Disclaimer: These things are worthless. I don't think Nintendo's going to sue some random, poor idiot on the Internet for writing out some random fanfic, especially for a universe that essentially *is* a massive crossover fanfic (only with shiny licensing).
Notes: This is a Melee fic. I have never played Brawl – I'd like to, but getting a Wii is not my top priority as of the time I'm writing this, and I am still enjoying my GameCube very much. Also, the Melee setting is the only one that works for what I wanted to write. I've only played some of the games the various characters come from. Accordingly, I see avoiding writing for those few characters whose basic personalities and histories I do not "know" to be a good thing, so if your favorites are not mentioned here, I apologize in advance – but it's better than getting things wrong, correct?
This is my first foray into Smash fic. Although I am a veteran writer for many fandoms, I always feel like my first forays into any new fandom are shaky and I don't know if I'm going to stick around with this one. In fact, I thought that if I ever wrote a Smash fic, that it would be comedy – and this is anything but! I just had a particularly aggressive plotbunny chewing my brain. I am very much a Legend of Zelda fanwriter, though, which is why this Smash fic is Hylian-centric. Very much LoZ: Ocarina of Time and Majora's mask reference.
HEAVEN FOR HEROES
A Super Smash Bros. Melee Fan Fiction by Shadsie
Each of them had been taken from their worlds unexpectedly, introduced to these stages and bid to battle. Every being here had his or her own ideas of where they might be and why they might be here.
The Mario Brothers thought that they and their compatriots must have slipped down a wrong pipe in their travels through the Mushroom Kingdom. They were pretty sure they'd fallen into another dimension and that it was only a matter of time before they found their way out. They searched for pipes leading back, but always wound up back at the stages.
According to Mewtwo, the only one of his kind who could speak very well (telepathically) to those outside the kind, the Pokemon believed that this place was merely a dream that they were having inside their poke' balls. Any time spent within poke' balls during the tournaments was thought to be a dream within a dream. Mewtwo, himself, was not so optimistic. He postulated that he was probably in some laboratory somewhere, having unspeakable things done to his body by human researchers and that the stages were a dream created by drugs, or that he'd been put in so much pain he'd gone mad and that the endless fights were an endless delusion. Pikachu missed his master, dearly, and wished he'd wake up from his poke' ball dream soon.
Some thought that they'd hit some anomaly in space, or that they'd accidentally discovered some undiscovered country.
Link of Hyrule was pretty well certain that he was dead. He was pretty well certain that everybody here was dead, but the others didn't want to hear about it.
When he was a child, the Kokiri he grew up with would tell many tales, most of them passed down from the Great Deku Tree. The most serious ones were about religion. Even though the Kokiri were essentially immortal, they told stories about death on occasion. Some of those stories had been confirmed to be in Hyrule's general folklore when Link heard them told by Hylians in his travels. One of the stories regarded the fate the Great Goddesses gave to valiant warriors.
While most among the good and the innocent were thought to be granted a place of eternal peace, warriors were granted a special high realm of eternal war - of sorts. It was said that a warrior without a fight felt no purpose, so the Goddesses granted the spirits of fallen heroes an eternity to practice their skills in honorable combat. To feast and to fight as they pleased was to be their reward. There were people here from many different countries and universes, obviously, but Link thought that it must not matter to his Goddesses, as the Great Three were all-encompassing in their power and love, and the beings here were obviously all warriors of the highest caliber. Even the animals called Pokemon – according to Mewtwo, had spent their lives in fighting. As for other, less-than-honorable creatures that were present, Link had his explanation for them, too. When confronted by Bowser, whom Mr. Mario had confirmed as a villain of the world he'd come from, Link simply figured that every hero needed a dragon to fight.
After all, if this wasn't the Heroes' Heaven, why did none of them ever get permanently hurt? When fighters took a stage, they slashed each other with swords, hit each other with giant hammers, burned each other with fire, shot each other with strange energy weapons and never was a drop of blood shed. They'd send each other flying off the stage in overdramatic fashion, but no one ever died. Pain was felt, and quite keenly, for battle would be boring without it, but injures were swiftly taken care of by the area doctor – who happened to be a version of Mr. Mario from another dimension, or, at least, that is what Link assumed. No one spent more than a few days in the infirmary before they were back as whole and healthy as ever. Link had been there a few times, though he didn't remember a thing from his visits.
Link even had a good idea of how he'd died. The last he remembered before coming to this strange place was dealing with Ganon. He'd fought the Demon King and had just given him final blows with the Master Sword. Princess Zelda had called upon the Sages to seal him away. A white light was the very last thing he'd remembered. He'd been hurt and had been exhausted. He'd been bloodied and pummeled and he'd given the very last of his strength to defeat the demon. He figured that he must have collapsed - that with his task done and his strong will no longer needed, that he'd just fallen over and died. He hated the thought of leaving Zelda, but it was nothing he could change now.
The fighters had their own quarters in an area separate from the stages. In their off-time, they socialized and feasted and did whatever each of them liked to do in their leisure time. Link enjoyed talking to and learning from his fellow fighters. He never saw any of the Great Three Goddesses directly, nor any of the other deities and guardian spirits of Hyrulean lore, but everyone saw the great white Hands from time to time. The Hands were mysterious, and dictated their battle matches. Link took them to be guardians of the Heroes' Heaven, creatures in charge of keeping things organized and keeping them all happy.
For Link, the land of the dead wasn't so bad and despite the opinions of others; the young Hylian did not see any reason to take this world as anything other than an afterlife for heroes. Only the arrival of some familiar faces could change his perceptions.
Two had arrived together, to Link's bewilderment. He met them on the field outside the mansion where the fighters stayed.
"Zelda?" he asked, jogging up to her from the courtyard. He felt completely torn. On one hand, he was happy, overjoyed, in fact, to see her again. On the other hand, he was sad to think she was dead – she had to be dead to be here, right? And she was still young. Had she died young or did she get to die like she deserved – comfortably in bed, surrounded by her children and grandchildren and very, very old? It could be that she'd died old, but got to be young again here. Had he been in this place for that long? Time was irrelevant in this place. Link had lost track of the days.
"Link? What are you..?" she asked, "And like you are? Where is this place?"
Stepping out from behind her was a young boy, clothed in green. Link recognized his face from countless glances in the mirror. Both he and the boy stood completely still and stared at one another for several minutes. They each pointed at the other and said, at the exact same time, one significant sentence; "I used to be you!"
And they both promptly fainted.
Sometime later, the man and the boy recovered. They talked with each other and with Zelda in the courtyard, sitting on the brick of a raised flower bed.
"I suppose the Heroes' Heaven is the only thing that makes sense," Zelda said, although I don't know how I died. The last I remember, and I do remember this quite distinctly… I used the Ocarina of Time to send you back to your childhood… Perhaps I created a rift that killed me? Maybe I was hurt, too, during the final battle – magically drained upon calling the Sages, perhaps. I just don't know. I don't know why I'd end up in the Heaven for heroes, though, I'm not one."
"You are!" Link said, taking her hands in his gently. "You fought Ganondorf, too! You just used magical means… wise means. Also, as Sheik, you aided me throughout my journey to the temples… Don't say you aren't a hero, Zelda, because you are. And I don't think it would be a proper heaven without you, anyway."
The Princess of Hyrule smiled and blushed.
"And I was sent back," the boy, also identifying himself as Link said. "Zelda sent me back to my own time." Young Link pointed at Link. "I'm you, I guess. The fact that we exist here together must be the result of a temporal paradox. Strange, that. So, you don't remember anything beyond fighting Ganon?"
"No. I guess we really must be from different dimensions or something. A split from an original universe?"
"Probably. We all know the Ocarina of Time is a very powerful artifact."
The child proceeded to tell the princess and his aged self a long and complicated tale about his search for the fairy friend they'd all left behind, falling into another world, and spending an endless cycle of three days upon three days to keep that world from ending in a cataclysm. He talked of people he'd helped along the way, only to watch that help be undone when he inevitably had to reset Time. It all converged and turned out okay in the end, though, and the boy talked of finding himself here when he was traveling back across Hyrule Field, on his way to Hyrule Castle to see his Zelda again. She had offered him a place in the palace whenever he decided to come home from his journey.
By the end of his story, both Link and Zelda were hugging him. "I can't believe I died!" he said, tears at the edges of his eyes. "I don't even know how it happened! I wanted a home…with her…playing together every day under the sun…"
"Well, you have me now," Zelda said gently. "I may be grown-up, but I'm still me. And look, you have a big brother now, too."
Young Link looked up to them both and smiled. "I suppose I do," he said. "I just hope those I left behind aren't too sad… I hate to think of my Zelda finding my body or something."
"You have nothing to worry about here," Link said, rubbing his younger self's shoulder. "The fights here are fun. You feast and fight, all the time. And you'll get to meet new people, all…honorable...warriors..."
Link trailed off as he watched another newcomer stroll past, talking with Bowser and the giant gorilla. Donkey Kong wasn't anything that Link considered a requisite "dragon," – he seemed more or less neutral in alignment, primarily concerned with his stomach. Link figured that he must have been a great warrior in his jungle. DK did not concern him, nor did Bowser. The person walking with them made him blanch. Zelda stared. Young Link's jaw hung.
"What is he doing here?" the three said at once.
Ganondorf shot a glare their way and walked off with a simple grunt.
"But… he's not a hero, nor in any way honorable!" Link hissed. "Besides, I thought I just sealed him."
"He could be from my side of the timeline," Young Link suggested. "You see, Zelda and I warned her father about him, and managed to actually get through. The coup was stopped and he was sent away to a great prison for the Old Sages to deal with. We assumed that he would be executed…"
"Either way, he shouldn't be in any of the Holy Heavens," Zelda said. "The Goddesses are very forgiving, but his place should be the Void."
"So just what is he doing here?" Link repeated.
Mario came up behind him and clapped him on the shoulder. The plumber gave the swordsman a knowing smile. "I a' think you've finally got your own dragon," he said.
Life went on at the mansion and upon the stages. Link fought fiercely and wasn't surprised to see his adopted "little brother" fighting as fiercely as a wolf, as well. They were often teamed up, but nearly as often found themselves on opposite sides of the fight. Zelda, sometimes donning the guise of Sheik, defeated them both from time to time.
Link and Young Link treated each other like brothers and became very close. They shared a special psychic bond – similar to what they shared with Zelda, but stronger, because they were essentially two halves of a whole. Young Link hated to be called "Young Link." Most of the time, the two were addressed as "Link and Link," which could be confusing, but Young Link hated to be patronized. In some ways, the elder Link acted more like a kid than the younger. They both concluded that it was appropriate, as Link had been a young soul trapped in an older body and Young Link was essentially him in a continued life – one who'd had more experiences.
They shared a unique grief, as well. Even in heaven, it would seem, they carried the mental scars from their journeys – particularly centered upon people they were unable to save and things left undone. Some of these scars were centered upon primal fears, things that even the bravest of men could not help but be scarred by and shiver at the memories of.
How many times had Young Link awakened in the middle of the night from some nightmare about a demon mask, an evil-grinning hollow self, a canyon of death or being eaten alive by a giant fish? More than once, Link had had to take him off the balcony of their shared quarters during nights with a full moon after the kid had walked out there, half-dreaming to shout at the moon, daring it to come down, screaming that he was "ready."
It seemed that the boy had left a little bit of his sanity in mysterious Termina.
The two Links sat in the grass of the communal garden one morning, beneath a large tree when the youngster brought up a serious question. Pichu nuzzled him. The young Pokemon had taken a shine to the young Hylian. Both the Links liked all of the Pokemon and got along with them quite well, but Pichu seemed to have a special affection for Young Link. Mewtwo had told them that the creature felt that he "related," being one that lived in the shadow of an adult evolution. Mewtwo had also said that Pichu was drawn to Young Link for his courage. Pichu believed what Pikachu did – that the place they were in was a strange dream they had in the ball, only that Pichu felt that the dream had gone on too long and was afraid of this place.
Young Link stroked the mouse's head and looked up at his elder. "If we are really all dead," he asked, "do you suppose I died by suicide?"
"What?" Link asked, choking.
"You know…" Young Link said sadly. "You're pretty sure you died just after the fight with Ganon. The last I remember, I was headed home from Termina. I went through so much there – watching people suffering over and over again, impersonating the dead… that damned moon leering over me all the time, reminding me of my limits… You know how I get on full moon nights, the nightmares, and how outright twitchy I get when Master Hand has us play the simulated Great Bay stage… even when the Giants catch the moon. Maybe I just couldn't take the memories anymore. It is a possibility."
"I don't think so," the older Link said. "Why would you face death time and time again and survive only to take your own life? You're me…sort of… and I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't disappoint Zelda. Besides, you're braver than I am."
"Nuh-uh!" Young Link protested. "You've still got the Triforce of Courage, haven't you? Or you had the real thing when you died… I lost it when I returned to my time."
"The Triforce doesn't make you brave," Link said softly, "Or wise, or powerful. It chooses those who already have those qualities, those who are worthy. You faced more things that I did, so I'd say you're braver."
Pichu cooed against Young Link's side. He grinned and scratched the creature under the chin. "Thanks, Link," he said.
Fox jogged up to the trio. "Young Link!" he said, "Do you remember your match? Pokemon Stadium is ready. It is time."
"I'll be cheering for you," Link said.
And the child ran off, ready for yet another fight in this eternity of sporting battle.
The match-up was a strange one. First, it was to take place upon Pokemon Stadium – a well-balanced area that many of the fighters favored. The combatants were to be in a team battle – a "wizard and dragon" pitted against a "hero and princess." The wizard was Ganondorf. The dragon was Bowser. The hero was Young Link and the princess was Princess Peach. Peach wasn't "his princess" but Young Link would give it his all fighting alongside her just the same.
Ganondorf and Bowser, meanwhile, bickered upon the field. Bowser snorted as he took Peach's frying pan to the snout. He shook it off and swiped a claw at her. Ganondorf lumbered past him.
"Is this how you fight?" he taunted. "You are quite weak."
"I do not wish to damage her too bad." Bowser answered. "She's my future wife!"
"That is all you do," Ganondorf answered, "You merely capture the princess, don't you?"
"She's pretty. And so do you, with yours."
Ganondorf dodged a golf club. Bowser dodged the Kokiri Sword. "Only to bring the boy to me, to unite the Triforce. I could not risk that any portion of that power flying off into the ether. It had to be united. I have no interest in a 'wife' when I have my entire tribe at my beck and call. I was going to kill her once I destroyed the Hero. For all your pomp, you know nothing of being a tyrant."
"I'm the baddest of the bad!"
"Then let me show you power," Ganondorf sneered. "Let me show you the power of death."
The wizard sent a great surge of magical energy into his right fist. He lunged downward, toward Peach, who was distracted by a plate of spaghetti that had fallen onto the stage. Bowser bellowed and tried to grab him. Young Link leapt forth and pushed the princess out of the way. Ganondorf's charged fist connected with his small body with a disturbing cracking sound. The little Hylian was sent sprawling to the ground.
"GAME!" was called. Everyone waited for Young Link to get up, but he did not rise.
"Oh, no, is he okay?" Peach gasped. She crouched beside him. Ganondorf stood in the middle of the stage, laughing deeply, that is, until he found himself restrained by Captain Falcon, Samus and a pair of Wireframe guards.
"What did you do?" Bowser moaned.
"Link!" the elder Link called, running out onto the stage. He crouched down and gently lifted his younger self into his arms. He winced as he felt several things shift against him in unnatural ways. Young Link breathed, winced and stirred ever so slightly.
"Sssh, little brother. You're gonna be alright. You cannot die, this is the warriors' heaven, remember?"
The child coughed. Other fighters gasped sharply. They hadn't seen this before in the battles – blood. Young Link coughed up blood. He opened his eyes slowly and looked up at the distraught face of the elder Link. The resident physician, Dr. Mario did a cursory examination, prodding his body, parting open his tunic to put a stethoscope to his chest and middle.
"He is beyond my help, I'm afraid," he said.
"What do you mean, beyond your help?" Link yelped.
"He has a broken… well, everything. There is massive internal damage. He will expire soon."
"Expire?" Link panicked, "This can't happen! Aren't we all already dead? He can't die! He's my little brother! He can't die! He can't! Help him! Help him!"
"You did not help by moving him," the doctor said plainly. "I'm afraid that the Hands will have to deal with him now… whatever they'll do with this situation."
"L-Link…" Young Link groaned. This immediately caught the elder's attention. Ganondorf howled in rage somewhere behind them as he was being dragged off the stage.
"I'm here," Link assured, stating the obvious. "I know it hurts right now, but it's going to be okay."
"No it isn't," Young Link said as he gave his big brother and intense look. "I don't know where heroes go if they die in the Heroes Heaven. I hope it's as fun. My one regret is… that I won't grow up to be you."
With that, the boy went still, his eyes open. It took a few moments for Link to realize what had happened. He held the body close and was wracked with sobs. He could feel the hand of Peach rubbing his back. Zelda bent down and gingerly wiped the blood from Young Link's face with a soft cloth and closed his eyes. Pichu hopped up and sniffed the boy's hair, and it licked his ear in an attempt to wake him.
The fighters present did not know how long they spent in stunned grief. "Oh, my," a voice above them said. As one, they looked up to see Master Hand looming over them. "This was an unexpected outcome. Give the child to me."
"No!" Link protested, holding the corpse close. "He's my little brother! My younger half! You aren't taking him! He's going to get a hero's burial! No one is taking him from me!"
"Link," the giant white hand pleaded, "Please. Be reasonable."
"No…" Link whispered brokenly.
"If I take care of him, there will be no need for a funeral," the Hand announced. "Carry him. Come with me. I think there is something I should show you."
Master Hand made himself level with the stage and opened his palm. "Just Link and his burden," he said, inviting the Hylian forth with the curling of his index finger.
Bewildered, Link stepped forth and stepped upon the fleshy palm. Once there, he felt himself being lifted up. He saw the stage and his fellow fighters become distant until he could not see them anymore. He traveled through a veil, as if through clouds. Then he found himself, still riding upon the Hand, in something that appeared to be a vast room – the personal room of someone.
The swordsman gasped when he saw a shelf. Upon that shelf were rows upon rows of what appeared to be trophies… figurines. Some were of the various things he'd seen upon the stages during the battles. The ones that caught his eye were the fighters who were not present around the mansion and stages today. They were fighters who'd been hurt and who were (thought to be) spending time in the infirmary. Falco, Kirby and Jigglypuff were there, as well as the little brother and sister pair who always wore parkas.
Master Hand set Link down before this shelf of trophies. Without warning, the massive fingers plucked Young Link's broken body from his grasp. The Hand carefully laid Young Link down upon the shelf before running the tip of his index finger over the dead boy. A sparkling energy issued from the finger. In a moment, Young Link stood up, alive and well. He looked at Link and smiled before he withdrew a bottle of milk from his tunic and held it out. Then he went absolutely still and a trophy platform formed beneath his feet.
"What did you do to him?" Link roared.
"Not to worry, not to worry," the voice of the Hand said. "He will be alright if he rests a while here. This is what happens when I take one of my toys out of battle for a while."
"Toys?" Link asked.
The Hand came closer to him. Link saw a face behind it, but it was indistinct. However, he slowly realized that the voice that he'd been listening to…
… Was the voice of a child?
"I've decided to share a little secret with you, Link," the voice said. "I have decided that you are brave enough to handle it. You may share it with those fighters closest to you, if you wish, but be sure that they are able to handle the information. You have been here before, Link, though you do not remember it."
"I've never been to this place."
"You have, when you've been badly hurt. This is what happens when a fighter is defeated. They revert to their natural state. It's why you see the white Hands… one of my relatives gave me animator's gloves for a birthday present. They're perfect for handling delicate collectables."
"Natural state? Collectables?"
"I know that you assumed the stages to be the Heaven for Heroes," the voice stated. "I know everything about you. You are my toy, a vehicle for my imagination."
"The tournaments are not the heavens and you are not who you think you are. You are imprinted with the memories of the character you represent. Link, you are a character from a story, from a game, actually. All of the other fighters are, as well, all from stories I've enjoyed very much. You are a representation, a way for me to play out the stories – mostly, to see what would happen if characters from many stories all came together to play and fight together. I suppose you could consider it a heaven of sorts. You like the fights and I take care of you."
"I'm not real?" Link squeaked.
"That depends upon your definition of real," Master Hand said. "For all I know, I could be someone's dream, too, or a plaything in someone's story. But yes. You are a figurine. You are all figurines. I imagine that this information is disturbing."
"You'd think?" Link shot back.
"Do not be troubled. You get to feast and fight forever – the warrior's heaven you thought all along, only now you know a deeper truth behind it."
"But… I'm not real," Link insisted. "I'm not a real hero."
"I never said you were not a hero," the voice said. "You are a hero to me, and you always will be. The young one will be back to fighting shortly. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy the fights."
Link nodded and stepped back onto the palm of the Hand, ready to be taken back to the world of the stages. He tried to compose an explanation for Young Link's upcoming resurrection, although Master Hand assured him that he had the trust of the fighters and that they would just be glad to see the boy well.
"If I really have no choice in my fate," Link said, "I might as well try to be happy. No need to upset a heaven, I guess."
As the Hand took him home, Link looked back over the field of trophies and stifled a shiver.