Title: Dawn

Author: Alex Foster

Category: Drama

Rating: PG

Summary: While Zelda is underneath a sleeping spell, Link holds vigil by her side. One Shot.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Nintendo. No money is being made and no infringement is intended.

Dedication: To the ghosts that stay with us.

Author's Notes: Just a little writing exercise from a while back. This story is not canon correct, but then again neither are most of my fanfictions. This is set just prior to the events in The Adventures of Link, and is told solely in Link's point of view. As always, I thank you for reading.

Vigil (n)

1. A period of sleeplessness

2. A devotional watch

3. A purposeful surveillance to guard or observe

It is dark now, but soon it will be dawn.

From my vantagepoint in the corner of the room, I can see the east window so I will know the moment the light comes. I have been waiting a long time, but I know it is just a matter of time.

I can also see Zelda. She was the reason I chose this corner of the chamber to watch and wait. The room lay open before me and the cold stone wall is at my back.

She is asleep and pale. Very pale. Her brows knit and then relax as she confronts whatever or whomever she sees in her dreams. It has been months without any change: Princess Zelda will not wake up. She is under a curse to sleep until age claims her.

It has been months but I maintain my vigil. Every night I am here, in her chambers and by her side. The guards in the hall outside the chamber never try to stop me from entering. I think Impa ordered them to let me by. Not that they could stop me; I would find a way to make it snow in the desert at high sun if that was what I had to do in order to see Zelda.

I know that the strain of staying awake all night, and then spending most of the day in the castle's libraries studying curses and curative spells will catch up with me one day, but I will not stop until I have an answer. Until I have a cure for Zelda's curse.

I fell asleep today while eating dinner—or lunch, I do not really note time anymore—but no one seemed to notice or care. That is the mood in the palace lately; disinterest brought about by shock. Everyone walks around with a haunted, glazed over expression. We are a people without a leader. The Royal Houses are stirring and there are whispers about a coup d'état against the throne.

I'd gladly give all of Hyrule to anyone that wanted it if they could supply a cure.

During my first hour of vigil, Zelda muttered in her sleep and gave a small start. My heart jumped and I came to attention. For a moment, I thought it would be over. I thought my watch would be at an end and she'd come back to me. But, as so many times before, she fell back against the soft sheets of her bed and was still.

At times, I wonder what she sees in her dreams. Has she been lost in the black twisted shapes of nightmares, or has she been at peace in a place far away from Hyrule. Away from the demands of the crown, the people, and of destiny. I wonder if the nature of the curse is escape from everything feared in life. Such sanctuary that the cursed no longer wishes to wake up.

If that is the case, I can empathize with Zelda. For I, too, have experienced the sweet haven dreams can offer. I hope that when I complete my quest to find a cure, I do not save Zelda from paradise only to pull her back into the nightmare of the living.

As the hours pass slowly by, I pretend that she knows I am here. Pretending helps sometimes. That she knows it's my hands lifting her head up and bringing a cup of water to her dry lips. That it is my presence she feels and draws comfort from night after night. But the part of me that no longer grows hopeful at seeing her stir knows that she does not feel me here. Until I can cure her, she is as lost to me as I am to her.

The eastern sky is starting to brighten with the dawn and I study Zelda for any movement or change. A pillow of golden hair frames her face, one hand lay tucked safely underneath her thin coverlet, and the other rests above the blankets across her abdomen. Her breasts rise and fall with each shallow breath. She is as she has been for several months.

With the dawn physicians will come. They will examine her and pronounce "No change." Later sorceresses will come, and I will listen to them as they chant and cast spells, but there will be no difference for this curse is beyond their power. Through all this, I'll have to endure Impa's concerned filled gaze. The old Sheikah Witch feels that I push myself too hard for naught.

Dusk shall find me in my usual chair beside Zelda. Beyond the ears of Impa and the palace staff, I shall whisper all the things I wish I had said before the curse into Zelda's ear. I shall pray to every god and goddess that were ever worshiped for a cure. I shall offer up my life and my soul in exchanged, but there will be no change and dawn will come again.

Golden sunlight spills across the bedchamber now, warming the cold stone walls and chasing the shadows to the corners of the room, but it is still dark to me.

It is dark, but soon, soon it will be time for the dawn.