A/N: Here it is, the final chapter! Thanks again to everyone who's read, followed, favorited and/or commented(I think that's everything)! Hope you enjoy the end!

Once Link placed his hand in hers, she led him out of the clearing and into the trees that grew around the pond. She knew this patch of forest like her own house, down to every shrub and rock, and as the shrine's cool blue glow faded behind them, replaced by the organic, fainter light given off by mushrooms and insects, she felt the last of her anxieties loosen inside her.

Passing by a hollow log, a clump of waist-high bushes, and a table-sized stump, Paya stopped when they reached the deepest part of the forest. They stood facing each other in a mossy dip in the ground, shielded from the rest of the woods by several boulders and an exceptionally wide tree. Despite the soothing cloak of darkness that surrounded them, Link's gaze on her felt more intimate than the hands that reached toward her and pulled her close. She closed her eyes when she saw him lean in, holding her breath despite herself, and waited eagerly for his kiss.

Heat bloomed on her lips. Every touch upon her skin fed her need to feel more of him, to be held, discovered, consumed. The barrier of propriety between them had been crumbling all day, weakening with every smile, touch, and kiss they had shared, and now it was easily discarded, like the silken scarf Paya unwound from around Link's neck and shoulders.

Paya had uncovered a spot below Link's earlobe where his skin was soft and his pulse beat hard. She kissed him there, and his breath deepened, encouraging her to continue. Her nose nuzzled into the hair at the nape of his neck. Strands of it were coming free of the bun he had tied it into, and the way it tickled her made her want to take it down and run her fingers through it. Before she made up her mind to move, hoping the gesture was not too forward, Link's wandering hands found the belt that held her jacket shut and swiftly unclasped its buckle. She shrugged off the jacket, leaving her shoulders bare and waiting for Link's caresses. His fingers skimmed over her skin then twitched, hesitating in apparent surprise as he reached her shoulder blades, as if he wasn't expecting her shirt to be backless. He ran his hands up and down the length of her spine, following the muscles she was deliberately trying to keep relaxed under his exploration, then found the closures on her shirt.

A few buttons at the back of her neck and waist were all that kept her top together. Link tapped his fingertips against them, asking silently to proceed. She gave permission in kind, kissing him hard before tilting her head and sweeping her hair over her shoulder to give him more room to maneuver. The fabric at her throat fell away, allowing Link to kiss her, his open mouth hungry and hot, down her neck and across her collarbone. She hardly noticed when the rest of her garment slipped off her chest and landed in a heap at her feet— Link's hands had replaced her shirt, and he was touching her in a way that commanded all her attention.

He kept his strength focused on the kisses he lavished on the sides of her neck while his ungloved hands crept cautiously over her breasts. His touch was as light as a feather, and while she appreciated his reserved approach, it didn't feel nearly as satisfying as the teeth nipping at her skin. She waited for Link to grow more bold, but when he did no more than trace languid circles around her nipples, a move which might have charmed a skittish animal but failed to increase her ardor, her heart sank by a tiny fraction. The legendary hero was a man, not a mind reader, after all. She'd have to tell him what she liked.

"You can do it harder." Her voice was so soft and wavering, she wasn't sure Link could hear it, but the control she held over herself was so weak, she might shout clear across the forest if she tried to speak any louder. "They're not that sensitive."

Keeping his hands where they lay as if he couldn't bear not to be touching some part of her, Link lifted his lips from her neck and said, "Oh really? Mine are."

Paya brought her hands to his chest, eager for the opportunity to pleasure him, and brushed her fingers over his pectoral muscles. He stood still, with no change in his breathing or voice to tell her how she was affecting him. She searched for an orienting landmark, but was stymied by the smooth, flat expanse of fabric covering his chest.

It must be a side effect of the stealth technology woven into the textile, she thought after another moment of fruitless petting. Not only does it muffle sound, it deadens touch.

"Please," she whispered, hardly believing she had the courage to ask, "take off your shirt." Not long ago, there was a time when she would have screamed at the thought of the hero walking around topless, when she was close to fainting at seeing his unclothed legs. Tonight she had changed. Tonight she had run off into the wilderness with her crush for the express purpose of… well, she hadn't thought that far ahead. Now she was bare to the waist, encouraging Link to remove his clothes, and she was mostly unperturbed by their situation. Perhaps she was in an extended state of shock, left over from the showdown she had been an unwitting audience to. Whatever it was, shock, lust, or maybe even simply becoming more comfortable in his presence, she watched with eager eyes as he peeled the skintight garment off his body. As long as she focused on the show Link was making of disrobing, she could ignore the uncomfortable reality of her own nudity.

The seclusion of their hideaway cultivated an atmosphere of heightened sensation. Aided by the gentle glow of the phosphorescent plants that ringed their hollow, Paya committed to memory the locations of Link's most visible scars, the narrowness of his waist, and the proportions of his limbs. She took in the view through the screen of her modestly lowered eyelashes, and after she had looked her fill, her hands and mouth bravely followed the path her gaze had taken. Rid of the suit that covered his body but left little to the imagination, Link offered himself up to Paya's exploratory touch.

She wanted to hear him moan again, like he had when they were distracting each other in the kitchen. She slid her hand up and across his chest while they kissed, searching once more for a reactive spot, and she knew she had hit her mark when Link's breath hitched in his throat and he broke their kiss. Rubbing her fingers slowly over his stiffening nipple, Paya listened as Link's breathing grew louder and more erratic. She never would have guessed a seasoned warrior like him could react so strongly to such a light touch, and when he let loose with a stuttering, ecstatic groan, she smiled, and brought her other hand over to work on his other side.

It wasn't long before Paya's gentle touch riled the hero up into restlessness. He wrapped an arm around her waist, kissed the side of her face distractedly, then sank to the ground, pulling her with him as he sat. Paya settled herself gingerly upon him, straddling his lap with a fluttering sigh. He had kept his undershorts on, and she thanked the ancestors for leaving her one final mystery to uncover at her own pace.

The mystery wore thin as she pressed against him. If the moonlight had been able to reach into their secluded nook, she'd be able to glance down and confirm what she felt between them, but this was a dark place in the forest, and seeing only shadows and dim outlines was no longer satisfactory. She wanted to feel him stiffen and throb against her; she wanted his hot breath on her skin and his cries in her ear as she led him over the edge; she wanted to lose herself in pleasure for the rest of the night.

Link had his face buried in Paya's chest, sucking hard on a nipple while roughly fondling her breasts. The stimulation was exquisite, but all she could do was breathe raggedly in response. Too much Sheikah training and her own ingrained reticence had made her silence standard. She wanted to communicate her state of mind somehow, but making any noise above a heavy exhalation took conscious effort and distracted her from the action.

She was somewhat relieved when he freed his mouth to ask her if she was feeling okay.

"Yes, that feels good." Her voice sounded like it was coming in on the faint breeze. "You can keep doing that, if you want."

"I want to know what you like, but it's hard to tell." He paused to kiss her collarbone, and a shiver of pleasure ran through her. "You're so quiet and still, I don't know if what I'm doing is good or bad."

"Everything you do is good—" she blanked out for a moment as his callused fingers dragged down her side, her skin tingling in his wake, "—but if it helps, maybe I can guide you with my hands."

Paya had always imagined it would take more time to get into the situation she and Link had found had begun, like usual, with the preliminaries— lingering glances, holding hands and hugging, exchanging sweet kisses— but the next stages had been swiftly bypassed. There had been only a single opportunity to deepen their relationship and learn more about one another, and the boundaries she had drawn in advance seemed ill-suited to their present circumstances. Rather, their scanty knowledge of each other served to increase their appetites.

Lying on the pile of discarded clothes with Link stretched out by her side, Paya knew only her own pleasure. Anchored by the inquisitive hands roaming over the length and width of her body, delight and need awoke within her and spread like fire consuming tinder.

He swallowed her small cries, sharing her rough breaths as he stroked and rubbed her with his clever fingers. He had taken the same cautious method when he began to explore between her thighs, leaving it up to Paya whether he went faster or slower, higher or lower, deeper or shallower. Carried aloft by his enthusiasm and deference, she felt secure in her ability to show him what felt best. It was so much easier to do instead of speak, doubly so under the cover of darkness.

She pushed down on his hand, flattening it with hers against the concentrated spark within her that was crying out for more pressure, more friction to fan it into flame. He curled his fingers into her, humming with satisfaction as she arched off the ground. Every one of her nerve endings fired in a wave of shimmering glory, and Link's exultant cry before she crushed her lips to his echoed through the surrounding forest, filling her ears with a reflected ripple of euphoria.

The golden flood drained from her as she got her breathing back under control, and she loosened her grip on Link. Her awareness retreated from her body to rekindle the nervous thoughts banked in her head. Panic and doubt began to chase each other in a whirl of confusion. She had never felt so exposed before, and some of that must have expressed itself externally, because Link stopped his attempt to kiss her again and leaned back on his elbows.

"What's wrong?" Paya marveled at his abrupt shift from aggressive to tender. If only she could have such precise control over her own emotions as well. "Are we moving too fast? Do you need to go home?"

She shook her head and sat up, drawing her knees to her chest in a protective ball. "No, it's nothing like that…" She breathed deeply, trying to collect her thoughts. She felt unworthy of the affection he was showing her; a stubborn, very loud part of her mind was convinced that she could not compare to the beauty and purity of Princess Zelda. On the other hand, if the Champion wanted to be with his princess, he wouldn't be here with her. He had a choice, and he had chosen Paya. Forcing herself to confront her reality, her gaze traveled upward over Link's body to rest fleetingly on his face. Hylia herself must have had a hand in his creation, there was no other reason for him looking so effortlessly handsome while lying on the forest floor. Desire flared within her, giving her the courage to speak.

"I've been selfish. I forgot about you while you've been focusing on me."

Link smiled, teeth flashing in the dark. "I wouldn't call it selfish to know what you want. Am I selfish for wanting to be with you all night?"

Paya hesitated in answering. He'd hit on the exact question she'd been grappling with for ages.

"We've gone over this before," he reminded her gently. "Spending time with you is a greater blessing than what the monk gave me."

"Oh?" None of the ancient texts she'd read had been specific about the rewards that awaited the chosen hero. She had to satisfy her curiosity, even if it meant taking the conversation away from bolstering her flagging self confidence. She hated that she needed to be constantly reminded of her worth. "What did you get?"

"Some kind of short-bladed Sheikah sword. It was just what I needed too, I broke my old one by accidentally dropping it while I was trying to put it in the Slate's inventory. But swords can be found anywhere. There's only one of you." He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Do you want to hear more about what it was like in the shrine?"

She didn't, at least, not right then. Paya sensed that Link would be fine with whatever answer she gave him, but she found her interest turning back toward his subtly gleaming abs. "I want— I want to make you feel the way you made me feel," she said, all in a rush. Link's eyes widened in pleased surprise.

Impulsively, she stood, facing the tree that blocked the view of the rest of the woods. "Look, can you see it?" She twisted around a little more and tugged her leggings down on one side. "It's my birthmark, the one I'm named after, the one that you asked where it was." Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him reach out with a finger, but the touch on her backside was too soft for his callused skin to make. He must have kissed her there, and the realization hit her like a ray of sunlight beaming through an overcast sky.

"Perfectly ripe," he murmured. She turned back around and fell into his arms with an embarrassed squeak. Instinctively trying to cover her blushing face, she burrowed into the side of his neck. They laughed, then when their mirth eventually gave way to a resurgence of passion, Paya was ready to give back what she had freely taken.

Stripped of his last stitch of clothing, the legendary hero was undoubtedly a paragon of understated yet powerful masculinity. Paya kneeled between Link's widely stretched legs and fought her competing desires to either keep her eyes screwed shut or forego blinking altogether. His heavily muscled thighs twitched in anticipation under her hands as she stroked him from knee to hip.

He was ready. She was ready.

Paya took him in her hand, hoping her fingers weren't trembling as violently as the nervous tremors shaking her chest. She moved mechanically, trying to remember Lasli's advice, but it all blended together in her head. Was she supposed to twist while squeezing? One hand or two? She remembered the way he had touched her, the way he was still touching her, and she tried to transfer her excitement and desire for him into each movement.

Clumsy or not, her ministrations appeared to be effective. Link clung to her, planting sloppy kisses wherever he could reach in between heaving panting, excited breaths.

"Oh, Paya, that feels so good!"

It shouldn't have surprised her to hear him speak her name, but the tone of his voice was so rich and wanting, she nearly dropped her handful in shock. She reached up and untangled his hand from her hair, then guided it down into his lap, folding his fingers over hers. If her unsure technique was capable of giving him this much pleasure, then a more practiced hand could only enhance the experience.

Paya had plenty of warning when Link reached his peak. Every breath of his became a moan, pitching higher and louder before suddenly dropping to a throaty growl. Secretly thrilled by her achievement, she held onto him, stroking him slowly until the pulsing under her hand stopped.

Leaning against her in exhausted satisfaction, Link groped blindly for something at his side. He lifted it high enough for Paya to see that he had found his scarf, then set to cleaning everywhere his seed had spilled. It had spread surprisingly far, and she was grateful for the convenient cloth as he wiped her hand dry. Throwing the soiled scarf aside, Link wrapped his arms around Paya and lowered them back onto the springy, clothing-covered ground.

"It's still dark. Let's rest here awhile, okay?" Without waiting for an answer, Link nestled his head in the curve of her shoulder, above her unclothed breast. Paya rolled her eyes at the sudden disappearance of the knight's energy, then wove her fingers through his sweat-dampened hair. She picked out a leaf and several tiny twigs while digging down through his thick strands to scratch gently at the scalp below. She had always found head massages to be extremely soothing, and was not surprised when she felt Link's breathing slow and deepen after a few minutes. It was only natural that she would follow his lead, drifting off to sleep in the protective cradle of her hero's arms.

It was still dark when Paya came to, swimming through fragments of a dream in which she was petting a small, blue-furred animal. Off in the distance, from the direction of the village, came the unmistakable sound of the harbinger of the morning— the crow of the cucco. Cuccos were not the smartest birds in Hyrule, an opinion she kept to herself in case Cado ever overheard, but they did know the difference between night and day. Despite the depth of darkness that cloaked their forested hiding spot, she believed the avian alarm that shocked her from sleep.

Link was awake too, although she wasn't sure whether it was the bird call or her hand clenching his hair that had roused him. They disentangled their limbs from each other, and Link rolled across the leaf-strewn ground, giving Paya space to stretch and retrieve her clothing.

"I have to get home before Grandmother wakes," Paya said as she shook the wrinkles from her shirt and coat. She was too worried about the lateness of the hour to concern herself with the state of her undress, at least until she caught the avid look Link was giving her, and she clutched her clothes protectively to her chest. "I don't want to think about what she'll say to me if she catches me sneaking into the house!"

"She'd probably congratulate you," Link said with a laugh. Paya glanced over and watched with a heated face as Link slipped on his undershorts and trousers. The curves of his ass stood out in greater relief from the dim background of the forest than she'd ever noticed before, which meant that morning was fast approaching. She hurried to put on her clothes and hoped that her grandmother was feeling uncharacteristically lazy today.

"I insist on escorting you home, my lady," Link said once he had dressed, stepping in front of Paya and bowing deeply.

Paya giggled. "How genteel of you, sir." She wrapped her belt around her waist and fastened it, then reached into her pocket. The fairy tonic was right where she left it. "As payment for your chivalrous act, please accept this elixir." She handed the bottle to Link, who took it with a politely puzzled look on his face. "I wanted to give it to you last night, in case you got injured, but you were fine, and then I forgot," she explained.

"Thank you. I'll think of you if I ever need to use it." The bottle disappeared into one of the pouches on his belt, and they started their journey out of the forest. Link dropped` back a step behind Paya to let her lead the way as they threaded through the undergrowth.

The route they followed home was more direct than the one Paya had taken during the night, while still managing to avoid the main road through town and any early risers. There were no stairs at the back of the house, so they climbed the deck pilings like a couple of monkeys, a feat she hadn't performed in at least a decade. The kiss they shared before they parted was almost chaste, owing to its brevity. She courted danger with every extra second she lingered outside, but she couldn't help but whisper a few words of encouragment in his ear as she pulled away from his warm, enveloping embrace.

Back inside the house, she crept through the silent, darkened rooms and made it all the way upstairs without disturbing or hearing a peep from her grandmother. She made a mental note to leave the shiniest, most succulent apples in the ancestors' offering bowls later in the day. She wasn't running on luck alone.

Paya passed by her diary, waiting open on her low desk, as she crossed the floor of her room. There was just enough time before washing her face and changing her clothes to jot down a note about the previous day and night's adventures before the details faded. She was used to surviving on little sleep, and the nap she had shared with Link would give her enough energy to get her through her morning chores. She put pen to paper and wrote, "Dear diary, you'll never guess what happened yesterday morning…"