Thankful

Disclaimer: I don't own the Zelda series

Link sat quietly on a perch overlooking Kakariko. He held still, breathing in a silent, almost non-existent fashion. He watched the hustle and bustle of the people below, seeing everything and nothing at the same time. They were all so busy. Too busy to take time out of the day to talk to one another, too busy to pay attention to their children, too busy to thank anyone.

Link felt a great pain on his chest. A pain that came from anger towards the people he now watched. Hadn't he done a lot for them? Hadn't he been there for them at times regardless of the inconveniences it caused him? Hadn't he risked his very life for them? Yet, despite all that, he had not heard one word of gratitude when he arrived. Not a single person offering his or her thanks to him for the numerous occasions where he put his own well being on the line. His pain came from a silent resentment that was lodged deep within; a secret growing hatred that threatened to spread like a wild fire.

He had fought so many battles that by now he had given up on counting them. He had waged war against his enemies time and time again and every time he had emerged the victor. Was he not now at this very moment in time preparing to head into the temple above the graveyard and throw himself in harms way for these people? Well, that is, he was. He was beginning to have second thoughts on all this. All that he had done for them and not even one person had said "thank you." Link shook his head in frustration. It wasn't just them.

He looked down at his left arm, pulling up his sleeve to reveal two dim scars the size of dimes. He had gotten those from a Deku Baba while fighting to cure the Great Deku Tree of his fatal curse. He had done so valiantly, shattering the curse and saving the one that he admired so much - or at least he thought. Even after that, the Deku Tree had still withered away. And if losing someone who was as close as a father was not bad enough, he had gotten blamed for it as well. He could remember the searing taunts and curses of the Kokiri children who believed that he was responsible. He had left the forest immediately after that, not once looking back.

A burn mark covered the area from his right knee to half way up his thigh. He had received that little gift from a Dodongo while curing the infestation inside of the Dodongo's Cavern. And he did it, too. He had cleared it out and gave the Goron's a place to feed once more. But had they patted him on the back, put him on their shoulders and paraded him around? No. They all stood in an astonished hush as they gaped open-mouthed at the cave entrance. Link remembered turning and walking away without a word as they saluted his departure with their backs to him.

Link reached behind him and slid his hand up his shirt, delicately fingering an electrical burn. A biri had shocked him in the small of the back during his exploration of Jabu-Jabu. The force of it had split the skin, leaving a permanent reminder of that adventure. When he finally managed to escape that oversized tuna, carrying Ruto on his back, the Zoras did not thank him. They crowded around their princess and listened to her story about being inside the belly of a fish. Once again, Link had quietly marched off into the night with nothing more than a scar. Sadly, that was nicest thing he had ever received.

There had been so many other times. So many adventures, and yet so little praise. No, praise was not what he longed for. Praise was a joyous expression of worship for what someone has done for you. Link merely wished for a kind word here and there. Just something that would convince him that the sacrifices he was making were not in vain. That these people really did want liberation from an evil tyrant and that he wasn't just wasting his time.

But, no one had ever given him that. Link gazed down upon all the busy people. After a moment of silence, he rose to his feet. If they were too busy for him, then he would be too busy for them. Maybe he would go to Lake Hylia and do some fishing. He had always wanted to go fishing, but had never had the time. In any case, he was through with this world. He no longer had a desire to fight for them if they didn't care. He would now only think about-

"Mr. Link, sir?" a timid voice asked from behind.

Link turned and looked back. Standing there was a frail girl, no more than seven years of age. She was short and had long brown hair that dropped to her waist. In her eyes were a subtle fear, but also a look of determination.

"Is your name Link?" she asked, barely audible.

Link examined her for a moment, and then nodded. "Yes, that's me."

He could see her eyes light up and a smile began to curl at the ends of her mouth. "My name is Sally. I live with my momma and daddy in that blue house over there. Do you see it?" she asked, pointing.

Link glanced over his shoulder and saw a small, run-down house that looked like it could fall over at any second.

"I see it," he replied.

The girl's smile grew slightly wider. "My momma is in there right now. She doesn't do much any more, ever since they found out that she is sick."

"Sick?"

The girl nodded and looked down at her feet, her smile beginning to fade. "She has cancer. She doesn't look to well. And now daddy is working all the time to make enough money to support us. He doesn't think that he'll have to do it much longer, though, because he says he thinks momma will be leaving us soon. I don't know what he means, but I hope that she doesn't go far."

Link was silent for a moment, not sure of what to say. He wished that he could comfort her, but didn't know how. "That's awful," he sincerely stated.

Sally looked back up at him. "Oh, it's not so bad, since you're around."

Link was taken aback by this. "What?"

"Well, daddy always says 'we should always be thankful because no matter what may happen to me or 'your momma, I know that you will grow up in a world that is safe because of Link.'"

"He…he said that?"

"Yep. He said we should always be thankful, so I just wanted to say: thank you." And with that, she turned around and skipped off along the path and disappeared behind the bend.

Link held still for a long time. He had always assumed that no one had cared. He thought that they weren't appreciative. And well, he figured, maybe no else was. But that girl and her father were. They were grateful to have him around, and he knew that that was enough. He would continue to fight. He would fight so that her father could sleep soundly at night and be assured that his daughter would be safe. Link took one last look down at the village, then spun around and marched off, making his way to the graveyard.