Chapter 2 - Fairy Ring
"Why hello there… Vaati."
The smith's apprentice took a slow, deep breath, drawing in the damp evening air. "Link," he said, managing to keep his voice even. Experience told him that acting like a small, wounded animal around the boy would do him no favors. Eyes raked across his unwanted visitor; The other male wearing his usual green tunic over a much lighter green shirt, a short mantle over his shoulder matching the same ivory color as his leggings. Personally, it made Vaati think of a scallion, especially with those brown boots of his. Ugh, he hated boots. How anyone could stand to wear such confining footwear was beyond him. Speaking of which...
The demon child was glad that his feet were planted firmly on the ground this time and there were no cliffs or buildings he could be tossed off of. Not to mention the trees were too dense for the other's fledgeling magic to cause too much of a problem.
Vaati flinched as the blonde leant into his personal space, intense blue eyes meeting his own soft crimson ones, a look somewhere between annoyance and disappointed frustration on his face.
"Why do you never challenge me, Vaati? You were certainly put up a spectacular fight that first time."
"You really think I would be putting up with you like this if I was capable of that?" the other growled. "I don't even see why you insist on stalking me like this," he continued, sarcastic venom bleeding into his tone. "Really, what must the neighbors think, what with you meeting up with me like this?"
"Oh right!" he snarled. "They think I must be cursed or something and either avoid me like the plague or chase after me with pitchforks."
Rather than dissuade the blonde, Vaati's vitriol only seemed to excite him. "Aha, that's the spirit!" Link said with a grin, stepping back away from the angry apprentice and spreading his arms to his sides. "Come on, we can have a go at it right now if you're in the mood~"
"I am NOT going to fight you!" Ever since their first encounter (which was a bit hazy in his mind to be totally honest), the obviously insane blonde had gotten into his head that Vaati was his rival or something like that and tried to provoke him into a duel at every given opportunity. "Just…" The cursed child gritted his teeth, forcing out the next words which he had a feeling he was going to regret. "Go home, Link. She misses you."
The switch from borderline flirtatious mischief to seething rage was almost instantaneous. Yup, Vaati regretted this instantly. "Don't you dare bring that old witch into this!" he shouted, icy blue eyes narrowing menacingly. Ah, there it was. As hard as Vaati attempted to be understanding and, dare he say it, helpful, Link's buttons were a veritable minefield.
"That old witch," Vaati spoke slowly, "For some goddess-forsaken reason still actually manages to care about you."
"SHUT UP!" Link screamed, followed by the sudden roar of the wind rattling the trees.
Instinctively, Vaati ducked back against a tree and brought his forearms up in front of his face, guarding from the razor-like wind that whipped against him. Farore, Nayru and Din that fucking hurt!
The furious gusts didn't last long, dying down as quickly as they came. Vaati opened his eyes, peering out from behind his arms at Link who had collapsed to his knees, panting with apparent overexertion. He watched the wind mage warily, but Link was just staring dazedly ahead, seemingly in another one of his… episodes. He stood there, still, trembling like a rabbit in front of a fox for several moments until the other boy seemed to come out of it.
They stared at each other for several moments, the only sound being their ragged breaths, the wildlife scared off by the noise. It was Link that opened his mouth first. "Vaati you… Farore, I didn't mean to-"
It was then Vaati noticed that his arm felt hot and wet. Trembling slightly, he twisted his arm to get a better look at it, inhaling sharply at the sight of blood pooling out of what looked like ragged claw marks along his pale skin.
A gust of wind let him know that Link had fled.
Vaati shut his eyes as he willed his heart to stop pounding so hard. The wound wasn't nearly bad enough to bleed out from, but panicking wouldn't do him any good. Besides, he'd been hurt much worse than this. He knew he had. He just… avoided thinking about when they might have happened. After some minutes, he pulled himself from his crouch against the tree. He turned and let his feet take him back towards the Smith's house.
He kept his eyes downcast, watching the path in the dim light. It wouldn't do to trip and injure himself even more, and he was oddly confident that he wouldn't have to worry about the blond for the rest of the night at least. It wouldn't fit in with his theatrics. Speaking of theatrics, Vaati would have to come up with some to cover his latest parting gift from his benefactor's rogue grandchild.
It was almost entirely dark by time he slipped in through the back workshop door, shivering. His clothes clung to his pale skin, cold and wet from his detour through the stream not a few hundred feet from the smithy. He'd managed to get most of his blood from the chalky blue linen shirt before it set, not to mention submerging his arm for some time had slowed the bleeding to a light seep. He pushed the workshop door closed behind him with his foot, making his way past the workbenches towards the sink at the far side of the room. Dropping the empty satchel to the floor, Vaati used his unmaimed hand to reach into the small wooden basket on a shelf standing next to the sink, feeling around until his fingertips brushed against the corked bottle he knew was somewhere in the mess, grabbing that and a strip of cloth. Uncorking the small rounded bottle with his teeth, he took a whiff of its contents before determining he grabbed the correct one.
After a bit of maneuvering to roll up his sleeve and keep from spilling the bottle in his hands, the boy leaned over the large sink, elbows braced on its chipped edge and slowly poured the homemade red potion over the torn skin.
"-Fucking Din!" he hissed, biting his lip as his arm lit up with burning pain as the concoction came into contact with his wounds, bubbling and fizzing at the torn flesh. What was previously numbed by the cold water came back full force, intense enough to cause his grip on the bottle to slip.
Vaati had the mind to wince as the thick glass clattered loudly as it fell into the metal basin, rattling and rolling around but thankfully not shattering. He let out a pained sigh, staring at the red liquid pooling in the basin from the spill and still dripping from his arm. Well, at least he didn't have to clean up broken glass on top of-
"I heard somethin' fall, is that you kid?"
He stiffened, looking across the room to where the Smith was leaning in the doorway.
"Vaati, your clothes are soaked, what happened?"
"It's fine," he said, waving off her concern. "I just got a little wet in the stream, it's not a big deal."
Before he knew what was going on, the old woman had grabbed him by the wrist and pulled it towards the light, causing him to let out a pained cry as the torn skin pulled at the movement. The blacksmith stared at the open wounds marring her apprentice's forearm, still dripping with the red potion. Vaati froze up under her hard, accusing gaze.
"Tell me. Where did you get these? Who did this?" she growled.
Vaati's crimson eyes met her own turquoise ones, still vibrant despite her age. He held her hard gaze before looking away. She let go of his wrist.
"...So it was him, wasn't it."
The old woman sunk down onto a nearby wooden stool, folding her hands in front of her momentarily before cupping her face in them.
"It's not your fault," Vaati voiced softly. He glanced away, ruby eyes trying to look anywhere but the woman who had sheltered him these past few weeks as he felt the utterly foreign sensation of guilt and shame burning at the back of his neck.
"He's still my grandson. There must have been something I could have done."
Vaati… really did not like being around people that were upset. "Look just…" Vaati started. He was no good at comforting people. "Whoever's fault it is that Link's like this… it's definitely not yours. Din, it might just really be my fault like everyone thinks it is, but there's no way you had anything to do with this."
He stopped and blinked at the strong arms wrapped around his thin frame. "No, it's not your fault, Vaati. You're just a kid that was in the wrong place. Never, EVER believe what those idiots have got to say!"
"How about a compromise hmm? I don't blame you and… you don't blame me?" he broached sheepishly.
"Haha… It's a deal kid. Now, let me help ye with that. You've had a long day," the older woman said with a sad smile.
Vaati, once the adrenaline had worn off, barely managed to drag himself up the stairs. He passed two more doors before he made it to his own at the end of the hall, slinking through the open door and kicking it shut behind him before collapsing backwards onto his bed. Well… not his bed. Not really. The apprentice sighed, looking around the small bedroom full of stuff that wasn't his. A bookshelf filled with nicknacks some other boy had collected over the years, filled with books that really didn't catch his interests, with a framed photo of a family he didn't have.
He sighed, sitting up and heading over to the small wardrobe, sliding the door open. From the designs tooled into the wood, he could tell that it was likely the Smith that had made it at some point years before. She seemed to have a thing for apples, he remembered. He shook his head. No, remember wasn't quite the word. Or maybe it was. Vaati glanced through pulling out a worn shirt that was a bit big for him and tossing it into the bed before slowly, gingerly sliding the one he was currently wearing over his shoulders. The wound hurt a lot more than he let on… hopefully his grandm- the Smith hadn't caught on. It made him uncomfortable when she worried about him.
The balcony door rattled slightly in the wind, catching his attention. Vaati shook the still damp shirt out a bit before tossing it into the hamper across the room. He'd soak and mend it later. His fingers caught the edge of the door before taking a breath and sliding it to the side and stepping out into the night air.
"You know, this absolutely constitutes as stalking, right?"
The blonde mage turned his head towards the pale boy, eyes widening a touch as they raked over him before turning and staring back over the view of the village down the path.
Vaati exhaled through his nose, walking over to the railing next to where Link was sitting on it, leaning on his elbows. "Is there a point to this?"
He flinched back at a bright glow that was suddenly in his line of vision. "...Here."
"What is…" Vaati blinked, crimson eyes alight with confusion as he took the glowing jar that was shoved into his hands. It rattled as the source of the light bobbed around erratically inside the confines of the glass. "...You brought me a fairy?"
Link refused to make eye contact, seemingly intent on looking anywhere but at the one he'd maimed a few hours before. "I can't exactly have you at an unfair disadvantage for our next fight."
His visible, crimson eye twitched. "Are you telling me this is supposed to be some sort of half-assed apology?"
"First you try and murder me and then you give me a glowing pink insect to make it all better?"
"I wasn't trying to MURDER you, stop exaggerating. If you're dead then you can't fight me."
Vaati snorted irritably. "Good to see you're as selfless as ever."
"...I really didn't mean for that to happen."
A sigh. "You're going to get someone killed." 'And it's probably me' went unsaid. "Some 'greatest sorcerer' you're turning out to be," the lavender-haired boy mumbled, fingering the bandages wrapped tightly from elbow to wrist. When Link didn't seem to respond he turned his attention back to him. "Why are you still here anyway? Going to talk to the Smith and apologise for brutalizing her new apprentice?"
"Hrmph." His eyes flicked up to the rooftop momentarily before turning back towards the village, shoulders slightly tensed. Vaati watched him knowingly.
The blonde turned to look at the other, blue eyes meeting crimson. They were close. Very close.
"To sleep with you."
"Wha-..." Link blinked slowly at him, trying to focus before his eyelids became heavy and slowly slipped shut. Vaati caught him as the wind mage went limp with sleep, wincing at the pressure it put on his arm. He carefully lowered him down onto the wicker chair off on the corner of the balcony before slipping back inside for a moment, only to reemerge a few minutes later with a tattered blanket, throwing it over the sleeping boy.
"Idiot." Vaati muttered, though he wasn't sure if he was talking about Link or about himself at this point. A soft pinging noise against glass caught his attention as he turned back to where he'd left the jar containing the fairy. He stooped down, scooping up the bottle and uncorking it as the pink thing flutter around inside for a moment. "And you're an idiot too for letting him catch you."
Vaati gave a small, humorous smirk as the little glowing ball darted out of the bottle, zipping back and forth in front of him. "It's okay though… I know what it's like to feel small and trapped…" He shook his head as it bobbed in front of him, expectantly. "Go on now."
The fairy fluttered around a bit before rushing over to where Link was unconcious in the chair, movements a bit erractic before seemingly staring back at Vaati. Accusingly.
"...Look, he's fine okay? If he wasn't tired already that trick wouldn't have knocked him out. I was just… helping. He'll be fine." Seemingly mollified, the little pink ball seemed to settle down on the arm of the chair.
"Well, whatever. You're fault if he stuffs you back in a jar. I'm going to bed." Vaati waved over his shoulder, slipping back into the bedroom to pass the hell out… after he put on a night shirt.
A/N: I promised myself I'd submit this before I get to watch this horrible year DIE. Still working out a bit of formatting issues, since is a bit iffy still.