Link and Vaati looked at their list of what seems to be necessities as they carried many plastic bags with both their arms and hands. The blonde checked his list and looked up and down to ensure that he didn't miss anything.
Link smiled and nodded, "Looks like that's everything on our list. We got a present for Grandpa, for Ezlo..."
"For everyone!" smiled Vaati. "Thank goodness we're done! I was getting haggard thanks to all this... rush! Do you Hyruleans always do this?"
"Every year." smiled Link.
"I am amazed."
The mall they were in was most fancied by teenagers and some other rich-looking people, judging by their choice of clothes. Others, however, were also showing their new clothes off... a thing to be expected in malls.
They looked around... it was packed with people! Usually, it was not this packed... this time around, the mall had fifty percent more people in it! And just by looking outside the mall windows, one could see that there were a lot of people crossing the streets of the mall circle. There were a lot of stalls and malls aligned so that they formed a shopping center.
The said mall was the one with the train station in its third floor; one of which they took to go to Link's school. It was an urban train open for the public, and was very convenient for all the Hyruleans.
"I never knew that it was this tedious in your world..." giggled Vaati, who had lived all his life in the suburbs.
"Well, that's why I'm introducing it to you." chuckled Link. "But I really hope that you're okay with this. Are you tired?"
"No... not really..." the Hylian-Minish replied, but it was evident that he was looking for a nearby chair.
Now Vaati had been a bit accustomed to the malls of the Hylians, and so he looked around in the department store for the shoe section which he knew had stools to sit on in case the customers wanted to try out the footwear. The department store that they looked in seemed like it was for posher people with refined tastes, something like the upper average class, and so Vaati tried to act a bit more refined and posher than usual, though he's not so good with it.
Vaati could only let out such a relieved reaction as he finally sat down on a cozy stool just near the toy section. Link could only laugh at such a reaction that his friend made and sat down beside him.
"You know... this is the first time I went on my own to do my own Christmas shopping." Link said as he settled his shopped items on the floor just in front of him.
"Really...?" said Vaati looking back at him, tad surprised. "But you seemed so cool with it."
"Well, yeah..." the blond shrugged his shoulders. "But this is the only time I got to save up so much money that I finally got to shop on my own to help Grandpa. Hey, don't tell him that I got him something in this shopping session though."
"I promise I won't." smiled Vaati sweetly.
Link let go of some of the plastic bags and handed them over to Vaati. He reached out for his phone in his pocket and answered a call. It had been vibrating.
The blonde turned away as he talked with the other person on the line, although the lavender-haired young Minish could still hear their conversation somehow.
"What? We're still here in Grandeway, we're waiting for you. YOU'RE STILL IN SM? That mall's kinda far from where we are, why don't you just come here once you're done shopping?"
He could see that Link just scratched his head and let out a frustrated sigh.
"Fine, fine. We'll come for you there." he said then kept his phone.
"Who was it?"
"I knew it."
Link looked at Vaati who still sat on the stool, making himself comfortable after a tiring shopping session around the mall.
"You still have the strength to walk?" he asked worriedly. "We need to go to that other mall. They're there waiting for us."
"Well..." Vaati stood up and shook his ankles a bit. "I'm a bit better now... my shoes are relatively comfortable, after all."
"Alright then. Come on, let's take the electric car downstairs. They can wait."
Now they had to go downstairs with the help of the escalators and went out of the mall's exits. Just by one of the exits of the mall that they took had a waiting station for the free shuttle service the mall center provided.
Luckily for them, not much people were in line... and even more luckily, they had purchased some items from the said mall and so they took the priority lane which was offered to the mall's purchasers for that day. The priority lane allowed them to get seats in the shuttle that held 17 passengers in it, before the ones who were not queued in the said lane.
Not long after, they arrived at the other mall the shuttle stops at. The shuttle only stops at two certain malls; and one of them was the one that they just shopped in earlier. They took a look around and decided on which path to take.
"Alright, let's just cross the street here and take the escalators up to the toy section." said Link, looking at the mall across from where they currently are.
The mall where they were currently in was fairly subtle, but the other mall across them seemed like it was offered for everyone, especially the middle class... and that's where they were headed for. That was the main mall in the center, but nevertheless all the malls and grocery stores in the said center were equally helpful and enjoyable to be in.
They then crossed the street and went inside the mall after having their bags inspected, much like the bag inspection back in their train rides. They looked around... it was a different mall, alright; but it was just as packed as the other one they had been to.
"This looks a lot like a marketplace already..." said Link as he grabbed Vaati by the wrist. "We can't afford to lose each other in the crowd."
Vaati grabbed his share of the plastic bags and followed Link's directions through the crowd. He looked around and saw many other sections... the perfume section, the men's/women's wear sections, the accessories section, and many more.
The mall's layout was nonetheless fairly neat and wide enough for people to move about even in the holiday rush. It also had a modern feel and had a cool yet not chilling atmosphere, enough to comfort the rushing crowd. Although, one cannot deny that it was indeed tiring for them to see so many different people grabbing their own soon-to-be Christmas presents for their own loved ones.
Link attended to his friend's call and pulled him closer to him. He looked around again and decided to be more careful, since his friend was not exactly used to such a crowd as this. Honestly, he wasn't used to it either... especially without the supervision of his grandfather or his parents.
They finally made it to the escalator, where they could see the myriads of people walking about like tiny ants when viewed from above.
"About time you got here!"
"Sorry, we almost got ourselves squished back there!"
They finally met up with Dark who had been looking at the different items in the toys section. Just like the two beings of light, he wore casual clothing fit for mall strolling. Vaati had always been simplistic yet classy, Link had always been normally fashionable, and Dark had always been either spunky or classy with their choice of clothing.
It looked like Dark had been there for quite a while. He looked at a variety of toys ranging from flying helicopters, to speeding toy cars, to game consoles, to action figures, to girly action figures, to stuffed toys...
"Stuffed penguin?" Link looked at Dark questionably as he saw his friend hugging a stuffed penguin.
"Link! Link! Look at this!" Vaati cried as he looked around the place. He showed a particular stuffed toy...
"It... it is a strawberry." Link said as he saw his friend hugging it tightly.
"A scented strawberry! Mmmm!!!" he sniffed it as he hugged it.
"DARK LINK AREN'T WE ABOUT DONE HERE?!"
Dark, as well as his friends, turned around to who had called him...
"I WANT TO GO SHOPPING BUT NOT IN A PLACE LIKE THIS ITSSOCROWDEDICOULDJUST-"
"Butbutbut.... we have a LONG LIST HERE!" Dark said as he showed his own list.
"NO. NO MORE. I WANT TO GO HOME."
"BUT THEY'RE ALL CHECKED."
"Fuu-chan, you're embarrassing me." Dark said, hiding his face with the plastic bags the two shadows carried.
"EMBARRASSING YOU?! YOU?! You don't need me to embarrass yourself, you penguin hugger!" Gufuu shouted as he pushed a stuffed turtle at his friend's face.
"Well, you may be right... but I can say the same goes for you." Dark hid his face again and pointed at the crowd that looked at them as they had another petty quarrel. He then pointed at the shadow mage without sparing a glance.
"I DON'T KNOW THIS PERSON." he added as he slowly walked away.
"NEITHER DO I." said Gufuu as he slowly walked into the crowd. He then said in a raspy yet still fairly androgynous tone, "You didn't see anything..."
Vaati looked up at Link with worried eyes and shook his head. "Now what do we do?"
"What we do is... I find Gufuu, you get Dark's attention. Dark will never listen to me, but I'm pretty sure he'll never refuse you." Link said as he nodded to Vaati. He then went in the crowd to find his feisty friend.
"But...!" Vaati tried to call him, but to no avail. Link had already left. 'Gufuu would probably not listen to you either...'
"Dark...? Dark!" Vaati called out for him as he went through the toys department. "Ooh! A little cucco figurine... how cute! WHA- I mean... DARK! Where are you?"
He continued looking for him in a fairly crowded toy store, though he didn't find it too troublesome since he did love looking at all the Hylians' toys. He looked at some of the toys and found that some of them were very well-made; it was enough to make him proud as a Minish, since he knew that some of the finest toys there were made through the help of Minish like him who have settled in town... or as they now call it, a mini city.
He gave it a little thought... he couldn't find Dark anywhere in the toys section, so where could he have gone off to? He looked around again before leaving the toys department, but could not find the shadow hero in any nook or cranny of the place, and so he opted to leave. He looked again at the different departments...
'He's not in the toys department... maybe the shoes department? No, that would be impossible! This floor looks like it is mainly dedicated to women and children... and... travelers, as well. About the only place he'd hang out here is the toys department...'
He gave it some thought again. His eyes gleamed as he remembered that there was another floor above from where he is, and thought that he may just find his friend at last. From where he stood, he saw the appliance store just beside the Hylian culture's department and the home decorations department. The floor seemed to be full of home furniture and decorations alike, but that was none of his concern right now.
"He couldn't have gone that far!" said Link as he whispered under his breath while looking for his friend. 'Think, Link. Think. He's wearing a fluffy-collared coat, fairly high boots with fluffy trims, a bonnet with fluff... just look for a major fluffball in the crowd!'
After convincing himself of such thoughts, he settled in one place near the escalators and looked below as he rested for a while.
'But there IS no major fluffball here! Not in the shoes department nor in the clothes department... but wait, what if I...'
He then got an idea of looking back in the first floor to try his luck. Down there was the men's/women's wear departments, the make-up/perfume department, accessories department, the beauty and health department... he may just have a chance.
And so after taking the escalator, he first looked at the accessories department, but he had no luck. He had the silly notion of going to the make-up department, seeing how undeniably flamboyant his friend could be, but he wasn't there either. In the accessories department, he saw a person with a fluffy collar...
"Gufuu!" he said as he put his hand on the shoulder.
The person then turned around and looked at him. It seems like it had been an honest mistake, for it was a totally different person.
"I... I'm sorry, I thought you were my friend. Sorry..." he said with a sheepish smile on his way as he nervously walked away.
'You owe me a lot, Gufuu.' thought he as he went about the floor.
"How'd you know you'd find me here?"
"I just thought that you'd be here... you'd always look at the appliances and gadgets!"
Finally, the dark-haired hero was found by the lavender-haired mage. The place was not as crowded as the clothes or the toys section, since not many people look for gadgets that often. Especially in the Christmas rush, since people usually look for affordable yet presentable and practical gifts.
"You know me too well." chuckled Dark as he patted Vaati's head.
"Hmph." Vaati crossed his arms and pouted a bit. He didn't seem to like being patted on the head.
"Well, to tell the truth, we're done with our shopping. We just took long with certain gifts since they have to be ready for tonight. It's Christmas Eve."
"Yeah... tomorrow noon, I would have to go back home though... Master is expecting me..."
"I bet he is. As well as his... other apprentice." winked Dark as he put an arm around Vaati's shoulder.
"Yes, that too... I even got a gift for the both of them! B-but... it's not really much..."
The two of them went quiet after a while, not knowing what other things to say. Vaati looked up at Dark and asked him a question.
"What did you want for Christmas?"
Dark seemed to be kept in deep thought after that question. He looked at the gadgets blankly and let out a deep sigh as he let go of Vaati. He seemed to be a bit distressed...
"I bet it's that new camera, isn't it?" Vaati presumed that Dark wanted him to guess.
Dark seemed to be serious about this and so the Hylian-Minish opted to stay quiet and wait for him to answer.
"All I want is to see my parents again... this Christmas..."
Vaati was tad surprised to hear this, as he expected to hear his friend freak out over a new game he wanted to have, or maybe even a new gadget, if he was interested at the new innovations. Dark was definitely into gadgets, but he's a wise buyer who reviews his target merchandise thoroughly before purchasing them.
But this Dark before him right now... his wish seemed so... simple. So childlike. So innocent.
"I didn't meet them last Christmas thanks to their work..." Dark continued as he put his hand against the glass that served as a barrier to the camera he was looking at. "...but that meant extra salary for them and more gifts for me."
"So... weren't you happy you had a lot of gifts last year...?" Vaati asked, but he knew it was a stupid question that just suddenly slipped out.
"Vaati..." Dark turned to him with a wry smile and approached him. "... There is more to life than just these... material pleasures."
Vaati felt Dark's pain and so he patted him on the back. He looked up at him and nodded at him.
"I understand." he said, smiling at him sweetly. "We'll talk about this at home. We must meet with Link right away."
"Yeah. Thanks." Dark said, trying his best to smile. He got his phone and volunteered to call Link. But right before he did, he told Vaati a little tip. "You know, if you had always been wondering what Link always wanted, I'd say he wants the same thing."
"I... I see..."
"What the person hides in his heart... negative or positive, talents, thoughts, or hidden personalities... is hidden deep within his shadow."
The younger of the two was struck with realization as he found this true for him in a way. Gufuu was his own shadow, and he seemed to be so different with him, yet exactly the same in certain aspects.
"Hmmm...." Vaati seemed to be left in thought.
Vaati whispered something in Dark's ear and the dark-haired hero nodded as he smiled.
"... I understand." Dark smiled. "I always thought about that, and just now, I got you to confirm it."
Dark finally contacted his light self.
'The beauty and health department! Why didn't I think of that?!' Thank you, dark me!' thought Link after he kept his cellphone. He got the bag of a newly-purchased item the cashier handed over to him over the counter, from where he answered the call. He then rushed to an independent supplier in the mall and tried looking for the shadow Hylian-Minish in there.
He looked around, almost frantically, among the crowd and looked for him. He glinted at each of the faces he passed through...
"I thought you'd look for me here." he met a face just in front of him, pouting at him.
"GAH!" he was taken back for a while, but not long after did he regain his poise.
"Forgive me, but I needed a new shower cap to hold my hair in when giving myself a scrub, and some special relaxing tea that this stall offers. After all, a little tea is always fit for a young gentleman such as I."
'Young gentleman, my foot.' Link raised a brow at this as Gufuu flaunted his shopping bag containing the things he had just mentioned earlier. Before he knew it, he saw the said shopping bag smacking his face.
"Ow! What was that for?!"
"I didn't like that look on your face!"
The both of them pouted at each other for a while, before Link decided to give up pouting back at Gufuu.
"Well then, we must get going. Dark told me earlier that he would be waiting for us in the men's department." said the hero as he turned away.
"Yes. Of course."
The young shadow mage felt a gentle hand on his wrist as they went through the crowd. At first, he didn't want the blonde hero to touch him like that, but he soon gave in since the hero gave him a cold glare... one that he never expected from such a cordial soul.
As they went through the crowd, the two remained silent until one of them spoke up.
"Why didn't you want me to guide you out of the crowd?" asked Link as he didn't bother to look back at his friend.
"Well... I..." Gufuu was at loss for words for a while, but he soon answered his question. "You see, I don't exactly find it comfortable. You'll have to pardon me."
The hero was reminded of how his lavender-haired friend was uncomfortable with anyone touching him back then as well. It seemed that this was one of the traits he shared with his shadow. It was then that he felt that he understood Gufuu a bit more.
"I'm sorry too... I guess we just don't understand each other so much." Link said up front and didn't hesitate.
"I suppose so... and I apologise for that." Gufuu said without any sarcasm and full of sincerity. "I guess all we needed was to understand each other more, correct?"
"Yeah." Link nodded at this and smiled at him.
Gufuu smiled at him sweetly and allowed him to guide him through the crowd with no distractions. As they made their way through...
"I am willing to bet that you want to know what Vaati wants this Christmas, correct?" Gufuu said as the hero stopped to get a better hold of the bags.
"Well... yes." Link said, although he was not expecting an answer.
"I guess I'll tell you." Gufuu said as he helped Link handle them better. It was enough for the hero to be surprised. He looked at Link and gave a questioning face, but all the hero did in response was shake his head.
"G-go on." Link said as he finally got enough guts to speak.
"It's not complex really, as you may have expected from my charming, rustic light self. He just wants a new pair of fluffy bedroom slippers, a glamourous ruby brooch, a pair of branded earphones, a posh bathrobe, a pair of elegant, diamond-studded platinum earrings..."
"WAITwaitwait. I bet that's what YOU want for Christmas!"
"Aren't I Vaati? And how would YOU know what I want for Christmas?!"
Link just groaned. Gufuu did have a point. He IS the mage's shadow, and as such, they were essentially the same person, though they do differ.
"No. I know that's not what Vaati wants."
"Well, then. If you're so great... tell me what he wants for Christmas!"
Link sighed and whispered in Gufuu's ear, lest he find his other two friends just near where they were and overhear it. Gufuu seemed to be delighted...
"I suppose you know my light self very well. I trust you have it with you."
At this, Link smiled and nodded.
Not long after, they met up with their counterparts and decided to go home to Link's house together. They went back to the mall Link and Vaati had been to and took the public utility vehicles to get them back home.
They went outside of the mall center by passing through the train station. The train station connected the mall center and the outer streets, and so they went through that to avoid crossing the busy streets below the train rails, which were situated in some sort of a long train bridge.
Just beside a minor stall was a queue of public utility vehicles they fondly called a tricycle, which was so called thanks to their three wheels. It was primarily a motorcycle with an attached open carriage to its side for its passengers. It also has some sort of a small roof for the driver so that he won't be directly exposed to the sun.
"You two go in there." Dark told the two Vaatis as he pointed inside the carriage. "It's not too safe having to ride behind the driver."
The two heeded as Dark instructed and went inside with their bags, ensuring their security. They may never know if it will fall off, or if someone would have the guts to snatch their goods while inside the car. It was an open carriage after all, and one is never too careful.
Dark and Link sat behind the tricycle driver, side-saddle style, as they grabbed onto the handles of the mini roof tight. The tricycle driver drove off as soon as they mentioned which street they were to be dropped off.
As soon as the ride was over, Dark volunteered to pay for all of them, though Link told him that they should split the bill. After that, they walked a little bit more to reach their house, which was still a bit far from where the other houses were.
The two shadows went back to their home realm, the Dark Realm. They arrived in Dark's house and settled their plastic bags in a corner. Though they knew that these were everyone's presents, and that it's possible that their own presents for each other are there, they didn't bother to shuffle through the things.
"PHEW! That was tiring." Dark chuckled as he took his shoes and socks off, and slacked onto the nearest cushioned chair.
"Tell me about it... my feet are killing me!" Gufuu groaned as he laid down on the posh sofa.
"Dark, turn the telly on for me." he added as he made the gesture of a remote control pointed at Dark. The shadow hero groaned a bit, but he managed to turn the television on and throw the remote control at Gufuu.
"A detective marathon! They're still showing the marathon!" Gufuu's eyes gleamed as he watched from the sofa wearily.
Dark chuckled under his breath hearing his friend delighted, and so he watched the marathon with him. After regaining much of his energy, he even got some drinks for them to relieve and refresh themselves while watching and thinking of how each detective will solve the case.
After a few detective shows...
Dark paused for a while before calling his friend's name. "... Fuu-chan?"
"Yes, that's him! That's him! I knew it! I knew he was the killer! Ahahahahahahahaha!!! I'm a born detective!!!" said the excited shadow sorcerer as he and the detective had the same line of reasoning.
"Ah? What is it?"
Dark smiled at him and turned off the television. At this, Gufuu was greatly displeased and started nagging about how he was going to miss another detective program, even after the number of episodes they have already watched.
"Please... just come with me." Dark said as he gently grabbed his friend's hand.
"W-wait! What? Where are we going?" said Gufuu as he forced himself to stand just to follow Dark.
They went outside of the house and into the fields of Hyrule. The meadows, although tad creepy for any being of light, seemed to be serene and relaxing. The crimson meadows were gently tended by the cool wind, and were almost entirely covered by snow. Only but a few blades were spared, but they were definitely chilled.
"Gufuu... I want us to lie down on the snow."
"And what? Make snow angels?
Gufuu still seemed dismayed by the fact that he gave up watching shows just to make snow angels in the snowy fields. Thankfully, no one but the two of them were there, and so he was spared of the noise other people and children could have made.
After making a few snow angels, Dark stopped and let out a deep sigh. It seemed that he was already tired of making snow angels. Gufuu stood up and looked down at him with his hands at his back. As he put his hands above Dark's face and dropped a snowball, Dark immediately put a hand before his face and chuckled.
"I just knew you would do that..." he laughed as he looked up at Gufuu.
"Hmph. Killjoy." Gufuu raised a brow and crossed his arms as he looked away. He walked away from where Dark was...
"No... come back here..." Dark said, as he reached his hand out for him.
Gufuu was about to sneer at him when he saw that Dark's face was unusually tame; it was unlike any of Dark's usual playful and mischievous expressions he saw everyday. He just looked back at him and stared at him.
"Please... stay here for just a bit longer." said Dark as he smiled at him gently.
Gufuu, although hesitant, went back to where Dark was and lay beside where he laid down. He looked up at the evening sky with him, its stars twinkling in the vast space as clouds seemed to cradle them. He somehow flinched when he heard a loud boom in the serene heavens, though... and it didn't sound like thunder.
"Relax... it's okay." Dark pressed Gufuu's hand gently and ensured him that it was alright. He felt relieved when he felt Gufuu finally calm down.
Not long after, they saw a beautiful figure in the heavens...
"An... an exploding, flying light beam?" Gufuu stared in awe.
Dark chuckled as he turned to Gufuu. "Fireworks. It's what you always wanted to see... right?"
When they saw another colorful firework explode in the heavens, Gufuu could not help but stare in awe. It was a fireworks display, with different combinations of hues and formations. Some of them looked like smiley faces, still some others hearts, teddy bear heads, and stars. Some had no real definite object shape, but they were delightful to the sight as they were beautiful circles in formations.
"I knew this was what you always wanted to see..."
"..." Gufuu was left speechless by this surprise. He then came to a realization. "Y-You READ my diary?!"
"..." Dark turned to the fireworks display instead. "Fuu-chan... to be a great detective, you must not presume facts and point at people without evidences to prove your claim."
Gufuu just stared at him after hearing this, but not long after looked up at the heavens again to watch the magnificent display.
"I didn't need to read your diary, Gufuu." Dark smiled as he turned to him again. "All I needed was to know you by being with you as your friend."
"And as a friend... I knew exactly what was under that... tough and posh exterior. You have nothing but an innocent, childlike desire."
Gufuu squinted his eyes as he sat up. The fireworks show had just ended, and so he had no more reason to look up at the heavens... he just bowed his head down. Dark sat up not long after Gufuu did and looked at him.
"So... did you enjoy it?" Dark looked at him.
"... D-Dark, you...!!!" Gufuu seemed to shout at him, but didn't show his face and just buried his face in his palms. "Dark... how could you...!!!"
Not long after, he heard sobs from the mage and so he decided to hug him like a brother; warm and tender. Gufuu struggled in his grip and fought against his embrace... but then he shushed him and gently patted his back. That was enough to calm the mage down.. he felt the mage cry on him and hug him back.
"Thank you..." said the mage softly as he still cried on him.
Hearing this brought a delighted smile on Dark's lips. He continued to gently pat his friend...
"The fireworks are over now, but I hope you will never forget this evening." Dark said as he gently patted him and fixed his hair a bit.
"Never... this is one of the most unforgettable eves." Gufuu smiled as they both parted to look at each other. "I will be sure to tell Master and Daddy about this..."
Dark smiled as he felt that he made the sorcerer finally show his soft, childlike side. He then stood up and assisted Gufuu as well, as they made their way home. It was already getting late, and they needed to prepare for the Noche Buena, a traditional midnight's meal with the family. The term itself literally translates to "Good night". Although... it would seem that there would just be the both of them.
Dark would have to be alone this Noche Buena since Gufuu really needs to go back home to the Minish Village, where he would meet his Master Ezlo and his father to celebrate the feast in the morning, as well as their own Noche Buena.
"I guess you need to go back home for them, huh?" Dark said as they finally arrived in his own house.
"Well... no, it's a bit too late for me to be going back in the Minish Woods. It's quite frightening to go out in this time of the night, and so I guess I will be staying here."
"Wait what...? But what about them...?"
"Oh, they will understand. I will be put to peril if I do go out now."
Dark felt so guilty. He thought that if he didn't surprise Gufuu with the fireworks display, Gufuu would have been home in time to prepare for their own Noche Buena in the Minish Village. But since he had, it had gotten quite late for the Hylian-Minish...
"Well? Aren't we going to get your giant cheeseball and ham? Come on!" Gufuu said as he rushed to Dark's fridge and got the food for the night.
The two shadows prepared the table and the food, with just the two of them on the table meant for six. It seemed rather empty with the other chairs vacant, but at least he wasn't eating alone this time, like he did last year...
"I say, this is a fine choice for smoked ham! And your Edan cheese is quite delectable!" Gufuu remarked as he ate the said food with bread.
"Well, those are what my parents always bought before. I couldn't forget the taste and appearance, so I never made a mistake buying them." Dark said as he smiled again.
"And that... what is that? Your little snowglobe?"
Dark picked up the snowglobe which was part of the décor of the dining table. He turned it as it seemed to have a rotating base. He shook it and placed it on the table once more for them to watch it. As he put it back on the table, they both watched as it slowly rotated on its own axis while it played a song like a music box. They both watched as the "snow" swirled and slowly sank back to the base, as the main figure inside it was a happy family singing a Christmas carol together.
"Beautiful, isn't it...?"
"Yes... indeed." Gufuu said as he watched it. "Dark... I had been wondering. Even if it's not Christmas season, you always seem to have that thing with you in your room as a display on the telly shelf."
"Well..." Dark had a sheepish smile on his face as he scratched his head. "Well, yes. It's there even in the summer. Weird I know, but I just couldn't hide this in a cold drawer..."
"I... suppose that has a sentimental value?"
"Right you are." Dark nodded. "This came from my parents... before they left for their own countries for work... years ago."
Dark continued as he shook the snowglobe again and looked inside. "At least... even if they're not physically here with me, I can still feel that they're somehow always in my heart."
Dark was speechless for a while... he had just gone back to his childhood days where he spent most of his time with his own parents...
When even his grandfather was there with him and was not so busy with trades outside of his house...
When even the tiniest of things amused him...
When he finally snapped out of his flashbacks.
"You're putting too much honey on your ham, your plate is overflowing with it!" Gufuu pointed as he panicked.
Dark realized that he had just begun pouring honey on his slice of ham as he went into deep thought and so he also panicked when he had gotten back to reality. He immediately lifted the jar of honey to stop it from overflowing.
"Eh... sorry about that." Dark chuckled sheepishly and slurped the excess honey on the plate.
"... Oh, Dark." Gufuu giggled as he gingerly picked his fork and began eating his own slice of ham and cheese.
It was truly a peaceful night for the both of them as they waited for midnight to meet Christmas and not sleep through it, as they were accustomed to.
"Dark... Dark, wake up!"
"Hnng... five more minutes, Mom..."
"Mom? How dare you?!"
He felt a pillow land on his face, but he was too sleepy to get up. But not long after, he had to punch the pillow away as he sat up with a disgruntled, sleepy face. He turned to the person who had done it, although his eyes looked as if they were still closed.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARK!" Gufuu greeted as he pinched both of Dark's cheeks, hoping to wake the boy up.
"Aaaagghhhh I'm awake now, Fuu-chan. I'm awake."
He hit his head with his palms and forced himself to wake up. A night of wrapping presents had been most haggard for him, having to wrap them all by himself. He believed that he had even slept through it, though he had no memory of ever sleeping on the floor nor on the bed.
"I'm sorry I have no present to hand over to you, Dark." Gufuu apologized as he looked ashamed.
"Hey..." Dark patted his shoulder. "Just being with me last midnight's dinner was already enough for me. Thanks, man."
"You're welcome. Now, fix yourself and make yourself look your best. It's Christmas!"
Gufuu just smiled at him and opted to leave the room before he did. He opened the door going outside and went down the stairs. Dark had to take a bath and fix himself to look his best as Gufuu said and as he was accustomed to. It took him quite a while, but he finally went downstairs to meet up with his friend.
"Oh my... Link..."
Dark heard a familiar voice say... and as he did, he rushed downstairs and followed where it may have come from.... the living room.
A man and a woman were just there, sitting by the living room set. They were both staring at the dark-haired hero with widened eyes. The black-haired boy could only respond by staring back at them.
"Our beloved Link..."
He could not believe his eyes. He rushed to them without further ado and hugged the both of them tightly, as if he was never letting them go. It was real... it was not mirage at all... they were both real.
"I really missed you guys... it's been years..." whimpered Dark as he was moved to tears.
"I know... but you know how work can be... both your mother and I had to earn a living for us." his father said as he felt him tightly embrace him.
"Yes but..." Dark was about to defend himself by saying he didn't care about the money... but in his personal reflections when he was alone, he finally accepted that both his parents were working hard and sacrificing their time with him just to earn a decent salary to sustain their family. It was also true for his grandfather; a sturdy man for his age, he still takes a lot of part-time jobs by forging, though they are in different places in Hyrule.
"But now, we're back..." said the mother as it was her turn to hug her beloved son. "We're back, my son. My dearest Link... how you've grown."
Dark looked at them with teary eyes and tried to smile through it all. For the first time in his life, he was really happy... genuinely happy. He wiped his tears and tried to look tough for the both of them, as he was a young knight of Hyrule, following his father's footsteps. His father is the captain of the royal knights, and as such, he was promoted to go abroad to work and spread the good name of the Royal Knights of Hyrule.
His mother, however, was not a knight of Hyrule. She was a nurse for a sector of the Royal Knights, though she was not assigned to the same sector where her husband was.
"Ah, right! Mom, Dad, I want you to meet my dear friend Gufuu!" he said as he looked around.
"Gufuu? Ah, so that's the name of the fine young lad." said the father as he was left in thought. "He said that he was going away for a while, and that he will be back."
"Dad..." called the mom as she was used to calling him the way Dark does. "Do you think that he was the one who called us via landline? His voice seemed familiar..."
"L-landline...?" Dark said, as he was surprised.
"... Y-you're right..." said the father. "I think it was him... you're right..."
"Wait, what? What did he tell you?" Dark was absolutely confused.
"There had been a person phoning us a few days before Christmas, saying that he was a new recruit of the Royal Knights." explained the father. "But I doubted it at first. Although, he seemed to know a lot about the Royal Knights, and so I decided to trust him. He said his name was Fuu."
"I... I see..."'Fuu-chan...'
"I guess he knew much about the Royal Knights through you..." said the father as he patted his son's head. "He phoned us to come home immediately for Christmas. He said it was an emergency situation back in the city, and so we decided to hurry..."
"... Little did we know that the emergency was having to meet our son for Christmas after years..." the mother said as she hugged her son cordially once more, longing for her baby boy.
"I... I love you guys... so much." said Dark as he snuggled up to his mom. "I will never forget this... never..."
"Wait for it, Grandpa... wait for it..." said Link as he ate his morning ham, the leftover they had for last night's Buena Noche.
"Hm?" his grandfather was puzzled. He presumed that they were waiting for Vaati to come down to greet him a Merry Christmas, but...
Smith almost dropped the knife he was holding as he heard a squeal from upstairs. It was a very loud squeal, indeed... but it seemed that Link was not surprised at all; rather, he looked like he was happy upon hearing it, which made his grandfather even more puzzled.
They then heard rampaging footsteps on their wooden staircase and not long after did they see Vaati in his nightgown, holding Robin in his arm and a fairly-sized box in his other hand. His face had a wide smile fixed on it as he looked at both Smith and Link.
"Merry Christmas, Vaati!" said Link as he opened his arms wide. Surely enough, Vaati excitedly greeted the both of them and hugged Link so tightly.
"Oh, Link! This is all I ever wanted! How did you...?"
"Well, I just did." he smiled knowingly.
Vaati opened the box once more. It seems that he had already opened the box, but he had carefully put it back in the wrapper just to be neat about it, for he knew that there will be a lot of Christmas wrappers all around by the end of the day, and he didn't want to contribute to that.
He pulled out a considerably new cellphone model and jumped up and down just holding it. He tested it and saw that it met his expectations.
"Vaati... you're such a nice guy." said Link as he was almost moved to tears.
Vaati didn't seem to hear it thanks to his squealing and went to the living room to check the cellphone out once more.
"It seems that he's excited having a new cellphone. Did you buy that for him?" said Smith as he continued eating his breakfast.
"Well... yes and no." said Link as he also continued eating. "You see... Vaati told me that he didn't care if he didn't get so many presents this year, nor did he care if he got posh items..."
"So that made him happy that you got him something posh?"
"Nope, not really. I knew that he wanted a present so badly for his dad, but he never had enough money to buy one." Link continued. "It was weird, but I once heard him talking in his sleep that all he wanted for Christmas was to give his dad a present. Anything at all."
"And you got his dad a cellphone."
"... I admire you, my grandson."
Link smiled and felt proud that he was able to save up a lot to please his friend. He knew that it was more than what Vaati expected, and so he felt even more accomplished.
"I'll go to the Minish Village at once to give this to him!" said Vaati as he came back to the dining room.
"Vaati." Smith called out as he pointed at the vacant chair. "Vaati, my boy, you haven't eaten breakfast yet. You should go eat some and invite your family over here."
"W-wait... really, Grandfather?" said Vaati as he took a seat, quite astonished.
Smith smiled at him and nodded. He handed the ham on the plate over to Vaati so that he can slice a little for himself and eat breakfast. Not long after, Vaati took a bath and prepared himself for the day ahead of him and set out for the Minish Woods on his own, carrying the present with him.
The door opened as Vaati came back to Link's house. He was rather excited as he led his Master Ezlo and his father to the living room, where he met Link and his grandfather. All of them greeted a Merry Christmas to each other and rejoiced.
"It's so nice to see you again, Mister Smith!" greeted Vaati's father warmly as he gave him a hug as a greeting.
"It's so nice to meet you again too!" answered Smith as he appreciated the man's gesture.
"I say, your house has improved in terms of interior decorations, Link!" remarked Ezlo. "Is it because I left my godson here with you?"
Now, Ezlo was both master AND godfather to Vaati, and so though he was tough on the boy, he had an inner sensitive side that wanted to dote on the boy.
"Well." Link just chuckled and didn't continue.
"Ah, that's the door." said Smith.
"We'll get it." said Vaati as he excused himself with Grandpa Smith to get the door.
As the three men were left in the living room, they talked amongst themselves about their personal lives. Vaati's father talked about his time in the woods, Ezlo talked about his new projects yet to be fulfilled, and Link talked about his life as both a young hero and a normal teenager, as well as how he was doing with Vaati.
"You know, my son always talks about you when he comes home to us." said Vaati's father as he smiled at Link. "He would always tell me how kind you are to him."
"Well... I... I don't know what to say, Sir..." Link was kind of embarrassed, but nonetheless flattered.
"And I guess I really believe him as I have seen your kindness firsthand." he patted Link's shoulder, as he made the hero feel appreciated.
"That cellphone certainly was appreciated." said Ezlo. "I wish I had one."
"Master fiddled with it before we left to go here." chuckled Vaati's father. "Well, I really do love this cellphone. Thank you, Link."
"No, Sir. You have Vaati to thank." said Link as he scratched his head. "He wanted so much to give something to you, but he never had enough money. Mind you, he's not lavish!"
"I raised him to be a thoughtful young lad." he answered the hero. "But I never thought that there was someone as thoughtful as him."
Link heard both Vaati and his Grandfather Smith call out his name, as if telling him to come over where they were; over by the porch.
"If you will please excuse me..." said Link as he stood and left the visitors for a while to tend to the two.
Link approached the both of them who seemed to give him way as they were in front of the doorstep, facing their front yard and their porch. The blonde was puzzled by this and just saw both his friend and his grandfather smiling at him. He wondered at this and looked around outside without stepping out.
By the porch, he noticed a package...
On its tag, it read,
"To our dearest son Link,
Love Mom and Dad."
He took the package in his hands and smiled, it was as if he felt a warm presence just holding it... as if his parents were there with him, no matter what. He took the package in and smiled back at his grandfather and his friend, showing him how happy he was to have a package from his parents.
"Why don't you open it?" said his grandfather as he peeked over his grandson's shoulder. The Hylian-Minish did the same.
He opened the present and found an intricately-designed race car model with a remote control, which looked like it cost a lot of rupees. He was so delighted to see it and immediately probed the model.
"Shiny new wheels with rubber stops enough to skid with friction, paint job done to a perfection polished and scratchless, engines intricately designed for optimum performance, remote control perfectly designed to give the user a comfortable grip while enjoying!" Link gripped the remote control and set the car on the ground, which was enough to make the other two chuckle.
He then looked behind the remote control to check which kind of batteries he needed, as he was accustomed to it. But as he looked behind it, he saw that something was plastered on it...
It read, "Look behind you."
Out of curiosity, he did. And as he did, he let out a very loud scream...
"MOM!!! DAD!!!" he screamed out loud as he dropped the remote straight in the box and ran to his parents.
"Link!" the mother immediately hugged him tightly.
"Oh Mom..." he said as he snuggled. As he caught sight of his father, he smiled at him all the same and hugged him tightly. "Dad..."
"My dearest son." said his father and hugged him back tightly as well.
"I... I missed you guys..." Link said, tears coming out of his eyes. "I... I thought you weren't coming back this year either..."
"Well, son..." said his father.
"I... I don't understand..." said Link, rather puzzled, but nonetheless happy to see his parents again. "Why...?"
"...Your grandfather and your friend didn't want to ruin the surprise." said the mother as she winked at Vaati and Smith. They both smiled at Link. The mother continued, "They said that you weren't really expecting to see us again this year, and you accepted that because you knew we needed to... but..."
"...Your grandfather convinced the palace to give us this year, despite the hectic schedule." said the father. "With the help of your friend, they were able to convince them to send us back home to be with you this Christmas."
"Link, we missed you so much!" his mother said as she hugged him tightly again and tickled him, just like she did when he was a little boy.
"Ahahaha! Mom! Stop that!" said Link as he laughed so much, though he really didn't want all of this to end.
After a while, they saw something weird on the mirror... it had turned black and non-solid, as if its solid, reflective surface had turned into something watery, like oil. But not long after, Link knew what was going on when he saw a black boot step out of the mirror...
"MERRY CHRISTMAS O CHRISTMAS TREE!" shouted the vibrant Dark Link as he stepped out of the mirror with his arms spread out.
"MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLINGS! OH YES." shouted Gufuu in the same manner, though he seemed reluctant and not used to it.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS, OUR LIGHT SELVES!" shouted the shadow parents as they went outside after the two.
The two shadow Minishes also came out, Gufuu's father in Hylian form and Ezlo in his original form like his light self, though in Hylian size. "....... Hi."
"Dark! Gufuu!" cried Vaati as he rushed to them and hugged them tightly.
"Well, did you get what you wanted, Vaati?" asked Dark as he looked down on him.
"Yes, indeed I did! And Link got what he wanted too! Look!" Vaati excited pointed to Link's parents as he still hugged the both of them.
"Teh..." Dark said as he smiled at his light self, who was having fun with his parents after greeting him. "I'm pretty sure you knew what Link wanted all along even before we had that little chat, eh?"
Vaati just smiled at him and nodded. Indeed, the shadow hero was right.
Everyone settled in the living room and chatted among themselves. Vaati and Gufuu's fathers talked among themselves, and Gufuu's father, being a bit hot-headed, threatened to unsheath his katana if his light self will not shut up. Luckily, he didn't do anything drastic.
Ezlo and his shadow had a fun time talking about their young disciples... and laughing at them and their faults at magic and crafts. It was something they found amusing, though they do have faith in their apprentices that they have great potentials. Ezlo related that he had fun having Noche Buena with Vaati and his father, as well as Link and his grandfather... Shadow Ezlo was touched when he saw that Gufuu couldn't bear not to eat Noche Buena with them and invited him with his father in Minish form to Dark's place to eat secretly, just to surprise Dark the next day.
Link's parents and their shadows talked about their past, which was inevitable. Talking about a baby Dark and a baby Link was surely quite the conversation... and how exactly their sons grew up through the years.
The four youngsters, however, excused themselves to go outside of the house for a while. They went to the backyard and sat under a tree.
"Well, we certainly are happy you finally got what you wanted." said Gufuu as he smiled at his light self.
"And it wouldn't be possible without Link! Thank you so much, Link!" cried Vaati so happily like an innocent child.
"Well... to be honest, Vaati. They chipped in the expenses, too." smiled Link as he pointed to Dark and Gufuu.
"R-Really...?" Vaati was so surprised. "Well then... thank you so much too! I guess I made the right choice hugging the both of you!"
Vaati was about to hug the shadows again when Gufuu put his hand on Vaati's face to stop him from doing so. He still struggled to hug the both of them, but he soon gave up.
"Well, you know... Link really needed our help to buy that thing." said Dark as he looked at his light self. "... Because he's really stingy."
"Hey! I'm not!" defended Link as he frowned.
"Anyway, watch and be amazed as the mighty sorcerer Gufuu becomes a prank magician!" said Gufuu as he pulled Dark's cap off and put his hand in it.
"Prank... magician?" Link was at loss for words. He did not know how Gufuu managed to invent such things.
"TA-DAAAA!!! I am not just a wind sorcerer/detective." said Gufuu as he drew out a box... all covered with Christmas wrapper.
"He is also a prank magician." Dark added with a serious tone.
"Prank magician because that is not true magic! It is just a mere eye and audience manipulation! Anyway, my dear robin!" he handed the box over to none other than his light self.
"F-for me...?" Vaati said, just staring at it... presumably from astonishment.
Gufuu stared at him for a moment and then held it close to him. "I don't think you want it, I'll keep it for myself then. Or I'll give it to..." he looked at Dark who gave him a wide smile, then looked at Link instead and gave a gesture that he will give it to Link instead.
"I don't mind... Link deserves it." Vaati smiled.
"TOO. FREAKING. NICE. MY WOOBIE MOE." said Dark as he snatched the box from Gufuu and forced Vaati to lay his hands out. He then put the present on his friend's hands. "OPEN IT. OPEN IT. OPEN IIIIIIT."
Vaati felt a bit awkward, but then he thought, 'Hey, this is Dark... and my shadow. They had always been up to crazy antics.'
He just opened the present as his friends said and was surprised with what he saw...
"B-but... I already gave one to Daddy!" he said as he held it up in the air to look at its package.
It was indeed another cellphone... the same model as his father's; differed with its choice of color. He opened the package and saw the beautiful phone...
"It's for you, Vaati." said Link as he got the phone and handed it over to Vaati. "We figured that if your Dad was getting one..."
"... why not get one for you too?" said Dark, continuing Link's sentence. "You're a really good son, Vaati... we thought you deserved it so your father can have someone to talk with."
"Hmph. Who else to talk with but you?" said Gufuu. "I can't believe my light self is short in the noggin."
"Well, his dad can talk with Link anytime. Link has a cellphone." Dark countered.
"Hnnng! You always counter my sound logic!" Gufuu was about to throw a tantrum again.
"NOT SOUND ENOUGH."
"I HATE YOU."
"I HATE YOU TOO."
"I hate all of you!" cried Vaati as he went in the middle of all of them with his arms open wide.
The three just stared at him as his arms slowly sank back to his sides. He looked at all of them and gave out a quizzical look, as well as a considerably worried one.
"Am... am I doing it wrong...?" asked Vaati worriedly as he spread his arms again.
This time around, his friends knew what he was talking about...
"Ooooohhh!" the three said in unison as they were struck with realization and struck their foreheads with their palms.
They all spread their arms wide and smiled at each other.
The four hugged each other and jumped while laughing together. Everyone seemed to be very happy with what they had gotten this year... as well as with who they were with this year. Merry Christmas, everyone.