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It started, like may things do, with a stupid scheme.

 

Not on his part mind you, no, this was not one of his own plans (which were NEVER stupid, thank you very much). This one was on the brother/brother duo of Mario and, and… green…. Mario. Dang it, he forgot his name again. Well, so what? He was busy, and remembering the name of his worst’s enemies scaredy-cat brother has never been on top of his priorities list.  

 

Well, it hadn’t been, at any rate,until recently when it became important. Which comes back to the scheme in question.

 

Before the SchemeTM occurred, Bowser could say reasonably honestly that the only human he had ever cared about, truly, was Princess Peach. There were of course the political reasons for such. She ran a vast and prosperous kingdom with many natural resources it would be very convenient of which to have control. That only told half of the story however, see, he’d been such a lonely reptile growing up,

 

Not many friends, yet, Peach, even when taken away against her will, always managed to stay kind and pleasant. It was…nice. Her company always made him feel like, for a moment, maybe he had someone who cared.

 

Of course, that feeling was always temporary; ruined by that no good plumber at every turn.

 

Fine, maybe his methods aren’t great, but asking for things? He’s a king! Kings conquer! They take what they want! Right?

 

Yet, Peach is always happiest when she’s gone. The illusion she could learn to like it here always shattered by her smile when her hero finally rescues her. Anger is so much easier to deal with and project than the dreadfully empty feeling when she leaves.

 

He thinks… perhaps she knows though. Maybe hopes even, with some company he could make another friend and stop trying to force his company on one person. Why else would be invited so so many events in spite of everything? He never tries though. Mario is there, and his hopes of showing off to the Princess, beating that annoying short stack at something for once, takes top priority.

So of course, noticing his loser brother beyond him ever being the annoying helper to his twin, well, it never had much point to it.

 

Still, if there’s one thing he did know about Greenie, it was how fearful he was. In hindsight, now that he contemplates it, there was also a lot of sadness too. He was accepted by everyone else in a way Bowser was not, yet…wasn’t. He was still somehow an outsider. Just less so.

 

When he’d been here though… he’d seemed at home.

 

Not at first, no, then again getting kidnapped in drag will likely do that to you. That’s what the stupid scheme was, somehow they’d caught wind of his plans, and had come up with the idea to disguise someone to be taken in the Princess’s stead. Thus keeping the princess safe ( as if he’d ever harmed her, or would ever harm her).

 

Greenstache had been the unfortunate winner of the look alike contest it seems. Which, on paper, sounds insane. Peach looks nothing like the Mario brother, but he was the fool who fell for it wasn’t he? So how can he judge.

 

He still feels like an idiot, he was so caught up in the excitement of having Peach home again he’d missed all the clues.

 

Perhaps that isn’t fair. Lou…Lem…Luigi! (Yes that was it, finally!!!) Luigi was surprisingly well suited to a dress. Er, that is, he had the right frame to pull off a Peach impersonation. The closest to her height between Mario and the Toads, slim-ish, those lovely blue eyes….

 

Er, well, plus, he has the right face shape too, when you cover the nose and facial hair. So of course it wasn’t just that he was too dumb to notice the difference between the Princess and an impostor; they just did a good job making him up to look like her. Yeah.

 

The fact he was a little bit pretty only helped.

 

When he had taken the fake Princess, he’d done what he usually tries to do when she’s there, spend time with her. What, you think he keeps her in a cage the whole time? No, only when word arrives that Mario’s shown up. For her protection.

That should have been the first sign, how surprised Luigi had been by that information. (Had the Princess really never told them?)

 

Perhaps Luigi just wasn’t so used to the attention being focused all on him, as he’d spent the first half of their time horribly shy. (The Princess by contrast was usually exasperated, polite, but always clear in that she wanted to leave). He was also probably terrified too, now he thought even more about it. It had struck him odd, but he’d been too happy she was going along with this so well he’d accepted it.

 

Still, as time passed, and Bowser’s attention stayed; he’d opened up a little, seemed to enjoy having a conversation. It had been so refreshing for Bowser to have someone to enjoy his company too.

 

“She” had talked about cooking, recipe tips, books “she” had read. He’d never remembered the “Princess” being so knowledgeable about mechanics, but it’d been so interesting listening to the passion “she’d” had. Lugi was also a good listener. He seemed to find Bowser’s love for his children as he’s bragged about their recent accomplishments endearing. Had laughed when he’d joked, and for the first time “Peach” really seemed happy to visit.

 

That didn’t last. Bowser wasn’t a complete fool, and he’d been so angry to be duped. Then Mario had arrived, never having planned to leave his brother there, obviously, just to give the Princess a break.

 

Bowser had been angry. Angry at being duped, angry at himself for letting him be duped, angry at Mario for always defeating him. Angry it had all been fake. The best visit he’d had with Peach and it wasn’t even Peach! He couldn’t run from the lonely feeling it left him with this time.

 

Perhaps that’s why his focus started drifting away from the Princess; his spare thoughts finding a new object of interest. One who had, briefly, made him feel like he had a real friend.

 

Maybe the Princess had been right all along. She had always told him if would try to make friends; he might find he likes some of the people he had looked at with distrust. He hadn’t been interested, they looked at him like a monster, why should he bother? That wasn’t going to change. This was all he had. He didn’t like it, but that’s how it was, right?

 

Even as he thought it, he hoped it wasn’t really true. It had to be be a lie now. Maybe a lie he’d told himself countless years, had come to believe, but now it needed to be only a falsehood because every time he saw the green plumber now he wanted him to like him.

 

Why getting his attention was this hard hard was unfair, especially as not many others seem to be vying for it, (Though he felt a bit less bad that he was not the only one who struggled with his name). Aside from the orange Princess maybe, he wasn’t too sure what they were to each other,but she liked Luigi. At least she hung around him often enough at sporting events. Bowser didn’t like to get too close to her. Unlike Peach, she had no patience with him, and wasn’t afraid to let him have it. So he would wait, but as soon as she would leave him be Mario would show up. Another person he would prefer not to deal with, so he had yet to really talk to Greenie again.

 

 

Still, he had picked up some things through observation. Luigi was left handed, for example. He was nice in ways that most would never notice; the little things he would do when he thought no one was looking. He shied from praise, eternally modest. He was softer than he brother, gentler.

 

Often out of focus as well, which seemed unfair in a way it never had before. Especially when he saw an all too familiar look in his supposed-to-be enemy.

 

Maybe He was a little lonely too.

 

After all, Miss Orange only visited for events, too busy with her own country. Who else did he hang out with when she wasn’t there? Mario was likely busy, party due to Bowser, but never the less. Peach had a country to run. The Toads often seemed indifferent to him.

 

Bowser wondered often if he would really mind all that much to be swept away…

 

No, no kidnapping. It never got him anywhere with Peach. He was going to do it right this time. If life had seem fit to give him a new crush on his archenemies brother, well, he was going to handle it correctly. Somehow.

 

He just needed to get him alone again, that’s all. He needed to talk to him some way they couldn’t be interrupted. Yes. And he was not going to think about the possibility of rejection. Again.

 

“Moping again Sire?”

 

Bowser did not jump at the voice that cut through his thoughts. He did not.

 

“What is it Kamek?” He growled, but there was no real heat to it.

 

The elder magikoopa chuckled, amused. “Forgive me, but subtlety is not your strong suit.”

 

The larger koopa flushed, grateful his scales prevented it from being visible. Kamek went on.

 

“If I may make a suggestion, if you do not know how to say what you feel, you should write it.”

 

“And what do you know of how I feel?” He huffed.

 

“You cannot fool me, and this has gone on long enough.” He stepped closer, placing a comforting hand on the Koopa King’s arm. “Son, whatever happens you will still have me, Junior, and all the Koopalings, as well as your subjects. Whatever happens, we will all be here still.”

 

It was… a touching sentiment, Bowser couldn’t deny the warmth it filled him with, and he sighed.

 

“I’ll…try it.”

 

“Good.”

 

 

Luigi had heard the mail Toad drop off today’s assortment several minutes ago now, and decided to go ahead and grab it before he started lunch. Mario was out at the moment, but promised he would be home for a meal, and so he was going to cook today.

 

He loved doing so, but there was never too much point in going to the effort when he was home alone.

 

He walked to the end of the path to where the mailbox stood, going over the ingredients they had at home versus the recipes that sounded good today. Lost in thought, he didn’t immediately look over the stack of letters that awaited him behind the small door of the box, lowering the plastic flag and shutting it tight.

 

Spaghetti would be an easy one, but they eat so much pasta as it is, perhaps a soup?

 

He sat down at the kitchen table, starting to sort. Most of the letters were for Mario. Fan mail, invites, and other such things that came with being well known. Some were bills, or advertisements.

 

Then his own name caught his eye.

 

Well, this was a nice surprise. It’s not that he never got letters, but it was far less common. He didn’t mind, that much mail could be overwhelming, and it just made it all the more special when someone did take the time to write to him.

 

The envelope was fairly plain, no return address, and nothing to give away the sender. Odd.

 

He decided to go ahead and read it.

 

His eyes widened as he scanned through the contents.

 

It was a love letter.

 

“Dear Luigi.

I don’t know how to build up to this, so I’m just going to say it. I like you. A lot. I didn’t always, but I never really had spent time with you either.

 

But when we did…well, you’re really nice to talk to. So maybe I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. You’re really nice, and fun, and you’re eyes are really pretty too.

 

So, if the thought of giving me a chance doesn’t completely repulse you, I’d like to hang out with you sometime. Alone. Together. But uh, not necessarily in private,

 

What I mean is, I don’t want you to be uncomfortable, so if you want to meet for a coffee instead of my castle that’s cool. You already know my address, so uh, just tell me if you want to. Or ignore this, and I’ll get the message.

 

I do really mean this though, so even if you say no you deserve to having someone tell you how amazing you are. So..yeah. Think about it?

 

- Bowser”

 

Luigi read the letter over several times, not believing the contents existence.

 

Not knowing how he felt about the matter either.

 

If this letter is sincere as Bowser claims (and why would it not be? What would Boswer have to gain from pretending to like himself of all people?), then it means he’s managed to again the affections the Mushroom Kingdom’s number one enemy.

 

That was a little bit scary.

 

Yet…it was also a little bit flattering. 

 

He couldn’t deny he’d enjoy their conversation that time they’d had the chance, even if he had been pretending to be someone else and his wig had itched terribly. The dress was surprisingly comfortable though, no wonder Peach enjoys them.

 

He took the letter to his room, and thought it over as he prepared lunch. It had been such a surprise, he wasn’t sure how he felt in return. He’d found Bowser terrifying for so long, and it was only very recently he had come to see him in a new light. A less scary light.

 

It explained some things though. How he’s sometimes catch the large koopa starting at him during their last tennis game, but when Luigi would look his way he had seemed frustrated.

 

He’d thought maybe Bowser had been angry at him…but now he thought of it, had it been something else? He blushed.

 

Mario returned, and had many positive words about the meatball soup, but sadly couldn’t stay too long. Perhaps it was for the best, as Luigi had been distracted all through their shared meal. He decided not to tell his brother, for now at any rate. Luigi wanted to figure out what he wanted for himself first.

 

Mario had been gone a few hours when Luigi decided he had picked a decision.

 

He went to his shared room, pulling out the chair in from of the desk, the stationary Daisy had gifted him sitting on top next to a coffee mug full of pens. He usually only used it to send the Sarasaland Princess a letter, so it would be a nice change to have use for it elsewhere.

  

 

He sat down and began to write.

 

“Dear Bowser,”