Chapter 25: Family
It was late, the koopalings had mostly gone to bed, with the oldest few still awake, composing or watching TV. "Today was fun," Peach hoped that Mario continued to cover for her at the Mushroom Kingdom. If he had not returned, with Toadsworth's request to rescue her, then Peach assumed no one knew where she was. But she wouldn't hide it forever; she wouldn't hide it at all.
"Let's go on a date, just the two of us," Bowser placed his arm gently around Peach's shoulders and was pleasantly surprised when she came closer to him, instead of trying to get away. Deep down he wondered if she only cared about the koopalings, and not him, but it seemed that she did return his feelings after all.
"Alright, and you can come home with me to meet my father tomorrow," Peach wondered what Bowser's reaction would be.
"Your father? The Mushroom King?" Bowser had never seen the Mushroom King. He wasn't even sure the man existed, though logically Peach had to have parents at some point. The Mushroom King had never been the kind to take the spotlight. He was known for being a gentle, wise and fair ruler but it had been the queen who took the spotlight in the past. When Peach's mother died everyone found out about it, yet even if everyone knew a king must have existed for there to be a princess, no many outside of the Mushroom kingdom knew who he was, where he was, or if he was even still alive.
As soon as Peach was old enough to understand her duties, even if she was still a teenager at the time, the princess took on the public role of the royal family. "Yes, I don't think you've met him before. I've been sneaking around a lot in the past and I don't want to do that. I want to the koopalings to come visit the Mushroom Kingdom freely, you too; and I don't want to lie about where I'm going when I come to visit."
It was good news to hear Peach would be willingly coming back, after such a long time Bowser's wish was being granted. "Sure, I get it. I guess that's how it goes, we're already married and I haven't met your dad yet, I'm pretty sure that was supposed to come before the wedding but who cared about the order as long as it's all done, right?"
"Speaking of that wedding," it was never real to Peach, "think nothing of it."
"But it was our wedding!" But it was real enough to Bowser.
"It wasn't a real wedding; I wasn't willing to marry you back then so it doesn't count," Peach explained.
"Back then?" Bowser asked. "Does that mean you're willing to marry me now?"
"I'm willing to go out with you," Peach admitted, a faint pink blush reaching her cheeks. "Let's not talk about weddings yet, I'm not ready." Peach thought about all the things that happened because of their past wedding, but she wasn't really worried about it. At that time it was the union of a princess and a monster, but this time there was no monster, because Peach did not perceive Bowser as such anymore and that made all the difference.
"It's alright Peachy; I'm not in any rush. I'm happy just being with you." Bowser gently caressed Peach's golden hair.
They stood together in the balcony of the room that was prepared for Peach, the stars were shining and the full moon glowed. Any doubts that Peach might have had were erased, she felt that she was in the right place.
xoxox xox xoxox
The next morning Peach was up early and ready to go home and bring Bowser and the koopalings for a visit. She thought it would be good if they all came along. The princess was surprised to see Bowser at the table, sleeping. "Bowser?" There was no reply. "Bowser!" She called a little louder this time and it worked.
"Peach... Must still be dreaming..." Bowser still sounded sleepy.
Peach giggled, "you're not dreaming, I'm really here. But why are you sleeping at the table?"
"I wanted to make sure I didn't miss having breakfast with you and I thought you might get up early today," Bowser had dreamed about Peach that night, like he always did, but this time the dreams were much happier.
Peach tilted her head, a smile still on her face. "You know me that well?"
"Very well, I pay attention to all the details, trust me," Bowser had a vast amount of Peach related knowledge and was proud of it.
"Well I'm glad you're awake. We should go to the Mushroom Kingdom as soon as possible before anyone starts to worry that I haven't gone back. I'm not sure what Mario might have said, but I don't think it will stop Toadsworth from worrying much longer." Then again, Toadsworth was probably already worried and Peach felt guilty for it. She had to make him see that he was safe. She had also called Daisy the previous night before going to bed and told her about what happened. No doubt the Sarasaland Princess would find a way to leave her royal duties and return to the Mushroom Kingdom to witness Bowser's first official visit as Peach's boyfriend, as Daisy had called it. "We should wake the koopalings too."
"A family visit? No romantic get away this time?" Bowser asked, he was a little disappointed but not as Peach would have guessed. He was still very happy to spend time with Peach and would wait for her to be ready for a more romantic date forever if needed.
"I said I would go on a date with you," Peach teased. "But I didn't say when."
"Now that's not fair," Bowser played along. "Now I'll have to get back at you."
"And what do you plan to do?" Peach playfully asked.
Bowser smiled proudly, "I'll be amazing, awesome and charming and then you'll really want to go on a date with me." Peach giggled, she hasn't realized before how easily Bowser could make her laugh. "I love your smile and I love you."
It was at that very moment that Peach noticed they had an audience. Ludwig, Wendy, Roy, Lemmy and Iggy were peeking from behind the door which was only open an inch. They quickly closed it when they were spotted but it was too late. "Why don't you come in?" Peach asked.
Roy, Lemmy and Iggy scrambled to their rooms. Wendy didn't want to miss anything so she stayed and Ludwig being the most mature, thought running and hiding when they had obviously been caught was childish. The siblings opened door and entered the dinning hall. "Good morning," Ludwig spoke very naturally as if nothing had happened at all.
Wendy shook her head at her brother then observed her father and his beloved. "Don't stop because of us, you can keep having your romantic moment now."
"We were only talking," Peach was telling the truth.
But Wendy had a different interpretation, "and flirting."
Peach denied it, "just talking..." and she couldn't help it but to feel as if Wendy was right. "I should go find your siblings and tell them it's okay. Let's all have breakfast together."
After Peach left and Ludwig and Wendy too their seats, the two koopalings kept glancing at their father waiting for him to scold them. "Don't do that again," it was simply and quick and Bowser didn't even sound angry. The koopalings could only blink in surprise and confusion. "I'm in a good mood today," Bowser explained, and nothing would ruin it.
xoxox xox xoxox
"Lemmy," Peach knocked on the door but no one answered. "Can I come in?" Again there was no reply. She opened the door to find Lemmy pretending to be asleep on his bed. "It's time to get up, Lemmy."
Lemmy pretended to have just woken up and yawned. "Good morning mama Peach."
"Good morning, sorry to wake you up so early," Peach decided to play along, "but I would really like it if we all had breakfast together today."
"Sure! I'll be down stairs in no time!" Lemmy was relieved to find he wasn't in trouble for spying, or at least it sounded like he wasn't in trouble, and maybe he really wasn't. All the koopalings knew their father's mood improved depending on how well things were going with Peach, and it looked like they were going quite well.
The process was repeated with Iggy, and Roy, who was even making loud snoring noises to pretend he was sleeping. Then Peach went to wake up Morton, who gave her a speech of a good morning, Iggy, and finally Junior.
"Mama Peach!" Junior held out his little arms for a hug which Peach happily gave him. "I'm happy that you're here. It's the first time you wake me up and I don't mind getting up."
"I'm glad you're so energetic today," Peach ruffled Junior's hair. She remembered when her mother would wake her up in the mornings when she was a little girl.
At breakfast, Peach announced her plans to invite the koopa family to the Mushroom Kingdom, and also included Kamek and Kami in the visit. They were all happy to attend and that gave Peach reassurance that she was doing the right thing.
xoxox xox xoxox
When Peach returned home with the Koopa family, everyone was looking at them curiously, not frightened. She later learned that Mario could not make up an excuse for Peach and he and Pauline confessed the truth. They were certain that Peach would eventually reveal and anyway, they just didn't know when.
The Mushroom King was not angry or disappointed. He overcame his case of stage fright to deliver an inspiring speech about forming peace between the Mushroom Kingdom and the Koopa Kingdom. He wasn't too specific about the cause for the speech, but asked his people to welcome the people of the Koopa Kingdom as their friends, and he even managed to inspire Toadsworth.
The Mushroom King took the Koopalings very naturally. Toadsworth was a feeling little shy at first, but soon joined the king. Daisy and Luigi were there as well as Mario and Pauline, whom Peach saw holding hands. They were all together, and they were all getting along and time flew by.
Bowser stood next to Peach the entire time, he was a little quieter than usual. "Are you nervous?" Peach asked, trying not to laugh.
She wasn't making fun of him; it's just that she couldn't picture Bowser being nervous. "Of course not!"
"Good, then let's go join dad from tea time," Toadsworth never missed tea time, and the Mushroom King often joined him until he settled into the habit as well.
When they were seated, the Mushroom King asked Bowser one question, "Tell me Bowser, do you truly care about my daughter?"
"Yes!" Bowser spoke a little louder than he intended. "I love her, and would do anything for her."
The Mushroom King nodded, his expression happy. "Good, good, that's all I need to know. I trust Peach's judgment, by good to my little girl."
That was it, suddenly Bowser felt as if he had gained the approval of Peach's father, an accomplishment he felt very proud of. Peach could feel Bowser returning to being himself after that, more open and proud.
The day rolled very quickly until each guest left one by one, even the annoying Mint T. who interviewed everyone there, and in Bowser and Peach's case she interviewed them five times during the course of the day, in wish Bowser continuously declared his undying love for Peach.
When night fell and Kamek and Kami went ahead to take the koopalings home, Peach took some extra time to say goodbye to Bowser. They would see each other again soon, but he already missed her.
"I'll come see you again tomorrow," Bowser was looking forward to it; he was looking forward to his new life as a part of Peach's life. "I'll bring the kids, they like playing with Grandpa Mush."
The name made Peach giggle. Her father was know to most as the Mushroom King, and many felt odd calling him anything other than that, even if he did of course have a name, which he had revealed when they met that morning; though he admitted that everyone called him Mushroom. The koopalings had given him the name of Grandpa Mush; it was fitting since his daughter was Mama Peach. "I'm sure dad will be happy to play with them again."
A small moment of silence formed at the gates of the Mushroom castle, but it was not an awkward one at all. It was a peaceful moment for them to quietly enjoy each other's precense. "I love you...you don't need to answer right away but let me know when you fall in love, okay?"
"I will, I already care for you and you are being amazing, awesome and charming after all." Love was not something to be taken lightly, it formed and grew with time, and Peach already felt it starting to grow in her heart. It wouldn't be too long before she was ready to say those words.
"That's right, just like I said." They hugged, in a warm loving embrace.
Peach knew Bowser wanted a kiss, but didn't ask, instead enjoying being able to hug Peach, and have her hug him back. "Let's take things slowly, okay?"
Bowser nodded, "however slow you wish Peachy; I'm here to make you happy so you can ask for anything."
"I know," he had assured her of that many times, and she had come to believe him. Peach placed her hands on the sides of Bowser's face, gently bringing him closer. She game him a quick kiss. It didn't last long, but it would be the first of many in time.
xoxox xox xoxox
The spirit of Mercy was watching the events unfold from the Spirit World, the images reflected in the waters of a crystalline pond. "They say that all is fair in love and war... Well, I don't know about that, but it looks like there's no use in fighting a war against the heart; because no matter how many complications take place, true love always wins."
Complications has finally ended. It's my longest Bowser x Peach story and one of my longest stories over all. It's one of the few that can be called a novel, being over fifty thousand words long. I hope you enjoyed reading this story, it was fun to write. I have another Bowser x Peach story in mind, I haven't started writing it yet or decided on the title but I'll definitely write it one day. Disclaimer, I don't own the Mario games or characters.