On a break from my other works, mainly because of the big exams coming up, I'm giving you this, because I can, and also because it was something that struck me while I was listening to some music. It happens often, but you don't need to know what music inspired it to me to understand (duh).

I shouldn't really have to do this, but:

DISCLAIMER: Okay. If you came to read this fic in hopes of suing me, I think you have a certain problem. Read the name of the site. FANfiction.net! HMMM. I WONDER WHAT THE HELL THAT CAN MEAN. PERHAPS THAT ALL STORIES ON THIS SITE ARE PURELY FAN MADE, AND THAT ANYONE WHO TRIES TO SUE BEYOND THAT IS THE ONE WHO SHOULD BE QUESTIONNING THEMSELVES INSTEAD OF BOTHERING ME WHO ONLY POSTED THIS HERE BECAUSE I CURRENTLY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHTS TO THIS SERIES. I'd be sick to write fanfiction on my own property, wouldn't I? Why do we have to mention this anyway??? OF COURSE it doesn't belong to us, you know-nothing-dimwits-who-have-no-life!!!!

WARNING: Contains some sexuality, though absolutely nothing detailed, and so DON'T RUN AWAY. Also contains some innuendos. Duh. Nothing major.

Now that my ramble has passed, let's get to it.

For lack of better title (it's my weakness),

Close Return By CrazygurlMadness

The night rolled over Hyrule with a silent pace, pushing the daylight far away into its black depths. The plain in front of Hyrule Castle was rustling with the gentle night breeze, a low whisper in the darkness. A faint silvery color tainted everything, and it was beautiful. The castle rose above the small field, its stone towers black against the night sky. One faint light at one of the windows revealed that one of the castle's inhabitants was not sound asleep. The curtains, light, flittered out of the window gently.

Link took a backward glance at Epona, noting that his mare was now peacefully eating some grass down the hill. He didn't even smile, but his heart warmed slightly. It was a beautiful creature, and he cared for his travel companion greatly.

His eyes flew back up to the tower, and the single patch of pale light. It was late, he knew, without even gazing at the moon. The ivory orb was probably high above his head, small and covered with clouds.

At his horse's side, another, much smaller orb of light floated, winged and light blue. Navi always accompanied him on his night excursions, but was wise enough to keep quiet. Link's eyes quickly darted to the few guards at the main gate, knowing that the night rendered him invisible. Epona was tied safely. Navi would watch over her anyways.

Link waited for the guards to shift. They always did at this time of night. It was one of the many flaws in security. He used them to his advantage.

The main gate was a very high structure, an arch, and to block the way, a high metal fence was always closed, except on particular occasions. Right now, it was shut. It was impossible to pass it. He couldn't care less. The guards were blind. He could easily go over the gate without them noticing. If only they had taken the time to look up all those nights before...

But it was their flaw. He knew how to use it fully. He saw the shift come, and in a few seconds, they would exchange a few words, maybe some food too, and during that fleeting moment, when they thought that a few seconds didn't matter, he would slip in.

The tall armored guard came to stand at the other sleepy one's side, shaking him out of his stupor. Link started moving, following the natural wall of earth that lead to the top of the gate. It was a bridge of sorts, and below him the guards exchanged a few words. He crouched, threw a look across the stone bridge, and knew without actually seeing it that another guard was there.

It didn't matter. They couldn't see him in the darkness, with his dark green tunic and earth colored boots. The darkness enveloped him, and he felt at ease. So often before, he'd followed the same path, tonight would be no different. He felt with one hand for the short ladder that lead down the tower. At any other time of night, he would have been noticed, but as the guards spoke, he was free to move.

He jumped the last few bars, hurrying for cover, at the very last moment when a guard took his position again. He grinned. Once again, they'd made that mistake of lowering their guard. He gazed towards the large dirt path that lead up to the castle. He knew that many guard pairs lined it, and he wasn't foolish enough to just walk up to the front doors, asking to be let in.

No. There was another way in. One the guards wouldn't think of covering.

He saw the hill opposite of the gate he'd just crossed, and ran to it, climbing up hurriedly as his boots sunk in the thick earth, giving him leverage to push up. A few seconds later, he was at the top of the small cliff and waved to an oblivious guard as he silently ran by, a triumphant grin on his face.

Now, he could run freely for a short time, and the night would cover his tracks. He completely crossed the field, reaching another high cliff, this one too steep for climbing easily. He reached for the vines that grew there, and by experience he knew they would hold him up long enough. His feet expertly took position on the stronger branches, and in a few seconds, he was already up above the main door, two guards in front of it.

This was the tricky part. He had to drop down behind them and slip into the interior court unnoticed. The only thing that could give him away was the thud of his boots as they fell on the chained wooden bridge that crossed the moat.

But that wasn't a problem either. His boots were soft, well worn, and they would hush the sound to a faint sigh.

He jumped, crouched to absorb the shock in his legs, and rose again, glancing backwards to see whether the guards had heard him. In daylight, he'd be in plain view. At night, he wasn't.

Satisfied that his acrobatic entrance had been quiet once more, he jogged inside the court. It was a large, open area, filled with cart tracks. Straight ahead of him was the royal hall, but the torch illuminated wooden doors were shut for the night, instead of bustling with activity. To his right were the stables, and he could hear the soft neighing of the royal steeds. He did not go there, however, as many thieves would.

Instead, he headed to the left, and pushed open a heavy wooden door. The castle servants had been surprised when one morning they'd found it oiled and quiet, instead of hearing the noisy creak it used to do. Link was proud of that too.

It was a short, stone hallway, with nothing to decorate it, and on the other end, there was another similar door, oiled as well. He pushed it open, and stepped into another, much grander hallway, which ran perpendicularly to the previous hallway. He took a casual glance up and down this one, knowing from experience that it was empty, but checking nonetheless. Finally, he went down the longer end of it, reaching a small stairway. It was reserved to servants, but it was more useful to him.

Stepping up idly, he reached the next level, and a very similar hallway to the one he had just left. He was close to destination now. It was only a matter of minutes as he confidently walked in the middle of the hallway, not bothering to keep close to the walls.

He reached a small door, and slipped it open, entering and closing the door behind him quietly. He climbed up the circular stairway, and after what seemed like an eternity to him, he finally reached the top. He pushed this door open, and closed it behind him.

She was at her window, watching the peaceful plain, illuminated by a single candle. Her formal dress had dropped to the floor, forgotten, and she simply wore the white corset and under dress that were required as undergarments under it. The candle gave her skin a golden color, and her flaxen hair was loose, a few strands floating gently in the breeze that came through the window. He couldn't see her eyes, but he knew they were a vivid, beautiful blue.

He didn't move, and she didn't turn, not even acknowledging his presence. Nothing moved, but her gentle, musical voice was eventually heard.

"You're getting better at this. I hardly noticed you walk through the grass field."

Link's face was bashful, and he rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly.

"Well, I can't afford to be seen."

She turned to him, and her peaceful features, which he couldn't help but admire in their royal beauty, stretched into a gentle smile. She stood, and he noticed that her small form was always shapely when she greeted him in this under dress.

To so many, it would be improper to meet a young man in her bedchambers, in the middle of the night, dressed in such a light outfit. She didn't care.

"How are you, Link?"

He smiled kindly as she came to stand in front of him. She was smaller than he, of course, and he gazed down into her eyes.

"I've been fine, or I wouldn't be here, would I?"

Her dark pink lips stretched into a heartfelt smile. He grinned.

"How are things on your side, Zelda?" His tone was worried.

Zelda frowned.

"Not very good. My father insists on my being courted by this weird prince..." She shuddered. "You should see him, Link! He's awfully fat, and he has no manners whatsoever. A real commoner, I—"

She interrupted her speech and looked at him in surprise, his smile was frozen. She tried to backtrack.

"I mean, he's not well mannered, like most nobles are... I... Link, that's not what I..."

He cut her speech and shook his head.

"It's alright. I understand. So this prince, what does he do?"

She smiled gratefully and ranted on.

"Well, this morning he tried offering me to dinner, but I told him that I was busy with studies. He started telling me about all that HE had learned, and what HE thought, and to be quite honest, I noticed that he didn't know much. Then I told him he had spinach in his teeth. I walked away."

Link was grinning. Zelda threw him a look, and he frowned, wondering what was to come, that didn't make her smile.

"He caught up to me and offered me to help him get rid of it with my tongue. I felt like slapping him."

"Did you?" Link was scowling angrily. Zelda sighed helplessly.

"No, Link. I couldn't. Not then and there."

The young woman slumped on her bed, and Link sat in a chair, turning it towards her so that he could keep on listening. She sighed.

"Link, I'm so tired. I'm tired of the courting process. I almost wish I just had an arranged marriage and had it over with years earlier."

Link was silent, averting his eyes. Zelda glanced up at him quietly, and then returning her eyes to her hands, folded in her lap.

"I wish you just never married."

Zelda's gaze flew up to him, surprised that he'd broken the silence.

"Link?"

"That way," he said, "you wouldn't have to be so concerned over all of it, and you could smile more often. And I'd be allowed to see you... Instead of hiding."

"Impa noticed you, I think. She keeps looking at me disapprovingly. I think she thinks that we..."

They both blushed. Zelda shook her head.

"Impa is quiet, but I know that she won't defend me if someone else finds out."

Link went eerily quiet.

"Link, I think that at the moment, it's not the right thing for you to come. The Prince is staying at Hyrule Castle, and Impa is getting more and more curious... Maybe we should just... For a short while, until things settle down again..."

"The next time things settle down, you'll be married."

Zelda noticed the cold and bitter tone in his voice.

"Link, I'm not the one who chooses to get married."

Link fiddled with the edge of his glove, seemingly uninterested. Zelda stood and leaned forward towards him.

"Link?" He looked up. "Let's make a deal."

His gaze was cold, but he didn't move and said nothing. She took it as a sign to go on.

"I promise to push away any marriage advances on one condition."

Link was getting suspicious at her reddening cheeks.

"Link, find someone for me. Someone you deem suitable. You're the Hero of Time, if my father doesn't listen to you, then I don't think we can trust anyone else."

Link stood and gazed down at her, his eyes softening slightly.

"I can't do that. I can't avoid you, and I can't find anyone for you."

Which should settle it, his mind yelled.

He glanced away and walked to the window. Zelda didn't move. She stood frozen in position.

"Then... What do you suggest we do, Link? We can't go on like this forever."

Link turned back to her, and for once, she saw an intensity that had somehow always been there, but had stayed subdued before. He paced back to her, grasping her elbow tightly, and she didn't dare breathe anymore.

"I can't avoid you. I'll always end up coming back," he whispered, his tone low and dangerous. She couldn't help but find it terribly attractive. "And I'll never accept to make you marry anyone. Even someone of my choosing won't do. No one is good enough for you."

Shivers went down her spine at the implications of those words. Link's eyes shone in the dimming light of the candle.

"Zelda, if I must leave, if you want me to leave, I will. But I'll come back. I'll always come back. It's part of me to be here, with you."

She felt her eyes prickling. He brought a hand to her waist and held her tightly to her, as he had so many times before.

"I can't let anyone hold you like this," he whispered. "Not even someone I choose. Why? Because in my heart, you don't belong anywhere but here."

She placed her forehead to his shoulder, lulled by the gentle thump of his heart. His hands went to her waist without searching, as if they knew exactly where to go, and she felt him place his chin on top of her head.

"I don't care if Impa knows. I don't care if the entire world knows. I almost want them to know. Maybe it'll make that stupid Prince of yours go away, and maybe I'll finally see an advantage to having the title Hero of Time following my name."

"Which would be...?" She quietly murmured, at peace.

"Maybe your father wouldn't mind if we actually had children tonight."

She pushed back, shocked beyond words, and blushed to the tip of her ears at his implication, until she saw his amused grin. She glared at him and punched him. It had no effect, of course, but he laughed calmly, his laughter a low rumble. He managed to grasp her struggling form and pulled her up against his chest, soothing her.

"Zelda, be mine."

She looked up at him and raised an eyebrow.

"Why couldn't it be the other way around?"

Link smiled gently and leaned forward.

"Because I was yours the day I met you."

His lips met hers in a gentle, fleeting motion, and they parted. She was shocked, he was smiling.

"How's that for a deal?"

She hugged him tightly and he placed a kiss to her forehead, holding her in his arms.

"Link?"

"Hm?"

"How many children?"

He almost choked, but she was laughing gently already, kissing him once more.

::

Navi mumbled something about stupid, boy, and late. She turned to Epona, who was munching on a bit of grass while watching her.

"What? Didn't you notice? He's late. Saria is gonna kill me if she hears Link left AGAIN."

Epona snorted and ate some more. Navi nodded.

"Yeah, probably. Sometimes I just wonder why he never warns us he's gonna spend the night."

Epona gave Navi an empty look. The fairy sighed.

"Okay, so it's the first time. Next time he does that, we're leaving without him, alright?"

Epona shook her head and waved a fly away with her tail, lowering her head again to eat.

"You really aren't talkative, are you?" Navi muttered. "Well, I think Link won't be back for a LONG while. Do you mind if I sleep on your back? Thanks."

The fairy floated to the mare's back and took one last glance at the dark window. The candle had flickered out, but she was sure no one aside from her had noticed. She shivered at the thought that the room's inhabitants were too busy to even notice...

"Hylians. I swear."

::

Link was feeling good. He knew she was not asleep at his side, but her breathing was deep and peaceful. Her head was on his shoulder, and they were both lying on her bed, his arms around her waist. He closed his eyes.

"Link?"

"Hm?"

She raised her head to look at him. He didn't move, a faint smile on his lips.

"If my father ever hears about this..." Her voice was a hoarse, gentle whisper, and he felt goose bumps trailing down his back for a split second. "Link, I can't just go to him and say that we..."

He knew without opening his eyes that she was blushing. He tightened his grip around her waist.

"You won't."

She put a hand on his bare chest and tried to sit up. He held her close.

"I'll be with you."

She paused, and in that moment, he knew that the morning sunlight shone on her hair, reflected on her pale skin, and brightened her eyes. He knew, without even looking, that she was beautiful.

He cracked an eye open gently against the onslaught of light. She was exactly as he had pictured her.

"Zelda, I won't let you get married to the Prince, and I won't let Impa get in my, our way."

He didn't say it, but his eyes told her he loved her, and she smiled knowingly, the night before having proved that. She pressed herself against him, and he sat up, his arms automatically wounding themselves around her. She looked so vulnerable right now.

"Link," her voice was scared, "what if my father doesn't approve...?"

Link smiled and gave her a little reassuring shake. He grinned at her.

"I know my way around the castle, we could escape in no time, and then we could go live in the woods, I could build a house, all you'd have to do would be to say hello in the morning and I'd feed you, protect you. I'll even build a tree house for our children—"

She punched him gently.

"Link..."

Link gazed into her eyes, his own shining.

"Zelda, I would do that. Wouldn't you like that? Ask away, and I'll do it. I would."

She pushed away. This time, he didn't hold her back. She stood and walked to her dresser, picking up her dress and hugging it to her.

"I have a country to rule over, and I do love my father. No Link." She turned to him. "Let's try facing him first."

He smiled calmly. She went on.

"Let's not say a thing for now. You try and get out of the castle discreetly... Can you?"

"You're talking to the Hero of Time. I can do just about everything."

She smiled.

"Then, come back in two days. By then, I should have figured out a way to get my father to think it over."

Link nodded, quietly reaching or his tunic. He pulled it over his broad shoulders and she mourned the loss of the sight. He sat up, dressed correctly and gazed out the window.

"I'll be out in no time." He turned back to Zelda and placed a tender kiss to her forehead. "I'll be back in two days, and nothing will keep me away."

She smiled as he gently closed the door behind him.

"Thank you..."

::

Link stopped Epona and turned back to the castle, eyes squinting in the morning sunlight to find her window. She was sitting there, looking at the horizon, far beyond him, and he felt warmth in his heart.

All his.

Navi had left a certain time ago, whining about being late, and he was alone with his horse again.

In two days, he'd be back. He wasn't scared. And as soon as he was sure Zelda and he could see each other anytime, he'd correct the guard system.

He grinned at the idea.

Throwing one last glance at the open window, he felt his heart burst and smiled.

He'd be back. Soon.

::

R&R if you're game enough.

Love,

--CrazygurlMadness