You can thank FigmentForms for this one. Despite my love of other people’s works and my love of writing things, I have never before, to the best of my knowledge, written fan fiction. Unless you count works based on RPGs that I’ve run or played in, in which case I’ve been doing it for a while?
Anyway. FigmentForms has a beautiful comic which is itself fanfic, exploring an alternate Hyrule in which Zelda and Ganondorf consider marrying one another for reasons of state. This is the link to the chronological archive. This is a link to the “all things Zelgan” section, which encompasses others’ work as well. I had not even thought of Zelgan as a thing until I read this comic, and now I eagerly await every new installment. If you like Zelda games, or like pretty art, I strongly suggest checking it out.
This piece tickled me this morning, and I’ve been happily writing it on and off all day. It’s set some time after the current state of the comic (#63 at time of post) and explores what happens shortly after Rinku gets her hands on some bombchus, though it focuses more on Zelda and Ganondorf than on Rinku.
“Who ever thought that CHILDREN should be allowed to play with EXPLOSIVES?!”
Ganondorf paced across the balcony, wheeled, came back once again. It boomed beneath his feet.
“Bombs! Of all the things for Rinku to play with, why did she have ambulatory BOMBS? How did she even get her hands on them!”
Zelda stood in the center of the balcony, hands gripping the railing. She didn’t feel much calmer than her, it still felt strange to think this, husband.
“I don’t know either.” She reached up and touched the faint scar Rinku had left on her cheek. “But I am certainly going to find out.”
“Find out? When we discover who gave her those bombchus, I’ll lasso them with their own intestines and drag them behind my boars!” Ganondorf came to a stop beside Zelda, towering over her, eyes bright with anger and power.
She fought five kinds of fear to stand still and look up at him calmly. It was easier than it had been; she’d begun to grow used to his tirades, which said too much for her to be comfortable with. But she thought she knew what had really enraged him, and she felt exactly the same way.
Zelda reached out and laid her hand on Ganondorf’s warm, broad chest. She felt a little flutter beneath her ribs at the idea that she could even do such a thing, though she still struggled with the thought that she had married him, let alone that she felt attracted to him. His heart was beating hard and fast, but she could feel it slow as she looked up into his eyes. The glow gradually faded from them.
“Ganondorf.” She watched his shoulders settle, and felt his hand slide over hers on his chest, pressing it to his skin. “If one of our soldiers, or those sworn to our service, did in fact willfully give bombchus to Rinku without our royal permission,” she took a breath and closed her eyes, “I’ll accept whatever form of execution you think is most appropriate for them.” Her stomach twisted at the thought, but it sounded right in her ears. If nothing else, Ganondorf would greatly appreciate the gesture. She opened her eyes again and looked up into Ganondorf’s face. Though he still scowled and furrowed his brow, she could see that he was listening intently. Their eyes met, and something did a little flip behind her ribs. Something that she’d come to enjoy, to love. She suppressed an involuntary smile. “But if Rinku simply stole them, as I suspect she did, let us instead demote whoever allowed a small child to steal bombs from the royal armory.”
Ganondorf slowly nodded, turning to look down over the courtyard. He stepped closer to Zelda, sliding her hand around his back to his hip, standing side by side. She could feel the heat of his large arm as it wrapped around her and pulled her closer to him. Somehow, it felt right. They looked down at the courtyard below, and at all that was left of the old Astronomer’s tower. A work party was still pulling rubble from the shrubbery.
Zelda sighed, looking at the destruction that her daughter had wrought. “Deal?”
Ganondorf squeezed her against him, gently. “Deal.”
She inhaled sharply as she watched Rinku clamber out the window the room where she was supposed to be grounded. “And there she goes again.”
Ganondorf strode back into their chambers, growling. “Not if I have anything to say about it.”
Servants in the hall scattered from Ganondorf’s path. He barely noticed them, entirely lost in thought. The problem with Rinku, he mused, was that she was everything that a good daughter was supposed to be… and then some. Strong, bold, fearless, endlessly inquisitive and entirely without any conception of her own limits. He was fairly certain that bombs should be a limit, at least when she had no supervision of any kind.
He strode towards the stables. If Rinku was running from her room and expected to get away with whatever her next plan was, she’d no doubt think to escape on horseback until she had outpaced her immediate pursuers.
The smile that thought brought to his face made at least one butler collapse in terror.
That his daughter, adopted or not, should be so comfortable on horseback brought pleasure to him. Great pleasure. He would raise her to be a proper Gerudo yet! That was yet another problem with someone letting Rinku play with explosives. Anything could happen to her. He still had nightmares of reports he’d received in past lives, the havoc Link had wreaked with simple bombs on his forces and allies. It was a goddess-ordained miracle that the Bearer of Courage had never finished Ganondorf’s job for him and blown himself to smithereens.
For that matter, if Rinku hurt herself, or worse yet died from playing with explosives, Ganondorf would be the first to blame. It was a particularly bitter potion for him to swallow that others would ever think that he would harm his own daughter, adopted or not. The chance to have a child, the chance to be a father once more without the constant fear of starvation, deprivation, and the lurking knowledge that his people were doomed… something inside him glowed with joy every time he thought about it. When he was most honest with himself, lying awake at night, he could even admit that it was no longer about what he’d told Zelda only a month or two ago.
Yes, he’d take great pleasure from turning Rinku against Link, should he ever show his face. The idea of raising the child of the Bearer of Courage and becoming her true father, turning her against her endlessly troublesome birth parent, was sweet. He still cherished the thought of riding into battle against Link with Rinku at his side.
But now, even more than that, he loved the thought of being her father. The possibility that she might one day look up to him and see him as something more than the scary man who had married her mother. That she might love him as her own father, as he could feel himself growing to love her. And she had such great potential! He could be there to see her grow, and to help guide her through whatever trials she would face. Perhaps, just this once, a child of his would not perish before his eyes. The joy of that thought brought him to tears every time.
The thought of Rinku’s potential echoed in Ganondorf’s mind as he burst into the stables. It tickled as he saddled his horse, brushing aside the grooms who tried to do it for him. Then a fully fledged idea burst forth.
The young woman who had stood by, ready to help after being rebuffed, stood at quivering, nervous attention. “Yes, your majesty?”
“Fetch me a bow. And arrows.”
The color drained from the groom’s face. “A bow and arrows, your majesty? For your pursuit of Rinku?”
Ganondorf blinked, then felt anger bubble up inside him. He conjured his own bow into his hand, arrow already nocked, and fired it into the cobbles of the stable floor with a shout. The shaft thrummed, buried more than halfway into the stones.
“I HAVE MY OWN BOW! BRING ME ONE FOR RINKU!”
The groom fled.
It was, Ganondorf had to admit, a beautiful day to be chasing one’s wayward adopted daughter on horseback. Rinku could hardly have chosen a better day to escape and go for a ride. With Rinku’s bow in the saddle scabbard pressing against his thigh, he smiled into the warm breeze. Say what you would about the Hylians, but their land was lush and beautiful. Not unlike one particular Hylian he’d come to know better of late.
Ganondorf wondered at that thought. He’d believed that he was only here to find Zelda’s vulnerabilities, to seek her weaknesses and ultimately depose her to rule in her place. But he could feel the past tense in that thought. Now, riding through Hylian fields in pursuit of his adopted daughter, he wasn’t sure what he believed. If he had the chance, would he see Zelda dead? If all he had to do was be a little bit too late in stepping to her aid?
He could feel something in him tighten at the thought, a painful twist that brought back memories of his past lives. But not memories of Zelda as she’d always ended up, victorious despite his best efforts. No, what it brought back was memories of those he had loved and lost before, time after time.
And here he rode, astride his brilliant and fierce steed. He knew that somewhere inside him, something yearned for the harsh beauty, the clarity and starkness of the desert. Something rejected the green that saturated, dripped from the land around him. But there was part of him that he’d fought to restrain, which wanted to return to that land only to share it with Zelda. To show her the beauty which she’d so long only seen as a foe to be feared.
His whole life, his path across all his lives, had been upended. He knew it. He thought that, perhaps, Zelda knew it too. In so many ways, it seemed, Zelda had already won. Again.
She had secured her throne, her kingdom, against his invasion more thoroughly this time than any time before. Without any need for the hideously, unfairly lucky warrior in green.
“I,” he whispered to himself as his warhorse crested a hill and slowed to a walk, “have lost.”
And there, playing in the field in the valley below, was Rinku. She swatted a scarecrow with a hefty stick, sending its head sailing through the air to land near Ganondorf. Her look as she recognized him was… sheepish. Not fearful. His daughter, adopted or not. His child to raise in a land at peace, where she might live her own life and not know such suffering as he had seen, as he had caused, throughout the ages. He lifted a hand to hide the smile creasing his face.
“And,” he said to himself as he rode down the hill towards a waiting Rinku, “I have won.”
“Mom! Mom!” Rinku raced into Zelda’s office. “Look at what Ganondad brought me!”
Covered in dirt and smelling like horse, she proudly waved a bow in the air. She narrowly avoided breaking a lamp on the side table. It didn’t look like she missed on purpose.
Ganondorf moved into the room behind Rinku, dominating the space as he always did. “And what else do you have to tell your Mother, Rinku?”
Rinku sighed and held her bow still for a few moments while she looked up at Ganondorf.
She stuck out her lower lip, “That I’m grounded for two weeks and am not allowed to touch any explosives without your or Mom’s supervision.”
Ganondorf leaned forward just the slightest bit and raised an eyebrow. “And?”
Rinku blew out through her lips. “And you’ll come give me archery lessons every day.”
“And when I’m satisfied that you have the basics,” Ganondorf continued, “I’ll begin to teach you the Gerudo art of horse archery.”
Zelda could see the gleam in Rinku’s eyes. She couldn’t hide her excitement at the idea no matter how hard she tried. Zelda wasn’t sure what to think. Should she be happy that her new husband had found a way to her daughter’s heart? Should she be afraid? She felt happiness bubbling up inside her, and wondered whether her emotions were betraying her. As she considered how happy Rinku seemed, she had another thought. “Doesn’t that seem a bit lenient?”
“Oh, no. Probably not.” Ganondorf stood back up straight and crossed his arms. “Rinku, what happens if you break the terms of being grounded?”
Rinku stared at the carpet and said in a very small voice, “You take back my bow for a week, and no horse archery lessons for three months after that.”
Zelda covered her mouth and choked back a guffaw. It came out in a gargled cough. “Excuse me.” She shook her head at Ganondorf’s look of alarm. “No, I’m perfectly fine.” What an excellent end to a terrible day.
“Well then,” she set her hands on her desk. “I think you need to go to your room.” She set her eyes on Rinku, who nodded and trudged out the door. She could hear her daughter start skipping the moment she was out of sight.
She leaned back in her chair, looking up at Ganondorf. “It seems that went well.”
His wide smile sent a little shiver up her spine. Her reflexes wanted to claim it was fear, but it felt more like pleasure.
“Yes, very well!” Ganondorf sat carefully in the reinforced chair she’d added to her office. It was blocky and garish, but her husband wasn’t breaking any more priceless antiques. “Our daughter is a natural born archer. If she doesn’t break the terms of our arrangement, I think she’ll be learning horse archery within two months.” He seemed inordinately proud. Something about how he sat, about the lines of his back and shoulders, made him look infinitely more comfortable than he had only days before.
“I still haven’t found the one responsible for Rinku getting bombs.” Zelda was loath to admit her failure, but didn’t see any way to hide it.
Ganondorf nodded, frowning. “I wish that you had. But I think we’ll have her attention for the next few months at least. Hopefully enough so to distract her from explosives.”
Zelda sighed in relief. Ganondorf’s surprisingly even response felt like a cool balm after what she had feared would come.
“Is there anything I can do to help with your investigation?” His face was so earnest, his eyes clear and seeking hers. She felt her stomach do a little flip again, and bit her finger in thought.
“No,” she paused. He nodded and leaned back again, resting in the chair, obviously worn out from a day of chasing her, no, their daughter. “But perhaps you’d care to join me for dinner on our balcony.” Gods, she loved that smile. Even when she feared what it meant for her future. “And you can tell me about your day with Rinku.”