Hero Issues with Instantaneous Puberty
Gasping for breath, Link heaved himself back onto shore beneath the shade of a thick, dead tree. He could hear Navi's insistent inquires to his well-being. Her fluttering sent the tiniest of breezes across his wet neck, and he shivered.
Water Temple. He hated the Water Temple.
"We have to go back! Ruto is waiting for us!"
"I just about drowned!" he wheezed, "Din, Navi, leave me alone."
"Don't you swear like that! The Deku Tree taught you better!"
"The Deku Tree didn't teach me enough." he groaned as he pushed himself back to his hands and knees. He coughed, trying to get the last of the water from his lungs and burning nose. Long blond hair dripped past his face. This sucked. This all royally sucked.
The fairy, however, vibrated in both confusion and frustration above him.
"What do you mean he didn't teach you enough? I'm sorry, but I don't even think the Deku Tree knows how to breathe underwater. If you can't use that Zora's tunic correctly that's your own darn fault for not asking for directions before running out of their like a…like a…"
"That's not what I mean."
"Then what do you mean?"
He could feel his face already begin to heat up. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Link, you know what I said about closure. You need to talk about things that—"
"Not these things!"
"They're...oh goddesses, Navi, just leave me alone." he waved her away from hovering over his head. She sighed.
"I worry about you." she said.
He ignored her and set to drying out the Master Sword, though he was pretty certain the bane of all evil wouldn't be destroyed by something as little as rust. He dropped the magic pack he used to hold all his supplies and squeezed the water from his hat. Yes. He couldn't tell Navi. She was a girl after all. But even if he went back in time to the Kokiri Forest, none of his male friends would be able to help him either. They, after all, didn't grow up. Maybe Hylians just grew up to be creepy hairy mutants. If that were the case, he wished he had had a choice in the matter of whether he wanted to be Hylian or Kokiri.
But what if something was wrong with him? He didn't feel sick, though back there, in the temple—
Bubbles started rising to the surface. No sooner had he spotted them when the last person he wanted to see popped up from the surface of the water with big, shining eyes awash with dismay.
He instantly tensed and prayed fervently that she stayed in the water.
"Link, are you okay? You were looking really flushed back there. All you had to do was hit those spiked balls with your hook shot and they would have closed right back up."
"I-I just, um, needed some air. This tunic is rather weird for me."
"Would you like me to help you practice breathing underwater?" a small smile came to her face.
That tiny smile made him panic. "No! No, I'm fine. I got it under control—really."
"Are you sure?"
"I promise on my pinky toe. I'll be back down in a minute."
She looked hesitant, but nodded. "All right, dear. I'll try to find more keys, okay?"
He gulped. He could almost see her curves under the water. Why wouldn't she just leave. "Okay. Thanks. I'll be back in a minute."
And to his endless relief, princess Ruto sunk back down into the water.
Navi was watching him carefully.
"What was all that about?" she chirped.
"Do you mind?" he asked, quickly checking between his legs to make sure he hadn't…malfunctioned. He didn't like Ruto. She wasn't good for him. Sure she had become a lot nicer than when she was a kid, but she was too sweet on him. What ever happened to the cootie rule? And for some reason seeing a woman, all grown up—Impa had been weird enough to see, let alone all the other grownups of castle town—was…weird. Why did women get those lumps on their chests? And why did their hips get all wide and round, and why did a lot get those curvy waists and…
Oh, Din, Farore, Nayru, and for the love of all that was holy, what was wrong with him? Why were things so weird for him? It made him want to cry. He didn't think his body could change so much with growing big. He didn't think it would be like this at all—for he felt like he had turned into a bear. There was hair all over him and growing in creepy places, and the place where he kept his secret parts that proved to the world that he was a boy had turned all…weird. He hardly recognized it anymore. And then it started morphing at odd moments and when he looked at the wrong places on Ruto, just wondering why they were there-
He buried his face into his hands. He didn't even know how adults were suppose to act, and that's what he had turned into. But it felt like last week he had been ten. He still felt ten.
He took a deep, shaking breath.
"I wanna go home." he whined.
Navi gave a huff. "You're grown up now, Link. You can't run back home whenever you have a problem."
"But I want to be with Saria. I miss her, and I feel awful. Please, Navi, just let me go home without a fuss."
"Why can't you just tell me what's wrong?"
"I just can't."
"Well, Ruto's waiting for you anyways."
"I'll be traveling in time, Navi. I'll be there and back before she even knows it."
Navi shook her blue ball of a body, giving off an aggravated jangle. "Fine! But one day you're going to have to grow up, Link. You have a world to save."
"Please, don't remind me."
Still trying not to cry, he took out his ocarina from the small, magic pouch and made sure all his things were tied onto him and secure. He knew Navi was watching him with pursed lips—if fairies had lips, that is. He did his best to ignore her as he put the flute to his mouth and played the song he knew would take him to the Temple of Time.
When the song ended, he opened his eyes to the grim, stone walls of the temple. Grey light poured in from the tall windows on either side. As he made his way up the long red carpet and into the room of the pedestal, he remembered when that strange man, Sheik, had been there waiting for him when he had woken up from his seven year sleep. He wondered about him now.
Then, it suddenly hit him. Sheik was his friend, right? And he was a guy. Surely he could answer his questions even if they were…awkward. But they were both guys, so he suppose it wouldn't be so bad.
"Hey, Navi," he looked around the pedestal room as thought waiting to see him. "Where do you suppose I could find Sheik?"
Navi jingled. "Why are you asking me? Where was the last place you saw him?"
"In the Ice Cavern, I guess…"
"You're not thinking of hunting him down, are you? Ugh, Link, we don't have forever! Ruto is going to start wondering where you are soon!"
"I know! I know! I just…I just can't face her. Not yet."
"Not yet? By the Great Deku, why not?"
"I already said I can't tell you!"
A tinkling of a familiar song on a harp caught his attention. Link turned, hoping it was who he thought it was.
And yes, glorious yes! Walking towards them, with his one cherry red eye poking out from underneath his bangs, was Sheik. Navi tinkled in frustration once more.
"Sheik!" Link cried.
The lone red eye gave him a confused look. "You were looking for me?"
"Oh, yeah! What great luck to find you here!"
Sheik cocked his head to the side, keeping his distance as usual. Link knew better than to try and draw closer to him. Each time the young man would flee. But Link knew answers were at hand, even though he could feel heat crawling up his skin.
"Is that why you left the Water Temple?" he asked.
"You were watching me?"
"More like watching over both of you. I figured it would be good to keep out of the way in case you two needed me. I'm not the best at hand to hand combat, but I am decent enough at disappearing when need be."
"Well…I guess, you could say that. I was actually going to go home because of some…things…" Oh yeah, now his face was hot.
Navi was making all sort of exasperated puffs now. "Mister Sheik, the boy refuses to talk to me about them. If you could please clear his mind so we can go back to work, that would be just great."
"I will…do the best I can." he said, obviously confused. "My purpose, though, was to redirect you back to the Water Temple."
"I know, and I'll go back, promise. It's just, um…you're a guy, right?"
Sheik raised an eyebrow. Link smacked his forehead.
"I mean of course, you're a guy. Um…" he suddenly became hyperaware of Navi bouncing next to his shoulder, no doubt listening very carefully. "Navi, could you, um…go outside for a minute?"
"Just outside the temple, for a minute. I really, really don't want you to hear all this."
"Goodness, Link, what has gotten into you?"
"Just do it! Please? For me? Think of it as doing what the Deku Tree asked and taking care of me. I can't go back to the Water Temple until I ask these questions."
The fairy hesitated. "Okay…I guess."
Sheik suddenly spoke up, "Be aware, hero, that I may not be able to answer your questions. There are some things you are going to have to wait to learn."
His heart stuttered for a bit, but certainly asking a man-to-man question wouldn't be too much, would it?
"Come out when you're done." sighed the fairy as she despondently floated out of the pedestal room and into the rest of the temple. Link watched until she was outside of the temple before turning his attention back to Sheik, who was watching him carefully. The young hero suddenly felt all sorts of levels of awkward. He suddenly wondered if there was anyone else he could ask rather than the stoic, unreadable Sheikah. Darunia? But he was a Goron and probably wouldn't know about Hylian stuff. Malon's father? Oh, gosh, he felt like running just thinking about it. Anyone else male on the list he'd rather kill himself than ask. At least with Sheik's stoniness he wouldn't freak out or act all weird to his questions. He probably knew all the diseases that came with growing up and would just tell him the way to get rid of it and be on his merry way.
Link took a deep breath. Sheik did not rush him, but stayed put, arms folded.
"Um…oh Din, this is going to sound weird."
Sheik blinked his single, revealed eye at him.
"Um, okay. Gosh, where do I start?"
"May I ask the nature of what is bothering you hero? And perhaps why you are uncomfortable with your fairy companion listening?"
"Well, Navi's a girl, you see, and what I wanted to ask about had to do with…well, boy stuff."
He thought he saw something shift in Sheik's expression, but only seeing a quarter of the man's face, he couldn't tell. So he took a deep breath.
"I…I think there's something wrong with me."
"Are you feeling unwell?" said Sheik flatly.
"Well, yes and…no."
"Well, I don't feel like I usually do when I'm sick. I can still run as much as I need to and fight monsters and all that. But sometimes, well..." and too afraid to approach that area yet, he blurted out, "Do you have hair all over your body?"
Sheik flinched. "What?"
"Hair. Like a bear. All over your body. Especially under your arms and…down here." He pointed.
The Sheikah dropped his head back and put a hand to his face. Link fidgeted uncomfortably.
"I should have foreseen this…" he heard him mutter.
"And does your, you know…" he had to be brave. He would never overcome this obstacle and save the world if he didn't say it. He began to point back between his legs, mouth open, face red, when Sheik put up a hand and he quickly shut his mouth with a snap. Did Sheik already know what was wrong?
And then Link saw the strangest thing.
All of the quarter of Sheik's face was as bright red as his cherry iris.
"Stop." he said sharply. "Just, stop."
"But there's something wrong with me," he protested, and he felt his ten year old self squirming inside of him. "It gets all hard and long for no reason I can think of—and around Ruto it does it for no reason, and she has these—I think it's possessed or worse—"
Link did, though he was in a world of humiliation. He shouldn't have asked Sheik. He shouldn't. Now he was freaking out on him and Link sounded like a complete loser and little child when he was suppose to be the hero—and now Navi would laugh at him until the sun didn't shine anymore.
What little showed of Sheik's face was still bright red.
"There's nothing wrong with you." he said calmly. "I should have known, being raised by the Kokiri who never grow up and who are born from the seeds of the Great Deku tree, that you wouldn't know the changes that come with growing up."
Link gaped at him. "You mean this is normal?!"
"Everything you are experiencing with your new body is normal."
The hero goggled at him. Then he exploded with the biggest question of them all.
Sheik groaned again. "Oh, goddesses…"
"What? Is there something wrong?"
"Just, sit down, will you? I have to explain some things to you. Very important things."
Link plopped down, hugging in his knees to his chest. Realizing the childishness of the move he flinched back into a more manly position, with his hands behind him. Sheik watched him, arms folded once more across his chest.
"Okay, for firsts, Hylians don't come out of tree seeds—or anything else plant-like for that matter."
Link blinked. "Wow, I…never thought to wonder where Hylians came from. They don't come from trees?"
"Huh. Where do they come from then? And, uh, what does it have to do with all this?"
Twenty minutes later (Ruto was defiantly going to be wondering about him now), he walked out of the Temple of Time a different man. A scarred, traumatized man. Sheik followed after him at a distance, hand once more to his blushing face.
"Navi?" he squeaked.
"Link! Link, are you all right? What's wrong?"
He opened his mouth to explain, but then was at a loss of what to say. Biting his lip and pulling on his fingers, he turned back to Sheik.
"Can…can I solve the Water Temple on my own?"
Sheik started. "What?"
"I…I don't like Ruto enough for…that stuff, you know, and I'd really appreciate it if she'd wear clothes or…something, and I can't concentrate with her around, I'm going to die if I keep—oh Din, do I really have to grow up? Can't I do all this as a kid?"
The man gave him a dead panned look. "You've got to be kidding me."
Link dropped his hands and scowled. "Fine, I'll beat the stupid temple with her. I'm not afraid of her…really…" he hesitated. "I won't lose control of my body—"
"Goddesses, no, Link! Stop your willy wobbling and go back to the Water Temple all ready." the Sheik said levelly, but it was the closest thing to a harsh snap Link had received yet. He flinched.
"R-right, got yah." he fumbled with his ocarina. "And, uh, Sheik?"
"Yes?" he grumbled.
"Thanks. Really. I'm sorry for all the trouble I caused. That was obviously uncomfortable for you."
"What was?" chirped Navi.
Sheik gave him a strange look. Then, Link caught the crinkling of the corner of his one eye as he smiled beneath his cowl.
"Your welcome, Link. Anytime."
Link nodded gratefully, put the ocarina to his mouth, and played the song of friendship, peace, and the illusion of waters. The last thing he heard before the vision of Sheik and the temple washed away was Navi begging to know what was going on.
Several temples and some growing up later, Link would come to learn he could never be able to face Zelda with dignity again.