Link leaned against the railing of the ship, shivering in the cool night air. It was too cold to sleep properly, and there were no extra blankets available, so Link decided if he were going to be awake and cold, he'd be up on deck, enjoying the smell of the sea.
Nobody else was awake, the crew too small to have a twenty-four-seven watch, so they'd laid anchor at an empty island. That's all they'd discovered in the last four years, was empty islands. Link wondered just how big Hyrule had been that the flood waters extended this far away from the Tower of the Gods, where the heart of Hyrule had been.
He turned, looking back at Zelda, who had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and was walking barefoot over to him. "What are you doing awake?" she asked as she stepped over by him.
"It's too cold to sleep," he said with a shrug, leaning on the railing again. "And Gonzo snores."
Zelda laughed. "He's always done that," she said, turning and leaning back against the railing next to him.
"So what are you doing up, Zelda?"
She looked at him in exasperation. "When are you going to stop calling me that?"
He grinned. "Never. You're my princess." He said that mostly to irritate her, knowing she still felt more a pirate than a princess.
She rolled her eyes. "I hope you don't expect me to call you my hero," she said with an indignant sniff.
"So much for saving your dumb butt," he grumbled. "See if I ever do it again."
She batted her eyelashes at him. "You'll keep doing it because I'm a pretty face," she said. "And you'd have to put up with the men without me around to keep them in line if you didn't."
"They'd be the saddest lot I've ever seen," he said, shaking his head.
Zelda flashed him a impish grin. "I know, I'm universally adored around here."
Link rolled his eyes. "I don't know about universally," he said, looking back out over the sea.
She stepped closer, poking him in the shoulder. "Go on, admit it, Link." She grinned. "I won't hold it against you."
He looked back at her. "And if I said yes?"
"Ha!" she crowed. "I'd say stand in line, because you're not the only one."
Link raised an eyebrow. "You have other suitors?"
Zelda blinked. "Suitors? What no, why? Oh! ... oh." They both went quiet, looking at each other, until finally, Zelda turned away. "You know, Gonzo would give you the 'you make her cry, I make you cry' speech. So would the others, but he'd be the first to do it."
Link smiled faintly. "I know. I wasn't sure I'd get past your tender mercies to get to them, though."
She slugged his arm. "What a thing to say to the girl you're courting!"
"Hey!" He flinched away, too late. "Who says I'm courting her? I just said I wanted to!"
"iI/i say so," she said. "Now. You can come tuck me into bed, it's too damn cold out here."
Once again, Link rolled his eyes. "Yes, Your Highness," he said, the bent down, scooping her up into his arms. She yelped, stared at him, turning red. Seeing she wasn't protesting, though, he smiled at her, and took her back to her private cabin.
"I didn't think you were strong enough for that," she admitted once he'd placed her gently on her bed.
He shrugged. "You build up muscle helping run a ship. And I keep up with my sword play. Old man Orca would have my hide if I didn't."
She smiled, turning red again. "I like it."
It was his turn to flush a bit. "Well, I don't exactly do it for your benefit, but I'll remember that."
She slid over in the bed, leaving room for another person. "Stay with me? Please? It's too damn cold, and there's no extra blankets."
He looked towards the doorway. "The men will have me hoisted on the mast come morning, you know," he protested.
"Not if I tell them to knock it off," she said. "I do what I want on this ship and who I invite to my bed is my business, not theirs. Besides, I just want some body warmth, it's not like I'm asking for anything like ithat/i."
He flushed so hard his ears burned as he kicked off his boots, climbing into bed next to her. "You're the boss, Zelda," he said.
She pressed against him, shivering. "Damn straight I am." After a moment, she slipped an arm across his waist. "I like this. You're nice and warm."
"I don't know how," Link protested. "I feel freezing."
"You're warmer than me, shut up."
"You had more blankets than the rest of us!" he pointed out. "So I don't know how you were cold to begin with."
She poked his chest. "Stop ruining the mood. You're warm and now I'm warm, and it's nice, so shut up."
Link fell quiet, listening to her breathe, then after a few moments, said, "lift your head."
"Huh? Why?" She sounded like she'd been halfway back to sleep.
He sighed. "Just do it."
Zelda lifted her head, giving him a tired glare that was more tired than glare as he slipped his arm in underneath her head. "What are you doing?"
"Go ahead and lay back down," he told her, moving his arm to cradle her head once she had.
She was quiet for a minute. "This is nicer. I like being held. That's it, you're officially promoted to my personal bed warmer."
She didn't see it in the dark, but he rolled his eyes again. He was sure she knew he'd done it anyway. "Gee, thanks."
"You could always sleep below decks with the men," she said threateningly.
He considered his options. "I'll take the job."
"I kinda thought you would." She curled up against him, and he held her as they both fell asleep.