Hi! I'm back again! I feel I must tell everyone who is expecting something similar to my last story, it's not like that! Sorry! My friend told me i wasn't allowed to kill anyone this time. Not anyone important anyway. . .

I'm not going to spoil anything! So enjoy this two-shot! Disclaimer: I DON'T OWN THE GAME OR CHARACTERS!!

Link shifted his weight from foot to foot. He tried to focus his breathing into a steady rate. His hand instinctively reached behind his head feeling for the helm of his sword; he reached but caught only air. He had forgotten he didn't have his sword today. Behind him someone put their large hand on his shoulder. They meant it as a comforting gesture but it startled Link and he kicked backwards. Then he realized what was going on and mumbled, "Sorry," to the person behind him.

"You really have to stop doing that Link. Don't worry everything will be fine," the man continued talking but Link stopped hearing him. All of a sudden Link felt detached from everything around him. Then he was aware of a great change in the tempo around him. The gathered people all turned and gasped, a new rhythm filled the air, a rhythm with a steady beat. And then Link saw it; his breath caught in his throat and he knew what he had to do.

--

"All right, looks like we're done for the day, Link. Time to go see your girlfriend, eh?" Fado laughed enthusiastically but stopped abruptly when he saw the worried expression that had clouded Link's face. "What's wrong, my boy? Trouble with Ilia?"

Link paused before he answered. Things had been fine with Ilia before he left. Even during his journey she hadn't seemed too different. Maybe something had happened when he wasn't there, when she was alone in the world with no memories and only the clothes on her back to call her own. He knew something had gone wrong because lately she was talking to him much less and seemed overly concerned with her appearance. Yesterday Link hadn't been able to see her until she returned with Epona from the spring and Ilia hadn't stayed long. What little Link had seen had shocked him. First of all, she was wearing shoes. Ilia never wore shoes because she mostly stayed in the village. Link only wore shoes because he worked at the ranch. Secondly she seemed to have been trying to mimic a raccoon. She had a ribbon of black around the outline of each emerald green eye. The only thing that was unchanged was her hair that was styled in a ponytail that curved like the crescent moon.

"Well, she's been acting really strangely lately," Link admitted. "She won't talk to me and has been changing things about herself that I didn't know she really cared about. I loved that tan dress she always wears but suddenly Bo tells me that she's going through her mother's clothes trying to find new dresses. I don't know what to do, Fado." Link began rubbing his hands over his face trying to smooth the worry lines he felt cutting into the familiar ruts on his head.

Fado put a comforting hand on Link's shoulder and said to Link, his tone softer now, "Don't worry, Link. It will all turn out okay. Maybe Ilia's just going through one of those phases girls go through. I'm sure in a week's time she'll be the same ol' Ilia she always was." He patted Link on the shoulder and told Link that everything would turn out fine before waving good-bye and heading towards the barn. Link sighed and started his slow descent towards Ordon Village.

Normally Ilia waited at the bottom of the trail, outside of her house, for Link to return from work. She would get so excited by just seeing him that she would run up to meet him, not wanting to wait for Epona to reach her. They would swap stories about their days and Ilia would do something sweet for Link, she would make him dinner, or take him to the spring for a special gift, or give him an art project or new outfit she had been working on. Today however was slightly different. Ilia was hovering on her porch looking annoyed but worried. She had her arms crossed and her eyes darted across Link's face looking for any signal that would tell her to hide from Link again. She must have found one on Link's shocked face because she turned her back to Link and stalked towards the door. Link couldn't help but stare at Ilia. Instead of her usual clothes she was wearing a light blue mini skirt so short that Link didn't know how she could move. Over her chest she had a red corset top that was laced with black thread. This was tied tightly over a white tank top. She wore black boots that didn't reach past her ankles but had a thin stick on the end. Link assumed this was what Thelma meant when she talked about "high-heeled shoes". Link shuddered. Ilia had obviously been talking to Thelma recently. That woman would do anything for Ilia after the time they spent together. Link's reflexives kicked in when he saw Ilia moving towards the house though.

"Wait, Ilia!" In a second's time he had nudged Epona in the side and was rushed forward, in a swift practiced movement he launched himself from Epona's side and landed on the porch. He stumbled but caught Ilia's shoulder. She spun around to stare at him.

"What?" She spat. Clearly she wanted to be as far away as possible from him.

"Ilia we need to talk," Link stated and immediately wished he hadn't. Ilia's face changed to show great fear but then she quickly composed it again. The fear did not leave her suddenly moist eyes, however. "Listen, Iliey, I don't know what's been going on but I am deeply sorry. Whatever I did to make you angry, I apologize for. But, could you please just tell me? If I know about it then I can change."

Ilia's face softened and her eyes calmed. Unfortunately for Link they only got wetter as more tears materialized. Link saw what was coming but was too late to stop it. The tears erupted from her eyes like the molten rocks from Death Mountain. And ear-piercing sob escaped past her lips and she threw herself into Link. Link stiffened when she screamed but quickly adjusted himself to fit Ilia comfortably in his arms. In between her sobbing she managed to choke out why she had been acting strangely. She explained that she was jealous that Link went traveling with a beautiful princess that was clearly in love with him, Link was surprised about this, and that he had bonded over the time he spent fighting with Zelda.

Link then explained that he never knew that Midna felt that way, and certainly didn't feel the same about her. He was simply her friend. Zelda had actually told him, and wanted to tell Ilia but she refused to visit, that she couldn't love Link that way. She could only love him as a brother at most. Zelda didn't like the idea of being a damsel in distress that her boyfriend would worry over. She thought of Link as family, and as family they trusted that they could take care of each other. Link would come to help her if she asked but wouldn't spend his time hovering or obsessing over her safety.

Ilia felt better but she couldn't deny how good it felt to cry like this. She cried for what felt like hours in Link's arms. Then she remembered the vague feeling of being moved before she drifted into unconsciousness.

Link had held her in his arms for the longest time. When she had started crying the sky was still all blue. Now orange light covered almost all of the sky. He felt Ilia starting to sway as she drifted swiftly into sleep. Her sobs had quieted and her breath can in a slow, steady beat but the tears still flowed from her eyes. He gently scooped her into his arms. First he gently clasped her hands behind his neck, making sure that she wouldn't fall. Then he slid his arm under her knees. They rested above his elbow then he slid his other arm around Ilia's neck. He braced both hands in turn under her back. He gently kissed her forehead as an experiment. Sometimes Ilia slept so lightly that the slightest movement would wake her. Thankfully this was one of the times when she wouldn't wake if you set off a bomb right next to her. Link smiled to himself and carried Ilia back to his house, with Epona following behind.

--

The next morning Ilia awoke in Link's bed. Her mind was awake before her body was. It could feel his right hand stroking her bangs, her left hand grasped gently inside his and the warm feeling of his breath of her forehead. Her eyes fluttered open and things were surprisingly blurry. She kept blinking furiously trying to clear her vision.

"Hey, darling. You're awake again. Well I guess awake doesn't really describe what happened last night. You were quite a show. You don't usually talk in your sleep but you had a lot to say last night. Two things really. You kept mumbling, 'I'm so plain! So plain.' Then you would sit up and look me straight in the eyes and ask if I loved you. I would always say, 'The love I feel for you has never been matched by any of the previous Heroes or their girls.' And you would nod and go back to sleep. I think you ran out of tears at about midnight. This is why your eyes are bothering you now. You cried for hours." He kissed her forehead again.

Ilia looked down and blushed. She was ashamed that she had to keep Link awake all night, upset she had let him see her break down like this and furious with herself for not talking about it sooner. He saw her blush and put a single finger under her chin, he lifted her face to his. She stared into his eyes, as blue as the ocean and said, "Link, I -" but that was all she got out before Link pressed his lips to hers. He kissed her strongly, deeply, erasing all doubt in her mind that he could ever love someone else. When they finally pulled away Link whispered, "I told you so."

Ilia sighed. "Fine you do love me almost as much as I love you." She smiled at him but slid towards the end of the bed when Link leaned in to kiss her again. She slid gently off the bed and landed without so much as a thud on the floor, unlike Link who had closed his eyes and fell forward. He hit his head on the wall and fell off the other side of the bed; he crashed to the floor with a loud thud and several curses. Ilia continued giggling as she got dressed. She smiled to herself knowing that Link had removed her corset, boots, and overly tight skirt to make her more comfortable. By the time Link had picked himself off the floor, Ilia was comfortably dressed in a tan cotton tunic that hung only to her knees. She had decided pants were not necessary for making omelets. Link glared at Ilia but he wasn't angry.

"What do you want in your omelets today, Link? I was thinking pumpkin. Oh, or maybe I should try making crepes." Ilia's eyes sparkled at the idea of practicing her cooking. Link couldn't resist Ilia's cooking and he loved making her happy.

"Sure, crepes would be delightful. How about," he thought for a moment; then he remembered that Ilia's absolute favorite fruit was strawberries. "I have a can of fresh strawberries in the cabinet. Why don't you use those?"

From that morning forth things were back to usual. Ilia went back to wearing her usual outfits. She washed Epona when Link didn't have work and kept herself busy when he did. Things were peaceful and even Bo seemed okay with the idea of Link and Ilia spending all their time together. Which they did; they had moved in together 2 weeks after they resolved their fight. It was the 3rd year anniversary of when they had first met.

2 months later it was Ilia's birthday. She turned 18 that year and the whole village threw a big party. She had fun but the best part was afterwards. It was just about sunset when Link set off with Ilia sitting behind him in Epona's saddle. Her eyes were covered with a blindfold and her arms were wrapped tightly around Link's waist. She trusted him to keep her in the saddle but she couldn't help clinging to Link for dear life. Ilia kept asking Link where he was taking her but he refused to tell her. About a month earlier Link had asked the Gorons of Death Mountain to find him something special in their mines. When they had found it Link asked that they give it to Renado. He would know what to do with it. Sure enough a week ago, Link received a letter informing him that the project was finished. Now Link was riding to Kakariko Village to retrieve the gift and surprise Ilia with it.

"Link, why can't you just tell me where we're going? Can you at least tell me where we are? Or how much longer it will be?" Ilia whined from behind Link.

"Sorry, baby, but if I tell you where we are it will ruin the surprise. Now you're going to need to remove your arms from around my waist. Just for a moment," Link added hurriedly when Ilia tightened her grip. He slowly slipped free from her grasp and dropped off of Epona. He reached up and took Ilia's hand. He gently lifted her down but refused to let her feet touch the ground.

"Oh, aren't you sweet," Ilia crooned when he pulled her close. Her lips traced his face until they found his. She felt his body still beneath her and when she pulled away she could feel him moving again. The air grew stuffier, as if they were inside but she hadn't heard any doors open or close. She could feel Link climbing up a hill but still had no idea where they were. The suddenly she was sitting on the ground. She hesitantly reached out with her feet to find the edge much closer than she would have liked. Before she could react though the blindfold was off. Link smiled at her shocked face.

"It's . . . it's beautiful."

Link smiled at Ilia's shocked face. They were sitting on the edge of a small cliff that overlooked a deep pool that filled Kakariko Spring. The moon was high in the sky and cast a silvery light over everything. The water glistened like it was made of diamonds and small pink orbs of light flitted through the air as gently as leaves in the wind. Link sat down next to her and whispered in her ear, "Happy Birthday Ilia."

She giggled with pleasure and continued giggling as Link called over one of the shining pink orbs. It flitted over and landed in Link's out stretched hand. A small fairy presented herself. It was clear she spent time watching humans because she brushed herself off and pretended to straighten her clothes even though fairies didn't wear clothes. Her skin was a pale pink without a single scratch or blemish. Her wings were exactly the same color as her skin and looked to be as tall as she was. She had long, creamy white hair that fell past her waist. Her eyes peaked up at the corners and lips spread into a child-like smile that lit up her face. Her eyes were slightly pointed at the tips and she had slim hands and feet. She giggled at Link and it sounded like a wind chime. Link motioned for Ilia to open her hand and the fairy leaped gently onto her palm. Ilia lifted the fairy to her face to get a better look at her. She giggled again and waved to Ilia. Then, with a practiced movement she turned to Link and said something that she knew he couldn't understand. Link had asked that the fairies help him this one last time and the eagerly agreed. They enjoyed his company and agreed to play along.

"Really?" Link asked, pretending to be surprised, "Well could you bring it to me?" He smiled a dazzling smile.

The fairy nodded eagerly and flew off, bending her knees and using Ilia's hand as a springboard. Ilia looked questioningly at Link but he refused to meet her gaze; instead he smiled out into the spring. His smile grew when two fairies returned carrying a small, black velvet box. They dropped it into Link's awaiting hands and then waited. Hovering between Ilia and Link and looking very excited.

"Ilia," Link began, saw the fairies and then he waved away the fairies. They reluctantly flew away with an annoyed chiming. "Ilia," he began again, "I know it must have been hard for you when I left, and then I wasn't there to protect you. I have never forgiven myself for that. But you have," he put his hand over hers. "These past few years have been the happiest of my life," he added mentally, these past few years minus that strange phase you went through. "And I would like nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you. Ilia. Will you marry me?" He popped open the black box to reveal a gold ring, a large but elegant diamond sat in the very center. Two small emeralds, the same color as Ilia's eyes, were placed on either side of the diamond. Link shifted the box into the moonlight and rotated it, watching Ilia's face as the diamond scattered the moonlight over everything.

For a moment everything was silent. Then Ilia's tiny, whisper filled the air. "Yes," then gaining in volume each time she said it she repeated, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Yes, I will marry you Link!" She shouted the last sentence and Link slipped the ring onto her finger. She tackled him in a hug the second the ring was secured on her finger. Her lips found his and locked on securely. It took all of Link's strength to push her off. He wanted to show her something on the ring and wanted to do it in case he forgot in the morning. He had a long night planned. "What's wrong? Are you sitting on rock?" Ilia's worried eyes scanned Link's face for any sign of distress.

"No, nothing is wrong. I just wanted to show you something on your ring." Link carefully slipped Ilia's ring off her finger and tilted it so she could see the inside. "Read what it says."

"Ilia, let this ring remind you of my love. Oh, Link!" She threw herself onto Link again. Link hit the ground with an "Oof!" and slid the ring back into the box so that he wouldn't lose it. The box was left open and sat in a stream of light that filtered through the rocks above. It threw sparkles into the sky and attracted attention from the passing birds. Most ignored it but one decided to swoop in for a closer look. It squawked mightily and had Link been paying attention he would have recognized the call. A large black bird, easily bigger than Epona swooped down over Kakariko Spring. It flapped its mighty wings stirring up dust. It knocked over the ring box and the sparkles disappeared from the sky. Ilia saw it and immediately began screaming in terror. She pulled her knees to her chest and raised her arms over her face in a defensive gesture. Everything Link had taught her about defense vanished from her head as she screamed in pure terror. The monster screeched in response; Link scrambled to get his sword out to attack the monster but the second his sword pierced the night air, the monster became incredibly frightened. It screeched even louder it slashed at Link with his talons and beat him with his wings. Link crashed to the ground and blood stained the face of the cliff. The monster flew high into the sky and raced towards Kakariko Field. Ilia screamed louder.

"Link! Link! Link save me! Link! Link!" She screamed his name one last time, drawing it out into one very long word.

"Ilia!" Link shouted her name only once but held it until the blood cut off his voice. He coughed creating a small red pool that added to the new d├ęcor of the cliff. He didn't wait for Ilia to disappear from his sight before he began running down the path they came, stumbling the whole way, and into town. He ran to the doors of the town inn where his old friend Renado lived. He burst through the doors and his steps didn't falter as he took a quick survey of the front room. He bolted for the back room, hurdling over the bar as he went. He burst through the room and shouted, "Renado!"

Renado jumped. He had not been expecting to see Link yet. As his original shock subsided he was able to take in Link's appearance. "My goodness, what happened?" He turned to his daughter Luda, "Luda get the bandages." Luda nodded once and hurried from the room. Luda resembled her father, black hair that she kept short in contrast to Renado who kept his long and braided. She was small, but Link knew she was strong. She had her father's brown eyes and quiet nature as well. Renado was a tall man and very strong. He was the shaman of his village and usually wore a floor length robe that was a patchwork from previous shamans. Now he wore a brown button down shirt and matching pants. Most of Link's frantic mind was trying to work out every possible way to kill the bird without hurting Ilia but there was enough space left for Link to wonder why he never saw Renado's feet.

Renado's eyes swept over Link's body repeatedly. Link's tunic and under garb were ripped and stained with blood. His torso was bare and bleeding from various claw marks and there was a thin tear in his tights. A purple bruise was already forming on his jaw and there was dirt clinging to the blood on his leg. His sword was drawn but it was clear that it took effort to keep holding it. Again Renado asked, "What in the name of the goddesses happened? Come, sit down."

"No, I can't stay. Ilia was kidnapped by some strange large bird!"

"Ah, the Kabata again. They have been causing trouble everywhere."

"Look, Renado, all I need is by Hero's Bow and I'm gone! I have to save Ilia before she gets hurt again. I just got engaged and already she's in danger!"

Renado made a mental note to celebrate Link's engagement when everyone was safe. He would have tried to argue but when Link's mind was set on something there was almost nothing that could sway him. Renado sighed and unlocked a chest in the back of the room. Meanwhile Luda had come back and was trying to wrap Link's wounds. She was in the process of wrapping a heavily bleeding wound on his arm when he rushed across the room. He reached for the hero's bow but Renado stopped him. Luda advanced again and finished tying off his bandage. "Thank you, both of you," Link said before grabbing the Hero's Bow and shouted, "We'll be back soon!" before he ran out of the inn again.

Behind him Renado sighed, "That boy just keeps getting himself into trouble. When will he learn?"

Luda's quiet voice filled the room. Renado often described his daughter's voice as that of an angel. There was something in her voice Renado had not yet heard from her. "I don't know, papa. I think its right of him to protect those he loves. He is a very brave man, papa." Renado looked at his daughter curiously but said nothing.


So what did you think? This is part 1, and I'm posting part 2 right now! Please comment! Tell me what you liked, didn't like, constructive critism or just telling me you thought part was cute. I really appreciate it! This time my picture inspiration was: sage-of-winds./art/I-ll-never-Give-up-14685043

Second disclaimer: I DON'T OWN THIS PICTURE! I DID NOT MAKE IT, I WAS ONLY INSPIRED BY IT!