Summary: Princess Bubblegum said she wore the rock shirt all the time. She never said she wore it every night. Takes place after the events of "What Was Missing?", Princess Bubblegum/Marceline.
When she first heard the tapping at her window, Princess Bubblegum didn't move from her desk, choosing instead to study the sound. It was rather late, although that could mean little depending on what emergency may or may not be occurring. Everything else sounded quiet, however. And the window was quite high, anyway. Not easy for many people to get to, although Finn could reach it, with Jake's help. Not to mention the Ice King. Ugh.
She didn't have to wonder long. The window slid open, revealing Marceline perched on her windowsill. "Hey, Bonnie," she said.
Bubblegum immediately hopped to her feet. "Oh! Hello, Marceline. I wasn't expecting to see you quite so soon after our little adventure."
Marceline shrugged. "Yeah, well, you know how it is. Not a lot else going on." Her eyes were slowly tracking up and down Bubblegum's body, obviously enough to bring a flush to the princess's cheeks, until she remembered that she was already dressed for bed. In a long, floral printed nightgown. The day after she had told Marceline she used her rock shirt as pajamas.
"Oh! Ah..." She ran her hands nervously over the gown, which was just silly. It's not like she had anything to prove. "If you're looking for the shirt, it's just--"
"Don't worry about it," Marceline said smoothly. "I wasn't really expecting anything. Princess like you probably has a huge nighttime wardrobe, anyway." She smiled, but it was all fangs, and her eyes were sharp.
Bubblegum huffed and planted her hands on her hips. "'All the time' doesn't mean every night," she said, suddenly feeling for some reason that her nightgown was too thin. She wrinkled her nose. "And anyway, after being in that bag all night it smells like mothballs and Jake's sweat. I put it in the laundry."
Marceline's eyes slid across the room. "You mean in the laundry basket in your bathroom?"
She should probably redecorate more often, if she was that transparent. "Uh, yeah. So?"
Marceline responded by hopping from the windowsill into the bedroom, and Bubblegum might have started, just a little. Maybe.
"Sooo, if you're not wearing it," she asked, stepping further into the room while Bubblegum stood very, very still, "can I have it?"
The gears in Bubblegum's brain that had slowed to a halt at Marceline's approach shuddered back to life, leaving her grasping for comprehension. "Huh?"
"Just to borrow it," Marceline said quickly--too quickly, too rushed to possibly be sincere. "I'll bring it back."
"No!" Bubblegum said, except it came out almost like a screech and she hadn't meant it to. Even Marceline looked taken aback. "No, that's--it's mine, you gave it to me, you can't just take it back." The words spilled out of her in a rush, barely coherent. She had to calm down. Just because Marceline was here didn't mean...anything, and acting like this made her look--"I'm going to wear it again! I just didn't wear it tonight." Crud. Time to regroup. Try to turn things back around to Marceline. "What are you even going to do with it?"
Marceline promptly turned her gaze to the far wall and did a (horrible, considering the circumstances) impression of not giving two patoots what Bubblegum was talking about. "You know. Stuff." She shrugged. "I didn't think you'd freak out."
"I'm not freaking out," Bubblegum said in a perfectly level voice, ignoring the weird look Marceline gave her. "I just think that when a vampire shows up in my bedroom in the middle of the night to steal my pajamas, maybe I should know what's going on!"
"I'm not going to steal it! I'm just going to borrow it for a little while. Geez, you'll get your pajamas back," Marceline snapped, then said, "What's the big deal?"
"What's--ohhhh!" Bubblegum gnashed her teeth and stomped her foot, because what was even the point of pretending to be calm and rational if Marceline was going to be her same stupid self. All the light, hopeful (no, not hopeful, because that would be stupid) feelings from the night before were gone, replaced by a familiar anger and a deeper, sick feeling she didn't really want to examine too closely. She had just thought, that maybe, Marceline had known why it was so important, and that--fine. "Fine. Fine, you, you--gift taker-backer! You can have it when the palace laundresses are done with it."
"I can wash it myself, Bonniebelle." Marceline rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, turning ever so slightly towards the bathroom door.
"No! It's still mine, and I only trust royal launders with my clothes." She crossed her arms too. Why not?
"Just--ugh, fine, whatever!" Marceline snarled, and began floating towards the window. "Have it your way, as usual."
"I will!" Bubblegum yelled, but by then she was screaming at the empty sky. She let out a high-pitched groan of frustration, balled her hands into fists, and kicked over a chair for good measure. It's not like Marceline was there anymore to see her acting like a petulant child.
She had to calm down. It was pointless to get so worked up, especially when Marceline probably wasn't even going to follow through. There was no way she was invested enough to actually go visit the palace laundry. She had just wanted to mess with Bubblegum, and ruin what she had thought would be nice memories of the adventure with the Doorlord. Well, good job Marceline.
Bubblegum dropped into bed--in her floral nightgown, thank you very much--and spent the rest of the night stubbornly insisting to herself that it wasn't thoughts of Marceline keeping her awake at all.
"Peppermint Butler, where's my Killer Candypocalypse shirt?"
"Pardon, your highness?"
Princess Bubblegum thumbed through the stack of clean clothes. "My rock nightshirt! I put it in the laundry the other day. I don't see it."
"Oh. Ehm." Peppermint Butler tapped his fingers together nervously. "Perhaps it was misplaced. I'll ask the servants to look for it."
"No, don't bother," Bubblegum said, suddenly exhausted, even though it was early in the day.
Peppermint, who had already turned to leave, paused. "Princess? Don't you want to find it?"
"It's just--" Bubblegum sighed and scrubbed her face with her hands. "Let me know if you find it. But don't, like...waste a lot of time looking for it."
"Of course, Princess."
Over the course of the next week Princess Bubblegum discovered a new type of glucose molecule, was kidnapped three times, and hung up on Finn once when he said he was going to visit Marceline later that night. She felt bad about it after the fact, and called him back and told him one of the Banana Guards and accidentally tripped over the phone wire and unplugged it.
After a week the shirt reappeared on her bed, neatly folded but still slightly wrinkled. Bubblegum stared at it for longer than she cared to admit--because she was thinking, not because she was frozen with indecision--and then, finally, darted forward and snatched it off the bed.
How dare she? How dare she? Just show up out of the blue, steal Bubblegum's favorite--ex-favorite--nightshirt, and then dump it back a week later? Without even dropping by to let her know what was going on? She had probably just tossed it through the window. And it had stayed folded because of magic, or something.
She stomped over to the trashcan, intending to make a very satisfying slam dunk out of the now ruined shirt. Might as well get one more bit of enjoyment out of it. She got as far as lifting the shirt high above her head, and froze. She lowered the shirt, slowly, so that she was holding it near her face. Then, feeling entirely too much like a creeper even in the privacy of her bedroom, sniffed it.
It smelled like Marceline. An image popped into Bubblegum's head, of Marceline wearing the shirt (and pants, of course pants--probably. Maybe?). She inhaled again, and remember a dozen other things besides, things she hadn't thought about in a long time, things she hadn't thought Marceline would remember at all. The memories were more vivid than she had realized they could be. She hadn't even realized what was missing.
But Marceline had.
That night Princess Bubblegum slept very, very well.