Hello, reader. This story explores the loyalty the people of Skyloft have to each other, as well as to all their known domains. It also explores the "romantic" hero, and how the meanings of the Triforce might not transfer to all situations. I assume Link and Zelda are nineteen, as though (I assumed in SS) eighteen + around 7 months or so would make them that age.

Please read and review! I love hearing what you guys liked or disliked about my work. This is my first LoZ fic, so any critique would be great!

Synopsis: Before. Link and Zelda remained on the surface after their adventures below the clouds, exploring the world under their feet. At nineteen, they're not quite sure what they are, facing the in-between of possibilities. For a hero, he's not that courageous when it comes to Zelda, and her wisdom doesn't do her much good when it comes to matters with Link. After. Left badly wounded after a fierce overnight battle with creatures of the woods, the pair is thrust into an impromptu war against those who survived Demise's wrath on the surface. Link and Zelda must train their friends from Skyloft to help them defeat the monsters that threaten their safety and the creation and sustainment of the future Surface civilization.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this chapter or any subsequent ones belongs to me. I don't even technically own my copy of Ocarina of Time. It's my housemate's.


It was the way her dress skirted over the top of the crystal clear blue water that lapped up her skinny, light legs, bare without her boots. It surrounded her in a perfect dome, the gold trim on the bottom hem dipping in and out of the liquid. The light breeze played with her sleeves, fingering through her loose, golden locks. Her cerulean eyes were closed, lips quietly humming a soft lullaby. Zelda felt at peace for once, something she had rarely before felt. No demons, nothing to harm her. She was happy.

And sometimes he'd just stand and watch her, leaning against a tree, fingers absentmindedly playing with a thick cloth hung on a branch, admiring the way her hair danced in the breeze, and how her fingers would skirt the leaves that danced in the zephyr. Link still managed to get awestruck over her. It had been several months since he'd returned for good, and he was sure that she was what kept him there. She was his Zelda, and no one else's.

As much as Groose hated seeing them together, he once admitted they made a good… whatever they were. Pair? Link himself couldn't guess what he and Zelda had between them. He knew his feelings for her, regardless of them being manipulated by Hylia, were real and growing stronger every day; but hers? He had been mostly blind to her true thoughts, wishing to be fully reciprocated but knowing they might always remain 'just friends.' They had once discussed it, soon after they were used to the solitude of the Surface, and he made perfectly clear how he felt about her. She mentioned a similar set of feelings but felt as though she was cheating him out of someone else.

That was the night they shared their first kiss.

They hadn't spent a night apart since they returned. The blonde refused to sleep alone for the first week on the Surface without Impa, fearing an attack, so the hero obliged by building a larger bed than he had planned to fit them both.

"Well, maybe you shouldn't go to the trouble of building your own if mine is perfectly acceptable of holding the both of us."

They had been that way ever since.

Distracting himself from her for a moment, Link focused his attention on his boots. The leather was worn and tearing at the seams. He hadn't gotten new ones since he departed on his adventure and he desperately needed a better pair, the soil on the Surface being rougher and less forgiving on his footwear. It was also getting colder, a chill in the air lingered over them at night. The snowy season, as the friendlier creatures had called it, was on its way, and he and Zelda needed to gather warmer clothing for the months ahead. Link imagined her in a thick jacket, all but her seemingly innocent face covered snugly in warm layers of fabric. He thought she could look even cuter than she already was, and he'd inch closer to her, Zelda's light skin reddened by the cold…

"Link?" The sound of his name brought him back to reality, as Zelda strode closer to him onto the shoreline.

"Hmm?"

"I said, don't you think we should be getting back to the house before nightfall?" Link made an expression of surprise and confusion; to him, it wasn't all that late. Some days on the Surface, he would fight until the last flickers of light faded away, and his trials in the sacred realms were always under the cover of night. But this wasn't a time of daily battles, this was a time of peace, where he could eat a good dinner with the one he loved most. The sun had just hit the tip of the horizon. Sunset; the sky was a glowing orange, illuminating their surroundings in the same reddish hue. Zelda's hair was a fiery auburn in the light, brightening her blue eyes. She walked over, barefoot, boots in hand, reaching up with her free one to the cloth on the branch above Link's head. She pulled it down, unwavering in her gaze upon him, and with a slight smirk, moved away a few feet and began drying her legs off with the makeshift towel, turning her attention to her task at hand.

Sometimes, Link would see her doing something and he'd have the urge to interrupt her and just kiss her again, for no other reason than to do so. For a hero, however, Link wasn't so strong when it came to Zelda. She was different, and she made him feel different. Having the Triforce of Courage meant nothing when it came to matters of his heart. Zelda herself made him feel brave, as though he could do anything through the fear he had. That's what pushed him through the better half of his adventure.

They held hands walking down the path to their two-person hamlet at the lowest point of Faron Woods, as they had become accustomed to in recent months.

The only thing Link loved more than Zelda was the Surface. It was his home before he even knew what home could be away from the academy, and he found himself drawn to it more the longer he spent there. He found every square inch of it magnificent and beautiful in its own way. He felt small below the clouds. Everything on Skyloft was a certain size. He knew what his world was like up there; he knew all the islands and every person on them. Down here, on the other hand, he was still discovering new things and new places, now that Loftwings felt safe enough to fly to the Surface, and Link had used his to find majestic waterfalls, higher sand dunes, and taller trees than ever before. He had met many more creatures, both friend and foe.

There stood one lonely house, built from strong trees of the woods. The door was a deep, rich brown, hand-carved by Link with the sign of the Triforce. They felt as though it kept them strong and safe. Two windows sat on either side of the door, one from the kitchen and the other from a small sitting area. The house itself was quaint and only had one floor, not needing to hold anyone other than the young adults from the Sky. The house, itself, could be accurately described as lonely, as they were instructed not to build other homes until winter had passed. It did, however, have a small garden next to it to keep it company for now, full of enough carrots, potatoes, and tomato vines for Link and Zelda to comfortably eat throughout the harvest time.

There were some things, of course, that one could only get on Skyloft for now. The large pumpkins, as well as any of the comforts of home, were usually brought down to the Surface on the backs of Loftwings. They were treated well by the Hero and his Goddess during their rest on the Surface.

Link loved it down here, and he felt that Zelda loved it just as much as he did.

After dinner, Link and Zelda loved sitting outside, watching the last flickers of light leave, blanketing the land in darkness. The sun was setting quickly behind the hills of the woods, revealing tiny stars on the opposite horizon.

The pair sat against the westward side of the house, the wall to the left of the front door. Two windows were here as well, small and circular. It made the structure seem larger than it was; an optical illusion of sorts. Zelda leaned into Link, clasping hands with his calloused ones, his leather gloves not having protected them on his quests as well as he thought. Everything felt natural between them. The setting sun left a newer, smoky orange tint to their pleased expressions.

Link still wore his green cap, but had returned to his original Skyloft clothing, not wanting to remind himself too much of his battles. He had grown used to his cap, and the creatures of the Surface recognized him from afar if he wore it. One turquoise hoop threaded through his ear. His brown hair brushed over his forehead in soft swishes. Zelda's was retied in her blue ribbons, her familiar pink dress draping lightly over her legs. Her boots were back on her feet, as worn as Link's. He noticed, looking at both his and hers outstretched on their legs in front of them. They had traveled long and far both together and apart. Those boots were their adventures, discovering and rediscovering the Surface. He returned his attention to her and softly kissed her forehead. He was thankful for those adventures.

Some nights, like this one in particular, once the sun had seen its last light for the day, the pair would lie in the grass near their house, admiring the infinite stars over them. Every once in a while, they would hear a Kikwi rustle into sleep, and the wind would do the same in the leaves of the trees over their heads. Hands clasped, shoulders touching, Link and Zelda would just talk about anything and nothing.

"Have you ever said no to the battle shopkeeper in the Bazaar? Best reaction ever."

"Did they ever figure out who was taking long baths in the Academy? They were wasting all the hot water!"

"Once, I broke a chandelier at the Lumpy Pumpkin. It was for a good reason, I swear."

"I actually hated those harp lessons. They did come in handy, though."

"Do you think we could name an area of the Surface after Groose somehow? He did end up helping us a lot."

"Whatever happened to the item-storage lady? No one's heard from her for a while."

"Remember the look on your father's face when we told him about us?"

"I've never seen him so worried and relieved at the same time."

"Zelda?"

"Yes, Link?"

"Do you miss Skyloft?"

"Only when you're up there."

Link rolled over to his side, now looking over Zelda. He moved his free arm over her and steadied himself, leaning towards her. Under the moonlight, their eyes were the same blue, lingering over their features. Understanding the look in his eyes, Zelda pushed herself up and met lips with him.

It felt the same as it always did; full of sparks and excitement, yet familiar and easy. They matched rhythm flawlessly, as if they were the only ones meant to kiss each other.

As they pulled apart, they sighed. Zelda leaned back onto the grass, Link following her down, resting his forehead on hers, and closing their eyes.

After a moment, Link sat up, lifting Zelda with him, and started back towards their house.

Before the winter set in, the only job Link and Zelda had to do was pass the time, exploring the world below the clouds that they now loved to call home. And they were happy.