Author's Note: This one-shot was actually written by a beta-reader and very good friend of mine, Dephanie. Since it's basically a part two for that Fangirls drabble I wrote a while back, she was awesome enough to let me post it here for everyone to see. :3 Hope you enjoy!
Link blinked slowly, not quite believing the words spewing from the man before him.
The man in question had his chest puffed out ("bluffing" Link immediately thought, thinking of the many creatures who had tried to intimidate him by making themselves appear bigger than they actually were), and was voicing what seemed to be an endless list of Link's supposed faults. Link wasn't sure how this man could possibly say such things when he had never met him before... at least he didn't think so.
"You think you're better than all of us do you? Think you can just take the girls away with your big sword? Trying to compensate? Hahaha."
Link wanted to protest that he had nothing to do with the girls following him around like the superbly trained trackers that they were. If the man wanted them he would willingly hand them over, except women, as Link had been taught from the time he was a child, were not objects, and treating them as such usually ended up with terrible consequences that were best left unsaid. This triggered another memory, and an image of a much smaller Ilia lecturing him on this very subject made him want to smile. That would be unbelievably rude though, so he schooled himself into his usual neutral expression.
At any rate, the idea that Link would be compensating with his sword (compensate for what? He couldn't very well hunt with the Master Sword, and that made food gathering extremely difficult) was puzzling to him, so he did what he always did in situations that were awkward: he kept silent. Perhaps if he continued to listen to the man's grievances he would finally figure out the reason why he was being yelled at.
"What? Not talking? So you really are just compensating! You're probably a real coward, so cowardly that you hide under your bed at night hoping the wolves don't come get you!"
The comment finally elicited a stirring of recognition, except instead of the luxurious blue outfit before him, Link remembered the man dressed in a pale white shift, cowering in the corner. Indignantly Link wanted to point out that he had never hid under the bed, but he did recall this same posturing man cowering at him not too long ago (as Link was the wolf in question, he couldn't cower away from himself).
Link wasn't given much room to speak though, and as the man went on, much to Link's alarm, he sensed more men gathering around him even as the man's voice grew louder and louder. This was turning into a scene, and as it is anywhere, any scene tends to invite lots of curious participants. He shifted his weight from his left to his right. While he didn't think King Zant could send creatures into places directly bathed by light, Link would rather not find out otherwise.
Finally, the man stopped shouting at him, but Link's sense of danger heightened. Behind him, several large men were coming up from behind, and Link had fought in too many battles not to recognize hostility when it was so blatant.
"Still not talking? Think you're took good for the likes of us? We'll teach you to sing a different tune after we've rearranged that too pretty face of yours," the man said, and his face took on a menacing look. "Get him boys."
One of the men Link had noted earlier reached out to grab him, but Link was in no mood to have anyone, least of all common street thugs, "rearrange his face". A simple sidestep ducked the swipe, but it appeared that the men had some experience in fighting, as the rest immediately closed in on the opening, blocking his way out. There were a total of six men, all heavily built and all were at least six feet. Link took the moment to quickly size up the ones he was going to face. He wasn't quite ready to fight, but he needed to see who were getting in his way. They all wore a similar dirty, brown tunic, but the one with the wild black hair and matching beard appeared to be their leader. The rest were in varying states of burliness, but with more scars.
"Yer not getting away easily, prettyboy," the appointed leader said, leering nastily at him.
Link sighed. He hadn't wanted to fight, and he still wasn't sure that he should (after all the Hero didn't go around slaughtering the very people he was trying to protect). As the men continued to close in though, the balance between getting unscathed and not permanently harming the men became much harder to manage.
"Watch out boys, he's got a sword," one with an angry red facial scar called out.
Ducking another swipe, Link bent forward and rolled toward the guy who had been trying to grab at him. The man let out a startled curse, and clumsily jumped over Link just as he was about to hit him in the legs. With a jump Link was back on his feet as he faced his opponents. At the unexpected move the men had scattered across the impromptu arena, and were watching him with wide, anticipating grins.
"Got us a monkey," another with a broken nose said. "Mebbe I'll keep him as a pet when we're all through with him."
Outside the area, the crowd joined Broken-Nose in his laughter. In a short period of time they had become too tightly-knitted, which meant Link was essentially trapped. Meanwhile, the blue-tunic man who had started the entire thing stood off by the sidelines, watching him with a very smug look.
Link didn't understand the smug look, as the thugs hadn't been able to do anything yet (or even touch him). From his initial first move, he could already tell that while these thugs may be strong, their reaction times were extremely slow. They wouldn't be able to catch him.
The leader cracked his knuckles, briefly catching Link's attention, but it was merely posing, so he ignored it. He returned to watching the five others in their positions, saw the way they shifted and moved, visualized a pattern—and made his decision.
First a duck as another man came to grab him, and then a sharp veer left. Link watched with satisfaction as the thugs collided into each behind him, causing shouts and curses. Two down. Another sudden step to the right and he was behind Broken-Nose, where a leg at the right angle and a well placed push sent the man falling to the ground. That made it three. He winced as he heard the crack (if it was the nose, he hoped that this time the man would get it reset properly).
And that was when he heard it.
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! It's HIM!"
Link recognized the familiar distraction, but like before he didn't allow himself to get sidetracked. He could tell that their presence was a problem though, simply by looking at the man in the blue tunic, who had swiveled his head to stare at the growing number of girls and was grounding his teeth in frustration.
"Did you see the way he ducked?!"
"What about the way the guy just fell?! Like CRACK!"
"OMG HE'S SO COOL!"
"Don't just stand there staring at him, get him!" Blue Tunic shrieked.
Link was already prepared though. He crouched, and was gratified to see the leader mirror his movements. Beside him, he sensed the other two trying to get him from behind. Then he ran toward the crouched man, who, still mirroring his movements, had rushed forward to intercept him. Perfect. The leader's head made a decent lift, and with a swing of his arms he vaulted over the man in a perfect back flip just as the other two rushed forward, causing a tangle of arms and legs and much moaning.
Blue Tunic had slid to his knees, and was looking at him with visible fear. Link approached him, and the man cringed, too frightened to say anything (except make the same tiny mewling noises he'd made back when Link had been a wolf). Link bent forward.
"If you will please excuse me now," Link said politely. "I need to get to Telma's Bar."
The crowd parted easily for him. As for the girls, they stood in multiple rows, eyeing him with large, awe-filled eyes, occasionally whispering to one another and letting out ear-piercing squeals.
"Isn't he a DARLING?"
"A total gentleman."
"Oh my god he's so hot!"
Link sincerely hoped that they wouldn't follow him again, but this time the girls seemed content to let him walk away from them. Their eyes though, didn't leave him until he disappeared around the corner.
As he walked into the alley that led to Telma's, Midna rose out of his shadow. Link had expected that. What he did not expect was seeing her rolling on the ground, exploding in a fit of giggles. At first he tried to wait for the giggles to subside, but when they got worse, Link lost patience.
"What's funny?" he asked.
Midna broke out of her laughter enough to say two words.
"You...! Hee hee hee… fighting… hahahahahaha!"
"How was it funny?" Link said, now thoroughly bewildered. This was the first time he'd ever seen Midna laughing at any of his fights. Perhaps it's different this time because there were no monsters involved.
"Because! The girls…haha! And that man!"
Once again Midna trailed off into helpless laughter.
"The girls did show up again," Link said, chagrined. Not that he could blame them. Nearly half the town had seen the brawl.
Something about that statement seemed to startle Midna, for she abruptly stopped her giggling, rose upright, and stared at him with wide-eyed shock.
"Wait, you mean you don't know?"
"Don't know what?" Link said, starting to become irritated.
"Why the fight started." She floated to where she could see him eye to eye. "You have absolutely no idea."
"A guy wanted to cause a fight, was all," Link replied. "It must be a city thing, since it never happened back home."
"Link, the girls caused the fight," Midna said, exasperated.
"What?" Startled, Link tried to study the implications. Was it possible that the girls were connected to King Zant? If they were…
Midna noticed where his thoughts were going, and groaned.
"No! No no no no not like that," she said.
"But you said…"
"They were the reason why the guy started the fight, but no, they didn't actually start it."
"Oh." This only served to make Link more confused, but Midna was rarely wrong on these types of things.
"Ugh, never mind. Let's go to Telma's," she said, disappearing back into Link's shadow.
Telma's Bar remained as warm and cheerful as ever. The place was unchanged, with the tables arranged exactly the way they always were. In the middle of the day few people frequented the bar, so the place was empty except for one guy sleeping in the corner.
Telma greeted him warmly.
"Back are you, boy?" she said. Without a word she reached behind to get a bottle of Link's favorite Ordon goat's milk and prepared to pour it into a glass.
"Just returned. Came in from the East Gate," Link said, smiling.
"Is that right?" she said, looking back up at him. "Did you see the brawl then? Word's out that there was a spectacular brawl that just finished earlier. Six men against one, and the one defeated everybody without getting a scratch."
"Oh…" Link shifted nervously. "There was?"
"It was quite big. If you just got back in from the East Gate, you must have seen it."
"There were a lot of people," Link said truthfully, not sure that he should let out the finer details. Few things got past Telma though. The older woman shot him a look that lasted far too long for Link's comfort.
"Here's your usual glass," she said instead, much to Link's relief.
"Thank you," he said.
Instead of smiling, the woman let out a sigh.
"Sometimes boy, you can be a little too naïve for your own good."
With that cryptic sentence, she went back to work.