Disclaimer: ZELDA and its characters are owned by Nintendo. I am not making any money while working with them. Sun is mine, though.
Title: Of Courage And Sunlight
Pairings: Link / Lilo of the Sun (OC)
Rating: T rated, but may come to M in the future
Summary: Link, after defeating Bongo Bongo (what a name…) in the Shadow Temple, is now trying to get to the Gerudo desert after having been told by Sheik to find the «Goddess of the Desert». He has a meeting he never expected and his life is unbalanced by it.
Timeline: This story is taking place in Ocarina of Time, while Link is adult, after he passed the Shadow Temple. To make it a bit more realistic, it's been three years since he awoke in the Temple of Time.
Warnings: This story is a boy x boy story. You have been warned.
OF COURAGE AND SUNLIGHT
The desert sun was making itself known, its terrible rays hitting the bare back of the guard and making gleam the sweat running on his tanned skin. The sand, under the daylight, was sparkling like mad. Looking at it was blinding.
It was near noon, so the heat was even more horrible than at any other moment of the day. Even while living in an oasis, if standing guard at the very top of a tower, there was no shade. Most people would have fainted in a matter of minutes under the terrible heat, but the guard was not "most people".
He was a Gerudo.
He came from generations of thieves hiding in the dunes before building a wonderful, magnificent city in the border of the desert and deciding to live permanently there. His people were used to the heat and the sun; they knew how to survive in their harsh conditions and climate. The key was endurance, a hard life and lots, lots of water.
As the guard knew this essential thing, he took from his side a gourd of water and drank from it before spreading some of it on the nape of his neck, the inside of his wrists, the entire surface of his face and pouring a small amount on his hair, careful not to waste any of the precious liquid. The water evaporated almost as it touched his skin and the marvelous cold feeling coming from the phenomenon made him shiver. He gulped a bit more water, put away his gourd and took once more his guarding stance. His copper hair shone under the sun.
Every single day, the guard, going under the name of Lilo of the Sun, took his place in the guarding tower and watched the desert. Most would think of it as a boring job and, in most time, it was – even Sun would admit it – but somebody had to do it and it was the young man's duty. He was a Gerudo, and Gerudo did their duties no matter what.
It was rather strange that he had been chosen to stand guard a job that was, even if being boring, important to the people and usually done by women. Guards were warriors and Sun was no exception to the rule, except for one thing: he was a man. All, all the other warriors of Gerudo were women. It was the tradition for them to only teach the warrior way to the women and, once in a century, to elect a male king.
It is not that there were no males in Gerudo, which was biologically speaking impossible. It was that their statute was nearly the one of slaves and that the ones that were not considered strong enough for the village were thrown away from it. Thrown into the desert.
Were the Gerudo people cruel? Yes, they were. They were ruthless. They had no choice; the desert left them no other option. To live, you had to be strong; if you were not strong, you were in the way, so you were left to die. It was as simple as that.
So why was Sun a warrior of the Gerudo, even while being a man?
There were… special circumstances. He was not a future king, neither a Sage; he was the guardian of the Spirit Temple.
But this is a story that will be explained later on.
So the guard stood, well, guard, under the unbearable sun with a smile illuminating his face. He loved the desert, his home place, his fiery land: you could only love or hate the desert. It made itself known too much just to ignore it. Absent mindedly, he touched with the tip of his fingers the sun tattoo that he bore on the left side of his chest, over his heart: it was burning hot, the black ink under his skin absorbing the sunrays. His back tattoos were probably in the same state, so he decided not to try to feel those.
As he looked over the dunes which covered the horizons, Sun wondered how the other lands looked like. He had heard stories: stories about frozen water raining from the sky and covering the fields of white, stories about rock eating nations and volcanoes, stories about vast lands covered in green, luxurious plants and forests stretching as far as the eye could see. He only knew the sand and the heat, the cactuses and the poisonous beasts that roamed in the hot lands. He also knew about the cold nights, the clear skies and the huge, white moon of the desert which was said to be the most beautiful anywhere in Hyrule.
It was said that the people from the colder regions were a bunch of lazy bummers with fat bellies. Maybe did they need fat to protect themselves from the cold, most of the Gerudo said while sniggering. There was no helping it – Gerudo people were quite racist. Sun secretly agreed with this particular belief; he had seen northern merchants come to the city, when he was little, and they had given him a bad impression. They were fat, loud and laughed way, way too much. They had been irritating to see.
His wondering was stopped abruptly when a woman at ground level, inside the walls of the fortress, shouted at him.
"SUN! Ring the alarm and get your sorry butt down here! There's an intruder!"
The man raised an eyebrow, but obeyed. He walked to the rough rope that rejoined the alarm copper bell to the ground and pulled hard, five times. The streets immediately became agitated: children screaming while running back to their homes, citizens of all age trying to calm the kids while heading back to their houses urgently, warriors gripping their weapons and heading toward the center of the fortress. Sun watched the sweaty people make their way in a slight panic with a calm, interested gaze, before shrugging and proceeding in climbing down the stairs to rejoin the ground level.
There was no joking around with the warning bell. Ringing it by mistake or for fun was, sometimes, considered as treason and punishable by exile. Doing something so stupid meant, in the Gerudo, that you were too stupid for the desert yourself. Invasions were taken extremely seriously in the thieves' city.
The guard ran through the town, accosting a fellow guard on his way and asking her what was going on.
"A Hylian prisoner escaped from the hole. It never happened before. We think that he is raiding the prison."
The hole was a part of the prison where people were thrown so they could rot under the sun, without water, for days before being taken out and beheaded.
"Why was he arrested?"
"I heard that he was associated with the men who came here shamefully to try to become Gerudo warriors. Men! Warriors! Do you even imagine –"
"Excuse me, sister, but I am a man."
There were about two seconds of silence while the two of them ran in an uncomfortable silence.
"… That's true, but we are used to you. We don't even see you anymore as a man –"
"Thank you. That's so nice." Snorted Sun sarcastically.
"Okay, okay, hold your horses. You know what I mean. And they were strangers. We do not accept strangers," said the woman, without an ounce of shame.
They finally got to the prison, were a small crowd of warriors had amassed. Terra, the leader of the female warriors in the absence of their king's second-in-command, Nabooru, was talking to them.
"… and so you lot will guard every single exit, even the windows! I want volunteers to go inside with me. Ah, Sun, Naoh! You came right at the good time! You're volunteers! Everybody else, dismissed! Don't come back without the head of the stranger!"
Sun and the woman with who he had run, the female warrior named Naoh, followed Terra inside while the rest of the group dispersed to go take their post.
The prison was creepy and dark. In the hall, there was a female Gerudo, knocked out, laying on her back. Sun immediately ran to her and took her wrist, finding the strong pulse.
"Unconscious," he declared. His two companions nodded and they left the woman there. Help would come later.
In each room there was either a knocked out guard or a Gerudo warrior with no idea where the stranger was. Nobody had seen him, but the beaten guards were proof of his presence in the prison. It was infuriating. The little group headed to the cells when Naoh suggested that he could have gone to free the carpenters who came to try to become Gerudo warriors, which was, frankly, a strange idea.
The first cell was empty. Sitting with her back on one of the walls of the room was a warrior. She was trying to stop the bleeding from one of her arms and from her side with disorganized movements. There was blood splashed on the walls and the ground – the little quantity of furniture that filled the room was knocked over or smashed in pieces. There had been violent fighting in this place. Sun approached the wounded guard, roughly gripped her chin and lifted her face. Her pupils were dilated and she was breathing irregularly. The man patted her wounded arm, felt her wound, did the same for her side and said:
"She is barely conscious and she lost a large quantity of blood. She needs immediate treatment or she will die."
"Then take care of it, fool!" snapped Terra. "Waste your precious time!"
Sun grimaced and got up.
"I was only sharing the facts with you. No need to bite my throat off. Let's go."
The trio left the wounded warrior without another word, running to the next cell, under the unfocused gaze of the dying woman who slowly stopped moving. If you could not take care of yourself, you were dead: that was the Gerudo way. They had a job to do, so they could not help the people they crossed. They would come back for her later and save her if she survived that long; if they saw a Gerudo with no immediate business, they would send him or her for the rescue; but they would not do it themselves.
There was a similar scene in the next cell, which was empty too. The guard that had been on duty there was only unconscious, this time, and did not seem much injured if not for the strange angle her leg was in. It was surely broken. They hurried to the third cell, knowing what they would see. An empty cell and an injured warrior.
Where did the carpenters go? The stranger, they understood – if he was extremely skilled, he could probably manage to go unseen – but the carpenters? Maybe did they try to run outside? If that was the case, they probably had been caught by the warriors who were guarding the doors and the windows, and the stranger's efforts would be in vain. The thought amused the trio, before they heard shouting and steel clashing on steel. They ran to the fourth cell, which was farther into the prison.
They got to the door and Sun kicked it open. This time the cell was not empty: behind its bars was a frightened man who seemed to try to merge with the farther wall of his prison, his eyes wide with fear. In the other part of the room, a man was fighting with one of the Gerudo guards.
The stranger was strong, that was easy to see. The warrior he was against was good for a Hylian but only mildly strong for a Gerudo – she did not have a quarter of Terra or Sun's skills, but it did not matter. Normal people did not hold a Gerudo, any Gerudo for long, and did not raid their prison without getting hurt. The stranger was moving fluidly, spinning his sword at an incredible speed, blocking easily any attack the guard did before finally disarming her with a fabulous blow on the wrist. The woman screamed in agony and let her weapon fall down, clenching her arm in reflex. The stranger knocked her out with the back of his sword and she fell on the ground.
It all happened in a matter of about five seconds. Naoh, Sun and Terra looked at the scene in silence, frozen on place because of this incredible display of skills. The stranger was now looking at them – after all, Sun did knock the door down, which was a fairly loud move – his body locked in a fighting position. A shrilling little voice echoed in the air:
"Link! Listen! There are others!"
The stranger did not answer. An orb of light had come out from his green hat and was now circling excitingly around him. Weird.
Crossing the clear gaze of the stranger, Sun smiled darkly. He felt his blood boil with excitement. Like any Gerudo warrior, more than most, even, he loved a good fight. He knew that he could get that with the man in front of him. The Gerudo women were cunning and fast, but that man was strong. It would be so nice –
The shout distracted the young man from his bloodlust. Naoh, angered, had taken out her curved sword was now contracting her legs' muscles in preparation for a sprint toward the stranger. In a flash, she was stopped by Terra.
"What are you doing, Terra?" said the woman, furious.
"You won't win, Naoh. You are no stronger than the woman you just saw beaten to the floor. Do not rush," answered Terra. There was a hint of admiration in her voice. She walked into the room. The stranger tensed. Sun had the strange feeling that, if Terra was to take another step, he would start to growl like an animal.
Sun, a bit calmed down himself, took a deep breath to bury his bloodlust. His face lost all expression and his breathing became regulated. God, but he had wanted a fight. Losing control over his emotions like this did not happen to him often. He did not like it. But he had never seen a fellow male fighter before.
"What are you doing here, stranger? State your name and your business. Why would you help these people? You do not seem to be one of them," said Terra, her voice hard. The stranger did not lose his stance, nor did he answer.
"Answer, man!" snapped Terra. The stranger visibly almost sprang to attack the woman, but consciously stopped himself.
A few seconds of silence passed while Terra and the stranger had a staring contest before he finally forced himself to relax and stood a bit straighter, his demeanor the one of a nervous beast, and talked slowly.
"I am Link. I was told by Sheik, last survivor of the Sheikah, to come to the Gerudo desert so I could find the goddess of sand. On my way here, I encountered a craftsman whose job was to rebuild the bridge your people destroyed. I came to help his workers, the carpenters whom you imprisoned." His voice was clear and mildly low, and had singing tones.
"Why would you help these fools, boy?" said tensely Terra. It took a few seconds for the man to answer.
"Because they needed help and because they promised to help me in return."
"For a reward, then?"
After a few more seconds of silence, the stranger nodded shortly. Terra's face suddenly split in a large smile. The man looked completely confused.
"I think I like you, boy!"
Sun and Naoh looked at Terra in surprise. She liked him?
"You fight like a wild wolf and you have the attitude of a thief. Getting out of the hole, sneaking into the prison and managing to not only free three men but to injure a number of Gerudo warriors? And to pass without being seen by another number of them? Most men are useless but you are not, boy! You want to see the goddess of sand? Then you must go to the Spirit Temple. Sun!"
The man answered the call by taking a step forward. Link snapped his gaze to him, then back to Terra.
"Take care of our guest."
"Guest!" said Naoh, eyes wide.
"What about the carpenters?" It was the stranger who had talked.
"Oh, if you want it that much, we just have to release them. We don't need to lose time on spineless coward like them, after all."
"Terra, are you sure –" started Sun.
"Yes, yes! Stop being stubborn, Sun. Naoh, go and help the girls that were wounded that we saw on our way here. The second one may still be salvageable."
The stranger visibly blanched at the statement. Sun wondered why, but dismissed fast enough the thought.
"The boy is injured, Sun. Treat him and show him the ropes a bit, then open the Gate for him. He wants to go to the Temple? Well, if he can cross the desert, I don't see any problem with it. Either way, he'll probably die. We'll have nice male company while he's still alive. Dismissed!"
Sun stared at Terra for a few moments, his face stripped from any expression, and nodded. The stranger, all that time, had been shifting his gaze from one to the other, looking lost. The carpenter was whining in his corner, not having realized the last developments.
"You!" snapped Sun. The stranger looked at him. "You said your name was Link?" Nod from the blond man. "Follow me."
It did not take them long to exit the prison. The stranger seemed strangely abashed when he saw the bloody mess left by the warrior he almost killed earlier when they passed by the second cell room. They finally stepped under the hellish sun of the desert. Sun's tattoos gleamed under the star that gave him his name. He ignored the stares of the female warriors who saw them as they got out and answered to the questions shortly, impatient to return home.
Sun and Link traveled in an utter silence. People looked from their doorways or from their windows at them, curious. They still did not have been given the permission to go back outside to work. Link left a trail of blood after him; one of his legs was wounded, making him limp, and he had several smaller gashes on his arms, torso and back.
They finally reached Sun's house. It was like any other in Gerudo: beige with a flat roof, a wooden door and small windows covered with rough fabric to act as a tampon with the exterior. Sun entered, but Link hesitated on the doorway.
"Come in. You are a guest, do not worry." Said Sun, and Link nodded hesitantly.
Sun's house was small. He lived alone in a cramped, overpopulated desert oasis – there was no helping it. He was happy to even own his own place and not have to, like a lot of people, live in a community house, where you had no real privacy. He had a small kitchen, a small, really small bathroom and a common room with his futon, his table, his shelves with his weapons, scrolls, clothes and other objects and a colorful blanket with lively pillows forming a kind of nest in the middle of the place. There were suns painted everywhere on the walls.
"I have no idea of where you are going to sleep, but we will have to manage," said Sun. "After all, you are going to be here for some time."
"Why?" said Link, talking for the first time since in the prison.
"Because you would not be able to go in the desert in your state," answered Sun while taking his sword off from his side and putting it on his kitchen counter.
"No, I was not asking about that. Why are you helping me? I thought that you were after my head."
"I was. We all were. You were an enemy. But…" he leaned over his feet and got one of his boots of, "Terra said that she liked you. You are no more of an enemy than I am, now."
"But I wounded some of your girls -" grumbled Link.
"What? Our girls?" answered Sun while taking off with some difficulty his second boot. "They were warriors. What's the problem?"
"I may have killed one!" burst Link.
Sun finished getting his boot off and placed it neatly beside the first one.
"And?" he answered coldly.
"And? And? You don't care?"
"Not really. Duty is duty."
"Listen, it's not -"
Sun redressed himself and shot an annoyed glance at the Hylian man.
"If there is no discipline, there is no life, here. I would gladly give my life for my duty. We all would. End of the story."
Link snorted something that may or may not have been rude and proceeded to get out his own boots, trying to manage his injured leg in the meanwhile. Sun, satisfied to have made his point, allowed himself a short smile before entering the kitchenette and placing fruits and bread on the counter, beside his sword. While Link fought with his traveler boots with low cursing the warrior started shopping the fruits with a kitchen knife.
"Can I help?" said Link, looking up at Sun.
"Take care of your shoes and we'll see. Ah, you're bleeding everywhere. I'll get you bandages before you ruin the floor anymore."
About half an hour later the two men were sitting at Sun's table, eating their dinner, Link explaining his quest a bit to Sun and the other man listening silently. It all seemed pretty unbelievable to him. At some point, Link asked to Sun:
"And I was wondering, where are the other warriors? I only saw women while I was in the prison. Are the men away?"
Sun had to laugh at that.
"Why are you laughing?"
Sun smiled. "Well, you are the first male fighter I ever saw in my life beside myself, so you are welcome to search for them."
Link's jaw dropped to the floor.
"No… men? Only female warriors?"
Link groaned in despair.
"That explains a few things."
"It sure does," answered Sun while biting into a watermelon slice.
Later, while the moon was up in the sky and the temperature had dropped to become freezing, Link, lying in Sun's nest of colorful blankets and pillows, wondered about the Gerudo and his mysterious host. It seemed to him that the thieves' city was not as bad as rumored. He sneezed, shivered and tried to get the blankets closer to him. Great. He was so going to get a cold in the middle of the desert. On this last thought, he finally was able to go to sleep.
AN: Is it good? Bad? Worth reading? Please leave a review to tell me you exist if you read this, because I won't continue it without encouragement…
(I'm a sucker for reviews ^.^)
So… why a male OC? Simply because there are almost no male OCs in the fanfiction world, girls being, most of the time, the writers. And why a boy's love story? Because I find it cute. Simple as that. I could have done a hetero one, but, hey, where's the fun?
I know this chapter is long, but it won't necessarily always be that way. This was an introduction, after all. I had a lot to say (especially since I had to introduce Sun – don't worry, we'll learn more about him later).
The ice is broken, now Sun and Link are taking a step toward friendship (yes, it'll be a long time before they have any kind of lovey-dovey relationship). I'll be sticking more than you could think to the original plot of OOT. But I'll try to make Zelda's world more realistic (as much as possible for a fantasy story).
ABOUT TERRA: She is a real character. Yep, she is. Nabooru (the Sage of the Spirit Temple) left a woman in charge of Gerudo while she was not there, but I never found out her name so I made it up. If you know about it, can you tell me?
Ah, one last thing: English is not my first language. Forgive me for the stupid mistakes I make while writing with it.
: ) Lilero