AN: This started out as one thing, but then completely twisted into something else. I hope you all like it anyway. :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Legend of Zelda. Nintendo does.
A ragged gasp tore itself from Zelda's lips as her eyes flew open, her hands weakly grasping at the stone floor beneath her. Forcing herself to breathe in deeply, banishing the weight that had been pressing against her chest for the last two years, she slowly rose into a sitting position, her limbs luxuriating in the way the smooth, energized muscles of youth felt after so much time spent as weak and helpless.
Of all the ways she had died, death by old age was her least favorite.
Glancing around, her eyes reminding her mind of the stone castle that was her home during the time between her lives, she quickly found the speaker that had awoken her from her sleep, a smile growing across her face as she spotted him. She slowly drank in the sight of him, her constant companion during their time as dead and her chosen hero when they were reborn. Of course, very little about him had changed over the years, for no matter what form they took in each life, the shape of their souls remained, but in their most recent lives, the two had barely known each other, going their separate ways once the battle was done and over with, leaving her with an unexplainable longing for him that had lasted for quite a while. Even with his head bowed so his face was obscured, she had spent enough lifetimes in love with him that she could recognize him anywhere.
A startled shock ran down Zelda's spine as Link spoke once again, the sound of his voice a surprise after so many years of silence. For a long time, words had never been needed between them, so well did they know the other that mere glances could tell entire stories. A frown swiftly replacing her smile as she pushed herself to her feet, Zelda quickly found herself standing by the still kneeling figure of the man she loved, her hand just hovering about his shoulder as she spoke.
"Link, what's wrong," She asked quietly, though something in her already knew what the answer was going to be. Although she had given up most of her powers as the goddess for the mortal form that had been needed to seal away Demise so many eons ago, she still retained enough of her divine essence that she could sense the darkness growing within her beloved, each life that he lived tainting him a bit more with the very evil they sought to fight. But still she asked, for even though she knew what was wrong, the thought of hearing it from him might help.
But even as the question fell from her lips, she had never expected an answer, instead predicting that he would shrug off her words and replace them with a kiss, just like he had done the many other times she had inquired about him in the past, so it was a shock when he once again spoke.
"Enough. Enough of everything," Link spoke softly, surprising her once again with how different his voice had become over their many lifetimes. When they had first met, she as the goddess Hylia and he as the only warrior to respond to her call, his voice had been calm and smooth, only rarely giving away the multitude of feelings he felt within, a voice that, when he did speak, had been enough to charm the birds from the trees and capture her heart before she even truly knew him. Despite the gift he had been given, he rarely ever spoke, instead preferring to communicate with his body and his face, his breath saved for the fights he fought. However, although the voice she had fallen for so long ago was still there, his tongue was now layered with rougher, angrier tones, the growl of the wolf he had once lived as and the harshness of the darkness that had been torn from him and personified mixing together to change him from within. The evil he had been tainted with was clear in his words, as was the exhaustion that prevailed within his very soul.
"Enough of this fighting," Link growled as he rose to his full height, towering an entire head and a half over her slight frame. "Zelda, have I not proven myself worthy of the Triforce a thousand times over, shown myself able to be the hero you have needed in every life we've lived? If so, then enough is enough." Turning away, he quickly began to pace the length of the hall, the soft padding of his boots turning the otherwise deep thuds quiet as he continued. "I can already feel our next lives drawing near. Ever since the timelines split from each other, we've lived more lives then we can almost keep track of." Pulling to a stop, he twisted on his heel until he was towering over her once more, the flames in his eyes boring into her.
"This time," He hissed softly, his voice demanding and pleading at the same time, "I shall live as one of your guards, someone close to you in the castle, never far from your side. I shall keep my memories and my powers, and the moment Ganon decides to show himself, I shall end him where he stands. There shall be no kidnapping, no temples, and no special weapons. Just a simple battle between a would-be tyrant and the princess's loyal knight." Kneeling so they were once again level, he quickly closed the small distance that remained between them, their faces almost brushing as he whispered against her lips. "Have I made myself clear, your Highness?"
"You know I can't do that Link," Zelda replied slightly breathlessly as she drew back, her hand coming up to rest on his chest in a restraintive motion. "It was agreed upon by the gods long ago when we first made this pact that the hero should prove himself in each life time that he is called upon, lest he prove to be too weak when his strength is needed. Should I allow for this to change, then who knows what might await us in the future. I am sorry, but no."
Zelda could easily and truthfully say that she was not surprised when Link kissed her, his lips both soft and rough, demanding, against hers, for after a lifetime of being apart, each moment extra they spent apart was an ache in her chest. Bringing up her hands to cup his face, she was about to let go of the tension swirling within her when he broke away, a bemused look upon his face as his eyes observed everything, from the slight trembling of her hands to the breathlessness that was unfitting for a goddess, but longed for as a mortal. Pausing for a moment as visions of memories long since lived and past swam before her eyes, it was with hands clenching from anger that she finally rose, an almost identical snarl on her own face to match his own as fury grew within her.
"What is it that you want from me Link," Zelda demanded angrily, turning on her heels so that she was facing away from him as she spoke. "You know as well as I do that my powers have long since been lost. Even if I wished to, there would be no way for me to change the world we are fighting for. Just as it was decided eons ago, at the end of the first war with Demise, I shall be born into the royal family as the keeper of the Triforce, and only after the chosen hero has proven that he can handle the power that is to be bestowed upon him can we meet. Whether or not we stay within each other's lives is determined by the Fates, for even as vessels, you and I have no choice in the matter over what shall become of us. Knowing this, having knowing it for millenniums, what is it that you want from me?"
"I want us to win," Link replied in kind, his voice growing more and more deadly with each tone it dropped, until the air surrounding him was almost cracking with the danger in his whisper. "I do not want us to survive, to persevere as ghosts and spirits until the world needs us next. I want us to fight Ganondorf for the final time, to finally banish him back to the hell from which he came, and to finally be allowed to rest. Perhaps nothing else you have the power for, but this, Zelda, Hylia, I know you can do. So do it."
"We're not ready," Zelda retorted, her mind running through the hundreds of battles she and Like had fought against the evil in just as many lifetimes, each and every moment standing out as a marker for when the end could finally come. "Remember," she continued in a softer voice, turning so that she was directly facing him, "Demises' power is connected straight to the land. So long as Hyrule survives and prevails, so shall he. But in splitting the time lines, he has become weakened far quicker than if you had only rid the world of his taint, sealing him away until his power became too great to contain. Link..." Stepping forward, Zelda gently wrapped her arms around him, her nose drawing in the familiar scent of him that she loved so much but experienced so rarely. Shutting her eyes, Zelda waited until after he had embraced her, his own arms pressing her tight against him in a vain attempt to keep her before continuing her speech. "I promise, soon, he shall be dead. Demise has already become weak, much weaker then he was when we first met him, and even then you won. Please, I promise, soon, we'll be finished, and it'll finally be over."
"I will not wait much longer my love," Link whispered into her ear, his breath warm and tantalizing against her skin. "For the moment, I shall wait. But soon, Hyrule shall have to find itself a new goddess and a new hero, for soon, no matter what the outcome, we shall be done."
Capturing her lips before she could respond, Zelda allowed herself to give into the insistence within his kiss, her mortal desires urging her to respond even as they drove out the more heavenly instincts that screamed at her to push him away until he bowed to her will, much like he once had done so long ago. However, weaving her fingers through his overly long locks, another, small, almost wiser voice spoke to her, advising her to keep her silence as they kissed.
For now, the battle was won. But even as the warm of Link's kiss developed her, a shiver ran down her spine, for even with all the knowledge of the ages, even she didn't know how long she could contain his beasts.
All she could hope was that soon, just as she promised, soon, it all would be over.