I finished it. :3 I don't know if the endings the best, but it should make up for all the sad feelings I inflicted on you, at least.
Please, if you haven't reviewed before, at least review now and tell me what you think! I hope you enjoyed this story bunches of oats style and why not hang around! I'll be writing another story as I always do, with updates once a week (or even more often than that), and I love telling stories. ^.^
Also on the whole 'let it go' thing in the last chapter, I didn't mean to quote Frozen. It's a great movie and all, but I don't love it THAT much. This story isn't based off of Frozen, it's based off of something more cooler than that-a really, really old Russian story.
Chapter 12: Sun, Ginger, and Samantha
The sun came out.
It had to be one of the strangest experiences Link ever had. He and the family stepped out of the house to early summer temperatures, but with snow glittering all over the ground. Families were digging themselves out of their houses and children played in the snow that, for once, stuck enough to make perfect snowballs rather than being too dry and cold for anything other than misery. Jewels and Kane trotted out cheering at the sunlight. A few young men ran up to Kane and then, all at once, they started tearing off their shirts to expose their chests to the sun for the first time in three years. Even Carrol couldn't disapprove. Her and her husband, the mayor, took each other hands and left to check up on the rest of the village, leaving Nani and Link on the porch. Nani glanced at him.
"Did she die?" she asked.
"Wow, you could win an award for bluntness."
She gave him a look beneath her eyebrows that said, 'what else did you expect me to say?' He sighed.
She kept looking at him in that piercing way of hers and he shifted uncomfortably. Kane and his friends had begun swinging their shirts above their heads to the giggles of girls. A branch of the pine tree by the barn broke free of the snow with a 'thuwamp'.
"She didn't realize she was killing people, and when Shadow died she just left. She said something about changing and I think...I think we were all in the wrong. It's starting to look like some weird misunderstanding, because she was just looking for something and was hurt while she was vulnerable. What's even weirder to think is that maybe Shadow was the least wrong of us all yesterday. All he wanted to do was help a girl he loved." he blinked. "It's still hard for me to wrap my mind around."
"So he loved her?"
"Yeah. I can't think of anything else it could be." he let her see his confusion. "How could he love her? He's only known her for as long as we have known..." then he stopped, feeling foolish. She smiled at him.
"Sounds like a question someone else asked me a long time ago."
"I..." her gaze grew distant as she watched her adoptive family. "I can't quite remember. I don't remember a lot before the good mayor and his family. I don't even remember what my old name was."
He perked up. "Do you know what happened to your original family?"
Her eyebrows furrowed and she said nothing. Link decided to leave it at that. With Nani, silence was rarely ever uncomfortable. He let it be for a few moments as they watched the happy villagers. Snow slipped off of roofs and gave off steam wherever it was. Above them the sky was a beautiful, tearing blue. All around he could hear more 'thuwumps' as pines slipped out of their winter loads. It was finally over.
Several villagers came over then, beaming at him. He felt his insides curl as he realized what they were there for.
"Thank you," they said. The tears in their eyes wrenched at him. "Thank you!"
"The king wasn't wrong to send you!"
"I never thought a real hero would save us, I thought we would all freeze!"
"We can live now."
They gushed similar comments before Link had to put up his hands.
"Stop, please," he said with a grimace, "it wasn't because of me."
They fell blank, confused. He dropped his head.
"It was Shadow, my brother. He..." how could he say that he had died and that's why they were saved? How could he give justice to it without sounding awfully blunt? Especially after calling him brother, for that was what he had been, he realized. A brother of the soul. They do say you fight with your siblings the most. Didn't much matter in the end that he was made of dark magic, but the thoughts confused him so utterly he couldn't speak. He hated Shadow. He hated him so much.
Unlike with Nani, the silence that came over the villagers was not comfortable at all. Without another word, he strode back into the house. He didn't come back to their calls but headed to the ladder. It was strange how his lent room had become a haven in such a short time.
Nani didn't come up until an hour later to find him staring at a wall with his boots still on.
"I wanted to give you time to think." she said. "I told them what happened. They didn't understand. They never knew that it was a girl who had caused it all."
He shrugged. "It's to be expected."
In her soft way she lighted next to him and waited. She was good at that. Only made sense for someone who had so much practice in listening. But he didn't know what to say.
So they just sat there and watched water drip past the window and felt the warm sun from the little attic window. At one point he gave a shuddering breath and she wrapped her arms about his waist.
Walls of sky blue ice glittered around her and she breathed in the air. This was where it all ended up, then. Here, in this bubble of ice she had made for a tomb. Sun filtered through in crystalline beams, rippled and soft. The young man, Shadow, lay before her, pale and cold. His hair looked to be frosting over for its usual black had lightened to a muddy brown. Now and then she'd brush her hand against his cheek and allow herself to weep. She had to stay away from everyone. She couldn't be by people, for she couldn't hurt anymore, both inside and upon others. It felt like she had to let go of Shadow as well in this beautiful bubble she had made for him, but she had wanted to know him so badly. She had wanted to be with him-wanted to be warm.
"I'm sorry," she kept saying, "I'm sorry." And then she would kiss him again. At least she had that comfort.
What was she going to do now? What kind of life was she going to lead, wandering around alone in the snow? The answer to that was obvious: nothing, for no one wanted cold and ice to take over their summer. Winter was unloved and, at most, tolerated. She could be no use to anyone.
But why? Why had she been made this way?
She started to shiver and pulled back, confused. She had never shivered from cold before. She had seen others do it before, but never had she felt it. It felt nice, in some bizarre way, to feel cold.
Then the strangest thing of all happened.
A drop of water appeared on her nose.
Bewildered, she wiped at her face just to feel another drop fall on her head. Her hair felt damp, which it only ever did if she were by a fire. When the third drop fell she started to panic. She was melting! But there was no fire, how could this be!
Not knowing what else to do she reached for Shadow and clutched him to her chest. She could feel water all along her skin now, and it was freezing. It hurt. How could cold hurt? She was dying, she had to be!
But what was it like to die? Was dying nice or awful-what would happen next!? Would it hurt? Was she sick? Then again...she had no purpose being alive. At least this way she could be with Shadow, but was she like everyone else when they died? Would there be kind goddesses waiting to take her back? Or would they hold all that she had done against her?
She whimpered as the ice ceiling started raining on her. Near the entrance she had frozen up on entering the ice thinned enough that outside she could see the snow steaming and fogging up the glass-like wall.
"What's going on? It's so cold, what's going on?" her high voice echoed off the walls.
"I dunno, but could you let go? You're getting me all wet."
She froze, then pushed him away and leapt back.
"Oh no, you're not doing this to me again," she cried, "you're dead! Dead, dead, dead, and no way am I cuddling with you having sex!"
Shadow started to laugh face first into the melting ice. Taking his time he eased his arms underneath him and pushed himself up, still hooting with mirth. She wasn't just seeing things, now, his hair had turned brown and his dark clothes looked more ragged than before. He sat up, took off his long hat, swiped the wet hair from his face, and smiled at her.
He wasn't Shadow anymore. The face was someone else. Where there had once been coal black eyes, bright green hazel looked back at her. His lips were thin, his chin proud, and his cheek bones prominent, where before it had been the soft, boyish features of the hero.
"Who ever said anything about having sex?"
She gawked at him. After laughing some more he started to gawk at her too.
"Your hair!" he cried.
With a shaking hand she reached up and pulled down a lock of her wet hair. Where once it had been whiter than snow, now it had faded to a burnished copper.
"I'm a...I'm a...what in the world-" then she realized she was naked again and started hyperventilating. Shadow-or what once had been Shadow-was trying not to laugh again while also looking somewhat panicked.
"Breathe, breathe, there's nothing wrong with being a red-head-"
"Red? Wait, what-?" then a time when she had danced for a man who sold instruments started trickling in and she stopped breathing all together. Now Shadow had no problem with not laughing.
"Nonono, breathe, breathe!"
And then she passed out.
Somehow, Nani had coaxed him back outside after dinner in the name of digging out houses with the rest of the village. Kane had settled down and was shoveling along with the rest of them, but he had yet to put his shirt on, and his once pasty skin now glowed bright red. Behind him a man who had been caught in the blizzard the night before played a beautiful brass trumpet among the village children, who danced and laughed in the new warmth. Link had yet to talk to the newcomer. He felt anti-social as it was.
"I think that guys a merchant." said Kane as he threw a glance over his sunburnt shoulder.
"Hmm." said Link. Nani heaved snow behind her, the sunlight playing on the gloss of her ponytail.
"That's all you're going to say? Don't you think it's weird?" asked Kane.
"Well, yeah! What kind of music merchant comes all the way out here when everyone knows we're as poor as dirt and snowed in."
"Aren't you guys really good at the sales thing? Cheese and cow-hide and all that?"
"Sure, but," Kane dug his shovel into the snow, "why would he come out here to sell instruments for stuff like cheese? Don't get me wrong, our cheese is stupendous, but really."
The sound of the horn peeked at a climax of a playful jig and the children cheered. Nani smiled, and the sight warmed Link just a little bit more. Gods, there was really something about this girl. Then it hit him: the winter had ended the curse was broken. There was no other reason for him to be there now.
He couldn't help but notice the color in her cheeks brought on by exertion. Her lips were red with cold and heat.
He just stopped himself from saying something stupid in front of Kane. No one in the family knew about them yet. Din, he didn't even know entirely what had grown between them. All he knew was that at the thought of having to leave his heart nearly fainted, and it wasn't because of any fondness towards these grubby houses and stale bread.
But this was her home. He couldn't ask her to leave her family just to be with a man she barely knew. And he had to report to Zelda and had obligations to so many, not to mention he had no clue what he'd do if she did say yes. Would they just travel together? Though all those empty hours just walking along with her sounded heavenly, what could it lead to? What if he found out it wasn't love that he was feeling? Could he send her home? What would her village and family think of her then, leaving for so long to travel with a man?
He then realized he had been standing for a full minute just staring stupidly at the red door they were unearthing from snow. Kane looked at him in concern.
"Hey, you okay?"
He jerked into action. "Oh, yeah. Fine. Just thinking."
Kane's eyebrows rose sympathetically. "It's okay to miss him, you know."
This lost him. "Him?"
Link said nothing to this. He had been hoping not to fall into that cycle of thought again.
A commotion interrupted the tedium of their shovels and they turned around curiously. A dark figure could be seen approaching the village, carrying someone bundled in a black cloak. A few men had already dropped what they were doing to meet the figure. Link too left his shovel, concern tightening his chest. Don't tell me these poor folk had been caught out in that death-like freeze, he thought. The trumpet behind him had fallen silent.
The light of the setting sun laid an amber glow over the land.
When he made out the black clothing, he came to an abrupt halt. It couldn't be...
"Boy, you all right?" asked one of the villagers.
From his distance, he could just make out a familiar quirky smirk on his face.
"I'll be fine, I don't mind the cold. Her on the other hand," he gestured his chin to the woman in his arms, "she's not use to it at all. I've had to convince her she wasn't dying before she'd take my cloak."
Like a babe peaking out of swaddling clothing, the girl in his arms pulled her head back from his shoulder just enough to see who was talking. Then, shyly, she tucked her face back.
But it wasn't the girl who filled him with unreasonable rage.
He stomped the rest of the way.
"You were suppose to be dead!" he shouted without thinking.
The villagers flinched. All but Shadow cowed as Link came barreling through. He would have grabbed the idiot and shook him like a dog if it weren't for the prone, bare-foot girl in his arms.
"How dare you come back here!" he yelled. "After all I-after all she-I can't believe I actually felt bad when you weren't dead this whole time!"
"Woa, steady, hero."
"Steady? What am I, a horse now? You think you can lead me around and make me-dammit, I can't believe I actually-" he was so angry he couldn't think what to say. He at least had the frame of mind to not admit that he had cried over Shadow's death.
He then realized the man he was yelling at, though wearing Shadow's clothes, wasn't Shadow at all.
He felt the blood run out of his face.
The boy smirked. "Actually, I am, and it's good to hear you using your big boy vocabulary again."
Link ogled. The villagers looked from Link to what had to be Shadow, wary for another explosion. While Link stood there thunderstruck with confusion, Shadow went to one of the villagers.
"Can you take her to one of the village women? Preferably someone with access to a warm bath? She doesn't have any shoes."
It was then Link noticed that his arms were shaking. Had he carried her all the way over here from wherever the Snow Maiden had taken him?
When a man went to take the girl from him, though, she clung to Shadow all the harder. Shadow didn't scold her or even appear exasperated, but gazed down at her tenderly.
"It's okay, Rosy. They won't hurt you. I'll be with you the entire time."
She said something in a small voice that only he could hear, and he whispered something back to her. Whatever he said made her let go and she reached down pale, shaking legs to the snow covered ground. Her knees wobbled horribly and she clutched the cloak about her. A few strands of copper hair trickled out from her hood, banishing the growing idea in Link's mind that somehow she could be the Snow Maiden.
As one of the men picked her up bridal style and carried her into the staring village, Shadow followed close behind. Link fell in step behind him. When Link couldn't think of anything to say, Shadow eased a sidelong glance at him, then chuckled.
"It's nice not wanting to kill you anymore." he said.
"So it is you?"
"I said it was, didn't I?"
"But..." Link fidgeted with his gloves, "Farore, what happened to you?" Then with even more confusion, he asked, "Who are you?"
"I'm glad you asked, I'm quite proud of it myself," Shadow winked, "the name's Dane. My real name, that is, and I'm the son of a knight, which is more than what I can say for you. Who are you the son of, a tree?"
Link ignored that jab and continued to wonder. "So, are you saying, you were somebody other than my shadow this entire time?"
"Din, you're thick."
"Well what about the Snow Maiden?" then he looked at the pale, dangling feet of the girl being carried ahead of them. "Oh no, you don't mean-"
"Yep. That's her."
"Gods...and I almost killed her?"
"Yeppers. You're quite the asshole." Shadow, or Dane, said calmly.
"Huh." he blinked. "But, how-?"
"In my educated opinion," Dane ran his hand through his hatless hair, "true love."
Link found himself smiling in amusement, only surprised to hear that his assumption about Shadow's feelings had been right. "True love?" He snorted and Dane glared at him.
"What was that for?"
"You've only known her for a week, even less than that if you consider that most of the time you were lying sick in your bed while she terrorized the village with blizzards."
Dane scowled at him. "True love isn't decided by how well you know a person. It's unconditional love that you choose to give, no matter who-or even what-someone is."
"Woa, when did you turn into the love guru?"
"It's something I heard from my sister once."
"You have a sister?"
"Two, actually. Which reminds me," he looked back forward, expression troubled. "Where are they?"
Link, however, backtracked, "But you're saying because you chose to love her, it just happened?" He couldn't help but feel skeptical, though he thought of Nani as he said this.
"It's not just choosing," he said, "and yet it is. Your heart chooses to draw you to them, I guess-that sounds really dumb- and then you decide for yourself whether to love them for their weaknesses as well as their strengths. I mean," he shrugged, "love isn't about loving someone perfect, so why expect someone like that?"
"But what if you get too far with her and find you don't really love her?"
Dane gave him a strange look. "Love is just love, hero. You're starting to sound like a girl, you know that? Besides, why are you so concerned? It's my business."
But he wasn't listening anymore. He didn't really care what Shadow thought about him, even if he did get himself a new name and face, or rather an old name and face. He had just spotted Nani waiting for him a ways a way by the house they had been working at. He wondered whether to take what his once-reflection was saying. But as they neared town, he suddenly discovered he didn't care, because he wanted to believe it. And when he came close enough to see that promising smile of hers, he didn't question it anymore. He loved her. There was nothing more to it.
He didn't want to leave this town without her. If she wanted to stay, he'd stay too. And if it ended up badly, well, it wouldn't be because of him.
Dane was squinting at her when Link started running.
But Link only barely heard him. The elation of his epiphany flew him forward. It had been so simple! Why did it take his stupid reflection to make him realize it?
Nani didn't expect what happened next. Link fell upon her, swooping her up into his arms, and kissing her right smack on the mouth.
Kane's jaw dropped to the snow. Plenty of people copied him, including the mayor and his wife at a house across the square.
Behind him Dane froze.
"What was that for?" she asked, giggling with rosy cheeks.
"I just realized I loved you, that's all."
"That was quick." but her eyes had lit up like stars. "I like that."
Then her eyes caught something over her shoulder and her eyebrows furrowed.
"I know him," she muttered. Link put her down and turned to introduce her-
And came face to face with Dane's bright red, furious face. He raised his fists.
"You bastard! That's my sister!"
Link blanched. He didn't even have a moment to spare before he was stumbling back to avoid Dane's flying fists. Nani stared, still with that confused expression on her face. Kane's cheeks twitched as he watched Link evading and scrambling across the snow from Dane's flying fists, looking as though unsure whether to laugh or just be confused.
"Your sister?" Link chocked as he ducked. "How was I suppose to know that?"
"I don't care, you stay away from her!"
"Din, when was the last time you've even seen her?"
Dane didn't answer, throwing wet snow at his face. Link spluttered, wiped furiously at the cold, and glared. Lucky for him, though, he heard Dane finally stop, panting. Then he growled to himself.
"Oh, fuck it. If it has to be you better than that other ball-less wonder."
Link stared, snow dripping off his face, having no clue what he was talking about. Nani too was staring at him. Then, she tipped back her face and laughed.
"Oh, you! I remember now! You haven't changed at all." Then her face fell. "Oh my...Dane, what's happened?"
"I should be asking you that. What happened to you, Samantha? Where's Mom and Coral?"
"I..." her features furrowed, "I don't remember. I'm not even sure..." she looked hard at him, "You are my brother, right?"
"What's going on?" asked a small voice.
As one they all turned to the figure wrapped up so fully in the cloak only her pale face poked out. As she asked this, her eyes narrowed down on the older man who had helped her holding his trumpet in the square, watching the proceedings. Dane smiled as he also spotted the man, having been told about him by her on their way there.
"A lot, honey," he said. "A mighty lot."
Kane trotted over. "Uh, Nani, do you know what's going on here? And, uh," he leaned in closer and whispered, "I don't think that girl is wearing any clothes under that cloak."
The snow melted in a matter of days. Link eventually found the right time to ask if Nani (or Samantha, really), would come with him back to Hyrule. At first she was hesitant, but on talking with her newfound lost brother, Dane, realized that neither of them knew what had happened to their little sister and mother and they decided what better way to find out then on an adventure to Hyrule, where they had last seen them? The Snow Maiden, Rosy, had been reunited with her father and, since he was a traveling merchant anyways, he decided to go along too so that Rosy didn't have to choose whether to be with her father or the man she loved.
Kane, on the other hand, never really got what happened.
The night before they were to leave, he was still rehashing events.
"So, this lovely little caravan of yours that you've guys made involves two guys who mortally hate each other, a girl who once tried to freeze everyone to death, and my sister, who turns out is actually the sister of the crazy mean jerk who tried to kill you, and all this happened in a week?" he looked at Link disbelievingly as Nani-or, uh, Samantha-read her book. Dane and Rosy had fallen asleep on the rug before the fire, hands held.
Link just shrugged. Samantha glanced up from her book.
"What was that?"
"Oh, forget it. I just don't think this was a very well thought out story."
"How so?" asked Samantha, "ignoring the fact this isn't some story written by somebody."
"Well, I think it just, you know, moved a little too quick, don't you think?" he scooted his back against one of the chairs and folded his arms, scowling. "I mean, these sorts of things are suppose to last over a few months, at least! Where's all the building suspense and meticulous, realistic character building?"
"Kane, you don't even like books."
"How do you know?"
"I'm your sister."
"No you're not!"
When she gave him a half peeved, half hurt look, he sobered. Link watched in amusement as Kane scrambled to save himself.
"I mean, yes, you are my sister, of course, but technically..." he sighed, "oh, nevermind."
"Can you guys go somewhere else?" said Dane drowsily from the floor.
Rosy muttered something similar in her sleep and snuggled closer. Link and Samantha whispered apologies and left with Kane trailing behind with a disgusted look on his face.
"I live here, not them! Who gave them permission to be all goo-goo on my floor?"
Samantha sighed. "Kane."
"If you want to face the wrath of Shadow, go for it. But I don't advise it." said Link.
"But he's Dane now, isn't he suppose to be all good? Though I still don't get that either."
Link grinned with his teeth. "Oh, yeah, his name might've changed and he may not be so moody, but trust me, he hasn't changed that much."
"He reminds me a lot of you in a way," said Samantha thoughtfully.
The hero of time had the mind to look offended. Kane chuckled and walked ahead of them to the back door of the house.
"Come on, guys," he pulled out his boots by the door, "let's go do something crazy before you go, at least, like cow tipping or something."
And frankly, what happened after that, doesn't much matter, because it's quite obvious that they lived happily ever after. How? Because love is just love, and it's only as complicated as one makes it.
Lowe Here! Just to let you all know, I'm working on publishing my debut novel. Unlike my fanfiction stories, I've actually invested into a professional editor and have rewritten it several times. It's a beauty, let me tell you. Not perfect, because that's impossible, but it's the best I've made yet. When it comes out, I'll keep it at a really low price so, if you all are interested, you can have it for pocket change, really. ^.^ Because I want you guys to enjoy it as much as I have in writing it. I'll have a synopsis of it on my profile, and when it's published, I'll also let you all know on my updates as well as my profile where to find it.
And I'll also have a few free hard copies to mail out to anyone willing to help me spread the word. ^.^ Because, really, who doesn't hate marketing? Blegh.
Anyways, I'll stop blabbing now. Enjoy your weekly update!