Big thanks to Kali-chan for all the support for this little fic I spent two years slaving over. Otherwise I would have dumped it by now.
Now, for the last two chapters of 'Giving up the Most'
Chapter: Fourteen - The Beginning of the End (part two)
Notes: None. THOSE of you interested in reading, PLEASE don't start here. bug me on MSN or something, but this is way past the fic. You won't understand anything.
I never understood…
….how can one person be responsible for the rest of us?
Are we truly that weak?
…I wanted to be the one…
…I wanted to protect the Hero…
“Sheik!” Link yelled as Dark Link pulled out his sword from Sheik’s back. Sheik stumbled and fell onto the ground, grasping his stomach. He whirled and threw a handful of needles at Dark Link, who sidestepped and dodged them. Link drew his sword flung himself on Dark Link. In the background, Ganondorf laughed as the mirror slowly began to chip away.
Dark Link blocked Link’s strike and swept at his feet. Link rolled and got back up immediately. They stared across at each other. Link’s mind was like a whirlwind. Sheik was on the ground, bleeding to death, Dark Link had betrayed. Something he had suspected all along and yet he dropped his guard and how could he have been so foolish?
“Why?” Link choked out, slashing down at him vertically. Dark Link dodged that and tried for a straightforward stab. Link took a step back, avoiding the blow. Link stared at him when he realized he wasn’t going to get a reply. He tightened his grip on his sword and lunged again for the offensive.
But something stopped him. Dark Link’s eyes…were red. Not the black he remembered. Red. Link paused and turned to Ganondorf and spat out, “You’re controlling him!”
Ganondorf smirked, “All creatures here do my bidding. Whether they want to or not.”
Link felt a pit open in his stomach as he watched Dark Link try to attack him from behind. Snap out of it, he wanted to say, but he didn’t know how to break a mind-washing spell. He kept defending himself helplessly. Ganondorf watched, thoroughly amused at the Hero’s antics and watched as the seal slowly peeled itself away. Soon, he will return to Hyrule and take his place.
Link gritted his teeth as he shot a sideline glance at Sheik. Sheik was still alive barely, trying to wrap a bandage around his wound. Blood had soaked through his clothes, turning it a deep ugly purple. Link snarled as he pushed Dark Link back with force and watched as Dark Link circled him predatorily. In his mind, he ran through all the Ocarina melodies he had learned. Zelda’s Lullaby, Epona’s Song…
Those won’t work.
What can I do?
I don’t want to kill him.
Help me, I don’t want to kill him!
And he pulled out his Ocarina as a new song flooded his senses. He played and watched as Dark Link froze. His grip was slack and the Dark Master Sword fell to the ground like a dead weight. Slowly, the red in his eyes was eased out to be replaced by the familiar black Link remembered. Ganondorf snarled in anger, but smirked nevertheless. The damage was done.
“You’re too late Hero,” he gloated, “Look! My seal is already crumbling?”
“How?” Link said, breaking away from the Ocarina as Dark Link collapsed onto the ground near Sheik, “The seal lasts—,”
“As long as the bearers of the Triforce last,” Ganondorf finished, “And one of the Bearers is near death.”
Link paled, “Sheik can’t be a Bearer,” he stammered, “Only Zelda and I are—,”
“That is in Hyrule,” Ganondorf said, “Here, those rules don’t apply. Surprisingly, your group consists of three people. Coincidence?” he bared his teeth menacingly, “Since when has anything been coincidence?”
“Do me a favour,” Link snarled, punching the mirror, “Shut up.”
Ganondorf smiled as the mirror faded away. Link blinked and stared at his palm. Ganondorf shouldn’t be able to disappear like that. He fell to the ground, his knees unsteady. Something was horribly wrong with this scenario. He didn’t get his answer; Sheik was bleeding to death and Dark Link was a mistake to begin with. Slowly, he pulled out his glove and saw the Triforce symbol fade from his hand. Ganondorf was telling the truth when he said the rules were different from Hyrule.
Link got up. Sheik. Sheik was the more pressing concern right now, shooting through his thoughts. He walked over to Sheik’s side, “Hey, has it slowed down?”
Sheik grimaced, “Somewhat,” he answered, hissing as Link carefully tightened the bandages. He looked at Link blearily, “And him? What did that song do to him?”
Link sighed, “I’m not sure, though I think Ganondorf’s control has left him. I think I….” Link paused, “I broke…his seal.”
Sheik would have answered, but his thoughts were elsewhere. Slowly, Link wrapped the bandages as he wracked his brain for any thing that could help Sheik. His hands were drenched in his blood and Link felt his heart stop. Dark Link slowly crawled towards them, his face a mixture of…Link couldn’t recognize it. It was his expression he was seeing and Link realized that he was the only one guilty here.
“We need to hurry back,” Link said, “I have no potions here. This bleeding won’t stop. We have to go back.”
“Back home right?” Sheik said almost delirious, his mind drifting onto pleasanter things. Link nodded, his heart sinking deeper. I made a promise…he thought, that I wouldn’t let him die here.
I can’t stop here, no matter how much I wish this to end.
Link slowly heaved Sheik onto his back and watched Dark Link get up from the ground. Dark Link blinked, “What happened? Where is—,”
“We’re going back,” Link cut him off, unable to bury his feeling of anger, “With or without you. I don’t care anymore.”
Dark Link stepped back in the face of Link’s anger, “You can’t make it down the mountain on your own.”
“What am I supposed to do?!” Link yelled, spinning on his heel, “What can I do anymore?! Everything I thought right proved wrong, every misconception a lie. I have nothing, nothing! Nothing to hold onto, nothing to live for!”
“You live for yourself you idiot!” Dark Link yelled back, “Since when has that been so difficult?!”
Link drew back, his face taunt. He glared at him and slowly tried to climb down the hill. Dark Link stared at him and suddenly, he reached out and touched his arm. Link went still at the touch and waited patiently. Dark Link swallowed, “This world is finished. There’s no power left here to sustain it.”
Link knew it was true. The minute Ganondorf and the Triforce faded from the Dark World, the world itself began to tear itself away bit by bit. He shrugged. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew it was more significant than he believed. Dark Link pressed his hand deeper into Link’s shoulder, ignoring Link’s flinch of revulsion, “We won’t have time to get back if you want on your own.”
Link closed his lips and pursed his lips. He knew, he knew that Sheik would be long past their help if he didn’t find a quicker way to return to the Temple of Time. What should I do? What should I do?
“A song,” Dark Link insisted, “You knew a song that can help us!”
“This song will aid you on your journey,” Zelda told him, “Use it when you need to. It is called the Prelude of Light and it will guide you back here.”
“…I need you to carry Sheik,” Link said, setting him back onto the ground. Dark Link hovered around the injured Sheikah, taking in the laboured breathing and the increased bleeding. He frowned as he quietly picked up the Sheikah. Sheik grimaced, but didn’t say anything.
Goddesses, even if your power does not reach here, Link thought, please help me now. More than ever, I need guidance.
The notes spun in his head as he gently eased out the tune. A whirl of golden light surrounded them and they vanished. Slowly, bit by bit, the Dark World fell apart.
Chapter Fifteen - The Beginning of the End (part three)
Notes: Same as above
The Dark World was collapsing. You couldn’t see the signs, but all the inhabitants felt it. They hid in their respective holes and waited. What more could they have done? Link almost pitied them and wondered if this was the future Hyrule faced. The seal wore away, Ganondorf is free to go where he pleases. No doubt Hyrule faces the worst kind of future.
But they have a future. The Dark World will cease to exist along with everyone in it.
Dark Link knew this too.
“Are you still afraid?” Link said as he slowly walked towards the altar. It was like the echoing of Time and Death merged into hollow sounds. Nothing and everything were shattering slowly like the washing away of a beach. Link blinked at that thought. He had never seen a beach.
Dark Link nodded, unable to speak. He could feel the lack of power ripping him slowly inside. He could not leave this place. If he could, would he go with his other self?
That was the one thing he couldn’t do anymore, no matter how much he wished for it. Sheik’s eyes were barely open. He hadn’t spoken a word since the rewrapping of the bandages and Link could sense that Sheik was barely in control of his breathing. They needed to get back to Hyrule quickly. He set Sheik down next to the pedestal and pulled out his sword. He glanced at his twin who stood there at the steps, watching his every move.
“Can you come with us?” I know you can’t.
“No.” Thank you anyway.
Link felt like choking. Suddenly all the animosity, the hatred, the low self-esteem left him with a drained feeling of loss he could not come in terms with. Dark Link lowered his eyes and stood there as if waiting for Link’s sword to fall on his head.
And he remembered his fondest wish: he didn’t want to die.
Even now, the wish hadn’t changed, but he waited for the blow.
He shouldn’t have existed to begin with.
Link’s sword tapped his shoulder gently. Dark Link didn’t look up, refused to look up. Link said nothing, gathering Sheik in his arms and plunged the Master Sword into the pedestal. The storm of blue timeless energy carried them back to the land they belonged. The man who didn’t belong watched them all. Around him, the foundations of the temple were breaking. Slowly, he let out his breath and sat down next to the pedestal as the stone came crumbling down around him. He wasn’t worried. He pulled out his sword and stared at it curiously.
He felt like laughing, but for some reason, his voice was caught in his throat and all that could escape were a few choked sobs.
“This is your fault,” Dark Link murmured, “I knew only the legend. And then you brought him here and created a whirlpool of problems even a Zora would have trouble with.”
The stones gave no answer as the columns began to tremble and crack. Dark Link ignored the chaos circling him and continued, “He wasn’t so bad, the self-styled hero. But I suppose you all knew that too right? You guys know everything.”
He said this without any sarcasm in his voice. Dark Link tossed the sword into the air and caught it midway by the hilt. He stared at it and smiled, “The Hero’s blood seals all gateways right? Even the one here to this world? That’s what you said isn’t it? Will mine do?”
The temple did not answer.
Dark Link smiled tragically, “Thought so.”
Link stumbled and nearly collapsed to the ground. The Temple of Time looked serene as always. Link clutched onto Sheik and tried to pick him up, but Sheik pushed him away. Link cursed as he slipped.
“C’mon, we need to get to a—,” Link’s words died in his throat as he saw the smile on Sheik’s face. He grimaced and tried to reach out for him again, but Sheik swatted his hands away. Link stared at his friend as if he’d lost all common sense.
“Sheik, we need to—,”
“Stop that,” Sheik said patiently, “I won’t make it. Too…too much internal bleeding. Even a Great Fairy can’t do anything to a person this bad,” he coughed and Link shuddered. The bleeding has discoloured the bandages and spread all over Sheik’s suit. Link reached out another time, but the look in Sheik’s eyes stopped him short.
“Hey, do me a favour,” Sheik said, pressing himself against the wall, “My books? Take care of them for me?”
“Sheik, you can’t…I promised Impa…” Link said, a few lone tears escaping from his eyes. He didn’t care, he never had. Even when they teased him in Kokiri Forest, even when he left Saria behind… even when he saw what remained of Castletown. But now, he couldn’t suppress the sadness welling up inside of him.
He couldn’t save one boy.
“Impa would have realized by now anyway,” Sheik said, waving a hand in the air nonchalantly, “She isn’t dumb.”
“Sheik, you can’t—,”
“No I can,” Sheik said, “Hero or not, you can’t always win Link. It doesn’t work that way.”
“Sheik, Castletown is right here—,”
“Stop it,” Sheik said, placing a hand on Link’s cheek and falling to his chest, “Don’t insult me anymore.”
Link gripped his hand tightly, unable to look away from his steely, but fading eyes. His hand was shaking, his body was trembling, he was being weak and he didn’t care. He couldn’t care, not for the first real friend he’s had in seven years.
Sheik didn’t smile when the light faded from his eyes. The steely, but warm gaze remained even when his heart stopped. Link sat there on the marbled ground, clutching Sheik’s hand like a lifeline, feeling his heart had stopped as well. Slowly, as if the world’s eyes were upon him, he slowly rose from his position and turned.
There, standing in the entrance of the Temple of Time were three radiant beings. Link couldn’t make out any features at all, blinded by the ethereal light emanating from these three people. He knew who they were instinctively.
“Goddesses,” he murmured.
They nodded (at least Link felt they did) and spoke, “Hyrule is finished Hero.”
Link didn’t even wince, “And?”
“There is still a chance to save the people.”
“What would you have me do?” Link barked out harshly, “I’m probably the most useless Hero out there.”
“You are the Hero of Time, regardless of your past mistakes. We will give you a Wish.”
Link’s voice caught in his throat, “A-Another wish?”
“Another Wish. You are their Hero, whether role in this is finished or not. You will decide their fate.”
“You…trust me with this?”
“You are our child. We trust you.”
Our Child. Link swallowed and closed his eyes. What is best now? What can I do?
Sheik, Dark Link…
‘Trust in what you believe and do not go astray’
“My Wish,” Link said softly, “Is to save Hyrule any way possible.” That’s all I need to do.
My role as a Hero is over. Is that good enough? Sheik…
“Your Wish is granted.”
They approached him. The light grew so powerful that Link couldn’t make out anything anymore. They raised their arms and for a moment, Link could see his mother. He didn’t know what she looked like, but he could tell. A mother’s embrace, they were offering him. His heart swelled up and he stepped closer and leaned into their hug.
His world was full of golden light.
The epilogue will come later (like tomorrow). I promise~