Author's Notes: Okay, here's the Epilogue. Ta DA! Thanks to everyone that reviewed: Beatrisu, Selene16, iredlk, Mel E. B., Kai-chan Akiyama, Pasht, Mimiru.hack, Onigami Link, drace-hunter, meg, SmashCatchum, and YamiGoddess. The praise was much loved and appreciated.
Sorry some people took the end of the last chapter to be a cliff hanger, I didn't mean it that way. It was just the end of that scene. -shrugs-
To respond to Meg: yes. Very proud.
To Pasht: I chose Lingering Fragments because the proper, old name for the transforming masks were "fragment masks" as they held a fragment of the person. In Sheik or Torsha's case, the fragment was his entire soul, instead of just an echo of it. Also, it refers to the lingering, fragmented memories that some people had of the time that Ganondorf ruled the land. Those fragments were what drove the witch to seek revenge on Link and Zelda.
To Kai-chan, I thought that Torsha was a boy's name from Russia (was sure I'd heard it before), but when I went to check I could only find it in one listing as a girl's name without any meaning or nationality listed. I also found that it's a river in India and an actress on IMDB has the name, too. I dunno, I thought it was Russian, but feel free to use it.
About the King and Gavin: no, the King, like his predecessors and descendants had no idea that the mask was anything but a mask. That particular young king was actually further back in Zelda's line, more like a great, great grandfather.
The Weathervane I forgot to mention in the last chapter. It was still on Rova when she died (yup, she's very exploded) and it went with her.
And what's with the Wii hate? Mine is well loved and very wonderful, so how dare you imply it would hurt my tv? I stood out in the cold for 5 hours to get mine on release day, and it has been worth every second. Nothing is cooler than actually swinging your sword at Ganon and really blocking him with your shield instead of just pushing buttons. Sorry, I would have to insist that Lingering Fragments be on the Wii. Everything else just pales in comparison now.
Thanks for the encouragement to continue on both my fanfics and original works. Unless plans change, the next thing I write will be original and will be sent off to publishers. This fic was a new level in my writing and I think my next work will be publish worthy. As I'll be heading for publishing, I won't post the story online (I've been told that publishers don't want things that have been online) but maybe I'll toss up a teaser or the prologue. If I do, it'll show up on Fictionpress and Skyehawke, so keep an eye out.
Speaking of Skyehawke, they don't censor so you can find a longer version of this chapter there. If you're underage or if you just don't like things graphic (it's not that graphic, though) stay here and read this version. I didn't remove that much and you won't miss out on any plot important stuff, just character stuff.
I put some last remarks after the end of this chapter, so I guess I'll leave you to read.
I watched as Torsha drew back my bow with careful precision. His intended prey was up on the opposing slope of the little valley we were in, while we were both perched on a rickety bridge on the other side of it. Beneath us ran a happy brook while our horses grazed nearby.
I could have stood passively by and watched him fell the deer. I could have kept my hands behind my back and left Torsha to concentrate… but what fun would that be? Once he had drawn the arrow back and taken aim, I slowly slid an arm around his neck so that my head rested on his shoulder (to watch him fire, of course). Once I was there, though, I decided to go a bit further. As he was about to loose the arrow, I ran my tongue up his throat. Needless to say, the arrow flew very wide. "You missed," I pointed out with a grin.
I got a sharp glare and an elbow to the gut for my trouble. "Jerk," he snarled and I stumbled back from him, laughing while I held my stomach in pain.
I wasn't laughing long though, as I took one step back too far. When my boot hit the edge of the decrepit wood, it split and I fell quickly to the water below with a shout. With my butt planted on the creek bed, I let out a groan. I was looking over my soaked self when I heard a soft laugh from above.
"Looks like you missed the bridge," he said with a wide smile.
"Looks like you missed the bridge," I echoed back mockingly before I shook my dripping fist at him. This only got me laughed at more and from the bank I heard a nicker from Epona that sounded suspiciously like a chuckle. "You stay out of this!"
It was well more than a year since I'd taken off his mask and we were in Termina once more. Not to visit this time, unfortunately, but just passing through on our way to Hyrule. As predicted, the land of my birth had become an unpleasant place to go since my defeat of the witch. At first only the palace had been a problem, then the surrounding city, and the last time we'd been there we'd rushed from Kakariko five minutes from the entrance.
Everyone knew I was the Hero of Time and had strange ideas about what that entailed. I'd had people ask me for blessings for wealth, to foresee the future, to commune with ancestors, and more. Only the gerudo were the same as they'd been. The last time I had gone to Hyrule a human woman had brought her son to me, thinking I could heal him... when he'd died the day before. I'd stayed away from Hyrule for six months after that incident and only now had Torsha asked to go back and check in on it again.
Still a little damp from the dunking, I continued with him towards the tunnel to Hyrule, but dark was coming up fast. We decided to make camp a few hours from the gateway and cook up the fish we'd caught at the bridge. I was turning the little spit as he finished putting up the tent. When he was finished, he dropped down beside me. "It smells wonderful; is it done yet?"
"Almost. Few more minutes," I replied and he groaned pitifully.
"You're too slow."
I snorted at that. "You're impatient. If I rushed it, it would be either raw or burnt, so unless you want to do it yourself, be quiet."
Torsha pouted a little at that and poked one of the potatoes I had cooking on the fire ring. "You know full well I can't."
"Not unless we want to eat burnt, raw food... again," I said with a smirk and he elbowed me once more.
"Ow! You're abusive."
"You deserve everything you get. We could be having deer tonight," he informed me flatly.
I snickered. "You just need to concentrate better."
"Oh do I?" he asked incredulously and I just laughed as I gave the fish another turn. I had barely taken my hand from the spit when I felt a warm velvety tongue side up the side of my neck to the lobe of my ear. Involuntarily, I shuddered at the sensation and almost knocked the fish into the fire. My reaction won me a soft chuckle against my throat before Torsha pulled back with a grin. "I think you need to concentrate better, as well."
Personally, I thought I concentrated just fine and to show him how focused I could be, I turned and tackled him. His brief yelp of surprise was muffled when I pressed my mouth over his. The sheikah didn't waste anytime at returning my hard, sudden kiss and his lips parted easily when my tongue pressed for entrance. He let out a soft sigh and I responded with a low possessive sound of my own. From my position over him, I pressed my thigh up between his legs. When I ground slowly against him he released my lips to gasp quietly, arching his head back to expose his soft throat.
I took the invitation happily and had begun to kiss along that tender skin when I felt him jump a little beneath me. "The fish! Link!"
"They're fine," I mumbled against him, but he wasn't convinced.
"They're going to burn," Torsha pointed out with a soft laugh and pushed me up off of him.
"So?" I asked innocently but he just rolled his eyes and got out from underneath me. I blinked a moment at the sudden halt to what had been shaping up to be a good bit of sex. "Have I just been turned down for trout?"
He laughed softly at me as he pulled the potatoes away from the fire with his dagger.
"I was turned down for trout," I said indignantly. "Is that all I am to you? A cook who happens to warm your bed every so often?"
"The fish are burning, cook," he said as he split one of the potatoes open, fighting off a grin that was trying to spread across his face.
I snorted and pulled them off the spit. "I think I should let you starve... or sleep alone for a while."
At that he snorted. "As if you'd go without."
"Oh, you think I'm helpless but to bow to your every whim at the fear of loosing my bed partner?" I asked as I handed him his half of the skewered fish.
"You forget I went without for more than a century before you came along. I can out last you," he pointed out with a smirk, but the smirk was gone when I snatched his fish out of his hands.
"Oh? Like you can out last me waiting for diner?" I asked innocently as he tried to get it back from me.
"It's getting cold!"
I laughed loudly as he tried crawling into my lap to get it back but I always managed to keep it just out of his grasp. "See? Face it, Torsha, you're a creature of comforts," I said and brought the fish back down for him. "You can't go without me..." I added softly as I bumped my nose to his.
Torsha's already half closed eyes slid shut as he came forward the last inch to kiss me deeply. I wrapped my free hand around his waist, kissing him back slowly. We took our time with the kiss and when we parted he rested his forehead against mine. "I think I can live with that."
I grinned back at him and instead of returning to his seat, he settled more comfortably in my lap, taking his fish from me. "Comfy?" I asked him.
"Very," he replied, leaning his back against my chest. Curled up together, we set into our meals, enjoying the quiet of the evening and each other. In-between bites of fish and potato we stole a kiss here and there and the light kisses followed us all the way into the tent.
Tucked within our canvas home, I pulled his tunic off of him before drawing him close and sucking at his throat. He mewed softly as he pulled up my tunic as well. I drew back from him just long enough for him to tug it off of me before I kissed him heavily. Running my hands up his lean back, I drew him flush against me, but that didn't last for long. "You're over dressed," he murmured against my lips as he pushed back from me to yank off my undershirt.
"You're one to talk," I chuckled back as I removed his shirt as well. I took half a moment to enjoy the sight of him, half dressed, his breathing coming in unsteady pants, and his dark ruby eyes darkened further with lust. It didn't last long, though, as he drew me back to him, kissing me heavily. Out last me, indeed.
I laid over him, cupping his face with my un-supporting hand before I drug it down his smooth chest. He moaned into my mouth, his fingers threaded into my hair. When I pressed my thigh up between his and resumed my slow grinding, Torsha abandoned my hair to grip my shoulders tightly with trembling fingers. He held my lips as long as he could but soon the sensation was too much for him and threw his head back with a soft cry of pleasure. I loved that sound and it drove me to raise my pace like water driven before the prow of a boat.
Kissing along his throat now, I let my teeth lightly graze the tender skin. His panted cries and moans were becoming more erratic and I was caught up in the rush of my own rising tension when I felt his hands shakily press me away. "Link," he gasped, as if just coming up for air. "Clothes... I can't..." he stammered but I didn't need him to be clearer. I agreed with him completely; a not-so-dry grind wouldn't be as satisfying as something more thorough...
The next day we reached the tunnel leading into Hyrule. We joked lightly as we wound down the eerie path but we both pulled our horses to a halt when we reached the crossing over point. I had noticed the earth beneath us was a little muddy, but hadn't thought much of it till we were faced with the source. At first I thought a wall of glass or ice blocked the entrance, but as I watched, the surface of the barrier moved and slow ripples spread out from the tunnel walls. It was like looking down into a well... on it's side.
"What in Din's name..." Torsha whispered as I dismounted.
"It's water... but what's holding it up?" I asked as I walked up to the barrier. I brought up my hand to touch it.
"Don't," he hissed at me as he climbed down as well, but I shook my head.
"It's not like a bubble I'm going to pop," I replied and I put my hand onto the surface of the water. Feeling no resistance, I raked my fingers through the cool liquid. When I pulled my hand back out the drops fell normally from my hand and I sniffed at it. "Sea water," I observed as he stepped up beside me.
"But there is no sea in Hyrule, only the spring and lake." The worry was clear in his voice. I stood there only a moment more before I shrugged off my pack to pull out my zora tunic. "I'll dress down the horses and leave them out by the entrance," he said but I shook my head.
"I'm going in alone at first-"
"What?" he broke in, clearly not liking the idea, but I knew he wouldn't.
"Just to look around and see what's up. I'll be right back but if things go wrong it's better we both don't get caught by it. I'll go in and look and come back. If I'm not back in an hour... come up with some super plan," I finished with a grin but he wasn't smiling. "You're back up, okay?"
He nodded reluctantly and I kissed him a moment before I stepped into the water. I waved to him briefly before I turned and swam down the dark tunnel.
An hour slid by, and then another as I sat and watched the barrier of water. So far no "super plans" had come to me and I was getting panicky. Apparently I wasn't the only one feeling anxious for Link; I watched Epona push her muzzle into the water. I had climbed to my feet to pull her back as she plunged her whole head through. With a frustrated snort she yanked it back out again and shook the water from it.
"You can't go through, Epona," I tried to explain but the horse only looked blankly at me. Missing the bond that Link had to her, all I could do was pull her back by her reins and hope she didn't try again. In my plotting I hadn't considered what Epona would do if left behind on her own, but I knew that if she drowned herself trying to reach him, he'd be crushed. Still holding her reins, I stood there and stared into the watery tunnel.
I wasn't Link; I wasn't built for these enormous problems. I was made for simple, direct things. The protection of a single person from real dangers. How was I to know what to do when the tunnel to Hyrule is filled with seawater? I'm ashamed to say that panic had a solid hold on me as time slid by for I don't know how long, but suddenly something kicked into place. There was no time for indecision.
I looked to Epona beside me and turned her from the water. "We need to get something before we go after him, Epona. I know I'm not Link, but please work with me and we'll get you back to him, alright?" That said I mounted her and spurred her out of the tunnel to make for the zora of Termina and a large amount of their cloth.
Final Notes: Okay, okay, don't kill me. When I wrote this I knew that the epilogue would end like this, hence why I wasn't originally going to release the epilogue. I only have the most general ideas for a sequel so if one gets written, it's not gonna be soon, but my profile should give you a good idea of how long it takes me to put out something new.
I really don't know what happened my one reader, Albel Nox, which is a shame given what I put in this chapter. If someone follows the link in her FF profile to her deviant art account, you'll see some cool pictures of scenes that you'll recognize. The links will show up on Skyehawke but as FF sucks and strips out anything even close to a link, you have to find them on your own. Be sure to check in her scraps too.
Well, thanks again to everyone that read. It was wonderful doing this and hearing how everyone was enjoying it. Cya!