?”

“No,” Bonnie and Marceline said at once- Marceline a bit louder.

Prismo smiled awkwardly, depositing his offering- a two liter bottle of cola- onto Bonnie's desk. He blinked at the already large pile of snack foods, “Is everyone else already here?”

Marceline and Bonnie shook their heads in unison, “No, but-” they both started, cutting each other off.

An awkward pause followed.

Bonnie cleared her throat, “I figured I'd stock up anyway. If worst comes to worst, Marceline and I can snack on what's left.”

Prismo nodded and shuffled into the middle of the room, obviously waiting for permission to sit down. Marceline dropped onto her bed and patted the space next to her. Prismo paused for a moment but eventually took a seat.

Bonnie set to organizing her room while Marceline strummed away at her guitar. Occasionally Prismo would compliment her or ask a question, which she would take in with a wide grin and a poorly-hidden blush. Bonnie wanted to tease her about how obvious she was about basking in the attention, but she managed to hold herself back this time.

Bonnie dragged two beanie chairs out from under Marceline's bed and placed them between the two beds. She figured they'd end up sitting on the beds anyway, but it was good to have options. Humming to herself, she pulled her cups out of her desk drawer. They weren't a uniform set, and most had been bought at the last moment so everyone could have one, but they'd have to do. She pasted a note on each and wrote down a name, ignoring the laugh from Marceline that she was pretty sure was directed at her. Then, as a final measure, she cracked open the dorm window. Six people in the cramped room would get smelly quickly, frankly.

She hated to admit to herself, but excitement had begun to bubble inside her. She'd been so busy with work and class all week, she'd barely had time to rest for a moment, never mind have some fun. It might be nice. She was sure she could push work out of her mind for a few hours- it would do her some good.

She was looking over her work when the others arrived. She noticed, if a bit smugly, that they had only a bag of salt and vinegar chips between the three of them. She smirked over at Marceline, but the other girl was too busy strumming at her guitar to notice.

“Alright, that gang's all here,” Bonnie said, putting her hands on her hips, “sit wherever, get some soda, and let's do whatever it is we're gonna do.”

Lady frowned, “Is Fionna not coming?”

“Uh, no?”

Lady's eyes widened, “You didn't invite Fionna, did you?” then, before Bonnie could reply, she let out an exaggerated groan, pressing her palm to her forehead, “she hates when you don't invite her to things, Bon.”

Bonnie clicked her tongue. She didn't want that- Fionna was her coworker, and tension between them would probably end up being obvious, given how often they were scheduled together. Plus, it wasn't like she didn't like the girl. She shrugged, “I'll invite her next time. Just, keep this on the down-low, I guess.”

Lady didn't look completely happy with that response, but she took a seat in a beanie chair regardless, accepting her soda from Jake with a quick peck on the cheek.

Marceline stopped strumming at her guitar to greet the rest of Bonnie's friends. Bianca sat down next to her, smiling widely, and Marceline affectionately ruffled their already-messy hair. Had they been spending time together outside of class? They seemed close. Or she was just misinterpreting it. Whatever.

Once they'd all settled down, the group fell into silence. After about a minute of nothing aside from sheepish sips from drinks, Marceline spoke, “Uh, did you guys have any plans, or?”

Lady blinked up at Bonnie, who was sitting at the edge of her bed, “Bon usually tries to plan things, so I was expecting her to have ideas.”

Bonnie felt blood rush to her cheeks, “Uh, yeah, of course,” she said, crossing her arms, “we're gonna play, uh, never have I ever,” as she said it she found herself locking eyes with Marceline, daring her to say something condescending. She narrowed her eyes, attempting to communicate the pure fury that would be unleashed upon the girl if she made fun of her excellent party games.

Marceline wasn't intimidated, “Cool. Uh, I guess since there's only soda, take a sip from that if you've done the thing.”

Jake grinned, “Last person to piss wins.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes at that, but couldn't keep back a bit of a grin, in spite of her best efforts. Bianca and Marceline laughed openly.

“Alright, I'll start,” Marceline said. She paused for a moment before perking up, almost like a light bulb had physically appeared above her head, “never have I ever had a job.”

Everyone else in the circle took a sip of their drink. Jake looked quizzically at Marceline, “How're you payin' for college if you've never had a job?”

Marceline shrugged, “Parents?”

Bonnie was next if they were moving clockwise, so she spoke up, “Never have I ever had rich parents.”

Marceline stuck her tongue out at Bonnie, but took a sip of her drink regardless.

Lady went next. She chewed on a few chips, humming quietly to herself, “I suck at this game,” she noted, before taking another chip. Marceline and Bianca got to discussing Pokemon in the meantime, and Bonnie asked Prismo how they're volunteering had gone earlier. Lady always took forever.

Finally, she sat upright, “Never have I ever kissed a girl!” she said, then, realizing how excited she sounded, sunk back into her chair.

Bonnie smiled, “Takes a lotta guts to just admit you have no fun ever,” she chided. Lady rolled her eyes and tapped her playfully with her foot.

Everyone in the circle took a drink.

Marceline took a drink.

Wait, hold up.

She made eye contact with her roommate. Long, uncomfortable eye contact. Had she always had that scar along the bridge of her nose. Why were they still making eye contact?

Marceline smiled, “Uh, yes?”

Bonnie nearly spilled her drink, “Uh, nothing!” she exclaimed, taking a sip of her drink.

Jake broke through the awkward atmosphere, “Uh, my turn, right?” he glanced over at Prismo and grinned like a Cheshire cat, “never have I ever cried while watching a Disney movie.”

Prismo narrowed his eyes and took a sip so quickly that he almost splashed himself in his haste.

Marceline sipped, again.

Bonnie stared at her, again.

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “Do never have I ever games always include random starting contests with you, Bonnie?”

Bonnie looked away, “No. You just don't seem like the type to cry at those things,” she paused, “what movie was it?”

Marceline smiled, “I'm not telling you that.”

“Why not?”

“Your reaction to finding out I cried is weird enough. Like you thought I was some weird aloof rocker who never cries.”

“Well-”

“Don't say anything.”

Bonnie crossed her arms, then noticed Lady smiling at her, and directed her glare at her childhood friend instead. Lady shrugged, “She just glares at everyone. She's always been a weirdo.”

Marceline nodded, “Yeah, I can see that.”

Bonnie was going to give a biting reply. The burn of the century, really, when Prismo hesitantly interrupted, “Uh, so, are we still playing, or?”

“Yes,” Bonnie replied immediately, returning her glare to Marceline, “yes we are.”

Prismo was obviously put off by the strange new determination in her voice, but he said nothing about it. Instead, he said his piece. If she was honest, she wasn't listening. She was ready for her turn.

Then it came. She spoke confidently, “Never have I ever cried while watching Beauty and the Beast.”

It didn't matter what movie she said. It didn't matter that Marceline didn't drink. What did matter is that all her friends now wore sly grins, and she knew she had started a trend.

And so the group went around the circle, listing Disney movies. Marceline even let them skip her turn. She propped herself up again a pillow and watched them flounder with a smile on her face.

The nerve of some people.

Eventually, the group had to resort to opening wikipedia to find a list so they could try the ones that they had missed.

Bonnie grew increasingly suspicious as this went on, and Marceline's smile only seemed to grow. It came to her turn, and she knew exactly what was happening.

Meeting Marceline's gaze, she said, “Never have I ever lied while playing never have I ever.”

Marceline shrugged and took a sip, “You caught me.”

Jake blinked up at her, “Woah, you tricked us.”

Marceline nodded, “It was hilarious.”

Bianca shook their head, “In some places, lying in these sorts of games is punishable by death,” they looked Marceline directly in the eye, “you are lucky this is not truth or dare, or I would kill you myself.”

Marceline chuckled, “I would never wish for the wrath of Bianca. Not on anybody.”

Bianca nodded, “I am small, but strong.”

Lady propped herself up against Marceline's bed, “Alright then, you big cheater, spill the beans.”

Marceline glanced at her phone, “Shouldn't you all be leaving?”

Lady hauled herself onto the bed, “It's been a half hour.”

“That's like three and a half hours in dog years.”

Bonnie laughed at that, “Dog years, really?”

Without another word, Marceline pulled her laptop off her desk and pulled her headset on. Bianca scooted over next to her and leaned on her shoulder. Marceline scowled. Bonnie hopped off her bed and onto Marceline's, taking up her other side, and her scowl deepened. Soon, all of Bonnie's friends were crowding around Marceline, fixing her with the same, searching, pleading stare.

Marceline sighed, took off her headphones, and turned to Bonnie. Her face was very close, their noses almost touching and Bonnie felt heat creeping up her neck at their proximity. She didn't like that. She didn't get that was when Lady or Fionna were close, which told her it probably meant something.

Thing was, she was pretty sure she didn't want it to mean something.

She didn't have much time to dwell on it, though, because Marceline interrupted her thoughts, “Is this a regular thing in your friend group? Peer pressuring people into telling them what Disney movie made them cry? When we got peer pressure talks in school they never went over this.”

Bianca rested a hand on her shoulder, “We are collectors of dark secrets, Marceline.”

Marceline rolled her eyes, “Fine. Frozen.”

“Frozen,” the group repeated in unison.

Marceline's face lit up, “It was sweet okay? Don't you mock me. I'm tough and can take you all in a fight.”

Bonnie hummed, sitting upright, “If I recall, you couldn't even move your desk on your own, and it's not very-”

“I'll extra kick your butt, Bonnie,” she mumbled, but there was no anger behind it, and it was obvious she was holding back laughter.

Prismo tapped his hands against his legs, “I cry at most Disney movies.”

Lady nodded, “It's true.”

Jake grinned, “You cried watching the Fox and the Hound, Lady.”

Without missing a beat, Lady shot back, “Up.”

“Everyone cried watching up,” Jake moaned.

“I didn't,” Bonnie interjected.

“Yeah, well, your heart is made of stone.”

Everyone laughed at that, including Bonnie, though she also lightly punched Jake in the arm. At that point, her phone went off.

Lady frowned, “What's that?”

Bonnie looked down, frowning. She pondered what res exact response would be before speaking, “Text from my boss, asking if I can extend my shift to a full one tomorrow. Sorry guys, you might have to go.”

Lady huffed, “Bonnie, just say no. We haven't been able to hang out in forever.”

“I gotta think about the money, Lady, sorry.”

Lady sighed, “Right, well, I guess I have homework to do,” she picked herself up off the bed and gathered the few things she'd brought with her. Her other friends followed close behind, whispering goodbye to both her and Marceline.

When she heard the door click shut, she collapsed onto her bed, staring up at her phone. She sighed, “I'm not a bad friend. I'm just doing what's best. Factually.”

Marceline smiled, “Yeah. I mean, I think your friends just miss you dude. Do you text them?”

Bonnie didn't know how to answer that. She did- maybe not as much as she should, but she certainly did text them. She wasn't in the mood for a long discussion, though, so she just nodded.

Marceline shrugged, “Then I'm sure they'll be fine.”

Bonnie nodded. That sounded reasonable. She repeated that to herself over the next hour as she steadily drifted to sleep.

 

Chapter Text

Honestly, Bonnie wasn't sure why she had agreed to it, but she had, and now she would have to accept her new reality. No, she would do more than that. She would embrace it, wrestle it into submission, make it her own reality.

Perhaps this was a dramatic way to handle the concept of a study date with Bianca and Marceline, but, to be fair, she was really dreading it.

The two had seemed reluctant to agree to study in the first place. They kept going on about how the midterm wasn't for a week and a half, and so on. They only agreed to study, with matching suspicious grins, if they could study with her. Marceline had said something about how she could really help them, and teaching them would help her memorize things. She'd seemed sincere.

Too sincere.

Bonnie lay on her bed, tossing a stress ball from one hand to the other, picking up the pace gradually. After approximately thirty seconds, it was hitting her palms hard enough to sting. She was fairly certain that wasn't the purpose of a stress ball. She bounced her feet impatiently, checked her watch again.

3:01pm.

She hummed to herself, waited ten seconds, checked again.

3:01pm.

Funny, that.

Funny, also, that where she was from, three o'clock meant three o'clock. She sat upright, clutching her stress ball in her hand until it hurt. She figured her doctor would have a thing or two to say about that, probably in an infuriating condescending voice, but she couldn't be bothered to care at the moment. Where were they? Oh, it was just like Marceline to be 'fashionably late', she was sure.

There was a knock on the door, and Bonnie almost tripped in her haste to reach it.

There Marceline stood, Bianca at her side, both grinning widely. Bonnie looked Bianca over with a frown, “Where are your notes?”

Bianca and Marceline shot her identical devious grins, and shrugged. Bianca rocked back and forth on their heels, “Gosh, I guess I forgot them at my dorm! We will have to take a perilous journey, across campus. Perhaps we shall encounter a frozen yogurt shop along the way, or that nice park down the road.”

Marceline nodded solemnly, “That does seem like the only solution.”

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “We all have the same notes anyway, c'mon you two.”

Marceline sighed and patted Bianca on the back, “Sorry for your crushed hopes and dreams, buddy.”

Bianca nodded, allowing Marceline to escort them across the room, wearing a matching solemn expression, then, in a forced-sounding teary voice, “It is okay, Marceline. I am used to crushing disappointment.”

Bonnie elected to ignore that and instead popped open her notes, “C'mon you two, maybe later. We gotta stay on schedule. We can start with Canterbury Tales, and-”

“Isn't that a chocolate brand?” Marceline interrupted, “the froyo place has really good-”

“Cadbury. As I was saying,” Bonnie continued, “the professor heavily implied that there would be a written question concerning the excerpts we read on the Wife of Bath, so-”

Bianca giggled, “Hey Marcy, wouldn't it be weird if you married a bath? Like just the whole tub?”

Marcy shrugged, “I would. Taking a bath is mad relaxing, dude.”

Bonnie gritted her teeth, “Perhaps you two would rather discuss morality with regards to the Pardoner first.”

Marceline interrupted this time, “Begging your pardon, but did we learn this stuff? I don't remember psychology being involved.”

“We spent a whole class talking about the Pardoner.”

Bianca shook their head, “I can't remember either. I must not have enough energy to concentrate. I need frozen yogurt, Bonnie, or I will never concentrate and fail.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes and reached into one of her desk drawers, pulling out a protein bar, which she tossed onto Bianca's lap, “There. How about we do something simpler? We can briefly go over Beowulf.”

“Who?”

Bonnie crossed her arms, “You're just being difficult. The first thing we discussed in class.”

Marceline shook her head, “Nah, look, my long-term memory's all donked up. Need fresh air and froyo.”

“I told you both to eat before you came- Marceline you told me you were going to get something to eat!”

Marceline groaned, collapsing back onto her bed, “My frozen yogurt stomach is empty, Bonnie. I need it, dude. C'mon, the sooner we get it, the sooner we can actually study.”

Bonnie sighed, examining the situation. She didn't like that she'd been tricked into this to begin with, but it seemed like it would be better to just go along with it. Besides, frozen yogurt was good- she wasn't against it on principal. She was mostly against not being in control.

That sounded weird, actually.

She didn't like when she was tricked? Something like that sounded a lot less control-freakish. Yeesh.

With a sigh, she pulled on the hoodie she'd discarded onto her bed and rose to her feet. Bianca made an exciting squeaking noise and joined her, bouncing happily. Bonnie just rolled her eyes. She may be going along with it, but she wasn't ready to give them the satisfaction of her having a good time- they'd have to earn that.

Marceline rested a hand on her shoulder, “Hell yeah, dude, I knew you'd come 'round.”

Bonnie glared at her, “Yes, it's almost as if you orchestrated a situation where this would definitely happen.”

Marceline grinned and pointed to her guitar, “Haven't orchestrated anything in a while, actually. Too busy”

“You know what I mean.”

“Sure do.”

“Jerk.”

“Nerd.”

“Guys, I would like to go now, please,” Bianca interrupted, continuing with their bouncing by the dorm door. Marceline obediently removed her hand from Bonnie's shoulder, taking the last few steps towards the door and leaving Bonnie feeling a bit, what was it? Disappointed?

With a sigh, she trailed behind the two friends. As they walked, the other two dropped into casual conversation, and Bonnie allowed herself to become wrapped in thoughts, staring at the ground as they walked. She went over possible essay questions in her head, jotting down mental notes for points she could bring up in responses. Right, this was fine. This was-

“Oi, Bonnie,” Marceline's voice cut through her. Bonnie looked up, meeting Marceline's gaze. Her brow was furrowed, “c'mon, bud, don't look so stressed. Some froyo will do you some good.”

“I'm not stressed, I'm concentrated.”

“Yeah?”

“Yes, Marceline.”

Marceline wrapped her arm around Bonnie's shoulder and guided her to Bianca's side, “C'mon, we need your opinion of some stuff- thin crust pizza, yay or nay?”

Bonnie expected the other girl to move her arm at some point, but she didn't, and that was sending all sorts of panic signals jumping through her brain, “Uh,” she muttered, “s'good.”

“See? I told you Bianca, get taste pal,” Marceline leaned closer to Bonnie as she spoke to her other friend.

Bianca huffed, “I have great taste. You are both gross.”

“Yeah, tell that to Italy.”

Marceline was becoming very involved in her debate, leaning close so that their faces were brushing so that she could make eye contact with Bianca as they walked. Her arm was still draped over her shoulders and suddenly Bonnie's skin felt a hell of a lot more sensitive than usual. She could have sworn the weather app on her phone had predicted it would be about twenty degrees cooler.

Hoo boy, maybe froyo wasn't such a bad idea.

“There it is!” Bianca shouted, bounding ahead of them.

Finally, Marceline took her arm away and ran to catch up with Bianca. Bonnie took a few moments to catch her breath.

She leaned against the outer wall of the frozen yogurt shop and ran over her thoughts in her head, chewing lightly on her lip. The old brick wall jutted uncomfortably into her back as she struggled to pull herself together. She hadn't been this affected by proximity since, well, high school. Since Shoko.

Well, hot damn, she had a bit of a crush, didn't she?

She wasn't oblivious, and her previous experience told her that ignoring crushes didn't help. It would probably be a few minutes until the other two realized she was gone, so she calmed herself by listing facts in her head.

One, Marceline was dating Ash. He was a tool, but she was dating him.

Two, she didn't know her that well, it was probably just aesthetic attraction.

Three, she had better things to do than pine.

Still, her brain didn't seem to be registering that last part, because when she felt a hand on her shoulder, her first reaction was to blush and turn towards the person, expecting to be greeted by Marceline.

What she got instead was Braco.

Her brain didn't seem to take that too well, because before she could so much as register the surprise jolting through her body, her arm was suddenly swinging towards him. She felt her fist collide with bone- ow- and suddenly she was staring, open mouthed, at Braco as he knelt on the ground, holding his cheek and staring up at her tearfully.

“Uh,” she managed before Marceline rounded the corner, looking as if she was about to say something.

Her roommate looked down at Braco, then back at her, then started to laugh, “Dude, Bon, did you take him out?”

Bonnie looked down at her hands, flipping them over a few time, “Guess so.”

Braco staggered to his feet, “I'm sorry, it's just that we're in the same Canadian politics class-”

“I recall.”

“And it's just that you're really pretty.”

“Correct.”

Bonnie couldn't help but smile at the smug grin Marceline was wearing as she stood behind Braco. As Braco began to stutter his next reply, she pointed at him and stuck out her tongue. Bonnie laughed.

That was a big mistake, as it turned out, because Braco assumed she was laughing at something he'd said, and brightened up, “So, I was wondering, if you maybe wanna get coffee sometime.”

Bonnie blinked, “I don't drink coffee.”

Braco frowned, for some reason electing to look back at Marceline, who shrugged, “T-tea?”

“I'll pass.”

“M-movie?”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “No. No date at all. Sorry dude.”

Braco nodded, “Right. But I won't give up! I'll win your heart yet,” he promised, turning again to Marceline, “thanks,” he said, before dashing off.

Bonnie took a moment to process that last part, then she stared Marceline directly in the eyes, “Why'd he thank you? You didn't encourage him, did you?”

Marceline rested her hand on her shoulder, “Full disclosure, I think the dude's just dang weird. I threatened to punch him last time he asked me about you, so I'm gonna go with no on the encouragement thing.”

“He asked you about me?”

“I didn't tell you?”

“I wouldn't have asked if you had.”

Marceline stuck her hands in her jacket pockets and scuffed the ground sheepishly, “That was the prank weekend I think, musta' forgotten.”

Bonnie sighed, brushing past her roommate and into the quaint frozen yogurt parlor. Bianca was already sitting at one of the tiny, two-person tables, having stolen a third chair from another table so they could all huddle together. Marceline hovered behind her, “Sorry about him. I really did tell him to buzz off, but as you probably saw, he's not easily persuaded.”

Bonnie took one of the cups and stared at the self-serve machines, “It's cool, I'm sure if I keep punching him in the face he'll give up eventually.”

“People consider that rude.”

“I consider it effective.”

“Can't argue that.”

After a few minutes of consideration, Bonnie settled down with strawberry and banana frozen yogurt, topped with raspberries and balls of cookie dough. Bianca had already finished theirs by the time they sat down, and was eagerly discussing Pokemon with Marceline.

“You're into Pokemon too?” Bonnie asked around a mouthful of yogurt.

Marceline nodded, “Since I was, like, five. Who're your favorite 'mons, Bon?”

Bonnie shrugged, “Never played it, watched it, whatever.”

Marceline's jaw almost hit the floor. She glanced over at Bianca, who just shrugged. Marceline shook her head, “No, we can't have that. Bonnie, we're gonna go home right now. You're gonna walk and eat your yogurt. We're gonna go back to the apartment and you're gonna borrow my Omega Ruby game and spare 3ds.”

“You have a spare 3ds?”

“Rich parents. We've been over this, you were all bitter and probably thought I wouldn't notice, remember?”

Bonnie scoffed, “That's one way to put it.”

Regardless of how silly she thought Marceline was being, the three began their walk home, with Marceline in the lead, rambling excitedly about something or other regarding the franchise in question. Bonnie wasn't really taking in any of it. Something, something, fire, water, grass, whatever. Unfortunately, what Bonnie happened to notice was that she quite liked the way Marceline's eyes lit up, her smile widened, and her voice went just a bit louder when she got really excited. She shook her head to try to clear it- she was pretty sure that worked in books, but in reality it just made he stumble a bit as she walked.

By the time they arrived back at the dorms it was past four, and the thought of studying flashed past Bonnie's mind again before being torn away by Marceline as a gaming device was shoved into her hands.

Following that, somehow, a few hours melted away. Everything began to blend together as the trio sat next to each other in bed- basically cuddling, really, and played their games. Bonnie picked up on the core mechanics rather easily, but Marceline was just so darn eager to help her that she entertained her by asking a few questions here and there, which resulted in a ramble that was always far longer than what she needed, but she listened regardless.

And then Marceline's treacherous, evil, abhorrent phone buzzed. If there was one thing she'd learned about that, it was that it meant Ash approximately ninety five percent of the time.

Marceline glanced down at her phone and frowned, “Alright, Ash wants me to come over, so I'm gonna split now,” she turned off her device and, a bit more carelessly that she probably should, dropped it onto her desk.

Bianca whined, “But we are having fun, Marceline,” they protested.

“Yep, Ash is a pretty big buzzkill,” she agreed, “but my buzzkill, so I gotta go,” she slung a purse around her arm, checked her hair in a mirror, and left with a wave.

Suddenly, Bonnie felt less interested in the game. She sighed and placed the second system more gently on Marceline's desk. Bianca shot her a sympathetic look, “I suppose I'll go to then.”

They waited, perhaps expecting Bonnie to object, but she just nodded. Bianca shrugged and gathered their few belongings, wishing Bonnie a good night before slipping out.

As the door clicked behind them, a single thought prevailed in Bonnie's mind.

They hadn't done any damn studying at all.

 

Chapter Text

Literature had only been in session for ten minutes, but already Marceline felt like time had slowed around her. Bianca was absent- they'd said they were sick last night over text, so that made sense. What didn't make sense to her, then, was why Bonnie was also missing. The other girl was never late, but Marceline had assumed that she'd been hungry and stopped for a smoothie before class. Ten minutes late was pushing it though, and she knew for a fact that she wasn't sick- she'd been well enough to work the night before, and she'd been out when she woke up in the morning.

“And just a reminder that your midterm will be during our next class, so on Friday.”

Well, that firmly snapped her back to reality. Where had the time gone? She stared at her professor in shock, not that he noticed, and cursed to herself.

Maybe she and Bianca should have actually studied last week.

But also, the alternative had been a lot of fun, so she was frankly sure she was in the right.

She felt something prod at her back. Snapping her out of her daze. She turned to see three other students sitting behind her, “Uh, hey.”

“Need a partner?”

“I have a boyfriend.”

“That's nice, but do you need a discussion partner?”

Marceline blinked, looking around the room. Everyone had shuffled off into groups of three or four, awkwardly shoving tables together so that talking was easier. She frowned, “Yeah, right, just kidding,” she mumbled, turning to face the table behind her, “so, like, Shakespeare, am I right?”

No one laughed.

They all pulled out their neatly stapled papers outlining topics for the midterm and her heart started pounding again. All of her classmates had theirs covered in notes, highlighted in different colors. She knew for a fact that hers was sitting in a binder, completely untouched, barely glanced over. She felt fear creeping up on her, but pushed it down.

She'd be fine. This was an easy class.

Why didn't she understand anything they were talking about?

Wait, were they discussing that morality stuff Bonnie mentioned?

Was Bonnie seriously not making things up?

Oh, well.

That wasn't good.

Luckily for her, the rest of her group grew focused on their task, barely glancing at her, never mind asking for her input. She tried to keep up, maybe map out ideas for later in her head, but it was all a jumbled mess to her. All around the room, it seemed, students were confidently scribbling down notes. The professor sat at his desk, scrolling through something on his laptop.

And then there was her, panicky and looking around the room.

Well, she'd gone and fucked herself right over, hadn't she?

Her panicked state only grew as the class dragged on and every one else continued to confidently revise, and her mind turned to Bonnie.

Also known as, conveniently, her only hope.

Needless to say, when the class was over, she was the first out the door, nearly knocking over another student on the way.

Marceline wasn't particularly used to running. The schooling she'd received growing up hadn't required any of the mandatory exercise that most people she knew now were burdened with, and so what started as a sprint across campus quickly become a stumbling walk and sharp intakes of breath from the attempted run. The cold air made her feel like she was suffocating, but the raised eyebrows she was receiving from passerby indicated that this was, perhaps, not the norm. After a few moments rest, she straightened her back, ran her hand through her hair a few times, and walked to her dorm at a more reasonable pace.

The leaves on the trees had changed color and begun to fall. People were wearing pants rather than shorts for the first time in months, some even bringing out sweaters and jackets.

She'd never before realized how stressful the passage of time was.

She'd just started University. She was moving in, ready to start her first day, finally away from home.

Except she wasn't. She was already damn well near halfway through her first semester, and she had not seen that coming.

She rolled through her assignments in her head as she walked, eyes on the ground slightly ahead of her, just enough to dodge incoming objects without being distracted by movement nearby.

She had her lab report for this week, that was normal.

Literature midterm Friday.

Calculus midterm Monday.

Was it really all so soon? She'd had forever.

She clenched her fists and let out a low whining sound. She really wasn't used to time passing so, quickly? Chaotically? Both?

The walk seemed to pass in a haze. She might have heard someone from her lab greet her. She wasn't sure. She was focused on getting to her dorm.

The walk up the stairs to her floor seemed to take longer than usual. When she arrived at the door she paused. God, it was gonna be a blow to her ego to admit she really, truly needed help. She took a deep breath.

She opened the door to her room.

“Bonnie, I need- uh, Bonnie?”

Bonnie looked up, smiling tiredly at her, “Hey,” she greeted, drawing out the 'e' sound.

Marceline stared at the bizarre setup. Bonnie was sitting on her bed, clothed in loose fitting pajama bottoms, and a very nice, pink polka-dotted bra.

Bra.

Her brain took a moment to process that. She felt as if her brain has somehow managed to connect to the dorm's internet, and was now struggling to buffer, and she was definitely staring. Had she really never seen her topless before?

“What 'cha lookin' at?” Bonnie slurred, tapping away at the laptop directly in front of her.

Directly.

Bonnie didn't normally have two computers.

“So, two questions. One, what's going on with your look today. Second, why are you using my laptop and,” she stepped closer to get a better look, “both of my 3dses?”

Bonnie glanced down at herself, “I got hot, and,” she gestured to the array of technologies huddled around her, “Pokemon.”

“Pokemon,” Marceline repeated carefully. She sat down next to Bonnie, though not as close as usual, and while trying not to look directly at her. She could feel heat rising to her face, and prayed that Bonnie was too tired to notice. If the dark circles under her eyes were anything to go by, she probably was.

“See, on the 3dses I'm hatching shiny pokemon. I'm going for a perfect IV eevee in X, and a piplup in Y. These games got good hatchin' spots.”

Marceline blinked down at the games. At the moment, both had small coins jutting out from under the control stick, causing the player character to bike in an endless circle. She frowned, “Bonnie, when did you pick up on all of this?”

Bonnie grumbled something she couldn't make out, “And I figured it all out because well, when I figured out there was more to it than collecting monsters, I got interested. When I found out I could kick people's butt online, it was even better.”

Marceline chuckled at that, “Uh, right, I was always more for just collecting the ones that looked neat, but you do you. Uh, that said,” she reached forward to grab one of her gaming systems, only to have her hand swatted away. She flinched, “Bon, I think you need to sleep. You missed class.”

“You missed class with that look girl,” Bonnie muttered, tapping at a few buttons on the 3dses before returning her attention back to the laptop screens.

“I, what?” she leaned closer to see the screens, “what are you doing? Why do you need my computer?”

“It's uh, easier to look up common move sets on one computer, so I don't gotta switch tabs. Competitive battling. Almost in the top one hundred.”

“Bonnie, I don't know what any of that means.”

“Not my fault you're a scrublord,” Bonnie muttered.

“A scrub- Bonnie, I want my laptop back.”

“You're just against progress,” Bonnie argued.

“Not as much as you're against sleep, clearly,” Marceline shot back. She sighed, watching as Bonnie obsessively clicked away at buttons. The girl really did have a focus thing going on. What exactly it was, she wasn't exactly sure, but it didn't seem to be doing her many favors.

She hummed, “Hey Bonnie,” she cooed, leaning back against her roommate's shoulder.

Bonnie groaned, “What now? Listen, I just need your computer for six, seven more hours, tops.”

“I super need help studying dude. Our midterm is in two days.”

Bonnie sighed, “I know you're trying to get me away from the game. I'm not dense.”

“Okay, true, but I also need help studying.”

Bonnie blinked up at her, her hazel eyes hazy and confused, “For real?”

Marceline nodded, “Totes, dude. I'm lost.”

Bonnie nodded and saved both her games simultaneously, before carefully shutting down both laptops. She carefully set her things aside and stood up, grabbing a shirt that was hanging over the edge of her bed. She pulled it on and offered a hand to Marceline, who took it gratefully.

“If we're gonna mega-cram, we're gonna need to be prepared.” She paused as she approached the door, “additionally, you super mega owe me.”

Marceline grinned, “Obviously.”


Once Bonnie had eaten a full meal, as balanced as she could manage in the campus cafeteria, she felt energized again. Sure, she'd been awake for over twenty four hours, but food, combined with the cold shower she'd taken beforehand, would keep her going until at least Marceline passed out, inevitably.

Marceline hadn't joined her to eat, but she assumed she'd be back when she returned, considering she probably didn't need to shower.

She was wrong.

Whatever, more time for her to prepare. She dug up Marceline's textbook from under a pile of disorganized papers on her desk, placing it next to her own on Marceline's bed. She placed four bottles of water and a couple of protein bars on the desk next to the bed before settling down with her notes. She nodded- that should do the trick.

Marceline, evidently, had other plans, as she burst through the door a moment later, two bottles of cola clasped firmly in her hands. She slammed them down on the desk, causing her carefully placed protein bars to slip off, “Bonnie, I've got four liters of soda and big plans.

Bonnie blinked, “Uh,” she started, “you're just gonna crash if you drink that.”

Marceline narrowed her eyes, “I'm a dang adult, and I will drink four liters of cola if I please.”

“Never said you weren't, just tellin' you how it is. But, uh, let's start from the beginning, yeah? Beowulf?”

Marceline sighed and settled down, huddling close to her, “I think I zoned out for all of this. I didn't think it would be important.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “It's all important, Marcy.”

“Marcy?”

“Yeah?”

“You've never called me a nickname before.”

Bonnie wasn't sure why she latched onto that, “It seemed like a natural way to shorten your name. Is it a problem?”

“Uh, no, it's cute,” Marceline said, pointing down at the text, “I dunno dude, it was in the first week, I thought it didn't count.”

Bonnie laughed, “University is a cold, unforgiving place. Everything counts, but nothing counts if you don't test well. Guess that's the whole education system though, eh?”

Marceline laughed bitterly, “Guess so, huh?”

Bonnie smiled, and Marceline smiled back, and maybe it was a bit corny, but it felt soft and nice. Gosh, she wasn't sure why her smile affected her that way. She was a bit of a loser, she supposed.

Then Marceline took out her midterm outline, and the moment ended, but the feeling still lingered in Bonnie for a while longer.

Then the time went somewhere, she wasn't sure where. They eventually settled for lying on the bed together, on their stomachs, almost lying on top of each other as they went over notes. Marceline asked a lot of questions, and Bonnie would occasionally make a snide remark about her actually reading the assignments for once, which Marceline would usually deflect by calling her a nerd or something similar.

Occasionally, the discussions would lead to personal stories, and Bonnie found that she liked the way Marceline told stories. She told one about her father taking her to a play when she was much younger, and how she'd almost single-handedly embarrassed her father and completely thrown off the cast by managing to sneak on stage in an attempt to make the 'boring' play more interesting. She told the story with such enthusiasm, Bonnie almost felt like she was with the audience, watching the event, or even better, little Marcy's partner in crime, somehow helping her attempt to sabotage Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

She was very liberal with her hand gestures when she spoke, she noticed. Maybe a little uncaring about personal space, sure, but in an odd way, she found it endearing. The light in her eyes wasn't something to ignore, either.

It was nice. Bonnie found herself feeling less flustered by the proximity, and more comfortable.

That might be a problem, but she wasn't going to think about it now.

Then, somehow, a few hours later, they ended up lying next to each other, staring at the ceiling, notes off to the side. They'd gone over as much as either of them could manage. At the very least, Marceline no longer seemed convinced that she would fail.

A lot of things had been forgotten, or skipped over. That would include Marceline's four liters and cola and whatever 'big plans' that entailed.

After a few solid minutes of silence, Marceline spoke, “Hey, thanks for helping me out. I'm sorry I kinda tricked you the other day, with Bianca and all.”

Bonnie blinked, rubbing sleep from her eyes. At this point, she could barely stay awake, and was having trouble processing what her roommate was saying, “Oh, s'okay. I 'prolly needed some chill time.”

Marceline laughed, “I guess, but I needed study time.”

Bonnie hummed, “Guess we're good as roommates, then, got a good balance going.”

Marceline turned to smile at her. Neither of them had bothered to turn a light on as the room grew dark, so the only light in the room was natural night light filtering through the single window, but damn did it make her eyes look gorgeous. Marceline stuck the tip of her tongue out, “I guess so. How's about I keep you from going totally off the wall studying, and you make sure I actually study.”

Bonnie smiled back, “Good luck with that. My friends will tell you that it isn't easy to deter Bonnibel Burnett.”

Marceline laughed, rolling back over so she was facing the ceiling again, “Well, always did like a good challenge.”

“Wouldn't have guessed from the way you play Pokemon.”

“Mm, rude.”

“Your face is rude.”

Marceline laughed again, “Goodnight, Bonnie.”

Bonnie blinked over at her companion, who had already rolled over and pulled a blanket on top of her, ignoring her roommate, still in the bed with her. Bonnie sighed, “Yeah, g'night.”

 

Chapter Text

Bonnie sat in class, flipping through her midterm for the fourth time. She was becoming paranoid at this point, convinced the professor had noticed that she had long since finished her exam and any edits she may have had. This was emphasized by the fact that only she, Marceline, and two other people remained in the class.

Her roommate had begged her the night before to stay until she finished, saying her 'vibes' would help her pass, and Bonnie wasn't in the mood to argue. She wanted to glance over and see how Marceline was doing, but that would be far too obvious right now. She had to be almost done, though, right? There were only a few minutes left.

Sniffle. Cough.

Paper flipping over.

Chair scooting away from the desk.

One down, two to go.

Well, three if you counted her, but she didn't .

“Alright, time's up you three,” the professor called from the front of the class. Marceline groaned beside her, letting her head fall onto the desk. Bonnie smiled sympathetically her way, not that she could see the gesture.

The professor shot Marceline a reassuring grin as he gathered their exams, and Marceline offered a more half-hearted smile in return.

As they exited the classroom, Marceline stretched, “Well, that sucked. I didn't get to write a conclusion on my last essay, never mind go over them.”

“I'm sure he'll grade kindly- he seems like the type.”

“I guess. I'm just in the mood to do something I'm actually good at right now- remind myself I don't totally suck.” The way the comment was phrased made it seem like it was meant to be a joke, but Marceline's tone implied otherwise.

Bonnie smiled, “You don't suck, but I imagine you mean guitar?”

“I was thinking ice skating.”

“Ice skating?”

“Mhm, betcha' didn't guess I'm killer on blades.”

“Well, I don't generally make assumptions with regards to people's ice skating abilities, no.”

“Well, I bet you're good too, wanna come with?”

Bonnie paused, “I went on a couple of field trips in grade school, I wouldn't describe myself as killer, but I mean, its basic stuff, right?”

“Not hearing a no?”

Bonnie smiled, “No, I guess you aren't. Wanna grab a bite to eat first?”

Marceline nodded eagerly, “You betcha- on me.”


 

Marceline and Bonnie's shared lunch went by uneventfully, if not unnecessarily complicated. They didn't agree on where they should eat, and so they went their separate ways and agreed to meet up after they had food. There were two issues with that.

One, they neglected to choose a spot to meet.

Two, Marceline's phone was sitting on her desk back at her dorm.

This resulted in the two of them wandering around the two connected campus diners, probably passing each other a couple of times, until Marceline's food was lukewarm at best.

Still, they shared a laugh once they found each other, and that somehow made it worthwhile, even as they sat in the hard, uncomfortable chairs and ate their surprisingly decent food, long after they had intended to do so. Marceline wasn't one to give high praise to the chefs, though she assumed they did their best, but the tacos were never too bad, anyway, and something about eating them with company made it better.

Bonnie reminded her probably four times during the meal to fetch her phone before she left, even though they had the same dorm and she could just drag her there. Marceline found it oddly more endearing that annoying at the moment, however.

The most awkward part was the bus ride to the recreation center following their meal. Both of them were more the type to gaze out the window and listen to music. However, all the window seats were taken, and so the two ended up staring at their feet and occasionally exchanging glances. Bonnie seemed to spend more time looking at her, she imagined because she was the one who knew where they were going.

After ten grueling, exhausting, stuffy minutes on the bus, the two girls exited the vehicle just a five minute walk from their destination. One the way, Marceline began reminiscing about her childhood a bit, as she did often since moving out.

“My uncle Simon used to take me out skating a lot with his girlfriend. I visited a lot, not for any particular reason or anything. He was just chill and I liked him.”

Bonnie nodded, not making eye contact, “Sounds like a cool guy. I didn't visit family much- mostly just reunions- I'm kinda detached from most of them.”

Marceline was tempted to ask why that was, but it seemed invasive to do so, even though it seemed like her roommate was urging her to ask the question. She instead shoved her hands into her jacket pockets and began to hum as they walked.

“You have a lovely voice, you know,” Bonnie's compliment stopped Marceline in her tracks.

“Huh?”

“Your voice. You were humming, but I've heard you sing. You're really good.”

“Oh, uh, thanks,” Marceline said as she continued walking. She wasn't really sure what to say beyond that. She's partaken in a few amateur musicals when she was younger, sure, but she was a bit more self-conscious about it now. Not because she was unsure of her ability- frankly, she knew she kicked ass- but she wasn't interested into being prodded about why she didn't perform professionally, or anything of the sort. The thoughts flying around in her mind caused her chest to tighten with worry, and so she directed her focus instead to listening to the satisfying crunch of frosted earth under her feet.

Thankfully, they arrived at the recreation center before Bonnie could pry, though she didn't think she would. Marceline grabbed Bonnie by the hand and tugged her along behind her, a wide grin spreading across her face.

They arrived in the skating rink quickly- there wasn't a line to rent skates, and only a young boy and who she assumed was his mother were on the rink itself. She moved onto the ice confidently, twirling lightly- admittedly to show off- and faced Bonnie as she turned back around.

Bonnie hadn't yet stepped onto the ice.

“C'mon, Bon,” Marceline said, skating to the edge of the ice again so she was nose-to-nose with her roommate. She took the taller girls hands in her own and tugged her towards the ice.

She got pulled back with surprising force, propelling her against her roommate's chest. The two wobbled, but both managed to get a grip on the railing. No awkward falling on each other, and no accidental ice skate related injuries, thank God.

“Dude, Bon, what's the 'troub?”

Bonnie frowned, “Nothing, it's just that, well, it's cold here.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “It's an ice rink.”

“My point still stands.”

“But I bet you can't stand.”

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “I'm standing.”

“Uh-uh-uh,” Marceline said, lifting up a finger, “can't stand- on ice.”

“Oh, please,” Bonnie scoffed, “it's not that hard. You just have to learn how to,” she reached a hand forward to grab onto the railing, her food slipping immediately forward. She regained her footing, both hands clinging desperately to the rail, “keep your balance,” she finished.

Marceline laughed, “Bon, just admit you can't skate and I'll help you out.”

“I'm not going to do that and I don't need help. This is basic.”

“Alright, if you say so. I'm gonna go skate a few laps to warm up. I'll meet you in a few, or you can meet me, since it's so basic and all.”

Bonnie looked like she might be preparing some sort of biting remark, but Marceline wasn't going to stand around to hear it. She started off in the opposite direction of the entrance, towards the parent-child duo. Even after almost a year, being on the ice still felt natural to her, a lot like flying in a way. It honestly felt a lot nicer with short hair, too. Her longer hair had always ended up in her mouth.

The child, as was often the case, wasn't watching where he was going, and was almost sent flying by an incoming Marceline. Luckily for both of them, she was well-practiced at stopping, and halted just a couple inches from the boy. If she was being honest, she could have stopped about a foot sooner, but she figured this would teach a lesson better.

Judging by the startled look on the kid's face, she was correct. His mother apologized profusely which Marceline responded to with a smile and nod, before continuing on.

Marceline had fully intended to go a couple more laps before stopping, but when she saw Bonnie, still in the exact same spot, she stopped.

“Bonnie.”

“Marceline.”

“You're in the same spot.”

“And you've done a lap and almost smashed into a kid. Thank you for the update.”

Marceline felt a bizarre surge of affection rush through her. In spite of unsure beginnings, she really did find Bonnie funny, in her strange, usually unwarranted stubbornness. She supposed it was safe to call them friends at some point. Sure, two friends was fine and good, but, hell, she could use three. She sighed, “You have no idea what you're doing.”

“I know exactly what I'm doing.”

Marceline scooted closer, resting one hand on her roommate's, “Then why don't you let go of the railing?” she whispered.

Bonnie took a deep breath. Marceline skated back a few feet. Another deep breath.

Bonnie let go of the railing, balanced a bit awkwardly.

She promptly fell flat on her face.

“Holy shit, Bonnie!”

No response.

Marceline carefully crouched down next to her roommate, fear bubbling inside of her.

Bonnie groaned and rose to her knees.

Marceline's stomach lurched.

“Uh, your face, is, uh.”

Bonnie blinked down at the ice, then her eyes widened, “Blood!”

Marceline tried not to laugh, she really did, but it just creeped out of her, “Not so easy, huh?”

Bonnie glared at her, “If I die, it's on you.”

“Good thing you're not gonna die then, drama queen, c'mon, let's get you cleaned up.”


 

A half hour after Bonnie's incident, the two ended up walking through a nearby park together. Marceline glanced nervously at her, her nose plugged up with tissues, “Are you sure you don't wanna go back to campus?”

Bonnie shook her head, speaking it a nasally voice, “I'd rather walk a bit.”

Marceline nodded, scanning the park. It wasn't the most extravagant place. It was mostly untrimmed, dry grass, with a few maple trees dotting the area- enough to be good for picnics in the summer. On the far side there was a playground, unoccupied at the moment, as it probably usually was around this time of year.

Wait, no, there was someone.

Bonnie reacted first, “Not Braco.”

“He's staring at you,” Marceline whispered.

Bonnie made a low growling noise, “He's always staring at me. I think that he thinks I don't notice in my Politics class. I notice. Everyone notices.”

Marceline laughed, “What, you're telling me he's not the master of subtly?”

Bonnie sighed, flopping down suddenly under a tree. Marceline joined her, flipping her bag in front of them and offering her companion a granola bar, which she took gratefully.

The brightly-dressed girl fiddled with her wrapper for a moment, “He reminds me of this kid from my home town, Finn. He's Jake's brother, actually- goes to a trade school back home. Anyway, he had a crush on me for like, three years, and it was totally weird. He took every vague motion of kindness or friendliness as a possibility of returning feelings. He was young and eventually got over it- I'm glad he didn't turn out like this creep.”

“I had a guy kinda like that, too. His name was Bubba, which I thought was a weird name, but whatever. Dude asked me out like four times, acted all princely about it, getting on one knee, flowers, the whole shebang. Anyway, I agreed to go on a date with him, just once, and he started crying five minutes in.”

Bonnie choked on her granola bar, “Crying?”

Marceline nodded, “The poor dude was obviously Gay and had some serious internalized homophobia junk going on. I was real nice, though, helped him figure stuff out. Maybe Braco's like that.”

“Honestly, I doubt it. I had a lot of weird guys chasing after me in high school, even after I got a girlfriend. Some of them I think had it in their heads that I'd eventually get over it.”

“Straight boys are garbage,” Marceline agreed.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “Aren't you dating one?”

Marceline laughed, “Yeah, true, he can be a bit trash, sometimes.”

Bonnie tapped her fingers against her thigh, “What do you see in him, Marcy? You seem a fair bit unhappy.”

Marceline felt as if her blood had frozen. She hated this question. She loathed it. She detested it.

She didn't know how to answer it.

Ash had definitely made her happy before. Sure, he sometimes made her uncomfortable or anxious, but hell, no one was perfect.

Then, why did she not want to defend him sometimes?

Maybe she was just a bad girlfriend.

Marceline rose to her feet, abruptly judging by Bonnie's reaction, “I wanna go home,” she said.

Bonnie nodded, following a foot or so behind her.

She didn't apologize.

Marceline supposed she didn't have to.

Regardless, the bus ride home was spent in uncomfortable silence as Marceline sorted through her messy thoughts.

 

Chapter Text

“Marceline, how does my hair look?” Bonnie asked, running her hand through the tangled mess one more time.

Marceline hauled herself upright and took a moment to respond, even though she knew her answer right away, “Like you've never seen a brush in your life,” she concluded, flopping back down onto her bed.

Bonnie's face lit up with excitement, “Oh, perfect. And the rest of it?”

Bonnie was dressed in a ratty old lab coat, purchased less than a week ago from a thrift shop. It was a bit too small for her, length wise- probably intended for a younger grade school student, and frayed in several places. Ultimately, not the best for safety equipment, but fitting enough in the context of a Halloween party. Marceline rolled onto her back nodded, giving her a thumbs-up, which from the angle, probably looked like the opposite, but she was sure Bonnie knew what she meant.

If Marceline were to be honest, Bonnie looked more adorable than would generally be expected of the 'Mad Scientist' archetype. Her hair was still its usual flamingo pink, and she wore her simple, thick rimmed purple glasses- prescription lenses, so they couldn't be cracked for effect. She thought something like a Princess would suit her roommate more, but she'd seemed pretty dead-set on being a scientist, and Marceline knew there was no deterring Bonnibel Burnet.

Bonnie eyed her for a moment, “What are you supposed to be, anyway? Marceline in a sexy black dress?”

That sent a wave of laughter through Marceline. She rolled off her bed and stood to face Bonnie, adjusting her dress' thin straps, “Sexy? Oh Bon, be careful with that. Ash could be here any moment.”

Bonnie blushed noticeably at that, her eyes widening. Marceline liked how easy that was to evoke. She knew better than to assume it meant anything- it was most likely just her being startled and embarrassed, but it still fed her ego a bit. Besides, it was kind of cute.

Before Bonnie could muster a reply, Marceline reached under her bed and pulled out a black, pointed hat and rested it on her head, “I'm a Witch, nerd.”

Bonnie, as she often did, and Marceline sometimes wondered if it was to annoy her, muttered something under her breath. Occasionally, Marceline swore she was saying nothing, but this instance would prove that theory incorrect, as she just barely made out, “A Witch in a sexy dress.”

“Woah-oh-oh Bon, settle down there girl,” Marceline laughed, grabbing hold of Bonnie's hands, and earning yet another blush, though this one was paired with a look of surprise. She leaned in close to the other girl before whispering, “wouldn't want to make Ash jealous.”

To her surprise, she felt a sharp shove against her chest and was met with a hard stare from Bonnie. Marceline winced, “Out of line?”

Bonnie sighed, shaking her head, “No, whatever, just. Forget I said anything.”

“Ah, Bon, C'mon, you know I'm just teasing. Just 'cause you're gay doesn't mean-”

“I know,” Bonnie snapped. Then, quieter, “I know you know that. Just, Ash will be here to drive us to the party soon. You should finish getting ready.”

Marceline sighed, running her hand through her hair. She glanced at her roommate, then down at her feet.

The mixture of feelings brewing in her stomach was hard to describe, and Marceline wasn't sure she liked the possibilities of what they could mean.

 


 

Marceline's thoughts remained on her own confused emotions for the entire car ride proceeding the confrontation. She had been experiencing a lot of confused feelings about Bonnie in general lately, come to think of it. She glanced over her shoulder, into the back seat. Bonnie was staring out the car window, leaning on one hand. She really did look cute in that outfit.

“Yo, Marce,” Ash's voice cut through her thoughts.

Marceline turned to face her boyfriend, “'Sup?”

“How do you know this chick? The one with the party?”

“Oh, I think they're Bonnie's friend, actually,” she said, pointing a thumb over her shoulder.

Bonnie blinked at the mention of her name, “Hm? Oh, she went to high school with me. I always saw her as kind of aloof but-”

“Yeah, yeah, okay, that's enough info pinkie,” Ash said, cutting her off.

Bonnie was not going to take Ash's impolite comment, though, and continued regardless, “As I was saying, I saw her as rather aloof, but apparently she throws the best parties, thank you.”

Ash rolled his eyes, and Marceline had to hide a smile. Though she was Ash's girlfriend, he was a bit of a jerk sometimes, and it was funny to see him so easily put in place by a petite pink-haired eighteen year-old.

Ash pulled the car to a stop a moment later. Bonnie practically fell out of the car in her haste, waving a quick goodbye to Marceline before parting ways. She supposed that was fair- Ash wasn't exactly the most popular guy, but she couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed.

Ash hauled out a bag from the back seat and pulled out a cheap, fake grey beard. He tied it on before slipping the other item from the bag- a deep blue, over-sized cloak covered in stars. Marceline raised an eyebrow, “When you told me my Witch costume wasn't sexy enough, I assumed it was because your costume wasn't comical, either. We're not going to match.”

Ash shrugged, “We don't need to match- people just need to know I have a hot girlfriend.”

Marceline's heart sank at that. The comment sounded lighthearted, but she knew there was a layer of truth to it, “I'm not a trophy, Ash.”

“Oh, c'mon Marce, you know I don't mean it like that,” he said as he stepped out of the car. He came around the other side and opened her door before continuing, “I just want you to look good is all, as long as you don't go smoochin' on other guys, of course.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Marce sighed, leaning against the car.

“Oh, c'mon babe, don't be like that. Let's have some fun, c'mon,” he took her by the hand and led her inside the house.

It wasn't overly crowded- most of the people present were ones she recognized from campus, and a few she recognized as some of Ash's acquaintances. On a large table set out in the center of the large entrance room was a wide array of what appeared to be mixed meat and bread. She wrinkled her nose, examining the display. She elbowed Ash lightly in his side, “Is meat supposed to sit out like this?”

Ash shrugged, “It's probably find, babe,” he picked up a slice of white bread, “here.”

Marceline grimaced, “I'll have to pass. I'm gonna find Bonnie and ask if she knows anything about uh, the hosts' obsession with meat.”

“Suit yourself,” Ash grumbled around a stick of pepperoni.

There weren't many people at the so-called party. Everyone was in costume, mostly gathered around the multiple tables covered with meat, awkwardly picking at the offerings, or otherwise conversing about how strange the whole event was. Apparently nobody had seen the host.

She found Bonnie next to Lady, who was dressed in a simple, white dress and a tiara. The two friends were leaning against a wall and eyeing a glass of mystery liquid. Marceline waved as she approached, earning a smile from both of them. She glanced down at the strange, brown liquid in the cup in Bonnie's hand, “Whatcha got there? All I've seen around here is meat and white bread.”

Lady grimaced, “Yeah, Cher's always had a thing with meat. I just wasn't expecting, well, this,” she gestured around the room.

Bonnie laughed, “Rumor has it the drinks are just watered down meat smoothie,” she pushed the glass closer to Marceline, “if you taste it, I'll give you ten bucks.”

Marceline gagged, “I'll give you ten bucks to never put anything like that near me ever again.”

“I'll hold you to that.”

Marceline punched her shoulder lightly before turning to Lady, “So you seem to know the most about our mysterious host- got any idea where she is?”

Lady didn't respond, instead staring at something behind Marceline. Marceline raised an eyebrow, glancing back at Bonnie, who was staring in the same direction.

Finally, she turned around, and honestly, she wasn't sure if she was amused, horrified, both?

There, at the top of the staircase, stood a short woman, probably her age, with long, tangled black hair, wobbling slightly.

Most notably, she was also dressed head-to-toe in what appeared to be a suit made entirely of meat.

“I'm dreaming,” Marceline whispered.

She felt a jolt of pain in her arm as Bonnie pinched her, “Hey,” she hissed.

Bonnie shrugged, “Just checking.”

Marceline's attention was torn away from Bonnie once again as Cher hollered, “I am the meat queen!” and promptly fell down the stairs.

There was a collective gasp, followed by fearful silence as the gathering of people stared at the heap of meat and hair at the bottom of the short staircase. After a few seconds Cher shakily sat upright. She laughed loudly, “Yeah, let's party y'all!”

A good portion of the party erupted into laughter, and several people helped Cher to her feet. Marceline stared in awe. Bonnie and Lady seemed to share a similar sentiment.

“I think,” Marceline said, “I want to leave. Where's Ash?”

“You're not gonna like this,” Bonnie said, pointing over Marceline's shoulder.

Marceline turned around, and sure enough, there was Ash, standing in the center of a semi circle, two bottles of beer in hand, laughing heartily. Marceline groaned, “He said he'd play designated driver tonight.”

Lady placed a hand on her shoulder, “Hey, I'm staying sober. Jake will wanna stay a bit longer, but I can drive you and Bonnie home in a bit.”

“Thanks Lady. Do you know if there's anywhere we can go to escape meat stench in the meantime?”

Lady nodded towards a nearby door, “There's a backyard. It's huge, actually- got a pool and everything. You two can go ahead, I'm gonna find Prismo and see if he needs an excuse to leave.”

Marceline and Bonnie nodded in unison, making their way through the back door. The backyard pool was quite a sight, covered with tarp for the winter, but featured a low diving board and what appeared to be a small water slide.

“I don't know why Cher when to our dumpy public school if she's clearly loaded,” Bonnie said, pacing along the edge of the pool.

“She was probably one of those kids who begged to go to private school to make friends,” Marceline offered, “sometimes I wish I'd gone.”

Bonnie let out a barking laugh, “Oh, no you don't,” she said, turning to face her, “I'm pretty book smart, but even I can see how flawed public schooling is. Sure, you get friends, but you usually also end up with many, many panic attacks, teachers who bully students, and so on,” she paused, “though I'm sure you'll get a chance to learn about that in University.”

Marceline winced, “Is it really that bad?”

Bonnie shrugged, “I dunno, I guess some of it's fun, but a lot of it gets lost in the anxiety, I think.” She turned to the door, “I hope Lady's navigating alright.”

A few moment later, Lady pushed through the door, followed by Prismo. Both had what appeared to be strips of bacon in their hair. Lady brushed her fingers through her hair, grumbling to herself, “They're like toddlers! Having a dang food fight. This is unbelievable.”

Prismo was having some difficulty, even with Lady's help, removing bits of bacon from his hair, “This is so gross,” he said, “but at least Jake's having fun.”

Soon Marceline noticed that it was cold out, as it often was in late October, and Marceline was beginning to feel like an ice cube as night air tugged at her exposed arms and legs. She felt a light tap on her shoulder, and Bonnie handed her a slightly too-big black sweater, “Where'd you-”

“I thought you might get cold tonight, after I saw your outfit. Don't worry about it,” Bonnie said, smiling.

Marceline smiled warmly, pulling on the sweater, “Thanks dude. So much for my sexy Witch aesthetic, though.”

Bonnie shrugged, “You still look better than most people here.”

“Is the grass wet?” Lady asked before Marceline could reply to Bonnie, dropping down onto the overgrown landscape, “it is,” she confirmed, and then proceeded to lay down fully, “and I don't care. As long as its not more meat.”

Prismo laughed, settling down beside her, followed by Bonnie, and finally Marceline, who sat more carefully in an attempt to dirty her dress as little as possible. She wasn't usually so careful, but the dress had been fairly pricey.

“Hey, Marceline?” Prismo's voice surprised her- she wasn't used to him speaking first. She nodded for him to continue, “Why'd you decide to come to this school?”

“Oh,” Marceline tapped her foot, “my dad's actually a fairly influential graduate from here, so it seemed like a natural choice.”

“Influential?” Lady repeated.

“Well, you guys might have gathered that my family's pretty well off. He's the owner of a pretty huge publishing company over in Europe, and he got his business degree here, so he donates thousands of dollars to the business department every year.”

Prismo and Lady whistled in unison, followed by laughter.

Marceline smiled, “How long have you been dating?”

Lady hummed happily, “Well, Jake and I have been dating since freshman year. Prismo moved to our town a year later, and Jake and I were both all confused because we both had big ol' crushes on him,” she reached over to take Prismo's hand in hers, “so one day Jake told me about it, said he still loved me, and I started laughing because dang, didn't we look silly? So we had a talk with Prismo, and I guess it all sorta worked out from there.”

“That's awesome- Ash and I were in a long distance thing for a while, but then we-”

“Lady! Pris!” Jake's startled voice approached around the side of the house. He paused, panting heavily. The group eyed him in confusion as he gathered his breath, “we gotta go dudes, some of the meat was bad and, oh, dudes, its a mess, let's jet.”

“Gross,” Bonnie whispered. She glanced at Marceline, “you wanna get Ash?”

“If Ash is the dude with gray hair dressed as a wizard who started the food fight, he's passed out,” Jake said.

Marceline sighed, “Leave him. He can call me tomorrow if someone steals his keys.”

Bonnie offered her a reassuring smile, but it didn't do much. Marceline was getting tired of Ash, and she wasn't sure what that said about her. She wasn't being unreasonable, right? The thought nagged at her, and so she blocked it out.

She was learning to do that a lot lately.

 

Chapter Text

It was a little past eight o'clock when Bonnie finally returned home from a long, eight hour shift at work. She dragged herself into her dorm building, using the elevator, which she generally preferred to avoid. She simply didn't have the energy to do more than go to her dorm, get changed, and maybe grab some bread sticks from the cafeteria for dinner.

The world would prove to have other plans for her, however, as she arrived on her floor and exited the elevator. She navigated to her room, as usual. Put her key in the door. Opened in.

And then there was darkness.

“Shit, are you kidding me?” Bonnie hissed as she stumbled into her room, dropping her bag next to where she thought her bed was. She blinked into the darkness. It was already dark outside, and most of the natural light offered by the moon was blocked by the tree directly outside the window.

“Marceline?” she walked further into the room, “Marcy, you here?”

She stumbled around a bit, “I can't see you, but I hear breathing? Marcy?”

There was a ruffle of fabric behind her, followed by hands on her waist. In spite of the split second to prepare herself, Bonnie let out the loudest shriek of her life, which was met by sharp laughter from her roommate, “Hey, Bon, how was work?”

Bonnie turned around, expecting to see Marceline, but she could barely make out her outline. She reached forward and found her hand resting on her, well.

“That's my chest.”

“Sorry, it's hard to see right now.”

“Mhm, sure.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Whatever, let's get out of here and go get a smoothie or something,” she said, shoving past Marceline. She was trying really hard not to let her face burn up at the moment, even though Marceline wouldn't really be able to tell.

“Yo, Bonbon, hold up,” Marceline said, placing a hand on her shoulder.

Something about the array of nicknames Marceline conjured up for her made her smile, and she knew exactly why. She was still in the midst of trying to push away feelings that she knew shouldn't be so persistent when Marceline shoved her phone in front of her face, “Looks like power all over campus is jacked. If you want food we gotta walk to Mcdonalds or somethin'”

“Are you kidding me?”

“That'd be a pretty lame joke.”

Bonnie groaned, rubbing her eyes, “I'm so tired, though.”

Marceline took her hand, walking ahead of her, “C'mon, we can go together, walking with friends gets ya energized.”

A million comments buzzed through Bonnie's head- she wanted to say something about how oh, Marceline did get her excited, all connotation intended, but she held herself back, allowing herself to be dragged along.

As they maneuvered their way through the halls, many people began to poke their heads out, or had already made their way downstairs, muttering among themselves. As they walked, Marceline made a comment about how Bonnie practically glowed in the darkness, and how she'd be useless on a stealth mission, which Bonnie allowed herself to laugh at. The two swerved between obnoxious, unmoving groups until they were outside, where yet more people were gathered, many of them in pajamas and shivering from the cold.

“Why wouldn't you change first?” Marceline said.

Bonnie shrugged, “Couldn't find clothes?”

“Well they didn't need to come outside.”

“I think that's those school fire drill instincts kicking in.”

“Guess so,” Marceline said, eyeing the crowd, then, before Bonnie could prepare herself, her hand was firmly in Marceline's grasp once more as she was dragged along behind the other girl. She wasn't sure why Marceline was so enthusiastic- she could seldom eat anything at Mcdonalds, she was pretty sure, but regardless the enthusiasm put a smile on Bonnie's face, and made her steps feel a bit lighter, as illogical, silly, and hell, even dangerous as that was. There was no point in denying that being with Marceline, and seeing her happy, did something to Bonnie, and though she knew that, objectively, it could end badly, she was glad that she felt it.

It'd been a long time since she'd allowed herself to feel so warm. She knew she could get hurt, but sometimes, in times like this, as simple as they were, she didn't think she cared.

The air was cold, and the clouds heavy, threatening the potential of rain. Bonnie wondered if it was cold enough yet for snow. Marceline blinked at her, then upwards, “It doesn't smell like snow is coming, if that's what you're wondering about.”

Bonnie laughed, “My mom does that- smells snow or whatever.”

“You can't?”

Bonnie shrugged, “Nah, but I like the surprise.”

Marceline smiled, “Well, we live in Canada, so there's not much surprise there, but I get what you mean.”

Marceline let go of her hand as they walked, allowing her hands to slip into her jacket pockets. Bonnie walked a step behind her, trying not to make it obvious as she observed her beautiful, dark, angular features.

Being smitten was damn annoying, Bonnie decided.

“Did your parents take you to McDonalds a lot as a kid?”

Bonnie blinked, “What?”

“I hear that's a thing people do. My dad usually cooked, but sometimes my mom would take me.”

Bonnie increased her pace slightly so that she was actually walking alongside her roommate, “Uh, not really. Going out to eat was usually a twice per month thing, on pay day,” she paused, “my brother and I would alternate in deciding where to eat.”

Marceline smiled, “You didn't tell me you had a brother,” she said.

Bonnie nodded, “Yeah, Neddy. He always chose Burger King. I couldn't stand the place, but I liked seeing him happy.”

Marceline hummed as she walked, putting a bit of a skip into her step as she went, “I'm an only child. I don't think my parents ever planned on having kids, honestly. My dad was gone a lot, on business trips and such, and my mom seemed stressed a lot. I sometimes wished I had a sibling, y'know, to chill with. I think most only children do, though.”

“Yeah, and a lot of people with siblings would say otherwise. Neddy and I are fine, though. I love the nerd.”

“Says the nerd.”

“Oh, hush up.”

“But anyway, I guess that even if we had a negative relationship, it woulda been nice to have someone to talk to,” Marceline's voice trailed as she ended the sentence. Before Bonnie could interject, she changed the subject, “I did hang out with my uncle Simon a lot, though. He's the best.”

Bonnie didn't reply immediately. She pondered whether she should point out that Marceline always changed the subject when she got even a little melancholy. However, logic shouted that this was a bad idea- the last time she'd done something along those lines, Marceline had shut down immediately. She had to be strategic.

And hell, maybe playing strategist on how to access people's emotions was odd, but it would work. Probably. As long as she still saw Marceline as a person it was fine, and she did.

She decided not to say anything at all, and that wasn't a bad decision in the end. She found herself happy just walking beside the other girl.

When the entered the Mcdonalds, Marceline squinted at the menu, “Is there anything I can eat here?”

Bonnie laughed, “Not likely. Uh, there's a veggie wrap. The salads have meat, I think. You could always get ice cream.”

Marceline hummed, “Yeah, I think I'll do that,” she agreed, ordering an Oreo Mcflurry for herself. Bonnie elected to do the same, adding in an order of medium fries.

“Decadent,” Marceline commented as she sat down across from her. Bonnie rolled her eyes and dipped a fry in her ice cream. Marceline wrinkled her nose.

Bonnie laughed, “Did you not do this as a kid?”

“Uh, no.”

Bonnie hefted a decent amount of ice cream on a fry and shoved it closer to Marceline. Marceline raised an eyebrow, “Don't their fries have beef or something?”

Bonnie shook her head, “Not in Canada.”

Marceline tapped her fingers on the table for a moment before accepting the fry, eating it hesitantly. After a moment, she reached forward to grab another, but Bonnie slapped her hand away, “Get your own dang fries.”

Marceline let out an exaggerated sigh and ate her ice cream, not moving to purchase her own fries. With another eye roll, Bonnie tossed her a couple more fries, which she accepted with a grin.

Marceline hummed as Bonnie came closer to finishing her ice cream, increasing in volume as time passed. As she finished her last bites, Bonnie looked up, “Yes, Marceline?”

Marceline leaned in close, glancing over her shoulder, “Let's go in the play place.”

“Marcy, there's like three people here. They'll definitely notice.”

“C'mon, Bon, I'm pretty sure the cashier is napping.”

Bonnie spared a glance over her shoulder, at the risk of looking suspicious, but to her surprise, she was pretty sure Marceline was right. She shook her head, “No, that's dumb.”

“You're dumb.”

“Real mature, Marceline.”

Marceline pushed away from the table abruptly and rose to her feet. She made cold, unyielding eye contact with Bonnie before speaking, “I'm going in.”

“Marceline,” Bonnie said. Marceline opened the door to the play area. “Marceline,” Bonnie repeated, more urgently, still trying to keep her voice low to not alert the workers. Marceline, of course, continued regardless. With a groan, Bonnie followed her in.

By the time she'd gotten to her feet Marceline had already crawled inside the entrance tunnel. She stuck her head inside, “Marceline,” she said, her voice echoing off the walls, “get out of there.”

“You'll have to come drag me out,” Marceline retorted.

“I'm going to tell someone.”

“Oh, and you were the one making comments on maturity.”

“I'm gonna kick your ass.”

“Gotta come get me to do that too, babe.”

Bonnie had to admit, the idea was tempting. She glanced behind her, reassuring herself that nobody was paying attention. With a sigh, she crawled into the tunnel, repeating to herself that she was going in to get Marceline and only to get Marceline.

The other girl had apparently stopped when she heard Bonnie enter, because she found her not far down, sitting against one of the bright red walls and smiling smugly. Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Okay, you've had your fun, now come on.”

Marceline shook her head, grabbing Bonnie's hand, “No way, we're going out the other exit,” she tugged Bonnie forward.

“Oh, for goodness' sake,” Bonnie said, pulling her hand away.

“C'mon Bon, loosen up a bit, eh? We're not hurting anyone.”

Bonnie blinked at Marceline, whose expression was almost pleading, then sighed, allowing her muscles to relax. She nodded, earning a grin from Marceline, and obediently followed behind the other girl.

Then they arrived at the ball pit.

Marceline jumped in immediately, the balls reaching about midway to her knee, “This is more anticlimactic than I remember,” she noted.

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “Marceline, kids piss in there.”

“Pretty sure that's just a rumor.”

“Pretty sure it's not.”

“Maybe it's like the fries and it doesn't happen in Canada.”

Bonnie didn't believe that for a second, but she was also sure that she wasn't getting Marceline out without going through with her, so she continued.

And then Marceline grabbed her sides.

And then Marceline tickled her, and Bonnie let out a startled yelp, dropping like a stone to the ground. Marceline went with her, laughing wildly.

“Yes, let the piss orbs consume you,” Marceline said, continuing her onslaught of tickling.

Bonnie flailed desperately, trying to dislodge her roommate, and only succeeded when she kicked Marceline's leg out from under her. This wasn't the best solution, however, as it resulted in Marceline's face colliding with hers.

Mostly forehead.

“Shit, fuck that hurts,” Marceline hisses, rubbing her head.

“Your fault,” Bonnie said, punching her shoulder affectionately.

Marceline smiled, “See, its fun to do stuff like this.”

Bonnie shook her head, “Pretty sure it's just 'cause you're here.”

“Cute.”

“Oh, can it.”

Marceline smiled softly her way and grabbed her hand once again. However, this time, Bonnie couldn't help but notice that she squeezed it a little tighter, “C'mon, I wanna see if the space ship is still the best part.”

Bonnie grinned, “Oh, it definitely is.”

The journey to the space ship proved difficult, however. The platforms leading upwards were certainly designed for children, and hard for larger people to navigate without becoming stuck. Several times, she heard Marceline curse under her breath.

Eventually though, they arrived at their destination- the fabled, wobbly, unstable space ship, sticking proudly out the side of the play structure. The two of them barely fit, but truth be told Bonnie couldn't say she disliked the proximity.

Marceline hummed her herself, staring out the foggy, fingerprint stained window of the ship, “Hey, Bonnie, what are your plans after you move out of dorms?”

Bonnie blinked, “Oh, uh, I was gonna move in with Lady, but honestly I think she wants to live with Pris and Lady.”

Marceline nodded, “Well, I was thinking about living with Ash, but he said it'd be weird, because I'd but in on his bro time or something, so I was thinking,” she trailed off.

Bonnie blinked, pausing for a moment before realization hit her, “You wanna keep living with me?”

Marceline nodded, “Well, I know it's early, but we seem to get on well, so if it keeps up, I figure why not, right?”

Bonnie's chest filled with warmth at the notion. Perhaps living with one's unattainable crush for longer than necessary wasn't actually the best idea, but hell, she loved spending time with Marceline, and it made sense- it was cheaper to share an apartment, and Lady seemed to be out of the question. She nodded, “Sounds good.”

Marceline smiled widely, but only for a moment before she shouted, “Turbulence,” and began bouncing in the unstable ship. Bonnie yelped in surprised, which soon turned into laughter.

“Hey, get out of there!” a Mcdonalds employee shouted from below, but the sound was blocked out by the two's shared laughter.

They were instructed not to come back to that Mcdonalds again.

 

Chapter Text

The multiple bus rides home were the worst part. It wasn't that Bonnie didn't know the route- she'd taken it many times in high school for weekend trips with Lady, but with every bus transfer she knew she was closer to home.

She didn't like that idea.

The truth was, she hadn't thought about the reality of facing them once again. She'd been so caught up in studying, in working, in Marceline.

She had a damn problem, is what she had, and because of that gorgeous, consistently disheveled, punk of a problem, she was not in the slightest bit prepared to face her parents.

She went over whatever she could think of on the way there- anything her parents might question her about.

Grades? Still up, did well on midterms.

Work? Getting enough hours to pay for housing.

Boyfriend? Well, she'd rather hope that one didn't come up.

Her parents were the type to not give up hope.

On the final and longest bus ride, a man sat beside her, all too eagerly, and began to tell a story, as intoxicated men on buses often did. He rattled on about something or other, traveling and seeing all the buses, and Bonnie wondered briefly if she could do that. Abandon her responsibilities, travel around, become weirdly obsessed with buses. She dismissed the idea immediately, of course- the thought of swaying at all from her responsibilities stressed her out beyond belief.

As the bus arrived in town, she politely excused herself from her place beside the man, and exited the vehicle at the first stop after entering town. The worn bench was so familiar, but it was something she was beginning to wish she could forget.

Her parents weren't there, naturally.

She walked down the familiar roads, passing by Jake and Finn's home, and then Lady's- both of which had always felt more like a home to her than her own. She'd always wanted a sense of family- she was weird about her emotions, but she could admit that, at least to herself. She didn't like her own company much. That train of thought probably wasn't, strictly speaking, normal, but she had grown used to brushing those types of concerns- or most concerns, really, in favor of maintaining a calm composure.

And then she was outside her family home, and truth be told, she hadn't prepared for the moment of confrontation.

She slipped her old key out of her bag, unlocked the door, stepped in.

Her mother was in the main hallway, leaned against the doorway to the kitchen. She blinked over as Bonnie entered, “Oh, you're home. How's school?”

Bonnie's posture improved in and instant, her eyes level with her mother's, “As good as it's always been.”

“Your roommate.”

“She's nice enough.”

“Not busying yourself with romance, I hope? You know that kind of thing distracts you.”

Bonnie bit her lip, “Of course.”

Her mother nodded, then pulled her into an awkward hug, as if it were an afterthought- it probably was, “Welcome home, dear. Your father will be done dinner soon. How long did you say you were staying?”

“It's only a four day study break, but I did get the whole of it off work.”

Her mother nodded, fishing plates out of a cupboard, “Bonnibel, c'mon now, you weren't raised in a barn.”

Bonnie nodded and began placing paper towels, forks, and knives on the table alongside her mother. Her father waved quickly at her as she brushed past him.

Soon after, her father plated their food- a rather simple homemade macaroni and cheese with sauteed spinach and mushrooms. Regardless, it looked better than anything the cafeteria served. She was sure the sauce tasted like something, at least.

Of course, the first question out of her father's mouth was something she hadn't prepared for.

“So how's that, er, thing of yours?”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “Thing?”

Her father cleared his throat, “You know, your childhood friend.”

“Lady?”

“Of course,” he laughed, “Lady.”

Bonnie sighed, “She's fine. We're still friends, if that's what you're asking.”

“I just always thought he was-”

“She.”

“Don't interrupt me. I just thought she was always so odd. I still don't know about the whole thing- it's unnatural.”

“Can we drop this?” Bonnie growled, “I'm done with this subject. We've discussed it a million times. We're gonna be friends, you can't stop me.”

“Oh, please,” her mother laughed, “we weren't stopping you. Stop being so goddamn emotional- we're just stating an opinion. Learn to take one.”

Bonnie ground her teeth together. She didn't think it was possible for her stress levels to double within ten minutes, but her parents always did love to prove her wrong in the worst possible ways. She elected to not speak for the remained of dinner, barring brief responses to simple questions that followed.

Afterwards, the three shuffled over to the living room and crowded together on the small couch. Bonnie tapped her fingers on arm of the couch, “Is Neddy coming by tonight?”

“He had to cancel, actually,” her father said.

“Oh.”

Her mom frowned, “Lose the 'tude- you're so ungrateful, you know?”

“I wasn't-”

“Don't talk back to me.”

Every instinct flaming within Bonnie demanded that she shoot back a remark. It was in her nature. Biting remarks were what Bonnibel Burnett was known for. However, she was also a strategist, and strategically, angering her parents more than she already did was, in technical terms, a piss poor idea.

And so she suffered through the rest of the night with barely a word. Afterwards, she dragged herself to her old room, just as neat as it had been the day she left it, though a bit more dusty than she remembered.

She took the liberty of sending Lady a message before bed. Pride be damned, she needed an excuse to relax.

 


 

Bonnie awoke at nine o'clock the next morning- earlier than most people on break, but she checked her phone anyway, hoping Lady had responded to the text sent at 1am the previous night.

Thankfully for her, her friend didn't often let her down.

Lady: Yeah, you can head over at like, 9:30-10? You'll probably wake Jake up, but whatever.

Bonnie: Thanks, Lady, I owe you.

She rose to her feet and pulled a new change of clothes on. She sighed- she really didn't want to go downstairs, and she couldn't get away with going to Lady's just yet- Jake valued every minute of sleep, and he got a tad grumpy when he was interrupted.

Before she could think too much about it, she'd opened Marceline's chatlog on her phone. She bit her lip. She didn't want to wake her up, and she knew she was with family.

Well, family and Ash.

Truth be told, it was probably the idea of tearing Marceline's attention away from Ash for a moment that finally led her to send a message.

Bonnie: Hey Marce, how's break so far?

To her delight, Marceline replied almost immediately.

Marceline: It's alright. Ash isn't getting off with my family very well, though.

Marceline: He keeps making fun of Simon.

Bonnie furrowed her brow.

Bonnie: Does he know how much Simon means to you?

Marceline: Yeah. I don't know, I'm probably just being sensitive. My family's going out for breakfast though, so I'm gonna head off. Ttyl, Bon.

Bonnie sighed, glancing at the time displayed on her phone. Yep, 9:05. A whopping five minutes had passed. Magnificent.

With a sigh, Bonnie opened her bedroom door.

Snuck down the stairs.

Towards the door.

“Where are you off to?”

Bonnie stiffened, “Just going to visit Finn and Jake.”

Her mother frowned, “I thought you were visiting family,” her mother said.

“I haven't seen Finn either- I'll just be gone a few hours.”

Her mother shrugged, “Fine. Be home for lunch- we'll be going out, then we're going to discuss your grades in more detail.”

Bonnie felt a rock drop in her gut. Of course her grades were good, but her parents were honestly unreasonable sometimes. She assured herself that she'd be fine a few times before heading out, but she really didn't believe her own reassurances.

Finn was the first to meet her at the door, smiling wide as he did so, “Yo, Bon, whaddup?”

It was odd, looking at him now. He had dark circles under his eyes that hadn't been there in early high school. He was still energetic, but less so. In some ways, it was nice- he wasn't fawning every girl he met to the point where it was unhealthy, but she did worry about him a bit.

“Hey Finn, where are Jake and Lady?”

“Making out probably,” Finn laughed, walking down the hall.

Bonnie laughed along, but honestly, it was a possibility. Lady was always one to wake her partners up with kisses, which was cute and all, but generally surprising to walk in on. In fact, that was the situation that she and Finn encountered, as predicted. Without missing a beat, the blond boy leaped between them, ducking low to push them apart by their chests. They both made low growling sounds that anyone who'd known them for more than a day knew were playful, and Finn met them with a cheeky grin.

Bonnie settled on the couch next to Lady, and her friend shot her a soft smile. They'd known each other long enough to know that late night texts asking to come over meant that Bonnie didn't want to talk about whatever was bothering her. She wanted to forget it. She was really good at that.

Finn went on about his life in trade school for a while, explaining that he'd met Jake's old friend Tiffany there, which Jake didn't seem all too pleased about.

“And then he was all 'I'm gonna kill you, Finn', and then we made out.”

What,” Jake screeched, throwing pillows out of the way as he stood up.

Finn bellowed with laughter, “I'm just messin' with ya, Jake. Except the first part, the first part's true. What a weirdo,” he turned to Bonnie, “you met any interesting folks in Uni?”

Lady grinned over at her, “Oh, I'd say so, isn't that right Bon?”

“Oh, can it Lady. I believe Lady is refering to the fact that I spent a lot of time with my roommate, Marceline. She's pretty cool. I think you'd like her, Finn.”

“I always thought she was kinda too cool for me,” Jake said.

Bonnie snorted, “Nah, she's a big dork.”

Lady raised an eyebrow, “Maybe she's more of a dork around you, because she likes you.”

“She has a boyfriend.”

“Oh, gross.”

“Um, Lady,” Finn said, “you have two boyfriends.”

“Don't you call me out in my own home, Finnegan Mertens.”

“Finn isn't short for anything. It's just Finn.”

“And there you are doing it again.”

“Well, regardless of whether its gross or Finn's name is short for anything, it's not happening, regardless of feelings I may or may not have, and I don't have them anyway, so it doesn't matter.”

“Bonnie,” Lady said flatly, “I've never seen you blush so much.”

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “I'm embarassed, not flustered.”

Lady smiled, “I've known you forever. I think I know the difference.”

“Shut up.”

Shortly after, Finn and Jake entered an intense debate over whether or not Finn should avoid Tiffany. Finn seemed to have some confidence in him being able to redeem himself, but Jake wasn't having any of it.

In the meantime, Lady and Bonnie made their usual small talk, interrupted frequently by related stories of when they were children, which they would laugh about together. And then the happy illusion shattered.

“Hey, do you all want lunch?”

“Lunch?” Bonnie echoed.

Jake shrugged, “It's five to noon, and none of us ate breakfast.”

Bonnie sighed, “I gotta go. 'Rents wanted me home for lunch.”

“Oh, that's bunk,” Finn said, throwing his hands up in the air, “You just got here.”

“I know, dude, it's total balls, but gotta do what you gotta do,” she got to her feet, seeing herself out, “Later guys.”

“Later,” the three of them echoed quietly.

Bonnie closed the door behind her. Took a deep breath, straightened her back, veil over her thoughts, and she was ready.

 


 

The lunch itself went relatively smoothly. No one tended to talk much while they ate, aside from commenting on the quality of the cuisine or service. However, the ride home left Bonnie dreading what was to come.

She tried to assure herself that she was good- her grade point average was still above all of her friends. It wasn't perfect though, and the more she thought about it, the more she realized her flaws.

Bonnie didn't waste any time upon returning home- she knew it wasn't worth it- she marched straight to her computer, her parents in tow.

Bonnie opened up her grades page, presenting it to her parents, “See? I'm doing very well.”

Her mother frowned, “Well, you have a B in this one class. You never got those before, Bonnibel.”

“And I have As in my three others- as long as my average remains high, I-”

“You know, you could have all As if you weren't so busy dawdling with friends. You have to focus. This is important- everything else can be pushed to the side for now.”

Bonnie's throat tightened, “Right,” she agreed.

“Right, well, do whatever you want. Your father and I will be downstairs.”

Bonnie nodded in response, and didn't look away from her screen as her mom exited the room. She felt tears well up and her chest tighten further, but she pushed away the negative feelings bubbling to the surface.

She felt her phone buzz.

Marceline.

Bonnie paused for a moment, then threw her phone on her bed before heading downstairs.

 

Chapter Text

Marceline liked plane rides most of the time. However, she was learning, when you didn't have a window seat, it was a lot like riding a bus, especially when your boyfriend passed out after insisting that he have the window seat.

Beside her was a young child, probably only seven or eight, sitting behind his parents, and staring intently at Marceline. After ignoring that fact for approximately ten minutes, she turned to him, “Can I help you?”

The boy jumped in his seat and turned away, blushing furiously. Marceline rolled her eyes and elbowed Ash in the side.

Ash groaned, burrowing further into his pillow and swatting at Marceline's arm, “Go 'way, Marce, you know I get dumb when I don't sleep.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, biting back a comment on his intelligence, barely holding it in as he settled back into sleep. She wished she could text someone, anyone, not that she had many options. Keila, Ella, she flipped through her short contact list. Bonnie. Her finger hovered over her name for a moment before clicking.

She couldn't text her, of course, so she scrolled through their chat logs. It was mostly scheduling to meet, asking where the other person was, asking for literature notes.

There was one series of messages, however, a little over a week back. She didn't remember it. Had she been drunk? She sighed, knowing that was probable.

Marceline: Hey, cutie ;)

Bonnie: Are you drunk again?

Marceline: Im jus tipsy chill bon-butt

Bonnie: Is anyone there sober? Can you get a ride home?

Marceline: Nah ill sleep n ass lap tonight

Marceline: lol ash*

Marceline: but truuuuu

Bonnie: is he being okay, Marcy?

Bonnie: Marcy?

Bonnie: Goodnight, Marcy. Stay safe.

Marceline wasn't sure how to react to that. She wanted to be happy- Bonnie cared for her, that was good. She glanced over at Ash, wondering if he cared as much as she did. He was always the one pressuring her into drinking, but that didn't mean that he didn't care. He always let her stay over.

Sometimes on the floor, but hey, he didn't kick her out.

Marceline prodded Ash's side again, “Ash, baby?”

“Fuck off,” Ash growled, causing Marceline to flinch.

Needless to say, she didn't bother him for the rest of the flight.


 

Marceline's eyes darted around the crowded airport, dragging Ash behind her. Her eyes scanned for her father, who had promised to be there, but she found Simon instead, waving his hands wildly and smiling ear-to-ear. Marceline's disappointment in not seeing her father was quickly replaced by excitement as she processed seeing Simon in front of her. Letting go of Ash's hand, she darted forward, flinging herself into Simon's arms, rambling in gibberish.

She felt a third hand, this one on her shoulder. Marceline blinked away from her uncle, locking eyes with a very tired Ash, “Who's this nerd?” he whispered to her.

Marceline took a step back, still smiling, “This big dork is my favorite uncle, Simon,” she explained.

Simon opened his arms wide, facing Ash expectantly. Ash wrinkled his nose. Simon laughed, “Ah, not a hugger, I see. How's about a handshake then? It doesn't have to be firm- I'm not uh, much of a firm hand shaker myself.”

Ash raised an eyebrow, “Right,” he said, letting Simon's hand hang in the air awkwardly for a moment before he lowered it.

“Well Marcy, you can tell me all about how you've been on the way home. Betty and your mother are waiting there.”

“And dad?”

Simon sighed, scratching at the back of his neck, “He may be back to see you off. I'm sorry Marcy, I know he promised. He'll be here for Christmas, though, and he said he was sorry.”

Marcy frowned, “Yeah, he always does,” then, before Simon could reply she added, “It's fine, let's get our luggage and get to your car.”

Ash followed beside Marceline, occasionally gesturing away from Simon, clearly indicating that he wanted to talk to her alone, but she ignored it. Whatever it was, it could wait until they were settled back at her place.

Ash seemed to think otherwise, however, because he pulled her away, “Dude what's with this weirdo?”

Marceline glanced over at Simon, who was respectfully watching them from a distance, “Simon?”

“Yeah, haven't you noticed he keeps mumbling to himself?”

Marceline shrugged, “That's just his thing. Helps him remember ideas and plans for later. He's not bugging anyone, so let's go. You're being kind of a bummer.”

“I just don't trust him, he's all loony.”

Marceline made a low growling sound, “He's not loony and you know how much he means to me, so can you lay off?”

Ash crossed his arms, “Well don't I mean a lot to you?” he demanded, voice raising a bit higher than she would like, “doesn't my opinion matter?”

Marceline raised her palms in front of her, “Duh, of course, but can we just talk about this later?”

Ash let his arms hang to his sides again, “Fine, but it's a bit embarrassing how dramatic you're being over this.”

Marceline froze as Ash walked past her to join Simon, but quickly regained composure to not draw attention to herself. She hadn't thought that she was being dramatic- she was being rather reasonable, the way she saw it. Then again, Ash wouldn't have called her dramatic if she wasn't. She sighed, walking to Ash's side and numbly taking his hand in hers. She tried to fight back frustrated tears as she did so.

Maybe she really was a big drama queen.


 

Marceline's negative thoughts followed her for the majority of the car ride home, in spite of Simon's familiar cheery chatter, and her own contributions to the conversation. The bud of anxiety that had formed in her stomach remained. Was she always so dramatic? Did everyone feel that way? She wanted to ask Ash, but they wouldn't be alone for some time.

She opened her phone, scrolling through her short contact list.

Was asking if she was dramatic, in fact, dramatic? God, probably. She frowned and slid her phone into her pocket.

“Are those guy pants?” Ash piped up.

Marceline bit her lip- Ash knew she didn't like anything about her being referred to as masculine, even casually, but she held herself back from commenting. No use in being dramatic, after all, “No, why?”

“They have deep pockets. Lady pants got like, fake pockets.”

Marceline shrugged, “Well, I got them from the woman's section.”

Ash shrugged, looking back out the window as they drove. Marceline took several deep breaths, trying to not be obvious as she reigned in her anxieties. Luckily, the other occupants of the vehicle were too occupied, either by driving or staring at cows, to notice.

“Do you know if there are different coloured cows, Marce?”

“What?”

“Like, I know there's black and white and brown, but are there others, like, I dunno, gray?”

“Oh, well actually,” Simon interjected, “cattle are a rather diverse species and there's quite a number of different types that most people, especially around here, don't know about, including the-”

“Okay, okay, slow down, I don't want the big nerd version. Colours are fine.”

Simon visibly deflated in the front seat, “Alright, alright, I'll tone down the nerd for you kids- there's pure black ones, white ones, all sorts.”

Ash nodded, “Cool.”

Well, at least he was satisfied with one thing on this trip.

I mean, not to have a cow, but she was becoming a bit annoyed with Ash's behavior on this trip.

Soon thereafter, they arrived at Marceline's childhood home. As it came into view, though not all of her anxiety vanished, she did admittedly feel a surge of excitement that just about drove her to leap out of the vehicle while it was still in motion.

Her home was a massive, often lonely place. She didn't often think about how big it was, given that she'd grown up there, but Ash's amazed expression reminded her of this fact. It was three stories high, had six bedrooms, five bathrooms, a massive backyard pool, and several secret rooms, installed during her mystery novel phase when she was a preteen.

Her mother and Betty greeted them at the door, instantly covering Marceline with warm, loving hugs and kisses. Marceline's mother smiled at her, and Marceline, as she always was after long periods without contact, was surprised by how much more she looked like her mother with every passing year. Her own hair was slightly darker, sure, but if her mother were a bit younger, the two would easily be mistaken for sisters.

Ash greeted them more stiffly, offering a forced smile and an awkward hug.

Betty smiled from beside her, “He seems, er, charming,” she offered, though her face clearly displayed her distaste.

Simon nodded, “He doesn't like me though. Says I'm a nerd- what do you think of that, Betty? I'm cool, right?”

Betty rolled her eyes, “As ice, Simon.”

“Oh, I can hear that sarcasm. I'm cool, Betty, I promise. Look, I'll sing for you.”

“All you every sing is Never Gonna Give You Up, and it stopped being funny the second time.”

“I'm pretty sure it's still funny, Betty. You always smile.”

“Because you're a dork.”

“You just said I was cool!”

Marceline allowed herself to wander away from the bantering duo, entering her home after Ash and her mother, who was leading her boyfriend into the living area, furnished with a couch and a couple large reclining chairs, and a brand new television that she didn't even recognize.

“I didn't expect your family to be so overwhelming and dweebish, Marce. You're way cooler than them.”

Marceline's heart sunk at the comment. She had really hoped that they had gotten past insulting her family. It hurt.

Then again, maybe she was just being a bit dramatic.


 

Marceline woke up the next morning to a text from Bonnie. Ash was still sound asleep beside her, and she found herself smiling openly at the message, regardless of how simple it was.

Taking a deep breath, she let out her frustrations to Bonnie, mildly of course, as not to overwhelm her, as she was apparently so apt at doing.

Before she could get much of a conversation in, however, Betty poked her head in, “Hey you two. We were hoping to go out for breakfast, if you're interested. We're going to your favorite waffle place, Marcy.”

Marceline sat upright in bed instantly, shaking Ash awake. He groaned and rolled over.

“Ash, we're going out to get waffles.”

Ash pulled the blanket higher up, “That's great. You do you, I'm gonna sleep.”

Marceline sighed- something she'd done a lot over the past day or so, and dressed herself, meeting her family downstairs. All three exchanged a look, and Marceline knew exactly what they were thinking, but none of them voiced their thoughts, which she was grateful for.

The car ride to the restaurant was filled with yet more uncomfortable silence, however, and it wasn't broken until just after their waffles arrived, when her mother spoke up.

“Marceline, does Ash not like us? I promise, we tried hard not to be embarrassing because we know this meant so much to you.”

Marceline felt her chest tighten. She knew they were trying, and she was grateful for that. She took a deep breath, but her voice still sounded strained when she spoke, “I know you're trying. He's the one who isn't.”

At the cracked, sad sound of her voice, Betty offered a reassuring hand on her shoulder, which very nearly drove her to tears. She brushed her hand away, “Fine. I'm fine. I'm just a little frustrated.”

“It's okay to be upset, Marceline. It sucks donkey butt when plans don't go the way you want.”

“I'm not upset,” Marceline snapped, sounding angry in her attempt to sound confident. Regardless, it halted the uncomfortable conversation, though it also settled a pit of guilt into her stomach in the process.

She ate her waffles, but the usually sweet taste of strawberries and raspberry syrup felt bitter and dry in her mouth.

The entire meal and drive home passed in almost a blur as she tried to decide what she would say to Ash when she arrived back at the house.

When the time came, she wasn't ready at all, but she decided to go forward anyway.

“Ash?”

“That's my name,” Ash said, tucked under the covers and scrolling through his phone.

“Can we talk?”

“We're talking now.”

“Yeah, but without your phone?”

Ash paused before setting his phone down, “What, you making me sleep in the doghouse for being mean to your weird uncle?”

“He's not weird, Ash. He means a lot to me- he basically raised me. He's like, my best friend. I just want you to try to get along with him.”

“I just don't like him. Sometimes people don't like each other.”

“I know, but he's more sensitive than he lets on, so maybe just cut back on the rude comments?”

Ash rose to his feet and turned to glare at her, “You know what, Marceline? You can be a real manipulative pain in the ass sometimes. I don't have to date you, you know? I'm a real hotshot, right? Girls are dropping at my feet, but I love you, and sometimes I feel like you don't love me.”

Marceline's heart sank, tears once again threatening to overwhelm her, “I do love you. You're being a jerk, Ash.”

“Well, stop playing with my emotions, then,” he sighed, “I'm gonna shower, try to calm down while I'm gone.”

Marceline tried to settle down, the anxiety in her belly growing and clawing its way up her throat. She could barely see through her tears as she turned on her phone and opened her contact list.

Bonnie.

Marceline: Hey Bonnie, can we talk?

Five minutes passed.

Marceline: I'm just really anxious right now and you're the only one I feel like talking to.

Ten more minutes. Marceline took a deep breath, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Marceline: I was upset with Ash for being rude to my family, and when I told him he said I was manipulative. Am I?

Another twenty minutes passed. Ash returned with coffee in hand. He gave it to her, though with no effort to apologize.

And so she did instead.

They kissed.

An hour passed.

Marceline: Bonnie?

Another two hours passed. She could barely concentrate on interacting with family.

Still no response from Bonnie.

One last message, she decided.

She hesitated as she opened the chatlog, tears threatening to overwhelm her once again.

Marceline: I'm Sorry.

Marceline look a deep breath and bit back tears. After all, no use in being dramatic.

 

Chapter Text

The few days of reading break seemed to trickle by lazily for Marceline. Ash never wanted to do anything, she felt distant from her family, and even Bonnie wasn't talking to her. She spent the entire trip with a pit in her stomach that even Simon's corny jokes and on-the-spot songs couldn't fix, which was quite the stubborn pit, to say the least.

Each night she spent there she cried for at least a few minutes- the real frustrated kind that made her want to kick doors and pull her hair and everything she couldn't do quietly. She didn't want her family to fuss- she wasn't worth it, and it hurt knowing that they worried anyway.

Her father called on the last night to tell her he couldn't make it home, and she didn't feel much at all. Perhaps that was concerning, but she really couldn't tell.

The plane ride home was honestly the best part, if not agonizingly long. Ash insisted on taking the window seat again, and again passed out almost immediately.

She found herself counting down the minutes, even though she knew that would make time seem slower. She just wanted to be away from Ash, as awful as that sounded, and back at her dorm.

At some point, she must have fallen asleep, because she was shaken awake but a kind-looking flight attendant. She shot her a smile and shook Ash awake. He followed her all the way to the parking lot, complaining about how tired and sore he was the whole way.

He spent a few minutes digging in various pockets in search of his keys, cursing to himself as he did so. Marceline tapped her feet, the idea of her dorm seeming more and more pleasant as they grew ever closer.

The majority of the car ride was spent in silence, which she was admittedly grateful for. It seemed like every time Ash spoke, it was to insult something important to her, if not herself. By the time they reached campus, Marceline was just about ready to leap out of the car and race to her dorm without saying goodbye.

She'd been having a lot of thoughts like that over the past few days. She tried to push them down, but honestly, it was difficult. These thoughts, in turn, led to yet more troubling ideas seeding themselves in her mind. Was she a bad girlfriend? Was she manipulative, like he'd said? She glanced down at her phone again.

Still no response from Bonnie.

She swallowed, blinking tears away.

“Yo, Marce, we're here.”

Marceline glanced out the window, “Oh, sorry, I zoned out,” she leaned across the car to kiss her boyfriend, feeling him smile against her lips.

“Hey, so, we couldn't like, y'know, do anything with your family around, so do you wanna?”

Marceline bit her lip. Honestly, the idea seemed almost repulsive to her right now, “Uh, I'm tired, actually. I think I'm gonna nap for a while.”

“Lame. Well, get out then. Call me whenever.”

Marceline nodded and numbly left the vehicle, taking her belongings with her. She dragged her feet into the dorm building, up the stairs, to her room.

Bonnie wasn't back yet. She tossed her things lazily to the side and collapsed onto her bed.

She was tired.

Well, if she was a terrible girlfriend, at least she wasn't a liar, too.


Bonnie hauled herself off the bus, taking a deep breath of the musky, university air. For the first time in the long bus ride, she felt her muscles relax slightly. The effects of her parents lectures still remained, tugging at the back of her mind, but for now at least, physically, she was free.

For the first time since the incident with her grades, she allowed herself to look through her phone as she walked back to her dorm.

For the most part, there wasn't anything that she wasn't expecting. There was a message from Finn asking if they could hang out again, a couple messages from Lady asking if she was alright. Bonnie sighed- she'd respond to Lady later.

What was concerning were several anxious messages from Marceline.

“Shit,” she muttered under her breath, reading through the messages and almost bumping into several people as a result.

She cursed repeatedly under her breath as she entered the dorm. God, how was she gonna fix this? She could say that she'd forgotten her charger, but she knew full well that didn't sound like her. Plus, she kind of wanted to ask if she was alright.

But if she asked that now, she would probably be met with the uncomfortable question of why she hadn't asked sooner, and she wasn't too keen on explaining her family situation to anyone, really.

She paused outside the door, taking a deep breath.

And then Marceline appeared around the corner, wrapped in a towel.

Ehem, just a towel.

Bonnie felt her cheeks heat up, “Hello Marceline.”

“Uh, I thought you'd be back later.”

Not looking up, Bonnie fiddled with the door and opened it for her roommate, “Well, it's like, nine o'clock, but uh, yeah,” she coughed, “you can change,” she muttered. Marceline nodded stiffly and brushed past her, closing the door behind her, louder than she usually did.

Bonnie winced- was she mad? She thought over the idea- she knew she didn't want that, personally, but given the amount of lectures she'd had with her family, perhaps distance would be good. Infatuation distracted her from her studies, simple as that.

Still, there was a stubborn part of her that insisted that wasn't what she wanted at all.

After a five minute wait, Bonnie knocked on the door, “Marcy, can I come in?”

No response.

With a sigh, she ducked inside, “I'm sorry if you said no. I didn't hear you and I- Marceline?”

Marceline was lying on her bed, guitar against her stomach, staring blankly at the ceiling, “Oh, sorry, yeah, come in.”

Bonnie sat on the edge of her bed as Marceline began to strum lazily at her guitar. It was clear from her red eyes and dark circles that she'd had a rough few days. She fiddled with her blanket with one hand, trying to decide what to say. She'd never been particularly good with emotional talks- she knew that she didn't like discussing how she was feeling, and she couldn't fathom why others did. The only reason that she'd become passable at it was because Lady would ask her to vent on occasion.

Eventually, she settled on a lackluster, “Marceline, are you alright?”

Marceline tapped her fingers against her guitar, “Did you read my texts?”

Bonnie paused, “Yeah, just now.”

“Then I guess you know.”

“I'm sorry Marceline,” she paused, “Do you still wanna talk?”

Marceline sat up, “Do you wanna talk?”

Bonnie paused. She knew her mother would want her to not care. She knew not caring was easier. She knew it would help her, technically, in the long run, but for the life of her, she could not stand seeing Marceline so broken up. She nodded, “Of course Marcy.”

Marceline let a long pause fall after that. She looked Bonnie over, as if questioning her motives, and given her internal thoughts, that wasn't exactly unwarranted, “Can I tell you something. I haven't told anyone else, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately.”

“Oh, uh, sure.”

Marceline took a deep breath, “On New Years Eve last year, I was with my friends, Keila and Ella. We all made New Years resolutions. Out loud I said that I'd get at least Bs in my first semester in University,” she let out a small laugh, “Keila called me a nerd, so I bit her hand.”

“Dang, Marcy. Feral.”

Marceline laughed, “Yeah, well, the point is, I had another one that I didn't tell anyone. I wanted to get the courage to break up with Ash. We'd been dating for two years at the time and, well, I wasn't happy any more.”

Bonnie frowned, “It's almost new years again.”

Marceline visibly tensed, “I know, but it's not easy, Bon. Every time I think I want to, he does something kinda nice, or makes me feel guilty about something. At this point, I just kinda feel like I'm, I dunno, doomed, or something? But that sounds kinda gloomy.”

Bonnie sighed, sitting down next to Marceline, “I think I get what you mean. She glanced over at her roommate, “Do you need me to kick his ass?”

Marceline laughed, “Thanks but no thanks. I can figure it out. Thanks, though, for letting me get that out,” she paused, “can we talk about something else. How was your break?”

Bonnie groaned, laying back on her bed, “I can safely say that while you, my dear roommate, may be jet-lagged-”

“I only flew to the other side of the province.”

“Yes, but it works better with my joke, which is, I'm completely hetlagged.”

Marceline snorted, “Hetlagged?”

“Yep- extended time with straight people who want me to be straight has left me exhausted.”

Marceline laughed, casually wrapping her arm around Bonnie's shoulder. She did that a lot, she had noticed. The woman seemed to have no sense of personal space, which Bonnie did not appreciate. Normally she didn't appreciate it simply because she didn't like being touched, but in this instance, she found she liked being touched too much.

“Bon?”

“Huh?”

Marceline laughed again, “I said, why don't you tell me about girls. What you're into, or whatever.”

Bonnie blushed, “Well, I don't know if I have a type or whatever, but,” she mulled it over in her head, considering her previous romantic interests.

They all had dark hair, seemed a bit aloof at first, oh.

Maybe she did have a type, but she sure as hell wasn't gonna let Marceline know that.

“Uh, yeah, I definitely don't have a type.”

Marceline smirked, “Is little Bonbon embarrassed?”

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, but the heat rising to her cheeks likely betrayed her embarrassment, “Are you twelve?”

“I'll take that as a compliment. It's not every day you see a twelve year old in University.”

“Well okay smarty pants, why don't you elaborate on your type, uh, provided you're into girls- I know you've kissed one because-”

“Slow down there, tiger, yes I'm into girls,” she fell backwards on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. Bonnie followed suit, falling down beside her and staring at her expectantly.

“Not so easy, is it?”

Marceline stuck her tongue out defiantly, furrowing her brow.

Bonnie blinked, “You have a long tongue.”

“Oh, you noticed, huh?” she said, waggling her eyebrows suggestively. Bonnie scoffed. Marceline grinned before rolling her tongue out until it touched the tip of her chin, and then maneuvered it to touch the tip of her nose, “Impressed?”

Bonnie was impressed, but Marceline didn't need to know that, and certainly didn't need to know what certain other thoughts had briefly crossed her mind. She rolled her eyes, “Stop avoiding the first question.”

“I wasn't avoiding, you asked me another question. Uh, well, you know that girl in our Woman's Studies class? Short black pixie cut, glasses?”

“Stephanie I think.”

“Yeah, uh, she's cute. I don't know, I guess, it's kind of embarrassing, but all the girls I've had crushes on have mostly been big nerds. I never know how to flirt with them, though- I just call them nerds and hope they get it. Hasn't worked so far.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “You call me a nerd all the time.”

Marceline shook her head rapidly, “Uh, no, not like that. Well, I guess you'd fit, but uh, yeah, not you, uh sorry for making it awkward.”

Bonnie blinked at her. She wasn't sure what to make of that reaction. She felt like she should feel hurt, but it felt forced, honestly. Did Marceline have a crush on her? She smiled, “Yeah, whatever nerd. I guess I gotta watch out for surprise smooches from now on, hm?”

Because surprise smooches would be so inconvenient. Certainly not something she secretly fantasized about, on the bus home even. No, that would be ridiculous.

Marceline groaned, rolling over to bury her face in her blanket, “Nmpimbrrs”

“Uh, what?”

Marceline rolled onto her side, “Now I'm embarrassed.”

Bonnie grinned, “Mission accomplished.”

Marceline sighed, “Bon?”

“Hm?”

“Thanks for cheering me up.”

Bonnie smiled, a bit sadly, “Of course. What are friends for?”

Marceline nodded, “You're kind of my best friend right now. I hope that isn't weird, but man, I wouldn't change it for anything. You're a bit of a pain sometimes, but, kinda good pain, y'know?”

Bonnie felt a strange mix of emotions at that. On one hand, she was grateful to be considered Marceline's best friend, but on the other, she wasn't sure how she felt about not wanting to change it for anything. She knew she was definitely over thinking it, but that's what Bonnibel Burnett did best- she was the queen over over thinking. She didn't need to be Marceline's girlfriend, she wasn't some school girl with a crush. Well, she was in school, and she didn't have a crush, but that wasn't the point. The point was, she should use it as an opportunity to get over her crush.

But, like she said, she was the over thinking queen, and to prove that, she fell asleep with worries about her relationship with Marceline intently clouding her mind.

 

Chapter Text

Bonnie awakened at seven o'clock on a Saturday- that alone told a sad, harrowing tale. A tale of a life in retail. Now, she wasn't one to complain about work- or, well, she was, but she complained less when she was doing jobs other than cash. Stock she could work with, cash was a nightmare. At least with stock work she actually felt like she was being productive. She could see the change in her environment- and the customers she did help felt more significant. With cash it was monotonous and dull- frankly, she needed more excitement in her work. Sure, people didn't look to retail work for thrill of it all but man, she needed something to work with.

Well, maybe, with luck, it wouldn't be too busy. People had better things to do than show up to a drug store at eight in the morning, before the sun had even risen, right? She could stretch her legs occasionally, maybe chat with a coworker for a few minutes.

Yeah, that was a dream.

The bus ride to work did nothing to build her anticipation. For the most part, they were people in the same boat as her- dead eyed, clutching their coffee and staring at the dirty, uninteresting bus floor.

Bonnie took a sip of her own coffee, which was not nearly as hot as she would like it. An ideal would be so hot she scorched her tongue and couldn't work. Then again, she supposed then she'd just have a burned tongue and no money.

She got off the bus across the street from work- that was a positive at least. At her previous job, back in her home town, she would generally just walk the half hour to work, rather than waiting on an unreliable and inefficient small town bus system.

The store wasn't open yet, but already five or so people, all too eager to get their Tylenol or toilet paper or whatever it was they needed so badly at eight o'clock on a Saturday, were waiting outside. She groggily pushed past them and pressed the hidden doorbell.

As her supervisor opened the door, a very confused elderly woman tried to push her way inside. They always did, because no customer ever understood the concept of paying attention to context clues. Uhg, whatever.

The real treat began when she encountered one of the other people working with her today- Fionna.

Now, she liked Fionna. They'd gone to school together- they'd known each other for years, but she'd been getting on her nerves lately. The woman sent her text message after text message. Hey Bonnie can you hang out this day, that day? Wanna get coffee? Wanna catch up?

The answer was always no, I'm busy, but Fionna just would not take that.

“Oh, hey Bonnie.”

“Uh, hey,” Bonnie said, brushing past her on the way to her locker.

There was a short pause, then Fionna cleared her throat, “How was your break? Lady said you went home.”

“Uh, yeah, it was alright. Neddy wasn't there, though.”

“Ah, yeah, that sucks.”

Before Fionna could continue the forced conversation, Bonnie hastily excused herself to the restroom. Once inside, she rushed inside a stall and leaned against a wall, gathering her thoughts.

Fionna had always been more pushy on the friendship front. In high school, especially after her breakup with Shoko, Lady had been convinced she had a crush on her, but Bonnie didn't think that was the case, or she didn't want it to be, anyway. Bonnie tended to be blunt when she wasn't interested in someone, and she didn't particularly want to hurt Fionna, so it was best to avoid it.

Once it was five minutes before her shift, she slipped out, avoiding Fionna and hoping she wouldn't notice.

The remainder of the day would be a fun adventure in avoiding her coworker.

Luckily, it was rather easy on cash. She did her repetitive task for hours on end, and no one dared interrupt her as it would risk sending the entire store into chaos, or something.

Regardless, Fionna seemed determined to speak to her one way or another. The entire first few hours, she seemed to hover by her checkout, waiting for a period of time when she had no customers.

Luckily, this didn't come before her break.

Unfortunately, Fionna had her break scheduled at the same time as her.

Well, so much for that.

“Bonnie, I'll leave you alone if you really want me to, but I just wanna know if you're avoiding me.”

Bonnie tensed, “I've been busy, Fionna. College is exhausting.”

Fionna nodded, “I know but, well, I just thought that since we were so close before, we would at least meet each other's roommates. You've been so distant, and I miss you.”

“I,” she paused, “Fionna,” oh boy, it was time to be honest, “I didn't think it was that big of a deal- its not like we were best friends,” at Fionna's flinch, she added rapidly, “I mean, we were close, but not me and Lady close. The point is, I like you, but I can't afford to take time out of my schedule to talk to you.”

“Uh, right.”

“I didn't mean it badly, y'know? Just, maybe after finals?”

“Yeah, uh, sounds good.”

Bonnie knew full well that nothing about it was 'good'. Then again, as with most things, she really didn't have time to worry about it.

 


 

 

Bonnie tried to forget her unfortunate interaction with Fionna for the remainder of her shift and the bus ride home, but, despite her better judgment, it nagged at her. Once safely on the bus, she flipped through her phone, noting all the ignored texts from Fionna, Lady, Marceline.

She bit her lip. She knew Fionna was trying to help her- she'd always been like that. While Lady understood her preference for distance when she wasn't feeling well emotionally, Fionna insisted on being in her personal space as much as possible during those times. She had to admit, sometimes it had turned out for the better, but she didn't want it. She wanted to sort things out on her own. Her parents chided her about not being independent enough already without her emotions being dictated by other people as well. Her own dang emotions!

And so she shoved everyone out. She could deal with it on her own, she decided. She wasn't going to let it get to her. Fionna would be fine, even if she was hurt. Distance was for the best, objectively.

When she arrived in her dorm, she found Marceline curled up under a pile of blankets. She raised an eyebrow, “You're still in bed? Dude it's nearly three.”

Marceline groaned, “Shut up mom, it's Saturday.”

“Oh, pulling the mom card, I get it. I'm controlling and junk. Har har, quite funny.”

“It's less funny if you explain it.”

Bonnie fell back onto her bed, feeling her muscles relax instantly on impact, “You're less funny if you explain it,” she muttered.

“What was that?”

“Nothing,” she said louder.

For a moment, there was silence between the two, and then Bonnie groaned, rolled over, and booted up her laptop.

“What're you doin' Bonbon?”

“Studying?”

“Dude, for finals? November isn't even over yet- ya don't gotta study till like, after the last day of class.”

Bonnie hummed, “I'm not studying for most yet, but I have one on the ninth, which is in like, two weeks.”

“Two weeks,” Marceline deadpanned.

“Early bird catches the A.”

“Bonnie I'm pretty sure that's not a thing people say.”

“I just said it, thus it's a thing people say.”

Marceline rolled out of bed, “Alright smarty pants, you got me. C'mon, let's go get some food.”

That sounded tempting. She hadn't managed to eat during her break, and of course she liked Marceline's company. Then again, she probably enjoyed it too much. Definitely too much.

After a pause, she responded, “No, I'm too busy.”

Marceline shrugged, “Want me to bring you back anything, then?”

“Uh, no, I'm fine.”

Again, Marceline shrugged, clearly not thinking much of it. She was grateful for that. No pressure, no questions, at least for now.

Once Marceline had left, she allowed herself to open facebook for a few minutes, if only to check if she'd missed anything important. Strangely enough, she had a new friend request.

Phoebe? Did she know a Phoebe?

Then she noticed her profile picture- her smiling with Fionna. Perhaps her new roommate then? Or girlfriend, even. She glanced over at Marceline's bed. Both?

Regardless, she added her- it seemed she'd already attempted to message her, so it must be important. Once she was added, she opened up the messenger.

Phoebe: Hey. Can we talk about Fionna?

Bonnie: I guess?

As soon as she sent her message, Fionna's status changed to online, likely because her phone notified her.

Phoebe: It's just that she's a bit broken up about what you talked about at work. I know you're busy, but she cares about you. Can you try to hang out? Go out for coffee maybe?

Bonnie groaned.

Bonnie: No. I'm not interested. Fionna will get over it.

Phoebe: Dude, harsh.

Bonnie: Whatever.

She closed the tab after that, trying to get back into the swing of studying. Who was Fionna to try to push the issue? Maybe she didn't care if she was upset. I mean, she did, but hell, she was being annoying.

Then again, she supposed she didn't know if Fionna had requested that Phoebe send those. In fact, she probably hadn't.

God, Bonnie was a jerk sometimes.

A million thoughts and ideas shot through her mind.

On one hand, she wanted to please her parents. To do that, she had to be distant- it was essential. She could make friends when she was well off and independent and had a degree and a career. Hell, she could make friends never. She didn't care what anyone said, money could buy happiness. It could buy pets, food, antidepressants, entertainment. Basically happiness.

On the other hand, she had to admit that company made her happy. She didn't like being alone- she wasn't that kind of person, as much as people assumed she was. She liked socializing. She didn't like being alone with her own thoughts- those got weird. Those got scary.

On a third hand which would metaphorically appear on her body for the sake of her sorting her thoughts, it was ultimately easier to just shut down. It was the easiest route to success.

If she didn't worry about people, they'd eventually forget about her, and she could meet her goals uninterrupted. They'd be happier that way, anyway, eventually.

Her thoughts were interrupted as Marceline deposited a takeout box on her lap. She tensed in surprise, “Shit, Mar, I didn't hear you come in.”

Marceline smiled, taking a sip of her soda, “You're just easy to sneak up on.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes and opened the box- inside were french fries, smelling strongly of malt vinegar. Cute, Marceline remembered how she liked her fries.

“I still can't believe you like vinegar,” Marceline said, wrinkling her noise, “stuff's nasty.”

“Your face is nasty.”

“Oh dang,” Marceline laughed, sitting on the edge of Bonnie's bed, “ice cold, Bonnibel.”

Ice cold. The words rang in Bonnie's ears, “Yo, Marcy.”

“Hm?”

“Do you think I'm actually like that? Cold?”

“I think you're hot,” Marceline said, winking and pointing at her with her thumbs tilted up in a 'finger guns' position.

Bonnie almost didn't even have it in her to blush- almost, “I'm being serious.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “What's the 'troub, bud? You never seemed worried about how you came off before. I guess you seem a bit distant, but I know you're chill.”

Bonnie took a deep breath, “Right, cool.”

Marceline shuffled closer to her, “Dude, are you okay?”

Bonnie sat upright, forcing a small smile, “Yeah, just curious. Don't worry about me. I'm fine.”

She was fine. She was always fine.

“Well, okay, but if you ever need to talk, you know I'm here.”

Bonnie did know that.

She just didn't plan on taking Marceline up on it.

 

Chapter Text

The last week of November had been less stressful than Bonnie had mentally prepared for. Oh, it was stressful, sure- exams were looming and so on, but panic hadn't fully set in yet. As it was, Bonnie was happily eating semi-regularly, sleeping every night for more than two hours, and overall would give her mental health a solid B minus.

A trained professional might argue something more akin to a C, but hey, she was feeling optimistic.

She, additionally, certainly wasn't expecting a pleasant day, ended early due to a class cancellation, to end with her roommate in absolute hysterics.

Yet, there she was, upon entering their shared room, attempting to gather her thoughts as she stared at Marceline, lying face-down on the floor and, what? Crying? Laughing? She wasn't quite sure.

“Uh, Marceline?”

Marceline rolled over, papers crinkling under her, and met Bonnie's gaze. Her cheeks were streaked with tears and eyes were red- she still wasn't sure whether from crying or laughter, “Bonnie?”

“Yeah- uh, are you alright?”

“Dude. I am so fucked. I am totally fucked right now. Not even like, a good time, like y'know when you-”

“Ah, yeah, I think I get the idea, but uh, what's this all of a sudden? You were chill yesterday.”

Marceline made a bizarre noise that sounded like a mixture of a wheeze and a whine and presented her with a paper, “Is this uh, your syllabus? What exactly am I looking at exactly, Marcy?”

“I have an in-class exam. Tomorrow. Dude, I had no idea.”

Bonnie took a deep breath. All her years of being an uptight, overly obsessive jerk were about to finally pay off. She was a master of her many crafts, one of which happened to be cramming for exams. She was about to impress a girl with her masterful skills.

She crouched down so that she was at eye level with Marceline, “You drink energy drinks?”

“Uh, no.”

Bonnie smiled, “Yeah, well, there's a first time for everything buddy.”


 

Marceline, upon Bonnie's request, had organized her papers as well as she could while Bonnie ran to the store to stock up on energy drinks. She wasn't looking forward to the night, if she was being honest. She loved Bonnie, sure- she was a great roommate and friend, but studying with her, in her experience, didn't really go as planned. She supposed her last outing in the area hadn't gone unpleasantly, just a bit, what, chaotic?

She opened up her phone, scrolling through social media in an attempt to calm herself down. After a couple of minutes, she opened up a location-based anonymous app, where people could post short messages- sort of like anonymous twitter.

The app had taught her many things, but mostly just that she didn't want to be associated with the majority of people on her campus. Well, she didn't want to be associated with them unless she came to a point in her life where she would use the app for hookups, which she hoped wouldn't happen.

As she began to scroll, Bonnie entered the room, bag of energy drinks in hand, “Okay Marcy, I also got some bottled water so we don't actually die, so- what are you doing?”

“Yik Yak. You heard of it?”

“Uh, yeah, sounded like a disaster.”

“It is, but y'know what they say about a train wreck.”

Bonnie laughed, sitting down next to her on the floor next to her bed, “Alright, I suppose we can indulge ourselves before we start studying. What's the hottest gossip, girlfriend?”

Marceline scrolled a bit further, narrowing her eyes, “Dude, everyone on this app is trying to get laid. Like, do people actually find dates on this anonymous app? Are people okay? And look at this, 'hey, do boys like tall girls?' like, I get being self conscious. Really, I do, but like, you can't change your height, right? What are you gonna do if they say no? Plus, dudes aren't a hive mind, right?”

Bonnie shook her head solemnly, “I'm too gay for this.”

“And then there's the usual weird inside jokes about some professor only ten people on here actually know about, uh, usual arguments over the gender neutral bathrooms-”

“I've never got that. Like, if you don't like them, don't go in one.”

Marceline groaned, “Truly, their minds are an enigma.”

“Well,” Bonnie sad, “now we gotta figure out your mind,” she prodded her forehead with her fingertip.

Marceline groaned, “What if we just like, break my arm?”

“I'm not letting you break your arm to get out of a final.”

Marceline let her face rest in her hands, “Please, Bonnie?”

“No.”

Marceline let her arms fall back to her side, “Fine, toss me one of those energy drinks.”

Bonnie obliged, handing her a tall, thin can. Bracing herself, Marceline look a sip, and immediately wanted to spit it back up. She forcefully swallowed, then stared at Bonnie, wide-eyed, “This tastes like piss.”

Bonnie shrugged, taking a sip of her own can, “I can't say I've ever tried piss, but I'll take your word for it,” she shuffled closer to Marceline, so that their arms were brushing. “So, what subject is it?”

“It's an intro calculus course, which sounds easy, because, y'know, intro, but it's so hard. Like, so many people have to retake it, or only pass with a D,” she groaned, “I hate math.”

“No offense Marceline, but you chose a math-intensive major.”

“You chose to be a jerk.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “Right, well, this jerk is here to help, so let's get working.”


 

They were two hours into studying, and Bonnie could tell that she'd very nearly lost Marceline. She'd already absorbed three energy drinks swallowed in quick succession, and it was pretty safe to say that she was certifiably fucked up. She didn't seem to have any concentration ability left, and on several occasions, she had begun to cry, seemingly unprovoked.

After this third instance of this happening, Bonnie was becoming legitimately concerned, “Marceline, are you gonna be alright?”

“I just wanna rock out,” she wheezed.

“Uh, pardon?”

“My dad was all, be a lawyer, go to school, and I was like, feel the music,” she finished the sentence with some poorly coordinated air guitar.

“Did your dad really want you to be a lawyer?”

“No, but I think that's the plot of those like, teeny musical movies, uh, y'know, the ones? Disney?”

Bonnie frowned, uncertain of what she meant, but decided to take a shot in the dark, “High school musical? I think his dad wanted him to be a basketball player.”

“See, you're a genius, Bonnie,” at this point, Marceline was smiling wider than she'd ever seen her smile, or even thought she was capable of, “a beautiful, beautiful genius.”

“Dude, are you okay?”

At this point, Marceline began to cry, “Of course I'm okay. Why would you say that?”

“Uh.”

A few moments later, Marceline began to laugh, “Oh, shit, what just happened there? Anyway, wanna watch High School musical?”

Bonnie sighed, “I suppose we're not getting any more cramming done?”

Marceline shook her head and scrambled onto Bonnie's bed. She pulled Bonnie's laptop onto her lap and patted a spot beside her. With an eye roll, Bonnie settled down beside her.

As she pressed up against the other girl, she couldn't help but notice that Marceline was shaking with excitement. God damn was this girl jazzed for some prime Disney Channel original entertainment.

As Marceline logged into her netflix account, Bonnie examined the screen, and one film in particular caught her eye, “We should watch that after,” she said, pointing at a selection titled 'Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Friends of My Little Pony'.

To her surprise, Marceline flinched, “Ash is a brony.”

“What?” Bonnie said, though she knew exactly what had just been said.

Marceline sighed, “Like, a weird brony too.”

“Does he,” Bonnie paused, “you know, wanna,” she made several vague hand gestures, “the horses?”

Marceline didn't make eye contact as she responded, “He doesn't like to talk about it.” As she finished speaking, she rested her face in her hands.

Bonnie patted her back, “Uh, there there?”

Marceline sighed, leaning against Bonnie, “Can we watch the movie so I can distract myself from my weirdo boyfriend.”

Bonnie hesitated, “You can do better. You know that, right?”

Marceline sat upright, blinking at her, her eyes wet with tears. She blinked them away, however, and shook her head, letting out a deep sigh, “No. I'm okay. I'm being unfair- everyone has their thing.”

Bonnie forced a smile, “I mean, yeah. Like, we all have our flaws, even me, but I'm thinking wanting to ehem,” she waved her hands again, “with pastel cartoon horses, is a bit, y'know, overboard.”

Marceline laughed, “Even you? Dang Bon, and here I was thinking you were a flawless princess.

Bonnie huffed, “That wasn't what you were supposed to latch onto.”

“How could I not? It says so much about you, you donk.”

“Donk?”

Marceline nodded, “Donk.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Whatever,” she mumbled, leaning past Marceline to press 'play' on the film. Once it began, Marceline's focus turned entirely to the film.

As the movie progressed, Bonnie saw a fantastic display of emotion on Marceline's features. She was more invested than she thought possible, probably due to a mixture of sleep deprivation and energy drinks. At several points, she pointed out obvious solutions to the characters, seemingly oblivious to Bonnie huddled directly beside her.

Towards the end, she began to fall asleep, leaning more on Bonnie as she did. Soon, Bonnie felt pressure on her other side, “What're you doing?”

Marceline adjusted herself so that she was resting her head on Bonnie's shoulder, “I'm cuddling, duh.”

Bonnie flushed, “Uh, why though?”

Marceline hummed, “Cuddle when I'm tired.”

Bonnie nodded stiffly, unsure how to respond. After a few minutes, Marceline's hand slipped off her waist, signifying that she'd fallen asleep. Bonnie smiled over at her, she forehead barely resting on her shoulder, and carefully closed the laptop. She set Marceline down gently, and covered her with a blanket as best as she could.

She paused, wondering where she should sleep. Would it be weird if Marceline woke up next to her? Probably. She sighed and crawled into her roommates bed.

“Goodnight, Marceline,” she whispered.


 

Bonnie checked her social media tabs robotically. It was four days before the end of semester, and she'd already finished all her assignments. Bizarrely enough, this made her anxious. She was used to having something to work on, but now she was left with nothing. She'd already gone over he notes today. She supposed she could do it again.

As she opened facebook she noticed a message, from her mother.

Beatrice: Hi Bonnibel. How's studying going?

Bonnie sighed, thinking through every word as she typed her reply.

Bonnie: It's going very well. I finished all my assignments early and already went over my notes again today.

After about ten minutes, in which Bonnie did very little, her mother replied.

Beatrice: Good. Remember, you have to keep your grades up. Your father and I can't give handouts.

Bonnie: I know.

Beatrice: Don't get all mopey. You're making me feel guilty.

Bonnie: I'm sorry- tone doesn't translate well I guess.

No reply came for twenty minutes, at which point, with a heavy feeling in her stomach, Bonnie closed the tab.

She couldn't do poorly. She really couldn't. She'd been distracted.

She glanced at Marceline's bed. She'd been so, so distracted.

God, she was pathetic.

As self-destructive feelings threatened to consume her, Marceline burst through the door, smiling widely, “Bon!” she exclaimed, bounding towards her and wrapping her arms around her neck.

Bonnie flinched, not allowing herself to return the embrace. No distractions.

Marceline let go, holding her face close to Bonnie's as she grinned, “Bon, thanks to you, I got a B minus on my final. I was so sure I was gonna fail.

Bonnie offered a small smile, “I didn't do anything.”

Marceline rolled her eyes, “Oh, so now you underestimate yourself. C'mon, without your willingness to study with me, I would have failed so hard. You're the best.”

Bonnie managed a small laugh, “Yeah, alright, alright, I'm the best.”

Marceline lightly punched her arm, “I love you, dude.”

Bonnie's smile widened at the affectionate gesture.

She knew she should ignore it, that she should push Marceline away and focus, but hell, she'd always been easily distracted.

 

Chapter Text

Work was never quite what Bonnie would describe as fun, but there were certainly things that were more entertaining than others. For example, Bonnie favored the returns counter. Most people wondered why- isn't that a prime location to be shouted at, after all?

Well, yes, however, it was also a prime location to, on occasion, crush customer's dreams, much like they constantly crushed hers.

“No, I haven't used this,” the customer said, clearly growing frustrated, with their arms crossed and brows furrowed. Bonnie noted with amusement that she looked exactly like the type to do this. She wondered if she'd been shouting at ten year old children at her son's soccer game earlier.

“Ma'am, its fine if you used it. We can still return it- I just need to know what was wrong with it so we get compensation from the manufacture.”

“And if I tell you I get a full refund?”

Bonnie sighed, “I can give you lowest sale price as store credit if you do not have a receipt.”

“But I bought it here.”

Sure you did. “I know, ma'am, but it's just store policy.”

“I bought it here for two hundred dollars.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow. She knew she shouldn't talk back, but damn, she just had to, “Ma'am, regular price is a hundred.”

“Your other locations do this for me all the time.”

You'd think at this point you'd learn to keep a receipt then. “I'm sorry, but if they do, it's against policy.”

The woman huffed and took her item back into her arms, “Well, I'll just take my business there then.”

Bonnie forced herself not to roll her eyes, “Alright, have a nice day.”

As she walked out, Bonnie couldn't help but feel victorious. In a way, she'd won. Sort of. Well, not really, but close enough for her.

“Dang, Bon-butt,” Fionna said, approaching her counter, “you really know how to shut 'em down.”

Bonnie snorted, “She obviously stole that, like, I'm not dumb.”

Fionna nodded, “She stole something else too. I told Management, though, so not my problem any more.”

Bonnie nodded, then, awkwardly, “So, how's that roommate? Phoebe?”

Fionna blushed a deep red, “Oh, uh, she's great. We're actually, uh, dating.”

Bonnie smiled, “That's lovely Fionna.”

Fionna nodded, “How's your roommate?”

Bonnie hummed thoughtfully, wondering how much she should arrange her words. She knew Fionna was one to take certain things out of context. However, before she could reply, the aforementioned roommate stumbled in, grinning widely.

“She's... right here. Marceline?”

“Aye, Bon Bon,” Marceline slurred, leaning against the counter.

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “Marcy, are you drunk again? I told you not to let Ash do that. You get the worst hangovers and-”

“Oh chill, Bonnibel, I just had like uh,” she paused, staring at her fingers, “six? Six drinks? I dunno babe let's go for a ride.”

“Ride? Marceline you didn't drive here, did you?”

Marceline shook her head, “No I walked. Wanna go to Denny's? When d'you geddof?”

“In a half hour, but we're not going to Denny's, we're going home.”

“Nooooo,” Marceline whined, slouching against the counter.

“I'm gonna, uh, go stock candy,” Fionna mumbled, distancing herself from the bickering duo.

“I want candy,” Marcy mumbled, wandering off.

“Marceline,” Bonnie said, standing upright, “Marceline no, come here,” she said, louder as Marceline exited her field of vision. She was prepared to leave her station and bring her back, but a customer approached her a few moments later.

It was gonna be a long damn night.

 


 

 

When Bonnie finally managed to free herself from the cold clutches of her job, Marceline was waiting outside for her, munching on some sour candies on a nearby bench. She waved enthusiastically when she noticed her, nearly dropping her candies in her haste.

Bonnie sighed, “Marceline, c'mon, it's time to go home.”

“Bon, if I don't have Denny's, I'll die,” Marceline wheezed, collapsing onto her knees.

“Marceline, you are not going to die, you over-dramatic doughnut.”

“B, I will pay you a hundred dollars to take me to Denny's right now.”

“We're going home, Marce- wait, really?”

“I swear. I'll transfer you the money tomorrow.”

Bonnie paused. On one hand, it was probably in Marceline's best interest to get her home and lie her down. However, she seemed adamant in her wanting to go to Denny's, and besides, she could use a hundred dollars.

“I... alright, Marceline, we can go to Denny's.”

“Fuck yeah!” Marceline exclaimed, scrambling to her feet and pulling Bonnie into a clumsy hug.

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Do you have your bus pass?”

Marceline nodded enthusiastically, waving the thin slip of plastic in front of Bonnie's face. Bonnie forced a smile and shoved Marceline's hand down gently, “Awesome, let's go wait for the bus, okay?”

Marceline nodded, taking Bonnie's hand in hers as they walked. Bonnie didn't comment on that- she tried not to think about it too hard, either. Luckily for the impatient Marceline, the bus schedule aligned rather well with her work closing, and they only had to wait about five minutes.

Marceline happily sauntered onto the bus, forgetting to swipe her bus pass, though thankfully the bus driver was understanding, and flopped down onto an open seat, tapping the one beside her expectantly. Bonnie sat more gracefully by her side.

“Where's Ash?” she asked carefully, keeping a close eye on Marceline to gauge her reaction.

Marceline bit her lip, “He passed out after like an hour, so I left.”

Bonnie rubbed her back, “Are you okay?”

Marceline paused before nodding slowly. Bonnie smiled sympathetically, “Don't worry, pancakes will fix everything.”

Marceline returned the smile, “You fix everything.”

Bonnie blinked in surprise, “Uh, right, uh, right back atcha,” she cleared her throat, “I think I'm gonna get a smoothie with mine.”

Smooooooth Bonnie,” Marceline whispered, tapping her hands against her thighs rhythmically.

“Jesus Christ, Marcy. You really shouldn't let Ash talk you into this stuff.”

“Ash sucks, Bonbon.”

Bonnie sighed, “I know.”

“I wanna break up with him. It's hard though.”

Bonnie paused, “I could come with you to do it.”

Marceline shook her head, but didn't say anything else after that, electing to instead stare at the dusty bus floor.

They arrived at their stop soon after, though it was still a good five minute walk to their final destination. The whole way, Bonnie insisted on walking on the side of the sidewalk facing traffic, in spite of Marceline occasionally stumbling over.

Once they arrived, at long last, at Denny's, at almost eleven o'clock, Marceline let out a noise not unlike a startled bird, and jolted forward, tripping over her feet as she went.

“For two?” a young, tired looking woman asked, grinning awkwardly at Marceline. Bonnie nodded affirmatively, shooting an apologetic smile, and to Marceline's continued delight, they were quickly seated.

Marceline hummed to herself as she inspected the menu, carefully examining each choice one by one, even after Bonnie had long-since decided on what she was going to eat.

“I want bacon,” Marceline whispered.

“You're a vegetarian, Marceline.”

Marceline blinked up at her, then down at the menu, “Oh.”

“Do you need a minute?” the waitress peered over their table.

Before Bonnie could reply, Marceline slammed her menu down, “I got it!” she exclaimed, “I want the strawberry uh, cream pancake, please.”

“And how would you like your eggs?”

“Shit, uh, extra eggy.”

Bonnie's palm rested against her forehead, “She'll get scrambled, please.”

The waitress smiled kindly, “Of course, and for yourself?”

“I'll just get a mango smoothie and some mozzarella sticks, please.”

“For sure. I'll be back to fill up your water in just a second.”

“Thank you.”

“I love you a lot, Bonnie.”

Bonnie sighed, “I know, Marcy.”

“I think you're nifty.”

“Mmhm.”

“Like, my new bestest pal.”

“So I've been told. We're real grade-A gal pals.”

When their food arrived, almost disturbingly quickly, Marceline let out a delighted squeal and immediately dug in. Bonnie honestly wasn't sure what was so exciting- she assumed she'd have to be drunk to know, since Denny's food was stunningly mediocre. At least it was hard to mess up mozzarella sticks.

The waitress has not yet walked away by the time Marceline has begun to shovel food into her mouth. She paused only to look up at the woman, eyes becoming wet with tears, “Thank you so much,” she whispered, blinking up at the waitress.

“Uh, no problem,” she replied, shooting a smile at Bonnie, who shrugged, but shot a smile back.

Bonnie dipped her mozzarella stick in the marinara sauce and took a bite. Yikes, that was sweet. She wrinkled up her nose, which earned a small laugh from Marceline.

“You look like, uh,” she trailed off, clearly having forgotten what surely marvelous insult she'd been about to unleash, and instead began eating her eggs again. After a few bites, she smiled over at Bonnie, cheeks puffed with food, “Ts if th be fd i er' ean”

Bonnie blinked, carefully taking a bite of her mozzarella stick, “Huh?”

Marceline waggled a finger, swallowing hard, “This is the best food I've ever eaten.”

“Drunk Marceline has low standards,” Bonnie muttered. Then, even lower, “not just with food.”

Marceline was too immersed in her meal to notice Bonnie's not-so-subtle comment about both her drunken eating habits and her love life. She ended up finishing her much larger meal before Bonnie finished hers, and spent the remaining few minutes smiling at Bonnie, humming happily to herself.

“I need to go home 'n take meds, Bon.”

Bonnie sighed, taking the bill to the front to pay, “I know, Mar. I was trying to get you home earlier.”

“They make my boobs good,” Marceline groggily explained as Bonnie payed, for both of them she might add. She'd have to remind Marceline of that later.

“Okay, Marce, home now,” she sighed.

Marceline wrapped her arms around Bonnie's neck, burrowing her face into her shoulder, and Bonnie's annoyance dissipated. Mostly. With a sigh, she wrapped her arms around Marceline and gave her a small squeeze.

Bonnie supported Marceline for most of the trip home after that. The girl could barely sit upright, never mind stand, and the whole way she continuously muttered things that Bonnie couldn't quite make out, with exception to the occasionally barely-audible 'thank you'.

Getting into the dorm building was a different kind of treat. The entrance doors were very heavy, and by the time they reached them, Marceline was mostly asleep and completely unable to support herself.

Bonnie grunted, trying to angle herself so that she could push the door open but keep Marceline attached to her.

And then Marceline fell anyway, of course.

Bonnie let out a small gasp, but was soon reassured as Marceline giggled quietly. She rolled her eyes and pushed the door open, holding it with one foot as she haphazardly helped Marceline to her very shaky feet, and placed her arms around Bonnie's neck once more.

Bonnie wasn't normally one to take the elevator- the stairs suited her just fine, and it wasn't as if they were on one of the higher floors. However, on this occasion, she was beyond grateful for it.

The final step was unlocking the dorm door.

The main problem being that Marceline was suddenly squirming, and it was making it very difficult.

“Bonbon,” Marceline whispered, letting go of her at last.

Bonnie paused, blinking over at her roommate, “I thought you were asleep, you felt like a bag of bricks around my neck.”

Marceline didn't offer a verbal response, instead preferring to bury her face into Bonnie's neck, which sent a wave of heat through her.

Though, something was different this time. She felt warm breath on her neck, movement, oh dear.

“Marceline, are you-”

Marceline hummed against her neck, cutting Bonnie off. Marceline began to work her way up, leaving a trail of clumsy, drunk kisses along her neck and jawline, until she was close to her lips.

“Mmm,” Marceline muttered. She looked like she was going to say more. She kept opening her mouth, then closing it again, and all the while Bonnie felt herself frozen in place, so unlike her. Marceline's breath probably smelled awful, but honestly she couldn't be bothered to care in that moment.

And then Marceline was kissing her, and it was sloppy and all over the place, and everything she ever wanted. She felt like every part of her body was hyper sensitive. She felt Marceline's hand against her waist as she leaned into the kiss.

Which was the exact moment she realized that this was a terrible, terrible idea. Marceline was drunk- she shouldn't allow this.

She pushed Marceline away, maybe a bit too roughly. The other girl blinked at her, confused for a moment, and then her eyes widened, “I,” she whispered, “I was confused. I'm sorry, Bonnie.”

Bonnie felt herself shaking. Good lord what had she done. What had they done?

Bonnie opened the door shakily, “It's fine. Go to bed.”

Marceline stumbled past her, muttering apologies a few more times before collapsing into her bed. Bonnie got into hers more slowly, not bothering to change.

She hadn't imagined that kissing Marceline would leave her riddled with anxiety of all things.

She hoped to God it would be forgotten by morning.

 

Chapter Text

The kissing incident hadn't been forgotten the next day, naturally. Bonnie awoke first, and it wasn't long before the scene flashed through her mind again. Muscles tense, she glanced over at Marceline's bed. The shorter girl was still asleep in a pile, her hair tangled and covering the majority of her face.

With a sigh, Bonnie hoisted herself out of bed and grabbed her water bottle from her desk. She imagined that Marceline would be in dire need of some Tylenol when she woke up.

As she exited the room to fetch water, the scene played in an infuriating, endless loop in her head. Honestly, she wished she could be happy. She very much had wanted this, but not under those circumstances. Would they talk about it? Should they talk about it? Hell, would Marceline even remember it? The questions raced through her mind at breakneck speed during the short walk to and from the nearest water fountain.

When she returned, Marceline was sitting upright, forehead rested against the palm of her hand.

“Hey,” Bonnie managed, not making eye contact.

“Hey,” Marceline rasped, struggling to her feet.

“So,” Bonnie began, but she was cut off by Marceline's next statement.

“Thanks for the water. I'm gonna go to class. Later.”

“What?” Bonnie said, sounding more surprised than she intended, “are you sure? It's the last two days anyway, and you look like you're-”

“Fine. I'm fine. I'll see you later, Bonnie.”

As the door to their dorm closed behind Marceline, she knew in her gut that the events of the previous night had not been forgotten.

Well, shit.


 

 

“Bonnie Burnett, my love,” a voice sounded behind her.

“Beggin' your pardon?” Kate muttered darkly, shooting a glare over her shoulder.

“Excuse me, but that comment was meant to your friend.”

Bonnie's shoulders tensed, focusing more intently on her note taking. She could ignore it. She would ignore it.

“Bonnie,” Braco sing-songed.

“That's my name,” Bonnie hissed.

“And what a beautiful name. Now, I don't want to bother you but I can assure you that I forgive you for punching me in the face. I know you're embarrassed and I-”

“I didn't apologize,” Bonnie said flatly, finally turning to face Braco.

“Oh, I know, but it's okay because I know you felt sorry, in your heart.”

“Yeah, I mean, I super didn't, but sure.”

Braco blinked and fidgeted with his papers a bit. Beside him, a couple other students who had, without a hint of subtlety, been observing the situation, laughed, maybe a bit more loudly than the situation called for.

Kate leaned over to Bonnie, “How long's this weirdo been buggin' you?”

Bonnie shrugged, “Marceline scared him off for a while.”

“A bit of a brute, that one.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “I was the one that punched you. Which, again, I want to emphasize, I don't regret. Now, leave me alone, or I'll punch you where it really counts.”

Braco stopped talking after that, thank God, and the rest of class went by a lot quicker because of it. She couldn't wait to gossip about it with Marceline in literature about it.

Then, again, maybe she wouldn't want to talk about it, or talk at all. The idea left a bit of fear in her stomach.

She waved goodbye to Kate and hurried to the classroom. When she got there, it was empty, and so she shuffled to her usual spot and took a seat. Normally, she'd use the opportunity to check social media, or perhaps even do something productive, but this time she settled for fidgeting with her phone.

Ten minutes before class began, students began to file in, and among the first was Marceline. After a moment of hesitation, her roommate sat down beside her.

“Hey, Marce, you won't believe what happened in my last class.”

Marceline rubbed her temples, letting out a low groan, “I'm sure it's great, Bon, but I'm actually gonna jet, I think. Need a nap. Take notes for me, will ya'?”

“Uh, sure, sounds great,” Bonnie murmured as Marceline rose from her seat.

“Great, see you later.”

“Uh, yeah, later.”


 

“Marceline? Yo, Marce, wake up!” Keila's voice cut through the fog in Marceline's mind.

“Hmm?” Marceline replied blearily.

Keila raised an eyebrow, crossing her dark, muscular arms, “Are you even here, Mar? You're off in your own little world,” she rested her hand on Marceline shoulder, shooting a glance over at Ellen, who was leaning against her drums as she texted someone, probably her boyfriend.

“If you're dissociating again, you might wanna get back on your other meds. I won't push, but I worry about ya',” Keila whispered, making sure Ellen couldn't hear.

Marceline smiled softly, “I know you do, but it's not that. I'm just,” she paused, sitting on Keila's small, unmade bed, “thinking, about things.”

“Oooh,” Ellen exclaimed, suddenly not attached to her phone. She launched herself onto the bed next to Marceline and stared at her intently, head resting on her hands, “I've missed gossiping. You gotta spill, Marmar.”

Marceline groaned, rolling over so that she was out of range of Ellen's intent stare. It didn't do her much good, however, because Keila's muscles made quick work her puny body, and she was soon turned back over.

Covering her eyes with her hands wasn't much good either, because, as stated previously, Keila had reasonable muscle and easily pried them away. Keila locked eyes with hers, and Marceline could not withhold information from that intent, dark stare. It was a good thing she didn't really know what to say, then. Or, well, maybe she just didn't know where to start.

Keila helped her sit up, wrapping an arm around her shoulder, “Is this about Ash? If you need me to kick his butt into next week, you know I will.”

“No, well, yes,” Marceline sighed, “Kinda?”

“Marceline, you know I love you, but Ash is, well,” she glanced over at Ellen, waving her hand helplessly.

“He's garbage,” Ellen offered, without missing a beat, “Unlike my Brad. He's always all, man, Ellen, I love your curves, and I-”

“Ellen, I would prefer not to know,” Keila interrupted, “what she's trying to say is, well, we support you and all, but from your texts and stuff, well, you don't seem super happy.”

“It's not him who's garbage,” Marceline murmured.

“Marce, be real. You told me what went down over break.”

“I,” Marceline paused, “I kissed my roommate the other night.”

Following the revelation, there was a pause as Keila and Ellen made eye contact, mouths agape and eyes wide. After a moment, Ellen spoke, “Was it good?”

Marceline felt her face heat up, and knew that her long-time friends would know immediately that she was flustered. It didn't take much thinking to answer, though admittedly, the thoughts were more connected in her mind, “She was, soft.”

“Oooh,” Ellen cooed, leaning in closer.

Keila, on the other hand, projected more of an air of concern, “That's cute and all Marce, but are you planning on telling Ash?”

Marceline's chest tightened, but managed to keep contact with Keila's intent gaze, “I know I should.”

Keila sighed and lay on her back on the bed beside Marceline, “You know, I don't know if you should.”

“I can't just keep lying to him, Keila.”

“No, I'm not saying that. I think you need to break up, for real this time. I know you've been wanting to,” when Marceline only stared at her, she continued, “I've known you since we were like, five, Mar. I can tell when you're unhappy.”

“But just,” she sighed, “I'm happy sometimes, I think.”

“You think?”

“I'm just being a bad girlfriend,” Marceline said, standing up, “I'll tell Bonnie that it was an accident, which it was. I'll tell her it didn't mean anything, which it didn't, and it'll be fine. I'll tell Ash-”

“Uh, Mar, you know I live for drama, but Ash is ehh,” Ellen glanced over at Keila, “help me out here, girl.”

“He's a big pile of shit, Marce.”

Marceline stood rigid, processing the information. On one hand, she'd known Keila for years, and knew that she was always honest about these types of things. On the other, how could she blame anyone but herself for what was going on? She was the one who was sensitive, she was the one who was oh-so-clingy, and she was the one who'd gotten drunk and kissed her roommate.

“I'm going home,” she said, pushing past Keila's door.

“Marceline, please listen to us.”

Marceline sighed, “We can talk later. I'm going home.”

She rushed down the stairs before either of her friends could speak. It was a long bus ride back to the other side of town to campus, but she didn't want to be driven back by either of them right now.

Besides, some time to think might do her some good.


 

“Bonnie, is something up?” Lady asked from her bed, where she lay on her stomach.

“She's been all donked up since Marceline wasn't in lit. Someone misses her girlfriend,” Bianca teased.

Bonnie sat back against the bed. She wasn't sure why she'd come here- being alone would have been better for thinking, but she supposed she always did seek company when she was like this, for better or worse. She sighed, “Marceline kissed me,” she managed.

Lady rolled off her bed and landed in a heap next to Bonnie, barely missing a beat before she was sitting upright and staring at her intently, “Do tell. Did something happen? Do you need me to set up a movie night? You know I will.”

Bonnie managed a laugh, “Uh, no, that won't be necessary, Lady. I just feel bad. She was drunk, so I pushed her away, not to mention she had a boyfriend, but, well,” she sighed again, “she's really pretty and I want to punch myself in the face because I have things I need to focus on that aren't hot computer science majors, but alas, I cannot, and it's driving me nuts.”

“Have you tried talking to her?” Lady offered.

“I highly doubt that will work.”

“And avoiding will somehow get you results?”

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “Don't sass me, Lady.”

“Don't be stubborn, Bonnie. If you don't talk, nothing will work out. I know you don't like talking about feelings and junk, but-”

“I get the point,” Bonnie interrupted, probably a bit too harshly, “You're pushy when you want to be.”

Lady smiled gently, “I'm the mom friend.”

Bonnie smiled, “You are.”

Bonnie rose to her feet, “I'm gonna go see if she's in the dorm. I'll text you after I, y'know, talk to her.”

Lady stood beside her and pulled her into a quick hug, and with that Bonnie was out the door, walking at a pace quicker than her usual stride. The last thing she needed was to give herself more time to question herself, to decide that she didn't want to talk about her feelings.

Talking about her feelings, as much as she hated it, did often make her feel better.

It was freezing out, and that fact distracted her on the walk to her dorm. All she could think about were her throbbing ears and nose. Honestly, she thought any temperature below freezing 'ought to be illegal. She didn't care- she'd arrest Mother nature in a heartbeat. That woman had had it good for too long, as far as she was concerned.

When she entered her dorm building, however, a firm feeling of dread set in. Oh god, she really did hate getting all personal and junk.

She made her way up the stairs, making excuses at every turn to pause for a moment. Was that a new hole in the wall? She knew it wasn't, but whatever, she could look. Perhaps she should theorize as to how it had occurred. Anger caused by midterms? Drunken shenanigans?

No, that was useless. She continued walking, drawing ever closer to her dorm.

Marceline was there, waiting on her bed.

“Bonnie,” she said, not making eye contact as Bonnie closed the door behind her.

“Marceline.”

Silence.

Marceline spoke first, “Bonnie, about last night. I want you to know that I'm sorry if I made things weird. I didn't mean anything by it- I probably just thought you were Ash or something. It's all fuzzy.”

Bonnie felt her stomach drop, “Oh, yeah, that makes sense.”

She was disappointed. She was hurt. That's what she got for getting close to people. It was never worth it.

“I'm going to go to Ash's tonight, but we're still friends, right?”

Bonnie blinked, “Yeah, of course.”

Marceline smiled, and it seemed genuine, but the one Bonnie returned wasn't at all. Marceline didn't seem to notice, however, because she left the dorm without another word.

Bonnie lay down on her bed. She hadn't been prepared for that. Then again, she wasn't sure what she had been prepared for. A passionate embrace? Yeah, okay, that was dumb.

She lifted her phone above her face, thumb hovering over Lady's name. Then, with a sigh, she dropped it to her side.

She wasn't in the mood for talking.

 

Chapter Text

Marceline wasn't clueless. Sure, actively making things better was hard- it required work, which she was known for avoiding, but sometimes it was for the best. Bonnie had clearly been off in the two days since their confrontation about, well, ehem, that. Marceline didn't like that- she liked being close with Bonnie. She liked her sarcasm and her scathing remarks and how she was never what she expected, in a totally platonic way.

And so she'd formulated a plan.

A good plan? Arguable.

An, er, plan? Certainly.

Marceline waited patiently in one of the many campus cafes. This one wasn't too busy- both Ash and Bonnie got frustrated when they couldn't find what they were looking for. Ash was admittedly more likely to cry about it.

Bonnie, as expected, arrived first, expression flat and unreadable. When she spotted Marceline, she raised an eyebrow, but her expression otherwise remained the same. She was wearing new clothes, she noticed- a snug, purple turtleneck and pink jeans. A cute look, honestly.

Bonnie's expression soured moments later, “What's he doing here?” she practically hissed.

“Huh?” Marceline mumbled, blinking out of her trance. Then she spotted Ash, standing right next to her, hands in his pockets. How had she missed that?

“Oh- Ash, Bonnie,” she spread her arms wide, “my two faves! I was just thinkin', y'know,” she made pointed eye contact with Ash, “since I love you both so much, we could just have, y'know, a chill day together.”

Ash huffed, “I thought we were going on a date.”

“I never said that.”

“It's the implication, babe. You can't just lead me on like that.”

Thankfully for Marceline, in this case, neither one of them was one to back down from a competition, and so, in immediate response to Ash's resistance, Bonnie piped up, “Yeah, well, I for one am willing to give it a shot,” then, under her breath, though loud enough that she clearly meant for it to be heard, “even though you're an intolerable dingus.”

“Alright!” Marceline chirped before Ash could conjure a reply, “I was thinking we could go like, I dunno, go on a walk, get some coffee from someplace not on campus, the works.”

“Mmm, I'm down I guess, but only if you pay for my coffee, Marceline. You still haven't payed me back for Denny's.”

“I'm still pretty sure you made that stuff up, but I'll buy you coffee.”

“Dude, what?” Ash whined, “you never buy me things.”

“You get upset when I do, Ash.”

Ash only grumbled in response, folding his arms across his chest.

Ash rolled her eyes, taking Ash's hand in her's, “Chill, ya big goof, let's head out, before everywhere start's getting a dinner rush.”

She leaned up, intending to give him a quick peck on the lips, but to her surprise, he cupped the back of her head and drew her closer. Unprepared, Marceline's teeth crashed awkwardly against his, but he didn't seem to notice, or at least didn't care, because he continued, even after Bonnie audibly cleared her throat twice.

Once she'd gathered herself, Marceline pushed away, “Alrighty then, let's be on our way,” she said, forcing a smile, and heading out the door.


 

“I'll get the manliest coffee you've got,” Ash said, shooting a glance over at Bonnie.

The barista, sporting an 'I'm New!' pin, looked over at her helplessly, “I'm uh, sorry, let me just check with my coworkers,” she managed, shuffling away, only to return a moment later with a much more dead-eyed looking coworker.

“What was your order, sir?”

“Uh, the manliest coffee you have,” Ash repeated, his previous confidence beginning to fade.

The older worker raised an eyebrow, but said nothing, waiting for Ash to elaborate. Eventually, the pale toothpick of a man sighed, “I'll get a London fog, please.”

“Right,” the coworker said, entering his order. Ash payed and shuffled away, not bothering to grab his five dollars in change, much to the barista's delight.

Bonnie approached afterwards. She cleared her throat, “Why hello, women who are surely falling at my manly feet,” she said, making pointed eye contact with Ash as she spoke, “I would like man juice, with extra protein powder, if you would.”

The new barista laughed loudly, while the older worker rolled her eyes but smiled as well. Bonnie grinned, “For real, I'll just get a medium chai latte, please.”

Bonnie happily handed the barista the twenty dollar bill than Marceline had given her beforehand, slipping the change into her pocket. Ash was receiving his manly man drink when she arrived to wait for hers. He sent a quick glare her way before making his way to Marceline, who had been tapping away at her phone the whole time.

Ash sat in a chair on one side of her, scooting it closer so that he could wrap his arm around her shoulder as he made eye contact with Bonnie. Bonnie narrowed her eyes.

It was on.

She took her latte from the barista and marched over to their table, sitting down across from Marceline.

“Wow, Marce, your hair looks great today.”

Marceline smiled, “Oh, thanks, Bon.”

“Yeah, well your tits are also good today,” Ash said, glaring at Bonnie.

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “They're pretty much the same every day, really.”

“Right,” Ash grumbled, sipping his drink.

“Are you excited to go back home for the holidays?” Bonnie said, “I know you miss your family sometimes.”

Marceline lit up again, “Oh, yeah. My dad's actually gonna be there this time, and Simon always gets the best gifts.”

“That senile old cook?” Ash scoffed, “I'm surprised he doesn't shit in a bag and pass it off as a gift.”

Marceline recoiled, balling her fists, “Ash,” she hissed.

“Dude, not cool,” Bonnie said, resting her hand on one of Marceline's. She felt the other girl gradually relax under her touch.

Ash cleared his throat, “Just my opinion. His wife is kinda cute, I guess.”

Ash. That's still like, super weird.”

Ash shrugged, “Whatever babe, I think I'll pass this time, though. Your family's not really my style, y'know?”

“She didn't invite you,” Bonnie whispered under her breath, though by Marceline's look, she was pretty sure the comment didn't go unnoticed.

“My family's chill, though, Mar. You'd like them. My mom sucks at cooking but she always has a ton of wine around the house and won't mind if we make out.”

Bonnie wrinkled her nose at the thought.

Marceline smiled, “Maybe next year, dear.”

Next year. The words rung painfully in her head. She truly hoped she wouldn't be with this dillweed a year from now, and genuinely not solely because she was a tad jealous. Marceline definitely deserved better than that.

“C'mon, you two, you both have a ton in common. I mean, you both like,” Marceline paused, thinking.

Before she could say anything, an idea popped into Bonnie's head.

A good idea? Arguable.

A fun idea? Absolutely.

“Oh, well we both like cartoons, don't we, Marcy?”

Marceline's eyes widened, her mouth hung open, and Ash spoke.

“Oh, not really, but I do like My Little Pony.”

“Oh, yeah?” Bonnie said, resting her chin on her hand, “who's your favorite pony?”

“Fluttershy, for sure,” Ash said, “she's so cute.”

“Cute or, y'know,” she glanced over at Marceline, “cute?

Bonnie,” Marceline hissed.

“Well, I don't know if I'd put my-”

Ash,” Marceline interrupted, much louder. She stood up quickly, shoving her chair back at such a speed that it nearly tipped over. She grabbed Ash by the sleeve and pulled him up with her, “why don't we go on a walk instead?” she said through her teeth.

Ash shrugged, walking towards the door. Marceline hung behind, grabbing Bonnie's sleeve, “Dude, what are you doing?”

Bonnie shrugged, “Just making small talk, Mar.”

“Bullshit,” Marceline whispered, their noses almost touching, “what are you actually doing.”

Bonnie could easily continue to joke around the real answer, but she decided that angering Marceline further wouldn't do her any good, “You know I don't like him, Marceline.”

“Couldn't you at least try?” she sighed, closing her eyes and dropping her shoulders.

Bonnie felt a flash of sympathy, but it was quickly covered by an acute sense of stubbornness, “I don't think you could get him to try if you held him at gunpoint, so...”

“So what's the point,” Marceline spat, “you're right. I shouldn't have bothered.”

Bonnie paused, swallowing her ego, “If it'll make you happy, I'll try to play nice,” she offered, “for the last hour or whatever.”

Marceline frowned, “Promise?”

Bonnie glanced over at Ash, in the process of what appeared to be stealing a pastry from a child, “Uh, yeah.”

Marceline nodded, taking Bonnie's hand in hers, and walked over to where Ash had his mouth full.

“Can you believe they were just giving these away?” he mumbled around the food.

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

Marceline shot a glance at her, which she responded too with a shrug, avoiding eye contact with either of them. Marceline wrapped her arm around Ash's and together they headed out, allowing her to trail slightly behind.

“So, Ash,” she began, “what do you do for fun?”

“I review video games online, mostly, and play in a band.”

“Ah, does your band get any uh, jobs, ever?”

“Nah, we just chill.”

Bonnie nodded, “Do you have a job, then?”

“Not right now. I don't like being told what to do, y'know?”

Bonnie felt like, if she were in a cartoon, her eye would twitch comically in that moment, to show her frustration. Of course you don't like being told what to do, but you don't have jobs for funsies, at least not at their age.

Maybe it would be easier if she just ignored him.

“Mar, your hair is growing out nice,” Ash noted.

Finally, something that didn't make her want to punch him.

“You looked so weird with your hair short. Never do that again, alright?”

Yeah, well, scratch her last thought.

Marceline visibly deflated, her shoulders slumping and head drooping. Before she responded, Bonnie pushed between them, “Y'know, I liked Marcy's short hair,” she said, smiling over at her, “I think it was cute.”

“Yeah, well you're a gay, so you would think that,” Ash snorted.

“Man, a whole gay? Me? Wow. Didja hear that, Marce? I'm a gay, and as such my opinions on hair are irrelevant.”

“We can talk about something that's not my hair,” Marceline said.

“Like pinky's hair over here. You look like one of those feminists.”

“Boy, it is as if you have stabbed me. Such an insult, I am basically bleeding,” Bonnie said monotonously.

Ash shrugged, “I'm allowed my opinion.”

Bonnie bit back several snarky replies, instead going with, “Ya' sure are.”

“You know what's nice?” Marceline interrupted, “this park. I mean, right now its a bit empty because there's no leaves on the trees, but in the autumn it's especially nice because-”

“Yeah that's nice babe,” Ash said, waving his hand, “but anyway, Betty, I'm just saying you like like one of those bad feminists.”

“And you look like you've never seen a shampoo bottle, but I wasn't going to say anything about it,” Bonnie retorted.

“Oh for fucks' sake, you two,” Marceline snapped, grabbing them both by a sleeve, “couldn't you just try to make it work?”

“With this bitch? I don't think so babe,” Ash said. Marceline's eyes welled with frustrated tears, “oh, don't get all weepy and manipulative with me. God, listen, text me when you're not being a crybaby, alright? I'm out.”

Ash tugged his arm out of Marceline's grasp and walked away, hands in his pockets.

“He's a real jerk,” Bonnie said.

“He's not the only one,” Marceline said, avoiding eye contact.

“What, me? Don't be dense Marcy. He's a total wad. He doesn't care about your feelings- he makes fun of things you care about constantly.

“He's just teasing,” Marceline rasped.

“Marcy, I'm just worried.”

“You're being selfish,” she snapped, “You think I don't know you well yet, Bonnibel. You think you're one big mystery and it must be real fun for you, but you're not. You were just having fun the whole day to show me what bad decisions I make, like I don't already know that I'm a screw-up.”

At this point, Marceline was openly crying, with her palms pressed against her eyes.

Bonnie felt a drop in her stomach.

Had she been doing this to mess with Marceline? She supposed partially, but she hadn't meant anything by it. Then again, maybe effect mattered more than intent here.

Shit, she'd been an ass, too.

“Hey, hey Mar,” she rubbed her back, “look, I'm sorry. I still don't like him, but,” she sighed, “I didn't want to hurt you, honest.”

Marceline nodded, burying her face into Bonnie's shirt. She could feel her tears seeping through the fabric. That was okay.

“Are you gonna be alright, champ?”

“Yeah,” Marceline said, barely audible against her chest.

“Do you wanna go home?”

“No I'm,” she paused, “I'm gonna go to Ash's. I should apologize to him.”

“Marceline,” Bonnie said, perhaps a bit too harshly, “you have nothing to apologize for.”

Marceline took a step back, took a deep breath, and wiped her eyes one last time, “I'm not in the mood to argue any more, Bonnie. I'll see you tomorrow.”

And then she turned and walked away, leaving Bonnie's head whirling.

After a few minutes Bonnie groaned, kicked the ground, and began her walk home.

 

Chapter Text

“I never understood why you never went for your license, you know,” Keila said as she took a left, “you were really good at driving.”

Marceline turned away from her usual position staring out the window, “Students living in dorms don't get parking, so I figured there wasn't much point. Guess I shoulda thought of after.”

“Never were one to think ahead,” Keila whispered.

“Is there implication I'm missing here?”

Ellen leaned against Marceline's seat, so her chin rested where Marceline's shoulder was, “You gotta think ahead for a lot of things, Marce. Housing, food,” she paused, then, quietly, “relationships.”

“Oh, you're one to talk, Ellen.”

“C'mon Ellen, lay off,” Keila said.

“Thank you, Keila.”

“We can go one day without talking about he-who-must-not-be-named.”

Keila.”

Keila sighed, parking her car across from one of the many locally-owned coffee shops near campus, “Mar, you know I care about you. I just don't want you to do things that'll hurt you.”

Before she could reply, her phone buzzed.

Ash: Where are you babe?

She sighed, closing her phone, “Just Ash. He gets all moody when I hang out with you guys.”

“Of course he does,” Keila said, stepping out of her car. Marceline and Ellen followed after her.

“What's that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, nothing, Marcy. It's totally normal for your significant other to not want you to hang out with other people.”

“Oh, come on Keila.”

Keila paused, rubbing her forehead, “You come on, Marce. Okay, listen, if you can tell me three reasons why your relationship with Ash isn't terrible, I'll stop bugging you. Specific things he does that make you feel happy or safe.”

“That's ridiculous, Keila.”

“You're ridiculous.”

Marceline rolled her eyes and shoved her hands in her coat pocket. Snow gently drifted down from the sky, adding to the already growing piles around them. In the background, Ellen complained, as she always did, about the snow. One would think that living in Canada for a lifetime would allow one to expect snow, but apparently not.

“Honestly, this cold is an insult. I deserve better than this. Keila, when we get home I demand a heated blanket and a nap.”

“Don't gotta demand anything,” Keila laughed, “You can do whatever you want.”

Ellen let out a long groan and pressed herself against Keila as they entered the cafe, “Do we even have a heated blanket? Can we get one? Keila I feel like I'm dying. I can feel my life slowly slipping, Keila. Ooh they have seasonal coffees,” she broke off mid complaint and bolted in front of her friends.

The cafe was never super busy- she imagined just enough to get the business by, but they made the best snacks. She ordered three fudge-covered cookie dough balls and a small vanilla coffee and sat down near her friends.

Ellen was hunched over, oatmeal cookie in her mouth and blonde curls spilling over her face and shoulders as she pressed her face too close to her phone to be healthy, “Oh my gosh,” she whispered.

“How are you and Bonnie?” Keila asked, eyebrow raised.

Marceline, of course, immediately grasped the connotation in her friend's words, but she refused to acknowledge it. Instead, she took a slow sip her her coffee, “She's good. Been studying a lot, so we don't hang out much.”

Oh my gosh,” Ellen repeated, louder this time.

“How are you and Ellen doing?” Marceline shot back, causing her friend to visibly grit her teeth and send an alarmed glance her other friend's way. Of course, Ellen was about as observant as a pile of rocks, and took no heed of Marceline's suggestive comment. Instead, she had her face so close to her phone that her nose nearly touched the screen.

Before Keila could respond, Ellen said, in a voice that was nearly loud enough to be considered shouting, and which promptly drew the attention of everyone in the cramped cafe, “Oh my gosh you guys Brad said he loved me!”

“Congratulations,” a man, around their age, shouted from across the room, which was accompanied by laughing from his companions. Marceline ducked down in embarrassment, though Ellen herself didn't seem bothered.

Keila frowned, “Hasn't he done that before?”

Ellen rolled her eyes, “Well, yeah, but not since we last got together-”

“I didn't know you broke up again.”

“Anyways, Keila you're making Marceline all depressed with your talk about her Trash boyfriend. She's like, oh Keila, why don't we talk about Ellen's super cool hunk of a boyfriend instead. But you're all like, no, I'm a mean party pooper who hates when Ellen has fun.”

“You're terrible at imitating my voice,” Keila said.

“Yeah, but I got your crummy attitude down.”

Marceline interrupted before Keila could redirect the conversation to her, “So Ellen, tell us, in great, riveting detail, how exactly you feel about Brad saying that.”

Keila glared at her, but both of them knew full well that there was no use in attempting to stop Ellen at this point. She would go on for twenty minutes, easily.

That being said, Keila was nothing if not resourceful. Marceline knew there would be trouble when her friend's eyes lit up and a sly grin spread across her face.

Before Marceline could comment on the change of expression, Ellen began her rant, “So like I guess on one hand it's kinda sweet, right? Like it's good to know he still wants me, but at the same time, what if he just wants me. What if he doesn't want me, y'know?”

No one knew, but they both nodded.

Keila tapped away at her phone.

The inevitable text arrived.

Keila: Look up at the counter

And there she was, the cause of all of Marceline's recent woes.

Or, well, most of her recent woes.

Some of her recent woes.

Bonnibel Burnet, pink hair tied back in a loose, messy pony tail, stood at the counter, dressed in a baggy sweater and sweatpants, and good lord did she look cute.

She wanted nothing more than to grab her and platonically snuggle her until she exploded.

If this were a cartoon she imagined this would be the point wherein she'd be comically blushing, her eyes wide, and perhaps cartoony drool falling down her chin.

“Guys are you listening?” Ellen asked, slamming her hands down on the table.

“Yes,” Keila and Marceline said in unison, suddenly at full attention.

“Good, well, it's just, I think I love him, but what if I don't? You know I'm like, super hot, so sometimes I'm like what if I can do better? But also, like, what if I can't? Brad is pretty hot.”

Marceline flashed a grin Keila's way, “Oh, I think Keila has a pretty interesting opinion on that.”

“What? Keila, have you been holding back your mad relationship advice? Lay it on me, girl, I gotta know.”

“Uh, well,” Keila began, avoiding eye contact- very unlike her, to the point where even Ellen raised an eyebrow, “I think he's cool,” she choked out, “but, y'know, if you do break up I'm sure there'd be other people.”

“But how do you know?” Ellen sighed, resting her head on the table.

“Yeah Keila, why don't you tell us in great, riveting detail, why exactly you believe that.”

At this point, Keila's face was practically on fire. If Marceline hadn't known better, she'd probably think she could feel the heat radiating off her face from across the table.

“I just,” Keila began.

Ellen stared at her, waiting.

“I just know because I'm a genius, so anyway, Ellen, you like drama, right? I know you like drama, so let's start some drama, hey Marceline.”

“Keila,” Marceline said, dragging out the 'a' and sending a nervous glance over her shoulder.

Bonnie had settled down with a notebook and her laptop, coffee to the side, and was stooped down low over her notebook, a few hairs dangling down the side of her face. She, to Marceline's knowledge, had not noticed her.

“So, Marceline, you don't like her do you?”

Marceline tensed, “Not like that.”

“Alright, then you won't mind if I get her number, right? She's kinda cute.”

Marceline felt her throat dry up and her mind began to race. Was she panicking? Why was she panicking?

“She won't give it to you,” she decided, “she's too busy with work.”

“Oh, but it's not fair, Marmar. You have your one true love, Ash. Can't I just try?”

Marceline paused. She did have Ash.

She had Ash.

Ash was all she needed.

Ash was all she wanted. She had to keep telling herself that. They'd been through so much in their relationship together- she couldn't give up now. What they were going through was just a rough patch. It would pass.

The thought was comforting, in spite of the nagging doubt at the back of her mind.

“Fine,” she said firmly.

Keila blinked, clearly surprised, but she wasn't one to back down from a challenge. She stood up stiffly, her chair screeching behind her. Ellen gasped softly, bouncing excitedly in her chair as Keila made her way across the room, “Oh, Marcy, what'cha gonna do?”

“Nothing.”

Keila reached Bonnie's table and put her hand on the side. Bonnie blinked up, clearly confused, and mouthed something Marceline couldn't hear. In fact, she couldn't hear anything. Almost as if she was on the other side of the room. That was an inconvenience.

However, she began to feel concern rising within her as the two got more into the conversation. Keila took a seat and Bonnie leaned in to talk to her. At one point she even laughed.

And then panic set in again, the awful traitor that it was.

Bonnie scribbled down something on a piece of paper and handed it to her.

She didn't like that. She was jealous. God damn was she jealous. She was so, so jealous and she didn't want Keila to do this.

“Keila!” she exclaimed, leaping out of her chair.

“Funny way of doing nothing,” she barely heard Ellen whisper. She didn't care.

“I have a stomach ache, can we head out?”

Keila paused, glancing over at Bonnie. With a nervous smile, she waved goodbye and headed back to Marceline, who gripped her by the arm and dragged her outside, Ellen following close behind, tapping away at her phone once more. Gossiping about her, she was sure, but she couldn't bring herself to care, and she assumed it wasn't malicious anyhow.

“Marceline?” Bonnie said, tilting her head.

“Hey Bon, gotta go, see you at home, okay bye,” she said, pulling Keila out the door. Thankfully the other girl offered no resistance, or there was no way on earth she'd be able to budge her.

Once they were outside, Marceline let out the breath she'd been holding.

“Marcy?” Keila whispered, “look, I didn't mean anything. I swear, I asked her if she was available to tutor my younger brother. I don't even have a brother. Marcy?”

Marceline let several breaths out, formulating a reply. She still felt the cold grip of jealousy clawing its way up her throat.

She did like Bonnie- she couldn't deny that. But she was with Ash.

And she didn't know how to fix that last part. The thought brought a cold fear, digging its claws into her stomach lining. The jealousy and fear together formed a deadly combination. She felt like she was suffocating.

“Ellen, take the car,” Keila said, tossing Ellen the keys, “I'll bus home.”

Ellen nodded, “Marce, you,” she paused, “you know we love you girl. Text me later, alright?”

Marceline nodded weakly.

Once Ellen was out of earshot, Keila rested a hand on her shoulder, “I'm sorry I did that, Marceline. It was out of line. Do you wanna sit down?”

Another nod.

“It just hurts,” Keila said as they took a seat on an icy bus bench, “you don't seem as happy as you used to be with Ash, and I guess I worry. I guess I haven't been handling it well.”

Marceline sighed, “You're right though,” she rasped, staring down at her hands, “I hate it, but you're right. Ash keeps hurting me. I'm messed up about it. I know I'm messed up, but it's,” she choked back tears, “harder than it looks. I can't just leave. I feel trapped. What if I'm in the wrong? What if I'm delusional? What if-”

At this point, tears had begun to leak from her eyes. She paused to wipe them away and took a deep breath, “Sorry. That was dumb.”

“It's not dumb.”

“Sorry.”

“It's okay. Is there anything I can do to help? With Ash, I mean. I can and will launch him into orbit for you.”

Marceline chuckled, “That's what Bonnie said. I can launch my own losers into orbit.”

It felt nice to call him a loser.

She took a deep breath.

“I can't do this. Not yet, but you're the best Keila.”

Keila lightly punched her arm, “No, you're the best.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “I thought that you thought Ellen was the best.”

Keila rolled her eyes, “Oh shut up.”

The was a pause in conversation as they waited for the bus, snow slowly drifting down and leaving white flecks in Marceline's black hair.

“She is pretty cute, you know?”

“Ellen?”

“Bonnie.”

Marceline allowed herself a little smile. She didn't know exactly how to respond- not now. She hadn't completely decided what her feelings were yet, but hell, she couldn't deny that her roommate was a little cute.

“Yeah, I guess she is.”

 

 

Chapter Text

“Oh, c'mon, why does your charizard do so much more damage than mine?”

“That is because I actually train and breed mine properly- I'm pretty sure you just use the one the game gives you,” Bianca explained, smiling sweetly.

Marceline shrugged, “Yeah, well, I just think charizard's cool and like, I love him so why would I get another one? That's dumb.”

“You are just upset because you lost five games in a row.”

They weren't wrong, but Marceline didn't want to admit defeat, so she just shrugged.

“Whatever. Wanna go out for dinner or something?”

Bianca hummed, “Sure. That sounds wonderful.”

Marceline stretched her legs out and flopped back onto Bianca's bed. On the other side of the room, Lady had her nose in her book, but at the mention of food she glanced over their way, eyebrow raised. Marceline laughed, “You wanna come? Uh, forgot your name again, sorry.”

She laughed, “Lady, and yeah, that'd be great.”

Marceline scrolled through a list that she'd begun to compile of good restaurants on her phone, “We can go to that burrito bar near downtown,” she suggested.

“Oh,” Bianca bounced, “the one where you customize your burrito? I love that place.”

“Yeah dude. You think Bonnie will want in?”

Bianca and Lady exchanged a look that was hard to describe- like a cross between concern and exasperation, “She's studying today, so probably not.”

“Uh, yeah, but she's gotta break to eat.”

Bianca's humming heightened in volume, “Let's go! I need a burrito in my face. My belly cries out for guacamole and refried beans.”

Marceline blinked, glancing back down at her phone. She wondered if she should be worried- earlier in the semester they'd promised to keep each other in line. Surely she should reach out to Bonnie if she was too busy studying to take care of herself. Then again, Bonnie hadn't reached out, and she seemed fine to her, if a bit quiet. To her knowledge, she went to sleep at the same time as her, though she always awoke earlier.

“Marceline, refried beans,” Bianca groaned.

“Uh, right, if you're sure,” Marceline said, stuffing the phone in her pocket.

The trio made their way towards the bus exchange, but Marceline couldn't take her mind off Bonnie.

“It feels like it should be later,” Lady noted, “like, it feels like just yesterday the sun was setting at eight, now here we are, pitch black at six.”

Marceline nodded along, trying to distract herself with something, anything. She could count how many steps she took in each square of concrete. One, two. One, two. One, two, three.

Bonnie always did that, she noticed. She was pretty sure that she tried to hide it, but she always made two steps in each, avoiding the cracks. Sometimes, when they were walking together to get food, she'd notice Bonnie hop a little to keep her rhythm going, though she never said anything.

“Are you guys not worried about Bonnie?” she said before she could so much as think over the statement. As soon as the words left her mouth, she regretted it.

Bianca and Lady exchanged a look, and then Lady sighed, “Look, Bonnie is just,” she paused, “she has some issues, and studying is a, er, what's the word,” she snapped her fingers a few times.

“Coping mechanism?” Bianca offered.

Lady nodded, “Yeah- she throws herself into studying and, well, I've never been able to stop her.”

Marceline shoved her hands into her pockets, sending a glance behind her. She could see her dorm building from here, all the lights still on. Her own dorm room was mostly hidden behind a tree.

“We won't be upset if you go an try to help,” Lady said, “we just don't want you to be upset if she,” she paused, “reacts poorly.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “What does that entail?”

Lady offered only a shrug.

Marceline tapped her foot. She'd made a promise. She was going to help Bonnie. She wasn't going to let her overwhelm herself.

“I'm going to go see what's up. You guys go enjoy burritos.”

Lady smiled, a soft, genuine smile, and to Marceline's surprise, pulled her into a tight hug, “You've been good to her, Marceline,” she whispered, before pulling back, “text me about it later, okay? I worry.”

Marceline offered her a smile in return, “Sure thing.”

The two friends waved as Marceline turned and walked back across campus. Past Bonnie's favorite cafe. Past the tree she would sometimes read under when the weather was nice.

The entered the building and took the stairs up two at a time, and only paused when she arrived at the door.

What if she didn't want help? What if she got angry? What if she yelled?

No, no she wouldn't. She'd asked her to do this.

She opened the door.

Bonnie was asleep, face resting on her keyboard. Marceline sighed and smiled softly. What a nerd. She sat on the side of her bed and spared a glance over at her computer screen. On it, the computer was repeating the letter 't' on a text document she'd been looking at. Her phone buzzed a few times off to her side, and she saw the word 'Mom' appear on the screen.

Marceline raised an eyebrow. She hopped it wasn't important- the dark circles under Bonnie's eyes made it seem like she hadn't slept in weeks, though she was sure that she'd seen her sleep just last night. She picked up a phone and looked at the lock screen.

Mom

12 messages.

Oh, well, that wasn't good.

She sighed. She didn't want to wake her up. She seemed so calm like this, but she imagined she'd only be more panicked if she woke up to an irate mother.

“Bonnie,” she whispered, shaking her shoulder lightly.

Bonnie groaned, blinking awake, “Mar?” she slurred, “whaddup?”

Marceline wordlessly handed her the phone, at which point she sat upright, narrowly avoiding headbutting Marceline, and scrambled out of bed, “I gotta call my mom, uh, be right back,” she managed, rushing out the door.

Marceline frowned. She wondered for a moment if she should snoop, but forced herself not to. Bonnie would be pissed if she found her snooping. Instead, she organized Bonnie's notes and laptop a little.

Well, as it turned out, that only took about two minutes, whereas Bonnie's call was lasting much longer, and with increasing volume.

Marceline often theorized that she was born without impulse control. This, of course, was untrue- if it were true, she would have launched her phone into traffic more often and pulled more fire alarms. That being said, her impulse control certainly left a lot to be desired, and so she inevitably ended up with her ear pressed against the door.

“Yes, yes I know. I know. I know. Right, sorry.”

Marceline furrowed her brow. She wished she could hear the other side of the conversation.

“No, no I'm not dating anyone. No. Sorry.”

Marceline's face dropped into a frown. Bonnie sounded like she was about to cry. That was abnormal for her. She couldn't have Bonnie cry. Then she'd cry, and that would be no help to anyone at all. She really wasn't especially good at comforting. Standing there and sobbing with you, yes. Sitting awkwardly, patting your pack, and saying 'there, there'? Sure. Words of advice? Uh, well, that was another story.

Marceline didn't expect the door colliding with her face. She supposed that people generally didn't expect that, unless it was a kink or something. Marceline, to be clear, did not have a kink for doors slamming against her face.

Marceline fell to the floor, clutching her nose as her eyes blurred and teared up.

“What're you doing?” Bonnie snapped, sending a jolt of surprise through Marceline at her angry tone.

“I was worried,” Marceline rasped, checking to see if her nose was bleeding. It wasn't, by some miracle.

Bonnie didn't say anything, just offered Marceline a hand, which she happily took. When Bonnie pulled her up, she ended up in an all-too-close position, which normally would have left at least one of them flustered, but Bonnie's cold expression left that idea in the dust.

“So,” Marceline said, “what'd your mom have to say?”

“Nothing important,” Bonnie said, turning and returning to her place on her bed, “I need to study. Is it important?”

Marceline frowned. She was used to Bonnie being rude or stubborn, but this was a new level of coolness for her. She seemed to carry a bizarre air of intimidation that Marceline would have thought was beyond her.

Marceline sat next to her on her bed and smiled her way, but was met only by a level expression . She sighed, “Bonnie, you're friends are worried. I'm worried. How much have you studied today?”

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “I'm fine.”

“You didn't answer my question.”

“You aren't my mother.”

Marceline tensed, “No, I'm your friend, and I'm worried about you. Have you been sleeping?”

Bonnie was trembling, her fists clenched.

“Bonnie? Did your mom-”

“It's not of your business, Marceline,” Bonnie hissed.

“I'm just trying to-”

“Trying to what?” Bonnie snapped, turning so that she was nose-to-nose with Marceline, “nose your way into my life? I'm studying. Unlike some people I can't breeze my way through life, sit back, and get wherever the hell I wanna be because I'm just so cool and perfect.

Marceline flinched, “Are you talking about me?

“Is there anyone else here?” Bonnie snapped, motioning around the room with her hand, “you haven't done anything and yet here you are acting like it doesn't matter. Well I guess it doesn't when daddy's paying your tuition, does it? You can just ease through without making an effort.”

Heat began to rise in Marceline, anger filling her mind and dictating her speech, “Oh, that's cute, Bonnibel. Sure, just assume that because not everyone's busy studying to the point where it's unhealthy isn't trying at all,” she stood up and made her way towards the door.

“I wanted to help you. I really did, but Lady was right- you don't want help, and I'm not going to sit here and be berated by you. I get enough of that. You can be a bit of a jerk sometimes, Bonnibel Burnett,” with the final word she slammed the door behind her and stalked down the hallway, unsure where her destination was.

Against every amount of will she could muster, Marceline began to tear up. She felt, what was it? Betrayed.

She sat down outside the dorm building. There were no benches there, so she settled for the icy concrete, not caring that her whole body felt like it might freeze over. She pulled out her phone and opened Lady's text log. She wasn't sure what to say, so she went over a few options.

Marceline: Bonnie's a lost cause

No.

Marceline: You're right, Bonnie's a real jerk.

No.

She groaned, closing the phone. Anger continued to course through her body, making her blood feel hot under her skin.

She sat there for perhaps twenty minutes, her mind wandering. So much of her wanted to apologize herself, but she knew it wasn't her fault.

Yet, a small voice inside of her insisted it was her fault. She pulled her phone out of her pocket, apology in mind.

Her phone buzzed.

Bonnie: Marcy? I'm sorry. Please come back so I can apologize properly.

Marceline sighed, her muscles easily relaxing. Sometimes she thought she accepted apologies too easily. Maybe it was because she wanted to see the good in people, or maybe it wasn't that deep. Maybe that's just how she was and that was all there was to it. Regardless, the moment she read that text, the majority of her anger faded, and within moment she had wiped her tears away and was marching back up the stairs.

Bonnie was waiting for her when she entered the room. She felt arms wrap around her, soft lips pressed against the nape of her neck.

“I'm really sorry, Marceline,” Bonnie whispered.

Marceline felt heat rush to her face, “I-it's alright,” she managed.

Bonnie pushed away a bit, but still very close, “I guess you really took that whole thing back in October about stopping me from over-studying to heart, huh?”

Marceline smiled and nodded, then pulled her into another hug, “You're gonna hurt yourself by shoving too much knowledge into your brain. It's gonna explode.”

She felt Bonnie shake with laughter against her. It was a good feeling.

“I'm sorry I was such a jerk. You were literally just doing what I told you to do.”

Marceline laughed, “Yeah, well, uh, I don't have a comeback.”

Bonnie laughed again as she was released from the hug, “Yeah, well, neither do I.”

Marceline frowned, “Do you wanna talk about your mom? You seemed upset.”

Instantly, Bonnie's expression hardened, “No. No, I don't.”

Worry nibbled away at Marceline's insides, but she forced it away. She wouldn't force Bonnie to talk if she wasn't comfortable.

“Do you want to watch a movie with me?”

Bonnie paused, then nodded, “But I get to pick,” she said, dropping onto her bed and pulling her laptop close to her.

Marceline rolled her eyes, “Of course, bossy pants.”

Bonnie took forever to settle on a movie. Before she would even begin to consider one, she'd look at online reviews, humming to herself and, Marceline guessed, determining based on seventeen different factors, whether the movie was worth her time. At some point, the two girls ended up under a blanket together.

In the end, Bonnie chose one of her favorites, The Iron Giant.

And, in spite of their argument just moments ago, and the worry that still hung over her concerning Bonnie's mother, when she was there, pressed against Bonnie, she swore she was happier than she'd been in a while.

 

Chapter Text

“Listen to me Bonnie. You're going to be fine. Repeat after me- I'm gonna kick this exam's butt.”

Bonnie took a deep breath, the air feeling as if it caught in her throat, “I'm going to fail and die.”

Marceline frowned, “Uh, close, but more positive.”

“How was that close?”

Marceline paused, “It was, uh,” she whispered something to herself, raising and lowering her fingers a few times, “both six words.”

Bonnie managed a laugh, but it was hollow, “Right, duh,” she sighed, “I don't know, Marcy. This feels kinda patronizing.”

“Sorry. Are you gonna be alright?”

Bonnie took another deep breath, then a second, “I haven't died of exam stress yet.”

Marceline beamed at the tiny bit of positivity, “That's my girl. Now go to that polisci final and eat it.”

Bonnie found it difficult not to be effected by Marceline's energy, and so she pumped her fist, “Like a dog!”

“Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie,” Marceline chanted, shoving her out the door, “and don't come back without a smile on your face!”

Bonnie was not ready for her first final, but she never really was. Her mother's words from two nights ago echoed in her mind. She was gonna mess up, and when she did, she only had herself to blame. She couldn't depend on anyone but herself.

She glanced back at the door, and let her shoulders relax a bit.

Maybe some help wasn't bad, though.

She felt very alone as she made her way to the exam room. Outside, everyone had their faces shoved in their notebooks, doing last minute revision. She could never do that- it only stressed her out more.

Not that it mattered, because seeing everyone else do it also stressed her out.

Additionally, Kate had been given a private exam room, which, while she was happy for her, and knew it would help with her disability, she was also anxious about. Kate's jokes would have certainly eased her nerves. Accommodating Kate was more important, but she could really go for a fart joke right about now, which was a fair bit out of character for her, but she needed some childishness to go with the extreme adult stress she was experiencing.

“Hey, you ready for the exam?” Braco's voice sent Bonnie leaping a good foot to the left.

Braco offered her a kind smile and leaned close. Too close.

She took a step back.

“Yep. Born ready. I've never been more confident of anything in my entire life.”

Braco stepped forward, “Hey, princess, don't worry. It's okay to be nervous.”

Bonnie took a step forward to fill the gap between them. She was shorter than Braco, but she did her best, buffing her chest and standing on her toes, to make herself seem bigger.

“Braco?” she hissed.

“Um, yes, p-princess?”

“I could tear your lung out with my pinky finger. That isn't even a joke. I know how, and I would do it.”

“Oh shit,” she heard someone chuckle behind her, which she elected to ignore.

Braco could only stare. A couple times, he attempted to open his mouth, exposing her to his breath, which was garlicy enough to kill any vampires within a fifty meter radius, she was sure.

“That's what I thought,” she said, before turning and making her way towards the exam room door.

“You always seemed so dainty.”

Bonnie didn't have a comeback for that one, “Yeah, well you always seem so annoying,” she spat, earning laughter from her classmates, which frustrated her more than anything.

At some point during the encounter, the other exam must have ended, because people from her class had begun filing into the room.

Once she'd entered, she observed the area. They were in a large seminar room, much larger than her regular classroom, which sat about sixty people, whereas this room was usually intended for classrooms of up to three hundred. Students dotted the area, seemingly at random.

She sensed Braco behind her.

Sensed, that is, as in her sense of smell, because as she noted previously, he smelled really bad.

“Why don't you take a seat, Braco,” she said, meeting his gaze.

Braco didn't say anything, for once in his life, and instead took a seat, holding his head low. Bonnie rolled her eyes, and promptly took a seat on the other side of the room.

The five minutes until they were allowed to start the exam were perhaps the most agonizing of her life so far. They seemed to drag on forever. The people on either side of her tapped their pencils on the desk.

Tap. Tap. Click. Click.

She felt like her brain was rattling in her skull.

And then it began, and Bonnibel Burnett honest-to-God very nearly threw up on her paper. Nearly, not quite.

The first ten answers went quickly, then she came to the final multiple choice question.

Oh, god.

“Who's the best professor in the world?”

A. You are!

B. Someone who isn't you

C. Please give me a bonus mark

Oh god, was this a trick? This had to be a trick question. Should she glance over and-? Wait, no that was dumb.

She stared at the question a moment longer. Who included joke questions on an exam?

She glanced over at the front of the class, where the professor sat on the desk, kicking his feet, dressed in polka-dot pink socks to match his pitch black cloak, back and forth.

Well, that answered that question.

She marked down 'C' on the bubble sheet.

 


 

The exam was only twenty five minutes away, and honestly, Marceline had never felt more calm. She'd gone over the formulas a few times, done a couple sample questions. She was good to go.

That said, it did give her an extra confidence boost to go through her social media and see all her friends and family cheering her on. This exam was worth forty percent of her overall grade- not an easy test to be sure, but everyone seemed totally confident in her.

Bonnie had been sitting facing her for a few minutes now without speaking, so she decided to initiate conversation, “Something up?”

Bonnie cleared her throat, “I just wanted you to know that uh, you're gonna kick this exam in the rear.”

“Oh, I know.”

Bonnie sat bolt upright at her response, “You.. know?”

Marceline nodded affirmatively, “Yeah- I studied. I'm ready.”

“Uh, right, I suppose I don't have to rile you up then.”

“Mm, not really, but you can cheer me on if you want,” Marceline said, tucking her laptop away, “my exam's across campus, so I'm gonna head out.”

“Uh, alright, see ya.”

Marceline smiled, “Later, gator.”

“And Marcy?”

“Yeah?”

“You're uh, the bomb or something,” Bonnie said, visibly struggling.

“Right back 'atcha,” Marceline laughed, offering one final wave before exiting the dorm.

Marceline popped her headphones in as she walked down the hallway, nothing but two pencils and an eraser in hand, and her student ID and keys in her pocket. She didn't need anything else. She was going to obliterate this exam.

She emerged outside the dorm building only to be met by an absolutely awful cold day- too cold for what she was wearing, but she was pretty determined to look cool today, so she didn't react, even to pull up the hood of her sweater.

All around was quiet- the lack of students marching around campus during exam period was eerie, to say the least, but she tried not to let it get to her. She could incorporate this into her whole cool self-fantasy she was working on. Maybe she was a vampire hunter- her pencils were her stakes, and the vamps had already taken out the majority of the human race. She was here to find a greater vampire, which she'd heard had hidden in the math building.

Intense.

By the time she arrived, people had already begun filing in, so she followed behind the crowd, taking a seat in the back row. She was aware that the people around her, in this area, would almost definitely cheat off her, but honestly? In her opinion, they were all in this together. She was chill if they cheated.

The professor rambled for a couple minutes about basic exam rules. Unfortunately for everyone involved, there were still eight minutes left when he finished, and that time was promptly filled with the sixty-something year old man attempting to tell jokes that he thought might connect with 'the youths of today' or something.

He got a pity laugh or two.

And then the exam began, and it was as if Marceline's confidence was a thin sheet of water on pavement on a hot summer's day.

That is to say, it evaporated in about six seconds.

She didn't know the first question. The first question.

Well, it looked as if she'd gone and fucked herself.

Well, might as well do what she could.

She took a deep breath, remembered all the people who believed in her. She could do this.

She answered the majority of the questions impulsively, and that was going to have to be good enough.

 


Her last exam was on the last possible day. Of course it was. The world wanted to stress her out, and it succeeded.

Marceline had spent the whole morning trying to psych her up for this final, but nothing was working, as much as she appreciated the thought.

They were standing outside the exam room now, several classes of intro lit students crowded around them. Bianca, much like Kate, had a private examination room, so it was just her and Marceline of their little trio.

Marceline, not for the first time that day, shoved her phone in front of Bonnie's face, “Look, Keila says she believes in you too.”

Bonnie snorted, “Okay, that one doesn't even know me.”

Marceline sighed, “Well, I believe in you. C'mon Bonbon, you're the smartest person I know, and I know a lot of smart people. You're the reason I didn't fail this class' midterm and I know you're gonna kick all sorts of butt.”

Bonnie smiled at her, feeling real, genuine warmth in her chest. Marceline believing in her, as corny as it sounded, did boost her confidence a fair bit. Maybe she could do this. She was a certified pro at essay writing- she'd managed to knab about five thousand dollars in scholarships, in addition to an entrance one, based on her essay writing.

Analyzing Shakespeare? Piece of cake. Number one thing to remember: it's not that deep.

Paradise Lost? Milton hated poor people and thought he could talk to angels, and also Satan was there.

Basically, she knew everything important.

She could do this.

She was gonna win.

The door to the exam room opened.

She was gonna fail.

She felt a hand rest on her shoulder, “Breathe, girlfriend,” Marceline said calmly, “you're gonna be fine.”

“I'm gonna be fine,” she repeated, then, after a pause, “girlfriend.”

“You got this, B.”

Bonnie felt a surge of excitement surge through her body. With far more volume than anticipated, she threw her hands in the air and declared, “I'm gonna kick this exam's ass!”

Marceline broke into a howling laughter, which only grew louder as everyone slowly turned to stare at the duo. Bonnie figured she should be embarrassed, but she was focused. Determined.

She walked into that exam and sat down at the first available seat. Marceline sat at the next exam over and shot her a toothy grin.

Not long after, the exam begun.

She looked down at the essay prompts.

Yeah, she could work with these. Two hours, two essays.

Marceline scribbled beside her, giving of an aura of total calm. Whether the calm was caused by her knowing the answers, or her being beyond the point of caring, Bonnie wasn't sure, but it had a positive effect on her.

Well, it did until Marceline left the exam an hour in, and then panic sunk in.

God, were her essays too long? Did she ramble? Was she going to have marks deducted?

Her hand had become shaky at this point, her printing barely legible.

The rest of the exam passed in a blur.

She exited the exam room only ten minutes before the time limit, long after the majority of the class had taken Marceline's lead and left. Marceline, unlike most people who had finished early, sat outside the room on the hard, wooden bench. When Bonnie exited, she beamed at her, practically dropping her phone in her haste to meet her.

“You feelin alright, champ?” Marceline asked.

Bonnie took a deep breath, met Marceline's gaze, “Dude, I have no goddamn idea.”

Marceline offered her a sympathetic look and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, “Wanna go get a smoothie?”

“You know what? Yeah, I do,” Bonnie sighed.

The two walked across campus together, back towards their dorm. The cafe directly outside had the best smoothies on campus, at the tradeoff of having pretty much the worst of everything else.

She ordered a mango pineapple for herself, while Marceline went for her usual strawberry banana. When they sat down together, Bonnie let out a deep sigh. Marceline eyed her, concern filling her expression, and Bonnie couldn't help but smile. It was so bizarre, having someone not only care, but someone who didn't seem to give up. Lady was a great friend, sure, but she could always tell that she got annoyed when Bonnie was stubborn, especially in her studying frenzies.

“Marceline, thank you for helping me through this.”

Marceline took a sip of her smoothie, “What are college roommates for? Besides, you've helped me plenty. I would have failed like, two classes without you.”

Bonnie sighed, “At worst I think I got a C, and you know what they say about C's.”

Marceline smiled, “Hey, I got a D in one class, so if C is your worst, I think you're doin' okay.”

“Yeah, but C's cant get you everything.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “Uh, happiness?”

“I was thinking scholarships.”

Marceline and Bonnie shared a laugh at that, and together they finished their smoothies.

Afterwards, the two returned to their dorms and began packing for the holidays.

The thought of that alone was enough to bring Bonnie's anxieties back in full force.

 

Chapter Text

In high school, Bonnie had taken the bus to the city for many weekend trips, but now the route seemed alien to her. Everything seemed so familiar, and yet at the same time terribly distant, almost frightening. Ultimately, she felt unwelcome here- it wasn't her home any more.

These thoughts remained with her through the majority of the ride home, and she found herself wishing for Lady's company, as she had so often before.

As she thought about Lady, her phone vibrated, and her heart leaped, thinking that somehow she had summoned Lady. She'd always known Lady had some strange mom-powers.

But no, it was something better- Marceline.

She stuck her tongue out in concentration. Did she really just think that? Gosh, that was dorky.

Marceline: Hey, how're the folks?

Bonnie: Still on the bus. It smells like old people here :(

Marceline: G fucking G Bonnibel, I'm 'bout to fly first class.

Bonnie: Goodbye, Marceline

Marceline: You know you'll be lonely without me. I guess you could talk to one of the randos on the bus.

Bonnie chuckled to herself, casting a glance around to see who was in her immediate vicinity. Immediately, her gaze found a familiar figure. A young man, perhaps twenty five, with a puffy black beard and bald head, wearing dozens of rubber bracelets.

Bonnie: Yeah, I wanted to catch up with the Bus Man anyway.

Marceline: The bus man? Like, the driver?

Bonnie: No. Bus Man. He claims to be the ultimate bus rider in the city, but some say there's another one on the rise- super bus man. Clearly a cheap ripoff if you ask me.

Marceline: Is this a real thing?

Bonnie: Anything's a real thing on public transit.

Marceline didn't reply after that- she assumed because she had to turn off her phone, but Bonnie was sad regardless. She stared out the window for the remainder of the ride, vaguely aware of Bus Man talking to the unknowing people next to him, lecturing about the unknown ins and outs of public transit.

When she arrived in her home town, she was surprised to find someone waiting.

“Neddy!” she cried, throwing herself off the bus and into his arms. Neddy hugged her back tightly.

Bonnie pushed herself away, “How're you, dude? It's been forever.”

Neddy offered her the biggest smile he could muster. He'd never spoken much, but he was very expressive through his body language, and Bonnie had long since mastered the art of understanding him.

“And mom and dad?”

Neddy shrugged, stuck his tongue out and rolled his eyes.

“So same as usual?”

Another smile. That was good- Neddy had the best smiles.

Neddy was an anomaly to her- he was all these things that in other people would annoy her or make her uncomfortable, but in him she unconditionally adored. He was tall and had wide shoulders, which she often found intimidating and reacted, often unfairly, aggressively to, but she knew those arms were just used to give bigger, better hugs.

He was prone to unwarranted touching, but she knew he meant the best by it- it helped him get messages across, and she liked him enough to not mind it.

Neddy tilted his head, then reached down to ruffle her hair, whose dark brown roots were starting to show through, “Oh, yeah, haven't been able to dye it for a while.”

Neddy pointed vaguely in the direction of what they'd often called 'downtown' in their youth. It was the center of town, but the former term tended to imply something bigger than a Mcdonalds, a grocery store, a drug store, and a video rental shop that had survived netflix solely because the town was inhabited by a majority of elderly people.

“Neddy are you trying to avoid going home? I know you got my hair dye for Christmas.”

Neddy shrugged, staring down at his feet.

“Is mom being extra annoying?”

A head shake.

“Just not feeling it.”

A pause, followed by a nod.

“Wanna go to the store and look at chips for an hour?”

Neddy nodded once more, this time accompanied by a wide grin. Bonnie was more than happy to dodge responsibility with her brother.


 

“Where have you two been?”

Bonnie had been anticipating her mother's stern voice the entire walk home, but the preparation hadn't made the reality any better. The voice still rattled through her body, leaving a trail of anxiety in its path.

“Neddy and I just went to get some snacks for later,” she replied calmly.

“Well, dinner's ready,” she said, turning back into the dining room.

Bonnie and Neddy exchanged a quick glance, paired with frowns, and made their way into the dining room. Dinner was always the worst part of the day- trapped in a room with both parents, no way out unless you wanted to go hungry, and always the same goddamn questions.

“How's school?”

Yep, nothing ever changed.

“Good,” Bonnie said, before taking a bite of mashed potato.

“Exam grades?”

“Not in yet.”

“None of them?”

“Nope,” Bonnie said, ending the word with a 'pop'.

“I see. And how about you, Neddy? You're doing online classes?”

Neddy nodded, “S'good,” he managed, knowing his parents wouldn't let him go without a verbal response.

Her phone buzzed in her pocket, causing her heart to leap- Marceline. She knew better than to check her phone at the table, but she did begin to eat quicker.

“Alright, Bonnie, do you have a boyfriend? And stop eating so quickly.”

Bonnie made a display of swallowing an all-too large portion of food, “Boy, do I ever not.”

“Bonnie, I do wish you would keep your sarcasm to a minimum. We're trying to have pleasant conversation.”

“By disregarding the fact that I'm a-”

“Don't.”

“Lesbian,” Bonnie spat.

Her mother stood up, “Right. If you can't use basic manners, you can just go to your room.”

Bonnie shrugged. She cared more about talking to Marceline than spending any more time here, anyway. She cast an apologetic glance over to Neddy before making her way upstairs to her childhood room.

Her parents had cleared out a lot since her last visit. All the clothes she'd left behind, most of which were too small anyway, were gone, along with a few knickknacks here and there. She flopped down onto her bed and opened her phone.

Marceline: You'll be happy to know I landed safely.

Bonnie: Oh, heavens, I was so worried, I almost broke into tears!

Marceline: Worry not, my fair lady, for I am here.

Bonnie paused, reading over the reply a few times. Fair lady? What?

She decided that a snarky reply was appropriate for the situation.

Bonnie: Are you flirting, Abadeer?

Marceline: Oh, shut up.

Marceline: How are you, by the way?

At that moment, Neddy walked into her room and took a seat at the foot of her bed. She waved, but didn't attempt to strike up any conversation for now- she knew he normally just liked to be around.

Bonnie: Eh. Got into a spat with my parents, but my brother's here, so that's nice.

Marceline: Dude, you never told me you had a brother.

Bonnie: I have many secrets. Anyway, how's the family, and you-know-who?

Neddy raised an eyebrow and pointed at her screen.

Bonnie was well aware of the blush that must have appeared upon her face, but she didn't try to hide it- not around Neddy, “It's my roommate, Marceline.”

Neddy scooted close and leaned over her shoulder to view her phone. Guessing what he wanted, she closed the chat and flipped over to her image gallery, thankful that she kept her photos to strictly images of herself and friends, and opened up a recent picture of herself and Marceline, right before their last exam. Neddy responded with a light punch to the shoulder and a wink.

“She has a boyfriend, though.”

Neddy flopped down onto to bed and covered his face with his hands.

“I feel ya, dude.”

Marceline: Ash doesn't play by the same rules as Lord Voldemort, but he's not here. Said he didn't wanna come. Family's good though.

Bonnie wasn't sure how to respond to that, in all honestly, so she turned to Neddy once more, “Is mom pissed?”

He nodded.

“Is she gonna be more pissed if she finds you here?”

He paused, then sheepishly nodded again.

“You should go, dude. Text me if you need me.”

Neddy sighed, but nodded and rose from the bed, “I love you.”

“Love you too, loser,” Bonnie mumbled, opening Marceline's text again.

Bonnie: How's Simon? I know you miss him.

Marceline: He's the best. He can never wait to start giving me gifts, not that I'm complaining. Her gave me a handmade scrapbook with pictures of us and I cried for like ten minutes straight.

Bonnie: Well, at least its obvious where you got your sappiness.

Marceline: I'm not sappy- I'm charming and uh, emotionally, uh, something good, anyway.

Bonnie smiled. Yeah, something good.

Bonnie: Sure thing. I think I'm gonna go to sleep. Ten minutes with my mom feels like ten hours.

Marceline: Alright, dude. Try to get away tomorrow. Ttyl <3.

Bonnie's smile widened as she read the reply.

Bonnie: <3.


 

Bonnie awoke early and skillfully crept out of the house before her parents woke up. She knew she'd be in for a verbal pummeling when she returned, but she couldn't bring herself to care in the moment. Neddy had declined her offer to tag along- he didn't like groups of larger than three people- she hoped that would result in him being spared of any verbal harassment.

Lady wait waiting for her on her front step. Upon spotting Bonnie, she bounded down her driveway and pulled her into a hug, “You doin' alright, Bon?”

“I'm fine. If the family's still asleep, can we go for a walk?”

Lady nodded, and the two began their trek along the familiar street.

They spent their walk in silence, for the most part. That was how Bonnie preferred it in situations like this. She didn't like vocalizing her emotions, but she didn't want to be alone, either. This allowed her to mull silently over her thoughts, while also having company, and Lady always seemed more than happy to oblige.

She didn't want to go back home. She wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere would do. She'd hang out with Ash if she had too. More than anything though, she'd rather just have a nice break with Marceline, maybe go on an adventure or two while they were both free from work.

She sighed.

Of course, that wasn't possible, and even if it were, she didn't want to abandon Neddy.

But she just felt so suffocated.

“Bon, it's freezing out. I know you're thinking, but maybe we can do it where it's warm,” Lady said, rubbing her hands together, her teeth chattering.

“Do you think Jake is awake?”

“He's not, but if we make food, he'll come.”

Bonnie laughed, “Yeah, sure, sounds good.”

The remainder of the morning passed almost in a daze, as if she were watching herself from outside her body. Often, she found herself detached from conversation, thinking frantically of possible scenarios that could arise in the following days, resulting in anger from her parents, and especially her mother. Sometimes, she'd be removed from her trance by Lady resting a hand on her shoulder. Other times, it would be her phone buzzing- usually Neddy sending her brief updated.

A bit after noon, Finn was in the middle of recounting an adventure he'd found himself involved with one weekend. Jake tapped his foot anxiously the whole time, but didn't interrupt as Finn's group landed themselves in more and more dangerous situations. Her phone buzzed once again.

Marceline: How're you?

She stared at the message, her mind filled with panic-induced thought. She tried to think clearly, but no detailed response came to mind.

Bonnie: Fine.

Marceline: Uh, are you upset with me?

Bonnie blinked. She wasn't sure why she thought that- she didn't want her to think that, but she couldn't think through words right now.

Bonnie: No. It's ok.

Marceline didn't message her back after that, and the next message her received, a couple hours later, was from Neddy, notifying her that her parents were becoming impatient.

With a sigh, Bonnie excused herself, accepting a hug from Lady, and then a particularly tight hug from Finn, before heading back towards the house she had once called home.

It was going to be a long week.


 

“You texting your boyfriend?” Marceline's father asked as he stirred the contents of the pot in front of him.

Marceline was sitting at the kitchen table, kicking her feet. She was, in fact, staring at her last exchange with Bonnie, over two hours ago now. She knew something was wrong- was it invasive for her to ask what?

She knew Bonnie wasn't one to ask for help.

Marceline: If you wanna talk you can text me, or call even. Just let me know before you call.

“Nah, not Ash. My roommate, Bonnie.”

“What's she like,” Betty asked, appearing around the corner, closely followed by Simon.

“Oh, yes, I don't think you mentioned her last time,” Simon noted, “is she cute.”

“Don't be weird, love,” Betty whispered.

“I wasn't trying to be weird- I just want to be supportive.”

Marceline laughed, “Don't worry Simon, I got it.”

She paused before continuing, letting out a humming noise to signify that she was thinking over her response- Bonnie was cute, no use in denying that. That said, she didn't want to imply any sort of attraction to her, really. She was still dating Ash, and hinting that she had a crush on her roommate would be cause for teasing which, while in good spirit, would add to her growing stress concerning her relationship.

“She's pretty, but not really my type,” she lied.

“What is your type?” her father asked, “I bet I could get you a nice girlfriend.”

Marceline laughed, “You sound like you're going to force somebody to be my girlfriend, dad.”

“If that what it takes,” he said, a bit too seriously. She knew he didn't mean it- he'd just never been good at intonation.

“All right, guys, let's cut it out before we start stressing out the poor girl,” Betty said, then added, “but speaking of dating, what's the scoop of Keila and Ellen?”

Marceline smiled- talking about her own relationships was stressful, but gossip? That could be fun, so long as it wasn't harmful- she always felt guilty when it devolved into shit talking (unless the person deserved it, which wasn't the case here).

“Sadly, I think Ellen's about as straight as a plank of wood.”

“Poor Keila's been infatuated with her for years,” Simon said, “I always figured things would just work out for them, but I guess it doesn't always work out like that.”

Though he certainly didn't intend it, his words worried Marceline. Was she just expecting things would work out for her, relationship wise? Would they actually work out? Could they? She swallowed hard, feeling her anxiety begin to rise.

Thankfully, at that moment, food was set in front of her. Her father had made curry and rice. She wasn't sure exactly what the contents of the curry were, but she was more than happy to drown her thoughts in whatever it was.

“You know, Marceline,” her father said between bites, “I'll be honest- I was worried for you going into University, but I must say, you've done very well. I'm proud of you, dear.”

Marceline blinked at him, unsure how to respond. She wasn't used to such outward affection coming from him, “Thanks, dad. Uh, Bonnie helped keep me on track.”

“She sounds like a great influence.”

She laughed, “Yeah, I guess. I gotta keep her on track sometimes too, though.”

“A dynamic duo, then” Simon interjected enthusiastically.

Marceline smiled widely, “I guess so.”

She felt her phone vibrate in her pocket, but didn't want to deal with the barrage of questions that would result in her checking her phone in the middle of her meal, and so she scarfed down the remainder of her food and excused herself, rapidly thanking her father before bolting to her room with the excuse of being sleepy.

Once she flopped down on her bed, she flipped open her phone, hoping desperately that the message would be from who she wanted. By some Christmas miracle, it was.

Bonnie: Can we call?

Marceline: Yeah dude.

Her phone rang a few moments later.

“Hey Bon bon,” Marceline sing-songed.

“Hey Marcy,” Bonnie rasped. She sounded as if she'd been crying.

“Yo, are you okay?”

“I got my grades. Two As, a B plus, and a C plus.”

“That's awesome, Bon.”

“It's really not.”

“Hey, it's like you said- C's get degrees, right?”

Bonnie didn't respond.

“Bonnie? Is this about your parents?”

More silence.

“Do you need to talk about it?”

“Probably?”

“Are you gonna talk about it?”

“Probably not.”

Marceline frowned- she wanted to help her friend. To do that, she had to know what was wrong. She knew, though, that information could not be forced out of Bonnie. She'd tell her what was wrong when she was ready, and not a moment sooner. Forcing it out of her would only result in her closing Marceline off.

Marceline hummed, “How'd Neddy?”

Bonnie's voice audibly picked up at the mention of her brother, “Oh, he's good. I got him some chewy toys for Christmas- he was always big on chewing- he once chewed the tips off a whole box of my pencils.”

Marceline laughed, “I always did that during tests- I was a nervous test taker when I was younger. Now I just don't care enough, or, well, at least not until after the exam.”

“Don't chew my pencils.”

“You'd let me.”

Bonnie sighed, “Yeah, whatever. How's the family?”

“Oh, they're good. Dad's here for once- he said he was proud of me today.”

“Dude, parental approval, score.”

“Right? I feel like I just won the lottery.”

“Wouldn't that just be like, getting your allowance?”

“Oh hah-hah, Bonnibel. I'm not that rich.”

“Marcy?”

“Bonnie?”

“Can we call every day, until we get back to campus?”

Marceline smiled, “Sure.”

“Awesome. I gotta go eat dinner, but I'll talk to you later.”

“Later.”

There was a loud click, indicating the end of the call, and Marceline let the phone fall to her side, a wide smile spreading across her face. She could definitely talk to Bonnie every day- it felt natural to do so.

The next week was going to go by far too quickly.

 

Chapter Text

The remainder of her trip dragged by for Bonnie. She spent as much time away from her parents as possible, braving the lectures about responsibility and loving family unconditionally that came with it. Thankfully, Lady was always accommodating, if not a tad over-the-top with her teasing with regards to Bonnie's constant texting with Marceline.

The day after Christmas, she was gathered in Lady's living room with Prismo and Neddy, who had decided to come along in light of the smaller group. He sat next to Prismo, who he'd always been fond of- she wasn't sure if that was because he was quiet, extraordinarily tall, or some other reason. It was probably the height, knowing Neddy. He'd always been interested with that sort of thing.

“Oh, Bon, are you coming round for New Years Eve?” Lady asked, “I hear Fionna's bringing her new girlfriend. Tons of teasing to be had there.”

Bon rolled her eyes, “As far as I'm aware, yes, I will be coming.”

“And you're always welcome too, Neddy,” Lady added. He smiled and nodded, though everyone knew he wouldn't come- he still enjoyed being offered.

Conversation following that continued as normal- they all assumed, probably correctly, that festivities would involve pizza and watching terrible movies, only interrupted by thirty seconds of screaming once midnight hit. Through it all, Bonnie opened her phone every few minutes to reply to Marceline. At the moment, they were in the middle of a pointless “emoticon war”, but they were having fun.

That was, until her phone rang, displaying “Work” as the caller ID. With a groan, she excused herself to outside the room, ignoring Lady shaking her head no.

“Hey, Bonnie speaking.”

“Hey, Bonnie, it's Jermaine. Listen, do you think you can work the thirty first? It would be two to eight- I know you booked the day off, but we're low on options since Bella went on medical leave.”

“Uh, well.”

“I'm not trying to pressure you, but you're pretty much our last resort here.”

Bonnie frowned, right, no pressure though.

“Uh, sure, okay,” she sighed.

“Awesome. See you then.”

Bonnie retreated into the room, where Lady was eyeing her, eyebrows raised.

“I, uh, have to cancel new year's.”

Bonnie,” Lady whined, slouching back into the couch.

“I'm sorry, my boss basically guilt tripped me, and I do get bonus pay.”

Lady let out a long, drawn-out sigh, “Fine.”

Bonne hoisted her back into a sitting position, sort of. She was a bit heavy.

“Don't be so dramatic, Lady. I'm still gonna spend the next couple days with you.”

Lady grinned, “If your attention isn't taken by that.”

Bonnie glanced down at where her friend was pointing- her phone, and typed in her pass code to view her new messages.

Marceline: :[]

Marceline: You didn't reply. I win.

Bonnie stuck her tongue out, “Yeah, I guess I'm a bit distracted lately.”


Bonnie had been anticipating the verbal beating she received upon unpacking the news that she would be departing sooner than anticipated, and she found it more annoying than upsetting. Perhaps she was finally building a thicker skin to the whole thing. She didn't care- she just wanted to get past it so that she could sneak to her room and talk to Marceline.

Eventually, her mother's rant ended with the claim that she'd developed a headache, followed by her retreating to the living room. Bonnie shrugged and walked upstairs, lying down on her bed. She pondered a nap for a minute, before unlocking her phone and opening her chat log with Marceline.

Bonnie: Can we call?

Her phone rang in response a moment later. With a smile, she answered, “Hey, what's up?”

Marceline's crackly laugh echoed though the phone, “You're the one who asked to call, but I'm fine. Yo, what was your gift haul? You didn't call last night?”

Bonnie blinked in surprise- she'd assumed Marceline would be too focused on family to notice, “Oh, uh, I got some hair dye, socks, a pair of pajamas, and, uh, a fifty dollar gift card to walmart.”

Silence.

“Yo, Marcy, ya' there?”

“Oh, I didn't know you were done.”

Bonnie scoffed, “Okay, miss prissy-”

“Rude.”

“What did you get?”

“Ah, well, I got a thousand dollars for entertainment over the semester-”

Bonnie choked on her spit.

“You okay?”

Bonnie cleared her throat, “Mm, yeah, go on.”

“Some new jeans, oh some cute knee socks- I love those. Uncle Simon got me the photo album I mentioned, and aunt Betty got me a hundred dollar Amazon giftcard. Then just the usual, a few hoodies, some jeans, and so on.”

“Jesus Marce, save some for me.”

“I don't think we're the same size anything.”

Bonnie paused, looking down at her own chest. She frowned, then pulled up a picture of her and Marceline. She hummed, “Boob size?”

“What?”

“We might have the same bra size.”

There was a long pause, “Are you kidding me?”

Bonnie laughed, “Shit's expensive.”

“I don't even, remember what size I am, hold on,” she heard shuffling, a couple drawers opening, “I'm, uh, no, I didn't even know I still had that. Hold on, uh, 36 C?”

“See, same size,” Bonnie said excitedly.

“I don't know what to do with this information.”

There was a loud knocking on her door, followed by her father crying, “Bonnibel, dinner.”

“Rents laying down the law?”

“Nah, right now they're just calling me for dinner. Oh, we need to talk again after, though. I forgot to ask you my main question.”

“Oh, uh, yeah, alright.”

“Bye.”

“Bye!”

Bonnie hung up with a silent curse. She'd meant to think before saying that last bit- she intended to ask if Marcy wanted to spend new years with her, but she still wasn't sure if that was a good idea. Oh well, she supposed if she didn't think of an alternative question over dinner, she'd just have to ask.

She made her way down the stairs and into the kitchen, where her family had already begun eating. She eyed the macaroni and cheese in front of her, fairly certain it was out of the box, not that she minded too much. Food was food- at least her mother hadn't dumped ketchup on it like the last time. Eugh.

She ate the food at a reasonable pace, trying to not draw too much attention to herself- she thought her mom was catching on to her rushing upstairs after dinner. This idea was further emphasized by the fact that her mother seemed to be watching her out of the corner of her eye.

Neddy frowned into his dinner. He hated the texture of macaroni and cheese- he always had. Their mom has never been the best at accommodating him. She'd pull him aside after dinner and give him one of the protein bars she kept in her room- he didn't like those much either, but at least he could stomach them.

Eventually, they were excused from dinner, and Bonnie dragged Neddy to her room, shooting a quick goodnight to her parents.

Once inside her room, Bonnie dug through her bag for a moment before triumphantly pulling out a chocolate chip protein bar, which she shoved into her brothers hands. Neddy nodded gratefully and pointed at her phone with a small smile.

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Yes, I am, so get out, go on, shoo.”

Neddy laughed and left to herself with a wink, which she rolled her eyes in response to.

Once she was sure he was out of earshot, she called Marceline again. She picked up immediately.

“Yo, Bon, what's happenin? What was your question, dude? I'm dying to know.”

“Oh, yeah, so, I was wondering what your plans were for New Years?”

There was a pause, causing Bonnie to shout internally.

“Uh, not much I guess. Why?”

“Would you maybe, consider coming back to spend time with your dear old lonely roommate? I know it's still a few days before classes, but-”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Really?”

“Eh, yeah. My family doesn't do much anyway.”

Bonnie smiled widely, “Awesome.”

 


 

The party wasn't the same without Bonnie, Lady decided. Finn and Jake were their usual goofy selves, and she got to meet Fionna's roommate, Phoebe, so that was neat, but she found she missed her best friend. Prismo seemed to be the only one not either tipsy or on a sugar high, so he tried to comfort her in his own, awkward way.

Several times, he would reach out to touch her shoulder, retract his hang, mumble something, and then sigh deeply. A few hours into it, she rested her hand on his shoulder, “It's fine, Pris, thank you.”

“Yo, where's this Bonnie girl I've heard so much about?” Phoebe asked, wrapping her arm around Fionna's shoulder. Phoebe was different than she expected, though she wasn't sure how. She had flaming orange hair, dyed by the looks of her roots, which her black. Her skin was almost as dark as Prismo's, and was dotted with darker freckles along her face and arms. She had a fairly imposing presence about her, in spite of her much smaller stature. Most noticeable of all were her bright green eyes, which she too often found herself looking at. Awkward.

“Probably not coming,” Fionna sighed, leaning against her girlfriend, “Jermaine called me and asked me to come in, and I said no. If he asked Bonnie after me, I doubt she declined.”

Lady winced. Was Bonnie really that predictable, “She does need the money, you know. She spent as much time as she could here before she left.”

Lady knew this wasn't exactly true- she hadn't come back to visit at all in the last few days, but she was sure there was a good reason for that.

“I see,” Phoebe said, taking a sip of her drink, “Maybe it's not my place to speak, but-”

Lady definitely didn't like where this was going.

“From what I've heard from Fionna, Bonnie doesn't seem like the best friend. She seems to flake out and make excuses constantly, not to mention being kinda rude.”

Instantly, Lady's anger flared. She rose suddenly to her feet, causing Prismo to flinch. Jake paused from where he was wrestling with Finn on the floor, “Uh, Lady,” he began.

“Well maybe Fionna isn't the best authority. She's had a crush on Bonnie for years. She's probably just jealous that some hot rocker chick is stealing her away.”

“Ladies, ladies,” Finn interrupted, rising shakily to his feet. He laughed awkwardly, “you know what sounds awesome? Juice! I'm gonna make some fruit punch, and uh, get some pots and pans for, y'know,” he motioned banging the pots together.

Lady continued to glare at Phoebe, who met her gaze with a neutral expression.

“I didn't mean to step out of line, I was just,” she cleared her throat, “concerned. It wasn't necessary to attack Fionna. She's over her anyway.”

Fionna said nothing, but nodded meekly. Lady felt something sink in her stomach, “Right, sorry Fi.”

Jake motioned outside. With a sigh, she took Prismo's hand and excused herself.

Once they were outside, in the frighteningly cold air, Jake sighed, “Lady. I've been avoiding talking about it, but, well, you know Bonnibel has a tendency to, well, cut people off for no reason. She leaves us suddenly all the time, and I've been thinkin', y'know, she's 'sposed to be your best friend, but I'm thinkin' Phoebe isn't totally wrong.”

“Oh please. Prismo, you're on my side.”

Prismo only looked at the ground.

“Prismo, really?”

“What she said about her being rude. She does tend to uh, forget other people have feelings sometimes. I'm not saying she can't be good, she just-”

“Maybe you're all being-” Lady bit back a biting remark, “right, sorry. I just,” she sighed, “I know she's a good person.”

“Deep down?”

“I guess.”

“Listen, I don't want to make you depressed about your best friend. I just want you to be on Phoebe's level so you're not at each others' throat all night. We can sort things out with Bonnie later, alright?” Jake said, taking one of her hands in his.

Lady nodded, “Yeah, thanks Jake. I needed to be brought back down to earth.”

Jake smiled, “Good, now let's go enjoy the party.”

Jake and Prismo pushed in ahead of her, and she wandered n more slowly, taking a seat on the ground. She unlocked her phone and hovered over Bonnie's name for a moment, before turning off the device for the night.

 

Chapter Text

Work dragged by for Bonnie, both because it was an agonizingly slow day- characteristic for New Years Eve at her location- and also because she knew she would be able to see Marceline at the end of her shift, after what felt like far too much time apart. It didn't help that nobody who she remotely liked was working today. Her manager was Jermaine, who usually stayed holed up in the office downstairs, and when he wasn't, he was trying desperately to be funny, which never worked, and usually somehow ended up making small children cry.

But the fact that it was so, so slow was the worst part. The most people came in for was red cups which, no, they did not have any more. Occasionally, they had a drunk man wander in who would either crash on the chair they had on display in the center aisle, or do something else to get him escorted off the premises.

The mood dragged on until the last hour of her shift, when she heard a familiar voice from behind her, “Hey, Bon!”

Bonnie turned on her heels, smiling wide as she came face-to-face with Marceline, who was smiling just as wide as her. Her black hair now reached down to her shoulders, and was flecked with quickly melting snow. In spite of the thick red parka and black scarf she was wearing, her teeth chattered for a few moments upon entering the significantly warmer shop.

“Dude, I thought you weren't gonna be back till like, eleven.”

Marcy shrugged, “I caught an earlier flight.”

Bonnie glanced over her shoulder, checking for management, before pulling Marceline into a fierce hug.

“Wow, Bon, I didn't think you were a hugger,” she said, wrapping her arms around Bonnie's waist and sending sharp electricity up her spine.

“Oh, hush. I won't do it again if you complain.”

“Shutting up,” Marceline said with a warm laugh.

Bonnie let go and stepped back, “I just have to keep an eye out for my manager, but how are you? How was your flight?”

Marceline shrugged, leaning against one of the unattended checkouts, “I'm alright- I just donked out on the plane for an hour, so that was good.”

“And no other plans tonight?” she asked for perhaps the third time.

“No other plans,” Marceline agreed, “Ash asked but, uh, I said no.”

Bonnie blinked, a sudden rush of guilt washing over her, “Really?” she nearly added that she didn't have to, but she was a fair bit selfish, and she wanted Marceline to stay with her for the night. She wouldn't stop her if she wanted to see Ash, but she wasn't going to suggest it.

“Yeah. I need some girl time, y'know,” she wrapped her arm around Bonnie's shoulder, “just me and my main girl.”

“Am I really your main girl? What would your friend Keila think?” Bonnie teased.

Marceline's eyes widened, “Keila doesn't need to know.”

Bonnie through her hands into the air, “Oh, I bet you tell Keila the same thing. Tsk, tsk, Marceline, leading girls on left and right.”

Marceline rolled her eyes, “I don't lead people on. I like the direct approach.”

“Okay, well, I'm not gonna be off work for a another hour, so you might wanna head back to the dorm.”

Marceline shrugged, “Eh, I'll hang out here. You don't look like you got much going on. If your manager comes by, I'll ask real stupid questions.”

Marceline's phone buzzed, and as she picked it up, her face formed into a hard frown. She tapped for a few moments before slipping the phone back into her pocket without a word.

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “What's up Marcy?”

“Uh, the sky, haha, right, get it?”

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Sweet joke, try telling it to the toddlers in the toy aisle. I meant why you looked so glum, chum.”

Marceline groaned and slid down the side of the checkout until she hit the dusty floor, “Ash is just being more uh,” she paused, “flirty, than usual. Since I've been gone a while.”

Bonnie stuck her tongue out, fighting back to urge to comment on how gross Ash was, especially given that Marceline's less safe for work implication had not been missed, “Well, you're not home, so not much you can do.”

Marceline flushed, “Like, uh, yeah, right, not much I can do.”

Marceline crouched next to Marceline and slipped the phone out of her pocket, “Listen to me, Marcy, no sexting your gross gremlin boyfriend tonight.”

Marceline's mouth popped open- she tried to form a remark, but in the end she just blushed, “I wasn't gonna.”

“God I hope not.”

“Bonnie,” the sudden urgency in Marceline's voice surprised her, “can we talk about him? After work? I really need to talk about a uh, specific thing.”

Bonnie blinked, concern clouding her mind. Was Marceline mad at her? Had Ash done something? Either way, she just nodded.

With a sigh, Marceline rose to her feet, Bonnie following close behind. Marceline pointedly avoiding eye contact, instead focusing on tapping her foot, “I'm gonna go to the grocery store for snacks. What do you want?”

“Uh, plain chips and french onion dip.”

“Gross,” Marceline said, pulling out her phone with yet another frown, “I'll pick them up, but ew.”

“Yeah, whatever, picky,” Bonnie said, crossing her arms, “go on,” she began eyeing a raggedy customer who had walked in a few moments ago, “that guy's a regular thief, I gotta go lay down customer service on him. Later?”

Marceline smiled weakly, “See ya' in a bit, Bon.”

 


 

 

Marceline didn't speak for the entire ride home- that fact alone was enough to set Bonnie in panic mode. She held her phone close to her face, angled slightly away so Bonnie couldn't see what she was looking at, and the entire time her expression morphed from confusion to frustration, then occasionally to what appeared to be distress.

Every time Bonnie attempted to start a conversation, she was met with either a shrug or a two word answer, at which point Marceline would return to her phone. She didn't seem to be typing anything, just scrolling through messages or flipping through pictures, she wasn't sure which.

When they arrived at their stop- the last stop on the route, Marceline didn't seem to notice. Bonnie had to tug her, albeit as gently as she could, off the bus and to her dorm. During the cold walk, she would occasionally glance back at her roommate, and found that her eyes seemed to be gathering tears as they drew closer. She knew Marceline wouldn't want to cry out in the open, but she really hoped she wouldn't cry at all. It wasn't that she wanted Marceline to suppress her emotions- more just that she really didn't know how to react to crying.

Naturally, then, the moment they entered the door, Marceline had her arms around Bonnie's neck and was sobbing into her shoulder.

“Um,” Bonnie murmured, pushing the door closed with her foot. She patted Marceline's back gently, feeling her entire body tense. She cleared your throat, “c'mon, let's sit on the bed, okay?”

Marceline nodded, burying her face more firmly into Bonnie's shoulder and tightening her grip. In any other situation, the physical closeness would have caused her face to heat up, but right now she could only feel a mixture of concern and confusion.

“Is,” she paused, trying to find a more subtle way to word what she wanted to say. Okay, she had to ask about Ash. But how to say it. Subtle, Bonnie. Subtle. Subtle.

“Is this about your jerk-ass boyfriend?”

Marceline's fingernails sunk into her arms as she sobbed harder. So, that was a yes, but her attempt to word her question well hadn't gone smoothly.

Bonnie took a deep breath and slowly pried Marceline off her. She held her at arm length and looked at her as directly as she could manage, and boy was that difficult. The sight of her friend, eyes red from tears, was heart-wrenching to behold, “Marcy, please tell me whats wrong. If he hurt you, I swear.”

Marceline shook her head and took a labored breath, wiping away her tears. Bonnie scrambled around her bed, grabbing a box of tissues she had placed near the foot of her bed and handed one to her, which she then dabbed her eyes with, which would likely irritate them, but it was better than her using her hands.

Bonnie rested her hands lightly on her shoulders, “It's gonna be okay, Marcy.”

Marceline nodded, “I just, I feel so stupid,” she choked out, “I need to break up with Ash, I know I do, but I feel like I can't. I said I would last year, and look where we are now.”

Bonnie's entire body seized up- was she shocked, was she almost excited? She wasn't sure. Regardless, she knew she had to force words of advice out of her mouth one way or another.

“I,” she began, “I can help, if you want, like, be there when you tell him.”

Marceline shook her head, “No, I won't do that to you but,” she swallowed, “could you be there after?”

Bonnie blinked, “Yeah, yeah of course, Marcy. We can talk smack about boys all night, and, uh, I'll go get good ice cream and we can eat it straight out of the tub, how's that sound?”

Marceline shot her a tearful smile, “That sounds stupid.”

Bonnie scoffed, “God, tell me how you really feel.”

Marceline laughed, and it sounded strained, but genuine.

“But seriously, if you need to vent about him or anything, I'm all ears.”

Marceline pulled her knees up to her chin, “Really? Even if its kinda gross?”

Bonnie took a deep breath, “Ash is inherently gross, so yes.”

Marceline took a deep breath, and collapsed onto her back. She covered her eyes with her hands before speaking, “Okay, so, Ash has this weird thing with sex where like, he expects me to suck on his gross dong, but he ain't giving me anything, like, dude.”

Bad start.

Bonnie listened anyway. It was the least she could do.


 

Marceline ranted for what must have been a good hour. The two lay side by side on Bonnie's bed, and at some point Marceline had interlocked her fingers with Bonnie's, and would squeeze her hand whenever she laughed at one of her own jokes.

“Oh, god, and I kid you not, this one time, he cried because I told him I didn't want to watch My Little Pony with him. Like, I don't even have anything against the show, I just didn't want to watch it,” she snorted, “he's such a loser.”

Bonnie smiled at her roommate- she was so cute like this, as corny as it sounded, but her face really did light up when she laughed. She tried to blink away the pure adoration that was surely colouring her expression when Marceline met her gaze, “What about you, Bon? Got any funny ex stories?”

“Uh,” Bonnie began. She thought back to Shoko, but she didn't really have much to say there. A few months of happiness halted in their tracks but her leaving suddenly. She didn't care much to talk about that.

“Uh, well, you know Jake?”

“Pris and Lady's boyfriend? Wait, did you date him?”

“Uhg, no. But yeah, that's him. Well, he has a brother named Finn, and that kid had a weird admiration crush on me for years. And let me tell you, fourteen year old me, filled to the brim with confusion about my sexuality, had no idea how to deal with that. I tried laughing along with him for a year, and that sure didn't work. Then, I finally made it clear I didn't want to date him, and believe it or not Jake was mad at me for like, a year after that. Thought I'd been leading him on or somethin'. Lady eventually talked sense into him.”

“That's like, super lame. C'mon, though, Bon, I know you have some secret girlfriend drama you're dying to tell me. C'mon, maybe a fling gone awry?” she wriggled her eyebrows.

Bonnie blushed. She did have one story, involving a nature enthusiast she'd graduated with last summer. She didn't wanna relive that, honestly. God, she didn't even remember her name. She'd been fun though.

“Uh, no, nothing like that.”

“Lying doesn't suit you, Bonnibel,” Marceline chided.

“Being a butthead doesn't suit you,” Bonnie shot back.

Before Marceline could muster a reply, fireworks were set off in a nearby building, forcing a shriek out of her instead, which was met with a loud laugh from Bonnie.

“Holy shit I think I almost had a heart attack,” Marceline said, gripping at her chest.

“Happy new year!” Bonnie exclaimed, happy for the distraction from questions about her romantic life, and threw her arms around Marceline's neck.

She laughed, “Happy new year Bonnie.”

“Let's make this year one dedicated to dating better people. Sound good?”

Marceline's arms wrapped around her waist and squeezed lightly, “Sounds good.”

 

Chapter Text

Marceline awoke early on new years day. She smiled to herself when she realized that Bonnie's arms were wrapped loosely around her, her head resting near, but not quite touching, her shoulder. Her mood deflated as she spotted her phone sitting on the windowsill. With a light sigh, she reached over, careful not to wake her roommate.

She eyed the other girl, whose hair was messy and falling in front of her face, her mouth slightly open as she slept. Bonnie. Her roommate. She sighed again and unlocked her phone.

She had eight unread messages from Ash, which meant he was angry, or drunk. Probably both, now that she thought about it. He hated texting and almost never sent more than one shortly worded text at a time.

She groaned quietly and she opened his chat log.

Ash: Hey babe, when u free?

Ash: Babe

Ash: Not cool, Marce. What are you doing? Off with your weird roommate again?

Ash: You better not be messing around with her

She winced and placed her phone face-down on her stomach. She ran her hand that wasn't trapped under Bonnie through her hair. She hadn't been messing around. Their interactions were of course, entirely platonic.

Not that it mattered, because she was going to break up with Ash.

The thought send a shiver down her spine.

“I'm going to break up with Ash,” she repeated out loud.

Bonnie didn't stir.

Marceline swallowed before unlocking her phone once again, forcing herself to read through the last few of Ash's messages. Hopefully they'd be some of the last she'd ever see from him.

Ash: Whatever ur missing the bestt party lol

Ash: like 2 girls just fli rted with me i dont need you

Ash: ugly

Ash: ur lucky to have me

Marceline gritted her teeth together and threw her phone across the room with a cry. It landed safely on a discarded pile of clothes, and Marceline lowered back from her partially raised position, her eyes beginning to swell with tears, which she promptly blinked away.

“Marcy?” Bonnie slurred sleepily from her side.

Marcy flinched, “Sorry.”

“Wassup?” Bonnie asked, pushing her hair out of her face and sheepishly retracting her arms from around Marceline's waist.

Marceline inhaled deeply, and rose into a sitting position, “Do you work today?” she asked, her voice sounding quiet. She wanted Bonnie there when she came back. She'd need someone.

“Yeah, most of the day, why?”

Marceline barely managed to hold back tears, “Alright.”

“Why?”

Marceline turned so her legs were dangling off the side of the bed, “I'm gonna break up with Ash. Today.”

There was a pause.

“I'm proud of you, Marce. You're doing the right thing.”

“I know.”

“Do you need me there with you?”

Marceline shook her head, and rose to her feet. She walked across the room and picked up her phone before responding, “Go to work, Bon. You always say you can't miss shifts.”

There was another pause, and in what seemed like an instant Bonnie was back by her side, “You know I am,” she paused again, “passionate about working hard, but-”

Marceline shrugged her hand away, examining herself in her phone. Her hair was a mess, but she figured in an hour or so, it wouldn't matter.

“I'll be back later. See you after work.”


 

Marceline sat at the cafeteria, poking at a long-cold breakfast sandwich, grimly aware that she'd left her dorm over an hour ago. She'd convinced herself that she needed to eat which, while it wasn't untrue, was certainly just a way for her to dodge responsibility.

Plus, eating wasn't worth it when her stomach was churning with anxiety. For all her efforts, she'd only managed two bites before she'd been forced to put her food down.

The cafeteria was empty. Most people didn't return until the very last minute, and even the staff had abandoned their posts to, she assumed, go on break. She figured they weren't technically allowed to leave all at once, but they probably didn't care at this time of year.

She just had to force her legs to hold her upright. Walk to the bus stop. Five minute bus ride.

The whole 'standing' thing was harder than it sounded.

Marceline would never admit it out loud, not to Bonnie, but she was terrified. She was angry as Ash, sure, but he had sleazy friends and was pretty damn creepy himself.

She pulled her phone out of her pocket. Maybe a text? Would he take that seriously?

She sighed. She knew he wouldn't.

With much more effort than what was due for the situation, Marceline rose to her feet and made her way down to the bust stop.

Her feet felt heavy as she moved, and the wind whirled around her as if urging her to go back, but she knew this was a terrible idea. If she went back she'd hold it off another week, then a month, and before she knew it she'd have passed another horrible, miserable year. No, it had to be now.

She greeted the bus driver calmly as she entered the empty bus. He smiled at her and was kind enough to wait for her to sit before moving. She'd never been down this route by bus before. Ash had always picked her up, but she figured in this case it may be sort of rude to ask him to do that. The route was much longer and more scenic than a basic car route, but she didn't have time to absorb it. Even if she hadn't been diligently watching the map on her phone so she knew where to get off the bus, she was too numb to care about anything.

After far too short a time, the bus arrived at her stop, and she got off, waving goodbye to the driver. Ash's apartment was only a few doors away.

She summoned what she could of her strength. It manifested itself in anger- bitter, sad anger. She knocked hard on the door.

Ash's roommate, Pete, emerged first, dressed only in underwear that, upon a brief glance downward, looked as if it hadn't been washed in far too long. He smiled at her in a way that made her shiver, but she kept her expression even, “Yo, Ash, your girl's here!”

In an instant, Ash was by his roommate's side. His head was partly shaven, she assumed from last night's events, and he had heavy bags under his eyes. He made a hissing noise as he was exposed to sunlight and grabbed her by the wrist.

Anger flared through Marceline, and she tore her wrist from his grasp, but nonetheless followed him inside, at which point Pete vanished to what she guessed was his room, if not the washroom.

Ash, meanwhile, waddled into the messy living room and flopped onto the couch with a groan, “Where were you last night? I got super drunk.”

Marceline frowned and sat at his feet, rubbing her arm with a hand. She glanced around the room. Surely there wasn't anything she would miss. The trash on the floor? The table with one leg propped up by moldy boxes? The tv that didn't work? No, there wasn't anything for her here.

Marceline sighed, “You know I don't like it when you get super drunk.”

“Whatever,” Ash groaned, “where were you?”

“With Bonnie.”

“Did you two, y'know.”

Marceline's face fired up, “Ash, no.”

Ash shrugged, “I didn't think she'd be into,” he eyed her, “you,” he practically spat the word, “but if you wanna do something, just make sure I can watch.”

Marceline stood up with a jolt, anger rushing through her like an unconstrained fire. She clenched her fists and resisted the urge to slug him straight in the jaw. When she spoke, her words were much, much louder than she intended, “Don't be gross,” she spat.

Ash winced, “Babe, c'mon, headache.”

Marceline took a step closer, her voice raising, “No. I'm done caring about you. We're done, Ash.”

Ash stared up at her, his eyes confused, and then angry. Slowly, he rose to his feel, standing toe-to-toe with Marceline, and glared into her eyes. Fear jolted through her, begging her to flee, but she held her ground. She'd learned self-defense growing up. She could throw Ash out a window if she needed to, and she had enough money to dodge any serious charges thereafter.

“You don't mean that,” he practically growled. She made mental notes about him as he spoke. Shaky on his feet from the hangover, sluggish, easily tossed aside.

“Fuck you,” she hissed.

Her body tension lessened as Ash stepped back, “Fine, be that way, but no one's gonna take in a sad, ugly charity case like you. Don't come crying back to me when you realize that,” he flopped back onto the couch, “get out of my house. If you aren't gonna use it right, I don't wanna see your gross body around me.”

Marceline clenched and unclenched her fist, staying where she was.

“Did you not hear me? I said-”

Marceline proceeded to punch Ash square in the nose.

She heard a sharp crack and a yelp of pain, and she turned her back, walking briskly out the door. As she opened the door, Pat came running through the kitchen, still dressed in only dirty underwear and frying pan in hand. He made panicked, confused eye contact with her, and she only shrugged before making her way out the door one last time.

Once she made her way down to the bus stop her anger began to fade, only to be replaced by an emptiness and something akin to, what was it? Panic? Sadness?

She'd been with Ash for so long- far, far too long.

As she entered the bus thoughts began to buzz in her mind. Was Ash right? Would she never find anyone else?

No, no that wasn't true.

She exited the bus and dragged her feet back across campus, feeling numb. She should feel accomplished, right? She'd been wanting to do this for so long. It was hard to remembering ever being happy with him, and yet a part of her screamed that without him, she was nothing.

She entered the dorm building and shoved the key into the lock of her and Bonnie's shared room.

It was already opened.

She frowned. Bonnie never left the door unlocked when she left.

She paused a moment before throwing the door open. Bonnie sat, her phone in front of her, and her knees brought up to her chest. Upon seeing Marceline, she dropped her phone on the bed beside her.

“Bonnie? You- work?”

Bonnie offered a small smile, “I called in sick. One day won't hurt anybody.”

In that moment, all the fake strength Marceline had been holding around herself, like a shield, collapsed inward. Her body felt like an eggshell under pressure and her insides were twisted into knots. Bonnie's eyes widened and she rushed to her feet and Marceline collapsed onto the bed, her body raked with ugly sobs.

“Marcy? What's wrong? Did he hurt you?”

Marcy shook her head and buried her face into Bonnie shoulder, sobbing harder.

Bonnie's hands hovered over her back, clearly unsure where to go from here.

Slowly, she pulled Marceline into a tight squeeze, and upon the other girl's touch, she whimpered sadly, hell, pathetically, and nuzzled into her companions neck.

“I,” Bonnie whispered, “I care about you, Marce. You know that, right?”

Marceline nodded, her tears seeping through Bonnie's thin pajama shirt, “I'll buy you a new shirt,” she croaked.

Bonnie's frame shook with laughter, “How about you pay for the load of laundry instead?”

“Okay,” Marceline replied, a hint of laughter emerging into her voice.

Gently, Bonnie pushed Marceline away so that she was at arm's length. She leaned across the bed to grab a box of tissues and began dabbing at her cheeks, “He didn't touch you, did he?”

Marceline shook her head, “No,” she swallowed, “I punched him in the nose. Might'a broken it.”

Bonnie blinked at her, silent, before breaking into laughter, “Well, serves him right.”

Marceline nodded and allowed Bonnie continue cleaning her up. After a minute, she spoke again, her voice beginning to clear, “Thank you for being here for me.”

Bonnie paused, and smiled at her, her eyes seeming oddly... watery? Bonnie had never struck her as a sympathy crier, “What are college roommates for?”

Marceline laughed, “Yeah, I guess so.”

Once she was satisfied that Marceline's face was up to standard, Bonnie ran her hands down Marceline's arms before taking Marceline's cold hands in her warm ones, “Marcy, you know I'm here for you, right?”

Marceline offered her a soft, loving smile, “I do.”

 

Chapter Text

Marceline lay on her bed, face nestled deep in her pillow and arms folded under her. She'd been like this for the majority of the past week, since her breakup.

“Marcy,” Bonnie whispered, shaking her friend lightly by an exposed shoulder. Marceline groaned in reply.

“I'm gonna be right back, but when I get back, I have a special surprise for you.”

Marceline rolled onto her back, “Unless it's a sense of purpose, I'm not interested.”

Bonnie stuck her tongue out, “You'll love it. Back in a few.”

Bonnie closed the door behind her, “God, I hope she loves it,” she muttered to herself, and made her way over to the narrow staircase. They creaked as she trotted down them, a sign of the natural wearing of the old establishment.

When she arrived at the front door, a group stood outside. She opened the door with a grin, “Hi Lady, Jake, Pris, Bianca, Fiona, and, uh,” she blinked at the newcomer- a rather tall girl with fiery hair, “you are?”

Fionna frowned, “I've told you about Phoebe.”

Phoebe's eyes burned into her, “Uh, of course, the name just escaped me. Okay everyone, gather round.”

The group of friends huddled around her, heads inward. Bonnie took a step back, “We're not playing football, folks. She's two floors up, we don't need to be that close,” with a flurry of laughter, everyone stepped back.

“Okay, so we all brought the goods?”

“Strawberry soda,” Lady exclaimed, holding two cases of cans up in the air, and very nearly hitting Jake on the back of the head.

“Powdered mini donuts,” Fionna said, holding a massive container up.

“My excellent self,” Bianca laughed, throwing their hands in the air.

“Alright, gang, let's move out,” Bonnie led the way up the stairs and to her and Marceline's shared room. With a deep breath, she threw the door open.

“Surprise!” the group behind her shouted in unison.

Marceline, for her part, was sitting upright, hair in knots and phone in her hand. Her eyes met Bonnie's, wide, and then a massive grin spread across her face, “Dude, you could have at least let me get changed first.”

Bonnie shrugged, sitting next to Marceline, “I was worried you'd try to talk me out of it,” she kicked her feet, “I figured that, y'know, the best thing I could give you were friends.”

“That's the corniest thing I've ever heard.”

“Can it and eat some powdered donuts.”

“Holy shit,” Marceline said, taking the container from Fionna, “how many are in this?”

“Two hundred,” Fionna replied, grinning over at her girlfriend, “bulk stores are a gift.”

“You're damn right,” Marceline said, flipping it open and stuffing two donuts into her mouth, “fank oo bons 'ends.”

“We also got you this,” Lady pushed to the front of the crowd and handed Marceline a can of strawberry soda, “Bon said it's you're favorite.”

Marceline's eyes sparkled with what Bonnie might describe as pure wonder, “I think I'm in love,” she gasped.

Bonnie's body stiffened and her face flushed for a moment, and then she realized nobody else was reacting. The food. She's talking about the food, Bonnie.

“Is there anything else I should know about?” Marceline broke through her panicked thoughts.

“Me,” a small cry came from the back of the group before Jake and Prismo parted, revealing Bianca, their face broken into the widest smile imaginable.

“The best gift of all,” Marceline laughed as Bianca flung themselves into her arms.

Marceline grunted as Bianca landed on top of her, laughing in spite of the fact that she was clearly in pain. Bianca did occasionally tend to forget they weren't weightless. Regardless, Marceline was a good sport and didn't crush Bianca's dreams, and even offered them a bright smile that Bonnie was fairly certain was genuine.

“So,” Marceline said, sitting up straight, or as straight as she could with Bianca clasped around her neck, “are we gonna sit around staring at me, or are we gonna par-tay!” she shouted they last word, throwing her hands in the air. Her friends responded with loud shouts of excitement which were met by a firm knock on the wall nearest Marceline.

“Party, while abiding by the dorm's sound regulations,” Bonnie laughed.

“Lame,” Marceline said, but she kept a smile on her face, and that's what really mattered.


 

“Prismo, hey, Prismo,” Jake tugged at his boyfriend's over sized red hoodie. Bonnie noted that Prismo had actually re-dyed his hair, properly this time. She smiled to herself- he'd always been self conscious about his appearance, so it was good to see him seem to gain some amount of confidence.

“Prismo, I bet I can drink this entire bottle of soda in one gulp,” Jake said.

“Dude, all that's gonna get you is hiccups. C'mon, you know that,” Prismo tried to sound stern, but the corners of his mouth were quirked upward as he tried to keep in laughter.

“Don't be lame, dude, it's a party.”

Bonnie spoke from where she lay at the edge of Marceline's bed, “It's not much of a party. We're hanging out in a cramped dorm with eight people. Not exactly a wild college party.”

“You're not helping, Bon, I need social encouragement to feel validated,” Jake whined.

Bonnie felt a weight next to her on the bed as Marceline flopped down beside her. Marceline's hair was in knots, and Bonnie knew, if not from living with her, than by her unfortunate odor, that Marceline hadn't showered or changed clothes in a couple of days, but she was glad to see a wide, devious grin on her roommate's face.

“Do it, do it,” Marceline began.

Across the room, Bianca began chanting along. They probably had no idea what they were supporting- they just liked to be included.

“C'mon, Bon,” Marceline nudged her, “do it, do it.”

Bonnie only rolled her eyes as Jake tipped the bottle- a two liter one that they'd bought from the campus drug store when they quickly ran out of cans- into his mouth as Marceline and Bianca continued chanting.

Lady arrived back from her trip to the bathroom at that moment. When she saw Jake, she glanced at Marceline, and then at Prismo, who had his arms folded, and his mouth still quirked up into that awkward smile.

“Pris, you know he's just gonna have an upset stomach and hiccups later,” Lady chided.

“That's what I said,” Prismo shrugged.

Jake finished the soda before erupting in a flurry of coughing and hacking, “Great,” he said as he caught his breath, “now we can play spin the bottle.”

“Hell yeah,” Marceline laughed, sitting up.

“I think not,” Lady said, snatching the bottle out of Jake's hand.

“Aw, c'mon Lady, you love smoochin'.”

Lady smiled, “You're right, but-”

“Then c'mon, we're all friends here, it'll just be fun.”

Bonnie wanted to protest. She should really protest. But maybe, if she figured out how to spin the bottle just right, it would suit her interests. She glanced over at Marceline, who had excitement glowing in her eyes and a wide smile spread across her face. Her gorgeous dark skin had become unkempt over the week, causing her to look aged and depressed, which was unusual for her. Marceline wasn't the most hygienic person, but she always cared for her face, and so it made Bonnie happy to notice she had probably cleaned her face when she went to the washroom earlier- that was a good sign.

“Bon, you're staring at me,” Marceline said evenly.

“Uh, sorry, I was zoning out.”

“Well, we're playing spin the bottle.”

Bonnie's heart leaped, “What. Lady?'

Lady shrugged, “It's just a peck. We'll probably get bored and switch to truth or dare after.”

Bonnie took a deep breath and lowered herself onto the floor, scooting into an open spot in the circle. Jake bounced eagerly, “I call first,” he announced, though he didn't seem to have much competition.

With a too-eager hand that sent the bottle tumbling of course, he spun the bottle. Eventually, it stopped bouncing enough to land on Prismo.

“Easy,” Jake said, leaning over to kiss his boyfriend, who blushed.

“Marceline, we'll go clockwise, so you next.”

Marceline leaned back and carefully scanned the crowd, a grin on her face, “Right, who's gonna be the first person I kiss. Whoever it is, be aware I'm transferring Ash matter to you, and you have to live with that.”

The rest of the group laughed, but Bonnie could only look at Marceline, her fists clenched and shaking slightly.

Marceline spun the bottle casually, using a single finger, and it spun gently around the circle.

Once.

Twice.

It landed on her the third time around.

“Alright Bon, c'mere,” Marceline's voice sounded in her ear, and she could swear there was an almost sultry tone to it.

She cupped Bonnie's face in her hands and gently pressed her lips to hers. It lasted only for a moment.

And then she kissed her again, longer this time, deeper.

She felt Marceline's arm's fall around her neck, and the most Bonnie could do was move to deepen the kiss. Marceline was so soft. Cold, but so, so soft. And then there was taste. It was odd, bitter- alcohol?

“Ehem,” Phoebe's voice cracked through their trance, and the two broke apart.

There was silence.

Jake put his hands on his hips, “Alright, well, that was awkward. Let's move on to truth or dare.”

Marceline sat back, as calm as she had been before, “Sorry about that. I was y'know, eager to get the memory of Ash outta here. Sorry Bon.”

“S'cool,” Bonnie managed, her voice barely a whisper. Oh, get it together Bonnibel.

“Right, well, still awkward,” Jake laughed, “so on to truth or dare we go.”


Lady sat in the corner of Bonnie's bed as her friends continued to talk and, in the case of Jake and Bianca, play wrestle on the floor. It was only midnight, but she always ended up tired before everyone else at these sorts of events. Bonnie had been silent since spin the bottle, answering her truth or dare questions as curtly as possible before retreating to her bed, where she sat now, opposite Lady, on her laptop. Both she and Marceline had attempted to talk to her, but she had become focused on something or other, and there was no breaking her from that.

As one o'clock itched forward, Bonnie excused herself to used the restroom, and as soon as the door closed, Marceline barreled onto the bed, practically falling on top of Lady with a giggle.

Lady raised an eyebrow, “Have you been drinking?”

Marceline waved a hand, “Eh, a little.”

Lady sighed, “That explains a lot.”

“Can I ask you something?” Marceline's tone was surprisingly serious. She spoke in a whisper, with her face held almost uncomfortably close to Lady's.

“Uh, sure,” Lady said, patting a spot on the bed next to her. Marceline clumsily fell into place beside her, letting her arms cross over her knees.

Marceline was silent for so long that Lady was almost forced to ask her to spit it out, but she spoke just in time, “How does Bonnie feel about, y'know, gender stuff?”

Lady raised an eyebrow, “She thinks it's real neat-o.”

Marceline blushed intensely, “No, like, uh, is she cool with, y'know,” her voice dropped, “trans stuff,” she gulped, “I grew up with supportive people, but I know a lot of people...” she trailed off.

Suddenly, details clicked in Lady's mind, “Oh, OH.”

“Shh,” Marceline hissed, although no one had seemed to notice.

“Oh,” Lady said, quietly this time.

Bonnie re-entered the room then, but fortunately settled down with the main group, far enough away for the two to continue their hushed conversation.

“She's totally cool with it. She's best friends with me, Marce.”

Marceline buried her face into her folder arms, “But would she like, date someone who...”

Lady raised an eyebrow, “So that's what that smooch was about.”

“No, I,” Marceline cleared her throat, “you can learn a lot from, uh, that question.”

Lady rolled her eyes, “Well, regardless, I can't see her having a problem with it. She's a cool cat.”

Marceline sighed, “You're right.”

Excuse me?” Bonnie's furious voice caused both Lady and Marceline to stiffen.

Bonnie and Phoebe stood facing each other, eyes alight with rage. Phoebe rested her hands on her hips, “I'm just saying what I think. You skip out on your friends all the time, you're rude, all you care about is yourself.”

Bonnie scoffed, “Please, I did this for Marceline.”

“And there was no motive there? Really?”

“Phoebe, don't start stuff, okay?” Jake groaned.

Phoebe sighed, “Fine, I'll just go. Sorry everyone.”

There was silence as Phoebe left the room, followed closely by a frazzled Fionna.

“Party's over I think,” Lady sighed. She turned and hugged Marceline tightly, offering her a soft smile, before helping her boyfriend's to their feet.

“Don't mind her,” she said to Bonnie, resting her hand on her old friend's shoulder. To her surprise, Bonnie's eyes seemed detached, perhaps even worried.

“Right,” Bonnie sighed, “right, thank you for coming.”

Lady pulled Bonnie into a hug, surprising the pink-haired girl as hugs almost always did, “Be good to your roommate now.”

Bonnie laughed, “Please, I'm always good.”

As Lady left the room, the last of the group to do so, she shot a smile at Bonnie, and then at Marceline. As the door closed behind her, she felt confident they'd be alright.

 

Chapter Text

Marceline lay at the foot of Bonnie's bed, absently playing with a paddle ball toy. The light, thump, thump, miss, thump, thump, punctuated by the occasional “Ouch,” or “fuck,” or, Bonnie's favorite, “son of a bitch who rolled in shit fuck, my eye,” had become background noise as Bonnie typed away at yet another essay.

As Bonnie had had expected at the back of her mind however, Marceline eventually became bored of repeatedly injuring herself with a small rubber ball. Bonnie was ten pages into a lengthy article when Marceline began steadily rolling closer to her, then onto her feet, while silently muttering the Jaws theme. When she hit Bonnie's leg, her voice finally rang out, “Bonnie,” she whined, “I'm bored.

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “Yeah?”

Marceline groaned, covering her face with her hands, “So help me,” she whined.

Bonnie sighed, placing her laptop beside her so that she could face Marceline properly, “Have you done your homework?”

Marceline glared at her, green eyes flashing with contempt.

Bonnie laughed, “Kidding,” then, lower, “I know you haven't.”

Bonnie,” Marceline sat upright now, “I need a real suggestion. Something fun. C'mon, it's Friday night. You can't do homework on a Friday night.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes before saving her document and closing her laptop, “Alright then, smarty pants, got any ideas?”


 

Bonnie wasn't sure what she was expecting when Marceline ran off, claiming she had big plans. Her 'plans' weren't usually something Bonnie might suggest, and in fact, were often things that she, under regular circumstances, might oppose. But, because they were suggested by Marceline, she found herself obliging regardless. Hell, she even ended up having fun, most of the time.

Still, Marceline's ominous giggles had left her nervous.

About ten minutes after Marceline left, during which time Bonnie had re-opened her laptop to write another paragraph or two before her night was inevitably consumed, her phone buzzed. Marceline's name flashed on the screen, along with a message.

Pick out a bad movie. Maybe a few.

Bonnie mulled over the request. It seemed like a pretty typical night together. Bad movies, probably chips and soda. Not the sort of idea Marceline would giggle about.

She narrowed her eyes.

Bonnie: What's the catch

Almost immediately, she received a response. She smiled smugly to herself.

Marceline: Dude

Marceline: I was gonna say there is not catch but I know u wont buy that

Marceline: so u'll see

Bonnie frowned. That wasn't the answer she wanted. She chewed on her lip and drummed her fingers against her thigh for a moment. Then, with a shrug, she set to finding a movie to watch.

She was by no means an expert on terrible movies, or movies at all. She preferred books or television shows for a storytelling format herself. When she searched for bad movies online, most of the results either looked more boring than entertaining, or were corny horror movies, which weren't her cup of tea.

In the end, she settled for the Twilight films. Jokes about the franchise had long since run their course in popular culture, but she found that they were still enjoyable to watch and tear apart with friends from time to time.

And then she waited. She waited an abnormally long time. That was odd. There were two convenience stores on campus where one could buy the basic chips, soda, energy drinks. She wasn't sure what else they would need.

She pulled out her phone.

Bonnie: Where are you

The response was the door swinging open, paired with glass bottles clattering noisily against each other.

Bonnie knew her eyes must look like they were going to pop out of her head. She knew by the grin plastered on Marceline's face that she must look like a deer in the headlights.

“What's that?” she managed.

Marceline dropped down on the bed beside her and shoved a chilled bottle into her hands, “Wine.”

“I'm still eighteen.”

“Ever had wine at Christmas dinner?”

“That's different.”

Marceline shrugged, “Pretend it's a really wild Christmas,” she paused, “I'll drink it if you don't want it.”

Bonnie clutched the bottle to her, and, without really thinking it through, replied, “Nah, I can be wild.”

Marceline shot her a crooked smile, “Oh, I bet,” she muttered.

Bonnie was taken aback by her tone, “Uh, right, I chose Twilight.”

Marceline tilted her head, “Damn, basic, Bon.”

Bonnie shoved her affectionately, “You're the one who told me to choose.”

Marceline positioned the laptop on her lap, “Yeah, well, it'll do. I'll be drunk halfway through the first one, anyway.”

The first movie began and immediately Marceline began commentating. She always enjoyed her commentary. When she was with Lady, her friend insisted on watching movies in near-complete silence. That was all well and good for actually interesting films that Bonnie wanted to watch, but she had seen far too many corny romance movies in complete silence.

“Emma Wattson is the most generic woman I've ever seen, but she's gay, so like, I guess I support her.”

Bonnie chuckled, “Emma Wattson's the Harry Potter girl. This is Kristen Stewart.”

“S'all the same.”

Bonnie sipped the wine from the bottle. Neither of them bothered with glasses. They didn't really have glasses, anyway, so much as leftover plastic red cups, and drinking wine from a plastic red cup was more fitting of finals period. No, it was a “drink the wine straight out of the bottle” type of night.

She didn't really like the flavor, either. She liked sugary, fruity drinks. Like lemonade. She wondered if there was a lemonade-esque alcoholic beverage. Hard Lemonade? She was fairly certain that was a thing.

“Bons,” Marceline shook her gently.

“Hm?”

“Falling asleep already?” she laughed, pulling Bonnie closer to her, “C'mon, I need you. Now, okay, I get that this car isn't Bella's dream vehicle, but it's like, free car right?”

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Oh, as if you wouldn't have complained.”

“I wouldn't have,” Marceline said indignantly, “I know I have, uh, money, but I know I've got it good, y'know?” she took a massive swig of her drink as she finished her sentence.

Bonnie took another sip of hers. She was sure she'd grow to like it more if she kept going. That, or grow too intoxicated to care. Everything got better once you were drunk. Or, maybe it got worse. Both? She supposed tonight was a night of grand discovery in that regard.

“Why'd you choose wine?” she asked, “do college kids drink wine?”

“Dude, some of the college kids here drink bud light, but I'm not letting you do that. I like wine, alright?”

Bonnie laughed, “Yeah, yeah,” she turned to the screen, “y'know, back in middle school, when this was a big thing, I think some kids in my grade got in a fist fight over who was the better boy.”

Marceline burst into laughter, one hand gripping her bottle, and the other Bonnie's arm, “Man, public school sounds like a trip.”

Bonnie shifted closer to her friend, and to her surprise, though she didn't question it out loud, Marceline pulled her closer, until her head rested on Marceline's shoulder, “You don't know the half of it,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

To cover up the rising heat to her cheeks, Bonnie began to take the wine in bigger gulps. She felt Marceline's body vibrate with laughter against her. The motion was weirdly comforting, in a way.

“Damn, Bon, don't hurt yourself.”

“Please. Just watch yourself,” Bonnie shot back. She was sure her blush would be visible. She took another sip.


 

Bonnie's mind was fuzzy. In some part of her mind, as she took tiny sips of water, the wine long gone, she was vaguely aware of a throbbing ache in her head, but she didn't care.

They had made it about halfway through the second movie before they stopped watching all together. By then, Bonnie was sitting in Marceline's lap while Marceline blabbered about how someone or other in the film was attractive. A bit after that, they ended up laying down next to each other, the movie buzzing as background noise.

Marceline held her tightly around the waist, tears running lightly down her cheeks as she muttered incomprehensible words. On occasion, she made out names, places. She heard Ash a lot. Several times, Bonnie would squeeze her friend's hand reassuringly. It wasn't much, but with her brain in a fog, it was all she could think to do.

Bonnie had never taken the time to analyze how she assumed she would behave while drunk. She'd seen representations of it on television, but none of her immediate family or friends were really the type to get drunk, so she was no expert. She wasn't a sobbing cuddly drunk like Marceline. She was, what, a floaty, sort of dissociating drunk? Fun. She loved feeling like she existed only in theory. It was a great time, honestly.

Then, so suddenly that Bonnie was almost convinced she'd leaped forward in time, marceline was asleep. Her arms were woven around Bonnie and her head rested on her shoulder. Her breath made Bonnie's skin tingle. She couldn't move. She didn't want to wake her. She needed sleep.

Bonnie gulped. That, and she didn't really want to move. She liked it here, in Marceline's arms.

Bonnie was a certified mess.

Occasionally, Marceline would move, but her movement would only ever bring her closer. Before she knew it, Marceline's lips were brushing her neck and Bonnie's body was heating like an oven. Her breath was quick as she desperately tried to fall asleep. It was so difficult, between Marceline's impossible to ignore presence and throbbing in her head that only became more prominent.

Eventually, however, just as the sun began to rise, sleep overcame her.


 

She was awoken by an insistent ringing sound. Bonnie groaned and grappled on her bed to reach her phone. She held it above her and looked at the caller ID.

Work. It was half past two in the afternoon.

Bonnie jolted upright, gasping at the shot of pain in her head, and swiped to answer the call, “I'm so sorry, I just woke up,” she blabbered.

Jermaine laughed, “It's cool, Bonnie. I knew you wouldn't miss work on purpose. Just hurry up. Can't get payed for time you don't work.”

With that, he hung up. Beside her, Marceline was sprawled on her bed, her shirt hiked up to reveal the bra that she had accidentally fallen asleep in. It was lacy and black and, oh stop that Bonnibel. She gently shook Marceline by the shoulder, which immediately woke her friend, “Wassit?” she grumbled.

“Do you have ibuprofen?” she hissed, her head pounding becoming more insistent, “I'm late for work.”

Marceline yawned and sat upright, “In my dresser, first shelf” she said, before yawning again, “what time is it?”

“Two thirty,” Bonnie grumbled, digging through Marceline's pajamas until she found a large bottle of extra strength pain killers. She took two.

“Can I come with you?” Marceline's questioned made her pause.

“To work?”

“Yeah.”

“Uh, well, no one's stopping you from hanging around the store I guess,” she shrugged, shoving her uniform into her bag.

“Cool,” Marceline rolled out of bed, stilled dressed from her outfit from yesterday. She rolled on deodorant and ran her fingers through her hair a few times, “you good?”

Bonnie was in the middle of pulling up a fresh pair of pants, “Are you good?”

Marceline shrugged and brushed a strand of hair out of her face, “Good 'nuff.”

Bonnie took her roommate's hand in her own and pulled her out the front door, “Alright, then, let's hustle.”


 

The ibuprofen didn't really help once she arrived at work. The constant talking, helping customers with obvious problems, and so on, wasn't the best cure for a hangover, to say the least. Marceline's presence there did help. Emotionally, anyway. Physically, she still felt constantly on the verge of vomiting. She wasn't sure how people dealt with this on a regular basis.

Her coworkers didn't seem to mind that Marceline stuck near her side, sneaking in jokes about various customers once they were out of earshot. The most acknowledgment they got was a not-so-subtle eye roll from Fionna.

“That's the fourth time today a customer has made that joke,” Marceline said, leaning on the counter, “and they all think they're so funny, too. That dude looked like he was about to bust a gut over his if it doesn't scan it must be free joke.”

Bonnie sighed and began to wipe down her counter, “Business as usual,” she grumbled.

Marceline was silent for a moment, which was odd, given they were between streams of customers. Before Bonnie could question her, however, she spoke hesitantly, “Hey, Bon, what are you planning to do for uh, accommodations after semester ends?”

Bonnie blinked at Marceline. Admittedly, she'd been quite stressed over the subject lately. She'd always assumed she'd live with Lady, but with her, Jake, and Prismo growing closer every day, she wasn't so sure. Besides, Lady would definitely want to spend her summer back home. Bonnie, however...

She shrugged, “I don't have any plans. It's cheaper to split a two bedroom, so maybe I'll find a roommate online.”

Marceline frowned, “Well, back in november, I mentioned maybe living together, would you still, y'know,” she trailed off.

Bonnie jolted upright, the sudden movement causing her head to pound. She had completely forgotten, “Oh, shit, yes please.”

Marceline laughed, “Dang, I didn't expect you to be so excited.”

Bonnie flushed, “It takes a lot of stress out of the equation, plus, we're good pals and such.”

“Awesome,” Marceline said, “I'm gonna use the restroom, back soon.”

“Don't fall in,” Bonnie replied nonchalantly.

Only a heartbeat latter, Fionna appeared beside her, “Already moving in together, hm?”

Bonnie narrowed her eyes, “We've lived together for months.”

Fionna snorted, “Yeah, but like, you weren't dating when you got your dorm assignments.”

Bonnie tensed. Then, louder than intended, “We're not dating,” she snapped.

Fionna raised her hands defensively, “Chill, my bad,” then, after a pause, she dawned a sly grin, “just in your dreams, then?”

Bonnie stared at her old friend. They hadn't been close lately- was Bonnie just that easy to read, even to people who seemed more like strangers now than friends? After a moment, she crumpled, resting her head on her folded arms with a groan, “God, yes.”

 

Chapter Text

Marceline held Bonnie's hand in hers as they marched down the sidewalk. It was early February, just a week before the mid-semester break, which lasted an entire week. Even Bonnie was giving herself some time to relax, knowing that any projects professors were going to give out would be due after the long break.

The sidewalks here were dusted by a thin layer of snow which fell persistently during the night and into the morning. It gave a light, pleasant crunching sound as the two walked over it. She liked the way it clung to her shoes, leaving a distinct trail behind them. There was something endlessly satisfying about disturbing the sheet of white. The main roads had been cleared, first by salt trucks in the early morning, and then were maintained by consistent activity during the day. Elsewhere, however, the snow had reached about knee height on Marceline. Not pleasant. Though she'd grown up in Canada, she'd never been much of a fan of snow, or cold at all.

Bonnie, though, Bonnie was warm. That was the excuse she used to keep their fingers intertwined.

“So,” Bonnie said, not for the first time, “It's Keila and, oh gosh.”

“Ellen, and don't worry, you won't forget once you meet her.”

Bonnie stuck her tongue out, “She sounds like a delight.”

Marceline snorted, “She's fine once you get to know her. Promise.”

Soon after, the two arrived at their location. Ellen and Keila had moved recently, into a basement suite. The top floor was apparently occupied by three college aged party boys. Ellen insisted over the phone that they were the “hottest, hunkiest, most jaw-dropping amazing guys,” ever. According to her, they were also well-endowed, but she didn't like to think about how her friend knew that. Either way, Marceline had reason to question her friend's taste, as much as she adored her.

At least one thing was true- these boys liked to party. On one side of the house sat four large recycling bins, all filled with beer cans, and, funnily enough, chocolate milk jugs. She supposed one of them had a sweet tooth. On Keila and Ellen's side, there was a mixture of sodas.

Reluctantly, Marceline let go of Bonnie's hand and knocked firmly on the door. There was a loud crash, followed by a long pause, when a frizzy haired Keila opened the door. Several strands fell across her face, which she quickly corrected when she noticed Marceline wasn't alone.

“You didn't tell me you were bringing,” she eyed Bonnie up and down, “company.”

Marceline stood straight, her arms held stiffly against her side. She was nervous. She hadn't thought to be nervous on the way here, but the truth was, introducing a crush to Keila was probably worse than introducing a crush to her parents. Keila was very protective.

Marceline coughed, “This is Bonnie.”

Keila straightened her back immediately, “Oh, the Bonnie?” she cooed, shooting a crooked grin Marceline's way. That was a grin that meant mischief. She could see it in her dark, almost black eyes. A flicker of something sinister.

Bonnie raised an eyebrow at her, “Yes, I suppose I'm, the Bonnie.”

What,” a scream came from somewhere behind Keila. A moment later, Ellen burst through the doorway into the entrance room.

“Oh my gosh,” Ellen said, pushing Keila out of the way so she could get a better look at Bonnie, “Marceline has told us everything about you.”

Bonnie laughed nervously, then shot a glare at Marceline, “Everything?”

Marceline flushed, “Not everything,” mostly just about my feelings for you, honestly.

Keila shoved Ellen affectionately, “Let 'em in, Ellen,” she turned to Bonnie, “sorry about the mess, I don't clean up when it's just Mar.”

Marceline didn't wait for Bonnie's response. She ducked inside and scanned the room. Yep, this looked about right for her two friends. In one corner on the entrance room, which was large and open, so they had converted it into a gathering area, sat a pile of pizza boxes that very nearly met the ceiling. A large, almost full garbage bag sat lazily in the corner, and the hard wood flooring looked like it hadn't been swept since the dawn of time.

“You know,” Bonnie had caught up to her, pointing to the pile of boxes, “if a landlord comes by, that's the first thing they're gonna see.”

“Whatever, our landlord is totally chill,” Ellen said, flopping gracelessly onto the couch. The room had a three person couch plus a beanbag chair. With Ellen's feet up, that left three spots.

Bonnie took a seat on the beanbag chair and tugged on Marceline's sleeve, urging her to share the small space.

“I'm okay, I can sit on the floor,” Marceline said, waving her free hand.

“Don't be a dingdong,” Bonnie said, rolling her eyes. She pulled at Marceline's sleeve more insistently. She didn't miss Keila's devious grin as she sat down next to her roommate.

“So, Bonnie, what do you do in school?” Keila began her questions. Immediately, Marceline knew what she was doing. It was a classic mom-friend interrogation. Marceline could feel heat rising up her neck and to her cheeks.

“Uh, first year, so I guess I'm still figuring stuff out, but I'm into political science, mostly. Though lately I've been interested in Physics again. I don't know if I'll go through with it, but it's interesting.”

“Mmhm,” Keila nodded, as if mentally jotting down that information, “do you work?”

Bonnie glanced at Marceline, “Is this an interrogation.”

“No,” Marceline said before Keila could answer. Perhaps it was too quick and loud, because Bonnie and Keila looked startled.

Marceline sunk further into the chair, “Uh, no, Keila just likes to make people uncomfortable.”

Keila rolled her eyes, “Yeah, whatever. Y'all wanna play some Mario Kart?”

At the mention of the game, Marceline sat back up upright. She loved Mario Kart. More accurately, she loved winning at Mario Kart. Bonnie seemed unsure, “I don't really like competitive games,” she said, too softly for Keila to hear.

Moments later, all four had Wii controllers in their hands, including Bonnie. Marceline, Keila, and Ellen quickly slipped into their usual characters- Yoshi, Daisy, and Peach respectively.

Bonnie hesitated, scrolling over the characters, “I wanted Yoshi,” she grumbled.

Marceline stuck her tongue out playfully, to which Bonnie only replied with a playful shove.

After a moment, Bonnie picked Rosalina, and the game began, and oh, was it ever a game.

Immediately, Bonnie shifted into hyper competitive mode. She leaned forward, elbows drawn close to her sides. The ideal video gaming stance. Marceline stayed laying back. She knew what she was doing. She always won. Always.

She was about to impress a cute girl with her mad karting skills.

Bonnie blew past her. Her eyes were narrowed, focused. Ellen lagged behind as usual, in last place. She wasn't paying attention half the time, usually texting whatever boy she was dating at the time.

Marceline sat forward, her eyes darting to Bonnie, who didn't waver in the slightest.

She placed second in the first race.

In the second race, Marceline pulled ahead.

At least at first.

About halfway through the second lap, she was hit by a blue shell, followed by Bonnie shrieking, “Yeah, Fuck you Marceline!”

Marceline's eyes went wide and she stared at her roommate. She'd never heard such raw intensity in the other girl's voice.

Again, she placed second.

Now things were going to get personal.

During the third race, Marceline sat hunched forward, in the same stance as Bonnie. She was fairly sure her friends had stopped playing and were instead watching them. She didn't care. She was gonna win.

Bonnie got cocky, she assumed. She head her muttering fuck over and over again as they reached the end of the race.

Marceline placed first.

Bonnie placed third.

Fuck yeah,” Marceline cheered, leaping off the beanbag.

Bonnie rose to meet her gaze, her hazel eyes burning with a fiery intensity. Their noses almost touched as Bonnie practically growled her words, “It isn't over 'till it's over, Abadeer.”

The words were comical, really, but given the situation, they only pumped Marceline up more, rather than making her laugh.

They both sat down, casting intense looks at each other, before the game counting down grabbed their attention back to the screen.

Marceline raced. She raced like she never had before. She raced as if she was in the olympics and there were actual stakes to this event other than possibly impressing her roommate.

The entire race, the two fought, side by side. Occasionally, one would pass the other, but they never strayed too far from each other. They were two masters, skilled in their craft.

At the last moment, just seconds before the finish line, Marceline was hit by a shell. Bonnie's shell. Bonnie dashed forward, then a non-player character. Marceline placed fourth.

Bonnie leaped to her feet, hands in the air, she threw the controlled roughly into the beanbag next to Marceline, ignoring Keila's yelp of protest. She breathed heavily, her chest heaving. She could swear the other girl was sweating. Marceline just sat, mouth wide.

“I win,” Bonnie's voice was sweet as she spoke. She flopped down next to Marceline, who's mouth was still open. She smiled.

Marceline floundered for a moment, trying to find words, “I always win.”

“Not this time,” Bonnie said, her finger tapping the tip of her nose lightly.

There was a long pause in the room. Keila looked like she might vomit from containing her laughter. Ellen just stared wide eyed.

Eventually, Ellen spoke. She always spoke first. It was because she didn't think before she spoke.

“Man, if y'all are this wild playing a video game, I can't imagine what sex must be like.”

Marceline froze. So much heat rose to her cheeks she thought she might catch fire. She didn't care meet Bonnie's gaze, though she felt it boring into the side of her head, “I've never,” she coughed, “I don't,” she shoved her face into her hands, “sex.”

“Well, I know that's a lie-” Ellen's inevitably embarrassing comment was cut off by Keila, rather gracelessly, shoving her hand over her mouth.

“Alright!” Keila said, smiling, “who wants Indian?”

 


 

 

The tension wore off quickly, thankfully. Bonnie stayed just as close to her side as she always had, all awkwardness seemingly evaporated. Marceline, however, shoveled curry into her mouth to avoid further conversation, while Keila eyed her questioningly.

Bonnie ate away at her palak paneer and rice more hesitantly, casting sidelong glances at Marceline when she thought she wouldn't notice.

Immediately after she finished eating, she scooted across the floor to Keila's sparse movie cabinet, “Anyone wanna watch the first Pokemon movie? Yes? Great, cool,” Marceline spluttered as she shoved the movie into the playstation and started it. She flopped back into the chair. Still avoiding Bonnie's gaze.

A few minutes in, The chair sagged beneath her as Bonnie sat next to her.

Keila had turned off the light for cinematic effect, but she knew all eyes were on her and Bonnie as Bonnie lay her head on her shoulder.

“Don't let her get to you,” Bonnie muttered, only loud enough for her to hear, and even then, just barely, “I know enough about her to know what she's like. Chill out, Marce.”

Marce let out a long breath, “Alright.”

From across the room she spotted Keila grinning at her. Her grin wasn't mischievous, as it had been earlier. It was simply kind, encouraging. Marceline smiled back.

As the movie played out, Bonnie was mesmerized. In spite of her Pokemon kick earlier in the year, she hadn't delved into the television show much. Now, her muttered to herself, mentally mapping out the differences and similarities to the game. On occasion, she would loudly complain about the odd battle dynamic and how it widely differed from those present in the games. Marceline only laughed in response, allowing her friend to continue on her bizarrely passionate rants about cartoons.

Bonnie only moved closer to Marceline as the movie progressed, leaning more and more heavily on her for support. In response, Marceline wound her arm around the other girl's waist. As the movie drew to a close and the credits played, she could see the screen reflected in her companions sleepy eyes. She looked so at peace. Marceline wanted to kiss her. She supposed confessing her feelings should come before that though, barring a few less-than-sober incidents.

One idea stopped her. Ash. Her blood ran cold as she thought of him. It had been so recent. Was she really ready? Were her feelings just a rush of desperation to get as far away from Ash, emotionally and physically, as she possibly could?

Was she using Bonnie?

She pushed the feelings to the side. She couldn't let herself think about that right now. Instead, she let herself slip into the flow of post-movie gossip. Ellen occupied most of the talking time, going over each of the boys who lived upstairs in detail. She gave a detailed review on each- honestly, if boy reviewing was a thing, Ellen could make a real living.

Within an hour after the movie ended, Bonnie fell asleep. Marceline guided her gently until her head lay on her lap. When she was sure she wouldn't rouse, Keila walked over and squeezed her shoulder gently, “Good choice.”

That brought her a warm sense of comfort.

 

 

Chapter Text

Marceline was sort of looking forward to the mid-semester break. The plan was cave exploring with Simon and Betty while renting a cabin. The main reason that she was only sort of looking forward to it was the fact that she wanted to invite a very particular guest- Bonnie. Now, her anxieties about this came in three layers.

Firstly, she and Keila always had their vacations together. Always. Since the two has been able to walk, they'd been going on adventures together. Keila was none too pleased to find out that this time would be an exception. When she found out, she went on a big rant about how she would sleep on the floor and not get in the way of her and Bonnie's “smooch time”, as she called it. She became increasingly dramatic, throwing her hands up in the air and pacing back and forth. After a while, though, she calmed herself down, sighed, and demanded I text her details whenever I could. She then proceeded to be very embarrassing as she teased Marceline about her crush.

The second issue was Bonnie herself. Lately, Marceline's feeling towards her had become to feel more real, she supposed. Back when she'd still been dating Ash, she knew she had feelings for the other girl, but they felt distant. She knew at the time that Bonnie wasn't attainable, and so she pushed those feelings to the side. Now there was almost nothing standing between them. Nothing aside from her own dating anxiety.

Her dating anxiety, that is, and Ash. Ash still felt so close behind her. They'd broken up a month and a half ago, and Marceline had lost feelings for him long before, but it still felt like a betrayal, to start dating again so early. A betrayal to him or herself somehow, she wasn't sure. Maybe both. Either way it all made her feel like a horrible person. She thought, at the back of her head, that it wasn't justified to feel like that, but her feelings of guilt were so overwhelming.

So, in essence, she wanted to date Bonnie, but because she was a big baby loser, she couldn't. Perhaps that was a bit mean, but that was sort of how she saw herself these days.

She sighed loudly.

“Dude, you just sighed like, eight times in a row, what's up?”

Bonnie was glancing up from her computer screen. Dark circles hung under her eyes and her eyes looked strained and slightly red. How long had she been staring at that screen without a break? She didn't want to sound like one of those annoying fake-deep journalists who wrote about how technology was killing our brains, but sometimes she was shocked that Bonnie's eyes hadn't melted out of her head.

“Marce?” Bonnie repeated. She rubbed her eyes as she spoke, and then yawned.

“Do you want to go on an adventure?” the words left her lips before she had really thought through what she was going to say.

Bonnie yawned again, “Like, to Mcdonalds again? I don't think we're allowed back there. Like, they probably wouldn't recognize us or care, but,” she shrugged and waved a hand vaguely.

Marceline flushed, “No, uh, what are you doing over break.”

Bonnie frowned, “Took the week off. Not sure if I'm gonna pull ahead in my classes or visit the 'rents.”

Marceline took a deep breath and forced the words that hung like a knot out of her throat, “Do you want to come on a camping trip with me and my family? We'll pay for your flight and everything.”

Bonnie was biting her lip, glancing at the half-written essay that shone on her laptop screen. After a moment, she sighed, clicked a few keys, and closed the laptop, “Sounds like a blast.”

Marceline's face broke into a wide smile despite herself, “Great, now, let me tell you about Simon.”


Marceline felt jittery on the plane ride, but she wasn't nearly as anxious as Bonnie looked. From the moment the flight took off, Bonnie was clutching her arm rests, jaw clenched and eyes wide. It was almost like...

“Bon, have you not flown before?”

Bonnie breathed in deeply through her nose, “No, and it's fine.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “You sure?”

Bonnie simply nodded in response, her jaw once again clenched tightly.

With an affectionate smile, Marceline rested her hand gently on the hand nearest her. Instantly, she felt Bonnie relax slightly- not much, but a bit, and she hoped that would be enough.

“You want anything? Movie, food? We're first class. You can get yourself a steak probably. I don't know, I've never ordered one, but I've seen people order steaks in movies.”

Bonnie giggled, “Uh, I'll pass. There's a fifty-fifty chance it'd come right back up. I'll stick with water.”

Marceline managed a laugh at that.

As the plane ride continued, and Bonnie eventually dozed off in spite of her anxieties, Marceline's own anxieties only grew.

Bonnie was going to meet her family- or Simon and Betty, anyway- and there was no way that Simon would miss her little crush. He knew her better than anyone in the world, including Keila.

She looked Bonnie over. She was so cute, in her washed out jeans and loose-fitting pink top that fell off her shoulder as she dozed. A burgundy parka lay behind her, abandoned due to the heat of the plane. Would they like her? She knew that she liked her, but then again, she'd also liked Ash at one point.

She shrugged off the comparison immediately. Keila liked Bonnie, and Keila would have told her if she didn't. She'd ordered Marceline not to date Ash five minutes after meeting him, not that it had done her much good. Bonnie would be fine.

With a sigh, she looked out her tiny window. Below her, gray clouds, heavy with rain, or perhaps snow, she could never tell, hung like a blanket, mostly unbroken except for a few tiny spots that seemed no bigger than her head from where she sat, but she was sure were really much larger.

She glanced back again at Bonnie, her head tilted to the side as she slept. She considered briefly waking her up. She could never sleep on the plane, and she knew being unoccupied would only increase her anxiety, but she didn't want to disturb the peaceful scene before her.

Luckily, she didn't have to. Bonnie's eyes, as if on cue, fluttered open. She blinked up at Marceline, then spoke in slow speech, slightly slurred from drowsiness, “Yo Mar?”

“Yeah my guy?”

“What should I say to you family?”

Marceline stiffened, and then she laughed, her paranoia momentarily melting as she was overwhelmed with affection, “Y'know, I think you'll do just fine if you just be yourself.”


 

Bonnie wasn't sure what to expect of Marceline's family. She's heard plenty of loving stories about her uncle Simon, sure, but regardless of how much she was encouraged to be herself, she felt like she had to put on a dignified facade around older people she didn't know well. So when Simon pulled her into a hug immediately upon meeting her, she wasn't sure what to do.

Her mouth was open slightly with shock as he pulled her in, and she felt hairs tickle the inside of her mouth. Her mind whirled, trying to figure out the situation. Bite down? No. Suffer? Guess so.

Then came her hands. She simply let them hover, unsure what was too close for comfort, not that Simon seemed to care.

After several heartbeats too long, the lanky man let her go, patting her affectionately on her shoulder, “Great to see you, dear! Marcy's told us so much.”

In spite of herself, Bonnie felt a blush creep up her cheeks, “I hope mostly good,” she managed to say stiffly, “I know I've heard plenty of good things about you.”

Simon smiled widely before beckoning the slightly taller brown-haired woman who was speaking intensely with Marceline, “Betty come see Marceline's special friend,” he giggled.

Special friend? Uh, what?

Betty rolled her eyes, her smile betraying that her affection far outweighed her actual annoyance, and walked to her er- boyfriend? Husband? Come to think of it, she wasn't sure. She came to stand by Simon's side, anyway.

Thankfully for Bonnie, Betty was much more formal with her introduction. She still insisted on a hug, but it was much more formal, not so much like a bear hug from an uncle with no sense of personal space. Honestly, she was surprised Simon hadn't thrown in a 'I remember when you were this big' comment. She guessed the only reason he hadn't was that it was, obviously, factually incorrect.

She was grateful when their luggage rolled in and they were free from the stuffy airport and escorted to their car. It looked like a rental, which made sense. She climbed in the backseat and was greeted by a thick smell of dust, followed by Marceline as she shoved in beside her.

She wasn't sure why Marceline would want to sit in the middle seat- it was the designated loser seat, after all, but she appreciated the closeness.

She supposed she fell asleep at some point. She hadn't gotten as much sleep as she wanted on the plane.

 


 

Simon glanced over at Bonnie again, triple checking that she was asleep, before asking the question that Marceline knew had been nagging at the back of his mind since he'd first seen her.

“So,” he began, leaving an uncomfortable pause before he continued, “is she your new girlfriend Marceline?”

“Very cute,” Betty chimed in, very unhelpfully, from the driver's seat.

Marceline couldn't help it, she crossed her arms and gave her best pout, which Simon immediately cracked up at, “Oh, hush, you know we're just teasing, but we'd support you if you were. She seems to be on the better end of your, er, taste.”

Marceline sighed, glancing over at Bonnie, not for the first time, “I just,” she paused, and Simon waited patiently for a reply, sympathy welling in his kind eyes. Then finally, she said, “What if I'm not ready.”

It wasn't a question, and Simon knew that. He simply leaned over and gently squeezed her knee before turning back around and leaving her in silence.

 


 

The cabin was amazing. It was twice the size of her family home. Six bedrooms, four bathrooms. The wood flooring was real wood- not even laminate. Like they cut down a real tree and placed them upon the floor- that's wild.

They arrived late at night, and so they went straight to bed after they ate the take-out Chinese food they'd stopped to pick up on the way. She'd been asleep at the time, but Marceline knew to get her sweet and sour pork. How sweet. It wasn't the most immaculate Chinese food she'd ever eaten, but it was passable. Honestly, in her experience, even food-court Chinese food was passable.

She'd also tried Marceline's tofu dish. Before they'd met, she'd simply assumed that she didn't like tofu. She'd heard so much negativity about it growing up, but she found it was actually quite nice. Maybe she could go vegetarian. Would Marceline expect that if they- uh, well, never mind that thought.

Simon and Betty saw themselves to the room at the end of the hall, and Marceline entered the room near the top of the staircase. After a moment of hesitation, Bonnie reached out to grab the knob of the room next door. She paused. She wasn't used to sleeping in a room alone any more. With a sigh, she entered the room and lay down.

She lay there for a few moments, staring at the ceiling, her mind empty. She slowed her breathing and closed her eyes.

Moments later, she felt the bed heave below her, and her eyes snapped open. She saw Marceline's slender frame outlined in the moonlight, the night light offering her dark skin an almost gray tinge. Her green eyes glowed in the darkness. Warm, inviting, gorgeous. So gorgeous. She sat up, meeting those lovely eyes. The moment seemed to draw on forever, and she didn't want it to end.

Eventually, Marceline took her hand, “Thanks for coming with me Bonnie.”

Marceline's face was so close to her own, almost close enough to feel her warm breath against her lips. For a few heartbeats, she couldn't conjure a response. She wanted the moment to last forever, unchanging and perfect.

Eventually she forced out a response, “You're the one who invited me, dork,” she tried to force laughter into her voice, but she sounded so intense, in the moment.

A brilliant smile broke across Marceline's face, “Dude, we're gonna have so much fun, just you wait.”

Bonnie smiled in turn, “I'm glad I came.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Marceline was acting strange, and not in her normal Marceline way.

She wasn't making up random songs, or drinking root beer at nine in the morning, or randomly tapping Bonnie's cheeks to annoy her. Instead, she was just distant. She seemed to walk around as if in a trance, hands lodged in her pockets and eyes forward. Her lips spent most of their time locked into a tight frown, and she seemed, well, cold.

She was sure she'd somehow managed to make Marceline mad, but she didn't want to pry. She didn't want to risk annoying her further if she was angry. Not that she'd done anything. Oh well.

She let out a low groan. At the breakfast table.

“What, eggs not to your liking?,” Simon asked, “I'm sorry but I can only do scrambled, I always mess up sunny side up, and -”

“Oh,” Bonnie flinched, not realizing she had made the sound, “Uh no, sorry, they're fine, I was just thinking about a project I have to start when we get home.”

Good, that sounded believable.

Marceline had broke out of her own trance to eye her suspiciously. Both of them had a large breakfast in front of them, barely touched, as they sat on opposite ends of a table big enough to fit a family of ten. Meanwhile, Simon and Betty, both with concerned looks on their faces, had reduced their plate to a couple of toast crusts and some egg remnants.

Marceline let out a fake yawn, “I'm just tired. Don't sleep well away from home, y'know how it is.”

It wasn't fooling anyone- Marceline wasn't good at lying. She always dropped the casual tone to her voice when she did it, sounding far too stiff and formal. Nevertheless, nobody said anything as the two went to eating their food.

The scrambled eggs were actually under seasoned- she swore Simon had never heard of a bit of salt, and same went for the hash browns. At least toast was nice. He'd bought a lovely sourdough from the market in the nearby town. She liked sourdough. It was actually Marceline's favorite.

At the thought, she glanced over at her roommate, who had a wide grin on her face as she scarfed down her jam-covered toast. Bonnie grinned in turn.

After breakfast, Marceline seemed to return to normal. The two of them sat on the couch and watched home renovation shows as Betty and Simon discussed what caves they'd be exploring that day. They were very familiar with the area, but seemed to have conflicting ideas about what routes would be best for newcomers, and which would be too boring for them to trek yet again. Eventually, they settled on a few, Bonnie wasn't really sure the details as to which.

As they prepared to leave, shoving energy bars and water into the packs, Marceline shot her another wide smile and squeezed her shoulder.

Maybe it had just been a rough morning. It was gonna be a great day.


 

The morning continued to be tonally odd as the group made their way out to the cave system. They didn't need a guide, apparently, as Simon and Betty were qualified and apparently had been in the area numerous times. That made sense- they appeared to own the cabin they were staying in. That morning she'd noticed many childhood pictures of Marceline hung around the building, much to the other woman's dismay. She assumed they went here often in the summer time.

Marceline wasn't talking as they walked. Once again, she appeared to be lost in her own thoughts, her eyes blank and distant. The one time Bonnie managed to ask what was bothering her, she simple shook her head and brushed the question off, so Bonnie pulled back to observe the scenery. She pushed her annoyance to the back of her mind. She was sure Marceline wasn't trying to be rude or anything- Bonnie was known to get unreasonably angry at small things.

It was a nice area, heavily forested with primarily tall pine trees. By the size of them, she imagined many were well over a hundred years old. In some spaces, massive oaks towered, many of them incorporating their roots into the structure of nearby pines. As they walked, Bonnie found herself fascinated by the fauna of the area.

She saw a fair few black bears lumbering by in the distance, not that she was bothered by them. Black bears she knew were rather docile. Now, grizzly bears were another matter, but she was sure that wouldn't be a problem for them.

In terms of smaller animals, there were a ton of shrew that she noticed, and-

She was pulled from her observations as someone rested a hand on her shoulder, “What you want?” she asked, eyes still on a nearby shrew, assuming it to be Marcy.

“Oh, uh, to talk for a minute?” Betty's voice made a ripple of fear course through Bonnie. What an impression.

“Oh, shoot, sorry,” Bonnie said, feeling her face flush with embarrassment.

Betty waved at Simon and Marceline, who were a few paces ahead, “I'll catch up,” she shouted through cupped hands, “I just noticed Bonnie looking at the wildlife and wanted to,” she waved her hands, “Y'know, share valuable knowledge.”

Simon nodded her way with a smile, but Marceline had her eyes narrowed suspiciously. Regardless, she didn't resist when Simon pulled her onward.

Once they were out of earshot, Betty turned to Bonnie, her expression mixed with worry and what Bonnie interpreted as anger. Uh oh.

“Bonnie, did you and Marceline get in a fight?”

Bonnie frowned, “No. She came into my room last night and thanked me for coming. When I woke up, she was all,” Bonnie waved her hand vaguely.

Betty sighed and slumped down onto a nearby log, “She gets like this sometimes,” she said, her brows pinched together, “Simon always seems to understand her emotions more than I do, and he's not very good at explaining what's happening inside her head, so I'm just left to worry.”

Bonnie stared at her. Her eyes didn't seem sad exactly, maybe somber was the right word. Before she could reply, Betty continued, “Sometimes I wonder if Marceline knows how many people love her.”

Bonnie forced a smile as she sat down next to Betty, “She knows you care about her, if that's what you mean. Uncle Simon is her favorite, but she always goes on about how she loves you too. You guys have been awesome positive forces in her life.”

Betty smiled genuinely now as she met Bonnie's gaze. She didn't like this sort of intense eye contact, but she held steady regardless, not wanting to give the wrong impression.

“From what I've been told, I can say the same about you,” Betty said. Then, with a massive sigh, she hauled herself up, “Come on, they'll start worrying soon if we don't hustle.”

 


 

The first cave they explored was immaculate. They entered via a ladder suspended into a frighteningly narrow hole. The only thing waning her apprehension was the artificial light that shone brightly below, assuring her that she would be safe.

She climbed downward, Marceline helping her steady herself after the foot drop at the bottom of the latter.

The cave was amazing. She different rock formations appeared almost like abstract art, bending at all different angles, morphed by ancient water currents and the passage of time. In some places, white spikes protruded from the cave's ceiling, glimmering white like snow in the harsh artificial light. In the background, she could hear a faint flow of an underground stream, sloshing idly by, undisturbed in its endless journey.

“It's beautiful,” she breathed.

“Not as beautiful as you,” the voice came in the form of a whisper by her ear. Marceline.

She felt a cold hand slip its way into hers as she turned to meet her green gaze.

“Don't be a dork,” she said, trying to sound confident, but she could feel heat rising to her cheeks.

Marceline shrugged and untangled their fingers, shooting her a sly smile. God, she knew if any dude had shot her a grin like that, she'd be so uppity and downright furious. But when Marceline did it, she was hot. She often felt self-conscious about calling other girls hot. It felt wrong- she knew that was mostly due to internalized homophobia, but what can you do? Society gets 'ya.

But man, Marceline was smokin' when she did that. It made her insides twist and burn. It wasn't very dignified, but dang.

Bonnie barely managed to take her mind off her own whirling thoughts. Betty and Simon excitedly rattled on about the history of the cave systems as they moved forward, pointing out exceptionally exciting rock formations as the went. They passed by many underground springs, which Simon would insist were good enough to drink right from, “Filled with minerals,” is how he described it. Betty firmly disagreed, though she admitted it was pretty good water, if a bit dirty.

Eventually, the group met a mostly dead end. A small stream wound its way into a small hole near their feet, but it was too small for any of them to make their way through, and so they headed back, and broke quickly for snacks before heading to their next destination.

Bonnie expected herself to be tired. Before college, she jogged almost daily, but her stressful work-school routine had decimated nearly all exercise regimens she'd had previously. Now she operated on the pure adrenaline of knowledge. She wanted to know more about these amazing cave structures. She wanted to cram as much information into her head as she physically could in the limited time she had.

The next cave they found had a much more open entrance. It gaped wide in front of them, the arched stone reaching taller than the cabin they were staying in. Within wound a network of streams which pushed around mossy rock before joining into one river as it exited the cave mouth.

Bonnie stared in awe as they clambered onto the moss-covered stone and onto the sandy earth that lay beyond. The water was crystal clear, to the point where she could see the smooth, round gravel beneath, as well as the hundreds of minnows that darted two and fro in the shallow water.

“We're gonna go on, but you kids stay here,” Simon said as Betty began to lower herself precariously into a nearby hole, “the next part is experts only, but Betty's been wanting to check it out for some time. We'll be back in an hour. You kids,” he waved his hand, “splash around in the water or whatever kids do these days.”

Bonnie and Marcy both laughed, which earned a grin from Simon as he disappeared underground.

Bonnie stared at the flowing water and jotted down some notes in a small notebook she'd been carrying. She wanted to remind herself to look up in more detail some of the rock types she'd been seeing. Simon and Betty, for all their rambling, couldn't hope to cover everything. Next to her, Marceline lazily tossed rocks into the river.

After a while, with the only sound being the ambient noises of the forest and cave systems around them, Bonnie began to hum as she sketched.

Marceline grinned and began to sing, making up lyrics to go with Bonnie's aimless humming.

“Don't you know, Bonnie's eats rocks, loves the crunch-”

“That one doesn't rhyme,” Bonnie murmured as she shaded the moss in her sketch.

“Yeah, well, you do better,” Marceline said, though her voice betrayed her amusement.

There was more silence, which was eventually broken by Marceline.

“Hey, Bon,” Marceline said. She reached over and lay her hand on Bonnie's.

Bonnie blinked up at her, and met eyes that flickered with fear and uncertainty, “You okay? What's up?”

Marceline swallowed hard and glanced at the river. She could feel her hand trembling lightly against her own, so she cupped it gently between both of her hands and nodded encouragingly.

Slowly, Marceline leaned closer, her nose brushing against Bonnie's. She could feel Marceline's shaky breath against her slightly parted lips. She felt Marceline's hand brush her hair away and cup her cheek as Bonnie sat, frozen in place, her body burning with excitement.

And then Marceline's lips met hers. It wasn't their first time, but it was their first time wherein Marceline was sober. She was much more sure of her movements as she leaned into the kiss, hesitantly at first, but then more confidently as Bonnie closed the space between their bodies, resting her hands on Marceline's shoulders. Kissing was never quite how Bonnie expected it to be, but it was so soft and warm and inviting and perfect.

Marceline broke away slightly, just enough so she could speak, but their lips still brushed, “I, uh, might like you.”

“Obviously,” Bonnie laughed as she closed the gap once more. By now she was sitting in Marceline's lap, her hands having moved to rest in the center of Marceline's chest. Marceline's hands traveled through Bonnie's hair as she continued, and she began to feel Marceline's teeth brush lightly on her bottom lip. She whined quietly into the other girls mouth, at which point she felt Marceline's chest vibrate with laughter. She was too immersed to feel embarrassed, though. All she cared about was kissing Marceline.

“Hey girls! Oh, woops,” the exclamation caused the two to fall apart and meet a very flustered Betty's gaze. Her face was red like a tomato as she ducked back into the cave, followed by a chorus of apologies and confused shouting from Simon as he demanded to know what was going on.

Bonnie's heart twisted. Being known as the girl you caught making out with your niece a day after meeting her wasn't the best look.

But, as she met Marceline's sheepish smile, she realized another thing.

She was happy. Really, really happy.

And hopefully that would be enough.

 

Chapter Text

There were a few things that Bonnie had learned about Marceline in the three days since their intimate encounter in the caves.

Firstly, she was a massive blanket hog. If it were summer, it wouldn't have mattered so much, but it was February and the weather was barely creeping above freezing. At least twice each night, Bonnie would wake up shivering to find Marceline wrapped in a burrito unconsciously constructed out of two thick comforters.

Twice each night she'd shake Marceline roughly to wake her, and twice each night, Marceline would grumble something and refuse to wake up. Unfortunately for her, Bonnie was nothing if not persistent, and so every time she eventually won back at least one blanket, usually coupled with Marceline mumbling something about her being a “fuckin' homophobe”, whatever that meant.

Secondly, Marceline was the most cuddly person anyone had ever met. On the surface she didn't seem the type- she had such a classic cool attitude. Bonnie had known already that the cool exterior was mostly fake, but she hadn't realized just how affectionate her roommate- her girlfriend – could be. While they were in the cabin, they made a habit of watching an old horror movie after they'd finished exploring for the day and the sun had set. Marceline proved quickly that she had no shame in displaying affection in front of her family, as she cuddled up to and nuzzled Bonnie's neck. Hell, she seemed to like getting comfortable in Bonnie's lap, even. In front of her family! The thought would never have even occurred to Bonnie in front of her own family.

Then again, her family wouldn't have been nearly as supportive.

That was the third thing Bonnie learned- Marceline's family was disgustingly sweet and supportive of them, though not without their light teasing. Even the sweetest family members tease you when you're caught kissing in a cave, she supposed. Simon did nothing but gush over Bonnie and how apparently cool and smart and 'neat-o' she was. She wasn't sure how to handle it, if she was being honest.

On the final night before their departure home, Bonnie awoke cold once again. She sighed and rolled over to wake Marceline, to find her once again wrapped tightly in blankets. Her resolve to wake her faltered when she saw her face. She looked so at ease, though maybe that was universal when one was asleep. Her mouth slightly open, probably dreaming of something she'd forget immediately once she woke up. With a sigh, Bonnie gently kissed her forehead and flopped onto her back before picking her phone up off the nightstand.

It was six thirty. They'd have to get up in an hour anyway.

Bonnie kicked her feet lightly. It was possible Lady was awake. She was an early riser, much to Jake's chagrin. She unlocked her phone and typed out a text message. Her belly churned as she read it over.

Bonnie: hey so, I might have a girlfriend. You can probably guess who

After much deliberation, Bonnie added a peace sign emoticon at the end. Perfect, she had truly mastered text messaging protocol.

She hit send and awaited a screeching reply.

It came in thirty seconds.

Lady: AAAAAAAAAAAH

Lady: OH MY GOD

Lady: WHEN

Bonnie smiled up at her phone, her belly knotting with a familiar excitement as she typed out a reply and sending it.

Bonnie: a few days ago. Sorry for not telling you

Lady: What?

Lady: Oh my god

Lady: Rude? But congrats oh my god is she a good kisser sober?

Lady: Nevermind. I'm making a reservation for laser tag tomorrow, and you're coming.

Bonnie sighed. She knew there was no arguing with Lady when she made up her mind like this. She was stubborn that way, and if she wanted a double date of sorts, that's what she was going to get.

Bonnie: Fiiiine.

She turned her phone face-down on the bedside table and began to tap Marceline's nearest cheek repeatedly. Marceline groaned and swatted her away. With a sly grin Bonnie clambered on top of her and began to trail soft kisses up her neck and along her jawline.

Eventually, Marceline let out a soft sigh and rolled over, kissing her back in turn, “Whaddup? Is it time to go already?”

Bonnie kissed her again, “No, but you woke me up again. We're gonna have to work on that. Anyway though, how do you feel about laser tag?”


 

Packing was the worst part, but that didn't stop Marceline from waiting until the last minute to do it. Every single time. Bonnie paced anxiously as Marceline checked over her items once again. Seven sets of clothes were lined neatly in her bag- more neatly than usually, thanks to Bonnie. What else was there?

3DS? Check.

Toothbrush, tooth paste, travel shampoo? Check.

Antidepressants, Blockers, Estrogen? Uh, no.

“Hey, Bon, can you get my-” she paused. Estrogen. She glanced up at Bonnie, who stared at her expectantly. She wasn't ready for that conversation yet. Soon, but not yet.

“Nevermind, I'll get it,” Marceline was up and out of the room before Bonnie could stop her. She grabbed the small orange containers off the counter and shoved them into the front pocket of her suitcase, “Okay, now I'm ready.”

Bonnie eyed her questioningly, but luckily said nothing. They were in a rush, not that it actually mattered that much. If they missed their flight they could bum around in the airport for a few hours until the next flight, but she knew Bonnie wouldn't be pleased with that idea. She liked to be on schedule.

The group was silent on the drive to the airport. Simon always grew silent when it was time to say goodbye, and Betty wasn't one to force conversation. For the most part, though, it wasn't uncomfortable. Bonnie sat beside her and lay her head on her shoulder, but it didn't bring as much comfort as it had the previous days. The thought of her medication lingered in her mind.

Her gender had never mattered in their relationship previously- it didn't matter if your roommate was trans or not. Well, it could, if the person was enough of a jerk, but it wasn't something she felt the need to bring up. As a romantic partner though? Well, she didn't want to wait until they got any closer.

She clenched her fist. If Bonnie noticed, she didn't say anything.


 

Laser tag wasn't something Marceline had any experience with, and by the way that Bonnie spoke vaguely about it, she assumed the same could be said about her. However, Bonnie seemed convinced that there was no getting out of the occasion, and Marceline wasn't about to argue with that. She was sure it would be fun anyway, in spite of the anxieties that were continuing to weigh down on her, even the day after their arrival back home.

They took the bus with Lady and Prismo- Jake had unfortunately come down with the flu and couldn't make it, but Lady was chipper nonetheless, stating that Jake had a competitive streak and would have made the teams uneven anyway.

It was a long bus ride- about a half hour, which was longer than she cared to be in any smelly, over crowded vehicle, but at least she had her arm wrapped comfortably around Bonnie and could feel her girlfriend's hair tickling her neck as she leaned on her shoulder. It was a small comfort. One that she hoped she wouldn't miss after tonight. She swallowed hard and forced the negative thoughts out of her mind. That would come later. For now, it was time to focus on kicking butt at laser tag.

The building in question looked like it had been designed by the fourteen year old sister of whoever invented Hot Topic. Not that she knew if he had a sister. The information on him was limited, as she'd learned from a curious Google search one day. There was next to no information on the guy, and that seemed fitting enough for the person who founded Hot Topic.

What she wanted to express was it was a black building with obnoxious neon lettering plastered in the windows and on the entryway sign, in a font she wouldn't touch if she was above the age of fourteen.

The inside was just as much an eye sore. She wasn't sure what she was expecting, but it wasn't this. Bonnie giggled as she squinted against the black contrasted with neon greens and pinks. In the background was bizarre, alien sounding ambient noises, featuring warping sounds and what she assumed were meant to be laser guns. Even the employee who waited for them at the front counter matched the decor. She wore all black aside from a belt, which was neon green. Her hair, too, was a short, bright green undercut. She didn't even know they made dye that colour.

Lady took the initiative to request service at the counter as Marceline continued to marvel at her surroundings.

Before she knew what was happening, she was being herded further into the maze of darkness and fitted with a black vest which featured neon lights, and handed a gun-like object.

“Okay,” Lady said, smiling widely, “the objective is to not let Prismo and I kick your sorry butts every time. It's no fun if you guys are big pushovers,” he grabbed Prismo's hand and began walking away, “see you in a bit,” she added as she rounded a corner.

A moment later, Lady popped back around the corner, “But you won't see me.”

She disappeared again, before reappearing a moment later, “Because I'm better than you, okay, bye.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes and tugged Marceline deep into the maze they'd found herself in. Bonnie dragged her around multiple corners, and Marceline didn't offer any resistance to that. She could barely see in this damned place, never mind navigate.

After Bonnie determined that they'd moved far enough, she crouched down in a corner, urging Marceline to do the same.

“Okay, so, here's the plan,” Bonnie said, her face close to her own and eyes glimmering with intensity, “Follow my lead and stay close to the walls,” she gestured upwards, “they have the experience, but those dorks are so tall we can probably see the tops of their heads over these walls, got it?”

“Uh, yeah, and Bon-” she was cut off as Bonnie pulled her into a kiss. Marceline stiffened in surprise for a moment before leaning in.

“Sorry,” she said, “I always wanna kiss you when you're that close.”

Marceline blinked, “Sure, so, after this can we-”

“Hey, lovebirds,” Lady's voice cracked as she rolled- literally, rolled, into view. Bonnie shoved Marceline to the side as Lady readied her gun.

“Move it,” Bonnie gasped and bolted around the corner.

“-Talk,” Marceline sighed, and followed after.


 

Marceline trembled the whole ride back. She blamed it on the cold when questioned about it. Laser tag had gone well, and for a few hours, she'd been able to forget her worries, but as she exited the building, they came back in full force.

Bonnie held her hand the ride home, occasionally offering a reassuring squeeze which only served to tighten the knot in Marceline's chest. She had to do this- she knew it was a necessary part in any relationship she entered, but it was also probably the scariest.

Ash had been, well, she supposed “okay” with it wasn't exactly accurate. He often acted like he was entitled to her simply because he dated her in spite of who she was.

He made it seem like he should be grateful for him, even if he was a disgusting sleezeball.

As she gazed at Bonnie, her hair almost touching her shoulder now as she complained about how badly she needed a hair cut, she desperately hoped it wouldn't be the case.

She'd waited so long to kiss this girl- she didn't want to ruin it with something she couldn't change about herself. Lady had reassured her it would be fine, but regardless doubt lingered in her mind, present and suffocating as it held her.

When they got off the bus Bonnie glanced at her and her eyes grew round with concern.

“Marceline, are you crying?”

Marceline blinked away the tears that were welling in her eyes, “I-it's just the cold air, ha, I guess I'm not good with the cold. Weird, right?”

Bonnie furrowed her brow and stepped closer, her eyes gentle, “Marceline, is there something you want to talk about?”

Marceline stared at her, mouth slightly open. Snow had begun to fall around them, and it rested gently atop Bonnie's pink hair. She was so, so gorgeous. The way her hair gently curled as it grew out. Her soft, round face. She couldn't stand the thought of losing her.

Marceline swallowed hard before forcing the words out of her mouth, “Bonnie, I'm trans.”

Bonnie was silent for a moment, her eyes flickering with something unrecognizable. Then, she placed a hand on Marceline's cheek and lay a soft kiss on her lips, only for a moment.

“I love you, Marceline.”

Marceline's chest twisted, this time with joy, and tears returned to her eyes, “You do?”

Bonnie smiled and kissed her again, “Of course.”

Marceline croaked out a sob and pulled her into a tight embrace, “Thank you Bonnie.”

Bonnie laughed- a tender, loving sound, “You actually kind of told me once. You were drunk.”

Marceline pulled back, once again wiping tears from her eyes, “What?”

Bonnie smiled, avoiding eye contact, “Well, you mentioned how you needed to take your pills, and you said something like they made your boobs good?” she shrugged, “Lady used to call her hormones booby pills. I just kinda figured.”

Marceline laughed genuinely and loudly now, grasping her knee with one hand, “Wow, did I really say that?”

“Uh, yeah, you we're pretty out there that night.”

Marceline straightened up again and pulled Bonnie into another hug. She felt the other girl's arms wrap around her and squeeze tightly as the snow began to fall thicker around them. She pulled away just enough to face Bonnie, her own nose touching hers, “I love you,” she whispered, and pulled her into a kiss, longer this time.

Bonnie was warm against the cold around them. She felt her hands move into Marceline's hair as they deepened the kiss, and then her teeth brush teasingly against her lower lip. With a soft sigh, they broke apart, both smiling tenderly.

“Let's get home,” Marceline whispered, her voice echoing with joy.

 

Chapter Text

Nights continued to be cold as February wore on in Bonnie and Marceline's dorm room. The walls were thin, and she was fairly certain, by the whistling sounds in the night, that many of the windows had not been sufficiently upgraded in a long time, allowing a stiff, chill breeze to pass through the cracks. This all gave Bonnie and Marceline a good excuse to cuddle in close and enjoy each others company and warmth in the night.

On one particular night, Bonnie lay awake, staring out the window and absently twirling a long strand of Marceline's hair between her fingers. The other girl had her head nestled lightly against her chest, and her arm limp across Bonnie's stomach. Bonnie sighed and closed her eyes, nestling into Marceline's hair.

She had so much to worry about, now that they were back in classes. Over their week break, she hadn't had time to get ahead in her work. Or, rather, she had time, but she had mostly spent it pressed against Marceline. She blushed in frustration and groaned a little too loudly. She was a love struck idiot and it was going to tear down her grades.

Marceline stirred against her, “Bonnie, go to sleep, love,” she whispered, brushing her lips against Bonnie's neck.

“Sorry,” Bonnie mumbled, “just thinking about school.”

Marceline chuckled and propped herself up on her elbows so that she could look down at Bonnie. Her green eyes shone, brimming with affection in the dimly lit room. She gently pressed a kiss to Bonnie's head, “C'mon, Bons, you're like, the brainiest brain lord I know. You're gonna do fine.”

Bonnie's chest twisted with a mixture of emotion. She appreciated the sentiment, and she wished she could just cuddle up with her beautiful girlfriend and ignore everything. But on the other hand, she knew she couldn't just sit around like she had the past little while. Nothing was ever just fine. You always had to work at it, and she'd spent too much time already not working at it. She knew she'd begun to shake when Marceline lay a cool hand on her arm, “Hey,” she whispered, resting a soft kiss on Bonnie's lips, “Bianca invited me to a pokemon event tomorrow, how about you come with me? A little hard competition will help you de-stress.”

Bonnie managed a smile at the thought of that. Maybe it would help, at least a little.


 

Bonnie slipped on ice as she traveled to class the following morning. Frigid rain often fell overnight, leaving a thin layer of ice in the early morning that would either be melted by the rising sun, or cleared out by salt at around nine. For Bonnie's eight o'clock class, however, none of that did her much good.

She shuffled slowly along the frozen campus, happy, for once, that Marceline wasn't with her. She'd never hear the end of it if she saw how cautiously she walked, taking twice as long to get to her class as she normally did. Finally, the building entered her field of view. Just a few more steps, and-

She slipped. With a huff, she landed on her bottom, which was probably the best place to land, all things considered, but still not good. A nearby professor, always there to help, let out a howling laugh, and entered the building ahead of her.

A hand shot out by Bonnie's face, and she took it without thinking, “Thanks, uh-”

Braco.

She knew that he was in her Germanic Studies class- she even suspected that he'd transferred into it to be with her, but she'd been so good at avoiding him until this point.

“Hello, Princess,” Braco practically chirped the words in his excitement. Princess. She wasn't sure where he'd gotten the idea for that nickname from. Perhaps he thought it was flattering, but it just pissed her off.

Bonnie sighed, “Hello, and thank you,” she said curtly before walking confidently into the heated building. Braco followed close behind, looming over her, not in a threatening way, really, but obnoxiously.

“You know, girls say I'm a real nice guy,” Braco said.

Bonnie nodded but didn't offer a verbal response. Sure, Nice Guy. Capital 'N' and capital 'G'. Also known as, she wanted nothing to do with him.

She knew at this point it was best to simply ignore his fawning. Over the summer, he'd forget about her and go after some other girl. Some guys were just like that- creepy, but otherwise harmless. She supposed it could be worse.

About halfway through class she received a text message from Bianca.

The club meeting is at six in room 115 of the Evergreen building it read, accompanied by a small robot icon, which caused a soft smile to spread across her face. She missed hanging out with them on a daily basis. She knew that, reasonably, she didn't have time to hang out daily with really anyone any more, but it still sucked.

The shift from high school to University was more jarring than she'd expected. She'd gone through so many grade changes, she'd assumed it would be more, well, mild.

But University had quickly consumed all her free time, piling responsibility after responsibility on her until she all but forgot about her once close friends. She wondered desperately if they would be friends again- she'd never done well on her own. She didn't much care for her own company.

She needed them.

Bonnie missed a lot of notes as anxiety consumed her, and barely noticed that the professor ended his lecture ten minutes early, only coming to her senses when other students began to rise from their seats.

She rushed out of the room before Braco could return to her side, if he even planned too, and began to walk, now more easily due to the rise in heat, back to her dorm room.

When she arrived, Marceline was pulling a shirt over her head. She wasn't phased by Bonnie seeing her in a bra, and neither was Bonnie. They'd immediately stopped caring about that sort of thing once they'd started dating. Marceline preferred to sleep topless, and was happy that she had that opportunity now. Bonnie didn't really mind, either.

“Is something wrong?” Marceline asked, her sentence cutting midway to let out a yawn, “I'm just goin' to class.”

Bonnie paused. She wanted to dump her insecurities then and there, but she resisted. Marceline had her own problems, she didn't need to deal with Bonnie's in addition to that. Instead, Bonnie forced a yawn, “Nah, I'm just gonna nap between classes. Didn't get much sleep last night.”

Marceline smiled and gave her a quick kiss before walking past, “Try to get in some training before we hit the gym,” she said, winking playfully her way, “you might be out of practice.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “Pft, never.”

Marceline laughed and shut the door behind her, leaving Bonnie to collapse onto her bed. She wanted nothing more than to sit around and cuddle into her girlfriend's neck, to sleep the day away, but she had so much to do. Projects to work on, articles to read. She glanced at the 3ds on the side of her bed, now hers since Marceline had gifted it to her, and considered what Marceline had said.

Some practice battles wouldn't hurt.

Bonnie groaned and rolled over. She grabbed her laptop and booted it up.

Responsibility first.


 

Bonnie tapped away at her 3ds as Marceline led her along campus towards the Evergreen building. It was a smaller, two level building, covered top to bottom in long tendrils of English Ivy, which were trimmed on a regular basis to keep them aesthetically interesting, but not harmful.

When they entered the room, all eyes turned to them. She didn't want to be mean, but she was fairly sure most of the people here- all men with the exception of Bianca- weren't used to seeing women in their space. Bianca waved them over and Marceline dragged Bonnie into a seat next to her.

A man, probably in his mid twenties, stood up at the front of the room, “Welcome, I'm Todd, and we appear to have some new-comers,” he waved his hand in her general, indicating for them to give their names.

“Oh, Marceline,” Marceline said, turning to Bonnie. Her girlfriend was staring at her 3ds, not paying attention. She elbowed her firmly in the side, causing her to jolt to attention, “And this is Bonnie.”

Todd nodded, “Well, to remind everyone, and to catch our new arrivals up,” the eyes of the majority of the crowd continued to rest on them as they spoke, “We're going to be having a bit of a tournament, standard rules,” he went on into a jumbled of terms that Marceline couldn't begin to understand, but Bonnie listened attentively to.

She smiled. She knew something was on Bonnie's mind- she'd seen the stress is her expression and posture early, but she looked better now. Not relaxed, exactly, but not anxious- more determined, excited.

Before she realized what was happening, Bonnie had placed herself at the front of the room. She was hunched over, eyes intent, surrounded by a group of men. A tall, lanky man with scruffy red hair sat opposite her, his 3ds also at the ready. From behind, in their hunched over positions, she could clearly see some of the men's t-shirts, displaying outdated internet humor and, in one case, an under-dressed anime girl.

Bonnie looked so intense, so focused.

Honestly? Kinda hot.

Marceline bit down on her finger nails.

My God, did she have some sort of weird nerd... kink? Uh, no, not that sexual. Er, maybe it was. Either way, Bonnie was really cute when she was all focused on nerd stuff.

Bianca looked at her, eyebrow raised, “Uh, Marceline? You good?”

Marceline blinked at them, “Uh, yeah, we should go closer, support Bon.”

Bianca laughed, “You gotta support your cute girlfriend, eh?”

Marceline rolled her eyes, “Well, duh, c'mon.”

Marceline took a seat next to Bonnie, roughly shoving a guy out of the way to do so. Men always seemed surprised by her strength. Wow, surprise, this girl took two years of various self defense classes. She wasn't jacked, but she was strong enough to dislocate a jaw if need be.

Not that she dislocated this particular guy's jaw.

She cozied up next to her girlfriend and peered over her shoulder.

Marceline pointed at Bonnie's screen, “Why are you using that move, it-”

Bonnie shushed her with a wave of her hand. She leaned over and kissed Marceline on the cheek, “I'll explain to you later.”

She was pretty sure she heard one of the guys cuss under their breath, which made her laugh. Bonnie was out of their league even if she was into dudes. To add insult to injury, Marceline draped an arm over Bonnie's shoulders and kissed her on the cheek.

“I'm focusing,” Bonnie grumbled, earning a laugh from Bianca.

Within a few minutes, Bonnie had beaten the first challenger. She threw her hands in the air, “Who's next?”

Todd laughed, “Uh, well, we have to have some battles between other people first, that's, uh, how a tournament works.”

Bonnie scoffed and leaned back precariously in her chair. Marceline rolled her eyes, “C'mon tough girl, get out of the battle chair so someone else can fight.”

Bonnie stretched and stood up, “Yeah, yeah, Marce, can you come to the washroom with me?”

It wasn't really a question so much as a statement, but regardless, she was happy to follow.

Once they were in the hallway together, Marceline found herself pressed up against the wall. Bonnie's right hand was pressed against the wall next to her head, while the other reached to grasp her lower back as she was pulled into a fierce kiss.

Marceline kissed back without hesitation- Bonnie's bursts of affection were often random and intense, and she was always happy to indulge her on the somewhat rare occasions where Bonnie initiated such contact. Normally, she was the one doing these things, but it was admittedly quite attractive to see Bonnie take control.

Bonnie's teeth tugged at her lower lip, and Marceline heard a soft moan escape her. Bonnie pulled back slightly, “Straight men are stifling. I think one of them tried to hit on me.”

“Gross.”

“Mmm,” Bonnie agreed, the sound muffled as she pulled Marceline into yet another kiss.

They broke apart again, Marceline's face now significantly hotter than it had been just moments before.

“Right,” Bonnie said, straightening her ruffled hair, “I have ass to kick, let's go.”

Marceline swallowed hard, “Hell yeah babe,” she said as she followed Bonnie back into the room.

Bianca looked her up and down as the two of them took their placed back in the room. Marceline, for as hard as she tried, wasn't able to hide a blush. Bianca smiled widely and held their hand up expectantly for a high-five.

With an eye-roll and a sheepish grin, Marceline returned the gesture.

Bonnie won a lot of battles that night, and she supposed that riled her up, because Marceline was also kissed a lot that night.

So in the end, everyone won.

Well, not so much everyone. Mostly herself and Bonnie.

Whatever.

 

Chapter Text

Work.

She repeated the word in her head. She had to go. She needed money.

She hated it.

Bonnie breathed out as she looked at herself in Marceline's standing mirror, dressed in her tacky red uniform. She breathed in deeply and fiddled again with her hair. It looked weird, still frizzy, and she wasn't having much luck taming it. Was it always this frizzy? Why couldn't she remember what her hair was supposed to look like?

Marceline stood up and draped her arms over her shoulders, “You look hot in uniform,” she said, “but uh, why are you getting changed at home?”

Bonnie blew a raspberry, “Getting psyched for work.”

“Uh, alright,” Marceline said, pairing the comment with a questioning expression.

Bonnie sighed and flopped back onto Marceline's bed, forgetting her frizzy hair and wrinkled work uniform, still slightly damp from the under-performing dorm dryers.

“It's just,” she groaned, covering her face with her hands, “this is gonna be my first shift with Fionna since, well,” she sat up, “since I got in a fight with her girlfriend,” she paused, “and started dating you. What if she hates me.”

Marceline smiled sympathetically, “Well, you can't please everybody,” the words shot into her gut like a stray bullet, “but tell you what, if she hates you, I'll give you a super special surprise when you get home,” she paired the last part with a tongue click and double finger guns.

Bonnie's face formed a hard frown, “That doesn't help.”

“Doesn't hurt.”

Bonnie only rolled her eyes, pushing past Marceline to reach the door.

A gentle hand grabbed her shoulder, and a moment later she was meeting Marceline's kind eyes, “Text me when you're off work,” she said, pressing a soft kiss to Bonnie's cheek.

Bonnie sighed, “You got it.”


 

Sometimes she wished her bus rides to work were longer. She knew, logically, that long bus rides weren't practical, and could get ugly quick, but on the other hand, she liked being able to lose herself. Buses had a sort of otherworldly atmosphere that she had found she was fond of in her years riding them. When she was younger, taking the bus into the city with Lady, the two of them would often listen in on other people's conversations, and then gossip together over text. Sometimes, they would even sit on opposite ends of the bus to optimize their gossip.

She bunched some pant fabric in her fists.

It had been so easy then.

Lost in thought, Bonnie almost missed her stop, not that it mattered much. She always left campus in a way that gave her twenty minutes extra, in case something came up.

She entered the building swiftly, ducking through aisles to make her way into the back room. She knew it was childish, but she wanted to see Fionna as little as possible. She also knew that wasn't going to end well- closing crew usually consisted of five people- someone on the returns desk, a cashier, two stock workers, and a manager. She and Fionna were the stock workers that night, so it wasn't as if she could avoid her the entire shift.

She collapsed onto the couch in the empty break room and looked down at her phone. Ten minutes until she had to clock in for the night.

She stared at the break room's wall clock for a minute.

Two minutes.

She got up to get a drink of water.

Three minutes.

She sighed and clocked in early.

“Bonnie is on the air,” she said monotonously over the headset, before busying herself by organizing overstock downstairs.

It was always such a mess down there. Like, she understood why- when you were helping a customer, which was pretty much always, things tended to be shoved into wherever they fit and forgotten about. Still, diapers weren't going to help anyone in the food section.

Evidently, upstairs was doing well enough on their own, because not once was she interrupted within her first hour of organizing. Late Fsebruary and early March tended to signal a lull in customers as the Christmas season drew to a close, Valentine's day passed, and everyone simultaneously realized they'd run out of money.

Then, the time of reckoning came, “Bonnie, can you help a customer with glassware in aisle two? I'm all tied up,” Fionna's voice range through the headset, layered by fake customer service sweetness she knew all too well.

“On my way,” she said, making her way out of the maze of boxes and over to the elevator. It seemed to rock slightly as it made its way up, as it had for as long as she'd worked there. Usually, she found herself hoping it wouldn't malfunction and trap her. Today, she wished that it would.

Unfortunately, she wasn't so lucky, and was instead released onto the main floor.

Bonnie walked quickly to aisle two, where she quickly met with an elderly woman, staring at a four pack of wine glasses, “Oh hello dear,” she said, and immediately Bonnie was relieved. She was a regular who she knew well- a sweet old lady.

The funny thing about old ladies is they only came in two varieties in retail- sweet and literal Satan. There was no in between, so dealing with them was always a gamble.

“Tell me, are these glass?”

Bonnie frowned, “Uh, yeah, they'd say plastic if they were plastic.”

She nodded, “Right, but are they real glass, like, the good kind?”

Bonnie forced a smile. She had no earthly idea what this woman could possibly be talking about. Granted, she hadn't done extensive research about glass quality in the wine glass industry, but she was fairly certain this woman was pulling questions out of her hoo-hah, “Ah, well, this is a good brand,” she said. She had no idea if it was a good brand.

The woman nodded, “Right, and,” she held up a second box, “what's the difference between these two?”

Bonnie suddenly wished that she was sitting, having a deep, meaningful conversation with Fionna and Phoebe. At least then she would feel something other than her own numbing mind.

She pointed at the one that was five dollars more expensive, “People tend to go for this one,” she lied, “it's good for gifts- the engravings on the bottom make it stand out from other sets.”

“Oh, alright, thank you again dear,” the woman said, replacing the wine glasses on the shelf and promptly leaving without taking one.

At least she put them in the right place.

When she turned around, Fionna was standing a few inches from her. If she had anything in her hands, she would have dropped it. As it was, she nearly punched an unsuspecting Fionna square in the jaw, “Fionna,” the words came out in a gasp, “don't mess with my reflexes, girl, you know that. I just about slugged you in the jaw.”

Fionna laughed, “Yeah, sorry about that. It's just been so long since I saw you.”

Bonnie laughed in turn, “Yeah, well, last time didn't go so well from my perspective, so,” she tried to politely pass her, but Fionna simply followed.

“Yeah, well, I wanna catch up.”

Bonnie knew there was no outpacing her, so she simply fell into line as they paced around the store, pretending to be busy by facing the disorganized sections as they spoke, “Well, how have you and, uh, Phoebe been?”

Fionna blushed, “Good.”

Bonnie felt her blood grow hot. Was she really going to insist on conversation and then offer a one-word response? Before she could offer an angry remark, however, Fionna continued.

“How about you and your girlfriend?”

Bonnie blinked, “My girlfriend?”

“Uh, yeah, Marceline.”

Bonnie tensed, “Lady,” she hissed under her breath, but evidently loudly enough for Fionna to hear.

“Actually, I can hear you two. Dude, I'm like, right below you, y'all get loud,” she winked.

Bonnie flushed, panicked thoughts running through her mind. Loud? When? I mean, there'd been one time so far, but-

“Dude, dude, kidding. I don't even live on campus, c'mon, has dating got your brain all gooey? Jake told me.”

Bonnie allowed a sigh to escape her, “Right, sorry, I just didn't wanna upset you. Listen, Fi, I know you had a crush on me for a long time.”

Fionna slouched beside her, “And I know that you were never interested.”

Bonnie sat next to her, “Yeah. Sorry.”

Fionna shrugged, “It's cool. I'm past it now- it was probably for the best, anyway, even if I can't understand why right now.”

Bonnie smiled, genuinely for the first time that day, “Maybe we can still be friends?”

Fionna's smile outmatched her own with ease, “Dude, that would be, like, so awesome.”

Bonnie laughed, “Right, well, at least you don't hate me. Maybe I can get Phoebe to like me too.”

Fionna laughed, “Maybe, but hey, you can't please everyone.”

Bonnie grew hollow.

It was true. There were still two people she knew she wasn't going to please. Not ever. Not after she and Marceline started dating. She'd neglected to consider them until now. She stood up suddenly, “I have to use the bathroom, cover me.”

Before she could hear Fionna's response Bonnie was around the corner, and a minute later, in the staff washroom.

She sat on the toilet seat and stared at the wall.

In all her chaotic thoughts about talking to Fionna she'd forgotten that she still had to talk to two very important people about her relationship.

Her parents.


 

She knew that not telling her parents about her relationship wasn't lying, not exactly, as long as they didn't ask about it directly, but she still felt that pressure to tell them. She'd grown up in a rigid, highly monitored environment. If her parents didn't know everything, then she was hiding something from them deliberately. If she was hiding something, well, it usually didn't end well.

So Bonnie found herself in a predicament as she hovered over her mother's number on her phone. On one hand, she knew this would never go well. She'd always be a disappointment, and her parents would immediately direct unjustified hate towards Marceline, criticizing and scrutinizing her every movement.

On the other hand, if she didn't tell them, it would only be worse when they found out, and they would find out, somehow. They always did.

As a child, she'd often wondered if they had cameras set up in her room to monitor her. On the worst days, she would be afraid to cry after they screamed at her, fearing that they'd find out and punish her more.

She hesitated for a long moment, her finger hovering over the call button.

She resolved to send a text instead.

She couldn't do anything other than stare at the phone. She knew vaguely that her bus passed by, but she didn't care. She had to wait for a reply. She couldn't focus on anything else.

The reply came in the form of a phone call.


 

When Bonnie came home, Marceline didn't have a chance to get a word out before the other girl was on top of her. She kissed her neck and bit down lightly, startling Marceline in her swift and sure movements.

After the shock passed, Marceline pushed her back gently, “Bon, are you okay?”

Bonnie's eyes were brimming with tears, but regardless, she nodded. Marceline frowned and lightly brushed a tear off her cheek, “Bonnie, tell me what's up.”

Bonnie shuddered against her and leaned into her neck, “I don't want to talk about it, can't we just have fun?”

“Bonnie.”

Bonnie's fingers dug into her shoulders, “Fionna didn't take it well.”

“That's not everything, is it?”

A pause.

“No, that's it. She got really angry.”

She wasn't telling the whole truth, but Marceline knew she couldn't force anything out of Bonnie, “Okay, but stop crying first. We're not gonna bang if you're sobbing.”

Loud laughter erupted from Bonnie, “God, okay, okay,” she chuckled, rubbing her eyes, “Sorry, I was just, uh, frustrated.”

Marceline smiled and kissed her cheek before shifting so she could whisper next to her ear, “I can make you frustrated in a different way.”

Bonnie hummed and lightly pushed Marceline back onto the mattress. She fiddled with Marceline's shirt line as she left soft, light kisses along Marceline's jawline and down her neck. At certain points, Bonnie would bite down lightly and Marceline would feel a soft whine escape her, followed by a giggle from Bonnie.

Marceline felt herself melt into Bonnie as her warm hands slid under her shirt.

It was a late night after that.

 

 

Chapter Text

The event itself passed in a blur, feeling more like a long string of painful emotions rather than an actual conversation. She couldn't so much remember what was being said, so much as the feelings associated with them, and they were very powerful.

Every word out of her mother's mouth felt like a stab in the chest, every word from her father's like a bullet, ricocheting inside her brain and forcing painful, fiery tears of her eyes which she tried to force anguish out of her cracking voice.

She couldn't defend herself. She knew it was pointless, so she just took it.

The one thing she could bring herself to defend was Marceline.

The moment they heard about her, they launched every painful, offensive comment they could at her.

They called her a fuck buddy, a slut, useless, ugly, stating that she would only drag Bonnie down.

She refuted all of that, and it only directed hate towards herself. That was fine, she could take that. She was used to it.

She was used to hearing about how worthless she was, how she would amount to nothing if she didn't focus one hundred percent on her work. She couldn't have a relationship- she had responsibility, and those responsibilities were to her work and school, not to some fling she'd forget once she was out of college.

But Marceline wasn't a fling, she argued. Stupid.

Once again the conversation turned into an attack on what they knew of Marceline's character. They knew she'd had a boyfriend, though she hadn't remembered mentioning it, and that information turned into comments about how she was being used, misled, and tricked.

The conversation never stayed too long on Marceline, however. They didn't know enough about her. They knew plenty about her, though, and knew exactly what would upset her, and just how to use the information they had to do so.

She was used to that, too.

She let herself go numb.

She'd learned that was the best way.


 

Bonnie was acting weird. For the last week or so, she'd been increasingly distant, and she rejected any questions on the subject. Either she would dismiss them by saying she was just worried about class, or she would reason that she was worried about her friendship with Fionna, but Marceline knew better than that.

Bonnie liked Fionna, but her rejection wouldn't send Bonnie into a week of silence. They weren't that close, and most of their friendship had been awkward at best from what she'd heard, filled with awkward avoidance as Bonnie danced around Fionna's obvious crush.

Most nights, Bonnie would stay up late, on her laptop, promising that she'd join Marceline in bed in ten minutes. It was always ten minutes, and again, and again. Marceline never stayed up long enough to see her crawl into bed, and yet they always woke up at the same time, if Bonnie didn't wake up earlier.

When she was affectionate, Bonnie usually barely reciprocated, and for what she did, she looked like she was holding back tears. Whenever she asked if she was okay, it was as if a shield rose in front of her, and all emotions left Bonnie, leaving her hollow as she replied that she was fine.

Perhaps Bonnie's silence rubbed off on her, because as she sat with Bianca eating lunch, her friend prodded her hand from across the table, “Marceline?”

“Hm?” Marceline mumbled, her attention still not grasped.

“Are you okay? You haven't eaten.”

Marceline glanced down at her undisturbed omelet and sighed, “Just stressed out.”

Bianca smiled warmly at her, “You are sounding more like Bonnie. You can tell me what's up, you know,” they paused, “or you can tell her.”

Marceline tapped her fingers on the sticky table, “I don't think I can,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper, “she's been so secretive lately. I don't know what's bothering her.”

Bianca's smile evaporated, “Bonnie's always been secretive,” they said, “but around you, I thought it was different.”

Marceline felt her shoulders seize up. Was it her? Had she done something wrong?

Bianca hummed, “I would just let her know you love her. Maybe take her on a date, do something romantic,” they rested their head on their hand and stared at Marceline dreamily, “Love is beautiful, Marceline. It can do anything.”

Marceline wanted to scoff at that. Love was good, but it couldn't help everything. Sometimes it was bad, sometimes it misled people into thinking one thing was the best, when it wasn't. Sometimes, love turned around and bit you in the ass. Her stomach knotted as fear bubbled inside of her, whispering that she was doing to Bonnie what Ash had done to her. She pushed it back down. She wasn't going to be the one to crush Bianca's optimism, so instead of revealing her misgivings, she offered a smile.

The date idea wasn't bad, anyway.


 

“C'mon Bon,” Marceline's voice pitched up into a fake whine as she lay her head on her girlfriend's lap, interrupting her access to her laptop. Bonnie was typing away at what was now the eighth page of the essay she'd started earlier that evening, “I have reservations at that Italian place downtown that you like.”

That caused Bonnie to pause for a moment, before she let out a sigh and pinched her eyebrows together, “I'm busy.”

Marceline pointed at the screen, “When's this due?”

“Two weeks.”

“Then it can wait till after dinner.”

“Marceline, get off my lap.”

Marceline sat upright, but still looked Bonnie in the eyes, forcing her to focus on Marceline. Bonnie's eyes were strained and tired. She knew that she had barely slept the last week, and she looked halfway to death as she shakily met Marceline's intent gaze.

“Bon, you need a rest,” before she could utter a word of protest, she added, “I'm worried about you.”

Bonnie's expression softened as she gently closed her laptop. She breathed in deeply before responding, “I don't want to go out tonight,” she said, “but if you wanna go get food from the caf' and bring it back, we can chill and watch a movie.”

Marceline's posture immediately changed and she grinned ear to ear before kissing Bonnie on each cheek and standing upright, encouraging Bonnie up with her. The other girl wobbled slightly as she stood, but happily returned Marceline's smile, albeit not as wide. That didn't bother her- Bonnie was never one for wide smiles.

They walked down to the cafeteria with their fingers intertwined. That had always been among Marceline's favorite parts of any relationship. She loved the feeling of holding hands, knowing that the small display of affection meant so much, or at least it did to her. She loved being able to physically feel her partner in a non-intrusive way.

Along the way, Marceline whispered I love yous several times, to which Bonnie giggled, but otherwise remained distant. Marceline could tell that she was trying to be present, but she knew her well enough to know when she was distracted. Still, she decided not to pry, at least not for now.

They got curry from the vegetarian cafe and brought it up to their room. By this point of the year, most of the options their meal plan covered were unbearable, but the curries, at the very least, offered some variety. Those and the smoothies were pretty much all she could stomach at this point.

Marceline watched Bonnie lovingly as she browsed through her laptop for a movie to watch, “You seen Boss Baby?”

Marceline didn't respond. She simply moved her face closer, forcing the goofiest grin she could muster.

“What?” Bonnie asked with a frown, pinching her eyebrows together.

“You're beautiful.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Bonnie said, though there was no anger in her voice, “that's you.”

Marceline laughed and flopped back onto a large beanie chair that had arrived a few days ago, and which she had picked up from the post office and haphazardly carried back on the bus. It was comfy, though, so she considered the unfortunate bus ride worthwhile. Bonnie smiled at her from her laptop, her expression looking genuinely happy for the first time in the past few days, and Marceline's insides melted in response. That's what she'd been waiting for- just a hint that Bonnie might be alright.

Bonnie shoved Marceline over in the chair and cuddled up next to her, positioning her laptop awkwardly on their intertwined legs, and leaned on Marceline shoulder.

“You wanna try mine?” Bonnie asked, offering a fork with rice noodles dangling from it.

“Isn't that chicken.”

“Girl, it's fake chicken. We got it from the veggie place.”

Marceline wrinkled her nose and took a hesitant bite, “That,” she chewed thoughtfully, “doesn't taste like much of anything.”

She felt Bonnie nod, “Nothing here does. God, I can't wait to be moved out and have a kitchen.”

Marceline forked rice into her mouth, “We're just gonna eat rice every day anyway.”

“But it'll be our bad rice that we chose to make.”

Marceline laughed, almost spitting out a mouthful of food in the process, “Yeah, I guess.”

They fell silent as the movie began and their brains attempted to digest the bizarre imagery. Honestly, by ten minutes in, Marceline was thoroughly lost, and by Bonnie's hard frown, she guessed she felt about the same.

Then, something odd happened.

Bonnie started to cry.

It started out small, with tiny trails of tears that she tried desperately to hide, but soon morphed into huge, raking sobs, as the laptop slipped onto the ground and Marceline's shirt began to wet with tears.

For several long moments, Marceline didn't respond at all. She stared in shock at the sudden onslaught of emotion before her. Then, she awkwardly wrapped her arms around her girlfriend and began to rub her back. Her brain grappled for information on how to handle such a situation, as if it was desperately trying to call back to some long forgotten class on how to deal with sudden intense emotions.

Her chest tightened as Bonnie's fists clenched at the fabric of her shirt, and she continued to let out dry, distressed cries.

Eventually, the tears stopped altogether, and Bonnie was almost hyperventilating, letting out massive heaves, almost as if she might throw up.

“Bonnie,” Marceline whispered, “I love you, it's gonna be okay. Tell me what's wrong, please.”

Bonnie shuddered against her for a while longer, clearly trying- struggling- to calm herself down. A couple times, she began to escalate again, until Marceline calmed her back down. Finally, she spoke into Marceline's neck, her voice hoarse, “I told my parents about us.”

Marceline tensed. She, admittedly, didn't know a huge amount about Bonnie's parents. She didn't like to talk about them, and from what she'd heard, from Bonnie as well as Bianca, there was good reason for that.

One thing she did know, was they were not so into Bonnie's sexuality.

Marceline held Bonnie tight, her heart almost shattering at the uncharacteristic whimper that escaped Bonnie, “Listen. You are better than them. We're better than them.”

She pried Bonnie off her gently, brushing soaked strands of hair out of her face. Her eyes were puffy and red, and her face flushed a deep pink. She gently kissed her forehead, “I love you.”

“I love you,” Bonnie breathed.

“Do you want to talk about what they said?”

Bonnie bit her lip, her eyes alight with anger, “Just the usual- how I'm disgusting and a disgrace, what I've been hearing since I was fifteen.”

Marceline brushed a stray strand of hair behind Bonnie's ear and cupped her face gently, “Bonnie, you're beautiful, genuinely. You're so much better and smarter and more badass than they'll ever be, and that's a fact.”

Bonnie smiled, her body beginning to lose its tension.

“Do you feel better?”

“Yeah, a bit, sorry.”

Marceline pulled her in for a deeper kiss now, which Bonnie gladly reciprocated, weaving her arms around her neck and playing with Marceline's rapidly growing hair.

When they pulled apart, Marceline whispered, lovingly but sternly, “You have to be honest, Bons. That's how we make this work.”

“I-” Bonnie hesitated, as if she was about to argue, but thought better of it, “you just have so much going on. I don't want to add to that.”

Marceline felt tears well up in her eyes. She wasn't hurt, exactly, but she wanted so desperately for Bonnie to know that she was there for her, “Our problems both matter, and you deserve to be able to talk about that. You don't have to push your emotions down. I promise.”

“But, what if-” she clenched her fists, “what if I mess everything up?”

“You won't.”

Bonnie breathed in, and then let out a long sigh.

“Will you promise to be honest with me?”

Bonnie hesitated, and then nodded, making eye contact as she responded, “I'll do my best.”

Marceline smiled, and Bonnie, in turn, gained that very specific smile she only wore in response to Marceline's smiles, “Good, now, wanna make out until we pass out?”

“Sounds ideal.”

 

Chapter Text

It was March on the frosty campus. The last full month of classes- yet another big change from her previous schooling. Bonnie was used to two months of summer, but in University, Summer was another complete four month semester, that could be spent either in summer classes, or, as it would in her case, working her brains our for four months straight in order to afford the next year. Ah, the joys of forty hour weeks. Sore knees, throbbing feet, no energy to make food. Living the dream.

Needless to say, she had a lot to worry about. For one, she was considering a new job. Her position right now was stagnant. Management never shifted, and the company had foregone regular raises, preferring bi-annual bonuses based on performance instead, which was in no way preferable. She knew that she could do better elsewhere, and having a current, decently long-standing position under her belt would help with that.

She also had to start thinking about housing. Marceline's parents had offered to help them pay the overlap costs that would be associated with moving out at the beginning of April rather than the beginning of May. Their housing was sort of ridiculous. They were expected to be out of dorms on the twentieth, but apartments were generally ready for moving in on the first, and Bonnie wasn't about to stay with her family in the gap time at the end of the month.

Thirdly, she had essays. So, so many essays. She assumed she would be prepared, after the previous semester, to balance four final papers, but deadlines rushed forward quicker than she could imagine. Sure, hearing “eight pages” from four different professors sounds possible, until one really sits down and thinks, okay, so thirty two pages total. That's around the time when the panic sets in. Then, on top of that, there's all the sources to gather, articles to read, academic texts that were constantly just on the verge of turning her brain to goo. There were times in her life when she appreciated dense, verbose texts, and this was not one of those times. On several occasions, she found herself on the verge of shouting at the non-present authors to just get their heads out of their asses and use smaller words.

Eventually, all the classes started to melt together until she couldn't remember if she was writing about street art in Berlin or how corporations play off the struggles of oppressed people for profit. At that point she usually took a break for a nap so that her brain could reorganize itself.

She spent a lot of time sleeping these days.

On top of all that, she now had to worry about Marceline getting a job.

“You don't have to worry, Bons. This is my thing, you don't gotta worry about it.”

“Dude, c'mon, let me see your resume.”

Marceline flinched, she wasn't sure why, but regardless, handed her the resume.

Bonnie glanced over it quickly, immediately spotting several problems, “My guy, why is it like three pages long?”

Marceline's face hardened into a frown, “It's only three pages.”

“A resume should be one,” she looked over the document again, “I think you were writing a CV.”

“Those are different?”

“Dude.”

“Alright, well, what do I cut?”

Bonnie pulled her girlfriend down gently onto the bed next to her, “Well, first, you might want to reconsider telling your employer that you can play guitar. You're looking for, like, a barista job. I don't think it's relevant.”

“It shows dedication.”

“It shows lack of focus. Look, you have, like, no work experience. All you have is six hours of volunteer work.”

Marceline groaned and collapsed backwards into her bed, “I was a lazy teenager.”

Bonnie smiled at her sympathetically, “Dude, can't your dad get you a job or something?”

In a flash, Marceline was back on her feet and tugging her resume out of Bonnie's hands, “Whatever, I can do it myself. I'm going to the library to rework this.”

Bonnie flinched at the sudden anger radiating off Marceline, “Hey, hey, I'm sorry,” she whispered, placing a hand on Marceline's shoulder, “Look, you're probably gonna wanna lie. Say I was your manager at my work, but the one at the other side of town. I can pretend to be a reference.”

Immediately, she felt Marceline's tension wane as she sighed and turned to kiss Bonnie's cheek, “Thanks, Bonbon.”

Bonnie hummed happily and buried her face in Marceline's shoulder, wrapping her arms around the other girl's waist, “You have the cutest nicknames for me.”

“Yeah, well, you're the cutest girlfriend.”

“Uh, that's saying a lot coming from the actual cutest,” Bonnie shot back, releasing Marceline from her arms. They sat down together and Marceline pulled her laptop onto her lap and began to cut down and edit.

“Hmm, what's your GPA?”

“Uh-”

“That's a joke, it's a four now, put that down.”

Marceline laughed and typed away, cutting unnecessary details Bonnie pointed out and rephrasing accordingly.

It took some time- Marceline was bizarrely attached to some of the details of her resume, but eventually, they trimmed the document down to the point where Bonnie was satisfied.

“Great,” Bonnie stood, “Now, put on your hottest professional outfit. We're gonna print like twenty of these and hand them to every manager we can find.”


 

Marceline shuffled awkwardly in her job search outfit. She was wearing a modest, knee-length blue dress, a black coat over top, and a scarf to help fight back against the gradually receding cold. Bonnie tucked Marceline's resumes, stored safely in an envelope, into her bag.

“Where do you want to go first? The mall downtown might be good. Easy for buses.”

Marceline clenched her fists, “Uh, I was just gonna drop something off at the music shop near campus.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow. She knew very well that Marceline had been raised wealthy, but she'd have to learn quickly that life in the retail world was harsh and unforgiving.

Bonnie took Marceline's tense hand in her own and walked her towards the bus exchange, “Well, I recommend you drop off quite a few resumes. At least ten today, so think of ten places that might be hiring.”

Marceline's eyes widened, “Ten? I don't even think I know ten places in town!”

Bonnie chuckled, “Dude,” Marceline bit her lip as she continued, “I can name like ten places we've been in the last two months. Laser tag, Mcdonalds- don't apply there, food service is another level of hell-, Best Buy,” she rattled off a few more options as Marceline nodded along, looking distracted.

“Here, we can do the music shop first. It's a short walk, and you can drop one off at the used book store nearby.”

At that, Marceline smirked, warming Bonnie's chest, “Bon, you know damn well that I don't read a damn thing.”

Bonnie laughed, cupped Marceline's cheek in her hand, and pressed a soft kiss to her lips, “I can help you talk bullshit,” she pulled away, “and there's the video game shop, too. Much more up your alley.”

“Now you're talking.”


 

The day passed by awkwardly as they wandered into stores, Marceline trying to look confident, and Bonnie trying to look unimposing, pretending to browse as she watched to make sure Marceline was alright. For the part of actually applying, she did pretty well. She pitched her voice higher than Bonnie realized it could go, offering a distinct customer service air as she did so.

What concerned Bonnie, however, were the moments in between. Marceline's confidence would often drop mid-conversation, her expression turning pensive and distant.

In spite of this, Marceline showed no interest in taking a break. She pressed along, dropping off resumes and speaking to managers as she did. A small, locally-owned cafe that they visited even offered her an on-the-spot interview. Afterwards, Marceline seemed unwilling to talk to her about how it went, however.

As they walked along a rich-looking neighborhood, Bonnie's stress began to boil. Marceline didn't want to take her hand and walked a few steps ahead. Finally, she stopped mid-step.

“Marceline.”

She didn't stop.

Marceline.”

Marceline stopped and turned around, her shock at Bonnie's harsh tone evident in her rigid posture and wide eyes.

Bonnie bit back tears and she strode to catch up to Marceline, “What is up with you today? You were just lecturing me the other day about how we have to be honest, and now you're being all vague with me. Like, are you stressed about finding a job? Is it school? Dude, just-”

“Don't,” Marceline snapped.

Bonnie paused, startled by the frustration in her voice.

“Don't?”

“Don't call me that.”

Bonnie paused, “Don't call you what?”

“Dude. Guy. Don't call me that.”

Bonnie felt her eyes widen with realization as she stared at Marceline, whose face was strained as she held back tears that threatening to overflow and ruin her carefully applied interviewing makeup.

“Shit, d- Marceline, I'm sorry. I didn't realize.”

Marceline sighed and collapsed onto a bench adjacent to a nearby bus stop. She rested her face in her hands and muttered a quiet apology as Bonnie took a seat next to her.

“Marce, you don't gotta be sorry. I should have considered that. I'm sorry.”

Marceline took a deep, shaky breath and turned to face Bonnie, her eyes strained, clearly forcing back stinging tears, “I,” she took another breath, “it's dumb. I know they're just colloquialisms but.”

“But,” Bonnie cut in, “they hurt you.”

They were both silent for a moment, before Bonnie continued.

“Marce, I think you learned to hide what makes you uncomfortable, but you don't have to do that with me, I promise.”

Marceline seemed calmed as she took another deep breath, “Even the small things?”

“Even the small things.”

After a moment of silence, Marceline reached over and intertwined her fingers with Bonnie's, “I don't think the interview went well. I wasn't prepared to answer like any of the questions. Like, why do I wanna work here? Uh, because I need money? What kinda bullshit is this?”

Bonnie laughed, “Uh, yeah, they'll ask that. Just say something about atmosphere, or if you have time to research, talk about company values.”

Marceline groaned and leaned back, “That one interview was already so stressful, how many more 'till I get a stupid job.”

Bonnie wrapped her arm around Marceline shoulders reassuringly, “We'll do mock interviews at home.”

Marceline frowned, “How many resumes did you hand in before you got your first job?”

Bonnie smiled, “Like, a hundred.”

“What the fuck.”

Bonnie nodded solemnly.

“Bonnie. I'm gonna die.”

Bonnie laughed, “You're not gonna die. Not while you have- augh,” Bonnie's sentence was cut off by a high-pitched beeping noise, followed by a spray of water.

The sprinkler system in the park they were sitting by had been activated, showering Bonnie and Marceline with icy water. Marceline laughed as Bonnie shielded herself from the oncoming water. With a mischievous grin, the other girl grabbed Bonnie's wrist and pulled the two of them closer to the sprinklers.

“Marceline, no, oh my god. Stop,” she cried, pulling back in futile resistance. Unfortunately for her, Marceline was strong.

The knowledge that she would never beat Marceline did not stop her from trying to tug away, however.

“Marceline, we're gonna get co-oooolds,” the last word turned into a screech as the two of them slipped into a large puddle that had quickly formed in the grass. As she held herself upright on her hands and knees, she felt mud seeping up past her wrists, the water that covered it reaching a couple of inches above that.

Marceline was next to her, dress sopping wet and hair splayed all around, her chest shaking with intense laughter, “You should see yourself,” she wheezed.

Bonnie looked at her girlfriend, and then down at her sunken hands, “I'm gonna kill you,” she muttered.

“Oh, yeah?”

Bonnie took a deep breath. If she was gonna catch a cold, the deed had already been done. She grasped as much mod as she could into one hand and launched it at Marceline.

Marceline yelped in surprise, but responded quickly, splashing a wave of water in Bonnie's direction. She felt the filthy water soak into her hair. She shook her head, sending droplets flying at Marceline, and launched herself on top of the smaller girl.

As she landed, Marceline rolled, sending Bonnie back into the deepest section of the puddle with a splash. The two lay, panting and trying to catch their breath in between bouts of laughter. In that moment, Bonnie didn't care that her clothes might be ruined and she would probably be sick for the next two weeks. She was happy to be silly and careless for a moment, with someone she genuinely loved.

The two of them still managed to smile when they woke up the next day with a cold.

 

Chapter Text

Marceline felt guilt wearing down on her. Not the soul-crushing, oppressive guilt associated with big mistakes, but guilt nonetheless. After she and Bonnie had taken a dip in the murky park puddles a over a week before, they had both developed colds. For Marceline, her cold has subsided after a couple of days, but not so much for Bonnie.

Her cold had developed into a flu, which lasted well over a week and left her bedridden for several days. She'd had to miss several days of work, which she complained vocally about as Marceline encouraged her to call in sick. There wasn't much she could do in retail when she was passing out every thirty minutes in cold sweats. Marceline, for her part, had missed several classes, against Bonnie's wishes, to care for her and help her take care of herself. She knew she was grateful, even as she weakly insisted she not miss class.

Keila teased her for that, making sly remarks asking if Marceline dressed up as a 'sexy nurse' while she worked, to which Marceline replied with a confident sounding yes that sent Keila into hysterics. Somewhere in the background she had heard Ellen cheering while Keila blabbered about how Marceline was like a sister to her.

As Bonnie began to recover, Marceline began planning. There was an amusement park, just outside of town, not really accessible by bus, unless you wanted to spend an hour walking, but Marceline could borrow money for a cab. She was going to take Bonnie there and do the cute girlfriend thing and win her a sick prize.

And maybe kiss her on the top of a ferris wheel.

Now, the hard part was convincing Bonnie.

“Marcy, that's sweet, but you already helped me when I was sick, you don't have to.”

Marceline groaned exuberantly as the two of them walked across campus together. They were en route to a small cafe in the Law building that they'd heard was the best on campus, not that that meant much. Bonnie was absolutely adorable, dressed in a big burgundy parka witch a white scarf wrapped tightly around her neck. Marceline would be okay skipping dinner just to kiss her against one of the large oaks that towered around them. First came convincing Bonnie to go with her, though.

“Please let me take you,” Marceline whispered, “it'll be our first official date, that isn't with friends or sitting in our dorm.”

Bonnie glanced sideways at Marceline and continued walking.

“Booooon,” Marceline whined.

Fine,” Bonnie said, “but not because you owe me. Because I love roller coasters. Two conditions.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow.

“One: you have to let me win you a prize. Second, roller coasters are good, but those big drop rides are literal hell and I will not have them. Deal?”

Marceline snorted, “Yeah, yeah, deal. Now, let's go try these legendary paninis.”


 

Bonnie fell asleep in the taxi as they rode to the park. Marceline didn't mind. She always enjoyed absorbing scenery during long car rides. She sighed at the perfect scene before her; a beautiful girl laying on her shoulder, her hair mingling with her own as it cascaded down her shoulders. Outside, massive swaths of trees passed by in a blur, broken up by large farming land or, on occasion, a cluster of houses or a gas station. She wished the car ride was longer than a half hour, so that she could savor this moment, but she reassured herself that, with love and perseverance, she and Bonnie would have many more like this to look forward too.

She chided herself on her own sappy thoughts. Had she always been a dumb romantic mess? God, Marceline, think of something cool. Rock concerts. Those were cool. Rock concerts where she played on stage and a beautiful girl watched from the audience, knowing that the song was just for her.

Whoops, sappy again.

They arrived at the park too soon, and Bonnie woke up as the taxi driver announced the ridiculous amount they'd been charged. It was as if large amounts of money scared Bonnie so much they even stirred her from sleep. Luckily, she didn't have to worry about the amount.

Marceline's smile grew as Bonnie's eyes lit up at the sight of the massive park. It was the largest in their province, which wasn't particularly impressive, but she was glad to see her girlfriend happy regardless. The noise in any other environment may have been overwhelming for Bonnie, but she didn't seem to mind here. Instead, she grasped Marceline's hand tightly and began to drag her along, her eyes alight with joy that Marceline had only seen in her once or twice before.

Bonnie's first stop was to a churro stand. As they ordered, Bonnie went on and on about how much she loved the cinnamon covered treats, much to Marceline's delight. She bounced giddily as she ate hers.

Immediately after, they ran to get in line at the park's signature wooden roller coaster. Marceline was glad that she had a steel stomach, or she'd be worried about spitting up cinnamon. The line was blessedly short, since the busy season hadn't really kicked into gear yet, and they managed to get onto the ride within minutes, complete with front seats. Bonnie giggled madly and bounced in her seat as they reached the top of the first hill before the big drop. Marceline expressed her excitement slightly differently, preferring to grip tightly to the handlebars while grinning ear-to-ear and tensing in anticipation.

They both let out throat-shattering shrieks as they dropped on the other side of the hill, hurtling down the rickety slope at a terrifying speed. Every time she did this, there was fear at the back of her head that she wouldn't make it out alive, but that made the experience all the more enjoyable, in a bizarre, round-about way.

The coaster also had a loop, which was simultaneously Marceline's favorite and least favorite part of the ride. She loved the thrill of it, but at the same time, she damn well thought she might wet her pants. It balanced out to an overall good feeling, though.

When they got off, Bonnie was a giggling mess, her hair frizzy and sticking out in all directions. She grasped Marceline's arm and babbled about how she'd always wanted to go here, but had only ever gone once with Lady. For the most part, there seemed to be no continuum to the story, but after a few wheezing breaths, she calmed down enough to speak properly.

“So, yeah, Lady and I saved enough money to cab here, spend the day, and then,” she snorted, “then we realized we didn't have enough to cab back, so we had to call her parents. They were pissed, but they agreed to not tell mine if we cleaned their whole house,” she wiped a tear from her eye, “it was good.”

“You're good.”

“Oh, hush.”

Marceline's gaze wandered to a large pool that had been set up in the center of the park. It hadn't been there previously, and appeared to be a temporary attraction. She paused and squinted. It appeared to have... large, clear orbs in it, with people running around inside.

“Holy shit, hamster balls. Bon, hamster balls.”

“Hamster balls?”

Marceline pointed excitedly in the direction of the attraction, “You can walk on water in a giant ball, like, Jesus Christ Bonnie, literally.”

Bonnie squinted in turn. It was possible they both needed glasses, but right now, all they really needed was to run around in a giant inflatable ball and roll around in a pool. It was a simple desire; one that she was sure all humans expressed at some point.

The two of them bounded over and waited in the line. Being a new and exciting temporary attraction, the line was fairly long, especially considering the cool temperature. However, once Marceline was in a ball, she was as giddy as a child. She tapped her foot excitedly as an attendant inflated the ball with her inside and she rolled out onto the pool.

Her instincts screamed that she was going to sink, but as she tumbled and fell, she only barely disturbed the surface of the water. The ball remained calmly on top, allowing her to see the intricately decorated bottom of the pool. It had been filled with artificial decorations to create the illusion of walking atop a reef. As she took in the scenery, Bonnie had evidently had enough time to enter her own ball, because in a shocking motion, Marceline found herself tumbling to the side. She reoriented herself, balancing haphazardly on her hands and knees, and looked from side to side. Bonnie stood a few feet away, knees quivering as she struggled to maintain her stance, but a huge grin upon her face nonetheless.

She allowed Marceline a moment to clamber to her feet and find a shaky sense of balance before charging. Bonnie launched herself to one side, tumbling out of the way with an uproarious laugh that Marceline could hear from inside her own bubble. Marceline lay, shirt riding up her waist, face down and staring into the water. Bon rolled carefully to her side and lay down beside her, gazing at her with a warm, adoring expression. Marceline smiled, and a moment later, the bell rang to single the end of their turn.

Bonnie pulled Marceline into a big hug as they exited. She kissed her with a raging intensity that Marceline had not seen in some time. When she pulled away, she smiled.

“I love you, Marcy. Thanks for taking me.”

Marceline smiled hazily and kissed her neck, “Not over yet. I'm gonna win you the best prize.”

Bonnie grinned mischievously, “Not if I do first.”

Without a word, Bonnie dashed off, leaving Marceline at a loss. After a moment, she bounded off to another direction, grinning ear-to-ear. She loved a little competition, or, more accurately, she loved to win.

The main problem, of course, was that she was terrible at the games, on top of them being totally rigged. She kept her eyes out for prizes Bonnie would love. Money wasn't really an object, so she didn't really care what it took. Eventually, she saw a massive, long-furred pink and white rabbit with long, floppy ears and massive blue eyes. She made an odd sound of excitement and rushed over. The game was a balloon-popping game. She was alright at those. It would work out.

And so her focus began. She wasn't sure how long she was there- she almost forced her eyes to narrow into tunnel vision in order to focus on the game, but eventually, the rabbit was shoved into her waiting hands.

“Yes!” she exclaimed, turning around.

Bonnie smiled at her from a nearby bench, sipping on a iced beverage and holding a massive bat plush on her lap.

Marceline ran over and held up the rabbit, “Look!”

Bonnie stood and kissed her cheek, slipping the rabbit out of her hands and replacing it with the bat, “I love it,” she cooed, “and I love that I won,” she added with a wink.

She turned around to admire the soft pink bunny, and Marceline eyed her adoringly. She loved that dumb competitive streak. She wanted to kiss her, but somewhere special. She glanced at the setting sun, and her chest flaring with excitement.

She slipped her hand into Bonnie's, “Ferris wheel?”

Bonnie hummed, “I don't like heights.”

Marceline blew a raspberry, “C'mon, nerd.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow, “You really want to?”

Marceline nodded enthusiastically, “Yes please.”

Bonnie sighed and tossed what remained of her drink into a nearby trash bin, “Alright, just this once.”

Marceline pulled her along, easily maneuvering around the many stands and attractions until they reached the Ferris wheel. In the dimming light, a few other couples had a similar idea, but there still weren't enough people in the park to create a hassle. She and Bonnie were on the ride within minutes.

Bonnie shuffled nervously in her seat, “Don't shake the seat.”

Marceline normally would do that, if she were with Keila, but she elected not to this time. She was in it for a romantic kiss, and rocking the boat- literally- wouldn't get her far.

As the rose in height, the light played beautifully on Bonnie's eyes, which were firmly positioned towards the ground as her arms wrapped tightly around her stuffed animal. The wheel reached its first stop, about halfway up, and she felt Bonnie shaking beside her. She wrapped her arm around her shoulders reassuringly.

Then, their second stop arrived, right at the top. The landscape of the nearby city was strewn out before them, the lights from buildings glimmering like faint stars against the sweeping gray of the city.

She glanced over at Bonnie, slightly more relaxed now, her eyes calm and pensive.

“Bon,” she whispered, reaching over to lightly cup her cheek in her hand.

Bonnie's eyes were confused for a moment, before realization dawned upon her, and she smiled.

Marceline leaned into a kiss, soft and loving and like a fire in her chest. Bonnie was so, so soft. Her skin, her lips, her hair, her everything. She felt Bonnie smile against her as she leaned in, and warmth spread through Marceline head to toe.

Bonnie pulled away first, “Thank you. It's been an amazing first date.”

It was the best compliment she could have received.

 

Chapter Text

Appartment hunting was a nightmare. Sure, it started out fun. In the beginning, Bonnie would browse through listings, cherry picking at the ones she really, really, liked. Didn't have big windows? Pass. Shared laundry? Not likely. Soon, however, she realized that wouldn't work in her favor. Sure, when she looked across the multiple websites, she saw hundreds of available suites, but what she didn't see were the thousands of other people in the city scrambling to get in at the same time. Sometimes, by the time she was able to reach the landlord, the apartment had already been taken, not even leaving her space for a viewing.

Sometimes, she cried out of pure frustration. Not when Marceline was there to see, never then. No, she evidently hadn't learned anything from all she spewed about honestly and relationships and all that.

Sometimes, Bonnie didn't care much for herself.

Or, well, most of the time, really.

She felt tears of frustration welling up before she could stop them. A quick glance at her laptop clock showed another half hour before Marceline came back from her late class. Long enough for a good cry.

God, she was nineteen and her life was already in shambles.

The thought of that only made her more upset, and so she cried.

Truth be told, she hated crying. It was such an open, honest display of emotion. Sure, she wasn't crying because she was sad- something she hated doing above all else- but she was still expressing an emotion outwardly, and she was never big on that.

Was that something she should work on, or perhaps seek professional help for? Probably.

Was she going to? Unlikely.

She cried harder.

“Bonnie?”

Marceline's voice sent a jolt of electricity through Bonnie as she looked up with a start. Her tears stopped dead in their tracks, leaving only treacherous stained cheeks and red eyes in their wake. Bonnie hung her mouth open, glancing from the time to Marceline's very real face.

“You left class.”

“Yeah, and you were crying. Just now.”

Bonnie paused, trying to scrape together a lie in her head. Stubbed her toe really badly? No. Death in the family? No. She couldn't pretend to care about a relative long enough to make that lie work, unless it was Neddy, and if Neddy had died, well, the reaction would have probably taken its toll on the structure of the room, to say the least.

“I was watching a sad puppy video,” the lie escaped her before she could mentally proofread it. Pathetic.

Marceline tipped her laptop screen back slightly to get a good look, “Apartment listings?”

Bonnie groaned.

“Bon, what was that stuff about honesty you're always saying?”

Bonnie sat upright, bunching her knees close to her chin, “I'm just stressed out over apartment hunting,” she managed.

Marceline frowned, shoving into the bed beside her, “Why didn't you ask me to help?”

Bonnie waved a dismissive hand, “You have enough going on.”

Marceline kissed her cheek, “And you, ms 'I do everything myself without telling my lovely girlfriend', have just as much,” before Bonnie could protest, she went on, “we take the same amount of classes, we both have,” she paused again, “individuals in our lives that make us stressed out to think about, we're both thinking about jobs, and between all that we gotta find time once in a while to bang,” Bonnie snorted at that, “so, let me take over for a few days,” she finished, slipping the laptop away from Bonnie.

Bonnie couldn't find a valid reason to argue, other than baseless paranoia, which didn't really count. Splitting labor was sort of unquestionably a good idea. Reluctantly, she nodded, “but run places through me first if you can, got it?”

“Got it.”

“Now,” she said, wiggling closer to Marceline and placing a hand on her thigh, “we haven't made time in a while, have we?”

Marceline smirked and placed a soft kiss on Bonnie's lips, “I don't believe we have.”


 

Apartment hunting was hell. Absolute dog-shit, fuck-all, hell. It was great in theory- look up some pretty places, get a lovely one bedroom, one bath apartment with a nice view, and spend the foreseeable future making sweet, sweet, summer lovin' to your girlfriend in your lovely new place.

Except it was never that goddamn simple, was it?

Marceline had a viewing today in a basement suite. It looked like hell in the photos. She assumed it would be worse in person. That didn't stop her from going to see it, though. There weren't many options that were returning phone calls or emails.

She approached the house hesitantly. From the front, it didn't look like a disaster. Sure, the siding could use an upgrade, an the grass was dead, but hell, lawns were bad, she was pretty sure. Bonnie had once gone on a rant about lawn culture. She hadn't understood most of it, but she was pretty sure lawns were bad.

The front door was a basic white wood, with a cloudy glass panel in the center that was caked with mold along the inner edges. Not promising. She knocked hesitantly, and was met by a portly gentleman, maybe forty years old, and clearly in need of glasses, as well as a shower. He squinted at her, “You Marky?”

“Marcy.”

“Yeah, apartment's round back, c'mon.”

Marceline followed at a safe distance. She was well-equipped with self defense techniques, but that didn't mean she wanted to have to use them. This guy didn't seem exactly dangerous, but he set off warning alarms in her head regardless.

They entered the suite by a rotting door in the backyard. It opened to a shared laundry unit, which the owner glanced by, noting that it could be used whenever he wasn't using it, which he usually wasn't. Not that she needed to be reminded- he smelled terrible. Had she mentioned he could use a shower? It was obvious he was the type to spray on some body spray and hope it covered his natural odor.

The apartment itself was, well, unfortunate. For one, it was more of a bachelor than a one bedroom. The “bedroom” was a section of the main living space sectioned off by a shower curtain hung lazily across an opening in the wall, and the bathroom, lacking a door, opened to the foot of the twin bed that currently lay there. There was no stove, and the fridge only rose to knee height.

“So, uh, seven hundred?”

“Ah, yeah, but we can, y'know,” he glanced at her, “probably negotiate somethin'”

And that was all that needed to be said. Marceline pulled her arms to her side and fast-walked out, promising to send an email that she would most certainly not send, and, once she was out of view, raced to the bus stop.


 

“Dude, I was pretty sure I was about to be murdered.”

“You said like, two seconds ago you could take him.”

“I'm distressed, comfort me.”

With a soft sigh, Bonnie ran her fingers through Marceline's hair, “I know it's hard,” she said smoothly, “that's why I was pulling my hair out.”

Marceline groaned, “I have another viewing later today. Can you come with me? Please?”

Bonnie bit her lip lightly, “I can make that happen,” she agreed.

Marceline reached up and placed a kiss on Bonnie's lips, dragging her teeth lightly along the bottom lip, and leaning in as she felt Bonnie's mouth twist into a smile. When they parted, Bonnie suggested dinner before they headed out, and Marceline eagerly followed her to the cafe they had come to frequent.

The food there wasn't special- it was passable, but at least it wasn't repulsive, as most campus food had become during the long months living there. Bonnie and herself had found themselves ordering takeout off campus entirely too often, spending far too much money, and ironically well on course to gain their fabled 'freshman fifteen' in the last stretch of dorm life.

But they had smoothies here, and those were palatable, at the very least. She got herself a mango peach, with added protein- she needed the boost- while Bonnie got her usual blueberry pomegranate. They sat in comfortable silence, sipping their drinks and browsing social media on their phone. It was a habit they had fallen into which she appreciated. She liked not having the pressure to constantly entertain her partner. It was safe, it was happy.

She was happy.

She smiled up at Bonnie, and Bonnie, not knowing what the smile entailed, smiled back.

They headed out after that, holding hands like it was the simplest thing in the world, and maybe it was, but it meant so much to her. Hell, that was cheesy.

She squeezed her hand tightly in her own.

She felt good about this appartment. She felt confident. This one would be it, for sure.

But then Bonnie asked her what bus they had to take.

“Uh, the 32.”

“Direct route?”

“Then a ten minute walk.”

Bonnie frowned and glanced at her phone, her eyes widening, “Marcy this is an hour away from campus.”

Marceline flushed, “Yeah, I uh, didn't notice.”

Bonnie sighed, “Well, we're already out of the dorm, we may as well go.”

Marceline kissed her, and immediately, if with a bit of a sly smirk, Bonnie's face lit up lovingly, “Dork.”

“Look in the mirror,” she said softly.

They rode the bus. Marceline nodded along to Bonnie's comments about the commute. She was right, but she wanted to stay positive. Maybe she could get a car or something. She didn't want to rely on her family, but a ride was a ride.

But she really didn't want to do that.

They arrived at the location, and it was immaculate. Brand new and located right next to a locally-owned grocery store, it was out of the way, but not a horrid location. They met their contact in front of the building and made their way to the third floor.

It was gorgeous. Perfect in every way.

Two large bedrooms, one of them featuring a walk-in closet and three-piece en-suite. A large living space opened on one end to a beautifully updated kitchen, sporting a pantry and an island, and the other end opening onto a large covered balcony. It even had in-suite laundry. Blessed, blessed, in-suite laundry.

It was perfect.

It was two hundred dollars per month over budget and in the middle of nowhere.

Marceline really needed to polish up on her house hunting.


 

From then on, Marceline and Bonnie house hunted together in their free time. They set aside an hour each day and cuddled together on the bed, discussing the pros and cons of different suites. They visited them together, and most of them were busts. A lot of people, it turned on, took pictures in a way that purposely exaggerated space. Frustrating, but at the very least, they were frustrated together.

Other places, they applied for, and then never got a call back. They weren't perfect places, but it was still frustrating. Quickly, she just wanted it to be over. She didn't want to be stuck a month from now without a place to go.

Finally, they found a place that seemed too good to be true. They caught it right as it was uploaded on craigslist. Marceline hoped beyond hope they could snag it.

That hope was only emphasized as they entered the suite.

It was an upper floor suite, the lower floor being rented to a single mother and her son. It had in-suite laundry, a single bedroom, a small but usable kitchen, a balcony, and, thank every conceivable God, in-suite laundry. Had she mentioned that already? There was a living space, not open concept, but not unusable at all. It had space for a couch, a couple chairs, a tv, and a solid group of friends. The bathroom was cramped, with yellow paint and a tiny stand-up shower. It even had a tiny balcony. Barely enough room for two chairs.

It was so perfect. Not the most amazing place, but so workable. She could live here for three or four years. It was a twenty minute walk from campus, five minute walk to the mall.

She wasn't a religious individual, but if she had been, she'd pray to let this torture be over.

Bonnie did the talking with the landlord. She was good at that; making them seem desirable. She said that Marceline would use the living room as her bedroom, that they'd set up a curtain. They lived in a pretty liberal city, but it was best to be safe.

They handed in an application. They didn't expect anything. They'd learned not to.

They got a call the next day.

“We got the place!” Bonnie practically screeched.

“We got the place!” Marceline echoed, flinging herself into her girlfriends arm. Bonnie laughed wildly and covered her face in kisses, which Marceline gladly reciprocated.

In just one month, she'd be living in a perfectly usable apartment with the girlfriend she loved.

Marceline was happy.

 

Chapter Text

Most parts of Canada took a painfully long time to get warm. They generally operated on the principal of July and August being Summer, and the rest of the year being winter. She wasn't sure if it had ever snowed in June, but it certainly wouldn't surprise her. Right now, it was March, and it was certainly still snowing then. She sighed deeply. Some high school kids would be having spring break right now. Spring break, in the snow. Abhorrent. Disgusting.

She waited outside one of the many university buildings, pacing back and forth with her hands tucked deep in her pockets. The cold nipped at her nose, and she wiped at it occasionally as the cold gave the false sensation of it running. Bonnie should be out any minute. Then again, she wouldn't be surprised if she'd stayed behind to talk to the professor. Maybe it would be best to wait in the dorm. She wasn't sure why she hadn't just done that. Maybe it was marginally less romantic than sweeping her away for a date after class, but she probably wanted to change first, anyway.

“Marcy?” Bonnie's voice sounded from behind her. She was shuffling along the frozen stones outside of the building towards her, “sorry, I was talking to my professor.”

Of course she was.

“What are you doing here? It's super cold, girl.”

“Oh, uh,” Marceline suddenly doubted her decision to take them on a super awesome and romantic date, but she held strong, “Bonnie, we are going on a super great and romantic dinner date,” she managed.

Bonnie blinked, “Uh, well, that sounds great, but I should probably change first,” she gestured to her over-sized university hoodie and worn jeans.

Marceline laughed sheepishly.

Yeah, so, maybe she didn't always think things all the way through.


 

Bonnie took a while to get ready- she always did for these occasions. It wasn't because she dressed particularly fancy, or layered on makeup, but more that she struggled to put together an entire outfit that wasn't pink toe to tip. She grumbled about how she looked ridiculous, and how she had no idea how she'd come to own this much pink.

“Pink's fine,” Marceline said.

“Yeah, if you're some weird old lady who's dedicated her whole life to one specific color.”

Marceline blinked, “You can just do different shades.”

“I don't think that's a very good solution.”

Marceline sighed and dropped down next to her girlfriend, “Listen, I barely know what tangible means. Like, I can't give you a definition, but if I looked it up, I'd be like, oh yeah I thought it was about that. You feel me?”

Bonnie furrowed her brow, “Uh, no? What? What does the word tangible have to do with anything?”

Marceline shook her head, “Bonnie, I'm a dumbass-”

“No you aren't.”

“If you look dumb, we'll just match, but you won't look dumb.”

Bonnie's frown hardened as she went back to digging through clothes, “I think I found some blue jeans.”

Marceline helped her to her feet and waited for her to change, “How did you get a reservation?” Bonnie asked, “I thought they took reservations for friday nights like, weeks in advance.”

Marceline waved a hand noncommittally, “I just called and it worked out.”

Bonnie seemed to question that assertion, but only shrugged. For Marceline's part, it was true. She'd heard it was painful to make a reservation at this place, but it hadn't gone particularly badly for her. It went like any other reservation, unless she had badly misunderstood something.

The restaurant didn't even have the best reviews in the world, but it was relatively cheap and close to campus, so it ended up filled on the evenings on weekends with college students going on dates or eating a sad, above average meal alone in dim restaurant lighting. When they couldn't arrange there, well, there wasn't much else quite so close, so they'd usually ended up on a disappointing McDonalds date, or a trip to the bar, which was about as romantic as McDonalds, which is to say not at all.

They walked into the chill evening air together holding hands, and immediately upon exiting the building, shoved their hands in their pockets.

Had she mentioned it was cold? Because it was damn cold.

And of course, they were walking. It was only a ten minute walk, but it was an icy, cold, walk. They both walked steadily, often shuffling through slush and icy pathways, trying their best not to fall, and on one occasion, on Marceline's part, failing and falling flat on her behind. Bonnie let out an uproarous laugh in response and almost tumbled over herself. Marceline considered for a moment dragging her down into a snowbank, but decided that wouldn't be particularly romantic.

Not that laughing at your fallen girlfriend was romantic.

To make them even, she licked Bonnie's ear, causing her to screech in surprise as Marceline cackled.

Maybe the two of them weren't just a traditional image of romance, and that was probably fine. In fact, she quite liked occasionally licking her girlfriends ear to make her scream.

That didn't sound quite how she meant.

Maybe that was okay, too.

After about twenty minutes of shuffling, the duo arrived at their destination. They were about two minutes late, which made Bonnie anxious- she was a stickler for that kind of thing, but Marceline was sure it wouldn't matter.

After all, she'd called.

She'd made a reservation.

All was well.

That was, until they arrived at the establishment- a well lit area with slow, romantic violin echoing within. The place was packed, voices echoing off the walls at such a rate that it was nearly overwhelming, and Bonnie was looking off into space, possibly dissociating. Worst, though, was the well-dressed man in front of her whose brow was furrowed as he re-read the list of reservations for the fifth time.

“Uh, I don't have a Marceline written down.”

“M-Marcy?”

“Nope, sorry.”

Marceline cleared her throat, “And I don't suppose there'll be openings?”

To his credit, he looked genuinely apologetic as he responded, “I wouldn't bet on it. Sorry, ladies.”

Marceline nodded stiffly and took Bonnie's hand, leading her out. She kept her head down, her face flushing with embarrassment. Once they were outside, she let out a sigh. There was no longer the lingering fear of blizzards, but her breath still came out in puffs and a thin layer of snow dusted the ground- something that, she would never admit out loud, still gave her an odd child-like sense of wonder, in spite of her general distaste for the trouble snow caused.

“Sorry, Bon,” she whispered, “I wanted to do something cute.”

Bonnie snorted, lacing their fingers together, “You're always cute, loser. You know you don't have to take me anywhere fancy, though. Like, I appreciate it, and would love to stuff my face full of spaghetti, but I'll settle for cheap burritos from the cafeteria.”

Marceline collapsed onto the cool, frost-lined grass of the narrow dog-park that lay across from the restaurant. The tips of the grass peeked through the thin layer of snow that crunched under her. She could still hear the music faintly in the background, which she tried not to let bother her. Bonnie sat down more carefully beside her, feeling the ground to check for dampness in a bare patch when someone's dog had probably been lying earlier, before sitting fully. It was more cold than wet, but she knew she'd still have an uncomfortably wet butt when she sat up.

Marceline cleared her throat. She hadn't intended to reveal the motivation behind her plan. Truth be told, she knew Bonnie wasn't about fancy dates, but well, she fiddled idly with Bonnie's fingers as she drowned herself in thought.

“You good?” Bonnie asked, her voice soft with concern.

Oh, shoot. She hadn't meant to worry her.

“Uh, no, well, yes, I just,” she laughed, “Keila said I should do something more romantic for you is all, so I tried. I'm not very good at this.”

Bonnie shifted closer to her, risking her pristine jeans to the wrath of the thin, melting layer of snow in order to be closer. She leaned over and gently placed a kiss on Marceline's cheek.

Marceline hummed, “You missed.”

With an eye roll, Bonnie placed another kiss, this time on her lips, drawing it out for a few seconds before pulling away, “May I speak now?” she asked teasingly.

“You may.”

Bonnie cleared her throat with fake vigor, “Right, so, as I was about to say- you're a loser with loser friends.”

Marceline snorted, “You're one to talk.”

Bonnie stuck her tongue out, “You're right, I am. I'm a big loser with big loser friends, which, henceforth, makes me the authority on such matters, and I say both you and Keila are losers, thank you very much.”

“All right, Princess Loser, and what makes us such big losers?”

Bonnie smiled, “You're a romantic sap and I don't know how to tell you that without loving jabs.”

Marceline smiled in turn and pulled her in for another kiss, running her fingers through Bonnie's soft, short hair. She felt Bonnie smile against her as Marceline twirled her hair in her finger and Bonnie played with the strings of her hoodie.

“I love you,” Bonnie whispered.

“I love you too.”

“Loser.”

Princess loser.”

Bonnie pulled away, “Hold your horses there, partner-”

“Yeehaw.”

“I- what? Why am I a princess?”

Marceline blinked. The real reason was because she was gorgeous. She sort of thought of Bonnie as her princess, but that was just about the corniest thought that had ever entered her mind. She couldn't vocalize that. A genuine display of emotion? Unthinkable. Not unless it was behind layers of humor. No, she had to rationalize this somehow.

“Uh, well, you wear pink. Like a Disney princess.”

Bonnie frowned, “You know, you like Disney more than me, but I'm actually pretty sure there's only like, one, Disney princess whose primary colour is pink. Like, I think blue's more common. So, by that logic, you'd be the Disney princess.”

Marceline choked, “I, no- you wear way more dresses than me.”

Bonnie snorted, “Uh, yeah, okay. Name the last time I wore a dress.”

Marceline tensed, “I, well. I can't exactly remember-”

“Hm? What's that? Princess Marceline?”

Marceline shoved her hands in her face, “It's because I'm gay, okay?”

Bonnie smiled, “Yeah?”

Marceline's blush deepened and she drew her hoodie up to hide her face, “I, uh, I guess I kinda think of you as my princess. Um, like, I just love you a lot, alright?”

Bonnie reached under her hoodie and kissed her again, “I love you too. Sorry for teasing,” she paused, “princess.”

Marceline rolled her eyes, “Shut up,” she muttered, but there was no genuine anger behind it. She flopped onto her back and stared up at the sky, “what should we do for a date instead? Stargaze?”

Bonnie lay down beside her and stared at the cloudy sky, “Not much to gaze at,” she noted.

Marceline sighed, “Yeah, guess not. I miss that about living outside the city. It's kinda corny, but Simon, Betty, and I used to sit outside and watch the stars all the time. Betty knows a ton about astronomy. She would always tell me facts about the stars. I would always forget them, too, so she could tell me the same ones over and over.

Bonnie grinned, “Actually, my mother was similar. She loved astronomy. Never pursued a career in it,” she paused, “I think she was bitter about that. She dropped out to have me,” another pause, “but stargazing with her was usually nice,” her voice cracked.

Marceline glanced over at Bonnie, who was wiping away tears, “Bon?”

“Sorry,” Bonnie whispered, “I don't know. It's weird. I know that having a few good nights stargazing doesn't justify her treating me like garbage most of the time, but like, I don't know dude, remembering the good times makes me feel guilty for the bad times. Like, maybe it was on me. I know it wasn't but,” she sighed, “I don't know.”

“Yeah,” Marceline breathed, squeezing the other girl's hand in her own. She understood. She felt that way about Ash. She recalled the nights early on they had spent, happy in each other's presence. Watching movies and laughing. It felt almost surreal, “yeah, I get you. You didn't deserve it, though.”

“I know.”

A pause.

“Neither did you.”

Marceline nodded, “I know.”

Bonnie rolled over so she was holding herself up on her hands and knees, just barely above Marceline. She kissed her once more before standing up, “I love you, Marceline. It's cold as balls. Let's get some pizza and go home.”

Marceline stood up and took her hand, placing a kiss on her cheek, “Sounds great.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Marceline stared at her phone screen, her eyes glazing over as her mind drifted for what felt like hours. The message was short, to the point, like it usually was. It wasn't particularly eloquent, but she was used to that. He had never been one for text conversations.

Ash: hey i miss u we should meet up 4 lunch or smth ;)

She turned her phone face-down on her bed and groaned, covering her face with her hands. She should be in class right now, but the anxiety knot in her chest was overwhelming. She felt almost as though some invisible force was blocking her airways, or perhaps pinching them shut. Her eyes burned as she fought back tears.

Why hadn't she just deleted his number?

Why was she considering seeing him?

She knew it was a bad idea, objectively. The mere thought of being near him had been cause of multiple breakdowns over the months since their disaster of a breakup. But now she was earning a bit of emotional distance from the matter. Maybe she could go, talk to him, and they could be friends. Maybe they could be close in the way it had been before everything had gone to shit.

She knew Bonnie would call that illogical, and she'd be correct, but she wasn't looking for Bonnie's blunt truth right now. She had never known the good side of Ash- and, well, maybe that was better, but whatever. She wanted to talk to Keila. She'd tell Bonnie later.

She got out of bed and pulled on an over-sized university hoodie. Gray with blue print. It covered the shape of her body, and would let her slink into crowds. It, combined with her unbrushed hair and dark circles under her eyes, made her seem a tad hungover, but that was frankly the least of her worries at that moment.

She didn't worry about Keila being home- she didn't spend much time out during the day, especially not during the winter. She'd never been one for the cold. When she arrived on her friend's doorstep, tears staining her cheeks and eyes no doubt red and puffy from sobbing embarrassingly on the bus, she was let in without a word. Even Ellen, who waltzed into the room with a rude comment prepared, backed off when she saw Marceline, offering a muttered apology before returning to her room.

Keila sat her down on the worn, second-hand faux-leather couch and rested a hand on her friend's shoulder, “Marceline love, what's wrong?” she took in a deep breath, “I know I gave her my approval, but if that pink girl did something, I-”

Marceline managed to croak out a laugh, “Uh, no, it's not her.”

Keila raised an eyebrow, “You'd tell me if it was?”

Marceline nodded, “I promise. No, I, uh,” she turned her phone over several times in her head, “Ash texted me.”

Keila straightened her back, “Block him,” she said, her voice stern, “Don't even reply. He's passed that point. Marceline,” she took her chin in her palm and made eye contact, her deep brown eyes unblinking, “he's not worth it. Never has been.”

Marceline shook her off, “I'm not planning on dating him again. I just want to know what he has to say.”

“Nothing worthwhile,” Keila's voice stayed level, unwavering.

There was a long pause as Marceline stared at the shabby wooden door, barely attached to its frame. She knew that Keila had asked the landlord multiple times to fix it, to no avail.

She didn't know what she had expected coming here. Reassurance? For Keila to tell her that she should totally talk to the jackass that ruined her life? No, nobody would tell her that. Except her own brain, of course, and that was the dumbest bitch on planet earth.

She flipped her phone over in her hands some more. The paint on the edge of her phone case was wearing thin from how often she did that when she was anxious. She was often anxious.

“Marcy, you know I'm not mad at you right?”

Marceline offered a weak smile, “I know.”

“And I love you lots?”

“I know.”

“And I'm going to give the best speech at your wedding?”

Marceline's smile widened slightly, “Only if I get the best speech at yours.”

Keila pulled her into a massive, suffocating hug, “Elle and I were gonna order burritos. You want in?”

At the mention of her name, Ellen peaked around the corner, “I wasn't snooping, but I heard burritos and oh my gosh I am so hungry you guys.”

Marceline chuckled, “It's okay if you were snooping. I know you always do.”

Ellen flopped down on the couch next to her, “Good, because I totally was. You're so past that loser, Marceline. Now, tell me what you want to order.”


 

The day she went to meet Ash was raining. Fitting, she thought, but not a huge coincidence. It rained a lot right now. Still, it added to the foreboding atmosphere and the growing knot that was forming in her stomach. The coffee shop they had agreed to meet at was downtown, about a twenty minute bus ride from the University. It was near an urban park, littered with wrappers in spite of the several garbage cans that were placed strategically throughout the park. A single, massive oak tree rose in the center of the swath of shaggy grass.

The shop itself was equally battered. The yellow paint on the outside was pale from rain, and in several places it had worn or chipped away completely. The sign, which was meant to simply say “Coffee Shop” was missing several letters, and the windows were grimy and cracked. With a sigh, she quit stalling and went inside.

The Batista looked about as anxious as she was. She had dark circles under her eyes, and her hair popped out of her messy ponytail in several places. She greeted Marceline kindly, “What can I get for you today?”

“Iced coffee,” Marceline said, then, after a moment, “please.”

The coffee took only a minute. It was mediocre. She couldn't taste much, anyway, so she sat down.

And then, in spite of everything she'd been told, she was there.

In the coffee shop.

Waiting for Ash.

He was late. That was typical. It was also telling. She still had a chance to leave. She flipped her phone over in her hands. She should leave.

“Yo, Marcy baby,” Ash landed ungracefully in the chair in front of her, spreading his legs apart and throwing an arm across the back of the seat as he shot her a crooked grin she was sure he had practiced in the mirror. His gray shirt was ragged, with several stains, including some particularly flattering armpit stains. She could smell him from across the table.

He brushed a hand through his hair, sending a few dandruff flakes tumbling down, “You look awful,” he said.

“Nice to see you too,” her words came out like a growl.

“Woah, woah, chillax. I'm just kidding.”

Marceline sighed and leaned back in her chair, “And no one's laughing. Look, you have five minutes to convince me coming here was a good idea.”

Ash rolled is eyes, “Alright, alright. Look, I fucked up. Not a lot of girls can deal with me. You're the best I'm ever gonna have-”

“Damn right.”

Ash cleared his throat, “And I want you back.”

Marceline clenched her fists, “Not interested. How did you fuck up?”

Ash paused, “Uh, I, um, made you upset.”

Marceline gritted her teeth, “And? How did you make me upset?”

Ash groaned with forced drama and slumped in his chair, “How'm I supposed to know, babe? I know I did bad, I'll do better. C'mon.”

“No. Thank you,” Marceline said firmly.

“Then why'd you even come?”

“To see if you could apologize properly.”

Ash stood up and snatched her coffee, “Whatever,” he spat, “you're such a dramatic bitch, you know? I apologized. I don't know why you gotta be so critical about it.”

Marceline stood, her nose an inch from his and her eyes fiery with anger, “Give me back my coffee.”

Ash chuckled and took another sip.

Marceline punched him in the face.

He dropped the drink, she caught it.

She was pretty sure she'd never be able to do something that cool again, so she milked it for all it was worth. She took a sip, kicked him as he lay on the ground, and left the coffee shop as the barista struggled for words.


 

When she arrived home, Bonnie was tapping away at final papers. She barely looked up as Marceline entered, offering only a smile and small wave before rubbing her eyes and returning to her work. Marceline stood by the closed door for a moment, gathering her words. She needed to tell Bonnie what she'd done- it felt wrong to avoid it, but she knew it was going to cause a reaction. Not anger, necessarily. In fact, almost definitely not anger, but certainly loud concern.

She decided straightforward was best. Frankly, Bonnie looked too tired to understand anything else.

“I met up with Ash today.”

“You have a nice ass every day,” Bonnie replied absently, continuing to type away on her laptop.

Marceline sat down on the bed next to her, avoiding eye contact, “No, I met Ash today.”

Bonnie sat upright, “On purpose?” she chirped.

Marceline clenched her fists, “Yeah. He texted me a few days ago. Wanted to see what he had to say.”

Bonnie's expression was a mixture of concern and what appeared to be annoyance- at Ash or herself, she wasn't entirely sure.

“Um,” Marceline said, “It didn't go well.”

“I don't imagine, no. Why didn't you tell me?”

Marceline shrugged dejectedly, her eyes tearing up, much to her chagrin, “Sorry, I just, I knew it wasn't a good idea, but I don't know,” she rubbed her eyes, “I just. Wanted something good to happen. I wanted it to be okay.”

Bonnie sighed, “It wasn't a good idea,” she said evenly, “but I don't blame you,” she wrapped an arm around her girlfriend, “you should have at least brought me as backup.”

Marceline chuckled, “I can take that loser.”

“Did he say anything gross?”

“Nah, but he smelled like shit.”

“He always did.”

“Did he?”

“I think you got used to it. Like when you live with cats your whole life, so you aren't bothered by cat pee smell, and someone comes over and is like, wow, it stinks, but you can't smell it. Ash was like that- he always smelled like piss.”

Marceline broke out in uproarious laughter, her tears breaking through and running freely down her cheeks as she laughed- a mixture of joy and anxiety welling to the surface, but as the laughter progressed, she found it was mostly the former.

“Gosh, Bon,” she settled her laughter, breathing heavily a few times, “you smell so good. Like, so good. Like mangoes,” she kissed her cheek, “please never smell like cat pee.”

“I'll do my best as long as you do, too.”

“I love cats,” Marceline hummed, “never had one.”

“My parents weren't big on pets.”

“We should get a cat.”

Bonnie grinned, “Wow, first we're gay, now we're adopting a cat together, gay people really do move fast.”

Marceline shoved her, “Oh, shove it. It'll be my cat. No Bonnie cuddles allowed.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Bonnie said, typing a few more words into her document.

Marceline watched her type for a while, drifting off into her own world as Bonnie focused. Occasionally they would give each other a quick kiss before Bonnie went on to the next sentence or paragraph.

After about an hour, Marceline's phone rang. She hopped off her bed and trotted into the hallway so that she wouldn't distract Bonnie.

“Marceline speaking,” she said- far more formal than her normal fare, but she was hoping for interviews and callbacks.

“Hi Marceline, this is Tim, from your Walmart interview earlier this week.”

Marceline straightened her back, “Oh, hello. How are you?” she wasn't sure if that was the right response, but it didn't feel like the wrong response.

“I'm great, thank you. Right, we'd like to offer you a stocking position. You'd be working in toys, er, could you come in Monday, at say, four?”

“Oh! Yes!” Marceline exclaimed, trying to keep the high pitch of excitement from her voice.

“Great, I'll be there, so just ask customer service for Tim if I'm not waiting for you.”

“Understood, have a great day, thank you.”

“You as well. See you Monday.”

She hung up and a massive grin spread across her face. Her chest welled up with joy. She swung the door open and leaped onto Bonnie's bed, bumping shoulders with her girlfriend.

“Guess what.”

Bonnie returned her grin, “We won a romantic trip to Hawaii?”

“Yes- uh, no, not quite. I got the job at Walmart.”

“Holy shit.”

“Holy shit!” Marceline echoed, “oh my god, I've never been so excited about walmart.”

Bonnie pulled her into a hug, “Get used to it. We're gonna be shopping there a lot. Cheapest place for groceries.”

The two kissed, and Marceline smiled lovingly at Bonnie, “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“I'm glad you're not Ash.”

Bonnie smiled, “I'm glad I'm not Ash, too.”

 

Chapter Text

Bonnie wasn't one for avoiding commitments. That being said, she also wasn't one for interacting with her parents. Wasn't one for lying, either. All three of these things, especially when combined, tended to land her in a lot of trouble. So she sat, staring at her Facebook messages, thoughts racing through her mind.

Her mother wanted to meet Marceline. She wanted to do so over dinner- very formal.

Bonnie had faith in Marceline- that wasn't the problem. Marceline was a good person; their relationship was developing a solid foundation. She had confidence in her and in their relationship. However, the fact of the matter was that none of that mattered. What mattered was that her mother wouldn't be satisfied, regardless of circumstances. Marceline could act and dress perfectly. She could never slip up in conversation, and Bonnie's mother would still find ways to poke holes into her character.

She didn't want to like Marceline, really. She was just some girl distracting Bonnie from university and the possibility of future grandchildren.

But she couldn't avoid it, either. That wasn't who she was.

She sighed again.

“What's up, Bons?”

Marceline was lying in her own bed, typing away on her computer. She was in full homework mode as the end of semester approached and panic set in. She reasoned that if they were in the same bed they would both get too distracted.

“Mm, nothing,” Bonnie said wistfully.

“You just sighed like, four times.”

“Did I?”

“Uh, yeah, so tell me what's up.”

Bonnie groaned, “My mom wants to meet you over dinner on Saturday.”

Marceline frowned, “What can I expect?”

“Nothing good- do you happen to work?”

Marceline cracked her knuckles, “I have a final on Monday- have the weekend off.”

“Do you want to pretend to work?”

Marceline chuckled and transferred herself over to Bonnie's bed, “Don't think so. Might as well get our first encounter over with. Who knows, maybe I'll charm the rents, eh?”

Bonnie looked her over, “Sorry, it would appear you aren't any of the conventionally attractive white celebrities named Chris that the world has to offer, so probably not.”

Marceline raised an eyebrow, “Your mom wants you to date Chris Pratt?”

“Any Chris.”

“Will Christine do?”

“'Fraid not.”

Marceline's eyes softened with concern, “No humor in the situation, eh?”

Bonnie leaned over to press her forehead against Marceline's shoulder. It wasn't exactly a comfortable position, but it made her feel safe in a way. She shrugged, “I just don't see it going well.”

Marceline rubbed her shoulder reassuringly, “It might not go well, but I'll be damned if we can't make the best of it.”

Bonnie managed a smile, “What are you thinking?”

“Full-on food fight. Your mom makes one wrong move and I've got spaghetti in both hands, going buck-wild.”

Bonnie laughed. It was genuine.

“It won't be too bad, Bons. We can do this.”

“We can do this,” Bonnie agreed.


 

Bonnie and Marceline elected to relax in the hours leading up to meeting Bonnie's parents. They sat at Keila's apartment; Marceline lounged on a chair, and Bonnie sat in her lap, asking occasionally if she was hurting her.

Ellen wasn't present at the meeting- she was off with some boy, by Keila's account, and much to her disappointment, Bonnie gathered. Bonnie had never particularly loved hanging out with the rambunctious blonde, but right now she found herself anxious with the long silences that would normally be filled with her rambling.

Keila was hunched forward, eyes glued to her small TV screen. She was playing a first person shooter on her Xbox that Bonnie didn't recognize, but she seemed rather immersed in it. The colour pallet didn't appeal to her much- a lot of greens and browns made the entire game feel like it took place in a sewer, and maybe it did. She wasn't really sure what was going on in it.

Marceline meanwhile, was absently tapping away at her 3DS; pokemon, she assumed. She didn't tend to play much else on the regular. She had a few games on her laptop, but she always came back to the little pixel monsters. Bonnie had nothing. She was far too stressed to focus on a game, but the other two weren't offering much in the way of stimulation.

And so she worried. She worried for a long, long time.

Marceline leaned over and kissed her cheek a few times, asked if she needed anything, if she was alright. She answered that she didn't, and she was.

Marceline didn't believe her, obviously. No one in their right mind would. Bonnie knew that, but she was glad that it wasn't pressed further. She had to deal with this, at least in part, on her own. Marceline could help, perhaps, but family was, well, family was difficult, but personal. She had to get herself part of the way there, whatever there” meant.

Eventually Keila dropped onto the floor next to their chair, folding her arms onto the edge where Marceline's feet lay and resting her chin on them. She stared up at Bonnie, her eyes wide and curious, “What cha' thinking about?” she sing-songed.

Bonnie smiled weakly, “Y'know, just thinking.”

Keila leaned closer, “'Bout?”

“Parents.”

“Oof. Rough,” Keila said, sitting back, “they uh,” she waved her hand, “y'know,” she paused, “parents?”

Marceline barked a laugh, “Fuck dude, they sure are.”

Keila rolled her eyes, “Fine, fine, ms 'my family totally loves me', most of us gays have a bad relationship with at least one of our parents, aight? You know my dad's a jackass.”

Marceline squeezed Bonnie around the waist, “I know. Sorry, guys.”

Bonnie leaned into the crook of her neck, “It's cool. I love your family, but, uh, yeah, my parents are, to put it as kindly as possible, total dicks.”

Keila and Marceline both laughed at that one. Marceline snorted, “Uh, yeah, from what I gathered, that is actually putting it lightly. And Keila, you won't believe it, I get to meet them! Lucky ol' me!”

Keila whistled, “Oh boy, I bet y'all can't wait.”

Bonnie sighed, a tad deliberately. She didn't enjoy her anxieties being mocked, even if it was in a lighthearted way around friends. She knew they didn't mean anything by it- in fact, they likely wanted to help. Regardless, their faces both became serious.

“You can do this, Bonnie,” Keila whispered.

Bonnie smiled, but it felt empty. This was the second time she'd been told that, ad yet it felt meaningless. What could she do? Survive? Was that enough?

She sighed, “I know.”


 

It was time. Dinner. The empty words echoed in her head.

You can do it. You can do it. You can do it.

It meant nothing. Anxiety rolled in her stomach, suffocating her.

Marceline squeezed her hand.

It didn't help. Nothing helped.

It was perhaps worse, being away so long. When she was there, at what she had called home, it was just a daily event. She knew how to deal with it. Now, she wasn't sure what to expect. Had they changed? Probably not, but perhaps they had changed their approach. Maybe they would seem kinder, act nice for the sake of saving face.

She didn't know what to expect, and she didn't like that at all.

She wasn't in control. She didn't know what was going to happen. She couldn't breathe. Couldn't let anyone know.

She squeezed Marceline's hand, and her girlfriend squeezed back.

They got there first. Her parents didn't usually come late. That make her anxious, too. Marceline squeezed her thigh reassuringly. That did help, at least a little.

They came about five minutes late, face unreadable, dressed in semi-formal attire. They sat across from them.

“Hello, Marceline, is it?” her mother droned.

Marceline forced a smile, “Yes ma'am,” she held her hand across the table. It was ignored. Awkward. Marceline brushed it off, placing her hand on the table, her expression ambiguous.

Her father cleared his throat, “So, what's your real name?”

Before Bonnie could say anything, Marceline replied firmly, “Marceline.”

“Right.”

Silence.

The waitress wandered over, “Hello, I'm Melissa and I'll be your serve this evening. Our soup of the day is a New England clam chowder. Can I get you folks any drinks or appetizers to start?”

Bonnie's mother handed over her menu, “We're ready to order.”

Bonnie flinched. She hadn't even looked at the menu. Too anxious. She flipped through it rapidly, looking for something that sounded appealing. Didn't really matter what, as long as she could eat it. None of it would taste like much anyway- panic masked flavor.

“I'll get the quinoa salad,” her mother said stiffly, “water's fine for everyone.”

“I'll get the sirloin, please. Well-done,” her father said next.

“Alright, house salad or mash with that?”

“Salad.”

Melissa shifted awkwardly, obviously unnerved by their short tone and even expression, “Great, it's quite good- poppy seed dressing, er-”

“That's fine.”

“Right, um, and you girls?” she turned to Bonnie and Marceline.

“Veggie burger and salad please,” Marceline said kindly, offering the first smile the poor waitress had been given from the group. Bonnie saw her posture relax visibly.

“And I'll get the chicken ceasar wrap with fries, please,” Bonnie said, her voice barely above a whisper as she handed over her menu. The waitress smiled sympathetically her way, seeming to understand at least part of the situation.

“I'll get your water right away,” Melissa said kindly before fast-walking towards the kitchen, obviously eager to be away from the negative vibes no doubt given off by their table. Bonnie couldn't blame her.

“Fries?” her mother said when she was out of earshot, “is that how you eat these days?”

“Yes.”

“You do seem a bit chubbier.”

“Sure.”

Her mother furrowed her brow, “Well, there's not need to be so sensitive, I'm trying to help.”

Bonnie clenched her jaw, anger swelling in her chest, “I know.”

Her mother sat up, staring at Marceline, “So, have you had the surgery?”

Marceline sank back a bit, “Er, sorry, I, uh, don't think that's any of your business, really,” her hand trembled in Bonnie's.

Bonnie squeezed it tightly, “Mom, stop.”

“Just asking a regular question. Are you kids all this sensitive.”

Bonnie's voice raised a little, “Yep, I'm afraid kids these days are all really into their privacy being respected, sorry to disappoint.”

“Don't talk back to your mother,” her dad said. There was no emotion in his voice. There almost never was. He just said what her mother wanted to hear. That's how he'd always been.

Bonnie began to tap on the table impatiently.

It was over before the food came, “So, without the surgery, does it count as being homosexual? You're still male, are you not?”

Bonnie stood up. Her anger boiled. She kept her voice down, mostly.

“Mother. I mean this as kindly as I possibly could. Shut up.”

Her mother raised her eyebrow, “Calm down, Bonnibel. You're going to cause a scene.”

“No. Fuck-”

“No need to cuss.”

“Fuck,” she repeated pointedly, “I am tired of you being invasive and demanding and domineering. I don't deserve this. I deserve better than these invasive-ass questions and,” she struggled to find a word to describe her feelings, “bullshit,” she spat. She clenched her firsts on the table. Marceline placed a hand on the nearest one, but didn't try to stop her.

Her mother was growing angry- really, truly, angry. The composure she usually had was lost, “I raised you,” she practically growled.

“Yeah, and look how that turned out. I'm a mess. You fucked up,” she breathed deeply, turned to Marceline, “let's go.”

Marceline simply nodded and shifted out of the booth, Bonnie close behind.

“I don't want to hear from you unless it's an apology.”

Her father.

“Same to you,” she said, her voice barely audible. And then she left, Marceline's hand in hers.

The walk home was mostly silent. Bonnie was numb to the chill in the air. A million thoughts buzzed through her mind. Had she done the right thing? Was she an idiot? Sure, she didn't rely on her parents financially- they wouldn't give her anything if she did need it, but still. She felt like she was making her life worse in the long run, somehow.

The first words were uttered once they were back in their dorm.

“I love you, Bon,” Marceline whispered.

Tears began to roll down Bonnie's face, her throat tightening, “I love you. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Are you?”

Bonnie croaked, “No.”

“That's okay too.”

Bonnie leaned her head onto Marceline's shoulder and cried. She cried for entirely too long, until her head throbbed, and she persisted even then.

And yet, at the bottom of it all, she felt a certain anxiety lift. She'd done it. She never had to talk to them again. She felt the obligations lift. She'd still have to get in contact with Ned, maybe convince him to avoid them too, for his own sake.

But she was free. She was done. She was happy, in the end.

 

Chapter Text

An end of the year party. It was loud, smelly, sweaty, and filled with bodies who were drinking entirely too much to cover up their unending stress. Bonnie liked parties, honestly. She was bookish, sure, but there were benefits to getting to know people, and she wasn't against a good time.

That being said, it was exam period. She had exams to study for. Well, okay, she'd studied already, and yes, she had agreed it would be a good idea to come here, but she was still stressed about it. She sat on a couch, sipping at her vodka and orange juice concoction. Not the fanciest beverage, but it didn't taste the worst and it got the job done. On her right, a man about her age, maybe a year or two older, was passed out in a heap, and a girl, possibly his date, was sitting next to him, tapping at her phone with a less-than-pleased expression. Bonnie felt bad for her if she was his date. She was dressed up for the occasion- more than most people here. Not formal wear, obviously, but well, to be crass, her dress showed off her tits nicely. Oof, that was vulgar. Still, most people here were in jeans and college sweaters. It was like they had just rolled out of bed, and most of them probably had.

Marceline was off talking to Fionna, already way past the point of no return, laughter pouring out of her at the slightest comment. It didn't even have to be funny, really. She was pretty sure at one point, Fionna said something about having to work all weekend, and Marceline had doubled over, tears running down her face. Poor Fionna had to hoist her up off the ground so that nobody would accidentally step on her.

Fionna. That was another problem. Where there was Fionna, there was Phoebe.

Bonnie was okay with parties. She was okay with people. She wasn't good with people that she knew didn't like her.

She took a big, long gulp of her vodka. She wanted to convince herself that it tasted okay, but if she was being honest, it was pretty damn gross. The back of her throat momentarily felt like it was going to combust. It quickly transformed into a warm feeling in her belly, however. She pulled her vodka out of her bag and poured another glass. She downed it immediately. If she was going to deal with unfortunate social interactions, she damn well wasn't going to do it sober.

“Aye, Bon-ster,” Jake flung himself over the back off the couch, performing a sloppy roll which ended with him on the ground, miraculously not face-first, though he came close.

“Jake-ster,” Bonnie grinned, sipping her drink.

Jake clambered onto the couch, bumping the well-endowed woman, who sighed and tapped more at her phone.

She gently, though a bit shakily, given the alcohol, nudged him closer to herself, earning a grateful nod from the girl.

“The hawk is on the prowl,” Jake said, a little too loudly. Some more sober people nearby raised an eyebrow in his direction.

“Whad'ya mean?” Bonnie asked, her words slurring a bit. She finished the glass. That'd do it. She could feel herself growing dizzy, disoriented, happy. Boy, was she happy.

“Phoebe, the Pheebs-meister. She don't like you much, so if you need me to fight 'er, uh,” he paused, “well, I won't do that but I'll cover ya'”

Bonnie stood up, wobbling, “S'all good,” she said, smiling too wide, “Phoebe and I are besties, don't you know?” she flung her arms wide, “best besties forever.”

Marceline turned and wrapped her arms around her, humming as she buried her face in Bonnie's neck, “You're pretty,” she drawled.

Bonnie giggle and kissed her cheek, “No you're pretty.”

“No you.”

“No you.”

“No, me,” Jake waved his hand between them, “guys, pay attention to me. I'm lonely.”

Marceline looked into Bonnie's eyes, “Mm, get your own girlfriend, nerd.”

“I have a girlfriend,” Jake whined, “and a boyfriend. I don't know where they are.”

Marceline kissed Bonnie softly, slowly, not at all elegantly. It was actually quite messy, and at times felt more like she was licking her face than anything, but at this point, both of them were too drunk to care.

“Gross, I'm gonna mope until I find Lady or Pris,” Jake grumbled.

Marceline chuckled and sat back on a nearby armchair, pulling Bonnie down on top of her, “Let's make out like an annoying drunk couple,” she said, kissing up Bonnie's neck.

Bonnie nodded eagerly and began to kiss Marceline urgently, sloppily. She could feel Marceline moan into her mouth quietly, could feel her slipping her hands up her shirt.

“Ladies, consider getting a room.”

They broke apart.

Phoebe. Of course.

She pointed a thumb over her shoulder, “I think there's a few unoccupied upstairs.”

Bonnie flushed, “Uh.”

Marceline giggled, pressing her face to Bonnie's chest, “Bon, have you ever fucked a girl at a college party? It's like in the movies.”

“It's not gonna be like in the movies,” she hissed, brushing her shirt flat and standing up. She drew Marceline up next to her, “we were going,” she said curtly.

“'Aight,” Phoebe shrugged, “but talk to Fionna first,” she nodded towards the kitchen, “she wanted to say something.”

Bonnie frowned. She hadn't had enough alcohol for this sort of confrontation. Not nearly enough. In that moment, she felt almost sober, though if she had been sober she probably wouldn't have been groping her girlfriend in public. She told Marceline to sit down and navigated her way over to the cramped kitchen. The counter was littered with empty chip bags and bowls that had once contained salsa and guacamole. Fionna scrolled idly on her phone, barely glancing up when she entered, “Hey.”

“Hey.”

Silence.

“Look,” they said at once.

Bonnie coughed, “You go.”

Fionna tapped her fingers against the counter, “Look, it's been weird between us. It's, well, I guess neither of us is innocent. I had a crush on you. A bad crush. It wasn't healthy, really.”

There was another silence. Bonnie didn't know what to say, so she moved closer, leaning against the counter next to her old friend.

“I was kind of an ass to you, though,” Bonnie sighed, “which your girlfriend seems aware of.”

Fionna smiled, “Phoebe is, uh, well, she has a fiery personality, y'know? I don't think she really hates you.”

“But she doesn't like me.”

Fionna shook her head.

Silence, again.

“I'm sorry,” Fionna sighed.

“Me too,” Bonnie said quietly, “I'm sorry I was so, so,” she paused, “aloof. I'm better now, I think.”

Fionna smiled, “You are. Marceline's helped, I think. You're good for each other.”

Bonnie's chest warmed, “Yeah, we are. And you, you're happy?”

Fionna stared off into space, a smile creeping on her face, “Yeah. Yeah, I'm happy.”

“Then I guess we both won.”

“Yeah, I guess we did.”

 


 

 

Bonnie felt better about going to work after talking to Fionna. Unfortunately, she felt better about very little else. Exams were literally around the corner. First two tomorrow, other two the day after. Marceline was done. She was helping her eat and stay hydrated, and Bonnie knew that, objectively, that did help, but it felt like nothing in the moment.

Four exams. Two days. She was going to fail. Lose. Die.

Okay, not die. Maybe die. She wondered if she could die from stress. Googled it. It wasn't impossible. That made her more anxious.

She wasn't even seeing the words on her page anymore. Wasn't processing anything.

She took a deep breath. Closed the book.

“Let's go to the lake.”

 


 

The lake wasn't somewhere she'd been since high school. Too busy, she supposed, but now that she was there, she regretted avoiding it for so long. She felt her body relax as she looked out across the clear water. In the centre, a fish would occasionally leap into the air, landing with a splash that was barely audible from where they stood. Across and to the sides, trees and shrubs were broken apart only by naturally-worn hiking paths. The area they stood on was littered with round, imported rocks and soft, white sand to create a nice area for picnics.

Marceline lay on a towel, fully clothed. It was still April, and chilly, though this day was warmer than most.

Marceline bumped her sunglasses down her nose so that her eyes were visible, “You sure you're good, Bon?”

Bonnie picked up a stone and flicked it across the lake. It sunk, well, like a stone. She'd never been good at skipping. She hummed, “I'm good. It's good to clear your head a bit before an exam. I've studied a ton.”

Marceline sat up, “Uh, yeah, true, but it doesn't sound like you. I mean, I'm glad, but you're not like, hiding anything?”

Bonnie sat down next to Marceline, her eyes still fixed on the lake, “I'm not. I am stressed, but I'm trying to be better. Thinking positive. In two weeks, we'll be moved into our apartment. The first year will be over. Next year I'll be in a less stressful situation. Fionna and I are okay. My parents, well, I haven't talked to them, and don't plan on it,” she sighed, “so yeah, I'm gonna be okay.”

Marceline smiled, “I'm glad to hear it,” she scooted closer to her, “Do you wanna know my grades?”

Bonnie gasped, “You got them back? Dude, not fair.”

Marceline laughed, “The magic of having early exams, yup. Two B's, and A, and well, a C but we won't talk about that one,” she coughed, “especially since it's a C-”

Bonnie nudged her, “A pass is a pass right.”

Marceline nodded, “And besides, C's do get degrees,” she lay back, nudging her sunglasses back over her eyes, “I'm not too fussed. First-year classes aren't worth much in the long run.”

“They aren't,” Bonnie said, the anxiety in her chest lessening with each moment, “that helps, too.”

She could do this.

 


 

 

Exam day. She was fully armed. Three pencils, three pens. Overkill? She didn't know the meaning of the word. In one hand, a pencil case and an energy bar. In the other, a filled water bottle. To her sides, students shuffled through notes, muttering to each other as the seconds ticked down.

Finally, the door opened into the too-big lecture hall. Enough room for everyone to have an empty space between them, of course, though she couldn't imagine successfully cheating on an essay-based exam.

Bonnie sat down in the front row. Cracked her knuckles, wrote her name down on the exam. Waited.

Waited.

“You may begin.”

Her eyes darted to her paper at lightening speed, her writing hand poised and at the ready. She read the first essay prompt.

Oh, she definitely had this.

No more dying of stress.

She was killing it.

 


 

 

Bonnie exited her final exam at 9:45 PM. Fifteen minutes before the time limit. It was pitch black, of course, but she felt fine. Not great, but not awful. She was done. There was no more she could do. No point in worrying about it further.

Marceline was waiting outside the room, scrolling through her phone. She looked up as Bonnie exited, a smile spreading across her face. Hung on her wrist was a plastic bag.

Bonnie hugged her and nodded to the bag, “What's that.”

“Celebration burritos.”

She reached in and grabbed one of them- the one labelled 'bean'- Marcy always got the rajas. Bonnie, though? Basic. Beans, cheese, salsa, and a few other basics. She took a massive bite, too big, really, and chewed, letting out dramatic, delighted moans as she did. Marceline rolled her eyes.

“I get it, it tastes like garbage.”

Bonnie kissed her, “You taste like- uh, wait.”

Marceline laughed and pulled her own burrito out, “So, you think you did alright?”

Bonnie tapped her foot and took another bite of the burrito, chewing it slowly. She glanced back towards the door of the examination room, where another student was leaving, hood up and head down.

“I think that right now, at this very moment, I could not give less of a shit.”

 

Chapter Text

Lady's house had always felt more like home than her actual home. But right now, sitting in Lady's living room, knowing that not only did she not want to go to her family's house, just down the road, but she was not allowed there, well. It was different than the days in high school she had spent there, sobbing on the couch as Lady comforted her and her mother offered the two of them pizza, or the option to rent a movie. Still now, Lady's mother fussed over Bonnie and Marcy as they lay on top of their sleeping bags in the living room. Marceline's parents had payed to store their things until they could come and help them move on the first of the month. Marcy said Simon and Betty would be coming.

She was glad of that. She liked them.

Lady sat cross-legged on her couch. Next to her were Jake and Finn, who greedily shoved handfuls of popcorn into their mouths, barely watching the horror movie that was playing in the background in their effort to swallow as many kernels as humanly possible.

Lady rolled her eyes, but it was an affectionate gesture. Bonnie sat at Lady's feet, her eyes fixed on the screen. Beside her, Marceline nibbled at a sandwich.

“So, wait, I don't get it. Why are all the dolls haunted now?” Bonnie said, her brows furrowed.

Marceline shrugged, “Uh, his evil spread? Magic maybe? I dunno dude, but they better kill somebody soon. We're an hour in and there's been four sex scenes but no doll murder. This is a disgrace.”

Bonnie nodded, “Not even good sex scenes.”

“No offence guys, but you're all like my family. I wouldn't watch sex scenes with my mom, and I'm not super into it with you guys, either,” Finn said, crossing his arms.

A devious grin spread across Bonnie's face, “Hey Finn.”

“Uh, hey Bonnie.”

“Jake, your brother. He's had it. Y'know, sex.”

Finn let out a mock wail and covered his ears, “No, my sweet baby ears. Tainted forever!”

Marceline laughed and nudged Bonnie, “Wait till you hear about me and Bon here.”

Finn groaned, “Stop it, I'm just a simple teenage boy.”

Lady leaned over and ruffled Finn's hair, which he accepted with a pout, “Y'know, I'm gonna move in with Tiffany and never talk to you bullies again.”

“But I thought we were family,” Bonnie teased.

Finn sighed, “And I love you.”

Lady leaned over, “Speaking of moving in, when is the place gonna be ready for a grand tour you two?”

Marceline hummed, “Well, we'll have to unpack, reorganize, settle in a tad, so,” she trailed off.

“Like, a month?” Bonnie said.

“A month?”

Bonnie shrugged, “I'm tired.”

Lady tapped Bonnie's cheek, “You get a week before I go through withdrawals and climb in through the window.”

Marceline chuckled, “She looks serious, Bon.”

“Lady's never said a serious thing in her life.”

“Care to test that?” Lady asked.

“Oh, I'm petrified,” Bonnie said, “but fine, we'll have it presentable in about a week. But don't get your hopes up too high.”

Lady sighed, “I can live with that.”

“And how about you, Lady? Moving in with the boys?”

Lady hummed, “Yeah, but I'm gonna spend summer mostly at home, I think,” she smiled towards her mom, “I've missed this place.”

Most people may have looked at her with sympathy after making such a comment, but she was glad that Lady was the exception to that rule. She was happy that Lady had such a loving relationship with her parents, even if she couldn't say the same for herself. Besides, Lady's mom was like a proper mom to her, and always had been. And hell, if she stayed with Marceline long enough, maybe she would start to feel the same about Marceline's family. The thought made her smile to herself.

“Hey, look,” Marceline said, pointing at the television, “so the dolls are evil because a bunch of kids died there. But now, see, what I don't get, is why they're killing these random dudes.”

Bonnie's focused shifted once again back to the movie, “Uh, maybe they're related to the murderers?”

Marcy shook her head, “No, 'cause the murderers killed themselves, remember?”

Bonnie shrugged, “Distant relatives? Or maybe they just look like them.”

“I hope it's not that. That'd be dumb.”

“This movie's dumb.”

“You're dumb.”

Bonnie leaned back to look at Lady, “I'm being bullied by my girlfriend. Beat her up, please.”

“I'm on it,” Finn shouted from his vantage point on the couch, and without another word lunged onto Marceline's back. She doubled over, her face slamming uncomfortably onto the carpeted floor.

“Oh, shit, sorry,” Finn whispered, clambering off her, “I'm used to rough housing with Jake, and-”

He was interrupted by Marceline shaking herself off and launching a counter attack, sending Finn rolling across the room. He cackled loudly and pounced like a cat onto her back, causing them both to roll across the floor to Bonnie's feet.

“Hey!”

Marceline snorted and kissed her cheek, “There's casualties in every war, babe.”

“And there will be no war in my living room,” Lady's mom scolded, though her eyes sparkled and her smile betrayed her.

Finn smiled sheepishly and flopped back onto the couch, “You're neat Marceline.”

“You're neat too, for a dork,” Marceline shot back.

Bonnie smiled. Seeing her girlfriend banter with Finn, who was like a brother to her, felt right.

Felt like family.


 

Marceline was roused by excited knocking at Lady's door. She groaned and rolled over. The knocking repeated, louder this time. With a sigh, she dragged herself out of the snug sleeping bag she shared with Bonnie and dragged herself to the door.

“Hello?” she grumbled as she opened the door.

In a flash, she had arms around her neck. Panic.

Oh, hugging.

“Simon!” she cried, wrapping her arms tightly around her uncle's waist.

Betty stood a couple steps behind him, smiling, “Big day,” she said.

Marceline broke away from Simon, rubbing her eyes, “What time is it?”

“Six o'clock,” Simon chirped, “perfect time to beat traffic. Up and at 'em, get your lovely girlfriend, say goodbye to your friends, and let's haul butt!”

Bonnie wobbled to her side, “You're yelling,” she said, interrupting herself with a yawn, “I'm sure everyone knows what's up already.”

Sure enough, Lady hauled herself down the stairs, Finn not far behind. As for Jake, well, that dude would sleep through the apocalypse- she bet her life on that. She'd text him later- he was grumpy when he got woken up.

Lady put two and two together and wrapped her arms around Bonnie in a sleepy hug, “I love you,” she said, yawning, “I'm sleep, but text me when you're moved in.”

“Thanks for having us,” Marceline said, pulling her into a hug. Lady nodded and yawned again. Finn gave the two of them more energetic hugs before the two of them hauled themselves up the stairs and back into their beds. Marceline felt a tad jealous, but it was overwhelmed by two things.

First, Simon and Betty were here. Her heart felt ready to burst with excitement based on that alone. Second, she was moving in with Bonnie. Her girlfriend, who she loved.

Bonnie was slipping a cardigan on top of her baggy PJ shirt, “Marcy, are we gonna bother with looking nice?”

Marceline laughed, “Uh, no. I think our landlord will have seen worse.”

“Thank fuck,” Bonnie said as she rolled up their sleeping bag

The two, with some help from Simon and Betty, shoved the few belongings they had brought along with them into two duffle bags, which Simon readily slung over his shoulders.

“Simon, let me take one,” Marceline said, tugging at one of them.

“Oh nonsense, Marcy,” Simon scoffed, lumbering towards the entrance, “I may be an old cook, but I still have some strength in me,” as he uttered the last word, he tumbled to the side, crashing into a wall, “but, er, if you insist,” her placed a bag on the ground and righted himself, tilting his head high as he walked out the door and clambered into the rented moving van.

Betty rolled her eyes and picked up the discarded bag, following close behind.

Bonnie pulled Marcy in close, her eyes bright, in spite of the dark circles under her eyes, “Our own place.”

Marceline kissed her, “Yeah, I know. Let's get going before they come back and tease us.”

Bonnie snorted, but slipped on her sandals regardless and made her way to the large van. Marceline followed close behind, stopping to scribble a thank-you note to Lady's mom and taping it to the door, before running out to meet her girlfriend and family.

Marceline spent the majority of their drive to the storage unit staring out the window, while Bonnie dozed off. They elected to let her stay that way while they loaded the truck. They had plenty of time, after all.

She awoke as they were hauling a couch that Simon had bought for them onto the truck. She knew it was in trouble when she slammed it against the side of the car, creating a harsh clashing sound and a tremor in the car. She knew that buying a four seated couch was a bad decision. Too heavy. Too hard to maneuver.

“Marcy!” Bonnie's voice sounded alarmed, and a bit peeved. She rounded the corner, her hair sticking up awkwardly on the side where she'd been leaning against the window, “why didn't you wake me up to help?”

Marcy smiled, “Would you wake Sleeping Beauty?”

“Uh, yes, I believe that's the point.”

“Oh, she's a sharp one,” Simon said, nudging her. Marceline glared at him, which only made his smile widen.

Marceline finished pushing the couch into place and walked towards her girlfriend, whose arms were crossed and face was formed into a hard pout. She leaned over and kissed her cheek, earning her a sigh and an eyeroll, “Whatever, just let me help load my books at least.”

“Yeah, I'd been avoiding that. How do you even read so much in a single lifetime?”

“She probably hasn't read half of them. Us readers prefer the tried and true art of re-reading the same book over and over while feeling guilty that we have fifty unread books sitting on our bookshelf,” Betty said as she walked by, struggling with a box of the aforementioned books. Bonnie's sheepish smile told her that Betty had been on the mark.

The remainder of the loading went quickly with an extra set of hands, and within the hour they were stopped in the back parking area of their new apartment.

“Let's start with the big stuff,” Simon said, opening the massive back door of the moving van. They had positioned the bed parts so that they would be accessible immediately. They moved the mattress first, which went smoothly. Then the box spring. That one took some fancy footwork, but eventually fit enough into the elevator for the door to close, though admittedly with Marceline crammed into a corner. Then came the couch.

Oh boy, the couch.

She'd known the four person couch had been a bad idea.

Elevator was a no-go. It was way too tall to even attempt.

Second option was the staircase.

Too narrow.

“Well, fear not girls, for I cam prepared,” Simon said, pulling rope from his bag.

“Oh, boy,” Betty sighed.

“Oh, boy,” Marceline and Bonnie repeated in unison.

Bonnie narrowed her eyes towards their shared balcony, “With all due respect, Simon, we're on the third floor. Do you really think two out of shape college students and a professor can haul a thousand pound piece of furniture over that balcony?”

“I work out,” Simon objected.

“You do not,” Betty shot back, “well, we'll give it a try. If we need to call in someone, we need to call in someone.”

Bonnie seemed to accept that. Simon and Betty would be paying, so all she needed to worry about was inconveniencing them. A few minutes later, herself, Bonnie, and Simon were positioned on their balcony while Betty directed the couch from the ground. It was like hauling an elephant, or at least what she thought that might feel like. Her muscles felt like they were on fire as she tugged, and her brain buzzed with paranoia that the rope would snap and crush Betty, though Simon assured her repeatedly that it would not happen.

Eventually, their landlord of all people saw them struggling, and came in to assist. Not much of a first impression, but at least he wasn't shitty about it.

Eventually, the couch landed over the side of the balcony with a distinctive thud. Their landlord went over to inspect the area where it had fallen, but quickly determined that- thankfully- there was no damage done. Losing their damage deposit on the first day would have been straight pathetic.

After their landlord vacated, kindly telling them to call if they needed anything, they collapsed on the newly positioned couch.

“Are you sure we have to move everything today, like, we can't just die?” Marceline asked.

“'Fraid not,” Bonnie said between ragged breaths.

Betty arrived moments later with two boxes balanced precariously on top of each other, “Break time's over folks, let's get moving.”

The rest of the moving went without much interruption. Once they had finished, Simon and Betty left them to relax, promising that they would be back the next day to treat them to dinner, at the very least, which they readily accepted.

Now, the two of them sat on the couch that had caused them so much trouble, eating stir fry with plastic utensils out of a take-out box.

Marceline sighed, “So, you ready for another exciting year with me as a roommate?”

Bonnie smiled, “Yeah, and you?”

Marceline nodded, “Yeah.”

Honestly, Marceline wasn't sure what was going to come next. Second year was like a distant blur to her, unobtainable right now. She didn't want to think about it, or anything besides living happily with Bonnie.

One thing she was sure about? It had been a long damn year.