Story: The Lost Years (chapter 12)
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Title: Year 2: Tying Up Loose Ends
[Author's notes: A/N: A little Thanksgiving present for you all. The end of Year 2 (FINALLY!) is here.]
A new day was finally dawning upon the land of Hyrule. For everyone but Link, who had stayed awake for several cycles of three days, and while she had only needed to catch fourty winks once her entire adventure, she was definitely beginning to feel tired again. A good break from running, and she’d be all set.
Link sat on a ledge atop the nearby waterfall, watching Saria and Ruto eagerly discussed their respective cultures. Saria especially seemed interested in that she’d never met anyone that wasn’t a Kokiri (if you don’t count Link).
A familiar little noise made itself known in Link’s hearing, revealing that Navi had finally caught up with the Hero/ine. “Pretty smart thinking with the Stalfos back there.”
Lina broke a little smile. “Thanks. I didn’t have enough time to deal with all of them AND protect Saria. At least Zelda had magic...”
“So you really just improvised?”
“Well, yeah, but it was really good improvisation, you’ve gotta give me that.”
“Yea.” There was a protracted break in the conversation before Navi finally started to ask questions.
“How’ve you been?”
“Fine.” Link was hoping it would just stay at that-
“How could you tell?”
“If you’re going to tell a lie, then at least try to look like you’re telling a truth.” Navi’s little head shook in embarrassed disgust. She knew Link almost as well as Link knew him- herself, right?
“It’s just odd, that’s all. I mean, I heard Mido ask Saria about being a girl one time-”
“I take it she didn’t like that too much.”
“Nah, thought he was being rude. He got a slap in the face.” She giggled slightly, remembering the look on his face as Saria reeled back her hand, and-
“You changed, Link.” Well, there was an abrupt change of thought.
“Dunno what you’re talking about.”
“You’re definitely a bit more emotional. And you don’t seem to be so polite anymore-”
“You try living as something that you’re not for a while, see what happens to you then.”
“And you’re sure as hell a lot more cynical. But I guess that comes with puberty. I mean, you didn’t have to live through puberty every time we switched time periods.”
“Wait... what’s puberty?”
A sweat drop ran down Navi’s tiny little head. “I’m not the best person to be talking about that with. Try asking Impa or Talon. Heck, ask Malon, she’s probably going through it right now.”
That pain in Link’s gut was back, and more painful than ever. The irritation went straight to Link’s face for a moment, allowing Navi to espy that something was on the fritz.
“Ate some bad meat, maybe?”
“No, I haven’t eaten since I left, and my body more or less reset during all of those experiences in Termina-”
“-Yeah, you’re gonna have to explain that one to me when we have more time. Looks like Saria and Ruto are coming back.”
Sure enough, the Kokiri and the Zora Princess were approaching at a leisurely pace. “Can we come with you?”
The Kokiri-raised-Hylian’s brain functions froze for a moment. “What?”
Ruto continued her suggestion, adding, “We’d like to visit the place where you live. Neither of us have really seen much of Hyrule. It’s Saria’s first time out in the open, and the only other place I’ve ever been is Lake Hylia. So, can we see?”
Oh, goddesses help her, she didn’t have time for this. “Not so sure that’s a good idea, I mean, there’s a bunch of Octoroks and Peahats and-”
Her objection was objected to by two pairs of eyes looking at her in a manner that could best be described as ‘Bambi-like’. No ordinary man could resist them.
Nor could Link, for that matter, her gender-switched body notwithstanding. “Fine. But we’ve gotta get going right now.”
The look of excitement on Saria’s face was priceless. It was a little confusing for Link, though. An hour ago, she was too scared to try and leave the forest, and now she was ready to experience the rest of the world.
Ruto seemed to be more calculated about her reactions- being royalty probably had that effect on her- but still allowed a hint of happiness to creep onto her face.
As the three of them jumped out of the waterfall that separated the Zora’s Domain from the rest of Hyrule, Ruto asked another question, adding to her never-ending line of inquiries. “So, how do you know Link?”
Link groaned. It was hard enough trying to do this for Impa! As Link looked at Navi, she could see that Saria was in deep conversation, interrogating the fairy. The two’s line of sight crossed for a second, in which Link could barely make out Navi’s shoulders shrugging, as if to say, ‘And you’ve had to do this how many times?’
The sun was rising, and Link could make out the tops of at least three Octoroks downstream. Somewhere in Link’s gut, past the near-blinding pain taking up residence there, was the sensation that this was going to be a long day.
“Princess, have you shoveled the cow manure today?”
“Have you fed the cows?”
“Malon’s doing that.”
“But she’s sick-”
“-There’s no point in keeping her from doing something she loves. And she loves taking care of the animals.”
“Alright. But I’ll have to warn her about overexerting herself.”
As Impa stormed off to the horse stalls, Zelda (still disguised as Sheik) took a nearby mud encrusted shovel and walked towards the place where the horses roamed.
Lina had been right- shoveling the cow manure proved to be a surprisingly enlightening chore. Once you stopped focusing on the repugnant smell of the animal dung, you had a lot of time to really think about the things that mattered. Like that mysterious redhead from her visions.
She’d revisited the woman twice now, and had gotten a name, Nabooru. She’d also come very close to revealing everything about herself. Her crossdressing, her name, and who she was.
To be fair, this ‘Nabooru’ hadn’t been entirely forthcoming about herself, either. Zelda only got a name at the end of their first real conversation, and the skin color was a big clue to where she came from.
This was ridiculous! She had visited the woman twice in the last seven hours! This whole day had been nothing short of insanity incarnate.
First, she saw Lina as a flying Deku head and a purple fairy. Then, she came into the picture. Then, once Link disappeared, she came back to reality, the image of that woman’s face burning itself into her cranium.
Goddesses, she was obsessing over this woman that she knew nothing about! And then there was Malon-
She’d been finding herself looking at Malon less and less like a mere friend and more like something else. More like a piece of meat on display at the butcher’s for purchase. No, that wasn’t an apt analogy. More like the way a man looks at a woman.
Lina was right. She, the Princess Zelda, daughter of King Ralph Kilvanus Hyrule, was a lesbian. Gay. A ‘rugmuncher’, as one of the more foul mouthed castle guards put it once.
Not that she cared about how the nobles would gossip. She’d learned years ago to ignore that drivel. The remaining problem wasn’t that her father might object- stranger habits had developed amongst the royal family. For instance, her grandfather’s brother had been caught with another man. What infuriated the noblemen was that the man the royal family member had been caught with was not only not of noble blood, but was seventeen, and therefore underage.
The scandal it caused nearly forced her grandfather to abdicate the throne in favor of his other brother, who had nearly bankrupted the royal treasury to support his gambling habit.
So no, the noblemen would probably be more supportive of her than in the past, especially the more lecherous men who fantasized about that kind of thing. ‘Perverts.’
No, the problem facing Zelda was that she was now looking at two different women like, well, as if she was some horny bachelor! Malon, who essentially amounted to best friend to her, and this Nabooru girl, who Zelda hadn’t even known for a day.
Goddesses, WHY WAS SHE STILL THINKING ABOUT THAT WOMAN?!?
Things had gone white around her again, the piles of dung abandoned in favor of the nothingness that Zelda had come to expect in her meetings with the woman. “Uh, I- I don’t even know why I’m here. I’m supposed to be doing my chores-”
“Wait a moment, ‘Sheik’.” The woman was fast approaching her. Part of her old royal training kicked in, making her infuriated at the woman for approaching her without showing submission. But another part was intrigued, and maybe even interested.
“I think I’ve got you all figured out, but now there’s just the question of why.”
Crud. How on earth could she have figured it out? “I don’t-”
“Why on earth are you trying to pass yourself as a boy? I mean, the first time I saw you in those skin-tight clothes was a turn-on, but come on.”
Zelda could feel the blood rushing to her face. “Is- Is it really that obvious that I’m a girl?”
“Well, not at first. But after seeing you three times now, you really don’t act like a boy at all.”
Some of the anger that had been pent up inside the moonlighting ninja came out. “Well, I’ve been trying!”
“That’s obvious. Or else I would’ve had you pegged the moment I saw you. What’s your name?”
“I- I can’t say.” ‘Oooh. Good cover- not!’
“Ah, I get it. One of those people who’s in hiding. If I was working with Twinrova or Ganondorf, I would’ve already beaten you down.”
“Loyalty is only a boon to a point- then you blind yourself to the truth.”
How could a Gerudo be so wise? It was odd at first, but when Zelda really thought at, stranger things had happened- dreams about the future, mystical artifacts from the goddesses, and little boys dressed up in eccentric green clothes.
“You know, you still look pretty attractive in those tights.”
That comment was like a slap to the forehead, bringing Zelda’s attention back to the pseudo-locale she was in.
“Ah, that got you back. Any closer to figuring out just why you’re here?”
The ninja princess shook her head. “No. Why are YOU here?”
“In a nutshell, I got caught by those flying Tweedledees and Tweedledums and no longer have control of my body.”
Nabooru said it as if it was no skin off her nose, but Zelda could tell that she was still a little sore about it. “I’m sorry.”
Ganondork’s- sorry, Ganondorf’s- former second-in-command shrugged, commenting, “Not your fault. But thanks anyway.”
There were some noises echoing unexpectedly, sounding like a series of angry voices. Both women’s concentrations shifted to the new sounds.
Nabooru blinked. “That’s definitely not coming from my end.”
Zelda blinked, and she was back with the horses. She turned around, and-
“Dot now, Vaati, I’m really dot in the mood to deal with you.” Malon sniffled a little, accenting the little cold that she had caught. Apparently, her nose was clogged.
“Oh, come on Malon. I’m sick and tired of these little games, and I’m being serious. I want to live here-”
“You’ve beed an inconsiderate jerg to eberybody here! Whad makes you thing that by dad’s eber gonna let you stay?”
“Cause things change, Malon. Your friend’s gone-”
“-She went to visit a friend-”
“Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Malon groaned a little, not quite believing that he was still using such... such... childish retorts.
“You mind, bud?”
Vaati saw a slightly perturbed ninja coming in from his peripheral vision. “None of your beeswax, ‘pal’. Now go ‘way.”
“Not till you stop messing with my friend, ‘buddy’.”
‘He’s got a rapier!’
The warning came out of nowhere, but Sheik instinctively hopped back a foot, narrowly missing a slash from a bloodstained sword that Vaati had kept hidden under his cape.
‘Nabooru? Is that you?’
‘Dunno why, but it looks like I can see what you see. Just follow my advice hon, and I guarantee you’ll win.’
Zelda quickly switched to a defensive posture, drawing a few of Sheik’s knives, and the battle truly began.
“...So you really saw the man in black?”
“Yeah. You saw him too?”
Ruto nodded. “My father talked to him during one of his meetings with the Hylian King. I was in the room. From what I can remember, the conversation between the man and my father was quite tense.”
Navi whispered in Link’s ear, “I guess Zelda wasn’t the only person that could see past his lies. Sounds like the Zora had some idea of how bad Ganondorf is going to be.”
Link nodded, her sights returning to a now familiar sight that was peeking its way over the horizon. “There’s where I live. Lon Lon Ranch.”
Saria was in awe, even though she could barely make out any details. “It looks amazing!”
Ruto seemed lose for words. “Honestly, it looks like a dump.”
‘That’s Ruto, I guess.’ “They make the best milk in all of Hyrule.”
That little trivia bit seemed to give Ruto a little bit of respect for the place. “Then I can’t suppose that it would be all that bad to take a quick look.”
As they got closer, Saria added her own observations to the mix. “That man killed the Great Deku Tree.”
Ruto gasped. “Isn’t that thing supposed to be the guardian of the forest?”
Saria seemed thunderstruck by the outsider’s knowledge of her people’s traditions. “Yes. He cursed the Tree and killed it. Link tried to save it, but he was too late.” She added bitterly, “And then Mido had to go and blame Link for it, the stupid stonehead.”
Link couldn’t help but let a grin stretch across her face when she heard Saria call Mido one of the traditional Kokiri insults. The grin faded when she heard a number of yelps and yells disseminate from the place she called home.
“Guys, you feel like running?” Link didn’t wait for a response as she broke into an all-out sprint to the farm, silently praying to whatever deities were listening that she was hearing things.
The prayers had apparently gone unanswered. The moment that she set foot on the farm, Link saw Sheik going at it with who she could only assume was Vaati. No one wore that much purple voluntarily.
She went for her sword and kept running, but an arm came out of nowhere to halt her progress.
“This is his fight, Lina. Not yours.” Impa kept her arm there for a moment, looking the girl over. Her gaze went from inspective to shock and then to little rupee signs when she realized what Link was wearing. “Where did you get this?”
“Why? Am I not decent?” Link could’ve sworn that the robe wasn’t showing any skin.
“No, not that. Kimonos are amongst the most expensive clothes in all of Hyrule! You could sell this thing for over a million Rupees, especially with that pattern! I’ve never seen anything like it!”
“Why? Is it because it’s made of silk and looks pretty?”
“Not just that. All kimonos are magically impervious to ripping, fading, fireproof, and they always fit, even if you’ve grown or shrunk. The only other clothes that have those properties are Kokiri tunics, and they’re only fire-resistant.”
“Ah.” Was this another difference between Termina and Hyrule? Mr. Roboto had just given it to her; were kimonos more common in that twisted Wonderland?
‘Just keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re doing fine. But he’s probably got something up his sleeves.’
Zelda had just dodged another thrust of Vaati’s steel. He was surprisingly good with the blade, but he didn’t appear to be an expert at swordsmanship. Because of that, Zelda saw no reason to go all out.
She whipped out her chain, ensnaring the purple boy’s sword-wielding hand; Zelda then proceeded to pull her attacker towards her.
Vaati’s face was visibly contorted into several degrees of ‘ouch’ as the space between the two combatants shrunk to mere inches.
He started to chuckle maliciously as his eyes met Sheik’s. “What’s so funny?”
“I’ve got a little secret to tell you.”
“I’m not right-handed.” Before you could say ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’, the boy’s foil had gone into his right hand, and slashed once more, meeting no resistance. He smiled as the blood began to run from her newfound wound, his opponent falling to the grass.
“Sheik!” Malon ran over to check up on the fallen ninja, but was stopped short by a sudden hand slapping her in the face.
As Saria and Ruto finally caught up with Lina, they could see that she was both shaken and shaking. Link was pissed. No, that was an insult to the concept of being pissed. For the second time in her life, she wanted to kill another human being. The son of a bitch was going down for hurting Malon for that.
Lina pushed Impa out of the way, the power of the Golden Gauntlets nearly forcing the Sheikiah to the ground.
In the meantime, Vaati was taunting the ninja with her imminent demise. He was like a cat, toying with a trapped mouse.
‘Relax. I think the cavalry just arrived.’
Zelda could see it as well. A girl that appeared to be Lina was walking towards the boy, a golden broadsword drawn. Apparently, this cat wasn’t going to see the dog coming.
Vaati finally decided to end it, going with a stabbing motion. But it was too little, too late. His final attack was blocked by a Hylian Shield that, to him, came from nowhere.
As he pulled his rapier back, so too did the shield, revealing- “No. Not you. Not again.”
“You’re going down, bucko.” Without warning, she discarded her weapons and went for his.
Vaati couldn’t avoid quickly enough, his weapon taken from his hands before he’d even blinked.
What happened next shocked all comers. Lina took the sharp end of the sword in one hand, the hand in the other, and seemingly broke the blade in half with her hands.
It didn’t faze Link, who was still wearing the Golden Gauntlets. She looked at the broken weapon, noticing the blood and the royal seal. “You got this off a nobleman, didn’t you.”
“It’s becoming a dangerous world, Lina. Gotta be able to defend yourself.”
Link took off the Gauntlets, and threw them to the ground. “Then defend this.”
She started whaling on the boy, using nothing but her fists and feet. Link had used hand-to-hand combat before; she’d taken down a Gerudo right before freeing the last of the imprisoned carpenters.
From what Nabooru could see, the blonde girl had learned the Gerudo martial arts somehow; but that was impossible! Only people born under the watchful eyes of her people had learned such techniques! Her field of vision began to shift as Sheik began to shuffle towards the redhead.
As she helped pull the girl up to her feet, Nabooru did a double-take, and then a triple-take. The red hair, the nose, and the eyes, goddesses the eyes! It couldn’t be possible! Especially so far from the desert!
Impa met ‘Sheik’ and Malon halfway, putting her knowledge of first aid to use on the cut on Zelda’s belly.
Vaati still couldn’t believe that he was getting his ass handed to him by a girl! He came here to prove he wasn’t a weakling, not to prove that he could be beaten down by some woman!
A chop on his neck sent him straight to the ground, and he couldn’t get back up immediately. Lina seemed to have left him, running inside a nearby building like the coward she knew he was.
His gut twisted when Lina came out of the building with a very, very big hammer. This was not going to end well.
Link put the Gauntlets back on, and readied the Megaton Hammer. She decided to aim for the Forest; if she was lucky, then the Stalfos would find him.
She swung the hammer like a golf club, the impact of the pounding sent the boy flying, screaming in what could possibly be described as a combination of fear and loathing. As he careened off into the distance, he shrunk into a tiny little vitriolic dot before finally disappearing.
Acting on pure instinct, Link quickly rushed over to both women, who were in various degrees of pain. Zelda appeared to be recovering better than one might suspect, thanks to a combination of magic and first aid.
Malon appeared to be a little sore and upset, but otherwise fine. Link took off her left Gauntlet and gently pressed her hand to where Vaati had struck her. The ranchhand leaned into the hand, smiling a little bit. Using her other hand, Link gently wiped a tear that had had run down her unbruised cheek.
“I missed you.”
Link couldn’t help but smile a little as well. “Missed you too. Got something for you.” She reached inside her kimono, revealing a beautiful blue feather.
“Lin- Lina! I- I’ve never seen something so beautiful! I’ll always keep this on me.” Her smile grew bigger, and she tucked it safely on her person.
Zelda looked at the spectacle, noting the looks the two were giving each other. Her mood sank a little; on one hand, she should be the one getting looks from Malon like that; on the other, if this is what made Malon happy...
‘So you like her? Does that mean that you’re a lesbian?’
In her mind, Zelda nodded. ‘Yea. Why?’
‘Nothing. No reason.’ If Zelda could’ve seen Nabooru at that point, the look on her face would’ve told a far different story.
The Hammer dropped from Link’s hand as her hand went to her gut once more- the pain was worse than she remembered.
Impa immediately picked her up and took her to her bedroom, lying her face up on the bed. Malon, Zelda, Ruto, and Saria all followed, mutually concerned for their friend.
“Alright, Lina. Let’s see what’s wrong here.” She took the kimono off Lina, and was greeted by something not totally unexpected.
Malon spoke it first. “Oh my god, Lin...Lina. You’re bleeding!”
Zelda then had to say what Impa was thinking. “Um... I think she’s having her period.”
Lina’s eyes widened, followed by a soft thud.
Your brain has just suffered a fatal error in:
Your brain has also shut down improperly.
“For the love of- Not this again.”
Malon shook her head. “I had my first one a month or two ago. It wasn’t very pleasant.”
Ruto shook her head, while Saria looked confused. “Wait, what’s a period?”
Ruto, Malon, and Zelda all face faulted. Impa shook her head. “Well, seeing as how you’re all here, why not have a little sleepover?”
Malon quickly regained her footing. “Can we really do that?”
Impa shrugged her shoulders. “Well, your father never technically said that you couldn’t, so, well, I think you can figure out the rest from there.”
Malon and Ruto appeared happy, whilst Saria was still confused. “Seriously, what’s a period?”
Zelda walked up to Impa, gesturing for the two to talk alone. Once they were alone together, Zelda started talking. “I think it’s almost time for me to disappear for good, Impa.”
“Now? But you’re still a little young.”
“Ganondorf’s only getting stronger, Impa. The longer the time he gets with the Triforce of Power, the stronger he’s going to get.”
“Good point. Where you got in mind?”
“...I’m thinking right outside the Gerudo’s Hideout. Maybe inside one of those cliff sides.”
“But that’s so close!”
“Sometimes, the best place to hide is right in front of your enemy’s nose.”
“I guess the Triforce of Wisdom’s working pretty well for you.”
“Still can’t explain a couple of things.” ‘Like that Nabooru character.’
“Alright, Your Highness. It’s all you after this sleepover.”
Zelda nodded. She might not be an expert in passing herself off as a guy yet, but that piece of the Triforce would help her yet.
Plus, she had this Nabooru person. And while she wasn’t quite sure about her loyalties yet, this person was attention-grabbing to say the least.
[End notes: A/N: Bonus points to anyone who finds the Princess Bride reference. Even more points to anyone who can find the Dane Cook homage.
Curse you college professors for giving me umpteen different papers to write!
I know that I use the Golden Gauntlets a lot during the course of this fic, and the reason is simple.
They’re barely used throughout the game (you literally get them an hour before the end of Oot), and they just seem to imply a various amount of awesome side-effects, none of which were explored in the game.
And this is THE END of Year 2. THANK GOD. Now I can finally move forward a year, and get to some stuff that you may or may not be expecting.]
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