She found him sitting in the meadow outside her castle, looking at the stars.
Looking for her.
The gold buttons on his overalls glittered in the moonlight. His gloved hands were firmly planted on the ground. He was leaning back, gazing at the nighttime sky.
Peach knew she should go back inside. Toad and the other members of the royal court would soon start looking for her, especially in light of the most recent business with Bowser. But, the princess found herself unwilling to break away from her assessment of the man in front of her.
Mario hadn’t spoken much –and had eaten even less – since he had rescued her from Bowser. Whatever he had experienced during their separation had affected her longtime friend.
He shifted slightly, catching Peach off guard. She hadn’t wanted him to find her out here, watching him. But, he did a double-take in her direction and she knew she had been caught. He scrambled to his feet and dusted off his overalls. “Princess, is there something wrong?” His mustache turned downward.
She smoothed out the non-existent wrinkles on her dress to avoid his inquisitive look. “No, nothing is wrong, Mario,” she quickly assured him. “I was just…going for an evening stroll.”
She was pretty sure he could see through the lie, but he didn’t comment on it. She took a step towards him. “Is everything alright? You have been so quiet since our return to the Mushroom Kingdom.”
This time it was the plumber’s turn to look away awkwardly. “I was looking for someone.” Rosalina. “To say thank you.” He fidgeted with the strap on his overalls. “I never got a chance to tell her that.”
Peach gently laid a gloved hand on his arm. “I’m sure she knows.”
As if the heavens heard her proclamation, a rainbow streak lit up the night sky. Mario’s eyes widened. “Do you think that was her?”
Peach allows a small smile to pass over her lips. “Yes. Now,” she says, weaving her fingers with his, “let’s go inside. I baked you a cake.”