Title: Bloodstained rewritten
Author: Spirit the Fire Dragon
Warnings/notes: Possible mentions to past suicide attempt. Sorry for the wait! Thank you for all of your kind reviews! I hope you all enjoy.
Ghirahim was screaming.
It was neither a battle cry, nor a flimsy scream of only moderate pain; no, this was a scream that boiled in the very bottom of his lungs and rose to tear his throat and rattle his teeth. It was a scream like that none he had ever heard or expressed, one of intense and unbridled agony that burned and rent and tore and gashed. He couldn't think, he couldn't move…he couldn't even bear to breathe, lest he chance indescribable agony.
He had no idea that this purification would be so incredibly painful. He had expected some sort of sensation, but not this sort of agony; he hadn't felt such discomfort since his trials of servitude to his former Master. He was suspended in an orb of the sacred water that rushed about him as if it had a mind of its own, rubbing his flesh raw and tearing into his consciousness and ripping apart his memories with bloody teeth.
Then there was silence. It was the sort of silence that echoed after an excruciating release of sound, which rang high and constant in the ear and muffled all other noises. Ghirahim, with his eyes clenched and his teeth bore in a grimace of lingering agony, rolled from his position on his side to his knees and elbows, between which he hung his head and cupped his ringing ears. He groaned but could not hear the sound, and pressed his forehead to the surface on which he was lying but could not quite feel.
Ghirahim curled slightly into himself, his whole body shivering and his muscles hanging loosely on his bruised bones. He tensed his core and the muscles in his thighs, raising his battered body forward to lean less on his crumpled legs and more on his trembling arms. He used the strength of his shoulders and fingers to raise his body upwards and put his palms flat instead of clenched, and with a headache pounding behind his eyes, Ghirahim raised them as his head straightened with his spine.
He could not quite comprehend where he was. He could see nothing in any direction that he turned his eyes, and upon looking down, found he could not see anything in that direction, either. He only knew that the plane he knelt on existed only because he was not falling, but his senses could not discern that anything was, in fact, beneath his palms or his aching knees.
After reviewing this knowledge, Ghirahim straightened his spine more firmly and put his left palm on his quivering thigh. The waves of pain that had been wracking his body were fading, but for the life of him, he couldn't quite remember what had caused him such discomfort. He vaguely recalled a strange looking creature with blue eyes and green cloth and a rather serene spring, but could not recollect any finer details. Nonplussed by the holes in his memory—that he was sure would come back to him in time—Ghirahim put his palms flat to the surface and rose to his feet, shakily, and carefully pulled himself up.
Standing now, he could not discern any other details he may have overlooked before. There was simply nothing around him but a strange color that he could not quite describe. As he gazed at and through this color, he found that it pervaded every inch of this space he found himself in, and it filled him with a sort of warmth that Ghirahim could only describe as infinitely pleasing.
"Hello?" he said. His voice rang and echoed but after a moment the silence was dominant in his ears once more and as such could not be certain that he had even spoken at all.
Then the color and the silence around him seemed to expand and grow, in the likeness of a content breath. Suddenly, his mind was filled with an indescribable sensation that widened his eyes and weakened his knees; he was left reeling from the sudden influx of sensations that seemed to touch his very soul and left him yearning and amazed. His spirit, shriveled with power and shut away by hate, expanded beneath his skin and grew with the color, spreading about him in a pattern of beautiful lines. They were similar to the contours of a flowering plant that blossomed from within him and escaped from his being through his eyes and his chest and the tips of his fingers, drawing themselves into existence in every color he could have ever imagined and into shapes that grew about and around him, into every corner of this nothingness that he had so inexplicably found himself.
Ghirahim, up until that point, had been unaware that he was capable of making something so beautiful.
He exploded in a supernova of sound and sensation and color, and the everything of the nothing around him dissolved away, and he was sad to watch it go.
A second or a millennium could have passed between the time Ghirahim had felt the touch of nirvana and the moment he was on lying flat on a warm stone, arm dangling and his eyes locked with the ones in the reflective surface of the rippling water before him. He was unsure of how he had gotten there, but did what first came to mind: he pulled his arm from the water, watching with detached fascination as the movement caused the reflection of himself ripple and shiver. His eyes traced the puckered scars on his wrist, but he did not feel shame or regret at the sight; he had been forgiven, and it had to have happened to have brought him here.
Placing his arm beneath his chest, fingers closed over the edge of rock he laid on, he was coming to a sort of awareness of himself once more. In the nothing, it had come quickly, for there had been nothing around him to categorize but the sensations he had been feeling within himself. Now he was faced with a reflection and warm stone and pleasantly cool water and rays of light dancing all around him, bouncing merrily from the water and the visible bottom of where the water lay, and all of these sensations had him reeling for an uncountable handful of seconds.
Ghirahim, whilst trying to reorient himself, stared into the eyes he had been looking in on return to his physical body; they were his own, but there was a certain unfamiliar looseness in the corners. There was darkness smudged underneath where none had been before. Upon noticing these slight changes, Ghirahim briefly considered the notion that he had somehow jumped dimensions and now resided in a body that was his but not his own, but dismissed it after a moment. He leaned closer to the water, the tip of his nose almost touching it's shivering surface, and found some infinitesimal differences along with the ones concerning his eyes; the color of his skin was paler while the flesh of his lips was colored more darkly, a strange shade of red and pink that he could only relate to that of his Master's and his companions. He became aware of a strange substance in his mouth, and collected as much as he could on the flat of his tongue and spat it into the water reflexively. Ghirahim watched as his blood cascaded in pretty, wispy lines through the water, diluting to a pale pink after a few moments.
After this, Ghirahim began the same process he had undergone in the nothingness, tensing and coiling his aching muscles to pull himself into a standing position. It took him more time here, but he was victorious nonetheless. He caught himself looking about the sacred spring, and felt a keen sense of disappointment in his chest when he could not find the color that had shown him the euphoria in the nothingness. Perhaps it was a color that could not be seen in the physical world.
Turning, Ghirahim located his Master; he was standing on the main platform, watching him with a curious tilt of the head. The memories of how he had gotten here and why came back to him and nestled quietly back into a linear and comprehensive pattern in his mind. He collected the strength in his worn body and made the long steps back towards his Master and away from the place that had brought him to a spiritual rebirth.
"Well?" his Master asked as he approached. "Did it work?"
Ghirahim blinked. He was unsure. Though he had spat blood, he was sure whatever had happened to his spirit and his body was all part of a plan that would ultimately lead to a change that, on the most basic levels, could be described as 'good'. Though the more complex intricacies that usually came with higher thinking and a greater picture, Ghirahim could not say, for sure, that it would not lead to something that was best for the greater good.
"Yes," he said, instead. His Master had not asked for an in-depth analysis of the experience, nor had he asked if he had been hurt in the process. So Ghirahim did not enlighten him.
His Master nodded, but there was a smile on his lips. Ghirahim confirmed that his lips were, indeed, the same shade that his own were now colored. "You look…better. Healthier, I mean. I think we're on the right track, Ghirahim."
Ghirahim dipped his head, acknowledging his Master's view of the situation. He did not speak, as he knew that his Master found great pleasure in this quest, and deemed it entirely necessary. Though he did not personally agree, he was inclined to ease his Master's mind on the matters, despite their previous animosity. It was becoming less of a factor in Ghirahim's mind as time went on. It had taken everything to get him here, but that did not mean his past dictated his actions now that he had found his way to the end of the track he had spent the majority of his life travelling. That, however, does not mean that he no longer loathes where he had found himself at the end of the path he had taken. He was still very much capable of unbridled hate.
"Let's get back to the temple," his Master said, his smile still not quite fading. "Oh, about you not hurting anything—you don't have to worry about stepping on a bug or anything, I just meant that you can't go hunting or go and kill something with malicious intents."
"Thank you," Ghirahim murmured, finding that the phrase did not come as painfully as it once had. He followed demurely in the steps of his Master, his mind awash with the memories of that strangely colored heaven and the sensations of bliss and ecstasy.
Zelda was taken aback by the sight of Ghirahim's spirit when he and Link returned from the sacred spring.
Gifted with the Goddess' wisdom and knowledge, she was able to see the spirit of any creature she gazed at, and she had not been pleased or surprised at the sight of Ghirahim's. His soul had been curled and darkened and writhing underneath his skin, lighting his eyes aflame with the burning hatred that tainted his mind and anything he touched. She had watched from afar as it had festered and destroyed itself until he had been driven to kill his dying body, and she had felt sad. Ghirahim was not inherently evil, but he had been corrupted to such a degree that even she had thought him a lost cause.
Not all can be saved. Hylia knew this especially, and so Zelda knew. But Link had not been deterred, and now Zelda could understand why.
When Ghirahim came into her field of vision, Zelda was momentarily blinded by the color of his spirit. Though it was still weak and corrupted and dark within him, the color had shifted and his soul had grown, reveling in some sort of delight that had previously been unknown to him. Zelda smiled, watching him go and retreat back within the sealed temple, never letting her eyes leave his healing spirit until he was out of her sight.
Link, with his comforting and dazzling grey spirit, approached her with a similarly dazzling smile. "I think it's working," he said, happily. "I've never seen him look like that. I think he's starting to want to live again…maybe he can finally be happy with himself, you know?"
Zelda looked at him, in his beautiful eyes, and smiled in return. "I think you're right, Link," she agreed. As Link drifted away, she felt the lingering pang of sorrow in her heart she felt each time she looked at Link's spirit. As he had sought after her on his quest and defeated Demise, it had not lost its shine, but had lost its dazzling bright color. His soul now burned like a haunted sun, undeterred but plagued by the horrors he had seen.
Ghirahim was healing, and Zelda knew he could feel it. Link was perpetually wounded, even if he did not know it.
I'm so sorry for the wait. I would explain but it would take too much time, so all that matters is that I'm back and ready to take up the saddle. It's most likely I'll do either weekly or twice weekly updates, depending.
So thanks for all those who reviewed, favorited, followed, and stuck around through the two month hiatus! Love all of you!
This chapter is dedicated to Can'tPickAName for reminding me to get off my lazy ass and finish this rewrite.