“Is that what they’re calling you? In the villages and whatnot?”
‘From what I’ve heard.’
“‘Hero of the Wild,’ hm.” Revali fastened the clasp on his pack, and cocked his head with the slightest smile at Link. “A bit plain, but I guess you’re happy with it, then.”
The hero himself shoved at Revali’s wing, grinning back.
‘Can’t all be as showy as ‘Master Revali.’ Are you ready to go?’ he signed.
Revali looked over his roost one more time to make sure he’d remembered all the essentials. This expedition with Link was planned to go on for a few months, but he’d packed relatively light, in the end. It helped that Link had welcoming friends scattered across the land, and a good chunk of them were warming up to Revali as well. Finally.
The rito nodded. “Let’s be off.”
The two of them climbed the creaking, enduring walkways of Rito Village up to a certain someone’s humble landing. Revali thought along the way how nice it would be, to set out not for some overdramatic ceremony or diplomatic headache, but to simply stretch his wings and live. Rito Village, his home, would be here waiting safely for his return.
Gaze turning to Link, Revali admitted that he was taking a piece of his home with him, anyway.
Link glanced up from where he was readying his paraglider, sky blue eyes meeting Revali’s with a spark of excitement. The whistling wind from their great height whipped his hair around his face, the delicate braid that held Revali’s feather gently brushing his flushed cheek. And in that moment, he looked so—so—
“It’s a good name. For you,” Revali blurted out. Link blinked at him in confusion, and Revali felt his feathers rise in flustered awkwardness as he went on, “‘Hero of the Wild.’ It’s what you deserve.”
Link’s gaze softened, but he still paused in his movements, clearly waiting for Revali to explain himself further.
Stumbling a bit through the words, Revali tried not to sound too sentimental as he said, “I was just struck, I suppose, by how the wind... favors you. Why, you might as well have been born a rito with how willingly you cast yourself out into the open air." Unable to resist, he added, "It makes much more sense now, you falling for the one champion with wings."
Link rolled his eyes, but fondly. He stared off for a moment and his expression grew nostalgic before he eventually signed, 'You know, the paraglider was the best gift I'd ever gotten. All those years ago.'
Revali remembered. He could picture the young knight's face, finally betraying a hint of awe at Revali's gift. It had been given under the guise of "fair competition," but Revali had been moved even then by the reaction. The thing that at last drew out a real expression from the stone-faced hylian: it wasn't some barb related to his sacred duty or his silly sword, but this prospect of flight, of freedom, of getting to breathe with the inhales and exhales of the natural world around him—
It suddenly felt very important for Revali to elaborate, "Your other selves, you were all Heroes. Hero of Time or Twilight, or Winds or—whatever. But the thing that sets you apart from all that nonsense, that makes you this Link—”
Revali froze for a moment, before reaching out, feathers hesitantly resting on Link’s hand. He softly continued, “The thing that makes you my Link, is… freedom. The fact that you made your own destiny. You were messy about it, not some perfect shining knight—”
Link’s neutral expression started to slide into a warm, amused grin; Revali could practically hear him thinking, ‘So now you’re insulting me?’
“That wasn’t the point,” Revali snipped, before reigning himself back in. “It’s just…”
He took in the late sunlight that glinted off Link’s tawny hair; the scars that still peeked out from the insulated collar of his tunic; his gentle, open grin.
“I know you're glad the sword chose you. That you're proud of what you did, that you wouldn't have wanted it to be anyone else because you got to protect the things that you love with your own two hands. But, after all that, you deserve to... You deserve it all,” he said, gesturing with a spread wing to the vast landscape that waited before them. “You deserve wonder, and joy, and…”
Revali’s talons tapped quietly against wood as he came right up to Link, and he caught sight of a single tear, sparkling like a crystal. He carefully brushed it away before wrapping the hylian’s hands in his own.
“And so,” he murmured, forehead resting against his love’s, “so much freedom.”