A/N: Here we go with Peach's take. Unfortunately, I tend to make things miserable for Peach, and this chapter is no different. On the other hand, there's a hint of a plot coming in now, perhaps one which will serve as a device to make our protagonists get along...
Many thanks to everyone who reviewed the last chapter. I realise this update's extremely late, but what can I say...I don't like this fic...or writing it...and the fact that people are still reading is the only motivation I have! So thanks again for your kind words. I hope this chapter doesn't disappoint (too much...)
Disclaimer: Characters and settings are copyright to Nintendo.
I F Y O U
L E T M E
o-o-P E A C H-o-o
o-o-IN WHICH I'M CONVINCED-o-o
My office is, as Toadsworth puts it, 'so friendly it's suffocating'. When I was assigned as Director of Smash Mansion, my first thought was to create a place of support and comfort, a real home for a place that was anything but. I threw out the austere desk and wooden chair without a moment's hesitation; I furnished it with armchairs and cushions, antique ornaments and blown up photos of stellar moments in Smash history.
Files on each and every Smasher sit in a glass cabinet behind me, containing information from winning streaks and moveset data to their psyche and what their favourite colour is. This library of needless knowledge is testament to the control I exert over the Mansion. If need be, I can look up a Smasher, extract the right information and use it to swing the outcome of matches and write their destinies for them. It is my duty, as Director, to be the enforcer of Master Hand's utopia, a world where there are more strings than people.
I am the right hand woman to the right hand himself.
And no matter how much I try to worm my way out of his giant grasp, I slink back to this prison, so as to try and take my Smashers with me. This compassion, this kind heart my mother brought me up to have, is what Master Hand loves about me.
At four 'o' clock, I'm curling my toes into the carpet of my office. I tap a pen against the edge of my desk rhythmically without thinking, shifting in my seat and chewing my lower lip. Three minutes pass and still, Ganondorf hasn't turned up. As the wait begins to eat at me, I suspect that he is deliberately making a late entrance so that I can feel this way.
It's ten past four when he knocks. I wriggle my feet back into my heels, pull on my gloves and a few seconds too late, open the door to Ganondorf.
It's all I can say. Rehearsed greetings turn tail and run just as I fall into his shadow.
He quirks an eyebrow. "You look surprised to see me. I did book."
"Oh no, not surprised," I stammer. Disappointed maybe, I think. Nevertheless, I step back and welcome him into the office with what I hope is a professional wave of the hand. I push my amounted nerves out of my mind, remember who I am - the powerful, right hand woman to Master Hand - and sit down at my desk.
"It slipped my mind that you had booked." I figure sounding busy is worth a try; he might fall for it. "I completely forgot you had requested to see me."
I'm sure Ganondorf knows that he's not the sort of person people forget about. He sees through my paper-thin lie, or more precisely, he acts charitable and pretends I never said such an embarrassing thing.
I jiggle the pencil in my hand and say, "So, what can I help you with?"
He sinks into the warmth of the armchair, apparently wanting to take his time. I feel like telling him I don't have all day, but that's the catch to being Director. You do have all day to listen to your Smashers, promise to solve their problems and make life as enjoyable as a prison can permit. It's your job to pry their curious hands away from the real Mansion, pull the wool over their wide eyes and pretend that everything's all right and there's no happier place than here.
When Ganondorf speaks, I'm pulled out of my miserable reverie about as kindly as a fish out of water with a hook through its mouth. "I found this, and thought you might know who it belongs to."
And as though we're playing a friendly game of catch, he tosses me the Master Ball. It feels cold and unusually heavy in my grasp. It is smeared with mud and dried grass, but the M glistens as bright as ever, protruding through the dirt.
"...Yes, thank you," I reply, setting the Ball aside. "That would be mine."
His eyes flash at the last word. "He's yours, is he?"
He drums his fingers against his knees and the back of his head sinks into the backrest. He fills out most of the seat; his right hand, the one emblazoned with part of the Triforce, has the armrest in a mighty grip - almost like a head he longs to crush.
"He won a match at last. Did you see how he changed as soon as he became focused?"
When Ganondorf ask questions, time itself seems to bend to his will. Everything falls into a slow, slumbering pace as he awaits my answer. The seconds become minutes in a drowsy attempt to coax me into talking. I try to read into his words, identify a hidden meaning.
"He's finding his confidence again. I didn't help in any way," I choose to reply. If Ganondorf wants me to try and take credit for Mewtwo's accomplishment, he will have to go about it another way. I feel a burst of confidence of my own; I have him and his reasons for coming all figured. That is, until he cracks the tiniest smile and destroys my esteem like a pin to a balloon.
"I'll ask again." He sounds unusually patient. "Did you see how he changed, Princess?"
Warily, I rewind to the match from earlier today. In all honesty, the change in Mewtwo was about as obvious as a splash of blood on a white shirt. I saw it, most certainly. How he suddenly moved like the wind, how his eyes flashed as though in pain. The moment that match had begun, Mewtwo had become a shadow of his former self.
"His strength is incredible," Ganondorf continues, and he now speaks with admiration, though I have yet to figure out his sincerity. "He knew that greatness once, until something happened to him that made him lose it."
Mewtwo made a mistake, I recall. He said he had done something wrong prior to coming to this Mansion. But what was it?
And is that mistake, the one that robbed Mewtwo of his strength and confidence, what Ganondorf is looking for?
"I don't know what happened to him." I talk levelly in an attempt to dash Ganondorf's hopes of getting anything out of me.
"You misunderstand me." Ganondorf leans forward a little, and by instinct, I shrink back. "I asked about his strength. It's astounding, and he hasn't even begun. Mewtwo lives and breathes power."
His eyebrows furrow together. "Does that sound like a pet to you?"
It's an odd sensation, knowing that there's no way you've shrunk in such a small space of time, but feeling as if everything has doubled in size except for you. My chair feels just that little bit bigger; my desk a few millimetres further. I start to blink rapidly; the sheer pressure of trying to keep in step with Ganondorf is stinging my eyes and burning my lips.
"Mewtwo isn't my pet," I tell him clearly. I want to ask where he got that idea from, as I have never done anything to enforce that statement. True, he is my charge and I care for him, but the crucial difference between a pet and Mewtwo is that the latter is sentient, hates me and is pretty much capable of killing me on the spot.
"He's not your pet." Ganondorf is not clarifying, more so drilling this statement into me as if he is a hypnotist. "He is an ally. A partner who will prove invaluable. With such power under your command, it would be a mistake to let it go to waste."
"A mistake, or a crime?" I answer. As Ganondorf gradually reveals his intentions, my anxiety grows, but not without a newfound burst of audacity. It's terrifying to come head to head with Ganondorf, but the experience is more manageable when what we're coming to blows at is clear. "What do you want with me?"
"I'm just asking you to rethink your position." Ganondorf shrugs, acting as though he is doing me a favour. "You are the most powerful person to walk in this Mansion. You have a crown atop your head, the wax seal of the Smash Board in your front pocket and the world's strongest creature in the palm of your hand. Imagine what you could do with such influence."
He gets up, and I nearly jump from the abruptness. I end up gripping the desk's edge and then sliding my clenched hands into my lap to hide them from view. Ganondorf studies the wall to my right, hands behind his back.
"Think about what you can do from now. Those moments up there, those snapshots of the greatest events in Smash history; the pictures that adorn the walls and the minds of every Smasher. You could make it end."
There are four glossy photos in my office, arched on the wall in a semicircle. Each one has a gold plaque with curly text to caption the scene. One is a group photo of the Mansion's top tier, another a shot of runner up Fox McCloud's infamous spike. The third is Marth with last year's tournament cup and the last is a dynamic shot of Falco Phantasm. I usually refrain from looking at the pictures because as admiring as they are, not one of the Smashers in top tier - myself included - look remotely happy.
Ganondorf scrutinises me, not bothering with tact. "It's in your power to do so. You long for us all to be free, don't you?"
The way he tosses in a leading question startles me. It's an age-old method in the war of words, a sly tactic to shape another's way of thinking. What surprises me more, though, is how well he gets it to work. I fall for it, hook, line and sinker.
"Of course...I know the Mansion can feel somewhat restricting."
Ganondorf smiles at the understatement. I have to glance up to see this, and as he towers over me, I only just notice how there is virtually no escape from him. I'm trapped behind my desk, and the door looks miles away.
"I don't think you have much faith in yourself," Ganondorf guesses correctly. "You feel worthless standing next to Master Hand; you know you're a figurehead to do his bidding. But you have Mewtwo now, surely you can snap a few strings? We're all caught up, after all."
He makes a soft, snorting noise, rapping his knuckles against the frame of Marth's photo. "Except for him, the favourite."
I survey Ganondorf over steeped fingers, tensing every muscle in my body to quell my shivers. "Really, I think Marth is the most tangled."
"Perhaps," Ganondorf replies, and he sounds so polite that for a second, I forget I'm afraid of him. It all comes back, though, with double the amount and intensity, when Ganondorf seizes the group shot of top tier and slaps it onto the desk, facing me. He puts no strength in the gesture, but the glass still breaks from his steady grip and a crack runs a jagged path down the photo.
"Use him for the greater good." Ganondorf nudges the picture forward. "It's what he's here for."
I watch as top tier break apart. The crack spreads and slices Fox cleanly across his neck, divides Falco's face into two and rips through Marth's rippling cape. My own face in that capture distorts, one half forced upwards by the cracked glass.
"You have the wrong idea about me." My jaw hardens in determination; Ganondorf very nearly breaks into a smile. "...I agree with you about wanting to make this Mansion better, but there are some boundaries I will not cross. I'd never take advantage of Mewtwo or use him."
I recoil as I await his response. However, he surprises me with a favourable shrug and turns to leave, unruffled.
"All right then," he replies. He opens the door and pauses on his way out, looking over his shoulder. "Though it'd be in your best interest to consider it."
He shuts the oak door with unmistakeable triumph. The effect of his leaving is immediate. I exhale loudly, such that I disturb some of my papers. The room lifts and I remember how to breathe again, yet the cold air smells foreign, too fresh and too comforting to be right. Slumped at my desk, only vaguely aware of how close my forearm comes to the sharp glass of the photograph, I watch the slivers of light from between the blinds that flicker on the carpet.
Minutes pass as I let idle thoughts wash over me, ranging from what Ganondorf meant by 'best interest' to why my office felt so aloof despite my efforts. I play around with daydreams, imagining a Mansion free of constraints, where top tier were not on a pedestal, and Master Hand on a higher one. I think about turning the plans inside out, throwing a spanner in the works.
Wouldn't it be great if the underdog won this year? Wouldn't it be something for the Smash Tournament actually be a tournament, instead of a glorified, closet route for Master Hand to make his fortune and sate his lust for control?
I'm considering it.
Even when I don't want to, I'm thinking about what Ganondorf has said. It's like he's left me a problem, intentionally unsolved and tantalising, so that I have no choice but to think about it, so as to end my pain. So that when I find the answer and see it through, it'll be my own doing and he plays no part.
I kick off my shoes and am about to make myself a cup of tea, when the door opens for a second time. I find myself instinctively praying for it to not be Ganondorf, and I'm spared. Mewtwo ambles inside awkwardly, his eyes set on the window. He seems so determined to not acknowledge me that it prompts me to break into a smile. The very action aches and feels tight, as if it's a thing I've long forgotten to do.
"Well done on your match today," I begin. He merely grunts and settles on the floor in the dying afternoon sun. He says nothing for a moment, before prompting me.
"Ganondorf has big plans for the Mansion. The general gist is that he wants me to rebel against Master Hand and use you in...some way or another. I'm not sure on that part," I admit.
"He's trying to breach his contract. We're all bound by a supernatural force as soon as we sign up, presumably from Master Hand. The contract states that release from the tournament comes in three ways - by death, by public demand or by word of the Mansion. The first is out of the question, the second is a sham - since Master Hand can interpret the public however he likes - and the third is the viable option."
Mewtwo finally glances up to look at me. "By word of the Mansion," he repeats. "'Mansion' is a collective term for the building itself, the tournament and the one who runs it - Master Hand. Now, imagine if someone were to overthrow him and take his place. She'd have the lives of Smashers in her hands, and the power to let them go with a simple word."
I realise my finger is bleeding. At some point, I have cut it on a shard of glass. It only stings a little; I dab at it with a tissue, suddenly aware of how much my hands are shaking.
"The key to overthrowing lies in cutting off resources and swinging the favour to your end of the court. Since Master Hand relies heavily on make up of top tier and current champion, that would be the first point of call."
"Sabotage the tournament?" I say faintly. Hearing it out loud makes it infinitely worse. Would I dare do such a thing when I'm just a figurehead?
"Yes," Mewtwo responds. "You can assume that Master Hand's goal, having earned heavy influence over Altea with Marth's win, will go for another winner this year. Fox McCloud looks favourable with an admirable reputation and plenty contacts in Lylat. Chances are that his sponsors and Lylat officials have made a deal with Master Hand - power in Lylat, and the tournament cup for Fox McCloud."
It's the longest conversation we've ever had. Mewtwo is surprisingly at ease, talking to me (despite preferring to look out the window than meet my eyes). I can't help but wonder what his take is on the absurd plan we're all formulating.
"Consider a scenario when this goes wrong," he continues. "The tournament is sabotaged and someone else wins. The people involved in the scam will be disappointed to say the least. Imagine the public uproar if the favourite, Marth, is demoted, Fox comes second and someone else wins - someone unpopular, uncharismatic and without useful connections to break Master Hand's fall from grace."
He gets up and slinks round the table to face me. His tail narrowly misses a mini cabinet, so close to rattling it that I'm convinced he can see out the back of his head as well as unravel Ganondorf's intentions as easily as a ribbon.
"The question is," he concludes plainly, "would you do it?"
"O-of course not!" I shrink back, noting that Mewtwo is on par with Ganondorf when he stands opposite me like this. "Going along with Ganondorf's plan when he hasn't revealed all of his intentions is far from sensible. And I'd never use you that way. It's my duty to keep you safe, from both Ganondorf and my selfish whims."
He stares at me, unblinking, trying to find a lie in what I say. Then, apparently satisfied, he snorts and moves his head from side to side, stretching his neck.
"What if I agreed?" he suggests. "You're hardly using me if I comply."
"It'd be more selfish to not use me. You have the chance to set this Mansion free and you're not taking it. Why not?"
He poses the question as a challenge, daring me to answer. For a few seconds, I admire the passion, the way his voice is rougher and the sharp crease between his eyes. Afterwards, I wonder why he has become so self-sacrificing. Ganondorf's motives are now clear, but what about Mewtwo's?
And as if he is reading my mind, he says, "At the moment, I have nothing to do. There's no purpose to me being here except to have a master and hide. I want more than that."
"That's it?" I can't help but blurt out. Has his indifference always stemmed from a deep desire to mean?
"That's it," he repeats. His eyes widen for a fraction of a second. "But it's enough. Perhaps you're lucky. Perhaps you don't know how it feels to wake up every day and wonder why you did."
He licks his lips, walks over to the window and gingerly, as if afraid of punishment, looks out of it. I watch as the translucent shadows of the blinds creep over him, and something dangerously close to empathy wells in me. I decide to not tell him that I am far from lucky, and that I know exactly how it feels to be empty and just an insignificant dot in the wide world.
E N D
P E A C H
A/N: Ta da! A plot at last! I'm always writing fics about overthrowing Master Hand - it's this thing where I can't see the Mansion and tournament as anything but a torture house. Mewtwo's motives are a bit vague here on purpose, because it's his chapter next and obviously that will delve into it a bit more. I'm really hoping I did Ganondorf justice - I really enjoyed writing him but it's no good if I didn't pull it off XD
As always, reviews are greatly appreciated for this sorry excuse of a fanfic. They're all that keeps me going with this story because after a while, writing IYLM hurts my head with all the mind games going on. -glares at Ganondorf and Mewtwo-
Thanks for reading!