Christopher Ng

Another day, another fanfic. This one from Zelda, of all things, somewhere between Ocarina and Majora in terms of time. I still don't understand why it's called The Legend Of Zelda when it's actually about Link. I mean, Majora's Mask doesn't involve Zelda at all!

In any case, here we go. Apologies to those who think Link should act differently; and apologies to those hoping for a different name. I rather like "Link."

And to those who complain about rewriting scenes from games--I'm sorry, but the Zelda-flashback from Majora's Mask was just horrible, and I couldn't bring myself to include it. Not that I even remember the dialogue--or monologue, rather.

Ocarina notes danced and twined on the air, forming themselves like spinning fireflies into a spell--one that flared, burst, died; scattered away, green embers dancing silently on the wind. Link tucked the light blue instrument back into his pockets as Zelda came forward to look around.

Zelda frowned. "What place is this?" she asked.

"It's the Forest Temple," said Link. "We're deep in Kokiri now."

He leapt away from the stone circle--Zelda looked down at it and saw the Triforce emblem emblazed on it, six feet wide; superimposed upon it was a curious starburst, six spokes like teardrops with their tips meeting.

"Oh," she said, "I recognize that! That's the sigil of the forest!"

Link said, "Well, yes, that would be what we'd find in the forest, right?"

Zelda counseled herself not to take offense at his laughing tone. He's already saved the entire realm, she thought. He has a right to make fun of people, even the Princess of Hyrule.

Link, for himself, was still having trouble remembering that people didn't remember what had happened--Ganon; the Triforce; the ruined future of seven years. But then, he reflected, gazing at his stub-limbed child's body, it made sense; after all, that future hadn't happened.

But if he remembered it, why didn't everyone else?

Maybe it's 'cause I'm the Hero of Time, he thought.

Zelda stepped off of the stone platform and onto the silent grass of the courtyard. Faint rustles of wind stirred the towering trees; a bird fluttered across the sky in a flurry of wingbeats and tweeted exclamations. And other than that, the entire courtyard was silent. Except for her own footfalls; Link made nary a sound as he dashed away to the other end of the courtyard, to a stump flattened and smoothed by the rear ends of the generations upon generations that had sat upon it.

Carefully, feeling completely out of place, Zelda followed him.

Link was standing under a stone balcony, staring up at the single branch of a leafless tree--it arced up over the balcony, a stooped protecting guardian. "By the Great Tree, I wish I had my Hookshot. Then I could take you up there. I wonder what the inside looks like right now."

Zelda smiled. "Link, that Hookshot is too big for your hand. You'd likely not be able to hold onto it, and we'd lose it up in that tree."

"I know," he said, "but I wish. Hey, did I ever tell you about the time when I fought Ganon's Shadow? It was right here in this temple--"

"Yes," Zelda said, smiling at his enthusiasm, "you did. Several times."

Link smiled; he knew that. But his eyes watched the tree, and he sighed.

Zelda tilted her head, watching her friend watch the tree.

"Link..." she said.

He turned, looked back at her. He wore Kokiri clothing; despite his Hylian heritage, he thought and acted just like a Kokiri--and dressed like one as well. His sword rattled when he moved, his shield shifted. Zelda thought his pointy ears were the cutest things she had ever seen.

His eyes were dark; she felt like she could see and understand every thought behind them.

"What?" he said.

Unable to explain, she opened her mouth wordlessly, said nothing.

"Oh, don't start with that again!" Link cried, flinging himself at the stump-seat. He fit into the hollow depressions as if it were made for him. His voice took on a mimicking note. " 'Link, I know we've only known each other for a year, but sometimes I feel like I've known you forever--' "

"It's the truth!" Zelda protested.

"I don't like people looking inside my head!" Link shouted.

He sighed, shuffled, looked away.

Zelda watched him, his anger, his reluctant form, and thought: The Goddesses could not have been thinking, to put the fate of the world on us. We're only children. We're only children!

Link looked up again. They had come straight from the castle--Zelda still wore that pink-and-white dress he always found her in. She didn't seem to own any other clothes. With her hair hidden by that headwrap and her tilted, dark eyes, she seemed strangely innocent--strangely wise.

"Do you remember the time," he said, "when Ganon showed up?"

Zelda had tensed at his first words--Not another story! But hearing the rest of the sentence, she nodded. "It was... A year ago. About."

Link nodded. "There he was, the King of Evil, right there in your father's throne room." His voice was reflective, quiet, with none of his normal boastfulness. "I had to do it once before, before I drew the Master Sword, but-- Goddesses, it scared me to see him there." He shuddered. "You said, 'That man... I'm sure he means evil.' "

Zelda nodded. "And you said, 'You've got that right.' "

"I thought we'd never convince your father to lock him up," Link said.

Zelda moved over to sit beside him on the stump. "It helped that you still had the Kokiri Emerald. Father always listens to the Great Deku Tree, and when he saw that--" She smiled, small and amused. "I thought his eyes would drop out of his head, seeing a little kid holding it."

Link nodded. "Ganon was blustering like crazy--You know, I half thought he'd haul off and just attack us, right then and there. You and I both would've been dead, and the kingdom--"

"Would we?" Zelda shifted her skirts to face him. "Link, you may be small, but you're still a better swordsman than any of my father's soldiers--"

"Against swords, yes, but not against magic," Link said. "And Ganon doesn't use swords. He throws lightning, or worse. And no Master Sword to save us."

"Not that you could handle it," Zelda said with an amused smile. "It's taller than you are."

"Maybe both of us could swing it," Link said, brightening a little.

Zelda giggled. "Two kids weilding the Master Sword, trying to kill Ganon in the middle of the Hylian Throne Room. That would've been a sight to see."

Link nodded, smiling. "Except that it probably wouldn't've gotten us anywhere... I doubt we could've swung it properly. You have to be fast to knock back those blasts of lightning."

Zelda nodded. "Well, what about the Light Arrows?"

Link shrugged. He still wasn't entirely sure why his entire inventory of weapons and armor hadn't disappeared when he'd replaced the Master Sword for the final time, but he was glad he hadn't lost the Light Arrows. "No bow," he replied. "Can't fire 'em."

"Well, we didn't need to anyway," Zelda said.

"If his eyes had fallen out when he saw the Emerald," Link said, "what would've dropped off his face when you pulled out those Arrows?"

Zelda considered that. "Maybe his mustache," she said gravely.

Link smiled.

"And now he's no more," Zelda said. "Ganon, the King of Evil--"

Link made a slicing motion across his own throat.

"--Dead," Zelda finished with infinite satisfaction. "Beheaded by--What's his name? Urgho or something..."

Link thought. "Gabora," he said.

"That's right," Zelda replied. "They had to pull him in from another county, I think... Some place way beyond Death Mountain, I think."

"And our job done," Link said.

Zelda nodded.

They sat such, in their companionship, for several moments. And Link thought that, despite it all, maybe he did know Zelda as well as she knew him--after all, seven years of experience did lend one quite a bit of knowledge.

"How did you find this place," Zelda asked.

"Saria showed it to me," Link said absently. Saria... Tending the Deku Sprout, now, with no real idea of the fact that she was actually a Sage, actually so much more than a tender of Deku Sprouts. Link had decided not to tell her, nor Darunia nor any of the others. Now that Ganon was dead and the need for them gone he wasn't even sure if they would still be Sages.

"Oh," Zelda said. She stuck her hand into the pocket sewn onto her skirts, feeling the hard lump hidden there.

"It was a secret," Link continued, oblivious to her musings. "I don't think I was ever supposed to show anyone this place."

Zelda said, "Why did you bring me here, then?"

Link was silent for a few moments, watching the grass wave in the gentle breeze.

"I'm leaving," he said at last.

Zelda tilted her head. "To where?" she asked.

Link shrugged. He flung a hand wide; his gesture encompassed the whole wide world.

"Out there," he said.

Zelda turned to follow his gaze--to the world, the whole rest of it outside of Hylia-- There was so much more.

"I don't belong here," he said, "not really, because something's calling me. There's more out there, more things I have to do--"

"Link," she said, "you're a hero. You saved Hylia--twice, even if people only know about the second time. You and I couldn't've saved Hylia this time unless you had done it already. You don't have to keep being a hero."

"Don't I?" Link asked darkly. "It's a pull, it's a call, Zelda, I can feel it. Always..." His head turned back--away, to the outside world.

To the more.

"I have to go," he said.

Zelda watched him watch the horizon for a few moments, and then sighed.

"When," she asked.

"Now," he said.

"When will you be back," she asked.

"I don't know," he said. "I'm only bringing what I have with me--" The Kokiri sword; the metal shield he had had made in a size that he could actually use; Saria's ocarina, that he held now in his hand. "--that and Epona. And some food and a tent, maybe. We'll be all right."

"No Light Arrows," Zelda asked. "No Hookshot? None of those things?"

Link shook his head smiling. "I can't use the Hookshot, remember?" His face sovered. "And anyway, if more trouble happens, you'll probably need them more than I will."

Meaning: I don't know when I'll be back, or even if.

Zelda sighed.

She reached over and took the battered blue ocarina from his hand, and in the same motion replaced it with the harder darker one she had brought with her, that one special ocarina with the Triforce on its barrel.

"Here," she said. "I think you'll need this."

Link met her eyes. Without that Ocarina, the Royal Family of Hyrule was just another noble house. For her to sacrifice it...

"I'll bring it back," he said. "I promise."

Zelda nodded. "May the Goddess of Time bless you, Link," she said.

"I'd reply the same," Link said, "but I think you'll be fine without Her anyway." He smiled, his old self-assured grin, and she smiled back.

"We'd better get back to the castle," Zelda said, "Father will be wondering where I am, and wasn't the Gerudo Embassador coming for dinner soon? If I'm not there--"

Link was already bringing the Ocarina to his lips.