Miss Fearsome Pirate. Requested by Yes I Am Asian.
It's raining again.
The gloomy sight is upsetting for Tetra, and she slams the porthole in her cabin shut. This marks the third day of the storm, as well as the third day she and her crew has been stuck on land due to the poor weather. When the young captain first saw the black clouds rolling above them in the sky last week, she ordered Gonzo to redirect their ship's course to Windfall Island to wait for the storm to let up. She wasn't expecting it would last this long, however, and her patience is starting to wear thin.
Tetra sighs. It can't be helped. It would be foolish and dangerous to head back out to sea now.
Decidedly exhausted after sitting around in her cabin with literally nothing to do, she dresses herself in her usual attire, wraps a cloth scarf loosely around her head as a makeshift hood, and goes above deck. A few of her crew members are lolling around in the light rainfall, but they all straighten up once she arrives. She waves her hand dismissively, letting them know they can relax.
"I'm going out," she tells them.
"Uh... Do you need us to do anything, Miss?" Nudge asks tentatively.
"No," Tetra replies plainly, shaking her head. "You're free to do whatever you please. Just no stealing anything from the marketplace. People are already suspicious that we're here."
She pulls her hood further over her head to better conceal her face. The reason she's wearing it is so no one will recognize her. The people of Windfall know who she is, and they know she's a pirate. She and her crew have a history of raiding the place when they're low on the supplies or simply when they want something (the bombs, for instance). They haven't done it in years, not since they "went straight" ... finding out she is the descendant of Princess Zelda and traveling with the Hero of Winds has had that sort of purifying effect, but the Windfall people are still very wary and unforgiving. She doesn't blame them; she still occasionally snatches up a thing or two whenever she visits the marketplace. Link doesn't know that, and she doubts she'll ever tell him.
Speaking of whom...
"Where is Link?" she asks before she unboards. Mako shrugs as he approaches her.
"He went out to the market, I believe," he explains. Tetra lowers her head slightly. The rain is growing heavier and colder. The uncovered part of her face is a clammy, paled tan and her tendrils of blonde hair are curling in reaction to the water.
"Figures," she mutters as she leaves.
Despite the weather, there are still quite a few people meandering the Windfall market, which Tetra doesn't find surprising at all. Rain, wind, or snow, if there are customers to be had and money to be made, than the merchants will be out trying to sell whatever cheap products they have on the table for that day.
"Miss! Miss!" heckles a particularly slimy-looking merchant from afar. "Come here, come buy my orchard fruits! Apples and quinces, lemons and oranges, plump unpecked cherries-"
"-No, thank you," Tetra refuses politely as she walks on by.
"But, Miss!" he persists. "I have melons and raspberries, bloom-down-cheeked peaches, swart-headed mulberries-"
"-I said no," Tetra snaps. The merchant reels back at the severity of her tone and backs off and Tetra continues on her way.
After some further exploring, the young pirate finally comes across a stand she's interested in. She approaches cautiously to get a better look at the wares, and the merchant, who appears just as shady as the last, sidles on up close to her. Tetra subconsciously moves her hand to her waist, feeling the hidden dagger kept at her side, just in case.
"So you're interested in my jewelry, eh Miss?" he begins, his voice smooth and sugar-coated. "It's all imported from Dragon Roost Island. Perhaps this would suit you..." He picks up a necklace with red, black, and brown wooden beads strung together.
"I'd actually just like to browse," Tetra interjects, lightly pushing him away from her. He grits his teeth, but covers it up with a charming smile and bows.
"Of course," he says, leaving her to herself. He watches her warily from afar, however, in case she tries to make off with something. Tetra rolls her eyes; she's not going to steal anything, not today. Especially after she told her crew to do the same. Tetra knows she is a lot of things, but she isn't a hypocrite.
She runs her hand along the dampened cloth of the table, her eyes giving each necklace or bracelet or set of earrings a once-over. She doesn't know why she buys (or steals) jewelry; she doesn't wear any, ever. She keeps it all in her room, in a small box on top her dresser. She thinks it's because she fears her shipmates will think less of her if she, Din-forbid, looks feminine. It all has to do with the perception that being female is the equivalent of being weak. Even though she proved that notion wrong long ago—she's fierce and strong and smart, and she knows it—she still has to keep up her tough front to maintain the respect she deserves. After all, there aren't very many female captains, much less pirates.
Just because she's tough doesn't mean she doesn't like beautiful things, though, even if she can't enjoy them the way she wishes she could. She picks up a wooden bracelet that has the Rito symbol carved into it, and scoffs when she realizes it's wet. What an idiot, she thinks, referring to the merchant. Doesn't he know that wood cracks after it dries?
"Miss?" The voice is small, but clear and pleading. Tetra casts a cursory glance down and sees a little girl, perhaps only 4- or 5-years-old, with fair white skin, ghostly blue eyes, and silvery blonde hair. The pirate's head snaps up and she inhales sharply.
"Miss?" the girl repeats, tugging at the seam of Tetra's pants.
Don't look at her, Tetra reminds herself, and maybe she'll go away. She hates children, and she loves them. They're a representation of the good that's left in the world, but they tend to be stupidly manipulated by adults into doing their bidding. Such as selling silly trinkets and pointless stuff, using their innocence and big round eyes as a bargaining tool. At least, that's how it works on Windfall.
"Miss?" The girl's voice is teary around the edges now, and Tetra can't ignore her any longer. She turns to face the child, glowering.
"What is it?" she asks with an edge in her voice. "What are you selling? I don't have a lot of money." She doesn't mean for it to come out that way, but it does. The girl seems unfazed by Tetra's harsh demeanor, however.
"I don't have anything to sell," the child explains, shaking her head. "I can't find my momma." Tetra mentally stumbles. She wasn't expecting that.
"Well, I suppose we should go find her then," Tetra concedes. "What's your name?"
"Avery," the girl answers. Her expression has visibly brightened now that Tetra has agreed to help her, and it breaks down the pirate's defenses.
"OK, where was the last time you saw her, Avery?" Tetra asks in a far more amiable voice than before.
"I don't remember," Avery confesses. "We went to get food today and then she disappeared."
"Food," Tetra muses aloud. "All right, follow me." Avery trots cheerfully alongside Tetra after she pivots on her heel and heads back to the place from whence she came. Tetra isn't exactly sure why she decided to help the little girl, although she supposes she doesn't have anything better to do; besides, even she isn't heartless enough to let a child wander around a market like this alone. That's just plain negligent.
Tetra and Avery soon come upon the fruit stand Tetra had passed by earlier. Tetra grimaces upon seeing the merchant again; she doesn't really want to talk to him, but she supposes she has no choice.
"Stay close," Tetra orders the child. Avery nods and clings to Tetra's pant-leg as they approach the stand.
"Oh? I see you've changed your mind. Excellent, excellent," the merchant says, grinning wickedly upon seeing the pirate. "I've got wild free-born cranberries, crab-apples, dewberries, pine-apples, blackberries, apricots, strawberries—all ripe and perfect for this summer monsoon weather."
"I'm not interested in your fruit," Tetra says coldly. "This little girl here is lost. I was wondering if you knew anything." The merchant stops short and leans over the table to get a closer look at the child. His ugly face contorts in thought as he adjusts his glasses, and Avery shuffles behind Tetra a little, intimidated.
"I might know something," he replies finally, "for a price." Tetra rolls her eyes, disgusted. Of course, she thinks, everything is for a price.
Tetra digs around in her pocket a pulls out a blue rupee, slamming it on the table.
"This is all I've got," she lies, knowing the merchant would try to milk her for more if she didn't. "What have you seen?" The merchant snatches the rupee up, admiring it for a long moment before dropping it into his money pot.
"There was a pretty lady with brown hair who wandered by here earlier," he begins casually. "Said she had lost her daughter. She looked like she was headed toward the bar." Avery smiles and looks up at Tetra.
"My momma has brown hair," she comments cheerfully. Tetra then nods curtly to the merchant, but says nothing further. Her arm reaches out and she pushes Avery along back to the main path.
"Why didn't you tell the man, 'thank you?'" Avery asks as they continue making their way up the main road. "Momma says it's polite to tell people 'thank you' when they do something good for you."
"Because you don't say 'thank you' to greedy goblin men," Tetra replies cynically.
"Momma says it's not nice to call people goblins," Avery admonishes. "I got in trouble one time when I called my big brother a Bokoblin." They stopped in front of the wooden stairs leading up to the front door of the bar. "Momma also says alcohol is bad for you and you shouldn't drink it."
"No, you shouldn't," Tetra agrees, "but people do it anyway." They climb up the stairs together and Tetra pushes open the door.
The rainy weather has drawn in a lot more customers than usual. Even though it's morning, the loud, drunken voices of men fill the room to the top. Tetra readjusts her hood, figuring she'll just ask the bartender if she has seen or heard anything. As she weaves in an out of the crowd with Avery in tow, she sees a flash of green that she recognizes very well.
"Link?" she inquires, only loud enough so he can hear her (and considering how the bar is in an uproar, she says the name fairly loud). He turns.
"Tetra!" he exclaims, grinning.
"Shh!" She glares at him. "People don't trust me like they trust you, and I don't want one of these big burly sailors to recognize me and come at me in a drunken stupor."
"Sorry..." Link apologizes, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
Tetra's silent for a moment before she remarks, "I thought you didn't drink." Link shrugs.
"I don't," he says. "I come here for the company." Tetra cocks her eyebrow at him.
"Some company," she grumbles, her eyes scanning the crowd of happily hammered men, singing and spewing out profanities. She almost considers covering Avery's ears to block out the unsavory discussions.
Link ignores her quip and asks, "So, why are you here?" It's then that Avery pokes her head out from behind Tetra.
"Well, hello there!" Link greets, friendly. He bends down to her level to talk to her face-to-face.
"Hi," Avery replies. "I'm Avery. Are you her boyfriend?" She points to Tetra as she says this.
"He wishes," Tetra scoffs. Link casts her a peeved glance, but quickly returns his attention to the little girl.
"No, Avery," he answers with a lopsided smile, "I'd be a miserable man if I was." Tetra is tempted to smack him upside the head, but reminds herself that there's a child here who will chastise her for anything 'Momma' says is bad or impolite. Violence probably falls under one of those two categories.
"We're looking for her mother," Tetra says, trying to push the conversation along. "That rotten fruit merchant down the way said he saw a woman who was looking for a child was headed here. Have you seen someone? She has brown hair..."
"Hey, I thought his fruit was perfectly fresh," Link protests indignantly.
"You know what I meant," Tetra snarls. "Now answer my question." Link rises to his feet once again.
"Geez, just having a bit of fun," he mutters. "No, I haven't seen anyone matching that description. If you haven't noticed, not a lot of women come in here."
"Yeah," Tetra mumbles, "I've noticed." A pause. "Well, I suppose we'll be on our way then. Come on, Avery..." She turns and is about to pull Avery along with her when Link stops.
"Hold up," he says, cutting in front of Tetra and the child, "maybe I can help."
"Somehow I doubt that," Tetra replies dryly.
"No, seriously. You'll get nowhere if you just wander around the Island looking for someone. It's too big," Link insists. "You need to go higher so you can get a view of the whole place."
Tetra hesitates, but nevertheless says, "All right, I'm listening."
Link grins and adds, "OK, just follow me."
He leads them back out into the rain; the path has grown muddy and difficult to walk on, especially for a child as little as Avery, so Link sweeps her up and carries her on her shoulders. He doesn't mind the fact that his outfit is now dirty from the mud on her shoes, and they laugh together as he zooms ahead, pretending to be a horse.
Tetra can't resist a smile; he's naturally good with children. It's probably why he gets along so well with her bone-headed crew. She picks up her pace so she can catch up with him
"So where are we headed?" Tetra asks once she's by his side.
"It's like I said; we need to go higher." He stops in front of the local Windfall Game Shop. "So we're headed to highest point in town!"
"... The Game Shop?" Tetra's voice has turned sarcastic once again.
"It's what's on top of the Game Shop," Link clarifies, pointing upward while still keep a firm hold on Avery. Tetra's tilts her head up to see what he's looking at.
"The lighthouse?" she inquires.
"Yup." He adjusts his grip on the Avery's legs and enters the building. Tetra sighs, but follows anyway.
"Hey, Salvatore!" Link greets the shop owner with a crooked grin. "It's been a while. How's business?"
"It's a drag, as usual..." Salvatore replies flatly. His expression is completely devoid of any emotion, and his eyes have large dark bags under them, as if he hasn't slept in weeks. Tetra raises her eyebrows slightly; it's an admittedly depressing sight.
"O-K, then," Link laughs nervously. "We're actually on our way up to the lighthouse."
"That's what everyone says... Who's the girl?" Salvatore asks.
"Oh, this is Avery," Link answers, glancing at the child on his shoulders.
"I meant the other girl."
Tetra freezes up; she sends an immediate glare Link's way, one that says something along the lines of "don't screw this up."
"Um... Zelda," Link replies, picking up on Tetra's warning message.
"That's an unusual name."
"It's a family name," Tetra offers as a way of explanation.
"Hn," Salvatore intones. "Well, I'd advise you'd best be careful, Miss Zelda." His gaze lowers. "They say pirates have landed here." Tetra turns her face away from him; though she appears expressionless, she's inwardly panicking, thinking perhaps he's recognized her.
"Well, we should be on our way," Link says quickly. "Come on... Zelda." Tetra hurries up the stairs at the side of the store with him, and are able to take a breath once they're outside again.
"He creeps the fu-" Tetra stops short, remembering Avery, and continues, "-fun out of me. I think he knows."
"I doubt he suspects anything," Link refutes. "He's just a little off."
Link ignores her and continues up the stairs with Avery. Tetra eventually goes after him, and they soon manage to reach the top of the lighthouse's tower. They then duck under the roof housing the beacon, happy to be out of the rain.
"So now what?" Tetra asks, dropping her hood and revealing that she hadn't tied her hair up in its usual bun that morning. The unusual sight catches Link's eye, and he stares at her with his mouth agape before quickly turning his head away with a blush. Tetra doesn't seem to notice, but Avery does, and she giggles.
"We watch, and we wait," Link replies shortly. He sets Avery down and jumps onto the wooden railing, comfortably situating himself before picking Avery back up and sitting her down on his lap. He then invites Tetra to sit beside him, which she does.
"Oh good, I like people watching," Tetra comments as she stabilizes her balance on the railing. Link casts a sideways glance at Tetra.
"I'm not sure whether you're being sarcastic or not."
"Neither am I."
Link blinks; he's not sure how to respond to that. Then again, he's never sure how to respond to anything Tetra says. He looks down at Avery, who's been relatively quiet for a long while now.
"Just let us now, when you see your mom, OK?" he says.
"OK," Avery agrees.
Avery doesn't speak up, though. They sit there in silence for what seems like hours without end, watching the pouring rain and passersby on the streets. Occasionally, Link or Tetra will see a woman with brown hair and ask Avery if that's her mom, but the child always shakes her head no. Tetra soon begins to wonder if something has perhaps happened to the mother, or if she has for whatever reason decided to abandon her daughter. The thought of such dreary situations makes the pirate's heart ache in a way that hasn't happened for years, and she sincerely hopes this mother will turn up soon.
"Link..." Tetra begins aloud, but he hushes her.
"She's asleep," he explains apologetically afterward.
Tetra glances down and discovers he's right. Avery is practically curled up in his lap, like a cat, lightly snoozing.
"You know, you never cease to surprise me." Tetra slowly brings her eyes up to Link's, confused by his statement.
"Why?" she asks. He shrugs.
"I dunno," he begins, "you put yourself out there as this really tough girl who doesn't give a damn about anything, and yet you do everything you can to help a little girl find her mom. Why is that?" Tetra's breath hitches in her throat, and she looks back down at the sleeping form of Avery.
"She reminds me of myself," Tetra answers in a half-whisper.
"Yeah, I do kind of see the resemblance."
"I meant aside from the physical aspect," Tetra clarifies, and her voice lowers again. "I lost my mother when I was around her age." Link's head perks up as she says this. Tetra has never before spoken about the death of her parents, at least, not to him; he'd heard tidbits from the other pirates, but nothing truly significant.
Tetra continues, "I see her and I see myself 12 years ago: Lost. Hopeful. Unsure. Nayru, if this kid's mom doesn't show up at some point, I don't know if I'll be able to handle it. This whole thing's like a throw-back into the past, and I don't want her to cry like I did." She stops short, and her eyebrows furrow as she sends a suspicious glance Link's way. "Din-dammit, Link. If this is some sort of time warp you and the Wind Waker of yours has put us through, I'll be so pissed."
"No!" Link exclaims, waving his arms. "I can't control time. I'm the Hero of Winds, not Time, remember?"
"Just making sure you weren't channeling him or something," Tetra mutters. "I wouldn't be surprised if you could."
He laughs, even though it wasn't really that funny. He then pauses and takes a deep breath, growing serious once again.
"Tetra," he begins, tempted to reach out and take her hand, but fearing that she might throw him off the tower for it. "Don't worry. We'll find Avery's mom, I promise."
"That's a pretty big promise for someone who's never even met, much less seen this woman."
"Trust me, we'll find her at some point." He's now an inch closer to Tetra's face than he should be—enough to see the individual raindrops caught in her eyelashes—and either she hasn't noticed yet, or she doesn't care. He doesn't either; he just wants to enjoy this moment for all it's worth. "I never break my promises."
Tetra has noticed, and she's helping to close the gap. It's kind of funny, because she's been expecting this sort of thing would happen eventually; she's smart, and she's done the math. She's the only female on board her ship, and he's the only male relatively close to her age. Yet, now that it actually is happening, she can't believe it. She's about to kiss the stupid boy from Outset Island. In the rain. How repulsively cliché.
"Look! That's her! That's her!" Avery suddenly cries aloud. Tetra and Link jerk away from each other, neither having realized the child had awakened.
"Where?" Link asks.
"There," Avery says, pointing. Down on the street below is a very worried-looking woman, completely soaked to the bone.
"Guess that's my cue." Link promptly removes Avery from his lap and turns her over to Tetra before recklessly sliding down the wooden paneling of the roof and hoping onto the ground. Tetra hears him grunt from the rough landing and she shakes her head; that's what he gets for being an idiot, she thinks. Link makes a quick recovery, however, and runs after the woman.
Tetra swings her leg back over the railing and sets Avery down.
"Momma's coming!" the girl exclaims gleefully.
"Yup." Tetra doesn't know what else to say, but she can't help but smile.
Within minutes, Link reappears at the top of the lighthouse tower, this time with Avery's mother in tow.
The reunion is a tearful, but happy one. The mother embraces her daughter warmly, burying her face into her blonde hair. Tetra looks on wistfully, but says nothing. Link notices her expression, and can empathize; he wanders back to her side, but not without giving her a friendly elbow in the ribs. Tetra rolls her eyes, and stifles a chuckle; Link never fails to cheer her up when she's in a pinch.
It's when the mother looks up to thank Link that she first notices Tetra, and her eyes widen. Tetra's blood runs cold, and she remembers that she's not wearing her hood anymore. And from the light in the mother's eyes, Tetra knows she's been recognized.
"Tetra. That's you name, isn't it?" The mother asks as she straightens up. Although she spoke evenly and without any sort of ill intent in her voice, she's put a protective arm around Avery's shoulder.
"... Yes," Tetra finally answers after a bit of hesitation. Link shifts around uneasily in his boots; he also realizes that Tetra's been recognized, which could spell out big trouble for them. He mentally starts mapping out an escape route for Tetra and himself, just in case. But, as it turns out, they don't end up needing one.
"... Thank you for helping my daughter."
Tetra is able to breathe, and she smiles again. Link casts her a sideways glance and smiles, too. He's still fighting the temptation to grab her hand, but reminds himself that this is the wrong time. Especially if she gets freaked out and decided to unsheathe that knife he knows she always keeps with her; the mother might not act so kindly then, and let it be known that Tetra's on the island.
"No problem," Tetra replies.
Avery waves goodbye and mother and daughter head back downstairs together. Tetra and Link linger behind for a bit longer, however, and Tetra returns to the railing, staring out at the sky above her. Link watches her carefully and is, as always, uncertain of what to say or do. He just can't figure Tetra out, and he's starting to accept that maybe it's supposed to be that way. Maybe she's supposed to be an unsolvable enigma.
Loved, but never understood.
Tetra bites down a grin; a bit of sunlight has started to poke through the clouds.
A/N: If you find the reference to a classic poem by a famous Victorian author in here, I'll seriously be your best friend. No, really, to the person who is the first to see it, I'll write you a one-shot or something.
I wanted this to be published on Mother's Day, but I'm a couple of hours late. Darn.