Author's Note: Hey all! Never thought I'd be updating this story on my birthday of all days xD 25 now... Eww :3

First let me say, the support through all the notes/reviews/emails I've received has been overwhelming, and I couldn't be more thankful for it. Believe it or not, you've saved me from my inner demons that would have made me discard this story completely. So shout-outs to Jose ( ArchiveofOurOwn), NeoAnnubis, XWF1000, 0rbital, FicfansEverywhere, Min,, robbinsiid, AnimeAngel111, blaiseingfire, TheOnePotatoToRuleThemAll, Amarok Walker, SuccessfulFailure23 and all the anons/guests!

Another big thank you to Ariettys DeviantArt, who did the amazing cover art on this story. I felt that the story was special enough to have its own art, so I commissioned Ariettys to draw a scene (that will be coming up in this chapter) for me. Please go check out the full image in her gallery and fav/comment~!

The whole 'short one-shot' kinda went out the window, didn't it? ^^; Now on with the story! Enjoy!

The sweet sounds of meadowlarks, finches and wrens kept the spring air from silence as Queen Zelda slowly strolled through her private gardens with a book clutched in her arms. She was struggling to wipe the brightest and somewhat bashful smile off her face as it was today exactly a year ago that she and her knight had shared a very special night together for the first time. It also meant they had been engaged for a year, but according to the kingdom officially, they were still only courting.

Zelda knew that as soon as she announces their engagement, the kingdom will be in an uproar to organise a royal wedding almost immediately. She was glad that Link had agreed to postpone announcing it for a year. Now that year was up, and in a few short hours, she would officially announce it once all the council members from the other towns and tribes in Hyrule had arrived at the castle, along with her fiancé.

Link was out at one of the newly rebuilt barracks somewhere in Hyrule Field training a new General for the Hylian Army, something he may not have so much time for soon. Zelda wondered how he would cope with no longer being a knight, but instead a Prince. Often, Link expressed his concerns with it all, mostly on how to deal with socialising with visiting royals, dignitaries from other countries and most nobles in general. Zelda had assured him that not all of them were pretentious and arrogant like Averadus. Zelda giggled to herself as she sat down on the edge of the enormous stone fountain in the centre of the garden, recalling a memory.

They were enjoying a day-long picnic in the shade of the large tree they had discovered three years ago out by the Applean Forest. Zelda had tugged the band free from Link's hair and was slowly and affectionately combing her fingers through it as he sat in front of her, voicing his concerns for their future.

"I guess I'm just worried about what everyone will say about me. I mean, I had heard the gossip about you that your father had once mentioned was going around. I saw how much it affected you and, while I would ignore most pessimistic comments made towards me anyway, they might eventually start to bother me." He paused. "Especially if it's about you or our relationship."

"Listen, while it's true there will be some gossipers and cynics, you aren't expected to rule like I am. There won't be nearly as much pressure on you. Not to mention you've already fulfilled your destiny and saved Hyrule-.."

"We fulfilled our destinies and saved Hyrule" Link nonchalantly corrected.

Zelda smirked and resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She could almost hear the smug grin that was now on Link's face. She gave a gentle tug on a lock of his hair in retaliation, and he simply chuckled.

"Since I took up the throne, I've realised that I can't let anything negative get to me. If anything, it's given me the determination to be better; to strive for more action to be taken in making Hyrule as best as it can be while being the Queen my people deserve. They already love and respect you so much, so I don't think any gossip will come from them."

"What about when monarchs from another country visit? Or even the nobles here at all these fancy events that happen at the castle?"

Zelda giggled at his clear aversion of upper-class society. She let his sandy blond hair slip through her fingers then reached around his waist and hugged his back as she rested her head on his shoulder. "You've nothing to worry about Link. It's not like they'll be demanding your opinion on government issues. Those topics will be mostly directed to me if anything. I know you still want to protect me as a knight, and you will be just as you always have been; only standing beside me as my husband, instead of behind me as my knight."

Link was quiet for a while as they continued to sit there together before he finally spoke again.

"I quite enjoyed the view from behind you actually." He said brazenly as he looked over his shoulder at her with a flirtatious look on his face.

Zelda let out a surprised gasp, her face turning bright red as she admonished him. "Link!"

Zelda chuckled silently and let out an exasperated, but fond sigh from the recalled memory. "That deviant."

"Who's a deviant?" The voice of the very man that was always on her mind murmured quietly as he casually walked up to join her at the fountain. He was in his usual Champion's tunic and Hylian trousers, with the Master Sword on his back as always.

Zelda cleared her throat while averting her eyes and flushed face. "No one." She replied haughtily.

Link just smiled an all-knowing smile, taking one of her hands into both of his own, squeezing them comfortingly. 'I'm sorry I was not back sooner today. I had to… run a little errand."

"It's fine. The council meeting isn't due to start for another…" Zelda looked down at the pavement. The fountain they were sitting at also doubled as a huge sundial. "…hour and a half." She leaned up and pressed a kiss to his cheek gently, feeling its heat beneath her lips. She moved back slightly to giggle.

Link turned to face her and firmly pressed his lips to hers, silencing her mirth abruptly. They allowed themselves a moment to enjoy the kiss, deepening it before needing to stop for air.

In the years they had been courting, they could both comfortably initiate such affections. Although, they had not spent another blissful night in each other's arms since that first time. It was another thing they were both happy to wait for, especially since such activities could potentially lead to unplanned consequences, and it was too soon for that. But of course such urges would still arise, and they often found other pleasurable solutions to deal with such predicaments.

They stared deeply into each other's eyes, both mixed with lust and adoration.

"It's been a year since that night, so I'm not surprised it's becoming more difficult for us to contain our composure." Zelda murmured with a small smile.

"I know… I wonder who will snap first." Link huffed softly with amusement.

"My rupees are on you to snap first." Zelda poked her tongue out at him playfully when he shot her a sideways glance.

"I don't think the odds are in your favour, My Queen." He sighed softly, closing his eyes and running a hand through his bangs.

"What makes you say that?" Zelda said before catching sight of the corner of his mouth lifting into a very roguish smirk as his dazzling blue eyes darkened slightly to a molten cobalt.

Link swiftly but gently pushed her down onto the flat stone surface of the fountain's edge, knocking the book she had placed down beside her onto the pavement below. He leaned over her, lowering his lips to her own for a passionate, but brief kiss before trailing them across her cheek and to her neck. He sucked lightly at her pulse point before running the tip of his tongue up to her elongated ear, where he gave a few well-placed nibbles. Zelda was left gasping and groaning, squirming and clutching at his tunic as she begged him to stop with a voice that betrayed her, tinged with so much need.

The sound of a woman clearing her throat at the entrance to the garden was the ice cold bucket of water on their hot and heavy moment. They bolted upright and fixed any frenzied appearances just in time before Seraphina walked around the fountain to them.

Seraphina bowed her head at the pair. "Your Majesty, Sir Link. All of the council members have arrived and await you in the Rhoam Hall."

"Y-Yes thank you Seraphina. Please inform Chancellor Clarke that we will be along shortly." Zelda addressed her Lady-In-Waiting, appearing almost completely unaffected by the sudden turn of events. Almost. Link on the other hand, appeared his usual stoic self; completely unaffected at all.

It wasn't the first time they had almost been caught in a precarious position before.
After Seraphina left, they laughed it off.

"I'll concede for now." Zelda smiled as Link reached down to pick up her fallen book and hand it to her. He simply replied with a wink before offering her his arm to escort her, which she accepted.

"Are you ready to be engaged 'officially'?" She said as they wandered out of the gardens and into one of the many stone corridors of the castle.

Link placed a tender kiss to her temple as he smiled warmly at her. "You have no idea."

Zelda was starting to feel quite nervous about her upcoming announcement as she and the rest of the court listened to Prince Sidon report about the reservoir levels at Zora's Domain.

"So with the rain that fell two days ago, Hyrule's main reservoir has reached 105% capacity, just in time for the warmer days ahead. The king is enabling the excess and more to be delegated to wherever is in need of it most." The newly appointed Zora Champion passed the official documentation on the matter to Impa, who then passed it to Zelda.

"Provided Her Majesty approves it, Rito Village is in need of that water. Due to the colder temperatures up in the snowy peaks this spring, the snow and ice that would usually fill up Lake Totori has not melted. With the population increased slightly over the years, we can't predict how long our current water source will last." Teba, the Rito Champion, explained to Prince Sidon. "The thing is, I'm not sure what we could offer as equivalent trade."

"Do not be absurd, my friend. Hyrule's water is for all. If you can assist the Zora with transportation, then that should be fine." Prince Sidon beamed, oozing with charisma.

Zelda spoke up. "Are there any objections?" The room was silent for a beat before she continued, taking up her quill and two blank parchments. "Then I approve." She efficiently wrote up two documents on the exchange, signed and stamped them with the Royal Family wax seal before handing them to the respective parties.

"Before I dismiss all of you, I wish to make an announcement." She said and suddenly felt over twenty pairs of eyes directly glued to her as she stood from her chair. She quietly cleared her throat, trying to shrug off the butterflies in her belly.

"I believe it was a year ago today that we were in this very hall, for the very same meeting. Back then, we talked about restoring, while today we discuss sustaining. We also talked about my hand in marriage and today… I announce that I've made my choice." She tried her best to smile graciously, but her reddening checks betrayed her. Everyone in the court seemed to be sitting on the edges of their seats now. Even the guards and other staff that were standing were leaning forward in anticipation.

"But first I must confess. In truth, I have been courting this man for three years, and a year ago today he asked for my hand in marriage, to which I was overjoyed to accept. There is no monetary, political or strategic gain from our union. It is for love, in its purest, most genuine form. It is the only reason we need." Zelda smiled softly as she paused for a beat.

Impa's wrinkled features gently formed a warm smile, and Prince Sidon was almost trembling with delight. Everyone else in the room, however still couldn't figure out who had won the Queen's heart.

As Zelda continued, she looked her shoulder at Link as he slowly stepped forward to stand beside her, smiling as their hands automatically came together. "The man I choose to have live by my side has been with me all along, right from the beginning over 100 years ago. So with the pre-approval of the court, I, Queen Zelda Nohansen of the Kingdom of Hyrule is set to wed Sir Link of Hateno, future Prince of Hyrule in the coming year."

It felt like an eternity to Link and Zelda as they nervously awaited Impa as she addressed the room. Impa was the head of the court should Zelda be absent or unable to make decisions due to biased reasons, such as this. Impa quietly cleared her throat. "Any persons on this court, who believes the union between Her Majesty and Sir Link should not occur, please now present to the court with a valid argument."

There was nothing but delighted, beaming smiles all-round, with the exception of one Averadus, who remained stoic.

Impa turned her warm gaze to Zelda. "On behalf of the Royal Court of Hyrule, we approve your decision, Your Majesty."

As much as Link wanted to scoop Zelda up into a tight embrace, he kept his elated emotions in check and settled for gently caressing his thumb over Zelda's small hand that he still had entwined with his own. He tilted his head to look at her. She looked as if she was about to explode with joy, much like himself. Her safety had been his given job in the beginning, but now, loving her unconditionally and making her happy was his dream come true.

"Link! For the love of Nayru, where are we going?" Zelda quietly hissed as she was guided down a hallway that she knew was leading towards the stables. She had been quietly reading and enjoying some tea after the meeting ended when Link came barging into her study and, with little explanation, more or less began dragging her along with him.

They soon reached the cobblestone courtyard of the immaculate stable. In the middle of the courtyard stood a stable hand holding the reins to a groomed and fully tacked white horse. Zelda planted her feet hard and stopped, effectively stopping Link as well. "Why is Regalis saddled? I'm not dressed appropriately to go riding right now."

Zelda watched as Link placed a foot in one of the golden stirrups and swung himself up into the saddle. He looked down at her with a reassuring smile. "I know. But there's somewhere really important I need to take you. You trust me don't you?" He said as he held his hand out to her.

The hopeful sparkle in his brilliant blue eyes always melted Zelda's heart, and every time she'd cave.

She took his hand and with seemingly little effort, he helped pull her up onto her steeds back behind him. Considering she was in her formal Royal dress, she had to sit in a side-saddle position. With Zelda's arms wrapped around his waist, Link goaded the horse onwards towards the newly built gate and bridge on the eastern side of the castle at a brisk walk.

"So where is your horse then?" Zelda asked with genuine curiosity.

"Sagitta? Well, I decided to turn him out to stud this year. You know how Stable Master Roah has been constantly asking me if he can borrow him for the breeding regime."

"Well, I don't blame him. The guard needs many brave horses after all, and he is a fine horse."

Link smiled and looked over his shoulder briefly as Zelda hugged his back more tightly, thinking it was for affection. But the tranquillity was short lived as Zelda called out loudly to her white steed.

"Fly Regalis! Fly!"

With a snort, the horse's reaction was instant as he surged forward into a full gallop, leaving Link to quickly catch his balance as Zelda howled with laughter at his priceless reaction of surprise.

"When did you teach him that!" Link called back to her over the loud clattering sound of the horse's hooves pounding against the stone bridge and the wind whipping past them, but all he got in response was her laughter.

Long blades of green grass gently rustled in the soft breeze as Link halted Zelda's white stallion. The ride hadn't been long due to the pace, but they weren't going all that far from the castle to begin with. The meadow was full of Silent Princess flowers in full bloom, along with a scattering of plum trees that were also in bloom with their sweet pink blossoms. It had become a favourite picnic spot of theirs in the last few weeks; understandably so.

Link swung his leg over the horse's neck and slid off his back, then turning around to circle his arms around Zelda's waist lovingly as he helped her dismount. With a quick light and tender kiss on her lips, Link then took her hand and led her through the natural wild garden.

"So this is the important place you needed to take me hm? Whatever for?" Zelda queried.

Link bashfully rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, to be honest, I really just wanted some time alone with you."

Zelda looked at him incredulously, but with a hint of humour in her eyes. "We could have stayed at the castle you know. You didn't need to go through the trouble of-"

Link cut her off and cupped both her hands in his, staring deeply into her eyes with sincerity. "Doing anything for you is never any trouble. Not to me. It never will be." He smiled softly. "Besides, we both know that you love getting out of the castle for whatever reason, as do I."

"I'm starting to worry that perhaps you know more about me than I know about myself." She murmured lightly.

"That's not exactly a bad thing, My Queen. Especially considering that it is vice versa, I wouldn't have it any other way. You helped me to remember most of who I was before the Calamity after all."

Zelda parted her lips to respond, but a large rock half buried in the soil and well-hidden in the grass tripped her stride. "Oh!"

Link lost grip on her hand as she began to fall, but he quickly and subconsciously wrapped his arms around her, twisting as the momentum sent them to the ground and landing on his back as Zelda remained tightly in his arms. Link landed firmly on his back while Zelda safely fell against his chest. Despite cringing slightly he leaned up on his elbow, immediately concerned for her.

"Zelda, are you alright?"

It took her a moment to realise what had happened as she took in the concerned look on Link's face. She was nestled between his legs, with her upper body flush against his and their faces mere inches apart. She blinked.

"Zelda? Are you-mmmf!" Link was silenced with a sudden kiss as her lips crashed onto his own. She always had a habit of catching him by surprise, whether it was romantically or not. When the deep kiss slowly broke, Zelda reached up and lightly brushed his unruly sandy bangs from his eyes then cupped her hands behind his neck.

"Thank you for saving me, Hero." She whispered to him softly, to which Link simply and silently responded by wrapping his arms around her and holding her close.

Staying like this, they basked in the warm sun for a while, not even bothering to budge from their positions due to the fact they were just too comfortable. But Link disturbed the tranquillity by leaning up on his elbow again, prompting Zelda to look up at him.

"I have something I wish to give you." He said as he reached into the small leather pouch on his belt. Zelda sat up as she watched him pull a tiny blue velvet bag from it.

"Remember this morning when I said I had some errands to run? Well, this was the reason." He said as he slowly began to untie the golden strings on the tiny bag. "Impa once told me that in royal marriages, precious gifts are exchanged. In noble marriages, jewels are given. And in normal marriages, the couple exchange a simple band of gold. So with the help of all the races of Hyrule, this is my gift to you." Link pinched the item between his index finger and thumb then pulled it out of the bag to reveal the most stunning ring Zelda had ever seen. In the center of the golden ring was a ruby, cut to replicate the shape of the red diamond jewel in her circlet. On each side of the ruby was a round cut diamond, followed by a pear cut sapphire. The gems glittered and sparkled in the sunlight as Link gently slid it onto her left ring finger.

Zelda was awestruck, and not just at the ring. "H-How… When…?" She looked up to see Link smiling in a somewhat shy manner.

"After Impa's explanation, I wanted to sort of combine the three traditions." Link explained. It made sense; Link started life as an ordinary Hylian, then he earned his nobility through knighthood, and soon would become a royal through marriage. Zelda mused to herself how much of a dreamer Link truly was as he continued.

"Firstly, I asked Paya to help me design it. Considering how much you adored the little necklace she made for you when we were staying in Kakariko, I figured she was the best person to ask.

"For the ruby, I travelled to Darunia Lake up on Death Mountain with Yunobo, for he knew that the best place to look for one was there. We managed to outrun a barrage of exploding rocks from an unimpressed octorok." Link shook his head and chuckled as Zelda giggled.

"I secured the diamond after Teba and I put down a rare Stone Talus on the Tabantha Frontier. It was a stubborn one, but Teba's stubbornness was no match. Thanks to his final bomb arrow, we succeeded."

"The day you had those important documents sent up to Zora's Domain was the day I was given the sapphires. I confided with Prince Sidon about us and the idea I had, and before I could say anything else, he forced the gems into my hands from his own personal collection along with every possible way for a person to wish their blessing unto someone." Again, the pair found amusement.

Link paused for a moment as he cupped Zelda's hands in his own. His thumbs caressed her soft skin as he continued quietly.

"The gold… used to be from an earring belonging to Urbosa. Lady Riju said that the other one of the pair had been long lost by Urbosa herself. So when I mentioned that I was looking for some gold to make a gift for you, she insisted the gold would be all the more precious to you." Link reached for her and pulled her close to him as he quickly caught sight of her viridian eyes welling with unshed tears.

"Link… I…" Zelda sniffled.

"You don't need to say it, my love." He spoke tenderly as he placed a delicate kiss upon her head. "I know."

After the blissful day he had spent with Zelda, Link was quite exhausted. It had been overwhelming with the amount of attention thrust upon him since the announcement, and it hadn't even been a whole 24 hours yet. He was used to not needing to speak unless it was necessary, and that was usually to the guards and other knights. But now, all the nobles were suddenly very interested in him. Obviously for their own social status', wanting to befriend the future Prince of Hyrule. He would politely endure, but it was nauseating.

'No wonder Zelda wants to pull her hair out after conversing with them. How am I going to endure it.?' Link pondered as he strolled down the corridor heading towards his quarters. Only the moonlight beaming through windows and the occasional wall scorn illuminated the path ahead of him until came across a rather recent painting of his beloved. His eyes softened as he gazed up at the painting, knowing that no artist could fully capture just how beautiful she was, in mind, body and soul. '…she is worth all my future headaches.'

As he continued, he became aware of the lack of guards the closer he came to Zelda's room, which was near his own. Rounding the corner, he almost bumped head-on into Seraphina.

"Oh! Good evening Sir Link, I'm sorry about that."

Link shook his head. "No need for apologies, My Lady. Although, if you wouldn't mind me asking, why are there no guards in this corridor?"

Seraphina lightly smirked. "Of course Sir Link, I was just on my way to find you for that matter. Queen Zelda has requested that only the entries of this corridor have guards posted. She has also requested that you go to her quarters immediately to discuss the matter." She rattled off so professionally that she hid any hint of amusement.

Link nodded and promptly headed off in the direction of Zelda's bedroom. "Thank you."

He was honestly a bit irked. Link knew Zelda wasn't irresponsible and knew that she understood the importance of her protection, so why has she so easily discarded it? Queen or not, he would demand an answer from her.

He knocked on her door in the usual pattern, but this time it was with tempered force. He waited patiently for her to come to the door, but it was taking longer than usual.

"Zelda? Please open the door before I have to let myself in… without your permission."

Again he was met with silence, and this time his usually steadfast patient was wearing thin out of fear.

"Farore help me, Zelda. Open the door… right… now…"

Link's words faltered and his jaw dropped as the mahogany door opened slowly, revealing an extremely naked Zelda; with nothing but the ring on her finger. Her golden hair cascaded in soft waves over her shoulders and down her back as viridian eyes expressed passionate love and a raw, lustful need.

"I'll be damned if I'm waiting another whole year." She purred in a voice so sultry and new, Link physically jolted as he felt a bolt of arousal surge down his spine, his burning cheeks making it all the more evident. His body also began to respond to the sight before him.

He swallowed thickly as he managed to rumble out his words. "Sweet Hylia….I think I… definitely agree with you… w-wholeheartedly."

As quick as lightning, Zelda grabbed a fistful of his Champion's tunic, yanked him into the room and slammed the door behind them. Through the long and rather pleasurable night, Link made a mental note to himself that he would never reject the idea of having that corridor empty of guards in the future, and would eagerly dismiss them himself without a second thought.

What an eventful year it was going to be.

I hope you all enjoyed it~! I am a little rusty once again ^-^

I'm eager to know what you would like to see next. More romance and fluff? Maybe a little bit of drama? Or perhaps... another lemony chapter?

I'm not going to write out their wedding though. I just don't think I can do it ^^;