Ok, for starters, let me apologize. I had no intention to stop this story, but in reality, my computer just…died. The bad news is that I couldn't post. The good news is that I was able to re-write the iffy parts of my story.
Also, I'd like to thank Janus Kamaren, Slipkid, and MasterSword50 for writing those inspirational reviews. You rock, guys. (or girls, depending.)
Friends, Enemies, and Dangerous Doors
Link Hero lay slumped on his desk, his head resting on his arms as he gently tapped his feet to the music streaming through his carefully concealed headphones. His thoughts drifted around lazily in his head as he waited for the final bell to ring, signaling the end of the school day.
Link sighed and sat up, stretching his back, and decided that it was probably about time for class to be over. He spared a brief glance for the girl who was sitting on his right, her eyes fixated blankly on the dirty desk in front of her. Her name was Midna Twili, and had been one of Link's best friends ever since the 4th Grade when she'd saved him from a bully out on the Playground who had been using Link for tetherball practice. Midna was your classic punk rocker/gothic chick, black nails and all. She always wore dark Vans and baggy, torn pants that worked in unison with her oversized sweater to give her the appearance of a homeless vagabond; a look she had strived to perfect over the years. Something about going against the crowd, which didn't really make any sense seeing as half of the student body dressed in the same way.
Link gazed up at the clock as he tugged the headphone out of his ear. 2:47, only three minutes left til the end of class. He slumped back in his chair and let his eyes settle on the vacant desk just in front of him. The seat usually belonged to another good friend of his, Sheik Shadow, but he had been mysteriously absent for a few days now. Part of Link wondered if everything was all right with Sheik; his mother was a drugy with demanding medical issues, and his father had left them when Sheik was little. A life like that could really mess up a guy. Still, he wasn't overly concerned. Knowing his friend, he was probably sleeping on his couch.
He turned his attention to the class for the first time since he'd lain down. Professor Ezlo, as he preferred to be called, had just finished his daily sermon on whatever topic he had chosen for today and was now facing his students. His ancient eyes surveyed the classroom coldly; he looked as if he had just happened upon a cluster of particularly repulsive cockroaches.
Although elderly, Professor Ezlo was famous for his short temper. He could explode in a senile fit of rage at any moment for any reason at all, even if you hadn't done anything wrong. Unfortunately, Link had a knack for causing such flare-ups.
Professor Ezlo's eyes suddenly zeroed in on a girl sitting near the front who was trying, and failing, to conceal her cell phone from him as she texted her friend across the room.
"Miss Domain," Ezlo said in a high-pitched feeble voice that made him sound like Keebler elf, "Would you care to summarize for the class what you learned today?"
The girl, a cheerleader named Ruto, looked up blankly.
"Do what?" she asked in her annoying valley girl voice. Ezlo held out his hand impatiently, and she handed her phone over with an irritated glare.
Link snickered despite himself. Ezlo's eyes snapped towards the noise.
"Mr. Hero? How about you?" Link felt his grin grow crooked and slide off his face.
"No, of course not. What was I thinking?" said Ezlo dryly. Link scowled.
"Alright then. In order to determine who was actually paying attention in my class, you will all be writing me a five-page essay on today's lesson, due when you walk in this classroom tomorrow afternoon."
The whole class groaned. "Maybe," Ezlo said loudly over the noise, "if you had-"
The bell rang shrilly, cutting of Professor Ezlo mid-sentence, and the whole class herded out of the room.
Link stuffed his headphones into his pocket roughly and started down the hall towards the stairwell, muttering darkly about Professor Ezlo and the various torture techniques he'd enjoy performing on him. Midna walked beside him, but said nothing. She stared without seeing down at the grungy floor tiles, blue because they were on the second floor, and gave half-hearted nods in agreement with Link's savage thoughts.
Link let his words die off and gave his friend a concerned look. Midna usually joined in whenever Link suggested doing cruel and physically impossible things to teachers, even if they never actually went through with it. It took a lot to make Midna loose her eccentric personality, and by the empty look on her face, something was seriously bugging her.
As they reached the ground floor and exited the stairwell, Link pulled her off to the side of the hallway beside the door to Mrs. Telma's English class.
"Midna, are you feeling alright? You seem kinda out of it." She didn't reply. Her eyes still remained glued to the floor.
"Um, hello? Earth to Midna?" He snapped a few times in front of her face, and when she didn't react he popped his finger into his mouth and crammed it into her ear. She jerked back with a shriek and began trying to clean out her ear with the cuff of her sweater.
"Link! What is wrong with you? Do that again, and I swear I'll kick you where it counts so hard you'll get a sex change!"
"I'll remember that." He said chuckled, bemused. "Now, do you mind telling me why you've been walking around like a zombie all day?"
She scowled defensively. "I have not!"
Link raised an eyebrow.
Midna leaned against the wall and sighed. "It's just…it's nothing. Just forget it." She bit her lip and returned to looking at the floor tiles.
Link opened his mouth to argue when suddenly the door behind him burst open, and with a painful crack collided with the back of his head.
When his vision refocused a second later, he found himself laying flat on his back on the floor with a throbbing pain in the back of his head. The first thing he registered was Midna's laughter. The second was the face of the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen standing beside her. He squeezed his eyes shut and shook himself to clear his head, but instantly regretted it as pain flashed through his skull. When he opened his eyes again, vision swimming slightly, the girl was still there.
It took him a second to realize that she was talking.
"Whazzat?" he groaned as he clambered to his feet while massaging the back of his head. Midna was still laughing.
"I asked you if you were ok," she said. Her voice had an entrancingly melodious quality to it, and her concern seemed genuine. Odd, that. Usually girls like her ignored his existence entirely. "I'm really, really sorry! I didn't mean to hit you, I just didn't know you were standing there, and I was sort of in a hurry and…I'm really sorry…"
She was a few inches shorter than Link was, maybe about Midna's height, with long blond hair that cascaded down her back and curled slightly at the tips. Her eyes were a deep purplish color, like a gemstone. Something about her seemed oddly familiar…
"If you two lovebirds are done drooling over each other, I really need to get going."
Link jerked his eyes away with a jolt, his face growing hot. What was wrong with him?
"Well, sorry again about the door thing." The girl said awkwardly. "I swear it won't happen again."
Link nodded, then instantly felt stupid. He tried saying something funny or witty to let her know that he wasn't mad at her, but for some reason his voice didn't seem to want to work. Midna began tapping her foot impatiently.
"So…I guess I'll see you around…?"
"Ah, Link! Link, I'm…I'm Link." he spluttered hurriedly.
She smiled and said, "I'm Zelda." Midna cleared her throat loudly.
"Uh, bye then." He said. She smiled again before turning around and heading towards the opposite hallway.
Link stared at her retreating figure numbly. What was wrong with him? It's not like he'd never seen a pretty girl before. But there was something about the way she'd smiled at him, the way her eyes had sparkled with worry when she'd found that she'd hurt him, the way that her hair swayed now when she walked…
Suddenly something wet and slimy was jammed into his ear, and he jerked away from Midna with a hoarse yelp.
"What the heck was that for?" he yelled while Midna cackled with fiendish glee.
"Call it pay back." She said, than laughed again when he scowled.
"So," she said as they started in the direction of the student parking lot, "do you always drool when you meet new people?"
"I wasn't drooling!" He said indignantly.
"Uh-huh. So explain the waterfall of saliva pouring from your mouth."
"I was not drooling!" Link said defensively. "I just had…slight brain damage from the door hitting me so hard!"
Midna laughed. "Link, I think you need to have a brain before you can have brain damage."
Link shoved her playfully into the wall. "Come on, let's get going."
Threading their way through the mass of students, Link and Midna headed down the main hallway on the first floor. Ordona High was set up strangely; the first floor was in the shape of a U, the bus drop-off on the east end, and student parking on the west. The first floor held the major elective classrooms; i.e. band, chorus, P.E., art, etc, as well as the special Ed classes and the lunchroom. Second floor held all of the academics, and was shaped like a smaller U to fit atop the first. It even had a little balcony where students used to be able to go up and eat lunch, but the door had been locked long since.
The third floor, however, was sort of a mystery. Not that students weren't allowed up their; quite the contrary. The mystery lay in its existence. For whatever reason, the builders decided during construction that the main office should be up on the third floor, No classrooms, and no janitor's closet, just the office. You can imagine parents' angry mutters as they climb the stairs when they're child's been caught smoking or vandalizing property. There was also a little door that led out onto the roof so that the teachers could check the lightning rods and satellites, but unlike other schools, few tried to break out onto the roof because of its close location to the principle's office.
As they passed the commons area, Link looked out among the many clusters of students and their various extracurricular activities. There were the Cheerleaders, the Dance Squad, Mock Trial, and, of course, the football team. Despite it being March, the football season long over, the team still hung out with the cheerleaders after school and talked of nothing but their exploits during the last season. They totally ignored the Key Club, who was trying to meet right beside them despite their raucous laughter; but then, what exactly did Key Club do, anyway?
Ordona High was very big on their cliques. For example, jocks only hung out with jocks and cheerleaders, who in turn only dated jocks. Chess team was limited to social interaction only with those who took classes in advanced placement, and the loners basically kept to themselves. Then, there was the 'middle class'; those who were average in classes and physical activity, but still had friends. Link guessed that he fit somewhere in that category, although he tried his best to ignore the stereotyping. Sure, the star quarterback, Darunia, still loathed him, and the head cheerleader, the Ruto girl from Pr. Ezlo's class, utterly ignored him, but that really didn't bother him. He felt that his small cluster of friends were about as diverse as you could get in such an enclosed town.
Heading outside, Link pulled his green hoodie around closer as a cold breeze blew over the campus. The last bitter gusts of winter were finally dissipating and signs of spring starting to crop up. Some memorial garden planted by the doorway in honor of a senior class years gone was starting to show promising signs of flowers. Heading out into the student parking lot, Link smiled up at the sun; he hated the winter. He didn't much like being indoors either, so the sun was a much welcome sight.
Link and Midna tossed their backpacks into the back of Link's beaten up old pick up truck before climbing into the front seats. The paint had peeled off ages ago, and years of exposure to the elements had caused the old metal to rust, giving it a dirty brown hue. When Link inherited the truck from his grandfather, he had decided to christen it 'Epona', after his mother's old horse, because they were both brown and enjoyed giving Link problems.
"Where's Aryll?" Midna asked as she climbed into the passenger seat. Link slammed his door and turned his key in the ignition. It sputtered and refused to start.
"She's got Lacrosse or something after school. My grandma will get her when she's done." Link grumbled, trying the key again. With an elderly wheeze the truck kicked into life.
Midna nodded, then turned to gaze out the window as Link fiddled for a radio station and pulled out of the parking lot. Suddenly, he remembered what they had been talking about before he'd had his head cleaved in two.
"So," he said casually, "Are you going to tell me why you've been so Emo?"
"I said it was nothing, remember?"
"Tell me anyway, you know how nosy I am." He sent her a playful grin to demonstrate his point.
She sighed. "It's just…have you seen Sheik around lately?"
Link blinked. "Sheik? No, not for a few days now. But stop changing the subject, I want to know what's up."
"I'm not changing the subject. Link, I'm really worried about him. Do you think he's hiding because of the kids at school?"
Link looked at her disbelievingly. "Look, I know the kids at Ordon are real jerks, especially to guys like Sheik, but come on. He's seventeen, and far from a coward. He wouldn't run away, and you know that. Remember the fight he had in seventh grade?"
Midna glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, then said slowly, "It's probably nothing, but…I saw him about a week ago hanging out with Ganondorf and his posse. You don't think he's gotten himself into…trouble, do you?"
Link laughed despite himself. When had Ganondorf gotten out of Juvy? He shook the thought off and said, "No way, Sheik's way too lazy to get into trouble. Actually, I'm surprised he has enough energy to get out of bed in the morning. Heck, that's probably where he is right now, the lazy little…"
Midna gave Link a reproachful look. "You know what Ganondorf's like, Link."
Midna had continued talking, but Link was no longer paying attention. His thoughts had drifted on to Ganondorf and what he knew of him. Ganondorf was always the weird kid. Not because he was nerdy or shy; actually he was really popular among his group of friends. No, he was just plain creepy. Ganondorf had some sort of malevolent aura that surrounded him constantly. Just being around him made you fearful, and it wasn't just him. Even the teachers could feel it.
When he was in elementary school, Ganondorf and his friends used to pick on Link mercilessly, and it had only gotten worse as the years progressed. Ganondorf hadn't been much of a problem lately, however, because sometime in freshmen year he'd been sent to Juvy for severely injuring a student. Link had walked in just in time to see it happen, and it was basically because of Link that Ganondorf had been caught. He was pretty sure that Ganondorf now had it out for him.
"Link, are you listening to me?" Midna asked, snapping Link out of his reverie.
"Yeah," he said quickly. She sighed and returned her gaze out the window.
Really though, Link couldn't see why she was so worried. The thought of Sheik getting all buddy-buddy with Ganondorf was completely insane. But the more he thought about it, the more uneasy he became. Could Sheik really be with Ganondorf?
The rest of the car ride passed in silence. Link wanted to say something to reassure Midna, yet every time he tried the words died in his mouth. But when they pulled onto Midna's driveway, and Midna moved to get out of the car, Link reached out and stopped her.
"Listen," he said, "I'll call him tonight, ok?"
"Thanks, Link." she said quietly, and then she stepped out of the truck, and shut the door. Link took a slow, steady breath, and then let it all out in a rush. Sheik, what have you gotten yourself into?
Sheik lay alone on his bed, staring transfixed at the small metal object in his hands. It felt odd and clumsy, cold, but Ganondorf had assured him that he wouldn't have to use it, that it was just for show. Ganondorf had others to use those. He dropped the object on the bed beside him and ran his fingers through his long blonde hair. What have I gotten myself into? he thought. His apartment was silent. His father had walked out on them back when he was a toddler, and his mother…
He crushed the rising sorrow firmly. None of that mattered now. Come tomorrow, everything would be different. Everything would change. It had to change. Ganondorf had promised. With the rising of the sun, he had said, the very foundations of this once noble country will be shaken forever. It was Ganondorf's grand plan. Sheik smiled. Everything different.
Suddenly, the phone rang. For a moment, Sheik considered answering it. It might be one of the guys. But no, if it were, they'd leave a message. Besides, he didn't really want to talk to anybody right now.
After three rings, the answering machine picked up.
"Sheik? Are you there? Sheik, come on, pick up the phone."
Sheik's heart nearly stopped. Link? Why was Link calling? Had he somehow heard about…? Could he suspect what he was…? His hand stretched out to pick up the phone, but stopped halfway. No, Link couldn't know. Besides, he couldn't afford friends right now. Nobody was his friend; nobody cared about him except for the Group. Link was lost to him.
He let his hand fall.
"Sheik? Sheik? All right, fine. Um, when you get back from wherever you are, call me. Or Midna. We're starting to get worried about you. So, um…yeah. See you whenever you decide to stop being a hermit. Bye."
The phone hung up, and Sheik released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Link? And Midna? Worried about him? Had they found out…but no. There was no way. Nobody knew of the connection between him and Ganondorf. And as long as it stayed that way, nobody he cared about had to get hurt. Ganondorf had promised. His plan was so perfect, how could it fail?
Link, he thought desperately, staring at the gun that lay beside him, Midna. Please, whatever goddesses can hear me. Don't let them go to school tomorrow.
Ok, so like I said, it's longer, a little different, and hopefully better. I've had some great ideas about the future of this story and some characters that'll show up in time. It looks like there'll be about 15 chapters in this story, maybe more. It all depends. I'm debating on adding Ralph in here somewhere; he's not necessary to the story line, so you guys let me know if you wanna see him or not.
Anyway, hope you liked it, and I'll post again soon. But just so you know, the chapters will show up sporadically, rather than in a set time period.