The sun had just barely peeked over the horizon when Blue opened his eyes. It took him a moment- it had almost felt like they were glued together on his first attempt, and he groaned softly as he raised a hand to his face and rubbed the heel of his palm against both eyes. With that done he sat up slowly, cataloging just how much better he felt. All his aches and pains had faded away to barely a ghost of what they had once been, although his muscles and joints were still extremely stiff.
Blue slowly lifted the flaps of his bedroll and heaved himself out, trying to make as little noise as possible. The early hour meant that he was the only one awake- even Shadow, still solid and present, was sleeping with his head on Vio's pillow, but stretched out the opposite way. Blue frowned slightly at that, shaking his head and rolling his eyes as he staggered into the bushes to relieve himself.
That done, he grabbed his sword, boots, and an extra set of clothes, and headed towards the river- days of doing nothing but lying in a bedroll and sweating through one's clothes left one feeling pretty filthy, especially if that one happened to be Blue.
The sun rose further into the sky as he bathed, shivering a bit in the chill morning air- the river water was still cold, so he went in only to his knees at first. He was still too stiff to bend in half and dip his hair into the water, so with a grimace on his face he spread his arms and let himself fall backwards.
He came up stifling a yell- Three was that cold!- and quickly scrubbed his fingers through his hair, detangling it as best he could and shuddering as the cold breeze hit the water beading down his sides and chest. A few more scrubs to his underarms, chest and back, and groin and he dropped himself back in to rinse off. The cold was easier to bear that time and he gritted his teeth as he waded his way back to shore and dried himself off.
His fingers were numb as he pulled his shirt and pants on, and beads of water from his damp hair trailed down his neck to wet his collar as he fumbled with his boots. He stamped a few times to fit them on properly, stretching his arms high and leaning back. It caught him entirely by surprise when his muscles trembled, sending him straight down on his butt with a stifled curse.
Blue grumbled loudly, limbs splayed out on the soft grass. It made sense that he'd be a little weaker than usual after such a severe sickness, but that didn't mean he couldn't be angry about it. He sat up slowly, pulling his legs in until his boot heels touched, and bent to try and touch his head to the ground. The muscles between his hips and thighs screamed at him for a moment before relaxing, and he groaned.
The sun continued onward in its path across the sky as Blue stretched his body into proper working order once more, and once every muscle had been properly attended to he stood, brushing blades of grass and other debris from his clothes. The fresh breeze across his face was no longer cold, and he grinned slightly and closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation of actually feeling like himself again.
His stomach chose that moment to let out a truly fearsome-sounding growl and he snorted, suddenly aware of just how little he'd eaten in the past few days. He shifted to start heading back to the campsite when a stray thought hit him, and he paused to try and catch it. Something about Red…
The sound of shouting rose from the campsite and he grunted, the tenuous moment broken. It would come back to him, or it wouldn't, and he could think about it then- for now, there had better be food ready when he got back or he wasn't sure what he'd do.
Vio was woken rather abruptly by a shake to his shoulder, and his hand flew to his sword as he opened his eyes. To his relief (and minor chagrin) it was just Red, and he sighed heavily, rubbing at his eyes to remove the rest of the sleep from them. "What can I do for you?" he asked wryly.
"Blue's gone!" Red wailed, and the slight grin that had been threatening to slip onto his face disappeared entirely.
"What do you mean?" Vio asked, climbing out of his bedroll and pulling on his boots. To his left, Blue's bedroll indeed was empty, the top folded back precisely onto itself. He shook his head, his relief at that small sign of fussiness bringing a small smile back to his face. To his right Shadow was substituting for his own, or so he assumed- he had fallen asleep last night to the sounds of Shadow bickering with Green over something inconsequential, and as he looked Shadow moved an arm and waggled teasing fingers at him.
"I mean he's gone!" Red stood there with a panicked look on his face. "I looked all around- I haven't seen him anywhere!"
"Maybe he simply went to relieve himself?" Vio shrugged. "Why don't you start calling for him? I'll start breakfast, he's sure to be hungry."
"Are you sure? I don't want to wake up Green!" Red shifted back and forth from one foot to the other, looking anxious.
Vio snorted. "I'll wake him. Why don't you go double check down by the riverbank? He might have simply wanted to bathe." Red nodded at him and darted across the clearing, and Vio shook his head again, turning his attention to the sleeping Green on the opposite side of the fire. He moved over to kneel beside the other, slowly reaching out a hand to shake Green into wakefulness.
When his hand closed around the other's shoulder Green's other hand snapped up to grab him by the wrist. Vio made a very undignified noise and jumped, immediately pulling back. Green refused to let go, though, opening his eyes and yawning loudly. "Is it morning already?" he asked sleepily, using his free hand to wipe the sleep from his eyes.
"Yes," Vio responded after a moment's hesitation. "The sun is shining, the air is fresh, and Blue has apparently disappeared into thin air."
Green raised his eyebrows at that, one arching even further as a yell of "Bluuuueeeee!" came from down by the river. "Sure he didn't just go to take a leak or something?" he joked, and Vio couldn't help but crack a grin at that.
"That was my assumption," he agreed lightly, trying to tug his hand away and frowning a bit when Green's grip only tightened. "I would like my hand back, please."
Green blinked and looked over at the two interlocked hands. "Oh- well would you look at that!" His expression momentarily twisted into a devilish grin. "What if I don't want to give it back?"
Vio's lips flattened into a thin line. "Seeing as that is my sword hand, I would be very displeased."
"Grumble grumble grumble," Green mocked him lightly, expression back to his normal pleasant grin. "Lighten up, Vi, live a little!" Before Vio could react he'd planted a kiss straight in the middle of Vio's palm, then let go and began the process of packing up for the day.
Vio tried to stifle the blush that rose to his cheeks at that, and moved over to the fire without another word.
"Bluuuueeee!" The call came again, this time from back towards the river, and Blue rolled his eyes a bit as he headed that way. Was Red trying to bring every monster in the forest upon himself? The thought made him grip the hilt of his sword a little tighter and move a little faster over the river rocks, and as he rounded the corner he smacked chest-first into Red, causing the other to let out a shrill "Eep!" and clap his hands over his mouth.
Blue snorted and stepped back, loosening his grip and clasping his hands behind his back. "Yell a little louder, why don't ya?"
"Blue!" Red beamed, voice much softer, and flung his arms around the other. Blue stiffened in shock, eyes going wide, but he didn't pull away. "You weren't at the camp! I got really worried and came looking for you!" He pulled away, still smiling brightly, and rocked back and forth on his heels a bit. "How are you feeling?"
"Alright, I guess," Blue shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck and turning his head a little away. That thought from before was back, digging at the back of his mind, and he frowned as he tried to pinpoint it. "Bit hungry- who's making breakfast?"
"Vio is! He told me to come look for you and that he'd probably have it done by the time I found you!" Red looked like he was unable to keep still, the lightest bit of pink dusting his cheeks, and Blue found his gaze drawn down to the bottom lip Red was currently biting.
"Did he, now," he said noncommittally, eyes travelling down a bit to the bit of Red's collarbone that was exposed. He frowned a bit deeper, stepping forward. "What happened to your neck here?" he asked, brushing the small dark mark he found there with the flat of his thumb before looking up- completely taken aback as Red's face lit up like a candle.
"U-um," Red stuttered, not moving away from Blue's hand. "You mean you don't remember?"
"Why would I remember?" Blue asked in irritation, tugging Red's collar away from his neck a bit more and eyeing the collection of bruises.
"Because…" Red squeezed his eyes shut as the backs of Blue's knuckles brushed against his neck. "You put them there…"
Blue froze, and the thought at the back of his mind burst into the forefront with a bang. He had put them there- those and others like it, hadn't he? What had he been thinking?! He hadn't been thinking at all, of course not, he'd been half out of his mind with fever, but that didn't mean that he should have forced himself onto someone! "I… I'm so sorry," he managed to choke out, fearing to move- how could he have messed up with Red this badly?
And yet the other teen had yet to move away from him, wasn't looking at him with disgust or fear- he was simply standing there and smiling up into Blue's face. "I'm not," Red said cheekily, and pressed forward into Blue's hand as he leaned up to press his lips to Blue's.
When he pulled away he immediately burst into giggles at Blue's dumbfounded expression. "Bluuue, you already freaked out about it!" he grinned, still leaning deeply into Blue. "You're not allowed to be sad about things!"
"Wh-what do you mean I'm not allowed to be sad about things?!" Blue immediately blustered. "I'll be as sad as I want!"
Red simply giggled and kissed him again, effectively putting an end to his arguments. When he pulled away this time Blue relaxed enough to drop the hand still pressed to Red's neck and used it to pull him right back up against him, causing Red to start laughing into his shoulder. "What's so funny?" he grumbled, his other arm coming up to wrap around Red as well.
"You, Blue!" Red immediately squeezed him tightly again. "I knew you were gonna do this! And like I said-" he leaned back to prod Blue in the chest with a single finger- "You're not allowed to be sad or freak out! We talked about this already!"
Blue frowned at him. "Yeah, but I was feverish and thought I was hallucinating," he countered.
Red, shockingly, rolled his eyes at that. "Yeah, I was there!" He squeezed Blue tightly again. "No one's going to laugh at you, especially not Vio," he said in a softer tone, and Blue flinched in the embrace. "I told you! Vio likes Shadow, why would he laugh at you liking me?"
"What do you mean Vio likes Shadow?" Blue frowned into Red's hair, pieces of evidence fitting together in his mind. "Was that why Shadow was sleeping on Vio's pillow when I woke up?" Red nodded, and Blue gave a reluctant huff of laughter. "Serves him right- both of them, they're so insufferable they deserve each other."
"Don't be mean, Blue!" Red smacked his shoulder blade with a palm. "I think it's cute! And also sad…" Blue's stomach chose that moment to give another angry rumble and Red laughed. "Come on, Blue, let's get you some proper food!" He went to pull away but Blue stubbornly hung on. "It's gonna be alright, Blue," he murmured, voice gentle as he rocked Blue back and forth a little. "Hold my hand as we go back?"
Blue finally loosened his grasp on the other blond, running a hand through his hair to get it out of his eyes. "Do I have to?" he asked, raising his eyebrow.
Red put his hands on his hips. "Yes you do, Blue! You have to hold my hand on the way back, and now you have to let me brush your hair when we get there!"
"Wait, what?" Blue immediately backpedaled, and Red laughed loudly.
"If you complain any more then I get to sit on your lap while we eat breakfast!" he mock threatened, and Blue immediately raised his hands in surrender before grabbing one of Red's.
"Fine, fine! Let's just go then, before my stomach actually eats itself," he grumbled, and tried not to feel too pleased when Red beamed at him once more.
Breakfast was a quiet and pleasant affair- true to his threat Red pulled out a brush after he had finished his bowl and immediately set to work on Blue's tangled hair. Walking into camp holding hands with Red had garnered nothing more than an amused nod from Vio and a "Finally!" from Green, which had resulted in the two wrestling back and forth across the campsite before Vio had called a halt to their shenanigans.
It was easy to relax, and Blue took full advantage of the down time, his body protesting the strenuous exercise after such a long time. Red's hands were deft and gentle as he wielded first a comb, then the brush itself through the matted locks, and the soft sounds of campsite maintenance added to the enjoyable atmosphere. Vio had flatly refused his offers to help clean, telling him that he'd need his strength for the ride back to the village to return the horses.
They had agreed to head back to Castle Town and Princess Zelda after that, Green laying out the events of the past few days as they ate around the burned-down embers of the fire. It was vital that they inform her as soon as possible so plans could be made for Hyrule's safety. "And besides, she's gotta be told about recent developments over here, too," Green had joked, waggling his eyebrows at Blue, who had nearly jumped up from his seat to punch him before Vio, to everyone's surprise, did it for him.
Blue smirked at the memory- Green had looked so shocked, his mouth hanging wide open, and Vio had merely given him a stern look before collecting everyone's bowls to wash. He opened his eyes as he heard footsteps approaching him, and Vio dropped his pack in front of him. "Everything's all set," he stated. "We should get moving so we can reach the town by nightfall. It would be unwise to delay getting this news to the Princess."
"Just a second, Vio," Red called from behind his head. "I'm almost done- ah, there we go!" He set the brush down and ran his fingers through Blue's hair, fluffing it up and ensuring there were no tangles. "Perfect!"
Vio actually smiled at that, looking from Red to Blue, and the latter stiffened uncomfortably. He blinked in surprise as Vio's hand shot out to flick him in the forehead, and then made a noise of outrage. "You two will do well together," he said simply, moving away to pick up his own pack and check that the fire was completely extinguished.
Red leaned around while Vio's back was turned and pecked Blue on the cheek with a smile. "Ready to go?" he grinned, leaping over the log easily and turning to stretch out a hand to Blue. Sunlight shone warmly down upon them, the breeze gently moving Red's bangs across his forehead, and Blue glanced down at the outstretched hand that looked like a promise.
And as Blue stood up, slung his pack onto his back and walked forward to take Red's hand, he let himself smile back. "Let's go."
A/N: And that's a wrap! It's been nearly three and a half years since I started this story, and this is the first thing of any length that I've actually finished! It's horribly sloppy and amateurish, but I'm not going to go back and fix any of that- I have other things I want to write, and this can just be something I look back on to gauge my progress!
Really though, I'd like to thank everyone who's read this story, who favorited and reviewed it 3 you are all wonderful and I'm very grateful this could catch your eye!
This isn't the last thing I'll be writing in this 'verse I've started to set up - after all, how terrible would I be to leave that dangling love triangle there? It just begs to have something done to it! So if any of this intrigued you I hope that you'll stick around to read the next story I write!