dedication: to the Mother Monster. & my best friend.
notes: i'm sorry, but at the end of Twilight Princess, Zelda and Link looked more like awkward kind-of friends than anything else. no romance whatsoever. this is born out of that.
notes2: a love triangle! only not really!
title: cordelia and caliban
summary: They were kind of like siblings. Or friends. Or, um, something. Master and slave? — Link, Zelda.
Zelda watched Midna go with a heavy heart.
She'd known—known all along—that Midna had been planning this. To shatter the mirror, to cut off the contact for good. Perhaps it was for the best; perhaps not. But it was the end and the boy looked horrified as the Twilight Princess disappeared through a mirror to a different dimension.
The silence afterwards was long and painful.
Zelda watched the muscles in the boy's jaw twitch, anger and sorrow in his face. His hands clenched once, twice, and then relaxed.
For a moment, she watched him.
In the sun rising light, she was reminded of Midna's own dark attraction to the boy—the stirrings were still in her chest, but they had never belonged to her, and it would take little work to force them away.
"I suppose you'll go home, then," she told him.
"For now," he replied, gaze somewhere far away—Zelda thought he was quite literally a world away, thoughts with a different Princess.
It was funny because it was nothing she could begrudge him.
Loving Midna came easily.
Too easily, almost. The part of Zelda that had been blurred and swirled and caught up in everything that was the Twilight Princess throbbed painfully, searching for its missing pieces. That part, Zelda thought distantly, would probably never be quite whole. There would be other people she would love, but there would never be another who had become so instantaneously intrinsic to her life. There would never be another who smeared and melded so perfectly.
Zelda did not love the boy staring forlornly at the black rock in front of her.
But Midna had.
Midna had loved him desperately.
And Zelda owed her that much.
Zelda reached for him, and dropped her hand on his shoulder. He looked at her with fierce blue eyes, sad and too old for his face, in a way that Zelda thought would one day break hearts.
(Maybe he already had—that girl, Ilia—Zelda thought. Zelda remembered that look. Through Midna's eyes, the girl had been damned before the word go.)
Link was just so young.
He was shorter than she was, for Farore's sake!
A funny little smile quirked Zelda's lips up, and she ruffled his bangs the way she'd ruffled the hair of the children of Castle Town's orphanage.
"She'll be okay," Zelda told him, gently.
He shrugged a little, but Zelda watched the pain rise in his eyes, icy white and burning. For a moment, he was only a child, and the storm brewing beneath his surface threatened to destroy them both.
She watched him regain his control.
"Yeah. Yeah, she'll be okay," he said, and Zelda wondered who he was talking about.
"You should go home."
"So should you," he replied, quirking an eyebrow.
Zelda lowered her head, trying not to put her Princess face on, because cool, collected and distant wouldn't keep him from breaking further. "I'll be fine."
The way he exhaled had the tension easing in Zelda's muscles. It was acceptance and grief, but it was acceptance, and perhaps that was what mattered. He would go home, and leave the empty Mirror Chamber alone.
Everyone would go home.
And so they went.
/ / /
It wasn't even a year later that Zelda was being regaled with tales of a youth in green clothing on horseback, running around the kingdom and cleaning up all the monster trash left in the wake of (yet another of) Ganondorf's failed take-over(s). She thought it was funny. He'd wanted to go home—had wanted some place to rest. But Zelda knew better than most how hard being normal was, after having the sort of adventure that Midna and the boy had gone on.
Zelda knew how hard normal was.
(If there even was such a thing, for a princess.)
She sat in the throne room, and watched the boy saunter in. The sword at his hip was not the sword she'd last seen him with—no, the Master Sword had been put to rest, and it was Rusl's sword that hung there. It rested in its sheath, silent but promising the vulgarity of a bloody death.
Zelda pressed her fingers together.
"M'Lady," he breathed into the floor on bent knee.
"You look better," she commented. "You don't have to kneel before me, Hero. You're the talk of the town, did you know? I think they may love you more than they do me."
He straightened, and eyed her suspiciously. "Hero?"
"You saved the world," Zelda shrugged. "What else are we to call you?"
"Link," he replied, slow and sure and Zelda saw that a year had done a toll on his maturity level.
"Well then, Link," the emphasis on his name was thick as she spoke. "What are you doing here?"
He shrugged, and Zelda thought that she'd been right—that home was hard and that Link hadn't had enough adventures to placate him for long. He'd had one taste of freedom. And there was no going back, after that, because to be confined after freedom was worse than death.
Zelda knew that very, very well.
And perhaps that was why people fought wars.
Zelda tilted her head. "What are you looking for?"
There was something helpless in his gaze, and Zelda saw a boy searching for the Princess who pulled the world's greatest disappearing act.
On anyone else, it would have been pathetic.
On Link, it was just sad.
Zelda stood, and ambled towards him.
"Come along, then," she said, and left the throne room. Link trailed behind her, silent, out of place, and looking the smallest bit bewildered.
It was all for the best.
He needed somewhere to stay that would not cage him, and the castle needed someone to lighten the mood. A Hero would keep the guards in line, Zelda thought, amused. Perhaps he'd beat some courage into them.
"We'll have to get you a room."
"If you're staying in the castle. We'll have to set you up with a room. The dungeons are a bit damp, you see."
He stared at her, uncomprehending.
Zelda would have rolled her eyes had it not been so undignified. "It's a joke. You're supposed to laugh. Let's take a walk, and we'll figure out where you belong."
/ / /
It was funny how much damage an attractive eighteen-year-old could do to the ranks of servants, Zelda thought, utterly bemused.
The maids were in a tizzy, whispering about how handsome he was. The stablemaster was in a tizzy, because half his lads had quit being stableboys to join the Guard. The cooks huffed irritably, the launderers griped, and everyone else simply didn't understand where in Din's name this boy had come from.
But Castle Town seemed to enjoy it. The city folk ran around in all their business, rushing about like ants with nowhere to go.
Link had adjusted well. He had somewhere to sleep, somewhere to call home, and no one to tell him he couldn't leave.
Zelda ran a brush through her hair and ruled her people because there was nothing else to do, and she actually liked ruling.
Sometimes she thought of Midna, and wondered if the girl stayed up at night, thinking about people she would never see again the same way Zelda did; the same way she was sure Link did.
And they were intrinsic, the three of them—two Princesses and a boy who didn't belong to anyone.
They'd search forever, to find each other.
Midna had wanted them both to be happy.
They might have been friends, but Link was bad at staying on schedule and even worse at keeping commitments. They might have been friends, but Link could never be happy to settle down and forget. Zelda would never forget; she simply didn't have a choice.
Even Princesses needed to settle down.
Heroes could do what they wanted to do.
Zelda thought she could hear the thud of horse hooves against wood, and looked out the window towards the west. The sun was setting.
And Link was just leaving.
Zelda wasn't at all surprised.
notes3: where is all this Legend of Zelda coming from.
notes4: Please review! :)