"Do you remember, Link?" Ilia asked, teeth clenched. "Do you remember our promise?"

He barely spoke, but nodded. He had that day. So many years ago, when he was but a child. 'I promise that I'll always be here for you, Ilia!' He had said it with so much enthusiasm that she thought her heart would burst with joy. But that was the past.

"You do." She spat. "Yet your leaving again. To the castle." He did not deny it, for she spoke truth with that statement. He traveled there more and more frequently. "What are you, shacking up with the Queen?"

The words struck home. It was a lie, of course, but it hurt just the same. Zelda felt nothing for him along those lines, and he was the same. But she had explained what be around her would do.

"They might mistake you for a suitor. No matter how discreet we are, they soon will be pressuring you to ask for my hand. You are strong, and have something to offer. As it is, this wish for a heir that I must bear-"

"Ilia." His deep voice stopped her rant, her green eyes raking over his blue ones.

"What?"

"You are wrong." He stated simply. She knew, deep in her heart, that he was right. But it didn't make it hurt any less.

"About what?"

"The Queen and I are not lovers." She had always loved his voice. It used to be light, like his smile. But now, he was stiff and cold as a board, like a corpse floating in a river of broken dreams.

"Then why? Why can't you stay here with me?" He turned away, jumping up on Epona.

"Why?" he laughed, and she cringed. It was hollow, emotionless. "I've lost everything, my life, my freedom, my love. I am no good for you."

She watched as he led his horse away from the tree house. Colin watched from beside her, waving. He called out for her, knowing that Ilia's voice has disappeared.

"You're still our hero, Link!" He turned, and the pair caught a glimpse of his old smile, joy and light infused in it. But it was gone in a few seconds, swept away by a passing breeze. His voice floated back to the young boy and older girl.

"I'm glad you think so."

XXX

A/N: Wow. That was short as hell. Just some Link/Ilia angst.