They stood in a space devoid of time and substance: cloud-like matter floated below and above them. A blue sky sparkled all around. She didn't want to leave this place. She didn't want to see him leave her once again.

Zelda fingered the dark blue ocarina in her hand, not wanting to look into his eyes. She had to send him back to his own time---he had lost seven years due to her. She felt tears coming to her eyes, but she bit her lip, hard, to stop their advance. Zelda couldn't cry. Not in front of Link.

But she did eventually look up into his eyes, sapphire eyes that wrenched her heart in two. She knew she didn't want him to leave. But how could she deny him his missed life? That would be a cruel act, indeed.

"Link," she said quietly, "I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for what you have accomplished here." Her breath caught before she could continue. He had such beautiful eyes, and his honey colored hair and golden earrings glinted in the warm sunlight. She could barely resume the conversation.

She struggled to continue. Link had saved their kingdom, the kingdom of Hyrule. Hyrule fields once again were blanketed with warm green grass; Lake Hylia was once again filled with its clear, azure water. The City was no longer tainted with the undead. He had done all of this, defeated the evil king Ganondorf, at her bidding. He had risked his life for her. Zelda's blue eyes filled with tears.

As unwanted tears fell down Zelda's face, Link finally spoke. "Why do you cry, Your Highness?" he asked softly.

Zelda continued to cry. "I seized both your childhood and adolescence, Link, for my own cause. You had no choice." she replied sniffling, embarrassed by her display of feminine emotion.

Reflexively, Link took her hand. "Of course I had a choice, Your Highness." He didn't resume his argument.

She took her ring-covered hand from him, hardly bearing to feel his touch. She waved it at him---she did not want to carry on the debate. "Do not try to justify what I did, Link. Despite what you say, my conscience will be forever burdened by my decisions." And that I fell in love with you, and I don't want you to leave me again, she thought inwardly.

Zelda hastily scrubbed her tears off her face. She was becoming irritable with her own pettiness. How could she ask such a thing of the Hero of Time? Her silly girlish fantasies were naught but whimsies.

"I intend to send you back to your own time. Is that what you wish? For I will not play if that is not so," she said.

Link watched her silently, not issuing an immediate response. Zelda felt her heart pounding ever more quickly in her chest. Was he going to say that he loved her also? That he wanted to stay with her? Her hopes were unconsciously rising.

"Yes," Link eventually replied, "I will go back."

Zelda felt her heart sink to her toes. No! Please, Link, don't go! I'll miss you so terribly! "Very well," she replied, masking her true thoughts, "I will play the song for you." She paused, stalling his eventual departure. She continued. "Hero of Time, I thank you, as Hyrule herself, for your extraordinary acts of courage. Your name will never be forgotten." And I will never forget what you have done to my heart, Link.

Zelda lifted the blue Ocarina to her lips and took a deep breath. Her hands were shaking so badly that she was afraid that she would not be able to play the song. But as if she were guided by the Goddesses themselves, she began the sweet melody. She closed her eyes, feeling the song deep within her soul.

When she finished, Zelda looked to see Link surrounded by a deep blue light. Almost as if the Goddess Nayru were guiding him back through time. He looked at her with those blue eyes, and she could have avowed that he looked hurt and sad. Her breath caught once again. Would he miss her also? Would he be aggrieved that he would no longer have any memory of her?

As she watched him disappear, Zelda felt herself slightly smiling. He had said that he would go back, but not that he wanted to go back. Link had a duty to fulfill, a life to complete. And how was she to know that he wouldn't remember her? He might still have memories, memories of his battles and subsequent victories. And maybe of her. She hugged herself. Doesn't true love win in the end?