A/N- If you're reading this, I reeeeeeeeeally should be wrapping up Paradigms. XD
I guess the truth of the matter is, I need to get my head back on straight. Had sort of a soul cleansing over the weekend. Long story short, I need a bearing back into my writing to make sure I'm in tippy top shape for the home stretch of Paradigms. I only got 10 days left, after all (oh shiiiiiiiiiii-)
So, I decided I was going to do the first idea that came into my head. And so I did this. Now, Zelda/Mario... god, what a vast opportunity this would be! I love this couple but there are, like, zero fanfics on this. Or at least zero I remember.
So, I figure I'd give it a try. Here we have Spark. I'll say this was inspired by the works of Jsparks, Araceli, XblankPaperMoonX and a large bit by Jake-X's I Will Never Forget in the Mario section from a year and a half ago, which also stars Mario. One of the most influential pieces I read in my Fanfiction career.
Disclaimer: Shall we all recite it together?
I Own Nothing
I Regret Nothing
I Let Them Forget Nothing
With a strong flick of the wrist, she had sent out another short flash of fire. She focused all of her energy on the flickering sphere, guiding it through the night sky until, finally, she let it burst in the midst of the stars, causing no harm at all.
Zelda sighed and plopped back to the ground, her skirt floating to the ground around her knees in a ripple. She always loved to clear her mind, but it had become increasingly harder over the months to do so. She relaxed herself against the hillside, laying flat on the slight tilt of the grass as it started a descent into the small brookside valley below. She faced the stars, and to a further extent, Din. She had not prayed to Din for awhile. She thought she had already passed the stage of asking "Why?", although for her, it was a demand, or maybe even a beg. Although Zelda was never one to beg for answers, but she never could understand Din's reasoning behind what had happened.
Link was one of the strongest, bravest defenders the world would ever see. He had saved the universe from evil on more than one occasion and in more than one forms. He could sing a sword among the best of them; even professional swordfighters like Marth of Altea he could keep time with. He had the best aim of any archer, for a fact. However, when it came to something like a sudden and unpredictable stroke, he had no defense. He was only human, or at least somewhere close.
There wasn't a single soul that wasn't shaken by his passing. Even Ganondorf seemed somewhat shocked by what had happened, if not mournful. No one could determine what had caused the stroke; Link had little to no health problems in the past. Link seemed unshakable, and he could defend himself, as well as whole nations against any force known to man. And he did to the end. What happened was force from the gods that no one could stop, as no one could stop the gods.
This hadn't happened the other day, however. Link had been buried on the temple grounds for six months now. Zelda wasn't in heavy grief; she had learned to walk again, and could smile and laugh, and oftentimes feel normal. However, there was simply no replacing him; no fully recovering from the loss.
They had never engaged in a romantic relationship, nor had they any interest in doing so. They had always had a bond, but it could neither be identified as romantic, similar to siblings or as friends. It was something more powerful than that- as if, as cliched as it sounds, the largest part of the structure of her soul had been removed, and they all tumbled down similar to the Jenga blocks Snake would occasionally set up and topple. He would do that when he was thinking. Zelda never quite understood why such a repetitious act could help you meditate- especially one so noisy- but, hey, here she was in the fields not too far out of sight from the others, throwing out a fireflash every minute or so, the Jenga blocks struggling to stack up again in her soul, but starting renovations.
She first threw her non-combative Din's Fire a month ago. She had spent a lot of time prior to that pleading with the gods. To Din, Farore, even Palutena, despite the fact she was not her god, desperate for answers, for a sign. She never seemed to get one, so she sent one out herself. The repeated flashes represented that she was still there, that she had not lost faith in her, that she forgave Din for taking Link, no matter the pain, and one of apology for the anger she had harbored towards her. Maybe Din would never respond to her about this, and maybe she was to find out the answer on her own.
And so she lay on the hillside, overlooking a brush of trees around a humble, transcending brook that did not herald its presence with much effort. She had not done much strenuous physical work, but she felt exhausted nonetheless. It was six months but she felt emotionally raw still. She had felt it on occasions when overwhelmed, but for a few hours. Her emotions often overwhelmed her to a point where she had to force herself out of bed.
Would things ever be normal?
Startled, Zelda swiftly attempted to get up, but could only manage to roll over on her side. She struggled to her feet to get a look at who was there, but judging by the distinguishable voice, she had a feeling.
She confirmed herself to be correct. Mario was quietly taking a seat next to her. He was wearing a pair of brown slacks and a button-up plaid maroon shirt, a darker color than his iconic red suit. He gave Zelda a small smile as he relaxed, his arm on a small fallen log clumsily dropped into a dirt patch on the slope. "Hello, Princess," he greeted her, a subtle, soft accent ringing through his voice. She was a bit surprised to see him; they never often talked or ran into each other.
"Hello, Mario," she replied, giving him a short, cordial glance as she repositioned herself on the slope, sitting up with her knees hugged to her chest. "What brings you here?"
"The stars," he replied simply.
"The stars?" she wasn't overwhelmingly surprised, just curious.
"Indeed," he replied, a hand through his messy brown hair. "I don't know if news ever spread that far, but one of my greatest... actually, probably my greatest adventure ever was in the galaxies."
"I heard of it," she confirmed, quietly relaxing her head back to acknowledge the shining dots in the sky, a mixture of gray and blue. Somewhat light for a late night, but nonetheless, it made Zelda feel even more detached from the rest of the world, almost as if she had spent forever here, yet no time at all. Like when she walked out of the valley, she would be opening a clear, screen door back into her real life and out of this haze. Just thinking about if made her drop off mid-sentence, giving Mario segue to continue, which she was unawares to.
"...it's really humbling, actually," he was saying, somewhat dreamily, "that someone like me would be able to get so close to the stars, closer than the most weathered of space veterans had ever..." he stopped with a small frown as he looked at Zelda, who seemed out-of-body as he had spoken. "Princess Zelda?"
His voice snapped her out of her trance. "Oh!" she gasped, broken by a jolt back to reality. "I apologize, Mario. There's... a lot on my mind."
Upon seeing her get up, he followed her onto his feet. "I understand, I understand."
She shuddered, shaking vigorously to get the clouds out of her mind. Mario gave her a small smile as he watched her stand straight and flick her hand, sending forth another disc of fire. She focused in concentration again as he watched, knowingly. He gave her a grin as he took a stance, left foot in front, right foot in back, and glancing directly at the valley. He put his hands together and then shoved them away, and by doing so amassing a small sphere of flame about the size of a baseball. It bounced lazily down the hill and dissipated into nothingness halfway down.
She smiled as her Din's Fire exploded across the slope from his fireball as it stopped.
"It seems we both play with fire," she gave him a wan smile, which he returned with a grin.
"In different ways, I suppose," he responded. "I mean," he paused to send off another fireball as she prepared to cast another Din's Fire, "yours is controlled. You take a dangerous substance and make sure there is no one harmed by it. It always hits its target, albeit not with overwhelming strength, if you'll pardon my saying so."
She had to smirk at that. "Shall we see about that?" She asked, her fire having reached its end.
"Let me finish!" he laughed, thoroughly amused, as his fireball disappeared. "You see, that's a good thing. You know what you're doing, and you have control in your mind, or your magic, whichever it is. Me, though, I'm more risky. On my travels I don't run into friends on the battlefield. I'm a lone wolf; out there only, but a lone wolf on the battlefield nonetheless. Therefore, I have less risk and responsibility to just," he interrupted himself to throw a fireball, then another, then another, then another, and finally a fifth "blast all my enemies to high heaven and run past as the death count piles behind me. True, it's effective, but on the off chance my fire strikes a fragile piece of nature, or god forbid a friend, then I feel pretty crummy about it afterward.
"Overall, we just have two different ways of handling a dangerous object," he concluded. He plopped down and started to laugh, with a bit of embarrassment. "I swear, I'm not usually this insightful on matters not related to Italian food."
She chuckled quietly as she collapsed next to him, adjusting to her back again as she had before. "You are wiser than you think, Mario," she told him as she put an arm under her head, moving a set of brown locks from her eye.
He couldn't help turning a bit red when she said that. "Coming from someone as sage as yourself, that's a mighty compliment," he all but gushed, nerves lacing his chuckles.
She couldn't help but squeeze his hand when he said that. "I have little doubt that Naryu has influenced you in some form."
"Our Goddess of Wisdom."
Mario chuckled solemnly upon his explanation. "Really? I don't know if Miss, erm, Naryu has paid much attention to little old me."
"You never know," she replied distantly. "Don't discount it."
"I wouldn't dare pass up an opportunity like that," he affirmed.
The two sat in silence, their hands subtly interlocked. Neither of them paid special attention to it. No nervous de-attachment, no blushing, no squeezing tighter. They simply acknowledged it silently and let it be. Finally, Mario spoke up.
"The name of your fire is Din's Fire, right?"
"Yes it is," she confirmed.
"And you're out here a lot, throwing the fire during the night for long periods of time," he stated it this time. "I see it from my bedroom window back at the house."
"My apologies," Zelda blushed ever so slightly. "I did not mean to disturb you."
"Oh? No, of course not," Mario countered with a wide smile. "There's something spiritual about it. It's... rather gorgeous, if I do say so myself."
Both of them faced each other upon his words. Zelda couldn't help but beam, her voice shaking as she expressed her breathy thanks. She was genuinely touched by his statement.
"Oh," was what he clumsily came back with. "It's only the truth. You're very good at what you do. But, what I meant to ask is, what makes you want to do this, night after night?"
She averted his gaze when he requested that of her. Instantly, he understood. "I apologize, if it's bad timing that is."
"It's all right," she responded. "I know it's been awhile... and for the most part it's passed. But the fact of the matter is... he's not going to leave me. It's not something I'm ever going to fully recover from."
"And that's what I understand," he placed a hand on her shoulder. "I don't expect you to, but I do know how you feel. Not from experience, but, I still have some empathy."
She gave a weak smile, which encouraged him to continue, his words speeding up more than he anticipated.
"You see, Link, he was a hero; a guardian. As am I. I guard the Mushroom Kingdom and my dear friend Princess Peach whenever necessary. I can tell you, as a guardian, that I want Peach to be safe and will spend my dying breath to do so. But what's the point of living if you're going to have a miserable time doing so? I can't read Link's mind, but I'll be willing to bet that he wants you happy, even with him gone so suddenly. He didn't stand by your side just to let you live, but to enjoy doing so. Or else, what's the point?"
Zelda looked at him without even blinking. He turned red again and apologized once more, explaining with "I... those words aren't wise and profound like my other words are. That really comes from the raw passion of a guardian. It's an odd thing... Peach, she means so much to me... but it's different than what I expected. I've never fallen in love with her, but she's more than a friend or even family. There's-"
Zelda finished for him "-a bond, a bond that you can't explain that transcends every other relationship you've ever had, but is so much different as well."
He grinned. "You do know."
"More than anything," she started, but started to choke on her words. "Especially since he's gone."
Mario watched her face fight to keep its composure and squeezed her hand tenderly, supportively.
"Can I confess something to you?"
Her requisition caught him off guard, but he responded with "Of course, go ahead."
She sighed. "It... it makes me so angry sometimes."
She nodded, her face an expression of guilt and shame. Mario felt a quiver in his chest as he read her expression, wondering what he could, should do. "Angry at Din. Betrayed, confused. Wondering what I did. I... I throw these fires, sending out signals to their creator. To Hyrule's creator. To my creator, who has taken away what she created. I'm letting her know I'm there, that I'm pleading for respite, for an answer. And she never does, and it gets me so frustrated," here her voice cracked and soft sobs started to burst their way out of her throat as she finished.
"I know I shouldn't. She created me, created the whole kingdom that she's letting me run. I know that she has the right to take away, but it's so painful still... and it worries me on a political level as well. I will guard and protect my kingdom to my last breath, but... he was my guardian, and I don't know who's going to protect me now. I know Ganondorf's probably taken full advantage of this and plotted some bastardite scheme to go after me once we leave here... and then what do I do? Without him..."
She gave up trying to finish, she crumpled into her sorrows, burying her face into her arms. Mario took a second, and then removed her arms from her eyes. Before she could react, he wrapped his thick arms around her chest, resting her head on his shoulder as she released her burden. It felt like she kept releasing and gathering it back up again, never quite sure what to do with it. She didn't know what to make of Mario's presence. It felt as if he had taken the burden and stood next to her, putting a side of it on one of his shoulders. She could imagine him doing that, with a small, upbeat grin. He'd probably whistle as well. He had many a tune in his head. He also liked to sing; he had a surprising baritone for his stature. He sounded like a brilliant opera singer, and it was a voice Zelda enjoyed. Once, during a summer campfire, he had entertained the kids by singing the silliest of songs in his best baritone, making them sound much more dramatic than they actually were. Even she got a chuckle out of that.
She snapped out of her thoughts, surprised at how far her mind had wandered, and that she was no longer shaking with sobs. She unsteadilygot to her feet, taking Mario with her. "I apologize, Mario."
His face became stern, but not oppresively so. "Never apologize for how you truly feel, Zelda," he told her. "You're doing yourself a disservice."
She chuckled. "Hmm, thanks."
He sighed, stretching when Zelda released her hold on him. "No problem at all, miss." He directed his attention up to the sky. They both stood there, entranced, when Mario snapped his fingers and declared "Ma'am, I think I may have figured it out."
Zelda smiled again at his enthusiasm. "Oh?"
"I believe so, Zelda," he told her with a smile, not remembering to address her by her title; not that she minded. "You see, you send fire to Din, asking for a response. What you don't know is that you've already got one."
"You've got one. Can you tell me what stars are made out of?"
"Out of gas, that heats into a deadly flame."
"Yes! Flame is fire, right?"
"I take it by your silence that it's dawning on you," Mario gently wrapped an arm around her, pointing to the stars. "You see, the gods, whether they be Din, Naryu, Palutena, or even my friend Rosalina, have control of the stars. The stars are the sign that they are always there, and they are always watching. You see, I'm willing to say that Din's not going to plop down a fortune cookie with all the answers in it but she will answer you with time. I can't say what will happen from here on out, but Din hears you. She always hears you. And she's there for you. And she always will be."
He turned towards her, putting a hand on her face. "And someday, this will work out for the better. There won't be a replacement for Link, there'll be a different way. And it'll work."
Zelda threw her hands around Mario's neck, a beam returning to her face. "Thank you, Mario."
Mario simply smiled.
"I guess all we can do is," while she started, she flicked her hand and sent forth a last fire, "focus on our bits of fire and how we control it, since we can't control or understand all of it."
Mario nodded, throwing a fireball of his own and watching it bounce all the way down the hill and into the brook. He emitted a short crow and stated "Man, I usually never get distance like that!"
Zelda smiled as she relinquished her hold on Din's Fire. She gave a silent thanks to her as she traced the small explosion in the sky as it cleared out in the sky.
Without looking away, she stated "I hope Link's enjoying a glass of milk with Farore right now. He always emulated her spirit."
Mario understood at a clear enough level, and nodded. "It'll get better, like I said. And..." he paused a second, looking down, "...if you ever need any help protecting yourself, I'll be here until you get on your feet."
Zelda put a hand under Mario's down-facing chin and motioned it up with a kind smile. He returned it and added "And if you ever need someone to talk to, I'll always be here."
Zelda repositioned her arm around Mario and added "I offer the same to you."
Mario nodded his thanks as they started to walk up the hill, the stream still as quiet and unprotruding as ever. No other words were said on their trek up and away from the viewpoint, just their hands clasped together, wth a hint of a spark passing between them with a spiritual kinetic.