Actions

Work Header

Between silences

Chapter Text

In a corner of the hideout, she was nursing her leg and preparing food. The second she did quite openly, wanting to prove how good and useful she was. The first discreetly so she wouldn't have to wait for the next blood moon. It was the others' fault that her leg was hurt, they had pushed her down the hill during a hunt, because she'd been in the wrong spot. It was their fault but it was hers above all, and if they noticed she was weak... 

Outside, a horn sounded. 

Their ears all perked up, and everyone grabbed the nearest weapon before rushing outside. Everyone except her. She didn't have a weapon nearby. She couldn't rush. And if she let the fish burn, she was done for.

Fighting sounds reached her. It was a hard one and she heard the heart wrenching cries of her sisters falling one after the other. Nervously she looked around if there really wasn't anything she could fight with. It had been very long since her band had had to fight anyone really dangerous. Enemies just preferred to run these days. 

She too would have preferred to run, but the attacker was already standing at the entrance of the hideout. He had a sword in hand, one she recognised as belonging to the band leader. He was stained with black blood, without a sign of the red one that would have been his. His eyes were clear but empty and when they landed on her, she knew he would kill her. Not because she posed any danger, but because she was there. 

Instinct kicked in. She grabbed one of the fish, the one that seemed best cooked and slowly she stretched her arms toward the intruder to offer him the food. 

It worked sometimes with the leader. It was a way to show again she knew her place in the band's pecking order. Sometimes it had saved her life. Sometimes it hadn't.

The intruder stared for a long moment. Sword still in hand he took the fish before jumping back, the blade pointed at her. He wasn't wounded but he was tired, she could smell it on him. How wouldn't he be? After fighting a band of five, and their leader a blue! 

Perhaps that was why after one last threatening wave of the blade, the intruder left without harming her. She hadn't thought he actually would, hadn't expected she might survive this. She never survived anything. She didn't know what to do. 

The smell of the fish hit her, and she carefully removed them all from the fire. They were all for her, to eat until her hunger was appeased. That too was new. So maybe she would eat a full, entire fish all by herself. Then... Then she'd get to really look at her wounded leg and properly nurse it. 

And once that was done, she'd start waiting for the next blood moon to bring back her band. They would kill her for not dying with them, for helping the intruder, but what else can she do? Leave? They lived in bands. Alone she couldn't make it. Even in a band she couldn't make it. 

She thought again of the intruder. He had spared her. No one has spared her before. And he had smelled tired, so tired. So lonely. There were no smell of band members on him, the way she knew there was on her even when the band didn't much like her. The intruder had been alone. 

Back in the days, before the Master rose, you could sometimes change bands, she remembered. If yours was too full, or if you couldn't get along and found another one that liked you better, or if yours had died and you were alone. Death was no longer a permanent thing these days, but she was alone for now, and the intruder had accepted a gift. If she gave him more things, perhaps they could form a new band. 

Perhaps neither of them had to be alone.

 

Chapter Text

Link crouched and inspected the two fish left next to his fire during the night by an unknown force. They were cold to the touch but seem well cooked, although there were no herbs or salt on them. It was a little... rustic. None of the few hylians he'd met so far cooked like that. It felt more like something bokoblins did, crude and unrefined. But why would someone gift him monster food? 

Well, there had been that bokoblin the day before, of course. The one who had, in fact, given him a fish. And Link had spared it. 

In the three weeks since waking up, that was the first time he met a monster and did not kill it. He knew it was a mistake. He was Hyrule's hero, fated to rid the land of evil... That included Ganon's minions, all of them. But that one had been unharmed and, in a manner, it had bargained for its life as any hylian would in similar circumstances. 

If he had killed it, how would he have been better than the monsters? 

But now there were those fish. Had the bokoblin followed him? Was this a warning of sorts? Was it a present, new thanks for having spared it? Or something else entirely, unrelated to the creature save for the fact he knew he should have killed it, mercy be damned. He hadn't been revived to be kind. 

A rustle behind him. Link reached for his sword and swung it toward the noise. 

The bokoblin that has sneaked up on him stared blankly at the blade. Its arms were full of apples, as well as a comb of honey. On its hands were the marks of bee stings. But bokoblins were scared of bees, Link had already discovered that. Used it to his advantage, even. 

Carefully, the creature put down the fruit and the honey on the floor. It took a few steps back before looking at Link expectantly. When a few seconds passed and the hylian didn't move, the monster pointed at the food with an encouraging little chirp and an expression that could almost pass for a smile. 

Another present, Link realised. And it was the same bokoblin as the day before because it had the same bruise on its ankle. But why? He had murdered the rest of the pack, had spared that one only on a whim. Why was it giving him presents? To appease him? To try and poison him? The first fish he'd eaten without ill effects, but those new ones...

Looking concerned now, the monster approached the fruit and grabbed an apple, made it roll on the floor towards Link's boots. It chirped again, a little unsure now.

It didn't have a weapon, and with an injured leg it would be an easy kill. One less monster in the world.

One more monster in the world if Link was willing to kill a creature this defenceless.

Left hand still gripping his sword, Link knelt and picked up the apple. Standing up again he inspected it, bringing it to his nose. It didn't smell of anything unusual.

He bit into it.

The taste was sweet and it crunched under his teeth. It was a very good apple. A few feet away, the bokoblin chirped and smiled again, flapping its hands as if it were trying to contain a little dance. Link took another bite. The monster looked almost sweet, being this happy its gift had been accepted.

After a few more little chirps and a lot of pointing at the fish and the pile of fruit, the bokoblin backed away slowly. When it reached what must have felt like a safe distance between them, it ran away.

Link finished the apple and went to pick another one. It was a pleasant breakfast. What he didn't eat he carefully packed away for later. It would come in handy, though he wasn't sure how to feel about being grateful towards a monster.

Chapter Text

The stable wasn't far. If Link pushed a little, he could have reached it by nightfall, but...

He looked around. No sign of the bokoblin that had been following him for days now, but that didn't mean it wasn't there. It was good at hiding, only coming to him when it had new gifts to offer. Usually that happened at night when Link was setting up a camp, and again in the morning when he was waking up. The presents were rarely anything big, just food or arrows, but there was always something.

He glanced at the stable again. If he stayed there for the night, would the creature try to come and make its usual offering at the risk of being killed? Or would it have the good senses to stay away until it was safer to come again?

He should not have cared about the safety of a monster. He should have killed it that first time, when it was offering the fish. He had killed others since, and he knew his bokoblin must have smelled the blood on him... And yet it had still brought him fish.

None of the other bokoblins had ever begged for their lives.

Another look at the stable, and Link made his decision. He sat down in the grass, sword and shield at his side. The creature had never given any signs it might attack him, but he couldn't get careless.

He didn't have to wait for long before the bokoblin joined him. This time it had managed to hunt a small pheasant and was still plucking its feathers, chirping cheerfully as it showed Link its newest offering. An impressive catch, considering it still had a slight limp.

The bird got placed on the floor a little away from Link, as always. The distance was a little less each time. Link should have worried the creature was desensitising him to its presence to better attack someday, but in truth it just felt like the monster was trying to tame him as one did a wild animal.

With a sign, Link thanked the bokoblin. He didn't think the creature realised that his gestures had a meaning, but he tried anyway. The creature chirped, as if it had understood, but in fairness it just chirped a lot anyway.

Glad as he was for the bird, Link did not want to lose time. Looking directly at the monster he tapped his own chest, then pointed at the stable in the distance. The bokoblin tilted its head. A few times Link repeated the same gestures, until something changed in the creature’s expression. It pointed at the stable and snarled. It did not like the stable. It did not need to. Link pointed at the creature, at the stable, and crossed his arms on his chest while shaking his head. The bokoblin replied to that with an indignant growl, and Link wondered if it, too, was trying to speak with him. He’d never taken a moment to ask himself if they had a language, but since they were always in group it would have made sense.

He couldn’t be thinking about that. It would make them too hard to kill.

The monster growled again, pointing at the stable. It then pointed at itself and, mirroring Link, crossed its arms and shook its head.

In spite of himself, Link felt a smile forming on his lips. He could not allow that creature to follow him much longer, but it was... somewhat nice to know they could communicate.


 

The leader had gone into the heart of danger and he had ordered her to stay away. She was glad to have been given an order, even if it caused her unease to know he was alone in that terrible place. It was hard to remind herself for him it wasn’t as dangerous as it would have been for her. The leader was of the same kind as Those Who Live With Horses, they would not attack him. She wondered if he would make her follow him into that place, once he accepted her as a bandmate. It would be scary. She hoped not.

But first she needed to be accepted. So far, she had not done well enough to be granted that, although she had not been rejected either. The leader had taken all her gifts, and he’d tolerated her efforts to come closer and closer. But he hadn’t beckoned her close enough to wrestle her into submission (or just touch her since she was in no way a threat), he hadn’t marked her with his scent... But he was very strong and perhaps she just hadn’t proved herself enough. She needed to bring a better gift, something to convince him she would be good in his band.

She needed to gift him a weapon.

The best place to get a good weapon, she knew, was from another band. Anything she would make herself out of wood and bone would be unworthy of a leader. A band leader used metal. So she would have to steal from another band leader, and give it to her own. A bold, dangerous move. She might be killed. She might be forced to join whatever band she tried to sneak upon, and be again at the bottom of the pecking order. She might just fail, and end up without any present to give in the morning. It would be terribly shameful and he was likely to reject her if she came empty handed.

It was not hard to spot another band. There were always one or two around a Horse Place, since those attracted travellers. She was lucky to find one very bad band, only four and none of them keeping watch at all. Their leader was a silver though, and that worried her a little. Nobody wanted to cross a silver, least of all herself who was so red she could have been orange. But there, against a log, she could see their weapons. One was a fine looking sword, hardly any rust or dents on it. A fine weapon for her leader.

It almost went well. She had managed to come so close to the pretty sword, her fingers nearly touching it when the strident cry of a keese woke up the band. They saw her and she felt deep in her bones they could kill her if given the chance. She grabbed the sword and with her eyes closed she started swinging it around, a chill going through her spine every time she hit something solid and her a scream. When she opened her eyes again, the silver leader was on the ground, a large gash on her chest.

She almost dropped the sword as she ran away. She had killed the silver leader. She felt fear and horror and strength . She had killed a silver . Her leader would see the blood on her, would see the weapon she was bringing, and he’d accept her.

She ran and ran until she was close enough to the Horse Place her Leader couldn’t leave without her knowledge. Sitting in the grass, her precious gift held tight against her chest, she waited for dawn.

When she presented him with the sword, the leader let out a cry of surprise. It was the first sound she heard him make. He was a strong leader, very quiet, but she had surprised him out of it. And now for sure he would accept her. He had to accept her. She didn’t know what more she could do .

He took the sword, swung it a few time to test it, a smile appearing on his face. It was a better sword than the one he had been using until then. The leader turned to her, still smiling. He brought one hand to his lips and moved it down. It had to mean something, she guessed. The leader liked using his hands rather than his voice, and it was something she would need to learn if he accepted her.

Putting down the sword, the leader looked at her, frowning. He pointed at her, motioning at the blood on her before touching two of his fingers in a jabbing them together while making a sad pout.

“Not my blood,” she claimed. “I killed the silver!” she added proudly.

But her boast was ineffective and the leader only tilted his head in confusion, still not understanding her words. It didn’t matter though because he smiled again, and patted her head.

She almost cried. The leader had touched her. He accepted her present, he accepted her.

Neither of them was alone anymore.

Chapter Text

The clothes were different from anything she’d worn before. They covered a lot of skin, but she didn’t mind because while it was teetering on the verge of too warm, it gave her an impression of protection.

It also made her smell like the leader.

He hadn’t marked her in any of the usual ways, but perhaps that was how his kind did it. He was a different creature from herself.

He was also different from the other creatures like himself, she had noticed. The others spoke with their voices, much like she did, but her leader only moved his hands and people understood. Perhaps it was something leaders did among their kind. He also had an odd stone that he kept looking at. Sometimes when he was unsure where to go the leader looked at the stone, and then all his hesitations were gone. No one else seemed to have a magic stone like that or if they did, they kept it well hidden. Her leader was very odd and very strong and she was very proud to serve him.

She also liked the clothes but they really were difficult to move in at times. She couldn’t hunt easily with them and it was her duty to hunt for her leader. It’d be easier if she had a weapon, but the leader hadn’t given her one and she hadn’t had a chance to steal one somewhere yet.

The leader did have a second bow he wasn’t using though.

So that evening, as the leader was cooking (food! Delicious food with many flavours!) she approached him with her head low and her neck exposed in submission. He smiled and tried to make her taste the savoury smelling food, but she refused and instead pointed at the leader’s pile of belongings.

“I want a bow,” she asked, miming using one. “For hunting,” she added, pointing at the pan in his hand.

She dared a glance at his face. He wasn’t growling or baring his teeth, which was good. But he did tilt his head to the side, which he did when he didn’t understand something.

“Bow,” she repeated, making the same gesture a few time.

The leader frowned, then hummed. He put down the pan and went to forage through his things, pulling out the smaller bow he owned and showing it to her.

“Yes! Bow! For hunting!”

He smiled with teeth showing and beckoned her closer. Putting the bow down, he made the gesture of using one, his fingers placed a little differently than she’d done, then motioned for her to do the same. It wasn’t the best moment for an archery lesson, but she obeyed. He put his hands on her, correcting the movement she was making, then smiled when she managed to copy him exactly. He made the gesture again and pointed at the weapon on the floor. She smiled.

“Bow!” she exclaimed, making the sign again. He was teaching her the silent language! Perhaps he could also learn how to speak like her then? He was a very smart and kind leader, surely he could manage.

“Bow,” she repeated, pointing at it. “Bow.”

His smile fell, and he tapped two fingers to his throat before shaking his head. He would not speak to her, not with his voice. Well, it was his prerogative as a leader to do as he liked, so she just nodded. At least he was willing to show her the hand speak. But that would be later.

“Give me the bow?” she asked, making the sign again.

The leader took the bow and hesitated, looking at her intently. She made herself small, crouching down a little to emphasise she knew her place and wouldn’t turn the weapon against him. She was only a red anyway. Did he really think she’d try to take over? She had killed a silver for him, but that had been an accident and she would never have turned against her own leader. Not even the old one who had killed her a few times and mocked her for needing to be brought back every Blood Moon.

When he gave her the bow, she felt she had passed a test. Her leader trusted her, at least a little.

And she was going to thank him for it by bringing him an entire doe , she decided.

Chapter Text

Link was kneeling in front of the Goddess’s statue, the sunset light hitting him as he asked for the strength to accomplish all that was tasked with. The people of Kakariko were kind to him, but there was no ignoring their expectations. Unlike the hylians he’d met so far, the sheikah knew who he was, what he had to accomplish...

Agitation behind him tore him from his prayer. He saw one of lady Impa’s guards run past him with a spear, then stop when he noticed the hero.

“You must come, Master Link!” Cado shouted at him. “There’s a bokoblin trying to get inside the village!”

Link was on his feet and running before the sheikah had finished speaking. Curse that bokoblin! He had told it to stay away from the village! And yes, that had been three days ago, too long perhaps for the creature who became antsy when Link spent even one night in a stable... but it should have understood the danger of coming into a settlement!

At the village’s entrance, Link found a group of armed sheikahs, weapons drawn against Link’s bokoblin. There was no mistaking the creature, still wearing Link’s clothes, the only idea he’d had to hide its nature. And it should have alerted the sheikahs that the monster wasn’t aggressive. It was just sniffing the air and looking around, looking ready to run if things became heated. Couldn’t they see this was no ordinary monster?

One sheikah raised a spear, ready to throw it. Link forced his legs to faster, running until his lungs burned so he could push away the man and get between his monster and the sheikahs.

“Master Link, careful!”

Link spread his arms defensively, panting from the effort. Behind him the monster chirped, the sounds that he suspected were its name for him.

“Master Link, it will attack you!”

‘It won’t,’ Link protested, glancing behind. The bokoblin was smiling, clearly relieved to have found him again. ‘It’s my...' He hesitated. Friend? It seemed to strong a word perhaps, although at this point the creature definitely was the closest thing to a friend that he had. ‘It’s my companion. It travels with me. Do not harm it.’

“It’s a monster!” Cado shouted, looking at the bokoblin with disgusted. “We know you have forgotten much, Master Link, but surely you know they must all be destroyed!”

‘Others you’ll kill if you like. This one, over my dead body.’

Several of the sheikahs gasped, and Link spread his arms again to make his point. Where were the sheikahs when he’d been alone, when he’d been lonely? What hylians had offered him help without ever asking for anything in return, without judging his silence? His bokoblin had done all that and more, and he would not see it harmed, not even by supposed allies.

“You’re not in your right mind,” one sheikah grunted, loading an arrow on his bow and aiming it at the bokoblin. “You’ll thank us when you’re better.”

The bokoblin saw the arrow and cried in fear, hiding behind Link, pulling on his tunic as if to say they should leave.

‘If you kill my friend, I will kill you,’ he signed ragefully, then took a deep breath to calm himself. The sheikahs didn’t know. They couldn’t know. They’d had to survive a century in fear of monsters, he couldn’t expect them to see what he was seeing, not yet. ‘I will take it out of the village. Then I’ll come back for my things and we’ll leave. But do not kill my friend. It was just worried about me.’

“It’s a monster,” the sheikah insisted, but he lowered his bow. “This... it’s not right. It’s probably killed people, you know.”

And Link had killed many monsters, so it balanced out. Other bokoblins had been aggressive towards him, but they too had gone through a century of constant fights, just like the sheikahs.

‘It hasn’t hurt anyone while travelling with me. It helps me. Just let us leave and there won’t be any problems. Please.’

The sheikahs exchanged looks. They didn’t like this. Behind Link, the bokoblin was still insistently pulling on his tunic. It didn’t like this either. Nobody liked this. At least they could agree on that.

Cadotook a step forward and Link’s hand flew to his sword, ready to defend his bokoblin, but the sheikah raised his hands in a peace gesture.

“Wait here with your creature,” he suggested, “and I’ll go get your possessions for you at the inn. That way we don’t have to worry about that thing running around, and you don’t have to worry about us getting rid of it. How does that sound?”

It sounded like a good option, although Link was regretting having left his room in such a messy state. He hadn’t thought anyone would see it.

For the half hour that followed, Link stayed with his bokoblin. Some of the sheikahs stayed to keep an eye on the monster, but most of them went back to their daily business. The bokoblin relaxed a little and started chirping while making the sign for sorry. It knew it shouldn’t have come then, but Link couldn’t really be angry at it. At him? The bokoblin wasn’t just an animal, it was wrong to think of him as one. His... friend was a person, however different. Of course that meant the other bokoblins were too, and that was... harder to accept. He didn’t like the idea of having killed people , even if they too had tried to kill him.

A problem for later.

For the moment he thanked Cado when the man brought him his bundle, and with the bokoblin at his side, left the village. He’d have to be more careful next time, to better explain how long he needed to be gone, or find a way to bring the bokoblin into the next settlement he’d enter. But his friend would stay with him, one way or another.

Chapter Text

It had been a good day. They were heading north since they had left the village. The leader had been a little angry at her for that, but he had still protected her. He was a good leader and she was so glad to have found him. 

He wasn't good just to her. Lately, she had noticed he avoided fighting with monsters, unlike when she was just following him. Sometimes they made whole detours to avoid a hideout. She was glad of that because she couldn't have helped much in a fight, and even someone as strong as her leader might have had trouble if they met a silver. 

But that afternoon, they had found an empty camp, and the leader had decided to settle there for the night. She did not mind. The band that lived there had clearly been killed a while ago, and they shouldn't have a blood moon for another few days. They were never particularly regular of course, but she wasn't too worried. 

With the sun setting in the distance, the leader started cooking while she went to gather food in a nearby grove. It was a good place, she found apples and yummy roots and shot down a nice fat bird, though she missed a rabbit. She went a little far from the camp, but sometimes that just happened. 

She was trying to climb up a tree to steal some eggs when the light hit her. 

Bright, red light coming from the sky. 

She had seen traces of a moblin in that camp, and the leader was there alone. 

Dropping all she had gathered, she ran back to the camp. The moon hadn't yet taken effect but it would soon and they needed to leave and the leader was just. Staring up at the sky. His head cocked to the side. He looked curious. 

'Food?' he signed when he noticed her, as if her coming empty handed was the real problem there. 

'Danger!' she replied with shaky hands, then pointed up at the moon. "Danger!"

The leader frowned, his hands already moving to ask another question, but they had no time for that. She grabbed from the ground as many of their things as she could. Her hands full, all she could do to lead him to safety was to carefully bite into the long sleeve of his tunic and pull. At last he seemed to understand and followed her, still looking up at the moon every so often, as if he'd never seen it before. 

They reached the grove just as the blood moon's power unleashed. 

It was always terrifying to witness, this curse of the Master. It was worse to experience of course, as she knew well. Flesh and bones reconstructing themselves, the brutal return to consciousness... She'd always hated it. She really hoped to never go through it again. With the help of her leader... 

When she turned to look at him, the leader was shaking, staring as the moblin finished being reborn. His face had turned a different colour, pale and ashy, like she had seen some of his kind do before they died. Worried, she put on hand on his arm and he jumped away, looking at her with wide eyes. 

"It's just a blood moon," she said. He wouldn't understand, but maybe if she could sound calm enough... "It's like that sometimes. The Master brings us back to serve him." 

Well, he brought back those faithful to him. Anyone who had strayed from his dominion only returned partially, as a dead thing that only came out at night. She was almost sure that'd be her fate now if she died, because she was almost sure the leader was an enemy of the Master. 

'The moon helps the monsters?' he asked, looking up at the sky with eyes still wide in horror. The red light had faded at last, leaving a clear sky. 

She nodded. Didn't he know that already? Everyone knew about the blood moon, surely. It was rather hard to ignore. Of course, this was their first one together. There had been another, when she was only following him, but he had been underground in one of the smooth hideouts she couldn't enter. Maybe he'd been lucky and he'd never seen a blood moon before, and no one had told him about it? It would be odd, but... So many things about him were odd, anyway. 

'The moon helps you?' he asked, looking back down at her. 

She shrugged. It had helped her before. It might not help her again. She really didn't want to figure that out. It had been two blood moon where she hadn't needed to be brought back, and she hoped to keep the number rising. 

The leader considered that, his eyes drifting back to the newly revived monsters. They had found the belongings left behind and were sniffing the air, looking for the owner of the warm pan. They had a moblin, so it would be dangerous to stay so close.

'Let's go,' the leader said. 'Thank you. I didn't know.' 

It was so odd to not know about that and if she could, she would have asked so many questions... But not right then, because the leader still seemed shaken by this discovery. 

"It's okay," she said, patting his arm. "I'm here and I'll help you."

She took his hand and guided him through the grove, away from the camp. He was her leader, strong and fearsome, but that night she didn't mind being the one taking care of him.

Chapter Text

The bokoblin pointed at a fox, chirping excitedly and signing 'What's that?'

It had been less than a day since Link had managed to teach him the sentence, and he had mild regrets about it. His companion wanted the signs for absolutely everything around them, animals and trees and bugs. It was like having a curious toddler at his side. Not that Link minded that eagerness. If anything, it cemented in his mind that he'd made the right choice to keep the bokoblin around.

But really, couldn't they go five minutes without a new sign? It slowed their progress so much.

'Fox,' he still signed, making the sign for F at the level of his nose. The bokoblin repeated the sign with a proud grin, and Link couldn't help but smile too. At least his little friend was a fast learner.

Still when a few moments the bokoblin showed him a caterpillar, Link was stumped. He knew the spoken word for it, but the sign? He was tempted to call it a baby butterfly and be done with it, but that would have been dishonest. What was the sign for caterpillar? Had he forgotten it in the shrine of resurrection, or had he just never learned it in the first place?

The bokoblin was looking up at him, his round eyes curious but patient, willing to wait for an answer that wouldn't come because Link just didn't know. It felt like such a failure when he admitted that, but his friend only made a small noise of acceptance before throwing the caterpillar in his mouth and crunching on it. Link grimaced, but said nothing.

Moments later the bokoblin showed him a walnut, and this sign Link knew for sure because his mother used them when she cooked.

The memory petrified him for a second. A blonde woman with a kind smile. A warm kitchen. The smell of meat roasting. A walnut he'd stolen and bitten into. The woman grinned. Warned him to keep his appetite. Warm, loved, happy, gone.

Link took a deep breath. Stared at the walnut. The bokoblin touched his shoulder with a concerned noise, and Link forced himself to smile.

'I'm fine,' he signed. 'Walnut.' he added, slowly moving his hands so his friend could follow easily.

 


 

By nighttime the bokoblin had moved on to asking for abstract things, and Link was fast developing a headache trying to understand what his friend was miming. Did he want to know the word for dream or memory this time?

'Stop,' Link signed at last. 'Tired.'

He had expected some protests, but the bokoblin immediately stopped and went to clean their pan instead. He almost always obeyed orders actually, Link realised. Kakariko had been a very odd exception. He thought of the bokoblin as a friend, but was the opposite true? He knew nothing of how the monsters lived when they were not under attack. In fact he'd never really asked his friend about those things, for which he was a little ashamed. He didn't even know if his bokoblin had a name.

Well, that at least he could try to correct. He tapped the bokoblin's shoulder to get his attention.

'What's that?' he asked, pointing at the creature, hoping he'd understand.

But of course the bokoblin just tilted his head and chirped something Link always understood to mean "are you ok?".

'What's that?' Link insisted, tapping the creature's shoulder again.

The bokoblin let out another concerned noise but he put down the pan he was cleaning and dutifully signed 'bokoblin'.

Link huffed in frustration. He'd have to try something else then. He pointed at his chest, and signed 'hylian', then pointed again and signed his name. He pinched the thumb and index of both hands while keeping the other fingers open, and brought them together one above, one below, then separated them and shaped his right hand into the letter L.

Among the many things he'd lost in the shrine of resurrection was his old signed name, the one parents and friends might have picked for him. This one he'd chosen on his own and it fit him well enough for now. What was he but a ghost? None of the few people he'd shown it to had protested.

The bokoblin repeated the sign with some hesitation, as if he didn't understand what was taught to him there. Perhaps they didn't have names then? The biggest groups Link had seen never counted more than a dozen bokoblins, with the norm being closer to five or six. Maybe they could manage without names.

But he was hylian, and he needed a name for his friend. He needed something to introduce him as when they met other travellers, something to prove them his friend was truly a person and not just a mindless monster. It was something he should have taken time to think about to come up with something good. His friend deserved a good name. At the same time, Link needed that name now, because it suddenly felt so wrong to just call think of him as the bokoblin.

'Bokoblin,' he signed, pointing again at his friend, before spelling out 'B. O.'

With the same hesitancy as before, his friend repeated the new gestures, before tapping his chest.

Link smiled and nodded. His friend had a name now, and Link would be able to introduce him to other travellers, another way of showing them the bokoblin wasn't a danger to them.

Bo the bokoblin.

It wasn't the best name Link could have found, but he liked it anyway.

 

Chapter Text

Hiding behind her leader, she sniffed around nervously. There was only a smell of fear for now, but the leader was talking to the horse people to calm them. She didn't understand the words, but she recognised some of the signs he used, and she couldn't miss the anger in the horse people's tone. It scared her. She didn't want to be there. She had always been just fine waiting away from the horse houses when the leader needed to be there. She didn't mind that it was raining. She didn't mind eating something raw that night. She just didn't want to be there, in this place full of creatures who looked at her and wanted her dead. But the leader had insisted and insisted and she couldn't refuse an order

The leader put one hand on her shoulder and pushed her in front of him. She cried out, her whole body shaking like a leaf. Behind her she felt the leader make big, angry gestures at the horse people. The man in front of them shook his head. She heard the leader sigh. He grabbed his bag and rummelled through it until he found a big yellow rock that glistened in the light. He waved it in front of the horse people whose eyes followed the movement, then patted the bokoblin's shoulder. The horse people still smelled of fear and anger, but the stone fascinated them and they reluctantly took his deal. 

She wished they hadn't. 

The horse people still looked at her, as did their guests once the leader pushed her inside. It was a bad place, with only one exit, and there were many smell and all the people had weapons and... 

The leader knelt next to her, his hands on her shoulder to get his attention. 

'It's okay,' he signed. 'Safe. We sleep. We eat.' 

'Danger,' she retorted with shaky hands. 'Big danger for bokoblin.' 

The leader glanced around, and sighed. 

'Safe. I protect you. We are companions.' 

She wanted to plead and beg him to let her go outside, but she had already disrespected his authority enough. He had never been angry at her yet, but if she disregarded him in front of so many others he would be within his right to kill her. The leader's decision was law. 

She let him guide her to a big wooden thing with a lot of fabric on it. The leader sat on it with a pleased sigh and invited her to join him. She tried, but it was so soft and scary she almost fell on her back so she jumped down and sat on good solid floor. It made the leader laugh, but he did not order her to try again and she was grateful. She did not life the soft thing. 

The leader did like it though. He made a happy sound as he bounced a little on it, before taking a look around. She did the same. There were not too many people, which she thought was good, but there was one hylian man with a huge pack, sitting on the floor next to another bouncy wooden thing, counting rupees. When he looked up and saw the leader, the man smiled and waved his hand. The leader waved back, which the man took as an invitation to come join them. 

'How are you?' the hylian signed, his gestures as fluid as the leader's. 

'I'm fine. It's nice to see you.' 

The bokoblin watched carefully the conversation, only catching some of the signs. Sometimes the other hylian didn't know how to sign something so he switched to speaking for a few sentences. 

'Who is this?' the stranger asked, pointing at the bokoblin. 'You have a companion?' 

'Yes. This is...' and the leader made that new sign he used to talk about her sometimes. 

The stranger smiled and nodded, before holding out his hand to her. 

"Nice to meet you, Bo. My name is Beedle. I hope we can be friends too." 

The leader chuckled, and signed something too quickly for her to see. The other hylian nodded again. He pointef at himself: "Beedle" and then signed 'Nice to meet you. We become companions?' 

She turned to the leader, tilting her head in interrogation. Would this Beedle travel with them? She didn't mind being part of a bigger band, but the leader had never expressed interest in that before. 

The leader didn't notice her doubts, looking at Beedle with interest. He tapped the other hylians shoulder. 

'Can you say my name? I cannot teach it.' 

"Of course, my friend." Beedle looked at the bokoblin, and pointed at her leader. "Link." He pointed at her. "Bo." Then he pointed at himself. "Beedle." 

Her confusion only increased. She had heard other travellers use the word Link around her leader before. It might have been a title of sorts then. But Bo? Was that her title now? She had never been important enough to have a title, because that was only for leaders or for very strong warriors. She was neither of those things. She was the weakling who needed to be brought back every Blood Moon. Or she used to be, with her all old band. Things were different now. She hadn't died once with Link. She hadn't even been wounded. And their little band worked differently from the old one, so maybe now she was worthy of a title. 

She smiled at the two hylians. She was Bo! 

'My companion Bo,' the leader signed at her. No, not leader. Link! He was Link! And she was Bo! 

He terror of the horse place was almost gone by then, replaced by delight at the idea she was worthy of a title. She tried to say it, but the sound wasn't one her mouth could say. Most hylian words were like that. 

Beedle turned to Link to say something, with his voice rather than signs. One word came back a few times: Kilton.

'He's not dangerous?' Link asked, and relaxed when Beedle shook his head. 'Maybe. Where is he?' 

The conversation went on, and Bo lost interest. She couldn't understand most of the spoken language, nor did she know all the signs. It didn't matter, this seemed to be a leader's problem that didn't concern her. She was fine with just staying at Link' s side until he was done. She could be as patient as he needed her to be. 

Chapter Text

Bo froze on his tracks and sniffed around. Immediately Link's hand went to his sword, all too aware of the things that hid in the night. He preferred to avoid fighting if he didn't have too, but the undead creatures that roamed in the dark were harder to avoid than their living counterparts. 

'Smell,' Bo signed without looking at him. 'Good smell.' 

Link relaxed a little. A fellow traveler perhaps? Bo was a bit of a food lover when he had the chance, especially now that he'd been introduced to actual cooking, and it often distracted him. Still it was odd for anyone to be cooking there in the wild, when they were so close to Zora's Domain. Their prince had said it wouldn't be much further, so why would a traveler not make the extra effort for a chance to sleep in a bed? 

'Good smell,' Bo insisted, his signs a little sloppy, eyes fixed on a distant point. 

Link squinted, trying to catch a glimpse of a fire. There might have been some sort of light ahead, but it looked nothing like the twinkling of a fire. 

Not that it mattered much because after one last sniff, Bo darted ahead. 

If he could, Link would have shouted. 

Instead he ran after his friend, ran until his lungs were on fire. He'd never thought Bo could be so fast, even that day with the Blood Moon he hadn't run like that. And soon Link saw where they were going: there was a luminous display ahead, shining brightly in the darkness. Link picked up his pace, and got there at the same time as Bo. The bokoblin chirped excitedly at the large pile of glowing bags, until someone popped up from behind a small stall. 

Link nearly shouted at the sight of a disformed bokoblin head appearing right under his nose. The thing started chirping at Bo, the sounds clumsy and chopped, but Bo didn't appear to mind and chirped back, pointing at Link. 

The creature behind the booth pulled on its own ears, and his head came off to reveal a face Link hesitated to call hylian. 

"A customer!" The man exclaimed. "How wonderful! And a monster fan too, right? Tamed one and all!" 

It was the first time anyone reacted to Bo with anything other than horror or disgust. And with that face and that odd mask, Link could hazard a guess. 

'Are you Kilton?' 

"Oh, you have heard of me I see? Wonderful! Of course, I am a bit of an expert when it comes to all things monsters. I love monsters. I LOVE THEM!"

That last roar had both Link and Bo step back, but almost immediately Kilton was smiling again. 

"Forgive. Monsters are my passion, and I can get a little too enthusiastic. Especially around a fellow fan. It is rare these days to see anyone make the effort to tame a bokoblin. Not that there isn't much to learn from a dead one too, right? Ahah, they are fascinating little critters. Oh, but are you here to buy or sell? I should have asked first, I am sorry. Your little pet got me too excited, ahah!"

Link pinched his lips at hearing Bo called a pet. His friend was not an animal. Still, Beedle had advised him to seek out that Kilton if he could, describing him as a researcher of sort. And if he had managed to lure Bo to himself even from a distance, surely he had to know a thing or two. 

'What do you sell and buy?'

"Oh, I buy the obvious: monster remains. Anything you can pick up from their corpse, I'll gladly buy. It's the only way I can make what I see: monster masks."

'Masks?' Link asked, trying to pretend he hadn't heard the part about trading in body remains

"Yes, dear customer and fellow fan! Masks! I make masks of the most amazing quality that can fool monsters themselves and have them take you for one of their own! Didn't you see how eagerly your little pet was talking with me earlier? And its not just looks of course, the smell too fools them. I only sell bokoblin and lizalfos at present, but I am hard at work on a moblin model. I just need some more materials, ahah!"

That sounded interesting enough, except for that materials part. Even if he hadn't been so conflicted about killing monsters, the idea of foraging their remains for usable parts was unsavoury. And yet a way to avoid lizalfos at least would have been useful with how hard they were hard to spot sometimes.

Link looked down at Bo. How angry would he be if Link started killing creatures that once might have been his allies? Not that Bo had been listening. He still was staring at Kilton with empty eyes, entranced by whatever the odd little man had used to lure them in. Link didn't like to see his friend like this. 

"Do you mind if I have a few words with your pet while you decide?" Kilton asked, smiling with an air of gluttony that had Link shivering in disgust. "Tamed ones are always easier to talk to." 

Against his best judgement, Link nodded. Beedle had said that Kilton wasn't dangerous, though very odd. If Beedle, who travelled so much and met so many people, thought him trustworthy, it had to mean something, didn't it? 

As soon as he had permission, Kilton started chirping and growling at Bo who replied with clear enthusiasm, as if happy to speak a language he was comfortable with. It made Link feel guilty, as if it were his fault he couldn't speak with his voice. He would have learned Bo's language if he could have. He already did understand a few words here and there, he tried. Something told him he used to feel that way around his own kind too, before he had learned to accept the way he was, before he'd made friends who didn't mind. Bo had always been so eager to learn signs, surely he didn't mind either? 

"It says you're a good leader," Kilton explained after a while, "and you've never hit it. You could, of course. Reds are used to it, you don't have to be nice." 

'I'm his friend, not his leader,' Link corrected, horrified that the man spoke so casually of hitting Bo. 

"Oh, you can't be friend with a red," Kilton sniggered. "They're dumb as rocks, only good for taking orders. It will kill for its leader though, or be killed for it. I've seen one try to take on a guardian to let a silver escape. Gruesome, very gruesome. Hardly anything left of it after, but the others got away and it was just a red. Back at the next Blood Moon and ready to die again."

'Bo is my friend!' Link insisted. 'I wouldn't let him die!' 

The very thought made him sick. Bo, soft and curious, thrown against a guardian... 

Feeling his distress, Bo took his hand and looked up at him, chirping something comforting.

With a cruel smile, Kilton said something in the bokoblin's speech. Bo froze for a second, looking up at Link with an intense expression before nodding and growling. Kilton laughed. 

"I told it that you might need it to sacrifice itself to protect you in Zorana. Care to hear its answer? Ah, reds. Dumb but so loyal..." 

Link glared at the man for daring to lie to Bo, but Kilton seemed unbothered. 

'Not buying from you,' Link signed furiously. 

Kilton chuckled. "Not today maybe. But you'll be back. When your red is dead and you need to tame a new one, you'll be back, like the others before you. Just don't forget to grab some of its remains. I need it for research, and I might make you a price." 

Gritting his teeth, Link tightened his hand around Bo's and pulled, taking his friend as far away as possible from that man. He could hear the bokoblin protest, perhaps still entranced by that smell that had led them to Kilton, but Link did not let go, did not slow until he could no longer see that cursed shop. 

'Are you okay?' Bo asked when they finally stopped, chirping the question at the same time he signed it. 

'You are not allowed to die,' Link ordered, still sick at the thought. 'We are friends and you're not allowed to die. I'll protect you. I have lost so many people, I'm not losing you too. Do you understand?' 

Bo tilted his head, glancing toward the direction they'd met Kilton. 

'Bad man says bad things,' he signed. 'He says I must die for you.' 

'No. You cannot die.' 

'I die for you if I need,' Bo protested, far too calmly. 'But I prefer to live. Life is good with you.' 

It was not the answer Link wanted, not by far, but it was still better than what Kilton had been hinting at. Bo wasn't going to blindly risk his life for him. Link just needed to be careful. 

He couldn't lose another friend. 

Chapter Text

The boarding platform rose again, taking the hero with it.

"I believe in you!" Sidon shouted one last time. "I know you can do this!"

Vah Ruta resumed moving and Sidon quickly swam away in spite of his worry for his new friend. Even if its defence system had deactivated, the Divine Beast was still dangerous. Swimming toward the platform, Sidon noticed that Link's odd little friend was getting extremely agitated, jumping along the edge and crying out in anguish. When he saw the bokoblin get ready to jump Sidon sped up, luckily grabbing the creature just as it was about to hit the water.

"A dangerous game to play, little one," he scolded it, but Bo fought against his grip until he put it back on the platform.

The bokoblin snarled at him for that, shouting angry growls and making wild gestures that seemed to mostly consist of the signs for danger and Link's name.

"I can imagine you are worried for your friend," Sidon agreed calmly. "But do you really think drowning will help him?"

The bokoblin roared, pointing at the Divine Beast before trying to jump again. Without leaving the water, Sidon grabbed it by the shoulder to keep it on the ground, grasp just tight enough to make it clear he would not let go. The creature looked tiny with Sidon's huge hands almost completely wrapped around its torso, but that didn't stop it from thrashing and trying to bite.

"You are a good and faithful friend," Sidon noted though he was unsure how much of the common language the creature understood. "But I don't think Link would want harm to come to you."

Hearing Link's name had a soothing effect on the creature. It stopped growling to instead chirp softly, its eyes still on the Divine Beast. Whatever doubt Sidon still had about his new friend's little companion, there was no denying Bo's dedication.

Bo chirped in his arms. In the distance, Vah Ruta's trunk moved up, and Sidon felt his heart freeze at the thought the rain were starting again. It had started like that, the Divine Beast raising its trunk, endless waters pouring down on them, threatening their lands. But if the rains started again it had to mean Link had failed, that he had died and so soon after entering the Beast too.

Another chirping sound brought him back to the moment. Bo too had noticed that movement, but was more intrigued than scared. To Sidon's relief there was no rain, only water being poured inside the Beast. It had never done that before, as far as he remembered. A reaction to something Link was doing then.

Letting go of the bokoblin for a moment, Sidon rose out of the water and sat on the edge of the platform. He immediately grabbed Bo's shoulder again in case the creature started panicking once more.

"Let's wait for him together, shall we?" he suggested. "We will give him a hero's welcome when he returns."

Bo chirped something, still sounding concerned, but it followed his example and sat at his side.

The wait began.