Legend Of Zelda Fan Fiction ❯ The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 ❯ A Son's Reality Pt. 02: Father's Day ( Chapter 16 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

Chapter Sixteen

As I was going to say, before one of those emotional moments crept in, I was trying to see if I'd killed Nabooru. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. She was breathless, but slowly, surely, a little smile showed me that all was still right in the world.

"Stop looking at me like that," she said in this barely there little tone. "I'm… fine."

Contented with the fact that her eyes weren't all dilated, I told her that I should probably go tell Saria that I was still among the living. It was about noon, so I figured I could make it back before midnight if I ran both ways. Like I've quickly learned, Nabooru gets grumpy when she gets sleepy. So, her response wasn't exactly cordial.

Even as I padded around the room looking for my saddlebag to get some fresh clothes, I felt like I was forgetting to do something. The memory lapse came in two sections: (1) I was too big for my old clothes, and (2) I didn't like the idea of leaving Nabooru spread eagle for anyone to see who may open the door. Once I found my clothes, which Nab had taken the honor of rewashing and hanging in her barren closet, I used a little of the glowing stuff to refit them. The remedy to my second problem needed to be approached a little differently. Giving the sheets a magic boot for fresh ones, I covered her up only to be treated to a funny little scene of sleep talking.

"Always so goddamned hot," she whined, feebly kicking at the sheets.

Hey, it was cute to me. Anyway, I thought it would be nice if I added a couple of these ceiling things from Termina to the room. They kept the mayor's office and the inn cool, so why not our bedroom, right? Feeling pleased with the changes and better than I have in a while, I picked up my boots and almost skipped out of the room. Luckily, I didn't do that though, because I opened the door to confused eyes. Strangely absent from dinner, a patrol, or anything of the sort, Sepaaru now stood before me in the flesh.

"What did you do to Lady Nabooru?" she asked rather bluntly, trying to sneak a peak through the door behind me. I closed it, as I tried to come up with a viable excuse.

"I didn't do anything to her." The mind of a god, and that was the best I could do? In a word: yep.

"If you didn't do anything, why was she screaming your name like that?"

Heh, I kept coming up blank in my quest for how to word the situation, so I went on instinct and told her to ask someone else.

"I already did," she countered, "and they told me to ask you. Now, why did you hurt Lady Nabooru? I thought you loved her."

It was obvious Sepaaru wasn't going to walk away from this, and, even if I did, I knew she'd end up asking me again. So, with a sigh I started with the simplistic answer. "People don't always scream because they're hurt." Transitioning from the simple, I moved on to the cryptic. "Sometimes they scream because they're happy. And Nabooru was really happy."

What do you mean that stank? It was either that or giving her the full rundown on sex, which I'm not sure I was even ready to do. Although, comparing me at 16 to her, I was already well versed-better known as read-in the art. You'd be surprised what you can find in the King of Hyrule's old library. And here I thought kings were all stupid fat guys that told people what to do all day. They're actually smart if they had to read all of that. Anyway, Sepaaru brooded over my explanation for an arduous few minutes before accepting it. However, it was in this scowling that she began to look vaguely familiar… something about the glint in her eyes, I mean. I dismissed my first assumption, and began to walk for the outside world.

I was, of course, followed.

Upon reaching the doorway, my path was suddenly blocked at the knees, as she held her arm out in front of me. In the slightest of whispers, Sepaaru asked the definitive question: "You know, don't you?"

Suffice to say, I know a lot of things. So, I asked her to narrow the field. She was about eye level with my waist, and rather than tilt it up to look at me, she allowed her eyes to do that. That's when that prickly heat began to rise up on the back of my neck. As I looked down at her, for some reason, Ganondorf's smiling face seemed to cascade away into the little girl in front of me. Even though his were that pissy yellow and hers were red, they were the same.

"You're his…daughter?"

When I broke the question into logical terms, it did make sense. Her age did make her the only viable candidate. Gerudo haven't been in Kakariko or Castle Town in a while, and since he was the only other guy around, he's the only person-and I use the term person very, very loosely-it could be. So, once enough of my sanity had returned, I asked her: "Well, who's your mother?" I suspected Varia, but the look on her face told me otherwise.

"She's dead," Sepaaru stated indifferently, but with an obvious hurt buried within that fact. "They say daddy was tired of waiting for me to be born, so he used some magic to speed it up. She didn't make it, though." As her voice died out, I somehow knew what went wrong.

Ganondorf's spelled aged Sepaaru the full 9 months in a matter of seconds, which means she absorbed every vital nutrient in her mother's body to complete the process. Think of it like this: A pregnant woman eats for two people. Now, imagine if the mother was made to stop eating her share for the entire pregnancy, yet the baby continued to feed on as normal. His spell made that a reality and, thus, Sepaaru's hastened birth killed her mother via starvation. The knowledge of such a thing was bad enough, but I managed to conjure up the gruesome visuals of a sickly thin Gerudo woman giving birth to a baby that probably weighed more than she did.

The next images Sepaaru would paint are fascinatingly disturbing, but not because of what they were, but because of who did them.

"He wasn't always bad, though," she quipped, trying to justify her father in some ways. "I remember he used to tuck me in at night and sometimes he'd sing to me." Her eyes seemed to light up recalling those times, which only deepened my amazement. "He told me he only wanted to rule Hyrule so we could have a better life away from the desert." Sepaaru sighed deeply, adding, "I guess I was about 6 when Nabooru took over and that I found out dad wasn't as good as I thought he was."

My emotions were mixed to say the least. On the one hand, it's Ganondorf the…father. On the other, there's Ganondorf the psychotic nut that I've come to loathe. But beyond that was the fact his daughter was telling me, the man that killed him, all of this. Sepaaru also revealed that she'd been living a kind of isolated existence out there. As most of Hyrule feels about the Gerudo, the Gerudo seem to feel the same animosity towards her. It's not hatred, but once your eyes are open to it, you can tell there is an underlying something about her that rubs the others the wrong way. The child of the man you feared, but, at the same time, she's a fellow Gerudo-it's a large division in loyalties.

Apparently, she'd said her peace and was going to stand there until I said something, so I did.

"Why'd you tell me all of this?" I asked, truly not knowing how to take it or what to do with this new knowledge.

This time she fully lifts her head and tells me, "Because I need your help." What this child, this girl, wanted was an instructor on how to fight. She wanted me to be that instructor, something I couldn't do. Sepaaru must've sensed I wasn't going to go along with it, because she said: "Please! They all see him when they look at me, especially Varia. My birth took our mother from her. That's why I want you to do this for me, so I can prove to them that I'm more than one of his bad relics."

Personally, I didn't see the connection at the time. Learning how to fight somehow equaled atonement? Nah, it wasn't that simple. Her atonement would come in the form of being able to fight alongside her fellow Gerudo in times of battle. In the past, she was prevented from doing such, as her lack of skill made her a liability on the battlefield. And since she was reluctant to ask them for anything, most of her moves were self-taught or picked up on the side from observation. This made things a lot more difficult in my eyes, so it was time to get out the hands again. On one hand, I knew a little bit about war, but preparing a 16-year-old to embark on something like that was wrong. Then, on the other hand, I ran the potential risk of denying Sepaaru's request, in which case she'd run off to join a battle that she was ill-prepared for. But on the other… damn, out of hands.

Anyhow, her desire to be seen as an asset to them was obvious in the way she conducted herself in our fights. In each one, she had made it seem like her abilities were so advanced that I was merely a plaything. So, did I let her go off and continue to risk her life to prove herself to them? Unlike me, there were people in the world that had no qualms about killing children. Or, did I bend one of my rules and train her to become a warrior, hoping that she'd never be in another violent situation?

Bend, bent, and broke all came to mind, as I agreed to help a child throw away that precious gift to right a wrong that wasn't hers. I rationalized it at the time by thinking this is the era we live in, and every asset is an advantage.

"Thanks!" she squealed, which signaled a couple of guards, but I waived them off.

Heh, I told her we could begin when I got back. Doesn't look like that'll be happening now, does it?

"So, where are your mom and dad?" Ms. Bluntly asked, as she continued to follow me outside. I stopped short causing her to run into me, but I barely felt it as memories began to surface.

"My father killed my mother, or so I've been told." I sighed through my nose for a moment, cracking my neck. "Heh, I guess we have something in common." See, I always find a silver lining… no matter how tarnished that silver is.

This insightful exchange sparked her to ask, "What happened to him then?"

This kid had taken the biggest shit on my mood already, and she just wouldn't stop. Then again, it probably was for the best. Trying to forget about a problem just because you can't see it is ridiculous. I came clean about the whole impending ordeal: the mask, the possible end of the world, and all that. Insert the classic over reaction, brief crying spells, and far too many Gerudo showing up. Silly me, I thought Nabooru had explained all of that to them earlier.

"Look, it's not like I'm going to let any of that happen," I tried to comfort them by saying. "The Goddesses said I'm stronger than he is. So, I go in, do my thing, and we're safe."

Expecting those words to calm the worried faces, I saw half were relieved and half, the more battle experienced members, weren't.

"I can appreciate your determination, but you make it sound as though you're used to killing family. It has to be more difficult than you make it sound."

I gave what the guard said some thought, enough thought for another guard to say, "Besides, how can you kill him if he's a god?"

With my patience waning, not to mention losing face among the troops, I told them all to hit me. Why, you may ask? Well, in part, I remembered running that sword down my arm in front of Zelda's troops the day before and with no pain. I also remembered the goddesses saying I couldn't be hurt by anyone other than a stronger god. So, if my dad was top dog and I'm stronger than he is, reasonably, nothing should be able to hurt me. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

"AAAAH!" Pardon the outburst. It just pisses me off so much to have underestimated the entire situation like that. God, look at me! I've got one good leg, two broken arms, and I'm sure my ribs are scattered around like dominos. Heh, and there I was playing the invincible deity role.

As I was saying, after a little coaxing, each woman laid into me with her best shot. The only damage that came about was a few splinters in my tunic and a bunch of broken weapons.

"You see," I told them casually, "only a stronger god can hurt me, and my dad isn't that god."

With that overwhelming example of indestructibility proven, every one of them returned to their "Gerudo are the strongest in all of Hyrule" attitude.

To show even more idiotic fucking bravado, I fixed their weapons, and trotted off like a smiling moron. Now, how the hell am I fit to be someone's teacher when I'm making elementary mistakes like underestimating the opponent?

"Man, they are so gonna laugh at me when they see me now." Yeah, I know, but talking to myself makes me feel better at least. And the reaction is probably going to be more like this: "Run! Link failed us like a typical man!" That's if I can even make it back to the valley.

I'll spare you the details of how I managed to fly over to Kokiri by just attempting to jump across the chasm instead of using the bridge, but Kokiri was just as I left it. Well, minus when I first got there and everyone sort of ran inside. With that being done, I made the trip to the Forest Temple. Weaving through the Lost Woods to a familiar jingle, I couldn't help but notice how Saria's song seemed to make my troubles seem less severe, which is probably why I whistled my way up the stairs to see her.

"Link!" she squealed before she even saw me, but I continued to whistle as though I didn't hear her. I expected her to stop running once she saw the new monstrous me, however, Saria's little legs pushed her along at full speed toward me. When she jumped on me, it was like taking an arrow in the chest almost, which sent us both spiraling to the ground.

In typical Saria form, the first words out of her mouth were, "You're back!"

I couldn't stop smiling as she tried to hug me. I'd gotten so big that it was a veritable impossibility for her tiny arms now, but the sentiment was understood and welcomed.

"Would've been back sooner, but death's a bitch about me coming and going," I told her, as I put us both on our feet. Suffice to say the first question was about why I look like this and if it had anything to do with what happened at the Temple of Time. After that was a lecture about the naughty words… again. Bleh, pick up one bad habit and everyone's got a damn problem. Anyhow, going into dramatic storyteller mode, I went down the list of events that'd happened and that were to come. This didn't sit well with her for obvious reasons.

"But that means you have to fight again," she said, as I nodded. "I'm sorry."

So, how does Link brighten her spirits? Easy, I make the same jackass speech about how big and strong I am that I did for the Gerudo.

If I was in my right state of mind, I would've asked myself one question: "Why would he fight you if he knows you're stronger than he is?" I was feeling particularly arrogant, so, naturally, that never crossed my mind. Let's ignore that for a while, okay? Good.

Back to Saria and "super" Link…

After being put at ease by my grandstanding, I was drug off to meet everybody again. I told her it'd be a waste of time, considering how they ran and hid when I first walked in, but Saria wouldn't hear any of that.

"You're one of us no matter how you look," she told me. And who am I to argue with the personification of cute?

No more than three steps out of the Lost Woods didn't we stumble upon Mido. Obviously, he was trying to win brownie points by pretending I didn't scare him shitless. This was a prime opportunity for a little bit of payback, I figured.

"Who's the big?"

The question was perfect, and that's when I launched into my act.

"I've come for you, Mido," I told him in my deepest voice, pretending not to be surprised when it came from all directions. "I've come to take you outside!"

You should have seen his face! It was gold, I tell you! Pure gold!

"What?" Mido demanded, as I snatched him up by the scruff of his neck and marched towards the exit. "Are you crazy? Put me down! Saria, don't just stand there! Help me!"

Big Bad Mido, screaming and kicking all the way to the bridge that connects the forest and Hyrule field. Whoever said revenge was wrong must've never exacted any. I held him at the brink, pretending that I would drop him outside into Hyrule Field at any moment, nearly bursting with laughter on several occasions.

Saria finally intervened once Mido started turning red, and said: "Link, you've had your fun. Now, put him down."

"Yeah Link, put me… down?" That's when it all hit him. He'd been screaming like a little girl in front of the "freak without a fairy."

I turned him so we were face to face, and then I said, "Boo!"

It wasn't so much doing that that made me feel vindicated, as much as it was that most of the village had saw it. Personally, it was my crowning achievement as far as revenge plots are concerned-minus having to stick someone with a sword, anyway.

"Miss me?" I asked, while he tried to punch me in vain.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Mido retorted, "You big jerk! I swear when I get my hands… ah!"

I accidentally dropped him in mock terror, smirking as a few giggles emerged from the crowd. So, eye to knee, we faced off in a matter of speaking. Not quite sure how to work the angles, Mido stalled.

"Well, if you weren't so big I'd teach you a lesson."

For some reason, I wanted to be his size, too, so I could beat the crap out of him. It was in that moment of want that I literally fell back into my 10-year-old body. A collective gasp was heard, then slowly an amazed "whoa" swept over the crowd.

"Well, you were saying?" I asked, as my voice retained its original tone, but trying to pretend this was all part of the big plan. Naturally, neither the voice-from-everywhere-at-once nor the shrinking things were planned. It'd be a rather lame revenge if I started hopping around and openly questioning how I did this or that, wouldn't it? So, shut the hell up about me looking stupid then.

Anyhow, Mido's in typical form now, swinging away with punches that used to land every time. I swear to you, if he'd gone any wider with that one punch, he would have hit himself in the mouth. As I prepared my retaliation, the true boss of the Kokiri, in my eyes at least, stepped in before I hurt the little gimp.

"Okay you two," Saria said in that voice, stepping between us. "You've had your fun, now cut it out."

Never ones to question Saria, hostile intent drained from the situation, and we all headed back into the forest. In an odd instance of power fluctuation, I changed back right before I made it into the log entranceway, causing me to smash my head and fall down.

"See, the forest likes me better than you, so blah," Mido said. He stuck his green little tongue out at me for effect, too. Dirty little…

Deciding to act my age, I let that one go. Beyond that, it was a typical visit to Kokiri. What? I'm not that much of a jackass! Of course, I told her I was still in Hyrule. And after a few hours of talking, laughing, and a kick-ass game of hide-and-go seek, I left to go home. Heh, I called myself leaving early to make it back before it got dark since I'd saved so much time flying over, but things took an unexpected turn. I'm telling you as soon as I walked out of the log into Hyrule Field, I knew something wasn't right. How? That's easy. It was too quiet-no birds chirping, no squirrels gnawing, nothing. And the air had this weird charge to it, like something bad was going to happen.

Naturally, I ignored all of that.

As I walked around the first tree, an arm shoots out across my chest, blocking my path.

"Quiet, isn't it?" a man says in a voice that's almost tranquil in its bass-laden depths.

I knew what was at the other end of the arm, but I didn't want to believe it. Even with the knowledge, the sight of my father still startled me. He didn't wear a cap, but to look at his attire you'd think he'd borrowed some of my clothes. Black tunic, black gauntlets, black boots, and quite possibly the blackest eyes I'd ever seen. Okay, so maybe it was more like Ganondorf's closet he raided. My mouth hung open, and that uneasy tension began to stir in my gut.

Today will be the fight for it all, I thought lightly before his voice cut in.

"Is that anyway to greet your father?" he asked, slyly smiling at my incredulous surprise, as he swept around and traded positions with me. "You could at least say, "hi." It's been how long now?"

His words stirred me from my blank conscious. I dimly realized that he was the one with his back to the wall, so to speak, now. Behind me was Hyrule Field and space to retreat, I kept reminding myself. I took advantage and leapt back to take up arms. The leap carried me, not the few feet I desired, but to the top of the hill that allows you to look down at the castle. This amazing feat was only downplayed, as I landed and found him no more than 6 feet away. That same malignant smile was on his face-a little cocky, a little amused, but thoroughly dark and in control. Still, a little teleporting doesn't make him a match for me, right? Dad's still working with damn near 80 years of battle rust. The situation was still mine to control.

With that in mind, I found the ability to speak.

"Excuse me for not rolling out the red carpet," I said in my calm little way. "From the way I hear things, you want to kill me."

"Really? Now, who would say a thing like that?" he asked, chuckling as my sword hand began to twitch.

Unfortunately, today would be the first time in 16 years that I left home completely unarmed-no Longshot, no swords, not even the goddamn slingshot! No worries though, right?

"I'm a walking weapon now, don't sweat it," I kept whispering to myself, as he trudged toward me.

"I imagine you've been talking with them," my father then says, a little sigh ruffling his demeanor, as he pointed skyward. "Tell me, who's to say they're not lying to you? Forgive me for intruding on your thoughts when we were together, but didn't they have the bird tell you that Hyrule was safe? And, correct me if I'm wrong, son, but didn't they turn around and put you through the ringer again? Knowing them, I bet they cooked up some dribble about me killing your mother, too."

Damn, if that was how I looked when I told a lie, I'd never be caught. He was that convincing that I almost bought the hype. Standing toe-to-toe and eye-to-eye at this point, a strange vision occurred to me. There were words being exchanged around me. I couldn't understand them for the most part, but I heard this hum. Suddenly, I was looking at a woman's back and a child resting on her shoulder. There was a flash and then… there was a hole that went completely through her. The baby started crying, and then the images stopped. I'd read his mind, I later realized. Thinking back on it, his expression did sort of turn shitty right around the time the images stopped, so that should've been the biggest red flag of them all.

"You do know I can remember back that far, right?" That one question confirmed it all, though.

His casual smile dropped into a blank stare, but a new smile quickly replaced the old one, as he took the gloves off.

"Oh, I see," he quipped, sucking his teeth as I stood there. "Well, it wasn't like I tried to kill her or anything."

"That's the big justification?" I found myself asking, watching him shrug as if to say, "That's the best I've got."

"Hey, I just wanted you," dear old dad admitted, frowning some this time. "Oh, no, Esmerelda has to launch into the "I can't let you kill our son, and I'm leaving" bullshit. I mean, damn, it's not like I was too old to get it up again. We could've had more of you. But no, Link Jr. had to go and screw everything up!" His eyes flashed for a moment… flashed something dark, like dark light or something. It was weird, maybe even a little frightening, but his mood switched again. "It's not like I blame you or anything," he told me, as though his lack of blaming me made him sound any less insane. "You just made me kill my wife and didn't even give me a chance to bring her back!"

Put yourself in my place for a second. Let's say your dad is trying to kill you for being born. Now, let's say your mom dives in the way of his sword and ends up being killed. How is it your, the little baby with no realization of the world around you, fault? Simple, it isn't. This easy-to-grasp concept was completely wasted on him, though, as he said it like he really was forgiving me for something.

"Man, they said you were crazy, but this is downright stupid." That statement should've clued me into my problem, yet it didn't. My confidence had rendered me a complete and utter moron.

"I see you have your mother's tongue," dad laughed, but, again, his eyes did that weird glowing with darkness thing. "Unfortunately, no one speaks to me like that. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and I'll make one for you."

This time his calm words were followed by a stiff slap, which nearly broke my damn neck.

It hurt! I thought to myself, while managing an unfazed front. I had to think of something to save face, before he realized that he could hurt me. So, putting on my best attitude, I looked him square in the eye and said: "I bet that would've hurt if I was still Hylian. Care to let me have a turn?"

His smile fell, and he raised his hands and backed away. Heh, too bad I bought that bullshit tactic!

"It figures," he muttered, but not in the way one would expect. It was more of an I-knew-he-wasn't-as-strong-as-I-thought kind of way, which I totally ignored. "Oh well, I guess if I have to be bested by someone, better that it be by my son than someone else." I sighed internally in relief, watching him continue to back away with his hands up. Then he snorted, and added, "Besides, I only fight the battles I can win."

Man, the red flag of danger should've been waving fiercely at me then. Everything about his actions should've screamed danger, from the snorts, to the sarcasm, on up to the way his eye twitched when he admitted that I was better than he was. He played me for a fool completely.

Leaving Nayru, Farore, and Din to the wolfos in black, I backed away from him watching for any surprise attacks. Convincing myself that this was a battle won without swords, I turned around to walk on home after a while. Of course, what I met when I turned around was his fist in my stomach and his voice in my ear.

"And you see, son, this is a battle I can win."

His words mixed with the sudden rush of reality. But my own stupidity hit harder than that. Without a second to react, I felt my jaw come unhinged when he hit me with the left hand, and in that pain, he hit me with a right and reset it. Assaulted by myself and by my father, could the day get any worse? Well, if my dad was a talkative person, he'd mock me throughout the beating, which would up the embarrassment by at least tenfold. But what were the odds of that happening to me… Link… the guy with the worst fucking luck this side of a broken mirror, a dozen black cats, and a cracked floor?

"Come now, what kind of fool do you take me for? 'I bet that would've hurt if I was Hylian,'" he mocked in an overly whiney voice. "Please! If it didn't hurt, your jaw wouldn't have turned purple! Now, get up!"

Easy for him to say, I thought, because he wasn't the one with a boot in his mouth.

I was defenseless in a way I didn't think possible. And the pain, damn, I was in a pain nowhere near Hylian means of infliction. I clawed at the dirt, trying my best to regain my bearings, but, every time his foot hit me, it felt like a part of my soul died. How could this be happening? Why couldn't I win this one time without suffering some form of humiliation and torture?

"Are you even trying?" I barely heard him ask through the maelstrom of fists and feet. "Don't tell me she was screwing around with Majora! My son should be able to land at least one punch!' He dropped his knee into my sternum, and I gagged. "This is pathetic. God… wait, I am one." He paused to laugh at his own stupid joke! Against me, the Hero of Time, he paused and laughed at a joke! I felt low…really low. "Seriously, is this the best you can do, great Hero of Time?"

Bad jokes, brutally painful attacks, and the worst insult of them all, he insulted all I'd gone through.

I took the break to haul myself back to my feet, because now it was time to finish this once and for all. The punch I prepared to throw was to be my crowning glory, my saving of face, my right to his wrong! That punch was actually a map that led him to a little city named Snap Link's Left Arm. I grabbed it, and couldn't suppress the roar that came out of my chest. The ground shook heavily, uprooting a few trees, but my father just stood and laughed.

"Uh oh, he's getting mad," he said, before cracking up. I never even saw the kick that hit me in the throat, just felt the leather of his boot. I went cascading across the ground, bounced off that wall in the middle of the field, and rolled down the hill. "And I thought I had something to be worried about?" my father laughed, even whistled as he summoned my body into the air along with his. "You must've turned into one of those pansy-ass nature deities on me. Blah, with my stock, and you predestine him to be a glorified gardener?"

His question went unanswered, of course.

I choked on a mouthful of spit, trying to mutter something, only to give it up once flicked me like a gnat through the wall, which somehow broke my right arm just below the shoulder. I looked up from the rubble at my killer, half expecting Ganondorf's face, but, dismally, it was my own-and it smiled at me.

"Why…kill…me? I'm… obviously no threat," I asked, more like pleaded, of him.

"You see," he began, flopping out of midair onto my chest to the sound of breaking ribs. "Even after all of this, you're still quite strong." I was humiliated even further as he took a seat on me and thumped my nose, and, of course, smiled. "Although, you aren't as much as I thought you'd be, your power could greatly increase my own. And if I drained your power like a leech, rather than kill you, I'd be able to give Fate and Destiny the boot. And when Fate and Destiny get the boot, I'll reign supreme over everything and everyone."

Maybe I'm too grateful, because in the few abilities I've mastered, I appreciate them greatly. Yet, there he sat a damn god, and that wasn't good enough? So, with my ego fully crushed, I listened to him rant and rave about how cool it would be to mix and match people with this animal or the next, only to wipe them out in some magnificent way.

Fully expecting my tenure in the land of the living to end as his story did, he looks down at me and says: "It must really be embarrassing for the, oh, so great Hero of Time to be completely owned in a battle, huh? Now, what is it that makes my son so weak? The dopey hat? Nah, that couldn't be it. Maybe it's the girlish tights? No, that's not it either. Well, maybe it's that mortal filth you've been sleeping with." Predictably, I began to fidget the moment Nabooru was negatively mentioned, playing right into his stupid little mind game. "Yes, that's it, isn't it? Maybe if I killed her I could get a decent fight out of you. How about that, son? A little sword in her neck, maybe two in her chest…"

Embarrassment gave way to overprotective insanity then, because I started to struggle with the broken bones and all. Yeah, he could take a shit on everything my stupid little life encompasses, but I wasn't about to let him take the one bright spot left in my shitty little existence.

"I'll cut you from your ass to your throat if you touch her!"

I was smacked silent then, but my father continued to chuckle. "That's it! Embrace that fire!" he told me, chanting for me in some ways the more I struggled. "Just imagine the flame under your ass when I stick a sword in her…" he got real close in my ear and whispered something I won't repeat.

Everything blurred in that moment. All I remember was seeing Nabooru dead, and then a flash of light. Next thing I know, the wall that sits in the middle of the field was gone, and I was on my feet staring at a face contorted in anger… my face.

"Interesting," he said, sucking his teeth once more. "So, you were playing me for a fool." I didn't reply, just watched him dust his clothes off. "I must say, you almost had me convinced. Lucky me, though, I guess. I saw that little attack of yours in time, another second and I'd be wondering what the hell happened from the other side."

Now, what that attack was, I don't know. How I did it, that's more mystifying than the first question. But, whatever it was, it got to him. That's where the week comes in.

"I would've never fallen for such a blatant bait-and-kill attack like that in the old days," muttered the supposed father figure in my life. "How about this: it's cliché as all hell, but I'll leave you and yours alone for exactly one week to get myself up to speed. In one week, it's you and I."

It was up to me then. He was convinced that I was stronger at that point, but what did I do? I could either start a battle that I had no shot of winning or I could take this week to learn what the hell I did to scare him and use it to kill him. With two broken arms, multiple cuts, a few broken ribs, and a possibly fractured skull, I chose number two.

"I won't fall for your little tricks next time, Link," he mused, this time turning his back on me and walking off. "If it makes you feel any better, that was the closest anyone's ever gotten."

Not one to repeat history, ha…ha, I watched him walk away until he, quite literally, faded into thin air. Leaving me alone and without anyone to be bold for, I collapsed into the heap you found me in. This all brings us to the present. It is 8:43 P.M. now, and I can't help but wonder why the sun is still out. Skip it, I don't even care. I'll just accept it and move on. Oh, oh that's perfect. That's just perfect! After all this time and walking, I haven't made it to Lon-Lon Ranch?

I won't get home for days at this rate. Damn it, can I not just be at the fucking fortress?

"Uh," there's not much else to say.

We were just in the field, right? So, how'd we get here? It looked like the field turned into colored sand that blew away. And once the sand came back, we showed up here, dead center of the fortress's grounds. Cool move, too bad I don't consciously know how to do it again. Oh, shit! There's Nabooru! Let me… yeah, broken limbs. Hiding's out of the question. Maybe if I turn to the side they won't see me. Screw you! What's your brilliant idea? The truth? After everything that I said earlier? I can't tell them the truth!

"Link!" Well, at least he didn't lie and come kill her. "I thought you were dead!" she says, looking noticeably exhausted? What? Don't tell me I actually hurt her earlier…

"What do you mean all right?" Because it's obvious, she's having visionary problems to think I'm all right.

Nabooru gives me a stern a look, folding her arms in that typical manner. "Let's see, you disappear for a whole week and come back looking like you've been through a battle. And I'm not supposed to think you're all right when you're standing here breathing?"

No… no… NO! Ah, shit! She thinks I've fought him already, and that I won, too. Okay, I need to stall to think of how to break this to her gently. Let's start with the basics: time.

"I wasn't gone for a week," I toss out nonchalantly. "I'd say I was gone for about 6 or 7 hours at the m… no…"

"No what?" Nabooru asks, as my head continues to swing numbly from left to right.

He said I had a week! Why is he here now? This isn't happening, not like this, not in front of them.

"No, she's right, Link," my father muses, walking past the confused guards with that same little smirk. "See, after I left you out there in pieces, I thought about some things. The first thing I asked myself was if you're so strong, why did anything I do hurt you? Sure, at first, I thought you were actually strategizing on quite the advanced level by imitating the damage I'd done to you and the sort. That's when I thought to myself, Link, your son's full of bullshit. You never healed-not a cut, scrape, or even a measly little scratch.

If it was a great plan, I thought, shouldn't he have dropped the act the moment his enemy quit falling for it? Yes, but you didn't. Well, now, that sucked. I've agreed to wait a whole, boring week to fight with someone I could rub out in a matter of minutes. Now, I couldn't be a liar and not allow you your week of peace, but, at the same time, I never did say how fast the week would be. So, while I kept the sun shining brightly on your head in the field, everywhere else in this wretched little world was moving ahead in time as usual. And since my gracious offer of extended time was denied, you rejoined the rest of the world's timeframe.

So, are you stupid enough to fight me again? Or, will you do the smart thing, hand over your power, and resume your plodding mortal life?"

I swear, if I live through this I may never smile again, because he's done it enough to make me hate it.

Let me focus for a minute here. I can't give him my powers, because there's no guarantee he won't kill us all anyway. The only alternative is to fight, which is probably going to leave me dead beyond reason. Don't you love these single-option choices?

"Nabooru, can you hear me?" I think briefly, sighing some as her eyes glide smoothly back over to me. "Good. Listen, even if you don't want to, but there's a good chance I'm not walking out of this." Her mouth opens, as I send a thought to make her shut up. Turning toward him, I have one more thing to say, though. "If I don't survive this, I swear he won't either."

My dad laughs, sarcastically clapping for whatever reason. "That's such a typical hero thing to say," he says, making it clear he's heard every word of our conversation. "Good lord, man. You can't even block me out of your telepathic conversations. That's just…sad. So, are we going to do this or what? I don't have all day… I have all of eternity, but that's beside the point."

Great, the son of a bitch heard me and he's laughing at another one of his jokes again.

"Hold my arm," I tell Nabooru. She knows what I'm about to do, evidenced by her gentle touch to find the break in the bone. "That's it, right under the muscle." I take a deep breath and nod, immediately pushing right as she pulls it left. There's a sickening grind of bone and sinew in my right arm, but I can move it at least.

"Are you all right?" she asks.

"Fine," I reply, keeping my eyes locked with the smiling dolt a few yards away from me. "Again."

Nabooru takes my left forearm in hand this time. Heh, the break is a little obvious in this one, considering he made it a damn boomerang. I see the pain in her eyes, but she tries to look at me indifferently. Again, I nod, and she begins to force the angle out of my bone. My face twitches despite my best efforts, but it doesn't hurt nearly as much as one would expect. The last time I had to do something like this was when I slipped and fell in the Fire Temple. Man that was a long fall. I had to… never mind. I'll tell you later. Well, now that that's over without too much pain, I suppose that's one thing to be thankful for in this day after all.

"Some boyfriend I am, huh?" I find spirit enough to laugh at the question, prying her fingers away from me. God, this is so stupid! If Fate and Destiny are so much stronger than he is, why don't they just kill him? How much more grand scheme is there than having someone promise to obliterate you?

"You better come back," Nabooru says, as she opts to give me a peck on the cheek rather than argue standing by my side. She and the others move away from the battleground, an odd look of anticipation in some eyes, but a look of disbelief in most.

"Finally, we can get on with it," he says, cracking his neck from side to side. "It's funny, really. Your mother gave her life to stop this from ever happening, yet here we are, as I envisioned it." Again, his lips curve into that slighted half smirk, which only highlights that insane twinkle in his eye. I think a parting of ways is in order here. If I live, I'll talk to you later. If I don't… well, it's been real.

"Why so glum, Link?" the senior asked his son, casually rotating his neck in the child's silent retort. "You can't be angry about this, can you?"

The question seemed genuine to the spectators, almost innocent in its tone. But Link knew how fast innocent changed to malice with his father, similar hot-and-cold changes having left him with two broken arms. Minutes seemed to squeak by beneath the noonday sun, which made it very apparent that Link wasn't going to answer him.

"Oh, so you are mad," Link Sr. retorted, letting that dark laugh permeate the air once more before his face mirrored that of his son's. "I've been stuck in a mask for almost a century, and you're mad at me?" The volume of his voice caused one of the canyons to audibly crack. "Do you know how goddamn annoying that is when time keeps being reversed?"

"I can't imagine," Link said, a smirk gracing his own face now. Taking advantage of his father's laughter, Link summoned an energy ball the size of boulder and fired. The heat put off was enormous, drawing screams from the Gerudo as the wooden crates burst into flames around them.

"Wow," said his father, appearing behind his son. The giant of a man dangled upside down in mid-air, nonchalantly whistling at the large scorch mark on the canyon wall behind his former position. "You've had your powers for a week, and that's the best you can do? What's next-an overgrown Dodongo? Maybe a Stalchild, can't go wrong with a Ganondorf classic, now can you?"

Link gritted his teeth when the incessant laughter picked up where it had left off. This wasn't like him to be so upset during a battle. Then again, most of his former adversaries couldn't speak, which made focusing a lot easier. So, how did one go about defeating one's self? As he surveyed the land, Link took notice of his prior action. The smoldering crates, the sweaty women… it'd been too much. They would be roasted if he continued to use attacks like that without proper gauging. But, then, how the hell could he win if he couldn't go all out?

"Ah, so you've found your weakness, too, I see." Link Sr. appeared in the wake of his words within arm's length of his son, feet on solid ground this time. "Kinda hard to fight with all these variables, isn't it? You want me gone, but, at the same time, you can't kill them to kill me. Well, never say I didn't do anything for you, kid."

As his father's hand rose towards the frightened spectators, Link blindly lashed out, surprised to find himself wielding a large replica of the Master Sword. It had worked to save Nabooru and the rest, but the result was nil on his father.

"Oh, you want to use weapons?" asked the true Fierce Deity, as he now idly stood atop his child's shoulder like an overgrown parrot. "I'm a little rusty, but what the hell. I must warn you, though, this could get messy."

Taking his son lightly once more, Link Sr. performed an elaborate somersault from his son's shoulder, only to be blindsided by the shoulder colliding with his chest. He growled, unable to stop himself from flying into the hot sandstone of the surrounding canyon wall. Link watched cautiously, noticing the smile had left his father's face. Without a word, the giant sword that once accompanied Link's own transformation into the fierce deity appeared in his father's grasp, wielded not under the guise of good, but the most malignant of evils. Words hateful enough to destroy cities were about to be levied at the poor excuse of a child, when, suddenly, Link ran.

His father stood stunned for a moment, watching Link run through the gate into the Haunted Wasteland. It wasn't like the boy could hide, but damn-cowardice? His son…a coward? Ugh, the day couldn't get any worse, the ancient warrior hoped.

"Ladies, don't let this act of cowardice reflect on me," he said in a blatant attempt to endear himself with Link's subjects. "He gets this thing from his mother's side, really."

And with a bellow of Link's name, his father turned toward the gate and faded away. The Gerudo, in their fear and disbelief, were left with a collectively arched eyebrow, as the beings they worshipped had taken on qualities that were a little hard to swallow.

In the desert, Link came to find himself facedown in the sand after a crushing blow to the back of his neck.

"Clever," mused the father, "trying to lure me away from the rest of them. Maybe you don't grasp the concept of limitless power, but let me break it down for you."

The world suddenly shifted and distorted into colored globules, only to restructure with the two gods in a different place. Link cursed under his breath, because he knew where he was now. They'd settled in the archery range, and, unfortunately, so had Nabooru.

"See, it works like this, Link," his father began, stabbing his large weapon into the dirt and walking around to get right in his floored son's face. "If I want you on fire…" a soft, white smoke began to billow from beneath Link's body, Nabooru noticed, jumping back as her boyfriend suddenly burst through with white flames.


"You'd be on fire." He stepped away from his burning child, smiling with falsified warmth at the group of Gerudo filing into the track to see their king battle.

Instead, all they saw and heard were the screams of a man being burned alive. Varia, Link's hardest critic, found it particularly sad to see him tortured so. And what made the situation more sickening than anything was the fact that it wasn't some stranger doing this, but his own father. Then, what did mortals know of gods' moral values and such? It was a question none of them could answer, but one that they all wondered. Watching the father pace around his child, stalk him in his moment of need, with such an amused expression stirred a fire in Nabooru's gut to attack.

"This is but a sample, Link. If I wanted to, I could kill you in front of your little mortal women," he whispered into his child's flaming ear. "That's what being a god is. It's all about getting what you want. Want something-anything-badly enough and it's yours!"

"Link!" Nabooru screamed, having lost her restraint and taking off toward the love her life to… to… she didn't even know what she'd do. Anything had to be better than watching him burn into embers, though.

Alas, in heroic fashion, Link found the strength to shout, "Stay back!"

Her feet slid to a halt from the tone of his voice, but everyone could tell she wanted to run even further.

His father looked at her, scowled even, before focusing on his idiot son. "You can't even fathom the power you possess," he spat, the words sounding as cold as they did ridiculing. "Hell, Ganondorf made better use of your powers, and they were killing him! So, save yourself some embarrassment and just hand them over."

Through the flames, Link looked long and hard at his father's extended hand. All he had to do was touch it… then it'd all be over-no more fighting, no more burning, no more pain.

"I'm stronger than you, aren't I?" To all who heard it, the question had come out of the henhouse to say the least. Obviously, the flames were corroding the poor fool's mind. "That's why you're so hell bent on me giving up, aren't you?"

Link Sr. frowned, damn near caved his face in with creases in some areas, as his son slapped his hand away. The stubborn fool, while in pain, was in the midst of a small epiphany of sorts. Still, Link clamored to stand, wobbling to and fro on shaky legs, but, ultimately, regaining his footing.

"It's all about getting what I want, right?" Link asked, an ill-intent based smile beginning to curl his lips even as the flames continued to crackle around him. "You know what I want right now? I want the pain to stop!" His voice clapped like thunder, echoing across the land, and shattering his prison of flames into thousands of tiny shards. The clouds, once puffy like buds of cotton, were swept into harsh streaks and jagged lines. Perhaps the fight wouldn't be so easy after all, his father noted.

"Heh, it took you long enough to figure that one out," he deadpanned, though, moved hastily back to his weapon. "Of course, you're forgetting something: that's experience, son. I've been doing this god thing for more years than you've counted stars. I know my powers, how to use them, and the like. And what do you have?" The laugh, that stupid little laugh, made Link's eye twitch, but he kept listening. "You've got nothing but potential, and not the faintest idea of how to use it. But, alas, I will rectify that in a few moments. For, even if you are stronger than me, without proper guards in place, I can kill you."

"So, what you're telling me is that I can kill you at anytime, all I have to do is realize I can?" Even as the last of the smoke stopped wafting up from his tunic, Link could see the answer to his question in his father's obsidian eyes… or so he thought.

"True… or is it? For all you know, I could just be getting your hopes up because I like to crush dreams." He shrugged back and forth, almost as if he were weighing something in both hands. "Then again, if I was telling the truth you should be able to tell. So, which one is it?"

Link stood at a fork in the road, he realized. Each path had its set of reasons, explanations, and problems. But each path also had one destination-the same destination-no matter which one he chose. Nabooru slowly backed away, watching as the blade of a sword slowly extended from Link's palm until he held it by the hilt. He'd made his choice then. Link would take the same road he always did, and that was right up the middle.

"It doesn't matter."