Author: Dreaming Spire PM
While the war has ended, darker conflicts erupt, and Link strives to uncover the truth about a young man who he believes he has every reason to despise. Walking towards a dubious future, Link tries to fit the pieces together. Link x SheikRated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Romance - Link & Sheik - Chapters: 9 - Words: 48,419 - Reviews: 201 - Favs: 116 - Follows: 133 - Updated: 04-30-09 - Published: 01-10-08 - id: 4004105
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own anything recognizable of Shigeru Miyamoto or the Legend of Zelda series unless I have been suffering from identity issues these past seventeen years of my life and really am Shiggy.
Warnings: Language, future yaoi, violence, light het
Pairings: Link x Sheik
Aubuyn: Possibly my favorite story that I'm currently writing. I'm planning on it being roughly eleven chapters, give or take, with maybe an epilogue. Right now, I have up to chapter five completed, so the waiting period between chapters will probably be about two to three weeks. Anyway, some notes about the story: Sheik is a borderline antihero, I tweaked the OoT plotline a bit, and there will be some references to het pairings. So, without further ado, I present to you the dark epic, Judgment Days.
"Look over here."
Beside him, Zelda drew in a deep, shuddery breath and furiously blinked back the wall of unshed tears building in her clouded eyes. Then, steeling her expression, she drew herself up proudly, chin held high, the very image of dignity and grace even in her state — swathed in layers of grime and blood. Link watched out of the corner of his eye, envying her power, her inner strength, before turning back to witness the scene unfolding, his lips tight and his eyes haunted.
Somehow, he had always imagined this moment, with naïve wistfulness, being much more… incredible. For the last six months, in his fitful, sparse dreaming, he had envisioned it — the ultimate defeat of the spurious king, the fall of the fortress, the conclusion of an era of suffering and senseless death. And there he was, astonishingly alive, gazing blankly over the lip of the precipice and down into the bubbling pool of lava below, watching with grim satisfaction as it slowly cooled and congealed. The final remnant of Ganondorf's evil, his keep, had sunken into the magma, swallowed and destroyed, leaving a gaping, bleeding wound in the earth where Hyrule Castle, in all its radiant glory, had once stood.
His hands trembled where they were curled into tight, pale fists at his sides.
The war had ended. Ganondorf was dead.
Yet, before the King of Evil had been slain, he had raped Hyrule of all its worth, all its hope, all its life. Beyond, in the hazy, twilit sky, the brilliant sun crested the summit of Death Mountain, highlighting with its light a decimated kingdom of barren hills and withered towns.
The battle was over, Link knew, but, in the end, Ganondorf had won.
Hyrule was a dying country. Its people, even on this day, were anguished. They would never forget the wrongs brought upon them, nor find enough soil to properly bury those lost. Dark times had befallen them, but even darker awaited. Now they had to march forward into a future, a future that not one of them could imagine.
Because not one of them had thought this day possible.
Their rightful Queen was seventeen and had spent the past seven years in hiding. She was, in all truth, a child. But, then again, they both were.
Zelda took his hand, and Link closed his eyes, tightening his fingers on the ones cradling his, focusing on the tattered, raggedly rough silk of her gloves against his palm. When he turned to her, his countenance weary, his shoulders slumped with lassitude, he found that her own expression mirrored his. Her sapphire blue eyes were shadowed with an ancient, aching sorrow, one that Link knew would never ebb.
Partially obscured by the folds of their clothes, their linked hands had become outlined with the soft, warm glow of the Triforces, reminding them that while Ganondorf was defeated and the war was over, they still had work to accomplish. The goddesses weren't finished with them yet.
Link remembered the fading light of a fairy, remembered a lovely, melodious voice silenced in blood, and thought desperately, Please, just give us a day. A day to mourn.
He shuddered, his shoulders wracking, but did not cry. Zelda defiantly glared into the sun next to him, but couldn't stop the tears this time, and they streamed now, creating trails of gleaming wetness in the caked dirt in her cheeks. Link couldn't remember a time when she had been more beautiful.
"Nothing…will ever be the same," Link lamented brokenly, and Zelda, understanding, squeezed his hand, a tiny, breathy sigh of distressing concurrence escaping her dry, cracked lips.
"You're wrong, Hero," curtly dissented a soft, airy voice, so familiar but impossible that Link froze. For a moment, the challenge was ignored; Link refused to turn, refused to see if his suspicions were correct — but, why would they be? Why would he be here?
No. It was just the wind playing with his hearing. Just the shadows playing with his mind. Link would not turn. He would not look.
He turned. He looked.
Immediately, the muscles in his back and arms seized up instinctively and the thin, fine hairs at the nape of his neck prickled in subtle warning, because there, as casually and as nonchalantly as though he belonged, stood Sheik behind Queen Zelda, staring at Link over her shoulder with an alarming intensity. For a moment, Link was paralyzed; Sheik was here. Sheik was here. Sheik dared to show his face here.
The man's words registered, the challenge acknowledged, and righteous anger simmered quietly behind Link's blue eyes.
"How can you say that?" he demanded, his lips curling back into a horrible, feral snarl as he eyed Sheik over once. His mind buzzed in annoyance, informing him there were better questions to be asked of this man, this traitor, this murderer, but he waved it aside impatiently, wondering if Sheik could see every thought that fluttered through his head with those strange, Sheikah eyes. "Ganondorf has utterly destroyed any hope this country might have had for a future," Link continued, his shoulders and calves tense as if he were preparing to charge headlong into a battalion of moblins. "The people have been tormented for seven years, living in conditions not even suitable for rats, never mind Hylians! Their lives will never be the same! Our lives will never be the same! And yet here you are! Telling me I'm wrong!"
"Link," Zelda murmured, her tone mollifying, belying the sharpness of her suddenly piercing eyes. She extricated her hand from his iron grip to place it gently on his shaking shoulder, her thumb massaging circles in the weathered fabric of his tunic. "Please calm yourself. This is not the time to — "
"Do you believe me ignorant of the quality of life the people have been reduced to?" asked Sheik lowly, his tone cutting. His eyes, the only aspect of his visage not masked, were narrowed with a quiet fury, the pupils contracted to tiny, black slits of onyx in a sea of red. "Do you think I am unaware of the atrocities that have been committed upon this country?"
"Sheik!" reprimanded Zelda irately, whirling around to scowl at him, annoyed that the usually level-headed, taciturn young man was trying to incite the Hero.
"Oh, of course not!" retorted Link, his loud voice echoing and resounding about them. "How could I believe such things when you're the one who committed half those atrocities?!"
"Quiet!" snapped Zelda, and both men paused, glowering heatedly at one another over her head. The Queen, one hand held up to Sheik's chest and another pushing against Link's, shoved them back with surprising force. She turned on Link, her blue eyes flashing dangerously. "Link! You…!" She trailed off to compose herself, steadying her fast, furious breathing and tucking waylaid locks from her face behind her ear. Then, gritting her teeth, she continued. "Link. Do not presume to know or understand what Sheik has — "
"No!" interrupted Link, his voice choked and strangled. He straightened, face contorted with ugly rage, and Zelda, her lips pursed and her eyes searching, fell silent thoughtfully at the bitterness in his eyes. "No," Link growled again, quivering with anger. "I don't presume anything, Zelda. I know."
"You know nothing, then," Sheik flatly avowed, arms crossed and folded over his chest.
"I know that you've murdered dozens of innocents," hissed Link, his tone an awful, harsh whisper that was so deafening in the sudden silence between them. "I know that you were the one who led the raid on Lon Lon Ranch. That you were the one to murder Malon."
The stillness was stifling, laden with a thick, tangible tension that crackled with spent, emotional energy. Zelda's face was drawn, pale, and Link realized that while she had been aware of Sheik's actions in the war, she had never come to terms with the unbelievable magnitude of his deeds. It was morbidly appropriate, mused Link, that in a strange, twisted way, Link had become the messenger of tidings and Sheik the bringer of death. For once, their roles had been reversed.
Sheik stared at him.
"I've seen his work, Zelda, firsthand," Link went on softly, and though he addressed her, his eyes remained locked on the other man's. "I don't care what his motives were. I really don't care if he was just trying to worm his way into Ganondorf's trust. You just don't…" He stopped, remembering Malon's ashen white face, her cold, bloodless lips, her wide, glassy eyes. Throat tight, he struggled to find the words before wretchedly ending it with, "…you just don't."
The wind sighed, gingerly tugging at their hair, and Link blinked rapidly, finding it difficult to continue looking Sheik in the eye when he knew that those eyes, that face, that man, had been the last thing Malon had perceived. Swallowing heavily, he discovered nervous solace in the skies above, watching the determined sun steadily fight through the last of the dark, black clouds that Link had once so readily associated with Ganondorf. He could feel Sheik scrutinizing him, could feel that soul-reading gaze burning into him, and Link couldn't help but think forlornly, I trusted you, you sonovabitch. I trusted you and see what you've done? You took away one of my only friends in life.
The sunlight was garish, and Link squinted his eyes, reaching up with his left hand to shield them, only to catch sight of the Triforce. He smiled, a dismal and melancholy quirk of the lips, and stretched out his arm to the sky, spreading wide his fingers and staring at the back of his hand. The sunbeams illuminated the straight, cold lines of each triangle, gave temporary luminous life to the symbol. Zelda and Sheik watched.
"Come," bid the Sheikah abruptly.
Link started, dropping his arm guiltily, and turned to regard Sheik, only to be presented with the young man's back as he swiftly walked away. Zelda, her expression pensive, hoisted the skirts of her ruined dress up in one hand and briskly followed with unquestioning compliance, abandoning Link by the deep crater Ganondorf had created. His shoulders sagged, and he watched the two of them with longing, something in his chest cavity clenching, but then Zelda stopped and pivoted, her eyebrows knitted together. She tilted her head to the side, an expectant look on her face.
She was waiting for him.
He jogged to catch up, his scabbard and shield noisily bouncing against his back, and slowed to a halt beside Zelda, who smiled encouragingly at him, her eyes soft. He offered a weak, tentative smile in return, and they hastily hiked up the rocky hills after Sheik, who was walking the rubble strewn path with relative ease. However, instead of taking the route to what was left of town, the young man veered off to the left, to where Link knew a single, fractured stone arch remained, the last vestige of the old castle. Zelda paused as they passed underneath it, placing the flat of her hand against what had once been the gate, and Link gently pulled her away, away from the dark memories and the inescapable desires.
"I was not trying to imply everything will return to its previous order, Hero," Sheik was saying, his voice muffled by the cowl. Link frowned in confusion before he understood that the Sheikah was referring to their first argument. Curious but wary, he stepped around Sheik as the man gracefully bent down and began to clear debris from the ground. "I meant that not everything has been warped and twisted these seven years. Look over here."
Link did. There, unfurling between Sheik's long, slender fingers, a lone budding flower sprung up, its petals fluttering in the breeze.
"The nature of life has not changed," murmured the Sheikah, stroking the frail stem of the flower once before standing and backing away. "Life will go on, and so shall we."
Zelda dropped to her knees, her dress unceremoniously jostled in the dirt, wrinkled and tangled. She cupped the flower in her hands, her eyes brimming with happy, unshed tears, and looked over at Sheik gratefully. "Thank you," she whispered, having found the hope she had been searching for in the tiny blossom. She laughed softly, her lips trembling, and began to sob, all of her pent up emotions bursting forth with the realization that her kingdom had a future.
Link sat down heavily to the right, his elbows resting on his legs, and dropped his limp, tired hands between his knees, watching Zelda silently. A moment passed, and then he could feel body warmth radiating from Sheik, sitting next to him, and he fought down the immediate panic within him. He reminded himself that Sheik technically was a good guy, that he wouldn't try anything, but couldn't suppress the anxiety and strain the man's proximity brought upon, and tried not to flinch when the Sheikah's soft curls of hair tickled the sensitive shell of his ear.
"We need to keep walking forward," Sheik whispered, breath ghosting across Link's face as the Hero stared stubbornly at his hands, not acknowledging the other. "We cannot continue to play this game. Mourn today. Hate me today. But tomorrow, and all the days thereafter, we need to collaborate, for our own sakes, and that of Hyrule's."
"Yes," agreed Link, finally glancing up, meeting the red eyes inches from his own. "I will mourn today, and tomorrow, we will work together to restore this country." His eyes steeling over, he reached out and grabbed Sheik's cowl, hauling the other closer until their noses bumped. "But remember this; I will always hate you."
Link shoved a quiet Sheik away, eyeing the man with cold vehemence, and rolled onto his feet, crossing over to stand behind Zelda with an almost protective air, his face dark and brooding.
And Sheik watched, his red eyes vacant, before silently walking away.
Aubuyn: Thank you for reading and please review! If I'm encouraged enough, maybe the second chapter will be out next week. (Edited on January 14th)