"Are you nervous about the Calling?"

Link pauses in the midst of tugging at his tunic, attempting to alleviate the tight pull of fabric beneath his arms. It's not something that can be fixed by any amount of pulling and tugging, but he can't seem to stop. He knows Headmaster Gaepora meant well when he had a tunic ordered for him, it wasn't as if he would have been able to afford a new one on his own.

Beneath the warm noon sun the fabric is stiff and itchy against his skin, tight enough he feels even more awkward than normal, holding still for fear of hearing the ominous rip of stitches giving way. A nice gesture, but Link wishes he was wearing his old clothes. They were far more comfortable, and he didn't really think his Loftwing was going to care about what he was wearing.

"Link! Now is not the time for day-dreaming." Reaching out, Zelda slaps his hands away from his tunic with a sharp look. "Answer my question."

Guilty, Link yanks his thoughts out of the middle distance, and his hands away from his tunic before she can swat at him again. He blinks a few times, backtracking a bit to remember what she'd asked. "Am I nervous?" Without thinking his hand makes an abortive gesture towards his tunic, only to be cowed away by another look from Zelda. Resigned, Link shakes his head. "No, I don't think so. I've been waiting for this day for a while."

He's always been a bit of a daydreamer, especially when there were chores to do. But recently it's been harder and harder to focus, eyes drawn to the sky and the dark shapes wheeling high overhead. Even asleep he dreams of the sky, blue etched with delicate white clouds stretching out beneath him, wind whipping past his face as he falls. He's not frightened in the dreams, would be laughing if the wind weren't tugging his breath away, waiting for a flash of feathers that will bring the fall to an end.

Zelda sighs, and Link shakes off his thoughts once again to look at her. "Are you nervous about the ceremony?"

Zelda doesn't answer right away, biting her lip and tilting her head back to look up at the Statue of the Goddess where it looms over the courtyard.

When she continues to remain silent, Link turns his attention to the decorations slowly taking over the courtyard, and the groups of people milling back and forth as they get the rest of the preparations under way. The set-up had started early this morning, before even the sun had risen, or so Zelda had mentioned. Streamers were woven between the branches of the trees, glimmers of blue and gold nestled between bright green leaves. Small paper lanterns were hanging off the lower branches and strung overhead, waiting for sundown when the village would celebrate the arrival of the new Loftwings.

Pumm and Piper have set up a small buffet by the far wall for after the ceremony. When Link turns his head just right he can catch a whiff of Pumm's famous pumpkin soup. His stomach gurgles and he presses a hand to his belly, a flush climbing his cheeks. He really should have grabbed that bread roll off the table before darting out the door.

Link's debating if he can get close enough to the tables to steal a few bites to eat when Zelda sighs, drawing his attention. "I know each Loftwing is a gift from the Goddess, but I can't keep thinking about how awful it would be to get up there and make my Call, only for my Loftwing to never show up." She sighs again, reaching up to worry at the lock of hair draped over her shoulder, bound with a blue ribbon.

Link isn't sure how to respond, taken aback by Zelda's admission. He can't think of a single time someone made the Call and didn't have a Loftwing answer.

Prodded by his silence, Zelda sneaks a look at his face, and whatever she sees earns him a glare. "I said it was dumb." With a huff she releases the lock of hair and drops both hands to her hips. "You're saying you aren't even the slightest bit nervous?"

It's Link's turn to look away. He sees Groose, hair a brilliant orange beacon as he weaves through the crowd, Cawlin and Strich scrambling in the bigger boy's wake. Groose heads straight for the buffet tables, clearly intent on stealing a few bites to eat before the ceremony.

He's never mentioned his dreams to Zelda, or anybody for that matter, isn't all that good with words and he knows he wouldn't make any sense even if he tried. It's hard to wrap his head around, the idea of doubting his Loftwing's existence when he dreams of his future companion every night. More than that, is the growing awareness in the back of his mind that is the endless stretch of sky and the soft brush of warm feathers. When he's lost in his day dreams, or just waking up, sometimes he can hear a soft croon, a low and throaty promise of affection.

Growing up he's been told that he is only one half of a whole, that each Loftwing is a gift from the Goddess, a companion of the heart who will show him the sky. He believes it, knows the truth of it in his bones, and recently he's caught himself fantasizing about diving off the nearest platform onto a feathered back, making his dreams a reality at last. Not that he will admit that last part out loud. Especially not to Zelda. She already gives him enough of the side-eye as it is.

"Sometimes I think I can feel my Loftwing," Link finally admits, when Zelda's impatience leaves her scuffing her foot against the ground. "It's an impression I get sometimes, feathers and warmth, a soft song meant just for me." He smiles at her. "Your Loftwing will come for your Call. If there is anyone hear who carries the Goddess's favor, it's you."

Zelda smiles back, blue eyes warm as her anxiety fades. Stepping in close she throws her arms around his neck and hugs him tight. She lets go just as quickly, a flush staining her cheeks. "Thank you, Link. You've made me feel better."

Link's smile widens even as his eyes slide away from the warmth of her expression. He can feel the lingering imprint of her body against his, smell something sweet where he'd had his nose buried in her hair. He scrubs at the back of his head, ignoring the pull of his tunic. He feels warm all over now, hands a little shaky.

"It's the truth." The words tumble out of him and he feels the flush deepen, wonders if it's possible for his face to actually melt. Surely it would have happened to some already if it were possible. He tries to find something else to say, something that will fill the silence between them before his face manages to do the impossible. "How are you planning on making the Call?"

Zelda's smile brightens, something Link didn't even think was possible. "I'm planning on singing. I've been practicing for weeks. How about you?"

Reaching behind him, Link pulls out the slim flute he'd shoved into his belt. "I'm going to use this." After a brief hesitation he offers it to Zelda, who takes it with careful fingers, looking it over with interest. "Instructor Owlan showed me how to carve it." In the beginning he'd ended up with quite a few nicked and scratched fingers, but he'd eventually gotten the hang of it. Actually learning how to play it had not been nearly as easy.

Zelda hands it back, and the amount of care she uses brings another flush up across Link's cheeks. "I can't wait to hear it."

Link's heart gives a solid thump against his breast bone, and he uses the excuse of shoving his flute back into his belt in order to keep from meeting her eyes.

He's saved from having to come up with some kind of response when Headmaster Gaepora strides to the center of the courtyard and spreads his arms. "Would the children and their flight guides please join me on the platform? We are prepared to begin."

A sudden surge of excitement has Link's stomach dropping to his toes, only to bounce back up into his ribs. He decides that maybe it was for the best that he hadn't grabbed that roll after all.

"This is it, Link!" Snagging his sleeve Zelda drags him after her towards the courtyard center. As they pass the buffet tables Link catches sight of Groose being manhandled away from the tables by his mother, who snatches a small loaf of bread out of her son's hand and sweeps him along with one hand fisted in the back of his shirt collar.

Craning his head back and forth, Link tries to see if he can spot Instructor Owlan. Normally it should have been one of his parents who would share his first flight, helping him mount and guiding him through the basics of how to sit. Since Link's parents have been dead for as long as he can remember, Headmaster Gaepora had asked Instructor Owlan to act as his flight guide. Link can't find it in himself to be sad. He doesn't remember his parents, was barely a few years old when the storm blew in out of nowhere when his parents were out flying. He may have grown up an orphan, but he's never been alone, not really, and today he's finally going to meet the reason why.

Link finds Instructor Owlan speaking with Headmaster Gaepora near the center of the courtyard. As Zelda snags her father's attention with last minute questions, Instructor Owlan turns his attention to Link. "Ah, Link. Are you ready for your big day?"

Link nods. "Yes, sir."

Instructor Owlan's smile is soft, lips curling at the corners. "Are you nervous?"

Link glances in Zelda's direction. She's speaking quietly with her father, so he doesn't think she heard Instructor Owlan's question. "No, sir. I'm excited."

Instructor Owlan nods. "As you should be. This day has been long in coming." He tilts his head. "Are you hoping that your Loftwing will be a certain color?"

Link blinks in surprise, realizing that he's never actually put much thought into it. "No, not really, sir." In his dreams he'd never imagined a specific color, and it wasn't as if it really mattered. He hesitates, then asks, "Did you? When you were my age?"

Instructor Owlan's smile turns wistful. "I was positive that I would have a green Loftwing. At the time I had just discovered my fascination with plants, and felt it would only be natural that my Loftwing would reflect what I loved most at the time." His smile turns rueful. "When my Loftwing answered my Call, she was gold, rather than green."

"Were you upset?" Link can't imagine not loving his Loftwing, regardless of the color.

"No. I can still remember the first time I ever saw her, as if the Goddess had shaped her out of the sun's rays just for me." Instructor Owlan's smile turns inward, clearly reliving the memory. "She was absolutely perfect, and still is." He returns to himself to look down at Link with the same fond smile from before. "And so will yours be, Link. For how could a gift from the Goddess be anything less?"

Link grins up at him with growing excitement. "I think so too."

Headmaster Gaepora instructs the children to line up directly beneath the Statue of the Goddess, with their flight guides standing behind them. Link ends up standing between Zelda and Cawlin, who shoots him a dark look before making a point to shift away. Link struggles to ignore him, and a glance confirms that Groose is glaring at him from the other side of Zelda. Catching his nervous look, Zelda follows his gaze and matches Groose glare for glare. Flushing, the bigger boy looks away.

Headmaster Gaepora clears his throat and standing in front of them, turns to face the rest of the gathered villagers, arms spread wide. "We have gathered here today to witness these children accept the blessing of our Goddess and take their first steps into adulthood. Today, as we watch, these children will meet their lifelong companions, and take their first flight together. May the Goddess guide and protect them as they take to the skies." The headmaster bows, then turns towards the children with a smile and holds out a hand.

First in line, its Fledge who steps forward and Link can't hold back a wince in sympathy. Fledge looks downright terrified as he steps out of line. He starts walking towards the headmaster, his father's hand on his shoulder. Which is probably for the best since even with his father support he weaves back and forth as if his knees can't quite keep steady. Link doesn't need to see Fledge's face to know the other boy is flushing, Link's cheeks burning with sympathetic embarrassment. He can just make out Groose muttering something under his breath before Zelda steps on his foot to shush him.

Headmaster Gaepora moves aside so Fledge can stand in the center of the courtyard. Fledge's father leans in to whisper a quick word in his ear before moving to stand next to the headmaster, leaving Fledge alone. Fledge looks so small standing by himself, and Link's heart starts to pound with anticipation and fear, knowing that soon he'll be the one standing there, ready to call his Loftwing. Fledge doesn't pull out an instrument right away and Link is confused about how he intends to make the Call, he knows Fledge doesn't like to sing, when Fledge lifts his fingers to his mouth. The first whistle is a sharp burst of sound that lasts for several seconds before Fledge has to take a breath. Link holds his breath as well, silently urging the other boy on.

Fledge's performance of the Goddess' Lullaby is rough, and a few times Link struggles against a wince when the tune peters out so Fledge can take a breath. But even with his obvious lack of skill its oddly compelling, and very distinctly Fledge, managing to capture his awkward warmth and quiet compassion. When Fledge finally finishes and lowers his hand the last whistle seems to linger unnaturally long, a high pitched echo thrumming in Link's ears over a deep thrum of silence in the song's wake. The silence grows deeper as none of the villagers make so much as a sound, everyone waiting breathlessly to see how Fledge's Call will be answered.

Link looks up when he hears the heavy flapping, turns around just in time to see a brown Loftwing glide in from behind the Statue of the Goddess. It arrows straight for Fledge, who watches with wide eyes and a slack mouth. Link swallows around an unexpected swell of emotion, his throat and eyes burning, as the Loftwing gently touches down in front of Fledge. It folds its wings against its sides in a soft shushing sound. For a few moments Loftwing and boy stand completely still, staring at one another in silence, before the Loftwing stretches out its long neck and warbles gently. The sound is soft, a mark of youth that matches the edges of down still lingering along the Loftwing's throat and belly.

Fledge smiles, eyes clearly filling with tears , and raises a shaking hand, lips moving with words Link can't hear. The Loftwing pushes its head into Fledge's hand and Link didn't think it was possible but his smile only grows wider. From where Link is standing he can't hear the Loftwing's soft croon of greeting, but he can imagine it, the way Fledge must be able to feel the warm vibration through the soft feathers beneath his palm.

"A brown one, huh? A brown one might be good enough for Fledge, but mine's going to be black, I promise you that!" Groose's exclamation startles Link, so intent on watching Fledge meet his Loftwing. He shoots a look at the other boy just in time to see his mother smack him on the back of the head. Link hides his grin but judging from her answering smile, Zelda notices it.

Fledge makes no sign that he heard Groose, instead seems content to keep staring up at his Loftwing, fingers curling into the feathers on the bird's neck. His father eventually steps forward with a proud smile and coaxes Loftwing and boy to follow him off to the side of the courtyard. He leads them into portion of the landing that was roped off with blue ribbon, where the children will gather with their Loftwings under the watchful eye of their flight guides until it's time for their first flight.

Looking up, Link can see dozens of Loftwing bodies circling far above. His heart gives a traitorous thump as he wonders which one will answer his Call.

Strich is next and he makes his call with a small wooden whistle. His Call is somewhat stifled but he never stumbles, and Link ends up amazed at how few times he needs to draw breath. The Loftwing that responds to his call is vibrant green, and as much as he doesn't like Strich Link can't help but smile as the other boy greets his new companion. Groose is next and Link is surprised when he starts to sing. His voice is by no means beautiful, but it is oddly compelling in a coarse way. Link can only stifle a groan when the Loftwing that answers Groose's call is black as night. He just knows that Groose is going to be unbearable after this.

Link is practically dancing on the tips of his toes by the time Zelda is called forward by her father. He's forced to stillness when he feels a touch on his shoulder, and twisting around he sees Instructor Owlan looking at him with raised brows, his amusement clear. Flushing, it seems a day for it, Link turns back just as Zelda starts to sing.

Link stills, every inch of him held in a trance as Zelda's voice rings out, clear as a struck bell. He's heard her sing countless times, but he's never heard her sing like this. Listening to her, he can almost imagine the great battle in which the Goddess Hylia struck down the ancient evil that threatened her people, a shining beacon of hope and safety. At one point during Zelda's song he's forced to blink, unable to shake the sensation that she is actually glowing, that it's not in his imagination after all. Link is tempted to turn around and ask Instructor Owlan if he noticed it too, but decides not to. Zelda's hair is a bright blonde, with her standing out in the open like that it was probably just a trick of the sun.

He doesn't hear the Loftwing this time, is still enraptured by Zelda's song when the murmur amongst the rest of the villagers breaks into his awareness. He blinks when the sky-blue Loftwing appears out of the corner of his eyes and glides in to land in front of Zelda with a flutter of wings. She laughs and runs up to it before it manages to fold its wings, one hand reaching up. The Loftwing warbles and presses its beak into her hand, making soft rhythmic chirps.

She's moved on to stroking the bird's neck when her father approaches with a wide grin. He starts to usher Zelda and her Loftwing towards where the others are waiting, but Zelda pauses just long enough to turn and smile at Link, giving him a small thumbs up. Link manages to smile back, but it feels shaky, suddenly trembling from nerves and excitement. He's been waiting for this day for so long, and now that it's here he can't quite believe it.

Then Headmaster Gaepora is gesturing him forward, and Link steps away from Instructor Owlan on shaky legs, ignoring the disgruntled sound Cawlin makes behind him. He pulls out his flute and holds it in a white-knuckled, sweaty grip, clutching it to his chest by the time he comes to a stop in the center of the courtyard. Headmaster Gaepora settles a broad hand on his shoulder and squeezes gently. "You'll do fine, my boy. Simply let the Goddess flow through you." Then he's stepping back and Link is alone, heart thumping hard in his chest.

Link takes a deep, steadying breath and lifts the flute to his lips with shaking fingers. He's so excited he can barely breathe, can feel the massive shape of the Goddess looming behind him. All the nerves he hadn't felt before rush through him all at once, and for a moment he can't breathe, but then he remembers the sweet croon of welcome from his dreams and the soft brush of feathers against his face. He puts his lips to the smooth wood and takes another deep breath before blowing the first note. The sound is bright and sharp, just like it sounded in his room when he was practicing and after that it's easy to fall back on hours upon hours of practice. His fingers stop shaking as he shifts them along the shaft of the flute, his breath coming easy instead of catching in the back of his throat like had happened when he first started practicing. He knows what he's doing and he wants this more than anything he's ever wanted in his life, is sick of waiting, of being alone.

The last note slowly fades in his ears as he lowers the flute, lips buzzing and half numb from nerves and lack of air. He eagerly looks up at the sky, still breathless from playing, knowing that this time the Loftwing that shows up will have come for him. He can't take his eyes off the sky, tries to watch the great blue expanse all at once, wanting more than anything to catch the first glimpse of his Loftwing. It's almost more than he can bear, this last bit of waiting when he knows his Loftwing is coming, strong wing beats pushing it through the air as it finally answers the call they've both been waiting for.

He's facing the Goddess statue, thinking it might fly in from behind the way Fledge's had, when he hears a shout from behind him. Link turns in place, eyes searching the sky, frustrated that he didn't get to see the Loftwing first. The feeling doesn't last, is buried under a landslide of pure joy when he sees the bird angling in across the watching crowd. His first impression is bright crimson and wide wings as it comes in for a landing. Hours of lessons are forgotten as Link runs forward to meet it, grinning so hard his cheeks hurt. He buries his fingers in the crimson feathers scant seconds after the Loftwing lands, and Link laughs even as tears blur his vision.

The Loftwing, his Loftwing, croons a greeting, and Link can feel it against his palms, the warm body pressing close as the massive beak nuzzles his hair. He ends up pressing his face against the bird's neck, encouraged by the gentle nudge of a beak to get closer, to feel the rapid beat of its heart. As if from a distance Link can hear some kind of commotion, as if everyone is talking all at once, some even shouting, but it doesn't matter. He can't bring himself to care, not when he's finally met his other half.

He digs his fingers into the feathers, can feel the warm press of them against his face, and he knows the others are waiting, that its Cawlin's turn to receive the Goddess's gift and he needs to move. He needs to join the others and while he waits Instructor Owlan can show him how to mount his Loftwing without hurting himself or his companion. He needs to join the others, needs instruction because as much as he yearns to fly he doesn't know how. Not yet. And yet, he doesn't move because this is all he's been waiting for, and he can see it in his mind's eye how easy it will be, has dreamed of this over and over again and he is done with waiting.

Link steps back, just one step, enough to look up and meet the single golden eye turned in his direction, warm like sunlight. He holds the Loftwing's gaze and he smiles up at his new friend, his companion, feels his heartbeat pick up as the bird warbles and stretches its wings as if it knows exactly what he wants. As if it has been waiting for the exact same thing. There's more yelling behind him but Link ignores it, ducks under the outstretched wing and grips the crimson feathers with sweaty, shaky fingers. His legs are too short to make the climb in one easy jump, not without help, and before he even has a chance to hesitate the Loftwing bends its legs just enough for Link to scramble up on its back.

Link doesn't think about where he needs to put his feet or where he needs to grab, simply goes where instinct tells him and mimics the motion of the Loftwing's body as it bends, wings spread as it readies itself for flight. Link looks up over the curve of the bird's neck to see Headmaster Gaepora and Instructor Owlan staring at him in shock. He grins, can't help it, and he sees their eyes widen before the ground lurches away and the Loftwing pushes into the sky with several deep wing beats.

The sky opens up before them, the island falling away faster and faster, and Link lets out a whoop, wind and elation pulling tears from his eyes. It's so much better than his dreams, the warmth and strength of the Loftwing beneath him more vivid than anything he could imagine. Feet braced near the bird's legs and hands gripping slippery feathers where he can reach, Link slowly leans into a turn, unable to hold back another laugh as the Loftwing turns with him. They swoop and turn over Skyloft, every so often Link able to catch a glimpse of the rest of the village watching, can vaguely make out distant shouts over the sound of the wind in his ears.

They're turning around to fly back over Skyloft when Link sees a figure taking a running leap off a ledge, a sharp whistle cutting through the air. There's a swoop of yellow gold feathers and then man and Loftwing make a swift turn and head straight for them. For a wild second Link thinks about urging his bird away, isn't quite ready for his dream turned reality to end. But in the end he thinks better of it since he doesn't want to hurt his Loftwing, not to mention there's no telling how much trouble he's in for flying without instruction. Link winces at the thought.

Instead he urges his bird towards the other figure, blinking in surprise when he gets close enough to see that instead of looking angry or upset, Instructor Owlan is smiling. With a gesture that Link can't make out behind the bulk of his Loftwing, Instructor Owlan and his bird set to hovering in the air nearby, yellow gold wings flapping quickly.

"You're going to be quite the handful, aren't you Link?" Instructor Owlan says in a half-shout to be heard over the wind, his smile seeming to grow wider. Link isn't quite sure what to say, so he shrugs. If anything that seems to amuse Instructor Owlan even more and he shakes his head. "Why don't we head back down to the courtyard? I think everyone else would like the chance to meet your Loftwing." He casts an appraising glance at Link's Loftwing, wide crimson wings having easily shifted to mimic Instructor Owlan's Loftwing.

"Okay," Link calls back, and then they're angling back towards Skyloft, soaring over the buildings before flying up and over the walls of the courtyard. There's more shouting as they both come in for a landing, and Link can see them all staring, some pressing forward to get a better look. Then his Loftwing lands and Link is suddenly shaking again, enough so that he barely manages to slide off his Loftwing's back and land on his feet. He leans against the bird for support, so glad that he has this now, that he's not alone. The bird croons at him once more, and Link could swear that this time the bird sounds smug.

"Ho, Link!" Link turns to see Headmaster Gaepora coming towards him, Instructor Owlan with him, his own Loftwing taking flight behind him. Link sinks his hand into crimson feathers, heart in his throat as he waits for the adults to reach him. He's not expecting the Headmaster to beam down at him, smile so wide his eyes crinkle at the edges. "Well now Link, I certainly think you've made this Calling Ceremony one to remember, don't you think Owlan?"

Instructor Owlan nods, a smile still lingering at the corner of his mouth. "I never thought I would get to see a Crimson Loftwing in my lifetime." He turned to regard Link. "It's been ages since we've seen one, and we had thought they died out." His attention turns to the Loftwing, where its begun to run its beak through Link's hair. "Clearly the Goddess has something in mind for you, young Link, giving you such a rare companion."

Link is struggling with what to say, can't find the words to admit that he doesn't care what color his Loftwing is, when Zelda and the rest of the children come running up. Zelda pushes between her father and Instructor Owlan, eyes narrowed and lips tight in an expression that Link knows only too well. He flinches back even as Zelda leans in to glare at him, hands planted on her hips.

"What were you thinking, Link! Taking off without any instruction like that, you could have been hurt." She gestures at his Loftwing. "You could have hurt your Loftwing, and right after you two just met too."

Groose, standing nearby, scowls at him with his arms crossed over his chest. "It's not hard to believe, it's not as if Link has much going on in his head anyways." On either side of him, Cawlin and Strich nod agreement.

Link ignores them, is troubled by the look on Zelda's face. She looks hurt and a little bit frustrated, but Link doesn't understand what he did to make her look like that. It hadn't felt like he was taking that big a risk. "I'm sorry, Zelda," he mumbles. "I didn't mean to make you angry."

Headmaster Gaepora laughs, and with one hand draws Zelda against his side, looking down at her with fondness. "Ah, don't you worry Link, I think my daughter here is just jealous that you were the first one to ride your Loftwing. Isn't that right Zelda?"

To Link's surprise Zelda blushes and looks away. "I was worried about him," she insists, but still refuses to look at him.

Her father only laughs, and extends his arms. In a booming voice he says, "Now that our errant duo are back, I think we should continue the Calling. We still have a child who has yet to meet his gift from the Goddess."

With a hand on Link's shoulder, Instructor Owlan begins herding him and the other children towards the side of the courtyard, while the Headmaster moves to the center with Cawlin. His Loftwing stays by his side, looking back and forth with interest, gold eyes taking everything in. Once they're within the boundary marked off with the ribbon, Instructor Owlan draws Link to a stop. "I'm going to go grab us something to eat before we start working on the proper technique for flying." That smile from earlier returns, and Instructor Owlan continues, "Although I do believe you have more than proved your instinctive understanding of what's involved. Try to stay here until I get back, hmm?"

"I promise, sir." Link says quickly, echoed by the unhappy grumble of his empty stomach. That earns another half smile from the instructor, and then he heads off towards the food-laden tables.

When he turns back towards his Loftwing, still not quite able to grasp that his waiting is over, regardless of his surprise flight, he sees Zelda standing nearby, hands twisting in her skirt. She looks between him and his Loftwing, taking in the strong curve of the bird's neck, the vivid crimson of its feathers, a softer shade along its chest and neck. Over her shoulder Link can see her Loftwing watching her, and again he's taken back by how much it's feathers look like the sky.

"I was a little jealous," Zelda admits, voice quiet.

"That's okay, I think I would be too, if you'd gone first like I did."

Zelda's expression doesn't change. "What was it like, finally getting to fly?"

Link thinks of how glorious it was to finally feel the wind in his hair and can't contain his smile. "It was amazing. Everything I'd dreamed of, only better. You're going to love it more than anything."

Caught by his enthusiasm, Zelda grins back, just as bright. "Do you think so?"

Link nods without thinking. "Absolutely. I didn't even want to come back down. Not for ever and ever."

Zelda opens her mouth as if to speak, then flushes. She looks at him, then his Loftwing, and when she looks back at him her flush has faded, and she looks determined. "When its time, will you fly next to me?"

Link blinks in surprise and then manages a flush of his own. He nods before Zelda can become frustrated with his lack of response. "If you want, I'll always fly next to you. Promise."