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Family, No Matter What

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Sweat and blood drips down the young hero’s face. This was it. If he is to free Hyrule and the Twilight Realm, he must strike Zant down now. For everyone who suffered, who died, who was cursed. If he fails now… no. He can’t think of that, he will succeed.

His sword slashes at the Usurper King. Deflected. Link stumbles back, on instinct he draws up his shield. Zant’s dual scimitars spark against the shield. Seeing an opportunity, Link thrusts the Master Sword forward. A gasp of pain emerges from the twisted Twili. The illusion arena fades away, returning to the Twili Throne Room. Link looks around and notices Zant laying on the throne. Dead or unconscious? He hopes for the prior. Sighing in relief, he sheathes his sword.

Midna appears from Link’s shadow, calling back the stolen Fused Shadows from Zant. “This is it- my curse will finally be broken!” Link nods and steps back. He isn’t sure what will happen, but he’d rather be safe than sorry. The Fused Shadows float around her before she reclaims them. But… nothing. Nothing happened.

“Midna...” Link spoke softly. He reaches over to comfort his friend. She ignores him.

“It was supposed to work! I should be myself again… why?!”

The sound of sinister chuckling into a horrendous laugh turns their attention to the throne. Zant. Slowly walking towards them, he taunts, “Our ancestor’s pitiful magic won’t work on your curse, my dear Twilight Princess.”

Link takes a stance, readying himself to redraw his blade, growls, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Raising his hands, he responds, “It isn’t the magic of our kind. It was gifted to me from a god- my God.” He looks down at them, “He has returned to the land of Hyrule as its true ruler once again!”

He isn’t saying what I think he’s saying...’ Growing up, Link has heard stories of the King of Thieves. How he ruled Gerudo Town with an iron fist, killing anyone who questioned him. How he almost conquered the kingdom right under the King’s nose. If it wasn’t for the princess at the time, who knows what Hyrule would be like now.

“As long as Ganondorf lives, you shall never know rest!” The young Ordonian’s face turns pale. Nerves tingle throughout his body, his grip falters on the hilt. The most feared man in history is back, and he has to face him. Zant lowers his arms as a grim smirk appears upon his face, “However, you will never get a chance to meet him. You se-”

Cutting him off, Midna spits back, “Bold words coming from a dying man!”

Ignoring her, he continues, “You see… I’m not planning on going down alone.” Before either of them knew what was happening, Zant flung himself towards Link with one of his scimitars in hand. Link tries to pull his shield, but it was too late. Sharp pain bursts from his abdomen as the scimitar pierces through his tunic into his body. All he can do is scream. Blood. He feels the blood from his body try to leave, but he can’t do anything. Through his clouded eyes, all he can see is Zant and his twisted smile. He pulls out his blade, soaked in the Hylian’s blood. Everything turns hazy as Link puts his hands on the wound, crumbling onto the floor.

F-Farore… please… not like this...

“Y-YOU BASTARD.” Midna screeches. Looking up, all he could make out is her vibrant red hair darting towards the mad King. Without effort, the hair impales Zant. All he could do is laugh. Laugh at what he has done, as he faces his death.Laugh as he implodes into nothingness.

Link, trying to speak up, chokes out, “M-Midna?” The look of horror upon her face as she faces him takes him by surprise. ‘D-did she not know she could-?’ He cut himself off from thinking, his mind is fogging up. Pain. Link looks to his wound; the once forest green tunic is now stained black with his blood. It isn’t stopping.

She floats to him, her eyes wide and body shaking, “L-Link?” Not once had Link got injured this badly in the six months they’ve been traveling together. Never had he collapsed. Never this much bleeding.

His waning blue eyes met her red, “W-we gotta get going.”

“Going?! Link… you-” Link ignores her concern, pushes himself up with one hand on the wound and the other on the ground. He groans as he starts to fall back, but is caught. Midna, using her hair as an extra arm, lifts him to his full height. Her hair, under his left shoulder and herself under his right. “What the hell are you thinking?”

“We need to go. Stop. Ganon.”

“You’re dying!”

“I-I’ll be fine.” He tries to walk forward but trips on his own feet. The Twilight Princess groans, if it wasn’t for her he would’ve landed on his face. “Rusl...”

“Huh?”

“Rusl… Telma… we have to… go to them...”

“Link, what the hell are you thinking? You can’t! You can’t walk on your own!”

“You can… take me...”

“They’ll see me!” That’s right, but there is no other way. People from his world are not aware of the Twili. They assumed that most people would mistake her for a Shadow Beast, so they agreed that her being hidden would be the best option. But now? He knows they have to hope for the best.

“It will be fine… promise.” It has to be. There is nowhere else he can think of to go. Thinking about other places only makes his head hurt. Only Rusl, him and his friends.

Before he knew realizes, Midna teleport them to the entrance back to Hyrule. “A-are you sure?” He nods. “You better be right.” Is she choking up? He can barely tell. Everything is becoming more and more of a blur. Each step to the warp hurts more than the last, but he knew he can’t stop moving.

Like before, the teleport back to Hyrule was barely noticeable. Well almost, it was so much brighter thanks to the full moon. Thankfully, the desert was cooler at night. Link sinks a bit under his weight, however, Midna keeps him up. “We can’t exactly walk through Castle Town like this you know?” her voice barely got to him. It was almost a whisper to his ears.

“C-can’t you teleport… bar entrance…?” Everything is a blur and fading fast. The sandstone bricks turn into cobblestone. Slightly warmer. Lanterns are lighting up the area. The smell of alcohol. They move forward. Vision fading as Midna turns the doorknob.

Barely reaching his ears, a familiar woman’s voice says, “I would welcome y’all in but we-” Through his darkening vision he makes out Telma’s shocked expression, Rusl jumping out of his chair, horrified.

“L-Link?!”

“H-hey Dad… I really fucked up this time, huh?” The last thing he sees before blacking out was Rusl and Auru running towards them.

Chapter Text

All the energy in the room vanished as the group notices who was standing in the doorway. Link bleeding out from his side and a strange creature holding him up. On instinct, Rusl jumps out of his chair, face turning cold, stomach in knots, chokes out, “L-Link?!” This cannot be happening. It can’t! He’s just a kid! Auru, who is sitting next to him also gets up.

The youth looks up with a weak grin. His usual vibrant blue eyes are clouded and tired. Link stumbles out the best he can, “H-hey Dad… I really fucked up this time, huh?” Rusl pushes himself away from the table to get to him faster, with Auru right behind. Link takes an audible gasp and collapses. The imp kept him up as the two men got to them.

“L-Link?! No! Please wake up!” she cries out, looking at him with a desperate, caring gaze. This takes Rusl by surprise. Does Link know this imp? It doesn’t matter now! Shaking, he places his hand on the side of Link’s neck and checks for a sign of life. A pulse. Thank the Goddesses.

Turning around, the older of the duo yells back, “Shad, clear off that space over there!” He points over to a flat surface parallel to the bar counter, “Ashei, you are the fastest out of all of us, run over to that Doctor and get help! And Telma get some cloths and water fast!” How he can stay so calm at a time like this Rusl will never know. Helping the imp, Rusl goes under Link’s other shoulder and moves out of Ashei’s way. As soon as they were, she bolts out. Quietly, Shad moves around the mess, making the space for Link to lie. Meanwhile, Telma runs around grabbing any spare, clean cloths around as the bucket of water fills.

“Come lie him down!” sputters Shad. Being, well now, the second newest member of the group, he isn’t as used to seeing anyone injured. But, this time, neither is Rusl.

Rusl and the Imp nod and move Link to the surface. Before they lay him down, Shad unbuckles the belt and baldric off of him, placing the sword and shield off to the side. Next, the tunic and chain mail comes off. It was a lot heavier than Rusl expected. ‘H-how did something go through this?!’ he thinks as he carries it to the back. Messing with it a bit on the way, he notices something off. With closer inspection, it appears that it was already damaged before he was stabbed. The area surrounding it was charred and weak. ‘Why was he not maintaining it?

“M-Midna...” The weak voice snaps him away from his thoughts. Midna? Is that the imp? Rusl jolts back to Link’s side, with whom he’s now assuming is Midna next to him. Eyes barely open, he looks up to him, “Sh...s a friend...” His voice is light but rough, talking is obviously tough for him. He grabs Link’s hand and nods, trying his best to hide his fear and anguish. He may not be blood, but he’s still his kid damn it! Knots build in his throat, tears are trickling their way down his prickly face.

For a moment, he was back in time. Twelve years ago, at the bedside of his childhood friend, someone who he considered as an older brother, Link’s father, Eli. Only twenty-seven, fighting for his life against the worst flu season Hyrule and neighboring kingdoms seen in decades. Only a week ago his wife passed away, not even a day later him and his four-year-old son started feeling ill as well. Now, he fears that he isn’t gonna make it as well. If he couldn’t then how can a kid?

Eli looks over to Rusl, who is barely even an adult, and mutters, “Please… take care of Link if I don’t...”

“Don’t say things like that!” cried out Rusl, “You’ll be fine! You have to be!” A weak smile. All that he gets as a response as the young Hylian sleeps for what he knew would be the last time.

“Rusl… Rusl!” A gentle hand on his shoulder snaps him back to reality. It’s Telma. “Let us take over from here. You should go and rest.”

Shaking his head he responds, “No… I have to be at his side.”

An unfamiliar voice whispers, “It probably be for the best if we weren’t in the way.” He looks around. Who was that? Midna? But where did she go?

“If you’re looking for the girl, she disappeared.” Disappeared? Telma looks to the backroom, “A strange friend Link has there huh?”

The door creaks open. Ashei walks in with that awful doctor. A scowl grows on Rusl’s face, “Goddesses, why does it have to be him?” That man, the one who refused to treat the Zora Prince, who did jackshit to help Ilia in her memory loss, the one who refused to send aid to Ordona all those winters ago. He’s the one to treat Link?

Rusl gets up and clenches his fist, but Telma puts her arm in front of him. “Rusl, why don’t we go to the back? I’ll give you whatever drink you want.” Her motherly smile looks down at him, “On the house.”

Defeated, he sighs and unclenches his hand, “Fine.” He looks back to the elderly doctor, “But if anything happens! I’-ll”

Unamused he retorts back, “Yes yes, I am well aware of what you’d want to do to me if worse comes to worst.” He adjusts his gigantic glasses and continues, “But let’s not worry about that now. I have a job to do.”

Rusl scoffs and heads to the back. He overhears Telma saying something about this covering some of his tab or the like as he takes a seat. In a fit of rage, he picks up his helm and throws it against the wall, narrowly missing Ashei. “Oh shit. S-sorry.”

The young knight shakes her head, “Don’t worry about it” She pulls a chair next to him and sits down, “You just saw you’re kid near death, it’s natural to act out, yeah?”

“Yeah, its a lot healthier than what I did.” That voice again. By the look on Ashei’s face, she heard it too. If that is Midna where is she?

Rusl whispers, “Midna?”

“Oh right sorry. I’m just hiding until that doctor leaves.” The bitterness in her voice – does she know of this doctor? How long has she known Link? “I didn’t want anyone other than Link to know about me. I guess you all are now an exception.”

“Where are you?”

“In your shadow. I hope you don’t mind.”

My shadow?’ He looks behind to the wall his shadow lands on.

She pokes out for a second with a forced grin, “Heya.” She is a strange-looking being now that he’s getting a better look at her. Vibrant red hair with an even darker red eye. An interesting looking helm covers most of her head, covering her other eye. She’s small and covered in foreign markings and cloth. As quickly as she popped out, she fades back into the wall.

“Ah.” He nods, “If you don’t mind, can we talk more when you’re comfortable to be visible? It’s kind of awkward to talk to a wall?”

“Oh yeah, of course. See ya later!” For a while, only the murmurs from the Doctor and Auru from the other room is all they can hear. Telma comes over, carrying over two mugs of a Hylian Rice brew.

“Poor Shad, he really can’t stand the sight of blood, huh?” She slides over Rusl’s glass and hand Ashei’s hers.

After taking a sip he queries, “What do you mean?”

“He passed out. The Doc says he’ll be fine.” She gives a wink as she takes a seat across from him. Her cat, Lousie, jumps up on the table shortly after. She sighs, “Link… the poor kid. According to the Doc, it is a miracle that he is alive.”

Rusl felt all the blood leave his face, “What do you mean?”

Leaning back, the chair creaking under the weight, she continues, “Judging by the wound he was stabbed by a curved blade. It dug quite a bit in him.”

Resting her head in her joined hands on the table, Ashei speaks up, “Curved blade? I’m just gonna assume it was a scimitar. However, they aren’t made for penetrating wounds. They’re for slashing and cutting.”

He nods, “Yes but…” He looks over to the bloodied tunic, “Link’s chain mail was in terrible shape, it wouldn’t take much to… do that.” ‘Link… what did you get yourself into...

 


 

An hour passes. If someone told Rusl that it’s been months or even years, he’d believe them. Shad eventually woke up and join the trio at the table, he didn’t add much, as they haven’t talked in a while. They just waited for news, any news. As if to release them from prison, Auru and the Doctor walk over to the table.

Rusl looks up to his old friend and chokes out, “W-well?”

He smiles and nods, “He’s going to make it.”

As if he was released from the weight of the world, Rusl bursts out in tears. He rests his head in his arms laying on the table and cries, “Thank Farore.”

A nasally voice speaks up, that Doctor, “Yes yes, he will make it. However...”

He jolts back up, “However?!”

The old man snaps back, “It’s not to you. Telma.”

The barkeep looks at him, “Hmm?”

“I have to ask that take off more of the tab off than we agreed.”

“Excuse me?”

He cackles, “If you want to keep that boy’s secret safe you’ll consider this… about Ten Million Rupees off how much I owe you.”

“What?!” Rusl jumps out of his seat, ready to throw hands, but Ashei holds him back. “What fucking secret?!”

“The Triforce he bears. I feel like it’s a fair deal. Don’t you?”

His heart sunk. “W-what? That’s just a birthmark. A coincidence.” Right? He only imagined what he saw twelve years ago. Even last year. It was only a trick of the light. Link can’t be the Hero… right?

Auru grunts, “I can’t convince him otherwise and… I think he’s right. It was glowing until a few minutes ago.”

“Link can’t be the Hero! He’s just a kid!”

“Then you don’t mind me telling all of Castle Town that one of the long lost pieces of the Triforce is possessed by this kid, right?”

His stomach sank. No, he would not want that out there. He faces Telma, giving only a defeated look was enough. “Fine,” she says as she gets up, ”You got a deal. Now get out of here!”

The Doctor scoffs as he leaves, promising he’ll keep this a secret. Leaving the Resistance with Link, recovering in the other room, and the weight of the news that he has a piece of the Triforce.

Chapter Text

“So,” A brash voice speaks out, breaking the silence, “Surprise?” The group turns to face the source of the talking. It’s Midna. “I guess I haven’t formally introduced myself. I’m Midna and I’ve been Link’s traveling companion for a while.” She seemed a bit more anxious than earlier. Rusl assumes it is because now all the focus is on her. 

Telma walks up to the imp and reaches her hand out, “Well any friend of Link is a friend of ours. I’m-.”

“Telma,” she grins sheepishly as she accepts the handshake, “I already know everyone’s names.” For a second the comment threw Rusl off. How did she already know, but he already knew the answer. She can turn invisible, she was with Link in secret. “So… He’s going to be alright?”

Auru nods, “It’s weird to say but, he’s one lucky kid. If he was just a little bit to the right, he wouldn’t have made it.”

“O-oh.” she looks down, guilt is written all over her face. “Can I go check on him? I want to be sure.” 

Rusl gets out of his chair, “I’ll go with you.” It wasn’t that he didn’t trust her to go alone. Far from it, if Link trusts her, so shall he. Truth be told, he was waiting for an opportunity to check on him.

The older Hylian steps to the side, letting the two through before following. Rusl kneels to Link’s side. He’s out cold, possibly sleeping judging by his light snoring. The older Ordonian looks down to the bandages on his stomach, blood is starting to soak through, but it should be fine for now. As much as he’d hate to admit it, the Doctor did a good job patching him up. He sighs and runs his hand through Link’s dirty blond hair. ‘ Damn kid... ’ he thought, but before he realizes he says aloud, “What the hell happened?”

“I-I’m sorry.” Midna mutters as she floats down to his side, “If it wasn’t for me… he wouldn’t have gotten in this mess in the first place.” She looks down upon Link, tears building in her eyes. 

Auru places his hand on her shoulder, “I may not know what happened, but I think its safe to say that Link wouldn’t want you to say that.” The imp looks up to him, brushes the tears off her face and nods. Despite not knowing Link that long, he was pretty spot on. He was always the kind of man who cared about others more than himself. 

“You’re right...” Midna remains silent for a moment, “I owe you all an explanation, huh?”

Thinking about it, he did have a million questions. Link never talked about what he was doing since the invasion of their village, just popping in and out whenever he needed information. Of course, Link was never one to talk about himself.

He nods, “That would be a start.”

 


 

Telma gets everyone a drink as the group resettles around the back table. Rusl refuses a refill, knowing that becoming drunk would not be the best in this situation. Midna also refuses, saying that she has no clue what Hylian alcohol would do to her. 

As soon as she deems everyone ready to talk she starts, “So, what do you all want to know first?”

“What exactly are you?” queries Auru, “Not offend you, but in all my years I have never seen someone like you.”

“I’m a Twili. My kind and I aren’t from this realm.”

“Am I right to assume that the beasts that have been raiding us for the past half-year are also your kind?”

“Yes… and no.” Her voice chokes, “They were Twili once, but they have been cursed with dark magic. They aren’t the people they once were...” Her lip trembles as she explains how this came to be. How Zant, a Usurper King, cursed her and her people with an unknown power, how she ended up meeting Link and what they have done over the past several months. It was a lot for the group to take in. The tale she is describing is one like out of the old legends. As much as they couldn’t believe it, they could. 

As she goes on explaining, Rusl couldn’t help but feel as if she is hiding something. Some details don’t quite add up. Why did they lock Link up instead of just killing him? How did they get the stolen goods from Ordon? 

Shad interrupts, “A question if you don’t mind. You said that you and Link were ambushed by Zant around three months ago correct?” He wasn’t the only one who found holes in her story.

“Yes, that’s about right.”

“Was it by chance the night of that terrible storm?” 

The comment threw the imp off guard, she floats back a bit before stumbling out, “Uh, I think so? My memory about that night is foggy...” She goes on and explains that she was close to death after that encounter and was fading in and out of consciousness until she was healed.

The scholarly Hylian adjusts his glasses as he recollects, “Well you see- I think that this isn’t the first time we saw you.”

“Wh-What?! No, don’t be ridiculous! This is absolutely the first time we met!” Her composure broke completely. She is definitely hiding something.

“This is indeed the first time we met, yes. However, that night an unexpected guest entered the bar quite like you two did tonight.”

Ashei perks up, “Oh yeah, that’s right! That Goron kicked out-”

Auru interrupts, “That grey wolf that’s been spotted around Hyrule the past few months.”

“A grey wolf?!” Rusl nearly jumps out of his chair, his arms tremble on the creaky table. His mind flashes back to the night after the nightmare started. To the patrol, Bo and Uli were both against due to his injuries. A sole grey wolf wandered the town. Since it never attacked anyone he just assumed it was rabid and docile. But now? He isn’t so sure. If the wolf they are thinking of is the same one, it couldn’t have been dying.

Shad fakes a cough, clearing the noise and goes on, “Yes, a grey wolf. Do you all remember what the wolf had on its back?” He looks towards Midna, “Someone that looked quite like yourself, no?”

Her eyes shift back and forth rapidly, trying to find something to say. She rebuts, “It was just a wolf I tamed! It just comes around when needed!”

Rusl slumps back into his chair and sighs. Instead of explaining everything, she was giving them more questions. “Where was Link? If you just had him explain the situation instead of breaking in on a wolf we would’ve helped.”

“T-that… wasn’t possible at the time.” 

“Why not?”

“I,” she sighs, “I can’t say.” The look on her face was all he needed to see. She’s hiding details to protect him. What he can’t understand is why she’s trying to hide details. Link is his – or rather adopted son! The thought of hurting him has never crossed his mind, and never will. At least he hopes not.

“Listen, whatever you’re trying to hide for Link’s sake, just say it. We won’t be mad.” 

“It’s not up to me to say. If you want to know, ask him when he gets up.” 

Link was never one for secrets, he’s usually honest about everything. Of course, he is a terrible liar, so he has no choice but to say the truth. If she won’t say, he’ll just ask when he gets up.

Midna takes a deep breath, “So if you are all done interrogating me may I continue?” The group agrees and listens on. The truth about what happened around the Castle comes to light, along with what Link has been doing to break through and defeat Zant. From the arid deserts to the heavens above they went to get what they needed.

At one point, Shad yells out, “Oh! So that’s how Link got that cannon out! Goddesses, I’ve been trying to figure that out for weeks!” 

Midna chuckles, “Yeah, I had to convince him it would be fine. He was thinking you would notice pretty fast and get suspicious.” It wasn’t long after that the tale catches up to the present, where the duo gets caught off guard and ended up here. At first, he thought hearing how Link got injured would be the worst of it, but the news of Ganondorf’s return was much, much worse.

Removing his glasses as he leans on the table, Shad curses, “By Hylia...”

Rusl feels his body go numb. ‘ This can’t be happening. He has to face him?! ’ His son- not even yet a man – becoming the Hero right under his nose. His grip digs into his legs as the thought of possibly losing him blossoms in his mind. Sure he’s gonna live now, but the next battle? He’s going to face one of the vilest men who has ever lived. If Link dies, his worst nightmare would become true. 

He looks over to the arch, and something catches his eye. A hint of green. “Oh, you got to be kidding me.” He always knew Link was a stubborn kid, but leaving while still injured? That idiot! The fatherly man jumps out of his chair, confusing the group as he heads toward Link, struggling to redress. “Link! What the hell are you thinking?!”