dedication: to Eden.
notes: my god, i love these little kids. they have so much potential! yes, set in my headcannon world where Link's actually a coward, Zelda's an unwilling lesbian, and Colin is awesome.
title: the green eye effect
summary: TP. He'd always liked her. She'd just never liked him back. — onesided Talo/Beth, Beth/Colin.
There was something about girls, Talo decided.
More specifically, there was something about Beth.
Blue-eye Beth with freckles and too much sass for her own good. Blonde Beth with a smile like summer and a tongue sharper than Link's sword. Pretty Beth with her hair around her face, sitting by Ordon's spring, dappled with sunlight.
So there was something about her.
Talo just didn't know quite what that something was yet. He was determined to find out what that something was, regardless of how much time it took.
It was in the little things. That was what he noticed first.
It was in the way her eyes sparked when he did something particularly stupid. It was in the way she laughed with little Terra, and in the way she sometimes smiled at him with that special smile she saved for special occasions. Talo could see the something when Beth moved. It made his stomach roll and his jaw clench. He didn't like it at all.
So there was something about girls and more about Beth that other girls didn't have.
Not that Talo knew many girls.
Talo knew Beth and Ilia and Luda, but that was about it. Oh, and Terra, but she was Colin's sister and so she didn't count. So three girls, really.
Ilia was scary-crazy, so Talo didn't talk to her anymore. Luda was far, far away in Kakariko, so Talo didn't talk to her anymore, either.
Which left Beth.
(He tried very hard not to think of Luda, a little older than he and with a smile like the sun. So maybe that something was something that all girls had.
Talo felt a little queasy.
All girls could do this?)
And Beth was… she was Beth.
Because that explained it all.
It explained the coiling in his stomach when she lifted an eyebrow at him from underneath the brim of a floppy hat as she tended to the pumpkins. Beth sat back on her heels and looked up at him with her fingers in the mud, dirt smudged on her nose. The corner of her mouth picked up and Talo felt his stomach curl in on itself.
"Talo!" she said, looking up.
"Hey, Beth," he said, and sat down next to her.
Beth grinned at him, blue eyes winking and bright before she shoved a spade into his hand. "Hold this.
Talo made a noise at the back of his throat that could have been a reply.
"Oh, don't be like that. I need to get this finished before Peg and Colin get back—"
Her something had shifted, lighting up her face when she'd spoke of the horse and his man. Talo squinted against the sunlight and made another noise at the back of his throat, this one sounding like disgust, mouth pulling down in a grimace.
(He would never like Colin. Not really, anyway.)
"What bug crawled inside you and died?" she asked, laughing at the look on his face.
"Nothing," he said. "It's nothing."
Beth shook her head, choppy blonde hair flicking every which way. "C'mon, Talo, are you seriously going to be like that? We've been friends forever!"
"Yeah, Beth, look, you have this—"
Only the sound of hooves against hard-packed dirt was suddenly ringing through his ears, and Beth had jumped up, light in her eyes. Her hat had fallen and she was covered in dirt but running, running, and Talo watched Colin jump off that dark horse that looked like Epona only to scoop Beth up, grinning.
Beth's something was brighter than every light Talo had ever seen in his life combined.
Because of Colin.
Talo clenched his palms, ragged nails digging into his palms.
/ / /
The funny thing was that Colin left two days later, and Beth wilted.
Like a flower with water, she shrivelled and Talo watched, fascinated. It was like she was shamed, but she picked listlessly at her little garden. Unable to do anything, Talo sat next to her, and waited for her to come out of it.
"Are you okay, Bethy?"
(The childhood nickname would always linger, Talo thought.)
Beth looked at him out of the corner of her eye, a great exhalation of breath escaping her.
"I must seem silly, don't I?" she asked and Talo shrugged.
"I just don't get it," he told her.
Beth sighed, and reached over to brush brown strands of hair out of his eyes. She seemed to be chewing on her words, her throat working, but no words coming out. Finally she just shrugged.
"It's not something I can explain," she began hesitantly. "Colin's just… different."
She was staring at the grass, but Talo thought that she was really a million miles away. She fiddled with the spade for a moment, before looking at him and biting her lip.
"He makes me happy. Happier than anyone. I can—tell him anything, you know?"
Talo was offended. "Don't I make you happy? And can't you tell me anything?"
Beth laughed. "It's a different kind of happy, idiot. You're like my brother. Kissing you would just be… weird."
For a moment, Talo was absolutely silent.
"Have you kissed him?"
Beth coloured high in her cheeks and demanded "So what if I have? What are you going to do, tell my father? Please."
It might have been rage or pain or just sadness, Talo didn't know. He stood, clenching his jaw and his hands and trying to control how much he just wanted her to hurt right then.
"I—have to go," he snarled, and whirled around.
Beth watched him go.
But she didn't call after him.
And that hurt more than he thought it would.
/ / /
Talo went to Kakariko right after that.
He couldn't take staying in Ordon; close proximity to Beth was the last thing Talo wanted for a long, long time. Kakariko was safe because it was far away. There was a little flat right above Malo's shop, there, and Talo knew that his brother wouldn't deny him a place to sleep and to sort through the swirl that was his mind.
Malo might have been the most indifferent being alive, but he was not heartless.
Talo sat in the graveyard and thought of Beth's something. Pressed back against a headstone that had long lost its engraving to Kakariko's merciless wind, he hid from the world with angry tears burning in his eyes.
He never wanted anyone to see him like this.
"I thought I'd find you here."
Talo swiped at the weakness in his tear ducts, and looked up.
Older and wiser than he'd last seen her, she stood in front of him with her hands tucked in her robes and the wind caught in her ink-coloured hair.
She was everything Beth was not.
And Talo thought that her something was different, too. Luda's something was warmer, but softer; Beth's sun-burn had nearly blinded him, but Luda's something was more of a glow.
"You didn't look so good," she told him with a wry smile. "Can I sit?"
He nodded and she sat down next to him.
Luda tilted her head at him. "You know that it's not the end of the world, right?"
"Except it is," he said, lowly.
"You'll love other people, Talo. Beth was one girl."
He stared at her, astonished. "You—how did you—"
Luda shrugged helplessly. "Everyone comes to me, sooner or later. Good company, or something. Hah."
Talo looked at her and remembered that he'd once thought she'd smiled like the sun, staining everything golden.
That hadn't changed.
Talo breathed out.
"You're probably right."
Luda smiled and leaned against his side, and Talo began to let go.
notes2: what am i doing with my life, seriously.
notes3: EVERYONE SHOULD REVIEW BECAUSE REVIEWS ARE HAPPY YESSS? =D