24. Zelda

Sneaking into the castle was simple. I had to use a different route than the one I'd used eight years ago, since I was too big to crawl through that drain, but I knew the castle well enough that I made it without being caught anyway.

I had a vague idea of peeking in Zelda's bedroom window, just to see if she was there, then going to her garden and staying put until she came. I made it to her window without trouble, then peered inside.

She was changing!

Reflexes took over and I hit the deck so fast I knocked the air from my lungs, then lay on the ground, gasping, for a few moments before I heard a thrillingly familiar voice say, "Link?"

Nervously, I looked up. Zelda was looking down at me, now thankfully fully dressed, with a surprised look on her face.

I got to my feet and bushed the dirt off as best I could. "Um, hi, uh, your Highness." I made an awkward bow, and when I looked back at her Zelda was glaring at me with more venom than a poisonous snake.

"Don't you dare," she said, voice harsh, "don't you dare ever call me that. I'm called that by people I've known since I was a baby and people I've never even met. Don't you dare treat me like I'm a title."

I blinked, then grinned. "Sorry Zel, but I thought a certain amount of ceremony was more than appropriate, given the circumstances."

Zelda blinked too, then burst out laughing. "I can't believe you remembered that! After all these years…" She look at me sharply, as though she'd just remembered something. "Where the hell have you been!"

"That's kind of a long story, but believe me, I was trying to get back to you the whole time."

"You better have been!" She stepped back from the window. "Now get in here."

"What, through the window?"

"I've waited a grand total of fifteen years for you, now get in here before I drag you in!"

"Yes Ma'am!"

Almost before I was completely through the window, Zelda grabbed me by the front of my shirt and pulled me to her, kissing me fiercely. From the way her mouth and hands pulled at me, hungrily, I knew exactly what she had in mind. Quickly, I shrugged off my pack and my weapons and wrapped my arms around her waist. I let my hands play along her body, drifting up and down, reveling in the feeling of her in my arms.

I'd never been able to hold her like this, and I'd started to think I'd never be able to. Zelda clutched at me desperately, as though afraid I'd go away again. Little did she know that I intended to hold her like this for all of eternity, and never ever let go.

Somehow we ended up on her bed, but before any clothes could even be rumpled, much less taken off, there was a knocking sound and I heard Impa's voice call, "Your Highness?"

Zelda swore. I climbed off her and she got up, fixing her dress. "Is my hair messed up?" she asked.

"A little, here," I came over and smoothed it down for her, getting lost in her eyes as I finished.

"Your Highness?" Impa called again.

Guiltily Zelda and I jumped away from each other. This wasn't exactly the reunion I'd planned, but I hadn't taken into account 'The Princess Factor.' Zelda didn't really have time to devote to me.

"Come on," Zelda grabbed my hand and pulled me through her bedroom door, into the antechamber. She sat me down in a chair on one side of a tiny table, and sat in the other one herself.

"Your Highness!" Impa's voice was insistent now, and it was a good thing we were ready.

"Come in," Zel called, and Impa did, doing the slightest of double-takes upon seeing me.

"Your father is waiting for your decision Princess," she said to Zelda, ignoring me. "Are you ready?"

"Completely," Zelda got to her feet and swept imperiously toward the door. "Wait for me here, will you Link? This shouldn't take but a moment." She disappeared out the door, and Impa shut it behind her.

But she stayed in the room with me.

"Link, was it?" she asked.

"Um, yes."

"Don't say 'um.' It makes you sound like a bumpkin."

"Oh, sorry."

She looked me up and down, rather suspiciously. "You're a mess. The princess didn't throw you in the dirt did she?"

I looked down. There was still some grass and dirt stuck to my clothes. "No, that was… something else."

"As long as she was behaving like a lady."

I stifled a laugh.

"I heard that."

I clammed up.

"She has missed you," Impa said, "a great deal."

"I've missed her too. A great deal."

"Hmm," was Impa's only answer.

For some time there was silence in the room. I could tell Impa knew what was going on, or at least part of it, but didn't know what to say about it. She probably wanted to give me a 'facts of life' speech, but knew I was too old for it.

So in the end, she settled for a threat. She walked toward me, slowly and menacingly, the put a hand on the tiny table and leaned over me. "If you hurt her, in any way, shape, or form, I will tear off each of your appendages, starting with the shortest. Understood?"

"Perfectly," I said calmly. "But I would sooner castrate myself then harm Zelda."

Impa looked at me in surprise. "You're serious," she exclaimed.

"Completely."

Impa straightened up and moved away from me, so she was at a normal distance. "Then we'll get along just fine."

At that moment the door opened and Zelda reappeared. "All done!"

Impa stared at her. "Already? If you've made the decision I think you have, your father should have argued."

"Oh, he did. But I left before he finished. He's not going to change my mind, so why should I have to listen to him try?"

I resisted the urge to applaud. I didn't know what was going on, but Zelda's logic was impeccable.

"But your Highness! This boy is-"

"Not a part of what I told my father."

"Wait, what about me?" I interrupted. "I just got here like ten minutes ago, what do I have to do with anything?"

"Nothing Link," Zelda sat down in the chair opposite me. "I told my father I don't want to get married. Not ever. I'm the one that's going to rule Hyrule, not my husband."

Once again, I resisted the urge to applaud. If anyone had the experience needed to rule a country, it was my Zel.

"But what about…" Impa pointed at me.

"Link?" Zel looked at me. "You don't want to be king, do you Link?"

"Hell no."

"If he married me, he would have to be. I love him to much to do that to him."

Impulsively, I reached across the table and grabbed Zelda's hand. We smiled at each other, and I knew everything would be all right.

Impa shook her head. "Teenagers," she sighed. "Look, if this relationship goes south, you," she pointed at me, "will never speak of it, and you," she pointed at Zelda, "will not take it out on the country. Got it?"

We both ignored her.

zzz

Today Zelda and I are still together, and very happy. My official title is, "Royal Consort," which basically means I'm Zelda's boyfriend and bodyguard, two things I would have done without a title.

Impa's doubts, if she ever really had them, were erased years ago, and she is now eagerly awaiting some royal children to take care of.

Zelda is, in fact, pregnant with our first child, though it hasn't been officially announced. Traditionally, the royal family does not announce a new child until the child is born, just in case something goes wrong. So instead we're talking about names. If it's a girl we'll name her Zelda, of course, but for a boy Zel is considering Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule. I ask you, what kind of name is that for a little boy?

But if she insists on it, I'll go along. I can't deny her anything. That's probably not a good foundation for a relationship, but I really don't care. Ever since we've been together, I've been so happy that I just can't say no.

So let's recap, what have we learned from my little story.

1. Time travel blows,

2. Cross-dressing and falling in love don't mix well,

3. Stuff surrounded by fire is either a horrible enemy, or something the bad guys don't want you to have,

4. Stuff the bad guys don't want you to have is usually something you want very much,

5. See the Triforce play Zelda's Lullaby,

6. Girls dig earrings,

7. Gerudos are whores,

8. Pay attention to prophetic dreams,

9. If someone you don't like tells you something is an "engagement ring" DON'T TAKE IT,

And, most importantly,

10. Hormones suck.

P. S. Zelda says this story had a tendency to get off topic and was rather dirty. Just for that, I feel no regret in telling you that she has confessed to being just as horny as I was throughout the whole thing. Oh yeah, I'm a stud.

THE END