One-shot. The idea came to me...god, what was I doing? Eating lasagna, if I recall correctly. Hahaha.

Notes: in my fanon, Wendy and Roy are twins. Since there's so much controversy over the Koopalings' ages, I think it's easier to just make it up. To each their own. Also, I love the old Mario cartoons, so I write Roy with his gruff Brooklyn accent. Most people seem to, anyway, so I hope it doesn't bother you.

Hope you enjoy this.

Second Place

A Super Mario World fanfiction by Bagatelle

Roy's eyes narrow behind his sunglasses as he looks through the crooked bars of the holding cell at the man sitting in chains against the far wall. Tall and thin, filthy, his cap missing. Overalls torn. Probably exhausted, and most likely asleep. Roy glances over at his brother, Ludwig, whose twisted face bears a falsely solemn expression that, right beneath the surface, aches with laughter.

"King Dad said he was sorry he couldn't be here for your birthday," Ludwig says quickly, to try and mask the mockery in his voice. "He had to take Wendy to do what she wanted, you know. He said he knew you'd understand."

"Yeah, right…and whaddum I s'posed ta do wit dis?" Roy growls, cocking his head toward the man in the cell. Ludwig shrugs disinterestedly.

"King Dad said for you to be creative. He caught him last night, trying to sneak up to the eastern tower with Mario to rescue the princess. Mario ran off, but he'll probably be back, soon. Dad wants you to give Luigi a scare or two before Mario gets here to break him out," Ludwig says, obviously bored by the idea and glad that it isn't him being assigned to the task. Roy mutters something unintelligible (though most likely something spiteful) under his breath and glares in at Luigi again, disgusted. Ludwig smiles. "Well, don't look so glum, Roy. At least King Dad gave you something."

"Yeah, somethin' he just found layin' around," Roy mumbles. "It don't mean nothin'."

"…What's that supposed to mean?"

"…Nothin'. Get out," Roy snarls. "Just get outta my way. Yer crowdin' me." Ludwig smirks and turns on his heel, his claws clasped behind his back as he marches out of the dungeon, cackling to himself. Roy scowls and grips the bars of the cell window, frustrated. Of course Bowser would do something like this. Of course he would abandon Roy in favor of Wendy, even though it's both their birthdays. Roy mentally curses his father and his sister. Being a twin is absolute shit. Bowser will probably get Wendy something really great, too: something she won't even want or care about in a few days' time. And Ludwig…Ludwig is a smug little bastard. He always gets exactly what he wants for his birthday. Roy had wanted something very simple. He had wanted to spend time with King Dad, running around and pulling nasty pranks, like they had every once in a while when he had been a bit smaller. Now, though, Wendy takes priority over him, and he can't have what he wants.

Of course.

Irritated, Roy grabs the keys off of the hook beside the door and unlocks the holding cell, letting himself in and leaving the keys on the floor once he's shut the door behind himself. Luigi is in no state to fight him off, and even if he tried, Roy knows that in these conditions, there's no way that the younger Mario brother is going to be able to escape. The ceiling is only seven feet high: less than ample space to jump in. Without that luxury, Luigi is next to powerless. The plumber glances up at Roy miserably.

"…So what's it gonna be? Lava? Piranha Plants?" Luigi asks quietly, grimly, and Roy stares at him for a moment before he scowls and shrugs.

"I dunno. Haven't thought of it, yet," he mutters. "…Why don't-cha tell me a story or somethin' while I'm thinkin' it up? Make yerself useful, Pipehead."

"I'd rather not," Luigi says, with much effort. Roy pulls his sunglasses down and glares at Luigi, who grimaces, but still says nothing. The Koopaling bares his teeth.

"Yer gonna listen to me, or I'll punch yer face 'til ya swallow all yer pretty mammal teeth," Roy hisses, his voice low and intimidating. Luigi hesitates for a second, then gulps.

"…W-well…what…do you want to hear about…?" he asks weakly. Roy's eyes narrow, untrusting.

"…Tell me about me becomin' King o' da Koopas," Roy growls. Luigi looks up at him, confused by what he's asking, but Roy's expression doesn't change, so Luigi nods slowly.

"Err…alright. You…uhh…after Bowser dies, he leaves you his crown in his will, and you become the Koopa King," Luigi begins awkwardly. "You, umm…you're real excited, and, to celebrate, err, you…you invade the Mushroom Kingdom. It's a huge attack, you know, with…Goombas, and Koopa Troopas, and Thwomps and Chain Chomps, and the whole shebang."

"Do we succeed?" Roy asks, almost daring Luigi to say no. The plumber swallows hard.

"Of…of course. Because you're a better King than Bowser was." Luigi flinches almost immediately afterward, realizing that something like that probably wasn't the wisest thing to say considering the circumstances, but Roy seems more satisfied by the comment than anything else.

"…Yeah," Roy mutters. "Yeah, dat's right. I am."

Luigi looks up at him, a little put off. He hasn't seen Roy in a while. Three months, to be exact, since the Princess was last captured. And while he's used to the way the Koopa prince stands, puffed up to look bigger than he really is, fists clenched, teeth showing, muscles flexing…something's a little different, too. His scowl is deeper than usual, today, and his face seems tense and frustrated. Luigi blinks when Roy swallows thickly. "…You're…all-powerful," Luigi continues. "You crush the Mushroom Army with your power."

"Yer damn straight, I do," Roy growls, more than obviously stroking his own ego. He gives Luigi a look when there's a too-long pause, his tail twitching restlessly. "…Den what?"

"…Then…then you make the Princess sign over her kingdom to you," Luigi says, and Roy clicks his teeth unhappily.

"No…dat's not right. You and Mario gotta try ta bust in and ruin my scheme, first," he corrects Luigi. The plumber, not daring to argue, nods.

"Right. Of course. Mario and I try to ward you off…but at that point, you're too strong for us, and we fall to you…" Luigi weaves the story quickly, still a little shaken by the way Roy seems entranced, like a six-year-old at bedtime. "Y-you kill us both…and then…the princess has no one to protect her, so she has to surrender to you…"

"And den I rule da world," Roy says quietly, sounding very enchanted by the idea. He glances at Luigi when another minute of awkward silence passes between them. "…What's dat look for?! Ya don't think I can beat ya?! I could take you out if I wanted!"

"N-no, that's not it," Luigi responds quickly, gulping again. "…I…well…"

"Den what?! What is it?!"

"…I…I mean, this might seem…a little strange, but…well, I mean, it's a little unconventional—"

"Just say it, Monkey Brain! I ain't got all freakin' day," Roy snaps.

Luigi's eyebrows furrow. "A-are you…alright?"

…Roy is so taken aback by the question that he shudders, gawking down at his prisoner. Luigi's face is just as puzzled, layered beneath that with concern and fear. Roy's stomach clenches painfully. "…W-what…what's it to ya?!"

"…I don't know. You just…don't seem as…focused as you usually are."

"What's dat mean?! Why do you care at all?!"

Luigi blinks. Roy is being very defensive. Obviously, there's something he doesn't want to let out. "…I…did I hear Ludwig right, a few minutes ago? It's…your birthday, isn't it?"

Roy grimaces, and his face turns a highly impressive shade of violet. "…Maybe. It don't matter, though, 'cause it's Wendy's, too, and she's…w-well…it ain't like yer gonna do anythin' ta make me happy, or nothin'. Nobody else ever does. And why should you?! Yer a freakin' prisoner, here." Luigi's eyebrows furrow. He's hit a soft spot.

"…Bowser didn't do anything for you?" he asks quietly. Roy clenches his teeth, his face still flushed, and he looks somewhat like he's in pain.

"…It ain't yer business, Moustache," he grumbles. "…Ain't yer business at all."

"Doesn't he love you?"

Another very heavy blow, to a much more tender spot. Roy lashes out, teased past the edge with that remark, and Luigi feels a heavy palm shove him back into the hard, stone wall. He's surprised none of his ribs break beneath the force, huge claws knitting themselves with the front of his shirt. Hot, coppery breath spills over his face as Roy snarls two inches from him. "…You listen ta me, Pastaface," Roy hisses, his fist trembling from being clenched so tight. "…Roy Koopa don't need nobody. Ya got dat?! Don't need King Dad, don't need his bruddahs…and he damn well don't need no sympathy from a fool like you, who don't know a thing about what he's talkin' about."

"…I…I just think it's weird…that he wouldn't do anything for your birthday," Luigi says quietly, trying his luck. "I…I mean…I always thought you'd be his favorite kid."

This startles Roy. His grip on the front of Luigi's shirt loosens, and he gapes at him, confused. "…W-what…? King Dad's…favorite…? Why?"

"…Because you're the toughest, aren't you?" Luigi asks, and he's not just saying it to boost Roy's pride like he was before. "The strongest? The meanest? I…I guess I've always thought he liked you best."

There's a long, uncomfortable pause between them, and Luigi eventually looks away to break the tension. Roy's fist trembles, and he slowly pulls it back to himself, ashamed. "…Dat…well…I'd like ta think dat, too…but…recently, dat ain't da case," Roy says very, very quietly, and Luigi glances at him, getting the strange feeling that he's being endowed with knowledge that's beyond his field of authority to receive. The tone of Roy's voice tells him that this is a secret. The Koopa prince has never said this to anyone else, before. "…He only really cares about Ludwig, and Wendy. 'Cause Ludwig's da oldest, and Wendy's da most useful. I'll never be more dan second place, ta him. And in King Dad's mind…anythin' besides first ain't worth thinkin' twice about. So I ain't anywhere near his favorite."

Something strikes a very familiar chord with Luigi. Second place. His eyes widen, and slowly, very slowly, he opens his mouth to speak again. "I…I understand what you mean," he says softly. Roy jerks around to stare at him. The Koopa says nothing, so Luigi explains himself. "…I'm the younger brother, so I'm overlooked a lot," he says. "It…doesn't bother me that much…I mean, I know I'm no superstar…but I've always been number two. I'll never be anything but. So I get what you're saying."

Roy blinks and looks hard at Luigi, unsettled, and Luigi swears that he sees Roy's jaw quiver. "…N-no ya don't. Nobody gets it."

"…You're in Ludwig's shadow, aren't you?" Luigi asks, trying hard not to poke Roy in any more places that he doesn't like, but knowing that he needs to engage the Koopa more if he wants to get him to say anything else. "Wendy's, too. And she's your sister. It makes you mad, doesn't it? It makes you upset. Because you're better than them."

"It makes me wanna hurt 'em," Roy snarls, and his shoulders are trembling a little, all the way down into his thick arms. "…It makes me wanna beat 'em down until King Dad…" his eyes widen behind his glasses, and he stares into Luigi's face. The plumber shrinks. So much for that plan. "…I…I don't like dis," Roy murmurs. "I don't want nothin' ta do witchoo…"

Luigi breathes deeply. He's lost his chance. He looks down at the ripped, filthy knees of his overalls. "Then…why are you here?"

"YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!!" Roy bellows, and he backs away, his fists shaking, slightly raised. "…I ain't got nothin' in common witchoo, no matter what you say…!"

"I'm just telling you…I understand how you must feel," Luigi says gently. It's a weird thing to say, he realizes: he's never implied that Koopas actually felt anything, before. Maybe they're more human than reptile, when it comes down to it, though. Roy seems to be feeling a human emotion or two. Jealousy. Anger. Disappointment. "…You want to be the best, for him, whether or not you'll admit it. It makes sense. He's your father. You want to win his favor." Roy's face is flooded with deep burgundy.

"…You think yer smart, butchoo ain't," he growls. "…I ain't tryin' ta impress nobody."

"You're trying to impress me right now," Luigi retorts cleverly.


"You really think that I believe you're so heartless?" Luigi asks, his tone submissive, non-confrontational. "Roy Koopa…how long have we known each other?"

"We don't know each other," Roy corrects Luigi, agitated by their conversation.

"…Right…well…it's been a couple of years, by my memory," Luigi says quietly. "I can see plain as day what bothers you, by now. And you're…what…seventeen, now?" Roy doesn't move, but Luigi knows he's right. "…Of course you're gonna be like this. You've always been stubborn, besides. I know that you want your dad to care about you, though. Anybody would."

"…Y-yeah, well…I ain't anybody."

Luigi sighs, shaking his head a little. Roy glances at him, blinking behind his sunglasses, and stops, for a second. There's a trail of dark blood leaking down the side of Luigi's face that he hadn't seen before. "It's…a little sad, that you're only like this because you know…he probably won't ever—"

"Yer hurt," Roy mutters, more as an excuse to distract Luigi than anything else. Luigi looks up at him, confused. Roy gestures to the side of his own head, and Luigi reaches up, staring at the spot of blood that appears on his glove. He sighs.

"It's nothing. After Mario gets here and brings me back to the Mushroom Kingdom, I'll have it taken care of."

"How'd you get dat?" the Koopa Prince asks, wanting to get off of the subject of his birthday as quickly as possible. Luigi realizes this and goes along, but just because he decides that it'd be best not to test Roy's limits right now. He seems upset enough as it is.

"…I dunno. I guess I got hit by something while I was trying to fight off the guards."

"You should put pressure on it."

"Aren't you supposed to be torturing me?" Luigi asks, genuinely confused. "What's with the doctor act?" Roy stares down into Luigi's green eyes and clenches his jaw, his entire body tensing for a moment.

"…What…do ya want me ta torture ya?!" he pushes back, and Luigi shakes his head. Roy grunts. "Den shaddup and push on yer cut."

Luigi reaches up and feels along his hairline until he flinches, and then presses his palm into the spot. He looks at the floor to avoid conflict. "…You're…you're pretty strong-willed."

Roy starts. "…What?"

"…It's kind of impressive. When I was seventeen…I was nowhere near as tough as you are." Luigi smiles faintly, almost sadly to himself. "…I guess I was kinda lucky. I didn't have to be. But…you…it's a good thing you're how you are, I guess. Since Bowser's forced you into living this way."

"King Dad didn't force me ta do nothin'. I wanna be tough. I wanna bash people's brains in," Roy argues, and he starts to pace the cell nervously. "It's how a Koopa's supposed ta be. It's da only way I'm ever gonna become anythin' other dan numbah two."

"What about when Bowser dies? You already know…the crown is going to Ludwig, isn't it?" Luigi asks gently, and Roy's jaw quivers. "Whose eyes are you gonna try to be the best in, when that happens?"

"…I dunno," Roy growls. "Mine, I guess. I'll be da rottenest, meanest, nastiest thing dis side o' Dinosaur Land. And who knows…maybe someday I'll gather my own followin' and fight Ludwig for da throne."

Luigi purses his lips. "…You really think that being King is gonna make you happy?"

"When I'm da best, nothin' will matter," Roy mutters, shaking his head and continuing to pace. "When I'm in charge, I won't have to worry about nothin'. Everybody'll listen ta me."

The plumber watches the Koopaling for a moment, then lets out a low, long breath, sighing to himself. He pulls his hand down and looks at the damp blood on it distractedly. A big part of him is doubting that Roy actually feels that way. "…If you say so," he murmurs. Roy clicks his teeth and, all of a sudden, Luigi feels scary-strong talons clench around his wrist and push his hand back into his bleeding head. Luigi doesn't look up at Roy, who continues to click his teeth in irritation.

"Push on it, Plumber. You ain't gonna stop da bleedin' if ya don't."

"…Why do you care?"

"I don't."

"If you didn't care, you'd be torturing me right now," Luigi says, his voice wavering slightly. A part of him just might prefer it if Roy started hurting him. At least the situation wouldn't feel so strange. "…You're angry enough to do it, aren't you? So why aren't you?"

"…I just don't feel like it, dat's all," Roy growls, pushing Luigi a little bit before he lets go of his wrist just to show him that he's still the one who's calling the shots, here. "Sometimes ya don't feel like kickin' people's teeth in."

There's a pause. "…Okay," Luigi finally says softly. "I can get that."

"…Stop tryin' ta understand me, Moustache," Roy mutters. "It's freakin' me out. I ain't gonna get all buddy-buddy witchoo, if dat's what yer tryin' ta do wit me."

"No," Luigi replies. "Just…trying to make conversation. Pass the time before Mario gets here."

Roy half-nods, waving Luigi off. He's still pacing the cell, and he feels oddly nervous. The bottoms of his feet feel cold. Is this really such a huge problem? Is this really a problem at all…? It shouldn't be…it shouldn't affect him this much…he glares at Luigi. The plumber's head is bowed, his palm still pressed into his hair. Something painful stabs Roy in the spine, and a chill crawls through his shell, up into his neck and his skull, making his teeth chatter. He doesn't like this. He doesn't like this at all.

"…You…yer tryin' ta get into my head," he snarls. "Ya think you can get ta me?!"

"…Please…calm down, Roy," Luigi murmurs. "My head's starting to hurt."

Please. Roy blinks, pales. What a weird thing to say. "…Good. I hope it busts open," Roy hisses, and he turns on his heel to leave the cell. That's the best thing to do. Get out of here. Out of here, before he needles into you again. Before you blab something else you shouldn't, you damn fool. Luigi adjusts his hand and grunts softly, and Roy, as he's closing the door behind himself, hesitates. He's staring out into the hallway when he speaks again. "…You…were wrong, about somethin'," he says thoughtfully. Luigi's lips part.

"…What was that…?" he asks.

"…When you and Mario came to foil my plan. I wouldn't kill ya," Roy murmurs. He doesn't give an explanation as to why: it's just those four words, hanging in the air like an unfinished thought. A sentence that just wasn't meant to be. Luigi glances up at the spiky magenta shell in the doorway, wondering something very privately to himself as the shell disappears, and the door shuts behind Roy. The lock clicks ominously.

"…H-hey…Roy…" Luigi calls uneasily, and he hears Roy's shuffling footsteps stop a little ways down the hall. "…I…well…happy birthday." The Koopa prince is quiet for a long, painful moment before he grunts in response, turning his head to face the cell again. He can see Luigi's blue eyes staring out at him through the bars, waiting to be saved by his brother. Roy frowns.

"…Do me a favor, Moustache. Pretend I gave ya dat cut," Roy says quietly, and Luigi nods in agreement before Roy turns around again and continues back toward the stairs that'll lead him up to the main floor. Mario should be arriving, soon, and he doesn't want to miss any action once he gets here.