Vaati's not going to admit it but he's gotten into the habit of checking through the blades of grass for movement. He looks for little creatures and little huts and leaves out his leftovers near cracked tree stumps and fairy rings. It's a small way to makeup for all the big trouble he's caused. Some odd apology for how he can't be like them. Can't be tiny, insignificant, struggling each day, can't be a Minish.
He won't tell Link how much it twists his stomach, the idea that they're all gone and forgotten, but he knows if he did, Link would only be there to comfort him.
Now, trying so hard to be good, those terrible old Minish instincts bubble to the surface. He knows just what to give, what to say. Knows every favor he can perform to make a Hylian's day better. Vaati works hard to ignore it, but he can't help but give in every now and again. Can't help but put a smile on some traveler's face. Especially when it puts an even bigger one on Link's.
He has to wonder if he'll ever properly make-up for all his wrongdoings or if redemption is a never ending cycle - not a finish line but an endless obstacle course he won't ever beat. He can write down a number of ways to improve Hyrule and he can hand that paper over to Zelda all he wants, but when is she going to listen to him? The guy who very nearly went and tried to take over the damn kingdom again just after saying he wouldn't. And he can use his magic to help rebuild, but will it ever make a dent in all the lives lost in his past conquests?
Vaati does what he can to make things right but they're all small. Maybe being by Link's side, brightening his day and everyone else's he can, is enough. Maybe he doesn't need a grand gesture to show that he's trying, maybe that's really the best he can offer and maybe that's okay. But what does he know?
He tries to preserve history. Tries to live life the way he always should have - patiently, working hard to become better than he ever could have dreamed of. Adventures across Hyrule and makes amends wherever he can. Maybe one day he'll find the Minish again. Maybe he won't feel so ashamed of his past and maybe they'll find a way to visit. He can picture it perfectly, the grass towering above them and Link wide eyed, big dopey grin on his face in wonderment of how different the world he's always lived in can look when you're only the size of a thumb.
Vaati makes a list of things to keep in mind. Things to hold onto, ways to keep himself from spiraling on the worst days when all he wishes is that he hadn't handed over that cap. That he had a palace in the sky and could call himself a god.Get off your high horse. Bury the hatchet. Practice for more than just a single second - and don't throw something when you can't match the power you cheated for centuries ago. Admit you're wrong sometimes. Admit you're wrong a lot of times. Try being more civil to Hyrule's princess, even if she's needlessly rude sometimes. Admit that she's got a good reason for being so rude. Waste all your time learning. Torment a couple of roaming Bokoblins and steal their dinner afterwards. Don't horseback race Link. You will lose and you are nothing but a sore loser. Get in good with Zelda so you have someone knowledgeable teach you about Sheikah technology. Link knows how to cannibalize Guardians, not what anything does. Don't go cheap on a mattress at an inn. You will be grouchy the next day and everyone will hate you for it. Or Link for it. Stingy cheapskate. Search a little more for some insurance that you won't turn back into a Minish. Just because you worry that much. Look a little harder for traces that the Minish still exist. Look a lot harder for the Minish because you want to show Link. - Don't lie so much, admit it. You want to know that your race isn't actually extinct and you aren't all alone. Kiss Link a lot more. If all else fails, let Link handle it.
It's an ever growing, ever changing list. Some days, he feels completely lost and the despair creeps back in, the worry that he'll never even come close to the man he wants to be. But then Link's right there, finding a way to make things better. In the end, he thinks he really is finally satisfied.
A/N: So there's a lot I can say here about this fanfic, but despite writing 48 chapters, I don't think I could put it into words how grateful I am for all the wonderful and nice comments people have left me. It's amazing how much support I got for this fic, especially when I was so worried when I started posting it that no one would care. Vaati's meant a lot to me ever since I was in middle school and the character has stuck around needling me ever since (Honestly, I could go on for about an hour how important he is to my growing up with both friends and my own creative endeavors but that also involves talking about a really bad old fanfic I wrote SOOO).
Breath of the Wild itself has been such an amazing game, too, that from the moment I first got it to even now, I find myself totally enraptured by it, finding new ways to play the game and being surprised every time by what I do (I literally once spent 2-3 days coming up with this crazy plan to climb up a waterfall in Master Mode and surprise Sidon at Zora's Domain. It entailed getting about 20-30 octorock balloons halfway up a waterfall and then using cryonis the rest of the way. To say it was stressful was an understatement but damn was it fun).
So combining the two, while probably crazy in theory, just felt right to me and my interpretation of the two. And I'm so so happy that to such a number of you, it also felt right and you let me take you all on this dumb experimental adventure with me. :') Again guys, thank you all so much for every message and for taking the time to read this big overwhelming story. While it might be some time until I come back to fanfic with content, I will be on my tumblr Patchworkcrows. And I will tell you, I am trying to write another Vaalink thing but it's silly and modern and it may involve online gaming because those are my interests what can I say.
In the meantime, thanks and I hope you enjoyed "How to be a human being".