His Aching Heart

Summary: Rusl notices a change in Link after his return to Ordon Village. He tries to help Link through the pain he feels in his body, his soul, and his heart. LinkXMidna.

Disclaimer: I do not own The Legend of Zelda or any of its characters. I just own the game.

Chapter 1 – Return Home

It was the day the entire village had waited for. It was the day the Chosen Hero of Hyrule would grace their presence. It was the day the savior of their village's children would be properly thanked.

It was the day one of their own would return home.

Rusl remembered that day perfectly. Everyone in the village was going about their normal business. He had started taking time off of work to teach his son, Colin, how to use a sword. During his breaks, when he wasn't teaching his son, he was taking care of his newborn daughter, Rose. This gave his loving wife, Uli, a chance to get some well-deserved rest.

Talo took over watching the village for Haunch, who went right back to helping his wife, Sera, with the shop. Talo didn't want a repeat of what happened in his home village, Ordon, and in Kakariko. He didn't want anyone to have to relive those nightmares, including himself.

Malo spent most of his time at home, helping his parents make preparations to sell their prized Ordon pumpkins at both branches of Malo Mart in Hyrule. Occasionally, he'd receive a letter from either branch that gave their status report.

Beth would hang around Colin when he wasn't training or when she wasn't helping out at the shop. She would never admit it, but she had been nurturing a crush on Colin ever since he saved her life in Kakariko. If it hadn't been for him, she would have been the one injured and captured.

Ilia spent all of her days waiting at the entrance of Ordon Village by her best friend's house. Fado would come by every morning and every evening to check and see if his herding partner had returned. They had kept this routine up for nearly a month.

Everyone was beginning to worry. Where was he? Why wasn't he home? Would he ever come back? Was he hurt somewhere? Had he…died?

In the hour of twilight, when the villagers were about to lose hope, he came back. He rode on his trusty steed into the village. There were many yells and cheers of praise and joy for their friend.

The children were the first to formally greet the hero.

"Link, you're home!" shouted an excited Talo.

"What took you so long?" asked Malo in his usual demeanor.

"We missed you a lot!" exclaimed Beth.

"We were all starting to worry," stated Colin. Rusl and Uli walked up behind their son, carrying their daughter.

"It's been a while, Link," greeted Rusl with a smile. Link opened his mouth to say something when everyone began to talk to him at the same time. He was becoming greatly overwhelmed by the attention. He took a few steps backwards…right into Mayor Bo, who held his hand up to silence everyone.

"I know you all are very excited to see Link back home, safe and sound," proclaimed the mayor. "But give the boy a chance to settle down and get back to his normal life." Link frowned slightly, which Rusl spotted silently. "Tomorrow, we'll feast and celebrate the return of our friend. But tonight, we'll let him get some much-needed rest." Everyone, including Link, agreed to the mayor's plans and went straight home. Before he could follow suit, Link was stopped by Rusl.

"Link, is everything all right?" asked Rusl worriedly. Link smiled slightly and nodded.

"I'm fine, thank you," replied Link. Rusl knew something was bothering Link, but he wasn't going to pry. "Actually…I wanted to thank you for what you did back at Hyrule Castle."

"We wanted to help out," explained Rusl. "I don't know how much of a help we were, but—"

"You guys saved my life," noted Link. "That arrow almost got me in the chest, and those were way more enemies than I could handle at once. I owe you one." Rusl smirked.

"Diaper duty for two weeks?" Link made a face, which made Rusl laugh. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding! In all seriousness, there is one thing you can do for me."

"What's that?" asked Link. Rusl gave the young man a sincere look.

"If you have anything you ever want to talk about or get off your chest, don't hesitate to come to me," offered Rusl. "It doesn't matter what time of day or night it is, you come get me if you need anything. I'm here to help." Link smiled a genuine smile at his friend.

"Thank you, Rusl," said Link. "I'll be sure to come to you if I need to talk."

"You've done so much for us, Link," stated Rusl. "It's our turn to return the favor. I'm sure you've been through traumatic events and have endured a lot of pain and suffering. We want to help you get rid of any pain that you're feeling." Link nodded slightly, his smile fading a bit. The two bid each other good-night and went their separate ways. The entire way back home, all Rusl could think about was what could be bothering Link. All Link could think about…was her.