Chapter 2: Burn Ward
"Isn't this great Samus? We're like the two most agile fighters here and we're on the same team!" Pit could hardly contain his excitement as he waited with the blonde-haired bounty hunter. "Oh this is gonna be so cool! We'll be like two peas in the hand; worth a lot more than any golden goose, right Samus?"
"Uh-huh, yeah, sure," Samus muttered. She played with a few values on her paralyzer before casting a calm and determined look Pit's way. "I'm ready. You'd better be too."
"Ready? Uh, yeah! I'm ready, but shouldn't we come up with some kind of game plan?"
"We'll be fighting two others who are unknown to us at the moment. There's no use in planning for something like that. Just keep your head in the game and stay quick on your feet," Samus replied. She jabbed a finger at Pit. "Above all else, pull your own weight and don't get yourself knocked out."
The angel gulped and looked down at his feet. The two brawlers, Pit and Samus in her zero suit, were called upon to fight together in a team battle that day. Pit was his usual self; enthusiastic, chipper and eager to prove his worth to both the rest of the smashers and his goddess. Samus was anything but chipper, yet the woman was more determined than most fighters. Her cold demeanor put many fighters on the defensive, and though her professional attitude threw Pit off a bit, she could tell that he would do his best out there on the battlefield.
"The match will begin in thirty seconds!" came the voice of the announcer. "Red team is ready! Blue team, please proceed to the teleporters!"
Pit whirled around and looked for his teleporter. The Smash Mansion's sublevels contained all the nuts and bolts for the main events, including but not limited to training rooms, personal Sandbag pummeling areas and teleporters for those about to fight. The angel jumped onto his teleporter and couldn't help but grin when his sandals clunked against the cold metal exterior of such an advanced piece of technology. He pulled out his bladed bow and plucked the string before looking over to Samus.
"Hey! Good luck out there! Let's show 'em what blue team can do!"
The Metroid hunter only glared back at him before the teleporters sparked to life and whisked the two away to the Battlefield stage. It was a simple and small stage that offered a lot of room for agile fighters to move around. However, because it was so small, large and powerful fighters could easily control the flow of battle. Two distinct roars from nearby ran shivers up Pit's spine.
There in the distance were the two fighters of red team, Bowser and Charizard. Embers fizzled around their maws while their clawed hands were poised and ready for the fight ahead. Despite their intimidating size and raw power, Pit had every bit of confidence in himself and Samus. Plus, if Bowser or Charizard should use their flames against him, the angel could protect himself without any trouble. Why, the match was practically won already!
"Three, two, one... Go!"
"I should have some around here somewhere. Let's see... Ah! Here we go!"
Mario reached into his medicine cabinet and pulled out a large bottle of aspirin. Though his megavitamin pills, a trade secret, were able to fix a lot of common illnesses and leave a fighter feeling better than they were before, nothing could quite compare to the tried and true pain relief that aspirin provided. The Italian man produced a smaller pill bottle and fed a dozen aspirin into it before capping it up and handing it off to a grey-skinned woman in yoga attire.
"I shouldn't have to tell you anything about how to be well. You know all the tricks!"
"Yep! But there's only so much a person can do on their own." The Wii Fit Trainer pocketed her aspirin and rubbed her head. "Medicine can do so much for one's body and wellness. In fact, besides the pain-relieving qualities, aspirin is very effective at thinning the blood and reducing the risks of heart attack and strokes."
"Hmm! I didn't know about the strokes!" Mario replied as he reached back into the medicine cabinet and looked over the aspirin. He made a mental note to procure some more pills. "How is your headache now, Trainer?"
The woman rubbed her temples next and took a few deep breaths before flashing the doctor a thumbs-up.
"Still a little woozy, but I'll be fine. I didn't expect you to headbutt the ball back at me!"
Mario let loose a hearty laugh and touched his forehead where a tiny welt had formed. He turned back to the trainer and clasped his hands together, signaling that he had done his job.
"I'm surprised I did that myself! I should have used my cape, but I must have been reminded of my striker days... Ah, anyway, take two aspirin a day and in a few days you should be okie-dokie."
"Thanks Mario. I'll return the bottle when I'm finished." The Wii Fit Trainer saw herself out of the clinic only to peer back in from the doorway. "You know, you could do with a little more jogging every now and then."
Before Mario could offer a few words in his defense, the trainer had vanished. The portly plumber couldn't help but feel put off by that comment as he had tried in the past to lose a bit of weight here and there. His original profession as a carpenter didn't offer much room to be active, but when he became a plumber and began to embark on adventures within and beyond the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario was about as active as a sports star. But despite all his running, jumping and smashing the man just couldn't lose that potbelly of his.
"More jogging? I'm as healthy as a Yoshi!" Mario exclaimed, baffled.
But like the easygoing man he was, Mario shrugged and let it go like water off a duck's back. Almost nothing got under his skin. He held no grudges, no vendettas, and no delusions of grandeur either!
"As for me, I should do something different today instead of sports. Hmm, what would Luigi do?" Mario asked himself as he began to tidy up his clinic. He sorted his megavitamins out along with various medical instruments. "Reading? No no, not very interesting... Unless it's a cookbook, heeheehee! Ah, I'll figure out something to do."
And figure out something he did. After a half-hour of doing inventories and cleaning, the door to the clinic opened up and in stepped Samus Aran in her zero suit. Mario was about to ask what she needed when he noticed that the woman was leading a charred angel inside along with her. It was confusing to see the two of them together at this time of day, seeing as Samus and Pit were supposed to be participating in team battles at the moment, but Mario understood that this was a medical emergency. Master Hand must have postponed the battles for awhile, at least until any injuries or wounds had healed.
"B-by the sacred treasures... I c-can still feel the burning!" Pit cried as he shambled along after Samus.
"Come on, come on, it's not that bad; you'll be fine," Samus reassured the angel. She approached Mario and presented Pit before him. "Doctor? Pit could really use your help."
It didn't take long for Mario to figure out what was wrong with Pit. He had noticed the smell of burnt clothing and skin, more so the former than the latter, but seeing the inflamed skin and charred angel wings made it clear that Pit had suffered quite a bit from flames. The doctor took Pit aside and sat him down on a hospital gurney to examine him a little more.
"Hmm... Looks like second-degree burns to me." Mario looked over to Samus. "You two were battling today, yes? What happened?"
"Lots and lots of fire," Pit whimpered. His wings were tightly folded against his back as if he was putting pressure on his own wounds. "Ow ow ow ow ow!"
"We were fighting Bowser and Charizard today," Samus explained. "At one point Pit got between them and they unleashed their fire breath at the same time."
Mario nodded in understanding. Having fought Bowser so many times he could identify the wounds left behind by his fire breath and knew that it was vital to clean things up right away. He went over to his desk and snapped on a pair of vinyl gloves before skipping over to a sink to procure a basin of water. He could hear Pit's whimpers of pain and had to remind himself that the angel had had much worse before. Once the basin of water was all set, the doctor moved over to the gurney and looked up to the angel.
"Alrighta. Pit, do you think you can manage to take off some of your clothes? Just your tunic and upper body for now, okay?" As Pit struggled yet managed to do just that, Mario looked over to Samus. He raised an eyebrow when he noticed her lingering near the doorway. "You're-a-gonna go so soon?"
"Yeah, I have to. The battle's been postponed but not for long. Blue team will be down a fighter, but I'm going to go see if Master Hand will let me switch into my power suit to make up for it." She looked over to Pit and actually smiled for once. Granted it was a simple sympathetic gesture, but it was a smile nonetheless. "Hey. When I beat those two I'll come back and see if there's anything I can do to help you out."
Samus left soon after and closed the clinic door behind her. Once she was gone Pit breathed a sigh of relief only to cringe in agony as Mario began to rinse his burned skin.
"Augh! What are you doing Mario?"
"I'm-a rinsing the burned areas until the pain stops," Mario explained. He cupped his hands and poured some water down the angel's back. "Don't-a worry, I'm a doctor!"
"Y-you know, when I first saw you in that coat I thought you were just wearing a costume," Pit said. "I didn't think you were a real doctor!"
"Oh yeah! I'm a real certified doctor alright. First I was a carpenter ya know." Mario moved his hands over the burn wounds and continued to lather them up with cool water. Though Pit hissed every now and then, eventually the frequency of his cries of agony died down. "So, how was fighting with Samus?"
"She's kind of scary, actually. All that hurty-looking equipment she has makes me not want to fight her one-on-one!"
"She's always prepared for anything. She's probably got more combat experience than any of the Fire Emblem characters," Mario surmised. "However, she's not the best at working with others. The only fighters she seems to work well with are Pikachu and Snake from the last Smash Brothers."
Pit nodded and mumbled in agreement. The bounty hunter had a lone-wolf kind of mindset and did her best work while alone. It seemed to the angel that he had just been an inconvenience to her in the previous battle. Yet Pit was quick to reassure himself that Samus probably had put her faith in him and believed that he could handle himself out there. Just because a teammate didn't stick by you didn't mean they didn't believe in you, Pit thought with a smile.
Once a few minutes had passed in relative silence and Pit's burned skin stopped flaring up, Mario nudged his wings and tried to get them to unfold. The magnificent angel wings, once a blinding white color, were now a light grey from the flames and soot. Mario could see that some feathers had been burned completely and exposed the vulnerable skin beneath. Out of all the places Pit had been burned, it seemed that the wings received the brunt of two infernos.
"H-hey Mario, I gotta ask you something," Pit said with a hiss of pain when he felt the doctor's hands on his wings. "How do you deal with fighting Princess Peach in a battle?"
"Hmm? I'm afraid I don't understand the question Pit," Mario replied.
"I mean, Lady Palutena is participating in this Smash Brothers tournament, and Princess Peach joined the melee way before she did."
"Oh I get it." Mario chuckled and finished up on Pit's wings before grabbing some soap and mixing it in with the water. He took a soft sponge and lathered up the angel's inflamed skin to clean the burns. "You're wondering how I deal with fighting Peachie when I'm supposed to keep her safe and sound, yes?"
"Yeah, yeah! I'm practically Lady Palutena's right-hand man as well as the captain of her royal bodyguards. She's like a mother to me too, and I'm not sure how I can go out there and fight her."
"Didn't you fight her before in your own universe?"
"I did? Oh, yeah, I forgot. B-but that was because she was under a dark influence. This time it feels like I'm attacking her for no good reason other than entertainment or training, and even then, I don't like the idea of hurting Lady Palutena."
Mario continued to clean the angel's burns and soon moved to the more sensitive parts of the wings. When he touched a sore spot Pit flinched in reflex and smacked Mario's nose with the tip of his wing. The poor doctor couldn't help but sneeze in response.
"Ooh! Sorry, my bad."
"It's alright. But I know what you mean Pit. I thought the same way when Peachie joined up in Melee." Mario rubbed his nose and pulled his mustache before getting back to cleaning. "You just gotta put it behind you. Think of Palutena as just another fighter and don't hold back on her."
"Just another fighter? She's the Goddess of light!"
"So?" Mario cut in with a shrug of his shoulders. "Princess Peach is the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, but I don't hesitate to toss fire her way in a battle. Same way with my brother. I believe it's respectful to treat them like anyone else. That way they know that I won't go easy on them, so they don't feel like they're being patronized."
"Huh... I never thought of it like that Mario. I guess Lady Palutena would get annoyed if I didn't fight her." Pit grinned sheepishly and snapped his fingers. "Plus, Viridi would never let me hear the end of it. Alright, I'll go after her like I'll go after Link then!"
"That's the spirit Pit! Now hold on while I go and get the burn ointment." The merry doctor turned on his heel and went to his medicine cabinet once again. "You may have to not use your wings for awhile. I'll have to bandage them up so the wounds don't get infected, but you'll be able to move normally."
As Mario returned to Pit with ointment and gauze in hand, he noticed a darker copy of the angel lingering in the clinic doorway. Though the doctor wasn't the least bit annoyed at seeing Dark Pit around, Pit was a completely different story. He turned and shot his dark counterpart a look of sheer terror, like that of a deer caught in the headlights of a truck.
"What's the matter Kid Icarus? Fly a little too close to the sun?" Dark Pit said with a sneer and a chuckle.
"Aw come on, don't call me that," Pit whined.
To Pit's chagrin, he heard a good-hearted laugh from Mario in response. Must be Pick-On-Pit Day, the angel thought as he buried his embarrassed face in his hands.
Chapter 3: Ganondorf's Debt
For a moment, all seemed to be well and good in the Smash Mansion. Dr. Mario had been busy tending to the smashers and their petty problems like minor wounds and cuts, and while he helped them out as much as he was able, the hero of the Mushroom Kingdom wanted nothing more than a break in the action to tend to himself for once. The man had a few rough nights where he couldn't get any sleep and when he had to get up early to participate in battles, Mario could barely keep up with the others. He soldiered on the best that he could though and got in as many naps as he was able.
His stomach rumbled as he sat at his desk.
"Whata time is it?" Mario grumbled. He looked up from his paperwork and to a clock sitting on the wall nearby. "Wait a minute... Is that- Oh no! I missed dinnertime!"
Now, there were many things that Mario loved in the world. Food just so happened to be one of them. He would eat raw mushrooms, stews, breads and pastries, treats of all shapes and sizes, foreign food and above all else, pasta. The man loved pasta like he loved breathing! To miss a chance at grabbing the most delectable of foods was to commit an unspeakable atrocity in Mario's eyes. The poor man grasped his head in both hands and smothered his forehead on the surface of his desk.
But, as per Smash Brothers tradition when things aren't going one's way, fate was kind to Mario. He heard the door open and before he could ask who it was, he smelled it. That sweet, rich aroma tickled his nose and washed away all the stress and aches he had in him. Mario looked up as if he was in a daze and sniffed around, eager to find out where the aroma was coming from. If there was ever a villain who decided to use food as bait, why, Mario would be as gullible as a con man in love. Once he caught sight of where the scent was coming from, his breath hitched in his throat.
There it was... The most wonderfully put together plate of pasta, and it was right there for the taking. Mario's mouth watered as he took in every detail, every splash of marinara sauce and every fine fiber of pasta that poked out from the delicious dish. Next he noticed who was holding the plate and almost teared up. Standing a few inches taller than him and in his usual green clothes was Luigi, the doctor's wonderful brother.
"Heya bro! I noticed you didn't show up for dinner, so I came around to give y-"
"Oh Luigi, you are the bestest brother who ever lived," Mario choked out. He sniveled and wiped his eyes. "I'd be... Ho... I can't even say it..."
"Uh-oh. You're getting emotional!" Luigi laughed and set the plate of pasta down in front of his brother. "You must have skipped lunch!"
"It's-a been a hell of a day, Luigi. I had to tend to Pokemon and the Duck Hunt duo many times today! I'm-a human doctor, not a Pokemon nurse or veterinarian!"
"Well why don't you take a break? Here, have a fork and napkin and just sit back and enjoy yourself!"
"Okie-dokie, I think I will!" Mario picked up the fork and napkin as if he was at a fine restaurant. "Thank you so much again. I owe you one, brother."
Luigi scratched his nose and brushed it off.
"Ah don't-a worry about it Mario. You deserve a little bit of r-"
"You there, plumber brothers," came a deep, dark voice. "Your assistance is required and I will not take no for an answer."
The brothers tensed up and were about to drop into fighting stances when they noticed the character standing there in the clinic. Tall, dark, not very handsome but exuding power and malice, there was Ganondorf in all his wretched glory. Cloaked in armor and brandishing a grim scowl, Ganondorf was the very essence of evil and darkness. His might was something to fear and his scheming mind worked tirelessly to exploit the weaknesses of his enemies. And yet, the sight of such a powerful character was marred when five brightly colored Lumas clung to his armor and legs.
Ganondorf was anything but amused when one Luma tried to play with his beard. He raised his hand and looked as if he wanted to backhand the little creature, but he curled his fingers into a fist and growled as something held him back. Honor, maybe.
"What are you doing with Rosalina's Lumas Mr. Ganondorf?" Luigi asked. He scooted back to stand with his brother. "Did you kidnap them?"
"Me? Kidnap a gaggle of sentient star children who exist only to annoy others? Do not flatter yourself with that idea, whelp. I am here b-" Ganondorf was cut off when a Luma patted his cheek and cooed. He bared his teeth and growled it away. "Rrr... I am here because of a bet, and I am honorbound to do my part in repaying it. That is why I have been reduced to helping the guardian of the cosmos with her... children."
"Huh? Then why are you here?" Mario asked.
"These creatures suffer from the smallest of cuts and scrapes, and it was my doing. As I had been defeated by the guardian Rosalina, and after having made a bet with her prior to the battle, I am required to tend to these injuries." Ganondorf grasped a green Luma in his hands and looked down his nose at it. "But I am the Lord of Evil, not a medicine man!"
Neither Mario or Luigi knew what to make of the situation. Granted, it was comical to see a villain defeated by someone new or unique, like Rosalina, but the aftermath wasn't pretty. Ganondorf was at least honorable enough to uphold his end of this bet, whatever it was. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to leave him to care for cute and cuddly little Lumas who were far too innocent to realize that their caretaker ate baby chicks for breakfast.
Looking down at his plate of pasta, Mario made up his mind and decided he wouldn't budge.
"This is the first and finest plate of pasta I have seen all day. I am going to eat this and I am going to enjoy it," Mario declared. He was hungry and nothing would get between him and his pasta. "You will have to wait, Ganondorf."
"I am not going to wait with these infernal creatures nipping at my armor!" Ganondorf bellowed.
"Woah-woah-woah hold on you two," Luigi interjected as he found the courage to speak up. "M-maybe I could help? Mario can sit back and relax for awhile while I help Mr. Ganondorf with the Lumas! It's only a few cuts and scrapes right? Shouldn't be too hard to manage..."
Though Luigi was known as the cowardly brother of the Mario Brothers, he had long since learned to stand up for himself. He had learned many things from his older brother in the years prior and even picked up a few new skills. He wasn't a certified doctor like Mario, but Luigi knew how to tend to injuries and wounds without relying on tried and true shortcuts like super mushrooms. The lean man in green took the green Luma from Ganondorf's hands and directed the evil lord to a hospital bed where they could sit and work.
The Lumas were a handful for both of them. Despite their cuts and scrapes, the little celestial beings were as immature as children and as flighty as squirrelson a sugar rush. Ganondorf had little patience to deal with any of them, but after being reminded of his debt by the Mario Brothers, he grumbled and did what he could to keep the Lumas still without crushing them. He held a few down while Luigi cleaned the cuts and scrapes, applied disinfectant and then bandaged them up. At times the lord of evil would be prompted by Luigi to apply a bandage, and though Ganondorf did so, caring for someone other than him left a rotten taste in his mouth.
"Hey little guy, how ya doin'?" Luigi asked a little apricot-colored Luma that had yet to be treated. He reached up to tickle its side. "You must have helped out Rosalina a bunch, huh? You certainly helped out my brother and I a while ago!"
"These little creatures actually have value besides being organic projectiles?" Ganondorf asked.
"Oh yeah! If you feed them enough star bits they can become planets of all shapes and sizes!"
"What a wonderful metaphor for raising children."
"Mhmm!" Luigi concurred, not catching the sarcasm in Ganondorf's tone. He held the apricot Luma still as the dark lord dabbed at a cut. "So Mr. Ganondorf, what do you make of the newcomers in this tournament?"
"Hmph. Most of these newcomers are pushovers and mere lambs to the slaughter. One tried to attack me by growing a tree under my feet. A tree, for Din's sake!" Ganondorf rubbed his chin in thought. "Though... I will say that the two tacticians will pose a challenge, as will that boy with the scarlet blade."
"Shulk and the two Robins?" Mario asked as he looked up from his plate. "They both seem to be very interesting smashers. I'm happy that Pacman and Megaman are participating! Luigi and I haven't seen them since college!"
"Pacman put on a little weight, but he still looks as cheery as ever! Oh, bro? You've got a bit of sauce in your mustache," Luigi pointed out.
As Mario went about tidying himself up, the dark lord sat still for a moment in thought.
"Yes... I had forgotten about those two icons. I would do well to not underestimate them based on their appearance. I had made that mistake far too many times in the past," he grumbled. He slapped a bandage onto the last Luma and looked it up and down. "This is acceptable. Is it not?"
"Hmm... No, that looks good to me! Good work Mr. Ganondorf," Luigi praised.
"Yes, good work!" Mario exclaimed. He stood up from his seat with an empty plate in his hands and a full belly, along with a happy smile on his face. "Rosalina would be very happy to know her Lumas have been taken good care of!"
Ganondorf grumbled and let go of the apricot Luma. He wasn't too big on receiving praise for good deeds. Like Bowser, he would rather be praised for being selfish or bad in some way. He shook his head, shrugged his shoulders and folded his arms.
"Bah. I repaid a trivial debt. Nothing more," he muttered with indignance.
"And I am grateful for it," Rosalina cooed as she entered the clinic. Her brilliant blue dress trailed behind her as she walked over to her star children. "Everyone looks just fine. You have done them a service that will not be soon forgotten, Ganondorf."
The guardian of the cosmos opened her arms wide to receive the Luma quintet. All of the Lumas flocked to her and gave her hugs with their little stubby arms, all the while cooing and babbling. The Mario Brothers smiled as they looked upon Rosalina and her Lumas doing much better. Even Ganondorf looked a little less grumpier than usual, though he would probably pummel the unfortunate smasher who suggested he smiled that day. All in all, it was a good day in the end for all, both good-hearted heroes and cruel villains!