Silent Night

A Link-Zelda Story

It was a cold, wintry night. Snow was falling, making a soft, cold, white blanket over Hyrule Castle. The annual Holiday Ball, held every year for the nobles of the land, was taking place at Hyrule Castle, and its princess was in a foul mood.

"But I don't want to go!" Zelda Harkinian whined to her old nursemaid, Impa, who was tightening Zelda's corset in preparation for the ball.

"And, why is that, dear?" Impa asked distractedly, tying the undergarment so it fit just right.

"Oh you know why. Could you stop? That hurts."

"I'm afraid, Princess, that it is absolutely necessary." Impa finished with the corset and went into Zelda's wardrobe to get the proper dress for the evening: a beautiful wine-red trumpet gown with golden accents. "And if the reason you do not want to attend is because He-Whose-Name-Should-Never-Escape-My-Lips will not be there, then that is just too bad. He is very busy being a hero, Zelda."

"Oh Impa." Zelda sighed, walking over to a mirror and examining herself as Impa slid the dress over her head and fastened it securely. "You know me too well. And Link is never busy, unless he's saving Hyrule, and Hyrule doesn't need saving. He just says he busy so he doesn't have to see me."

"Don't think that way, dear, it's not good for your health." Impa pinned the young woman's hair up into a beautiful coif. "Who knows? Maybe he'll show up tonight. You did invite him, correct?"

"Twice." Zelda sighed. Yes, two invitations and he is too dim-witted to realize my feelings for him. You'd think he'd eventually get a hint. A few days later, Zelda had received word that Link was in Calatia and would not be back for several months. She was devastated.

"Don't fret about it, Zelda. You look beautiful. Something good is bound to happen tonight – it's the Holiday Ball."

The Princess just nodded and made her way down out of the room.

"Good evening." She said to one of the guards outside her door who bowed low before her.

"Good evenin', Princess." He said good-heartedly. "You look lovely tonigh', if it's not so bold of me to say." Zelda smiled and thanked him. Rufus was his name and she liked him for his simple nature and good will. "I'm suppose' to escor' you to the main 'all were you'll make you grand entrance with your father."

"Yes." Zelda spoke quietly, wishing that Link would have been there to escort her instead. He was a knight, after all. Her father had knighted him after Link saved him from an assassination attempt in the Market. Link asked only that he be a free knight; one not imprisoned by palace rules and parties.

The Castle was dressed magnificently in many shades of red, white, green and gold. Candles were lit, and around every corner, enchanted birds would sing festive music and twitter gladly. Normally, Zelda was cheered by this, but tonight it just annoyed her. The main hall was especially impressive, a massive pine tree decorated specially for the ball with gold ribbons and candles magicked so they would not burn the tree.

He father was waiting outside the door to the ballroom dressed in a gold, kingly doublet, guards on either side of the walkway.

"Zelda, my dear." King Harkinian said, strolling over to her and kissing her affectionately on the forehead. "You look absolutely stunningl."

"Thank you, father."

The king took his daughters arm and led her towards to doors which opened to reveal a brightly lit ballroom and hundreds of extravagantly dressed nobles from all corners of Hyrule. A majestic serenade came from the musicians as the royals entered and the people bowed as they walked past. Zelda was not enjoying any of it, though she tried to put on her best face. Finally, they reached their thrones and sat down.

As was customary, Zelda danced the first dance with Sanda, a Prince from Labrynna. He stepped on her toes more than once to which he profusely apologized. After Zelda introduced him to Ruto, Princess of the Zoran Race, he left her alone and seemed to get along with the young, green-clad woman quite nicely. Zelda danced with two other princes and, tired of dancing, went out onto a balcony to get some fresh air. It was a beautiful, cold night and she was freezing, but she would not go back inside.

She stood there in the cold for a while, thinking of how nice it would be if only Link were there. How nice it could be if she didn't have to ascend the throne with a prince that she did not love. Her father would arrange a marriage for her, surely if she didn't find love soon.

Suddenly, there was a warm coat over her shoulders and she turned around in surprise.

"Link!" She practically shouted, embracing the handsome young man. "What are you doing here; I thought you were in Calatia!"

"Whoa, princess, you might not want to be seen showing such affection to a lowly knight." Link joked, amused, looking into Zelda's eyes. "The people would talk."

Zelda turned away and walked to the end of the balcony before he could notice her blush. "What's an embrace between friends? Let them talk."

Link walked to her side, joining her looking out at the manicured grounds of the Castle. "For your information, I left Calatia early. I couldn't miss my first Holiday Ball. Calatia can wait anyways; I was only there on vacation."

Zelda looked at him slyly out of the corner of her eye.

"Yeah right. Like you would ever take a vacation. You're too busy saving the world."

"No, I'm not." Link smiled and pulled at a strand of her hair. "If you wouldn't get yourself kidnapped every two seconds, maybe I could have a normal life, but no."

"Oh – oh really?" Zelda turned around to face him, a smile playing on her lips. "Well, if you were actually around to protect me, maybe that wouldn't happen"

"Protect you? Oh, so you want me to be your bodyguard." Link rubbed his chin awkwardly. "I'm flattered, princess."

"You very well should be, but there is no way I would hire you as my bodyguard. You would always run off on one of your adventures and I'd be left all alone."

"No you wouldn't"

"No?"

"No, I'd take you with me."

"Oh, that's a much better solution." Good humored sarcasm dripped from her voice and the two laughed, both glad to be in each other's presence once again.

"Speaking of, I have a solution that I think you and I would both enjoy."

"Oh? And what is this grand solution?" Zelda feigned boredom while Link turned and rested his elbows on the stone rail.

"Well, it's obvious that neither of us want to be here – at this snob fest – " Zelda looked around, hoping no one would hear him, but Link didn't seem to care. "And I propose that I take you for a ride through Hyrule field and we can camp out somewhere and gaze at the stars until dawn. What say you to that?"

Zelda didn't even consider the fact that it was snowing and there were clouds in the sky. Th fact that she was going somewhere other than here with Link was intoxicating . "Done. But, Link?"

Link stood up straight and bowed low before her. "Yes, milady Princess?"

"We won't tell my father. I don't want any silly guards with me."

"I'm a silly guard."

"Well then, I suppose I could just go alone – "

"No, no, no." Link took her arm as she made her way back to the ballroom. "We're going this way." And he took hold of Zelda around her waist, took out his hookshot and before Zelda knew it, she was flying through the air, and landed in the cold snow.

Zelda screamed and Link laughed. "Fun, wasn't it?" He asked.

"Link, you insane – ugh!" Zelda got up out of the cold snow, her uncomfortable dress, wet.

Link laughed again, and got up, taking Zelda's arm and running towards the castle gate.

"Oh, Link, the guards!"

"It's alright, they won't notice a thing!"

And they didn't. Zelda could have sworn that the one guarding the gate was sleeping as she and Link quietly made their way down to Castleton. The streets were empty, and the portcullis at the entrance of the town was up, so the nobles at the party could get to their homes outside of the city without incident.

Zelda and Link ran across the bridge and into Hyrule Field. Zelda collapsed onto the ground and started laughing and Link called for his horse.

"Oh, Link, I can't believe we actually made it!"

"Yes, I was quite surprised myself."

"Damn." Zelda swore and Link looked at her in surprise. "We need some new guards! Did you see the one sleeping? No wonder I get 'kidnapped every two seconds'!"

"Princess!" Link exclaimed as the beautiful chestnut Clydesdale, Epona, romped over to them merrily. "You talk like a sailor!"

"Oh, forget it," Zelda laughed and pushed herself off of the ground once more. "It's not like I'm around anyone with any real class." She looked at Link pointedly.

"Now, Princess," Link mocked, climbing up onto the beautiful mare. "Remember to sit up straight when you're riding or else the horse will think badly of you. And remember to always, always speaketh liketh thiseth so as one shall confuse-eth you with thine lowly peasants."

Zelda laughed and hoisted herself up onto Epona behind Link, enjoying the freedom she felt when she was around him. She felt so right, like nothing in the world was wrong. Even if Ganondorf were right behind her, with Link by her side, Zelda felt as if she could battle the man twice and not be even the slightest bit worried about it.

Link kicked Epona and they galloped across the field. Hours later, it was completely dark. The snow had stopped falling and the clouds were clearing up. The night was silent, peaceful and amazingly beautiful. Link and Zelda rode on in wordless bliss, enjoying each others company. Link led Epona to the Lost Woods. The woods were magical. Even though it was winter, not one of their leaves had fallen to the ground and they were as green and lush as they were in the springtime. Tiny little sprites and faeries fluttered around the serene woods and Zelda gasped.

"I've never been here before." She whispered.

"Few have." Link replied back in a low voice.

The dismounted and left Epona to wander about. Zelda padded through the snow towards a clearing, Link loyally following.

"Link?"

"Princess?"

"Don't people get lost in these woods? And please. Call me Zelda. You know me well enough." She sat down on a fallen log and stared up into the sky. The stars were shining now. It was possibly the most beautiful thing she had ever seen: The forest, glowing and alive with fairies, snow covering the ground and the beautiful stars shining up in the black velvet night sky. And Link by her side.

"Princess." Link said and Zelda shook her head. "I know these woods like the back of my hand. As long as you stay with me, you'll never be lost." Link gazed at her gazing at the stars. Zelda noticed him and looked over, smiling.

"What?" She asked. Why was he looking at her like that?

"You're so beautiful."

Zelda blushed bright scarlet, and willed herself to look away from his deep blue eyes. But she couldn't.

"Link…"

Link came and sat down next to her. Looking up, he saw something in the trees.

"Zelda, look up." She did and saw –

"Mistletoe."

And he kissed her. Right on the lips. She didn't know what to do, so in the end, she just kissed him back.

"Oh, Link, we can't."

Link put a finger to her lips, silencing her.

"Zelda, if anything can't happen between us, know this: I love you. I've loved you from the day I first met you eight years ago and I still love you today. Please, even if you don't return my feelings, just please stay with me here this one last time tonight."

"Link."

He looked up into her eyes hopefully and she kissed him again. Pulling away, she said, "I love you too. And I will stay with you. Now and forever, no matter what."

"I love you, Zelda."

"I love you, Link."

And there they sat, two lovers, on one silent night.