Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Forgive me for a lack of a wittier line.
A/N: Do you know what? I've played both games for about five minutes in total. This is my first Zelda fic.The Memory of Tomorrow
The Moon sleeps tonight beside its lover, Twilight, as dreams of Stars and Silence dance across their faces, so blissfully close together. Sleep well, they whisper softly, for tomorrow I shall not be here…
Harsh, heavy breathing, tongues laced with so many words it would take a thousand nights to tell; hands that wrung themselves between folds of soft cloth – they were the sounds that accompanied the silence of twilight as night approached upon stealthy wings.
For the first time in seven years, there peeked, through the cloudy cloak of midnight, a few bright stars. Wanderers in a vast wilderness, they humbly offered their feeble light. Seven years stolen, seven years bid and sold, seven years in debt to a young warrior.
A pause and the thickening of tension came crashing down upon two heads, alone in between echoing walls of stone. The world came tumbling down once before, and these two had stood. But the world was peaceful, all was right now, and yet they threatened to fall.
"I…" they both began at once, and both stopped abruptly.
Life had been hard. It had been cruel. It had chosen to be unbelievably oblivious and cold-hearted. For its whims, there was a price to be given. There were exactly seven years to be paid in full to a Kokiri warrior. There were exactly a million wounds, ten thousand sorrows, and one childhood added upon the lengthy bill. It was a lot to return. Then again, it had been a lot to pay.
"I'm sorry," said the Princess. A look of confusion seeped across the hero's face. He did not understand, not at all, for the fault had not been upon her shoulders, and the responsibility had only fastened itself upon his back because he had made the choice to do so. The sword resting on the blades of his shoulders had tasted too much blood, and he had taken his own guilt upon him. How dare she say that to him now?
Oh, how it had burned. Skittering across the length of time, how so many had burned. A hero's guilt outweighed any other by far, for it is upon his body that all hopes were cast. It is upon his sword that all deaths would come.
If he should fail, so was he shunned. If he should succeed, it would be to live a life of a far greater punishment. Even the cruelest, most black-hearted monsters give haunting death cries. It was those sounds that keep the hero tossing and turning in sleep.
She was saying sorry.
"I don't understand," said the Hero.
"Oh yes, you do." It had been naught but a murmur. Had it not been for the repetitions that the walls called to them, he would not have heard it. With it, she gave the slightest of shudders. In fact, it had been so small a movement that she did not realize what her body had done. However, the hero's eye was keen, and he had seen the way she had shaken. It could have been fear, but it was not.
Should it happen that she was to forget and never, ever remember, what would she do? Should it happen, that one fine day, she was to meet a boy hardly at the age of ten, what would she say?
Should it happen, that neither remembered, and neither met at all? What of this, of these wasted seven years, of this pain and unnamable sins the world had cast? What then, what then? The questions that could be answered were not worth asking at all.
"Do you want to go back, Link?" It had been such a simple question. The words that had latched to his throat dared not escape his mouth. His hands hung limply at his sides, rendered useless after all the years they had served him.
He had lost seven years of freedom, of time. He had been given a duty that was too large for a boy to handle, and so they had made him not a boy, but a man. It hadn't been fair. It hadn't been just. Now, they offered to return it to him. Yet now, he did not want it back. What fool's play was this?
"What do I have to stay here for?" he asked.
"Sorrow, pain, many, many awful things. If you leave, you will lose them, but along with that, you lose a hero," she responded, her eyes empty and melancholy, as if the thought had been haunting her for decades before. Her fingers were tangled with a small, porcelain object, scratched and dulled by journeys before, but unwilling to be defeated. With that object, she could pay back a debt of seven years. "And you will lose a Princess."
So, it was this. It was the Hero, and the Princess. It was these two, who so boldly and bravely and selfishly beckoned for him to stay, begged him not to leave. The Hero and the Princess – time's most valiant actors on its most complex stages. Don't leave me, they called. Don't go.
If he should leave, he would have the many things he had been bereft of, a Kokiri boy told him. This Kokiri boy who called on the other side, he was small and thin, blonde and different. He wore an innocent grin, one that did not know the face of evil. It is so pure; he does not recognize it even though he saw it in the mirror seven years ago.
This Kokiri boy lived in the forest with carefree thoughts in his head, though he was not the same as the rest. They would not be heroes, when seven years came to pass. Then, all the others would not be there standing to catch him, should he fall. He would be there, all alone.
So, all alone, Link said, "Which would you choose, a hero or a boy?"
She said, "I do not know. I am neither. I am the Princess, and I have never been anything else. I do not have the right to choose."
"So which answer do you think is right?"
Zelda said, "There is no such thing as right or wrong now. If there is, they are both right and they are both wrong." Sapphire eyes turned to him and met his gaze. They sent confusion through his body. Harder than a journey, a quest; harder than a to-the-death battle with an evil warlord; harder than flying without wings and drowning a fish was this. With the back of her gloved hand, she reached for him, and brushed his face gently, as if he were fragile enough to break. Her brows furrowed, and she said, "Which do you want?"
The Hero and the Princess said, "Which do you want?"
The Kokiri boy and his green-haired friend echoed, "Which do you want?"
"I do not know," he told her, ruefully. For certain, he did not know. It was one of the very few things he could be truly certain about. He chanced a glance down. There was no impatience in her expression. She was not waiting for his decision, but merely waiting to be told what to do. Her legs sagged under the weight of her body, and as she slid down to the cold stone steps and sat, she patted the space beside her, and he followed in her example.
"There was a fish, which was caught by the nets of the sea, which was hauled and thrown into a barrel of water, where every day he was fed until he grew to the size of a whale. People far and wide appreciated him, respected him, and made him feel like he was the only fish existing in the entire world. After seven years, his owner, an old and aged man, told him that he would let him back into the sea if that were what the fish wanted.
"However, the fish was hesitant. If it should go back, it would be so different from the rest of the fish, but if it were to stay, it would never know what true freedom and swimming through the sea would be like. It was a very hard decision. What do you think the fish chose?"
He frowned, and though he frowned with the face of a young man, he looked amazingly like a boy. For in truth, he was still a boy, as she was still a young girl. They did not know much, other than evil. That is so much, and so little at the same time. As a normal young child was brought up with good, they were brought up with the opposite. They had hardly ever known better. They hardly even remembered better. "I am not a fish," he stated.
She let out a crystalline laugh, which calmed the beating of his writhing heart. Even the walls, which usually mocked any speech by repeating them, did not respond. Perhaps, the whole world listened to that laugh. "Ruto would be glad if you were."
For that, he grinned. For a man with so much hurt behind him, it was a dazzling grin. "Well, too bad for Ruto, and too bad for the fish. It must have driven itself mad trying to find the answer."
She gave him a steady, compassionate gaze. It was full of understanding, and did not question his indecision. "Do you miss the Hero that much? Does he really mean that much to you, Hero of Time?"
He said, without hesitation and without reluctance, "No, I have never meant much to myself, though I would miss the Hero, but I would miss the Princess more." He was rewarded as her skin took on a delightful shade of pink. It made her look awfully helpless, and awfully childlike. It made him smile. He had nearly forgotten what it was to be a child. It was enjoyable; he liked the feeling of being able to joke and gibe. With great daring that only a teenage boy would provide, he added, "Would you miss the Hero?"
She thought and calculated, and from the look on her face, she was contemplating which was the best answer to give, and which one was the answer she had to give. Finally, she leaned her head across his shoulder, her body falling softly against his own. She was warm. "I would. Very much, as the fish would miss the old man. However, if it were to return to the sea, it would be able to see the old man again, some day."
"Would the fish remember him?"
"That is something that I cannot tell, something for the fish to decide." She replied, softly, her eyes closing with weariness and tire. Both of them were thoroughly exhausted, whether from apprehension or helplessness or maybe seven years. "I promise you, for eternity, that I will remember." That one phrase alone lifted a hundred pounds off his shoulders. From under her cheek, she felt his shoulders loosen and relax. "I swear it to the Goddesses and to the heavens."
Ah, the Hero and the Princess! Time's most eloquent players!
"You know, they say that time's boundaries can be surpassed easily enough, when the bond between two people are strong enough. We will see each other once more, Princess." He told her, as if it would soothe her wildfire fears.
"I do hope so." She offered him a weak, caring smile. "I really do hope so."
With gentle hands, he intertwined his fingers among her hands, and from their grasp, stole a single blue and white instrument, from which magic wisped like invisible smoke. He held it away from both of them, and two pairs of eyes followed it as he brought it closer again. He pulled it closer and closer, until it touched the full lips of a Princess, whom he told; "May we meet again."
Her eyes wandered to his face, and his expression was soft. It was happy, a little bittersweet, and a little unwilling, but it held recognition of what must come to be.
Ah, the tragedy.
"Link…" her voice betrayed her, trailing off until she could speak no more. Their hearts did not scream, but an unnerving silence settled down upon them. Barely being able to know each other, barely being able to fall so deeply in love as their destines bid them to, barely being able to do anything at all, and the end had already come!
Leaning forward, she gave him a single, fleeting kiss, like the touch of a feather upon his lips. It was the first, and the last. With deft fingers, she relieved him of the object, and brought it to her lips, which parted. A soft wind blew out from her mouth, caught itself in one of the instrument's wholes. It churned and escaped through another, letting a solitary, clear note of freedom.
"May we meet again." she repeated, as a command. Though the hero brought his eyelids cascading down, he could see the bluest of skies, the deepest, clearest of seas and a rush of air – to fly without wings. What time had owed the warrior, it had given back. Zelda closed her eyes, feeling the tears as they singed her skin, knowing that it was all right to cry, because though not infinite, it was painful.
When she opened them again, she was alone, with only the chiding walls to comfort her.
They say that time holds within its folds many, many secrets that will never be told. They say there is a legend, told in the farthest reaches of the country, about a hero and a Princess, who through destiny, was forced to part for almost an unbearable amount of time.
This hero and his princess, who had struggled through so much to be together, were torn apart, but not before promising each other that one distant, wondrous day, they should happen to meet again.
Without the company of each other, however, they almost withered away. Yet, in some place, some time, far off and far away, there was a little boy with dreams of being courageous and legendary, who happened to stumble into a courtyard by whim.
There, he saw a little girl, dressed in regal clothing and looking quite uncomfortable in it, with eyes he could remember, in a memory he had lost. This little girl, who turned and saw him with surprise, said simply, "Why, hello."
And the Princess, who had spent many years searching for her Hero, suddenly remembered something she had always known – the fact that she had met a boy seven years ago by chance. The fact that she had fallen in love with him. The fact that indeed, indeed, they would meet again.
The pebble was not large, but it was easy and light enough to throw. It hit the far right wall with a small muffled sound, but it sent the guards turning their heads and gripping their weapons long enough so that he could slither by.
As he crawled and felt the dry sandy dirt under the palms of his fair-skinned hands, he thought, "What fun. I should have tried sneaking into this place long before this. I wonder how long it will take them to find that someone's been here who shouldn't have been!"
He was careful not to let the top of his dainty head peek any higher than the tops of the bushes, for as thorny and leafy as they were, a small blonde head could easily be seen in contrast to the deep greens and browns. After all, it was not time to be caught, for it had hardly been time to begin. His bare knees patted the dirt until it was firm every time he moved. He was silent, a perfected prowler.
With sharp ears, he heard the metal clank of armored feet as the soldiers made their way back to their posts. He had not much time left, for the sound was coming closer at an alarming rate. He crouched on the dirt, and took off in a short, stooping run, throwing dirt up from where his feet had been. Brushing the hem of the shrubbery as he flashed by, he disappeared as if nothing had been there in the first place.
The sound of rushed footsteps softened to a regular pace – a slow, steady march. No one had been found, for the soldier had no one to find. His footprints were not deep in the soil; his running was not loud. The only thing that pounded in his ears was the beating of his own surprised heart, as he had sped through the courtyard as quick as he could manage. The soldiers could not hear that.
And suddenly, a gasp.
He turned, in fear of being knocked to his knees from behind. His feet skidded upon stone stairs, as he had left the dirt. To his left towered a tall, majestic building, with towers galore, stiff and rigid as they scraped the passing skyline. It cast a flattering shadow upon him, as a stray tendril of wind wandered to him. It cooled the burning of his forehead.
Where was this?
Raising his eyes rather innocently, he found not a soldier, not a man, but a girl. She was young, perhaps even younger than he was, and her slender little hands were cupped around an open mouth. As she let her hands fall, her gaping expression melted into a sort of smile, half between a frown and a grin. She looked utterly confused.
Ah, the very last act.
As he stared at her, he fancied the fact that he had met her before, somewhere, some place, some time. In a dual of memories, he could do nothing but stand still; his limbs were tiring from beneath him. He did not notice the familiar way she wrung her fingers amidst her dress, did not see the timid strands of renegade blonde hair seeping through her hat. What he saw was a pair of eyes as blue as the sea.
What she saw, was a scrawny little boy that was dirty and tired, standing upon a stone stair as if he would collapse any second. However, she heard a voice coming from him, as deep as the ocean, as gentle as the breeze. It held yearning and a sort of emotion she had only heard about in fairy tales.
It made her heart flutter, and she clasped her hands over her chest shyly, wondering why it did so. The voice certainly did not belong to the boy. Then again, the soft melodic call that came from her own body did not belong to her mouth either. It seemed to reach out for the other, almost ripping itself out from a nonexistent throat. It seemed half-choked, half whispered in a fit of relief and tears.
Farewell, farewell then.
May we meet again.
The boy, who felt no need for fear, no need to be afraid, said, "I…"
And she called in return, like a reply to an unanswered question, suddenly feeling so weightless, as if a gust of wind could sweep her off her feet and send her to the farthest breaches of reality, "Why, hello."
They stood, and they stared, and they knew nothing, but they stayed. Not knowing what else to do, not knowing who should be the one to talk, not knowing whether to run or to greet, waiting for a hint – like little puppets upon an earthly stage.
And in another time, "You…"
The wind swept her hair like a cat with its tail, clawing and throwing it about carelessly, playfully. It sent the folds of her dress billowing from her feet, rooted loosely to the ground. Her hands, they did not move, they hung as if rendered useless, as if rendered they were not there at all.
It had been ten years. It had only been ten years.
Seven years ago, there had been a hero and a princess, sitting together upon the steps of a temple, silent and still. It had then been seven years ago that the ocarina had played a sorrowful melody, that had sent a debt to be paid back to its rightful owner.
Then, the Princess was the only one there, with a little porcelain instrument in her shaking hands.
Her cheeks had burned, her eyes had opened and closed, and did not will themselves to open again. They were afraid to see the emptiness that stood so boldly before her. Silence screeched at her, an endless cry that did not stop until she left. It had seemed so deadly still, almost unbearable.
For seven years, she had been alone, and what torture being alone was! Even being alone, she had suddenly forgotten who else had been there! What of the hero? Who was the hero? When had the hero ever been there? With the song, it had all been forgotten! And she had made a pact not to forget…but that was forgotten also.
Then, there had been a nagging in her heart, a sort of chiding that the walls had told her, and she had hung her head in oblivious shame. Everything she saw, from the fading mark on her pale hand to the cry of death that still breathed from the ground asked her questions she did not know the answer to. Alone, she had walked out of the temple, and happened to chance upon walking near a brook, where she saw a little fish.
It, the loudest of all, also asked, what of the hero, what of the hero? And she did not know.
Now, the Princess stood, in her bedchamber, her face calling out to the wind, her body tipped over the railing like a feather, but she did not fall. It was the feeling of freedom, the feeling of flight that ran through her senses. But as quickly as the wind had come, it had left, and as it raced towards the edge of the horizon, she heard, a small, meek and feeble voice, saying, "Why, hello."
Then there was the Hero.
A Kokiri boy, who had grown to be far more than any mouth could tell. The Princess had turned from where she stood on the open balcony, and she had seen him, with azure eyes that bore into her, a smile that seemed like it had waited for years, and joy filled her heart. The wind blew through the window, nipping at her back, caressing his face. A thousand years, they stood there.
She heard, somewhere far, far away, "Hello. My name is Link. I'm sorry I wandered into the castle…"
"Oh no, it's quite alright, my name is Zelda. Will you play with me?"
Her memory had betrayed her for seven years. She suddenly remembered a whole set of memories that had never occurred before. There were two realities in her head. One, in which there had been a need for a Hero, and the threat that took the land, the other, in which on one fine Spring day, she had met a little Kokiri boy by chance, who happened to become the best of her companions.
Here stood both. He said, as soft as the touch of love, "May we meet again."
A/N: In order to understand this, you must understand how different realities of different times interact. When Link went back in time, it would have been that Ganon and all related incidents had never occurred, meaning that Link would have never met Zelda. Hence, she would have no memory of him.
Yet, at the time in the little-Link reality that he chances to meet the little princess by fate (which would be the past), the current Zelda would have had another set of memories, in which she had met Link under normal circumstances.
Therefore, if in the past she had met Link, then he must be there now, right? Meaning that in the exact moment that little-Link were to meet little-Zelda, would be the exact time that Link existed again in the current Zelda's world. Confusing, I know, but you'll get it.