“Somebody call a fucking ambulance!”
His fingers tore through the plastic with a resounding smack, Wild’s face appearing under his fingers for only a second before Warriors dragged him away, Legend leaning over Wild with a strangled gasp.
“Fuck,” he breathed, hefting his friend off the table and onto the ground, hands roaming across his chest, “Fuck, Warriors.”
Twilight stumbled and slumped to the ground when his friend shoved off him, rushing to Legend’s side, knees skidding on the floor. He couldn’t help but gulp drily when his jeans ripped; something about Warriors being so careless with his appearance sent an icy surge of urgency through his mind.
Wild was still on the ground when Warriors bowed over his face and tilted his head back.
Something cold and heavy hung in the air as he watched hands come down on a thin chest, anxious roars leaving his friends’ lips when the still figure refused to rouse.
His fingers felt numb as he fumbled around his pocket for a phone. Wild’s was still in there; he closed his fingers around it slowly and pulled it out, staring at the screen absent-mindedly.
Without registering it fully, he pushed a button, then another, then his voice carried monotonously through the panic in the room.
Words fell from his lips, locations maybe, the warehouse. Time of day. Words he didn't really feel he was saying as his eyes stared blankly ahead.
"-shouldn't be too hard to find, he's currently-"
He cut himself off, biting his lip.
"Ambulance," he squeezed forth after an infinite second, a lump forming in his throat. On the other side of the line there was silence.
Then, only a moment past.
18:36 – [We're coming.]
Twilight drew in a long trembling breath, trying to regain his bearings, then began to release it slowly.
When he finished, the only thing other than his voice was the sound of lifeless limbs moving faintly when force collided with a small body.
Wild shook with each impact, his cheeks deathly pale but neither teen ceased their efforts until sirens rang in the distance and two muscled arms cut through the fog in Twilight’s mind to usher him away from the scene and towards the exit where a young woman leant him back against a wall and herded the other two teens over to sit by him.
Legend was uselessly wiping away furious tears, Warriors’ eyes were cold and hollow.
For a long time flapping limbs and the occasional order were the only sounds in the room. Eventually cords were connected to Wild’s chest and he jerked up off the ground once, twice.
Thrice, a fourth time.
Somebody announced something, hands began raining down on his chest again. Twilight watched everything happen with a strange sense of detachment. His fingers played with the phone he was still holding.
He contemplated calling Midna, his dad, mom, anyone. Hyrule.
His fingers twitched feebly.
He let the phone drop and pulled in a quivering breath, feeling the weight of Warriors’ body pressing into his chest. It took him a long time to realize arms had circled around him and were squeezing tightly and even longer for his own arms to mirror the motion. Legend was trembling violently by his side and almost flew against him when he reluctantly raised an arm in a sort of invitation.
Tears washed down his face; the voice announcing a pulse almost didn’t register until Warriors was pulling away from him and staring with wide eyes as swift practiced hands fit a tube down Wild’s windpipe, pushing onto a weird device.
A glorious movement went through that bruised, breathless, still chest, lifting once with a small stutter, then a feeble tremor went through Wild’s body and he let out a small distressed sound.
It was just a sound. Small and shaky. But it forced a breath into Twilight’s lungs he didn’t know he was holding and suddenly time seemed to slow back to normal and he stared uncomprehending as Wild was loaded on a stretcher and wheeled out of the room with practiced speed.
Warriors’ hand found his, a minute later he was cramped in the back seat of a small car, Legend pressed against the opposite door, staring blankly into the street.
Only now did he notice the faint traces of dried blood coating his fingers. Maybe Wild was bleeding harder than he thought...
The phone in his hands blinked with two messages.
Moe announcing he would meet them in the ICU. The other he couldn't see.
With nothing else to do, he guessed Wild’s password, succeeded on the second try and went to his inbox.
12:03 – [I will remind you again that your deadline was around 12]
12:07 – [Young man, we have talked about reliability before. Chores or pancakes. Your choice.]
13:35 – [Sweetie, where are you? Your father is driving me crazy pacing like that]
13:47 – [Please, honey, tell me where you are]
14:12 – [Don’t think I can’t see you going online, you are clearly reading these]
17:52 – [Please answer]
Something deep down in his chest shudders and shatters when a trembling finger hits the call button.
She doesn't know. How come nobody knows. They should feel it. Twilight did feel it.
He swallows. Warriors is shaking in the front seat.
He can see the tears leisurely trailing down his cheeks in the front mirror.
Thankfully Legend snatches the phone from his fingers after a minute when his mother starts to get audibly irritated at the lack of a response on the other side of the line.
The phone call isn’t long.
Few words are exchanged, Warriors curses harder than he has ever heard before and almost breaks down in the front seat when they hit a red light, burrowing his face in his arms on the steering wheel.
Legend’s voice is low and aggressive, frustrated tears spilling down his cheeks when Malon asks again and again if he’s sure, if it’s a joke, she doesn’t get it.
Twilight feels hollow inside.
Blood is roiling in his ears, quiet tremors shaking his frame every few seconds but he doesn’t feel much. All he can take in is an image of Wild’s face, pale, lifeless beneath his fingers before Warriors dragged him away.
In his mind his fingers reach out and stroke gently across an icy cheek. Blurred blue eyes open and blink at him. Chapped lips move, shape into a toothy grin. They hug one another, they laugh at how stupid it all is.
Twilight is sitting in a waiting room when the news of his brother’s death meet him.
It’s hours into his waiting, Moe's arm around his shoulder, Warriors leant into his side when a nurse steps into the room, head bowed.
He doesn’t hear her talk, doesn’t hear Legend yell and Warriors break inside. He doesn’t hear her say the words ‘I am so, so sorry. The boy was a lost cause.’
Instead, he hears a door open finally and storms past retreating doctors to a small form lying still and broken in a hospital bed.
Wild once told him he wanted to pass on outside in the wilderness, surrounded by the cool evening air.
Dwarfed by the white walls of the emergency room, Wild looks small and thin in the harsh light.
He sits down slowly on the too wide bed, fingers trembling when he reaches out and lowers a hand over Wild’s pale one. It’s cool but beautifully corporeal.
He is wearing a blue shirt.
The edges are singed and torn; seeing it wracked like this almost sends a shiver down his spine.
It's the one he got just yesterday. The one they bought to celebrate a 'well done' on a math test.
Such things seem so trivial now, so far in the past.
Shaking slightly, he creeps onto the sheets and pulls his brother into his chest so that a small head is pillowed on the fur collar around his neck. There is something weirdly sacred and gentle about the moment as his hands bury into Wild’s unruly curls, cradles him tight, that keeps the tears at bay.
He has him, he found him.
Wild is right here in his arms and beautifully firm and soft under his wandering hands, his face is pale and still but the traces of pain that lingered deep down in the creases lining that still face from five hours ago are gone.
Wild looks just like any other kid in his arms, small, young.
He buries his nose into blonde curls when the tears do come and breathes in the scent of his little brother in jerky gasps.
Across from them Legend hovers in the doorway, white as a sheet save for the raw red around his eyes and nose.
He doesn’t say anything, just sinks against the doorframe and stares at them.
A part of him wants him to go away and give them this small moment between brothers before his parents come in and the silence dissolves into grief-ridden mayhem but the look in his eyes is so broken and lost that he knows he will only suffer the consequences when he shoves him away now.
He sighs lowly, waving him over.
Legend traipses closer with baited breath, eyes entirely too wide. God, he's just a kid. Deep down a voice reminds him that Twilight is too but right then and there he doesn't quite feel like it.
He feels wrong.
He feels wrong all over.
As it is only two people are present when Wild rises back from the dead.
Cool blue flames trail along his limbs, nosing at Twilight’s arms; in the imminent shock he is too dumbfounded to react. Legend’s eyes are wide, so wide as they jerk from Wild to Twilight to the feebly jerking line on the heart monitor.
He wants to think a gentle form materializes on the bed before him, spreading a soft hand out to stroke across Wild’s brow.
He wants to think eyes filled with infinite sadness gaze upon the lifeless figure in his arms, trace the faded tear tracks on Twilight’s face.
He doesn’t know her yet he does. Her name is Mipha and she is beautiful, Hylia, she is so beautiful.
In his mind she whimpers, a lone tear rolling down her cheek as she channels her strength and pushes it forth into the still form.
In his mind her voice is gentle as the heart monitor spikes and then falls to a regular rhythm, warm deep breaths brushing up against Twilight’s neck.
‘It was my pleasure...’
In his mind she fades in a cloud of blue a second before staff members flood into the room, recoiling with horrified shrieks when the dead patient in Twilight’s arms shifts and blinks into the commotion.
A small hand comes up to clench into Twilight’s shirt.
He can’t speak when the nurses flee and the distraught family filters in, storms forward to pull a confused teen, a lost child, into a crushing embrace.
Twilight doesn’t let go for a long time.
Of that dream.
Even on the day he finally stands over a small grave, wrinkled flowers in hand he doesn’t stop believing.
A tiny green form clings to his hand, following his gaze like it has for as long as he can remember, or rather, for as long as a certain chaotic idiot no longer does.
Twilight shifts and sighs.
Just like the small ghost at his side, he does know one thing – the blue flames he saw that day were real.
It's silly how Mipha has been gone for a long time now, never again to save her young lover.
A part of him thinks that is lazy. One simply does not quit a job like that.
...What he saw that day was the concerned spirit of a wounded child, sitting in his lap, meeting eyes with a wide-eyed Legend and petrified family before he rose and stumbled into the centre of the room, collapsing into the waiting embrace of his mother.
What he saw that day was the small spirit of a dead kid that would come to stay at his house the next day and hold his hand through a joyless funeral.
Wild’s funeral. His...little brother's.
He is gone now, that little boy.
That little boy that used to pull pranks on him and grin wide and brightly when he jumped off high latches or snuck cookies he was supposed to be too short to reach.
That little boy is dead now, buried beneath the earth except for the small hand of ashes he strew across the flower field by Wild’s old window. He always did want to see the flowers blossom.
He likes to think, as he sits down against the gravestone, twirling petals between his fingers, that Wild is happy up there somewhere together with his fallen champions from a hundred years ago.
That Wild has found his peace.
Unfortunately there is a small green spirit crouched by his side, humming a breathless song to a non-existent cooking pot that destroys those hopes.
There is no happiness for a dead child. There is no moving on for those who do not want to.
It’s many years before he can bear to see that grave again without that hollow feeling filling his chest.
A small green spirit sits on his far older and wider shoulders as he marches back the way from the cemetery, sighing tiredly.
Wild kicks short weightless legs through the air, trying and failing to catch a ladybug flying past.
His movements are as light as the wind.
The motion ruffles his hair and Twilight smiles.
“I guess you really did end up becoming one with the wild, cub...” he grins into the wind.
A small spirit laughs on top of his shoulders, kicking its legs.
Twilight smiles softly and rotates himself so he can shake the small form off and catch him in his arms.
Wild flops into his arms with a soft chuckle, letting himself fade through waiting hands to hover a few inches off the ground, arms crossed behind his head.
"Stop doing that," Twilight groans, rubbing his temples, "It's hard enough to know I cannot catch you but at least quit doing this on purpose."
He flicks his hand at the giggling spirit when Wild, not drawn by age but other earthly perils, suddenly blinks and raises his head to face the sky.
He doesn’t need to say anything.
Twilight blinks and pauses when a small spirit halts and lowers its head.
No, he doesn't need to say anything. A part of him always knew.
He gulps and follows his gaze upwards to stare at four figures shimmering gently between the clouds.
Four hands reach towards him.
Four voices speak to him. He cannot hear them; from his reaction, Wild does all too clearly.
"Twi?" he whispers again. His voice is weaker than Twilight has ever heard it.
Not before the warehouse, not before the kidnapping. Not before his death.
"I know," he breathes. Does he really?
Yes, he does.
He crouches down and offers an arm to his ghost. Wild sniffles and clings to him.
Both brothers hold on tight.
“You’re a bit of an idiot, Twi”
“Only a bit? I’m pretty sure I’m a little more stupid than that, cub...”
Wild buries into the hug, hiccupping bitterly.
"It won't be so bad this time, promise?" he whispers.
He doesn’t need to eloborate for Twilight to understand; "No, it won't," he replies before he can think.
And it probably won't.
Now it's not the first time he has lost a little brother. It's just a step ahead. Wild has done this before.
'It's just one word. Just tell him it's alright. Just tell him you'll do fine this time.'
"We'll be fine."
Wild nods quietly, letting himself be carried home finally.
"They've been calling you for a while now, haven't they," Twilight hums. Wild’s spirit feels lighter than it did a minute ago. Maybe he is growing paranoid.
Wild doesn't say anything. Tiny hands tighten into his jacket.
He doesn’t need to.
In Twilight's arms he grows lighter and lighter. In Twilight's arms, he slowly begins to lose colour.
He doesn’t say how they have been calling for him for years, doesn't say how he has been yearning to be with them for decades.
Instead he asks “Will you tell Mom I said hi?”
The day is calm and quiet as he is finally allowed to pass on, clinging tightly to Twilight one last time.
He shivers in the cold autumn air. It’s a gentle September day, the perfect day for a warm farewell between two brothers that will meet again one day.
“And dad, dad too. And Legend and Warriors.”
He chuckles brokenly, swallowing back a few thick tears threatening to roll up.
A non-beating heart swells beneath his hand and Wild holds him a little tighter for a moment before he lets go.
Twilight feels a little cold as he fades into the evening wind, blends back into the ground to his feet.
Somehow he feels lighter as he finally trespasses the threshold back home.
His mother greets him with a smile. Something in her eyes tells him that she knows, that a part of her knows that Wild is not coming home tonight.
He nods softly and lets himself be pulled close by her.
He wants to say 'I'm sorry, I couldn't hold him' or 'I wanted to tell him how much I'd miss him but I messed up.'
He wants to say 'Wild is dead' or 'He's not coming back.'
"Wild said to tell you he says 'hi'," he mumbles instead.
Somehow it's enough.
He doesn’t speak for the rest of the day, not for the next nor the one after that.
Finally, he takes a step into Wild’s room and turns all the lights on. He dusts off the shelves, clears the unfilled papers on the desk, sets the old plush lion on the bed straight and then opens the windows wide for the first time in forever.
A gentle breeze waves into his face, playfully ruffling his hair and Twilight cries.
He cries because that little boy is not coming back.
He cries because he should have known this years ago.
He cries because that little spirit is out there now somewhere far away and Twilight will not see him tonight.
He cries for the first time since that night in the warehouse.
For his mom.
For his dad.
He sobs until his lungs are raw and his parents have sandwiched him in a tight hug...and...finally the pain eases up.
The wind ruffles his hair, then sets it straight again, decisively scatters the lonely homework on the desk across the floor and then flees out the window.
Legend peeks into the room and gives them all a weird look before scoffing and joining in on the hug.
For a single moment the breeze flows over them, gently rustles their clothes, their hair, their minds.
It's gone before he can fully grasp it.
And for the first time it’s okay to watch Wild go.
It doesn’t hurt when his father holds him close, telling him how proud he is of him, of their family, for not falling apart.
It doesn’t hurt when his mother laughs tearfully, pulling her three boys close.
It doesn’t hurt when he closes Wild’s door behind himself and takes a deep breath.
The world is not okay and it never again will be but standing in front of that room, the scent of apple pie wafting into his nose from the kitchen and Legend listening to horrid music in his room, he has a feeling that he can live again.
Twilight can finally move on.
Since then the wind blows just a little gentler. Since then he hasn't seen that tiny spirit again.