Ill Met at Midnight
"The stars fell before they even had a chance to shine."
Link stopped pushing food around his plate and looked up at the princess, an expression between confusion and weariness sewn onto his face. The last battle had taken a toll on his body, but even worse was the destruction of the mirror. He wasn't sure why everything hit him so hard. Any other battle would have been hard on his body, but this battle had been hardest on his soul, and he wasn't sure why.
Zelda ignored his silence. "It's hard to believe that it's over… and we're sitting here in this funny little inn." She had invited Link for dinner, but after the destruction of the palace, they were forced to stay at the inn in Castle Town.
"You were so brave, Link…"
"Mm." Link didn't want to talk, or more precisely, he didn't want to talk about that. He'd talk about anything else before that.
"You don't want to talk… do you?" Zelda wasn't stupid, she knew that this wasn't Link's usual self. It hurt her to know that he was refusing to open up, as he normally would.
He saw her disappointed expression and felt his heart tug. He didn't want to hurt her, he just wanted a few moments to brood by himself. "It's nothing personal, Princess, but I… I can't talk about it." He turned back to relocating food.
Zelda sighed. "I see."
The rest of the dinner was silent and awkward, Zelda and Link both just pushing food around their plates and sighing. Zelda was of course worried about Link, and Link just wanted to go home and disappear. It wasn't until they were outside, wandering the emptying streets, that Link began to speak, albeit with some provoking.
"I know what you're thinking."
"Do you?" There was a slight edge in his voice, something he hadn't meant to come out, and when he looked up he saw the princess frown slightly.
"You miss her…" She continued, choosing to ignore his tone.
He shrugged slightly, trying to remain nonchalant. She was bringing up the thing he didn't want to talk about.
"You spent so much time with her, it would be impossible to think you weren't attached."
"I know." There was a pause. "But… she left so abruptly… I…" He trailed off, eyes looking anywhere but Zelda's. She was clawing at fresh, open wounds, and it was beginning to hurt. Link just wanted to ignore everything that happened, "Forget about it."
"Princess…" He wanted to be delicate, but at this moment he felt frustrated. It was like a puzzle he couldn't figure out. There was no set norm, no pattern for him to follow. He was just running around, randomly putting and pulling pieces in and out of their places. "I appreciate the concern, but I feel that this is something I must work out on my own."
Zelda nodded, her eyes looking up at the stars. "I imagined it would be so." She reached into a small purse she was holding. "This is for you, Link… incase you should need it." She placed a parcel into his palm.
"Is this…" Link peeled away the black velvet, and there, shining in the moonlight, was a small shard of etched glass. No more than a few inches in size, but more important to Link than he initially realized.
"It was the largest piece in the chamber… I thought it would be important to give to you." She allowed a small smile creep across her lips. "I can see I was right."
"Princess…" Link wasn't sure what to say or do, so he just remained silently shocked.
Zelda nodded calmly, as if understanding his predicament. "It's getting late, Link… I think it's time you head home. But remember that you are always welcome back to the castle."
The princess then stepped forward and enveloped him in a hug. Link was stunned for a moment, but wrapped his arms around her waist. He was surprised at how sweet she smelled, like the lilacs that bloomed in spring in Ordon. It brought up so many memories, some of home and some of Zelda. Link began to think that if things had turned out differently perhaps his heart would have still held a spot for Zelda. But one cannot change history, only the future.
"Please be safe, Link." She looked him in the eyes firmly as she pulled away. "I wouldn't want to lose our hero just yet."
"I will, Princess…" Link bowed politely to Zelda before walking to the outside of Castle Town, where Epona was munching on some grass, waiting for him. He took a deep breath, the fresh, cool night air stinging his throat. It felt good to be free again, to be able to do what he wanted to do. The only problem was that Link wasn't sure what he wanted to do. His great quest was over, and now it was time to return to Ordon and continue his career as a farm hand. This typically wouldn't have bothered Link, except there was something missing from his life.
He sighed, and reached into his pocket to touch the shard Zelda had given him. It was odd how such a small object brought him such hope, and such pain. He knew that he could never again piece together the mirror, and it humbled him.
'Maybe…' he thought, 'I can't do everything… even if I wish I could.'
Link looked up at the stars, watching them move slowly as Epona sauntered back to Ordon. "The stars fell before they even had a chance to shine…"
- - -
A bundle of blue, black, and golden-red was hurled from a seemingly innocent stone slab. It rolled on the floor, before coming to a halt within the diamond-like dust of the shards of the mirror. The bundle moved with a groan, and then slowly stood up, shaking her cloak free of the shards. There was a confused pause, before she spoke in disbelief.
"I… I was refused… from my own kingdom." Midna couldn't believe it, she had worked so hard to defeat Zant, to defeat Ganondorf, to finally return her kingdom to normal… and now she was refused. She was spat back into the world of light like some kind of disease; something her own world didn't want.
'Oh no…' Eyes the color of sunset rolled toward the sky. 'This is their doing…' Tall, hazy blue statues came to life and circled around Midna, gazing at her stoically.
We apologize for your inconvenience… but we, The Great Sages, have decided that your quest is not over. You must remain here, in the world of light until you have completed it.
'They always speak in riddles, the old farts…' Midna tried to look regal, but her blood was running too hotly through her veins to ignore it. These Sages were beginning to stick their wise noses into business that wasn't theirs. She had gone through so many hardships to save her world, and now her world was going to go on without her rule. What was the point of putting the mirror back together, if she wasn't going to be allowed back into her kingdom?
"What is my quest then?" She hissed the question out, hoping she didn't kill one of them… again.
That is your quest. To find out what your reason for being here is…
'Oh no… these idiots. They don't have a clue what my quest it, do they? They just shoved me back into the world of light to watch me suffer… that would be like them.' She released a low growl as the sages began to fade away.
Remember, Princess, "The stars fell before they even had a chance to shine."
- - -
AN: I haven't actually finished this game yet, but I watched my boyfriend do so (I realized I play games for the story, and that's about it... also, I have trouble with the Wii analog stick, it's touchy comaped to the PS2, so I just watched my boyfriend play, so I didn't have to watch myself fail), so if I get a few things wrong either correct me politely, or shut up.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you feel the need to leave a review.