AoA: Hello fellow Legend of Zelda fans. I hope I am able to please as many readers with this new work as I was with my last.

Link: This is a lot different than your Zelda humour story, that's for sure.

AoA: Quite right. As an attempt to better myself as a writer I must practice all types of writing. I don't believe I have done enough practice with emotions over the years and so I now present this oneshot, which has evolved in to a collection, in order to expand my horizons.

Saria: A collection of oneshots?

AoA: Yes. Initially this first chapter was just a oneshot and so was the second chapter when I first conceived it, but then I realized how well they could work together when set in the same time line and a much larger story was soon formed in my mind. Now I have more chances to work on my POV writing and I hope I come out the better for it. Now Saria, if you would, please do the disclaimer.

Saria: Angel of Atonement does not own The Legend of Zelda series, therefore any of my thoughts and feelings described here are not necessarily an actual part of my character, nor are the events that are referenced a part of the true Legend of Zelda continuity, the rights of which are owned by the company Nintendo.

Link: Uh...what's with the speech?

Saria: This whole chapter is me talking to the reader. I'm just getting warmed up.

AoA: Here we go!


Love or Happiness?

Saria

First love.

Does it really mean anything? Does it ever blossom in to the type of thing that you can be happy with for an entire lifetime? Even if that lifetime is not an immortal one?

And when you are young, in spirit if not in age, then can one even understand what love truly means?

I don't quite remember the day I was born. My first memories are of my fairy partner, watching over me as I lay in the forest. The Great Deku Tree gave life to me and to Mido, the very first children of the forest.

The Kokiri.

We played together in the forest happily, but we were lonely. Such things weren't meant to last, however, when the Deku Tree called us to him and we were given new children to raise and play with. They grew quickly until they reached full Kokiri maturity and over many years new children would join us in our forest home. Sometimes just one. Sometimes two or even three at a time. The forest itself grew homes and playgrounds for us and we watched over it in return for it's blessings. Such was our way of life. That was how we liked it.

I do not know my age in Hylian years. As a Kokiri time means very little. Each day we simply enjoyed the fruits of the forest and looked forward to the next day we would be given. We made up holidays and festivals, which we kept track of on calendars made with the guidance of the Deku Tree. Though we knew little of time the old guardian of forest knew all and was happy to share with us.

He told us not only of time but of the history of our forest and our world. The three goddesses that carved Hyrule in to existence and the other races that lived in the beautiful country.

But that was the price of our happiness. To only be told of the world, never to see it. For if we ever left our life giving forest we would succumb to what the Deku Tree called death. The childish minds of the Kokiri may not have fully understood it, though I felt that I did, but they loved the forest and the Deku Tree and would not do anything to go against our guardian's wishes.

Our lives were full of cheer and happiness, but I always felt like something was missing. No one else seemed to notice. It wasn't something I could explain.

I may not remember the day I was born, but I will never forget the day he came in to my life.

The day the Deku tree called us to his side and presented to us a new child. A new friend. The Deku tree named him Link and told us to take good care of him until he grew up like the rest of us.

We were all excited of course. We were never bored in the forest we called home, but a new Kokiri still meant a new friend and new possibilities.

That excitement soon turned to confusion.

Link did not grow as quickly as any Kokiri we had ever raised before. The last children born would not have known this of course, but Mido was the first to notice and mention it. It took several of what we had learned to call years for Link to be able to walk and talk and play all on his own.

We didn't mind. We thought he was special.

But Link would always ask why he had no fairy and we would never have an answer. Even the Deku Tree would only say it wasn't yet time. Mido's taunting and Link's temper soon turned the feelings that he was special to just thinking of him as different.

But not my feelings.

I would always see Link as special. He had to put up with a lot because of his differences and I admired him for it. Perhaps Mido noticed that I enjoyed Link's company more than the others because his usually kind, though slightly bossy, nature became more like that of a bully whenever Link was around. Since he and I were the first Kokiri I suppose he always thought he and I would always be best friends.

I certainly hadn't thought of Mido as any less of a friend. He was just as close to me as he had always been. Maybe more.

But there was just something about Link. I didn't know what it was and still don't, I suppose. I doubt it was because I could sense his destiny or anything, though part of me always felt like he wouldn't be around forever.

That feeling must have been it.

Every other friend I had I knew I would have forever, but when I played with Link it was like each moment was more precious because eventually we would no longer be able to have them.

I don't know why I felt that, but I didn't even realize what that feeling was until after he really did leave.

Sometimes I wonder if that was the only feeling I had.

It took many more years than the others but eventually Link became, what we Kokiri considered, fully grown. Link continued to gain height over time but once he was no longer considered a baby no one really noticed his growth.

No one but me. I never did say anything, though. I just thought it was part of what made him so special to me.

Link and I soon became even closer friends. Everyone in the forest had a best friend and sometimes more than one Kokiri wanted to be friends with another. I suppose in the rest of Hyrule it would be compared to making couples, but we were only children, as we would always be, and it was simply a matter of friendship to us.

Mido and I had always been known as the best of friends. We had been together the longest after all. Perhaps part of Mido's attitude towards Link was because the Kokiri soon came to see Link and I as the forest's closest friends instead of Mido and I. Link was slightly set apart from all of the others so he valued my friendship more than any other Kokiri could. That was all.

Link and I were best friends for what seemed like forever, though I suppose to those who live forever any time can seem extended, rather than the very short view of time held by mortal races.

Funny how it's not the other way around.

I have no idea how old Link was when it happened. The moment I'll always remember, no matter how long my eternal life goes on.

Like I said before, time means very little to the Kokiri and we never count our age. I doubt Link could tell you how old he really is. He just goes by his best guess. After all, even his real birthday is unknown to him. Only the day the was given to us in the forest.

This was not long before he did eventually leave us. Less than a year I'm sure.

We were both in the Sacred Forest Meadow, a place the two of us loved to spend time together. I would usually just play my ocarina while Link would listen. I offered to teach him to play one of his own but he never accepted. He would rather just enjoy my music. I think the only reason he took the Fairy Ocarina I offered him before he left was because he wanted something to remember me by. Just in case he didn't make it back.

I had just finished my favourite song and was taking a break from playing. Link had come to sit beside me on my favourite stump. It always seemed to be there just for me to sit on as I played.

Link looked nervous that day. I remember because he never looked that way around me before. He talked to me about a few things. Things that bothered him. Things he was thankful for.

Mido's constant teasing and the fact that he was the only kokiri without a fairy partner still bothered him a lot. He even told me that he was not sleeping well lately, though he wasn't sure if that was the cause. He eventually found out it was something else entirely, of course, but for now it was troubling him.

I comforted him as I always did. He was my best friend. I would never want him to feel sad.

Link thanked me for always being there for him. He thanked me for being his friend, despite his differences. I told him not to ever consider himself different, because I never did. That was the truth, after all.

Link smiled at that. He and I had been embracing at the time. A hug is the best way to make a person feel better. I let him rest his head on my shoulder, as I had many times before, and I remember looking at him with a little bit of sorrow. I couldn't stand the fact that my other friends were making my best friend feel this way. Link himself would never let anyone else from the forest know about his doubts. In the presence of others he always put on a brave face and took anything that was set against him with courage.

That courage was part of why I admired him. Another part was that he was not afraid to be open with me when we were alone. Little did I know at the time that it was this very aspect of his character that would save our land from destruction.

After a few moments Link looked up at me again. There was no longer a smile on his lips, though he didn't exactly look sad either.

It was a look I hadn't ever really seen before.

I could only compare it to nervousness at the time and I suppose I wasn't far off. Link was no doubt very nervous, now that I know what he must have been feeling.

I looked in to his eyes and soon I couldn't help but return that same look he was giving me. Something about it made me feel different. Suddenly I was slightly nervous myself. Link leaned closer to me and I thought he might have wanted to say something, but even though I was still confused by his sudden mysterious actions I was only going to get more confused by what happened next.

Link kissed me.

Now, it wasn't like I had never kissed Link before. Even on the lips. The Kokiri were children but we still showed affection to each other. We loved our siblings and showed our feelings as such and we would kiss the cheeks or foreheads of those who were feeling sad or those we wanted to thank for something, just like we would hug to show our love for one another. And when we were happy or excited a quick kiss on the lips was not uncommon between friends. Over all my time in the forest I doubt there is any Kokiri I haven't shared one of those types of moments with.

But this was different.

Link pressed his lips to mine slowly and gently, with compassion instead of excitement or comfort or even thanks. His eyes soon closed but I remember mine were wide open. A million things ran through my head in the few seconds that we held this kiss. Part of me felt very confused, but another felt...peaceful. Like this was something I had wanted to happen but didn't know it.

Eventually Link broke our embrace, with the same tenderness he had started it, and slowly opened his eyes to look in to mine. My eyes were no longer carrying a look of confusion. Now they were carrying a look of wonder, which I consider to be something quite different.

Now, we Kokiri may have been children, but we weren't completely oblivious to the world around us. As I have mentioned, the Deku Tree told us much about Hyrule and it's people. We were told about how people grew in to adults, found mates to spend their lives with and to have families together.

For poor Link this was just another thing that separated him from the rest of us. Something he wouldn't even know how to explain. No Kokiri would ever have the same feelings Link was slowly developing, as all Hylians do. Had Link known he was a member of that race perhaps he wouldn't have felt so guilty about what he had done later on.

Link was only trying to work out the natural feelings he was developing that none of his Kokiri friends, not even me, could have possibly explained or helped him with. But apparently Link felt like this was just another terrible difference he had from us because after a few seconds of looking in to each other's eyes once more he turned away and ran in to the Lost Woods, back towards the village.

I held my hand to my mouth for a while after he left, still unsure about what had happened but not scared or worried about it either. Link was still my best friend and he always would be.

I saw Link the very next day of course. He seemed nervous around me at first but I acted normally and soon he did as well. I don't know if he thought I had forgiven him or something but to me it wasn't something I needed to forgive. I simply didn't know what to say about it and was certain Link had no idea what it really meant either.

And so we continued on as we had before, happy once again and ready to enjoy the lives the forest had blessed us with.

But that wouldn't last, as part of me always knew it wouldn't.

Eventually the time came that Link left us for his journey. His destiny. He, more than any Kokiri, had always wondered what it was like out in the world. I suppose he wanted to know if there were others like himself somewhere out there.

Of course, he wasn't gone for good. He came back to buy supplies or to visit every now and then. He also came to the meadow so i could teach him my song. With it he and I talked a lot while he traveled and I helped him whenever I could with the knowledge the Deku Tree had shared with me.

He came back to the forest some time after his adventure was over. He lived among us again and I was happy to have him back. While he was gone perhaps my feelings, the ones I had experienced for the first time with my first real kiss, had deepened.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Why do 'they' know everything?

Eventually it became apparent to the rest of the Kokiri that Link wasn't really one of us. A new Deku Tree sprout appeared where the past one had died and Link's true identity as a Hylian and as a hero were revealed to us all.

At first there was happiness and celebrating. We even started two new annual holidays. One to honour the day the Deku tree was reborn and another the day before to honour the day Link saved all of Hyrule.

But the happiness couldn't last forever.

Link was with us a few moreweeks but eventually he decided it was time to go. He couldn't live with us in the forest forever, after all.

No matter how much I wanted him to.

As he left, promising to always come back to visit us and to play my song every day, part of me wanted to go with him.

I knew it would mean death, but that wasn't the real reason I stayed in the forest. Part of me was willing to risk death just for the chance to stay with him. The boy I had grown to love.

The reason I stayed was because I didn't love him.

Not the way he was capable of loving at least.

Link may have awoken unexpected feeling in me with his love, but I could never really match it. I was a Kokiri and no matter how much I experienced I could not overcome that fact. I would always be a child while Link would grow older, Not only that, but my body was simply incapable of producing the same feelings for him that he could someday have for another.

Love, true, romantic, caring and passionate love, was quite literally not in me.

And so I blessed him and his new journey. His journey to find his place in the world he had rescued.

As I asked before, does your first love really mean anything?

I believe it does.

What I had with Link may not have been love in the way that word is supposed to mean, but it was love nonetheless. It was love and it has changed my life. For as long as I am alive, and it will be for a very long time, I will always remember Link and I will forever be a better and more caring person because of it. I think I may even help the other children become better people just by my example.

And for Link? I'm sure it meant something to him too.

I hoped he wouldremember me for the rest of his unfortunately numbered days. I hoped thatthe feelings he shared with me helped prepare him to find someone he really could spend his life with. I hoped he would find the right girl to make him happy.

The way I never could.

Little did I know that Link's journey to find his place in the world would not be an easy one. Nor did I know that experiences such as the single moment we had shared would be a deciding factor in exactly how his life eventually turned out.

Link has chosen where he thinks he belongs and I will support him, though that won't stop me from secretly wiorrying at times. I will continue to love him, not as he can love another but as family. As the brother I am closest to but not related to. That was all ever did or will feel for Link, but that's reallyall I want.

I can only hope that my contribution to his life did not affect him negatively in the long run.

I can only hope he's alright with where he is now. With his place in the world.

I can only hope for the happiness...

...of my first and only love.



AoA
: There you are fellow romance fans. I can only hope you enjoyed this idea of what Link and Saria's friendship before the Ocarina of Time story began could have been like.

Saria: (Sniff) That was...(Sniff)...beautiful.

Link: Not bad I guess. But just because you got Saria to cry doesn't mean the readers will like it.

AoA: Indeed. That is true.

Saria: Huh?

AoA: And so I implore anyone who reads this story, love it or hate it, please review and let me know your thoughts. I really want to improve this aspect of my writing so your feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Saria: Wait a minute!

AoA: Also, please do not flame this story. I am writing so I can improve, so I am seeking constructive criticism. Flames will not help me get any better.

Saria: What do you mean it doesn't matter what I feel?

Link: I think we better get out of here, AoA.

Saria: Are my thoughts not important enough for you two?

AoA: Peace out!