It all begins with a glimpse.
The fire burns bright tonight as Wild whips up dinner, and with all other duties taken care of, there is little else for Hyrule to do than organizing his belongings – not like there’s much to organize to begin with. He isn’t a scavenger like Wild or a collector (read: hoarder) like Legend, and he doesn’t insist on picking up every mildly interesting-looking pebble like Four. It’s just something to keep his hands busy as he waits.
And apparently, he isn’t the only one with that idea.
Warriors sits before a stump, cross-legged, digging through his bag as if he’s searching for the meaning of life. Across the fire pit sits Wind, half his bag’s contents strewn about around him, and finally, Four sits beside Hyrule, brows pinched as he digs through his belongings and tosses a quarry’s worth of rocks over his shoulder.
Soon, he finds himself done, and can do little else except lean back into the boulder he and Four have claimed, lazily following flickering, dancing cinders through the evening air.
He doesn’t know why, to be honest, but soon he finds his eyes drawn from the embers and to his comrades, his brothers, and savors the relatively peaceful moment. He wishes he could etch this moment into his mind forever.
… Wind apparently has the same idea, as he pulls out his pictograph box and aims the lens at Twilight, who previously had been sharpening a stick to satiate the itch of restlessness in his hands (much like himself, Hyrule thinks), but quickly stopped in favor of becoming Sky’s pillow, whose eyelids had been drooping the moment they set down their bags for the night.
With a soft click, Wind captures both Sky’s angelic, sleeping face, and the halfhearted glare Twilight throws at him. Legend hides a laugh behind his hand when Wind nudges him in the side to show the picture, which only deepens Twilight’s glare. From his spot by the fire, Time looks up briefly, softly admonishing them to play nice.
This sense of closeness, belonging, that he feels, is real. It’s real, and it is a blessing. He’d never known how lonely he’d truly been on his adventures before getting unceremoniously dropped into this one.
His gaze shifts to Warriors once more who, at this point, sounds like he’s trying to dig a hole through the planet and come out at the other end. He glances over—
The light shifts on something in Warriors’ bag – smooth, glossy, like satin. It’s a soft purple fabric, reminding him of some of the elaborate dresses his Zeldas like to wear. Maybe it’s one of War’s nicer tunics? Still, it seems silly to bring something like that along on a quest like this. Hyrule doesn’t have much experience with fancy clothes and parties, but he’s certain they won’t have the time for any of it.
… As quickly as it came, the moment passes. Warriors closes his bag, following his nose to the center of camp where Wild cheerily announces dinner is done.
After that, the silence fades as bowls are passed around and sounds of joy and compliments to the chef fill the empty night air. But, even as he digs into his meal, Hyrule’s mind wanders.
Curiosity killed the cat, they say – but Hyrule is no cat, and he doesn’t even know who they implies, so maybe, just maybe, another glimpse wouldn’t be so bad.
Despite being one of the more talkative ones in their group, Warriors isn’t much of an open book. And— and, Hyrule reasons, a healer must know all they can about their patients, right? To give the best care possible? Yeah, that sounds plausible. That sounds like something he could use as an excuse before inevitably getting caught elbow-deep in Warriors’ bag, trying to weasel his way out of it, and ultimately admitting to what he was doing because lying is wrong and it makes him feel icky inside.
Still, it’s a bit thrilling, though – a little secret of Warriors’ only he is privy to. Unless it’s just a scrap of fabric and there’s literally nothing special about it. But still, the mystery intrigues him.
And sometimes, that’s all he ever needs.
Whenever they go through one of the portals, Hyrule is elated. His companions groan and complain about headaches and nausea, but he only feels alive – floating atop the magic, with a harsh gale whipping around his head. For a moment, he doesn’t need wings to fly.
And then they’re spat out in a pool of mud.
Not one of their best landings, sure. But at least this time, they didn’t drop right into a monster camp. That’s a silver lining, isn’t it? A very… very thin sliver of a silver lining.
Legend curses up a storm as he hauls himself to his feet, words foul enough to make a noblewoman clutch her pearls in horror. Hyrule pays it no mind – if he’s well enough to curse, he’s probably fine. Quickly, he glances over the rest of their group to check for any injuries.
Wild sits in the middle of the mud pool, nursing what is probably a bump on his head – but Four’s already by his side pouring him a restorative potion, so he’ll be okay, too.
Wind, despite getting a mouthful of dirt upon their landing, appears to be mostly fine.
Twilight, who was lucky enough to have dropped some feet away from the mud, grips his arm like a lifeline. Crimson trickles from between his fingers, and without a second thought, Hyrule bolts towards him, peeling back the man’s hands and ripped sleeve to assess the damage.
A deep cut mars his skin.
‘’Rock,’’ Twilight says, nodding his head to the side. Lo and behold, there’s a rock there, one of its jagged edges stained in red.
He promptly sets to work, the familiar hum of magic thrumming through his veins. He gathers the energy in his palms and pulses it forward, stitching together Twilight’s skin.
When he opens his eyes, he nearly jumps into the air – Warriors is beside them, holding out a gauze for Twilight in one hand, and a green potion for him in the other.
‘’Rough landing?’’ he says, trying to keep the tone light. He helps Twilight bind his arm, and picks at his torn sleeve. ‘’Want me to fix this?’’
‘’You?’’ Twilight asks, one brow upturned. There’s a lilt to his voice, as if he’s the only one in on a hilarious joke. ‘’No thanks. I’ll do it myself.’’
Before Hyrule gets the chance to ask what’s so funny, Legend interrupts to point out they’re close to his house, just an hour or so away.
Without another word, he brushes off the dirt from his tunic (or, what little dirt isn’t already caked on there), and falls into step with the others, the setting sun behind them.
He can’t sleep.
Legend’s house has many rooms with many, many things. Too many things. It had been a challenge to create enough room for them to lay down their bedrolls, and an even bigger challenge to assure Legend that no, we are not going to touch anything this time, put the box of cursed rings down.
Dinner was an uneventful affair (especially since that hooded guy from their last visit was nowhere to be found) and soon, they had shuffled off to bed, the events of the day catching up to them.
And now, here he lies. Eyes wide open. Mind clear and bright.
This is dumb. He wants to sleep. Why can’t he sleep? They’re warm and safe for the first time in weeks, and now his body decides it can function just fine without rest?
He huffs as silently as possible and turns away from the rafters to his roommates. Four and Wind lay cuddled up on one of the few spare beds, their bare feet sticking out from under the blanket. In the scarce moonlight, he can see the gentle rise and fall of Warriors’ chest.
And he sees purple, shimmering in the light, practically begging to be taken out of Warriors’ bag.
Shuffling out from beneath his covers, he sits up straight, eyes transfixed. As silently as he can, he reaches over the man’s legs and feels around until his hands find satin. With clammy hands and sweat beading at his temple, he pulls out the object and tip-toes to the door – and, as soon as he’s crossed the threshold, rushes to the little bathroom down the hall.
Every spot in Legend’s home is full of personality, and for the bathroom, that means it looks like a hurricane of combs, hand mirrors, jewelry and empty bottles of shampoo swept through the place. He finds a lantern, swiftly lights it, and all but drops the mystery item on the counter space besides the sink.
It’s a satin pouch, held closed by drawstrings. Hyrule unties it gently, as if the Captain could ever hear him from here. Still, he should stay alert.
He peers into the pouch, and...
… it’s clothes. Tiny clothes. Very, very tiny clothes. Barely the size of his palm, but it’s all so detailed, and expertly stitched, too. There are handfuls of small outfits in the bag, enough to dress an army of… mice? Some other type of rodent? He’s really not sure.
He plunges his hand into the pouch and feels around until there’s something between his fingers that feels like yarn, and he pulls out a sweater. Pink, and just as small as all the rest, with an intricate looping pattern.
He’s watched Malon knit before, only a scarf, and that already looked like it took forever. This? This must’ve taken ages. He turns the tiny sweater over in his hands, rubbing the soft yarn between his fingertips.
Still, this begs the question: why does Warriors have this? Does he collect this? And for what purpose? Is it for someone else? To dress a doll, maybe?
Many questions whirl around his mind, but one sticks out in particular.
… Would this fit him?
His heart hammers at the thought – he has yet to tell his comrades about this particular spell. What would they think? He can’t imagine they’d make fun of him – maybe a good-humored jab or two. Still, how would he begin to explain any of this?
But he feels a little bold tonight, and the house is quiet.
So, giving himself no time to doubt or second-guess, he lets the golden light wash over him.
It feels like coming home, to be in this form again.
He stretches his wings and flutters from the ground back to the counter top, reveling in the life flowing back into them. It’s been too long since he’s done this – much too long.
Crossing the counter, now the size of a grand ballroom, he props up a hand mirror against a jar of potpourri and picks up the sweater he dropped earlier, hurriedly pulling it over his head. Static clings to his hair as he emerges. The pink matches his wings, and he lets out a giddy giggle at the sight.
He looks comfortable, he feels comfortable, and this is all so thrilling! His brothers lie just down the hall, and here he is: small, fluttering, and twirling before a hand mirror without a care in the world.
Pursing his lips, he approaches his reflection and starts to brush his hair a little. He plucks out a blade of grass (how long has that been in there?) and combs it through with his fingers.
Maybe he feels like this because of his magic? Fairies are known to care greatly for their appearance, after all.
Softly, a song escapes his throat. He hums as he works, mind lost in the lullaby’s flow, admiring the little sweater all the while. It really is a pretty color, and it fits him like a glove. What else is in the bag? He’s curious, now, if it contains more pretty things like this, where he can practically feel the love that went into making it in every fiber.
He turns away from the mirror, pauses, and shoots a foot into the air – eyes wide, heartbeat thundering in his chest.
Warriors stares down at him, mouth agape. Eyes glittering. Hair sticking up at the back.
Silence reigns as neither of them make a move to break it. Hyrule lowers himself back to the counter top, hands clutched near his chest, wishing he could make himself smaller, even smaller, somehow. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He should’ve known. It had been too quiet. He’d dropped his guard for a second and now—
Warriors blinks, owlishly, before moving to sift through the satin bag and pulling out a cotton tunic, blue as the midday sky and decorated with gold and white accents. He wets his lips before speaking, and Hyrule notices something else – a faint blush on his cheeks as he sheepishly holds out the tunic for him.
‘’Model for me?’’
‘’So, wait, let me see if I understand this,’’ Warriors begins, chin resting in his palm as he leans against the marble counter, ‘’you didn’t tell us this because you thought it was… embarrassing?’’
‘’Not exactly,’’ Hyrule admits, suddenly finding the avalanche of clothes by his feet much more interesting than Warriors’ soft smile in the mirror’s reflection. ‘’I was just waiting for the right time.’’
A finger gently bops him on the head, prompting Hyrule to turn around with a huff. He crosses his arms in an attempt to look threatening, but fears it has the complete opposite effect as Warriors stifles a snort at the sight.
‘’I might be the size of your thumb now, but I’m not some toy.’’
At least Warriors has the decency to look mildly apologetic. ‘’Sorry, sorry,’’ he says, hands up in a placating manner. ‘’It’s just, you worry too much. Sure, it’s a little unexpected, but we’ve all seen some crazy stuff.’’
Hyrule shrugs, hands wringing the hem of the lacy top Warriors convinced him to try on.
A finger is beneath his chin, suddenly, gentle moving his head up. Warriors is there, eyes soft, a caring, knowing smile gracing his lips.
‘’If you think this is weird, or something to be embarrassed about – it’s not. So stop thinking it.’’ He pauses to breathe, brows knitting together. ‘’We all care about you, ‘Rule. But still, I get it if you were hesitant. We all have our little secrets.’’
‘’I know,’’ Hyrule says, and means it. ‘’I know.’’
The soft light of dawn settles upon them. Warriors begins scooping up handfuls of clothing to stuff back into the pouch, a glint in his eye.
‘’You know,’’ he says, ‘’I made these.’’ Hyrule’s eyes are upon him instantly, and he chuckles. ‘’I managed to recruit a lot of fairies to aid our troops during the war. Many had grown close to us and adamantly refused to go back home once the war was over.’’ He chuckles, and Hyrule thinks it’s a wonderful sound. ‘’They love it when I bring them a hoard of new outfits.’’
‘’You made this?’’ Hyrule asks, gesturing at the sea of clothes still strewn about around them. ‘’All of this?’’
The blush on Warriors’ face returns tenfold. ‘’My ma taught me.’’ A shrug, and a humble smile. ‘’Village seamstress. She’s amazing at what she does. Though… keep this to yourself? For now, at least. Next time we land in my Hyrule… I want to surprise them all with a warm bed and a hot meal.’’ A pause. ‘’And a new mom.’’
Hyrule gapes at him, lost for words. Finding out Time had a wife, and Wind had a sister and grandmother had already felt like a treat, but this— this felt like a cherry on top.
‘’She sounds wonderful,’’ Hyrule breathes, but quickly composes himself. ‘’I promise.’’
‘’Shake on it?’’
Warriors holds out his pinky finger. Hyrule clasps his hands around it in joy, mirroring Warriors’ grin with one of his own.
And if warmth blossoms in his chest at the touch, at the revelations the night have brought, and if he feels lighter than ever before then, well… that’s just another little secret of his own.