Author's Note: Uh oh. I'm long overdue for an update. Well, erm, not compared to some...what do ya'll think? Should I torture you guys some more and make ya wait?

Reader: Yes!! I'm not even reading it anyway!

Aw, you're mean. Just for that I'm gonna post my update. My last. Stinking. Chapter. It's cheesy too, but what would a Robin-Lee-last-fanfic-chapter be like without the cheese? ^_^

Reader: Rather nice!

*blows a rasberry then hurls her shoes.* Who asked you, you dirty bum?? O_o Ah, anyways...finally posting this after I left for yet another week...sigh...a summer without Mario is like a summer without tie-dyed monkeys. :-(





"So…" Mario began nervously, twirling his forefinger around his thumb. "I was wondering if you'd like to…ya know…hang out more…like this…sometime…"

A bright brunette next to him smiled from ear to ear. "I don't know," she replied shyly. "I had a lot of fun…but I'm not sure if I'm ready to date."

"Parents?" queried Mario.

She shook her head, her short, thin hair bouncing. "No, I just don't feel ready."

"Oh." He felt his hopes slipping away like sand through a sieve. "Well, there's no rush, ya know. I was just wondering."

The girl kept smiling as they walked along the sidewalk.

"Linda…"

"Yes Mario?" She stopped walking to look at him. Mario felt unnerved by this action, but continued anyway.

"Umm," he began, clearing his throat. Boy, his hands were sweaty tonight. More so than usual. "I uh…was still wondering if you'd go to the Spring formal with me, it's next week and I know it's last minute but I wasn't sure you'd want to go--"

"Oh, Mario I do!" she said enthusiastically. He kept rambling anyway, looking at the sidewalk in the fading sunlight.

"Sorry it's last minute, I hope you can get a dress and everything if you still wanna go with me, I mean there are lots of other guys like Tom and…and Abe…"

"Mario," Linda laughed, lightly placing her paws on his shoulders. "Didn't you hear me? I said I would go."

He stared at her blankly for some moments, feeling foolish and stupid, then finally managed an embarrassed grin."Oh…well, that's good."

She smiled at him again…golly, did she smile a lot, but Mario loved the way it made her cheeks lift to her bright green eyes. He noticed her hands on his shoulders pointedly, and she drew away quickly. Everything in Mario's world suddenly didn't exist; all he saw was Linda. Carefully, he reached out and clasped both her hands in his between them. Feeling anxious and excited and as if someone had sucked all the air from his lungs at the same time, he leaned forward slowly to give her a kiss.

Their lips met, and for five seconds there was magic in Mario's life. That is, until an acorn popped him in the head. "Owe!" he complained, rubbing the sore spot.

"Ouch!" Linda cried as another pelted her neck.

"Mario and Linda, sittin' in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g!"

Mortified, Mario realized that they were right outside his apartment, and his kid brother Luigi was singing to high heaven in the tiny oak tree…let alone loud enough for the street to hear.

"First comes love…"

"Luigi!" Mario growled.

"Then comes marriage…then comes somethin' in the baby carriage!"

"Luigi!" he shouted angrily. "When I get through with you, you're gonna be kissin' the worms…six feet under!"

Linda gasped, horrified that Mario would say such a thing, and thoroughly embarrassed by the song. Mario turned and saw her expression. Her face went deadpan as she let go of his hands.

"Bye Mario," she murmured. Mario watched her leave, looking hurt, betrayed, shocked and hopeless all at once. His hands finally dropped to his side, and he turned, enraged into the house.

"Mom!" he hollered, stomping through the kitchen.

"Mario, you sound like an angry elephant…and look like one too."

"Mom," he began, still fuming but looking quite serious. "We're selling Luigi and buying a dog like I wanted."Anna laughed a little, unsure whether he was joking or not, but judging from his expression that he was quite angry. "Mario, we can't sell your brother."

"Then let's leave him in a box on the street. People in the city do that with cats all the time."

"Mario! Your brother is not a cat!" The front door jiggled a little then was banged upon as whining ensued. "Hey, let me in!"

"You locked him out?" asked Anna incredulously, taking off her apron and going to open the door.

"All six years of him."

"Mario..."

"Why shouldn't I? He's a rat, and a peeping tom, and a…" Mario felt overwhelmed almost to the point of tears. That is, until he saw his brother come through the door.

"You little spy, I'll kill you!"

"Mario, don't say things like that!" commanded Anna as Luigi hid behind his mother's skirt.

"Mom, he humiliated me in front of Linda Dayle! The girl who actually accepted my invitation to the formal! Now she probably won't even talk to me since this little rat scared her off!"

"I'm not a rat!" Luigi protested, starting to cry.

"Luigi, is this true?" asked Anna, staring into his eyes in a way only a mother can. Guilty as charged, Luigi nodded as his bottom lip trembled.

"Oh fine, start with the waterworks. Don't get punished and get desert with dinner tonight. You really know how to score with mom, ya know that?"

"Shut up!" the little boy cried.

"Luigi!"

"You shut up!" Mario shot back, pointing at his little brother. "I never thought you could sink this low Luigi, but this has to be the most terrible thing you've done to me!" To his mother, Mario let a tear slide down his cheek. "I might have had a chance, mama. She could have liked me…she could have loved me…I don't meet girls like that everyday." To a hiccupping Luigi he hurled. "Yeah, you hear that? Pretty girls don't grow on trees for your older brother! You want to do something nice for him? Go back to the ocean and drown! Cause right now I wish I had never saved you!"

Slap. Mario slowly reached a hand to cup his cheek in utter shock as he watched his mother's face transform from horrified at what he'd said to horrified what she had done. She covered her mouth with her hand, her eyes searching Mario's, the only sound was Luigi's quiet sobbing.

Mario I'm sorry for em…emberra…ember…

Stop mumbling, I can't hear you.

…I'm sorry for…embirating you in front of Linda.

The word is embarrassing.

Well, I'm sorry.

Yeah, me too.

…Mario?

What?

…Do you still want me drowned?

…cause I don't remember how to get to the beach, and…

Hey, hey, stop that. Come here…

…an' I'm scared to ask mama for a map…

No, don't go to mama, don't go to the beach.

I'm s-sorry!

Shh, I know you are, come on, stop crying.

I don't want you to hate me!

I don't hate you.

Yes you do.

Do not.

Do too.

No, Weege, I don't. Because if I did, I wouldn't be forgiving you like I am.

…Forgiving?

Yeah. I think it's cool that you said you're sorry, but I don't want you pulling that stunt again, okay?

Okay. I won't.

No more tears.

No more tears…

When Mario opened his eyes, the world around him looked fuzzy, as if he suddenly needed glasses. After blinking several times, the colors about him began to take shape, and he found himself lying on a humongous, ornate bed in a richly furnished room. Blinking some more, he felt strangely strong and well-rested, but upon trying to sit up he lay back down, cringing a little.

"Hey, hey, don't do that." His little brother's voice was softer than usual, and Mario noticed him for the first time, sitting by his side. "Just relax."

"What happened--" Mario almost regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth. He didn't need reminding of their enounter with Bowser. Luigi understood.

"You just passed out…but your chest was messed up pretty bad, man." A nervous sigh. "Good thing these doctors around here know what they're doing."

Passed out. Mario thought he'd died and gone to Hell…or the land of worst memories after the dream he'd just had. "Where am I?"

"The Princess's castle." Luigi could not hide his enthusiasm over this fact, and it showed in his smile. "You've gotta see the rest of this place, it's incredible. It's gotta be bigger than the one in Disneyland…and it's even got tennis courts!"

Mario forged a half-hearted smile, not caring much for castles, tennis, or even Princesses at the moment.

"What's wrong?" Luigi dared. Mario gazed at him carefully, awkwardly.

"I want you to know…I love you."

Luigi grinned nervously. "Ah, Mario. Don't get all sentimental and weepy on me."

"I mean it, Luigi. I'm…I'm lucky to have someone like you for a brother."

Luigi's smile faded slowly. "Mario, I…"

"I mean it. And I'm...I'm not sorry I saved you...at the beach." Mario looked down at the blanket, then glanced up, shame in his eyes.

Luigi froze, but his expression showed confusion, sadness and joy all at once.

"I mean it, Weege."

Luigi looked up and stared into his brother's eyes. It was at this point that both brothers were secretly and separately convinced they shared a mental connection.

"So...you really don't hate me?" asked Luigi.

"No," Mario smiled knowingly. "If I hated you, I wouldn't have burned all the roadmaps."

Luigi laughed softly, then held his brother in a firm embrace, burying his face in his shoulder. "You had me scared, man."

"I'm sorry."

"No you're not. You just like to see me cry."

The door creaked open a bit, and Mario looked over Luigi's head.

"Augh!" he cried out in fright, then yelped in pain after trying to hide himself too quickly under the covers.

"What? What is it?" Luigi turned around, and relaxed into a smirk. "Oh, it's just Toad."

"What?!" demanded Mario in fright. "Who?"

A shy, extremely short…thing entered the room. Basically, it looked like a mushroom with arms and legs and a mouth. His features were like that of a young boy, and even though it wasn't frightful like the turtles, it was odd to say the least.

"His name is Toad, he's the Princess's right hand man. Ain't that right, kid?"

"Yeah…I mean yes." He glanced at Mario, then deposited a tray of food on the dresser and scurried out as fast as his legs would carry him.

"That…was the weirdest thing I've ever seen."

"Relax, Mario. They're all over the place. That's why they call it the Mushroom Kingdom. The Princess and the King are the only ones that look what we consider normal around here."

Mario shook his head. "I guess I'm not as acclimated as you are yet."

"Which…raises my next topic," Luigi said hesitantly.

"Uh oh."

"The Princess said she needed someone to protect her…and her kingdom."

No answer.

"She really wants us to do it."

"No way."

"Mario…"

"Luigi, I just-"

"No, hey. Listen up." Luigi interrupted firmly. "I know it sounds crazy…but what do we have to go back to? We've got no family…except each other."

"We have a plumbing business."

"Ah, that was dragging in pennies anyway." Mario stared at his brother as if he'd lost his mind. "And after explaining to the Princess what plumbers were, she said she's got some ancient pipes in the basement that need a lot of work."

"Ancient?"

"She'll pay us handsomely."

Mario sighed, but didn't answer.

"…she really does like you," enticed Luigi. Mario looked at him from the corners of his eyes, half convinved but stuff hopefull.

"Really now."

"Yep. She can't wait to see you, but wants to wait until you're better; she's too shy to come in."

Mario smiled a smile that he hadn't used since his first kiss. "Not jealous?"

A shrug. "…Nah. I won't even spy on you this time. She's all yours, bro."

~*~

Miraculously enough, Mario was completely healed in two days time with the help of simply eating mushroom plants, which he found repulsive at first since the population was made of the little guys. Soon he was able to walk about like nothng had happened. The brothers were given three days to make a decision. On the third day Mario finally saw the Princess again when they entered the throne room for a private audience with the King.

The King was a funny shaped man with a bushy white beard all around his chubby, cheerful face. "So, you boys have come to tell us your answer?" He reminded them of a grandfather or a kind elderly neighbor.

"Yes sir…I mean majesty." Luigi shook his head and blinked hard, an action he commonly performed after embarrassing mistakes. The Princess hid a giggle behind her hand.

"And what is your decision?"

The Princess held her breath, anxiously waiting for the answer she hoped for. The longer she looked at the shorter, older plumber, the more interesting she found him and discovered she couldn't bear to part with him so soon. She found herself blushing and looked at her feet, feeling silly and foolish but at the same time excited. She glanced up and caught Mario's eyes, awaiting their answer. And the plumbers, the Mario brothers…the heroes…whipped out the tools of their trade from their belts and replied, "Show us your pipes, first."

"Then we'll save the kingdom."

Both of them understanding the responsibility and commitment that their life-changing decision meant, both of them understanding the true meaning or heroism, loyalty and courage, both of them knowing that Bowser or anyone would return and cause havoc through-out the kingdom, they took the job, and since then have earned the title "the Super Mario Brothers."





Aaaaahhh....cheese. In the words of my good friend: I like cheese. Cheese is good. ^_^ Do we all like cheese? I hope so, cause this is the way my story ends. Expect more from me in...two weeks? I dunno...I think I'll go in strike if my favortire authors don't update soon. Who wants to hold a demonstration? ^_^ Goodnight you beautiful people you!