For Tiger gamer, who requested Zelda stay a princess. An alternate ending to wolves.


"Zelda," called a man, sticking his head around the door. "They're almost ready to start."

"I'm coming," the princess replied, not removing her gaze from the mirror.

"What are you worrying about, princess?" he asked, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist, "you'll be great. Hyrule will never have a better queen."

"I know," Zelda sighed, "I was just thinking back on everything that happened to bring me here."

"We need to go out now," he told her, releasing her after one last kiss pressed to her cheek. He crossed the room and held the door for her like the properly bred prince he was.

Zelda took one last look in the mirror before following him out.

She remembered very little of the actual ceremony, choosing to keep her eyes on his face the entire time, not wanting to scan the crowd and see the one she knew would be there. She could not watch his heart break as "I do" escaped her mouth

Later, they were sitting at a table, watching the other couples twirl across it.

"May I borrow your wife for one last dance?" a familiar voice asked behind the newly married couple. Zelda's husband turned around to see who it was, but she didn't need to, knowing just by the voice. She hadn't heard that voice since that day three years ago when the council said they were never to see each other again.

They'd been right when they said Link was the catalyst for the princess's transformations. She had changed once since that day, on the next full moon.

Flashback

I snarled at the men I could smell outside this cage and threw myself against the metal beams blocking my path. I yelped as I bounced off them and fell heavily back to the floor. Stubbornly, I tried again, with the same result.

After a though inspection of the cell yielded no way out, I sat in the middle of the stone floor, staring out the barred window that let in moonlight. I tipped my nose to the inky sky and howled out my grief.

I howled a weeping, keening cry of sorrow that filled the castle and made all who heard it pause and listen to my song. I howled until I could howl no more and spent the rest of the night with my nose under my paws, blocking out my surroundings.

End flashback

Zelda spent the night locked in that call, singing a lament to the heavens. She had been unable to transform ever again after that day.

"If you give her back at the end and she agrees," her new husband said.

"I will grant you the pleasure of one dance, Hero," the princess answered before Link could even ask.

He offered his hand, which she graciously took and led her out onto the floor. A waltz started up and he began to lead. He was surprisingly good dancer, considering he had no formal training.

"Where did you learn to dance like this?" she asked, ignoring the largest issue in favor of making small talk.

Link chuckled. "We have a dance in Ordon at the end of the harvest each year. If you can keep up with those steps, it's not too hard to learn these slower ones."

"Why are you here, Link?" Zelda asked, "we're not allowed to see each other anymore."

"I know," he replied, "As Hero, I was invited to your wedding, I'll leave as soon as it's over." He met the princess's eyes and sighed, "I wish you had chosen a different path those three years ago," he said softly.

"Hyrule needed me," she hastened to explain, "I had to rule. I just wish there was another way."

He made a gentle shushing sound, stopping her words. She knew him well enough to miss the finger that would have gone over her lips had they not been in the middle of a ballroom full of people. "It's alright princess," he assured her, "I told you then that I would understand whatever choice you made and I do. You don't need to explain to me."

"Do you love him?" he asked suddenly, after a short pause.

The princess shook her head, pulling herself out of thoughts of the past, nothing good lay that way. "I do not, but he will be a good king. I knew when I was young that I would not marry for love, this is the best I could have hoped for under the circumstances."

"I wish there had been another way," she whispered, almost apologetically, as the song came to a close.

"I know," he repeated, voice nearly breaking, "but this is the path we chose and we have to walk it now." The hero offered his arm and escorted her back to the table where her husband waited.

Link paused before she resumed her seat. He leaned in and his lips brushed very gently across her cheek, as if he was afraid she'd shatter if touched too hard. Zelda's eyes drifted closed, realizing this was the last time she would get to see him until they met once more in the Sacred Realms. The only way he would be allowed in the castle was if there was an event of such magnitude as to warrant the presence of the hero and there would be no more. Not until her funeral, if his did not come first.

When she opened them once more, Link was gone.

"What was that?" her husband asked as she sat once more, not angry, merely curious.

One hand reached up to touch the spot where Link had kissed her and a sad expression twisted her lips into a facsimile of a smile. "An old friend saying goodbye," she answered.