Author's Note

I don't own any of the Zelda characters, places, or situations. Nintendo has the rights to anyone you recognize. I don't intentionally copy anyone's ideas, and if it looks like I have, I've probably been reading your stories and something stuck in my mind. ^_^

I may have altered many of the in-game details to suit my purposes. This will be an alternative universe and I'm not going for accuracy, I'm going for entertainment value. I'm writing using what few details stuck in my mind from when I played Zelda: OOT back in '98.

I also have to credit any definitions (chapter titles, for example) to

*I changed a little bit of this, because I wrote it late at night and it seemed a little...unnecessary*

Story: When Zelda tries to send Link back in time after the end of Ocarina of Time, something goes horribly wrong. Alternate Universe. Rated for violence.

Fait Accompli: An accomplished and presumably irreversible deed or fact.

Chapter One: Denouement: The final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work

Zelda's eyes searched his for an answer, one that Link could not provide. Answers were hard to come by in times of difficulty, and both the princess and her hero had faced their fair share of difficulty. Both were now faced with the difficulty of rebuilding a kingdom and the hardest choice either would ever have to make.

Link tried to smile, to reassure Zelda in some way, but he had been far too serious for far too long. It seemed to him that his face was permanently drawn into an impassive mask, a caricature of what he should have and could have been. His bloodshot eyes stared into hers, rarely blinking. His thin lips had not smiled for an eternity. He had seen far too much during his journeys to wallow in peace and contentment like the rest of the denizens of Hyrule. Link feared that if he began to smile, began to care, it would only make the pain worse when he lost everything again. His friends, his home, maybe even his life. He had lost them all before.

Zelda turned and walked toward the gate of the Hyrule Castle Town.

"If we are going to do this, let's make it in a place that holds only good memories...for both of us." She walked over the drawbridge and started toward a small garden outside the city walls. Link followed, noticing that the heavy wooden drawbridge had finally been repaired. A group of carpenters from Kakariko Village balanced atop the thick stone wall while they tested the strength of the drawbridge chain. The head carpenter nodded to the princess and the hero as they left the castle and the marketplace behind them.

Zelda led Link to a place that was shaded from the hot midday sun. She reached into a pocket in her summer dress and withdrew the Ocarina of Time, rubbing her thumb over the keys as she looked at it. Her eyes remained on the Ocarina as she spoke.

"With the power of the Ocarina, I can send you back in time, far enough that none of this would ever have happened; you can live a normal life in the past." She sighed and finally met Link's eyes. "I cannot guarantee that you will have any memory of what has passed in this time, but that may be for the best. Ganondorf is safely locked in the Sacred Realm and would not be a threat, even in the past." She looked sadly at the damaged ruins in the distance, all that remained of Hyrule Castle. The carpenters would eventually build a new palace in a different location, and the ruins would become a monument to remind future generations of the struggles of the past. "It would be like none of this had ever happened."

Link was haunted by every minute of his so-called quest. At night, he could hardly sleep for the visions of terror that crowded his dreams and waking hallucinations. Kokiri Village was once more overrun with monsters of Ganondorf's creation; the temples were filled with death traps; he dreamt of his own death.

Link had died. He had died more than once, more than twice. Fully twenty- one times he had lost all feeling, all sense of self as his blood ran scarlet upon the ground, coating the intricately decorated temple floors in glossy red as his enemies gloated. They laughed in his face as he lay on the floor, his numb fingers losing grip of his sword as he gasped his last breaths. He had weakly clenched his fists in a last show of stubbornness as his vision turned to grey and his lungs filled with fluid. Twenty-one times.

Each time he was brought back from the relative peace of death that he could only enjoy for an eternity of mere seconds. The faeries saw it as their duty to give their lives for the Hero of Time, so that he might save the world. Simple Fate. Link saw it as a cruelty, chucking him unceremoniously back into a quest and a life that he didn't want anymore. It tore at the few remaining slivers of sanity he still possessed to be taken from a moment of blissful peace and placed back in a hopeless quest and the hell that had become his reality.

Against all odds Link had completed his quest. He had retained enough of his stubbornness through the long months to defeat the one that had caused him so much pain. And he had delighted at the sound of the Master Sword tearing at the flesh of the monstrosity that Ganondorf had become. Striking at the creature with the sword Fate had provided him, Link repaid the monster for his misery. Hylian and Gerudo brutally tore at one another. Their blood intermingled, making it impossible to tell monster from man.

When the creature finally lay dead upon the ground and his sword was slick with red-black blood, Link still buried his weapon again and again in the grotesque armored flesh of Ganon's final form. The creature was no longer recognizable as man or beast when Link noticed a hand resting gently on his arm. He had looked up into the piercing blue eyes of Zelda, princess of Hyrule and the seventh Sage, where he found an anchor for his uncontrolled emotions. In those eyes he saw no anger for his actions. No disgust lingered there for the person he had become. Only compassion, sorrow for a man so far gone had been in those eyes. And a single tear. Link's anger had slowly dissolved, replaced by the expressionless mask that he had slowly created during his struggle for survival and the fate of Hyrule.

A few days later, Link had attended the celebration of Ganondorf's defeat. He had kept to the shadows cast by the trees in the fading light, merely watching. He had smiled once, briefly, when Saria had asked him to dance with her. He had declined, claiming that he did not know how to dance. She, eternal child as she was, attributed his behavior to adulthood and went back to merrymaking, quickly forgetting that she had ever asked. She simply could not understand the haunted look in her friend's eyes.

Some of the other Sages had cast worried looks in Link's direction, but none knew how to approach or to properly thank their hero. Link had remained in the shadows, unwilling to relax and enjoy Hyrule's first night free of Ganondorf's rule. Unknown to the Sages, Link was still far from free of the influence of the Gerudo king. His memories haunted him even in waking. To his eyes, Stalfos danced around the fire in place of his friends. Wolfos lurked in the shadows, stalking the Kokiri children as they played. Ganondorf's evil laugh, that unbearable laugh that had nearly caused him to give up hope, still rang in his ears. Link would find no rest that night.

Link opened his eyes when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He blinked to clear the memories from his thoughts and focused on Zelda's intense blue eyes. They now stood among the summer's flowers in a small grove of trees. If Link imagined hard enough, he could hear the laughter of Kokiri children as they climbed the trees and played follow-the-leader. Soon the trees would bear ripe apples, which many of the Hylians would pick and bake into pies. Soon Malon would be feeding some of those apples to her horses as she sang her sweet song.

Zelda once more looked at the Ocarina of Time as she spoke, afraid to meet the eyes of the man in front of her, the man she was about to lose. The Ocarina was such a pretty little thing, to have such power. "Link, are you sure that you prefer not to remain? Hyrule Castle Town and Kakariko Village are still being rebuilt, and we could use some help..." She ended her plea here, knowing that he had already made his decision and nothing she said could change the fact that Fate had ruined the life of the one man who deserved a good life.

Link frowned briefly as he considered the options one last time. To remain would mean to remember, to live the life of a warrior in a time of peace. The small part of his mind that was still rational told him that there would be no peace for him. There was no place here and now for a warrior, used to the fullest and then forgotten by Fate. Should the need for a warrior arise, Fate and the Goddesses could find another.

He looked around once more. Midsummer would soon take hold of Hyrule Field. Had so much time really passed? Had he really lost several years of his life to Fate? Surely Hyrule had not looked this beautiful, so many years ago. There was only one way to find out.

"I am certain. There is no place for me here." Link stepped back and closed his eyes, not wanting to see the look of sadness on Zelda's face. He tried to remember who he had been before the intervention of Fate. An innocent child, hopeful for the bright future ahead of him. If he could return to that, even if it meant that he would never remember being a hero, he would. He could not bear to be a constant reminder to himself and everyone else of that which had passed before. He opened his eyes and held Zelda's hand in his calloused one. Even his hands reminded him of the pain.

"Zelda, none of this is your fault. I think that it is meant to happen this way. There is no place for me in this new world...enjoy it with the others." He smiled at the princess, a genuine smile. "Besides, I have the chance to enjoy Hyrule as it should have been." Zelda smiled in spite of the tears that rolled down her cheeks.

"I do envy you for that, I will admit," she whispered, squaring her shoulders and releasing Link's hand. "Farewell, my friend. I hope that better days find you." Zelda lifted the Ocarina to her lips for one final song. The Hero of Time faded quickly. She thought she heard a soft voice returning her farewell, but no trace of the Link remained. The seventh Sage and Princess of Hyrule fell to her knees in the midst of the flowers and wept for her lost love.

'' ''

A small boy opened his dark blue eyes, dreams of what might have been and what still might be quickly leaving his memory. He shivered, picking his blanket up from the floor where it had fallen and wishing that he had a fairy before he fell asleep once more.

'' ''

A young man opened his dark blue eyes, dreams of what had been and what still might be quickly leaving his memory. He shivered, looking around at the dewy grass shining in the light of the rising sun before he fell into unconsciousness once more.