Disclaimer: I dont want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other peoples characters so - The Legend of Zelda, Link, Zelda, Ganon, Hyrule and other related characters and settings belong to to that wonderous console company, Nintendo. No infringement intended.
Juliet A. Singleton (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Kirsty Singleton (email@example.com)
A little later on in the afternoon, Zelda went up to the nursery to check on Brianna. Apart from her daughter and Raymundo, the room was empty, the other children attending lessons in the schoolroom with Impa. The princess smiled down at her youngest child, who had recently celebrated her first birthday. The babe was sleeping peacefully and she reached down into the crib to hold her in her arms.
"You're so pretty Brianna," she murmured to her daughter, gently ruffling the mass of blonde curls upon her tiny head. She wandered over to a comfy chair and sat down, cradling the infant close to her breast. Zelda was relieved that Brianna was asleep, for when she was awake, sometimes she did nothing but cry. She was so different to Ewan, the first few months had been tiring, but now she seemed to be a little more content. Sometimes Zelda wondered if a child as young as Brianna could pick up on emotional stress around her. Probably so, she mused, thinking back to when Brianna had been born, a little over a year ago. In the aftermath of the Great War against Ganondorf. But even after defeating the evil Gerudo mage, Hyrule had been further rocked by the unleashing of the Nightmares; malevolent spirits who had caused many of them to act irrationally. Zelda knew well enough, she had been one of them. Or had she? She had tried so many times to attempt to change herself, to be more controlled, more understanding, more tolerant. She felt ashamed when she considered the childish way she had acted over Leigh, but whenever she considered the beautiful avatar, those old feelings of jealously and insecurity surfaced. How could she ever be a good ruler of Hyrule, when she acted in such a way towards people? Looking down at Brianna again, she spoke softly to her.
"You'll never be like me, you'll be as kind and wonderful as your father," she murmured, tears springing to her eyes as she did so. Because of how she had acted, she had pushed Link into the arms of another. To that Fayzie. And Kaibre... Kaibre, she couldn't even bear to think about. She managed to choke back a sob, quickly wiping her eyes before the tears threatened to fall. "I'm so, so stupid Brianna, I don't deserve to have so much in my life that is so incredibly wonderful," she said sadly.
A creak of the door made Zelda look up and notice Fayette walking into the room in one of her usual, flouncy gowns. Her step-sister scowled upon seeing her and walked over to where Raymundo was laughing and kicking energetically in his crib.
"You really brighten up the place Zelda, do you know that?" she remarked sarcastically.
"Like you're a proper ray of sunshine either!" Zelda retorted, feeling angry. Fayette raised an eyebrow and stared at her.
"Like I can be happy, after all the trauma I've been through!" she snapped, before resuming her attention to Raymundo, leaning down to tickle him playfully. Zelda frowned and shook her head to herself.
"I didn't ask for your company, Faye," she remarked, her tone acerbic. Fayette ceased her play with Raymundo and looked round at her again, her pale blue eyes like ice.
"Do you know how much I hate you Zelda? Whenever something goes wrong in your life, you somehow, by some miracle, pull it all back together! Me, I'm not so lucky!" she exclaimed angrily.
"Oh shut up Faye," Zelda answered, finally losing her patience. Fayette stamped over, looking furious.
"You're telling ME, to shut up!?" she demanded.
"You heard me. Look Faye, I really can't be bothered with this right now, I have more important things to worry about," Zelda said shortly, standing up from the chair, still holding Brianna tightly in her arms.
"What? Like where your husband has disappeared off to?" Fayette suddenly sneered. "What's the matter Zelda, worried in case he's gone running back to that peasant girl lover of his?" she said bitingly. Zelda closed her eyes for a moment, trying to remain calm.
"Fayette," she said, her teeth gritted, "how many times have I told you, to keep your nasty little mouth shut? Will you ever learn?"
"But it's true, isn't it?" Fayette pressed. "I warned you didn't I, I warned you all those years ago about him and you didn't listen!"
"You have no idea what you're talking about! You know nothing about this, only what you think you know!" Zelda exclaimed. She felt the overwhelming urge to snap entirely at her stepsister, to tell her than Kendar had not been quite so perfect as she imagined. But she stopped, knowing it would only make things worse. Fayette had loved Kendar, she knew, and to tell her the truth about her ex-suitor was simply too cruel. At that moment, Brianna suddenly woke up, wailing quite loudly, her little arms beginning to flail. Zelda let out a sigh of frustration, cuddling Brianna closer to her in an attempt to calm her. Fayette just eyed her critically.
"Babies can sense discontent you know!" she remarked coldly.
"Then I pity your children!" Zelda snapped, still trying to calm Brianna. Fayette just scowled.
"You should be more gentle with her, you're holding her too tight and she feels smothered!" she commented, before turning away to attend to her own child. Zelda just stood and stared at her step-sister for a moment, slowly bringing Brianna to rest comfortingly against her shoulder. It was clear that Fayette was now ignoring her. She turned on her heel and fled the room before anything else was said.
Brianna was still crying as she walked out into the second floor gallery and descended two flights back down to the Great Hall. Pausing by the staircase she peered down at Brianna, stroking her on the head gently.
"What's wrong, please don't cry, I want you to be happy," she said softly, fervently wishing that Impa was around. She always seemed to know how to make everything right. At this time of the day, the vast room was nearly always empty, save a few servants passing through on their daily errands. However at that moment her father passed through the room, perhaps on his way to the Drawing Room to spend time with Fenella after one of his council meetings. He smiled upon seeing his daughter and granddaughter and came over.
"And what's the matter with this little one?" he asked in a fond voice, smiling down at Brianna and tickling her to try and make her laugh.
"Oh dad, she just won't stop crying," Zelda sighed. "She never cries like this with Impa... or Link."
"She's just a little cranky... a little like you as a baby, if I recall," Harkinian smiled, reaching over to hold Brianna in his arms. Frustratingly, she stopped crying almost straight away, instead suddenly gurgling happily. The King beamed with happiness, speaking affectionately to his granddaughter. Zelda turned away, folding her arms, wondering what she was doing wrong. Maybe she just hates me, I wouldn't blame her, she thought to herself sadly. She had never had such trouble with Ewan. Perhaps Fayette's scathing criticism had been correct. Her step-sister was a perfect mother, her children always seemed happy and content. Zelda tried hard, but perhaps she didn't always do things right. She sighed again, looking back at her father, who was still playing affectionately with a laughing Brianna.
"She's so like you when you were a baby Zelda," he commented.
"I cried a lot?" Zelda asked wryly.
"No, you just liked a lot of attention," the King chuckled, his eyes twinkling. "I was hoping to find you actually," he added.
"Oh?" Zelda asked. "Did you forget to tell me something this morning?" The King shook his head.
"I just finished up on a small council meeting and we've made the decision to travel over to Catalia tomorrow," he explained.
"Travel to Catalia? But why?" she questioned, looking nervous.
"My dear, there is so much to sort out! We have yet to appoint a suitable leader, and Seline's affairs must be attended to. Her wealth must be protected, or at very least, distributed evenly throughout the kingdom. I shall be taking Link and Sir Drake with me, of course," Harkinian stated. Zelda's face fell.
"Link? But what about me?" she asked.
"Zelda, you have to stay here and look after things. There is no need for you to come as well," the King answered. He rubbed her on the shoulder comfortingly. "Do not fret dear, remember, you need to be here for the little ones," he said, looking down at Brianna again. "And of course, the Kingdom."
"I guess," Zelda muttered, although she wasn't very happy. "Is it really a good idea to take Link?" she added. "After what has happened... he might not really want to go..."
"On the contrary, I think it is most important that Link accompanies me. As a native Catalian, I'm sure he will want a say in how things should be run over there," Harkinian replied firmly.
"Does he even know about this?" she questioned, feeling convinced that her husband didn't. He would have certainly almost mentioned it, she was sure.
"I shall tell him when he returns back to North Castle, along with Drake. They are both out on business, I presume," the King said. Zelda shrugged.
"He said he was going for a walk... that was this morning. I haven't seen him since," she admitted. "And Drake, well, I haven't seen him either all day."
"No matter, although you will have to inform them if they haven't arrived back by dinner tonight, which I'm sure they shall."
"Why?" Zelda asked.
"Well, Fen and I are taking a trip to Mido to the theatre. There's rather a good play going on there at the moment, I've heard," Harkinian smiled.
"I wouldn't know," Zelda answered. She hadn't been paying attention much to anything lately, she mused.
"I'm sure it will give you a good opportunity to spend some time alone with Link," the King smiled. Zelda blushed.
"Oh, dad!" she exclaimed, embarrassed.
"Well, we might be a few days, of course you can keep yourself busy preparing for the war memorial next week," her father replied.
"We went over that this morning," Zelda protested.
"There's a few things that I'm sure need to be finalised. I know I can rely upon you," Harkinian said, smiling at her. He gave Brianna a little kiss on the forehead and gently passed her back to her mother. "My ship is posted at Saria, we will leave after breakfast." Zelda nodded.
"I'll tell Link," she promised. Harkinian pulled her close for a hug and kissed her on the forehead also.
"Good girl," he smiled kindly, before heading off towards the staircase, leaving Zelda alone in the Great Hall once again.
Zelda waited impatiently all evening for Link to return. Even by dinner, he hadn't arrived and she was growing frustrated. She stopped Drake after the meal, but he just gave her an irritated growl.
"I haven't seen him, Your Highness," he said shortly, before turning to walk away. Zelda wasn't used to him being so rude and she wondered what was wrong with the knight. Feeling ultimately defeated though, she went upstairs to her bedroom, rather than bothering to socialise with Fayette in the Drawing Room. She supposed that the peace would give her some time to work on her eulogy speech and so the princess cleared a space on her desk to attempt to do some more work whilst she waited for the maids to heat up some water in her father's plunge pool bath.
An hour or so later, she headed down the tower again and into the main part of the castle, her hair tied up in a high ponytail and dressed in a silk robe. A nice, hot bath always calmed her down. As she headed along the gallery though, she heard the clank of the heavy oak doors down in the Great Hall opening and she peered down over the rail into the hall below, noticing Link finally coming home. She frowned upon noticing him, wondering where in Hyrule that he'd been for all this time. Then she smiled to herself, remember what her father had said earlier about using his absence to spend some time alone with Link. Perhaps he had a point. She leaned down over the rail a little and called down to him, her voice echoing through the vast chamber.
"Link! Link, I've been waiting for you all day! Come up here!" she said. He glanced up at her, looking a little weary.
"Oh Zel, I think I might go and get an early night," he called back.
"But it's not even ten yet, come on, we can still have an early night," she answered, frowning a little at his obvious reluctance to be anywhere near her. Just like this morning. However he seemed to relent, quickly walking up two flights of stairs to meet her. As he approached she noticed that he looked quite tired. "Link, where have you been all day? I've been worried sick!" she exclaimed. He shrugged.
"Nowhere, really," he admitted. "I was just walking about."
"All day?" she asked, looking slightly incredulous.
"Are you bathing?" he asked, suddenly taking in her appearance. She nodded.
"Yes... I... well... I was going to but..."
"Oh well, I'll leave you to it. Don't want that water to get too cold for you," the hero interrupted, giving her a small smile. Zelda lowered her eyes a little and then smiled back at him.
"Y'know Link, my father and Fenella have gone out to the theatre tonight, that bath doesn't matter, we could..." He suddenly gave her his first genuine smile of the day, leaning forward to give her a kiss.
"Zel... I love you so much... don't ever forget that," he murmured, between kisses. "I did some serious thinking today, and maybe I still haven't sorted myself out, but I've always had you there and never realised it. I'm really sorry that I pushed you away this morning, it's just that I..." he paused, looking troubled again.
"Link... you know I want things to be back to normal between us. In every way," she replied, running a hand through his hair and then down to rest upon his cheek. "I've been so worried about you all day. I just want you to be happy again."
"I know," Link answered, pulling her closer into a hug. "I want you to be happy too, Zel."
"I am," she affirmed, gazing up at him. "So long as we're together."
"We'll never be apart again. I promise," he said softly, meeting her in another kiss.
"Well, well, well," came a sarcastic voice, interrupting their private reverie for a moment. The pair turned to notice Fayette emerging from the nursery, evidently checking that her children had all settled for the night.
"Fayette, do you mind?" Zelda said coldly, still not forgiving her step-sister for her words earlier.
"Actually, yes I do mind. Having to put up with you two all over each other like nothing has happened, it really is the epitome of disgrace!" Fayette retorted, her pretty face spoilt by her unpleasant frown.
"No problem Fayette, we were just about to leave anyway," Link said quickly, looking uncomfortable at his step-sister-in-law's words.
"Where have you been anyway? Away to see that peasant girl of yours, I suppose," Fayette continued nastily.
"Oh yeah, like I could really have gone all the way to East Hyrule and back in a day. And as if I would!" Link snapped angrily. He glared at Fayette in intense dislike whilst she gave him an equally disdainful stare.
"If you'd been my husband," she continued in the same, snide tone, "I would have had you out on your ear by now."
"Thank goodness I'm not," Link muttered, sticking his hands in his pockets.
"I always knew you couldn't be trusted. But of course, it all comes down to breeding, I couldn't expect a peasant like yourself to know any better," Fayette added, smirking. Link turned away, attempting to contain his anger, but Zelda wasn't quite so controlled.
"You!" she exclaimed furiously. "You take that back, you apologise to Link now!"
"Why? I'm only speaking the truth, and you know it Zelda," Fayette announced calmly, still smiling spitefully. "Stop making allowances for him, Hyrule knows, everyone else has done it enough times. Personally, I wouldn't have put up with it."
"Oh for goodness sake Faye, people have made enough allowances for you!" Zelda retorted. "We don't even want you here, it's only because of your mother that you still are!" Fayette narrowed her eyes, finally looking angry.
"Keep deluding yourself then, and don't come crying to me when it all goes wrong - again!" she snapped.
The advent of footsteps upon the stairs made the trio turn and they saw Drake enter the gallery, his expression black.
"Can't you lot do anything else but argue? I could hear you all the way up the bloody stairs!" he grumbled.
"I didn't start it," Fayette said, her voice turning sweet.
"I don't bloody care who bloody started it, but you'd think you lot would've grown up by now!" the knight replied shortly, looking at all of them with annoyance.
"Hey, this is nothing to do with me," Link said, holding up his hand.
"On the contrary Link, it has everything to do with you," Fayette cut in, her tone sugary.
"Oh how many times do I have to tell you to just shut up?" Zelda demanded.
"You just can't help yourselves, can you?" Drake said, shaking his head. "There's so many more important things in the world, but all you lot care about is yourselves!"
"Excuse me Sir Drake, you might be an important member of this castle but you really do have no right to..." Fayette started. Drake ignored her and looked over at Link pointedly.
"And you boy ought to go and get some rest for tomorrow. Sleep off all that ale," he said.
"I haven't drank all that much," Link said, looking a little offended.
"Gwen tells me you were in the Red Swan for the better part of the day," the knight pointed out. The hero shrugged.
"I wasn't drinking," he protested.
"Sounds about right, drowning your sorrows," Fayette smirked. Link shot her a look of hatred and then dared a look at Zelda, who wasn't looking too pleased herself.
"You've been at the tavern all day?" she questioned, not caring about the look of sheer delight upon Fayette's face at this new revelation.
"Go and have your bath Zelda, I'm going to do as Drake says and go straight to bed," Link replied, ignoring her question. Zelda turned to look at Drake furiously.
"I asked you if you'd seen him!" she accused. The knight raised his eyebrows.
"I've only just got back from the tavern myself," he replied. “I heard after dinner, not before, else I most certainly would have reliably informed you, Your Highness." He emphasised her title sarcastically, making her even more furious.
"What in Hyrule's name is wrong with everybody today?" she fumed.
"I was beginning to wonder that myself," Fayette put in.
"Oh shut up," Zelda snapped irritably, finally tiring of her step-sister.
"Both of you shut up," Drake said a little rudely. "It's all you ever bloody do, so if you can't be bloody well nice to each other, why don't you just not bother to say anything at all?"
"Well, really!" Fayette huffed. "People in this castle just don't know their place!" she exclaimed, before stomping off up the hallway.
"Good riddance," Drake called after her. He turned back to Link and Zelda. "And you two, you're just as bad," he added.
"Before you intervened, things were fine," Link remarked darkly.
"Maybe it was good job he did!" Zelda exclaimed. Drake shook his head.
"I bloody well give up, you kids just don't even learn, do you?" he said, before proceeding to walk away along the corridor towards his quarters.
Link walked off also, leaving Zelda stood alone in the gallery but suddenly a bath didn't seem such a good idea anymore. She felt bad about the maids having wasted their time but right now, it seemed more important to speak to Link. She quickly hurried after him, catching him up just as he entered the Northeast tower.
"Link... we need to talk," she said breathlessly, catching hold of his arm.
"Zel... there's nothing else to say," he protested, brushing her hand away and walking up the steps to the summit. She followed him.
"But there is, Link, tomorrow, tomorrow you have to accompany Drake and my father on a trip to Catalia," she quickly explained. He opened the door to their room, holding it back so she could step inside, then closed it quickly behind them.
"What are you talking about?" he said, looking surprised.
"My father has to go over there to sort out Seline's affairs and such... he wants you and Drake to go with him. I said you wouldn't want to, but he insisted," Zelda answered.
"I suppose its my duty," he remarked glumly.
"I wanted our last night together to be special," Zelda sighed, changing the subject. She walked over to her dressing table and sat down, unpinning her hair so that it fell in a beautiful golden cascade down her back and across her shoulders. She watched in the mirror as Link kicked off his boots and discarded his sword and belt down in one corner.
"Well.. it can hardly be that when your husband is little more than a common drunkard," he replied, somewhat bitterly. She sighed again, turning on the stool to face him.
"I never said that," she said.
"Yeah but Fayette good as implied it and Drake... well, he has no room to talk! He's always down at the tavern!" Link exclaimed.
"Since when do you care about what Fayette thinks? And as for Drake, well I don't know what's up with him lately," Zelda replied. Link shrugged.
"Me either," he admitted. "Seems like he has something on his mind."
"Rather like you," Zelda pointed out. Link just looked down and quickly pulled off his tunic, putting it over the back of a nearby chair. Zelda stood up again. "Link, when are you going to talk to me about this?"
"To be honest Zel, I don't really know what to say," he admitted, sinking down on the bed, undoing his shirt.
"But we used to talk about everything," she said softly, looking hurt. "Everything Link. What changed?" Link sighed.
"That's what I've been trying to work out," he said. "Look, if this is going to be our last night together for a few days you're right Zel, it should be special." She looked at him in surprise.
"I thought you were tired," she stated, her tone verging on cool.
"I am but... I want to be with you. I want you to know that I love you more than anyone or anything in the whole entire world, I don't want you to ever have cause to doubt me again," he said, his words rushing out in a nervous torrent. He rose up from the bed, moving up close to her, pulling her into a longing embrace. "We used to love each other so, so much and I couldn't bear for us to just throw that away. I know I don't deserve you, but I'll fight for you, I'll do anything in this world to prove that I won't ever hurt you again."
"Oh Link I couldn't bear to lose you either, when you left, I felt like I couldn't bear to live, if it hadn't been for Brianna and Ewan, I don't think I would have even cared about my life anymore," Zelda answered in an emotional tone.
"I couldn't have lived without you," Link murmured, slipping his hand beneath her robe, and sliding it off her shoulders to leave her just in a night-dress. "You're my everything Zel, everything I've ever done for Hyrule, I did because of you," he continued, leaning in to plant a gentle kiss on her neck, and then down to her shoulders. She let out an impassioned sigh before pulling him closer for an ardent kiss that left both of them almost breathless. They drew back, gazing into each other's eyes, searching for any trace of doubt but finding none. Looking up at Link, Zelda pushed all thoughts of recent events to the back of her mind, willing herself to forget. Willing herself to forget that Link had loved somebody else other than her, willing herself to forget that she had betrayed him herself, Mara's magic or not, it had happened. His blue eyes were warm and inviting, not one trace of anger, sadness or uncertainty in them. She backed slowly towards the bed, pulling him with her. He was only too willing to oblige.
A short while later they lay happily in each other's arms, cosy under the silken sheets of the vast four-poster bed.
"I think I've fallen in love with you all over again," Link said, leaning in to kiss her hair affectionately. "In fact I love you even more with each passing moment, if that's possible," he added.
"Oh Link, really, you expect me to fall for that?" Zelda laughed, smiling prettily.
"You already did," he pointed out, pushing her playfully down onto the bed and kissing her. When they finally parted she laughed again.
"Oh okay, I can't resist you."
"That's more like it," he smiled. Then his expression turned a little more serious. "You know Zel," he said, running a hand through her long golden hair as he spoke, "I'm really sorry for acting so off with you lately. It wasn't you, it was just me."
"I know you're going through a tough time, I just want to help," she replied, lightly caressing him on the chest. "All those things that happened to you in Catalia... I just assumed you'd be okay, I should have been there for you more." He shook his head.
"You were there for me, I just pushed you away... and I made a mistake," he said softly.
"It was just a mistake," she said in a gentle tone. "We all make mistakes... even heroes."
"But I shouldn't have. I should have known better," he replied, his tone slightly bitter.
"It's over now Link. You have to let it go. For both our sakes," Zelda murmured, leaning in to kiss him once more. The kiss was sweet, yet not devoid of underlying passion. They parted before it grew too intense, smiling at each other.
"Not quite spent yet I see," Link grinned and she hit him playfully on the arm.
"I love you."
"Shut up." They both laughed again, cuddling up close happily. After a short while of contented silence, Link spoke again.
"You know, perhaps this trip is just what I need. Maybe I'll sort myself out," he said.
"Maybe... I wish you weren't going though," Zelda replied.
"I'm sure we won't be away long," Link soothed, rubbing her shoulders comfortingly.
"My father... he's been very insistent on sorting things out as regards Queen Seline. I guess... well I know they used to be friends," she said, suddenly looking thoughtful.
"I wonder what happened for them not to be?" Link mused.
"I have no idea," Zelda replied. Then she said, "Or maybe I do." She recalled what her father had said earlier that day. She'd always had an inkling... no, it couldn't be true, could it? Besides, she'd always assumed that her father had only loved her mother. But he'd said differently and it made almost perfect sense. "I think..." she said, pausing slightly. "I think my father and Queen Seline were once... sweethearts, or whatever you wish to call it." Link glanced at her in surprise.
"How do you know?" he asked.
"It was just something my father once told me," she replied, not actually stating his words. "Seline really hated my father, but I know that years ago they were friendly. Seline used to look after me sometimes... you know, after mother died."
"Do you think that they had a relationship then?" Link questioned. Zelda shook her head.
"No... thing is, sometimes my father had to go off on diplomatic visits and things and so I would go and stay in Catalia with Seline sometimes, but she and my father never really used to talk much then or even spend time together. He told me once that he'd been really in love with someone before my mother..." she trailed off there, looking thoughtful. "I never asked him what happened, and even if he meant Seline. But I think when he told me, he was trying to tell me something," she finished. She felt Link clasp his hand with hers under the covers.
"You think?" he asked, smiling at her.
"Don't you?" she questioned.
"I think your father knows a lot more about love than you've ever perceived," Link replied. He smiled again. "And y'know, although I'm sad for Seline, I'm glad she didn't marry your father. Else I would never have known you," he said.
"I wonder what did happen though?" Zelda said curiously. "I wonder why they never married."
"Maybe that's one thing we'll never know for sure, Zel. Besides, it's not always best to dig up the past," Link replied sensibly.
"You weren't there though, last time I spoke with Seline. She said all this weird stuff about how much she hated my father and all," Zelda argued lightly.
"Probably Robert filling her head with lies," Link reasoned. "Goodness knows what he'd said to get himself in the position he did." The hero let out a small sigh considering his kinsman. Guilt over what had happened as regards the Catalian still plagued him from time to time. "I suppose it's going to be hard work for your father when he goes to Catalia. No wonder he wants me and Drake around," he added.
"I guess," Zelda sighed. "But it leaves me with sorting out the war memorial," she mentioned.
"You'll do a great job Zel," Link smiled. "I know it."
"I'm just rubbish at making speeches though. Remember my summer festival one last year?" They both grinned at each other recalling Zelda's extremely short speech where she had forgotten what she was meant to say.
"Practise makes perfect," the hero replied, still grinning. "But let's not worry about your speech right now, I think we need to work on your private relations a little more," he murmured, pulling her close for another kiss.
"Link!" she protested, giggling a little. He smiled to himself, feeling better than he had done for weeks.
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