Not my first Mario fanfiction (I've written most of a much longer one...but I was in a Peach/Bowser mood all of a sudden and this came out), but I wanted to see if anyone liked my style or would even think about reading my longer fic once that's posted if I did post it here.
SMRPG-based. In this fic, we are implying that Bowser has no Koopa Kids. Reviews are greatly appreciated.
The Logic of Wishes
A Super Mario RPG fanfiction by Bagatelle
In the soft shelter of always-evening, the small, mismatched party had settled to rest at the marshy base of Star Hill. They were a few days' worth of walking away from Seaside Town, according to the Princess (who knew the layout of her kingdom quite well, even without maps), and with the fourth Star Piece in tow, it had been suggested by Geno that the five of them take a break before heading once again into what was bound to be dangerous territory.
Mario was always one to fall into easy sleep. Even though Bowser was now tagging along with the party, and Peach as well, the plumber seemed to have set aside any thoughts of negativity toward the Koopa King for the time being, and at times, he seemed almost pleased to have Bowser siding with them, for once. Since the fiasco at Booster's Tower and into Marrymore, Mallow seemed to have gathered some trust for Bowser, so Mario in turn trusted him, awkwardly, as well. Geno, who seemed to know-all-see-all, also seemed unfettered by Bowser's presence among them, and for that reason, Bowser had finally been deemed harmless by Peach, as well. Besides, he didn't have anywhere to run off to with her, even if he had been plotting something. His Keep—whether or not he was willing to admit it—had been snatched out of his claws. He had nowhere to go.
Mallow, Mario, and Geno were all curled comfortably up on patches of soft, mossy ground, their heads supported by the smooth, shiny blue rocks that made up the majority of Star Hill. Mario and Mallow, at the least, were sleeping: Geno, being a doll, didn't seem to need sleep, but he had his eyes shut and wasn't moving, so it was assumed that he was in some sort of standby mode. Peach was also curled up a few feet away from the three of them, perhaps regretting a bit that she hadn't worn one of her less nice dresses (she had expected that they would've at least reached an inn to stay in by now), but trying to get to sleep, nonetheless. She had her eyes closed and was listening to the soothing sounds of the unborn wishes—living, in their own odd way…it sounded like twinkling hearts beating gently—on the hill, but, for some reason, sleep just wouldn't come.
She opened her eyes and realized why: Bowser was not with the group.
The Princess sat up, startled, and looked around, relief and puzzlement flooding her simultaneously when she saw that the Koopa King was curled up several yards away from the rest of them, his spiny tail flipping restlessly back and forth through the grass behind him. She blinked. This wasn't exactly odd for Bowser. He often did seem quite reluctant to be following the rest of them around, especially Mario, and he didn't like Mallow or Geno very much, either. He disliked Mallow, Peach assumed, because he was so sensitive…and Geno, perhaps because he was so powerful, and because of the fact that he came from some higher order that Bowser didn't seem capable of fully understanding. Star Road? Wishes? Happiness? Bowser was a villain, he didn't care about nonsense like that. He still appeared to be at odds with the mere thought of recovering Star Pieces to allow everyone else's wishes to come true. He was only in it to get his castle back, Peach knew, but he was obviously wondering if the price was too great to pay. He would probably never fully recover his dignity after this ordeal was over…and the Princess had often doubted that he had ever even had much of that, in the first place.
Bowser was obviously still awake, too, so Peach stood up and walked over to him, holding her dirty dress up to keep it from dragging simply out of habit, the moss soft and cool beneath her bare feet. She walked around in front of him and saw that he had his eyes closed, but she sat before him, letting her dress flow out around her, and she cleared her throat. His red eyes shot open instantly, his pupils adjusting to the dim light, and he seemed taken aback at first by the sight of her, bathed in the lime-green glow of the distant wishes on the Hill. Then he scowled and grunted, heaving himself up into a sitting position, as well. He towered over her, even though he hunched, pulled down by the weight of his massive shell. "…Well, what?!" he growled. He was so boisterous, Peach thought, unsurprised. Thankfully, though, it was not enough to wake the other three, who were, evidently, quite heavy sleepers. "What do you want?!"
"Well, I had been wondering if you wanted to walk around for a while with me, since neither of us seem to be able to get to sleep," Peach responded coolly, "but since you're being so nasty, maybe I'll reconsider my offer and just go alone."
Bowser stared at her stupidly, and his eyes softened in a way that was out of place for a Koopa, his face losing a lot of intensity very quickly. Then it all came back. "…And why would you ever trust me enough to walk around with me, alone, at night, where you obviously don't know your way around, Princess?!" Bowser barked. Peach pursed her lips, but at the same time, she was suppressing an urge to laugh. He was being defensive. He was obviously thrilled at the thought of walking around with her in the dark.
"Well, what evil plot could you possibly have out here?" she asked. "Your Koopa Kar is, as far as I'm aware, still back at your precious Keep, isn't it?" She took his angry silence as an affirmative answer. "…In that case, I have nothing to fear."
"Why would you invite me in the first place?" Bowser asked bitterly. Peach looked hard at his face for a moment—his twisted, reptilian face—before she sighed and tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear.
"I don't know. I suppose I thought you could use some company," she responded. He let out a low chuckle.
"Bah!!! The Koopa King needs no one!" Bowser laughed heartily. The Princess rolled her eyes.
"Very well, then. I'll be going," she said, and got to her feet, proceeding to leave him sitting there, dumbstruck. He struggled for a moment, then hoisted himself up onto his feet, giving chase on his thick legs in awful, pounding footsteps. His weight seemed to shift completely from one foot to the next as each drilled into the ground, Peach thought…she could tell that just from the sound. He moved surprisingly fast, for being so massive, though: he was walking beside her in a matter of moments.
"I never said I wouldn't join you," Bowser grumbled, masking shame with more anger. He walked on her left, in the deeper shadow of the Hill, though light from the wishes still shone on his broad shoulders, shell, and head. Peach clasped her own hands at her waist and nodded daintily, her lips curled into a small, victorious smile. Bowser was strangely easy to manipulate, she was starting to discover. In his own weird way, he seemed eager to please her: whether that was simply a tactic to coax her into wanting to stay at his castle after he kidnapped her (which she never, ever would), or if he was doing it for some other, unnamed reason, Peach didn't really care. She was just glad that he felt that way: it made him that much easier to deal with.
He was silent, save his bone-rattling footsteps, as they walked, though, which was out of the ordinary. Usually he had more than one opinion to bellow about how Mario is wrong and we should do this MY way. Peach glanced at him every now and then, each second spent out of conversation making their walk more and more awkward, until she eventually cleared her throat again and caught his attention. She was gesturing toward the wishes, and she startled him with her question.
"Did you see your wish up there?" she asked.
He stared at her as if she'd just shoved something white-hot up his backside. "W-what?!" he stammered. It confused her.
"Your wish to get your Keep back. Did you see it?"
Bowser seemed to think very, very hard for all of two seconds before he swallowed thickly and shook his huge head. "No," he growled, and the way he had collected himself was impressive, Peach thought. "…I could've predicted that, though. I mean, the bad guys never get what they wish for, right? And I'm the baddest bad guy around here."
"Badder than Smithy?" Peach asked, amused. Bowser scowled.
"Yes," he insisted, and the Princess just smiled. Then, however, she realized the severity of what Bowser had said, and she looked at him strangely.
"…Bad guys often get what they wish for," Peach argued, and Bowser glanced at her uncertainly. "Booster wished for a beautiful woman, and I fell from the sky! What are the odds of that?"
"Great way to flatter yourself, Princess," Bowser growled. Peach hit him lightly on the arm, barely enough for him to feel it.
"You know what I'm trying to say."
"And you still don't believe me?" the Princess asked, exasperated. Bowser was frowning deeply.
"…I've wished for a lot of things," he muttered. "None of them have ever come true. To me, that means that they just won't, for one of any number of reasons…either, one, because I'm evil…two, because I'm a Koopa, or…three, because I'm just down on my luck."
"I think down on your luck sounds the most plausible," Peach responded softly after a moment or two, and Bowser's eyebrows knit more tightly together. "…What kinds of things did you wish for?"
"…Nothing," Bowser grumbled, and glared down at his feet, shuffling over moss. "It's not important."
"I want to know!" Peach pushed. Bowser cast an unhappy look in her direction.
"How about you, Princess?" he snorted. "Did you see your wish up there on the Hill?"
"No. My wish already came true," she replied. Bowser looked somewhat surprised to hear that.
"…Really? What was it?" he asked. She gave him a look.
"I'm not telling you unless you tell me yours!" she said, and he scowled unpleasantly, frightening her when he suddenly shifted and grabbed her by the shoulders, staring menacingly down into her face.
"I wished for Mario not to come!" he snarled, his voice a deep, primal growl. "I wished every single time that…that he would just stay outta my way. It never worked. He always came and…rescued you. Took you away from me. So…so whatever." He let her go, his scaly hands huge and intimidating, even as he was pulling them away. His face flushed purple when he noticed how she was staring at him. "…So what about you?!"
Princess Toadstool blinked herself out of her daze, baffled, now, by what he had said. Took you away from me. Why…? She gazed at him curiously. "…Why do you want me to stay with you so badly?" she asked him, and his eyes narrowed, stared off into the black distance.
"…You should know," he mumbled. "You're the one who thought I needed company."
"But you've got your Koopa Troop back home, right…?" Peach asked, bewildered. Bowser let out a low roar.
"When are babbling subordinates ever substitutes for a woman?!" he bellowed, and the Princess gawked at him. "…Even Koopas get lonely sometimes, you foolish girl. Even monsters like me want to be close to a woman at least once before we die. It's a losing battle, though, when our wishes don't come true. There must be some logic behind it, I guess…if our wishes came true, heroes wouldn't be heroes. Nobody would love Mario quite as much as they do if he couldn't rescue you. So I guess I'm stuck on this losing end. Screw it, though. It's miserable."
Peach was startled when she saw how shiny Bowser's eyes were, and she was even more startled when she realized that she was holding onto his massive hand with both of her own. She couldn't even close her fingers around one of his, and it was scary, but she was touching him, and he hadn't seemed to take notice of it until he had finished talking. He looked at her with a bizarre mixture of contempt and pleasure. "…What…so you feel sorry for me, now?" he asked gloomily. Peach nodded, because it was the truth.
"…I wished to be rescued," she said quietly, and the agony in Bowser's face was unnerving. She had never seen emotional pain in his eyes before, as far back as she could remember. She wondered…was it just here, now, because they were alone, in the dark, in this unfamiliar place? Would she ever see that in him again? He nodded his head in defeat.
"Of course you did. What girl in her right mind wouldn't?" he muttered dismally. Peach held his scaly paw more tightly between her hands.
"…Bowser," she said firmly, and his eyes trained themselves on her, sad and hurt, like a small dog that's just been kicked for doing something wrong. "…You're…not a monster. Smithy…and all of his minions…are monsters. People who destroy everyone else's happiness, just for the sake of building weapons…for keeping themselves happy…people like that are monsters. And someday, you'll find someone who loves you. I know you will!"
Bowser ground his teeth. "…Koopas aren't supposed to mate for love," he said darkly, and the Princess felt his claws close around her hands. "…I'm past that point, though. When we're young, we're meant to find mates who will bear us strong children, to keep our race as powerful as it was back in the beginning. I'm not fit to mate anymore. I missed the boat. So…I don't want a Koopa woman anymore. They're awful creatures. If you think I'm nasty, you've obviously never met a female Koopa. And I know that's what you're talking about, in regards to…somebody who loves me. But you're wrong. Female Koopas love only themselves and their children. They couldn't care less about their mates. They're not real women." Bowser pulled Peach closer to him, moved his other palm carefully over her hair, and she smelled the burnt odor of smoke on his breath. There was something strangely romantic about the way that the light from the wishes played over his gargoyle-esque features: the way his eyes shone, his hair wild, his talons pulling her closer. She couldn't push him away: her hands were useless, in his grasp. He looked so mad, though. And she was afraid of him, for one of few times in her life.
He leaned into her and pressed his snout into her cheek, closing his eyes and breathing her scent. "…You are…a real woman," he murmured, and his voice was actually soft, in the only sense that it could be. Peach thought, for an instant, that she actually felt Bowser tremble. "…Princess…I've wished for a real woman…I've wished…for you…"
"Bowser…" she whispered, and she felt so bad for him, so guilty, that she inclined her head and softly met his scaly lips when he wanted it for a brief moment before turning away. He let her go very suddenly, surprised and confused that she had obliged him, and his entire face flushed an unbecoming shade of violet. Peach herself flushed at the sight of his overwhelming embarrassment, a little ashamed of herself, as well. Hopefully he wouldn't take that to mean anything too binding…?
She gathered herself and started walking again, and he moved beside her, still trying to collect his thoughts. He stumbled over rocks when she spoke. "…I think that…I'll just leave things up to fate, then, from now on," she said quietly, as they finished their patrol about the base of Star Hill and saw their three companions, still sleeping, where they had left them half an hour ago. "…It seems a little unfair…if I have wishes on my side…"
Bowser said nothing in response, only nodded in spaced-out agreement. She bid him to sit where he had been before and left him curled up before she went back to her own previous spot and tried to get comfortable again. She lie down so that she was facing him, watching the wish light shining off of the spikes on his shell, like the teeth of some terrible demon in the night. Peach sighed and closed her eyes. It might have been pointless, now, but…it couldn't hurt anything to try.
So she wished. She wished...for his sake.