Summary: (MM) Finding Link in the streets the day after the carnival, Anju and Kafei offer him a place to stay. (one-shot)
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You can't sue me!
Where The Heart Is
Link collapsed against the outer wall of the shooting gallery and looked about him. The sun had set hours ago over Clocktown, and the familiar evening sounds were finally beginning to fade away. A gradual chill settled about him as one by one, the lamps were extinguished in shop windows. Soon, the streets grew dark and still. No silver light shone from the new moon.
Nor was there a light from a fairy. Tatl was now reunited with her brother, Tael. He imagined them, at the moment, flitting about in the air, once again under the warm green, canopy of the Lost Woods.
Without intending to, the Hero of Time had shut his eyes and, exhausted, did not stir.
"He could certainly spend the night in one of the rooms."
Kafei stepped down from the chair he had placed in front of the window.
Anju was seated near the fireplace, holding a cup in her hands and using the steam to warm her cheeks. She smiled at her husband.
"I'm not sure if he will accept. He doesn't seem the type who is overjoyed at being treated as a charity case." Kafei grinned, and then huffed as he dragged the chair to the table and sat next to his wife.
They sat for a moment in silence, before Anju put down her mug and sighed.
"He's just so…" She stopped when she met her husband's eye and looked away before taking another slow sip of warm milk.
Kafei watched her patiently, swinging his legs back and forth. It felt odd being so small again. His boots couldn't even reach the ground when he sat.
Anju put down her mug. "He's just – he's just so young, Kafei." Anju raised her eyes wearily to the window, though the curtains were drawn and she couldn't see the strange fairy boy whom her husband was watching moments ago. "And so strange. H-he's hardly twelve and he carries a sword! And he hardly ever speaks. No one knows where he's from, who his parents are, what his business is – oh – I don't know what to think of him!"
Kafei reached across the table and lifted Anju's mug of warm milk to his lips, before handing it back with a grin.
She returned the smile. "I think we have only one jar of milk left."
The two fell silent once more. But the silence wasn't uncomfortable. Nor was it empty. There was a certain peace about the room – the orange light from the fire place, the stillness of the inn after all their guests had departed, not to mention the mug of warm milk resting on the table between them. Their hearts were filled in the presence of each other. Filled with a peaceful emotion, with contentment, with a soundless, powerful music that lifted their spirits and brought them joy beyond belief.
They were married. In spite of it all.
And it was largely because of him - that strange fairy boy.
They both raised their eyes to the window.
"He's probably just waiting for his mother – or perhaps an older sibling. Or perhaps…" Anju looked at the floor. She knew it wasn't likely.
Kafei touched her arm in understanding. It was so easy to be selfish. So easy to be certain of things – to have no worries or cares. He and Anju were blissfully happy. It was so easy to draw the curtains and forget the strange boy who had fallen asleep outside. So easy to only think of each other, just like any other newly-wedded couple.
It was so easy.
"We could set up a nice bed for him in the kitchen."
Anju looked up at Kafei's suggestion. "But we have rooms available…" She trailed off as she suddenly realized what he meant. No, they would not offer him a place to stay for the night. They would offer him a place to stay, and he could leave, whenever he decided it was time to for him to do so. Wasn't it only fair? Didn't they owe their love, their marriage, to him?
Kafei sought out any sign of disagreement in Anju's expression, but found none. After a moment her lips turned upwards into a warm smile.
"He can help around here. I can teach him to look after the front counter."
Kafei gave her a boyish grin.
"I can teach him to look after guests."
"He can help me with errands while I do the cooking."
"Or perhaps he can do the cooking."
Anju's expression changed slightly and her eyes darted at Kafei, but he appeared to have found a sudden interest in his thumbs.
The young couple sat quietly for another moment. Mug forgotten, as the warm milk grew cold. Their hearts swirled in apprehension. Who was this strange boy? Who were his parents? Where did he come from? Why did he carry a sword?
"I wonder if his mother came for him yet," Kafei said. He gave Anju's arm a reassuring squeeze before leaping off his chair and dragging it back against the window. Anju followed this time, resting her hands upon her husbands shoulders as he stood upon the chair to get a better view.
They both watched the still form of the boy clothed in green, his head drooping as he slept.
"You know," Anju whispered against Kafei's ear, "he probably has that sword because he's the son of knight from a distant kingdom."
Kafei smiled. "He has so many masks – and strange instrument he carries around with him. He's probably the son of a sorcerer."
Anju rested her chin on Kafei's shoulder. "But that strange garb. He's in disguise. Probably, then, the son of a king?"
Kafei nodded, a large grin on his face. "Yes. He must a prince. But he's a prince in exile, which explains the disguise."
Anju laughed softly. "And now he is waiting to be summoned by his princess."
After a moment, the young couple erupted into a fit chuckles. Oh, how silly they were! For they were sure such things did not exist, and it was probably time for some much needed rest. Kafei turned and embraced Anju tightly. They remained like that for a some time, until Kafei pulled away and stepped off the chair.
"I think it's about time to ask his majesty to come in."
Kafei stepped out into the night, surprised at how cold it was. He walked over to the still figure of the young boy and shook him gently.
Link's eyes shot open. He was shocked to find Kafei in front of him. A bright, yellow glow behind Kafei's shoulder caught his attention and he noticed the doorway to the Stock Pot Inn was open. Anju, the innkeeper, was standing there, watching them.
Kafei nudged him. "Why don't you come in?"
Link said nothing in response, uncertain what to do.
"Besides," Kafei smiled encouragingly, "My wife says we may have one jar of milk left."