(I'm taking a slight break from "Awkward Moments" to get started on this three-chapter story, because inspiration has hit like a torpedo. And when you get a torpedo for inspiration, you use it!

This first chapter is a bit... not necessarily dark, but... not really uplifting, either. Just a heads-up.

Also, I apologize in advance for Zelda's more cynical nature.

All Characters © Nintendo)


Chapter One: Vindictive Sorrow

The shade of blue of his eyes was far different from hers.

His were dark, clouded with the painful memories of unnecessary deaths, of truths best left unsaid... of a fate that he would have rather not chosen. No joy ever shone forth; happiness was a concept lost to him.

Her eyes, however, were bright and clear; whatever tragedies had fallen into her life, she refused to let them trouble her. To the young woman, the misfortunes were nothing more than stones in the river of her life; they would not stop her.

At first, Zelda was repulsed by the suffering she could see in Ike's solemn navy eyes. She had known too many people with that mournful expression, and knew what eventually happened to most of them; she fully expected the man to also sink into a spiral of self-destruction and hatred.

Watching him fight only confirmed the princess' beliefs; his savage style reeked of uncontrolled fury, each violent stroke made with deadly intentions. Not even the women were exempt from his wrath; they felt the flames of Ragnell burn just as intensely for them as for the largest of the men.

Zelda never openly confronted Ike about his brutal manner; she secretly feared that her words would provoke a slumbering beast-- one that would only be satisfied by the spilling of blood. Instead, she shared her comments with her friends, explaining precisely how the blue-haired swordsman struck fear into her heart.

"He's not all that bad," Peach shook her head, idly brushing her fluffy blonde hair. "Yes, he's a bit rough, but he's kind at heart."

"Is that your head talking, or your heart, Peach?"

The fiery blush that rose to Peach's cheeks answered Zelda's question quite well.

"O-okay, yes, I think he's cute-- but how can you not?" the Mushroom Kingdom princess queried, her skin slowly returning to its normal, pale hue. "I mean, just look at his eyes..."


Zelda's frown only elicited a soft giggle from Peach.

"I'll just go and find someone who hasn't lost their mind yet, and ask their opinion."

"Oh, I know where my mind is," Peach replied lightly, a mischievous smile creeping to her face.

"I'll see you later, Peach."

"Yeah, Peach is speaking from her heart more than her mind. I agree with you there. But, Zelda... you're being too critical. I can see why you don't like him-- Ike's blunt, I'll admit it. But he's got nothing but good intentions in his heart."

The princess sighed, shaking her head hopelessly.

"Has everyone I've been talking to lost their minds, or is it just me?"

Link chuckled, carefully polishing the Master Sword.

"I'm sure you'd get along with him just fine, if you stopped avoiding him..."

"He looks like he wants to tear me in half!"

"Well, that really can't be helped. He told me that his father was the leader of a band of famous mercenaries-- he's been taught from a young age not to trust those who won't trust him."

A mercenary... well, at least Zelda now knew where part of his brutality came from.

"What I'd really like to know is why I'm the one who can't see this kind and caring side of him," she muttered, running a hand through her dark blonde hair.

"Well, give it some time," Link suggested, satisfied with the shine of his blade. "After all, you've been steering clear of him; have you given him a chance to show you his nice side?"

A soft chuckle escaped the princess' lips.

"No, I guess I haven't..."

She slowly rose to her feet, smoothing the wrinkles from her dress.

"Thanks, Link. I needed to be brought back to the real world."

"Anything I can do to help you out, Zelda."

Even through the dense door, Zelda could hear angry mutterings.

A week had passed since her conversation with Link. An unusual set of circumstances had prevented her from actually trying to speak with Ike, but perhaps the one that brought her to his door was even more peculiar; Samus had told Marth to tell Olimar to inform Zelda that Master Hand was looking for Ike, would she be so kind as to let him know?

So here she was, only a solid door separating her from the end of her task and the man she still slightly feared... and it was this same fear that prevented her from knocking on the door.


The sudden sound of shattering glass demolished the almost-deafening silence. Zelda gasped softly; her heart pounded so fast and so loud, she could feel her breastbone heave with each palpitation.

Nevertheless, she shakily raised her gloved hand, trying to swallow her nervousness as she faintly tapped on the oak door.


The door flung open, and Ike stood in the doorway, his eyes smoldering with unspeakable rage--

"...oh. Princess Zelda..."

At once, the fires of his temper evanesced; though his body remained tense, the shadow of melancholia crept back into his eyes.

"A-ah..." Zelda stammered quietly, still remembering the flames of anger blazing in Ike's eyes. "M-Master Hand... was looking for you... h-he's in his office..."

"...alright. Thank you, Princess..."

Ike barely brushed against Zelda as he walked down the hall; yet the delicate touch sent a quiet shiver through the Hylian's body. It was not a shiver of apprehension; rather, it was caused by sudden shock...

She learned, at that moment, that Ike was capable of being something other than bellicose.

Trying to shake away the shudder, Zelda chose to distract herself by peering into Ike's room...

Apparently, his peaceful side was a very small side; broken glass from the window and shattered wood from mutilated chairs lay scattered across the floor. Even his weapon had become part of the maelstrom; Ragnell's blade had been driven into the wall. The calm-spirited princess winced at the sight of unnecessary destruction...

Something small and light fluttered to her feet.

Curious, Zelda stooped down, scooping up the foreign item and examining it briefly. It took her a while to figure out what it was; she ended up cursing herself for taking so long to realize that what she was holding was a picture.

It was slightly faded with age, but the colors and shapes were still clearly identifiable. The Hylian princess could easily recognize Ike; the messy mop of hair, even when not held back by a headband, couldn't hide the quiet brooding of his navy eyes. The girl, however, was unfamiliar; her pale skin and light brown hair seemed to glow from the intensity of her radiant smile. Her eyes, like Ike's, were blue; however, they were bright and clear, free of the reflection of inner burdens.

Zelda had a few guesses as to who the girl was, but assumed them all to be wrong. It didn't bother the princess that the girl currently had no identity; all that mattered was that now, in her hands, was a piece of Ike's past... proof that he was not just an enigma, not just a fighter alone.

She was tempted to take it; this would remind her that Ike was human in nature more than words ever could. But the Hylian princess was reluctant to just take something that wasn't hers...

...no. She wasn't taking it; she had just... found it on the floor, and was... holding onto it until she saw Ike again. That's all...

She could deal with that...

Quietly, Zelda rose to her feet, hurrying back to her room.

(End chapter one.

For those of you who have not played either of Ike's games, I assure you that he is not usually this moody. At all.

Chapter two will be up soon, assuming my mind doesn't wander too far from its home.

Please review!)