Chapter Five: Because That's What Love Is
"Mm?" asked the Sheikiah, rolling over in Link's couch-like bed. The hero himself was sitting on the floor of the dresser, trying to remove the blood from the wooden walls.
"Why?" Link asked, looking up at his friend.
"I don't know, Link," Sheik responded softly, his red eyes full of confusion. Link sighed.
"You really scared me, you know?" Link said.
"I'm sorry, hero," said Sheik.
"You know," said Link, "other than Darunia, Saria, and Malon, you're my only friend. Oh, and the princess, if she even remembers me."
"I'm sure she remembers you, highness."
"It's been so long since I last saw her," said Link, his eyes glazing over at the thought of the beauty she must have become. "I wonder what she's like now."
Sheik coughed again.
"Something wrong, Sheik?" Link asked his friend.
"No, nothing," said Sheik, thoughtfully scratching the back of his left hand, which he had bound once more. Link remembered those three triangles scratched upon it… maybe all sheikias had the Triforce cut into their hands from some ritualistic tradition? Link turned it over in his head, thoughtfully rubbing his own Triforce, his thumb tracing over the lines of the triangle through the leather of his gauntlet.
"Yes Sheik?" asked the hero suddenly, looking up. Sheik yawned and snuggled back into the covers of the hero's bed.
"I'd like to get some rest now."
"Oh, right," said Link, standing up rather abruptly and smashing his head on the top of the dresser. Mumbling curses and rubbing his head, he exited the dresser and closed the doors, admiring his handiwork when looking at the floor- there was no sign of Sheik's suicide attempt whatsoever. "Do you want me to wake you up for dinner if you're still asleep?" Link asked him. Sheik shook his head.
"I'll be fine if I miss it."
"If you're sure," said Link, and exited the room. He walked down the hall, devoid of blood, to the kitchen, where Toyl was floating about merrily, inspecting everything.
"You know," she said, "I never thought to see a real kitchen."
"Oh?" asked Link, raising one eyebrow. The fairy nodded enthusiastically, floating carefully past some knives hanging on the wall.
"Say," she said. "Can you cook?"
"A little," said Link, looking around the kitchen. A loaf of bread, a bottle of milk. He sighed and walked out of the kitchen, grabbing his longbow and heading towards the door.
"Hey, wait!" squeaked Toyl. "Where are you going?"
"To catch some dinner," said Link, and with that, he set out for the lost woods. Toyl shook her head (that is, to say, her body, since her head really was her entire body) and floated off to Sheik's room.
"How're you feeling, princess?" asked the little fairy, entering. Zelda was curled up on her side, still in her sheikiah body, choppy golden hair framing her face.
"Mm," she said. "I'm tired."
"I'm sorry, princess," said Toyl. "I'll not disturb you."
A week later found Sheik fully healed and clad in his backup "sheikiah uniform", and the trio ready to set off on their next adventure.
"The water temple," said Sheik as Link loaded various items he had scattered across the house into his bag. "The temple under Lake Hylia."
"It must be wet," said Toyl disdainfully.
"Not too bad," said Link. Toyl shrugged.
"I'm not good with wet."
"Don't worry, Toyl," said Sheik. "I don't much like water, either, so we'll have to suffer together."
"You don't like water?" Link asked Sheik, turning to face him. A few strands of shining blond hair fell into the hero's clear blue eyes, making him near totally irresistible.
"Not very much," grumbled Sheik, rubbing his upper arm in shame. "I had a few unhappy experiences with it," said the sheikiah. Link smiled.
"You'll be fine. I'll take care of you."
"Yeah?" asked Sheik. Link grinned, bopping Sheik lightly on top of his turbaned head.
"Great Din! The lake's nearly dry!" exclaimed Toyl. Sheik shrugged.
"I assume you hardly got out, Toyl?"
"Hardly," said the little fairy. Link rummaged through his bag for his Zora mask.
"Toyl, if you hate the water that much, you can stay in my bag when we're underwater," said Sheik. "It's totally waterproof."
"As is mine," sad Link, his arm immersed up to the shoulder in a seemingly tiny bag. It was very confusing to look at. "Aha!"
"What's that?" Toyl asked.
"A mask," said Link triumphantly. "It'll turn me into a Zora, since I lost my other Zora tunic.."
"You've lost more than a tunic if you ask me," muttered the little red fairy under her breath. Sheik snickered, pulling on the Zora tunic Link had given him the day they .
"Alright," Link said with a cringe, pulling the mask up to his face. "Here goes." The surface of the mask touched his face and he let out a piercing scream as he transformed, causing Toyl to fly close to Sheik in fear. There was a great flash of light, and Zora Link was standing before their eyes.
"AH!" yelled Toyl. "It's a giant fish!"
"Calm down, Toyl," said Sheik, petting the small fairy. "It's Link, see?"
"Oh…." Said Toyl, venturing to look at the beautiful male Zora standing before her, his scales rippling with pride.
"Hero," said Sheik, "I must say that that's a very impressive mask you've got there- much better than that Goron mask that made you look like rock boy."
"Youflatterme-yik," babbled the fish, then looked unhappy, and chewed on his tongue for a moment. "Sorry, Sheilik, but I needtoget used to this bodiyyik."
"It's fine," said Sheik, smiling at the mispronunciation of his name… Sheilik. It was cute, almost like a pet name. The warrior shook it off.
"To the temple, then?" Sheik asked, rummaging in his bag for the metal boots. The Zora nodded, and dove gracefully into the water. Sheik took a moment to admire the beautiful way the hero of time moved through the water, scales rippling with light. He shook it off. Toyl zoomed into Sheik's bag and looked knowingly up at the sheikiah.
"Not much longer," the little fairy whispered, and Sheik nodded.
"What now?" Sheik asked, staring up at a blue seal of an upside-down Triforce on the wall. Link concentrated for a moment, remembering.
"We play Zelda's lullaby," said the Zora version of the Hero of Time. He pulled out his guitar, and then looked at Sheik.
"Would you like me to do the honors?" asked the Zora. Sheik shrugged.
"Go right ahead."
"A whirlpool," said Sheik bitterly, looking out at the swirling water below him. "I hate whirlpools."
"Well," said Zora Link, looking at his friend, "we have to go in."
"Ick," shivered Sheik. Zora Link patted Sheik sympathetically on the shoulder for a moment, then dove into the water. Sheik shivered, and looked down at the little fairy in his bag.
"Don't worry," said Toyl. "Link promised to take care of you."
"I know," said Sheik, and carefully pulled the bag shut to keep the water out. "I know." He dove into the water.
"I think we go this way," said Link, looking at the dungeon map and then down a murky hole.
"You mean to say," said Sheik, tugging unhappily at his Zora tunic and speaking through the water, "that we," he pointed at himself and Zora Link, "are going down there?" He pointed at the hole and shuddered. "I'm just loving this temple."
"Well, I don't suppose you have another solution," said Zora Link, his fins flashing in the murky half-light filling the water.
"Yeah. Forget the hole and just go after the boss."
"We can't!" said Link. "We have to do all of this to get to the stupid amoeba! If you want to quit, go back to Hyrule and sleep in your little bed all safe and sound, fine by me. I can defeat this temple alone," the Zora growled. Sheik opened his mouth in disbelief at Link's violent outburst.
"You're really being a prick, you know?" yelled Sheik through the water. "Here I am trying to squash my fears to help the almighty hero of time, and you're yelling at me like I'm being a baby? Think of something you fear, Link, something you're terrified of, and multiply it by a hundred and be stuck in the middle of it, and you have my situation. So just shut up you stupid, you arrogant…" Sheik ran out of words- no insult in the tongues of Zoran, Goronic, Gerudo, Sheikian, or the many tongues of elves could match his fury at the hero.
"Sheik…" began Link, apologetically. "I'm sorry."
"Yeah?" said Sheik bitterly. "Well put yourself in my shoes next time." And he stomped away, his metal boots making muted clanging noises through the water.
Zora Link looked after his friend and then shook his head and walked forward, disappearing into the murky hole below.
Sheik sat fuming on a gravestone on the island above the temple.
"Stupid hero," he muttered, smashing his fist against the letters devoted to someone long gone.
"He's stressed out," squeaked Toyl, floating around Sheik's head. The sheikiah flopped down roughly onto the grass, staring at the cloudy- almost black- sky above.
"We're both stressed," said Sheik through gritted teeth. "That doesn't give him a right to be a jerk."
"But still," said Toyl. "You should forgive him."
"I know," said Sheik, rolling over so that he was facedown on the grass. "And I have. But still, it's just…"
"I understand," said Toyl. "You're worried."
"Yes," grumbled Sheik. "I love that stupid boy way too much for both our sakes."
"Maybe that's a good thing, though," offered Toyl, snuggling up to the Sheikiah's neck.
"Maybe," said Sheik with a sigh, then stood up, cupping a bound hand over the fairy.
"Thanks, Toyl. Let's go check up on stupid Link and see if he needs help."
"Alright," she said, flying into Sheik's waterproof bag. "We ladies have to stick together!" giggled the little fairy from within. "Make sure the men don't do anything stupid."
"Indeed," smiled Sheik. "A difficult task, if anything."
"I agree," said Toyl, and laughed. "Princess, go amend things with your hero."
"I will," said Sheik, pulling on the iron boots, and diving into the water. "My knight in shining armor."
Zora Link removed his cap and wiped the sweat from his face with it, glancing up at the giant, four faced clock tower in the center of the temple.
"Sheik," he muttered, frowning, "what's with you today? Moreover, what's with me?" He placed his hat back on his head and rubbed his eyes, frowning. "I don't get it." Unfortunately, the poor hero was so caught up in his thoughts that he failed to hear the telltale "shwump, shwump, shwump," until…
"AH!" Yelled the Zora as he was roughly forced down to the ground by a very-hungry looking blue tektite. His fins were pinned uselessly down, and Link was quite sure that it was the end, until he heard a very familiar sound in the air…
The tektite squirted blue blood and reeled backwards, writhing and screaming in pain. Link saw an arrow protruding from its back and looked up at the entrance.
"Sheik," he murmured as the Sheikiah saluted him and fired another arrow at the spider, killing it instantly. It combusted, and Link took the health hearts it left in the flames' wake.
"Honestly, Hero," said the sheikiah, hopping down to where he was. "I leave you alone for five minutes, and you nearly get yourself eaten alive by a spider?" Link saw that the sheikiah was smiling, and grinned as well.
"I owe you one, Sheik," said Link. Sheik, smiling as well, hopped down from the ledge and swam through the water (Link noticed the warrior stiffen lightly as he touched the water) and then hauled himself up onto the platform.
"Sheik," said Link apologetically, "I really am sorry."
"It's okay, Link," said Sheik. "We're both stressed out."
"Yeah," mumbled Link, and caught Sheik up in a manly hug. "Still, though. I'm sorry."
"It's fine, don't worry about it," said Sheik, reveling in the hug (unbeknownst to our hero).
"Well," said the Zora, letting go of Sheik and turning to face the entrance to the boss chamber, "shall we go kick some Morpha butt?"
"You bet," grinned Sheik. Both warriors produced hookshots from their bags. Sheik looked down into his own.
"Toyl, we're going to need your help during this battle, okay?"
"Alright," said the little fairy, floating out. Link smiled lightly.
I wonder what binds them together so well? Link wondered to himself. She's my partner, but she seems so close to Sheik…
Shaking it off, Link aimed carefully for the target and with a thunk, clank clank clank, he had pulled himself up onto the platform. Sheik followed, Toyl zooming around the warrior's head, then floating over to Link.
"So partner," said the little fairy, alighting on Link's shoulder, "what exactly will we be fighting?"
"An overgrown amoeba," mumbled the Zora. "A very vile one, too."
"Hm," said Sheik. "Well, what if we hit it with ice arrows, then fire arrows? How do you think that would work?"
"That might do the trick," said Link. "It's a horrible battle. Watch out for the spikes on the walls, Sheik. They're deadly."
"Gotcha," said Sheik, and Link produced the boss key.
"Well, here goes," said the hero of time, opening the door. "After you," he said, smiling, to Sheik.
"Alright," said Sheik, stepping forward. Toyl was still sitting on Link's shoulder, and was getting up to fly over to the sheikiah when…
"Link!" yelled Sheik. Link pressed his streamlined body against the door, beating at it with his fists, his fins making strange clanking noise as they hit the stone.
"Sheik! Are you okay? Can you hear me?" Link yelled, slamming his body against the door.
"I'm fine. The door just slammed shut. There's not anything in here, Link. Just…"
"Sheik! Just what?" Link yelled.
"Faore save us," he heard Sheik mumble. He then heard a very loud yell, the splash of water, and then silence.
"SHEIK!" Link yelled, slamming his fists against the door. "SHEIK!"
"It's no use," said Toyl. "Try opening the door. You won't be able to beat it down." Link pushed the door, pulled at the door, even bombed it, but to no avail.
"Back up, Toyl," Link growled ferociously.
"Why?" asked the little fairy. Link's pointed Zora teeth were bared as he said "just do it." The fairy complied.
"Where is it," Link growled ferociously, digging through his bag, then gave a loud "aha." He pulled out a ferocious looking pale mask, an exact replica of Link's face, except…
"Link, what is that?" Toyl asked him worriedly as he pulled off one mask.
"Don't ask questions," he growled in his Hylian body. "We have to get Sheik out of there. He can't beat Morpha on his own." He pulled on the second mask and let forth a blood curdling scream, as usual. There was a flash, and then…
"By Din," muttered the fairy, looking at the very angry, very dangerous, VERY sexy warrior-god standing in front of her.
"HYA!" Boomed the deity, slamming his fist into the door, reducing it to mere rubble. Toyl floated back a few feet, utterly afraid of the warrior (though deep in her mind, she noted that the poor princess would be trying to rape Link if she saw him in this mask).
"Bring it on, you demon," Link muttered as he strode into the boss chamber- Sheik was nowhere to be found.
The battle began.
The first thing Link noted was that Morpha was much, much stronger than the last time he had fought her. Even in his deified form, this would be a difficult battle to win. Link hacked and slashed, froze and burned, and yet…
Sploosh sploosh, goop gurgle…
"Watch out, Link!" yelled Toyl, and Link leapt aside to avoid a congealed, watery tentacle trying to bash him up against the spikes lining the walls. Link gave a great yell and lunged forward, slicing through the water of the amoeba to the nucleus once more.
"Take that!" he yelled, slashing, "and that! And that and that, you watery son of a…"
Whatever it was that the ferocious deity was about to say was cut off by a sudden rumble. The amoeba splashed out of its pool and began to shriek, and the temple began to rumble as it collapsed.
"Link, the room'll cave in on us!" yelled Toyl as the deity rushed forward to find the heart container.
"I'm not leaving without Sheik!"
"Sheik's not here, Link," yelled Toyl as rocks began to fall from the ceiling. "Can't you see that? Sheik must be in the chamber of sages."
"SHEIK!" Yelled Link. "SHEIK, WHERE ARE YOU?"
"You won't be able to do him any good if you're dead!" yelled Toyl in Link's pointed ear. "Now get in the Nayru forsaken portal!"
"Shut up!" yelled Link. Toyl sighed.
"If you don't, both your friend and your princess will be lost to you forever," she said. "Zelda's fate is linked to yours and Sheik's, you stupid hero. Should one of you die, all three of you are doomed. Now GET IN THE PORTAL," yelled the fairy. Link growled angrily but stepped in, and was whisked away in a blue crystal as the ceiling of the boss chamber fell in.
"Since when do you look like that?"
"It's a mask."
"Ruto, have you seen Sheik?"
"Yes, I've seen the p- Sheik."
"The P? What were you going to say?"
"The prince of shadow. That's what we nicknamed him."
"Where is he?"
"Try the shadow temple. And take this medallion, while you're at it."
"Thank you, Ruto."
"Link, follow your heart."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I love you, Link, and I want to see you happy. So, do what you must do to make yourself feel happy."
"Thank you, Ruto."
Link reappeared out on the island of Lake Hylia, which was, spectacularly, untouched. He took a moment to gaze out at the lake, full once more, a pure, surreal blue, sparkling in the light of the sun.
"Like her eyes," Link muttered, thinking of the woman he had caught in the forest just days before. Who WAS she? No matter. Link pushed the thought out of his mind, removing the fierce deity's mask. Toyl was buzzing around his head.
"Like whose eyes?" the little fairy asked. Link shook his head.
"A woman I met in the forest," said Link. "I've never seen another like her. Impossibly blue eyes, curling blonde hair, pale complexion… like a princess.
"Hmm," said the little fairy thoughtfully. "Well, come on. Let's go to the shadow temple and find Sheik."
"Right," said Link, equipping his mask of truth and playing the inverted Nocturne of Shadow. He and Toyl were swept away in purple light to Kakariko, the village where Ganondorf's power still had strong hold.
"Hold on, Sheik," said Link, charging into the temple and magically unlocking the seals. "I'm coming."
It was dark and it smelled like rot. She couldn't see.
Needless to say, Zelda was very alarmed.
She'd been wandering in the pitch black, totally unable to see, for several hours now. She supposed she was in the shadow temple, but she wasn't sure.
Goddesses, though, she hoped not.
The princess tugged anxiously at her face covering as she stumbled into a dimly lit room with a large boat.
"Might as well," she mumbled, hopping on. There was the symbol of the Triforce on the floor. Zelda whipped out her harp and played, and the ghost ship rocked into movement at the sound of the three notes.
Not to mention the poor princess was ambushed by two very dangerous looking stalfos.
"Eck," she grimaced at the smell of putrid rot, pulling out her sword and slashing at the two skeletons. "Worthless little corpses, aren't we?" she slashed the stalfos to pieces, and they both combusted. Needless to say, Zelda was quite proud of herself. She was becoming quite the warrior, wasn't she?
Of course, she had Link entirely to thank for her newfound skills.
"I wonder where he is and how he's doing," the princess mused to herself, sitting down on the boat and waiting for her voyage to come to an end. It seemed she was sailing down some sort of brick tunnel, but she couldn't be sure. It was too dark to see, again. The boat rocked to a stop in another dimly lit room, and, shivering, Zelda hopped off the boat. None too slow, too, because the moment her feet touched the ground, the boat gave a great groan. She whirled and watched it sink into abyss below her.
"I don't like this temple," Zelda shivered, rubbing her arms through the blue bodysuit she was wearing. She had removed the Zora tunic and packed it back into her bag- the sheikiah eye of truth was displayed for all to see. "I am a master of the shadows, a sheikiah warrior," she kept reminding herself. "This is where Sheik belongs."
Blandly wondering why on earth Impa would be sage of such a miserable temple, Zelda made her way over a bridge and through a large door. It clanked shut behind her, and the sound of chains slinking over the surface made her gasp.
She'd wandered right into the boss chamber.
Zelda looked down- might as well try and defeat the boss and make life easier for Link, eh?
She stepped into the great hole and landed on what seemed to be a giant drum. It began to pound.
"Oh dear," muttered Zelda as invisible hands beat upon the taut surface.
"Well well well," came a great, booming, unearthly voice that sounded of blood and battle and a million years of chaos. "Look what we have here. A lost princess."
"What do you mean?" Zelda asked guardedly. A great Cyclops appeared before her out of the dark. She gasped.
"A princess in the guise of a sheikiah. This is the temple of truth and lies, and I am its master- don't test me, girl," it boomed. Zelda gulped.
"What a pretty gift to the dark lord this will make," laughed the boss. "My name is Bongo-Bongo, and I am the keeper of bloodthirsty shadows in the evil realm."
"Well well, what shall I do with ye?" asked Bongo-Bongo, and Zelda was enveloped in a pink crystal, much like she had been when Ganondorf first imprisoned her. She floated up to eye level with the great beast. "Give you to Ganondorf, I would, yet you're so pretty I might just keep you here and look upon myself. Though, I daresay the great king wouldn't like that." Zelda panicked, looking down at her disguise. It was still in place… how could Bongo-Bongo see through it?
"I'll make you a deal," gulped Zelda nervously. "Please, do me no harm. The hero of time is coming to this temple- if he can defeat you, you will release me, however, if you defeat him, I will willingly go to Ganondorf, or stay, or," Zelda's mouth went dry at the gamble she was taking, "do whatever it is that you want me to do."
A great booming laugh echoed through the room, causing the drum to resound. Zelda did her best not to cover her ears- nine thousand screams of death to resound through the room with this laugh.
"Pretty deal it is," said the Cyclops. "Alright, princess, no harm will come to ye, provided you keep your end of the deal up."
"I will," said Zelda stubbornly, floating in the crystal. The conversation between Zelda and Bongo-Bongo fell silent as she was lowered down to the drum (though still captive in the crystal), and she watched in amazement as minions entered and exited the chamber, discussing something or other with the boss. The princess could feel the evil radiating from the boss- so, this was how the once sacred realm was so easily poisoned. Randomly, Zelda wondered just where IN the evil realm was the temple of sages? In the center, most likely, occupying the space where Lon Lon ranch had been, or possibly connected to or just behind the temple of time…
Zelda pondered this to pass the long hours of waiting in the pink crystal. She wasn't sure if it had been mere minutes, or hours, or even days, when finally…
Link landed on the drum, sword drawn.
"Sheik!" he yelled, seeing the 'sheikiah' in the crystal before him. Link ran over to his friend, beating his hands against the crystal, pressing his body the length of it. Toyl was buzzing around in alarm. "Sheik!" Link yelled again, and Zelda began to rise up into the air. She reached down to Link, but her hand roughly bumped the crystal, and she cursed under her breath as Bongo-Bongo began to speak.
"Defeat me and your friend is free," said the boss, "but lose and they will ever be a slave to darkness." Link looked wildly around for the source of the voice, and then reached into his bag, pulling out the lens of truth and pulling it to his face and apparently taking in Bongo-Bongo. Zelda cringed.
"Please, Link, don't look up," she prayed as the battle began. "Please don't see through my disguise."
Zelda watched with her body pressed against the wall of the crystal as Link took and delivered blow after blow to the giant shadow beast. Apparently, the lens of truth was taking its toll on the hero- Zelda gasped as he knelt, out of breath, and was very nearly smashed to pieces by one of Bongo-Bongo's hands. He leapt up and stabbed the beast's hand with his sword, and there was a shriek, then silence. Bongo-Bongo keeled forward onto the drum and dissolved into shadow. Zelda felt herself lowered towards the ground, and the pink crystal evaporated. Link had his back to her- he was grabbing the heart container. He turned, and Zelda gasped.
He still had the lens of truth on.
"Who are you?" he asked, his eyes going wide. Toyl drooped.
"I tried," she tinkled sadly. Zelda nodded in understanding.
"Link, before I can explain, we must go to the chamber of sages. When we return to Impa's, I will shed my disguise and explain all, I promise to you," she said, touching his hand. Link nodded, a mix of raw emotions running across his face, ranging from betrayed, to confused, to furious. Zelda's throat closed up, and she felt her ruby eyes redden with tears. She stepped into the circle of light behind Link and was swept into the chamber of sages.
"Well done, Link. I am eternally grateful you were able to save my child."
"That's what friends do. You're welcome, Impa."
"Take this medallion. You'll need it."
"Thank you again."
"Words are worthless in a situation like this, both of you must understand."
"Go. Rest, both of you. I can see that it has been near a day since either of you slept."
"Your quests are nearing an end. Know that you can always consult me when you need assistance, both of you."
We reached Impa's house, the both of us walking in silence. I was walking behind him, holding back my tears. His back was stiff under the light of the moon, and I could tell that he was doing his best to keep from whirling on me and yelling then and there.
I prayed he could control his temper.
We entered the large, beautiful, neat house, and he immediately dropped his bag. I sighed, locked the door and checked to be sure all the windows were closed, locked, and covered as well, and I let my disguise fall from me like water, returning once more to the body of princess Zelda. The sheikiah body suit still fit, but only just barely- the blue skin hung loose around my shoulders. I removed my facial covering and looked at Link.
"I hope that you would still consider me a friend," I said to him, my female voice sounding melodic yet unfamiliar to my Elvin ears. I reached into my bag and pulled out Link's journal, which I had taken such wonderful care of. I handed it to him, my fingers brushing against his as he took the journal.
"You, you're…" he gasped. I nodded, a few stray tears slipping from my eyes.
"Yes," I choked. "I'm the masked shadow thief. I'm a sheikiah warrior. But lastly," I sobbed, and drew in a sharp breath, "I'm the princess of Hyrule, destined to living in shadow." I collapsed on the floor, sobbing. "Goddesses, Link, can't you ever forgive me?" I buried my face in my hands, tears pouring down my cheeks. I heard Toyl slowly leave the room, then the soft sound of Link's footsteps approaching me.
"Why did you take my journal?" he asked me, sounding infinitely hurt. "Why didn't you tell me who you were sooner?" He crouched before me, and I looked up at him with my pathetically tear-streaked face, taking in his eyes so full of hurt.
"I had to know if you knew of my disguise," I cried. "The only way I could do that was to learn some of your memories. I didn't read it, I swear, I just looked at the last entry to see if you knew who I was." I pressed the sides of my hands over the inner corners of my eyes and took a deep shuddering breath.
"I had to hide so that Ganondorf's forces wouldn't find me. And I couldn't tell you, because I didn't want to risk ruining my friendship with you. I didn't want you to know, Link, because you wouldn't let me help you, you wouldn't let me stand by your side, and that's all I want…" I broke off, doing my best not to wail, looking away from Link and making a feeble attempt to pull the sheikiah garb up above my shoulders. I closed my eyes and allowed the salty tears to roll freely down my cheeks.
"Did Toyl know?" Link asked. I nodded, sniffing, unable to speak. I heard Link sigh. "Why, why…" I gulped and allowed the tears to continue to roll down my cheeks, resigned to him hating me.
"Zelda…" said Link, and his warmth encircled me, pulling my head to his shoulder as I wept. "Please, don't cry," he shushed into my hair. Of course, this only made me cry harder. Why was he doing this? Didn't he hate me? Link rocked me back and forth, shushing me and stroking my hair as I wetted the shoulder of his tunic with my remorse and heartache. I wrapped my arms tight around him and continued to cry, wishing with all my heart that I wasn't the princess and he wasn't the hero, and that we weren't condemned to unhappy fates, but that we were normal people- like everybody else, a man and a woman together in a home, embracing each other. These thoughts made me cry harder, and Link tightened his grip around me.
"Please, Zelda, don't cry," he whispered into my hair. "You're making me sad." I gulped and sniffled, doing my best to quiet my tears. I took in multiple deep, shuddering breaths, opening my eyes and laying my head sideways on his shoulder, toying with his tunic. His warm hands continued to rub lazy yet comforting circles across my back, and for the first time, I noticed how gentle he was, how caring he was. His hands came to rest around my waist, pulling me closer to him.
"Why are you doing this?" I murmured. "Don't you hate me?"
"I could never hate you," he replied softly. "I understand why you did what you did."
"You must be feeling so hurt," I choked. Link only squeezed me tighter in response.
"It must have killed you inside to keep hidden for so long."
"It doesn't matter," I whispered to him. "Just please, don't make me leave."
"I wouldn't ever make you leave," he said to me, pulling back and searching my eyes with his. He traced the curve of my jawbone, then cupped his hand over my cheek, caressing my face softly with his thumb. "I want you to stay if you want to stay. Whatever makes you happy."
"Thank you, Link," I said softly, putting my hand over his and smiling up at him. "You're too good."
"No," he replied to me softly, hesitantly lowering his face to mine. "Just in love," he whispered, his lips touching mine as we spoke, then tenderly meeting in a sweet, sad kiss.
"Love?" I asked him, once we separated. I lowered my head to rest on his chest, and he leaned his chin against the top of my head.
"Mmhm," he said. "I want the best for you. I want you to be happy. We're the closest of friends, are we not? And I feel as though you're my other half. I care more for you than I do for myself, and if you wanted to leave me for another man because you would be happy, I'd do whatever I could to help you. I would never judge you, or throw anything back in your face, or cause you any harm. And that's what love is, isn't it?" he asked me. I nodded against his chest, listening to the soft thumping of his heart.
"Yes," I replied softly.
"I was so confused when you were Sheik," Link half-laughed. "I thought I was going crazy because I cared so much for another man. Now I know what it was."
"Love," I murmured. "It was love."
"It was," said Link. "You don't think I'm weird, do you?"
"Never," I smiled in reply. "I would never think that."
"Mm," said Link, then stood up, picking me up as well. "I don't know about you, but I'm fatigued," he said. "Almost twenty-four hours nonstop of monster battling will really get to a man."
"I'm sure," I smiled, poking my hero in the ribs. Link set me down on Impa's massive bed and kicked off his boots and pulling off his tunic in preparation for rest. I looked down at my loose sheikiah outfit.
"Um, Link," I said in embarrassment as he turned and faced me, his well muscled stomach gleaming in the moonlight and making my mouth water. I gestured to her loose sheikiah clothing and looked away, blushing. Link smiled.
"Here," he said, pulling a Kokiri tunic out from his bag (which he had removed just after entering the bedroom). He tossed it to me with a smile. "Don't worry, it's clean."
"Thanks," I said, and my hero turned around, allowing his princess some privacy as I removed the skintight sheikiah garb and pulled the tunic that smelled so much like Link over my head and down my naked body. I folded up my outfit and set it neatly on Impa's dresser as Link crawled into bed. I smiled and crawled below the sheets as well, snuggling up to his warmth.
"I love you, Link," I whispered to him as the lights magically went out, leaving us in peaceful darkness. He wrapped his warm arms around my waist and I leaned her head back against his chest.
"I love you too, princess."
We fell asleep almost immediately, and whilst we dreamt of one another, a little red fairy floated into our room to check on us, smiled to herself at the love we had found for each other, and hovered away, allowing us privacy and as much rest as we needed.
Light of my son
Light in this temple
Light in my truth
Lies in the darkness
Of your lies
Soreness of a
Inside your mind
To my possessions
Can't you see that
I'm here inside you?
Light-show me how to
Slide in this pleasure
Of your eyes
Crawling into empty spaces
You could lie and lie again
You belong to my posession
Can't you see that
I'm here inside you?
This is my harmony
I'm in your heart again
This is the place to live
Where I'm alone again
This is my harmony-I'm here
I lay again-This is the prayer to give
I'm all alone again
~The Prophet Said, by Lacuna Coil
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