A/N June...12th... oh insert bleeping noise here! I thought it was like, the 20th or something! Oops!
Hehe, happy birthday Foxpilot! Turns out, I actually had a ZeLink idea that I had abandoned, but you like ZeLink, so I will have a gift fic for you yet! As mentioned, I wasn't sure about it, but this also seems like your type of story, so I wrote it anyways!
So, yeah, this is taking influence from the Robin Williams commercial for Ocarina of Time which you should watch on Youtube cos I ain't gonna spoil it but I'm sure 99% of you have seen it. It was cute, had Robin Williams, and made me think. So obviously it won the internet and/or universe by default. That commercial made even me go "awwwww." But I shouldn't act like I'm some immovable rock of solidarity.
So, welcome to The Legend of Zelda! :D Yeah... original name... but yeah. Kind of like the new Mario game, Super Mario. It works. Trust me.
Disclaimer- I own nothing, I regret nothing, I let them forget nothing.
I hope you like this, Foxpilot! :D
Link sat in his quarters of the castle, on a leather chair near a maple coffee table. There was a chess set on that table, a chess set he was none too good at. Bookshelves lined the walls, mostly for show. He wasn't much of a reader, really. He sighed as he looked over his shoulder at a mirror, and the reflection made him furrow his eyebrows in annoyance. It seemed like yesterday he was a youthful, limber young man, his golden hair smooth, long and attractive, his arms built and capable of destroying the evil wizard any number of times necessary, and his legs able to traverse the kingdom, maybe the world, over and over.
Now his sky blue eyes had clouded, and his arms and legs began to fail him, reminding him of the immortality that was not within his grasp. He found that he had put on a number of pounds since he had been a youth, and he looked like a jolly old soul. His blonde hair was now gray, and he had grown a full beard, one that reminded him of the father of the one he had loved, but much more drastic; resembling the white wool of a sheep he would have tended as a boy. It was a not-so-subtle sign that he was old now, fifty-three years old. He knew as much as he wished he could, he would never regain his youth.
But he could live with that.
He turned his attention out the window, the large panoramic window that held a view that to him was worth much more than any of his castle's riches. Out that window, he could practically see everything Hyrule was known for, but his favorite sight was the mountain formerly known as Death Mountain, now known as The Hill of Peace. It was the most euphoric feeling, having seen its transition from dark to light, and to see, even from here in the early evening, the flourishing fauna along its sides that had taken many years to appear; flora that most likely housed the many fauna that loved the mountain as much as Link did.
Even as his bones started to crumble, he felt young, relevant, as he gazed upon the hill with more love than almost anything he could feel for a nonhuman object. And with that in mind, he let any nagging thoughts about his age and limited time on this planet dissipate into the back corner of his mind.
At that moment, there was a knock on his door. Link stretched as he clambered out of his favorite chair with a groan and then, at his feet, called "Who is it?"
"Your majesty, it is your humble servant, Yoram." Link heard the recognizable voice through the door, a voice of a young man fighting off the vocal chords of his youth. Link sighed with a laugh as he opened the wooden door to see his 'servant.'
He greeted the nervous teen warmly. Yoram, one of the people who Link had recently employed to help with work in his castle, stood in clothes one would wear on a camping trip. The boy's features reminded Link of his youthful self; Yoram's hair was brown and his face not quite similar enough, but he was strong, built, and able to do feats that Link sometimes swore he'd trade his crown to do.
"Yoram, you needn't worry about being a humble servant, my boy," Link spared a cheerful laugh. "And for the love of Din, you may call me Link!" He shook his head in an amused disapproval. It always took the workers of the castle a little while to get used to Link's warm nature and how he treated his entire castle as a family; certainly not servants. But it seemed Yoram would not get used to it as quick as the others would.
"I apologize, your ma- err, Link," Yoram replied, an awkward emphasis on the last word, as if Link had asked him to call him a curse word.
Link spared a warming smile towards the boy as he stroked his beard. "So, what brings you hear, lad?"
Yoram jolted upright, as if he had totally forgotten. The boy was smart, if not absentminded. "Oh! Of course! Zelda would like to see you!"
Link's smile became bittersweet as Yoram made his announcement. He loved Zelda more than anything, but he knew her time with her was limited, and it made it harder to bear. But that should be no reason to keep her away, so he gave Yoram a handshake and replied "My lad, she need not a summons to see her own family! Tell her that her old man is willing to see her whenever she may need it!"
"Oh, err, yes, your maje- err, Link!" Yoram shot out of the area faster than Link could comprehend; was it that awkward to be cordial with his own king? Link shook his head again, combing through his thinning hair with thick, wrinkled fingers and reclaimed his seat, not bothering to shut his door. He leaned towards the wooden chess set, twirling the black knight in between his fingers. It reminded him of his horse through his youthful years, Epona, a horse that had left this earth at least thirty years ago, but still rang in the king's memory, especially as of late.
Interrupting his thoughts was a grown female voice he had been expecting, addressing him as "Father?"
Link smiled as he turned around to see his twenty-three year old daughter smiling at him. He laughed with cheer as he nearly leapt up to envelop her in a large hug, hugs that he knew would be limited. "Oh, Zelda, it's so great to see you," he smiled into her hair as she accepted the hug and returned it with as much strength.
"Oh, father," she laughed with glee, and Link was eternally grateful that he had a daughter who was as affectionate and loving as he was. "I'm just as glad to be in your company."
Link let her go with a bit of reluctance as he again took a seat in his chair; a chair that was more of a throne than his throne was. He never used that extravagant chair for his meetings with the public anyways; he preferred to share a cup of tea on the balcony just outside his favorite window. Zelda smiled, pushing some of her short raven hair back into place as she sat on the couch right across from her father.
Link allowed himself to ease into the comfort of his chair. Zelda smiled, sparing no expense to cross her legs and put her arms behind her head. Link observed his daughter's wardrobe of choice for a brief second- a pair of black outdoor pants and a long gray tunic. He wasn't alarmed that his daughter's clothes were likely more masculine than his choice in childhood; he embraced how much she pushed the boundaries of a typical princess.
Eventually, he realized he was sinking too deep in his thoughts for one who should be chatting his daughter up. "What brings you up here, my daughter?" Link asked innocently, shaking the daze out of his head as he sat up.
"I did not realize I needed a reason," she retorted with a Cheshire grin.
Mirroring her grin, he clapped his hands together once and replied "Of course you don't, love! Spontaneous visits I find to be the best of all!"
"I've known that to be true," she replied slyly. "Would you like to play a game of chess?"
Link threw his hands up in the air with great melodrama, melodrama countered by his laugh. "You, my daughter, are just looking for a way to proclaim some sort of humiliating victory on your poor old man today, aren't you!"
"Actually, I just wanted to play chess."
"But of course."
The board was always conveniently set up, despite how bad Link was at chess. He knew it was one of the things his daughter was best at, games with such strategy. Much like her mother. When he stole a glance at the queen on his side, the combined thoughts gave him a moment of sadness. Zelda noticed and gave him a comforting smile, and then asked a question Link wasn't prepared for.
"Father, what was my mother like?"
Link jerked his head up, the reflexes of his hand knocking over several of his chess pieces. He occasionally mentioned her mother once or twice, but it was still not something he liked to do, even twenty-three years later. Zelda winced, knowing she had hit a sore subject, and murmured "It's okay if you don't want to talk about it, Dad, I understand."
"I'd be a damned fool if I withheld information from you about your own mother," he replied with animation. "Even if it's not something that I'm eager to do. What makes you ask."
"Well, to be honest," Zelda turned red as she knew she was going to confess something hard for her, "I... never really thought as much about it. I didn't want to think about someone I loved but never had. But, with everything going on...the wedding and all... I can't help but wonder how she would react to everything."
"Oh, she'd be as ecstatic as I am!" Link offered with a smile. "She was always so kind and happy. She'd probably help you plan your wedding personally, and..." Link suddenly found himself feeling no passion to finish his statement.
Zelda gave him a sad glance, knowing that he felt some sort of pain at the conversation she had started. "Dad..." she ventured nervously, "are you sure you're okay with my marriage?"
"Oh, my dear," he frowned at how much she worried for him, "I couldn't be happier for you. Roy's a brave, intelligent, dashing young man. And the way he looks at you is the loving gaze I gave your own mother. I never intentionally looked at her like that; I couldn't help it. He truly loves you and for that I am grateful."
"...but you know I'm going to be moving to Lycia."
"My dear, my dear," Link gazed down at the board that neither of them had touched other than Link's toppled pieces, "on the day of your wedding I am going to be giving you away to Roy no matter what you two do afterward. Whatever road you travel down after that is in your control, and I will be happy for you no matter what."
He sighed as he replenished his pieces to their rightful spots. "I will miss you dearly, though, my daughter, but that is only a given."
Zelda leaned forward, her green eyes shining with admiration. "I love you, father."
"And I you, my beautiful, intelligent young daughter."
Zelda smiled fondly as she heard father ask "Are... you going to make a move?" She wrapped a finger around her pawn but decided "I... actually don't really feel like playing anymore."
Her father lit up. "Great!" he grinned, but upon realizing his faux pas, explained "You see, I want to tell you about your mother and how I met her. Because despite everything, there are some good parts."
Zelda gave a wide grin. "Can you tell me everything?" she asked, almost childlike in her eagerness. "I'd like to know as much as I can."
"Of course, my dear." He knew what that meant, but he may as well enjoy what he could.
Eagerly, he dropped to the ground, taking a seat on the carpet so he sat to Zelda's left, being able to see both sides of the chess board to his left and right. He cleared off all of the pieces with a sweep of his thick hand, causing them to create a jumbled pile behind the board. He took a white pawn from the pile, put it on the chess board and started off.
"Well, before I was born, I already had a destiny on me that I would be the kingdom's savior. However, I did not know this, and I grew up a common Kokiri, a child of the forest. One day, our deity, the Great Deku Tree, was attacked by probably the biggest pain in my arse of my warrior's career, the King of Thieves himself." He picked up the black king as he emphasized the name of his enemy. "Ganondorf."
"I was led to the tree to try and save it from the death curse it had picked up, but I was too late. In its dying moments, the tree told me that it was my destiny to save a kingdom called Hyrule from the very same Dark King that killed it. So I made my way through to the... Sacred Realm or something; honestly, the names are failing me for all the small stuff, but long story short, I snuck into this very castle and met your mother for the first time." With a forlorn smile, he moved the pawn that represented him towards the white queen, which he placed on the far left of the board.
"Even then, as a lad, I was stunned by her. Her name was Zelda, of course, just like you. She had a headdress on to cover her blonde hair, a royal adorning of purple and white, with a matching dress. Her eyes were big and blue and so full of wonder, her ears were very finely pointed, as is the norm with Hylians. She was so small, for she was the same age as I was. She was so gentle, so beautiful, even as a kid, and the shocked expression on her face when she first saw me absolutely won me over, even if I didn't show it. Ah, I remember that moment very well.
"Turns out, I had quite a reputation for being the eventual savior of their kingdom, and the first thing she did was ask me for the Spiritual Stone of the Forest. I showed it to her, and she burst out giggling." Link's expression turned to one of blissful memories. "Oh, how I wanted to, as a boy, reach out and hug her in joy, but I stood stoic. She was a Hylian princess, and I a Kokiri farmer. Wouldn't be quite the way to start things off," he added half-jokingly.
"And she told me a story about a dream she had, and the way she told it, a dream of the warrior that was supposed to be me saving her land from the Dark King, she told it with such hope, such beautiful longing that she knew was going to be fulfilled... there was no way I could ever find hope to give up after that."
In the present age, his daughter smiled. With entranced eagerness, she asked "And then what?"
Link laughed with mirth. "And then she remembered to introduce herself! Ah, your mother, as wise as she was she would have those rare moments where she'd get so absent minded, drifting off like that. I spared a polite chuckle on that one, and then we started, like the kids we were, devising a plan to take down the ultimate evil known as Ganondorf... and then I left. You've heard the story of the adventures of the Ocarina of Time, have you not, my dear?"
"Of course," Zelda giggled. "Many times!" She sighed and added "You usually do the most energetic retelling at those socials you'd hold."
Link smiled fondly. "You remember those? My god, I barely remember those. I must be getting old," he added as he put a motionless hand on his beard.
Zelda gave him a smile. "Unfortunately, I cannot deny that."
Link grinned. "I'm glad you don't. You're incredibly honest, and I'm glad for that. Anyway..."
He placed his hand on the table, removing the glove and revealing the triforce still marked on his hand. "The Triforce... eventually it was what would bind us together, later on. Zelda had the Triforce of Wisdom, and I the Triforce of Courage. Unfortunately, Ganon got a hold of the Triforce of Power, and with that he really started to create havoc."
He exchanged the white pawn for a white knight and continued. "And as I grew, and all my ventures through time, that would be the thing that occupied most of my time, especially the time with Zelda. But slowly, I noticed that she started to warm up to me as we grew in age, a way more than the child who had met her hero. As more than a hero in general. The way I saw her- as more than a princess." He felt a tear prick his eye as he murmured to no one in general "My god, she was such a gorgeous person."
Zelda gave him a sad smile, one that he didn't really see but she offered anyways.
"I remember when things truly started to change. We had decided that all of us who had been in the fight against the Dark Lord, the King of Thieves, would now align together in one last fight. The world simply could not handle any more skirmishes. There had to be a war."
At this moment, Link took a moment to set up the entire chess board again, although the white king was deliberately left out, and while the black king was at his normal place on Ganon's side of the board, the white knight and queen led the Hylian side. "I remember I was twenty years old, and she twenty-four, when we started. We had gone so long as youth fighting these battles, and it ended as we came of age. All the allies we had made joined your mother and myself, and in retaliation Ganon gathered his forces as well. I was rather uncomfortable with Zelda being in the midst of the battle, but she had insisted, and it wasn't like I was the royalty in the situation.
"While we were on the frontlines of the battle, Ganon hid in his little corner of his evil lair, too cowardly to participate in his own war. Should have expected no less." Link pulled the pieces of the board towards the center, and simulated some fights between the different sides. The fights were not very coordinated with the pieces of the chess board's capabilities, but at that moment it did not matter.
"The fight was brutal. I had lost many friends. I remember Navi had finally worn herself out. She was never attacked; she exhausted herself to death. It was an enormous shock to everyone when she dropped out of the sky; she was always so full of life." Link sighed as he went to knock a pawn over. However, he had second thoughts, and in the end the northern bishop was the one to fall over on its own accord.
"And then Epona, the horse that had been mine throughout most of my life. I remember a rogue archer hit her in the side while I rode her. We both fell to the ground, but I was the only one lucky to survive." He closed his eyes painfully as he used a black pawn to take out the knight that represented him, but replaced the knight with the other white bishop, which eliminated the pawn. Zelda understood the bishop was to represent Link now; totally engrossed in the one story Link rarely told or mentioned. Judging by the hint of misery glazed in his eyes, she had a feeling why that was.
"Your mother stayed with me as I buried my old friend; the only one to do so. She held me to her chest as I cried on her shoulder; the first time I had been so emotional around her. She knew how much of a companion Epona was to me, yet I felt so weak in that moment. She wouldn't hear of it, though. I remember she had told me that I had every right to curl into the fetal position right then if I so wished, as long as I was ready to fight tomorrow."
Link felt his throat tightening as he recited some of the most meaningful words of his life. " 'No matter what happens tomorrow,' she had told me, 'I will be here for you, Link.'
"There was such a sincerity to her voice, such tender care. But not a sort of patronizing, sympathetic care. She was making a promise that she would help me no matter the cost, and I remember that all my doubts of bringing her on this journey dissipated. She was a true warrior."
He simulated some more fighting until all that remained were some scattered pieces from both sides. "I would come to find that bringing her along would be the most important, helpful thing I had done. She knew how to fight, and she would use her own magic as a means to do so. She also had many more tactics than I could ever fit into my head, and with her leading the charge, we were eventually able to make it to Ganon's lair."
With little fanfare, he gave a wavering smile to his daugher as he moved his bishop and Zelda's queen to destroy the dark king. "And this time, we killed him at long last. It was a melancholic moment, if not relieving. I remember Zelda had control of his mind, numbing his actions while I drove my sword through him for a final time. I suppose you could say I became bloodthirsty, but I was frightened at any possible aspect of him continuing to live. Much to your mother's dismay, I remember cutting him into multiple pieces in utter manic panic. It was not my proudest moment, but at the very least, it worked."
After this moment, there were no black pieces on the board, only a sacred few united white pieces, and with one last fond smile, Link abandoned the chess board, taking a seat next to his daughter. With a nervous chuckle, he said "Oh, dear, I've become so long winded. I apologize for going around the bend on this story."
Zelda laughed. "Are you kidding me, father? You could tell the most boring story in existence, and make it thoroughly entertaining." With a loving embrace, she added "You tell it at your own pace, as unabridged as you wish."
Link smiled as he returned her hug. "Hah, I'm glad to hear that! Shall I continue?"
Zelda released her hold on her father and reclined back into the couch. "I would appreciate that."
Link nodded and stared out the window as he continued. "It was at that time we began to purge all the evil out of the land." Pointing to the Hill of Peace, he asked "You see that mountain over there?"
"The Hill of Peace? Of course, dad."
"Ah, that was probably the greatest impact we had on evil there. That was formerly a frightening place known as Death Mountain, and it was the hideout for all the evil one could imagine. We cleared the demons out of the land and we began to convert it back to its former glory; a home of the best flora and fauna one could ever hope to find. Such a beautiful place.
"It was the place I proposed to your mother at.
"Ah, it was such a crazy, bold move on my part. While I had loved your mother, I never had told her any such thing. We had not kissed, had never been romantic, but none of that was significant. I knew I loved her, and I was going to ask her before we turned to stone or before someone else took her hand.
"It was about a year after we had defeated Ganondorf for the last time, and the hill was just starting to grow again. I remember I asked her if she would pay me a visit in one of the gardens overlooking the ocean. She seemed somewhat nervous in reply, but she accepted.
"I had bought a small ring after scrimping together every rupee I had, and had met her on the hill the next day- I was far too eager to wait any longer than that, and apparently so was she. I remember that day so well."
Not quite present, he recited the events from a photographic memory. "She was wearing a blue dress, as cerulean as the ocean below us. Dresses made up approximately one-hundred percent of her wardrobe, but blue wasn't a common color for her, so it stood out. We walked through the garden and sat along the cliffside, over the ocean. There were a few tree sprouts on both sides of us, and soon they would grow into nice, shady trees through the summer.
" 'This is quite a view,' she had sighed, almost distantly.
"I was nervous as all hell, admittedly, and I replied back with 'Y-yes, Zelda. And we created it.' Internally I was smacking myself in the face for such a dumb line, but she blinked and gave me a full grin. Now, she was known for small smiles but when I said that line it was one of the few wide grins I've ever seen on her, and it made me feel so accomplished.
" 'You're right,' she said with triumph as she put her hand in mine. We did not often ever even get that close, and it took all my energy to keep from turning bright red. 'After all the hardships and all the battles and all the loss...' her voice drifted off and I saw a tear come to her eye as she barely whispered 'we did it.'
"She thew her arms around me, and I could feel my heartbeat racing. I tried to take a few deep breaths so I could actually pull the ring out without stumbling in one place or another.
"I had the Triforce of Courage, but it didn't seem to help that much at all, but finally I took a breath to ask her. When I opened my mouth, she was the one to ask a question, however.
" 'Link,' she asked me with a smile, 'this is going to sound crazy, but I have a question for you. Something to ask of you.'
"It took me a few seconds to catch my breath, but I was able to gasp out 'Oh, anything for you, princess.'
"She giggled at my expression and words, telling me 'Link, you of all people deserve the right to call me by my real name. Promise me you won't be calling me 'Princess' again, alright?' "
The younger daughter interrupted Link's thoughts with "So that's where you got the habit, right?" She was grinning ear-to-ear. "And I suppose where I got it."
"Right," Link nodded. "If the most elegant princess I had known would allow me to call her by my first name, it felt only right to spread that goodwill to everyone I knew when I became king.
"But at the time, I remember sputtering out 'Okay, Prin-...Zelda,' much the same way that young Yoram calls me by my name when asked to. She giggled and turned me around to face her.
"I know I'm beating a dead hor..." Bad word choice. "that I've said this many a time, but my god, how gorgeous she looked at the time. Even though your hair is black and you are not as tall as she, you have inherited a large portion of her looks. Your ears, the shape of your face, your eyes- so much like your mother. And the smile on her face when I looked at her was probably the truest of all. She had her sympathetic smile, her comforting smile, and on occasion her devious smile, but this was a smile of true happiness, a smile I had only seen on occasions that warranted it. This seemed like a typical day in the garden, so I couldn't tell why she was so happy.
"She told me, 'Anyway, about my question.' She seemed nervous, almost, and that was one thing that, above all, I had never seen on her. She was always so assured, confident. 'I hope you don't think I'm overeager,' she started, 'I'm honestly not trying to. But there comes a moment where I realize that I have only so many chances before they are taken away from me. Chances that I would have no warning should I lose them.'
"I was perplexed by her question, until she reached into a pocket in her dress and pulled out a tiny box, and put it in my hand. She held that hand with her own left hand, and opened the box with her right, and upon seeing what was inside I'd have been knocked off my feet, were I not already sitting down.
"It was a gold ring. It looked none too fancy, and on occasions it seemed sloppily crafted, but that didn't matter in the slightest. When she stammered with a blush 'I-I-I apologize for the sort of, erm, sloppiness of it, I had c-c-crafted it myself,' any barriers restraining me from physical contact with her crumbled down and I took her face in my hand and kissed her. She took no hesitation in returning my kiss for a few blissful moments, but tore away to remind me with a giggle 'you didn't let me finish!'
"She took my hand and told me 'Perhaps I am out of place asking for this, but it does not matter when I think of what could happen... should I not. And I know we have never been romantically involved before, but... Link, would you take my hand in marriage?' "
"I was shocked to think that she would be the one to ask me to marry her. Your mother was braver than me in that account, and it was so beautiful to see that she cared that much. I was literally witholding sobs as I clumsily I took my own unwrapped ring out of my pocket and with a near hyperventilated laugh, asked 'Of course, but... what do I do with this?' "
"She took a quick glance at my ring, a simple silver band, and tears came to her eyes. 'I can't believe it...' her voice was little more than a whisper. 'You were going to...'
"I didn't respond, I placed the ring on her finger, and she blinked before putting hers on mine. Not even two seconds after we had finished, I had taken her into my arms and kissed her again.
"I never knew that she had felt so strongly for me before, but I wasn't about to question it. We had spent the months between then and our wedding in courtship. Sort of putting the cart before the horse, but it made no difference. I knew for sure that I was in love with her. She was everything I knew her to be, everything I wanted, and more than I could ever have hoped for.
"We married in the winter, during the snow, on top of the mountain we had proposed to each other on. It was the happiest moment of my life. She was wearing a beautiful white dress that draped along the floor. It was simple and elegant, but I was attracted more to the smile on her face as she traded her vows. They were so true and beautiful, I nearly cried when I recited mine. When I recited mine, I swear, I could see my reflection in her eyes as she teared up. She squeezed my hand with the utmost force, and when I was told I could kiss the bride, I almost beat the priest to it. As a matter of fact, both of us did, embracing when he had said 'the bride.'
"Seven days later, I was crowned King of Hyrule, and Zelda the queen."
Link snapped back into the present age, tears forming in his eyes as he stared at the blank ceiling. Zelda held her father's hand comfortingly, knowing that the hardest part was yet to come.
Link noticed the look on her face. "I know you know the vague parts of what happened after this. I do hope you know that none of it was your fault whatsoever. It keeps me up at night sometimes, wondering if you blame yourself... or myself..."
Zelda frowned, tracing the wrinkles on Link's thumb. "Father, you needn't worry. I tend not to dwell on such times."
"I hope to god you're right."
Link sighed as he continued. "I remember around the time she became pregnant with you... and her health began to fail. The day the doctor told us the news... it took every ounce of energy not to lose my composure."
Zelda felt his hands shake as he relived the moment, and a tear came to her own eye. Link was barely able to murmur "They told me it was either her or the baby..."
He took a few deep breaths, and it pained Zelda to know that her father had gone through a loss that he never would able to completely recover from.
"And I didn't know what to do," he sighed. "How was I going to make that choice? How could I be expected to do such a thing? Then... I heard that your mother had already made the choice to go through with the pregnancy... at the cost of her own life."
Zelda's heart stopped for a brief second. She had never heard him mention that before. Barely being able to utilize her voice, she whispered "Why did you never tell me?"
"Oh, Zelda," Link sighed. "I never wanted you to think that you were in any way responsible for your mother's death. I was so worried you would grow up suffering like I have been over the decision."
Zelda choked back a sob as she rested her head against her father's shoulder, unable to say anything.
"When... I found out what she had decided, I was livid. Livid at the wrong person and for all the wrong reasons. I had shouted at her... for the first..." Link could not hold back a sob, "and only time in my life. She never seemed fazed, but she had an understanding, comforting look on her face through my whole rant... the way she did when Epona died. I noticed this, and fell into sobs. She was trying to comfort me while she lay on the deathbed.
"Through my tears... I asked her... why she did this. She told me 'so you didn't have to make that choice.' And that was when I gingerly took her into my embrace and apologized to her... I begged her forgiveness more times than I could count through my tears- for my words, for not being able to save her... I felt so helpless. She put a hand on my face and told me that neither of us needed to apologize for what happened.
"She knew she was to die, but... she was serene. She was always very self-sacrificing, but... she knew she had no regrets, while I held more than I could hope to bear. But I'd bear it all for her... so she could enjoy her last days. Before she died... I took her back to where we proposed to each other. She was so weak, I carried her up the hill... and I asked her if there was anything that was haunting her... that was causing her pain... about dying."
Link's attempts to hold back his pain was starting to crack. "She told me 'Oh, Link... I'll miss you so, and the opportunity to raise my kid... and that's always been to me a large blow... but when you think about it... I've lived such a great life. My child... she hasn't lived at all. I don't want to deny her that opportunity.' She took my hand and, facing me one last time, asked 'I hope you... don't hate me for my decision.'
"I took her gorgeous face in my hands for what would be the last time and kissed her. I never had to make an argument for why I didn't hate her, I simply let my love speak for itself.
"The next day, she went into labor. I never spoke to her again. The doctor wouldn't let me in due to the severity of the situtation, despite my demands, so... I never saw her die. I was grief stricken as the doctor took me to see you, because that meant she had already passed... and I wasn't there."
Zelda reached up to wipe the tears off of her father's face and put her arm around his back as he spent a few moments releasing some of the sobs that had been pent up during the talk. She found herself crying as well, but not to the severity of Link.
When he caught a break, he finished. "I remember that when I held you for the first time... you were so small, and so innocent. You didn't know of what was going on, of course, but you were smiling when I picked you up. For those moments, my troubles dissipated... and I was happy. I knew then and I know now that even though I'll always regret Zelda's death... I'll never regret your birth, and that you are here with me, my daughter."
Just saying those words seemed to take a load off of the king, and he welcomed the embrace of his touched daughter as she shed a good amount of tears at her father's words. She found her composure soon enough, though, and faced her father with the remnant of her tears clouding her sight and whispered "Thank you."
"It is only the truth," Link replied.
Zelda smiled, but it turned to a frown as she looked out the window and muttered "Dad, I have a confession to make."
Link raised his eyebrow. "Are you..."
"No, I'm not pregnant!" she yelped defensively, causing Link to laugh loudly.
"I wasn't going to ask..." he gave her a knowing grin.
"...great. Well, anyway... I've always been afraid that... since I was named after Mum... that you wanted me to be like her... and I didn't really know what that was like... so I never was. I'm sor-"
"Oh, dear, let me stop you right there," Link shook his head. "I never have ever wanted to have a replacement for my wife." Taking his daughter's downcast face in his hand, he told her "Not only would be that be a great disservice to you, it'd be insulting to want anyone to 'replace' her. Even if I do marry again, I never want to replace Zelda. I want to travel a different road this time instead of longing for things past." He furrowed his brow together and chuckled. "However I still haven't found one. I must be working too hard."
Zelda giggled at the absurdity of this statement. "Father, you're the most relaxed king I think ever existed. Mistaking you for an overworker would be the same as mistaking a chicken for a carriage."
He gave her a wan smile. "A chicken... for a carriage?"
"I don't know," she thew her hands up in the air in surrender. "I just made that up."
Link gave a hearty laugh. "Ah, my dear, I can never stay too sad with you around."
Zelda stood up, stretched, and reached out for another hug, which Link was happy to reciprocate. "Thank you, father," she said, "for telling me about her. I know it was hard for you."
"Oh, Zel," he sighed, smiling with a mixture of emotion, "it will always be hard, but I'd never want to withhold information about your mother from you. I regret having unintentionally done it for this long."
"Dad, you needn't worry," Zelda gave him a reassuring smile. "You've done a great job."
Link almost welled up again; however, he was pretty drained, so he wasn't able to get too visibly emotional. But those words meant more than she'd ever know, especially during this time before he was going to give her to another man. A thought hit him, however, and he told his daughter "Ah, I must have done a good job, seeing how you turned out."
She grinned widely, much like her mother, and said "Ah, Dad, you're too kind."
"It's a habit!" he laughed instinctively.
Zelda's laugh transitioned into a yawn as she stretched again and announced "Anyway, father, I must be on my way. Alena wanted to take me to dinner tonight; she's plenty excited about all the events going on."
Link smiled at the mention of Zelda's eager best friend. "Alright, you crazy kid," he told her, "go live it up! You only live once!"
Zelda giggled. She had heard this exact phrase every time she left for recreational purposes. "As always, Dad. Oh, and..."
She leaned in to give him a quick kiss on the forehead, and said "You should go do something tonight. Get your soul at ease. Just... anything that you think will help."
"Oh! Thanks, Zelda, I-"
By the time he had replied, she had dashed out the door with a giggle, shouting "Love you!" Link grinned and called out "Oh! Haha, love you too!" To himself with a shake of the head, "You crazy, lovely kid, you." And with that, King Link, preferably Link, paced through his quarters, contemplating Zelda's words and soon enough made up his mind.
He wasn't sure if going to the place that could be considered part of his sorrow was the best idea, but he knew that he wanted to be there that night. And he found himself at the seat on the hill he had shared with the one he had loved.
The tree sprouts from before had, over the decades, turned into large willow trees and provided a nice shade. He liked those trees; it provided a fresh touch to the familiar, bittersweet area that made it a bit less painful.
He didn't often address the senior Zelda's spirit, because he never felt quite comfortable to. He felt as if he was either emotionally insecure, deluded or talking to no one when he felt desperate enough to talk to her. But tonight he did not feel deluded, or that no one was hearing, and he felt more secure this time if not completely so, and desperation was the last thing on his mind. It was almost as if he was finally finishing the completion of a lifelong obstacle, and that perhaps he would leave renewed.
"Oh, Zelda," he said with a profound smile; an expression he never thought he'd wear to a situation like this. "I know at the times I've tried to talk to you I've never been completely present. And for awhile I've avoided sending you messages altogether. But I figure it's time that I tell you how it really is for me now; I've denied you that right too long already.
"Zelda, I love you, and I'll always love you, but even in your wake you've left me a blessing. Your daughter is a beautiful, brilliant young woman, with facial features just like yours. But she is unlike anyone I have ever seen before. She is insightful, intelligent, beautiful, humorous, intentionally outside of the normal, and her wardrobe is nothing like the dresses you wore." He laughed at the thought.
"And she's now getting married to Roy of Pherae and she is moving to Lycia to start a happy life of her own. The two remind me of yourself and I, but Roy is much more vocal than I, and your daughter much more mischievous than you were known for. It's truly entertaining to see.
"I think overall, that I'm realizing that you've never truly left me. While your daughter is by far no carbon copy of you, she is the last thing you've ever given me. The love you and I shared has defined the way I rule over the kingdom, and I still wear your ring often, the ring you crafted by yourself despite having little welding skills, and I've come to appreciate the ridges in its surface. I remember that although I had little money and you had little metal skills, we gave the most of what we had for each other, and that's inspired me to give everything I've got whenever it's necessary.
"There has been no evil attacking our land, and the mountain's edge I sit on right now has become the most gorgeous place in the kingdom. Oh, Zelda, I hope you know that you've left such a legend behind you, and it's still affecting the way I live. Even if you are up with the gods, you still live in so many ways here. And, my dear, the legend of Zelda shall never die."
He realized he had shut his eyes through his entire speech and found use to open them again. With one last smile under the willow trees, he stretched before he got up, and turned around to find he was directly facing someone. He nearly jumped back, and considering he was on the edge of a cliff, that would have been an idea.
"Oh!" the aged woman shouted, grabbing Link's arm before he could react. Link gasped out a breath and laughed, saying "I am sorry, ma'am, I did not see you there!"
The woman chuckled. "I should apologize myself; I almost killed my king! And such a buffoonish way to go, as well."
Link chuckled, taking a seat across from the older woman, who had claimed a spot near the tree, but not over the cliff (by now surely paranoid of sitting on the edge.) Link observed her- she had large tufts of pale blonde hair that were starting to gray, and she had on the typical green tunic and skirt of a Kokiri, one of the race that had raised him before he found out his Hylian destiny. Link raised an eyebrow and stated plainly "It is quite unusual to see a Kokiri out so far from the forest."
The Kokiri woman laughed and replied "I like to think of myself as a risk-taker. I haven't died yet outside of the forest, luckily, nor do I intend to."
Link found her viewpoint intriguing. "And how long have you been outside of the forest?"
The woman placed a small finger on her chin, a twinkle in her eyes as she looked to remember. "Honestly... I'd have to say, thirty-nine years?"
"Well!" Link grinned, clapping his hands together one solid time, "that disproves that theory. Great to know; seeing as I lived with the Kokiri for a large part of time in my childhood."
"I remember, Link," the woman smiled. Link took a second to admire the fact that she knew to freely call him Link- not even his own servants did that, after all. Link was about to thank her for that simple gesture, but then he realized. "Wait, you remember?"
The woman nodded. "You were quite the serious person, Link," she stated simply, staring into space. "I remember I was the one who made you a real man."
Link blinked. "Wha..."
He earned a punch to the arm from the smirking Kokiri. "I had you cross some dangerous rope bridges to make your way over to me. I remember I told you were finally a real man. Ah, that was so long ago."
"Ah! So that would explain that!" Link smiled and rubbed his temple thoughtfully. He gave up and mumbled, embarrassed, "I... forgive me, my memory is not quite as good as it used to be."
The woman gave him a smile. "I... guess I can forgive you." She held out a hand, with a smile, and introduced herself. "Fado, formerly of the Kokiri. It's a pleasure to see you in person again, Link."
Link amiably shook her hand. He had not seen her since those times, and she had not participated in the last great war. "Ah! It's all coming back to me now! So good to see you again!"
Fado nodded. "We have much to catch up on. Would you like to?"
Link rubbed his forehead. "Actually, to be honest, I just got finished working on sorting out some... painful events. I'd rather not do another full retelling today."
Fado nodded sadly. "I understand, Link. I wouldn't mind going through my own personal adventures, though. They were quite fascinating, to put it boldly."
Link grinned. "I'd imagine so. Venturing to leave what could have been your life source so long ago- how old were you, fifteen?"
"Seventeen," she corrected him. "Ah, so young, rebellious, and daring I was."
Link nodded, relaxing against his willow tree. "I'd love to hear about it."
Fado gave a smile. "Alright, then. However, I do have one request."
"I would hear it."
"I would ask that someday from now, if I tell you my life, that you would promise that you would tell me about how you've bode your time over the last forty years." She gave him an assuring smile to alleviate his nerves. "I know what it's like to have had hard times over my life, and I'd be just as glad to offer a listening, understanding ear to yours. A friend."
Link considered this for a moment. He knew he had just started to truly open up, but to do this was a bold move on his half. He wasn't sure he could do it. But the Kokiri with pale blonde hair had an eager, convincing smile that seemed nothing like Zelda's, but was better off because of it.
"Fado, you've been a lifelong friend of mine. We simply haven't seen each other for many decades. So I'll accept your offer."
Fado smiled from the other nearby willow. "Well, scoot over, friend," she insisted. "It's hard telling a story across a chasm of grass."
Link chuckled and all but hobbled over to the other willow, enjoying its shade despite the nighttime chills. Fado nodded, cracking her knuckles, and began.
"A wise Sheikah once told me that everyone leaves a legacy. A legend for those they come in contact with. Whether if it is from heroic works, being a close companion, or from one short moment where they make a difference, they leave a legend, a memory, whether evident or deep down in their minds. Long past when we turn to stone, we will live in the minds of those who possess a piece of our legacy, and they are the ones who create the legend for each of us. In that way is the way we achieve immortality."
"Wise Sheikah indeed," Link mused, taking meaning from her words, feeling the reassurance of the philosophy.
"That I've known," Fado agreed in a murmur. "And thus, to you, I hope to spread the legend of a young Kokiri girl who dreamed big, thought ridiculously, and has been largely blessed because of it. And in return I shall be one more person who will keep your legacy alive through the millenia, but in the hopes that I can tell it better than most other people."
Link smiled, believing the sincerity of her offer. "I'd be grateful for it, more than you can imagine."
"The pleasure is all mine," Fado's grin was wistful and Link's eager. She dusted off her skirt absentmindedly and let him finish gazing through the willow leaves and at the stars. She had a feeling that he was taking a moment to honor a legend of his own; a legend she had heard him talking to as she wandered into the gardens. A moment that caused her to open up a bit to her old friend. Things just had a way of working out, sometimes.
Link shook the clouds out of his mind and mumbled in a daze "Oh, I apologize for that, Fado."
"Ah, you need not apologize for what you think or feel, friend," she chuckled with another punch to the arm. "It's quite an inconvenience."
Link laughed out loud, pleased with the perspective she shared with him. "Ah, you are right. Shall we?"
Fado nodded with a smile. "Let's." She reclined her head against the tree and began with the simple, classic words "Once upon a time..."
A/N Perhaps I should have split this into a few chapters, but I did not expect this to take nearly this long. Turns out the Legend of Zelda was more prosperous than I first had imagined.
While I am happy with this work, I do have a couple concerns- one is that, glaringly, I have not played at all any of the Legend of Zelda games, to my frustration. I wish to acquire OoT in some way, but to get my facts for this story I had to do extensive wiki/video research, and I worry I may have left a plothole or some sort of screw up. Especially tricky was the timeline, which I left vague so I didn't even have to open that can of worms. As a note- the last great war was something of my own formation, a sort of end-all deus ex machina intentionally designed to paint the tale of Zelda's life. So if I missed anything, please be sure to tell me. :)
Second, this is out of my range a bit- at least in levels of drama and such. I worry I may have been too much or too little or something or other, but I suppose that's just me. Truly, I'm glad with how this story came out. This is a venture, posting in a new section for a gift fic and one of the largest fics of mine yet (especially one for which I never played A GAME OF) but it's hopefully worth it. This was gonna go in the Smash Bros section of which I am a native, but it seems almost nothing related to that section, except a bit of reference to Roy of Fire Emblem/Smash Bros Melee.
Just to clarify, Link's Daughter Zelda II is an OC, not that I've quite regarded her as one, and didn't even realize it until now. I tried to keep it un-confusing: hope I succeeded.
Again, happy birthday to Foxpilot! Thanks for the reviews, which helped me grow extensively as an author, being one of two people to read my largest fic, and for being the nicest, most friendly and amiable professional I've so far met.
And I certainly hope you enjoyed this fic!