So lotta shit has happened since the last note. I'm not too interested in writing for Zelda anymore as it is now. I'm more focused on YuGiOh and I will no longer be using this account (I'm active on Ao3 as girahimu_sama if you like thiefshipping). However, I will leave all my fanfics up and I felt I should at least try and finish this fic.
This is an unfinished draft. I'm sorry but I don't have the motivation to finish it and my writing style has changed a lot. I also don't think I can get back to the same place I was when writing this. Regardless, I thought I should post it because it was very close to being done. If I ever decide to come back to it, maybe I'll write it out properly. Who knows.
All of the dialogue is written but the description is only like... 60% done. I have provided notes for context with some of the parts with only dialogue. If something's unclear just message me or whatever.
The hammer came down upon the head of the nail once more before the redhead had to pause and take a break, reaching up to wipe the sweat off his brow. He sat upon the roof of a house he was currently in the process of repairing, gazing out at the village. It would take a while to completely repair the damage it had sustained, but they were well on their way to having it look as good as new. Pretty soon you wouldn't be able to tell it had nearly been burned to the ground several weeks ago.
Many of the residents had relocated back up to Skyloft. Those with the brawn stayed on the surface to help patch things up. How would this hurt the project to move the denizens of the sky down to Hyrule, he wondered. It had taken so long to convince the council that it was safe down here...
Groose sighed to himself. Things had been solemn indeed, and his worry for his friends only made him all the more anxious. Link and Zelda had been gone for ages, and though the Sheikah had promised to bring them back, they too hadn't returned. The worst part was he couldn't do anything about it. He didn't even know where they'd all disappeared to or what was going on. He was completely useless and in the dark about everything.
The redhead wanted to beat himself up over it. He'd gone through this pattern of thought over the course of many passing days and it made him feel worse every time. He should have tried harder to protect the settlement... then maybe none of this would have happened.
A stir of commotion caught his attention, a few workers below turning their heads and pointing at something off in the distance. Groose followed their gaze and what he saw immediately made him slide off of the roof and run across the grass towards the line of trees where three familiar figures had appeared, and a fourth that made his heart soar.
"Zelda!" He called out, throwing his arms around her as she in turn rushed up to meet him.
"Groose!" The girl practically sobbed. He patted her on the head before resting his hands on her shoulders, relief flooding through him. She looked a bit worn but otherwise bore no injuries that he could see.
"I'm so glad you're safe, everyone's been so worried, I've been-" he abruptly paused, suddenly realizing something was missing, "hey, where's Link?"
Zelda looked up at him, shaking her head, her eyes watery. Groose's stomach dropped and he feared for the worst.
"He's... he's still down there in the realm below..."
The redhead vaguely recalled the forest dragon saying something about a realm but before he could ask about it Zelda had turned to the Sheikah, who were watching silently.
"Please! I'm safe now, you have to go help him instead!"
One of the three warriors stepped forward, the female of the group, her expression grave. "He may not even be alive at this point, Your Grace..."
"I don't care!" Zelda protested. Groose scowled. Hadn't the Sheikah said they were going to bring the two of them back? He stepped forwards angrily.
"What? Did you leave him behind or something? Are you stupid? You heard her, go help him!"
The Sheikah threw him a look of displeasure but turned to one of the men beside her, who seemed to understand her before she'd even said anything. "Sheik, you're the fastest, you go on ahead. We'll meet you down at the gate. You know what to do."
Groose barely processed what happened next. One minute Sheik was there and the next he'd vanished, leaving only a small gust of wind behind. The redhead looked around but he didn't see him anywhere.
The other Sheikah had turned to leave already and Groose watched them until they'd vanished into the trees, then he faced Zelda again and took her hand. A small crowd of workers had gathered, murmuring their concern. He lead the goddess incarnate through them with a few quick words of 'she's fine' and 'give her some space.' They made their way to the discussion hall, Groose holding the door open and shutting it behind them.
Zelda sat down at her chair and put her face in her hands. She didn't say anything so Groose cautiously sat beside her and put his hand on her back.
"Are you alright?"
"No, everything is my fault." She replied, looking at him suddenly. "If I hadn't been captured, if I hadn't been such a helpless sack of-"
She jerked her gaze away bitterly and stared out the window hard. Groose frowned.
"That was beyond your control, you can't possibly blame yourself for that. Come on, Zel..."
She sighed in a way that clearly said he didn't understand.
"Everything is beyond my control it seems. Perhaps that's what Hylia intended, so that everyone would have to lay their lives down for her vessel..."
Her eyes seemed to fix on a point off in the distance, on something he himself couldn't see. It was a while before either of them said anything, but finally Groose spoke up again.
"... Look, I know our experiences may not be the most comparable, but I do know what it's like to feel powerless..." He reached forward and took one of her hands in a gesture that he hoped was comforting. "But remember, this is Link we're talking about. He'll pull through, the little knucklehead always has before." He snorted, hoping a bit of teasing would diffuse the tension. She didn't respond to that, which made him worry he'd said something inappropriate, but she also didn't seem to be listening either.
She was biting her lip, her eyes flitting about a bit. Groose new that to be a sign that she was in deep thought over something. He just wondered what.
Suddenly Zelda stood up, the motion pushing her chair back. With her hand still clasped in his, she turned on the spot and lead him towards the back doors.
"Maybe there is something I can do..."
When she'd returned to the surface it had felt like a weight had lifted off of her chest, like she could breath and think more clearly. The demon realm was never meant for a being of light like her, and she didn't realize how suffocating it had been trapped down there until she'd finally returned to her home. It had been like being deprived of air after being held underwater for too long.
The young goddess knew what she had to do now and could only pray that it would work. She dragged Groose along with her, through the Faron Woods, shoving open the doors of the Sealed Temple. The redhead was obviously confused but she ignored his questions for the time being. She could explain later, she had to do this now.
She pushed open the other set of doubt doors and immediately the sensation of holy energy flooded over her. Yes, it had to be here, in one of the places she felt most connected to her past life.
The Statue of Hylia stood before her, rays of sun hitting the white marble and casting it in a glorious image though she felt anything but glorious at the moment. She let go of her friend's hand and walked forwards, stepping into the circle at the foot of the statue where her people would often go to pray. She clasped her hands together, facing the monument of her divine self, and raised her chin to the sky.
Here she stood, but Zelda wasn't praying. No, this was a demand. Hylia had used her as a vessel she had used many in her plans, but that didn't mean she was nothing more than a helpless pawn of flesh and blood. Not this time. She knew she had some of the goddess' powers, even if it were just a sliver, and she needed access to them now.
A light seemed to well up in her chest, spreading throughout her body, down her limbs, to the very tips of her fingers. She closed her eyes and she could still see it, feel it, washing over the area. She summoned up the reserves of her strength, of her will, and focused on the person she wanted to help most right now.
Link had always been her protector, her knight, her saviour, but now it was her turn to protect him. She didn't know if this would even work but she had to try...
She gathered the light before her, moulding it, reshaping it, pouring all that she had into it. Vaguely, she heard Groose making noises of surprise but she didn't let it distract her. And finally, when she could hold it no more, she let it go.
It rushed from her in one sweep of energy that nearly knocked her to her knees. Zelda opened her eyes to see the ball of golden light rise into the sky and speed off into the distance, beyond the trees. The girl stared after it, the wind lifting her hair around her face gently before settling as silence fell over the statue once more.
'Please... let it reach him in time...'
Link was certain he was done for.
He searched frantically for a way out, some break in the barrier sealing him in with the demon but he found nothing. He was already worn and exhausted and there was no way he stood a chance against him, especially not with the demon wielding Ghirahim's blade. Perhaps if he still had the Master Sword the odds would be more in his favour but even then he wasn't sure if he wanted to pit it against its counterpart now, not with the dark sword spirit unwillingly trapped inside it.
As it were his last hope for survival lay miles and miles away, resting in the pedestal under the protection of the temple. The plain blade he had now couldn't hope to match up against his foe - he could almost feel it buckling under the power of the other sword already. He may as well have been brandishing a toothpick.
Tannin seemed to know Link was a sitting duck, for he took his time pacing forward with slow methodical steps, closing in on him. Link in turn backed away, trying to think of something - anything - he could do, but there appeared to be no other option but to wait and die. That was if Tannin even planned on killing him here.
His heart pounded, visions of his nightmares beginning to surface from the dark recesses of his mind though he forced them down. He couldn't go through that... not again...
The hero stared with uncertainty at the featureless mask his opponent wore, cold sweat running down his temple as the soulless red pits meant to resemble eyes bore into him. He clutched the handle of his blade tighter in an attempt to regain his wits. Perhaps if he struck fast he could win... One solid hit would surely break the demon's concentration...
There were whispers, a voice speaking to him. At first he thought it was from his visions, a haunting memory trying to force its way up and throw him off balance, but then he realized it was coming from without. The voice was soft and gentle, and though he didn't know what it was saying he could tell it was reassuring him, comforting him. Then the air surrounding him began shimmering with light, making him cry out slightly in a moment of confusion. Arms encircled him, seemingly made of the light itself, and he instantly felt warmth flow through his entire body despite the frigid environment.
He turned his head slightly, able to make out the outline of someone, a spectral body of some sort. He had to look away because it was too bright but he could still feel them there. And then one of their hands reached out and travelled down his arm to encircle his own, which was still grasping the handle of his blade. As they did, the light seemed to sink into him, moving through him and infusing into the steel, which began to take on an ethereal glow.
The light then began to disappear, evaporating as quickly as it had come, yet left him with its gift, an unexplainable feeling of protection.
He lifted the sword, power emanating from it. It felt almost like that of the sacred blade he had once mastered, but it wasn't quite the same, and there was no telling how long the effect would last. Regardless, he wasn't completely defenceless now, and that in itself was a blessing.
Link turned his attention back to his opponent, who'd been watching the brief exchange with a dry sort of curiosity, but soon he'd regained itself. Tannin hefted the demon blade and the human braced himself.
The battle had begun.
The immense dark blade came crashing down to meet his own light infused one and the impact was staggering. He was forced back several feet even as he tried to hold his ground, his feet digging rivets in the snow. He gave a cry through his clenched teeth, somewhat surprised to find himself still standing. It was good to know Her protection was working.
With a burst of confidence he dashed forwards once he'd steadied himself, fending off Tannin's strikes. The demon had an intense air of displeasure about him, though his expression betrayed nothing - though it was hard to tell with his mask covering half his face. Link's eyes blazed as he fought, the hollow clanging of metal echoing around the clearing, amplified by the energy the two blades possessed. The snow whipped up around them in a whirlwind that stung his exposed skin.
He growled as Tannin matched him easily. The demon may have been wielding a bulkier sword but his strength exceeded the hero's, who was already fatigued with the events of the day. Link wasn't getting anywhere by slinging his weight at his opponent and hoping for an opening, so he backed off, leaping out of the fray.
They circled each other, Link's jaw firmly set. He'd come too far to be killed now, so close to the gate. And Ghirahim... what he'd done to Ghirahim was just.
Link glared at Tannin. He remembered Demise, how the fiery behemoth of a man so callously cast his spirit aside in favour of the blade sheathed within. Even back then it had unnerved him. Something about the whole exchange had never sat quite right with him, and even if he hadn't personally witnessed it this time that feeling increased tenfold.
Tannin seemed to be considering him, his mouth moving oddly.
"I see now..." he said, recognition flitting over what features Link could see. "It was Ghirahim who let the First escape, the demon lord was the traitor in our midst after all... and yet he tried to pin the blame on me... How clever."
Link's gaze remained steely. He didn't care about his past life at the moment, all that mattered was the present. If Tannin thought he could hurt him with it again he could forget it.
The hero shot forward unexpectedly, but the demon was quick to defend. He continued speaking, unfazed, even as their blades ground together.
Then again, Link thought with resentment, that sword didn't truly belong to him.
"It matters not. The fate of this realm rests with me now and our lord cannot break from my clutches. I doubt he's even conscious now, but if he is I sincerely hope he feels this."
Tannin shoved hard and nearly forced Link off balance, sparks flying off of the opposing metals. The screech the friction produced made was horrible. Link jumped back again, shock written all over his features.
He hadn't thought of it last time, he hadn't even considered, how it must have felt for a sword spirit. If Ghirahim or Fi could even feel anything while in those forms was debateable. Fi had never seemed affected, but then again she never seemed to feel much of anything at all, but Ghirahim...
Tannin took advantage of his momentary lapse, an actual grin curving his lips as he leapt forwards. Link had to throw himself to the side to avoid being cleaved in half but as soon as he rose again, the demon was upon him. He blocked another strike, holy light flaring up where it met the dark steel. He grimaced.
Ghirahim would have to tough it out if either of them wanted to get out of this.
"You know, I really did enjoy the time I spent with your past incarnation." Tannin said suddenly. Link's skin crawled as the past hero's memories - his memories - tried to resurface. He knew the demon was just trying to throw him off, make him lose his balance. He wasn't going to let it. "It's a shame Ghirahim's meddling had to cut it short. Just how long were you too conspiring together, I wonder?"
Link opened his mouth to respond, but his words turned to a cry of shock as tendrils of darkness shot towards him. Tannin had changed tactics, directing his magic towards the human, apparently having realized he was getting no where with that blessed blade in the way. The hero tensed, prepared to slash away at the tendrils, but before he got the chance to they were seared away by an invisible barrier of light.
Link looked shock, then elated. Tannin's expression remained blank but his aura reeked of displeasure.
Hylia's blessing had done more than strengthen his sword it seemed.
Link's bravado began to fade as the assault of malicious energy continued, and even as he watched he could see the light growing weaker with every strike it fended off.
How long would it hold out? How long would he last without it?
With renewed resolve, Link threw himself forwards, a cry tearing from his lungs. His blade met with Tannin's stolen once more.
Lightning flashed above, igniting the rolling storm clouds and casting its jagged reflection over the endless expanse of water beneath their feet.
The breath felt like it had been torn from him. Link jerked back like he could still feel the current running through the demon king's blade. What was happening? Why flashbacks now, of all times? He looked across from him, spotting Tannin looking smug, the eye-holes of his mask blazing.
For a moment Link thought he was staring into a very different set of eyes.
No, this couldn't be happening now.
Link shook his head. He was in the demon realm not-
Lightning flashed again.
The scene took over his vision. Link tried to remind himself that it wasn't real, that his own memories were just being turned against him, that it was just an illusion, but suddenly he stood before Demise. The demon king towered over him, raised his blade above his head and brought it down. Link threw himself to the side to avoid the crackling energy, but he was too late. Pain jolted through him, and the demon king grinned, taking the opportunity to lung forward and slash across his chest, leaving him with a scar that would never quite heal.
Link cried out and jerked back. In the real world he'd been struck by the very same blade, but Tannin was the one wielding it this time. He hadn't been able to move fast enough, it had slashed across the junction of his shoulder. The wound wasn't major but it did hurt, blood staining the front of his tunic.
Tannin laughed. It was an unsettling sound. "What are you seeing, I wonder?"
"You mean you don't know?" Link spat back at him, pressing his hand to the gash.
"I'm not a mind reader, little hero. I only grab what reeks of trauma and bring it back to the surface."
Link didn't respond, he just shook his head, though it was reassuring to know that Tannin couldn't actually see into his memories. He needed to focus, but it was so hard when he could still hear the roll of thunder overhead, echoing from the past.
The behemoth of a demon charged at him once more and the two exchanged blows, the impact of them reverberating through Link's form. He was fighting so hard, bent under the weight of the consequences should he lose, of what was at stake. He didn't stop, he couldn't stop, even as his tired limbs screamed in protest, even as the rain fell into his eyes and obscured his vision.
He had to win... for Zelda... for everyone.
Lightning flashed again, split the air around him.
But then Link realized it wasn't lightning this time. The holy shield that had been embracing him shattered with one final blow from the demon. The forest spun, the sky slowly tilting above him for one single moment of serenity before it all came crashing down. He hit the ground hard, something in his shoulder cracking with the impact, the breath driven from him instantaneously. His sword landed a few feet from his outstretched fingers, light flickering weakly with all it had left. He lay there, managing a feeble noise that barely counted as a cough, unable to move. It felt as though all the will had been drained from him, leaving him with nothing but the dull ache of pain - he felt disconnected.
It was silent, but then there were footsteps leisurely drawing closer to his prone form. From the edge of his vision, Link saw a dark silhouette drawing closer. He sluggishly drew himself up, but it was so hard to get his limbs to obey, the fatigue cresting within him. Why was it so hard to move?
A foot firmly planted itself on his chest and forced him back down to the snow. He groaned in protest, struggling weakly, his hands coming up to pry at the boot, but he was trapped. Above him Tannin raised the blade, poised to strike down.
"End of the line."
Link shut his eyes. For some reason, he wasn't scared. In the place of fear there was just a hollowness, a whisper that he was going to die.
He waited for the blow that would end his life-
Seconds ticked by, agonizingly slow, and it never came.
-Ghirahim's will leaves Tannin unable to deliver the final blow. Link uses the opportunity to disarm him and take Ghirahim's blade for himself. He finishes off Tannin. He and Ghirahim share a conversation.
There was a flash of light and something spun out of the blade's handle. Link watched in amazement as the dark spirit landed on the snow covered ground several feet away. The form wavered for a moment, and then became the pale and clothed demon the human was more familiar with. Ghirahim was kneeling, facing away from Link, the trails of his crimson mantle elegantly spread along the ground. He remained in that position for a moment before he rose to his feet, raising his arms - no longer covered in cracks - up before himself and examining them.
Silence hung heavy in the air, and then finally the demon lord spoke.
"Well, this certainly is interesting..." He seemed to be talking more to himself than Link. And then he started to chuckle, a slow and terribly amused sound.
"What is...?" Link asked tentatively. He had no idea what had just happened, but if the demon's mood were anything to go by, it could either have been something very bad or very good.
Ghirahim stopped chuckling, sighing whimsically as he turned to the human, and Link could see he was entirely free of the markings previously covering his porcelain skin.
"The blade altered its form, moulding to your needs..." He said, motioning to the sword resting in Link's sheath. "That is something that only happens when it has recognized a new master."
Link's jaw fell.
"I-" He couldn't form words. This didn't feel anything like what he had with Fi... or what he'd had. It was just... that type of bond with Ghirahim? Really? He couldn't wrap his head around it. "No way, that's impossible! I didn't even mean to... I can't be-"
"And yet you are... I can feel it." "And I'm sure you can as well..." "Pitiful little upstart he was, thinking he could take the Demise's place... I would've been furious if you'd lost to him." "Oh, pick your jaw up off the ground, boy. I won't have my master looking like some common fool, but I suppose that's tragically unavoidable at this point..."
Link gave him a strange, somewhat cautious look. He seemed almost giddy, which made Link weary given his unpredictable nature. Still, he wasn't throwing any sort of tantrum so that was a good sign at least.
"You're not... angry."
"I'm too bemused to be angry at the moment..." Ghirahim's face suddenly sobered. "But nevermind that for the time," "we need to secure the gate. Come, it's not far from here."
-Ghirahim and Link arrive in the chamber with the gate.
"It doesn't look... damaged."
"Tell the Sheikah not to tamper with the gate, they should be warned of how unpredictable the effects of doing so could be. There's no point in me crossing, my presence will no doubt only rile them up now. We'll have to come to a further compromise... later." "Feeling a bit sentimental, are we?"
"It ends here... for all of us." -Said by Raiza.
-Raiza appears at the end of the short hall, beaten and worn, determined to go out with a blast. His form disintegrates as he takes one last shot at killing them both and fire floods the space, trapping them both.
-A pair of arms wrap around Link's waist as Sheik arrives in the nick of time to pull him through the gate, leaving Ghirahim's fate unknown. The gate is in ruins when they emerge on the other side.
"Count your blessings, hero... The gods really are looking out for you."
-At the viewing platform, Faron woods. Link is alone gazing out at the forest. Ghirahim appears.
"Have you finally rid yourself of your demons, I wonder?"
"All but one."
"Come now, you couldn't get rid of me even if you wanted to."
"I thought you were dead." "How...?"
"Do you honestly believe a little fire will kill me? I'm insulted you think me so frail."
"But the gate..."
"Are you truly so convinced I'm a mirage, boy?" "Though I don't blame you of course. I'm a bit perplexed myself as to how I can exist in this realm as well as the realm below." "I suppose it isn't such a mystery... These worlds aren't so separate as much as Hylia willed to cleave them." "There will always be cracks to slip through..."
"I don't know if I can be your..."
"Master..." "It would be a bit presumptuous for you to think of me as a servant. I feel it doesn't quite encompass the... nature of our relationship."
"Do you want the blade back?"
"No." "It's safer here than in the realm below, and returning it to me wouldn't automatically denounce me as your..." "Once the bond has been formed it can be broken only by death. All things considered, the blade is yours, and I am in your servitude."
"I didn't mean for this to happen."
"I didn't either but somehow I suspected it would."
"There was always something between us... a connection that only grew stronger and stronger with every trial we were forced through... and here is where it's lead us." "Come to think of it, perhaps that was why Tannin could not wield my blade... another had already won its allegiance." "Demise made me a powerful weapon, but in doing so made me as vulnerable as I am strong. I realize now I can never truly rid myself of this part of me, but at the very least I can leave it in the hands of someone worthy." "The question is whether or not you will accept it."
"Wonderful." "The gate isn't completely destroyed as far as I can tell, merely heavily damaged. I suppose we'll have to figure out what to do with it eventually." "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a realm to straighten out, and you likely never want to see me again, so I'll be taking my leave now."
"Ghirahim." "I may not understand everything that happened, and a part of me doesn't want to understand, but..." "I do know that I am nothing like Demise and that I don't want this to be the end." "We've been through... more than I ever could have imagined and I..." "I care about you."
"We'll be in touch, sky child." "And Link," "... Take care of yourself."