Author's Note: So like most AT fans, I loved the "Stakes" miniseries! I'm a huge King of Ooo fan, though, so you can imagine how I reacted to the ending. XD Not so much his deposition (I thought that'd happen sooner, tbh), just the way it happened. But hey, at least Toronto got to make a quick cameo at the end! So yeah, I didn't anticipate writing another AT fic so soon, but I got the idea for this fic pretty much right away and I couldn't stop thinking about it, so.. here we go. :B Enjoy~
"May You Be The Road"
an Adventure Time fanfic by Carrehz (aka Sailor Nibaru, Carrie Clawz, Mew, etc)
He had been asleep when it happened.
He was good at blocking out noise when he was sleeping; years of living on the streets had made it a necessity. And besides, there was always something going on in the Candy Kingdom, some new skirmish or another, so while he had heard the distant screams and crashes, he had just assumed it was nothing to worry about. Whatever was happening would resolve itself sooner or later. It always did.
When Toronto woke up, everything was quiet and still... unnervingly so.
Something wasn't right.
Slowly, he got up and crept out of the room he was in, wandering through the castle. He was just about to round a corner when he heard voices; he stopped, listening.
"I heard he just flipped out and threw him right into the fire, just like that!"
"I wish I'd been there to see it."
"Me too. That wax fraud had it coming."
"Hey, do you think the princess is back yet?"
"I bet she is! Come on, let's go and see if she needs our help."
Their footsteps grew more distant before eventually dying out entirely. Toronto stood there, frozen to the spot. "Wax fraud". They had been talking about the King of Ooo. They had to be. No one else matched that description.
Without really realizing it, he ran down the corridor, looking into every room, behind every door. It couldn't be right, it couldn't be, because that would mean...
He slowed to a halt in front of a dark room, the door left wide open. Cautiously, he walked into the room, immediately noticing the debris covering a good deal of the floor - scattered books and a smashed up table. How odd.
The Shiba Inu carefully picked his way through the mess, making his way over to the opposite wall - and then he stopped again. A fireplace that had clearly had a fire lit in it not that long ago. And lying on the floor in front of it...
Toronto stumbled backwards, his breath catching in his throat. So the rumours were true. That would explain all the mess, too... there must have been a struggle...
He didn't want to believe it, but the evidence was right in front of him.
King of Ooo was dead.
Toronto fled the castle that night. He had no reason to stick around, not now. Besides, if anyone saw him they'd probably throw him in jail - or worse. As it was, it seemed that everyone had forgotten about him entirely, which suited him just fine; it certainly made it easier to escape without being noticed.
He wandered through the streets of the Candy Kingdom, trying desperately to think of a plan. All he had was the shirt on his back and a sack full of stolen goblets he'd taken from the castle (after all, it wasn't as though anyone would miss them). He had nowhere to go, no back-up plan; he hadn't ever imagined that something like this would happen.
In one way, it shouldn't have been that surprising; deep down, he supposed he'd known that King of Ooo's reign as princess wouldn't last forever. But to have it end like this...
They had been together for so long. Even though the King of Ooo was an obnoxious, self-absorbed jerk, Toronto still liked him. He was his best friend; the only person he'd ever really cared for, apart from himself.
Toronto shook his head; he had to stop thinking about this. It wasn't like he needed King of Ooo. He'd gotten by just fine on his own when he was younger, picking pockets and trying not to get caught. He'd just have to go back to doing that. It'd be alright.
He could go back to living in the old, abandoned shack, in the Candy Kingdom slums. It wasn't that far away, and no one would think to look for him there. He could hide out there for a bit while he planned his next move. Everything would be absolutely fine.
He just had to keep telling himself that.
He arrived at the shack a short while afterwards. It looked pretty much the same as he'd left it; after the election, Toronto had come back here and cleaned it out of anything valuable - not that there had been much to take. Hoping that no one else had taken up residence in his absence, he pushed open the door easily - there was no lock - and stopped dead in his tracks. The bag slipped from his hands and fell to the ground with a clatter, several of the goblets spilling out and rolling across the floor.
Something small was lying on the old, half-broken mattress that King of Ooo had used for a bed when they'd lived here, something with dull yellow, short, curly hair. Toronto stared, his heart beating painfully fast, as whatever it was turned to face him. King of Ooo was dead, he had checked, there was no way he could be here now-
"Ah, Toronto! I was wondering where you'd gotten to." Toronto had never heard him use that particular tone of voice - it was strange, slightly shaky, almost as if he was feigning calmness - but he recognized the voice itself instantly. It was unmistakeable, really.
"King of Ooo...?" He took a tentative step forward, towards the mattress. He still couldn't believe it. "I.. is that really you?"
"Of course!" He said it in the same, strange voice as before; Toronto couldn't take it any more. He rushed forward and fell to his knees in front of the mattress, staring up at the small blob lying on the mattress, his words coming out in a desperate rush.
"What happened to you?! I can't- I was so- I thought you were dead."
King of Ooo laughed slightly. "Why, wherever did you get an idea like that? Surely you realize that nothing could ever take me down!"
"What happened?!" Toronto repeated, more urgently. "Did you really get set on fire?"
"Ah. You've heard. Well, yes. You see, I was just warming myself by the fire, minding my own business, when that Crunchy turned traitor on me. And all because I refused to get involved with Bubblegum's latest problem!" As he spoke, he moved the tiny nubs he now had instead of hands, clearly trying to gesture with them. "Honestly, you'd have thought I'd done something wrong by the way he was reacting!"
Toronto couldn't help but smile slightly at the indignant tone in his voice; that was more like the King of Ooo he knew. He stood up and sat next to King of Ooo, his smile fading as the gravity of their situation hit him once more. "I knew there was something shady about that guy," he mumbled, staring at the ground.
"Oh, you say that about everyone." He leaned against the Shiba Inu, watching him as he started to speak again.
"What are we gonna do now, though? I mean, is there a way to get you back to normal? There's gotta be, right? You can't stay like this forever." Toronto glanced over. "It'll be bad for business, for one thing."
"Oh, I don't know... it might have some advantages."
A smirk spread across King of Ooo's face. "Haven't you noticed, Toronto? People love a sob story! And we've got a perfect one right here. Just think how folks might react when they find out that one of Princess Bubblegum's own people did this to me."
Toronto blinked, then grinned, leaning in closer. "I love it. When are we gonna start?"
"Mm... give it a week or so, things'll probably have calmed down by then. In the meantime, you can get to work on the specifics of the matter."
Neither of them spoke for a while after that. Despite the fact that King of Ooo seemed to be taking it fairly well, Toronto still couldn't help but wonder what things were going to be like for them now. They'd been through bad times before, but nothing quite this bad. Still, everything would probably work out alright in the end; they'd find a way to make it work, no matter how long it took. And after all, King of Ooo was alive. That was all that mattered in the end, really.
Toronto stood up suddenly. There was work to be done; he couldn't just sit there all night. He crouched down and picked up the scattered goblets, placing them back into the sack - and then stopped, a thought occurring to him. Forcing himself not to laugh, he spoke up again. "You know, K.O., I just thought of another advantage to all this.."
Still trying and failing to suppress his laughter, Toronto looked up at King of Ooo, grinning. "I'm the tall one now."
"Oh, shut up."