Author: ED of Oblivion

Title: His Gentle Eyes

Rating: PG-13 (T)

Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance

Summary: Link is beset by strange dreams of a rod-wielding warrior. After a skirmish with Astaroth, the Hylian finds himself in the care of a band of strange warriors, one of whom is very familiar… (KilikxLink)

Warnings: Shounen-ai ("boy love"), some violence (as in battles or otherwise), minor profanity.

Disclaimers: I do not own SoulCaliburII or The Legend of Zelda. SoulCaliburII is owned by Namco; The Legend of Zelda belongs to Nintendo. I am making no profit off of this fiction.

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Chapter One: Black Encounter

"One day, out of darkness, they shall meet, and read life's meaning in each other's eyes." -Susan Mara Spalding

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He looked up to see an outlandish looking man standing over him. His dark brown hair hung to his shoulders, which were covered with a blood-red fighting cloak. He wore no shirt; only a small, green stone hung across his chest. Around his waist was a large, brown belt, followed by dark brown leggings and light brown boots. A long, V-shaped scar was clear on his left cheek.

Over his shoulder hung a long, crimson rod, the golden ends glittering in the morning sun. His brown eyes softened at the sight of the boy at his feet.

Link attempted to backpedal as the man knelt down, but his side prevented him from any sort of movement, causing him to hiss slightly. The stranger noticed this, his eyes lowering to lock onto the bloody gash in the boy's side.

"Xianghua!" he called over his shoulder. "Come quickly!" He turned back to face Link, who looked up at him fearfully. The man smiled warmly and grasped Link's arm, lifting it up to hang around his neck. He wrapped an arm about the boy's waist, and hooked his other under the boy's knees, slowly lifting him up off the ground. Link felt the man's chin rest against his forehead as he began to walk.

"Come," the unknown warrior said. "I'll take care of you."

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Link awoke with a start, quickly sitting up on thick tree branch he had been sleeping on. His sapphire eyes blinked repeatedly as they adjusted to the morning light. That man… who was he? Link had no recollection of ever seeing that man before… Yet, even as the Hylian dismounted the tree's limb and proceeded to climb down, he couldn't help but feel some sort of connection to the unknown warrior, whoever he was…

What a strange dream…

Oh well, what did he know. It could have just been a strange attribute to this new world… After all, Link hardly knew anything about it; he had only been here for a few days.

Link's thoughts strayed again as he gathered his belongings from the base of the tree's trunk. He knew nothing of his whereabouts, or any information that involved Soul Edge, for that matter. All Link knew was that in order to attain peace in Hyrule once more, he had to destroy the foreign, evil blade. The problem was he didn't know where to start.

Rumor was that he wasn't the only person who was seeking Soul Edge. For Link, that meant everyone was an enemy until proven otherwise. As he hoisted his shield and sword over his back, he clutched the lone shard in his green tunic. While it allowed him to seek out the additional shards of the sword, it also drew unwanted enemies closer to him. He would have to be careful.

Link walked quietly down the empty dirt road, occasionally stopping to watch a robin or spy on a doe and her fawns. It was so peaceful here… You'd hardly think that an evil force was destroying and killing somewhere in the distance. This place reminded Link of his home… The elven warrior sighed. He missed Hyrule. He missed Epona and Malon… Princess Zelda, everyone. Inside, he made a silent wish that he would find and destroy Soul Edge soon, before it could cause more damage than it already had.

Long, pointed ears suddenly twitched; Link stopped in his tracks. He listened. A tiny crack, scarcely audible, sounded again in Link's sensitive ears. Scanning the area with sharp eyes, Link slowly took a few steps forward. He stopped, and again heard a deadened crunch, confirming the Hylian's suspicions.

He was being followed.

Link slowly reached behind him and gripped the hilt of the Master Sword. He silently lifted it out of its sheath, at the same time positioning his shield. He felt the shard in his tunic pocket begin to pulsate; his follower was carrying a piece of Soul Edge. His ears picked up more silent footfalls coming towards him.

Closer…

Closer…

"DIE, scum!!!"

Link whipped around just in time to block the giant battle ax that was falling towards him. In front of him stood the largest man he had ever seen. The monstrosity stood tall, well over six feet, his white, pupiless eyes bearing down on his new soon-to-be victim. What really stood out on the golem was his heart; throbbing gently on the outside of his chest. Link could make out faint glowing marks on his attacker's torso and abdomen: shards of Soul Edge.

The giant roared as he pulled the ax back, bringing it down once more for another assault. Link easily dodged the careless swing, raising his blade to strike the ogre on the arm. While the wound bled freely, the attack didn't seem to phase the giant in the least.

"Scream!!!" the large warrior yelled, taking another swing, missing Link by mere inches. Link sidestepped a third attempt, crossing over to the giant's back and bringing his sword down into the softer, more tender flesh. The titan screamed, giving Link no time to react as he reached around with his ax and pulled the elf out in front of him. He raised the ax once more, causing Link's attempt to block to be in vain as he brought the weapon down, the head crushing Link into the ground.

Link heard himself scream as the giant ripped his shield off of his right arm, the head of the giant ax grinding his stomach into the hard earth. The giant tossed Link's protective device aside, as if it were nothing more than a toy, and bent down to grab Link's leg. The elf struggled to keep his grip on his sword as his captor lifted him up off the ground, holding him out at arm's length. Link made a desperate swing at the giant's arm, but missed horribly as the ogre began to shake him violently.

"Let go, scum!!!" Link put his all into holding himself together, forcing his fingers to grip the hilt of his blade as if his life depended on it. After all, it probably did. The giant raised his ax for yet another swing at the smaller warrior, bringing it across at Link's head. Swinging with all his might, Link brought his own weapon over to clash with the ax blade, pushing it roughly away from his face.

The titan growled in frustration, finally giving up on forcing the elf to drop the strange sword and throwing him severely to the ground. Link could only gasp; the throw knocked the wind out of him. His distressed limbs wouldn't move, and his beaten body was nearly dead. The giant towered over him, raising the ax once more.

"Struggle!!!" he shouted, jerking the ax down. Link gritted his teeth, finally forcing his body to move. He painfully rolled over, avoiding most of the attack, but he screamed when he felt the blade slice into his side, spilling warm blood onto the green of his tunic. Link clutched his torn side in agony, small, crystalline tears spilling down his cheeks. He looked up to see the ax raised once again, ready to deliver the final blow…

What sounded like a high-pitched war cry suddenly cut through the air. Link looked up to see a blur of white and black launch itself at the golem before it could end his life. Another blur, this time blue, rushed out of nowhere at the giant's legs. The titan screamed horribly, swinging his ax blindly at his offenders. Link tore his eyes away from the sight and forced himself to crawl away from the battle, his side stinging greatly with each move and his sword laying forgotten.

Link suddenly stopped and turned to look at his two saviors fighting the giant. The evil energy that he sensed from the giant had grown. He watched the two new fighters (he could now tell that they were a man and a woman), observing how both of them cast their moves perfectly, never once failing to hit their target. It confirmed Link's fears: the two warriors also possessed shards of Soul Edge.

The Hylian felt his heart stop; what if he was in danger, too? What if, after defeating the giant, the two would come after him next…? Blue eyes glanced nervously at the forgotten Master Sword. If only he had enough strength to reach it…

"Hey!" a voice spoke over him. "Are you alright?" Link's eyes grew.

He looked up to see an outlandish looking man standing over him. His dark brown hair hung to his shoulders, which were covered with a blood-red fighting cloak. He wore no shirt; only a small, green stone hung across his chest. Around his waist was a large, brown belt, followed by dark brown leggings and light brown boots. A long, V-shaped scar was clear on his left cheek.

Over his shoulder hung a long, crimson rod, the golden ends glittering in the morning sun. His brown eyes softened at the sight of the boy at his feet.

Link attempted to backpedal as the man knelt down, but his side prevented him from any sort of movement, causing him to hiss slightly. The stranger noticed this, his eyes lowering to lock onto the bloody gash in the boy's side.

"Xianghua!" he called over his shoulder. "Come quickly!" He turned back to face Link, who looked up at him fearfully. The man smiled warmly and grasped Link's arm, lifting it up to hang around his neck. He wrapped an arm about the boy's waist, and hooked his other under the boy's knees, slowly lifting him up off the ground. Link felt the man's chin rest against his forehead as he began to walk.

"Come," the unknown warrior said. "I'll take care of you."

Link's eyes widened again as the woman in blue proceeded to leave the fight and walk over to them. This was just like in his dream. What did it mean? Link couldn't think more about the matter as his side began to sting, causing him to whimper. The man who carried him squeezed him slightly, as if to comfort him. His eyelids began to feel unusually heavy.

"Kilik?" he heard the woman say. "What is it? Is something— Oh my…" Link felt his eyes close and his consciousness fade, and he knew no more.

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Xianghua stared at the boy in Kilik's arms. Or was it even a boy? She found herself gazing at the being's long, pointed ears in curiosity and caution. Was the creature an elf? Perhaps even a demon?

"Kilik, what's that?" she asked, hesitantly pointing at the unconscious figure in her comrade's arms with her sword. "Is that a—"

"We've no time, Xianghua, he's badly wounded," Kilik interrupted. "Good or evil, we have to do something. I'd rather nurse him and find out he's an enemy than let him die and find out he's a friend." Xianghua's eyes softened.

"Alright, Kilik," she said quietly, but quickly. "What do you need me to do?" Kilik nodded over Xianghua's shoulder.

"Gather his weapons and belongings," he said. "Once you've done that, run back to camp and instruct Yunsung to prepare a makeshift bed in my tent. I want Raphael to gather plants used for healing open wounds, since he's an expert with medicines. Tell Talim to gather lots of water. Tell them it's urgent." Xianghua nodded halfway, but suddenly looked behind her.

"But what about Astaroth?" she asked with worry. "We can't just—"

"Maxi can take him," the rodmaster said, cutting her off again. "He defeated that monster once; he can do it again." Kilik nodded towards the discarded weapons. "Go, and hurry. I'd do it myself, but I don't want to hurt him more than he already is." He looked down at the unusual individual in his hold. Xianghua gave another quick nod and, after casting once last glance at the strange being, ran towards the fight between Astaroth and Maxi.

Kilik turned and began to walk back to his camp, moving swiftly but slowly, as not to hurt the new stranger. After a few moments, Xianghua ran past him, carrying the boy's shield on her back, his sword in her grasp, and his bag of belongings under her arm.

"Tell them to make it quick!" Kilik called out to her as she continued to run towards her destination. She responded with a quick wave of the boy's sword, and Kilik couldn't help but manage a smile. Then she was gone.

Kilik continued to walk, carefully and quietly, alert to any and all noises the unknown warrior might make. He occasionally stopped and secured his hold on the boy before continuing along his way.

At one point, he heard the boy emit a moan, followed by a childlike whimper. Kilik looked down to see that the boy's gash had begun to bleed freely again. The rodmaster squeezed the boy closer to him, cutting off the flow of blood. Kilik immediately continued, his pace quickening.

Finally, after what seemed like hours to him, Kilik reached the site of his camp. He caught sight of Talim near his tent, lugging water to the entrance by the bucketful. She looked up as he approached.

"Is this enough?" she asked, gesturing to the six buckets of water at her feet.

"More than enough, thank you," Kilik responded quickly, pushing aside the soft fabric of the tent door with his shoulder and stepping inside. Talim looked in after him.

"Kilik, what's this all about?" she asked, apparent confusion flooding her voice. "What's going on—" She cut off suddenly as she saw Kilik set down the body of a person onto the thick pile of blankets of the makeshift bed. What had really caught her attention, however, were the person's ears. They were pointed. How could that be? Beings with pointed ears, such as elves and demons, existed only in myth and fairy tale. Was it possible that the tales were true? Did magical beings truly exist?

Kilik looked over his shoulder and into the gawking face of Talim.

"Get Raphael," he commanded softly. Talim stayed put, apparently too transfixed with the unconscious warrior. Kilik stood swiftly. "Talim, go and get Raphael!" The teen-ager's gaze broke quickly, now locked with the soft, yet hostile, eyes of Kilik. "He's bleeding, Talim. Raphael is his only hope. Now go and fetch him!" The girl nodded quickly, bolting from the tent and running off.

Kilik knelt down again, grabbing the blanket off of his own bed and folding it into a small square. Leaning over the sleeping stranger, he pressed the blanket hard into his side, causing the boy to unconsciously groan in pain. Soft brown eyes flickered up to the pale face, filled with a mixture of worry, fear, and anxiety. They suddenly widened as the stranger's pale features quickly flushed; he began to pant slightly. Kilik brought up a hand to gently rest on the boy's forehead, quickly bringing it back when he felt the searing skin. The boy was burning up with fever, and fast.

The rodmaster bolted up and out of the tent, bringing back one of the buckets of water. He immediately dove into his knapsack, fishing out a spare cloth and dipping it into the fresh water. Kilik wasted no time in placing the damp cloth on the warrior's forehead, dabbing gently at the burning skin. He frowned at the distressed expression on the boy's face.

"It'll be alright," Kilik whispered absently, applying gentle pressure to the wound once more. "It'll be alright…"

Kilik's head snapped up as the soft thunder of footfalls cut through the air. The shadows of two people crossed by his tent before their owners rushed through the doorway.

"Get that tunic off," Raphael immediately commanded, before Kilik could get a word out. Talim, although weak from lack of breath after running, left Raphael's side to aid Kilik in removing the stranger's green tunic and white undershirt. The European rummaged through his collection of plants, instantly shooing the others away once the stranger was topless.

"I need room!" he insisted when Kilik began to protest. Before he could object any further, Talim had grabbed Kilik by the arm and pulled him out of his tent.

"Kilik, Raphael knows what he's doing!" Talim cried as Kilik gently removed his arm from the girl's grip. "We can help by just letting him do his job, okay?" Kilik nodded in adverse understanding.

"Where's Xianghua and Yunsung?" he asked suddenly, raking his fingers through his hair absently. Talim sighed and walked over to sit on a nearby log by the ashes of the fire pit.

"They're still looking for plants for Raphael," she said, stretching her arms over her head. "He was still gathering them when you wanted me to fetch him." Kilik nodded again, striding over to seat himself on the ground next to Talim. He buried his head in his hands, desperately trying to block out the pained moans coming from inside his tent.

"Kilik?" Talim spoke timidly, after an awkward silence. Kilik grunted to show he was listening. "Did you see his ears?" The rodmaster sighed.

"Yes."

"Do you think he's… well, you know, an elf? Like in the stories?"

"I don't know what to think, Talim." Kilik lowered his hands, looking up at the girl. "He could be, for all I know." He pulled his knees up to his chest, hugging them. "But… I don't think he's evil… his eyes didn't show it…" Talim smiled.

"That's good," she said, looking skyward. "Elves were never evil in the stories, either." She looked back at Kilik. "Right?" Kilik slowly smiled.

"Right."

Soft footfalls quickly caught the pair's attention; they looked up to see Maxi jogging towards them. Talim stood swiftly.

"Is Astaroth—"

"Gone," Maxi cut her off, stopping in front of her. "Ran off before I could finish him, the coward." He bent over at the waist, hands on his knees, catching his breath.

"Are you wounded?" Talim asked, taking a step forward to look him over.

"Nah," the pirate laughed, waving her off. "The great brute kept missing. Honestly, he can't seem to control that loathsome ax of his."

"Then you should consider yourself very lucky," spoke a voice from behind. Raphael had stepped out of Kilik's tent, wiping blood off his hands with a spare cloth. Kilik's eyes narrowed just slightly in heedfulness.

"What do you mean?" he asked, a little hesitantly. Raphael glanced up from the bloodstained rag.

"I mean that Astaroth poisoned his ax blade," he said quite calmly, as if commenting on something so simple as the weather. Kilik stood abruptly.

"Poisoned?" he practically hissed in a whisper. Raphael nodded. "What about… is the… is he alright?" Maxi raised an eyebrow slightly.

"'He?'" the pirate questioned. "Who are you talking about?" Kilik didn't seem to hear him as Raphael folded up the cloth and began to fish around for something in his coat.

"He is just fine," the man responded. "A mild fever is all; very common. Luckily the poison hadn't spread far into his bloodstream, so I was able to extract it." Raphael pulled his hand from his coat and walked over, holding out a fistful of red flower petals.

"Make sure he eats one every three hours," he said to Kilik, placing the petals into his hand. "They will help keep the aftereffects of the poison at bay." Kilik nodded, stuffing the petals into his pants pocket.

"What about the actual wound?" he asked. Maxi furrowed his brow in confusion.

"'Wound?' What are you—" he started, suddenly cutting himself off and looking to Talim. "Talim, what's Kilik talking about?" The young priestess quickly held up a hand, shushing Maxi, intent on listening to the conversation.

"The blade failed to hit any vital organs, just the bare flesh," Raphael explained. "The bleeding's stopped, and I've gotten a good number of layers of bandage on him. Oh, I used the bandages from your bag, Kilik. Hope you don't mind." Kilik quickly shook his head.

"No, that's fine. Will the boy live?" Raphael smirked and shook his head in disbelief.

"Of course he'll live, you big worrywart," the European laughed. He gestured behind him. "Go on, he's asleep now." Kilik smiled, nodding his thanks, and disappeared into his tent.

Talim clasped her hands together over her heart in relief and happiness. Raphael brought out the bloody cloth again to wipe off stray specks of blood. Maxi sighed heavily and finally spoke again.

"Will somebody please tell me what's going on?" he pleaded, almost whining. Talim giggled.

"Don't ask me, I only brought the water." She turned away with a smile, crossing her arms behind her head and walking off. Maxi raised an eyebrow and turned to Raphael.

"I'm clueless," Raphael said simply. "Go ask Kilik." The pirate threw up his hands in defeat and marched into the rodmaster's tent. Talim's innocent giggling brought a small smirk upon Raphael's usually hard face.

"What's so funny?" a young voice asked. Talim turned to see Yunsung approaching, Xianghua at his side, both carrying handfuls of strange plants and flowers. The Korean's expression was nothing short of puzzled, while Xianghua wore a mask of worry.

"The boy, is he alright?" she quickly asked, earning a side-glance from Yunsung.

"'Boy?'" he questioned. "What boy?"

"He's doing fine!" Talim exclaimed happily. "He'll most likely wake in a day, due to the poison."

"What boy?" Yunsung repeated, getting impatient. "And what's this about poison?"

"Astaroth's blade was poisoned," Talim said, directing it to Xianghua, however. "Raphael said there will be some side effe—"

"Astaroth was here?" Yunsung interrupted, his voice a mixture of shock and frustration. "Damn it, why doesn't anybody ever tell me these kinds of things?"

"Hush, Yunsung!" Xianghua snapped gently. She quickly turned back to Talim. "And… did you see his ears?" she asked quietly. Talim's smiled widened and she nodded. Yunsung growled in frustration; his patience had reached its limit.

Suddenly, as if on cue to answer Yunsung's unasked question, a bewildered shout emerged from the depths of Kilik's tent, belonging to a very stunned Maxi.

"He's an elf?"

An uneasy silence followed the unexpected outburst, finally broken by a muffled cough by a certain redhead.

"Okay, I think it's time for somebody to explain a few things…"

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Not as good of an ending as I would like, but it's something.

No, I am not sure if Raphael and Yunsung would actually join Kilik, Maxi, and Xianghua. Here's what I'm trying to use for the story:

1) Maxi has re-met Kilik and Xianghua all over again. He hasn't regained his memory of them from four years before, but he has befriended them.

2) Both Raphael and Yunsung have met Kilik, Maxi, and Xianghua during their travels and have been convinced that the sword must be destroyed. Therefore, they have joined the three.

3) Talim just seems like the type that would automatically join Kilik, Maxi, and Xianghua. I just felt like putting her in.

Yeah… so just work with the plot! It's just about eventual slashy goodness! XD

Reviews are appreciated!

-EDWARD-