The final notes of the Song of Time echoed in the ancient temple, the Spiritual stones glowed with power, the giant blue stones doors parted slowly, a sword glowing in a pillar of light. Link moved towards the sword, the music still echoing in the temple, his magic singing with it. He moved towards the legendary sword, Navi circling the sword at high speed, her high pitched voice almost lost to the music. He touched the sword, the magic in the temple exploded, white light blinded him for a moment, then nothing. It was if he'd woken from a dream, into a world colder than the one he left. He put both feet on the pedestal, yet the sword wouldn't budge. He looked outside, a running battle between the Gerudo and Hylian soldiers destroying the town. The only thing Link could think was to keep the Ocarina of Time safe from Ganondorf, nothing else made sense in this place.

He barely made it through the battle, the mask shop ablaze, as with the bowling alley, the bombchus exploding only adding to the noise and chaos. What took him a day by wagon took a week by foot, his boots almost falling off as he returned to the depths of the Koriki village, Saria taking a few seconds to recognise him.

As much as he tried to readapt to life amongst the Koriki, he knew he couldn't stay forever, when his height was double that of Saria he left the village, his presence in the forest a rumour that even he heard from the odd hunter or traveller he helped. He found a small village named Ordon, formed from some of the survivors from the Castle town, all of them now farmers and merchants. He settled in quickly. In the moon that followed his arrival he rescued a swordsman named Rusl from the forest, the wounded man nearly out of food when Link led him from the forest.

The two had a bond that few could explain, for everything that Rusl knew of the wilderness and tried to pass onto Link, Link was already far more proficient. Soon Link was leading small hunting parties deep into the woods, but the paths he knew as a child soon became lost to his eyes, the world changing in that summer, evil spreading through the land. Rusl left for Lon Lon Ranch to buy horses for the village, only to return on the back of cart Link felt outraged, taking his bow and Rusl's sword to appear as a mercenary he made his way to ranch, Ingo running it with an iron fist.

Not only did the place feel cold, as did the rest of the world, but inside the place which felt the coldest to his senses, he found a single bright spot. Malon had grown just as he did. Not only was she taller, her dress hugged frame that any woman would be proud of, wide hips and a full chest, rich almost burnt copper hair flowed down her back in a loose tail, the angry look she carried only added to her beauty, showing a fire that would burn for all time.

Link had not only learned how to fight from Rusl, but basic carpentry from the others in Ordon. For a week he struggled with Malon during the day, expanding the stables and building a new set of pens in the large central paddock. All through this time Malon would barely speak to him, as much as he implored her to let him help, once they had eaten she would blow out the lantern that lit the stables, leaving Link awake, playing the songs he remembered learning with Saria, not that he could ever match her skill.

It was an eighth day when he had his first true conversation with Malon, her first words were to accuse him of trying to steal Epona and her mother, yet her stunned reaction when he admitted he couldn't ride a horse, barely able to steer an ox at the best of times left her laughing. The next day they were back to working on the improvements to the ranch, this time Malon telling Link her plan to take what was the true heart of the ranch when she left it at the end of the coming harvest.

Two moons later that harvest arrived, Link and Malon up before the dawn, asleep long after dusk. Slowly the pair hid supplies, and tools, Link slowly carving a key to unlock the main gates to the ranch. All through the season he spent at the ranch rumours of monsters emerging from the forest to the east, his former home worried Link, and Malon seemed to feel his worry as well. He'd asked Navi to investigate, his promise to help Malon something he couldn't leave. Navi had yet to return, Link fearing the worst for his companion. The night before Malon was to leave the ranch they held a small memorial ceremony for the fairy, Link playing the song Saria made, Malon adding words to it, his tears stopping him playing for a moment.

Throughout this time Malon had taught Link to ride a horse, while he taught her to play the ocarina, keeping the treasure he was guarding hidden the entire time. She seemed to pick up what took him months in weeks, their late nights on a few occasions carrying well into the next day. Ingo seemed to have no idea what they had planned, the night they'd chosen to leave was a full moon, Link and Malon effortlessly herding the few cattle and horses out of the ranch, setting a quick path for Ordon, their trip carrying them through the night. Malon ended up on Link's horse, the stock horse easily carrying the pair's weight. She sat side saddle in front of him, a gentle smell of oats from her hair reaching his nose. He kept a gentle grip around her waist, her form slimmer than the dress would suggest.

Dawn broke, and they reached Ordon, the many friends Link had in the town first berating him for leaving so unannounced, but also celebrated his return, and with what was first suggested as his wife. Both he and Malon blushed profusely at the suggestion, leading to Bo to offer him land on the edge of the village, close to forest, yet still good for farming. Link accepted quickly, Malon looking happy for him, yet sad at the same time. She had no place to go, and if she caught she faced harsh punishments, the lightest of which was branding.

Link could only smile at her, telling her that the land was no good without good cattle to graze, and horses to ride she lightened immediately, hugging Link tightly. He held her close, daring to kiss her lips lightly she blushed a colour close to her hair, more cat calls from the villages embarrassing the pair. The first half of summer was not easy, especially by previous years. Giants boars, some with goblin riders emerged from the forest to attack the village, Link's accuracy with his bow astounding the locals, who made him a large quiver as a reward. Not only that Rusl gave Link his sword, Rusl's wife with child to be born in the coming spring turning the warrior into a bowyer and blacksmith.

As often as he was in the forest, known as the Faron forest to the locals of Ordon, he was out of it, collecting wood to build fences, stables and a home for himself and Malon. They both struggled with the barn at first, the next eighth day the entire village helping them for the day, the stables and barn raised in a single day. Stones were gathered to build a larder and solid foundation for the house, everyone coming to help when they could. Rusl would come every second day, his work keeping him busy with house shoes and plough blades. Bo came over every day, after lunch, bringing not only food, but the few items Link could not make from the forest.

Perhaps the most fortunate discovery was the glue he could make with the sap from the local pine and sugar, Malon first worried when the liquid set, yet after placing the glass jar in almost boiling water the glue became liquid again, stronger than nails when it had set properly.

All through the summer Link and Malon had shared the wagon used to carry the tools they took from the ranch, their blankets had moved from either end of the wagon, towards the middle, now they lay one atop the other, both used to the other's company in their sleep. Each time they fell asleep Link promised to himself to tell Malon how he felt the next day, but they never found time in the day. When the house was ready, not only the roof tiled, but the furniture built, could Link tell Malon how he felt about her, how he wanted it to be their home. One day, on sunset in late autumn did Link tell the beautiful redhead how he felt, Malon eagerly kissing him. Their first time together was over far too quickly, but the next few carried the depth of their feelings.

As winter arrived a wandering preacher arrived, Link and Malon's union blessed in a quiet ceremony in a clearing close to their home, Rusl, as with a few friends the only witness. Life settled into a pattern for the newest family in the village, with Malon pregnant. She complained bitterly that she could not longer fit into some dresses, yet she never looked so beautiful to Link, most of their time in the evening in the late winter, and her pregnancy, their hands over their child, the kicks some nights keeping Malon awake, other nights the toll of carrying her first making her fall asleep shortly after eating dinner.

Link continued much as he did before he left, leading hunting parties into the forest, the boars now close to the size of a horse, or in some rare cases, oxen. The number of monsters coming from the forest increased as well, Rusl soon a master at forging basic chainmail, a heavy coat finding its way to Link, as with a new sword, shield and bow. It was the same night as the worst attack of the season that their first daughter, Delza, arrived. She had her mother's hair, with her father's eyes and ears from birth, Malon exhausted at first, but no-one could deny that she loved her daughter, and nothing could break that bond formed when she first fed her.

Delza grew quickly, Pami their first son joined her a year later. Not only had their family grown, but so did their farm, a smoke house added to preserve the large amount of meat that the hunters brought back. Malon, during the late stage of her pregnancy carrying Pami placed some mushrooms and herbs inside the smoke house by accident, which had somehow carried over to flavour the meat. When the first merchants for the trading season reaching Ordon they eagerly bought as much of the preserved meat as Link and Malon would sell, needing to get a chest from Rusl to keep the rupees they made.

Another shift in the world happened after that, many of the small towns and villages had attacked the goblins in their warrens and camps, driving the raiders back. Mercenaries from other kingdoms all headed towards Hyrule, either for wealth or adventure, many of them lured to Ordon for the slowly darkening Faron forest, or the Lost Woods, now well and truly lost to Link. Beasts that walked on two legs patrolled the forest, Link one of the daring few to attack them, none of them lasting long against his blade or bow. He'd broken the larger of the tribes, slaying the leader while he was out on patrol, Ordon left in relative peace, if not for the mercenaries that constantly came.

Quickly Delza and Pami grew up, helping Malon in the farm, her spirit attracting mercenaries to the farm, then sending them away with bruises if they did not listen to her, her hands as deft with a stave as a sword. Some seasons a traveller a day would arrive, Link the only local to now dare the forests. He would often bring the body of a mercenary or adventurer from the woods, a small cemetery built towards the back of the village, a small shrine to Din at the centre. Other seasons it would a traveller a week, always stopping by what had become called Ordon ranch. Not only was the ranch famous for its preserved meat, but for cheese and milk. A few suspected where the original cows came from, but none voiced it openly.

Delza was in her sixth year, one marked by a particularly harsh winter, one that left everyone in the village amazed at its length and strength. The first thaw was late, but not enough to stop the crops going into properly tilled soiled. Malon had everything at the farm managed, and another foreigner had entered the forest barely prepared for the horrors that waited for him. Link was preparing Epona for a trip into the forest, his chainmail hidden by a long tabard, coloured to blend in with the forest.

Link checked his sword, knowing a traveller had stopped on the opposite side of the fence. If it was a local they would have called earlier in the day. The sun was setting, and Link would have leave shortly if there was any hope of finding the man alive.

'I hear they call you the ranger of these woods,' she said, Link stunned by the slim blonde's voice. He turned to face her, almost indistinguishable for the many others who came before her. Yet she still stood out, a practised ease on horseback, as well as the large bundle in her hands. 'Many owe you their lives.'

'They should heed our warnings,' Link bit back, checking the final strap, Epona complaining for a moment as Link adjusted it, a whiny telling him he had it right.

'Aye, they should, I came to give you a gift from a friend long gone,' she said, passing the bundle over. Link opened his eyes in shock as he recognised the sword. Before it was dead to his hands, now it felt alive to his touch, the magic he felt in his blood after touching the Ocarina of Time flowing just as strongly. He drew the sword, the blade humming in his hand as he swung it in a slow circle.

'You're always welcome here, Zelda,' Link whispered, Zelda smiling.

'I wouldn't dare intrude, I was told a story, by my father before he sent me away, he told me about my mother, and my...' Zelda said, seeing Malon playing with Pami in the distance. 'I would like to see my niece and nephew, before we go.'

Link paused, wondering what Zelda meant, as she said we, but his thoughts turned to her words before that, niece and nephew. He was shocked, he was told by the Great Deku Tree about his mother, and where she was buried, but this left him truly stunned. 'How?'

'A war split the kingdom, our mother forced to run, she found the Great Deku Tree, she took you with her, as I was with the wet nurse. You were the crown prince, and still are.'

Link stood shocked, Malon picking up Pami and walking over to the pair, introducing herself to Zelda, Zelda only smiling, before she rode into the forest, Link kissing his wife and son before following her. The paths leading to the forest were not often tread, only Link able to find half of them, the rest badly cut into the forest, the occasional lost sword or shield left to rust. All too quickly he and Zelda found the lost adventurer, guiding him back to the edge of the forest, and back to Order, all too used to it. After that Zelda seemed to focus, as if she saw deeper into the forest, Link following her lead, though they changed a few times, once calm streams raging with dark magic blocking their path.

They found the temple, the phantom within no match for the reunited siblings. After that they found the world as they remembered it from long ago, the monsters much few in number and power. As Link returned to home he finally introduced Zelda to his children, both eager to find out they had an aunt. He saved the biggest shock for his wife alone, Malon nearly fainting when she saw the Master sword. He made her a promise to return when he'd restored the world to the way it should be.

Rauru watched the Hero of Time shift in his sleep, his dreams both a blessing and a curse. He ended the spell, the young man waking up, drawing the sword in a single sweep, the point of the sword far closer to the Sage's chest than he would like.

'Hero of Time, you awaken into a time unlike what you have seen. So much will be the same, yet much will be different,' he said. He tried his best to answer the questions of the Hero, yet none of the answers felt good enough. When he spoke of his wife and children Rauru shed tears, perhaps the first in centuries, as the man wept for what he had, and lost. He cursed the Sage, the chamber deep in the heart of the Sacred Realm filled with righteous anger at being cruelly manipulated.

'I can only ask that you give me, us, a chance to earn your forgiveness, I can only ask you bring hope to people that will soon have none, I ask that you don't do it because I ask it, but because they can not ask it,' Rauru begged, the sword point fell, the boy that touched the sword all those years ago back for a moment.

'I'm not going to do it for them,' Link whispered. He looked at Master Sword, already having once wielded it, he would do so again. Rauru held out his hand, a small golden amulet hanging on an almost invisible chain. 'I'm doing it for her, and those I wish to see again.'

Rauru smiled, tears running into his beard. He watched as Link put the amulet on, the disc visible against his tanned skin. A long second later the Hero was gone, only to return a moment later with Saria, the childhood friend, again, he was gone, his medallion changing with the awakening of a new sage. A Goron warrior standing proud joined the group, soon afterwards a Zora, Shiekah, even a Gerudo joined them, yet in all this time one place had become a beacon for light, the Hero gathering many warriors, each one of them patrolling the lands and forests as he once did. More importantly a lifelong bond with Malon was again formed, the pair again having children, this time in the reverse order.

Rauru again cried when Zelda took the Ocarina of Time and played the song to end the passage between times. Once again Link was cut off from what he sought with all his heart, an adult in a child's body. He tried to watch the past as he once could, yet that was cut off from his spells, none of the other Sages could see beyond the Door of Time. He wished for all his heart that Link would keep what he sought so much.

Link touched the ocarina given to him by Saria, who he said a proper goodbye too. He told Zelda the truth, of what her older self had done, of why the Temple of Time had to stay sealed, yet as much as he sought traces of Ganondorf, not a word was heard. A new envoy from the western deserts came, a woman who spoke of an evil wizard who would break traditions long held by her kind. She offered the protection of her people against those who would raid from the west. Link was happy to see her well, only a young teen, but she would lead her people better than any other.

He sighed as thought of the years ahead of him, before he could once again be with the Malon he knew in his heart, if she could exist in this time, but hope sprang where despair reigned. He would have true years far beyond what he had before with her. When he arrived at the Lon Lon Ranch the first thing Malon did was to hug him, and ask after Navi. He had said goodbye to Navi, an emotional goodbye after a long journey.

Slowly but sure he grew to know Malon once more, the same fire he remembered, but the same tenderness. The day came when he took over Lon Lon Ranch, Malon at his side, Pami and Delza just into their second year, Zelda visited, though not openly when word reached her of her brother and his family. In the end he thought about how much he had experienced, he mastered the sword like no other had, not even Rusl, yet he had no wish to use it. He kissed his son, daughter, and wife in that order, knowing that he had reached the end of his journey.

A/N: Having read Peptucks novelisation of C&C 3 and the Ocarina of Time one thing struck me from the later of the two games. How the hell did Link adapt to being an adult? This little idea wormed it's way out, so I wrote it, and posted it. Enjoy.

If you're wondering about what I've written, and trust me on this, the OoT Link and Zelda are related, feel free to ask me to explain it, and where to look for confirmation. I still know that damned game too well.