A/N: Now for one last foray into the present. If you have any issues with the story just put them in the reviews and I'll be sure to get back to you on it. And remember, this story was just the forerunner of a Koopa-centric trilogy. The first story is called Super Koopas, enjoy!
Bowser slowly felt his consciousness slipping back to him. But this time things were different: there were no frantic voices filling the air, and no pain. Although, his shell did feel weird, and why was he lying on his back? He never lay on his back unless he was lounging in mud; otherwise the spikes on his shell would just tip him over. It was a very strange feeling, and Bowser tried shifting his back to rectify that, but he couldn't move.
The Koopa King's eyes flew open. He was staring at the ceiling of the Medical Wing, and to his relief, it was in focus. He twisted his neck around and looked down at his body. He appeared to be lying on a slab of solid concrete; his shell was implanted into the mass.
"What the? What's going on!" he demanded, trying to push himself up with his arms.
"Fazzer!" "King Dad!" "Papa!" "Daddy!" came a chorus of voices from Bowser's left.
He moved his head and saw all eight Koopalings jumping up from their seats next to his bed, clustering around and babbling incoherently.
"We were really worried!"
"How do ya feel?"
"Ludwig told us everything that happened!"
"Junior nearly cried!"
"Did not, Roy!"
"Kids! Kids!" shouted Bowser. "One at a time, please!"
They got the message, and after a moment of silence in which they waited for someone else to make the first move, they all started yapping at the same time again.
"Quiet!" bellowed Bowser. "This isn't working! So I'll speak, okay?"
"Yeah." "Okay." "Sure." "Whatever," they mumbled.
"Good," said Bowser. He was already feeling tired – from that tiny little bit of yelling. He looked around at the Koopalings, all staring back, waiting for him to say something. He looked over at Ludwig, his face was perfectly healed again: not a speck of potion in sight and no scars to show he was ever hurt. That should've taken a while to happen, and that made Bowser wonder. "So… how long've I been out?"
"Two days!" said Morton before anyone else got a chance to speak. "Well, around two days. More like two and a sixth. Or is that right? How many days and fractions of days is fifty-four hours? Hmm, that'll be fifty-four minus two day's forty-eight hours, leaving six hours, but that's a quarter, so you've actually been in a coma for two and a quarter days! Two bad it wasn't two and a third, 'cause then it'd be luckier, or would it? I know eight is lucky, but are thirds? I dunno, I think I did read somewhere that-"
"SHUT UP!" screamed Roy.
Bowser smiled faintly. "Thank's Roy."
"No prob, Pa," shrugged the burly Koopaling.
"So, two days in a coma huh?" said Bowser.
"Two and a quarter," corrected Morton, being met with ominous warning glares from his surrounding siblings.
"Ugh, whatever," groaned Bowser, trying to move again. "Man, why's my back in this stupid block?"
A couple Koopalings opened their mouths to speak, but a gleeful cry from behind them cut them off. "Your Consciousness!"
"Huh? Kammy?" called Bowser.
"Yes Your Perceptiveness," said the aging Magikoopa, pushing through the crowd of Koopalings and coming into view. "Oh, it's so good to see you awake! We had no idea how long it'd take you to pull out of that coma!"
"Yeah," shrugged Bowser. "What happened anyway? What's with the concrete slab?"
"Oh, well you see, Your Luckiness, when Mario blew you out of the window you cracked your shell when you hit the ground and it caused an imbalance in your energy reservoir."
"And that's… bad?" ventured Bowser.
"Very," said Iggy. "It made it so your magical energy and your physical being couldn't coexist harmoniously."
"Huh?" said Bowser, not understanding.
Ludwig sighed. "He means your energy and your body started vorking against each uzzer. Instead of your energy indefinitely keeping you alive, it just started leaking out, and if enough of it had escaped, you vould've died."
"Oh," said Bowser.
"We managed to stop the flow," said Kammy. "But it was very difficult since your energy overwhelmed most of out magic. We had to use lots of archaic measures, such as that concrete slab. You're not gonna be able to move your back for at least a week while the shell fuses back together."
"But I though the shell wasn't one big piece – just a bunch of plates that slid over each other, with a filmy-skin thing overtop, that's why it can change shape when I move," said Bowser, surprising himself that he actually remembered that sorta thing.
Kammy was a bit taken aback too. "Well, yes, you're… right… But when you cracked the shell you actually cracked a few layers of plates and they couldn't slide against each other properly and got more crunched up when your back was moved. It was a miracle your spine wasn't affected too."
"I guess I am lucky, huh," chuckled Bowser dryly.
"Very, Your Sarcasticness," grinned Kammy.
"I wasn't being sarcastic, I was agreeing with what you called me earlier, 'My Luckiness', remember?"
"Of course I remember," huffed Kammy. "I'm not senile, you know!"
"Yeah, you're just unbelievably old," snorted Bowser.
"Yes, and you should be thankful for that, otherwise I may not've been able to keep you alive! I mean, sure the Medikoopas were fine with all your minor injuries and all the blood loss and pain and all that, but they were useless at first – I practically did everything about your shell myself!" exclaimed Kammy, she looked quite frazzled. "I really should give those Magikoopas some tutoring lessons – maybe in exchange for some pointers of their own, then I could officially call myself a Medikoopa too, or at least a part-time one."
"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea," nodded Bowser. "Then next time I go up against Mario you can heal me right then and there and I can keep fighting and wup his sorry little plumber's butt!"
"Yes, well, let's save those plans for later, shall we," said Kammy as Bowser gave a monstrous yawn. "Right now you're in no fit state for anything of the sort. You should really go back to sleep."
"Wait," said Bowser, turning to his eldest son. "I've thought about what you said, and you're right."
Ludwig stared at Bowser in shock. "Vat?"
"You're right," repeated Bowser. "I haven't been fair to you, to any of you," he said, looking around at the other Koopalings. "But you have to understand, I had to do what I did, it was too painful to do anything else. You've all dealt with her in the ways which are easiest for you, and I know you all miss her in one way or another," at this his gaze flickered to Wendy for an instant before locking his eyes on Ludwig's and continuing. "I should've been there for you nonetheless, and I'm sorry."
The seven older Koopalings looked at each other uneasily. They knew what their father was talking about and had not been expecting it. He never talked about their mother to them, not since the day he gave up hope of seeing her again all those years ago. And if that hadn't been unusual enough, Bowser was apologizing for his silence. He never apologized for anything short of landing the kids in hospital after a brutal Mario attack – not that that had happened in a while.
Bowser Jr., on the other hand, just looked around at his siblings in confusion. He had fought and lost to Mario plenty of times, and a couple times Bowser did say sorry for dragging him into those situations. He had also showed remorse at plenty of other things he did to Junior, like lying about 'Mama' Peach; so the youngest Koopaling didn't find the apology out of the ordinary at all. What had him confused was why Bowser was apologizing. But as he failed to catch any of his older bothers' or sister's eyes, he realized there was only one way he could find out. "Uh, Papa, whacha talkin' about?"
"Nothing," stepped-in Kammy. "Your father's delirious, he only just woke up from a coma after all."
Ludwig shot her a scathing look but Bowser shook his head at the oldest Koopaling: now wasn't the time to tell Junior about his mother.
"Now," continued Kammy. "As I said before, His Discombobulatedness needs to get some more sleep. You can all talk later, now, out."
The Koopalings looked sullenly at Kammy as she pointed a commanding finger towards the door. They looked back at Bowser. "She's right," he sighed. "You kids could probably get some sleep too – you all look terrible."
"We've been worried about you," said Wendy.
"Yeah, really worried," nodded Lemmy.
"Well, I'm fine now. But I am pretty tired, and I doubt I could stay awake for much longer anyway," said Bowser truthfully.
"There, see, now get going!" insisted Kammy.
"All right, all right!"
"Jeeze, so pushy."
"Stupid old bat."
"We're going, we're going!"
"No need to get huffy."
"Who died an' made you queen?"
"I still don't sink zis is fair."
"Yeah." Grumbled the Koopalings as they shuffled out of the room, closing the door behind them.
Bowser turned to Kammy. "Thanks for the assist, Granny."
"You're in no condition to talk to Junior about all that. But you do know you'll have to sooner or later… And even if you don't, he's gonna find out about it one way or another," said Kammy.
"I know," sighed Bowser. "It's just- it's so hard."
"If you miss her so much, it helps to talk about it," said Kammy, sitting down.
"I though you said I was too tired," smirked Bowser.
"I didn't mean we should talk about it – not here and now anyway, Your Outrageousness!"
"It's not that crazy of an idea," said Bowser, offended. "We talked about it when she first disappeared."
"And never again," grumbled Kammy.
"You've never been in love, you don't know what it's like," sighed Bowser, closing his eyes wearily. Kammy said nothing, painful memories of her doomed marriage flicking back to the surface for a moment, but as the silence stretched on, she wrenched her thoughts back to the present. She wondered if Bowser had fallen back asleep when: "he's a lot like her, you know."
"Who?" asked Kammy.
"Ludwig. I'm seeing more and more of her in him every day. In all of them, really… Even Wendy," said Bowser airily.
"They're growing up, especially Ludwig," said Kammy.
"They're still kids," said Bowser, keeping his eyes closed. "They deserve more than me."
"That's not true, you're a great father-"
"I wish she was back," interrupted Bowser, opening his eyes and looking at over at his advisor. "I miss her so much Kammy. I've been trying to forget her but I can't. Peach is great and having her around makes things easier for me; the kids like her too, especially Junior, but it's not the same."
Kammy gazed back at Bowser; his eyes seemed brighter than usual. But it wasn't because of the flames of anger that often danced within them, but an emotion Bowser was so good at hiding away. "Your Sadness-"
"'Sadness'? Try 'Miserableness'," scoffed Bowser, closing his eyes. "I just wish I could see her again, I wish I knew she was safe."
"I'm sure she is," said Kammy softly.
"Thanks," sighed Bowser after a moment, smiling slightly. "For everything, ya old hag."
Kammy returned the smile; the Koopa Kings' words meant more to her than all the magic in the world. "You're welcome, Your Grievedness."
However her words went unheard, as Bowser had fallen back to sleep. But Kammy didn't leave as the Koopalings had: she was content to silently sit and watch over the Koopa King. Because in his dreams, Kammy knew he could finally find his long lost queen, and she wouldn't let anything steal that away from him, for it was all Bowser had left of Bowselta Koopa.