Obviously, AWoL 22 was my New Year's present to you all. But this is a New Year's oneshot... Ooh, I'm twenty days late.
Actually, I wrote this for my friend in Japan. I felt that you all should read it too, and well, here you are! This takes place in Japan (obvious by the backstory, but just confirming it if you have yet to catch on).
I do not own The Legend of Zelda.
"Someone get the door!"
Zelda got up from her seat and dusted her skirt off.
"I'll get it!" She called out with a slightly bitter look on her face. God, can't get it yourself?
Her house was filled with practically every person her family ever came into the slightest bit of contact with. The parents crowded around the dining table, telling jokes and stories in Japanese and laughing heartily; the teens and the kids were gathered in the family room, watching TV and talking about their recent adventures in school and the grades they got just before school let out for the winter; the older adults, mainly in their twenties, were outside in the backyard, playing poker while drinking sake while some were smoking. It was the usual; no different than any other New Year's party her family had.
Zelda opened the door, and there was her best friend, Link Avalon, standing in front of her. He was holding something rather large in front of his torso, both hands supporting it.
"Happy New Year, Zelda!" Link moved his head to the side, as the package was covering his face.
"Link, you made it!" She exclaimed happily. "Come in, come in!" She moved out of the way for Link to walk through the door. She closed the door behind him and accepted the package, so he could take off his shoes.
"What is this?" Zelda asked him, lifting it slightly.
"Kagami mochi," he replied as he set his canvas shoes neatly at the foot of the entryway.
She looked up from the paper bag wrapping. "You made kagami mochi?"
"Nah," he shook his head. "My mom told me to make it for your family. You know that sort of thing."
She giggled softly and set it down in front of the altar next to the kagami mochi her mom made that morning and lifted the paper bag off it. It revealed an ornately decorated and painted square stand. Resting on top of it was a perfectly round rice cake, with another rice cake half its size on top of it.
"And…" Link spoke, walking up next to her. He reached into the kangaroo pocket of his sweatshirt and pulled out a small citrus fruit. "…Can't forget the daidai." He set it on top of the stack of rice cakes, with the stem and the leaf facing upwards.
"Thank your mom for me, will ya?" She smirked. He laughed and returned a lopsided smile. "Will do… Oh yeah." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a large stack of small, decorated envelopes. He filed through them, until he found the one he was looking for. He pulled it out and handed it to Zelda. "Happy New Year."
"Thank you!" She laughed and took the envelope in both hands. She examined it closely; it was decorated in Tokidoki characters with New Year's greetings printed all over it in Japanese. She opened it and pulled out 500 yen.
"I got you one as well," she smiled, reaching for the Christmas tree, which her family still kept up. She grabbed a stack of envelopes bound together by a rubber band. She pulled out one of the envelopes and gave him the individual one. "This is for you…" And then the stack. "…And this is for your family."
"Thanks, Zel," he nodded with a grateful smile. He held his envelope to his ear and shook it a few times. It didn't make a sound.
"Aww, didn't gimme any money, eh?" He feigned a hurt look. "I see how it is."
She laughed at that and pushed his shoulder softly. "You're so cheap!"
He just chuckled softly and hugged her softly. "I'm kidding… Thanks, Zel."
He let her go and she led him to the dinner table. "Mom, dad! Link's here!"
Everyone around the table turned to Link and their faces lit up. "Link!"
"Happy New Year, everyone!" He bowed courteously. "I got a little something for you all…" He approached each of them and handed them all an envelope, each sealed with a Red Rupee.
Zelda has had a few boyfriends, and out of all of them, Link was the only one whom Zelda's parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents unanimously approved of. He was good looking—a factor that her mom and her aunts would always joke with Zelda with, he was a respectable student, not to mention involved in school activities, and he was fond of children.
Unfortunately for them though, Link and Zelda were just friends. They have been since grade school. The two keep insisting that they preferred things that way.
"Auntie, my mom told me to give you that kagami mochi right there," Link said to Zelda's mom as he gave her an envelope printed with Sanrio characters, pointing to the decoration in front of the fireplace.
"Thank you very much, Link," she smiled gratefully. Link walked into the family room, where all the younger generation were playing video games.
"It's Link!" One of Zelda's nephews exclaimed gleefully as he caught sight of the teenager.
"Hey there, little man!" Link laughed as he knelt down to catch him in a hug, grunting a little. "Look, I got a lil' somethin' for ya!" He handed him an envelope with Nintendo characters.
"Thanks, Link!" He grinned as he ripped the envelope open and looked inside it. "Wow, two hundred yen!"
"And don't go spendin' it all on Pocky, okay?" Link winked with a thumbs up.
"You got it!" He answered with gusto, returning the gestures.
"Alright! High five!" Link extended out his hand to him, but by then, he had run back to the others.
"Aw, that's cold…" Link jokingly hung his head in defeat, his hand still up for a high five. Zelda couldn't help but giggle softly as she watched Link get back up and hand out the rest of his New Year's cards.
"Hey Link!" One of Zelda's nieces said. "Will you play with us?"
"Sure," Link nodded. "Lemme eat first, okay? Link is hungry…" He rubbed his belly in a circular motion.
"Okay then!" She nodded and turned back to the TV. "Hey! Do a smash attack!"
Her older brother sighed in annoyance. "I'll smash attack when it's smash attacking time!"
Link laughed and turned around to the breakfast nook, where all the food was laid out.
Link sighed happily as he set down his empty bowl of rice and neatly placed his chopsticks on top of them. "Thanks for the food, Zelda." He closed his eyes and reclined in his seat, resting the back of his head in his palms.
"No problem," she shook her head. "You sure ate at lot…"
"Hey," he glanced at her, opening an eye. "I skipped lunch just for tonight."
"And it shows, too." She giggled and leaned into him and picked a grain of rice that was sticking to his cheek. "Hungry boy."
He smirked at that and sat straight as Zelda's dad came over to them with a bottle of alcohol and two saucer-like cups.
"Link, my boy!" His voice boomed with a slightly drunk slur. "Care for some toso?"
"Sure, uncle," Link nodded, but his sokozaki was already poured before he even answered. "And thank you for the meal, uncle. It was delicious, as usual."
"No problem!" He laughed heartily. "Zelda, you want some?"
"Just a little," she nodded, and he poured the drink into the saucer, and left without another word.
Link and Zelda raised their sokozaki to each other.
"Cheers!" They exclaimed in unison and drank the toso down.
"Shoot the star bits!" They overheard from the group at the TV.
"I'll shoot the star bits when it's star bit shooting time!"
"Where are we going?"
Link and Zelda walked down the sidewalk, away from the house.
"You'll see," Link smiled at her.
Link led her further down the sidewalk, until they reached a small park at the street corner.
"We're here," Link stopped.
"…The park?" She turned to him.
"Yep," he nodded. "Remember we always used to play here when we were kids?"
She smiled softly as fond memories of her childhood with Link came to mind. "Sure do." She ran across the grass and into the sandbox before she kicked off her sandals. Link laughed to himself, shaking his head, as he followed her.
"Oh my God…" Zelda breathed as Link leisurely took off his shoes and his socks. "I haven't been here since I was little…"
"How come?" Link asked as he grabbed one of the monkey bars and hung upside down by the inside of his knees. He looked at Zelda, who to him was upside down. She looked at him, and laughed softly as his shaggy blonde hair and his shirt and sweatshirt fell down, exposing his toned chest.
"I don't know…" She shrugged. "I guess I just thought I outgrew this place…"
"…That's not very fun," he frowned slightly. "Look at me… I'm twenty-one…" He swung a few times before skillfully lifting himself up and sitting on top of the bars. "...I love this place."
She giggled at that and wiped sand off his feet. "You're so childish."
"Hey now," he smirked cheekily. "There are some things boys just don't grow out of."
She shook her head, rolling his eyes slightly. Her eye caught sight of something. A swing set.
"Oh my gosh!" She squealed as she scampered across the sand towards the swings. Link watched her with amusement.
"Look who's talkin' now!" Link called out as his voice echoed.
"Shut up!" She yelled back. She stopped at one of the swings and paused for a moment to dust the seat off before sitting down. Link jumped off the bars and walked over to her.
"Want me to swing you?" He asked, leaning over to rest his chin on her shoulder. "Like how we used to play here?"
"Yeah," she nodded. Link stood up straight and pulled the swing back a little before letting go. Higher and higher she went, and harder and harder she laughed.
"I remember Zel," Link said. "That this was the best swing here. You said that it went higher than the other two over there… And when someone was using it, you'd always start crying."
She blushed softly. "Yeah!" She called back as she swung forward. "But you were always there to make sure that no one else used it… Just me!"
As Zelda came back down, she drove her heels into the sand so that she slowed back down to an eventual halt. "…That made me happy."
"Yeah?" He raised an eyebrow. He leaned forward again, both hands on both chains, and rested his chin on her shoulder once more.
"Yeah…" She replied, resting her temple against his as she swung softly. "And I'm glad that you brought me here… It was a nice way to start off the new year."
"You're welcome," he smiled. "…I know a better way to start off the new year."
"…Really?" Her eyebrows went up. "…How's that?" She turned to face him, but her eyes widened when she did so, because she second her head turned, her lips pressed against his.
He pulled away slowly, opening his eyes to smile charmingly at him, his face mysteriously illuminated by the streetlights.
Japanese culture messages abound! No surprises, considering this was originally in Japanese. But I'll go over it with you, just for culture shock.
In Japan, Christmas is New Year's' cover up. Japan celebrates a secular Christmas, but all the gift giving and holiday sales are really for New Year's. It's customary to give people little envelopes, and you usually give little kids yen with theirs. It's basically an obligation to do this once you're of age. Anyone you've come into the slightest bit of contact with, regardless if you like 'em or not, you're basically expected to give a card to. And if you receive a card from someone you forgot, you'll look like an arrogant, ungrateful little punk, and that's basically the equivalent of being blacklisted in Japanese society (hence, why I wrote this oneshot for my friend--as a New Year's present). The postal system goes into overrdrive as they try to get all these New Year's cards to their recipients on New Year's, so this is a big deal, so New Year's is arguably Japan's hottest holiday.
Houses in Japan put up what's known as kagami mochi for New Year's. It's two rice cakes (mochi) stacked on top of each other, the larger on the bottom, usually on an elaborate stand. The mochi symbolizes a solar eclipse. On top is a citrus fruit called daidai, which symbolizes generations to come ("daidai" literally means, "generations"). I don't know if it's customary to give people these, but I did it here because it totally suits Link's boy next door look.
It's proper etiquette to thank your host(s) for your meal (this should be no surprises because you should do it regardless if you're Japanese, but to us, this is second nature). In Japanese, it would be gochisousama deshita.
Toso is a special medicial sake, and its drunk especially during New Year's. Its symbolic of cleansing the body of evil spirits, and the kanji that make up "toso" literally mean, "to defeat demons". Even kids drink a little bit (I drink it, too!). But don't try taking some beer to school and pass it off as toso and blame it on me, kids. That's just impolite.
Sokozaki are those saucer cups you see samurai drinking sake out of in those feudal dramas and video games.
The title, "Kisuhajime", literally means, "The first kiss of the year". The first of anything worth nothing of the year is observed for special occasions and should not be wasted on something meaningless. I thought tying that into the oneshot was pretty clever is all.
And oh yeah, Circles is still coming along. Still on chapter five (pop quiz: what are the two kinds of chapters that are going to make up Circles!?). Stop by the blog, because I just put up the lead female's character profile. Oh yes--you will now find out the name of the person who will take over Zelda's role as the head femme fatale! How exciting! SirJoshizzle(dot)BlogSpot(dot)com(slash)2008(slash)01(slash)and-lead-female-is(dot)html
Bonus points if you can identify the two games referenced here. :D
Enjoy Life and Smile.