I'm currently editing the chapter of my longfic, but I saw something and it spawned this satanic testament to how much I hate myself and my friend Sam. Heads up, it's sad as fuck.


He was C-170229.

He was the newest model by Triforce, the Courage model. Serial number: 112198111906-111811.

Made to be a super soldier, he had the top efficiency of all androids, and the build and make to match. He could run for up to 3 miles in a sprint without stopping, survive 10 days without a recharge under regular strain, and snipe a target from up to 500 yards away with little to no variations from his target shot.

He looked like a regular man, attractive with sandy blond hair and blue eyes. He was made to blend in with the rest of the force, and each android was given different features and under-skin cells to help heat his body like a normal human's. No-one could tell the difference.

He was programmed with no emotions, no fear, no personality besides the orders given and the automatic response to rescue the people he was charged with.

Even with those skills, the war still reached the mainland on the 20th.

He could recall every minuscule detail, from the bombs to his last, hastily issued assignment.

Rescue who you could.

No orders for his own recovery. Once his battery died he was disposable. If the war allowed it, he would be brought back accordingly. The last person he managed to save was a young girl. Green eyes, sooty face. She had been clutching her shoe. The droning of the bomber planes had scared her, and she had cried with relief once they had made it to the shelter.

C-170229's battery died soon after he had delivered her to the safe area, and he had no recollection of time after his sight module had blinked out and the last of his battery was used to safely shut down his harddrive.

When his sight blinked in, he was looking at a ceiling. A woman's hair came into view, and as his sensory drive booted up, he could feel the strands against his chest, tickling as she looked down at him. Her eyes were the bluest he had ever seen. He tucked the sight away for a later time.

"About time! You Courage models take a long time to boot up." Her bangs swished as she twirled her screwdriver, and C-170029 sat up, almost knocking his head with hers.

"I have no orders." Something was wrong. His harddrive had been tampered with.

The woman waved her hands, the black handle of her screwdriver flashing into his frame of vision. He turned to look at her, and something registered as he heard her voice. "I just fixed your battery and added a couple chips. You were missing a few."

He racked his memory chip for traces of the woman, and finding nothing, he twitched his fingers against the hard metal of the table. "My orders have been revoked, how long have I been shut down?"

The woman shifted at his question. "The files on your memory chip said you had been shut down on the 21st, so about six months."

"Which side won the war?"

The woman hesitated, her hands dropping to her lap limply. "We did. There were many casualties." She paused, her lips pursing. "Many things were lost."

C-170229 recognized the emotion in her voice, sadness. There was something else in the action of realizing her emotions, but he could not decipher it. "What- is your name?" He enunciated the words carefully, almost stumbling over the question.

Her head lifted. "Zelda, what is yours?"

"C-170229. My serial number is-" He started to reply, Zelda waved her hands again, cutting him off.

"No, not your issue name, your real name." C-170229 furrowed his eyebrows. She wanted his real name, but that was his real name. He was the newest model by Triforce, the Courage model: C-170229.

"Are you? Asking for my civilian issue name?"

Her eyes brightened, and she leaned forward, blond hair coming out of her hasty ponytail to slip over her shoulders. "Yes, that one. Your real one."

"Link. Link Avalon is my civilian issue name."

She smiled like his civilian name was the discovery of a lifetime, and suddenly he wasn't C-170229, but Link Avalon. She took his hand, folding it delicately between her own. "Link is a great name!"

Something foreign registered, and Link blinked at her as the feeling buzzed around in his head. He didn't know what it was but it felt good, like the tickle of her hair and the brilliant emotion behind her excited smile. "I suppose it is."

.:.

He stayed with her.

He wasn't sure why, but he knew he had to. His purpose was finished, wartime had passed and he was nothing more than a byproduct of a victory that cost too much. The country was in shambles, dust and dirt, and everyone who was left was looking for any semblance of a home.

That included Zelda.

She was an engineer, traveling and offering her craft where she could and leaving a trail of reawakened robots and androids in her wake. Offers to stay followed as well, but she never took them up on any of them. She just kept going, stopping in between to revive her old vintage car and any AI's near it.

He asked her why.

"To make people smile, I suppose. If I can do it, I should, shouldn't I?"

Link didn't know the answer to that, and he didn't understand her reasoning either. Was her purpose to make people smile? Was that why she traveled? Was that why she remained lonely?

Link didn't know the answer to that either, and he never asked.

All of the AI's she had brought back had belonged to people, but not him. He belonged to the country, to the people he served, but she brought him back anyways, just for the sake of doing it. Along the travels he sat in the passenger seat of her car, atop old, cracked leather, but he never asked why.

There were a lot of things he didn't understand. Why she'd brought him back was one of them.

One day he found the time to ask, between AI repairs and the manual check-ups on her car.

She was covered in oil and grease, red-faced from the heat of the day, but he leaned under the hood of her car with her and asked anyway. "Why did you fix me?"

She stopped and straightened, the rays of the sun finally hitting her face. Link felt another rush of that feeling, and he added the sight of her face at that moment to the list of things that invoked strange feelings. "What do you mean, Link?"

He shifted at the mention of his name, his real name, and looked to the assorted valves to his left. "You revived me, why? You've only revived AI's that belonged to people, but not me." He mulled over it for a moment before adding: "Do I belong to you now?"

Zelda's eyebrows scrunched up, the fine hairs almost meeting in the middle of her forehead. "You don't belong to anyone, especially not me." She leaned a little closer to him, her fingers meeting his arm in a series of gentle rivets. "Do you want to leave? I could upgrade your battery so you could make it- somewhere."

"Where would I go?" He asked simply, and Zelda blinked.

"Where do you want to go?" Another question he had no immediate answer to. Link opened his mouth to answer, but coming upon nothing, he shut it again.

He asked his original question again instead. "Why did you revive me?"

Zelda removed her hand from his arm, her face falling into something sad. "I found you near the shelter I was serving at, and you looked like-" She stopped and drew a breath. "You were like no other android ever encountered. You were a model I had never seen before."

Link did not know how to respond, but Zelda continued, saving him the trouble. "I wanted to see if you had a personality, but all you had were fulfilled orders and missing chips. You were a blank slate." She met his gaze, forlorn and searching. "So I gave you personality capabilities and emotion chips because-"

She paused again, pink lips twisting into syllables she didn't have until finally settling on the few she had chosen.

"I wanted to give you a choice."

.:.

They did not talk for the rest of the afternoon, Zelda busy with finishing work on the engine of her car. She gathered the blankets from the trunk of her car and offered him one, the navy blue fleece a peace offering of sorts.

He could tell she had washed them, they smelled like detergent and flowery softener, and he didn't know why the smell tugged at the newer parts of him. He realized a few moments later that it was because they smelled like her, fabric softener and car oil.

He didn't know how he felt about that.

He didn't how to feel at all. Everything was new and strange, and he had no orders on how to go about it. Free will was in his hands, tangible in the form of her and the blankets, and he didn't know what to do with it.

She clambered onto the trunk of her car, legs hanging off the dusty edge and wrapped her upper half in the blanket. Link joined her with the one she had given him, and after a quiet moment Zelda took a shuddering breath. "I'm sorry."

Link turned to look at her, watching her eyes glass over with tears. The sight of them made him nervous, and the feeling was new. He searched himself for a solution to the problem, dredging up nothing but the memory of the green eyed child with the black shoe. "What are you sorry for?"

Zelda dashed away the wetness gathering in her eyes. "I tried to help you, but I couldn't. I just made it worse." The tears came faster, rolling down her face, and she pressed her palms to her cheeks, leaning against her forearms. "I was lonely, and I messed everything up."

"You didn't mess anything up." The matter-of-fact statement made her lift her head, and she met Link's eyes. The nervousness flared again, and Link found something to say, her earlier question ringing in his head. "You gave me free will. That's supposed to be a good thing."

Where do you want to go?

"But I made you feel like you have to follow me, and that's not what I wanted for you at all!" She burst out, and Link blinked at her.

Silence fell, her words hanging between them, and Zelda turned away, looking up at the clear sky above them. Link traced her profile with his eyes, and after a moment he found the words he was looking for. "I think I know where I want to go now."

Zelda's head dropped, and she searched his face, her blanket slipping down around her hips. Link reached out, hesitant in his own hands as he tugged it back up around her shoulders. "I think I want to go where you are."

.:.

He didn't have many memories before her.

They wiped him in between missions to save storage, but Link was glad.

When he looked back, almost all of his memories were of her.

.:.

"You know, I've always wanted to see a castle."

Link turned to look at the sound of her voice, and Zelda pushed her goggles back up from her forehead, huffing out an accomplished breath. The android on the table between them twitched as she pressed the inside of their wrist, where their manual start-up was inlaid. Link watched silently as they booted up, eyes opening, and Zelda smiled at him. "Like the castle in the capital."

Link knew the one, it was the head of government and the center of operations for the army. He had never seen it either, but he didn't understand her interest in it. "Why?"

"It's pretty beautiful. My mom always told me I had royal blood, but I think it was all silly talk."

She smiled at the android between them as they came to, directing her attention to them. He blinked as the android turned to look at him, and Zelda braced a hand on their back as they sat up. "There you go. You can go home now, your battery leak is fixed! I think your owner is outside."

The android looked back at her, their grey eyes blinking. "Thank you."

Zelda smiled again, letting them move past her to the door, and she picked up her polishing cloth, running it down the length of her heat-tipped fuser. The door clicked shut, and Link watched her fingers move over the silvery metal device. "Do you want to go there?"

She looked up. "To the castle?" She dropped the tool and its cord into her bag, and Link heard it clink against the metal of her other items. "It was destroyed during the bombing."

"Where do you want to go, then?"

The question made her look back up at him, and her lips parted. "I don't know. I guess I'll just keep going until I find someplace." Her smile returned, brighter than before. "I've got someone to travel with now, so wherever we go, I'm sure it will be fine."

.:.

That night they slept in an abandoned room in a hotel, and delighted at the working washing machine in the basement, Zelda did all of the sheets and her clothes. She had found secondary outfits for the both of them in the last town, so by the time the light had faded, she had the first set washed and dried. The blankets were too big for the dryers so she hung them on the balcony railings, clipped in place with her jumper cables.

Link had no preference in clothing, but Zelda thought t-shirts and jeans fit him much more than his military issue uniform. The compliment made Link turn away in embarrassment, and after explaining the feeling, Zelda called him 'humble' in a fit of mirth.

Her voice about halfway through the night roused him from his hibernation state, and he saw her sit up on the bed. "Link?"

He lifted his head. "Yes?"

She spotted him on the chair on the other side of the room, and she shifted in place, twisting the sheets around her waist as she turned towards him. The straps of her dress fell down off her shoulders, highlighted by the rays of light through the balcony window, and Link silently added the visual to the list of things that gave him the jumpy, happy feeling.

"You can lay over here with me, if you'd like." She froze up, her braid slipping over one shoulder as she breathed in, and her voice was strained as she continued. "If you're not comfortable in the chair."

He wasn't sure what she meant by comfortable and he blinked at her. "Would you like me to?"

He saw her breathing hitch from across the room, and she turned her face away. "I- yes, I think I would like you to."

Link rose from the chair and made his way over, kneeling onto the bed and moving to sit next to her. Her face was a muted pink color in the silvery light of the moon, and Link suddenly had the urge to touch her. Her hand, her cheek, he would even have settled for brushing her hair off of her shoulder. The urge threw him for a loop, and Zelda finally looked at him, her blue eyes meeting his.

"You asked where I wanted to go?" Her voice is quiet, and Link simply nodded in response. She drew a breath and dropped her eyes to her hands, her bangs fluttering as she ducked her head. "I'd like to go somewhere beautiful."

She turned to lay back down, facing away from him. "Goodnight Link."

Link laid down beside her and folded his hands next to his face, realizing dully that he wanted to touch her. She had given him the ability to want and wish, and all he wanted was to be near her.

The night was long, and they spent it back to back, unsaid words piling in the space between their spines.

.:.

"What is love?"

Zelda froze, her knuckles whitening on the wheel and Link almost regretted the question. A breath left her lips, and she slowed the car, the roar of the engine under their feet dimming to a low rumble. "It's- I think it's when you want to be with someone, not because you feel obligated to or because you need them, but because you want to be near them."

Link rested his jaw along the inside of his palm, propping his elbow against the window. The sand kicked up under the car, and he stared out the window at it, watching the grains shift under the wheels. Zelda paused for a moment, and then repeated the same question he had asked a thousand times before. "Why?"

"I don't know." He answered, and the rest of the ride was quiet.

.:.

Her blood was sticky on his hands.

Link plowed on anyway, footsteps loud on the concrete. He liked the dusty countryside better, all cracked earth and lost potential. Her breathing was shallow, each heartbeat pressing weakly into the inside of his arm, and Link felt fear race up and down his spinal column.

He used to be a soldier, a soldier programmed with no fear, but now the uneven heartbeats of a young woman were making his mind race. There was no help in this town, he needed to get her somewhere else.

Link kept going.

Her car was wrecked, destroyed along with all of her tools, and he didn't know where her goggles had gone either. She had almost never taken them off, but he didn't know where they were.

Nerves in his arm were jumping, making his fingers twitch against her thigh, and Link wondered if he had ever sustained injuries this badly.

It was going to rain. He couldn't get caught in the rain like this. He could feel the fake skin of his left bicep stretch and relax against the inner workings of his arm, and he knew it was from an injury. If water got in there, he could lose functioning in his arm.

Link kept going.

He wanted to stop. He wanted Zelda to be alright. She'd given him everything, why hadn't it been him? He could see her hot tears in the back of his mind, the way her blanket had fallen off her shoulders- He loved her.

Love was only half programmed into the emotions chip, he'd found. The makers had been unsure of how to incorporate it and how to properly trigger it, but they left it, an unbetaed remainder of testing.

But he loved her.

Link kept going.

He could feel the air beginning to thicken, the smell of rain setting over the still night. He'd left the town 4 hours ago.

Zelda's heartbeat got weaker as she settled farther into shock, and Link wished he could go back. Go back to when he'd first met her. Ten months wasn't a long time, but he wanted every minute of it back. He wanted to do it correctly.

His battery was dying, and he felt the first raindrop against his back. It slithered down the spot between his shoulderblades, dipping into the cut in the middle of his back, and he felt the heating cells beneath his skin start to short circuit. Warning bells went off in his head, but Link only shifted Zelda in his arms, bracing his arm more firmly against her back.

Link kept going.

The cells were beginning to overheat, melting the fake skin around the cuts, and Link let it happen. He tucked Zelda closer to himself, shielding her from the rain, and he felt the wet press of her bangs against his cheek. He wanted to cry for her, express sadness like she had for him, but nothing happened. He leaned back up against the tree, drawing Zelda's legs up closer to his hips.

Her heartbeat was almost gone, and Link knew he wasn't going to find help after all.

When the rain stopped he got back up, forcing his legs to work for just a while longer, just a little while longer. He needed to get some help, and if he couldn't get that, he needed to take her somewhere beautiful.

Link kept going.

Her heartbeat finally stopped in the final moments of his battery life, and Link dropped to his knees, the exposed circuits around his injuries buzzing. He laid down next to her and looked up, catching a view of the stars above them.

The lack of light pollution made them bright, individual pinpricks of light on a background of black. It was beautiful, and Link felt a rush of conflicting emotion at the sight. He'd taken her somewhere beautiful, but she never got to see it. He searched for her hand, finding it among the tufts of dry grass and sand that made up the hill.

"I'm sorry, I love you."

He sat for what felt like forever, feeling the sand sift under the weight of his head, and after a long moment, he decided that he was glad she had revived him. He had been happy.

His battery began to blink out upon the realization, sending blotches of black against his vision, and he hoped that wherever she went, he would be allowed to follow.