A/N: Yes, I know.. It's not another chapter of Married to the Koopa King, BUT I promise there will be a new chapter by the end of today, September 13, 2007. I promise! And, I'm not slacking off.. This one-shot was written before Married to the Koopa King. I just thought you all could enjoy some more Bowser/Peach moments, even if it's not very "fluffy."

Disclaimer: Nintendo owns everything. Even me.

"Why are you crying?"

Princess Peach looked up from the pink, satin pillow she was sobbing into quietly, fully surprised that she did not hear him come in. How could she not? His "visits" usually involved a wall being broken down, or her guards noisily assembling outside her door. Everything also usually rattled, unless it was bolted down, his footsteps anything but light. There was also his boisterous, maniacal laugh, often accompanied by a mighty roar. All-in-all, she was not used to the soft tone of his voice, save the occasional conversations they would have back at his castle during her "stays."

"Well?" he inquired, his eyes holding a concern she rarely glimpsed. He seemed impatient, his tail wagging behind him. Was that a nervous habit? She almost giggled at the sight, thinking absurdly about how he appeared dog-like at that moment in time. If I pet his head and call him a good boy, will he lick my cheek?

Her only response was to bury her head in her pillow when she saw he had no intentions of leaving until he found out. This defeated the entire purpose of her minor crying fit, and she had to press her open mouth against the fluffy object to keep from groaning. It made it dampened with more than just her tears.

"Peach. Peach.. C'mon, look at me," he demanded, though tried to keep his voice hushed. In the moment of silence that lapsed while he waited for her to lift her head, she was able to hear the whirl of a propeller. Her bedroom window appeared to be open, someone still manning the Klown Kopter by the balcony.

How incredibly Shakespearian of him.

The bed suddenly creaked as Bowser sat down beside her, the springs groaning under their combined weight. She glanced over with her face still buried, catching a glimpse of the white rim of his spiked shell from behind her bangs. It looked heavy; she could imagine a good deal of the weight was from his bulky shell alone.

"Peach," he whispered her name this time under his breath, though she heard him in the darkness. "What happened while I wasn't around? Did Mario hurt you?" At that thought, she heard what sounded like a primal growl emerge from the back of his throat. He seemed restrained as he continued, as if he could rather be roaring the sentence from the castle roof instead. "I swear, Peach, if that plumber hurt you at all, I'll take the handle of that plunger and shove it so far up his—"

"No," she gasped, her voice breaking upon the single syllable. Bowser flinched visibly, though slowly brought his clawed hand down to run through her tangled blonde hair. It was an attempt for comfort, but it only cued the waterworks, bringing fresh tears to mare her now-rosy cheeks. He couldn't see it with her face hidden from view, but he could feel her shoulders trembling beneath his scaly hand.

"I'm sorry, Peachy," he apologized with as much sincerity as he could muster—he really did want to harm the plumber, of course—and used a pet-name in an attempt to cheer her up. Her shoulders shook harder. "Please, I won't hurt him too badly," he lied. "Just tell me what he did."

"Ma-Mario didn't do anything. It's n-not h.. im.." she managed, though wished he would hurry and give up. It was so childish now; why should she still be crying? Everything was better now, right? "I started crying.. and I don't know why I still am.." she admitted, wiping her face roughly with her forearm and sniffling back a bit of flem. Slowly, Peach turned her face towards him, allowing him to see her rosy, wet cheeks, puffy eyes, and runny nose. Despite this, Bowser still thought she looked beautiful.

"Shh, Peachy, it's okay now," he crooned as she suddenly let a watery sob escape her lips. Unable to resist any longer, he pulled her up until she was sitting and wrapped his brawny arms around her, being careful not to let his spiked shackles dig into her perfect skin. Peach almost cried all over again because he was right. "Why were you crying?"

Sighing softly, she allowed herself to go limp in his arms, feeling safe and protected from everything because of his large size. She didn't want to tell him. Oh, what would he think if he knew the real reason?

"I wasn't around lately, so I don't know anything that's been happening.. I figured you would be married to Mario by now. Given it's been about three months, but it seemed clear that I should stay away so you could be happy, and now I come back to you crying," Bowser had begun to ramble now, trying to get her to fill him in on the cause of her discontentment.

"I didn't marry him," she whispered, and his shoulders shook with a slight chuckle.

"I know. He's not in your bed, obviously."

"He didn't ask me to marry him, but I am not crying over that."

"Are you trying to convince me or yourself, Princess?"

Peach pulled away rather roughly at that, causing Bowser to glance down at her in surprise. Her arms were crossed around her waist, her legs sprawled to the side as if she were about to lie down, and she refused to look him in the eyes. "I am not trying to convince anyone of anything," she said tightly, her shoulders tense.

"Okay. Okay, I know you're not," he lied again, for her sake. In truth, it hurt to think that she would cry over someone as stupid as Mario. Of course, Mario did always find a way to thwart his master-minded schemes to kidnap Peach and take over the Mushroom Kingdom..

But anyone who didn't jump at the chance to marry such a considerate and loving princess was stupid to Bowser.

The Klown Kopter had hovered outside her window long enough; now the guards were alerted. Cries of "Bowser's back!" and "Save the princess!" echoed from outside and were soon to follow in the halls. With a flick of his wrist, Bowser had captured the princess's chin between his large thumb and index finger, forcing her to look over at him. Her eyes were still puffy, but dry.

"I need to go before they start to wonder why I just didn't take you," he said casually, as if they were talking about moon being bright on that particular night. "But I'd still like to know why you were crying." He paused, hoping that the sounds of little mushroom feet pittering against the corridor rugs would provoke her to tell him.

Silence was his answer.

"Okay, just don't cry anymore, all right?" he suggested, giving her a lop-sided smile. She returned the sentiment as best she could, suddenly feeling cold when he stood up and went over onto the balcony. The rushing footsteps grew closer; the guards had turned onto her hallway.

She stood and numbly followed, watching him raise a leg up in preparation to hop over the lip of the Klown Kopter. "Bowser!" she suddenly called out, joining him on the balcony. Flashlights from below illuminated the balcony, casting a heavenly glow around her body, while the motion of the propeller produced wind that whipped through her hair, the tangled mess creating intricate designs all around her. The large Koopa paused to look at her, his leg still comically in the air, his foot dangling over the edge of the flying contraption. He blinked over at her, and she could see that hunched over in the Klown Kopter was Kamek, apparently forced to man it against his will.

"What is it?" Bowser pushed, the suspense really fraying his nerves.

"It was because you stopped coming around.. and I thought you didn't care anymore."

"Huh?" he muttered, though it suddenly clicked. She was crying because he hadn't been around as of late. "Oh, Princess.."

At that moment, the guards burst through the door, each demanding to know if Peach were all right. She didn't glance over her shoulder, instead standing on the balcony with her clothes billowing every which way. Bowser noticed the mushroom men immediately and jumped over the rest of the way, landing almost gracefully inside the Klown Kopter. Despite his suddenly-constricted throat, he was able to give off an evil, dramatic Grahahahaha

"I'll be back for you again. Mark my words, Princess Peach!"

And with that, he was gone. Only this time, both of them were smiling.