AN: So here's my own version of a high school Zelda! Inspired by The Weekly Hylian News by BatNeko. I needed more high school drama. It's my own fresh take, though, and my own versions of Link, Zelda, and Shadow.
Just to be clear, I am NOT a romance author by any means, so this will likely be one of if not the MOST PG or G LGBT stories on and will likely NOT include ANY actual physical romance besides hand holding and MAAAAYBE a peck on the cheek . . . fair warning. I'm not writing this for fluffy reasons, I actually want to portray the characters as realistically LGBT. QA. I. All the other letters in the genderbread soup! Not that those romantic stories are any less valid. Not at ALL. That is NOT what I am trying to insinuate. I just want it to be clear what you're getting in this story before you invest any time in it. Also because I am Just. Not. A. Romance. Author.
Also, WARNING: There will be some religion, sort of. Like, the goddesses are a thing. That's all. I find the deism of Hyrule fascinating so I really wanted to include it. Not trying to preach anything here.
Also, I don't mean to offend. I can only do my best to represent realistic characters, so if you see something that you think it particularly realistically written, please let me know! And if there's anything offensive, DEFINITELY let me know so I can change it!
Hyrule Castle High
New year, new school, Link thought, zipping up his green hoodie in front of the mirror. It had a particularly spiky hood (his grandma had made it), and it had a faded triforce emblem across the front. His jeans were baggy, and old. He stared at himself in the mirror. His eyes were bleary, his face still puffy from lack of sleep and then too much sleep.
A deep sigh escaped him. He left his room and trudged downstairs. "Grandma?"
"Down here, honey! I've got some nice soup for your first day today!" As always, Granny was wearing a magenta dress with a yellow apron, her silvery hair pulled up in a bun on top of her head. She was one of those sweet old ladies that had plenty of cushiness that made hugging them so wonderful, but she also had tiny feet and hands. Her eyes seemed always to be closed in a smile, although lately that hadn't been true as much.
"Soup again?" Link uttered automatically—they'd been eating it since they got here and it warranted a comment—but he was obviously pleased. He never got tired of Grandma's soup. It was one of the few things that still got him to smile.
Granny put his sack lunch on the counter. "Here you are, dear."
"Thank you, Grandma. Is Aryll up yet?"
She shook her head.
"Hm. She's been sleeping in a lot. Well, I guess I should get going."
His grandmother nodded and waited for him to leave. He didn't. At the queasy look on his face, she put a hand on his arm and said, "Now, deary, don't worry, everything will be fine! You're my grandson, after all!"
Link put his own hand over hers. "I know, Grandma. It's just . . . different."
"Oh, but you're going to see Zelda again, yes?"
He gave a small smile. "Yeah. It'll be good to see her again. At least I won't be totally alone." Here he paused. "Are you sure you're okay with Aryll?"
She straightened her mouth and nodded firmly. "I'm going to have to be okay! Might as well start today. Don't you worry, honey, you just pay attention in class and make new friends, okay? Grandma will take care of everything else."
"Okay." He finally made his way to the door. "Love you, Grandma."
"You, too! Have fuuuuun!" She waved a tiny hand as he left and the screen door shut behind him. Only then did she clasp her hands in front of her and let a frown cross her face. She looked to the sky. "Dear Goddesses, protect my poor boy today. Let him feel comfort, and if you're willing, give me some of that weight he feels he must carry on his shoulders."
Hyrule Castle High. A large, spacious campus with courtyards and a gigantic sports complex, including polo and field hockey. Even rugby. Renowned for it courses on politics and history. Link stared at it as he got off the school bus.
He had expected to go to Castle Town High, which was basically school for poor kids like him, but because of a generous donation from Zelda's father, a Hylian senator, he had ended up at Hyrule Castle High instead. Mr. Harkinian had said Link's grades from his previous school proved he needed a higher education, but also there was something about a favor to his parents. Luckily, it was the beginning of the school year, so the transfer shouldn't be too difficult.
A lump formed in Link's throat, and he made a fist, putting all of his sudden emotions in it and visualizing them falling away as he relaxed his fist. He moved past the feelings.
Plus, he thought to continue his last thought, Zelda probably had begged her father to let Link go to her school. That made him smile. She was really smart, and insistent, and organized. They'd met one summer in Outset, where his family lived before and her family was vacationing, and since then they'd emailed and phoned back and forth and kept each other up to date about their lives.
Speaking of, he saw a girl up by the doors running toward where he stood, her straight blond hair flying behind her, blue eyes sparkling happily. She was dressed in a lavender button-up shirt and blue jeans and white canvas shoes with pastel stripes. He ran to meet her halfway.
They greeted each other and hugged before Zelda led him into the building and to the office. It was good to hear her voice, and he just let her talk and tell him what to do. He didn't want to make decisions right now, so he was glad she was with him. She helped him locate his locker, gave him a simple tour, gave him directions to all his classes (via a very handy map—did he mention that she was smart?) She had even highlighted his classrooms.
The building was so big, and clean. HUGE! And there were too many people for him to even contemplate. This is just one school? So unlike his middle school in Outset.
"Okay," Zelda was saying, "So you and I have History and Archaeology together, so you just have to hold out until then, okay?"
Link nodded. "Thanks, Zelda."
She grinned, then her face fell slightly. "So, I know we have to get to homeroom, but . . . how are you?"
His smile didn't reach his eyes. "I'm okay."
Zelda snorted. "That's descriptive."
Link's smile widened.
Zelda smacked his arm. "Oh, fine, I'll see you later, okay?"
Day one wasn't so bad. He made it through alright, and it's not like he needed to pay attention on the first day of school, anyhow. After school Zelda took him on a more extensive tour, specifically of the sports complex.
"They have a skate park?!" Link cried incredulously, looking at said skate park. A few teenagers were already doing stunts with skate boards and BMX bikes.
Zelda made guns of her fingers and pointed them at him. "Whaddaya say we come here after school some days and pop some kick flips?"
"You have a skateboard?"
"No, but you do, and I don't mind watching. You have a skateboard still, don't you?"
A skate park is exactly where they'd met. "That . . . that'd be awesome, Zelda."
She raised an eyebrow and one corner of her mouth curled up slyly. "I thought so."
"Do you mind if we stay and watch for a while?"
"Sure!" Zelda pulled a bag of potato chips from her back pack and sat down.
Link sat down next to her, amused. "You came prepared."
There were quite a few kids here, which got Link excited. Maybe there was a skate board club or something? If the school had a skate park, there had to be a big competition or something in the city sometimes. Maybe he and Zelda could get tickets and go together.
He studied the skate boarders, checking out their moves. First there was the somewhat lanky but barrel-chested guy who actually turned out to be one of three. Triplets. They all had identical orange hair, small, squished noses and round cheeks. They wore green and black hipster hats and grey cargo shorts. Or, well, that was the general set up. They shared styles if not exact outfits. Besides them, there was this crazy kid on a BMX bike. He wore orange camo pants, a weird skeleton mask and an orange hoodie. Link wondered if the kid was trying to look like a juvie reject. He raced around the park seemingly as fast as he could, apparently caring more about jumping far than high. He owned the half pipes and quarter pipes. The last person to catch his eye was a girl with chin-length green hair. She wore one of those overalls that were shorts. A turtleneck sweater defied the hot weather, and she rode a scooter, one of those weird scooters with three wheels and a place for both feet. At first you might think, well, that's weird, what's a school kid doing at a teenage hangout, on a scooter? But then she would be riding it backwards, or sideways, both feet on one side or the other, not even thinking about it as she rose over jumps and flipped the scooter around under her feet, or when she scaled a half pipe sideways, or even did a full back flip on one of the larger jumps.
Those were some sick moves!
Someone grabbed his hand and shoved it away. He looked at Zelda.
"You were eating all the chips," she said.
"Hey, look at that guy! He's new."
This guy looked like a proper skater punk. Or something. He had ripped black jeans, a black T-shirt with some kind of dragony/tattoo decoration on the front. Two chains hung from one pocket, and his skateboard had skulls on it. He had fingerless gloves. He was one of those guys who looked like he was either a druggy or just didn't get much sun—or both. But he was skinny, and his skin was grey and sickly looking. His mouth was too big for his face, and had too many teeth, and his hair was a messy black ponytail. It was obvious the other skaters didn't recognize him, either, some pausing to watch him do 360s and flips. He was obviously incredibly skilled, and Zelda and Link gaped at him when suddenly he came up their ramp, sending his board in the air, landing on his feet in front of him, then catching his board and holding it over his shoulder. He looked down at them with a gigantic grin and gave them a thumbs up. "Sup!"
Link and Zelda stood. Link shook his hand. "I'm Link."
"You skate, Link?"
"Yeah, but I didn't bring my board with me."
"Darn, you'll have to show me your moves! How long you been goin' here?"
"Me? I just got here."
"Oh? Me too!"
Zelda blinked. "No kidding."
"And YOU must be Princess Zelda."
She blushed. "It's just an honorary title. I really hate it, so please just call me Zelda."
Shadow laughed. "Whatever you say, princess. Hey! Watch me pull THIS off!" And off he went again. He curved around the park, building up speed until he finally hit the largest jump. As soon as his board left the ramp he began turning, 180, 360, 540, 720! and landed soundly. Link whooped into the air, and Zelda clapped politely. Shadow flashed a peace sign at them and stuck his tongue out. Then he continued skating.
Link and Zelda looked at each other. "Ready to go?" Zelda asked. Link nodded. "There's a skate park near your grandma's house, too, you know."
"That's awesome . . ."
Because they spent so much time at the skate park, they'd missed all the buses. Link would just as soon walk (it wasn't that far), but Zelda insisted on giving him a ride.
Or rather, letting her chauffeur give them both a ride in her expensive-looking black limo. He and Zelda sat in the back, and her two security guards sat opposite them, wearing black suits and sunglasses. "You know you and Aryll gotta come over for dinner sometime," said Zelda.
"I don't think Aryll will be up to that for a few months. I could come to visit some days, though, maybe."
"Well otherwise you're going to have a ton of paparazzi at your grandma's house, because there is no way I'm staying away from you!"
Link laughed. "Sounds good to me."
He was dropped off a minute later, and he waved goodbye as the limo drove off. He walked inside and gave a signature, "I'M HOOOOOME!"
An excited young voice came from the living room. "LINK! LINK LINK LINK LINK!" A girl of about seven ran into the entryway where Link waited, clutching a piece of paper in her hands. She stopped in front of Link, eyes scrunched closed and looking down as she proffered the drawing to him. "DRAW. D-DRAW! DRAW!"
Link took the paper. "Ah, another seagull drawing! Very good, Aryll!"
"Yes. Yes. Very good, Aryll," she repeated, eyes still shut.
Link knelt down and tried to look into her face. "Aryll, five seconds?"
She considered. Shook her head emphatically.
"Mmmmmm." Suddenly Aryll popped her eyes open and stared right into his.
Link counted in his head. One . . . two . . .
First her nose scrunched, then her mouth turned down as though she were trying to win a staring contest.
Aryll put her hands over her eyes and ran as fast as she could back to the living room. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
Link followed her more slowly, and when he got there she began handing more drawings to him without looking, all of seagulls. The living room had been painted the same colors as back home, a pale blue, and Link and Granny had painted seagulls and clouds—one type of cloud, because any other kinds would make Aryll upset. Link made sure to say all her favorite sentences, which included, "The seagulls are flying!" "You're a very good artist, Aryll." and "Don't forget the feet!"
Aryll scurried across the room in a mess of drawings, putting them up on the couch back, the armrests, on the walls, the coffee table, pretty much everywhere. She did this every day. After an hour, she said, "Okay now, clean up!" And began to collect all her drawings in a pile in a box which was placed carefully under the coffee table.
Granny was putting the rest of the dishes away and cleaning the kitchen before bed.
"Did she practice her words?" Link asked.
"What about her sensory exercises?"
"She did very well. She likes lilac."
"And her exercise?"
"She ran from her room to the living room for two hours, I figured that was enough for today."
"Did she go outside?"
"Yes, yes! Don't worry, dear, I took care of everything, and in a few days that nice new caretaker will be here to help out."
"Yes! I finally found one I like. Her name is Romani. She's very nice, and I hear she's excellent. She came over today, she and Aryll seemed to get along famously!"
Link felt like he had missed a lot. He'd spent so much time with Aryll the in the summer that he suddenly felt very useless. He had begged the judge to not put Aryll in a care facility, at least not without him. He hated having a social worker stay in their house then, and he didn't like the idea of trusting somebody else who wasn't family with Aryll now. "Maybe I shouldn't be at school—"
Granny frowned at him. "Oh, nooooo. Link, you must stay in school!"
He placed his elbows on the counter and gestured with his hands. "But there's online public schools, I could take care of Aryll and study in the evening if I have to-"
"Link." Granny became stern and put her hands on her hips. "Are you telling me that after all the trouble Miss Zelda's father went to get you into that prestigious school that you're just going to quit?"
Link looked away from her and replied quietly, "If it's for Aryll, then yes."
Granny softened. She sat down next to Link and put a hand on his arm. "I know you love Aryll very much . . . but what she needs is for her big brother to take care of himself! And that means having friends and getting out of this house once in a while. You can't let her down."
Link sighed sadly. "I guess you're right, Grandma. But I'll come home RIGHT after school from now on!"
"Hmph!" She went back to cleaning the kitchen. "I expect you back no earlier than four, six on Fridays!"
Her tone made Link grin despite himself. "But you'll call if she misses me?"
"And if it gets too hard for her, you'll let me stay home?"
She took in a long suffering breath, and let it out. "We will . . . discuss it. I don't know why you're worried, I hear she's the best!"
"For what we can pay for, yeah," Link muttered under his breath.
But Granny heard him anyways. "Oh, no no! She's not one of those poor underpaid, overworked government-assigned social workers, honey, we're paying for her out of pocket."
Link gasped. "But Grandma, your life savings!"
She shook her head with a smile and walked to the bread box. Instead of keeping bread in it, that's where she stuffed all of her important documents. She pulled out a vanilla envelope and a matching letter and set it in front of Link.
Feeling a bit weird, but curious, Link picked up the letter and began to read.
To whom it may concern-
I have been notified of your plight and have included a donation. I cannot say why, but the care of Aryll Knight is important to me. This money is to be used for her care and her care only. Please find included a cashier's check for $10,000.00.
Link's mouth gaped. "Ten thousand dollars!"
"I know! I didn't believe it until I took it to the bank!"
You can send all receipts for her care to the following address. Do not try to reach me there, as I do not accept correspondence from that account and wish to remain anonymous. If, at this date next year, all funds have been spent toward Aryll's care and this is proven by receipts, then you can expect another donation of $10,000.00, and for every year after that until such a time as you have found another way to care for Aryll or I somehow lose all my assets.
Very greatly yours-
There was no signature. Link spent the next five minutes just gaping at the letter, rereading it over and over. Who was the writer? Who could have just donated TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS? Who could afford that much at one time?! The paper was heavier, expensive, and lightly textured. It was vanilla in color, and he wasn't sure if it was the paper or the writer, but there was a peppery scent to it. He sniffed the paper up close. Definitely peppery, or something exotic, or maybe even tropical! Now his imagination was getting the better of him. The script was languid, but direct, being as concise as possible while still remaining elegant. It wasn't Mr. Harkinian's handwriting, that he knew. He'd seen the senator's handwriting on invitations to dinner he and his parents had gotten in Outset. The address the person had written was just some P.O. Box in Labrynna. Whoever this person was, they somehow owned a P.O. Box in Labrynna, but also knew about Aryll in Castle Town, and possibly even from Outset!
Who could own such a large empire? "So . . . Romani, huh?"