Chapter Two - Spirits


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It was the first time they ever spoke of parting.

Link had fulfilled his destiny, and Saria had assisted him, as she was expected to. Princess Zelda hadn't interfered with their constant bickering yet. She just stood by, as a curious and silent onlooker, like the rest of the sages as they spoke about their future. They talked about the means of creating their 'happy ending,' about the world at peace. And then, the conversation had run into a lake of thick, insect-infested mud. Or that was what Saria could compare it to, anyway.

"After this is all done, maybe I'll come to visit you." she said.

After Saria had finished giggling, she quieted down after she realized that a brief period of uncomfortable silence had followed. The forest sage's smile dropped slowly, at the same rate that she'd noticed the hero of time's smile had faded as well.

Had she said something wrong?

"Link?"

"What do you mean?" he asked immediately.

Saria blinked. "...What do you... I..." she paused, and exhaled.

"You don't understand?"

Link's stare had gone blank. He shook his head.

"Oh," she breathed, looking away.

She... had no idea how to tell this to him. Why hadn't he already known? Maybe she wouldn't have had to be the one to explain this if Zelda had done it first. After all, she had made it clear that she wanted him in Hyrule. And not in the forest somewhere.

With his charming and beautiful genius of a childhood friend.

"Saria, what do you mean," he asked again. But this time his voice carried a hint of worry.

"I thought that Zelda would be the one to tell you," she began, taking one of her hands into the other. "but I think the kingdom would... prefer you to stay in Hyrule."

"I don't want to..."

Link's eyebrows had wrinkled, furiously pushing against each other. His attention was locked below him, in the blue light. No one else was speaking, because this was obviously a moment of weakness. It was so rare... especially for Link.

"You don't want to what?" she asked. Her arms were at her side. She was still. She had an idea of what was coming, but how could she be sure? Would he really choose this place, and this time, just to tell her... that?

"Now that it's over... I don't want to... I can't..."

"Link," Saria said to him sympathetically, as she watched his face go through a long process of frustration.

"I can't leave you-"

She couldn't believe it. The hero of time himself sputtered those words out... Four simple words- they were barely audible, even- just before he started to cry. Saria had no idea how hard it would hit her. Or him either. Her stomach started to clench itself, and her body now trembled.

"I don't want to leave you behind," he managed to finish. Saria watched as small streams ran down his face... and she suddenly felt so heartbroken, too. Angels weren't supposed to cry. Ever. "I don't ever want to forget you, Saria."

The forest sage exhaled, releasing her emotional frustration, and brought her hand to her mouth as tears welled in her eyes."I don't want to forget you either, Link," she said, her voice partially hidden behind parted fingers.

His eyes came up, and his ice colored pupils were blurred with a furious red. "Can't I go back to being a child... can't I just choose to go back to the village and live there?"

He was pleading now. "After all I've done?"

Saria slightly shook her head, almost shrugging.

"I don't really know..."

He then turned to Zelda, who's slate blue eyes were blank.

"Can't I?"

To Saria, it looked as though the princess had already been prepared to answer. But it seemed that whichever the answer she was to give, she would not be happy. Who would ever want to be with someone who was already so heartfelt over another?

"You could. But you'd eventually... die," she admitted, her voice expressing how unthinkable of a matter it was to any of them. "And the Kokiri children would have to bear witness to that. Something they've never had to cope with before. I imagine Saria would be even more hurt than the rest of them if you were to stay, as well..."

Her steel blue eyes then moved to the light below.

Judging by Link's expression, he had no idea who to consider in this situation... Himself, his happiness and stability? Or the Kokiri, and their happiness and stability.

"Link... just go back and visit."

Saria's heart started to hurt her with how forcefully it reacted. "For a little while," the Princess whispered. Princess Zelda wanted him to visit them, and leave.

Forever.

Link suddenly turned. "What would you..."

"I told you, I already know that you and I were never meant to be together." She announced, cutting him off. "You should be happy that you have the opportunity to live your life in different stages... Be an adult. Be free."

And Link's face after that was enough to keep Saria crying an hour after she had stirred from her sleep.

Saria woke up again after that, the same morning, with heavy eyelids. She was still tired, and another one of those memories was not what she wanted to wake her from her peaceful slumber.

She pushed her old blanket from her body, getting a glimpse of the same old green turtleneck and shorts when she looked down at herself. She swung her legs over the bed, and pulled her boots over her feet.

What would she do today? Eat, study, and sleep, like she did every other day? Or would she dwell on Princess Zelda's decision to bind her to the temple for the rest of her life? And keep Link by her side as well?

Saria snarled silently. Yes, the Princess had actually done that. She had no idea if it was out of fear of Link trying to take her with him outside the forest, and maybe into the world even after he said he'd stay in Hyrule, or if it was just so Saria could devote her time to her studies, but she didn't really care. Either way, Zelda had made her life as miserable as it could possibly be, and she had the option not to.

Saria just decided to make her way to her library instead of letting her rage boil, and finish reading one of the earth magic tomes she'd started a few days ago. Reading those always helped. She sat down on the floor after pulling the book from the shelf, and flipped it open to the page with the green silk tassel atop it.

For hours, she read. She kept her chin in her hands with her legs crossed, taking in the rules of earthly magic that all fascinated her, no matter how big the range of effect. Eventually she broke free from the book and ate, starting to let some of the lessons from the book settle into her mind. Then she went to bed without any visitors or outside disturbance, and woke up the next morning with a weary heart. Another tearful memory again.

This cycle repeated itself for days- and those days turned into weeks. Then, weeks turned into months. Sure, months had passed before, almost a year she remembered. She had been alone all that time, but this was different, because Saria had been cursed by some sort of memory demon. It haunted her sleep, and sometimes her every thought. She began to cry herself to sleep sometimes, and even had so much pinned inside that she could cry all day. It took a while to realize it, but try as she might, Saria had no way to escape her life... the loneliness, or the sadness.

She knew this... but what could she ever do about it?

None of the other sages had bothered to ask her how she was doing, because they had their own lives. The Kokiri children had stopped coming to visit eventually, too.

Why? She had no answer of course. No one cared enough to know that she needed one, and no one could take the time to give her one when they did see her struggling alone. But it was the same with everything else.

She wouldn't let it bother her too much. All this negativity was enough to keep her inner vengeance-fire burning for a lifetime, she realized.

And it was only natural that because of her decision to ignore all the things that had made her miserable, another year had passed.


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Saria sat with her knees drawn to her chest, and the book on the floor in front of her. The night had been silent, mysterious and warm, for it was now summer again. She loved summer so much... It was the best time of the year, and for some reason, practicing her spells and even studying the boring tomes felt good with the summer heat on her shoulder.

"Crystal wave." she thought to herself.

Shards of stone or hardened earth could be summoned at her will, to rise and shatter in waves around her body. She'd come up with her own names for these foreign spell names, since krisṭala vēva wasn't exactly part of the common language in Hyrule.

And then it hit her:

What would she use this for, anyway? The hero of time was supposed to save the world. Not a forest sage.

And even then, his job was done. Why would Zelda leave her here to study her abilities weren't needed anymore?

She pushed herself up from the floor, and dusted her bottom off. She pulled the tassel back over her reading place, and closed the book. As she reached the bookshelf and stored the tome in it's rightful place, she looked to her right. It was the meadow in front of the temple, the only view she had into the outside world.

She walked over to the entrance, and peered out into the area. It was still warm, and it gave her the urge to actually step outside into the darkness.

Well, it wasn't completely dark. There were little orbs of light scattered around the area. She just watched them as they bounced about... what were they doing here?

"Hello?"

She got no response, so she sat down at the edge of the broken temple entrance and let her legs dangle over the ledge. She continued to watch the orbs of light, and it reminded her of summer nights back in the Kokiri village. When everyone's fairies were gathered with their owners, who sat amongst each other in a big huddle. They'd play games, tell stories... and some, namely two, would break away from the group and just... talk.

She did miss him...

She had turned into a very bitter woman because of his unexplained absence. Yes, she could admit that. But underneath all the anger and depression she hid away from everyone else, was helpless affection. It was a fact that she still harbored something for him. How could she not?

One tear fell from her blue eye, and soon after, more were bound to follow. She continued to cry, laying her arms at her sides to lie back, and allowing her legs to dangle. She wasn't necessarily crying because she was hurt, but for once... it was just a memory that had shaken her up. A good one. One of the few that remained untouched by her cold attitude.

She looked into his eyes, and he was interested. He wanted to hear what she had to say. She watched his features, and he had wanted to smile sometimes. He held back, though, maybe for the sake of appearing grown up, she thought. And when he had finally talked to her – actually approached her to start entire conversations – she started to feel better. The clenches in her stomach felt sweet, and the racing in her chest always made her happy. She didn't know what was happening as it happened, but she was well aware of it now. She hadn't noticed his demeanor changing at that time, either, but she was able to remember everything that made it obvious. If you thought about it for just a moment, she noted. He wasn't that easily read.

She folded her hands over her chest, and let her streams fall for a little longer. After all, her tears were shed for a better time, not the hatred she felt a year ago.


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A/N: Thank you guys for reviewing. I'm glad you're gonna keep up with this and I officially love you guys, even if you're just reading this story for the first time ^.^

Oh, and I always reply to anonymous reviewers at the end of the chappy. So... anons are always welcome to send me comments, questions, or whatever. :)

Reply to tadgh: Yes, Saria is really upset :( Link will definitely show up, but I'm not so sure that when he gets here, everything will be better right away. Let's just hope for the best, right? ;P

And a separate note for everyone:

This will go kind of slow in the beginning, but it's for a good purpose, I think. Just bear with me and Saria, things will take off eventually. We know what we're doing! We've got this! :D