Bit by bit the town below began to grow quieter as the day drew to an end. Very few people would be out after nightfall, especially in the chill of the early spring weather when the nights were as bitter cold as the winter had been. As the sun began its slow decent in the sky Zelda pulled her cloak tighter around herself. She should probably go inside, get off the balcony before she chilled herself to the bone and needed a hot bath to chase away the cold.
Zelda didn’t move, though. She stood on the balcony outside her room overlooking Castle Town and the parts of Hyrule Field she could see. It had been some time since she’d been able to enjoy the beauty of twilight in peace. Between merchants and farmers coming to her during most of the winter and granting permissions that came with the turn of each season she had been unable to make it back to her room until well into the darkness of night.
The twilight was softer in the spring. In fall and winter it seemed dim and muddled, like the sun was too tired to shine properly that late in the day and summer’s light was bold and harsh, even as the day drew to a close, just like the weather. Spring, though, was perfect.
The first few times she’s stepped out to watch the sunset she had been hoping for something, a laugh, the glint of a smile in a shadow. Link had been with her the first few times, just as hopeful, and probably more crushed when nothing but night came to them. He’d left, hardly a week later. He had said he was heading back to his home in the forest, but something about him told Zelda he wouldn’t be there for long. Link had been changed by his destiny and he’d never be able to return to the kind, simple life he’d lived before the hero in him had awoken.
Zelda sighed and pulled her cloak even tighter against the chill. Just a few more minutes, she told herself, just until nightfall.
In all honesty she didn’t expect anything. Why would a random sunset two years after the fact yield anything when nothing before then had? Still, the twilight reminded her of Midna and Zelda could tell herself that it brought them closer together, if only for a short time.
Goddesses, how she missed Midna, the beautiful, bold princess of the Twilight. She missed the devilish glint in her eye, the wide stretch of her mischievous smile, and the impossible echo of her words as if they were being yelled across a canyon even as she was there beside you. Zelda wished, even as she understood why, that Midna hadn’t destroyed the Mirror. Zelda and Link had looked for days, trying to find even a single shard in that desert, but to no avail. The Mirror was well and truly shattered and Minda was gone from them.
Zelda felt tears begin to prick at her eyes and made to wipe them away as they fell, but someone else’s fingers made it there before her. Gasping in shock Zelda reared back, feeling the rail of the balcony pressing into the small of her back. Her hands flew up to cover her mouth as she took in the sight before her.
In the dying light of the day shadows had arranged themselves into the shape of a woman who was casting Zelda a sad smile, her arm still extended from when it had wiped away Zelda’s tears.
“Are these tears for me?” Midna asked examining her hand. “You shouldn’t cry at twilight, princess, it’s the most beautiful time of the day.”
Zelda couldn’t believe it. “Midna? Oh Goddesses, is it really you?”
The shadow shrugged and moved to stand beside Zelda, facing out towards her kingdom. “As much of me as there can be,” she said.
There were so many questions Zelda wanted to ask. How was the Twilight realm? Were the Twili well now that their princess had returned? Did Midna miss Zelda and Link as much as they missed her? There were too many. “How?”
Even as a shadow Zelda could make out the subtle shift of expression in Midna’s face. “Ages ago our ancestors held council together through shadow and dying light. The old magic is hard to dig up, forgive me for taking so long.”
“Forget how long it took you,” Zelda said shaking her head. “I can still hardly believe you’re here!”
Zelda knew she was grinning like an excited child but she couldn’t help herself! She had accepted that she would never see Midna again, never have the chance to thank her for everything, but there she stood, made of shadows but as real as anything.
She reached out and took one of Midna’s hands in hers. It was a little strange, Zelda had to admit, seeing Midna in the form of a woman rather than the imp who had crooned at her during those first few days of endless twilight, angry at the world and so bitter. Even then Zelda had recognized the kindness in Midna, though. She hadn’t been bitter about the loss of her power, she was worried about her people, just like Zelda had been about the Hylians. Midna just hadn’t been able to press it down and lock it away like Zelda could.
In hindsight, that might have been for the better. Her anger and bloodlust in the beginning of her journey was what had led her to Link and what had fueled the pair of them during those first important steps. She was glad Link’s compassion had soothed Midna’s rage; the twilight princess really was a kind hearted person when you got down to it.
Midna was smiling at her as she cupped Zelda’s cheek in her other hand. “Unfortunately, not for much longer. I can only be here during twilight.” She almost sounded like she wanted to laugh.
It didn’t surprise Zelda at all. If she had been given a little time to think about the spellwork and such she would have come to that conclusion before long, she was sure. “Is it difficult to come here?” It wasn’t the question she really wanted to ask, but it was safer.
Midna shrugged. “Finding the old magic was far more difficult than preforming it, though this is certainly not a casual spell by any means.” A wide grin split the shadow that was Midna’s face, light glinting at Zelda in lieu of teeth. “Why? Are you hoping to make this a daily occurrence?”
As she spoke, Midna stepped closer to Zelda, using her light hold to angle her face up. “Have you missed me so much? Have you been aching for my return?” The tone of her voice was lightly teasing even as it was quietly enticing.
The truth was that, yes, she had missed Midna like a soldier missed a limb. She and Midna had only known each other a handful of days before Midna had become Link’s shadow, but when Zelda had given Midna the last of her power to save both of their worlds Zelda had not disappeared. She had been within Midna the whole time, seeing and feeling just like the Twilit. She knew Midna so well and it had been jarring to be alone in a body once everything had settled to normalcy.
“I will only ask for what you can give me,” Zelda said as opposed to answering the question. They both knew, there was no need to say it.
The last of the light was beginning to fade away as Midna smiled. “I’ll do what I can,” she promised. “See if you can’t get my noble steed back here for a few days as well. The three of us can catch up.”
That would be wonderful, Zelda thought. She was already drafting the message she’d send out to Link, where ever he was.
“Until next time,” Zelda said, keeping as much sadness from her voice as she could.
“Indeed.” As the last rays of light was swallowed by the night Midna leaned forward and pressed her shadowed lips to Zelda’s. She was gone by the next breath and Zelda lifted a hand to her mouth. The sensation had been so fleeting part of her wasn’t sure she’d actually felt it or not.
Either way, the intent had been there and, in the end, that was what mattered. Feeling more lighthearted than she had in ages Zelda swept into her room and set pen to paper. Link would be ecstatic when it reached him.