A/N: Yeah, I'm taking forever on this, sorry, but I don't have my notes so I'm kinda making things up along the way, although this chapter was already planned in my head. Well, bear with me, I have fans foaming at the mouth for my Pokemon stuff. Oi!
Waker looked around in surprise at the sandy beaches of his home island. He had been prepared for a fight, sword and shield in hand, but this was the last place he was expecting for a battlefield. Cautious, he walked along the sandy beach towards his grandmother's house, wary of the grass and the water.
The Great Sea
"Hoy, Link!" Aryll's voice called out, "It's about time you showed up! We're almost ready for the party!" Waker blinked and ran for the porch, startled to find his younger sister standing there with colorful ribbons in her hands. More ribbons decorated the house and trees. Tetra stood beside her, grinning as she clutched a wooden cup in her hand.
"Fashionably late or something? I was gonna get started without you, kid!" she remarked.
"What's the party for?" Waker asked as he was led into the house by his kid sister.
"You're so silly! This is a play party!" Aryll asked and smiled, "We're all gonna play games and have lots of fun! Look! Your friends are here too!"
Waker blinked in shock as he laid eyes on the other Links, all placed around the home and chatting gaily with the islanders. Allstar and Dark Link were showing off Player's Guides to some of the kids. Elfin talked with the mother to one of the children about parenting techniques. Maverick stood in a corner with the old man, meditating quietly as best they could amid the ruckus. Link demonstrated sword techniques with Orca, earning oohs and ahhs from the girls. Overjoyed by their return, Waker ran to Link first.
"You guys! How did you escape Quinta?" he asked eagerly. Link blinked at him and grinned.
"Oh, hey, Waker! Actually, I didn't escape." he replied brightly, "After being with Quinta for a while, I decided not to try to escape. It's actually not bad being a servant." Waker blinked back, stunned. He stepped back and ran to the twins.
"Allstar! Dark Link! Don't tell me that you...!" he began as they looked up from the board game on the floor and grinned.
"Gave in to Quinta? Well, yeah! It was more fun not fighting than fighting all the time." Allstar remarked, "It's less stress on the ol' body, y'know?" He looked at the board game and cocked his head. "Hey! How come I have to get the dog in Monopoly? I wanted the hat!"
"You always want that stupid hat." Dark Link sighed and smiled at Waker. "Why don't you join us, Waker? It's a lot more relaxing than constantly having to be the hero."
"But what about all the people back home? What about protecting the innocent and the weak and helpless?" Waker protested, confused by what was happening.
"The Nintendo Defense System can handle it. They just have to switch the energy source from Dark Link to the secondary Nintendo Power Core." Allstar answered, rolling the dice on his turn. "Sweet! Doubles!" Waker ran to Elfin, hoping for a clearer mind.
"Elfin! Please say that you're going to fight this and go home to Gallera!" he begged, large eyes filling with tears. The officer paused and looked down at him in wonder.
"Waker, what's the matter? Quinta has everything set up perfectly. We're going to be happy here, why not enjoy it?" he asked.
"What about your wife and kids?!" the Hero of Winds demanded.
"Eh, I never liked married life anyway." Elfin shrugged and brightened at the sight of Waker's grandmother bringing in a tray of cookies, "Cool! Hey, are those fudge?"
"This is insane!" Waker whispered and fled to Maverick, his last hope, "Why won't anyone fight Quinta?" The captain opened an eye and looked up at him.
"Why would we?" he asked, "Fighting won't solve anything." Waker dropped to his knees and stared up at him in disbelief.
"Not you too." he whispered. Maverick looked around the room and frowned.
"Fighting does nothing but make Quinta more irresistible. We should think about ourselves, our lives, before anything else." he went on and looked at Waker again. "So again, why fight?"
"Because we're the heroes of so many worlds! What good is the title 'hero' when we just give up like this to some stupid being?!" he snapped back, turning a baleful gaze around to the others, "How could you call yourselves heroes when you just lay down and surrender like this?!"
"Don't be so selfish!" Maverick suddenly shot at him. Waker looked up at him in shock. "Don't be a brat! Look around you! You'll see the truth of Quinta if you just look! Don't fight it! Don't fight Quinta! Fighting the truth of the being will only result in destruction!"
"Wh-what? You want me to give in to Quinta, too?!" Waker cried, startled by the words. Maverick growled and reached out, slapping him over the head.
"You idiot! You selfish, spoiled child! You have no idea what you have and could have if you'd stop being so bad! Think about what you're doing and stop it! Then you can have what you want!" he snapped at him. Waker sniffled, rubbing at his head where he had been hit.
"Maverick...." he whimpered, "I wasn't being selfish, I just want us all to be home and with our family and friends."
"And what do you think Quinta wants?" the captain asked darkly, glaring at him. Waker blinked and tried to ask about that, but Maverick shut his eyes and wouldn't respond, lost in his trance.
"What does Quinta have to do with what I want?" he murmured and stood up, looking around at the party-goers. Tetra ran up to grab his arm and tug him to the table.
"Come on, Link! You're missing out on the food and games!" she laughed and headed off to grab a doll. "Aryll! Here it is! Catch!" The pirate girl tossed the doll off to Aryll, who caught it and cuddled it happily.
"Yay! Dolly! My dolly! Now I can finish the game!" she exclaimed. "I have my brother and I can play all day with him! Link! Won't you play with me?" Waker stood in the room, confused by everything.
"I wanted to be with my family and friends again. I want to go home and be with them." he murmured and closed his eyes, the room beginning to spin around him. "I want to be with my family! Not here! Not by myself!"
Maverick's words began to repeat in his mind, the scolding sound growing to be more like his own voice. Don't be so selfish!
"I want to be with my family!" Waker yelled louder, and thought he caught an echo in his words. Another voice was mimicking his words, with the same heartfelt emotion he had. "I want to be with my family! I want to play with them!" he went on and the voice grew louder. He opened his eyes and glared out before him, focused purely on the voice and ignoring everything around him. The Links continued to play and laugh, the room spun faster and he was beginning to understand what Maverick was saying.
The captain had kept part of himself aware somehow and had given him something more helpful than any weapon.
"I want to be home with my family!" Waker yelled again. The voice echoed his words and he tried to place it. It sounded strange, yet familiar. Where had he heard it before? And who was it? "I want to be with my family!"
"I want to play with you! I want to be with my family and play with them! Play with me! Play with me!"
"It's you!" Waker yelled and drew his sword in a flash, "Quinta! I've found you!" He pointed the sword at Aryll, glaring at her in barely suppressed fury, "Quinta! Let's end this!"
Aryll looked at him coldly, the Waker doll clutched tightly in one fist as the five colorful ribbons twined around her arms, fluttering in the energy that emanated from her body. The room and partygoers vanished and the Links dropped to the ground, unconscious. All around Waker and Aryll was an inky darkness speckled with countless tiny stars, the whole expanse so full of this emptiness as to swallow the floor, walls and ceiling. It was as if they floated on stardust.
"How dare you ruin my play party." Aryll hissed, the flowery print dress transforming on her body into a beautiful white gown adorned with five large gems and golden trim. Her hair flowed around her shoulders, the Waker doll held fast in her hand. "Do you think to slay a being of immeasurable power with a pathetic sword?" She stood there, so much a goddess in the realm that it seemed to Waker that she only had to think of his death and he would receive it. He refused to back down.
"This is the sword of evil's bane. It will utterly destroy the darkest of hearts." he growled, "Quinta! What I am about to do is for the good of everyone in all dimensions!" He swung the sword to his side and raced up to her, unleashing a rebel yell as he prepared for the blow.
"You will be destroyed and I shall have what should be mine!" Quinta screamed her furious threat, "Just try to attack me! You'll fail like all the others!" Waker loomed closer and her eyes flashed with energy, her power gathering within her for the blow. "Prepare for the end of this!"
"Hyaaaaah!" the Hero of Winds yelled and brought his hand around for the strike.
The blow echoed throughout the vast space, so loud and sharp and final that the stars winced, their light flickering every so slightly.
Quinta looked shocked as Waker stepped back and put his fist on his hip, the Master Sword resting by his side. She had been expecting the blow from the legendary blade, not a slap to the face. Gingerly, she touched her fingertips to the red mark on her cheek and winced at the painful throb.
"Don't be such a selfish, spoiled brat! Think about what you're doing and stop it!" Waker scolded, "You don't have to go around and mess with other worlds and other people just to have a playmate! That's bad! That makes people not want to be your friends!" Quinta blinked in surprise. "I know you want to be with your family, but that can't always be so! Things happen, life interferes, the needs of others might come first." Waker went on and softened. "If you had wanted a friend, you could have just asked. No Link I know would pass up a person in need of a friend."
Quinta shimmered before him, her soft sobbing the only other sound in the strange universe. When the light faded, there was only a small child standing before him, rubbing at one eye and clutching the arm of the Waker doll in her free hand.
"I just wanted to play with my brother....!" she whimpered, "But he says he's always so busy having to watch over you and make sure you guys were doing good and he never has time for me!" Waker blinked and looked surprised, Quinta resembled a very young Aryll from his world! Her words finally struck home as the other Links began to stir and get up.
"Ow, what the hell just happened here?" Elfin grumbled, rubbing his head as he sat up and looked around groggily.
"Mario? What's going on?" Allstar asked with a bleary expression as Dark Link pulled him upright. Maverick sat up and smiled at Waker.
"I knew you could do it. You understand how a younger sibling thinks and feels and reacts." he remarked as another light bloomed into the space.
The form of Zero Damagaus formed within and stepped out to join them, looking somewhat embarrassed as he rubbed Quinta on the head.
"Sorry about that, fellas. My sister tends to throw the oddest tantrums." he apologized. The Links stared at him, jaws dropped open.
"Quinta's your sister?! And you never told us?!" they shrieked at him. The Watcher shrugged.
"You never asked. Anyway, I hadn't known that this was the reason why she decided to interfere with your worlds." he replied and looked down at the girl with a gentle and confused look. "Quinta, why didn't you say anything to me?"
"You always said I was a pest and wanted me to go play somewhere else 'cause you were busy! I was sick of it!" Quinta yelled, the cute little dress now decorated with five tiny gems and a gold apron. "You never wanted to play with me!"
"I'm sorry about that. Maybe we can play together later tonight. All the Links seem to be doing just fine, except for these guys." Zero remarked, "I could take another break and we can go play anything you want."
"You mean it?" Quinta asked softly, looking up at him with distrust. Zero nodded. "And you'll play with me more? Like when I ask?"
"Not always, but I'll try my best to be there for you. After all, I'm a Watcher. I have to watch these guys." he replied and grinned, rubbing her head again. "Now why don't you lift that power block off of my Instant Dimensional Gap capsule so they can go home?" Quinta put her finger to her mouth and rolled her eyes.
"But they were tons of fun... they got through my puzzles and everything...." she murmured and sighed as she recalled Waker's scolding, "Okay." She waved her hand at them. "You can go home."
"That's it? That was all? She was the being of power that screwed us all up?" Allstar remarked incredulously once his mind cleared, "Geez! I was expecting something big!"
"This isn't a video game, bro." Dark Link sighed. Waker brought out the capsule and looked down at Quinta with a smile.
"Thank you very much. And if it helps, I will be your friend." The girl blinked up at him and laughed, waving her hand.
"Yay! Thanks! Will all of you be my friends?" she asked eagerly.
"Why not? You act like my kids, it won't be any different. I know some games we could play if you ever drop by my place." Elfin remarked with a grin. Link nodded.
"I have plenty of wooden toys I make in Kokiri Forest, and I know Mido and the gang wouldn't mind a friend of mine being there for the plays and festivals!" he added.
"I'll show you the stars of my home universe and the Entities will make you feel at home. They are children with great power as well." Maverick murmured with a smile and wink.
"Are we paid by the hour?" Allstar asked and ducked Dark Link's swipe, "Just kidding! Hey, yeah, come on over whenever you wanna play! There's tons to do at Nintendo!"
"The Dark Side is equally as fun, long as you don't mind the Bob-ombs have their fireworks contest at random times and places! Ha ha!" Dark Link threw in, laughing. Quinta nodded and waved again as Waker lifted the capsule into the air.
"Each of you will return to your own world and the capsule will remain here, so this will be the last time you are together." Zero warned them. Waker brought the item down hurriedly and pulled the second Master Sword from his back, handing it to Allstar Link.
"I forgot to give this back. Sorry." he apologized bashfully. Allstar took it back and replaced it in the sheath.
"Eh, that's okay. I have a dozen more like it back home in the closet." he replied and smiled, rubbing his head. "Well, guys, it's been fun working with you all."
"It was a remarkable adventure, wasn't it?" Link asked, eyes bright with the hope of going home and the excitement of having done so much good with so many other versions of himself. "I wish there was a way we could keep touch!"
"I doubt it. We'd probably end up cross-contaminating each other and learning things we shouldn't." Elfin replied and smiled as Glitter fluttered around his head, chattering wildly, "Like how to understand this bug of mine. Glitter! Stop babbling!"
"Maybe it's time I talked to the new Allstar and Dark Link of my world." Maverick murmured, "I have a lot to catch up on and a lot to relearn."
"Well, goodbye to you all then. And may the Goddesses be with you!" Waker declared as Link echoed his words.
"Godspeed!" Elfin added, "Good luck in all you do!"
"May you all be blessed with the luck of heaven!" Allstar and Dark Link chimed in unison and laughed.
"Until we meet again in the strands of time and space." Maverick remarked with a cool smile. Waker lifted the capsule and it flash a brilliant light, the group of heroes vanishing for the last time. Zero smiled and rubbed his sister's head again.
"So where should we play first?" he asked as they walked to a mystical portal. "I heard the show at the beginning of the Universe of the First Dimension has some cool fireworks...."