Written for my favorite Mario fanfic on the internet, Change of Heart by ebtwisty9. It's simply amazing; I wasn't disappointed in the least when I first read it. Anyway, here's something in celebration of it.

Set during the events of...crap, which game is it...the one with the animals...er...oh yeah, Super Mario Bros. 3! Knew I'd remember it eventually. I just get the game names mixed up sometimes; God knows there are a MILLION of 'em...

I apologize for any mistakes I made, so please forgive any that you see!

Disclaimer: Sadly, this Saya owns...well, nothing of the Mario universe D:

Summary: Just because his father is in love with Peach does not mean Ludwig has to approve. But maybe he'll suffer his own change of heart soon enough. Inspired by ebtwisty9's Change of Heart.

Do, Re, Mi
By: Saya Moonshadow

Ludwig von Koopa did not approve of his father's choice in women. Well, except for the late Queen, his mother, of course, but that went without saying. No, he didn't approve of his father's choice in women AFTER his mother's untimely death at the hands of that stupid plumber in red, Mario, however accidental that death might have been. Mario didn't even know it had happened, after all.

He had to admit that he could see why his father had this ridiculous infatuation with her, though: she was really a beautiful woman, with long, silky blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, and smooth, fair skin. Not to mention her figure was quite nice, too, probably from all the exercise she got during the various sports she participated in.

But that was it. She was beautiful, but Ludwig was rather unimpressed with her when his father first kidnapped her. At first he had flung her over into Larry's domain, Grass Land, for safekeeping, and Ludwig had expected that to be it. But then one day, she had been flung - literally - into his castle by his irate father, and Ludwig realized that this was going to be a problem.

Especially when, after questioning Bowser, he learned that all six of his siblings had been defeated by the plumber in red and it was only a matter of time before said plumber marched on him as well.

This was not good. His siblings were defeated and possibly in critical condition (his father refused to tell him of their statuses, further increasing his fears for their wellbeing), he was bored out of his mind with Pipe Land, having conquered it in every single way, and now he was forced to entertain and be polite to a pampered pink Princess.

But, being Ludwig, he was cordial to her, although formally so. Instead of referring to her as "Mama Peach", as his siblings were wont to do, he merely called her "Your Highness". Even though he himself was a Prince and the future King of the Darklands.

To her credit, Princess Peach Toadstool seemed perfectly content with shutting herself up in the room he had allotted her all day, and only came out for meals, as he had stubbornly refused to have them sent up to her.

During each of those meals, neither spoke, which was a bit uncomfortable for Ludwig. He was used to a chaotic atmosphere, which was another thing that bothered him about Pipe Land. The servants in the castle were all too terrified of him to be of any use for proper conversation, and around him, they were all on their best behavior to keep from angering him in some way. (None of them could match up to his intellect, either. Even at home, the only ones who came close were Kamek and Iggy.)

Their behavior towards him made the Koopaling frown. He was not a cruel being, of that he was fairly certain. Yes, he could be pompous and a bit arrogant, but then again, what twelve-year-old wasn't? And besides, this land was his father's gift to him, nothing more. To be honest, Ludwig preferred it in the Darklands.

When not practicing his battle skills in anticipation of Mario's arrival (particularly blowing fire, as he was currently the only one of his siblings able to do so), he was in the former Pipe Land King's music chamber, playing the piano.

It was a skill he had discovered early on in his life, when his mother was still alive. She had been an advocate of music herself, and for his third birthday had gotten him a toy piano. Instead of mindless discord, he had surprised her and the rest of the palace's inhabitants by pressing the keys to make a scale, giggling to himself all the while.

He'd always be grateful to his mother for recognizing his potential right off and getting him the best of music tutors. It was his life's passion, and if it weren't for the fact that he would one day be King, he knew he would have made a name for himself as a master musician, even better than Toadofsky.

Of course, music was not something just ANYBODY could understand. It took someone of real TALENT to fully grasp its beauty. This was why none of his siblings shared his love, of that he was certain. Sure, they liked to LISTEN to it occasionally, but when it came to learning the instruments, only Roy and Larry could be bothered. And even then, it was only the drums and guitar respectively, although he HAD persuaded Larry to try his claw at violin.

Needless to say, he never bothered with their musical talents ever again.

He just wished someone else was on his level. Someone, ANYONE. Heck, he wouldn't be too bothered if Princess Peach knew something about music, because at least she would be knowledgeable in the field.

What did she do up there all day, Ludwig found himself wondering four days after she had come to stay in his castle. Did she just sit up there and cry, like he imagined she did? Did she sleep? Or did she read? He'd put her in a room that had a bookshelf and an admittedly staticky television in it so that at least she wouldn't go mad from cabin fever, but still...what did she do to occupy herself? Surely she didn't just read and watch television all day? What a miserable existence that would be.

Maybe she watched horror movies. He found that idea amusing, as he himself had a secret love for them, and the thought of the pampered Princess Peach fainting over one of them made a chuckle burst forth. Horror and musicals. The only kind of movies worth watching in his opinion. Knowing how most women were, though, she'd probably be watching some sort of chick flick.

For some reason, the question of just what the heck she did with herself refused to leave him for the rest of the day, and it was on the tip of his tongue to ask her during dinner, although he instead chose to occupy himself with doing the soup he had just been served justice.

The only words she spoke to him were, "Good evening" and "Goodnight", as usual. He responded in kind, in his usual formal, polite manner when she bade him goodnight, and watched her leave the dining room with a frown on his face.

"S-sir?"

"What?" he snapped at the servant who had just spoken, and said servant quailed with fear.

"D-d-do you want...er, th-that is, i-is there anything else w-we can g-g-g-get for you...?"

He thought for a minute. "No. Unless you plan on serving dessert. In which case, I want you to bring some up to Princess Peach as well."

The servant looked surprised, but bowed quickly and rushed off. A moment later, he was back with a bowl of ice cream, which Ludwig devoured in his usual methodic way, contemplating the whole time. There had to be a reason for his sudden...interest concerning the pink Princess.

Just what did his father see in her, anyway, he wondered sourly as he sucked on his spoon. She was beautiful, but that was it. And, well, she was sort of polite. Sort of. She never spoke outside of greeting him during meals, but that was to be expected. He WAS her jailer, after all. If she held some sort of resentment towards him, who could blame her?

Did she have any amount of intellect at all? He doubted it, having learned that with beauty very rarely came brains. In most Koopa women, anyway.

After finishing the bowl of ice cream (which he had not really tasted), Ludwig left it sitting on the long table and went back to the music chamber. Instead of being able to relax and continue with his latest composition as he had intended to, however, he found himself hitting more and more discordant keys, which frustrated him beyond belief.

Finally, after an hour of virtually no progress, he flung his pen down and stared at the piano moodily. Just what was WRONG with him?

It was all that Princess's fault, he decided. The curiosity concerning her had not abated in the least bit, and it was distracting him from life's greatest pleasure. Of course this would have to be remedied.

And in order to remedy this, he'd have to find a way to find out what she got up to without being seen. If she thought he had any interest in knowing what was up with her, there would be trouble. She'd probably think he was a softie, which was unacceptable. Ludwig von Koopa was anything but a softie, something Pipe Land had learned the hard way.

His preoccupation with her came from the fact that there was the possibility she would one day be his mother, he was forced to admit. He was a very perceptive, inquisitive Koopa, and liked to know everything about the people he dealt with. It was less dangerous that way. And he knew virtually nothing about Princess Peach.

What if she DID marry his father and become his mother? What then? The idea of it happening before he'd had a chance to figure her out gave him a twinge of nervousness that annoyed him greatly.

And, of course, there was the issue of replacement. She would be replacing his REAL mother. He harbored no delusions of his parents' relationship; Bowser had not loved Clawdia, and everyone knew it. They'd had children together, but that was it. And the marriage had been arranged, something that disgusted Ludwig. He shuddered at the thought of being forced into a marriage someday, and had vowed long ago to abolish arranged marriages the second he became King.

Alright. He'd get nothing done by just sitting there. Shaking slightly, he stood up, berating himself for his sudden nervousness. It was nothing, he told himself. But what if she got mad at him for spying on her?

Since when did he care? It wasn't like she was his mother. And besides, there was no way she'd ever know. Although just how he was going to accomplish said spying was beyond him, but he always was good at thinking on his feet. Maybe he could have a servant go in and ask if she needed anything, then have them report to him?

No, that would only generate unneeded rumors and give him an even worse reputation than he already had. Ludwig wasn't stupid; he knew what the servants said about him when they thought he couldn't hear. Monster child, they called him, along with several other, unfriendly names.

Psh. He was no monster. A monster was a...a beast. He was a refined Koopaling. That didn't mean it didn't sting, though. It DID sting to have to consider the possibility that there were people who considered him to be a monster.

He'd just have to listen at her door, he decided, pushing the depressing thoughts away. See if he could hear the pages of a book being turned or the sound of a TV set. Anything that would clue him in as to just what his potential mother was like.

(As he walked up the steps to the room he'd given her, he wondered if his orders concerning dessert being sent up to her had been followed, but decided he didn't care right then. He'd deal with that later.)

But when he turned into the hallway where her room was situated, he stopped and strained his ears. What was...that? Was that singing?

No, it couldn't possibly be, Ludwig told himself, walking further, but as he got closer to her door, he couldn't deny it. She was SINGING to herself in her room, a song he didn't know.

This had shaken up any and all pre-conceived notions he had had of her, and he was not ashamed to admit that he was absolutely shocked. She sang? She sang like THAT? She was singing a song about the beauty of the mountains, not some kind of chick-y song like the ones Wendy always had playing? That kind of singing was worthy of being in a professional group. Just what kind of person was he dealing with here?

She took a deep breath as the song ended, and Ludwig found himself hoping she'd start up again, which she did after a second of panting, wound up from belting out the previous song so hard. And, to his delight, this was a song he knew. One of Toadofsky's pieces, in fact.

Well. This was unexpected. But not unwelcome. Definitely not unwelcome.

Princess Peach choked off as someone knocked on her door, and quickly opened it up to see the blue-haired Koopaling who was currently keeping her prisoner here standing in the doorway, a strangely pleased look on his face.

"Er...y-yes?" she asked, and the Koopaling actually smiled at her, something that shocked her immeasurably. He had spent the last four or so days pointedly ignoring her for the most part, so what had brought about this sudden...change of heart?

"I instructed the servants to deliver a bowl of ice cream to you, Your Highness." he said, his voice just beginning to deepen with puberty, she noted with some amusement. "I just wish to inquire as to whether or not my orders were followed."

Frowning, she pointed to the half-eaten bowl of ice cream on the dresser. "Yes, they did, thank you. Um, is that all you're here for, er...?"

"Ludwig von Koopa." the Koopaling said almost cheerfully, "And thank you for your cooperation, Your Highness. I wish you a pleasant evening."

"Um, you too?"

He smiled at her again, then he shut the door behind him as he exited, practically skipping on his way back to the music room. Peach raised a brow as the door closed, but decided to write it off as one of the many odd things Koopas did and went back to her singing. Hopefully Mario would come for her soon and things would go back to the way they were SUPPOSED to be. Back when she was still at home, ruling her kingdom, and not under the claw of an obviously slightly nutty blue-haired Koopa child.

Although, for a Koopa, he was very cute, in the way that most small children have a tendency to be. God knew the spiky-haired one, Larry or whatever he had called himself, was nothing short of adorable. That she couldn't deny, she thought with a slight chuckle and finished her song.

Now, the rest of that ice cream was calling her.

X x X

In his music room again, Ludwig sat down at the bench in front of the piano, humming to himself. She could SING. She knew something about REAL music, not the commercialized "fake" music of today's pop culture. And he was willing to bet his shell that she could play an instrument too. A proper one, like the violin, perhaps, or maybe the piano. The thought made a shiver of pleasure run down his spine.

As he positioned his hands over the keyboard again, he allowed himself another smile. Maybe having her as a mother wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.

X x X

END.

X x X

AN: Alright, once again, that was for ebtwisty9 and her story Change of Heart! In whichever chapter it was, Peach helped Ludwig a bit with one of his many musical pieces, so I wanted to build upon that a bit. I have a feeling Ludwig bases his opinions of people around their musical talents, whether unconsciously or not. It's certainly bound to gain them brownie points if they're musical, anyway.

I also think he'd be a little skeptical towards the concept of gaining a new mother, so I wanted to write something about that skepticism and the process towards which he started to accept it a bit more.

One more thing: Ludwig seems to be a fan of horror, as referenced in his level in Hotel Mario, which is why I made him a secret lover of horror movies here. Hope you don't mind.

Review, please!