Rated R for yaoi, sexual content, hits of yuri, and some language
Disclaimer: I don't own Majora's Mask, Minish Cap, or anything else Legend of Zelda related. Trust me; I'm sure that many people are happy about that.
Author's notes: Oh my god, you don't know how ashamed I am to see how long it's been. I really apologize, but trust me when I say I have no plans of ever actually dropping this fic. It's my baby! Please feel free to PM me or something and bug me to update this, really! Okay, so the notes… We're still in Vaati's world, and it's time to meet some old friends! Plus, what's this? Is Ezlo finally ready to talk about The Big Secret? …Well, you'll just have to see! This Minish Cap mini arc will likely be one more chapter, then it's time for something special.
Flames do nothing but make me laugh, although I'll listen to any CC you have. Please read, review, and enjoy! Finished 02-13-10
It was after breakfast when Vaati mentioned that he planned on taking Kafei to Hyrule Town that day. He looked older, had clothes from Clock Town with him, and had Kafei to draw attention from him as well. He didn't see why they couldn't go out for a little while at least. If something went wrong, he could always teleport himself and Kafei away after all.
That was when Ezlo told them something interesting.
"If I'm not mistaken, today is a festival when people from all around go to Hyrule Town to celebrate the goddesses. It will be even bigger than the Picori Festival. Surely you remember how busy that was?" Indeed he did, though he didn't like to think of those times. "It should be easy for you to go unnoticed. Many people there will never even have seen you. Do take caution though, and make sure you get out if anything goes wrong."
That had settled it; Vaati and Kafei decided that was exactly what they would do that day. It gave Kafei a chance to do some sightseeing, while Vaati got to get out of Ezlo's house with hopes that no one would notice him. As much as he wanted to see more of his old master, he knew that the elder Picori was hiding something big, and the more opportunities Vaati had to pester him about it, the longer Ezlo would withhold the information. It all worked out really.
Leaving the village went far more smoothly than entering it had. No one approached the couple, likely having experienced or at least heard about the fire incident the day before. That didn't stop them from whispering though.
"What do they mean by 'the concubine's flames'?" Vaati stifled a groan and walked faster.
"Do you think I'll ever get used to that?" Kafei's question came from atop the stump they'd used to become small the day before. They were their full sizes again, and the older man found that growing felt just as odd as shrinking had.
"Well, perhaps. I suppose it will depend on how often you have to do it. Even I haven't gone through it many more times as you, and I doubt it feels any more natural to me as it does to you." Kafei figured that with dimension traveling at their fingertips, visits to Ezlo would be at least a semi-regular occurrence, so long as Vaati could stand being around the other Picori. He wasn't sure if his lover could though, so he didn't say anymore on the subject. Instead he focused on the lovely bare flesh before him as Vaati changed out of his mage's attire and put on the clothes he'd gotten in Clock Town. The festival might have lots of strangers, but they weren't about to tempt fate.
"Ready?" Vaati stuffed the last of his cape in his bag and nodded, glad they wouldn't be traveling to the town while tiny.
"Ready." He took Kafei's hand and was about to lead the way, but the other man didn't move. The mage shot him a confused look, only for Kafei to reach over and push the hair out of his eye and tuck the long strands behind his pointed ear.
"Just one more little change for security." Vaati nodded and tried again to start their trip, which was met with cooperation that time. Though, to be honest, Kafei really just liked seeing his lover's face.
"Ezlo wasn't joking… There are so many people here!" Hyrule Town was small when compared to Clock Town, despite there being a castle a short ways in the distance. That didn't stop it from being full to the brim with vendors and citizens. Children, teenagers, adults, the elderly—they were all milling about, buying trinkets and food, laughing and gossiping. Vaati, having been to the Picori Festival, was a bit ticked off that his people's festival was barren by comparison. But then again, this was a festival for the three goddesses…
"Yes… A lot…" It was apparent that Vaati was nervous that someone would recognize him. It was a valid concern, but with some many people who had never gotten to see him before and with him looking older, Kafei was confident that they'd have plenty of time to look around before they had to make any escapes.
"Come on, it'll be fine. Now, what should we do…" If nothing else, Kafei's hand entwined with his made him feel better. They walked around the town, and sure enough, no one paid any mind to the mage or the fact that they were two men holding hands. No one even looked twice at them.
"Which goddess do you worship?" Vaati asked as they passed a stand selling charms claiming to be infused with the goddesses' powers, though he could sense that they were nothing but cheap hunks of wood and cloth.
"None of them," Kafei admitted, yet again realizing that there was still plenty about each other that they didn't know because it had never come up. Religion was one of those things. "People in Termina worship the four giants, the guardians of our world. I know they're real because they helped to stop the moon, but I can't say I actively worship them or any deity. We don't even have goddesses. I can't even claim I know anything about them other than there seem to be three and are color-coded."
"Yes, Din is red, Nayru is blue, and Farore is green. I can't really tell you much more about them though, other then they're associated with power, wisdom, and courage respectively. My parents worshiped them as do many town Picori, but Ezlo never did and I didn't see the point in praying to a goddess that never seemed to help me after I moved in with him… You know?" Kafei had a feeling he did. Vaati had always been an outsider; praying for a goddess's protection only for your prayers to go unanswered was sure to make anyone jaded. Another thing they had in common it seemed.
"Yes, I understa—" he stopped suddenly, and before Vaati could ask what was wrong, the older man was face-first on the ground, a bundle of feathers flapping wildly on his back.
"A Cucco? What's a Cucco doing in the festival like this?" Kafei pulled himself up, trying to dislodge the creature from its grip on the back of his shirt, but it wasn't going too well. Taking pity upon his lover, Vaati reached down and scooped the thing up, murmuring comforting words in his native tongue that soothed the bird. Kafei, finally able to understand it, was amazed that telling a Cucco 'there there, you're all right, please don't tear my boyfriend's skin off' actually worked.
"What the hell is wrong with that thing anyway?" Kafei questioned as he was finally able to get off the ground, scowling at the Cucco now nestled in Vaati's arms. "And why are you still holding it anyway? You can let it go now." Vaati did something quite unexpected then—he frowned and held the bird tighter, a defiant look on his face.
"I don't want to let him go, that's why. I want to keep him! I'll call him…Sebastian." It honestly took all of Kafei's willpower to keep a straight face.
"You…want to keep the Cucco that just attacked me and name it…Sebastian." A happy nod was his answer. Lovely. "Well, as much as I'm sure Sebastian would be a wonderful pet, he probably belongs to someone already. Besides, we couldn't take him back with us. He's too big for your village and Anju is allergic to Cucco feathers, so we couldn't take him back to Clock Town either. If you really want a pet, we can get you a nice cat or something once we get back."
Vaati looked rather downtrodden, but after a moment he cheered up again.
"Can we name the cat Sebastian?"
"…Sure." He really, really wished he knew what went through Vaati's mind sometimes. "Now, let's see if we can find someone looking for a lost Cucco…"
"Here Cucco Cucco, here Cucco!"
"Well, that was convenient. Come on, you need to return the Cucco, love." Vaati didn't look thrilled at the thought, but more than anything he looked rather perplexed…
"That voice sounds awfully familiar…"
"Oh, my Cucco! I'm so glad you caught him!" The couple turned to the grateful voice, more than a little shocked by the site awaiting them.
"A-Anju…?" The woman was the exact doppelganger of Kafei's wife. She was even wearing a similar style of clothing as their Anju did. Her eyes widened as Kafei said her name—even her facial expressions were identical.
"How did you know my name? Oh wait, I know, I'm the only one with pet Cuccos around of course! Someone must have told you when you were trying to find out that one's owner, right?" The handy excuse was taken as they nodded quickly. "Well, thank you very much for catching him. My Cuccos are sneaky and like to escape, but I'm allergic to their feathers and can't actually pick them up without getting hives… Oh, but you don't want to hear about that! Could you please help me bring with one back to the coop at my house? It's not far off, and I can pay you for your troubles."
"You don't have to—"
"It's no problem," she cut off, smiling pleasantly at them. "It's really the least I can do. Now, please follow me!" The pair exchanged a look before following the happy woman. It was Anju after all…how could they refuse?
"That was almost surreal… I know we both knew of boys named Link, but to think there are two of Anju as well… Could there be doubles of us too?" Vaati was just as confused as Kafei.
"I'm not sure. I suppose there could be. I wonder if Master Ezlo knows anything about it…" While Vaati made a mental note to ask his old teacher about it once they returned to the village, Kafei's attention was turned from the Anju lookalike and onto a stand they passed. He stopped in front of it, glancing at one of the items for sale lined on the shelves. Vaati stopped as well, wondering what had stolen his lover's attention away.
"There are Keatons in this world?" Kafei questioned, pointing up at a brightly colored mask.
"Yes, they live all over. I…" He paused, not wanting the booth's owner to hear him admit he'd controlled monsters even if he didn't appear to be paying attention to them. "Let's just say that they were among the monsters that roamed Hyrule a while back." That was enough for Kafei to understand.
"In Termina, they're wise creatures who can be summoned wearing a mask like that one. Tomo gave me one when I was a child, and I wore it when Stalkid transformed me to hide from everyone, though he knew it was me. I told everyone I was hiding because I was a child, but the marriage… Well, you know what happened then. I wonder if anything happens if you wear the mask here though…?"
"Well, we did just get those rupees from Anju. We could try it out." Almost as if 'rupee' were a magic word, the man running the booth finally turned to them, a greasy smile on his face.
"Ya lookin' at the mask there, sweetheart? I doubt ya got enough rupee for craftsmanship like that. But maybe if yer boyfriend lets such a pretty lil girl give me a lil kiss…" Vaati's face seemed to go even paler at the man's disgusting words. And really, he didn't look that much like a girl!
"No thank you," the older man answered, his face mirroring the disgust Vaati felt. "My boyfriend and I will be going now." As he began to pull the mage away, the man leaned out, as if hoping to confirm Kafei was lying and he didn't just hit on a man. As his squinty eyes peered out though, his lips suddenly twisted into a sneer.
"Wait a minute ya poofs! I know you… You're that magic bastard that let all those monsters loose and turned the princess to stone! You're Vaati! Those damn monsters of yours killed my son!" Kafei groaned as the man started shouting; there went their tour. At least they had a quick and easy way out.
"All right, it's time to teleport us out before the entire festival is after us." He waited…but nothing happened. Looking at Vaati's face, it wasn't hard to tell he wasn't about to either. Of all the times to freeze… "Okay, new plan…we run!"
Kafei dragged Vaati along, the latter's legs moving automatically. Maybe this hadn't been such a great idea after all… Of course they had to stop in front of one of the people who'd actually be able to recognize him… Kafei didn't know his way around, and the crowd was thick. He didn't stop to see if they were being followed; for all he knew, no one believed that man and they were completely safe, but he wasn't about to risk it. …Which way led back out though?
"Hey mister! Come this way!" The voice was familiar, just as Anju's had been. Though he couldn't place it, he really had nothing to lose. Still pulling Vaati along, he dashed over a small bridge, though he didn't see the source of the voice. "Quick, come inside!" There is was, coming from a cracked open door of a small house. Somehow, he knew it wasn't a trap, and in they went. He practically slammed the door once they were inside, taking a moment to catch his breath before looking at his saviors…
"Link? Romani?" …Only to find three children and a women, two of which looked very familiar.
"My name's Link," the boy spoke up before pointing to the redheaded Romani lookalike, who in turn looked as Cremia did when they were children, "but her name is Malon." More doppelgangers… Yes, they'd definitely have to ask Ezlo about that.
"And I'm Zelda!" a pretty young blonde girl piped in. She turned away from Kafei and smiled up at the mage instead. "Hi Vaati!"
"Link… Zelda…" While Kafei was glad Vaati had come to his senses again, he wasn't so sure this meeting was opportune. Zelda was the girl he'd almost killed trying to extract the Light Force from, right? The one turned to stone? And Link had defeated him. …But why where they both smiling at him like old friends then?
"Hey Vaati, you're human again and you grew up! That's cool! Did Ezlo help you? He's not being anyone else's hat these days is he? What—?" Link—yes, he was definitely just like the boy Kafei had met when the moon was falling—stopped his barrage of questions by the last person who hadn't been introduced. The beautiful blue-haired woman placed her hands on his shoulders and smiled warmly at him, causing the boy to flush and promptly shut up.
"Link, how about we all sit down first, then you can catch up, all right?" The boy nodded, and the woman turned her smile to the two men. "Hello, I am Nayru, the oracle of the goddess I bear the name of. This is my home, so please, feel free to sit down so we may speak. I assure you that no harm will come of you while here. Now, may I get you some tea before we begin our chat?"
It took a while, but Vaati managed to explain all the key points of what had happened since he and Ezlo last saw Link and Zelda. True, they weren't old, but they were both mature and understood what was going on, and the thought of alternate dimensions fascinated all of them. In return, they learned that Malon was a friend of theirs that lived on Lon Lon Ranch right outside of Hyrule Town—Kafei was yet again amazed by that—and that thanks to Zelda's influence, the town had been convinced that Vaati had been sealed away in the Four Sword in a monstrous shape rather than his true fate.
"Why?" Vaati had asked.
"Because I had a feeling you would come back to this town some day," she'd replied cheerfully. Just by looking at his face, Kafei had known that the mage was touched that she could be so forgiving after all that had happened.
All that being said, it was evident that the man had not been believed after all. Still, Vaati didn't want to return to the festival, and Kafei found it more interesting to meet people Vaati knew than see peddlers trying to push cheap goods for goddesses he didn't worship. Besides, he was curious…
"Have any of you seen anyone who looks like me around? It's seems strange that my two best friends have doubles here but I apparently don't…" The other four shook their heads, which just made Kafei all the more mystified.
"Maybe it's good that there isn't another you, or Vaati might've fallen in love with him instead, and you'd have to fight over him." Zelda's observation made herself and Malon giggle. It was a good point though.
Among Vaati's recap had been what had gone on between Kafei and himself. None of them had any problems with it; in fact, Zelda and Link were very pleased that the sad little Picori they'd seen leaving with Ezlo was finally happy. Link, however, had been amazed that someone married to Anju wouldn't be happy with it. When Malon had huffed about Link having a crush on so many women, Kafei was left wondering if the Link he'd known was that hormonal too…
"Oh my," Nayru spoke up as the clock in her home began to chime. "Princess, it's getting late. You father wanted you home before it got dark. Link, Malon, I believe your families won't want you out past dark either." The young teenagers groaned, not wanting to leave, especially not Link and Zelda, who realized that it could be a very long time before they got to see Vaati again. But the oracle was right; it was time for them to make their leave.
"We should be going soon too," Vaati told them, which made them feel a little better at least. "Ezlo will be waiting for us, and we'll be small for the trip back to the village. Link, I'm sure you remember what a hassle those lily pads are in the dark." The blond boy nodded; he still had nightmares about drowning in puddles…
Goodbyes were said, with Vaati promising he'd visit them again and tell them all about any more doubles he met of them. The children scampered off first, leaving the men and the oracle alone. They thanked her for letting them stay, to which she smiled and replied that it was her pleasure.
"I may only be the oracle of time, but I can still sense that the two of you have a pure intent to learn the workings of our universes. I do wish you the best of luck."
Pure intent… Kafei wondered what she meant by that as Vaati led them back out of town and to the forest. True, he wanted to learn about him mother and Vaati had wanted to see Ezlo, but was that really considered pure?
He supposed it didn't matter. If the oracle of a goddess gave them her blessing, it was best to just accept it.
The sun was beginning to set as they reached the village, and luckily no one was out and about as they made their way back to Ezlo's home. They still didn't linger though, as Kafei knew that with all that Vaati had dealt with, he didn't need the Picori reminding him of his past mistakes too. He thanked any listening deities that his lover wasn't dwelling over the man's words too much.
It wasn't long before they had reached their destination, entering Ezlo's home without a word. They didn't need to say anything—the old Picori was standing near the entrance, as if waiting for their return. In retrospect, they figured he probably had been.
"Ah, you're both safe, that's good. How was your trip?" Kafei stayed silent, letting Vaati decided whether he wanted Ezlo to know exactly what had gone on. The younger Picori managed a shaky smile despite the memory.
"Someone did recognize me…but Kafei made sure we were safe. We met up with Link and Zelda too and they acted like we were good friends… It was a good day I'd say." Kafei smiled at his lover's words. Every step towards forgiving himself was a good sign. It seemed Ezlo agreed, because he grinned widely.
"Is that so…? Well then, I think it's high time I told the two of you what you came here to find out then."
Two pairs of red eyes blinked, then widened with shock, perfectly in sync.
"You're not going to make us go through some big test or anything?"
"Of course not!" Ezlo couldn't help but chuckle at the looks on their faces. Ah, to be young… "No, I think that based on all I've seen, you're ready to hear this. Some of it may be shocking or difficult to take in, but please bear with me. You see, it all began a short time before Vaati was born…"
And the story began.