Disclaimer and Notes: The Legend of Zelda and related characters belong to Nintendo. This fan fiction is not for profit, only for fun. This is an alternate universe (AU) story – the premise of which is the ending of Twilight Princess happening differently than it did in the actual (canon) game. Blatant Link x Midna. Based upon a fan art I did a while back, which is on my account as "Shadsie" at Deviant Art for people interested in launching a hunt for it. It's also at North Castle under my "Shadsie" profile. It's just one of those generic "Twili Links" some of us fan artists seem to be fond of interpreting.

Dusk and Scars

A Twilight Princess Fan Fiction by Shadsie

Chapter 1: Watching the Eternal Sunset with You

They lay together beneath the cloud of twilight as it flowed over the land in subtle shifts. The lovers were out upon a balcony on one of the high towers of their palace. She, the taller of the two by quite a space, lay upon a black cushioned lounge, her back slightly elevated. He lay atop her on his back, his head rested gently upon her chest, watching the sky peacefully.

Midna's long fingers played over Link's chest where his robe was open. It was his usual royal attire, made from black, silky shadows. His skin was pale and tinted lightly in a wonderful shade of blue, much like Midna's own. The subtle light from the sky played off his silver hair. His body had adapted quite wonderfully to the Twilight Realm. Its transition had gone much smoother than that of his mind. He was at peace now, so she was happy.

He made a soft little sound of pleasure as she traced her fingertips over his collarbone. So malleable he was – she also knew just the spot behind his right ear to scratch to make his leg kick and get him to grunt and bark like a canine. He hadn't been the Sacred Beast in years, but he still had the loyalty and some of the eccentric tendencies of a wolf. He shifted against her, having heard something before she did. She looked up to see one of their servant girls carrying a tray with glasses of wine. The girl set the tray down upon a table nearby, bowed silently, received a gentle smile from Link and a hand wave from her queen and then left the way she came.

The two went back to lounging. Midna's fingertips traced over bumpy, odd-feeling scar tissue. Link did not feel it. There were only a few scars that he felt, and usually only when she pressed in on them. Link had so many scars – the price of having been the Hero Chosen of the Gods. The chain mail that he'd worn in those days had protected him from most injuries, but there'd been quite a few that even it had not managed to shield him from. She urged him to wear an open royal robe, as opposed to a full cloak to enable her people to see his scars. He had earned them saving not only his native realm, but theirs – now his adopted home. It took him a while to get used to it at first. He feared frightening people, especially children, and was never one to share his pain. He was ashamed of the scars and claimed that they were marks from all the times he'd messed up – missed his chance to strike, when he hadn't been paying attention enough, when he'd left himself open for his enemies to get their licks in instead of taking care of them swiftly like he should have. Midna assured him that he shouldn't be ashamed, that they were marks of honor symbolizing what he had been willing to go through for the sake of others and of the courage he still possessed. In either case, they couldn't be helped, and furthermore, her people respected them.

Her hand traced a particularly nasty snarl on his middle. Midna remembered with a wince how he'd gotten that one. It had been her fault it was as bad as it was. They had encountered a group of Shadow Beasts very soon after Link had gained the Master Sword. He'd fought in wolf-form, but had gotten raked by the claws of the leader. Since this was the first time he'd been badly injured when they'd been able to control his transformation at will, Midna had transformed him into his native Hylian shape in hopes that it would somehow cure the wound. Instead, his skin had tightened and pulled away from it and the shifting of his muscles had caused it to open up even wider. The boy had somehow limped his way into the Zora's Domain, where he'd been given help. To this day, she was convinced that he would have died if he did not have little Midna as his silent shadow, holding his guts in the whole way. Still, she felt a pang of guilt whenever she thought about that time.

The Twilit Queen traced her fingers up her husband's side. He grunted and winced as she gently brushed a particular spot. She took her fingertips off it quickly. That was one of his sore ones and the reason he took longer recovering from colds than he used to. It was one of his smaller scars, right between two of his ribs on his left side. He'd gotten that one in this realm, unfortunately – even moreso, after his "hero's work" was supposed to have been done. It was the remnant of an arrow-wound from an assassination attempt - and at their wedding, no less.

Midna removed her right hand from beneath Link's robe. She used it to stroke one of his long ears, earning a contented, almost purring sound. She took her glass of wine in her left hand and thought over some of the events that had lead to this moment. She wondered about what would have happened if things had gone according to her plan three years ago. For the time being, she couldn't be any more pleased that her plan had gone awry.

Link's left foot started twitching. Obedient, indeed.

It had happened in the twinkling of an eye.

She had wussed out, and she'd known she had, but figured it was better that the poor boy didn't know. She'd read the stories of what the Twilight Realm had done to her ancestors in what were called the "Banishment Years" or "Colonization Years." She knew of his need for the Light, and perhaps, more importantly, the Light's need for him. She'd wanted to protect him, but the noble damned fool had run up those spectral steps and grabbed her arm and now the two of them were laying face down in the courtyard of her palace being gawked at by personal guards and servants.

And she did not care. She got to her feet, brushed herself off, and before Link could do the same, she began her tirade.

"You blithering idiot!" she scolded. "Don't you know that you can never go back? Do you? You're stuck here for the rest of your life!" She gestured to the empty place the Mirror of Twilight had once occupied. "No more seeing Zelda, no more… blond village girl… no more seeing those friends in that backwater little town of yours! No day, no night…"

Link gave her a blank look, a slight frown upon his face.

"Don't give me those innocent eyes! Do you know what you've given up? You've just made yourself an inmate in a colony of exiles! Do you think the Goddesses are happy about this, Hero?"

Link spoke up softly. "I couldn't let you go without saying goodbye."

"Is this what that's about?" Midna groused. "You really are a complete fool."

With that, she grabbed him and hugged him tightly. She curled into him, nuzzled her face into the top of his head and began sobbing. Link held her and rubbed her back. "I was…" Midna managed, "I was trying to protect us both… Both our worlds. You really aren't going to be able to go back."

"Sometimes… we sacrifice great things to have something even greater."

"Stupid beast."

They were inundated by the chatter and moaning of Twili voices that Link did not understand. They were voices of celebration and voices of concern. Midna and Link were ushered inside the Twilight Palace to walk down ruined halls that were familiar to both of them, though now devoid of danger.

Midna chattered with her people. Link wondered why he could understand her perfectly fine but had so much trouble understanding most of them. Midna had told him that the nobles retained some training in Hylian speech as a secondary language, though in the Twilight Realm, it was considered a dead language. To know it and speak it in court was considered a mark of refinement, a way for people to flaunt a good education. He could pick out a few distinct words and phrases in Hylian – heavy with tinkling Twili accents, things like "Honor, great honor." He smiled an embarrassed smile.

Midna turned to him. "These are the people you saved, Link," she said, "You remember… they were the ones standing out in the courtyard, half-transformed, that you cured with the Sols. They remember you and are very grateful."

One tall, young, feminine-looking Twili pointed first to Midna, then to Link. "Prrrince?" she trilled, struggling with speaking in Hylian. "Midna…you are…the mate for Lady Midna?"

Link straightened and gave an appalled squeak. Midna smiled wickedly at him. It wasn't quite the smile she had as an imp, but Link knew that if she still had that little fang to show she would be showing it now. "If he'll have me," she said clearly as she touched his chin with her index finger and looked into his eyes. "Otherwise, he's going to be awfully lonely, a little Hylian so far from home."

Link nodded vigorously. His cheeks were red and he smiled very broadly. Midna giggled, charmed at his continued "country bumpkin" expressions.

"Yes, yes, of course!" he gasped quickly, his words running into one another.

Midna waved her arms and spoke to her people. They suddenly shifted into a very industrious mode, moving to different parts of the grand hall they were in with a seeming purpose. Link stepped back as one Twili male who stood about a head taller than him gave him a little bow of the head and took him by the hand. Midna began walking away from him.

Link's jaw hung. "Midna, what's going on?" The Twili man tugged on him, obviously wanting to direct him to somewhere.

"I told them that we have journeyed long and that we are tired. Evin just wishes to lead you to one of the better dignitaries' suites."

"But…But!" Link protested, "Shouldn't I be sharing a room with you?"

"Midna is still an unmarried woman," Midna giggled. "What kind of girl do you take me for?"