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Dogtags

By lackingwit

Drama

Dogtags

It's a buffet, the Third World War. Fresh bodies lying on the floor, blood still inside them, waiting to be devoured. Humans are unruly creatures with flimsy wills, but this never changes, their will to end one another. This time, they have succeeded. Perhaps there are one or two of these humans left on the War's battlefields, but they are slowly losing their lives, heartbeat by heartbeat. Marshall Lee finds no pleasure in this. He used to be a human once; it was upon his mother's request that he became the King he is now. His mother was human. He was lost in this nuclear war.

Marshall remembered it with ease, even through the delectable smell of fresh blood and rotting human bodies, even through the thousand years that separate him from the memory. He'd been outside his father's cottage, far into the forest, on a log; he was human at the time, a small boy of but six. The sound of a low-flying plane had been deafening. Some package had fallen from it, the plane flying away quickly. Silence had overtaken for a long while. Then—a boom, splitting trees apart. Fire, red and angry, furious, engulfing the entirety of the forest. Marshall Lee had run away from it, towards his father's cabin. The cabin had been destroyed, a tree felled over it. The fog of ash, the sound of a roaring fire, and mostly, the smell of blood, laced thickly with the strawberry sweetness of his father's scent.

Marshall Lee couldn't remember feeling bad as, slowly, the scent of charring flesh filled the air. He simply sat down on a splintered log that had been singed clean of bark but not burned, and waited for his mother to come. He did, however, remember being disgusted at the smell of his father's blood. Not because it was a sour scent, but rather because it was sweet yet sour, because it reminded him distantly of his own blood. Reminded him, distantly, of human mortality. He hadn't been adverse to his mother turning him completely.

Now, as Marshall Lee oversaw the rotting corpses of citizen and solider alike, his disgust of human mortality rose bile to his throat. His stomach, however, battled his disgust and rumbled at the scent of the dead. He strolled through the rows and rows of dead like a king surveying his kingdom. In a way, he was. Newly crowned the Vampire King, this was his domain; his and his Queen's. He couldn't quite remember her name. It was of no matter; his father had ordered him to rid of her. She was useless—too soft, too kind, emotions easily manipulated. The job would be easily done by a demonic vampire, and Marshall Lee was the only one of his kind.

The sound of metal hitting the ground snapped Marshall Lee's glaze up, away from the horrid beauty of the dead. He was too much like his father to enjoy this fully; too much like his mother to hate it entirely. A gun, large and seemingly too heavy to be carried with any efficiency, has recently been laid down. Dropped. There is a hand next to it, weak but not dissevered. Marshall flies to it; this human is alive still. Perhaps he could save it. Perhaps he doesn't want to. Still he floats over to it and kneels down to the body, which is still twitching slightly and still radiates some warmth of life. Marshall Lee unclasps the body's mask. The face confirms Marshall's suspicion that this body is male. He has blond hair, glossy even through the grime and sweat that coats his forehead; his eyes are blue—they are the blue the sky used to be, a long time ago. His queen tells him that the neighboring Candy Kingdom is working on something to clear the sky, to take away the smog and smolder of the war.

The body's lips fall open, close, form words. "Help...help me...?" it begs, and it ends with a question, with insecurity. Mortality. Marshall Lee scowls. He is suddenly glad that humans are extincting themselves; it saved him and the Nightosphere the time and energy to wipe them out. The coldness in Marshall Lee's eyes drew the body's mouth to a close. It mutters something similar to, "God save my Victoria and my Fionna," and Marshall Lee feels a growl form tightly in the back of his throat. God. These puny humans, thinking there was only one god and one devil. Good and evil. How did they not know that it wasn't that clear? Wasn't black and white? That there was gray in the middle, mysterious, strong gray. Marshall Lee snaps forward, digging his teeth into the pale, pale neck of this human body. The body screams, loud and angry—music to Marshall Lee's ears. The screams bubble and turn watery as the body runs out of blood and of life.

It is not until later, when his mouth is dripping with the leftover blood of his victim—though he doesn't think of it like that, not when he had saved this body from an even slower, more painful death—and the body's breathing stopped, that Marshall Lee hears the whisper of shifting dogtags. Through the strength of his vampire eyes, he reads the name of this human: Henry Mertens.

It isn't until later—when the Candy Kingdom's sky-cleaning whatsit had cleared the air, when the bodies had all been buried by the newly-created candy citizens, when the aftereffects of the Third World War, the "Mushroom War," have been forgotten or erased—that Marshall meets the child of the last living human body. He just didn't know it.

"Fi," Marshall Lee says, floating behind the girl's blonde head, "did you ever know your full name?"

The adventuress raises a golden brow at him, flicking the remote and changing BMO's channel. "What, you mean like yours is Marshall Lee Abadeer?"

"Exactly like that," Marshall asserts. He flies himself into a circle around Fionna's head and gently yanks off her bunny ears, to which the teenaged girl yelps at. He twirls the golden strands of her hair around his fingers, absentmindedly playing with the girl's hair and watching an old home movie Fionna had found in a forgotten house left over from the Mushroom War.

Fionna tries to swat Marshall Lee's finger away, but fails, and settles for answering his question in hopes of getting him to stop. "Yeah. Dad says he found me with 'dogtags' around my neck. Apparently that means a metal necklace with my name on it," she says. Her blue eyes follow a man through the shaky camera as he teaches his son how to ride a bicycle. Marshall stays silent, waiting for her to continue. "Fionna Ella Mertens," she answers, and it sounds rehearsed, as if she'd said it a thousand times before in her head.

Marshall freezes, the strands of golden hair falling through his blue fingers. God save my Victoria and my Fionna.

So... R&R? Please and thank you.

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