A/N: Line breaks on PC as per usual! Here's to a good one and to my next fanfiction!

Next fanfiction TBA

Finn blinked. Wispy flame licked the air above him. An upward glance showed Mephisto's mottled, rage-twisted face. Before him, Hunson choked on ice, his eyes wide and bulging— the last part of him to freeze.

"Why?" he asked the air.

For a moment, there was nothing to answer him. For a moment, he thought he'd died. Then he turned and Auriel was there— leaning casually against her blade, smiling benignly as if the world around them wasn't in the throes of anarchy, as if she'd been there all along and found no fault with any of it.

"I like to meddle," she answered and tapped a familiar melody, a far-off memory of warmth, a movie, a cabin, and Phoebe.

Finn gritted his teeth, shutting his eyes against the torment.

"I thought you could use some help," Auriel added.

Finn exhaled a slow, shuddering breath, wracked with shivers. "Why now?" he hissed, half a moan. "Why now!" he shouted. "Why not then! Why not—"

Auriel extended her arm. Finn followed the length of it, its direction, and saw it, saw them— encased in a field of energy, his brother, Phoebe, Marceline, Bonnie, battled, bloody, alive.

He inhaled a slow, shuddering breath and swallowed back as many tears as he possibly could. Still, they slipped past his defences. Still, he felt more building. He wanted to say thank you. He wanted Auriel to know he understood. But words eluded him then. Only sobs made themselves known.

Auriel grinned. "Don't make me do it again," she said, her tone gentler and kind. Knowing it would greatly improve their relationship in the future, she placed a hand on Finn's shoulder. She squeezed reassuringly, then let him go. Her eyes narrowed, expression hardening.

"Now end this."

He didn't understand.

This wasn't right.

The boy had been there.

Right there.

In front of him. In the reach of his arm. In the way of his blast. In the path of death.

But now he was staring into his own eyes. A long-lost gaze of blazing cerulean. Then it was gone. Rocketing downward with an icy Hunson in tow. Energy built around them, pulsing outward from the boy's form— ethereal, solid, burning cold. Mephisto pushed against it. Trudged through the growing power. He screamed his frustration, but the sound was swallowed.

Finn roared.

The air shook.

Hunson shattered.

Mephisto's book ceased to be.

He looked up at the boy once more as his form started to crumble away, without the slightest trace of the previous anger, and... started to laugh wildly. "That was one hell of a battle! What now? Where will that anger take you? You are not me, yet you continue to fight."

The air cleared.

The world was white.

Scattered and strewn across a layer of snow lay the remnants of Mephisto's army of demons. Flint looked about him in wonder. Snow and ice clung to his limbs, but he felt no chill. One shake of his shoulders and he was free. Yet just to his left, a demon was frozen solid. And ten feet in front of him. And… everywhere.

Something rustled behind him. He whirled and caught the faintest glimpse of Auriel's smile before the enigmatic archangel vanished from sight. In her place rested Jake in his normal form, Simon, Marceline, the Peppermint Butler, Bonnie, Phoebe and—

"Dad," he breathed. He put a hand over his mouth, stifling the laugh that bubbled up in his throat. He'd heard his father's voice in the coffin, but he hadn't seen him since trying to safely thaw him out. It worked. Everything he planned. It worked.

He spun around, squinting into the white blindness. But Finn didn't appear.

His euphoria rapidly died. He hurried to Phoebe's side and shook her awake. Blearily, she looked up at him, then gasped at the world she found herself in. "Find him," he ordered, helping her stand. "Finn's out there somewhere."

She hesitated for the briefest moment, eyes flicking to Bonnie, to Marceline, to Jake.

Flint shook his head. "Go now. I'll wake the others," he lied.

So she left.

And he waited for her.

"Finn!" she called, hands around her mouth. "Finn, where are you?" She stumbled over a frozen arm and fell to her hands in the snow. "Finn… Please," she whimpered.

"You told me to wait for you. I can't wait forever, you know. I'm not a demon."

Her forced laugh came out as a strangled cry. She fisted her hands— angry with herself, with him— and pushed onward through the white expanse, shouting his name, searching the bodies.


Her foot slipped. She tumbled down into a crevice hidden by the snow, scraped her elbow on cracked stone, and collided with a body at the bottom. Terrified she'd stumbled upon another demon with no energy to her name, she scrambled backward with a scream on her tongue.

Blue eyes blinked up at her.

"Phoebe—" He opened his arms.

She flew into them and held his trembling form tight. "It's okay," she whispered. "I'm here. I'm finally here."

Finn lowered his head to her shoulder, clutching her until the shivers ceased, until he was steady, until he was balanced.

Then she hefted him up with one arm round his waist and slowly trekked up out the wreckage of a street he no longer remembered, and away from the crystalline fragments of what used to be a demon.

They were awake when he arrived, draped across Phoebe's shoulder, powerless to stand on his own. He collapsed to his knees, even with her steadying arm, and stared listlessly at his tattered hands. Phoebe settled behind him, a pillar, a warmth. He leaned against her, swallowing hard, waiting for the gasps to turn to shouts.


He winced, not as ready as he'd thought.

His brother choked on a sob.

"Finn, buddy," she said again.

He fell before him, clasped his hands in his. Tears splashed onto his skin. Wide-eyed, he stared up at him. Phoebe squeezed his shoulder from behind, a reassuring touch. He choked. Lowered his forehead to their clasped hands.

"Jake…" he forced out. "Bro… I love you."

Jake burst into tears.

Behind him, Bonnie scooted forward on her knees. She wrapped her arm around Finn's shoulders, meeting those eyes— the blue, blue eyes of her friend. Biting her tongue against the tears, Bonnie held Finn's head between both of her hands. For a moment, she could only breathe. Seeing only the boy staring back at him. Broken. In pain. "I'm sorry for what I've done," she rasped.

And Finn shattered. He barrelled into Bonnie's chest, hugging her tightly. "I love you. I love you. I'm so sorry—"

Jake pressed his head against his brother's hair.

And there they stayed.

As the air finally began to cool. As the frozen demons around them began disappearing without their notice, though Flint knew it was Auriel's doing regardless, there they stayed.

They stayed there until Flint could bear it no longer. He approached the healing friends, met Finn's gaze, collapsed with the rest of them, and joined the hug.

"Don't you dare tell me you love me," he grumbled.

Finn laughed.

Phoebe rolled her eyes.

Flame King grinned and instinctively spoke in French. "Ami!" and caught everyone in one giant hug with Finn at the centre.

Marceline remained with Simon, holding him up so he could see, smiling at the sight unfolding before them. As they dispersed from their hug, Finn saw him lying there and his mild expression fell. The brokenness returned, and with it, a sad acceptance.

Everyone turned to face him, seeing the change when their eyes met. Ruler though he was, heartless he was not. For the briefest of moments, Simon reconsidered. Yes, there were things he was required to do. But there were also thing he wanted to do.

As though sensing his thoughts, Finn narrowed his eyes and gave one finite shake of his head.

Simon sighed. He would have chosen it regardless. But, knowing the recipient of his choice was willing, made it an easier task to complete.

"You have to come with me," he announced, for the benefit of the others who were unknown to Citadel's laws.

Danny clenched and unclenched his fingers. His gaze flickered to his family. To Bonnie and Marceline. Lastly, to Phoebe, where it remained. He sucked in a breath, parted his lips to speak—

She cut him off by grabbing his hand. "I'll wait for you. I promise."

Finn's answering smile quivered. He lifted his hands to caress the sides of her face. Softly, slowly, he ran his fingers through her hair, then lowered his lips to her forehead, her temple, her cheek, her mouth, where he lingered longest.

Her hand reached for him even as he pulled away.

Four of the crystal guardians from the Citadel descended from the sky and a rift in space stretched. Opening up to the Citadel itself.

Jake gathered Simon in his arms. "Goodbye, friends," he said genially and disappeared into the portal.

Finn paused before the portal, roved his eyes over the assemblage, burning the image in his memory. "Goodbye," he whispered. He sucked in a breath, whirled, then vanished from sight. Before he lost the will. Before he heard their cries. Before he saw their brokenness. Before his heart rent in two.

It was over.


They could live in peace.

Without him.

It was done.

"Then why not tell them?"

"It's not that simple."

Jake nodded his agreement. "She's right, Bonnie. He's her Dad, and they just reunited. It's not fair… to be separated so soon."

The words struck a disjointed chord.

Bonnie bit her lip.

Phoebe winced. When put like that, she felt guilty for even hesitating. For taking advantage of what Finn couldn't.

"Stop this," she snapped, speaking to them and herself. "Auriel's right. He's alive. And he's doing the right thing. We all know what he did, even if we want to forget it. He's getting what he deserves."

"Phoebe," Bonnie began, affronted, looking at her again like she'd betray him.

"No, she's right," Jake countered, narrowing his eyes. "Finn did unspeakable things. And he wanted to atone."

"But she doesn't have to say it like that," Bonnie said coldly, crossing her arms. "He's still our friend. And your brother. I mean, come on, Phoebe. Don't you care about him?"

Phoebe clenched her jaw, her pulse quickening. "Are you trying to say that I don't?"

"You don't sound like you do," Jake insisted, glaring at her.

"Guys, stop—"

Phoebe lifted a hand, cutting Bonnie off. "No. He's angry with me. I want to know why."

Snorting, Jake rolled his eyes and shifted his gaze to the ceiling. "I'm not angry."

A single bitingly sharp laugh escaped her. "That's why you can't look at me and say that, right?"

He glowered.

She smirked.

And finally, he burst, slamming his fist on the wall, rattling picture frames of seaside landscapes. "Yes, I'm angry!" he yelled. "If anyone could've kept him here, it was you! You could've told him not to go. You could've begged Simon to forgive him. You could've done something!"

Heat rose from her trembling fists to her gaze. Her lips twisted in a snarl. "It was out of my hands—"

"You didn't even try!" he snapped, words whipping the air, striking her lungs, making her legs weak.

She ground her teeth, shutting her eyes against the image— against the Finn in her head looking at her with those sad, sad eyes. "You know the things he's done," she said quietly. "You know the people he's hurt. The people he's hurt." Her head snapped up and she glared daggers into his self-righteous, selfish fury. "So how can you sit there and get mad at me for letting him accept his punishment! He wanted to! You know he did!"

He blinked.

The image of Finn faded from Phoebe's mind.

Jake's expression crumbled. The bravado weakened. Only the confusion remained. The one who knew he'd just lost his brother.

"But you still could've tried," he muttered, voice cracking, averting his gaze again to stare down at the floor, hunched over like he'd crawl into himself forever.

Bonnie wrung her hands. And walked into the kitchen.

Phoebe watched Jake, waiting for him to spare her a glance, waiting for him to acknowledge her again, to acknowledge that there were other perspectives besides his own. That were other pains besides his own. Even besides her own. "Do you think he would have liked to hear me ask?" she mumbled, reaching for his hand, holding it tenderly in hers.

"Do you think he would have been happy knowing I wanted him to stay with—" She choked on the last word, the me, and shook her head furiously at her own inability to be honest. "Do you think he would have been happy living here with us, knowing he left Simon to rebuild that ruin on his own?" she continued. "Do you think he would have liked knowing he did nothing to make up for the trouble he caused?" Her breath hitched, something caught in her throat, and she blinked rapidly, trying to force it back down. "I didn't ask him to stay because I knew he didn't want me to," she forced out, though the words came breathy and broken. "I didn't ask him to stay because I knew he'd be miserable if I did. I didn't ask him to stay because I… I didn't want to break his heart."

Jake spared a glance, jaw clenched, lips taut in a thin, straight line. Wounded. Lonely. A reflection. He squeezed her hand. Hard. "Sorry," he whispered. He caressed the side of her face with his thumb, brushing aside a tear she hadn't known escaped, blowing on his paw when it burnt.

She looked into his eyes, but it wasn't his she was seeing. They were blue as blue, with a flicker of red.

Lightning jolted up her spine. Gasping, terrified, she retreated from him. Heart pounding, she bolted up the stairs, slammed her door, and braced against it, pressing a hand to her chest, to her heart, struggling to calm her heaving breaths, struggling to keep her feelings locked down and frozen, frozen, frozen like the frost of Finn's calm.

She hadn't cried when the rest broke down after Finn left. She hadn't cried when Bonnie and Peppermint walked through the ruins of their home, snagging pictures and a single T-shirt from her room.

She cried now.

When no one was there to see her. When no one was there to wonder what her story with Finn was. When no one was there to wonder how much she cared, how much she lost, how much she missed, when she knew she cared and missed too much and lost that much more.

When she knew…

She was in love.

When she said goodbye to Jake, there were misty eyes. Jake was moving to stay with his wife, further away from the treehouse and the Fire Kingdom. "We'll talk every day, okay?" he promised. "Even if it's just to say hi." Except it was usually him sending selfies from BMO. As if she wanted to see his face all the time.

When she said goodbye to Bonnie and Marceline, there were far too many tears.

"Thank you," Bonnie had said.

"For what?" she'd asked.

"Taking care of him."

"Waiting for him," Marceline had added.

"Loving him," Bonnie said and squeezed her hand as the tears started falling.

Phoebe had found herself in the centre of one of their hugs. Then they'd left on Bonnie's Morrow. Headed for the Candy Kingdom to help Peppermint re-build the Candy Kingdom.

And Phoebe was alone.

Five years had passed.

Autumn had always been a marginally acceptable season, as the precursor to winter. Winter being, of course, the best. With the autumnal equinox came change. A chill in the hot breezes of summer's end. A splattering of warmth in the crystalline greens and blues. A flurried rustle in the air as birds migrated to their homes away from home.

Autumn had always been acceptable. It meant winter was nigh. It meant joy was forthcoming.

Autumn was okay, really.

Just… not this year.

With the chill came hope. The loss of greens and blue brought sadness. The rustling made her jump.

Autumn was no longer acceptable. Autumn made her dare to hope, then dashed her on the ground in the bitter, empty cold to laugh at her melancholy. Look how low you've fallen. Are you really The Flame Princess?

Jake had left her a dozen texts, none of which she bothered to read, planted face first on her pillow in the darkness of her triple-curtained room. Bonnie had called twice. Marceline, five times. Even Flint and Peppermint tried and failed to reach her.

In her defines, she did tell them she'd be busy this week. Flame elections were over. Nothing important was due. So, she'd given herself the week off. Just one week to mope, and then she'd jump right back into the swing of things.

A week. It was all she needed to get her thoughts straight. Autumn brought memories of him close. She gasped with every cold touch on her skin. Spun at the slightest rustle. Glared at leaves who turned from green to red.

A week. That was it. Then she'd be herself again.


She cringed.

She'd dreamed this dream too many times before. The voice. The warmth. The touch. The shivers. She didn't want this anymore. So she kept her eyes shut.

He lowered his face to her cheek, his breath fanning around her, making her tremble, making her gasp and squirm. He inhaled the scent of her, his voice a desperate, sad moan as he repeated her name. His hands clasped hers, soaking up her warmth. "Look at me," he whispered.

Jaw clenched; she shook her head. She refused to give in to this dream. She refused to face the empty cold alone when it was gone.

He cupped her face gently in his palm, pushing his fingers through her silky fiery hair, admiring her skin, her eyes, her nose, her parted lips, her chin, and the furrow of her brows that spelled her frustration. She looked the same. She looked perfect. He wanted— no. More than wanting and craving, he needed her. She was everything he couldn't be. Everything he wanted to be. But she was also everything he didn't deserve.

Their panting breaths mingled as one. He brushed his lips against hers, testing, asking. When she whipped her head aside, he backed away. When she whimpered, he drew in close again. "Phoebe," he whispered. "Can I…?"

She growled.

He released her.

She curled up on her side, pressing her fists to her forehead. "Stop it," she hissed. "Stop torturing me."

So he left the way he came, vanishing into the night, wondering when the change had been wrought.

Phoebe woke to two hundred missed calls.

"What the lumps is going on? Why is everybody—"

"He's back!"

Phoebe jolted. Dropped the phone. She dove off the bed, fumbling in snagging covers, to snatch it up again.

Jake was rambling, oblivious, on the other end.

"Where? Why didn't he—"

"He was at your castle, I told you this already. Why'd you kick him out? I told him that wasn't like you—"

"Where is he?"

"I already told you. He just left. Maybe to visit Flint? He's the only one he didn't visit this morning—"

Light blinded her.

Phoebe dropped the phone. Again. Her heart throbbed, an ache in her chest. An ache that filled her throat, rose to her skull, and took root behind her eyes.

He looked back at her, standing in front of the window, one hand clutching the curtain he'd just pulled. He kept his head lowered, watching her steadily, nervously, body taut, ready to bolt. His breaths came slow and deep and shook his whole form.

He was the slightest bit taller, with broader shoulders and more muscle tone. Gold hair still hung in a dishevelled heap over his eyes— eyes that were blue as blue as blue— and he ran his fingers through it, only serving to make it more dishevelled, more boyish, more—

"Finn." Her voice came out in a whisper. Incredulous. Reverent.

He smiled a gentle, lopsided smile, releasing the curtain and taking the smallest forward step. "I…" he croaked, blushed furiously, then tried again. "I missed you."

She let out a trembling exhale, fingers digging into the carpet beneath her, nails scraping the hard base of it. Solid. Grounding. She still felt like she was floating. Her eyes wide, mouth agape, she could only watch in fearful anticipation as he drew nearer. As he came close enough for her to feel his warmth. Still, she clawed the carpet. Afraid he'd vanish. Afraid he'd cease to be a memory. Afraid of this new change, when she'd barely grown accustomed to the first.

Soundlessly, he knelt in front of her, hands in white-knuckled fists at his thighs, quivering with the need to touch her, to assure her, to assure himself. He tilted his head, meeting her gaze, his expression soft, his expression pained, his expression so full of love it ached.

"Can I…?" He lifted a quivering hand, ghosting his fingers under her jaw, across her lips, over her cheek.

She turned into his palm, breathing him in. She gripped his hand tight, caught his shirt in the other, and bit her tongue against the blasted tears— always tears with this one. He wiped them away with his thumb.

"I waited for you," she mumbled into his palm. "I waited so long for you."

"I know," he murmured, caressing her cheek. "Thank you."

It wasn't enough, she realized. A layer of pain stayed in his gaze. His eyes still flickered when she looked at him. She knew he belonged to her. But he wasn't sure if she belonged to him.

Slowly, slowly, she turned her head to kiss his palm. His fingers twitched against her. She rested her hand over his cheek, caressed his face the way he did hers, and gently, gently, brought her mouth to his ear.

"I love you," she whispered, and his breath hitched, and his body trembled, and he clutched her like he'd drown. "I love you," she whispered again, looking into his eyes, blue and shimmering and lost. "I love you."

She leaned in, pressed her lips to his.

Stunned. Awestruck. Half in disbelief. He didn't respond. He sat frozen beneath her touch, heart fluttering in its cage, a tremor in his limbs.

With a chuckle that rattled him to his core, she kissed him, giving her warmth, coaxing him to move with her, to be led. Her fingers drifted through his hair, down the back of his neck and over his shoulders, making him gasp, making him feel. His heart burst free, leapt to his throat, to the back of his eyes. He clasped his hands at the small of her back and pulled her into him, firmly slanting his mouth over hers, following her lead, giving his warmth, tasting her, feeling her, loving her.

They melded together, moving as one. Their hands gliding across skin, memorizing dips and angles and places that made the other weak. His tongue darted between her lips. She ravished his mouth with hers. He littered her collarbone with kisses. She left marks with her nails on his back. He nipped. She bit. He groaned. She laughed.

The heat grew unbearable.

He forced control on passion, momentarily retreating, leaning his forehead against hers, staring deep into her eyes— hazel, sparkling, missed, sorely missed. "I need you," he rasped, breath ragged and heavy. "All this time, I felt like I was missing something. It was you. Always you."

She laughed under her breath, fiddling with the ends of his hair, unaware of the way it brightened her face, of the way her joy shined with an ethereal light on a poor, lowly sinner. "That's not corny at all," she muttered, though her cheeks were flushed.

He laughed with her, tucking her hair behind her ears and letting it run through his fingers. "It's longer," he said, his voice soft and full of wonder. She blushed harder, biting her lip, and he smiled. "I like it."

Her smile turned coy. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him soundly, nearly toppling him over on his back.

"Good," she said. "Cause I like it too."

He smiled against her mouth and let her take all control.

As they lay wrapped in each other's arms, he unravelled the mystery for her.

He'd been captive out of time while the Ice Kingdom rebuilt their prison in the deepest, most hidden trenches of their land. It was a blessing, he said, since it gave everyone time to rebuild and reassess without his presence at the back of their minds. Then, he was sent to their prison, where he was under orders to meditate under the watchful eyes of Simon and also the Cosmic Owl. Meditation, he said, helped him regain the balance of his human and demon halves. Once complete, he was put on trial at Simon's behest and found, unequivocally, guilty.

Rather than giving him the penalty of solitude, they put him to work rebuilding their land. The Ice Kingdom, he said, are far too forgiving. When the realm had been completely restored, he was sent to Auriel for further punishment. But Auriel just had him assist with matters around Ooo that would interfere with her envisioned future.

All of them are too forgiving, he said, giving her a look that revealed she was included with all of them.

"What I don't understand is why they would keep us from hearing anything about you," she grumbled, still put out that Auriel had been involved in Finn's punishment but never once mentioned it.

Finn shrugged, moving her with him since she was laying on his torso. "You needed to move on. Learn to live without me. To be honest, I…" He swallowed thickly, momentarily tightening his grip on her shoulder. "I never thought I'd see you guys again."

Absently, she nodded. She'd thought the same thing. Even hearing his heartbeat against her ear seemed too good to be true, like she'd wake up tomorrow and end up alone again.

"They told me about your parents," he mentioned. "And that you're fully in power now. Ever figure out what you want to do?"

"Demon hunting," she quipped. "Gates haven't all closed, you know."

He looked at her sourly.

"Everyone tells me I'd make a great queen."

He rolled his eyes.

She lifted herself up, bracing on her arms to look down at him, her hair falling around his face. "I haven't decided yet," she answered. "It's been… a little crazy. I've helped Flint and Bonnie at the kingdoms with a few things. Sometimes Dad asks for help on projects. I haven't had much time to think." She sighed, rolling back onto her side. "I didn't give myself much time to think," she amended truthfully.

He sat up, leaning close to rest his hand on her cheek. "Whatever you decide to do, you'll be great at it."

Her eyes flicked to him, the light from the window, then back again. Deliberating. Debating. "And…" she began softly, "If I wanted you with me?"

His arm tensed, the slightest twinge. His eyes wide, brows high, lips parted.

"Would you stay?" she asked, hesitation gone, observing him closely, waiting for the smallest sign.

His eyes flashed red.

She grinned.


And that's a wrap! I hope you've all enjoyed this journey with me... Please look forward to my next work, which should be either another Adventure Time or Overlord fanfiction! Just keep checking in on my profile and I'll see you around!

See you all in the next fanfiction!