Disclamer: The Mario group is a product of Nintendo, not me.

A/N: This is set right after Paper Mario 3, but I do not picture the characters as being in their "paperish" forms. There are mild SPOILERS, but nothing really past when you first turn on the game! Their wedding happens before you even get to the New Game screen! Therefore, nothing is spoiled; I was just thinking "Wait.. they got married, so shouldn't they still be married?"

You also don't have to play the game to realize what's going on at all; I explain it pretty well.

"What do you mean it's legal and binding?"

Peach huffed, her blue eyes wide with shock. She could not help but gaze dreadfully upon the paper before her, feeling her stomach bottom-out. The wrinkled mushroom in front of her cringed, though expected the reaction. Peering over his wire-rimmed glasses, he caught her gaze with his own. "It was mailed here by officials from our kingdom; it's legal. You both even signed it, and there are numerous witness signatures. By both the Mushroom Kingdom and Darkland standards, you're married."

Princess Peach trembled, feeling light-headed and unable to breathe for a moment. She could feel her knees buckling, and found herself grasping the mushroom's shoulders, fighting to not smash into the ground. A younger mushroom to the side handed her a glass of water, both anticipating her reaction.

"There's.. no way out of it?" she inquired, after forcing a small gulp of water down her constricted throat.

Both mushrooms shook their heads slowly. "I'm sorry, but royal marriages are different than normal ones. Since you're both of royal standing, it's until death."

Peach sank to her knees at last. Until death? It seemed like a nightmare only her.. husband.. could have concocted.

"I'm so sorry Princess.. But, you know.. This means you aren't a princess anymore."

She sucked in a sharp inhale between her clenched teeth, feeling dizzy for a moment. "That's right.. I'm queen of both kingdoms, hm?" The mushroom nodded, though she knew he would. After the arrival of the marriage license, there was always to be the crowning ceremony. It was overdue, but since she was out saving all the worlds and all.. It could be overlooked.

"Yes. Because of your absence, it will have to be tomorrow. There have already been preparations made; the whole kingdom has been informed of your marriage while you were away."

Of course they have, she thought disdainfully, her stomach still doing flip-flops. Her thoughts, however, were not on her new hubby, but rather.. on being queen. Since she was unwed and the last of her bloodline in this part of the Mushroom World, she had been able to retain being a princess. However, the time had grown nigh throughout her adventures and kidnappings for her to wed. Her staff of advisors could only rule in her place for so long before the duty needed to fall on her shoulders.

"Is Toadsworth angry with me?" she softly asked, rather suddenly, the thought of her advisors bringing up the image of her over-protective mentor. The withering mushroom before her shook his head.

"He is worried about you, but not angry. The people are a bit worried as well, but they trust that you will not allow the kingdom to be brought down. In a way, this is good.. Now our kingdoms are united, and we are completely safe from any form of attack."

"How convenient," Peach muttered, though her nerves were no longer rattling. Standing, she dusted off her dress, her thoughts drifting to breaking the news to the plumbers. Luigi saw it happen; he had even tried to break it up. But, the Chaos Heart that ripped open the skies and created The Void was proof that their union was not the 'sham wedding' Peach had so lovingly called it. No. It was the real deal.

She could only imagine Bowser was jumping for joy over it now.

Jumping for joy did not even begin to cover it.

"Are you.. Are you sure?" Bowser's voice hitched in his throat, his heart thundering in his chest. The magikoopa Kamek smiled, eyes twinkling behind his thick glasses.

"Yes, sire, I am positive. The Mushroom Kingdom has already given it their official stamp, as well as sent in the request that you be present tomorrow. I have already sent back paperwork, and the counsel drew up merging files and treaties for you to review. Since this has been planned all along, not much preparation was needed.. Though, both kingdoms appear to be saddened they missed the wedding."

"Yeah, it wasn't the wedding of her dreams.. But, it was of mine," Bowser admitted, his grin stretching ear-to-ear. "The minions saw it, as did Kammy. Hell, even Luigi saw it."

"Not Mario, though, eh?"

"Don't ruin my day with thoughts of that pesky plumber," Bowser rolled his eyes, his smile fading for a moment. Mario could be a problem..

"You know the regulations. You're both royal; it's for life by both of your kingdom's standards."

Bowser sighed dreamily at that, his insides feelings like they were about to burst with happiness. He thought of going over to her castle right away, despite having just left her side after the battle at Bleck's castle, but resisted the temptation. They may be married, but he still had numerous papers to sign and review. Besides.. he wanted to look his best for when she saw him tomorrow.

As he turned to walk to his study, his mind still wandering with thoughts of a blushing Peach by his side for eternity, a commotion in the hall got his attention. Sighing, he knew what it was going to be already: his eight children.

"King Daaad, Roy stepped all over my make-up! Do something!" Wendy O Koopa whined, her painted claws set firmly on her hips as she glowered at her brothers. Roy scoffed and began to scuffle his feet against the brick set in the hall.

"It was Morton's fault. If 'e didn't talk so much, I wouldn't have ta shut that big trap 'o 'is."

Morton Jr. growled at Roy, his cheek red from a hit. "I should smash those sunglasses right into your eyes."

"Try it!" Roy announced, stepping forward. Where his foot was moments before now held a smeared red streak, which Wendy pointed at frantically, trying to obtain her father's attention again.

"King Daaad!"

"Quiet, all of you!" Bowser roared, the sentence echoing throughout the halls. The rest of the children, who had been watching the situation with amusement, flinched. Bowser looked at them in stern annoyance for a spilt-second, before his scowl gave way to be a grin. "I have great news! Princess Peach and I are married!"

"What?" the Koopalings gasped in unison, though a happy smile befell each of their faces.

"Did it happen while you were gone, King Dad? Why didn't we get to see?" Wendy asked with another pout, wishing she could have been a brides' maid. Bowser waved his hand dismissively, though his grin was still in place.

"It happened quickly, but it was beautiful. Perhaps we'll have another ceremony later on, but for now, we have to both be crowned."

"Is it possible to be king of both the Mushroom Kingdom and the Darkland?" Ludwig Von Koopa inquired. Bowser patted his oldest son on the head, nodding vigorously.

"Yeah, it'll have to be this way unless we merge our lands into one. For now, we will be both." Oh, it was just like a dream, Peach ruling at his side..

"I can't wait to see Mama Peach again," Bowser Junior admitted, all the Koopalings nodding. If there was one thing that brought them together, it was their desire to see their father and Peach happily together.

"You'll see her tomorrow. Now, off you go." Bowser made waved his large hands towards them. "I've got papers to sign."

As his children dissipated, Bowser literally skipped down the hall, singing "Peach is married to me!" under his breath.

"Princess! Wake up! Bowser is already here!"

"Hmm?" Princess Peach rolled over, pulling her large pink comforter over her blonde hair. She clenched her eyelids tightly together, willing herself to go back to sleep, back to her dreamless void.

No such luck.

"Princess! The coronation ceremony is in mere hours and Bowser has arrived," the voice reiterated. "You must wake up!"

This time the voice was not muffled by wood, Peach noted, meaning that the mushroom was inside. She groaned, shooting straight up and startling the poor messenger, her hair sticking out every which way. "Okay, all right, I'm awake, Toadsworth."

Toadsworth smiled, his wrinkles pulling at the sides of his mouth. "Glad to see you are excited about your big day."

Peach rolled her eyes, yet smiled. "Yes, both of us being crowned is quite thrilling."

"I am sure it will be," Toadsworth replied in earnest. "You can come and join Bowser for breakfast while we go over the details. Then, a maid will help you adorn your dress and get ready."

"Oh, all right. Can I get dressed first?" she asked, pointedly blowing a stray strand of golden hair from her face. Her oldest mentor only smiled.

"Of course, Princess. Please be prompt, though; Bowser seems eager to see his.. wife."

"Of course," Peach formally replied, waiting for Toadsworth to exit before going to take a shower. As the hot stream of water hit her skin and made her now-darkened hair cling to her cheeks, she closed her eyes. It was all happening so fast! First, the "sham wedding" concocted by Count Bleck had her married to Bowser. In that world, upon that place, a princess marrying a 'beast' was enough to produce a dark heart, the Chaos Heart, which could be used to destroy all the worlds. In a way, that was so unfair, but so like the story of Blumeire and Timpani..

Peach sighed. After they both unleashed the end of the worlds with their marriage, they find that it was no sham at all. And, now, she is about to be queen—queen!—or both her kingdom and the Darkland. Her days of mastering random sports with her friends are over when her ruling begins.

Her hair now washed, Peach turned off the stream of water and stepped out to dry off. It wasn't true, was it? No, Bowser is king of the Darkland already, and it never stopped him from competing right beside her friends. It didn't stop him from hatching diabolical schemes, either, although most involved simply kidnapping her and waiting for the Mario brothers to arrive. Sometimes, she thought he barely tried anymore, instead settling to converse with her while his minions tried to slow Mario and Luigi.

As she pulled her standard pink dress over her head, already with an attached brooch, she remembered the plumbers' reaction to her marriage being real. Mario was upset that he could not stop it, though did not say much on the matter other than that. He seemed more concerned that he would not be able to travel on grand adventures to rescue her, confirming her suspicions that the love everyone saw in his eyes was not for her, but for adventure. Luigi, on the other hand, witnessed the wedding and told her she didn't have to do it. She could still bolt, even if it was treason. Her happiness should matter, after all.

Smoothing out the wrinkles on her dress, she gazed at herself in the steamed-up mirror. Her gown was as beautiful as ever, but her hair was an utter mess, dripping on the plush bath mats below her. Her happiness? It was with her kingdom and her people. Besides, Bowser would never hurt her. She was not sure that his feelings ran as deep as love, but she knew he really cared about her and would do his best to make sure she was happy.

After the princess dried her hair the best she could while hurrying, she pulled on her gloves and applied just a little make-up. The crown was the last thing she adorned: the crown of a princess. In hours, she would wear the crown of a queen, while Bowser would just re-adorn the Darkland crown.

Without shoes, though it was not as if anyone could tell, Peach set off for the dining hall, smiling at any servant or maid she saw on her way. The velvet rug rolled out beneath her feet felt soft, much like the similar rug stretching across Bowser's castle's floors always did.

Before long, she entered the dining hall to find Toadsworth, Bowser, the elderly mushroom from the previous day, and Kamek seated at a long table. Papers were strewn out before the wrinkled mushroom and Kamek, who appeared to be in a passionate discussion about which treaties and merging files should be edited and which to use. Bowser and Toadsworth stared at Peach, both suddenly smiling, though the prior's was much larger. Bowser even stood, knocking his chair over accidently in the process.

"There's my blushing bride," he announced, chuckling as her face reddened. "C'mon and sit by your hubby." Peach slanted a glance at Toadsworth, finding amusement in his eyes. He inclined his head slightly and Peach looked back to Bowser, nodding. Her husband's face lit up, and he pulled out her chair for her, before retrieving his own. She sat down, smoothing out her dress beneath her, and then folding her hands neatly in her lap. Bowser took his own seat as well, though did not share her manners; his elbows were stretched on the table, and he was leaning closer to her. "Good morning, beautiful."

"Good morning, Bowser," she replied rather formally, looking distractedly away from him, towards the waiters. On cue, the waiters watching the spectacle from the crack in the large kitchen doors emerged, each holding a serving platter. The meals were then dispensed. Peach got her standard chopped-up Peachy Peaches, orange juice, and a small Peach tart, while the two elder Mushrooms received fried eggs and fresh juice. Kamek declined on eating, though was brought a Tasty Tonic, and Bowser was happy to receive a Shroom Steak, Koopa Bun, and a slice of Heartful Cake.

After thanking the waiters, Peach raised her fork and delicately slid it into a slice of a Peachy Peach, before slanting a glance in Bowser's direction. He was practically salivating over what appeared to be the biggest steak in the kingdom, which was already clasped in both of his hands, his mouth open and ready. Upon noticing her stare, he loudly cleared his throat and lowered the steak back onto his plate, licking the fingers of one hand, while the other sought out the utensils needed to cut the meat. "That's not really a breakfast food," the princess stated.

Bowser only grinned, though seemed a bit flushed at his previous lack of table manners. "It's breakfast. I'm going to eat it. That makes it a breakfast food."

"Oh, you know what I meant." Peach rolled her eyes, placing the bit of fruit into her mouth. Bowser copied her, though his steak slice was much larger, and his elbows remained planted on the edge of the table.

"Well, I usually settle on eggs and bacon, but I always wanted to try a 'shroom' steak prepared by this castle. Importing food in from this kingdom is never as good as eating it freshly-prepared."

"I suppose you're right," Peach shrugged slightly, used to casual conversation with Bowser by now. She could still remember the old days, back when he first started kidnapping her out of greed and a lust for power. Her arrangements were always set; she'd be forced into a large room by his lackeys, and she would not hear from him until Mario and Luigi showed up. As time progressed, however, the Koopa King started talking to her, making sure everything was all right. He then would talk to her regularly, sometimes even allowing her to roam about the castle. She was always treated more as a guest than a prisoner..

Toadsworth cleared his throat suddenly, drawing both their attentions to the wrinkled Mushroom seated before them. "Princess, we must go over the coronation ceremony."

Peach nodded, while Bowser grinned wider, feeling as if he was in a wonderful dream. "Both of you have had attire prepared. Bowser, you'll put on your crown during the ceremony, though I've noticed you rarely wear it anymore.."

"I don't need to; everyone knows who I am," Bowser gruffly replied. In truth, the weight annoyed him, especially when he played sports. He could not imagine how Peach was able to retain her crown, even when she was engaged in some high-speed go-kart racing or frantically running and/or sliding during tennis or soccer.

Besides, Bowser did not need a crown to make his people listen; he had brute strength, willpower, and confidence.

"Yes, indeed.." Toadsworth mumbled, nudging his large, circular glasses further onto his face. "Kamek has already handed it over to the officials here, and it awaits you at the ceremony."

"Are we going to rehearse the ceremony?" Peach inquired after swallowing another bite of her fruit. She was trying to hurry as Bowser was almost done with his meal..

"No, I do not believe it is necessary," Toadsworth replied. "Some words are said, you walk forth, Princess; more words are said, Bowser walks forth. Both are crowned, everyone claps, the end."

"All right.." Peach bit her bottom lip slightly, a nervous gesture. The talk of the ceremony made her stomach do flip-flops.

"We still have a couple of hours, so I'm going to go check on the preparations. I'll send a maid to your room to help you with your dress." Toadsworth rose from his chair, pushing it under the table afterward. "Bowser, I will send for another servant to escort you to the royal guest room, where you may also change."

"Yeah, okay," said Koopa replied before placing another bite of Heartful Cake into his mouth.

Once her mentor was gone, Peach softly sighed, wringing her gloved hands together. Only a couple of hours until she was queen of her kingdom; only a day or so until she was queen of Bowser's kingdom! Two coronations in such a short time? It was too much!

"..and it won't be bad."

"Hm?" Peach blinked, the quizzical sound automatically producing in her throat. His deep rumble of words was completely lost in her thoughts. Bowser rested his clawed hand on her small shoulder, secretly celebrating when she did not pull away or jump at the contact.

"Being crowned. It's nothing to get that upset about. I promise it won't be bad."

Instead of replying, she only turned her bright blue eyes to her hands, tightly clasping her fingers together. Was it that obvious she was troubled? That wasn't good; her people could not see her troubled. She had to be a confident leader, not the weak little girl that always needed saving. No, she had proven herself more than once when it came to adventuring. This princess was no weakling, so she could not begin to act like one now.

"It's not so bad in the Darkland, either. Since I'm already king, all I have to do is crown you in front of the people. I won't let you be nervous then," he stated, his arm going around the back of her chair. He was close enough that she could feel his breath warm on her neck, which made her tremble from a whole other nervousness: being his wife.

"Thanks, Bowser. Really. But, I need to go change.." she trailed off, looking towards the door, then standing. Bowser blinked, his smile fading for a moment, before looking at a single bite of his cake left.

"Wait! Don't you want some of this first?" Peach turned in her retreat to see Bowser holding out a forkful of cake. "It was so good that I wanted you to have the last bite."

"That's.. really thoughtful," Peach admitted, her eyes softening. The Koopa King held out the fork, one scaled hand cupped beneath the chocolate cake in case it decided to crumble off his utensil. Peach reached out to take the fork from him, but he recoiled, shaking his head.

"Open up," he cheerfully commanded when she gave him a confused look. Her pale cheeks began to tint red at his blunt advance.

"I can feed myself, thank you," she muttered, her tone slightly huffy.

"Aw, c'mon, Peach. We're married, for crying out loud.. Which reminds me, I have something to give you later. Don't let me forget."

"I seem to recall being forced into saying 'I do.'" Peach commented, though immediately regretted how Bowser's face fell at her words.

"I'm sorry you're unhappy with it," Bowser sincerely said, lowering the bite of cake. After a moment of mental debate, Peach caught his wrist before the cake touched his plate, her fingers firmly wound around the part of his skin just above his standard spiked wristband. Her eyes reflected her apology. Wordlessly, she leaned forward and opened her mouth. His face lit up, and he happily fed her the bite of cake. Finding his smile contagious, she smiled brightly as well, her nervousness gone for the moment.

"Thank you," she murmured, slowly letting her fingers drop from his arm, to fall back by her side. With a twirl of pink fabric, she was out the door, leaving Bowser alone with Kamek and an elderly mushroom, both of whom where oblivious to the world outside treaties.

The large king leaned back, not caring that the wooden chair he was seated in creaked in protest, and smirked.

"Suck in for a moment, your Highness. I have to tie the corset tighter," the maid Toadsworth sent told Peach. The woman sighed, then quickly inhaled, trying her hardest to stand still. Maybe I shouldn't have had that cake, after all.. she thought ridiculously. The maid quickly finished tying the corset that was sewn into the flowing, white coronation dress, and stepped back to admire her work. Peach gazed at herself in the mirror, entranced.

The attire was simple, yet elegant. The dress was an incredibly pure white, with puffy sleeves and a square collar just low enough to clearly show her collarbones. The midsection took on a bluish-gray tint and had plenty of ties in the back; it was clearly there to make the wearer appear thinner than in actuality. It billowed out in a similar fashion to her usual dress; however, the silken fabric clung to her shape better, and a large slit in one side comes to about mid-thigh, showing off her stocking legs and polished high heels.

"You look beautiful, your Highness," the maid breathed excitedly. Peach only half-heartedly nodded, blood pounding in her ears. Her breathing was swallow and exaggerated thanks to her inability to gather air in her lungs thanks to the tight corset. She only hoped she would not pass out during the ceremony. "I'm done here, so I'll take my leave. Toadsworth informed me that he shall escort you to the ceremony from here." With a bow, the servant exited the room, leaving Peach in front of the mirror.

Why do I feel as if I'm getting married? Peach wondered as she pushed ivory earrings into the holes in her earlobes. Must be the white dress.

Gathering her blonde hair into her gloved hands, she piled it up and pushed it to the back of her scalp, considering pinning it up for a moment. The memory of a veil being over her ponytailed hair reminded her of her actual wedding.

She frowned and released her hair. She had always wanted to get married with her hair down anyway. What did Count Bleck know?

Peach refreshed her make-up, still staring at the dress in her reflection. It was not the "hideous" dress she had referred to her wedding gown as, even if the garment had matched her pink dress in another color.

Once her hair was brushed until every piece fell into place as perfectly as she could attain, Peach sat on the edge of her bed, feeling off-balance without her princess crown. Mere minutes later, Toadsworth arrived at her door, smiling warmly and extending his arm.

"Well, Princess.. It's now or never."

Bowser grunted as he followed a servant to the ceremony, uncomfortable in the pure white suit. During the wedding, he was fine with wearing a white coat and dress shirt. But for this ceremony, they had gone as far as to make him wear pants! Of course, they had not taken his tail into account, so the appendage was currently pulled upwards and smashed against the rim of his shell. The shell hid the bulge from the public's view, but it was still very uncomfortable, to say the least.

He was just glad the shoes didn't fit at all. It would have been impossible to walk!

"You look wonderful, sire," Kamek commented, falling into step beside the Koopa King. He stuck out his chest confidently, though faltered slightly when the seams begin to rip.

"Oh, I know. It takes a true Koopa to make this get-up look so awesome."

"Of course," Kamek agreed, smiling.

"Are all the papers in order?" Bowser asked without looking at his advisor.

"Do you really have to ask?"

"No. If I didn't think they were, I'd have you killed," Bowser replied, though his tone was light.

"Well, you are correct. Everything is in order, except for the castle-business. It is still unclear on which castle shall be ruled in, while the other remains vacant."

"Obviously, mine will be ruled in. We're providing the Mushroom Kingdom with protection; no one will attack it. Besides, I've kidnapped her enough that she could easily rule from the Darkland. And, you have to remember the Koopalings.."

"I suppose so. For now, you could take her back to your castle for the Darkland coronation, but might I suggest speaking with her about the castle-situation?"

"Yeah, yeah. It'll be taken care of," Bowser waved a dismissive hand in his direction, and Kamek noticed a spike glinting from beneath his sleeve. It caused the old magikoopa to smile and shake his head lightly; at least some Koopas never changed.

"We're outside the main hall, your Majesty," the mushroom leading Bowser announced, reminding the pair of his presence. The formality surprised Bowser at first; he was used to brushing the mushroom species from his shell during his 'visits' to the castle. Usually, he was called a monster for taking away their fair princess. But now that he was her husband, whether by her choice or not, he was immediately accepted as her partner.

As their king.

"Thanks, squirt," he mumbled, patting the servant's blue-spotted mushroom cap. The male stared at Bowser in shock for a moment, before smiling lightly.

Kamek stood with his ear poised against the wooden door leading to the main hall, leaning with both hands atop his staff. "By the sounds of it, sire, the whole kingdom is in there."

"Good. I'm glad they'll get to witness the single greatest moment in history," Bowser smugly commented, though pictures of the Mario brothers busting in and trying to steal his crown ran rampant through his mind.

"Well, it appears everything is all set," Toadsworth voice came from behind the Koopa King, causing him to turn his head to mumble a 'yeah.' Instead of the wrinkled mushroom, however, his chocolate eyes met with a sight that literally took his breath away. Peach looked every bit the part of royalty, even without her usual jeweled crown. Her blue eyes held his gaze for a while, but were forced down by the intensity of his stare, a blush tinting her cheeks once more. It wasn't everyday someone blatantly stared at her like that.

Peach realized Bowser was also wearing something similar to his wedding garb. White clothing made him seem a little more innocent than his spiked accessories usually did. Though, it looked like they were still protruding from his thick sleeves.. His hair was still a bit unruly, wild and red like the fire he breathed.

"You're gorgeous," Bowser finally commented, drawing Peach's wide eyes immediately back to his face. He was smiling in a way that told her just what was on his mind: You're beautiful, and you're all mine. It was a sweet smile, not the lustful one she occasionally received during her journeys. Some of the men she had spoken made her skin crawl, especially with their declaration of "HOT BABE!"

"Thank you," she finally murmured, twisting her fingers at her waist. She was feeling light-headed, but it was more from the corset than nervousness.

"It's starting," Toadsworth mumbled, ushering Kamek to take a seat. While he was inside the hall, Bowser and Peach were left alone. He was still staring.

"Why have you been breathing so hard this whole time? It looks like you can't catch your breath.. Are you really that nervous?" Bowser inquired, reaching out as if to comfort her. Peach shook her head, bending over until she realized it further restricted her breathing. The corset had not been as bad before, as long as she took shallow breaths and concentrated. But now that she was fidgeting and a combination of flustered and nervous, it was a lot harder to draw in air.

"It's just hard to breathe.. This thing is tied very tightly," she replied, gesturing behind her to the strings. Bowser leaned around her to get a better look at the ties, then took the string in his claws. Peach stiffened and grabbed onto his arm, shaking her head. "Don't undo it. We're about to go through the ceremony!"

"Don't worry; I can tie a bow, Princess," Bowser rumbled, both aware that it would be the last time Peach was referred to as Princess. It was the closing of a major chapter in both their lives, but the beginning of a whole other story.

When Peach did not reply or release his arm, Bowser went through with his plan, untying the knot on the bow. "Breathe in big," he commanded, his tone softer than usual. Peach closed her eyes, inhaling in as much air as her lungs could possibly contain. The criss-crossing network of ribbon in the back loosened as her ribs strained against the heavy corset's fabric. "Can you breathe normally now?"

"Y-yes," she muttered, her fingers still loosely clinging to his arm. His forearm was large and warm, even through the fabric, which brought the distraught princess some comfort, even if it was from Bowser.

"It's time to walk now, Queen," Toadsworth poked his head through the door, blinking as he saw Bowser holding the ends of the untied ribbon. His cheeks quickly stained crimson, and he shook his head at the two. "Now is not the time for that. Just hurry and walk, your Highness," he hurriedly told Peach as she tried to open her mouth to explain the situation. Bowser chuckled as Toadsworth retreated back through the door, already tying a double knot into the ribbon.

"That's not funny," Peach stated in a chiding manner, her fingers recoiling from his arm to ball at her hip.

"Sure it is. Now, you heard the fungus; walk! And remember," he wound his arm around her shoulders, drawing her against his side, "you can breathe now, so don't be nervous. You'll be a wonderful queen.. of both our kingdoms."

Peach drew away from his arm, though she could not help but smile, the butterflies in her stomach resting for the moment. "Thanks, Bowser.." she softly said, turning and opening the wooden doors, while Bowser stepped to the side.

All eyes were immediately on Peach. The majority were mushrooms, while she did spot a few yoshis, moles, Kamek, Daisy, and the Mario brothers. The latter did not appear as happy as her other subjects, but she quickly averted her gaze, focusing instead on the small stage directly in front of her. There stood the head of the council and the second-in-command, both mushrooms holding a crown. Though she had long since done away with thrones, two plush chairs sat side-by-side behind the council leaders; tradition demanded that the two would sit at the end of the ceremony.

As soon as she reached the stairs, the formal words being spoken during her walk lost completely to her (though she did catch "Peach," "Queen," and "era"), Bowser began his march down the aisle. His steps were not as dainty as hers, though did not shake the floor as she knew they could. When she finally made it to the top of the stage, being careful on the steps to not trip, Bowser was already going up the first step of the platform. He soon reached the top, he casted a smug smirk over his shoulder to Mario and Luigi, both of whom narrowed their eyes in response. Chuckling under his breath at their displeasure, he turned with Peach to face the council and their crowns.

"With this crown, the symbol of our kingdom and our loyalty, you are no longer a princess, but our queen. Each jewel represents a generation, and we are positive the blood of your ancestors will guide you in your decisions," the council head recited, the passage quoted from a book of traditions in the royal library. He held the crown above his head with his stubby arms, and Peach knelt to allow him access, tilting her head so he could properly set the crown. When the weight was present, she looked back up at him, spotting happy tears in his eyes. "You'll do fine, my queen," the mushroom whispered, and Peach smiled, rising from her kneeling position. A yoshi cheered happily, until other yoshis shushed him, assuring him in their native tongue that they were supposed to wait until both parties were crowned. The young yoshi muttered an apology to the crowd, his embarrassment drawing chuckles. A glare from Toadsworth silenced them.

"With this crown, you shall be our king. This jewel," the second-in-command mushroom turned the crown to display a red jewel in the shape of a shroom, "represents the first generation of Koopa-rule, as well as our loyalty to you." Bowser knelt in a similar fashion and was crowned as well, the weight taming his fiery hair somewhat.

"Both crowns presented, the ceremony is complete!" the head of the council announced, turning his back to the crowd to gesture for Peach and Bowser to step towards the chairs. Both got the hint and backed up until their calves touched the frames. "May I now present to you, your king and queen, King Bowser Koopa and Queen Peach Toadstool! .. Or, it is Koopa?" he finished in a whisper, his musing swallowed by the crowd.

The two sat down on cue, the young yoshi being the first to erupt into cheers. The rest followed suit, cheering loudly for their rulers. Bowser leaned over to whisper in Peach's ear, "Why does this feel more like a wedding?" Instead of answering, she only shook her head, smiling out at her people. She had not been nervous at all through the ceremony!

"Say something!" Daisy hollered over the cheers, causing the audience to roar "Speech! Speech!"

Smiling, Peach stood up, drawing more cheers, then silence. "You all stuck by me as a princess through these years.. Now, I hope you know that I won't let you down as queen."

Before she could say another word, Bowser was by her side, an arm wound around her shoulders once again. "You don't have to worry about anything since I'll be at her side! This Koopa could crush any enemy, so you never have to worry about being invaded again with my army!"

More cheers came, causing Peach to look up at Bowser, surprised. Of course, he had to be good at boosting morale after the Mario brothers defeated so much of his army..

After a while of smiling and waving, the crowd began to disperse, though Daisy, Mario, and Luigi hung back.

Bowser laughed whole-heartedly in his happiness, his arm still possessively gripping Peach's shoulder. When things began to quiet down, he snapped the fingers of his free hand. "Oh yeah! I had something to give you, but you never reminded me." Removing his arm from her shoulder, he reached into the convenient pocket of his white slacks, his claws closing around a box. Before he could draw it out, however, Daisy had thrown herself into the arms of her cousin and was already chatting her ear off about how awesome it was that she was queen!

A pair of men—plumbers, to be exact—came from behind the yellow-clad brunette, both glaring daggers at the Koopa King.

"Bowser," one of them addressed. He was short and plump, seemingly vertically-challenged in comparison to his younger brother, who was lean and tall.

Bowser let go of the box, taking his large clawed hand from his pants. When had it ever been simple when it came to dealing with Peach?


A/N: That was a long chapter; hopefully, all of the chapters will be this long. Next time, Peach goes to the Darkland to meet her step-children! What? You mean she forgot he had kids in all the nervousness over being queen? Ah, well that sucks for her.

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