Hey there guys~ I finally managed to write something yay! - And I gave it the worst title ever - I recently joined the Legend of Zelda fandom, so I apologize now for any OOCness (sometimes it is necessary) or any mistakes that I might have made. I have two big projects for another two Zelink stories (I'll write every chapter before posting the first one, just in case I give up) and another oneshot that I might start writing soon.
I hope you enjoy it and tell me what think of it, maybe?
"What are you doing here, Hero?"
Link suddenly wished that the woman sitting on the throne before him didn't send all of her guards out of the room. They were alone now and her loud voice echoed among the walls, her rage and frustration obvious to him. He gulped and bowed his head even lower than before, avoiding eye contact at all costs.
They were in her Throne Room, a place as familiar to him as Ordon was. It was where he battled her puppet form, where her body was filled once again by her soul, where he met her for few months every morning, afternoon and evening, where she listened to the residents of Castle Town, where she declared him their hero, where she was crowned queen.
Her blue eyes watched him kneeling before her, some feet away from the stairs, face as impassive as ever and lips pressed in a thin line. She had promised herself that if he ever returned to Castle Town, to Hyrule Castle, she wouldn't overreact and would treat him as any other resident of her kingdom. But his presence evoked the weirdest feelings deep down within her, ones that she would rather lock away than show. And so Zelda decided to scream at him, make him suffer just like she did when he was away, when he disappeared, when he said he wanted her out of his sight. She would vent out her frustration in him and maybe apologize later. Maybe.
She examined his appearance. His usually unruly dirty blonde hair looked sweaty, mud and bokoblin blood dirtying it, as well as his typical Ordonian clothes and slightly tanned skin, from constantly working under the sun herding goats. He was venturing about Hyrule before he decided to visit her, maybe to remember the past or maybe to vent out his anger on the few foes that still remained. But why would he be angry in the first place? Surely, Ordon didn't displease him as much as her presence did.
Zelda grit her teeth, eyes boring into the crown of his head. "I don't expect you to say you're sorry for what you did all those months ago."
After he had taken down Ganondorf and Midna departed back to the Twilight Realm, taking her rightful place as princess and breaking the Twilight Mirror, leaving only its shards in her wake, the blonde hero vowed to help reconstruct the castle and the kingdom, as long as Zelda didn't give him anything in return. If she was to thank anyone, she should thank all of Ordon, giving whatever she would give him to all of his friends that stayed at his hometown.
And so, for three months they worked side by side – as far as possible – the princess in meetings with her Council, doing the diplomatic part of the job, while her hero shaped up her knights and guards, helped reconstruct the buildings and bridges, and donated part of the fortune he gathered while in his journey. Link would have his meals with Zelda, and she swore she felt whole every time he was sitting on the other side of the long dining table.
She still chided herself for not seeing he wasn't happy.
During their meals, she would do most of the talking and she assumed that his lack of answers were because she was royalty and he felt out of place, because he didn't know what to and what not to say, because he didn't know her at all. But when everything was restored he didn't waste any time to flee from Castle Town, disappearing in the same shadows that he had walked out of just months ago.
And Zelda, Zelda wanted to at least thank him for all he had done for her and for her kingdom and for her people. So she sent few knights to Ordon – some were his friends; she guessed he would listen to them – and these returned with bruises all over their faces and bodies. She sent a messenger with a letter written by her own hands saying that she wanted to see him again so she could thank him properly. The messenger returned days later with her letter, wax seal intact, and Link's message: he didn't want to be bothered and wasn't returning to Castle Town against his will.
"Your Highness..." He started, voice quiet and just above a whisper.
"Quiet!" Link visibly flinched at her tone, coldness and anger dripping from her words. "I bet you won't beg for forgiveness because I would make you kiss my royal feet, wouldn't I, Link?" She didn't like screaming nor did she like being that angry at someone, she didn't like it at all, but he had to pay for his mistakes by seeing how he made her feel. "Because that's what us monarchs do, isn't it, Link?"
Her eyes teared up but she refused to shed her tears.
Link flinched again and gulped, feeling a lump in his throat. He wanted to somehow fight back, but it would only make things worse.
He trembled. A shy man like him couldn't nor wouldn't raise his voice against the queen under her own roof. He had done that once and it was enough.
A month or so after his departure, Zelda was crowned Queen of Hyrule, and to thank all of her people that supported and loved her, she decided to travel from province to province. Her stay in Zora's Domain was by far the most luxurious, but she loved how warmly she was greeted by the Gorons and by the few people who lived in Kakariko Village. She mourned over the loss of Queen Rutela along with Prince Ralis, she visited the Goron Mines and watched as they wrestled themselves in a sumo match, and sat for a simple tea and discussion about the Ooccas with Renado and Shad, who had remained at Kakariko even after light was completely brought back to Hyrule.
She didn't get to thank the people of Ordon, though, for two reasons: one was that the road was blocked by innumerous makeshift wooden gates. Zelda decided to leave her carriage behind and walk all the way from Hyrule Field to the small town, and although she said she would be fine by herself, three of her guards accompanied her. She was nearing the hanging bridge when she stopped dead on her tracks, eyes wide in shock. On the other side, everyone's hero stood with his arms crossed over his chest, three confused kids behind him and a teenage girl who mirrored their expressions.
He shouted. He shouted saying that she was a stubborn monarch that came to drag him back even though he clearly didn't want. He wanted to be left alone, he wanted to live his normal life again without her or the goddesses' interference, and he said that she should go back to the castle and put up her royal feet on a velvet pillow and enjoy her time with all of her snob nobles.
That was the second reason.
The guards made to move, but she halted them with a fluid motion of her hands. Zelda looked back at Link with disbelief in her eyes and she shook her head slowly. He clearly didn't know her at all. Maybe Link had grown tired of her after spending three months by her side; maybe he missed Midna so much that he couldn't bear with it. Maybe he despised her from the very beginning for reasons that Zelda herself didn't know why. She didn't feel the need to question him, because his friends were already doing that, sparing her from the job.
She focused her eyes on the ropes of the bridge and felt her heart clench and break and dissolve inside her chest. She liked him too much for her own good. The time she spent inside the Twilight Princess made her only see what she already knew – or guessed – about him; he was kind and loyal, and selfless, and quiet but the few words he spoke were meaningful. And maybe all the feelings she saw in his eyes during the battle were because he was trying to save Midna – not her and her people and her kingdom.
Her eyes then focused on the girl standing behind him and the Queen said her words, as calm and void of feelings as ever, that they should send a representative of Ordon to see her at the castle because she wanted to thank them for their support. She turned then, saying to her guards to go back to Kakariko and tell Shad to drop by the palace any day he wanted; she was curious about these Ooccas he was so obsessed about. Zelda didn't look back; she didn't cut the ropes of the bridge out of frustration like she wanted to.
Zelda sighed, still watching his unmoving form. "Come here."
Link hesitated, but he rose to his feet and walked up the steps to the throne rather quickly; he figured that if he took his time, Zelda would go into another rage fit.
"Look at me." She waited for the hero to raise his head and when he didn't another sigh escaped her parted lips. "Look at me... Link."
Their eyes met and the hero saw that she wasn't truly mad at him anymore, just sad. He left without a word, avoided her, insulted her and didn't let her inside of Ordon. It had been months, almost a year, that she last saw him at the other side on the hanging bridge. He didn't try to contact her since then, and she didn't either; she didn't have free time to herself, much less to go after a commoner like him. He shuddered at this thought, but he knew it was true. Rusl would frequently visit Castle Town, bring news about the Resistance and the Queen, and Link would listen intently about the former and pretend not to care about the later. He had ruined everything.
Zelda beckoned for him to get even closer with a gloved hand, and he did. He fell to his knees and buried his face on her lap, mud and dirt and bokoblin blood ruining the expensive lilac fabric of her royal dress. Her hand lowered to his scalp and she played with his dirty blond locks tenderly, not caring that they were messy and unclean. He loved her touch, he missed it.
"Something happened to you, didn't it?" Her voice was calm and soft once again, all bad feelings forgotten. Link loved her voice, he missed it. He nodded in her lap but didn't say anything else. "What? Tell me."
"I feel..." he muttered, voice muffled against her thigh. He could feel her gaze boring into his head again and he smiled a small smile despite everything that happened; he loved her attention and he missed it, too. "I'm lost."
"Ah." Of course; his life was changed the day Zelda surrendered to Zant. He was forced to kill, to rescue people he didn't know; his mind was forced to grow up even more while he traveled from province to province under the care of a moody dethroned princess, while she was locked away in a tower praying for their lives. He couldn't live his life like he did before, as much as he wanted to. Zelda didn't expect it to affect his life to the point he would insult her like he did. "I'm sorry about it, Link... I will help you. Is there anything you want?"
"I..." He bit his lower lip and shut his eyes tightly. He said all those months ago that she would never give him anything, only to Ordon; he could never ask anything from her, not after all he did to her in his own, although fake, rage fit.
"We'll find a way to take you to her." She said suddenly and Link felt the need to look at her face. Peeking from the gaps between his locks, he saw as she stared at something invisible standing in the middle of the room, jaw tensed and lips in that thin line again. Although her face wasn't soft as it had been seconds ago, she hadn't stopped her fingers from caressing his hair. Oh goddesses, he loved her serious features too. "You miss Midna, don't you?"
Yes, yes he missed her, but no, no he didn't want to live in perpetual twilight. That was one of the reasons why he left his old life behind and journeyed through Hyrule. Maybe he did develop a crush on her during their time together, but he often thought how it would be a hard blow to Ilia... And then he had the opportunity to spend more than five minutes at Zelda's side. He nodded at her question and voiced his thoughts, saying he didn't want to and never would leave.
"What is it that you want, then?" She asked, lowering her gaze to look at his lowered head. He shook his head – he couldn't ask for anything – but she wanted to thank him properly anyway. "Do you want a title? A place to live in Castle Town?" He shook his head again and Zelda resisted the urge to slump against her throne. "Give me a sign."
Link loved Midna just as much he loved Ilia, but the Twilight Princess was out of his reach, in another realm, a place he could never go back again. And Ilia, he knew that somewhere before it all he loved her like something more, not only like a friend, like a sister. But now he couldn't understand why he didn't enjoy anymore the idea of marrying her. Maybe because he had changed too much, he wasn't the same innocent boy she grew up with; maybe because he wanted to venture out of Ordon, but he couldn't bring himself to leave them again.
At some point, he realized he was torn between the three of them; each had their way of complementing him. Ilia was the one that knew and understood him the most, Midna was his opposite other half, and Zelda... When they first met, he didn't know what he saw in her besides her beauty and the wisdom that seemed to radiate from her, he didn't know her at all, and yet he felt an immediate attraction, he was being pulled towards her, like a magnet. It wasn't love at first sight, but their bond was strong since the first time they saw each other, he as that blue eyed beast and she locked away in the tower.
When Ilia's memory was returned to her, he realized he didn't love her in that way anymore. Between trying to make her remember anything and the aftermath, he had fallen out of love with her. There was a chance that she would never remember him again or maybe she would but wouldn't love him anymore; so his heart just decided to move on, it would be easier. And after Midna returned to her own kingdom and he spent three months helping Zelda, it seemed like his crush for the Twilight Princess had dimmed and turned into strong friendship. It would do no good for him to love her; they would never meet each other again.
One night when Link lied down on his bed to sleep and stared at the dark ceiling deep in thought, he realized he liked Zelda much more than he did before. It seemed like his romantic feelings for the other two women shifted and transformed into more love for the princess with chestnut colored hair. Link had learned to love the way her nose wrinkled almost inconspicuously when she was about to sneeze, how her eyes sparkled when she looked at the sunny sky, how her brow furrowed slightly when she was planning her next move on a match of chess and how she laughed merrily when he made fun of the Council she disliked so much.
But it scared him immensely. One thing was loving your childhood friend, another thing was having a crush on a person you would never see again, but loving your princess was different. And he could try to live his life in Ordon, marry Ilia and have a thousand kids, but he would think of her, think that she was just a few days trip away from him – it would take only a day if he was desperate – and long for her small talks during dinner – a conversation that he was never able to keep up with – long for the touch of her hand on his shoulder every time she complimented him on his work, long for her voice when she sang to herself, thinking no one would listen.
That's why he decided to flee and stay as far as possible from her. Link knew he could never have her, he was sure of it, and staying close would only make things worse. He would be mean if he needed to – his heart tore in his chest in the night after the confrontation at the entrance of Ordon – and would die still longing for her if he never stumbled across someone who would catch his heart which he doubted would happen.
He wondered how he fell in love with her so easily, so fast. He wondered how a couple of days spent by her side made him forget that he was supposed to take Bo's place as Mayor of Ordon and take his daughter's hand in marriage, the same girl that chided him every time he made Epona work too hard. He wondered how she made him forget his crush on the Twili. He wondered if she loved or if she would ever love him back.
He also wondered why he was so afraid of telling her; he was the bearer of the Triforce of Courage, for Farore's sake. He would give her a sign.
Link lifted his head from her lap and looked into her eyes, as silent as ever.
Zelda searched in his eyes and face for any doubt, any uneasiness, anything that would prove her wrong and anything that would prove he was joking. There weren't any frowns, any pouts, smirks or grins, any raised eyebrows, nothing, just a light blush that dusted his cheekbones. She ran the same hand that was caressing his hair through his locks, down the nape of his neck to his collar bone and up, over his neck, chin, lips, nose, eyes, forehead and cheeks.
"You're only dirtying your glove." He took her hand in his and lifted her palm off of his cheek, his brow frowned as he did so. "I already ruined your dress."
"Oh Link." She laughed and ran her other hand through his hair again. "You ruined my life the moment you walked away without saying goodbye and when you confronted me at the hanging bridge." Zelda looked into his eyes with a smile on her lips, a smile that he missed.
"I'm sorry. I thought that it would be wise to put some distance between us."
More laughter erupted from her, echoing among the walls; ah, so much better than her raged voice, but he loved every emotion she put in her voice. "I am the bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom, not you. I make the decisions here." She winked at him and he smiled at her joke, the tension that previously filled the room had dissipated and vanished.
Link closed his eyes and sighed, feeling happier now than he ever felt all these months ago. He was about to say something when Zelda leaned down and softly brushed her lips over his, kissing him for few seconds before she pulled back with a smile and a teasing look in her eyes.
"So was the bearer of the Triforce of Courage afraid of the rage of a woman?"
The hero stood and leaned forward, placing his hands on either side of her head, efficiently trapping her. "You got me shaking there, Zelda." And his lips met hers once more, kissing her softly and tenderly, as she ran her dirtied gloved hands up his chest to cradle his face in her palms.
They were in her Throne Room, a place as familiar to him as Ordon was. It was where he battled her puppet form, where her body was filled once again by her soul, where he met her for few months every morning, afternoon and evening, where she listened to the residents of Castle Town, where she declared him their hero, where she was crowned queen, where she cut him with her angry statements as he listened in a painful silence, where he fell to his knees as a sign of regret, where she showed she was jealous of him, where he had given her the sign she asked for, where they shared their very first kiss.
Touching his tongue to her lips and waiting for them to part, Link couldn't help but think that, yes, now he didn't mind that she sent her guards away.