Ganon was defeated once again and now Link and Zelda were staring at each other. Link was injured, covered in blood and barely keeping calm while Zelda was watching him, knowing what was coming, what she would have to say. She was about to speak when Link cut her off.
"Zelda, I'm in love with you, I have been for years and I needed to tell you exactly how I felt while I had the chance. I don't care if you are a Princess and I'm a peasant, even though being the hero should count for something right?" Tears were forming in Link's eyes. He has shared his feelings with Zelda once before this night; she had broken his heart then too. Everything Ganon had done or ever would have done paled in comparison to Zelda breaking his heart. He just couldn't stop caring, she was one of the most important people in his life for more than the fact he was in love with her.
"Link you said it yourself, you're a commoner, if I had feelings for you I would try and overlook that, but the truth is I don't have feelings for you, I never have. You will always be a friend, a good friend though but I just don't love you." Zelda said it flatly as though she had known this moment had been coming for months and had rehearsed every possible thing she wanted to say.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't go without telling you, I needed to hear it myself, I know. Goodbye Zelda, see you when Hyrule needs saving again." Tears were flowing freely now, his heart was breaking as he turned his back on the one girl he had ever loved.
Link looked at the letter he had received, tears were flowing again. The letter had arrived that morning; it had been so unexpected, so surprising that it had broken what was left of Link's emotional barriers. He had been hiding from the pain trying to deny his feelings for the unattainable girl, to no success. The letter broke down his barriers and broke his heart for the third time.
To Link, Hero of Hyrule
You are hereby invited to attend the celebrations of Zelda's wedding with Danaam, Prince of Damas. This wedding is of high political importance, it would be most welcome if you attend.
Zelda, Princess of Hyrule
PS Link please come.
Link crumpled the letter up, tossed it into the fire, mounted Epona and rode off towards the Castle at full gallop, letting the tears flow freely.
Upon his arrival at the castle Link immediately sought out Zelda. The one person he wanted to even see at this party. He found her in her dress in the courtyard in the centre of the castle. He approached her quietly, not quite sure of what he would say. This was the girl who had broken his heart three times now; she turned around and gasped to see Link, tears still on his face walking towards her.
"Li-"Link cut her off.
"Save it Zelda. I am here because you only cared enough to send a letter inviting me to your wedding. That is one step up from just posting on a village notice board you were in a relationship with this guy. "His anger was rising.
"Link you don't even know the guy."Zelda began but Link cut her off again.
"That's exactly why I have said nothing about him. I don't know him, YOU are my problem, because here's the thing Princess, I'm still in love with you" the tears were flowing, running in great rivers down his face. The last time Zelda had seen that face he had been wearing that expression, an expression of great emotional pain. Zelda knew that what was coming next couldn't be good. "I have been in love with you for years, and all I get is a wedding invite? What do you think that's going to do to me? Huh? Fine we can never get married still, I've read about a lot of Princesses having a lot of non royal boyfriends, so don't give me that commoner and royalty bullshit anymore. I love you, You have broken my heart THREE times now, that's one time too many." Link turned on his heel and left, he still cared he just couldn't face it right now.
The Fourth Time
Link's year long adventure away from Hyrule had finally come to a close, he returned to find the kingdom safe and exactly as he had left it. The hero had not been needed thankfully, because that would mean Zelda needed a Hero and Link, honour bound would torment himself to no end to save her. He had stopped by the castle once earlier that year for a ceremony; Zelda had been as beautiful as ever, although she was sitting next to her husband: the new King of Hyrule.
That visit had been enough for him to feel that there was no hope for him, he would try to be friendly to her, if only to avoid the pain and hurt of another rejection, and the pain of risking his life to save the one who had hurt him. There was no question Link would do it but he would get hurt. Again.
His return to the castle revealed that the King was gone, taken in a battle several months prior. He was resting for a while now; glad to be back in Hyrule, Zelda had occupied his thoughts far too often over the past year and yet now she was entering the room where Link sat. Glancing up Link thought "Why has she come here? I don't hate her, I can't but I don't know what will happen if she breaks my heart again." Zelda approached the Hero as he sat.
"Hey Link, it's nice to see you again, been far too long." She smiled at him, she was being friendlier than she normally was, and Link raised an eyebrow.
"It's, good to see you too Zelda." Link was hesitant, something felt different. "Zelda has never been this friendly, this is odd, could it be possible that her feelings have changed? I can't take that risk. Hero and Princess, that's all we are, all we can be."
"Was there some pressing evil that you wanted me to take care of your highness?" Zelda merely smiled and laughed, Link smiled, happy to be with the princess once more. Link relaxed a little and let Zelda invite him out on a walk through the castle and grounds in a couple of days time. Link jumped at the chance to spend some time with Zelda without worrying about Ganondorf.
Link and Zelda wandered down past the fountain in the centre of town, close to each other, but not touching, Link kept glancing across at the princess every few seconds, praying that he wouldn't get caught, although the whole day had an air of romance about it. He had the courage to face down monsters, evil armies and Ganon but talking to Zelda about his feelings for her...again, was impossible.
They chose a pair of adjacent seats when they watched the local performers tell a story of a hero, saving a beautiful princess, as always in Hyrule the names were shared: Link and Zelda. The story continued on to tell how the Hero saved them all and married Zelda. Link could not help but think throughout the play "THAT Hero ends up with his princess." Soon the day was all but over and the Hero and Princess returned to the Castle.
Before departing Link and Zelda looked at each other as Link thought madly to himself, "Was that a date? Does she have feelings for me? I can't just come out and ask her that, what if she says no? It was bad enough every other time but to find out that she has been leading me on? I can't take that." Eventually Link decided just to farewell Zelda and return to his room, struggling to decide whether or not Zelda had fallen for him.
Two days later...
Zelda was chatting with several politicians as Link approached, he had had enough of struggling with his own thoughts, he needed to know, no matter how much it hurt, he had put everything out there. Picking a flower from the garden as he approached. He sat there trying to keep up with the conversation but it soon drifted out of his areas of knowledge. Eventually Zelda and the others realised they had to be somewhere else and began to leave. Before Zelda could walk away Link said "Zelda, wait. I want to talk to you."
"Feel free to go on ahead, I'll follow you soon." Zelda looked at Link expectedly as they began walking after the others, although slower. Link pulled out the flower and tried to give it to Zelda.
"Why would I want a flower? If I want something I would want a plant."
"Well did you want me to get you a plant?" Link asked totally serious.
"No, I don't want a plant. I would prefer a pant to a flower because a flower would die." Zelda shot back, some of her laughter gone, realising the direction this conversation was heading. Link' faced frowned in thought as he fought an internal battle.
"You are a confusing person Zelda."
"Why? Just because I didn't want a flower?" Zelda asked back.
"No that's not it." He paused for a moment then added. "Sunday." Zelda seemed confused as she replied.
"What about it?" Link took a deep breath as he responded.
"Date or not a date?" Zelda seemed sad as she responded, once again turning Link down.
"Not a date, just friends." Link started to fall apart but he forced himself to get to the bottom of this, for the last time.
"So still nothing there?" A tear started to form as Zelda said the words he knew he would hear but hoped he wouldn't.
"No, and there never will be either." The pair started to walk further apart as they headed for their separate destinations.
"I'm sorry Zelda; you were acting just different enough to make me hope there was something there." Link's voice was starting to show the strain of holding back the tears.
"I'm sorry I thought I was just acting like myself." Zelda now seemed unhappy to hurt him.
"I know. I just got it wrong. Bye Zelda" as he said the final words his control broke and the tears started to fall, Zelda waved her hand in farewell as they went to their separate homes. Link was returning to Ordon, while Zelda was returning to the castle.
Link made it to the nearest bridge out of Castle Town before he broke, tears rolled down his face and his breath came in great sobs, four times, four times he had told Zelda that he had feelings for her and four times he had come back with a broken heart.
"How could I have been so STUPID?" he kicked a nearby barrel, the wood shattering beneath his kick "everything I needed to know was right there in front of my face, why didn't I believe it? STUPID STUPID STUPID IDIOT." he thought angrily to himself as he managed to pull himself together enough to leave.
Upon his return to Ordon he threw himself onto his bed, crying, great huge sobs. He did not surface again for hours.
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