Disclaimer: I don't own Mario, but I do own the stuff about Bowser's folks, and the ideas put forth in this fic.
Author's Note: This story is based on Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, but told from 'Baby' Bower's perspective. I haven't actually played SMW2:YI in quite a while, so if anything's amiss please tell me and I'll be sure to fix it right away! So please, Read, Enjoy, and Review!
Prince Bowser wandered through his castle completely and utterly bored. The guards would stand to attention and do whatever Bowser wanted them to do – except play with him. That was against the rules. Bowser never understood that, though – he was the prince, he was in charge... Supposedly.
His advisor Kamek almost always dictated Bowser's life. He told the prince not to harass the maids and butlers, he told the prince not to use his newly developed firebreath to burn the castle down, he told the prince not to go outside the castle courtyard… But, if Kamek was given a direct order from three-year-old Prince Bowser, the laws of the land forced him to obey, even if the order was as mundane as fetching cookies, or conjuring up a new flavour of ice cream.
If they could even be called the 'laws of the land' was another matter entirely, since Bowser's castle was on Yoshi's Island, off the coast of his actual kingdom, Dark Land. His parents, King Morton Koopa and Queen Clawdia Koopa had lived in a huge castle in the heart of Dark Land. But one day there was a cataclysmic accident in the weapons storage rooms deep within the castle, and the explosion brought the whole structure down. Kamek had been fortunate enough to be away from the building when it happened, but when he returned, the only survivor was Bowser, a mere egg.
Kamek took the orphaned prince to Dinosaur Land, since the Koopa Kingdom already had a minor presence on the archipelago, and a castle on Yoshi's Island. This is where Bowser had hatched and grown up, totally sheltered from the world. He didn't even know what a Yoshi looked like, yet the island was named after the voracious dinosaurs. All Bowser knew about them was that they had really tasty cookies, and he loved making Kamek get them for him.
He wanted to steal them himself, but Kamek refused to let the prince risk his wellbeing like that, for the time being. Bowser had argued about it long and hard, but he knew Kamek was very wise, and if his advisor was worried about his health, the Prince thought it best to follow his lead. So he contented himself with forcing Kamek to do the dirty work all by himself, no matter the time of day or night, Bowser knew he would get fed up one of those times, and let the prince 'suffer' too.
Bowser walked into his throne room and saw Kamek hurriedly dictating orders to his Toadies, it looked like they were preparing to leave.
"Whatchya doin' Kamik?" asked Bowser, he still hadn't mastered speech yet, and since he was the prince, Kamek had to put up with his mispronunciations.
"I have just foreseen that two babies, destined to bring ruin and despair on the Koopa Kingdom are heading to the Mushroom Kingdom via stork, as we speak!" said Kamek, proud of his precognitive abilities.
Bowser, on the other hand, couldn't care less, "What's a stowk? I thouwt babies hatched fwom eggs."
"Not all babies, but I really don't have time to explain right now," said Kamek, not wanting to get into the 'birds and the bees' with the young prince at that moment (or at any moment for that matter).
Bowser was fine with that – he could always force the information out of the guards later, but he wasn't so accepting of Kamek's latest scheme. He was bored, and hungry, and Kamek leaving now wouldn't ease either ailment. "I want some cookies!" stated the prince. "Now!"
Kamek sighed, he hated disobeying Bowser almost as much as the prince did, but for a different reason. "I'm sorry Your Highness, but this is really important, I must go, the future of you and your kingdom depends on it."
Bowser narrowed his little black eyes; the last time Kamek tried to weasel out of one of the Prince's quests, he had set the Magikoopa's robes ablaze. But, this time Kamek actually looked like he meant what he said. And as always, when it came to magic, prophesies or math, letting Kamek have his way was the best course of action for Bowser. He sighed a little, "'K Kamik, you c'n go."
"Thank you, Sire," said Kamek, nodding his head respectfully at the young prince. Spoiled or not, Bowser was wise for his years... Periodically.
Kamek herded the Toadies to the door and mounted his broomstick, but before he took off he looked back over his shoulder at Bowser. He was standing around, kicking at a scuffmark in the red carpet he was standing on, his eyes bored and listless. "Bowser," called Kamek.
"Yeah?" said the youngster, looking over at Kamek.
"I'll get you some cookies tomorrow, once I've taken care of the babies, okay?'
"Pwomise?" asked the prince warily.
"Promise," said Kamek, before turning and flying away.
But Kamek's optimism was misplaced. Although he caught Luigi – the baby with the green hat, his twin brother – the red-clad Mario – fell from the Stork's beak during the fight. Kamek didn't notice this until he had returned to the castle, only to find one baby in the bundle instead of two. He set off again and found the stork circling Yoshi's Island, but the bird was baby-less.
Kamek wanted to believe Mario had died, but he knew better. The stork's continued presence proved it: the baby was alive, and on the island.
The Magikoopa returned to the castle the next day after a long and fruitless search, deciding to use magic to locate Mario. But Bowser wanted his cookies,
"I'm sorry sire, but it is imperative that I find that baby."
Bowser didn't know what 'imperative' meant, but he didn't care. "But you pwomised."
"Yes, I promised to get you some cookies once I've taken care of the babies, which hasn't happened yet," said Kamek, trying to reason with the stubborn prince. And once again, Bowser's willingness to step back from Kamek's magical activities won out.
"Fine!" huffed the three-year-old, storming out of the room, snorting out little puffballs of smoke as he went.
Kamek hated going back on his word – he was Bowser's godfather after all, and the closest thing to a parent the kid would ever have, but the welfare of the Koopa Kingdom was paramount, even more so than the wellbeing of its prince.
Kamek was gone. He had found Mario being carried across the island by a bunch of Yoshis. His caregiver had been vague on the details of where they were going, but Bowser didn't care. He didn't care about a lot of things. In fact, the only thing he cared about at that moment was that he was bored. And lonely.
He knew what the Koopas in the castle said about him, that he was nothing more than a spoiled brat. Always wanting more than he could get, never content with what he had. They didn't understand – what was the point of having a room full of toys with no one to play with? What was the point of watching cartoons if there's no one to share in the laughter? All Bowser really wanted was a friend.
He never let anyone else know this, not even Kamek, it was a sign of weakness. And if the Magikoopa had told the young prince anything, it was that to show weakness was just about the worst thing you could do: your enemies would see it, and take advantage of it. And then you would lose, and losing was the worst thing to do.
So Bowser decided to take things into his own hands and find a friend by himself. Without Kamek around to pester him about what he's doing, Bowser decided that this was the best time to act. And there was a new child in the castle – the first one Bowser would ever meet.
The prince knew Luigi wasn't exactly the prime candidate for a new chum: from what the guards had told Bowser, the baby had cried constantly. They had to disobey Kamek and give Luigi something to play with – had they left him alone in his cell, he would have given the entire contingent pounding headaches with his constant wailing.
But, playing with the rubber ball, Luigi was perfectly content when Bowser let himself into the cell, having dispatched the weary guards. The prince looked at the baby with a mix of curiosity and revulsion. He had never seen a human before – they were pretty ugly: all pinkish, and flimsy, and what was with the diaper? Bowser had never needed a diaper, he was the prince, he could 'go to the washroom' wherever and whenever he felt like it, but he had learned pretty early on to actually go to the washroom, or the castle got pretty stinky.
Luigi looked up at Bowser, burbling happily at the visitor. Bowser snorted, how could such a dopey creature bring 'doom and gloom' to the Koopa Kingdom? Kamek was off his rocker – this kid was harmless!
Just then Luigi proved Bowser wrong, by chucking the ball straight into the prince's face.
"Hey!" shouted Bowser, clutching his snout. There had been a lot of force in that throw, and the area where the ball had hit his nose was turning red.
Luigi giggled and started crawling over to where the ball had bounced to a stop, but being able to walk, Bowser beat him to it.
"Want the ball?" he said, holding the toy above his head, still pondering how such a helpless-looking baby could throw a ball with so much force. Maybe Kamek was right about the twins…
Luigi burbled and reached up, he staggered to his feet, but promptly fell down, chuckling a little at his failure, which really confused Bowser. He had learned to walk within a few days of hatching and couldn't remember it anymore, but he still stumbled every now and then, and he hated it. Everyone would look at him – some would even try to help him up. Falling down made him feel useless. But here was this baby laughing at his mistake.
Bowser tossed the ball across the cell, and watched as Luigi crawled after it. The baby reached the ball, and grabbed it, looking over at Bowser with twinkling little innocent eyes.
Then 'Whump!' the ball smashed into the Koopa Prince's face again.
"Why you little-" snarled Bowser, but Luigi wasn't paying him any mind, instead he was rolling on the floor, hysterical at being able to do the ball joke a second time.
The laughing was contagious, and in no time Bowser's scowl turned to a wry smile, which gave way to snickering. He walked over to the ball, resting in front of the open cell door; and got ready to throw it back to Luigi – he'd always wanted to play catch. He held the ball over his head, but as he started to throw it forward it was taken from his hands.
Bowser whirled around. "Kamik! Whatcha doin'?" he asked his advisor angrily.
"I thought I told you to stay away from the human," said Kamek, also angry. Although Bowser didn't know it, another one of his minions had just been defeated by the group of Yoshis and Mario.
"You'w not the boss o' me!" shouted Bowser.
"But I am responsible for your health," said Kamek, pointing the jeweled tip of his wand at Bowser's reddened nose, removing the blemish with a simple non-verbal spell.
"So, you were lucky that was only done with a ball, I've seen what these humans are capable of with my crystal ball, and it's not pretty," with that Kamek incinerated the ball with his magic. Luigi saw this and began tearing up, Kamek then reached out and guided Bowser out of the cell as the baby let out an ear splitting wail. The sound was horrid and Bowser let his advisor guide him out of the echoing dungeon, but not without a twinge of sadness.
Prince Bowser sat in his bedroom, it had been a couple days since his 'play date' with Luigi. Kamek had severely punished the guards for giving the baby the ball and letting Bowser into the cell. He made it clear the prince was to not enter the dungeon as long as Luigi, and eventually Mario, was lodged there.
Bowser wondered what Kamek would do to them. He seemed to think they were a huge threat, which probably meant he was going to kill them. And since they were twins, maybe he had to wait till he could kill them together, and not have to worry about any weird brotherly magic.
Suddenly the door burst open, and in the doorway to the bedroom stood a strange dinosaur-looking creature. But it had a baby on its back, like a donkey he had once read about in a storybook.
"A Gween Donkey!" exclaimed Bowser, hopping over, thinking Kamek had sent it up to make up for ruining his fun before. The Magikoopa even flew in to say 'your welcome', but Bowser had already leapt towards the 'donkey', accidentally stomping Kamek on the way, and stumbling around as a result, kicking his advisor to the side.
This surprised Bowser, he didn't know he was that strong. But he didn't care as he hopped up onto the 'donkey's' back, accidentally knocking off the previous passenger. Oops, thought Bowser, he didn't mean to knock the other kid off. Especially after Kamek had gone to all the trouble to get it here. Maybe he understood the prince's loneliness after all.
However, as he looked down at the baby, Bowser noticed something: it looked a lot like Luigi, but angrier. Had it been Luigi, it probably would have laughed or cried about being kicked off its ride, not glowered about it. And it had a red hat, with the letter 'M' on it. Bowser's heart skipped a beat. Luigi-like, red, 'M' – the baby was Mario!
Suddenly the 'donkey' kicked Bowser off, he landed heavily on the floor a few feet away, and he thought getting a ball thrown in his face hurt. "Yoshi!" said the dinosaur, as Baby Mario hopped on its back. Bowser jumped up, not wanting to stay lying on the ground, less the Yoshi mistook him for a meal. He may have never seen one before, but he knew a lot about them – he knew how much they liked to eat.
But Bowser's landing was a bit heavy, and sent mini-shockwaves out, tripping up Yoshi. Whoa! thought Bowser. He had never really battled anyone before, and now he was stomping on people and making shock waves!
He didn't get much time to reflect on his latest discovery, as Yoshi angrily sent out a shock wave of his own. It ripped through the ground beneath Bowser's feet, and through his body. It was really painful. "Ow!" shouted the prince, jumping into the air and sending out his own shock wave. But Yoshi countered it with another one of his own, and then sent out a third wave.
Both shock waves shot pain coursing through Bowser, and he lay in a heap on the floor, groaning. Yoshi cheered triumphantly, but from the sidelines, Kamek slowly woke up. He looked over at the fallen prince, he was a bit concerned, but Bowser had survived the castle collapse as an egg, and Kamek was sure he could survive much worse, or at least come back to life afterwards. But a resurrection wouldn't be necessary here – he could hear Bowser moaning, and see him shift uncomfortably on the stone floor.
Suddenly Kamek got an idea: Bowser was potentially more powerful than any of the other enemies Kamek had attacked the Yoshis with. Revived and supersized, the prince might even win!
Kamek summoned his broomstick and took to the sky, and while flying over Bowser, he sent out his most powerful growth spell. The effects were instantaneous, and the prince soon grew too big for the room. Yoshi escaped the castle as Bowser became bigger and bigger, smashing the castle to bits beneath his increasing weight.
The cool night air was a shock to Bowser. He looked around; he had no idea what was going on. The pain was subsiding, but he still felt awful, and now he felt cold too. What was he doing outside? He looked around, the movement felt weird, like his head was really heavy. He looked down, far beneath him was the ruins of his castle. What? wondered Bowser, what is going on? Why am I giant?
He was jolted out of his disjointed thoughts by a huge pain in his forehead –something had hit it, and it was no ball. Yolk trickled down Bowser's face; it felt disgusting, and the shell had been so hard! He roared in anger at the attack, and a huge fireball flew out of his jaws into a distant hill, to Bowser's great surprise. Another shell hammered Bowser in the snout, egg even went up his nose, and splattered into his eyes. He thrashed around – it stung so badly! He accidentally sent bits of castle debris flying. And then a third egg came smashing into his chest, winding the bewildered prince and sending another fireball flying through the air.
He looked over at the hill where the giant eggs were coming from, he could barely see, his eyes were watering from the cold wind and the egg that had seeped into them. He wiped at his eyes, but as soon as he took his hand away from his face another egg smashed into him, and then another, and another. Bowser felt dizzy, he couldn't think straight, everything was a blur of confusion and pain. And as a final egg crashed right between his eyes, Bowser's world went black.
Kamek watched in shock as Bowser toppled over, shrinking back to normal size. Yoshi had defeated him! Kamek flew down and picked up the little prince, he then flew away, swearing revenge on the Yoshis assembled on the hill.
It was late afternoon the next day when Bowser woke up with a groan.
"Sire!" said Kamek, handing the child a glass of water. "You had me worried there for a bit!"
"No I didn't," muttered Bowser, sipping the water, noting that Kamek had healed all his injuries. He was still stiff and achy though.
"You'd be surprised – I had no idea that Yoshi would have access to giant eggs!"
"Why not?" asked Bowser, "I thouwt ya knew everythin' Kamik, that's what ya towd me."
Kamek winced. He had often bragged bout his insight, and until now, he had known everything he needed to. But he had come up short this time. Now the babies were gone – sent off with the stork to the Mushroom Kingdom. Sent off to their destiny.
Bowser continued without an answer, "and what happened ta pwotectin' me? Aftew stoppin' me fwom goin' out so many times you decided ta make me fight somethin' too stwong ta win against?"
"I thought you were going to win! Don't you listen?" asked Kamek, bewildered. There was no way Bowser was pinning it all on him. "Besides, you were the one who always wanted to go out and fight the Yoshis!"
"Nuh Uh!" said Bowser, looking at his advisor angrily. "I want'd ta steal cookies, not fight th' guys that make 'em." Kamek looked away, the kid had a point. "And," continued Bowser, "I wanted ta get out of the castle and explow, 'cause it was weally bowin' sittin 'wound evwy day with nothin' ta do. But, now, I can't do nothin' but explow, 'cause the castle's gone!"
The prince was standing now, staring at his advisor, blinking back tears. His castle had been his home for his entire life, now it was gone; he had a friend, now he was gone; he had a godfather who he could trust, now that trust was gone. Because Kamek had used him – if he had cared about Bowser, he would've taken him away from Yoshi, not tried to use him to remove the pest. How could Bowser have won? Even if Yoshi didn't have giant eggs, Bowser had never fought anyone a day in his life. Chased people around, yes, but he was never chased back – he was never hurt.
Now it was all different. No parents, no home, no friends, no nothing! Bowser turned away from Kamek and stalked off. Around him the surviving Koopa guards from the castle were walking around, many of them hurt by the collapse, or maybe by Yoshi's attack. Magikoopas were busy healing them, but Bowser didn't care. He was just a kid. How could he be a good ruler for them? He was a failure, he had lost, and that's the worst thing you can do.
But, he thought to himself, I won't lose forever. I'll get that Yoshi! I'll get that Mario! I'll make the Koopa Kingdom the greatest of all nations and anyone who tries to stop me will be defeated. They will be the ones losing, the ones failing. But the thoughts didn't make Bowser happy. He felt empty inside – he still wasn't complete. Would the feeling go away when he wins? He didn't know. He'd have to find out.
So Bowser pondered these thoughts as he wandered through the camp, making his way through the hustling and bustling crowd, completely and utterly alone.