*faintly* This is my way of coping. That episode was quite scarring...

Jake brought Finn to the Candy Kingdom's hospital after dropping off the Lich-baby at Tree Trunks's place. Even though there wasn't any blood, and that white gloop had healed the wound, Finn still looked shaken. The dog wanted to be sure Finn wasn't going into shock. When they brought him, Princess Bubblegum was in the hospital and was chatting about something science-y with the nurses.

"Hey, PB, nurses," called Jake as he knocked on the open door. "Finn needs kind of a check-up." Princess Bubblegum looked at him with an annoyed expression.

"Jake, can't this wait? I'm kind of busy. I was just talking about a possible alternate procedure for—"

"It's pretty important," interrupted Jake. He dragged Finn in by the wrist. The kid was staring at the ground in a dull way. "Finn's pretty jacked up.

Bubblegum folded her arms irritably. "Well, I'm sorry you're not as cheerful as usual, but I'm not your thera—OH MY GLOB!" She had cried out and dropped her clipboard when she noticed Finn's arm stump. The nurses gasped and the human was immediately surrounded. "What happened?!"

Finn finally spoke. "I met my dad." His voice was distant.

"Your...dad?" gasped Bubblegum. "As in, another human?" Finn nodded. "That makes three humans, including Betty."

"Nope!" replied Jake. "Four."


"Including the Lich, yeah!"

Bubblegum screamed. "The Lich is here?! In Ooo?!"

Jake held up his arms. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! It's okay! He's...reborn!"

"Re...reborn? But how?" asked Bubblegum breathlessly.

Jake looked at Finn, and back at Bubblegum. Then he shrugged with a nervous grin. "Heh...I think we better start from the beginning. But first, I brought Finn because even though his arm is...you know...I was worried he might go into shock."

Nurse Pound Cake nodded and went back to get a stretcher. "That's a real possibility," commented Doctor Princess solemnly. "We might as well check the wound while we're at it—is that a flower growing out of it?"

Finn looked at it and shrugged. "Yeah," he said slowly. "I still don't really get it. Maybe it has to do with the grass sword."

Nurse Pound Cake returned. "All right, Finn, just lie down here."

"Kay," replied Finn in his quiet tone as he obeyed. The nurse wheeled him to a room as Jake and Bubblegum followed. The human tuned everyone's voices out, knowing that they were talking about what happened. And after all of that, he didn't know what to do. He just wanted to sleep...so he did.

Jake, meanwhile, relayed the story to Bubblegum. The princess listened in horrified silence to his story. The talk of bones and sinews and regrowth made her think of Ricardio, causing her to inwardly shudder. But Finn's father...somehow, she couldn't believe that that terrible-sounding man was related to her hero. And Prismo...she had remembered Peppermint Butler very recently talking about attending his party. She hadn't ever met him but she knew of his power. To think that even he was destroyed by the Lich...she would have killed him right when he became "human." Was he human? What would that child that he had become grow up to be?

Thoughts like this flittered through her head as they approached the room. Bubblegum stroked Finn's medium-length hair tenderly. "Oh, Finn," she sighed, "you've been through so much."

Finn awoke to see Bubblegum looking down at him. "Hey, PB," he said in an attempt to sound okay. He pushed himself into a sitting position. "What's going on? Where's Jake?"

"He's in the waiting room. The nurse is out, examining the X-rays and she let me stay with you until you woke up. I wanted to talk to you alone."

Finn blinked. "Alone?"

Bubblegum nodded. "Yes. I hear you had a rough day."

The sixteen-year-old's face fell. "Yeah."

"You don't have to act strong, you know," added Bubblegum. "If you want to cry or something, I'm here."

Finn opened his mouth, but closed it. He looked away as his voice sounded quietly. "You're not into me." It was already in the open from when Finn was still with FP. His heart still hurt thinking about her.

Bubblegum sighed in a motherly way. "Finn, even though that's not the case, you're still my hero. My friend. I know I act like I'm too busy for you sometimes but I still care about you. No, I'm not into you, but I'm still here for you."

That was enough for Finn to spill what he was going through. His eyes began to water. "I—I was still really messed up from when Billy died," he admitted, "and then he told me my dad was alive. And...well, I told myself I was only going to see him to see what I would look like when I got older, but I think I always knew it was so much more than that. And then the Lich killed Prismo..." Finn sniffed. "I didn't even know him that well but I could tell how bad that messed up Jake. And after all that searching, I didn't even realize there was a chance that my dad could be a prisoner!" By now the tears had made their way into Finn's speech. "And he didn't even care! I knew that he didn't give a—a single rhombus about me! And after all that, I still wanted to help him and what did I get out of that?!" He held up the stump. "That's—I—I don't even know what I'm supposed to do! How am I supposed to go adventuring with only one arm?!" That was when the dam fully burst. Finn drew his legs to his chest as he started crying. They weren't loud sobs but quiet ones, occasionally accompanied by his shuddering breaths.

Bubblegum put an arm around him. "That's it, Finn," she murmured, "let it out. Just let it all out." They remained in this position for a few minutes until Finn's sobs subsided. He looked at Bubblegum with a tired smile.

"Thank you, PB," he said sincerely. "That lifted a lot of my stress. Felt good to talk to someone about it."

Bubblegum tipped her head. "What about Jake?"

"I, well...didn't you see it? Jake was hurting as much as me. He lost a good friend."

"He...he was?"

Finn nodded. "Yep. Jake can hide his pain pretty well, especially when he has to hide it for me. I know he has his own problems. I can't trouble him with mine."

Bubblegum nodded slowly. She hadn't even seen Jake's pain. What else had evaded her grasp recently? As ruler of a kingdom, those were the questions that came naturally. "I see. You know you can come to me, Finn," she said kindly, making sure it was still in a motherly way.

Finn looked up at her with an even bigger smile. "And you can come to me, too."

That threw her off. "Come to you?" she wondered. "What do you—"

"You're the princess, but there isn't a Candy King or Queen," commented Finn wisely, "and you can't really come to anyone with your troubles. Being royal is exhausting work and it'd probably be nice to have someone to complain to." Princess Bubblegum had to wonder how much he really knew of being royalty, but she decided not to ask. Instead, her eyes filled for a moment as she put a hand to her heart.

"I-I'm touched, Finn," she said softly. "Thank you." She opened her arms to offer him a hug, which he accepted.

Once they separated, Finn commented, "You know...it's funny. I'm not with FP anymore but I'm starting to realize that what I felt for you was nothing more than an overblown little boy's crush. And, well, I think it's about time I really started to grow up. I think that this whole time (minus that time when you were thirteen) I should have seen you more like what you really are. Not a crush, or girlfriend, but like...like a big sister or something."

"Big sister?" wondered Bubblegum. "Isn't that kind of like incest then?"

"Well, that's the best way I can put it," replied Finn with an embarrassed half-shrug. "Maybe more like cousins or something. But you're missing the point; I think it's about time I got over you so we can just be friends. I think I want that more than I want another girlfriend. So...friends?" He offered a hand. Smiling, the princess took it.

"Friends," affirmed Princess Bubblegum.

If anyone was OOC, well, too bad. Call it shock, if you want. I kind of wrote this to deal with that episode...oh, man, my feels. I don't even know what to do with them! But, oh, I'll be fine...

Also, if you PM me I probably won't reply because my e-mail alerts aren't working right now. ): I hope someone fixes that!

Keep reading and God bless,