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Come Together

"I'm going to tell you a story," said the old woman as she settled back amongst her pillows.

The room was a pleasant one. Tapestries and paintings covered the walls, soft rugs over stone floors cushioned footfalls. Of course, the inhabitant of the large bed hadn't set foot on them for quite some time - old and frail, she had been bedridden since her illness had started.

Now, though, it was warm and cozy, a fire crackling cheerfully in the fireplace, three children excitedly perched on various parts of the bed. A fourth sat on his mother's lap in the comfortable plush chair nearby; beside her sat her own mother, hands folded neatly on her lap.

"What kind of story, Auntie?" one of the children asked - a little blonde girl with curls like her grandmother. "Is it a love story?"

The old woman chuckled. "It is indeed a love story," she told the child gravely, "It's also an adventure story, and a ghost story, and a tragedy, but it has a happy ending."

"Oh," the girl said, pulling a face. "I hope it's not too scary. I don't like ghosts."

"These are good ghosts," the woman said with a brief smile, "They're very nice ghosts."

"I'm not scared of ghosts at all!" her older brother boasted, giving the girl a confident grin. "Mila, if you're scared, you can hold my hand."

For just a moment, a nostalgic smile crossed the woman's face.

"A long, long time ago," she started, "Over a thousand years in the past, when Hyrule was very, very young, the Royal Family had a son and a daughter. The prince was very ambitious and wanted to rule all of Hyrule and be a good leader, and the princess was a tomboy who liked to ride horses and listen to her friend play music. Both the prince and the princess had companions, protectors - a couple of Sheikah protectors."

"That's a funny name," Mila frowned, and the old woman shushed her.

"Yes, but they was terribly nice, as well," she told her, "And the boy Sheikah played lovely music. Because the prince was so busy, the princess was friends with both of them, and she spent all her free time with them."

And then she paused - dramatic effect. "Then, one day, their father died, and the prince became the king. But the king had had a secret, and he had told the princess what it was - everyone thought he had had a magical item, but now he and the princess knew that he didn't. The prince, though, thought that he had told her where it was, and he wanted it. So he started forming a plan to make the princess tell him where it was."

The three children watched wide-eyed. "Was she okay?" the eldest, Lena, asked as she leaned forward, lifting little Mila on to her lap.

"Well, the princess didn't know what he was planning at first," she explained. "She found something else rather interesting - one day, the boy Sheikah was out travelling, and he found a half-drowned boy in the river. He took him back to the castle, and when he woke up, they found out an amazing secret."

Another pause. The boy, eyes wide, insisted, "Well, tell us!"

The old woman chucked. "I'm getting to it! The boy in the river told them an amazing story - he was a hero from far in the future, and he had been sent back to help save them from a war. The princess immediately befriended him, and so did the boy Sheikah - who, very curiously, the hero said he knew in the future. Well, he didn't like that at all! Now he knew that there would be bad things that would happen in the future, so he was very sad."

"Poor boy Sheikah," Mila sighed.

She nodded gravely. "He was quite unhappy. So the hero decided he'd make him happy again, and they started to become very good friends. And they fell in love with each other."

Lena squealed a little. "That's so cute - but didn't the hero already know him from the future?"

"He did," the old woman nodded, brushing snow-white hair out of her face. "But I'll get to that later! One day, something very bad happened - the king and the boy Sheikah had to fight an enemy - and the boy Sheikah became a ghost." There was a collective trio of moans from the three children - even glossed over, they knew what it had meant. "The hero was very, very sad - and so was the princess, who was very good friends with him. So they came up with a plan."

"What kind of plan?" the boy asked, "Did he become a zombie?"

She chuckled. "Not quite. They brought him back for a little while, so he was like a living ghost. But it was only for a little amount of time - while the boy Sheikah recovered with the hero, the princess went home to see what her brother was up to - oh, the king had travelled far away to see the boy Sheikah's brother." She grinned faintly sheepishly. "I forgot to mention that part."

"Auntie..." Lena snorted warningly.

"Yes, yes, shush," she scolded, "I'm still telling the story! Well, when the princess got there, she got herself in to a spot of trouble. Because, you see, the king had found a wizard to try and make the princess tell him where the magical object was. The princess wouldn't tell him, though - so the wizard cast a spell on her."

There was a collective gasp from the children. Now, the old woman looked a little thoughtful, her thin fingers tapping on the bed covers. "The spell made the princess fall in to a deep, deep sleep, and the wizard ran away forever. But the king was so upset that his sister had had a spell put on her that he stopped looking for the magical item, which she didn't have anyway, and she was hidden away in a secret castle for a special hero to go and wake her up."

Briefly, sadness crossed her face. "The boy Sheikah, too, was starting to fade away. He said goodbye to the hero and disappeared, and the hero was terribly sad - he was so sad that he decided to go back to his own time. But this hero was a special one - he was the Hero of Time, and he had saved the world once before. And that was when he knew the boy Sheikah."

Tugging little Mila close, Lena leaned in. "What happened?"

"Why, the boy Sheikah was brought back again," she said gently. "And he could see his true love, the hero, again - but because this was in the hero's past, he didn't know the Sheikah. So when he disappeared again, he did so thinking that he'd never see the hero again."

"That's so sad," Lena murmured, and her brother snorted.

"That's not sad, that's sappy. I thought this was an adventure story!"

"Oh yes, there was a war," the old woman said vaguely, waving her hand. "Anyway, that's not the good bit! Hundreds of years passed, and the hero passed on. He became a ghostly warrior - a good ghost, don't worry, Mila! - who'd teach people how to use the sword, but he couldn't leave until something else happened. And then it did - the boy Sheikah's ghost could finally move on, and he found the hero's ghost."

A smile spreading across her face, Lena clapped her hands. "A reunion!" she breathed, grinning. "That's so romantic!"

While her brother made silent gagging gestures, the woman nodded, eyes twinkling. "Finally, after hundreds of years, they could finally be together. But I'm forgetting one more person in this story, aren't I?"

"Princess!" Mila piped up, and the old woman gave the child a warm smile.

"That's right," she told her, "The princess had a happy ending as well. A thousand years after she was cursed, another hero was born. He went on a special quest to find a magical item - the same magical item the king thought his sister had had, all those years ago! Only, this time, he did find it - and the princess woke up in to a whole new world. And there, she found new friends, and family, and she could live in happiness and peace - until her very last days."

There was silence for a moment, and then Lena smiled. "I like that story," she decided, nudging her little sister. "Didn't you, Mila?"

"Uh huh," the girl smiled, then yawned widely. "I'm sleepy."

"Then you should go to bed," the old woman said gently, holding her arms out for a hug. "Come and give Auntie a hug, alright?"

The three scrambled over - even the boy tentatively hugged her before they slipped off the bed to find their mother. "Good night, Auntie!" Mila smiled, waving as she was led out again, "I'm glad the princess and the hero and the boy Sheikah were happy!"

"So am I," the old woman murmured, smiling as she was left alone with the children's grandmother.

"That was a true story, wasn't it?" the other old woman murmured, standing and crossing over to the bed. "You were the princess, the hero that woke her up was Link."

And Zelda smiled mischievously, sweeping her mane of white out of the way as she settled back amongst the pillows. "Perhaps. Zelda, I want to thank you for taking me in all those years ago."

"It was my pleasure, Zelda," the former queen said gravely, although there was a hint of a smile in there. "Ai, I'm glad that's one tradition we can leave behind. I'm not sure how we'd all cope with five Zeldas in the house - two are bad enough!"

"More Zeldas than anyone can handle!" the former redhead cackled, then gave the other a smile. "Good night."

And the other Zelda closed her eyes and smiled back before making her way to the door. "Good night."

And the light shut off.

It was only just dawn. The windows facing east showed a landscape barely illuminated, the sun not quite over the mountains yet. Zelda gazed out at it, as each new fragment of land was lit up by the day, then turned back.

"Well, it's about time you showed up," she scolded, sitting up and setting her hands on her hips. "What time do you call this?"

"I call it the start of a new day," Link grinned, and held a hand out to her. "Come on. We've got a lot to see and do, right?"

Sheik snorted faintly, elbowing his lover. "Ah, now, don't intimidate her," he scolded, and Zelda laughed outright.

"It takes a lot more than that to intimidate me!" she grinned, then threw back the covers and jumped out of bed, brushing back a strand of red hair. Just once, Sheik's gaze flickered to the bed - then a small smile crossed his uncovered face and he too held out a hand.

"Are you ready, then?" he asked softly.

And Zelda did look back - to where white hair was still spread out across the pillow, a thin, frail hand resting on the coverlet. "I was born ready," she told them, and set out across the floor - to where her boys were waiting to take her home.

The End

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