Silverlocke980, with a Link-fic, Midna-centric (not romantic). Because?

Because Midna roxxors almost as hard as Link himself, and that's saying something.

(Link. The original bad-ass silent hero.)

It's...

"SHOWTIME!"

Paladin, Clad in Green

She realized, about halfway through her first week with him, that Link never laughed. Part of this does not shock her; he's had little to laugh about so far, hunting for lost friends and bits and pieces of old dark magic while getting ordered around by a midget on his back. The rest of her is far too wrapped up in her own mission to care all that much about the farm boy from Ordon who is, in the end, simply the hands through which she carries out her will.

(Looking back, she finds it rather funny that she thinks this, and it occurs to her that maybe she is the hands that carry out his will, not the other way around.)

It is when they get the Master Sword, however, and she is blown backward by the force of Light while Link is half-roaring half-howling even in his human form and grabbing it, that she realizes that she has no clue who this boy is. Farm boys from Ordon do not possess the ability to pull the Master Sword out, wear the clothes of centuries-old warriors, or turn into werewolves while wandering the Twilight realm.

(It's a strange world, but enough is enough.)

So when she gets a chance (it's that same night in the Sacred Grove), she comes out of his shadow to watch him sharpen the sword of evil's bane in the glow of their campfire.

(It is no simple magical weapon. This weapon is fierce and angry and mighty, Midna fears it might even be able to cleave her in half. That gentle Light could bear such a mighty weapon terrifies her, and she genuflects on light's nature-a creator of a world gentle and simple like this one, but also creator of a sword that could cleave existence if it so chose. She prefers the more easily-understood- and non dual-natured- land of her home, Twilight.)

She watches him, and his gaze- having flickered over when she appeared- returns to the sword he is cleaning, though not without him still watching her out of the corner of his eye.

(This man in green misses nothing.)

" What's up with you?" Midna asks, as direct and to the point as she has always been.

Link looks at her. Midna sighs.

(The man would not talk if doing so would save his life. It's all she can do to make him say yes to her sometimes.)

" Respond," she states sarcastically, because he's just looking at her.

He opens his mouth and his melodious voice (beautiful for someone who speaks as little as an ant or less), responds to her with a question. " What do you mean?"

" That," she says, nodding her head at the sword he's expertly cleaned despite never having held it before. " The fact you have it. That you could pull it out. These..."

And here she can't find the words so she pats the back of her hands. " Things... that I see, sometimes, in the shape of the Triforce. That you and Zelda seem to know each other. Farm boys don't know princesses, I've seen enough of Light to realize that it's just like Twilight in that respect. Something's up about you and I don't like it."

Link shakes his head and, to her surprise, begins to tell her a story.

-

It's a simple enough story, really- about a boy who walked out of woods that had been his home and went off to do something for a beautiful princess in a castle. And of a man

(Though Link has found out, in the times between, that Ganon was actually barely older than they- Link thirteen, Zelda fourteen, Ganon had just turned twenty. That two barely-teenagers and one man just past his teenage years would be the ones who would figure out how to end the world makes Link laugh in a way Midna understands- not because it was sad, but because it was ironic.)

Who, in the end, did something men are not supposed to do and touched the gods' greatest gift to all with his bare hands.

From that day on, nothing was ever the same.

Midna has heard this story- even when her people were being banished, this story was old, so far back in time that it was a wonder anyone had continued to tell it at all. Link speaks of it in a different way, though, as if it was still on-going, not happenings long dead and gone, and so Midna listens.

The bombshell comes when Link reveals the truth to her, though she doesn't realize it at first, since it only seems that he's telling her a second story.

-

This time, the man barely figures into the equation; shadowy overlord and monster, the boy doesn't see him at all until the final confrontation. The boy, thirteen, wakes up one day to find the Triforce of Courage on his left hand and memories flooding his mind. Memories, this time, of a life he thought he'd finished living. But they who touch the Triforce are different, blessed with the power of goddesses, and when he'd died the boy had been asked something.

(Would you help us?)

He'd said yes, because he could reject Heaven itself if it meant helping more people. That's why he had the Triforce of Courage, after all. And so when the brave boy said yes, the goddesses sent him back.

Thinking it kinder to let him have another childhood, the goddesses had let him forget everything until the man- who'd resurrected himself through sheer force of will, skipping the Goddess part of the process- started screwing up life again. The boy beat him once more, this time with no help from the girl, who spent most of it asleep- though, as it turned out, the boy needed her more than he had the first time around, because when the peace came with the man dead the real troubles began, with rebellions and uprisings and even two or three fanatical cults.

The boy was getting resurrected a lot of times throughout history, always to step in and help defeat something (usually the man). The man would come back, too, sometimes through the direct method of just pulling his own desiccated corpse back together through force of will and once or twice through bizarre methods that- eventually- started making the boy laugh. The girl, too, had seen the goddesses, but Wisdom passed a different gift on; each generation of her people, one child, always of royal birth, was a blank slate to which the girl would place her own mind, grafted through the centuries. So when they met, all three would always have new eyes with which to gaze upon each other.

But the new eyes would have old minds behind them.

-

Midna looked at Link, because... well, she knows what he's talking about, and she knows, or at least thinks she does, what he means by it. He means that she's looking at a boy who is older than her entire people are and she just refuses to believe it.

" Nice stories, but who cares?" she said, flippantly, because she had to tell herself I don't. Getting told that she's merely another cog in a wheel so much older and bigger than her that she's almost irrelevant is rather infuriating to the little Twili.

His next few words stop her breath, because they are exactly what she feared he would say, and surprising all at the same time.

" Three people," Link said, his eyes shifting from the almost unnoticeable smile they'd slipped into while talking and back into the calm, cold mask she'd grown used to. " Me, her, and him."

He looks at the back of his left hand and that is when Midna feels the heartbeat.

(She is alone, suddenly, in a darkness that even her Twilight-eyes cannot see through. There are hundreds of noises around her and she has nothing to do but listen. It is the sound of roaring whirlwinds and hurricanes that shape the coast. It is the sound of heroes and horns on the wind. It is the side of Good that vanquishes Evil.)

(It is courage.)

("You are my child," she hears a voice say, in the middle of that heartbeat. "You are my child, because you are of Courage and you are always of me." Midna shakes off the voice- the great, soul-shaking strength of that voice- so that she can speak.)

(" Who are you?" she cries, into the darkness and the sound of the howling winds.)

("I'm Farore," it says, and the sound of rushing wind covers all.)

When she awakened, she was reposed in a pile of covers and feeling weak as a newborn babe. Link was still cleaning his sword, but he had also removed other implements of his trade, and laid them out on the ground, presumably to clean later. He was also- she noticed surreptitiously- watching her and their surroundings like a hawk. Even in human form, Link was her guard dog.

(Thanks, she thought, as she crawled to him.)

" What was that?" she said, her mind dazed and confused. Link smiled.

" Farore," he said, and showed her the back of his hand, where, gleaming bright, the Triforce of Courage stayed, there as it had been for centuries.

" Didn't know she'd come down to talk to you," he said, and she catches him smiling- the first smile she's ever seen him have. " Guess you're one of hers, too."

And with a sigh and a shake, Midna sits down to ask Link to tell her more stories, to help her reach the end. Because it's not a story, not really- it is that thing all stories hope to be.

It is a life.

Midna sat up for many nights around many campfires to listen to the oldest man in the world tell his stories, because- in the end- someone had to hear the story of a man who had lived too many long lives; the story of a paladin, clad in green.

And if it was to be anyone, a child of Farore- like Link in so many ways- might have been the only person who could really understand.