AN: I'm back again with a new LxZ story! Before we get started, here are just a couple of notes about the setting:

I know that officially Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess are not meant to come straight after each other and that it has been confirmed that the Link and Zelda in Twilight Princess are not the same as in Ocarina of Time. But I was struck by the many parallels and similarites between the two games, so this story places Twilight Princess seven years after Zelda sent Link back in time.

Each chapter will also alternate with Link and Zelda's point of view. I hope you enjoy this. - Perfect Solider 01

A Time Once Lost

By Perfect Solider 01

Chapter 1: Link - Decisions

The two objects rested in my hands, both of them seeming to weigh as much as each other. I glanced from the cerulean blue ocarina to the thick sheaf of paper decorated with the red seal of the Royal Crest. Laying the letter aside for a moment, I took the ocarina into my hands and my fingers glided over the small circular holes. It still hadn't lost its sheen after all these years. This was the first time I had held it since I had returned from Termina, but I could still remember the melodies that had been passed down to me on my adventures. I smiled as I recalled one of the first songs I had learnt, but thinking about the lullaby called the letter to the front of my mind.

I replaced the ocarina in my hands with the letter. It was an invitation from Princess Zelda herself, imploring me to attend a ceremony to mark my bravery in defeating Ganondorf. I wanted to refuse. I had merely done the duty I owed to my friends and loved ones, and nothing that required such pomp and recognition. The best words she could have written to me may have been to return to Ordon and continue living my life. But her words contained the very opposite. As well as attending the ceremony, her unfamiliar handwriting spoke of a revered place in the Royal Guard that would be mine, were I to accept it.

I would be uprooted again and torn away from my friends, just as I had been forced to do seven years ago. I had been searching for a place to call home for a long time. My search for Navi had been unsuccessful, and so I had returned to Hyrule, friendless and alone. Knowing that I was of Hylian heritage I couldn't return to the Kokiri Forest, but there had been nowhere else for me to go. Stumbling upon Ordon Village by accident had been a fortune sent from the goddesses.

Yet the promise of entertaining Zelda's presence tugged at my heart, urging me to accept. Before the Twilight crisis, the last time I had seen her was when I had departed for Termina. She had pressed into my hands the very ocarina that laid before me now, her tears running down her small but beautiful face. But she had changed since then, as if I had been wiped away from her memory. I could still feel her hand against mine, restraining my sword from rising while we stood before Ganondorf's rampaging steed. I thought I had seen an earnest glimmer of love in her eyes, a smile on her lips, but I had been mistaken.

After we had bid farewell to Midna, we parted ways in the briefest of manners. She had always been elegant, even as a child, but she was almost too graceful in her demeanour when we said goodbye. She wasn't the same girl that I had left behind.

When I was alone I walked Epona home, feeling that if I rode I would be home all too quickly. I couldn't understand Zelda's behaviour and I needed time to think and take in all that had happened. I had felt angry. It seemed as though our childhood had meant nothing to her while it had meant nearly everything to me. She should be happy. I had lived the lost life she had wanted me to experience, but now it was all for nought. If she couldn't remember, what good was it to send me back when I could have remained at her side?

I had toyed with the idea that she might have been putting on a front, pretending that she couldn't have acknowledged me in her situation, but even as I looked back at her letter there was nothing in her words that I could discern as a particular desire to see me. Her hand was too formal and correct. The only other excuse I could make for her was that she had never believed that I would return from my quest.

I thrust the letter down next to the ocarina. Now I had recovered that angry frustration that had been haunting me ever since I had parted from her. But glancing at the blue instrument, a thought struck me. Perhaps I could prove to Zelda who I was. She must surely be able to remember the one person whom she gave her most treasured possession to…

Springing up form my chair, my determination had been set alight. I started packing my things, resolving to confront the princess. I couldn't bear the thought of her not knowing everything that we had shared in the past. It made me feel as though reliving my childhood was worthless, and I wished that Zelda had never sent me back in time.

When it came to it, I didn't really own that much that I wanted to take with me. Everything could be packed onto Epona with enough room for me to still ride. I was eager now to get out into Hyrule Field and to see Hyrule Castle mounted on the horizon, though the aftermath of Ganondorf had rendered it more of a ruin than a castle.

Glancing at the details of the letter one last time, a contact would be waiting for me in the castle town and they would then guide me to where the Royal Family had retreated until the castle was rebuilt.

As I was saddling up Epona, I heard someone approach from the village.

"Where are you going, Link?"

I turned around to see Ilia standing tentatively behind me, her eyes downcast. I wasn't sure what I should say.

"I've been summoned," I said briefly.

"By who?" she cried, stepping forward.

"I'd rather not - "

"Why are you leaving us again?"

Her voice was becoming strained. I looked at her trying to hide the small tears that stung her eyes, and felt my heart swell. I walked towards her and took her hands in mine.

"I'm sorry, Ilia. Don't cry." She turned her head away. "Please tell everyone that I'm going away. I didn't want there to be a fuss. Will you do that for me?"

She nodded briefly and broke away from me, her tears flowing freely down her face.

"Write me a letter," she choked. "I'll never forgive you if you don't." And before I could say goodbye she had disappeared around the corner out of sight.

I felt guilty that I was leaving her alone again, but I knew that there were more important things to be settled. Before anyone else saw me I leapt up onto Epona's back and spurred her on into Faron Woods. Taking one last look at my home, I took a deep breath of the forest air. The smell of the trees would certainly be something that I would miss.

As we approached the entrance to Hyrule Field, my memory of leaving Kokiri Forest rose to the surface of my mind. I remembered my parting with Saria, another lost friend that I now knew nothing about. I smiled sadly and looked up into the sky, knowing that somewhere she was watching over me with the other sages. Bringing my eyes back to the prospect in front of me, I saw the turrets of Hyrule Castle still piercing the skyline, even though most of its majesty now lay in a mound of rubble.

I urged Epona onward as every vein in my body was full of impatience. I would make her remember who I was.

AN: Thanks for reading! Please review and tell me how I'm doing. After a year and a half hiatus, I'm probably a bit rusty. I'll be back soon with another chapter. Until then, - Perfect Solider 01