Disclaimer: I am not claiming responsibility for the ownership of the Legend of Zelda, because that would be very wrong of me and illegal. And I don't want to be sued, I haven't got the money. Thank you!
A.N: I read a doujinshi the other day. Actually, I think the word is attempted to read a doujinshi, my Japanese is fairly weak ^__^; ah well. This doujinshi can be found on www.historyofhyrule.com and is called A Red Rose in Hyrule, or something like that. As a result of reading this doujinshi, I became extremely confused and melancholic, particularly after looking at the last three or four pages. So I consulted Venus and she is equally confused by it. The doujinshi occupied my thoughts so much that I had to print off those pages and examine them further…
And you probably know me well enough by now to realise that when my thought pattern gets dominated by something I get inspired.
Picture those last three pages without those other characters involved. Just Link and Zelda and forget the rest of the doujinshi. OK? Right. One-shot, set in the parallel Ocarina universe, the one that countless people use where you're required to conveniently forget the Zelda-and-Link-in-the-sky-and-sending-back incident *nods*.
Angsty, cause I was getting angsty vibes from poor doujinshi Zelda. Oh, and it's in her POV btw…
by anime animal
"Have you seen him yet?"
I heard snippets of the conversation from my bed and try to raise a smile as I hear the pride in his voice.
"Yes sire, him. It is a prince."
My husband glances over at me from over his shoulder and walks over to the bed when he catches me looking at him. I am taken aback as he sits on the side of the bed and smiles at me.
"You gave me a son," he says with disbelief, almost daring me to contradict him.
"Yes," I reply meekly, too exhausted to do much else.
His smile warms my heart the way that it used to before we were married and he ruffles my hair affectionately. Like a brother. Not a husband.
"You clever, clever girl," he says fondly.
I try to smile back, I really do. But that is all that passes between us before he heads into the adjoining room where the testament of our marriage lies sleeping. My baby boy. His baby boy. His son who will sit on the throne. That is all that is important to him.
I can't help it, but I burst into tears. The maids and the doctor all look at me sympathetically, thinking it is to do with a hormone imbalance. I only wish it was.
He never wanted to get married, he'd looked horrified when I told him that we had to. It was because the kingdom was still unstable following Ganon's demise, and there was some concern about foreign countries that he had made alliances with. I was told by the ministers who had surfaced that Hyrule could not be taken seriously when there was a woman alone on the throne and no strong male figure around. The fact that I hold the Triforce of Wisdom was of no consequence. I would not and could not be taken seriously unless I was wed and the country remained in danger as long as I remained unmarried. The law books were consulted, and then a particular clause was discovered, 'whosoever takes the throne from a usurper must marry the last legitimate ruler's closest female relative.' It's outdated, but he agreed. Although Link had given up his claim to the throne through rite of conquest, the laws dictated what was expected of both of us. We were married and he was crowned king. He hadn't wanted the crown, hadn't wanted any of it, but he took it anyway. There was a huge part of me that was thrilled when I was told about my role in his marriage, because you see I love him. I've loved him from the moment that I saw him, but as for him…
I wish to the gods he felt the same.
The whole thing has been one big lie, there has never been one conscious moment of my marriage where I have felt content or at peace with the situation. I should have got out of it, should have had it annulled. For a while we discussed it, he was the one that brought it up. He was already in love with someone else, Malon the ranch owner's daughter, and he never hid it from me. So, even though I desperately wanted to, I wouldn't go to bed with him. It would give us grounds for an annulment, and he would renounce the throne and leave me to remarry as I saw fit while he could marry Malon.
Only Malon wouldn't wait. It broke Link's heart the day he found her in the arms of another man and it was I who had to help put the pieces back together. It's strange, but that was the closest I've ever been to him, on an emotional level anyway. He was distraught, so I dismissed what servants were in the castle that night and set to cheering him up. We talked for hours, made all the easier by draining copious amounts of wine. And then it happened.
I'll never forget that night, I'll never forget the tang of his salty flesh on my tongue and how his mouth devoured mine over and over again, leaving me breathless. I can still feel the fire in his embrace, his hot breath against my skin and the way that he made me writhe with ecstasy beneath him. It was how I had always dreamed it to be, full of fire and passion. I thought 'this is it, he does love you Zelda, he does!'
But he didn't.
The next morning he woke up after me and looked horrified to find himself with me. And then I knew that the night before had been one big lie, a terrible drunken mess. He hadn't wanted me, it was Malon he had made love to. I couldn't even remember whether it was her name he had cried as he powered towards rapture or if it was mine. Instead of bringing us closer together, it pushed us further apart. He never confided in me again. We were friends, there was no hostility between us, but there was nothing deeper than friendship and it was that fact that sent my spirits plummeting. They couldn't get any lower than that grizzly grey morning two months after we'd been together.
I had called him into my study. He had just been riding and was still dressed in his riding clothes- his typical Kokiri attire. He had been forced to adopt more regal clothing following our marriage, but he kept the tunic. It kept a part of his past with him.
"What's the matter Zelda? You never want to discuss business with m-"
"It's not about business," I replied. "It's about us and that night."
His expression soured, as though the memory of it was too repellent for him.
"I thought we'd agreed to forget about it."
"Yes, but we can't," I argued. "We can't forget it. Not now that I'm…"
I hadn't wanted to tell him, but I had to let him know.
"Not now that I'm going to have a baby."
He had looked horrified, absolutely horrified. I felt my already churning stomach lurch and had rushed somewhere to be sick. I had hoped that by telling him of the life he'd created within me he'd be happy, that we'd be closer. I just wished that he'd start to realise that I could be just as loving as Malon if he'd only let me, I wished that he could love me the way that I loved him. Those feelings I still hold.
And the last seven months have been a living nightmare. He hasn't known how to act around me, when we speak it's been brief and superficial conversations. He has been riding every morning since he found out, and I have only just discovered that Malon and her paramour separated. I suppose those rides have taken him to Lon Lon and to her. Even now, after I have been labouring since yesterday and through the night, he is wearing his Kokiri tunic from one of these rides. And still I love him, it's been growing stronger and stronger with each day that passes. I suppose that it was because of the hormones, but now it's as though a great stopper has been removed from the bottle of my emotions and I can't hold onto the lie anymore. I can't. I should do for my son, but I just can't lie to him too. I love them both so much, and it's unfair to both of them if we continue to live like this.
I am still sobbing when Link comes back into the main room with my baby crying in his arms. He looks like such a natural father, it almost brings new tears to my eyes.
"It looks like he's hungry," he announces, and suddenly everyone in the room has disappeared apart from the three of us. I attempt to pull myself together as I sit up and open my night gown. Link looks away with a pink stain to his cheeks as I take the baby from him. Is he embarrassed? I gasp in surprise as my son attaches himself firmly to my breast and begins to suckle ferociously, and I suppose my reaction surprises my husband.
"It feels strange," I explain.
And then this feeling of blissful contentment fills me and I sigh happily, letting everything wash over me. I don't care, my baby and I are alone in our own world.
"And wonderful," I sigh.
Link smiles and then stares at me incredulously.
"You've been crying?"
I look down at the baby, but Link's hand comes under my chin and forces my eyes to meet with his.
"You have been crying. What's wrong?"
This is my cue to let everything come out, this is when I'm supposed to reveal to him that I've had enough of this sham marriage and I want out. This is when I'm supposed to be strong…
This is when I burst into tears again.
"It's nothing, I'm just being stupid," I whimper.
He is still looking unhappy about that.
"When will you tell me what's wrong, Zelda?"
The tenderness in his tone disarms me. It sounds like he cares…
"Nothing's wrong, I'm just worn out and overly emotional, and sore and-"
I can't think of anything else to say, so I turn my attention back to the one male in the room who does love me.
"I'm not talking about now," he argues. "You're not yourself and you haven't been for a while now."
It really is the time. I have to tell him, I can't live like this anymore.
"I'm tired of this, Link. I am sick and tired of pretending that this marriage is working. We should have ended this before it even began."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"It has everything to do with everything!" I cry. "You never wanted to marry me, you wanted Malon. You still want her now, and you wanted her when we…"
I can't bring myself to finish.
"Maybe it's her I should be thanking for your son, you certainly wouldn't have brought yourself to sleep with me had she not been on your mind."
"What are you talking about?"
I am in floods of tears now, and the baby must be able to sense my anxiety because he murmurs softly, as though he is trying to comfort me.
"We both agreed at the start that we wouldn't be pretending in this marriage," I say quietly. "But even as I agreed with you I was lying to myself."
He looks confused.
"It kills me every time I look at you and every day that we've been married has been one twist of the knife more. Today that knife has been twisted too far."
He looks hurt now, and glances at the baby with a trace of worry on his face.
"Because of him?"
"No!" I cry. "Gods Link, he's the only thing about this marriage that I'd do over and over and over again if I had to. But I can't help but be jealous of him, don't hate me for that."
"Jealous of him? What for?"
I force myself to hold his gaze as I speak. I need to see his reaction.
"Because you will always love him, and you don't love me."
"You love him because he's yours and no-one can take him from you the way the kingdom took Malon from you. And you are grateful that I gave him to you but you feel nothing stronger than affable friendship for me. I can't live with that anymore."
"Why are you bringing Malon into this? Zelda, that's been over for-"
"Don't lie to me!" I cry. "At least do me the courtesy to admit that you were with her today while I was giving birth. You still love her, and as that is so clearly the case then I will find a way for you to be freed from this marriage, even though I have loved you stronger than I ever thought I could love anyone."
"Loved me?" He looks surprised and moves closer. "You loved me?"
I nod weakly.
"I still do," I whisper. "And I always have."
I can't meet his eyes then and look to my baby. He is so much like his father, I hadn't noticed that yet.
"Zelda, will you let me speak now?"
The softness in his voice surprises me and he brushes my cheek with his fingertips, sweeping a stray hair from my face behind my ear. My eyes shift upward to meet his, and it startles me to see his expression. It's so sad…
"I wish you hadn't waited so long to tell me. I thought that you were happy with how things were…"
He looks away and curses under his breath.
"I'm such a god-damned idiot. You were miserable and I-"
He pauses and then startles me by putting his hand on top of mine, stroking his thumb over my knuckles.
"Can you ever forgive me?"
The look behind his eyes is so humble and apologetic that I feel tears threatening again.
"There is nothing to forgive you for. It's all my fault that we're-"
"Would you stop blaming yourself and let me explain myself?" he says softly. "Firstly, let me dispel a popular myth that you've no doubt heard. Yes, when we got married I was in love with Malon."
I sob softly, frightened of what I'm to hear next. He brushes my hand again.
"But when I caught her with that other guy, I knew I couldn't go back to her. And I never have Zelda. I don't think you realise just how hurt by that I was, because I hate being betrayed by someone I trust."
He sighs and looks at the baby, smiling as he flails a tiny fist.
"I had no desire to reconcile with her. And what kind of idiot jumps back into the fire when he's already been burnt? But it wasn't entirely her fault, not really."
"But where did you go today? You're still wearing your Kokiri tunic, you only wear it to go to Lon Lon on your rides."
"You think I only ride to Lon Lon? Oh Zelda, that's ridiculous! And as for this," he pinches the green fabric between thumb and forefinger, "I haven't had the chance to change since you went into labour. I'd been sitting outside this room waiting for almost fifteen hours when I was told I could come in. They told me to go, but nothing could have shifted me from my seat, not even Ganon."
I say nothing, but am increasingly aware of how my heart is pounding.
"Malon and I weren't happy," he continues, "and it was mostly to do with me. I had things on my mind that I really had no idea how to deal with, and I knew that I had a choice to make but I- well…"
His voice trails off uncertainly.
"I was scared that what I wanted was wrong, but she really proved to me that it was the right decision. I know that now."
I don't understand really what he's trying to say.
"Zelda, I was going to end it with her."
I meet his gaze then, I can see the surprise on my face in his eyes.
"I was falling for someone else, and it wasn't fair on either of us to keep going."
Someone else? I feel my stomach leap nervous somersaults.
"Do you know who that someone was?"
I am drawn out of my thoughts by Link's hand under my chin.
"Ruto?" I ask meekly.
He blinks and then laughs so loudly that the baby jumps and he lets go of me, whimpering in alarm at his father's outburst. I try to soothe him and guide him back to my breast, which he seizes eagerly. I am irritated by Link's lack of consideration.
"I'm sorry, it's just that… Ruto?" he chuckles to himself. "No Zelda, not Ruto. You."
I look up in shock.
"Me?" I whisper.
Link nods solemnly.
Those damn tears spring up again.
"But… but when you woke up with me you looked so disgusted and when I told you about him," I look at the baby, "you were so upset. I thought you hated me. I don't understand…"
He looks dismayed at my reaction and wipes my tears away with his thumb.
"You thought that?"
I nod and bite my lip.
"Shit, Link the moron strikes again."
I laugh and sob at the same time, making a strange hiccupping sound. He laughs too.
"I was disgusted with the way I behaved. I mean, I took advantage of you and that was despicable, and I hated myself. Hence the look of horror when I woke up. I only reacted the way I did when I found out about the baby is because I wanted the conception of our first child to be more special than a drunken fumble. And because I thought that I'd ruined your life."
I smile gently at him, aware that what I was about to say could easily be accepted into the book of cheese.
"But I still regret it," he says quickly. "I mean, it was your first time and I screwed it up."
I shake my head. Our eyes remain locked, and I find the intensity behind his gaze electric.
"It was just the way I wanted it."
He blinks and I laugh to myself.
"Can't you remember it?"
"Yeah," he admits. "Although bits are a little hazy."
"Probably just as well, I behaved appallingly."
His eyes widen.
"Really? How appallingly?"
Do I detect a trace of excitement behind his voice?
"Oh, worse than you," I say, surprised by the challenge in my voice.
He laughs quietly and then strokes our son's head in the moment of silence that follows. I suppress a shiver of excitement as his fingers brush provocatively close to the curve of my breast.
"He's just incredible Zelda," he murmurs. "How can something so small be so perfect?"
"He is, isn't he?" I sigh, feeling immensely proud of myself for the first time since being presented with my beautiful baby boy.
There is another moment of silence, yet the element of awkwardness behind the quiet has evaporated, leaving in its wake an air of tranquillity. We are both too enamoured with our son to bother with much else.
"So where do we go from here?" I ask quietly.
"Do you want to give it another try?"
I nod gently and smile at the baby.
"I don't think that the first try really counts as one."
He laughs and moves his fingers to my lips, tracing their shape softly. His eyes are so beautiful, like the colour of the sky at midnight. I feel as though I could drown in his eyes and his whole soul would swallow me completely.
"I love you," I whisper, unable to help myself.
His gaze softens and he leans closer, his lips brushing mine as he speaks.
"I love you too."
Delirium fills me as his lips touch mine and we melt away into our own private world. I am drowning now, and I don't want to be saved. I'll let him be my lifeline, my spirit and my soul because I've wanted it to be this way for so long now. I am standing on the edge of a whole new world with him, and I don't intend to look back with longing at the world we've left behind. Now is what I'm living for, and I just know that it's the same with him. He is holding me tightly, and with this embrace he tells me that he won't be letting go. We're brought back to earth as the baby murmurs impatiently, so we break apart. With our brows still touching, I switch our son to my other breast and smile at his father.
"Will you say it again? Please?"
"I love you Zelda."
I smile as we sit in comfortable silence, watching our baby. There will never be a time when I grow tired of hearing him say that.
Why am I unable to write sad endings? I'm so pathetic! I wanted angst and it turned into fluff. Gah! New Year's Resolution: brush up on angsty technique. We all know that the 'new' marriage will be great, and how I'm a romance zealot, and I can't make those two miserable over the holidays (even when they're over for me on Tuesday… groan.)
Link: Why not? You seem perfectly happy to make us miserable the rest of the time.
A.A: Well, 2004 will be interesting for them anyway.
Zelda: Oh God, more abuse. How will we cope?
Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas everyone!
Read and review! Go on, you know you want to!
P.S: If anyone's Japanese is good enough, can they explain to me exactly what is going on between doujinshii Link and Zelda? Is it just me who feels extremely sorry for her?