A/N: Friendship can sometimes blossom into love – an attempt at a multi-chapter Pipink relationship during the game. The ending of Skyward Sword has been tweaked to fit the story better. Spoilers sprinkled around. Name add-ons and changes to the plot timeline may occur.
This story contains male/male relationships. If that isn't what you fancy, please don't read.
Pairings: Pipit x Link; one-sided Ghirahim x Pipit
Disclaimer: All characters of Zelda are property of Nintendo.
Chapter 1: Dispute
A gust of air smashed into him as he clambered hastily onto his waiting ride. The red loftwing in question screeched, a bit ruffled at being manhandled so fiercely, swerved jarringly to the right. His rider clutched at the soft neck feathers, rubbing them in a soothing fashion as an apology. He urged the loftwing towards the floating city ahead. With another cry, the bird took off, wings beating powerfully against the oncoming wind. Link sighed wearily, a tiny smile escaping his lips.
He was home once again. Back to Skyloft.
"Link, my dear? Is that you!" a voice rang out from far away. The hero turned in the direction the voice came from, squinting to distinguish who it was. Auburn hair, a unique fashion sense, a somewhat ditzy persona...ah, it must be Pipit's mother. He was proven correct moments later as a huffing and puffing Laura stopped in front of him, eyes wide. She took a moment to catch her breath and started stuttering incoherently. Link patted her shoulder to calm her down. It seemed to have worked, although her eyes still held a frightened look.
"Link, dear. I'm so glad you came back! My son, Pipit! You must find him! I can't find him anywhere. He didn't go home these past few nights so I grew worried. I tried calling Headmaster Gaepora to see if he knew where he had run off too, but even they searched around and didn't find him! You're his closest friend...surely, if anyone can find him, it's you. Please!"
He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Pipit was missing? Impossible. Link nodded quietly, ushering her towards her home. "You should get some rest. I'll find him. Don't worry." He smiled gently as she erupted in a spout of thanks and deep gratitude. With one last glance in her direction, he spun around and headed over to the Knight Academy, despite his body's blatant protests.
Skyview Temple, the fight with that Ghirahim person, Zelda...it was so much to take in such a short time. His muscles ached with every step. Even Fi appeared before him as he dragged himself up the courtyard of the school. "Master, my analysis shows you have depleted your energy quite drastically in the past twenty-four hours. I suggest immediate rest for best results in recovery." He shook his head at her in an attempt to dissuade. "Sorry, Fi, but Pipit's missing. I have to find him. There's no way he would disappear like this without a reason." She bowed, accepting his answer and quietly returned back into the Goddess Sword without another word.
A crack of light caught Link's eyes. It was Fledge coming out of the school holding a lantern. "So it's gotten that late already?" he mused, surprised at not noticing how dark it had grown. Even the fireflies were out fluttering playfully with each other. Link paused to ask the timid boy if he saw Pipit, but Fledge just shook his head, crestfallen at being no help at all. "Headmaster Gaepora and the rest of the faculty have been searching since last night. Still no sign of him." Patting him on the back, Link thanked him and entered the building, a sudden wave of fatigue enveloping his body. Perhaps Fi was right. He was in no shape to search for his friend. The feeling of warm covers and soft pillows beckoned to him as he neared his room. "I'll search for him at the crack of dawn," he reassured his mind as he turned the doorknob and entered.
Adjusting to the darkness, he noticed everything seemed to be in pristine condition – no dust, no paper out of line. In fact, his chair, which he specifically remembered moving exactly a foot away from his desk, was still in the same position. From the window to the lump on his bed, there wasn't anyth—wait. What? He did a double take, eying the curious shape, fatigue forgotten. It shrank and grew almost rhythmically. Link prayed it wasn't Mia, else he would be in a world of pain. But no, the lump was too big to be that cat...thing. Cautiously, he grabbed the hem of his covers and pulled; a bit of yellow poked out from underneath.
He felt like laughing hysterically. All this time, his friend was in his room, sleeping in his bed. He should have left then, to spread the word that he found the missing boy, but he was too tired. "They'll know by tomorrow morning anyway." Shedding his weapons and shield, Link slowly climbed into bed, gently pushing his friend over to make space for himself. He didn't care that Pipit was blissfully asleep, a thin trickle of drool pooling on the edge of the pillow, nor that somehow during the night, his limbs found themselves being tangled with Pipit's.
Morning came a bit too quickly. Link found himself feeling refreshed, albeit sore from the temple. The rays of morning sunlight shimmered through his window, assaulting his eyes. It didn't matter though, since something yellow and itchy covered half his face. Oh yeah, Pipit was still sleeping beside him. Only now, it seemed more like he was sleeping on him. Link tried squirming out of his vice grip, but to no avail. Pipit just clamped on tighter. Suppressing the sudden urge to punch him in the face, Link stilled. Pipit seemed to have woken up from the tussle.
"G'morning..." the older boy mumbled, cracking open a bleary eye. A green shape stared back at him. He liked that the green shape felt warm and soft.
"Pipit, can you hear me? Let go! You're hurting me," the shape cried out. Pipit adjusted his eyes, finally dismissing the fragments of sleep clouding his thoughts. That wasn't a green shape. It was..."Link? W-what? What are you doing here?" He immediately released the latter, flinching back in shock.
"I should be asking you the same question," came the reply. "Everyone's worried sick about you and I find you here, holed up in my room. Care to explain?"
A brief pause followed. Pipit seemed to weigh the consequences of speaking about his problem. "...It has nothing to do with you."
Ouch, that stung. "Pipit, you're my best friend. What has gotten you into such a rut that you can't even tell me?" Link whispered lowly, looking a bit dejected. "You don't have to tell me now, but I would really like to know. Everyone was worried about your disappearance." He sighed before moving out of the warm covers, grabbing his gear and putting it on in the process. Pipit made no response to move.
"How about some breakfast? You're treat, right?" He playfully grinned, but the older boy only glared back. "Wow, this really must be bothering him badly for Pipit to become like this. So..unPipit-like." Shrugging, Link exited his room. Better to let him cool off a bit before pressing.
Upon stepping outside into the winding hallway, a familiar scent of pumpkin broth stung his nose. Stomach grumbling, Link made a beeline to the cafeteria, graciously ordering two large bowls of soup and a loaf of bread before heading back to his room with food in tow. Luckily, it was too early for any of his classmates to pester him about returning so suddenly. "Hey, Pipit! I brought food!" he called out, but there was no reply. In fact, the older boy seemed to have run off. "At least he made the bed," he mumbled before shoving the food on his desk, appetite lost. "Guess it's time I tell everyone Pipit's back."
Talking to Gaepora was exhausting. The man had rambled on and on about how worried he was about his student's disappearance and then proceeded to urge Link to find his daughter soon. After listening to him preach for the majority of the afternoon, the hero was glad to take a breather outside. He noticed Pipit never came back to his room nor was he around the schoolhouse. "Don't tell me he actually did run off this time...well, he'll show up sooner or later." Remembering he needed to stock up on potions, Link headed to the marketplace as the sky showed the first signs of twilight.
It wasn't until way past evening that he walked out, wallet a little lighter. He hummed a tune, quite content at the smithy being able to fix his battered shield for such a low price. Fi appeared as Link rounded a bend, glancing nonchalantly at the brightly lit windows of people's houses. "Master," she started in her usual robotic tone. "I have picked up a trace of the one you call Pipit." She floated towards the residential area. Following, Link figured Pipit went home after the issue this morning. But as he neared his house, all that could be heard was shouting and a large thump. Chairs scraped against the floor, something distinctly porcelain fell and then a red faced, fuming Pipit stormed out of the house, almost knocking into Link. "What are you doing here?" he retorted, obviously still upset from whatever argument he came from. "Guess you're not the Mr. Perfect Hero, huh? How long were you eavesdropping on my conversation? Actually, it doesn't matter. Just...forget about it, okay?" Pipit ran a hand through his messy hair in frustration, stomping away to clear his mind.
Well, that was unexpected. Peering into Pipit's house, Link saw his mother bending over to pick up the now shattered vase. He decided it wouldn't hurt to find out what was going on. Perhaps this connected to his friend's grouchy attitude this morning. "Mrs. Laura," he started. Pipit's mother jumped in surprise, a look of relief spreading across her face as Link stepped into her home. "Why hello there, dear. Sorry for the mess. Would you like some tea?" The blonde shook his head, politely taking a seat.
She bit her lip. "It's about Pipit...isn't it?" Link nodded and Laura huffed, a hand going up to massage her temples, smile faltering. Rings under her eyes, hair a mess – she looked terrible. "Answer me truthfully, dear. Do you think I'm a terrible mother?" Link didn't know how to respond so he just kept quiet and let Laura continue. "Pipit...he's such a sweet child. I know he's been working so hard to support me after his father died. I know that he's been struggling with his studies because of the night guard job. And the reason for that job was to pay for my living expenses. Without him, I don't know what I would do. He caught me splurging, Link. It's why he was so angry. The money he earned was for food, not whimsical spending."
He was almost afraid to ask, but did nevertheless. "...what were you buying?" Laura giggled lightly at that. "Dearie, remember when you constantly helped me with dusting the house? It was your pay." Link's eyes grew wide, skin paling visibly. "Y-you mean you were using his money to pay me?" This wasn't looking good; he lost count the many times he had swept the Pipit residence during the summer months. "You should have told me! I would never have accepted it!"
Laura shook her head. "No, Link. I would have made you take it regardless. You worked hard in helping me keep this place clean, and for that I'm grateful. You know how much I hate cleaning." The layers of dust everyday was a testament to that. She smiled gently at him. "It'll be a secret between the two of us, okay? You're welcome to help me clean anytime and I'll still pay. Just don't tell Pipit."
Were his ears working correctly? Did that woman just block out her entire argument with her son? "No! I'll help you without payment."
"Nonsense!" Laura chortled back. Link was beginning to think he was winning a losing battle. He sighed in defeat; there just wasn't a way to get through to that woman. "I-I'll see you around then," he stuttered, bowing respectfully.
"Going so soon, dear? Well, alrighty. If you see Pipit, please don't be a stranger and say hello, okay?" With another swift nod, he headed outside and closed the door behind him. He couldn't take any more of this. Fi emerged moments later, guiding him back across the bridge. "Master Link. Do you wish to continue tracking down friend Pipit?" The hero nodded, albeit solemnly. This wasn't going to be an easy confrontation.
"Lead the way, Fi."
A flickering light greeted him as he neared the old loftwing stable. It didn't surprise him in the least to find his friend here; Pipit was the revered loftwing specialist after all. Link felt rather apprehensive about approaching his friend though. He never had the problem of getting into a fight with the older boy up to this point. The Pipit Link knew was always cheerful, intent on fulfilling true justice and heroic deeds – the perfect role model. He remembered all the times he stayed up past midnight so he could sneak out to the stable where Pipit was for a bout of storytelling. Pipit was always a great storyteller, but he wasn't here this time for a night of valiant knights and terrifying dragons. Swallowing thickly, Link knocked softly on the wooden frame before excusing himself in. He was greeted by a yellow wall to the face.
"What do you want?" a voice asked flatly from somewhere above him. The hero sputtered, a bit of feathers comically shooting out of his mouth. The loftwing who tackled him trilled happily, yellow feathers fluffing out to give the impression of a puffball.
"I came here to talk. There's something I have to tell you," Link replied after composing himself. The silence was almost stifling until a thud resounded through the shed as the older boy jumped down from the rafters. He shot Link a glare, arms crossing defensively. "Didn't I say I wanted you to forget about it?"
"Look, I know you're angry about the fight, but don't get mad at your mom. If you have to yell at someone, do it to me...I was the one getting paid to do the chores, you know." Link mumbled the last part so lowly, Pipit hardly could hear him. He remained silent after that, head bowed guiltily; the sound of gentle coos and fluttering wings filled in the gap.
He felt the painful stab of that one word, much more painful than any physical wound. Link's eyes shot up, a genuine look of despair marring his face. "I'll pay you back, Pipit. Every single rupee, seriously! And if you ever are in need of any help, just call on me. I honestly didn't know about any of this!"
"Of course you didn't know anything, Link. You were always the most naïve among all of us."
Link shook his head, refusing to believe this was his best friend talking. "All those times I thought you were so happy. You looked like you were enjoying yourself with the rest of us...I'm sorry."
A growl escaped from his lips as the younger boy attempted to reach over and gently place a hand on his shoulder. Pipit sidestepped. "Take your heroic pity..." He grasped the handle of the door roughly. "And shove it into someone who cares!" And with that, he slammed the battered door, leaving poor Link alone in the dark, musty shed.