Zelda used to never pay attention to her nursemaid, choosing instead to gaze out inot the garden or read fantasy books written for her use. Impa was a large part of her, yes, but never needed to be monitored. She did the same tasks everyday and every night, and it bored Zelda as a child. She never watched.
Then, when war struck, Impa moved differently. Her limbs seemed lighter, her eyes brighter. Bloodlust shone clearly I them, and Zelda almost begged her to know why. Until she saw those eyes close, and Impa's hand fly to her heart, as if she was experiencing great pain. She watched Impa more now, until the day when Impa started to teach her as Sheik. She watched her long trusted Guardian turn into a dark and cruel warrior, hiding in the shadows, waiting to strike. She feared her slightly now. She stopped watching.
Until Impa returned to the Shadow Temple, to trap the monster once again. Sheik raced to meet up with the Hero, teaching him the beautifully haunting melody, forcing him to hurry. He observed him in the shadows, holding his breath as Link bested the monster, saving his friend. And when Impa was returned safely, he felt his heart break at his words. "Return to the Princess, and protect her in my stead." Sheik turned away, unwillingly to look at her anymore, feeling betrayed. He hated watching.
Princess Zelda stood before the Sages. She watched them quietly laugh and talk with one another as the war officially ended. She saw the Sage of Shadow discussing something with Saria. "What do you mean, you've visited the forest?" "When I was in training, I went there often." "Didn't you get lost?" At the moment, Zelda met sad red eyes. When she spoke, her words were directed at the Princess. "Sometimes, being lost is the only way to survive." Zelda wanted to tear up, but instead, averted her eyes. She desperately tried not to watch.
When the Sages were stuck in the place between time, only Zelda allowed to really leave, she became constantly bored. Routines never changing, same chamber maids, same food, same knights and fake smiles. When her head guard would report, she would stare out the window, at the darkening sky. The red hues reminded her of those long forgotten yet deeply remembered eyes. As her guard rambled on, she sorted through hazy memories. She remembered how to watch.
The day came for the Sages to meet up with one another again. Zelda entered the Chamber quietly, observing first. What she saw surprised her immensely. Impa sat, laughing loudly, leaning on the Sage of Spirit, who laughed along. Nabooru rested her hand on the Sheikah's waist comfortably, and Impa did not shy away from the contact; if anything, she embraced it. The now Queen felt rage boil in her heart, and tried to choke it down. "Hello, friends." She greeted. Impa's head flashed up, her red eyes seeming lighter than ever before. She stood from her position, whispering something to Nabooru, before coming and kneeling in front of Zelda. "Your Highness." Her voice was light, but behind it hid dark memories. "Impa, you have no need to use that title. We are all Sages and friends. Titles disappear.
The woman looked up at her, her eyes detached and vacant. "Yet you just named us with titles, your Highness." Zelda shut up, knowing when it was best not to challenge her former nursemaid. "Well, it is good to see you looking so..." She struggled for a word, and Nabooru spoke up for her, the tone smug and biting. "Happy, free, loved?" The Queen could only nod, following as Impa went back to rest next to the other Sage. She learned why not to watch.
Laughter was light at her table, her husband of seven years downing another mug of ale. She did not love him, but it was for the sake of her kingdom. The Sages, bypassing the in between world, sat at the table, joining in. He had taken a liking to all of them, especially Impa. He was caught in a heated conversation with her. "Self training takes strength and will, I'll give you that, Sheikah. However, as a group, you learn morals." "Your Majesty, you fail to see the truth of the matter. I have morals, quite a few. You act as if we are thrown aside as babes and grow ourselves. We have twelve years before we are let out to earn our titles." "I see. Why prove yourself? What about love and family?" Impa stopped, momentarily confused. "What about it, Sir? Love blossoms by fate. Family happens after love." He contemplated this, stroking his chin. "I think I understand, What you say is, you let love find you, and don't search for it." "Partly. Many of us chase a lost cause for a time." She looked pointedly at Zelda. "Until we truly find what we need." She turned gazing at Nabooru fondly. The Gerudo looked back at her, placing her drink down and just sitting there. Zelda watched guiltily.
Finally, Zelda had enough. She was sick of lying to herself. She needed, craved the truth. Her confusion fed the fire as she strutted into Impa's room uninvited. She very nearly broke down right there. Impa lay cradled in an awake Nabooru's arms, form shielding by the dark cotton sheets. The Gerudo held up a finger, the universal sign for quiet. She let a few tears fall, fleeing the scene with a noise. She learned when to let your observations go. She closed her eyes, ceasing to watch.
Years later, a young boy sat before an older Impa, listening to stories. "Your mother, she dressed as one of my race, and taught the Hero of Time his melodies." The boy, named Link in remembrance, shifted. "Sheikah's, mother told me they were considered cruel. Why?" Impa saw Zelda slip into the room as she answered. "My race was very closed off. Introverts. We served the Royal Family, but our inner darkness festered in our alone time. However, I think the reason we were considered to be so bad was because of our hearts." He tilted his head, blonde hair hanging over his eyes. "Your heart?" "Yes child. Sheikah all have mates. They sometimes have more than one, and they can change as time goes on. Many of our first mates reject us, or don't see the love we bestow upon them," She looked up at Zelda, pain in both their eyes. "Then, when they leave, their old mates feel anger and sorrow. And when the Sheikah finds a new mate, they feel betrayed." he nodded, smiling and taking her rough hands in his small ones. He rubbed her knuckles thoughtfully. "You know, Mom said you whistle beautifully. I would like to hear it one day, when I am old enough to understand what love is." Zelda watched the truth unfold.
Link never watched his mother, except when she was in the presence of Impa. Then, she seemed overjoyed and weighed down at once. The Sheikah blatantly ignored her, talking to her mate and laughing and touching her. He watched his Mom fall when this happened, and rise when it stopped. Now, at age twelve he understood. He walked up to the Sheikah. "Impa?" "Yes, Link?" "Did you ever apologize to my mother?" The warrior paused, her face dark. He watched her shake her head. "She never gave me the chance. To explain, to apologize, to love." He nodded, turning away. "I see. Well, perhaps now is the time." Impa licked her lips, mouth suddenly dried. She decided to watch him.
When the apology came, it was rough, and sorrowful. "Your Majesty, I'm sorry." Zelda looked uo from her stack of papers, seeing Impa above her. Thinking it was odd that her mate was not with her, she stood, dusting the front of her dress. "Link's sword fighting incident was your fault-" "I meant for breaking you heart." Link saw, hidden in the shadows, his mother cry for the first time, clutching onto to Impa as if a lifeline. He decided it wasn't important to watch them.
"Nabooru saw the scene also, jealous and slightly hurt. Impa only held her that close. Only calmed her like that. No one else. However, she knew that Impa was always going to be shared. She was too kind and strong to be kept as a prize. Nabooru never watched again.
If you asked Link years later what fueled his family, extended and all, he would never have to think about it. "Curiosity. We all watch our loved ones, trying to gain understanding. But in the end, we are left more confused. We are fueled by the curiosity of the truth of love, I suppose. And how it hurts us." The questioner would tilt their head as he walked away, joining his family again. They did not see the inner dynamics, the looks passed between three women and one boy. Everyone watched them.