Chapter One: The Question and The Picnic
He sighed as he walked out into the courtyard, his burden heavier than he was used to.
'The things I do for this girl', he thought ironically.
"Oh lighten up, Link! It's a beautiful day!"
Link looked up at the form of the Princess sitting under the large tree in the center of the courtyard of the castle. He couldn't quite fight off the smile he felt grow at the sight of her. She was dressed in a very casual dress, but still mantained that regal air about her, despite her calves showing above the bare feet that kept working into the lush grass.
"You wouldn't be saying that if you had to lug this thing around, Princess," he grumped half-heartedly, plunking the picnic basket down on the ground beside her. "What have you got in there, boulders?"
Zelda giggled. "Oh hush, you grump. Be glad we can spend some time together without you having to rush off with a sword and shield to rescue me or the Triforce. Enjoy the day! Spring doesn't last forever, you know." she said as she reached out and shoved the mock-sulking Elf onto his back, his golden hair flying loose from the leather cord that bound it.
He sat up. "You know, if we weren't such good friends, I'd take that personally," he said, no longer trying to keep the grin from his face.
She looked at him from over the edge of the serving dish she had pulled from the basket, smelling it's contents. "Oh?" she said, an eyebrow arching over her eyes.
He looked at her eyes, fighting the urge to get lost in them as he always did. They had a lustrous quality to them, a depth that he found otherworldly. He fought the thought off before it led to other thoughts that were innappropriate for one of his position. He and Zelda could be friends, but that was it.
Zelda looked at the blue eyes of her friend. He got this way sometimes, lost in thought. She could see him wrestling with his thoughts, almost as though keeping himself from thinking something.
Which, of course, was the purpose of this little get together.
"Mmm," she said as she pulled the lid off another bowl, revealing a deep brown broth with bits of meat and vegatables floating in it. "Crysian stew. And you can smell how fresh the herbs are, too," she added, holding the bowl out so the breeze wafted the smell towards the other Elf.
Link's stomach growled despite his best effort not to. Crysian stew was a favorite of his, especially with fresh gathered Tillian leaves.
"Ooh, and look at this pie," continued Zelda, pulling out a small pan that contained a fluffy crust and the smell of baked fruit drifted from the vent holes in the upper crust.
"Not a four berry pie," Link said, stomach waving a white flag. She would have his favorite foods in the basket.
Zelda packed the last dish back into the basket, looking over at Link as he picked a few crumbs off his blue tunic and popped them into his mouth. The distant look had worn off about halfway through his third bowl of stew.
'Where does he pack it all?' she thought as she looked at his lithe body as he strecthed out in the shade of the deku tree.
She smiled, remembering the various times he had rescued her or had helped save Hyrule. He rose to many occaisions, but she wondered if he was up to this one.
Link, meanwhile stood and was going to go skip stones down by the edge of the pond that graced the courtyard. It had become habit for him to go do such things after his meals to let food settle and digest and gave him time to think on things that had happened and his thoughts. He had started to write a journal of his adventures, starting with his life in the forest and discovering the Ocarina and adventuring with Navi up to the last adventure where he had to bind a part of his soul to the Master Sword to keep a rift from destroying reality as he knew it. He could still feel the sword from time to time, resting in it's scabbard back in his chambers, it's light awareness and ever alert intelligence vibrating through his consciousness.
"Link," Zelda said, plucking up her courage. It was now or never.
"Hmm?" he said, almost as remembering that he had not eaten alone as he usually did.
"I have to admit something. This picnic, it wasn't entirely innocent."
He turned and looked at her, his mind racing. 'I knew something was up,' he thought.
"Link, we've known each other since we were kids, and, well -"
He smiled. She looked rather cute when she was nervous. Her cheeks took on a rosy hue that made her blue eyes sparkle even more and contrasted her light hair, making it seem to shine even in the shade.
"I was wondering, well, I was actually thinking about it a lot lately -"
She also had a tendancy to ramble when she got nervous.
"I was wondering if you, if you'd -"
He turned, his blonde hair sparkling in the sunshine.
"If I'd what, Princess?"
She flushed a full pink that time, and he knew that this wasn't some idle question. This was important to her.
Could she feel the same way he did? As his heart started to pound, he went and sat on the ground in front of her.
She lowered her eyes, looking at him through her lashes.
"I was wondering if you'd consider being honest with me about your feelings. For me, that is."
He sat there for a moment, having to sort his thoughts out. He knew how he felt, but to put it into words that she would understand was difficult.
She plowed ahead of him, still talking nervously, hand brushing at a wrinkle in her skirt the entire time.
"I've been thinking about this for a long time now, and I just wanted you to know that I care for you. A lot. That is, I think about you all the time, and I wonder what -"
He reached out and took her hands, silencing her nervous ruminations. She looked at her hands, then up at his face, which had a soft smile on it.
"I think you think about things too much," he said.
She gasped, ready to respond when he leaned forward and kissed her softly on the lips. Her mind was frozen to the spot, but her body relaxed into the kiss, returning it, arms snaking up around his neck.
Link, meanwhile, had shifted sideways, padding her body as they fell onto their sides, holding her close to him. As they settled, she leaned more onto her back and he sat up somewhat, bracing himself on his elbows so as not to lay too heavily on her. He heard a soft sigh of contentment leak out from Zelda as they broke off for air.
"I guess that answers my question," she said breathily, face somewhat flushed.
Link smiled down at her. "It's a start," he said with a wink.
The next few months were positively excellent. Link became a bit less of a recluse in his off time, and Zelda got less nervous about admitting things to him. It was, after all, the person she had trusted her life to time after time again, so why not trust him with her feelings?
Link found himself smiling at odd times when the Princess drifted across his thoughts. He was supposed to meet her later tonight and venture out to the Fall Festival taking place in the nearby village. The town fair always had exquisite foods and plenty of fun activities to partake in, diversions for all people.
Plus, he had a surprise for the end of the night. Part of it was back under the deku tree where it had all began.
"Hey! Link!" called a voice.
Link turned, seeing the fluttering light of a fairy fluttering towards him quickly. He grinned broadly.
The fairy fluttered up and settled in a hovering position about a two feet away from his face, wings fighting against the light fall breeze that had drifted through the grounds. She had the same garb he remembered her as wearing, light cloth made from the down of flowers and silk from the weaver spiders that lived near her village. The breeze of her wings blew her slight perfumed smell towards him, smelling of ocean air and soft soil freshly tilled.
"So, you asked her yet?" the fairy asked without preamble.
Link perked an eyebrow up. "And just how did you know that I had something to ask her?" he said, giving her a narrow look that he had gotten used to giving her when she popped back up in his life seemingly as though never having left. She knew way too much for someone so oft absent.
The fairy seemed non-plussed. Her wings gave a slight flutter as a stronger breeze threatened to spill her from the air and she smiled.
"Oh come off it Link! We all knew when the two of you became friends that something was bound to grow, just like a seed in a field! Sides, the Great Deku Tree told us that an event of great importance to us was about to occur, so I got sent to see if it was true."
Link chuckled, shaking his head. Of course the Tree would have known. He always seemed to know.
Stopping at a vendor hawking exotic flowers, Link dug into his belt pouch for a couple of red rupees, getting a small boquet of bright red and white flowers for Zelda.
"Lillies, Link?" asked Navi as she zoomed down to smell them.
"Of a sort," he said. "I ran into these a while back when I was traveling out in the far east of Hyrule. They made me think of her while I was out there, so I brought a few back and she adored them. I thought it would be a nice touch."
The fairy grinned. "Well, I'll let you get on with your plans. Besides, there's a big fairy gathering later tonight to give the performance of the fall dance, so I can't be late. Bye!"
Link watched the little pinprick of light until it was too small for even his eyes to see.
"What a busybody," he said with a smile as he headed back for the castle.
Zelda ran a brush through her hair with an exasperated sigh. Nothing looked right. She had tried braiding, plaiting, letting it hang loose, and tying it back simply but nothing looked right for tonight. She glanced back at the dress that she had laid out earlier, one of muted fall colours.
"Nothing is going right, nothing at all!" she cried, putting the brush down on her vanity and covering her face with her hands. She wanted this night to be perfect. She had a surprise planned for Link and she wanted it to fit hand in glove with everything.
"Princess?" a voice came, and she glanced up into her mirror to see one of her Ladies in Waiting standing in the doorway.
"Yes, Melina, what is it?" Zelda asked, running a finger under her eyes to make sure there were no tears.
"Well, Ma'am, if you don't mind my saying so, why go all fancy when simplicity will do just as well. After all, he fell in love with you when he rescued you from Gannondorf, and you didn't look too great after that exchange."
"So you're saying that a little will do a lot?"
Melinda smiled. "Very subtle touches are oft the most noticed, as your father used to say,"
Zelda turned, picking up her brush again. "Thank you," she said softly.
Author: You know, I really don't know how to turn this...it started out as a lemon for my friend on DA who requested it, but I found that I can't write smut for anything, so I'm going to turn this into a nice warm little fic.
Zelda: Could you at least have let me decide on my look before ending the chapter?
Author: I could have, but I haven't decided on it yet either. Relax, you'll look radiant.
Link: You do know we're not Elves, right?
Author: Strictly, no, but for all intents and purposes in this story, it works. Pointy ears, golden hair, slim builds, need I continue.
Link: Not really. So, what am I going to be wearing?
Chapter Two: The Night That Began Anew