OVER THE PAST YEAR OR SO…
School: I suck!
Personal Problems: RAWR!
Social Life: Happen!
Fanfiction: I'm neglected.
Comics: Blowfish likes to blow money on us!
Sleep: Blowfish loves me more than life itself!
Blowfish: That I do. So yeah. That's my life. Why am I back? I dunno. I guess I missed you guys. And writing this crap—err, stuff. Writing this stuff. Still figuring out a lot of stuff about what I'm gonna do to get back to business, but right now I just wanna work more.
Blowfish: So let me start by responding to my lovely reviews.
The Gemini Sage: Ha! I roll a 14 and beat your Suggestion spell!
Readers: …Goddammit, Blowfish, you geek.
Sorry. Anyway…Zel is a little bit more likeable than Tetra, but there's even more surprises in store from her.
Vladmir the Hamster: Ahh, multi-tasking, the great temptress of the computer… sure, you think, I'll just listen to some music while read this fanfiction…heck, I'll watch a movie…and I'll download some porn while I'm at it! Then suddenly you're facing the Blue Screen of Death ™, AND THEN WHAT'VE YOU GOT? NOTHING! NOOOOOOTHIIIIIIING! cries
Encumbrance: You'll just have to wait and see…
EJ Amber: Ha, Zel is covered in this chap, more or less. Sorry again for all the waiting.
ME THEE OCEE: Yes, and here it is!
harrypotterfan: That she is.
Do I have to tell you my name: Deliverance! …Well, it took a while, but STILL!
X-wingPilot52: Thanks, glad you like it!
Blowfish: ON WITH THE SHOW…AFTER 9 MONTHS (BABY!)…
"She didn't know you?" asked Mako disbelievingly.
Senza shrugged. "Not really. It didn't make any sense. Gonzo and I had to reintroduce ourselves and everything. Gonzo was real upset. So was she, come to think of it."
"Hmm…" Mako began to scribble in his journal. "'Saturday. Warm. New girl, Tetra—'"
"Says her name is Zelda. Exactly the opposite of what she told us originally."
"Okay. Fine. 'New girl, ZELDA, is acting strangely. Will not engage until she has gotten past this…episode.' Hmph. I must be off."
Mako shuffled away from Gonzo and Senza. Gonzo was slumped over, looking dully at the wall. Senza patted him on the back.
"S'okay, Gonz...maybe she'll come back."
Link sat quietly, poking at his cereal. He was more focused on reading than eating. The Hero in the story had rescued the Zora princess and obtained the last of the Spiritual Stones. Link knew that the face-off with the bad guy would come any page now, and was following the words on the page anxiously. Someone put their bowl down across from him.
"May I sit here?" asked a small voice.
"Sure," mumbled Link, not even looking up. He heard the sound of the person pulling back a chair.
"Is that a good book?"
"Yep. Getting to the good part."
"Oh. Sorry. …Don't I know you?"
Link looked up. "Yeah. I'm Link. You're Tetra." He turned back to his book.
"My name is Zelda."
"No, you told me yesterday it was Tetra," said Link firmly, not bothering to look up at the blonde girl's befuddled expression.
A gloomy expression replaced the confused one. "Ah. Then I suppose I must have."
Link glanced up. Zelda/Tetra had nice eyes.
"Sorry about that, then," she said, looking embarrassed. She gave a weak smile. "Well, right now I'm Zelda and you're Link, so all's right with the world, I guess."
"All's right with the world?"
"Uh…I don't know…I guess I was using it idiomatically. Obviously all's not…I mean…" Speaking seemed to only cause further embarrassment.
They sat in silence for a while, Link reading and Zelda stirring her cereal, trying to see whether the milk would change hues. Link stopped reading abruptly and began shoveling and slurping his breakfast down his throat. When he was done, he stared at his inverted reflection in his spoon. Zelda stopped stirring to stare at him. She wanted to make conversation, any conversation, and finally said the thing that happened to be at the front of her mind.
"Why are you here?"
Link looked at her as if it was the most ridiculous query ever posed to someone. "It's breakfast," he answered simply.
"Well…yes…but I mean…" She paused. "Why are you here in this place?"
"In the hospital?" asked Link, still a bit confused.
"That's kind of a personal question, isn't it?"
"Oh…I suppose it is…I'm terribly sorry…I didn't mean to—"
"Well, it was a lot of stuff I guess." He shrugged. "Nothing I feel like talking about, thanks."
"Oh," said Zelda quietly. "I'm sorry for asking you about that."
Zelda could not think of another time in her life when she had been this uncomfortable. But Link looked mostly unfazed; he even offered a rare smile.
"I had to tell a lot of people all sorts of stuff when I came here. I'm just sick of talking. What about you?"
"Were you trying to say how you came here?"
Zelda didn't want to feel like a hypocrite. "I…hurt someone. I wasn't…myself."
"Oh, like yesterday?"
"You weren't yourself, I mean."
"Oh. No, I wasn't." She breathed a sigh of relief. People around them were starting to leave the mess hall.
"It's time to go," said Link.
Evan hunched over the table, using one arm to cradle his head, while the other lay limply on the table next to a bottle. Mikau walked in, slamming the door behind him. Evan groaned. Mikau cocked an eyebrow, smiling mischievously.
"Well good morning," he said loudly, making Evan grunt in a pained sort of way. "How are you, Evan ol' buddy ol' pal?" Evan grunted again. "It's awful dark in here. Howzabout I draw the curtains and let the sunshine—"
"YES, I HAVE A HANGOVER," growled Evan. "CAN WE DROP IT NOW, PLEASE?"
"Sure," said Mikau, grinning and removing his hands from the curtains. "Now, what was so fun last night that I couldn't have accompanied you in this lovely indulgence of the drink?"
"You're rather perky this morning."
"Oh, Lulu has just been particularly beee-yoooo-tiful lately, is all," crowed Mikau, knowing Evan couldn't stand their love-dovey talk. Mostly because he was frustrated that he, the band leader, couldn't get a girlfriend, while Mikau, the guitarist, was clawed at by anything female with a sex drive. "I mean, she's normally hot, but lately has been just smokin'—"
"Oh shut it."
"Awww, Evan, I know songwriters need lovin' too. I could cut one loose from my harem and send her in your direction—"
"This isn't about girls, you sappy fuck. Lightning storm last night, and guess what?"
Mikau blinked. "What?"
Evan gaped at him. "Didn't you see what happened out front?"
"Came in the back."
"A tree fell over and hit our fucking van."
"She's seriously smashed up. It's more money than we have to spend right now. Goddammit, this is such a mess…"
Mikau sat down next to his friend, a bit shocked. "Dude…"
"I'll pay for it."
Evan lifted his head off the table. "No. You won't."
"But you let me park it here last night and I parked it under the tree even though it'd already started raining—"
"All of us'll pay for it together."
"But I want to—"
"You're not better than anyone else, okay? So don't try to do stuff you shouldn't. Now let me call Mido and Lado. They'll want a warning if I'm gonna have it there this early. You call a tow truck."
Mikau was silent for a few seconds. "Yeah."
Zelda stared at a spotted fish that was swimming leisurely around the tiny pond in the courtyard. "It sure is boring here."
"Yyyyeeep," said Ruto.
"What kind of fish are these?"
"Koi, I think."
"What are koi?"
"Hmm. How do they taste?"
"Never eaten one."
"Yeah. I like fish, though. To eat them, that is. My father owns a chain of seafood restaurants and you'd think I'd get sick of it but I don't.." Ruto smiled. "I miss my Daddy. He's the greatest. Do you miss yours?"
"My father is dead."
"…Oh." Ruto turned her attention to the koi in the pond.
Zelda sighed. "Yes, I do miss him."
"It's called art therapy."
"What do I do?"
Kafei sighed. "You do art, Link."
Kafei smiled, deciding that it would be better to try to be supportive of this new program than to run to Rauru's office screaming bloody murder. "If you'd like to, yes."
"What should I paint?"
The doctor heaved an even greater sigh. "Whatever you want."
Link stared at the paper blankly. Kafei gritted his teeth. "How about I give you a prompt?"
"Something to get your imagination going."
Kafei distantly wondered if the boy was livelier when off his medication. "Yes. How about…" His eyes darted about the room, until he saw the background of the clock on the wall: A strange, contorted face. "…a mask!"
"Yes. Paint away."
Link looked dully at the paintbrushes to his left and began chewing his fingernail. Kafei found another patient to look after, resolving that a stiff drink would be in order when his shift was done.
"Sorry dude, this thing is toast."
"You can't do ANYTHING?"
"Nope. Completely totaled," confirmed Mido.
"Totaled," agreed Lado. "Best be findin' a new one, Mikau."
"Aw, man," muttered Mikau.
The van was indeed beyond repair. The roof was smashed in and all the windows had shattered. There had also been considerable water damage to the inside.
"Could salvage the engine, maybe," said Mido. "Sell it, might make you a couple bucks."
"Vans cost more than a couple bucks," grunted Mikau.
"Aww, don't get down, 'Kau!" said Mido, using his friend's nickname in an attempt to cheer him up. "You should get a really cheap, run-down piece o' crap, and I could fix it and Japas could paint it and it would be good times all over again."
"What's got you so glum, man?"
"I never have enough money."
Mido snorted. "Welcome to the club. No one ever has enough money."
"No, I mean, I can never pay for stuff. I'm always mooching off someone in the band. I just wanna let them know that I…well, ya know…can take care of myself."
Mido sighed, idly polishing a hood ornament while Lado went into the back. "Well, if it's any consolation, I used to feel the same way." He shrugged. "Started this shop with Lad' and it's gotten better." Then he smiled. "But you, you're gonna be a rock star, right? A big guy."
Mikau grinned. "Yep. They'll see my name in lights. Haven't got much else to do with myself anyway. Music's the only thing I'm good at."
"Saria tells me I'm good at being a jackass."
The two laughed. "Well, your girl certainly does have an eye for talent, then. Mine would say much the same."
Mido opened a beer and tossed one to Mikau. "To girlfriends!" He took a swig from the bottle. Mikau nodded cheerfully and opened his bottle.
"To mechanics!" Gulp.
"To rock stars!" Gulp.
"To dropping out of military school just to piss off your parents!" Gulp, gulp.
"To brotherhood!" shouted Mido. Gulp. "And…"
"TO GETTING DRUNK IN MID-AFTERNOON!" they yelled together.
Rauru was doing his daily rounds. He liked to go around, see that everything was running smoothly. It was just a habit of his, really, and he usually saw nothing terribly interesting.
Today, however, he spotted a small congregation of patients crowded around one of his patients. Some were murmuring, but most of them were silent. Rauru peered into the room. Was it…yes, it was Link. He sighed and stepped inside. He recognized a few other patients as well. Darunia, one of his own, then Zelda and Ruto, two of Kafei's. The other was a small boy that he had seldom seen before. He had wide eyes and a wide mouth, scrunched into a very plump face. He tried his best to remember the boy's name, but he could not.
"It looks so pretty, Link," cooed Ruto, her arms draped around his neck. Link seemed extremely uncomfortable, and gave Zelda a pleading look.
"Maybe it would be easier for him to paint without your…err…arms on him like that, Ruto," said Zelda gently. Ruto gave a "hmph!" and moved her arms to her sides. Link's posture slackened considerably.
"It really does look nice, Brother," said Darunia lazily. Rauru noted that he sounded more lethargic than usual. He moved closer to get a look at what Link was doing. He was painting, that was certain, but Rauru wondered distantly what.
The picture was of a dark-haired man and a red-head dancing on a clock. It was one of the most surreal things that Rauru had ever seen. Rather than normal faces, the man was sporting the sun for a face, the woman a moon. He approached.
"That's a very nice picture, Link," he commented. Link didn't take his eyes off the painting.
"Thank you, Doctor Rauru," he said almost robotically.
"Thank you, Doctor Rauru."
"Where ever did you get such a fascinating idea?"
"Dr. Kafei, Dr. Rauru."
"Yes. He said not to mention anything." This time, he turned a bit towards Rauru. "So I won't. I'll just paint."
Zelda had found that her favorite place to be in the hospital was the courtyard. It was the only place where she felt like she could remotely enjoy herself. Most of the time she would just sit and talk to whoever might be there with her, though the conversations were rarely very stimulating. Take today, for example…
"'Sunday. Humid. Have talked to Zelda. She still has not let anyone call her Tetra.'"
"I'm sitting right here, Mako."
"'She appears to have an over-developed sense of personal space.'"
"Stop talking about me in the third person. It's creeping me out."
"Well, fine!" he huffed. He gathered up his things and trotted away. Zelda resumed watching the fish in the pond.
"Koi…" she muttered.
"Who's coy?" Zelda looked around. Link was standing behind her, holding his book, as always.
"No, I mean the fish. They're called koi."
"Oh. Yeah. There's a loach in there too, somewhere. The striped one, I think."
Zelda squinted at the pond. "I haven't seen it."
"He's just shy."
Her gaze drifted back up to Link. He was staring into the distance. His hair was matted, probably because of the weather. Zelda shuddered. Goddesses know what her hair must have looked like. Link rested his book on his lap. "How far are you? Since the other day, I mean."
"What? Oh." His stare might have drilled a hole in the wall. "The Bad Guy made off after the Princess and the Hero went to keep the sacred treasure away from him. But the Hero gets trapped in the Sacred Realm." He broke off his stare and looked at Zelda instead. "It's kind of sad, because the Bad Guy wins and takes over the world, and the Princess disappears."
"Oh. Is that it?"
"Nah, there's a lot more, so the Hero can still beat him."
Zelda smiled. "You think the Hero will beat him?"
Link looked at her like it was the stupidest question that had ever been asked. "Of course he will. The Hero always saves the Princess."
Blowfish: Yeah, it's short, but there's some set-up that needed to get done, so the chapter served its purpose. The next one'll be longer, I promise.