I'M SORRY! I KNOW IT'S BEEN ALMOST A FULL YEAR! REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, SORRY!
And thank you so much for nagging me to hurry it up – I DID read every single one of those comments received and I do appreciate them so, so much!
I'll try so hard to hurry this up, cos I still have big plans for this fic!
But for now, here is the latest extraordinarily late chapter of "In Brotherhood"
"Luigi –this is Peach and you have to come quickly to the Fungal Hospital, it's urgent! Daisy and Waluigi are here, and we have some bad news!"
From the outside, the highly regarded Fungal Hospital was a large, clean building – white in color with rows upon rows of windows, letting in the daylight and fresh air when opened, some peppered with "Get Well!" or "New Baby!" cards from the patients who where positioned next to these particular panels. Some bore stained glass paintings of childish images, cute and colorful pictures from the current inhabitants of the Children's Wards.
The Garden's of the Fungal Hospital where well kept and bore beautiful flowers, statues and fountains as well as seats for patients who were able enough to venture out to the gardens to sit and unwind in the outdoors. Swing sets and sand – boxes and other relatively safe play material where provided for the children also.
Inside of this magnificent establishment – (founded by Medical Genius Goombert Shroomston in 1936 for wounded warriors during the times of when the Mushroom Kingdom was at war with the Tomato Empire) the hallways, wards, kitchens – everything was never seen to be anything less than spotlessly clean, every employee was of the best training available and always polite and friendly and always ready to do their job, nothing but the best for any sick or wounded individual who needed care.
Today however – everything was in complete and utter chaos.
Hardly an hour after the word had somehow leaked out of what had happened and of the two famous patients brought in, the people had begun to fill up the lobby as an excited crowd would fill up a concert stadium.
The hospital was swarming with people who had heard of the news, queuing even outside of the entrance doors to find out from the specialized doctors of the conditions of the Princess Daisy and Waluigi – whose current condition was stubbornly kept undisclosed. Was he dead? Dying? Would he be okay after some medical attention?
And where in the hell was Wario?
No - one knew…
Frustrated hospital staff where becoming rather angry at the conditions that the unwelcome crowds where making, creating difficult circumstances for other patients to receive the needed help and for staff to do their job.
But even with the huge crowd of Toads, Goombas, Koopas, Lakitus, Yoshis and Living Bob – Ombs demanding to hear from Daisy personally what had happened, nothing could prevent the camera crew of Lakitu TV buzzing to and fro and begging for the merest scrap of information to release on their show – the news was just too ground – breaking not to be there!
Headlines all over the Mushroom Kingdom were big and bold:
ATTACK ON WARIO MANOR!
ATTEMPT ON WARIOS! WHO OF HEROES IS NEXT?
PRINCESS DAISY'S HEROIC RESCUE!
It was barely ten o'clock in the morning and already the news had spread like a vicious virus. Only three weeks after the Death of fabled Hero Mario, a vicious arsonist had attacked his famed counterpart…
Luigi's heart was pounding as he tried to force his way through the spotlessly clean lobby of the Fungal Hospital in the clear, rainless morning that had spread out over the Mushroom Kingdom on that day. Only eight hours after Daisy had left his home and she was in hospital?
What had she went and done to herself?
His mouth was dry as he recalled Peach's phone call to him, pushing and shoving through what seemed to be the entire interloping population of the Mushroom Kingdom that where calling his name as he fought to reach the ward number he had been given, not caring whose foot he had trodden on or who he had just knocked over.
He ignored the bombardment of questions that came at him from the Lakitu TV reporters:
"Luigi – do you think that Wario's attack is connected with the murder of your brother?"
"Luigi – rumor has it that you have enlisted the help of Super Ninja – Birdos to take out Kammy! What do you have to say about this?"
"Luigi – is it true that Waluigi is actually a woman and that you are her boyfriend!"
"Luigi – we have reason to believe that Princess Daisy is carrying your baby – what do intend to do now that Kammy has not only killed your brother – but endangered your lover and unborn child?"
The questions got more and more ridiculously unbelievable every time a different reporter opened his or her mouth, and Luigi didn't want to hear any of it.
He just had to get to Ward 4C1 – that's where the receptionist had told him to go to after she had called the police to help the hospital shift the troublesome public who only literally filled the hallways and caused so much trouble to those just trying to do their job. And now that was where Luigi was headed, if only he could get out the crush of people that was smothering him, ignoring the yells of "Watch it!" or " Back in line!" and the desperate cries of the Lakitu reporters, desperate to get his words for their television reports.
"Luigi – what do think about…"
"Luigi – is it true that…"
"Luigi – "
"Luigi – "
"Luigi - !"
There was the shrill sound of a whistle blowing behind them (what Luigi presumed was the late - arriving police gaining attention) and a large majority of the current mass – crowding problem turned and Luigi felt resistance slacken around his body and his teeth gritted as he continued to shove until the lesser presses of bodies, slightly breathless, probing a painful rib that he had gained upon someone's intrusion of a particularly sharp elbow on his battle throughout the lobby, looking back over his shoulder amidst the turmoil to see a formidable looking Team of the Shy Guy Police Force – tiny but strong as they belted out orders in their tiny little voices to wrap things up and to kindly leave, lest they be forced to take action.
But the crowd was having none of this, shouting and yelling and Luigi had the breath knocked out of him as a particularly rowdy Pink Bob – Omb leapt up to cry out in protest to be caught under Luigi's ribs as a blue Yoshi accidentally sent the young man falling with a whack of the tail.
The Shy Guy Police Force glared behind their masks and lined themselves up to take action, and the yelling intensified and Luigi felt himself crush with the weight of what seemed like a thousand bodies of curious and angry public wanting to know of what was going on, and the screaming of angry hospital staff and impatient patients waiting to be treated and the buzz of Lakitu reporters buzzing to and fro, chattering questions and writing their own answers until the shrill, but loud feminine call sent everything into a hush.
Luigi grunted as he forced himself into an upright stance, and shoving the blue Yoshio out of his line of sight to see at the mouth of a long corridor of wards, with folds of rather recognizable clothing in her hands over her pink dress, tears in her angry red eyes as she called over for silence, Luigi sighed in relief as he saw her.
The Princess Peach.
Her head was bowed slightly, but her usually sweet and clear blue eyes where red, sore and teary as they glared beneath her blonde hair, her lip trembling with emotion as she cried out (in such a voice of anger never heard before by Luigi):
"That is enough!" there was a definite hard edge in her tones and her teeth where gritted and her face told everyone that she was going to have her way.
The silence after such chaos only moments before was startling and all eyes where on the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom, and all in mute awe of her presence and power she held over everyone.
She sucked in a trembling breath before she continued in her speaking, her voice quaking with emotion and Luigi's heart numbed in his chest.
Had there been more bad news he had yet to hear?
"The conditions of Princess Daisy and the Warios are NOT for you to gossip of, they are NOT for the Lakitu TV news to broadcast to line their pockets in coins, and I shall not have you here jeopardizing any more lives here with your atrocious behavior!"
Her shallow sob rent the air for a moment and murmured voices amongst the crowd began to bubble amongst the gangs of people in the hospital lobby before the unhappy Princess lifted her tear – soaked face and continued:
"Please – go home, we can't allow you to see them, and I won't allow anyone to prevent the good staff here at the Fungal Hospital from doing their jobs, please…"
"Quite so! Quite so!" came the voice from her Majesty's side and Luigi came to notice the tiny form of Toadsworth at his Princess's side, twitching his moustache irritably and banging his walking stick on the ground. "Come come now! Can't be dawdling around all day now can we? Let's go!" he ordered, marching forward as the crowd began to retreat on Peach's plea, mutters and murmurs on how terrible things where and how they where going to kill Kammy for this and so on and so forth.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaand – Cut!" a triumphant Lakitu Cameraman grinned, pumping one of his little fists and lifting the Camera out of it's viewpoint with the Princesses face as it's user floated from afar. "Great emotion there Princess – great stuff, seeya laters"
And with that, the cocky little Lakitu turned and with a light buzz from his Cloud, he was headed for the doors over the heads of the leaving crowd as the Princess shook her head sadly as she remained where she had stood, hugging the clothes to her chest as her trusty advisor reached a tiny little hand up and touched her arm in comfort.
Luigi blinked, seeing the emotion that she had come to publicly weep made him worry not only for her, but for the well being of Daisy and Waluigi, assuming that one of them had taken a turn for the worst… It made him shudder to think of it as he came to approach the Princess and her consultant in a steady walk, Peach waited for his approach and as he came threw his arms around him in a soft little wail and Luigi could feel her tremble as he returned the hug with the loving passion of a friend.
"Oh, Luigi – it's awful!" she sobbed into his shoulder, quivering with the force of a fresh wave of tears and Luigi's head was buzzing with a thousand thoughts on what could have happened, why it had happened…
There was no more conversation for a few moments after that – just the soft weeping of the sad Princess and the cold, frightened breathing of a young man who knew in his heart that more tears where to be shed…
Because of something else that Kammy had done…
His eyes closed and his teeth grit, feeling his fists tighten behind his friends back as he held the Princess close to him in her grief.
Kammy the Witch Koopa.
Her days where numbered, without a doubt… There was no way in hell that she was getting away with killing Mario, and if one of the many idiotic citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom in their revenge quests for their beloved Hero didn't manage to take her down – she could be as sure as hell that Luigi himself would…
She would pay for what she had done to his Big Brother, for what she had done to him, and for whatever she had done to Daisy and the Wario Brothers…
Words in his mind that where promises rather than threats…
He suddenly felt the weight of the Princess's skull lift from his shoulder and he opened his eyes to see her wipe her sore eyes with a silken - gloved hand.
"Are you okay Princess?" a simultaneous question from the voices of both Luigi and Toadsworth and she gave a small little nod before turning around and heading into the corridor with an indication for Luigi and Toadsworth to follow, and immediately they where there, each on either side of her, and Luigi could not hold the question back any longer.
"Princess what's happened here? Is everyone okay?"
She didn't stop in her walking, but she slowed down and her head lowered considerably, gnawing nervously on her lip and hesitant to talk. Luigi's gaze locked with hers, pleading silently for her to tell him.
He had to know.
She drew in a breath.
She hesitated once more before coming to a complete and total halt in her walking and swallowing nervously, lifting her hand up to her eye whilst she held the bundle of clothing in the other before coming to speak.
"Daisy is in no danger, a little dehydrated is all, and they want to keep her in for a day or two because of the smoke inhalation. Just to make sure for definates that she'll be fine"
Luigi found himself giving a huge sigh of relief, his numbing heart melting in it's fearful ice casing, relaxing considerably to hear that his friend was okay.
"Waluigi has a minor concussion, one or two fractures of the ribs and was cut by Bob – Omb fragments, nothing that won't heal over time and very, very minor burns, however, they're very concerned about how much smoke he might have inhaled. It may or may not have lasting effects – we don't know yet. He IS out of immediate danger for the time being, though he'll be here for a little while until they know for sure he'll be fine…"
There was a pause after that, and Luigi lowered his eyes with a low sigh and a tightening of the fists.
Everyone who knew Luigi knew him well enough to know that he would have been lying had he said that he actually liked Waluigi – because it was as clear as day that after Mario's funeral, any patience and tolerance Luigi had ever had for his rival had shattered and in it's place was born a hatred almost as ugly as Waluigi's hatred for Luigi himself.
But Luigi never would have wished for Waluigi to be as physically wounded as to the point being hospitalized…
"And what about Wario…?" Luigi came to asking, looking slowly over to watch Peach's face as she bit on her lips, closing her watering eyes, and Luigi felt his body go numb at such a slight but all – telling action as she began to sob.
If Wario where okay – there would be no reason to cry – so why was she crying unless…
"Oh God…" he could barely hear his own whisper, feeling his own eyes water, feeling suddenly nauseated and lifting a hand to his head. "Oh God… oh God, oh my God – Peach? Peach what's wrong with Wario?" Luigi knew in his heart exactly what was wrong with Wario. He didn't want to say it, think it, imagine it – he didn't want to know – but he HAD to know…
Peach looked up at him without words and her blue eyes where so liquid.
"Luigi…" Her voice was as soft and placid as ever as she spoke. "There really is no easy way to say this…"
"Oh no, please don't tell me…" he begged, his eyes beginning to sting as he shook his head, trying to swallow within his dry throat.
Peach exhaled her breath as she hugged the clothing to her chest, barely able at all to look at her close and trusted friend as she prepared to give the news.
The silence between her words was deafening.
She lifted her eyes up to him and he saw all serious sadness in her fluid blue twin orbs before her lips parted in speech once more, in such a meek little voice that even she herself was dreading to hear again.
"Wario is dead…"
Her whispered words hit him head on, and with such an almighty force, he felt so weightless as he stared her in the face, his expression one of sad, so very sad disbelief, so soon after the death of his own brother…
He tried to speak.
It barely came out a breath.
Without answering, Peach lifted a hand to her eyes and began to weep and cry pitifully, her shoulders shuddering with the weight of her tears, sobbing and wailing as Luigi let himself lean against the wall of the corridor, still with numb horror and disturbed by Peach's reaction's, just so unable to register such a fact.
Only weeks after his brother – Wario was gone too?
"…oh no….." came his whisper of utter shock, not seeing the tiny form of Toadsworth approaching him, his moustache drooping as he coughed formally and speaking in his most formal tone.
"It has been officially stated by the coroner, that he had died of terrible injuries sustained by many, many Bob – Omb explosions – not the fire of which the Princess Daisy found him." He paused to give a short sigh and missing Luigi's eyebrow twitch before coming back to finish what he was saying.
"They had said that it wouldn't have been long before he had lost consciousness during his attack - would have been in little pain before his demise, and…"
"Daisy found him?" a swift interjection on Luigi's part looking down to the tiny Toadsworth as he blinked up at the green – garbed hero.
"Why yes Master Luigi, didn't you already know?" he inquired with perfect politeness and keeping what was a rather quizzical face safely hidden for the somber occasion beneath his moustache and the hood of his toadstool's cap. "The Princess Daisy came across the body in her attempt to rescue the Warios. Poor, poor Daisy… She's just broken Master Luigi, simply broken over what's happened…."
"Where is she?" Luigi suddenly demanded, shoving himself from the wall and staring down the Princess's advisor, and Toadsworth jumped suddenly, slightly intimidated by Luigi's actions and saved by the Princess coming out of her shell of tears to answer for him.
"We'll take you to her, she's in a private room of her own – 4C1. Waluigi is in 4B3 and he's still unconscious because of the given drugs. They say he should be awake rather shortly…"
"They said that around two hours ago…" Toadsworth muttered with a couple of irritated taps on the floor with his walking stick before coming back with yet another sad sigh, shaking his head slowly. "Still... I wouldn't want to wake him up either if I where to be the one to tell him what's happened and what's become of his brother."
"You mean he doesn't know?"
"He hasn't been conscious for anyone to tell him." Peach murmured softly, hugging at the clothes in her arms that Luigi suddenly recognized to be the trademark clothes of the Hospital's two most famous patients lined in some places with fresh stitching which Luigi took to be the produce of Peach's Motherly Housewife side. It was common knowledge that the Princess enjoyed baking and sewing, and Luigi only assumed that in her wait for her friends to be treated she had took to repairing their damaged clothes.
In her arm she held two sets of clothing for her three friends…
And one of them – one that he didn't particularly like - was going to be told that his older Brother had been murdered, and Luigi could remember all too well what he had felt when Mario hadn't come home, when Mario was missing for days, and when he was told why after so much worry…
Luigi closed his eyes, blinking away the tears, so painfully able to contemplate the agony that was in store for Waluigi, having experienced it first hand…
And Daisy… What had she seen? What had she been through?
He had to know, had to see her.
"Daisy – where did you say her room was?" Luigi demanded, lifting his arm to wipe the tears from his liquid eyes. They still stung horribly and he had been nauseated since hearing the terrible news of Wario's death… But he couldn't wallow in his own misery, not when Daisy was so distraught (if Toadsworth's telling of her emotional state was indeed accurate) and needed him.
He just wanted to see her so badly…
"Of course Master Luigi," the little Mushroomed figure nodded, hopping around on his tiny little feet and toddling off down the corridor with smart little taps. "Come along now, come along now…" he kept muttering to himself as he walked, his volume lowering and lowering until it could no longer be heard by either of the humans.
Luigi knew not for how long they walked, how many stairs they had mounted or how many staff at the hospital had stopped to stare as they made their way through the Hospital.
And nor did he care.
His heartbeat was in his ears, his stomach clenching within him, his mind in a spin and all that he could see was Daisy driving off into the distance the night previous when he had let her go alone, when he had stupidly bowed her "Authority" and allowed her to walk over him straight into the dangers grasp.
He knew that if anything had resulted in Daisy's experiences last night he would never forgive himself…
What if she had been poisoned by the smoke? What if it would prove terminal? What if …
The plumber blinked, turning to the face of the Princess at his side, interrupted in his personal hell of fears for Daisy, and the walking came to a halt marked by a tiny thud of Toadsworth's walking stick – a tiny crack of wood on polished floor that sent a slight tremor of Echo rippling through the hallways.
"I do believe Master Luigi…" the little Mushroom began steadily and indicated to the door of which he stood before. "That we have indeed reached our destination! 4C1!"
And Luigi pivoted from the Princess to meet the heavy – looking door with a tiny metallic plate that read in engraved figures "4C1"
And then there was Princess Peach's voice behind him.
"Princess Daisy is in here, and I know she'll want to see you," she said kindly taking Luigi by the shoulders as he glanced back at her as though silently asking how indeed she would no such a thing, and whether through a Woman's Intuition, or Luigi's own transparency, Peach gave him a sad smile and answered his unasked question. "After all, the both of you have always had a special bond of sorts, haven't you?"
Luigi was speechless and could only blink at her words and know that they held some definite truths within them.
And he said nothing – was silent as his hand turned the doorknob and he stepped inside alone – alone as he went to face head on the traumatized and broken heart of a dear friend.
Again, many zillion apologies for the delay, but I will try my damndest not to do it again! I hope you enjoyed this somewhat less exciting chapter – Thanks again for all of your comments and support – it really does make my day to be dying of boredom in college and seeing people telling me to hurry up and update
And Peace out – hope you all have a ROCKIN X-mass / Hanukkah, etc, and a totally AWESOME new year!