By Queenie Z
The hands of the enormous statue of the Goddess, with its beautiful view of Faron Woods and the busy throngs of former Skyloftians working to build new homes on the solid ground of the surface world, had become Zelda and Link's new favorite place. When the two weren't getting their hands dirty with construction and exploration - after all, what good is saving a world as beautiful as this one if they couldn't call it home? - they were there, telling each other the numerous stories of their journeys and the equally numerous hopes they had for the future. It had been like this every day for nearly two months, as if they were eagerly making up for the time lost during their quest to vanquish the Demon King, and today was certainly no different. Although it was slightly chilly and the stone hands on the statue were slick from that morning's rain shower, neither Link nor Zelda paid it any mind as the young hero spoke fondly of his adventures.
"So did I ever tell about when Groose got here?"
Zelda placed a finger on her chin. "Wasn't he looking for me, too?"
"Well, yeah, he was," Link said with a slight grin, "but I don't think I told you how he got here."
"So I was dropping down off my bird, right? Well, Groose had been following me and he thought it'd be a great idea to jump right after me. But he panicked and grabbed me right in the middle of the air!" He made a falling motion with one hand, slapping it against the other. "The sailcloth couldn't hold both of us, and wham! ...Let's just say it wasn't one of the most graceful landings."
The girl made a concentrated effort not to burst into giggles. "But that sounds painful! ...How come you're smiling about it?"
"Because it was actually pretty funny when he saw the ground and the smaller birds and started freaking out." He lowered his voice and waved his hands around in an attempt to impersonate his classmate. "'What is this? Tiny birds? What's going on here?'"
Zelda finally let herself laugh. "Oh, that is funny! I can only imagine what that was like."
"Yeah, but I couldn't give him a hard time about it. I was pretty shocked when I came down for the first time, too." He moved his eyes downwards. "Although I think I handled it a little better."
"That was nice of you," replied Zelda. "You could have been mean about it, especially after what he did to your Loftwing. But you weren't!"
"That wouldn't have done any good. Besides," Link moved his gaze towards the horizon, where he could just barely see the shimmering waters of Lake Floria, "Groose's changed a lot. I don't think he'll keep doing that kind of thing to people. Actually, I think he's pretty brave, in his own weird way."
Zelda nodded. "I agree. He helped us so much, and that must have taken a lot of courage."
"With the way he talks about it you would think he was the one who did most of the work." He said it half-jokingly, but then he paused in thought. "...Come to think of it..."
"Hmm? Come to think of what?"
Link looked back at Zelda again. "Oh, nothing much. I just think sometimes - the Goddess could've chosen anybody to do all this. It could have been Groose for all I know, it wasn't like he wouldn't have wanted to do it. ...But she chose me." He drew up a knee and placed his elbow on it. "I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I could help you, and the rest of the world, too. But I don't know what made me so special that the she - that Hylia decided on me."
The words struck a chord with the young girl. Not because she was surprised that he would wonder about these things - who wouldn't, if they had been through what he had? - but because she knew the answer. She was, or had once been, that very same goddess who had decided on his fate ages before. She smiled, deciding that he more than had a right to know.
"...It was because you had an exceptional soul. You were truly righteous and driven, even before you went through your trials. That kind of soul is rare, but Hylia - I knew you would have it, eons before we were even born." She shook her head. "No, I don't think it could have possibly been anyone else. Groose played his part, but he just wasn't like you. Like I've said before, the hero has to possess an unbreakable spirit, and you were the only one who had such a spirit."
Link stayed silent, bashfully scratching at his hairline. "You're making me sound like this perfect person... it's embarrassing."
"Not perfect, silly. Nobody's perfect." She placed a hand on his head. "Just exceptional. But you don't need to second guess yourself! You have power, wisdom, and courage all in balance, so that even the ancient gods recognized you as a true hero. There's no doubt that you're special, that you always have been, and that you always will be."
The hero mulled over this, then nodded. "Mmm. ...Thanks, Zelda. I guess I kind of understand now."
"You deserve to know." She looked away. ...No, she thought. That wasn't the whole truth. While his strength of character and unbreakable spirit were the main reasons he was chosen to be her knight, it wasn't the only reason. Zelda had had enough of keeping Link in the dark. After all he had done, he deserved more than a half truth, even if that truth was deeply personal to the both of them. "...But that's not the only reason."
"You see, Link..." She struggled to find the words. "When I was Hylia, I foresaw all of the circumstances surrounding your life. That was how I was able to see the kind of person you were... and how I was able to see just how far you were willing to go to save me when I became who I am now."
"Yeah, you said that once." Link saw her discomfort. "H-Hey, didn't I tell you that you didn't need to feel sorry for that? You didn't use me, you just... knew what I was already going to do."
"That's not it."
"Then, what is it?"
Zelda shut her eyes. "...Hylia didn't just see that you would try to save me. She saw that you would... fall in love with me."
It was as if an electric shock had stopped Link's heart when he heard those words. He tried to say something, but words failed him. Instead, his mouth was left hanging open while his entire face turned a bright shade of red. Zelda, concerned about the silence, quickly opened her eyes again. When she saw Link's face, however, she broke out into a fit of giggles in spite of herself.
Link sulked at the laughter. "Don't... don't joke about that kind of thing!"
"S-Sorry, it was your face, I swear! I'm not joking about anything...!"
"No! I'm not!"
Link sighed, sulking even more in his embarrassment. "Well... I, um, maybe I was - "
"Oh, come on, Link! You acted just like the hero in a romance story! Would anybody do all that for somebody they didn't love?" However, despite Zelda's teasing, she was almost as embarrassed as he was - poking fun at him was simply the best way to get him to admit things he wouldn't admit otherwise, as she had learned over the many years they had known each other.
"Okay! Okay! Fine!" The flustered hero sucked in a breath. "...I kind of always had a crush on you. And I couldn't stand the thought of never seeing you again. So..."
"That's more than a crush, Link."
"But you know I felt the same way, right?"
Link stared at her. "...You did?"
Now it was Zelda's turn to blush. "Of course! I've liked you since... since forever! I was even going to tell you that day, before - "
She squeaked in surprise as Link grabbed her, hugging her more tightly than she had ever remembered him hugging her before. She heard him inhale sharply and felt him swallow his emotion before she finally heard him speak.
"I would have done it even if you didn't." His voice was quavering slightly. "All of it. But this..."
"...just makes it even better... doesn't it?" Zelda blinked back a tear and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "I know, Link. I know."
A long moment passed before the two could regain their composure. Link turned his head to look at the late day sun, which was quickly becoming an evening sun. He let Zelda go and spoke again.
"...Your father's going to be worried if we don't see him soon."
Disappointed that the embrace had to end, Zelda resorted to simply leaning into him. "Oh... he will be, won't he?" Then, her eyes brightened, an idea forming in her head. "Link, let me hold onto you while you use the sailcloth!"
"Come on! It'll be romantic!"
"But I just said it couldn't hold two people..."
"Aww." She took a hold of his hand. "...Then how about we hold hands on the way back?"
"...Okay, I guess that'll work."
Zelda beamed as she watched her knight, the one she had chosen so many years ago, stand and ready his sailcloth. Once the two had gotten onto the ground safely, Link kept to his word, offering his hand to her. She took it graciously, all the while thanking her past self, the goddess Hylia, for weaving the threads of fate into such a happy ending.