Chapter 16 – I Love You

"Pri-…Zelda." Link said calmly, using his free hand to guide her face in his direction. He could see that her eyes were still filled with tears, and that several had spilled over during the course of her trip backwards. He had gone along with her. Somehow, touching her brought back memories.

"Oh Link." She breathed, moving forward. She threw her arms around him, burying her face into the front of his tunic as he turned towards her. He held her close, one hand cradling the back of her head. He made sure to mind the bandaged wound.

"Zelda…I know that this is hard. When I found out from Impa, I felt like I was going to shut down. This is a lot to take in, but I hope you find comfort in the fact that at least you have me to lean on for support. I'm going through this with you." He kissed the top of her head before resting his cheek against her hair. "I hope you'll let me go through this alongside you."

Zelda unwound her arms from around Link and scooted back. She reached out for his hand again. She looked down and saw how much larger his hand was than hers. It made her lips want to twitch into a smile, but she just couldn't. Not yet.

"The reason that I ran from you…" Zelda's voice drifted off. She thought about what she was going to reveal to Link, what she was going to say. Though their feelings had already been expressed years and years ago, she didn't know if she was ready to do it again. "Link, would you mind if I tried to rest? With the attack and all of this-"

"Of course not Zelda." Link practically jumped up. When he stood, he offered her his hand. He gently pulled her up, his other hand moving towards her waist. He decided against it, and instead went for her arm. "Shall I carry you?"

"No, no…I'll be fine." Zelda took a small step back. She could see that Link was wanting to get close to her. She knew that if she gave him the chance, he would tell her how he felt.

"I hope I see you tomorrow. A friend of mine, Kara, is having her wedding reception in the evening. She was married a few days ago, but the band that was going to play at the reception couldn't come into Clock Town until tomorrow." Link rubbed his neck, his fingers moving into his hair to pull at it. "I think it would be good for the both of us to do something fun."

When Zelda saw Link's hand move to the back of his head, she smiled on the inside. She had remembered him doing that whenever he was nervous or anxious. She couldn't imagine how she was making him nervous.

"I hope I'm feeling well enough to go."

"So do I." Link smiled, getting ready to leap down from the inn roof.

"Link." Zelda said suddenly, causing him to turn around. She pushed her hair back, fidgeting with her fingers. Her eyes flew up to meet his after a moment or two. "Thank you…for everything."

"You don't ever have to thank me for telling you what you deserved to know. And as for coming after know that I'll always protect you." He laughed dryly. "I guess I'm quoting myself when I say that."

"Goodnight." Zelda turned before he could see the smile spreading across her face.

Link watched her as she headed back to her room. She must have not known that he was watching her, because when she got to the corner, she turned. Though there was distance between them, it was evident that they were looking into each other's eyes.

Noon was invading the morning when Zelda finally woke. It had taken her a long time to fall asleep, and when she had, her dreams had been filled with Link's stories from the night before.

She sat up slowly, pleasantly surprised by how little her back was agitated. The sounds of the bustling townspeople led Zelda to believe that they were already setting up for the reception. It reminded her of what the castle was like whenever her father held grand feasts and parties and celebrations.

After making the bed and making herself slightly more presentable, she left her room to head downstairs. As she closed the door behind her, a man was leaving his room too. He had bright purple hair. It made her stare for a moment – until he looked up to see her standing there.

"Princess Zelda," he said, smiling warmly, "I've heard a lot about you. My name is Kafei, I'm Anju's husband." He reached out for her hand.

"Please, call me Zelda." She put her hand in his, shaking his quickly when he began to lift hers to his lips. "You don't need to be formal with me Kafei. And I really should be thanking you for saving my-"

"Don't mention it." He let go of her hand. "I think that Anju is downstairs in the kitchen. There's a plate waiting for you…and don't worry, I cooked." He winked at her before heading down the stairs himself.

Zelda felt guilty for lying to these people, and for imposing. After all that they were doing for her, and after finding out how genuinely kind they were, she knew that they deserved much better. She decided to apologize to Anju at once.

Kafei had been right – she was in the kitchen. She was sweeping, humming something to herself. When she noticed Zelda, she dropped the broom and tried her hardest to curtsy.

"No, no Anju." Zelda went into the kitchen and reached for Anju's hands. "I am so sorry for lying to you about who I was. And as for me staying here and all the care you and your husband have been giving me-"

"Princess Zelda, my husband and I are honored to have you. Even if you weren't the Princess of Hyrule, we would still be caring for you this way."

"I know."

"And as for the other matter…I can understand why you would have lied." Anju gave Zelda's hands squeezes before letting go.

"Another thing, please call me Zelda." She looked around at the kitchen. "Is there anything I can do to help you here?"

"Have a seat." Anju went to the stove while Zelda sat at the table. She watched Anju ladle whatever had been in the pot into a bowl. Steam ran over the sides as she brought it to the table.

"That smells delicious." Zelda had to admit to herself that she was starving. Her stomach was rumbling as Anju set the bowl in front of her. It appeared to be a thick soup, possibly even stew. "It looks delicious too."

"That is Kafei's famous Dodongo stew. It's a big hit here at the inn." Anju picked the broom up off of the floor and started sweeping again. "I may not have cooked it, but I did grow the potatoes and the onions."

Zelda quickly devoured the vegetables and the Dodongo meat. She was drinking the broth when Anju appeared at her side again with the pot. She ladled a second helping into Zelda's empty bowl.

"The doctor should be here any time now. He's going to check your wounds." Anju looked up from her sweeping before casually adding, "Link mentioned that you might come tonight."

Zelda paused, a potato chunk nearly to her mouth.

"I don't have anything to wear." She continued eating. She wasn't sure if she wanted to go to the reception.

"Well it's a good thing that I asked Aurinha to come by then." Anju looked up to see Zelda's questioning expression. "Her husband is Clock Town's tailor. Aurinha makes and sells dresses."


"Zelda…" Anju dropped the broom for the second time that day. She sat next to Zelda, who had pushed her half empty bowl away from her. "Link told my husband and I everything."

"Well then you must have some idea of how difficult this is."

"Link came to us when he was a boy, and after he saved us, he came to live here at the inn with Kafei and I. Link became a son to us. We love him very much." Anju put her hand on Zelda's. "We watched him grow up. He has become a good, strong man. Please believe me when I say that you don't need to be afraid of him."

"It's not him that I'm afraid of Anju. It's me…it's…it's my feelings…for him."

Anju nodded, realizing what she meant.

"I haven't known you very long, and he hasn't been home for much longer…but I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that Link lo-…feels the same way about you that you feel about him."

Zelda looked up to meet Anju's eyes. They were so trusting, so nurturing. Though Zelda had lied to her about her name, she didn't think that Anju would ever lie to her about anything. She felt a little bit better.

There was a knock at the inn door that interrupted the heart to heart.

"That must be the doctor." Anju said, getting to her feet. She was about to leave the kitchen when Zelda stopped her.

"Anju…let's say that we tell each other how we feel, and it's mutual. That already happened once before, and we didn't live happily ever after. I don't know if I could go through years of pain again."

"Let me ask you something. Would you rather live without him?"

Aurinha was a very energetic woman. She had brought dozens of dresses when she had found out that it was the princess who would be wearing one.

Zelda had felt like she was back in Hyrule being fitted for a new dress. She would be looked over a thousand times and critiqued. She had gotten used to it, but Aurinha was something else. Nothing seemed to spark for her.

Luckily, the doctor had taken the bandage off of Zelda's head and her throat. But the bandage across her back had to stay for a little while longer. Zelda was beginning to feel more like a woman again.

"Hurry and put this one on dear. There are only a few hours left until the reception and we still haven't done your makeup or your hair." Aurinha shoved a dress into Zelda's arms and waited impatiently for her to change. Zelda was thankful that Anju was there with her.

"I really liked the last one Aurinha. I thought that shade of green looked lovely on-"

"No, no, no. I'm telling you that blue is the only way to go." Aurinha argued, tapping her foot while she waited for Zelda to reemerge. "I worked very hard on this one. It has an under dress and an over dress."


"That under dress is made out of blue satin. Sky blue satin. Do you know how long it took me to find that color?" Aurinha kept talking. "The bodice is also made from that satin, but it has ivory lace over top."

"Oh really?" Anju asked, only half interested. She felt sorry for poor Zelda.

"Dear, are you coming out anytime soon?" Aurinha asked, sounding just a tad bit exasperated.

Zelda came out of her bedroom. She had to admit that she liked the dress she had on best. Aurinha had been right about blue.

"Oh my! Zelda you look so-" Anju was amazed at how lovely she was, and was about to tell her how beautiful she looked when she was interrupted.

"See this right here? This is braided, and it crosses all the way around," Aurinha forcibly turned Zelda so that her back was facing Anju, "here and makes a V. It doesn't plunge like some of the others, and so the bandaging is mostly hidden."


"Look at that bordering. I am especially proud of that." Zelda turned to face forward again while Aurinha tugged and pulled at her. "These sleeves took forever to bead, and it took even longer to embroider. You can see right through them, but you have lovely skin."

Zelda tried to hide both her smile and the quite laughs that escaped. Anju was doing the same, though she was doing a terrible job.

"Aurinha, I think-"

"The over dress is made from pure white crushed velvet. And it's laced up in both the front and back. I actually picked the material up on a trip to Hyrule a few summers back." She bent down to show the length. "A very simply train."

"Aurinha, I think that we're going to take this one." Anju finally got a word in edgewise. She swallowed her laughter. "How much do we owe you?"

"Oh please Anju." Aurinha waved her away before turning towards Zelda. "As long as you promote this dress when you return to Hyrule, consider it yours."

"It's a deal." Zelda shook Aurinha's hand.

"Now then, let's do something about that hair…"

The reception turnout was wild. It was being held in South Clock Town. There were dozens and dozens of people. Gorons danced around the torches that were scattered throughout the bazaar. The Indigo-Go's were set up in front of the Clock Tower. Many couples were dancing to the music.

Link and Kafei stood side by side near the exit that led out to the swamp. They were waiting for the ladies to show up. Link had told Kafei about the Zora murders and how somehow it tied into why the king had summoned him to Hyrule in the first place.

"Link…what do you intend to do about Zelda?" Kafei asked suddenly. He had heard the way Link talked about her when he had told him and his wife about Ganondorf and the temples.

"I don't know Kafei. I want to tell her how I feel but…I don't think that she's ready. Last night she practically ran away from me when we got close."

"Well you know better than anyone what she's going through. Just be patient." Kafei looked up at the sky. "Anju had to wait for me at one point too."

"And goddesses bless her for it." Link said, Kafei nodding in agreement.

"Hey Link!" A voice cried. Link looked up to see Kara heading for him. Kafei shooed him off.

"Kara!" Link met her halfway. She squeezed him tight.

"Hey! You made it back for the reception." She smiled up at him.

"I just wish I could have been at the wedding. Speaking of which, where is your husband?" Link looked around for Regol.

"Oh he's around here somewhere. Where is your lady friend?" Kara asked mischievously. She had heard the rumors about the woman at the inn.

"She should be here soon. At least I hope so." Link was about to scratch his scalp when Kara grabbed his wrist and pointed with the other hand.

"Stop hoping."

Link turned around to see Anju and Zelda coming down the stairs from East Clock Town. At least, he guessed that Anju was with Zelda. He didn't know for sure because he couldn't take his eyes away from her.

The moonlight hit her just right. Her skin was glowing while she was bathed in the celestial starlight. Her golden hair flowed freely, twisting and curling like a waterfall down both her front and back. Link did spy a lone braid trailing down the right side. He had to look hard to see it hidden in the rest of her hair.

"Just remember two things: inhale…and exhale." Kara whispered before she ran off to leave Link with Zelda.

Anju caught the look on Link's face a mile away. She quietly slipped from Zelda's side, going to her husband to watch them.

When Zelda finally made her way to Link, they didn't speak. Link couldn't stop staring at her. Someone had painted glitter onto her cheeks, forehead, neck, and chest. The light caught the blue and green and purple sparkles and created the illusion that her skin was even more scintillating.

"How are you doing Link?" Zelda asked softly.

"Mesmerized…I mean…I'm fine." Link felt his cheeks redden. He moved a hand into his hair, but it was Zelda who stopped him this time. A slight smile appeared on her face.

"Don't be nervous. Please." She held his hand in hers.

"It's harder than you think." He admitted, moving his other hand to her face. His fingers waited. Her eyes told him that it was okay, and so he brushed his fingers along her cheek. "Angels don't look as beautiful as you."

It was Zelda's turn to blush. The glitter made it hard for her to hide the redness spreading across her face. But Link just smiled.

It was another few moments of silence. Inside, thoughts and voices were screaming but on the outside, they couldn't conjure up the right things to say. It wasn't until Lulu announced a song for the newlyweds that gave the couple an opportunity.

Link led Zelda closer to the Clock Tower to hear what Lulu had to say.

"I started writing this song when Mikau was still alive. Japas helped me finish it, and we've been working with it ever since. We'd like to dedicate it to Regol and Kara."

There was much applause while Regol led Kara to the center of the square. Once they started dancing, others joined in. It was then that the music started, and Lulu began to sing.

"Her voice…" Zelda whispered, listening.

"May I have this dance?" Link asked, looking hopefully at Zelda. He held his breath while he waited for an answer. She nodded.

This song is called "Love Remains The Same" by Gavin Rossdale of Bush. The lyrics are perfect. I took some out because they were too modern.

A thousand times I've seen you standing
Gravity like lunar landing
You make me wanna run till I find you
I shut the world away from here
I drift to you, you're all I hear
As everything we know fades to black

Link hesitantly moved his hands to Zelda's waist. It was so small, so delicate. He felt as though he had the whole world right there in his hands. He intended to keep it safe, to keep it close.

Zelda placed her hands on his shoulders, slowly winding them around his neck. She looked up into his eyes and saw that he was looking straight into hers.

Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending

"Zelda, I have to tell you something." Link said quietly. He pulled her close until they were touching. Her chest was pressed gently to him. He moved forward, brushing his cheek against hers so that he would be speaking into her ear. "I love you."

I never thought that I
Had anymore to give
You're pushing me so far
Here I am without you
Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
But, love remains the same

Zelda couldn't breathe. She closed her eyes, listening to Link breathe against her ear. She knew how she felt. She had to tell him.

She had thought about what happened, how she had felt that way for him once and had him ripped away. But she also knew the answer to Anju's question. She didn't want to live without him. Not then and not now.

Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending

She pressed her lips to his ear.

"I love you too Link."

I never thought that I
Had anymore to give
You're pushing me so far
Here I am without you
Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
But love remains the same

So much more to say
So much to be done
Don't you trick me out
We shall overcome
It's all left still to play

We, we could have had the sun
Could have been inside
Instead we're over here

Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending
Too much time too long defending
You and I are done pretending

Link finally pulled back, still keeping Zelda as close to him as possible. Both of them felt as though they had been in that same position before. They knew that they had felt that exact same way before.

Link's face was conveying an emotion that, years before, Zelda hadn't been able to identify. All she had known was that the way that he had been looking at her, the way that his face had gotten closer and closer to hers, had made her heart beat wildly in her chest, the way it was at that very moment.

Now, Zelda knew what his face was saying. It was saying that he loved her.

Link also remembered not knowing what he was doing. But then again, he had known. And he hadn't cared. It had felt right. He had told himself that he wasn't going to give up that once in a lifetime chance. He hadn't known what was going to happen in those next few moments. It could have been taken away at any time.

Now, Link took that chance that he had never gotten to take.

I never thought that I
Had anymore to give
You're pushing me so far
Here I am without you
Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
Everything will change

Their lips met for the first time. Not the first time since finding each other once again, but the very first time. It felt as though their lips had been made to kiss one another's. They had stopped dancing. They had stopped breathing.

Link wrapped his arms around her tiny waist and crushed her against him, lifting her off of the ground. She held him around the neck tightly, kissing him deeply.

Their lips parted, and passionate kissing ensued. Even when everyone around them had stopped dancing to watch the couple, they didn't notice. For all they knew, they were the only two people that existed.

I, oh I,
I wish this could last forever
I, oh I,
as if this could last forever

Love remains the same
Love remains the same.