…Two weeks isn't nearly as bad of a wait as a month, is it? airlgherlgeargna I will be quiet and let you all read now. =_=
Zelda waited in the lounge area of the apartment lobby, impatiently tapping her foot on the marble floor as she waited for Link. She checked her phone for the time again. It was 7:05. Their usual train to school was scheduled to leave in 10 minutes.
Where was Link? She leaned to the side, trying to peer into the hallway that led to the elevator. Every now and then someone would come out, but none of them were him.
She couldn't help but laugh to herself, though. Ever since they started going to school together, Link was always the one waiting for her, with some smart aleck comment about her oversleeping or taking her sweet time getting ready bogging them down. This was the first time that she was the one waiting for him.
…Wait! That was her opportunity! Why was she even waiting for him? Hurry up, just leave him! Why should she be late to school on his account!
…But then that wouldn't be right, would it? It wasn't like they officially agreed to go to school and home together every day. Goddesses, she didn't even want to! Link just forced it on her, like with everything else in their relationship!
…Still. They've been doing it since almost the beginning of the school year without fail. Going to school alone would feel… well, it wouldn't feel… right?
Suddenly, she felt her phone vibrate in her hand. She checked the screen as it lit up and a small preview bubble for an incoming text message.
"Can't go to school today. Feeling sick.
Sorry for the late notice.
Zelda just rolled her eyes at her phone's screen. Now he told her! Might as well reply though, just to let him know she got the message.
"It's fine. Get better soon."
She looked at the gift bag next to her feet containing Link's Secret Nohansen gift. There was no point in taking it to school if he wasn't going to be there, but then it would take too much time to go back to her apartment to drop it off, and she was already running late… Oh well. She could always just store it in the office before school then take it home after the banquet. She was going to stop by to drop off the food she brought and help distribute the newspapers before class started, anyway.
Getting up from the sofa and picking up her bags, she headed for the exit to the lobby, meeting with the brisk, early winter wind.
She felt her phone vibrate in the pocket of her wool cardigan again. She shouldered Link's gift and reached into her pocket for her phone. It was an incoming call. From Link.
What did he want this time?
She slid her thumb across the screen to accept the call and held the speaker to her ear. "Hello?"
"Did I keep you waiting long?"
Yes, hello to you too.
"What?" She asked, looking at the phone next to her cheek from the corners of her eyes.
"Were you waiting in the lobby for me that whole time before I texted you?"
Her brow furrowed for a bit. "…I wasn't waiting long. Just a few minutes."
She heard him chuckle hoarsely over the phone. She could hear the scratchiness in his voice, and she knew it wasn't from bad cell phone reception. Link had been quite sick all week despite showing up every day for business. She supposed that his ill health finally caught up with him that he felt he had to take a day off.
"So you were waiting for me?" He asked again, amusement dripping off his words. "Isn't it you who's always telling me I'm wasting my time waiting for you in the morning?"
Zelda scoffed a bit as she waited for the pedestrian crossing light to turn green. Apparently being sick didn't stop him from being a smart ass. "You'd probably just say something about me if I hadn't anyway."
Link stayed quiet for a second at that. "Sounds about right."
The call got awkwardly quiet for a bit. The pedestrian light turned green, and Zelda spoke up again as she started to cross the street. "…You know, you're going to miss the banquet. And someone's not going to get a Nohansen gift because of you."
"I got Saria," he replied through a few coughs. "I told her last night I wasn't going to school today and that I was her Secret Nohansen. I went over to her house to drop her gift off then, so it's fine."
Just like Link to plan things ahead so thoroughly. "Well you could have at least told me you weren't going to school today while you were at that," she scolded. "Could have saved me the time of waiting for nothing and risking being late."
Link paused for a bit before chuckling, fighting off another cough as he did so. "Still can't believe you actually waited. Knowing you, you probably wouldn't have even bothered with it and just left without me."
She grimaced at that. No matter how much she tried to make herself out to be as mysterious as Link did so well, she was nothing more than an open book to him.
"…Don't think anything of it," was all she said. "I already told you why I did. Give it a rest."
"So you say."
She rolled her eyes quietly. He went almost the entire production cycle of the fourth issue saying the least he'd ever had to her since they first met, and just now he was deciding to be a chatterbox?
"How about you?" He asked her. "You haven't told me who you got for Secret Nohansen yet."
She looked down at his gift tucked under her arm. She smiled inwardly for a second at his question. "Guess you're not going to find out since you won't be at the banquet."
Link snorted a bit at her cheeky response, coughing as he did so. "Hm. Guess so."
They fell silent again as Zelda turned the corner and made her way down the stairs to the subway station.
"…How are you feeling?" She finally asked, walking over to the electronic ticket booth to scan her subway pass.
"I've been better," he sighed softly. "Just a head cold pretty much, but I've been burnt out the past few weeks."
She nodded slightly. She put the bags in her left hand down to reach for her wallet in her book bag. "Temperature?"
"A slight one."
"Go take some medicine."
She scoffed at his sarcasm, but she didn't know why—she smiled for a second. A very wry, "are you kidding me" smile, but it was still a smile either way.
As soon as the machine finished scanning her subway pass, she stepped aside to allow the businessman behind her to do the same, and then turned around to face the growing crowd at the edge of the loading platform. She could hear in the distance the sound of the incoming subway grinding against the tracks. She just barely made it in time to catch the usual train.
"…Well, I have to go now," she said to Link after a bit. "The train's coming any second."
He didn't respond right away, though; he just cleared his throat softly and made a muffled sound, as if wiping his nose with the back of his hand. "Okay. Have fun at the party this afternoon."
"Thanks," she replied. "And you get well soon."
She removed her phone from her cheek, but just before she was able to end the call, she heard Link's voice on the other end again.
She paused for a second, looking at her phone's monitor before holding the speaker next to her ear. "Yes?"
"Have whoever got me for Secret Nohansen drop my gift off at my place later."
Zelda almost grunted in disbelief at that. What was he, some kid! How old was he even again?
"Are you kidding?" She cocked an eyebrow, standing with the other waiting passengers as she did so.
"Shit, I'm not waiting until after we come back from winter break," he said in a completely matter-of-fact tone. "Make sure you give them my address."
She just rolled her eyes at her phone. On second thought, she could believe that Link said that.
"Whatever," she scoffed. She looked up as she heard the train come to a halt at the loading platform and the doors opened. Out came waves of passengers trying to fight their way past the crowd gathered at the platform.
He just snorted back in reply. "Later, Newbie."
She narrowed her eyes a bit at that, but she thought she'd let it slide that one time. It was Triforce Day season, after all. "Bye."
An impatient groan escaped her lips, breathing it into the mouthpiece so he could hear it. "What now? I really have to go, people are boarding right now."
"Don't say bye."
Her brow furrowed at his response. "What?"
"When we get off the phone or leave or anything like that," he said. "Don't say 'bye.'"
"Why not?" She asked with a cocked eyebrow as she stepped into the train.
"You're boarding, right?" He asked. "I'll explain it later when you have time. But just don't say 'bye.'"
Her eyes darted back and forth in confusion for a second as she took a seat, but she just decided to let it go for the time being. In Castle Town, there were courtesy rules to turn off ringers and not talk on the phone on public transportation, and text message or email instead; attendants and security guards were known to crack down on the policy rather heavily.
"…Fine," she sighed. "I'll… talk to you later then."
"Later," he replied again. And with that, he ended the call.
Zelda looked at her phone in confusion as if it were Link himself, before she just stuffed it into her book bag. What was that all about just then? She's said bye to him before… although more often than not did they not just say anything at all; they usually just left the conversation hanging, but that seemed to be fine enough with Link.
Maybe it was just his head cold talking? The guy definitely needed some sleep, that was for sure.
She pooled her belongings closer to her feet to make room for the other passengers, and a young boy and girl in elementary school uniforms sat down to her right. She smiled softly at them; they looked like siblings. At the same time, though, she furrowed her brow slightly in thought at the fact that a tall, scowling blond wasn't sitting where they were.
It really did feel weird not going to school with Link for once.
"Hey Zelda," Karane smiled at the blonde as she almost stumbled into the office, numerous gift bags to her from her classmates hanging off her forearm like she was a coatrack.
"Hi," she gasped almost breathlessly, flipping her hair out of her eyes as she ambled over to her desk and, in a less than graceful manner, slid the bags off her arms next to her chair and slumped down into the seat. "Sorry I'm late. My friends were all doing gift exchanges too and wouldn't let me leave until we were all done."
"It's fine," Saria said with a smile as she organized the platters of food everyone brought at the tables next the lounge area with some of the other staff writers. "So you ate already?"
"Not yet," the blonde replied, rubbing off the ring imprints the heavy bags left on her sore forearms. "I made sure to save up enough of an appetite for today at least."
"Good," the green haired girl nodded, giggling as she did so. "I think everyone brought too much food!"
Karane just chuckled at that. "Give the leftovers to Midna, Darunia and Pipit. Bottomless pits'll eat anything."
The two other girls just laughed at that, and almost as if on cue, the Twili, Goron and Hylian came walking in with loaded looking paper grocery bags.
"Got more sodas!" Pipit announced, lifting the bags up to show the rest of the staff.
"Just put them over there with the rest," Karane said to them, pointing her thumb over her shoulder to the table next to the fridge. She shot Saria and Zelda a quick smirk as Darunia and Pipit walked past her.
"Hey!" Midna called out to Darunia. He stopped to turn around and face her, and she immediately shoved her bags into his arms on top of the ones he was already carrying. "Take these!"
"H-hey! B-but I—" The muscular Goron stammered, but before he could get a word in edgewise with her, the bags of sodas were stacked against his chest and she was running off to the front of the class. "Midna!"
Darunia was very well built, but even the six two-liter soda bottles were starting to make the veins in his forearms and biceps bulge. "Pipit, help me out!"
The freckled teen glanced over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow, but his eyes widened and hurried over to get some of the bags off Darunia. "Whoooa, calm down there buddy! We all know you're buff, but know your limits!"
The Goron glared at him for a second as he turned around and set the bags he took on the table with the others. "B-but I didn't—"
"Okay everyone!" Midna exclaimed as she stood behind the lectern in front of the white board. "Time for Secret Nohansen exchanges!"
"Midna, Link's not even here yet!" Karane called back to her from behind the editors' desks.
"Link's not coming," Zelda announced, getting up from her seat and walking over to the food table.
The class looked at her when she spoke, eyes following her as she stood next to Colin and across from Karane, and took an egg roll from the tray Pipit brought.
"Why not?" Colin asked, looking up at him.
"He said he wasn't feeling too well," she replied, taking a bite out of the egg roll.
"Really?" Pipit's eyebrows shot up, genuinely surprised at that. Darunia walked past him and over to the desks near the front of the class.
"Yeah," Saria nodded. "He stopped by my place last night to give me my Nohansen gift and told me the same thing."
"Oh, no wonder he wasn't in calc today," Karane tilted her head to the side in thought, thinking back to how she didn't see Link in their calculus class. "But that's weird, though. Link never misses class, especially just because he's sick."
"Link just never gets sick to begin with," Saria looked up in thought. "…Well, when he does, though, it gets pretty bad."
"Remember when he came in that one time last year when he was sick with the flu the entire week?" Pipit chuckled. "Because we were a week behind schedule?"
"Yeah," Midna rolled her eyes, overhearing their conversation from across the room. "And then I got sick because of him."
"But you deserved that," Darunia said casually. The Twili retorted by chucking a white board rag at him and shooting an angry glare in his direction.
"O-kay…" Karane drawled out, looking at all the food before her in thought. She held up her palms in front of her. "…I guess we'll just start off without him… Oh, wait. Who got Link for Nohansen, just because he's not here?"
"I did," Zelda raised her hand.
"Just make sure you get it to him then sometime during break," Pipit smiled, walking over to the front of the class where everyone else was seated. Zelda nodded, returning the smile, and wiped her hands free of the egg roll oil before joining them.
"Oooh, and what did Miss Zellie get our dear editor-in-chief?" Midna smirked at her, leaning against the lectern and resting her cheeks in her palms. The blonde just chuckled in reply; "Miss Zellie" was the nickname Midna had developed for her. It didn't bother her so much, though; it was at least better than "Newbie."
"I guess we won't know since the good chief isn't here," Zelda retorted cheekily, returning the same smart tone. She sat down between Pipit and Colin as the Twili just rolled her eyes playfully before turning to the rest of the class. "Okay! Since Secret Nohansen was my idea, I'll go first!"
The night of Triforce Remembrance Day, Zelda's parents were holding a dinner party for their entire extended family and friends in their penthouse like they usually did every year. All the adults were gathered around the table in the dining room, talking and laughing loudly—especially her mom and aunts. Her cousins were all either in the kitchen doing much of the same, or outside on the patio sharing a few cigarettes and cans of beer, while her nieces and nephews—her cousins' children—were watching animated Triforce Remembrance specials on TV. It was how their family parties always were.
And Zelda always felt somewhat lonely during every one of them.
Of course, Zelda loved having her family over or going to her cousins' houses for such gatherings. They didn't happen very often outside of major holidays since all of them were so busy, especially the parents, but Zelda admittedly didn't have anyone to really connect to. Both her parents were the youngest of their siblings, so they naturally got married later and subsequently had Zelda by the time her cousins were all starting school for the first time or even later. She liked talking to her cousins, but she felt horribly out of place since most of them were either in or had graduated from university, some with families of their own already. They were all of legal drinking age as well; and Zelda, still being in high school, wasn't allowed to do so. Her nieces and nephews were all downwards of ten years old or so too, so Zelda didn't really have anyone in her age range to talk to. Usually when it was her family holding the party for everyone, she had Malon come over so she would at least have someone her age to talk to, but this year Malon was visiting her extended family at her father's ranch down in Hyrule's heartland. She considered inviting Karane over as well, but she was out in Labrynna with her family on vacation also.
"Hurry up!" One of Zelda's younger cousins Talo cried out to his older sister Beth. Zelda was playing a game of Jenga with two of her Aunt Sera's youngest children, Beth and Talo. It was a game that involved stacking rows of three blocks on top of each other into a tower, then all players took turns taking blocks and replacing them on top until someone knocked the tower over completely, making them the game's loser.
"I don't want to lose!" Beth snapped at him, trying to cautiously push a center block from near the tower's base.
"Come on, Beth," Zelda smiled with a giggle. "You can do it!"
After a few pokes and wiggling the wooden block out of its space, Beth successfully got it out. She was just about to place it on top, however, when the tower unceremoniously toppled over. The two and Zelda cried out loudly as all the long blocks crashed against the wooden coffee table.
"You lose!" Talo teased. Beth just shot him a dirty glare, crossing her arms tightly over her chest.
"You think I don't know that!"
"Aw, be nice now!" Zelda patted Talo on his back before pooling the blocks together. "You two wanna play another round?"
"Yeah!" They exclaimed.
"I won't lose this time!" Beth nodded, furrowing her brow in determination.
"Zelda!" She heard her father call her name. She turned around and saw him walking up to her, a half-filled glass of red wine in hand.
She looked back to the two children. "You two set up the tower for the next game while I talk to grandpa, okay?"
Zelda smiled warmly at them before getting up from the carpet and turning back around to face her father.
"Yes, Dad?" She asked, dusting off the back of her jeans.
"Where's Malon?" He asked, taking a sip of his wine.
"She's in Lon City with family," she replied with a shrug. "Why?"
"Nothing," he replied, scratching the back of his head. "I just thought she'd be here since you always invite her over. You don't want to invite any other friends? You just looked kind of lonely by yourself here with the kids."
"I'm fine," she said, looking back at Talo and Beth, who were both busy as work rebuilding the tower for the next game.
"…Well," she started again. "Actually, there might be someone I know."
"Then invite them over!" Her father laughed. "More the merrier!"
With that, he turned around to walk back to the dining area with the other adults, who were all laughing just as obnoxiously. Yeah, they had all definitely been drinking.
Zelda pressed the doorbell button for Link's apartment. She still couldn't believe that she was actually going to invite him to the party… What was she thinking? She almost regretted ringing the bell right after she pressed it.
But then there was nothing to worry about as far as having him meet her family, right? It's not like they were going out or anything! And knowing Link, he probably wouldn't even say yes anyway. Link said himself that he wasn't the celebrating type… And she still needed to give him his Secret Nohansen gift, after all.
…Which she forgot to bring. Damn, she knew she was forgetting something!
The door opened, snapping herself out of her thoughts. Out came Link, dressed in a dark green hoodie and gray pajama bottoms. She just stared at him for a moment, almost immediately forgetting exactly why she had even come in the first place. He just looked at her from behind his glasses with a raised eyebrow, expecting her to speak up.
"…Yes?" He asked quietly, breaking the short silence between them.
"O-oh, oh yeah," she laughed stupidly. Wow, Zelda. So good. "Um, Happy Triforce Day."
He cocked his already raised brow even higher. "…Happy Triforce Day… I'm sure you didn't come all the way down here just to tell me that."
She was mentally kicking herself over and over. She couldn't begin to believe how stupid she sounded right then. It was the first time in almost two weeks that they last saw each other, and she started it off like that. "Well, no… Am I interrupting anything?"
He scratched the back of his head, looking back into his apartment before answering. "No, not really… Come in."
"…I guess I'll stay for a minute," she said softly. Link stepped to the side to let her through, and she walked into his apartment, taking her shoes off. It looked exactly how it looked the last time she was there, save for the fact that his electric keyboard was on top of the coffee table instead of under it. Various pages of sheet music were scattered around the surface of the table, like he had just been playing it before he answered the door. There wasn't a sign of any Triforce Day decorations. She couldn't help but chuckle to herself; Link really wasn't the celebrating type.
"You want anything to drink?" He asked, closing the door.
"No, I'm fine," Zelda answered, walking over to the coffee table and eyeing some of the sheet music Link had apparently been reading. She picked up a page and looked at the song title. It was a Triforce Remembrance carol. She looked down at the table… they were all Triforce Remembrance carols.
Before she knew it, she felt Link snatch the paper she was holding out of her hand and startling her. She looked up and saw Link sitting down on the sofa, quickly gathering all the papers and sorting them into their respective songs.
"I would have thought you'd be busy celebrating with your family," he said, stuffing various stacks of sheet music into different tabbed folders.
"I am, actually," she replied, pointing her thumb behind her shoulder. "We're actually in the middle of dinner at my place."
"Hm," he hummed softly. "Sounds nice."
"…Why aren't you with your family?" She asked. "I mean, it's the holidays."
He froze at the question, looking up at her as if to ask with his eyes if she had just honestly asked him that question.
She took the hint and just laughed nervously. "…Right. Sorry."
"…Well I met them up for dinner and mass last night," he shrugged. "So I guess I did my part."
"You really must not like your family, huh?" Zelda asked, a bit of sadness in her tone.
Link put the folders on the bottom tier of the coffee table and got up to unplug the keyboard from the socket behind the sofa. "You can call it teen angst if you want. But everyone has their reasons."
She just looked at him for a second. "I wasn't going to."
Zelda supposed Link had a point. She supposed she didn't understand fully the concept of Link hating his family as much as he made it look like he did. Generally speaking, she got along well with everyone in her family. She's never actually hated any of them, so she couldn't say she understood the feeling. It seemed fair enough to acknowledge that there were people who, just like Link said, did have their own reasons for being. She didn't exactly know the inner happenings of the Avalon family either, so she really wasn't in any place to judge.
He looked over his shoulder while he was still bent over, trying to wrestle the tight plug from the socket, then looked back and yanked it out. "…Not that I don't want you here, but why are you? You're in the middle of dinner, right?"
"Yeah," she nodded, but she stopped for a split second at his question. 'Not that I don't want you here?' What did that mean? "…I actually dropped by to ask if you wanted to join us, maybe?"
Link looked at her for a second as he coiled up the cord around his arm. "I appreciate the offer, but isn't that a family affair?"
She just shrugged at that. "Well my dad even asked if I knew anyone who wanted to drop by. We have plenty of food that I doubt we'd all be able to finish ourselves too, so it's not like you'd be imposing."
Link tied the cord together with a rubber band on the coffee table and, picking up the keyboard, stuffed it back under the coffee table where it usually was. "…I guess it wouldn't hurt to stay for an hour or two. Just let me put some jeans on, I guess."
"Okay," she nodded. With that, she watched Link walk back into his room, closing the door behind him.
"Your turn, Uncle Link!" Beth laughed as she successfully placed her wooden block on top of the growing and increasingly unstable tower.
"My turn now?" Link smiled at her, before looking at the tower, studying to see which block he could take out without toppling it over. He, the kids and Zelda were playing another game of Jenga; it was Link and Talo against Zelda and Beth. The game had gone on for quite a while; there were parts that were only balancing on one block in the middle.
Zelda had to admit that it was so horribly strange seeing Link act… normal. Since she brought him in, he had been nothing but polite to all the adults and children, although he seemed to be more of his reserved self around her older cousins. She could understand him being polite to her parents and aunts and uncles; she'd seen him act much of the same to teachers and the employees at the printing office—but she would have never guessed that he would work so well with kids. Or at least, much better than she would have ever imagined him to.
"Okay, let's see…" Link rubbed his chin, studying the tower closely. He tentatively reached over to try and wiggle a block on the side in the middle of the tower, but just as his fingers touched it, the tower fell to the side, crashing with a loud clatter.
"Noooo!" Talo cried out while Beth laughed victoriously.
"Sorry Talo," Link shrugged, patting the boy on his shoulder. "They got us."
"It's okay," Talo shrugged before sticking his tongue out to Beth. "I didn't want to win anyway!"
"Quit being a baby!" Beth sneered at him.
"Beth, Talo!" A heavy-set, middle aged woman called their names. They looked over to their mother, Sera. "You two want some dessert?"
"Dessert, all right!" Talo grinned excitedly, getting up and running over to his mom.
"Yes, Mom!" Beth beamed just as widely. She got up, but before walking over to Sera, she turned to Link and Zelda.
"Thanks for playing with us, Zelda!" She smiled. She looked over to Link, and she started grinning girlishly, giggling some. "Bye, Uncle Link!" She waved, saying it in a sing-song tone.
Link just waved back slightly, returning the smile awkwardly. Zelda looked at them back and forth and tried hard to stifle a laugh. It was obvious that since Link came, Beth had immediately developed a crush on him; and he, who had noticed as well, was obviously trying to act normally around her.
"Cute kids," Link said, stacking the blocks back into a tower to put back into the box.
"Beth seems to like you especially," Zelda teased. He just snorted at that, rolling his eyes at her.
"Not much my type, I'm afraid," he muttered, putting the box over the tower. He slid it over to the edge and, using his hand to keep the blocks from falling off the table, turned it right side up so that they remained stacked inside the box. "I'm going to get more food."
"Help yourself," she replied. "We're gonna have to get rid of it all somehow."
Link grabbed his plastic plate and fork and got up. "Should have invited Pipit if that's the problem."
Zelda chuckled softly, remembering what Karane had said about Pipit, Darunia and Midna. As Link left, she took the Jenga box and put it under one of the side tables next to the sofa with the other board games. She walked back to the coffee table and picked up her empty plate and went to the kitchen to throw it away.
She walked behind Link where the trash can was, watching him stack his plate with more food while all the adults sitting around the dining table were giving him knowing smiles.
"So Link," Zelda's Aunt Pergie started, her chin resting on the backs of her fingers. "How long have you and our Zelda been dating?"
Upon overhearing the question, Zelda impulsively pressed on the pedal that opened the lid to the trash can so hard that the lid snapped upwards. The metal lid smacked against the wall behind with a loud clank, startling everyone in the room. Everyone at the table including Link turned around to look at her questioningly; she just sheepishly laughed, quietly throwing away her plate and fork.
Link cocked an eyebrow at her, the serving spoon for the noodles still in his hand, before turning back to Pergie and smiled, shaking his head. "She and I aren't dating, ma'am. I'm just her editor for our school newspaper."
"So you're an editor there, son?" Pergie's husband Jaggle asked.
"Editor-in-chief, sir," he replied, putting the serving spoon back.
All the adults "Ooh'ed" at that, looking at each other and nodding in approval. Zelda just rolled her eyes; were none of you not listening? He just said they were just co-workers!
"What does your father do, Link?" Zelda's father asked.
"…He's the editor-in-chief of The Great Hylia," Link answered after a short pause. Everyone looked up to him at that in amazement.
"The Great Hylia?"
"You're from that Avalon family?"
"No wonder the name sounded familiar!"
"Well I'll be damned, my boy!" Zelda's father laughed heartily. "You're the Avalon heir! It all makes sense!" He glanced over to Zelda, who was watching on nervously. "Why didn't you tell me your editor was the Avalon family's son, girl! So Link, you'll be taking over the company when you grow up?"
Link looked at him for a second. Zelda leaned over to try to get a better look at his face; she could tell he was starting to get uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was going into.
"The arrangement my parents planned is that my older brother and I become co-owners of the company," Link replied, swallowing a bit. "He's going to be the editor of the morning edition of the paper and I'll take over the evening edition."
"Now won't you listen to that?" Zelda's father grinned to the other adults. "So what are we looking at for majors? Business administration? Economics? Maybe journalism would be more suitable for that you…"
"Actually, sir," Link started. "…The thing is that I'm hoping to turn over my share of the company inheritance fully to my brother."
Zelda's father's brow shot up at that, and the entire table fell silent.
"I applied to the University of Hyrule for music," the blond added. "I've been playing the piano since I was seven and I really enjoy it. I'm actually hoping to put it to professional use in the future."
"…Oh," was all her father said, nodding slowly. "…That… sounds nice too."
"Dad," Zelda started in a scolding tone.
"No, it's fine," Link looked over his shoulder to her, before back to her father. "…Sir, I know that may not have been the answer you were expecting or possibly approve of. My family doesn't approve of it either, but it's what I want to do. I don't think my father's name should tie me down regardless of how well for life it would set me."
He bowed his head slightly and raised his newly stocked plate of food. "Excuse me." With that, he walked out of the dining area and back into the living room.
After a short pause, Zelda walked over to her father and looked at him and everyone at the table. "Dad, it's bad enough that you do that kind of thing with me. You don't need to be that judgmental with other peoples' kids."
She left the table in a huff and headed in Link's direction, back to the living room.
"I'm so sorry about that," Zelda apologized to Link as she walked up to him, who was sitting down at the sofa eating his food while watching TV.
He looked up at her, his mouth filled with food, before swallowing it down and shook his head. "I told you, it's fine. I'm used to that kind of thing, remember?"
She furrowed her brow slightly at him, thinking back to that one time in the office before they left for the printing office for the first time.
"College and major choices and things like that."
"Tell me about it."
"Yeah…" She shrugged. "Well, I still think it was wrong for them to come on so strongly."
"You mean about my major or the thought of us dating?"
She narrowed her eyes at him, and he just snickered at her response.
"Damn Newbie, you're way too serious," he shook his head, picking up a salt and peppered chicken wing and taking a bite out of it.
Zelda just rolled her eyes at him before swatting his shoulder. "I told you to quit calling me that. And either way, come with me."
He glanced over to her. "To where?"
"Just come on," she said, putting her hands on her hips. "Bring the food, if you must."
"Nice room," Link whistled softly, slowly walking into Zelda's bedroom.
Her room was quite spacious; much more space than one person would take, honestly. Despite that, it was rather lightly furnished, with a low queen sized bed against the wall to the left with nightstands on either side of it, and a wall mounted flat screen TV across from it. Her desk and bookshelf were to the right of the bed, cluttered with various open books and papers of winter break homework. To the left of her TV was her vanity mirror with a counter and sink, and a door that led to the toilet and shower, like a hotel. Two sliding doors that led to her closet were to the right of the TV.
"Thanks," Zelda replied, turning the lights on and closing the door behind her.
"Why are we here though?" He asked, wiping his mouth with a napkin he held under his plate.
"I wanted to talk to you in private," she answered, walking across the room. "And my cousins are out in the balcony downstairs, so we're talking on mine."
"…Right." He raised an eyebrow as she unlocked the windowed door to her balcony and opened it for him. He nodded in acknowledgement, walking outside, and she turned on the balcony lights for him. The night was a brisk cool, which was rather abnormal considering winters in Castle Town could be especially cold.
"So you said you wanted to talk?" He asked her, turning around to look at her, but she wasn't there.
"Here," Zelda poked her head out of the doorway. She stepped fully out to the balcony and closed the door behind her, and she handed him a light green gift bag. His brow shot up at the sight of it and he put his plate down on the side table next to one of the patio chairs. He wiped his hands on his jeans and took the bag slowly.
"Happy Triforce Day," she smiled.
"…What's this?" He asked.
"It's your Secret Nohansen gift," she replied. "From when you were too sick to go to school two weeks ago so I could give it to you during the banquet."
He smiled slightly at her sarcastic tone, looking at the tissue wrapping that covered the contents. "You mean you were my Secret Nohansen?"
She just shrugged. "Funny how things work."
He just chuckled softly, shaking his head, and took the first few layers of tissue wrapping out. "It's, uh, kind of heavy. What's in here?"
"That's why you take more of the wrapping out," she smirked. "So you can find out."
He grabbed out the last layer of tissue wrapper, then looked up at her slowly. "…Are you kidding me?"
He set the bag on the table next to his food, and took out the contents one by one. "…Aspirin… Sleeping agents… Throat lozenges… Nutrition drinks… Are these anti-diarrheal tablets?"
"You were sick the entire production cycle of the last issue," Zelda folded her arms over her chest. "And you missed class on Friday. I told you, it's no good if our editor-in-chief is missing, so you might as well take better care of your health."
He just looked up at her again, cocking an eyebrow.
"And you're my neighbor!" She leaned forward, making eye contact with him. "If you die of sickness, it'll be me who'll discover the body, and you're already enough trouble for me living!"
Link couldn't help but laugh at her and the gift. "…This… This is something."
"What's wrong with a gift being practical?" She shrugged again, putting her hands on her hips. "And there's something else."
"You mean there's more?" He asked in disbelief. "I don't think I could handle any more of an already unsexy gift."
She rolled her eyes at his comment. "Just look in the bag."
Link eyed her suspiciously for a second before looking back in. He rummaged through it, and sure enough he saw it, buried underneath the boxes of painkillers and liquid medicines. He reached in and pulled it out. It was a paperback book covered in shrink wrap.
"100 Songs to Learn on the Piano Before You Die," he read the title of the book out loud, ripping the plastic wrapping off it. He turned it over to the back cover, and on it was a list of all 100 songs the book contained sheet music to.
"I don't know what kind of music you like," Zelda said after a short silence. "But that book covers all sorts of genres, so there's bound to be at least one song in there you like."
"I actually see a few already," he said, scanning the list. He turned it back to the front and flipped through the pages. He looked up at her with a smirk. "And is the title of this songbook supposed to be a play on part one of this present?"
"That was a coincidence, believe it or not."
"But I never told you I play piano before tonight," he said, raising an eyebrow again.
"Pipit told me before," she said. "And I saw your keyboard in your apartment the first time I came over. I found that at the bookstore down the street. Thought you'd find a way to make some use of it."
"And I will make use of it," he nodded. "And the medicine too, I suppose… This is… really nice. Thank you."
"It was nothing," she shrugged, walking towards the ledge of the balcony to lean on the banister. "But you're welcome."
"…Hey," she heard him speak again. She looked over his shoulder, and saw him reach into the kangaroo pockets of his hoodie. He pulled out a small rectangle covered in Triforce Day themed wrapping paper and handed it to her.
"Happy Triforce Day," he said, looking her in the eye.
"…Darunia was my Secret Nohansen though," she said, genuinely confused.
He shook his head. "This isn't a Secret Nohansen gift."
She raised her brow in surprise at that, slowly taking the wrapped package. Link was actually giving her a gift outside of obligation?
"I meant to drop by and give it to you after I got better," he said. "But you came by my place and invited me here before I could, so might as well give it to you tonight while it's still Triforce Day."
She looked up at him. "You're still sick?"
He shrugged, scratching his eyebrow with his index finger. "I'm better than I was the last few weeks at least. Open it."
Zelda looked down and used her nails to untape the wrapping paper, slowly revealing the contents. It was a small pocketbook. She turned it over to the front cover to read the title, and almost broke out laughing when she read it.
"50 Ways to Deal With Your Hardass of a Boss?" She grinned at the book, fighting off a laugh.
"That might have only been coincidence as well," he chuckled almost inaudibly.
"I… I like this," she giggled, looking up at him. It showed that Link was able to poke fun at himself, if anything. She had to give him credit for that much. "Thanks."
Link shook his head. "No problem."
Zelda took the wrapping paper and crumpled it in one fist. "…By the way. You never told me why you don't like when people say bye or something."
Link just sighed, leaning his back against the banister. "I don't know. I just don't like the word 'goodbye.' It sounds like I'll never see the person again. Saying something like 'I'll see you later' sounds less final, I guess."
She just looked at him as he spoke, her head tilted to the side. She had to admit that it sounded a bit odd hearing something like that from Link of all people. At the same time, though, it actually didn't surprise her all that much, especially taking into consideration what Pipit and Raven said about him being clingy as a kid. Probably had some really bad separation anxiety that he never grew out of.
"…Well, I guess we should go back inside then?" She offered. "I can smell the cigarettes from the balcony downstairs."
"Is that where that was coming from?" He asked. He watched her walk over to the ledge and look down.
"Yeah, it's my cousins," she replied. "…I suppose you'd want to join them?"
He shook his head again. "I quit."
Zelda's eyes widened at that. "Since when?"
Link rolled up his sleeve and showed her a large bandage looking patch on his forearm near his elbow. "A few months ago. When you said smoking was unattractive."
She just started at him quietly, and she remembered that one time when she noticed a similar looking patch on the same place on his arm. So that's what that patch was? But wait! …She did say that, the first time he tried teaching her how to edit and he came in from a smoking break and smelled the tobacco on him. So he quit smoking… for her?
"But it means nothing, right?" He asked with a knowing look as he rolled the sleeve back down. "Quitting smoking because a girl said it wasn't cute doesn't make a relationship, huh?"
His words echoed what she had said a few weeks before.
"Don't get any ideas. Offering a tissue paper is hardly the basis for a relationship."
"…Right," she nodded slowly after a pause, her brow furrowed in thought. She walked past him back to the door leading to her room and opened it, stepping aside so he could walk through. He grabbed his plate and his gift bag and walked in, and she quietly followed.
"Thanks again for the gift," Link said to her as she walked over to her desk. She put the booklet Link gave her next to her laptop and threw the wrapping paper in her trash can. "Really."
"It's fine," she shook her head "I'm glad you like it." She turned around and made for the door.
"I do." Link tried hard to fight off a smile as he whispered softly to himself. "I actually feel… loved, for once."
Zelda turned around and raised an eyebrow, not hearing what Link just muttered under his breath. "What?"
He looked up at her, and she was waiting by the door. He just shook his head and walked past her back into the hallway as she turned off her bedroom lights and closed the door behind them.
I don't know if any of you know, but today June 24, 2012 Pacific Time marks eight years since I first started this account and published my first story! I actually wrote exclusively for Final Fantasy X up until The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess came out and then I wrote my first Zelda story at the end of 2006 and then I ruined the entire fandom with my work uarihegethksteh D: None of my pre-2006 works exist anymore though, since I deleted them long ago (they were just that bad D:), but it still kind of blows my mind that I've been writing fan fiction since I was in sixth grade (I was 12 then I think, since I'm 20 now). That's why I made it a really big point to myself that I get this chapter out today as a little celebration, and a very, very big thank you to everyone who's been reading and stuck with me over the years. Here's to hoping that there will be more to come, and that I will actually get better for once!
(Because there are people who can update weekly and their writing is actually quality, while I'm just kind of here struggling to get one out in a month if I can rikleglukva how do you all do that! I MUST LEARN HOW TO BE TIMELY AND QUALITY BECAUSE I AM EVIDENTLY NEITHER)
Until the next chapter comes out, I'd love to hear from you! Sorry to everyone who's been messaging me that I haven't been able to get back to in the most timeliest manner, but one on one conversations with my readers is probably the most gratifying thing about writing. And for those who have been asking if it's okay to follow me on my Tumblr (the link to which is in my profile), I certainly don't mind at all!
Feedback and criticism of the constructive persuasion is always highly valued.
Enjoy Life and Smile.