Wake Up, Link!
By Queenie Z
She was six years old, and she was just barely old enough to walk across town to her best friend Link's house by herself. Her feet bare and her face beaming, she bounded past the bazaar and across the bridge. After finding the smallest house with the blue door in the residential area, she went over, taking pride in her impeccable sense of direction, and knocked.
When a woman came to answer the door, she grinned sweetly. "Good morning, Link's mommy!" she chimed.
"Oh, Zelda! What a surprise!" The woman tilted her head. "Did you come over to play with Link?"
"Uh-huh! He said we'd go catch butterflies today. He promised!"
"Well, sweetie, Link is still asleep... but you can have something to eat while we wait for - "
Link's mother couldn't even finish her sentence before the little girl marched angrily into the tiny house and towards the bed on which her friend was, indeed, still sleeping soundly. After glaring at the boy and crossing her arms, Zelda decided that the best way to wake him up would be to hop onto the bed and begin jumping furiously on it.
"Wake up, Link!" she screamed. "We were gonna go play first thing in the morning! You promised!"
Her yelling was interrupted by a started cry and a loud thud. After landing on the floor, Link sat up and rubbed his eyes.
"Hey," he groaned, "what'd you do that for, Zelda?"
"You promised we'd go catch butterflies first thing!" She hopped down and grabbed Link's arm. "Let's go, or else they're all gonna fly away!"
As she dragged the sleepy boy out of his home, his mother looked on in stunned silence. Indeed, the little girl was better at waking him up than his own mother!
She was ten years old, and her braided hair whipped wildly around her as she ran across the bridge to the tiny house with the blue door. However, she didn't bother to knock, as she knew that no one would answer - his mother worked early morning hours to put bread on the table and his father worked on a farm far away from town. So, instead, she snuck around to the back and looked in the window.
Target in sight. With a devilish grin, Zelda readied the pot and ladle she had swiped from the Academy's kitchen. Then, she banged them together.
"Wake up, Link!" she sang as her kitchen utensils clanged, "Rise and shine!"
She saw the boy bolt out of bed and fight with the covers at the sudden noise. When she stopped, he looked around frantically before finally catching sight of his best friend outside. Frowning, Link got up and opened the window.
"You're gonna give me a heart attack one of these days," he said with irritation.
Zelda giggled at the look on his face. "Then don't sleep in, you silly!" She placed the pot on her head like a helmet and reached through the window, tapping Link on the head with her ladle. "There! Now you're it!"
When the girl laughed and ran off, however, he knew what she meant by 'you're it'. "H-Hey! No head starts, that's not fair...!"
She was fourteen years old and a freshman at the Knight Academy along with Link. It was an exciting time in her life - finally, she could begin the transition to both knighthood and adulthood! And best of all, Link was never very far away; a quick trip downstairs was all that was needed to reach his door and enter his room.
Of course, most of the time she entered his room in order to wake him up. He had a bad habit of sleeping in and missing the morning roll call, so Zelda had taken it upon herself to get him used to waking up early. When she crept into his room, she shut the door behind her so that his inevitable whining wouldn't reach the instructors' ears. Then, with the precision of a trained professional, she pinched Link's nose shut with her forefinger and middle finger until he began to sputter and cough. Then, when she let him go, the boy opened his eyes halfway.
"I knew it," he muttered, "you're trying to kill me."
"Instructor Owlan will kill you if you're late again!" she replied harshly. "I'm doing you a favor, Link."
"You could be a little more gentle about it!"
"That wouldn't do any good! Remember what your mother said in her letter? You're out cold unless drastic measures are taken!"
Link grumbled to himself and sat up. "I'll be sure to tell her you're taking great care of me when she comes back for break."
"Don't be like that! You'll thank me when your grades improve." She opened the door and left, but not before giving him a teasing smile and wink.
She was seventeen years old, but she had no time to wake up Link herself - she had to get ready for the Wing Ceremony, after all! When she was chosen to play the role of the Goddess, she was absolutely ecstatic. How perfect of an opportunity to impress him, she thought!
Yet she couldn't help but worry, not about her role in the ceremony, but about Link's ability to win the competition. Secretly, she wanted more than anything the chance to share the special moment once shared by the Goddess and her chosen one with him. She knew that she'd developed feelings for him beyond the friendship they shared, and she wanted to show him those feelings today. But what if she had to instead share that moment with one of the others, the ones who had bullied Link so often? She didn't think she'd be able to stomach it.
So she had to find a way to make him practice and give him the edge he needed to win the race. Instead of waking him up herself, she gave a letter to her loftwing, instructing it to do the work for her. The bird knew as well as she did how to wake up the boy, and besides, it would make her new dress a complete surprise for him!
Zelda watched her bird fly off towards the academy, and not a moment later did she wince from the deafening squawk it made once it arrived.
She was seventeen years old, and did she ever have a surprise for Link this morning! Waking her dear friend up had become one of the highlights of her day; she simply loved seeing his cute, sleepy face and hearing the way he yawned as he struggled to return to the waking world each day. It was always such fun thinking of new ways to rouse him and reminding him of just how devious she could be.
But this time, she thought, would be a little different. This time, she wasn't going to be the mischievous childhood friend coming to playfully yank him out of dreamland. This time, she was going to be the girl who loved him more than anything else in the world; the girl who would wake him up with a gentle nudge, a whisper, and a kiss. She would reclaim the chance she missed the day of the Wing Ceremony... and she would thank him for going so far just to find her again.
She opened the door to Link's room, smiling to herself. But when she looked inside, his bed was empty. He was gone - her chance had yet again slipped away. That was when she woke up to the sound of dripping water and the stench of mud and waste, cradling the Goddess' Harp in her arms.
She shifted her head on the cold stone she had slept upon, her eyes beginning to water. However, she refrained from shedding tears as she caught sight of Impa, who sat guarding the cave's entrance. The woman looked back at her, sternly yet compassionately.
"Go back to sleep, Your Grace," she said softly. "You'll need your strength for your journey across the desert."
Zelda nodded, shutting her eyes again. When this was over, she thought, she would be able to see that sleepy face she loved so much once again, and she would get her chance to reveal her true feelings.
She was seventeen years old. She woke up to a purple sky and a half-risen sun over the forest clearing where she lay. She thought it was strange - had she really fallen asleep while stargazing? She must have been more exhausted than she thought!
She rolled over to her side, smiling when she came face to face with Link's sleeping form. Yes, she thought, he really was adorable when he slept. She reached over to shake him awake before suddenly stopping herself. Who was she to wake her hero up after all he had been through? Did he not deserve a good rest for saving not only her but the entire world as well? It didn't seem fair to rob him of the sleep he needed after such an ordeal.
Not only that, but she was beginning to see the value in sleeping in as well. Every moment of their lives was meant to be treasured, she learned, even the moments spent in slumber. Knowing this, she decided to be a sleepyhead right alongside Link, snuggling into his clothes and draping her arm over him. Once they were both awake, however, she was determined not to let the chance she missed that fateful day slip away ever again.