A Single Arrow

The Last Suitor

She giggled as she looked at herself in the mirror, pushing a single lock of light brown hair behind her ear. Oh her father would be furious! But that was what would make it fun. Satisfied with her hair, she picked her book back up and settled into her chair, once again losing herself in this world of fairytales, where princesses have long, blonde hair, (the thought made her smile amusedly) and long to be free of their life in the palace. Oh if only these books were anywhere near the truth where should she be now? She herself was proof that such things were fairytales, no more. Of course, none of her people knew that. Her father saw to it that they did not know, and she found that she didn't particularly care. So what if they thought she was a blue-eyed, blonde beauty? So what if they thought she longed to be away from the large castle with its beautiful grounds and serene silence? So what if they thought she wandered around in magnificent dresses, wearing ridiculous amounts of gold? So what if they couldn't be more wrong? As long as they were happy, she was happy, and that was all that mattered. Giving one final laugh at the picture of a "typical" princess, with a long face and tears streaming down her abnormally pale cheeks in a totally unrealistic fashion, she put the book safely on a nearby table and stretched.

Yes, it's true. Zelda was not your everyday princess, like the stories suggested, rather she was the opposite. She was pretty, as she should be, but she was not a blonde bombshell, though she had to admit she did have crystal blue eyes. She did not despise her life at the castle, but enjoyed the peace and safety it offered, and she certainly didn't wander around wearing stupid, heavy dresses. By the same margin however, she was not a goody-goody two shoes, far from it. She wasn't stuck up either, and she never understood some princess' obsession with gold and shiny things. She didn't swoon and sigh at men who came to save her, she saved herself. Well, usually anyway…

No, Zelda liked to think she was a nice ordinary person when not in public, and one of her favourite pastimes was, (as with most teenage girls she was sure) annoying her father no end. If he told her not to do something, she would most likely do it, not recklessly you must understand. Heavens no. That would not be the princess way. She went away and carefully analysed the situation, deciding what the pros and cons were, and then went and did whatever it was she was planning. Or not, depending on how kind she felt that day. Today she was feeling kind, but mischievousness had her in its grip too, hence her current state.

Normally, when Zelda was introduced to anyone, she would have her hair specially coloured with magic beforehand, so it would be the blonde colour she was supposed to have. However, due to her impish nature, she had decided against it today, and since she always did her own hair, no one could tell her otherwise. Oh she would go along with the rest of it, she would be going too far if she did not, but for once she wanted her natural hair colour. She saw nothing wrong with it, on the contrary, she preferred her hair as it was normally to when it was coloured, and today she was going to tell her father so. A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts, and she opened it to see the usual maids, ready to dress her in itchy lace, watery silk and far more jewels than she was comfortable with, not to mention those stupid high heels. She could walk on level ground in them, to some degree, and yes they were elegant looking, but by the Goddesses, it took her forever to get down those stairs in the blasted things. Still, she held her tongue and allowed them to help her into the dress. At least it was a nice colour. Emerald green, one of her most favoured colours in the world, despite popular belief that pink was her favourite.

A few minutes later, Zelda glanced back to the chair, having finally got the stupid dress on. Don't get me wrong, she thought the dress was stunning, but it was heavy and hot, and she'd much rather not wear it in this heat. Over the back of the chair were her favourite clothes, the ones she always wore. She had shamelessly borrowed the style of her best friend, and her father told her she was permitted to dress in it, as long as no one outside the palace ever saw her. What a sight she and her friend looked, walking through the gardens on lazy summer afternoons among the swirling cherry blossoms, wearing similar tunics, his a deep green, hers varying depending what mood she was in that day, both in cream tights, him in large boots and her wearing flat shoes. She had wanted brown boots like he wore, but had decided in the end, that she would perhaps be pushing it, and had settled for the brown flats instead. He also wore thick, fingerless gloves of leather, and a long, green cap, which, had she been allowed, she would have stolen and worn herself, since she thought it was cute, and knew he wasn't bothered whether he wore it or not, only her father wouldn't let her. She was sure the only reason her friend wore it at all was because she liked it so much, and the thought made her blood pound through her veins happily. Sometimes, when they were out of sight of her father, he would let her try it on. It was a pretty good fit, a little large perhaps, but if she put her hair in a bun that wouldn't be a problem and he would let her keep it on until they were at risk of her being seen again.

For once in her life, Zelda felt a twinge of sadness. Just very occasionally, she wished she could leave the castle. She loved her home very much, and her father more, despite her constant teasing him, but she did ache to travel a little. It didn't have to be far, over to the bridge and back would have been satisfactory, but she never got to go. She didn't resent her father for it, he was only protecting her after all, but sometimes when her friend came to visit, and he spoke of faraway lands and things he had seen that she had only ever read about in her story books, she wished she could accompany him. It did sound exciting, especially with the way he told it, his eyes sparkled and flashed, and the stories were so thrilling they always left her clinging to the edge of her seat in suspense. She was always up for adventure and knew it would be such fun to see the kind of things he saw, but there were other reasons for wanting to go with him too. She could spend more time with him for a start, he hardly ever visited since he was so busy. She knew he was uncomfortable in the castle too, which was why when he came to visit they would walk through the gardens, or, (if her father was in a particularly good mood) they would go to the training grounds and spar or have archery contests. She had gotten so much better at both since training with him. He always managed to beat her though, no matter how good she was. A smile tugged at her lips as she remembered the last match she had against him. She had just managed to split his arrow in two for the first time, something she was proud of naturally. He had given her his trademark grin and winked at her which had set her heart alight, as it often did. Anyway, he had congratulated her and then proceeded to split her arrow in half too! How they had laughed, but he had told her not to throw the arrow away.

"Keep it." He had said. "And I'll keep mine too. I can't tell you why just now, but you'll find out next time I visit. For now, just patch it up."

She had done as he asked and placed the arrow in her quiver, tied together with some rope. It reminded her of the way she had patched up her heart. Zelda may have been a princess, but she was no stranger to heartbreak. A few years back she had been a wreck when she found her boyfriend had been killed. He was a brave man, someone she was proud of beyond all measure, and he had been a member of the guard. He had been called away to duty and never returned to her, just a message with "sincerest apologies" on "her loss". The letter went into more detail on his death, but she had been unable to read it. It was too detailed for her liking, and thank goodness her best friend had been there at the time. If it hadn't been for him, she'd have gone to pieces, even more so than she did. Luckily, she managed to patch up her broken heart before he left, well, as best she could anyway, considering the circumstances. She had begged him to help her move on, which he had promised he would, and he had. She was no longer mourning and finally felt ready to start again, when he announced that he would be leaving.

"I'm going away now Zelda. No more tears okay? I promise I'll be back before too long, and I'll write." He had told her, smiling kindly down from his horse, a beautiful chestnut coloured creature named Epona.

"You promise? Oh I couldn't bear it if you just vanished." She recalled saying, holding onto his hand for dear life. He had been her rock and she didn't think she could lose him too. Not now, she needed him.

"Of course I promise. I'd never let you down Zel." He had said and her heart had thumped happily, knowing she could trust him to keep that promise.

"I know. Well, I'll say goodbye since I have to go now. I've been out here too long already. Goodbye Link…"

"Zelda!"

She was snapped out of her thoughts by her father's voice. Ah yes, the suitors. She couldn't understand why some people found the task tedious, she thought it was rather amusing to see them come up to her looking so hopeful and then make some pig-headed comment, that gave her the right to tell them to "shove off", more politely phrased than that of course. As she headed for the door, her quiver caught her eye, stood in the corner. She stroked one finger down the single arrow it held, the one Link had told her to keep. On a whim, she put the quiver over her shoulder, thinking it would be a comfort to have it next to her while she received all those gifts she wasn't interested in. Wasting no more time, she exited the room and made her way down the stairs as quickly as she dared in those confounded heels.

'Note to self.' She thought. 'Grow taller so I can wear posh flats instead of posh heels.'

Smiling slightly at her own stupidity, she entered the throne room standing next to her father at the head of the room and dropping the quiver to her side.

"Why is your hair not blonde today? Surely you aren't in one of your moods today of all days?"

"I don't want it blonde. I hate it."

"Zelda." He warned.

"Daddy." She pouted.

The king groaned next to her, but she knew he would let it slide this once. After all, she had only rejected, what, 200/300 suitors? What would make this bunch of stuck up tight wads better?

A few hours passed, and Zelda was thoroughly enjoying herself. So far she had managed to send one guy home crying for his mother, sixty two off in a huff, promising they would never again return, (something she couldn't really find a flaw with) fifty seven with stinging words in their ear, one was currently stood to one side, sulking and refusing to leave, (that was annoying), and she had actually managed to get three ejected from the castle. It was a new record for her and she felt rather proud, though ready for a break.

"A hundred and twenty four suitors is surely enough rejects in one day? Can I rest?" She turned to her father.

"Only one more to go darling." He replied, not looking at her.

Zelda blinked. Was she seeing things or did he have that 'I-know-something-you-don't-know' look on his face, and was he really smirking? She shrugged her shoulders and faced the front, waiting for the announcement of "Prince such and such from land pompy-butt-ooh-la-la-she-didn't-care-where-lia". To her surprise, there were no announcements, no trumpets, and the guy didn't even come through the right door. He came through a door on the other side, opening it himself and striding over to her casually, a familiar grin on his face and a hat she loved covering his blonde, messy locks. Blonde looked better on him than it did on her anyway, she had always thought so, and she couldn't stop smiling when she saw his cerulean eyes sparkling as he loped over to her, as at ease as if he were merely coming to ask her opinion on his new sword, (something he very much enjoyed doing).

"Hey Zellie." His voice called softly, making her heart skip a beat.

Ever since he had helped her through the death of her previous boyfriend, she had caught her stomach doing flip flops, her lungs forgetting how to breathe, and her heartbeat changing so fast it could not be healthy for her. She had to admit, she was completely in love with her best friend, the hero of Hyrule, though Din forbid he should ever find out. She'd never live it down, still, better answer him for now.

"Link! What a surprise, I didn't expect to see you here." She chose to laugh, hiding how ecstatic she actually was to see him. He must have come for a surprise visit. "Father could we postpone the last suitor for a little while?"

"Of course. But don't forget that there is one suitor still over there" Her father smiled, pointing to the suitor and left her side, leaving a confused princess.

'Okay, that time I know he had a weird look on his face.' She decided she would ask about it later, turning to her best friend in the meantime and ignoring the suitor. He could stay if he wanted, what did she care?

"Do you want to go outside now?" She asked.

Link shook his head. Her brow furrowed.

"But you hate being inside for too long."

He nodded. "I know."

"So let's go…"

He shook his head again and breathed out patiently. "Actually, I was hoping we could talk here." He put his hands in his pockets casually glancing to the prince on the side, who was watching the two closely.

She narrowed her light sapphire orbs at him, not fooled. The cool and calm act was just that, an act. She knew Link and instinctively knew something was wrong. He was nervous, she could tell from the way his eyes were darting around the room, looking anywhere but at her. His pockets were moving, suggesting he was fiddling his hands and trying to hide them from sight. He was shifting from one foot to the other and held his chin up too high for it to be normal, like he was trying to be defiant or something. However, she would no doubt find out why he was nervous if she let him talk long enough, so she nodded, gesturing for him to continue.

"Do you remember the last archery contest we had?"

Her eyebrows shot up in surprise at the strange opening to the conversation, but she composed herself and nodded again.

"Of course. We split each other's arrows, and you said we should keep them."

"Do you remember what else I said?"

"You would tell me why the next time we met, but Link, what has this got to do with anything?"

"Everything." He said mysteriously, his eyes shimmering.

She was really confused now, but said nothing, waiting for him to explain. He walked closer to her so that it was easier to talk, since he had originally stopped about halfway down the room, pulling out his broken arrow as he did so.

"Suitors normally bring presents right?" He asked.

"Yeah. But I still don't understand Link."

"Well, I'm not bringing you a present."

"That makes sense as you aren't a suitor."

"I'm offering you a trade."

She stared at him, completely lost. She normally understood Link pretty well, but she couldn't follow where this was going at all. Her puzzlement must have shown on her face because he laughed loudly.

"Oh dear, poor Zellie. Don't tell me you don't know?"

"Don't know what?" She pouted. "Link, what in the name of Nayru are you talking about?"

His laughter died away and he gave her a strained smile.

"You never noticed? Not once?"

"Noticed what?" She was fast becoming impatient.

"You broke my heart Zel." He almost whispered.

Her eyes widened in shock. He was her best friend and she hadn't even realised she had hurt him so badly that he would go so far as to call it heart break? That wasn't possible…was it?

"What? How? When?" Her voice cracked and caught in her throat.

"Years and years ago. When you first fell in love with that guard. I thought my heart would shatter. We had been so close, and I thought that we…well, I thought we had something special. Then you told me you had a boyfriend and I…" He trailed off and swallowed. "I went to pieces. Never in front of you though. I thought, if you were happy, I should be happy too. That's what best friends do right? But I couldn't. I couldn't be happy and I couldn't let go."

She put her hand to her heart, which thumped painfully in her chest. That would explain why he had been distant during the time she was dating. She had thought he didn't want to push in, but he really just couldn't handle the pain. And every time she saw him she'd talked about…oh Farore, no wonder! At her look of horror Link's smile wavered and vanished, replaced by a small frown.

"Then he was wrenched away from you." He continued quietly. "And you turned to me again. I wanted to get angry at you, but I just couldn't. It wasn't in me to hate you, you were too important to me. I could see the hurt in your eyes when you spoke about him and it tore me apart even more than before, to the point where I couldn't bear it anymore. You loved him and that was that. I hit an all time low…and then the Goddesses must have taken mercy on me. You told me it was no good to cry, you would move on, and you asked me to help you. I promised I would, and not long after, we had a fateful archery match and I left. Which brings me to the reason I'm here." He took a deep breath. "I came to fulfil some of the promises I made to you Zelda." His eyes pierced hers, seeing straight through to her very soul. "I love you and I want to help you move on."

She thought she would collapse, her knees were buckling and the rest of her shook like a fairy's wings in flight. She had put him through so much misery, not noticed and it turned out he loved her. This was a little overloading, so she leaned on a pillar for support, clutching the space above her heart, watching him weakly.

"Here's my offer." He resumed his normal tone, though his eyes still held a hint of worry and sadness as he held out a broken arrow, held together with a piece of rope, much as hers was. "I'll give you my broken and patched up arrow…in return for yours, just as it is."

She pulled the arrow out of the quiver and looked at it, trailing one finger gently down its shaft.

"How can you love me? How can you want the broken heart that shattered your own?"

"But I do Zel. I can't live without you, I really can't. I'm nothing compared to those suitors, I know. I can't bring you amazing gifts and gold, so I'm giving you what I can. I'm giving you me, and that's all I have to give that's of worth. All I'm asking is that you give me the same in return."

Her eyes flicked from her own, poorly repaired arrow, to his. He had put some sort of spell on it, she could tell, but she knew he would never hurt her, so whatever it was it wouldn't be dangerous. Turning things over slowly in her mind, she made her decision, timidly holding out her arrow.

"I trust you Link. Look after it?"

"If you'll look after mine." He held his arrow out as well.

She nodded, her eyes holding his. She felt, rather than saw, him pull the arrow out of her hand. The arrow began to glow, as he concentrated on it and she watched in surprise. When the golden glow faded, there was her arrow, as good as new in his hand. He gave her a shy smile.

"I know it's cheesy, but it took me ages to learn how to do that."

It was a little cheesy, but for some reason she thought it was also really romantic. Unfortunately…

"Link…I don't know how to mend your arrow…"

"It's okay. You can do it and you won't even realise it." He put his arrow gently into her palm.

She watched it, as it too began to glow softly, this time with a silver light, and the spell etched into the arrow rearranged itself to form new words. Once again, the light died away, and the arrow looked as though it had just been made yesterday. Zelda carefully read the inscription where the spell had once been.

'You didn't just fix a broken arrow…' then, a little further around, 'You fixed a broken heart too.' She gave a smile and raised her eyes to look at him, slipping the arrow into her quiver as she did so.

"That's so mushy Link." She giggled as his face fell. "I'm joking! Thank you, I appreciate it, how did you know I was a romantic deep down?"

"Lucky guess." He replied. "So does this mean…?"

"Yes Link. I'm all yours. No more suitors. You were the last, the one I wasn't expecting."

A grin split his face, and he slipped his arrow in beside hers, before giving her a hug that lifted her off her feet and twirling her around.

They heard a snort from the prince, still stood off to one side.

"Oh I forgot about you." Zelda sighed. "Shove off!" She giggled hysterically, having always wanted to say that, before taking Link by the hand and pulling him off to the gardens, to which he made no complaints.

When they got outside, she felt a pull on her hand and was twirled around neatly, straight back into his arms. He gave her a chaste kiss, that lasted until the sun, almost finished setting, was replaced with the moon and beautiful stars overhead.

"I love you Zellie." He whispered against her lips.

"I love you too Link." Was all she could say before he captured her soft lips with his once again.

Who says broken hearts can't be fixed?

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Ha! Bet you didn't know I'm an avid ZeLink fan did you?! What do you mean you did? Oh shush! Well, anyway, this has been kicking around in my brain for a while now. It came out way differently to how I originally thought it would, but I suppose for a first ZeLink I could have done worse. I tried to take a different angle on Zelda though. No matter what her personality, people always seem to put her as a princess who feels the need to escape and I thought, "What if she likes her duties? What if she makes it so that they're more fun and she's not the pristine princess people portray her as? From that came this story! The original had all the suitors lined up listening and scoffing, but it detracted from the mood and Link doesn't seem like the type of person to admit stuff in front of people he might think are better than him, so I changed it. I also was going to have Link and Zelda together beforehand, and set it up between them so that her father would have to accept Link as an official suitor, but I thought that didn't fit in with the idea of her happy with her life, as she'd have to be unhappy with her father for that.

If you're wondering about the last suitor the king mentioned? That was Link, just in case I get messages saying, "What about the last suitor?" Also, I used Zelda from Twilight Princess, who has BROWN HAIR NOT BLONDE! If you don't believe me look at pictures or play Super Smash Bros Brawl. Her hair is brown in those, not blonde. Just wanted to clear that up.

Seriously though, I love Link's hat. If Link was my friend, I'd steal it off him all the time and wear it! It's so cute! - Anyway…-coughs- ahem…If it's any concern to anyone, I hate the title!

I hope you liked it, even though I know it's not that good. Peace out my friends!