A/N HEY YOU! YES YOU! Are you in need of some reading material during quarantine?! Well you should go read The Moon and the Stars by my friend Ignitious! You can find it here and also on Wattpad where it has over 3k reads! Their username there is Ritzeline! It's got university! It's got drama! It's got serious stuff! It's got heartwarming stuff! It has an autistic Pit! Chapter 7 is my favorite! They also have a ton of other stories that you should all read!
CHECK THEM OUT!
And now for the chapter: It's a Link and Nabooru and Aryll chapter!
TW for autistic meltdown (I don't know if that needs a TW?) I did my best to represent a serious situation, but I can't promise I didn't mess it up, so please be careful while reading and take care of yourself!
Nabooru covered her mouth as she swung the duster along the next shelf, sending clouds of dust careening into the air and to the floor, but she still coughed. "Goddess! Link, you got a handkerchief or something? This is brutal!" She looked at Link, who was taking a break behind the counter. He had his elbows on the counter, holding a brass telescope in his hands and looking through it at something across the store. Nabooru walked over and asked, "What's that?"
Link lowered it and smiled. "It's Aryll's telescope. She gave it to me today for good luck. Isn't that great?" His smile reached his ears, his nose crinkling and screwing up his freckles.
"That's adorable!" Nabooru said. "Can I see?"
Uncertainty crossed Link's face. "Um . . . I mean, I promised I'd take care of it." He shook his head and turned bright red. "Whatever! I trust you! Here!" He quickly held the telescope out, but Nabooru held a hand up with a reassuring smile.
"You keep it," she said. "You should never betray someone's trust, even with your friends."
"Is that a Gerudo saying?"
"You know? It is." She put a finger on her chin and a hand on her hip. "Sounds better in Gerudo though."
Suddenly the bells announced the back door opening, and Linebeck appeared in a worn out blue coat and looking like he hadn't slept in days. "What a load of absolute garbage!"
The two teenagers watched him take his stained coat off and plop it on a random shelf.
"Hey!" Nabooru complained. "I just cleaned that!"
Linebeck pouted. "Can't you see I've had a bad day, Nabby?" He made a tip top clatter in his heeled boots as he launched across the store and flopped dismally into a ratty old chair, the back of a hand splayed across his forehead. "I'm ruined!"
"That SHELF is ruined!"
"Were you treasure hunting?!" Link asked, leaning onto the counter so far his feet came off the ground.
"Oh, I was, I was," Linebeck crooned, taking part of his hair and twisting the water out of it and onto the ground. "But of course it turned out to be nothing! I thought it would be unguarded, but no such luck! Skulltulas everywhere."
Link giggled. "I think you mean hobo spiders. There's no skulltulas in Hyrule anymore."
Linebeck sat forward and pointed an accusatory finger at Link. "I tell you they were SKULLTULAS! One of these days you'll find I'm telling the truth!" He folded his arms and stuck his chin up, making Link chuckle to himself again.
Nabooru was staring at the sopping, dirty coat on her nicely cleaned shelf. "I'm not cleaning this up."
"It's what I pay you for, isn't it?"
"I'm an employee, not a housemaid."
Link held up Aryll's telescope. "Too bad you didn't have this, huh, Linebeck? Could have seen the spiders from a miiiiiile away."
Linebeck raised an eyebrow at him, then suddenly his eyes went wide. "What do you have there?!"
Before Link could reply, Linebeck had jumped up and scrambled to the counter, snatching the telescope out of Link's hands. "Wh-what? Give that back!"
Nabooru ran back to the counter to help Link, but by then, Linebeck was already inspecting every corner of the telescope with his grubby fingers. "A masterpiece!" he said. "The real deal! Boy, do you have any idea how much this thing is worth?!"
It's worth my head on a plate if it breaks! Link thought. "Give it back, Linebeck, please give it back!"
Suddenly Linebeck took it in both hands and twisted, and the telescope popped in half.
Nabooru screamed, "LINEBECK!"
"Oh ho ho, don't worry!" Linebeck said. He held one of the halves out to Link. "Look in there, see those cracks?"
Link was so panicked that he didn't know what else to do but look. There was a slight space between the center of the telescope and the outer shell. He thought he saw something inside that space.
"Sometimes," Linebeck explained, "captains would hide their most precious documents inside those cracks. This is a genuine Hide A Thing Scope!"
"That's the stupidest name ever," Link said, lamenting. Nabooru placed a hand on his arm.
Linebeck looked at Nabooru. "Dear, could you—" He saw her newly filed down nails. "Nope." He used his own nails to fish something out of the space. It was a piece of folded paper. "Yes! REAL treasure!" He unfolded the decrepit paper carefully, trollololling all the time.
"What is it?" Link asked.
Linebeck said nothing for a few minutes, examining the paper shrewdly. Suddenly he held it in the air excitedly. "HAHAHA! YES! I KNOW EXACTLY WHO TO SELL THIS TO!" He began prancing around the store, clicking his heels. "OH, I'M GOING TO BE RICH RICH RICH!"
Link was finally out of shock enough to be angry. "What do you mean sell it?! You can't sell it!"
Linebeck stopped dancing. "What do you mean? Of course I can. It's my shop!"
Nabooru stepped in. "What he means is it doesn't belong to you. That's Aryll's."
Linebeck froze, then suddenly his whole face sagged until his jaw nearly touched the floor. "Wha!" he cried with his mouth open. "D-didn't it come from my shop?"
"No. Now GIVE. IT. BACK." Link held out his hand.
Deflated, Linebeck waddled back to the counter. He stared at Link's hand. "Where did you get it?"
"From Outset. Duh. Give it back!"
Linebeck's pout deepened and he took forever to do it, but eventually he was able to let the paper go and hand the pieces of the telescope back to Link.
"Is it really that valuable?" Nabooru asked curiously.
"Very," Linebeck said with a wobble. "Could buy a boat with that with the right buyer."
Nabooru shot Link a serious look. "Link . . ." He could pay for Aryll's schooling! Granny wouldn't have to work! Neither would Link! What Linebeck did was intrusive, but if what he said was true, it could solve all of Link's family's problems!
"You're not selling it," Link stated firmly. "It belongs to Aryll. It's one of her security toys."
"T-toy! Son, it's a TREASURE!"
"ARYLL'S treasure!" He held the two pieces of the telescope up. It looked like they were supposed to screw back together, but no matter how he tried, he couldn't figure it out.
Nabooru watched him with deeper dread as each attempt failed, knowing that if Link couldn't solve a puzzle, no one could.
Link put his freaked out gaze on Linebeck. "PLEASE tell me you know how to fix this!"
Linebeck said nothing.
Link leaned his hands on the counter and dropped his head. "Aaaaaaugh!"
"Shit," Link said. He and Nabooru stood at the the bend in the sidewalk that led to Link's house. His head was lowered, and he was frozen in place. "SHIT!"
"Come on, Link, I know she'll forgive you eventually," Nabooru said.
"So?!" he said, giving her a desperate look. "I don't want to hurt her!" He scrunched his eyes shut, bowing his head again, shoulders slumped and arms held close. "How am I supposed to tell her it's broken?!"
"I know, Link, but you gotta tell her. You can't hide it."
"I don't want to go home!"
"You can do this. I know you can."
"SHIT!" Link rushed up the lane, and Nabooru followed, barely able to keep up. Suddenly Link turned around, and Nabooru barely got out of the way. "No," Link said. "I'd rather fight Demise again, I swear to Nayru!"
"Link!" Nabooru tried again to take Link's arm, to steady him. This time she succeeded. She looked at him seriously. "Look! This one time I got into Aveil's makeup and I ruined it, okay? She was so MAD, but we made up and now we laugh about it. You'll be fine! She's not going to hate you forever!"
"You don't know that," Link said, voice catching. "Aveil isn't autistic. She's your big sister, not your little sister. I'm supposed to be the responsible one. There's nothing she could do to make me as mad as I'm about to make her. I'm supposed to take care of her." His voice began to rise in volume. "I'm supposed to take care of her SPECIAL TREASURE!" He clenched his fists and stomped back to the door. His hand came up to open it.
He donked his forehead on the door.
Nabooru walked over and stood beside him, but she didn't touch him. His face was scrunched.
"I promised," he said.
"We can't always keep our word," Nabooru said.
He glanced at her sideways. "I really don't want to do this."
"You have to."
"I know." A long sigh escaped Link. "Okay." He put his hand on the doorknob and opened it, and they went inside.
"LINK LINK LINK!"
He was shaking. His voice wasn't as loud or enthusiastic as it usually was as he called, "Aryll! Aryll! Aryll!"
She came hurdling out of the living room from what it sounded like, chairs and tables scraping as she maneuvered around them, and then there she was, trusting blue eyes staring at his shirt, fists clenched excitedly. One fist unclenched and opened.
Link gave her a light high five.
She shuddered excitedly for a few seconds to deal with the overstimulation, then ran back into the living room. "Draw! Aryll good girl, she draw!"
He sent Nabooru a pleading look, and saw Granny watching from the kitchen. When she saw Link's face, she set down the kitchen tools she'd been using and started walking over. Link followed Aryll into the living room.
As she showed him the drawings she'd made today, Link began to wonder if maybe she didn't remember she'd given him the telescope. Maybe he wouldn't have to do this to her today . . .
"Telescope?" Aryll said, bounding around the room in circles.
"Wh-what?" Link repeated, pretending not to hear.
"Telescope! Tel! E! Scope!" She mimed using the telescope. Then she hopped over to Link and held out her hand expectantly.
Shaking worse than ever, Link slowly pulled his back pack off. "Well," he said, wondering how to begin. "About that . . ." His hands fumbled with the zipper. Nabooru raised her hands as if to help, but Link finally got it. He unzipped it slowly, realizing he had to explain first. "I . . . Um, Aryll, I did something."
She looked at him with curiosity. Of course there was no suspicion. Her brother would never do anything to hurt her. Not ever.
Link continued seriously, "Brother did a really bad thing." He didn't know how he did, but he reached his hand in and got his shaking fingers firmly around the broken telescope. "I broke my promise. I said I'd bring it home safe, and—and—and—" He pulled out one of the broken telescope pieces. Then the other.
Aryll stared from one to the other, blinking in confusion. He heard Granny gasp.
Link thought his heart would break, it was like someone was stabbing him over, and over, and over.
"Link," Nabooru whispered. "Say sorry!"
How was he supposed to say sorry? 'Sorry' and It's all okay? You don't say sorry about something like this! You admit what you did and you accept the consequences!
Aryll grabbed the pieces of the telescope out of Link's hands. She hunched over with a sob and fled to the beanbag in the corner of the room, sitting down, humming to herself and rocking back and forth, clutching the broken telescope to her chest.
Link's eyes were stinging. He went over to Aryll and sat on the floor next to the beanbag. "Aryll?" he said.
"NO!" Aryll shouted. "NO TALK TO LINK! NO!"
Nabooru watched from across the room. She'd never seen Link look so crushed, although he was trying to accept it like a tramp. "Aryll," she said kindly, "Link didn't mean for it to happen. It was an accident."
Aryll smacked herself in the forehead, once. "No," she said, then smacked herself again. "NO!" Her rocking intensified.
Both Link and Granny were looking alarmed.
"No no no no no no no!"
"Aryll," Link said. "Can you breathe for me?"
"NO!" she shouted, then tried.
"Do you want your blanket?"
She shook her head, muttering.
"It's okay to cry," Link said. "I'm here, and Granny, too, and Nabooru, and we're not mad."
"No no no no no no no no—" Aryll's face turned to absolute panic and she jumped up and threw the broken pieces across the room. One smacked harmlessly against the wall, but the other smacked the TV. Nabooru was pretty sure she saw a crack. Aryll screamed at the top of her lungs and fell to the floor, hands grabbing at her hair as she kicked the ground. She rolled back and forth and Link quickly got out of her way.
Nabooru found her hand over her mouth as she backed to the window to give Link and Aryll more space. She'd only seen a few of Aryll's meltdowns, but they hadn't been like this. Link had told her about them after the fact, but she hadn't actually believed him. She knew there wasn't anything they could do except let it happen. The worst part was watching Aryll be helplessly upset. Link sat near her, face pale, and Granny sat on the couch, just as pale.
"I-Is—" Nabooru said quietly to Granny. "Is there anything I—I—"
Granny turned to her and gave her a smile that was way too brave for this situation. "Why don't you go into the kitchen, dear? There's ice cream!"
Nabooru shook her head. "No, I'm staying here!" Maybe that wasn't the correct choice, but in her own kind of panic, she wanted to be with Aryll, with Link, with Granny. She wanted to be there for them.
By now Aryll was kicking the coffee table, and she got up and suddenly smashed her head against the edge of it.
Link was on his feet in a split second. He grabbed Aryll and pulled her away from the coffee table. Of course the physical touch upset her more, and she squirmed, reached back, and firmly elbowed Link in the face. His head swung back and he let go of her. "Ouch!"
"Are you okay?" Nabooru asked.
Link didn't answer. Aryll was back on the floor, but now she was dragging her nails across her skin, digging deep marks.
"Oh my gosh!" Nabooru cried before she could stop herself.
Suddenly Link's face changed completely. It was like a switch turned on. "Nope," he said. He lunged to the couch and took the fuzzy blanket. "Nope!" he repeated. He covered Aryll with the blanket, bent down and wrapped his arms around her as he sat down. He pulled her tightly in his lap as she flailed and flailed. "We're not doing that," he said, voice dead calm even as her nails found his arms and scratched them up. "You can scratch me all you want. I'm not letting go, Aryll. You're not hurting yourself anymore. You can cry and scream and kick, but you can't hurt yourself." Blood was trickling out of his nose where she'd socked him. He ignored it. Aryll's own head had a huge lump where she'd bashed it against the table. No matter how she struggled, Link held her firmly inside the blanket. She was no match for his big muscles. Nabooru suddenly wondered if maybe the reason Link did lots of exercise wasn't just for his own ADHD, but also for moments like this. Aryll wouldn't always be a child, but Nabooru knew Link would never stop caring for her.
Later, when Aryll had finally calmed down, she went straight to bed and fell asleep almost immediately.
Link and Nabooru sat at the kitchen table, Link with his arms held on the counter so Granny could patch the scratches up with antiseptic.
"Why didn't I think about the table?!" Link complained. "I should have padded it before saying anything."
"It's not your fault, dear," Granny said for the thousandth time that night. "You can't have known. She hasn't had a meltdown like that in months."
"Yeah, well, I should have known."
Nabooru had her forehead on her fingers, and she rolled her eyes up. She could feel another headache. The first one was because of everything that had happened. Then it subsided. Now this one came back. "Link, are you serious? You did fine!" She looked at him with admiration. "You were amazing!"
Link responded with disbelief, "No I wasn't. I should have done better."
Nabooru slammed her hands on the counter and stood up. "You know what? Stop it!" She brandished a finger at him, boiling with rage. "You're a good brother and that's that so . . ." She scrabbled in the air with her fists. "SHUT UP!"
Link looked up at her with doe eyes. She could see Granny giggling quietly to herself from the corner of her eye.
Nabooru's first instinct was to blubber an apology for yelling, but instead she glanced away from Link and folded her arms defensively.
"Well," said Granny brightly, putting away the first aid kit. "I think Nabooru has it right, Link."
Nabooru sighed. "Just because you're upset doesn't mean you need to beat yourself up."
"What? But it's true—"
"Aryll's not allowed to hurt herself. Neither are you."
Link sank back into his seat, blinking at her, speechless.
For herself, she felt pretty proud of that statement. "You did great," she said. "Say it."
He looked at her weirdly. He stood up. "Do you wanna go for a run?"
"What?" Nabooru was caught by surprise. At first she thought he was deflecting, but he actually was almost smiling as he said it. He wasn't under a heavy cloud as much. Just a little bit. "A run?" She repeated.
"Yeah," he said, already visibly happier at the thought.
"Uh, well, sure."
"Is that okay, Granny?"
"I think that's an excellent coping mechanism, Link," Granny replied.
Link grinned, and Nabooru could tell he was feeling relieved already. They went outside into the cool night air and Link started up immediately, Nabooru catching up. It felt weird to run in her work boots, but Nabooru didn't mind. They didn't talk, just ran side by side. Nabooru kept glancing over at Link, watching as with each long stretch of street, his face cleared of trouble a little more, until he was beginning to smile again like he normally did. She started to feel better, too, knowing he was going to be fine. Apparently this is what he needed. She knew he was going easy on her, running wise. She wasn't a runner. But he let her be by him as he worked out whatever was going on inside his head.
For some reason, that meant the world to her.