Hi everyone…..bet you thought I had vanished from the face of the earth or something….but I'm still around! Someone added this story to their favorites and I realized that I haven't added the new and improved version here yet….so here it is =)
Since I got the idea for this story from watching the movie Enchanted, I thought I'd change the title to match a song from the movie….which I don't own…..neither do I own Zelda or Link or anything in their world *sigh*
An icy wind whistled around the crumbling remains of what had once been the chimney of a cozy tavern, warming travelers who stopped in for a hardy meal or townspeople who liked to unwind with a few laughs at the end of a long day of hard work. The lithe figure crouched behind the stones shivered, clamping her jaw tightly to keep her teeth from chattering as she waited for just the right moment to make her move. Teleportation was still new, and, if she failed to make it across the courtyard, the consequences could be dire, not only for herself, but for the countless innocents who had already lost so much. She closed her eyes, said a silent prayer to the Goddesses, and focused all her energy on the stone steps leading up to the Temple of Time. A sigh of relief escaped from her lips as her feet touched down just inches from the bottom step, a good distance from the paralyzing horrors of the nearest ReDeads.
As a child, sequestered behind the walls of her castle home, Zelda had dreamed of coming to the marketplace. She'd longed to see all the sights and sounds and smells and people not afforded to one whose very existence was monitored every hour of the day and night. Now, the moaning zombies and angry, churning sky overhead, added two more to the countless reminders of how much things had changed over the past seven years. As a child of ten, she'd been bored with her lessons in needlepoint and penmanship and had wished for more time to play outside. Now she spent hours training each day so that she would live to see another, working her well-toned muscles until they kept her awake at night, silently weeping from the pain until she succumbed to the numbness of sleep.
All these years spent in hiding, pretending to be a boy of shadows instead of a princess of light, Zelda had been waiting, though for what she did not know. In the early days after her kingdom had succumbed to the powers of evil, she had often asked her guardian, Impa, why all of this was happening. After awhile, however, when she had realized that there were no answers, she had stopped asking. She'd never given up hope that someday, something would happen to change the bleakness and tension of everyday life to which she'd become accustomed, and things would start to get better again. As she opened the doors to the temple and made her way across the stone floor with steps that echoed off the high walls, she hoped that day would come soon.
Entering the Chamber of Sages, a feeling of peace washed over the princess. For seven long years, Zelda had lived in chaos, and it was a relief to feel that, for the first time since she was ten years old, she was safe. Standing on a golden platform amidst water of an ethereal blue, was an old man, his white hair contrasting sharply with the crimson of his robes.
"Hello, Princess Zelda," he spoke.
"Hello," Zelda said, blinking at the surrealness of a voice that was not Impa's calling her by her real name. "Are you….you must be Rauru, the Sage of Light. Impa says you want to help us?" the princess asked, unwrapping the cowl and bandages that covered her face.
"I do indeed. I have been keeping track of you these past years, young Zelda, and the time has come for us to meet….and for you to begin your part in saving your kingdom, now that you have come of age." He smiled at her kindly. "I have summoned you, because there is something very important you must do, something that will give aid to the kingdom after seven years of strife. And only you, my dear, have what it takes to accomplish this task."
The princess looked at him in confusion. "What do you mean….how could…..why is it that this…..task…..had to wait so long?" Zelda could feel her frustration growing. "My people have been forced from their homes and have lived seven years in fear for their lives, and now, suddenly, there's this miraculous task only I can accomplish?" Her shoulders drooped, the fire gone out of her voice. "And what if I can't do it?" So many times, she had tried to thwart Ganondorf's terror over her people on her own, and each time, she had failed.
"My dear, what you must do is not complicated, but its timing is of utmost importance," the Sage said calmly. "It is one for which you would not have been prepared as a girl. Now, though, you are a young woman- seventeen years old. You are ready," he told her solemnly.
Though his tone unsettled her, Zelda could not prevent a small flame of hope from igniting inside her heart. She would do anything to save her people, even if it meant sacrificing her own life. A deep sigh, heavy with burdens that she could not avoid even in sleep, escaped from the princess' lips. "What do I have to do?" she asked the Sage.
Rauru could see the haunted desperation in her eyes, and knew she was expecting the worst. iSo much for a child to deal with alone/i. He had watched her these seven years, and was amazed at how much she had grown, not just in body and the sharpness of her mind, but in strength of spirit and determination. There was very little of the pampered child left in this young woman. "My dear….. it is time for the Hero to awaken."
Zelda stared at the man before her in stupefaction as a flush crept up her neck until she was bright red to the tips of her ears. iLink/i she thought, feeling the flicker of hope grow into a small but steady flame within her. She had wondered all these years if she would ever see him again. "And I…..that is the task for which I've been summoned?"
"Yes, Zelda," the portly sage answered, pleased at her reaction though he kept his expression neutral.
"But why me?" the princess asked, nervousness beginning to eclipse the initial shock. "Can't you wake him, since you're the one who did the spell in the first place?"
"Actually, Zelda I cannot," Rauru chuckled, amused at how flustered she had become, and even moreso by the haughty way in which she raised her eyebrow in response to his laughter. Still, he supposed he owed her an explanation. "The spell which the boy is under was not put there by me, but by the Goddesses themselves. You, child, are the only one who can break it."
"I've come a long way with my magic under Impa's instruction, but I'm still not an expert by any means. Why wouldn't the Goddesses choose someone with more power and experience?" What if something went wrong? What if she were the reason for Hyrule's further destruction? The flame within her all but extinguished as every worry and fear she'd faced these past seven years went through her mind.
The old Sage saw the concern in her eyes and said kindly, "Fear not, Princess Zelda; what you must do is very simple, and does not require magic at all; only that which is has been within you since the day you and young Link first met."
"What's that?" Zelda asked, her confusion and nervousness growing. "You're not going to make me guess, are you?" she said, giving him a hint of a smile.
The Sage returned it with one of his own. "No, Princess, I will tell you." He continued, "All you must do is place a kiss on the Hero's lips."
Zelda gasped, covering her mouth with her hand, and her pulse began racing. He wanted her to…..kiss…..Link? Or, rather, the Goddesses did? "What kind of spell…why would they….." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, remembering that this was for the good of Hyrule; her people were counting on her. When she opened them, she nodded. "All right….I'll do it," she said nervously, feeling as if an entire colony of butterflies had taken up residence in her stomach.
"Come with me, then" the Sage said, and Zelda followed him through a portal that led to another, smaller chamber, which was lit by two flickering torches mounted on the wall. In the middle of the room was a golden slab, and on it lay the slumbering Hero of Time.
Link's clothes were almost identical to what he'd worn the last time Zelda had seen him, when she'd thrown him the Ocarina of Time while fleeing the castle with Impa seven years ago. To say that he had grown was an understatement. As a child, he'd been shorter than the princess; now she guessed him to be a good six inches taller. The round cheeks and chubby hands of childhood had given way to the sharp, rugged angles and long fingers of a man.
He was absolutely beautiful.
Zelda stood over the Hero, looking him over head to toe, marveling at how he had developed muscles in his arms and legs when he'd been asleep all those years. Only the Goddesses themselves could accomplish such a feat. Nice job, ladies, she thought as a smile spread over her lips.
Rauru stood to the side, waiting patiently for the princess to gather her courage and take action. Zelda reached down and took Link's hand in hers, feeling the warmth of his palm and the faint pulse at the base of his thumb. She swallowed nervously, then quickly unwrapped the remaining bandages around her head, letting her long hair flow out in golden waves-if she was going to do this, she wanted to at least look like a girl. Finally, the Princess took a deep breath and leaned down, closing her eyes a split second before her lips made contact with his.
Almost immediately, the Hero began to stir, Rauru quickly pulled her back into the Chamber of Sages. "You have done well, Princess. The Goddesses thank you, and so do I."
Zelda took several moments to respond, still touching her lips where they tingled from touching Link's. "But why would they use a…kiss," she said, feeling herself blush deeply at the word, "to break a spell? And why did they choose me?" She quickly rewrapped her head, grateful when the bandages once again covered her heated face.
"The Goddesses see inside each of us to our deepest core. They know all that is in our hearts and minds. They know you, Zelda, even better then you know yourself." She looked at him in confusion and he attempted to clarify, "Seven years ago, two children met in a courtyard, and a seed was planted. Just like those children, the seed has grown all these years, and will continue to do so if it is nourished. You are not yet able to fathom the Goddesses' true purpose for the planting of this seed, or your role in the Hero's awakening, but a day will come when you do, and I am sure it shall be one of something so great that it cannot even be described.
"Do you have to talk in riddles? You're even more confusing than Impa!"
The ancient Sage gave the princess an encouraging smile. "Have patience, young Zelda, and faith- lots of faith. All you have learned these seven years will come into play very soon. The Hero will need you, and you will aid him in many ways on his journey." He sighed, then said, "He is almost fully awake now; I must speak with him, and you must go back to the Temple of Time and wait for him."
"Wait for him?" Zelda asked, simultaneously confused and excited. I'm going to get to see him awake?
"Yes. Another thing which the Goddesses ask is that you serve as a guide to young Link as he ventures forth in an effort to save the kingdom. You will remain in disguise as Sheik, and have him believe you are a young Sheikah boy at all times. You must never let him know who you really are, or Ganondorf could become aware of your whereabouts and….." he trailed off, shaking his head. The Sage gave her a look that was stern, yet Zelda sensed this was more out of concern than anger. "Promise me that, Princess."
"I promise," she said, afraid herself of what could happen if her true identity was revealed. "He'll never know," Zelda said, softer, in a voice that held a tinge of sadness.
Rauru quickly told Zelda of the information she must give Link when she met him, telling her to return to the Chamber after doing so, before rushing the princess off to the Temple of Time. There she waited, perched high on a windowsill, until the Hero was brought down through a beam of light. She felt a thrill of joy race through her heart, watching as he examined his new, larger, hands and feet, listening to the high-pitched monologue of his fairy. The princess could tell that while he listened to every word from the tiny ball of blue light, Link was becoming antsy, and she fought to repress a giggle at the fairy's obliviousness to this. Finally, she heard him sigh in relief as the fairy moved aside and he turned to leave, and Zelda knew it was time to make her move. She silently teleported down to the platform near the Master Sword's pedestal and simply stood, waiting for him to become aware of her presence just as Impa had taught her.
When he turned, sword drawn, she spoke, being careful to disguise her voice and speak in a lower register, though hearing the words through the bandages covering her ears made it difficult to know whether or not she was convincing. "I've been waiting for you, Hero of Time…."
After telling Link of the Temples and their locations, Zelda transported herself back to the Chamber of Sages, seeking answers beyond what she had learned before, her heart still fluttering and the blush in her cheeks yet to cool after seeing, talking to, standing close enough to Link that she could see that his eyes were even more blue than she remembered.
"Princess, you have done well," Rauru told her. "You are free to go back to the village for now. I will let you know when next you are needed. When you are summoned, you must come quickly, as you did today. Time is of utmost importance in providing the Hero with the information he will need on his quest."
"Yes, Rauru," Zelda said, bobbing her head in deference. "I will do that. I will do anything that will help him to restore peace to my kingdom." Our kingdom she thought inside her head but did not say aloud.
"Princess, your willingness to help is pleasing to the Goddesses, I am sure. You are a child of destiny; someday that which resides deep in your heart will come to pass. Go now; serve your kingdom in the way of your patron goddess, Nayru."
Zelda nodded, feeling a lump form in her throat. She hated the thought of leaving after such a short time; abandoning this….now-man, whose very life had changed hers irrevocably, and the peace and safety of this sacred place, for the uncertain outside world in which death, destruction, and loneliness were the norm. "Goodbye Link," she whispered as she left the Chamber of Sages, a tear running down to wet her cowl. I miss you already.
Back in the Temple of Time, Zelda paused to collect herself, trying to refocus her thoughts and energy on getting back safely to her hiding place in Kakariko. She put aside her feelings about the kiss, her first ever, and what a handsome young man the Hero of Time had grown into these past seven years. When her eyes were clear and her heart was calm, she began the intensive task of once again teleporting herself back to the cool, damp cave that had been her home these seven years past.
Weeks later, the Princess returned to the cave after another opportunity to see and guide the Hero of Time, stalking past Impa into the makeshift room which, on a good day, made her long for the comforts of her castle suite.
Today was far from good.
She wished desperately for some way to take out her frustration; a door to slam, a pot to throw, anything that would allow her an outlet for the turmoil she felt inside. The room, however, was almost bare, with only the princess' rumpled bedroll pushed into one small corner. Zelda lay down on it, curling up underneath her blanket in an attempt to hide the sound of the tears she could no longer hold back. Impa, however, had ears like a cat, and soon came to investigate.
"Princess, what is wrong?" she asked from the doorway.
"I don't know how much longer I can take this," Zelda said between small gasping breaths, her head still covered. "I want to help Hyrule to become strong again, but…sometimes I don't think I can stand it for another minute!"
The older woman sighed. "It's unlike you to be so pessimistic, especially now, with the Hero awakened and….."
"I love him," Zelda said softly, raising her head to look up at her guardian with a look that was at once defiant but also pled for understanding.
Impa crossed the room and knelt beside her young charge, stroking her back gently as she sighed, "I know you do, my dear."
Zelda looked up at her in amazement, her blue eyes shiny with unshed tears. "You….do?" she asked, surprised and slightly embarrassed.
The Sheikah gave a low laugh. "Oh, Zelda, I've seen this coming since the first time you met in the castle courtyard."
"You….don't think I'm just being silly?"
"No," Impa said softly, her hand making slow circles now. "I really don't. I know you, my princess, and I know that you will endure until Hyrule is safe. But you are also a young woman, with a young woman's heart, and it's understandable that you would get discouraged at times."
Her nursemaid's gentle tone was Zelda's undoing. She threw herself in the Sheikah's arms and began sobbing. "I saw him again today…and I had to say something or I was afraid my heart would explode. I told him that 'young love will turn to deep affection,' because it's the only way I can let him know because I have to be this," she said, indicating the Sheikah clothing she wore, which disguised the fact that she was even female.
"My darling, you are very brave and you are doing a good thing for your kingdom," Impa said, placing a kiss on top of the princess' unbound hair. "I am sure that someday, when this is all over, you will be rewarded for all that you have done."
Much later, in what some would even call a different time, the princess lay with eyes closed, though she was not asleep. She felt an arm reach out and pull her in tightly, and snuggled close.
"Rupee for your thoughts?" he spoke softly, and she could feel the rumble of his voice coupled with the beat of his heart as her head lay on his chest.
"I was just….remembering," Zelda said, turning her head so that she was looking into the eyes she loved so much. "Do you remember when you woke after sleeping for seven years?"
Link smiled, lovingly stroking her arm. "What made you think of that?"
"Well, after I kissed you," she said, reaching up to do so, "Rauru told me that the Goddesses were pleased with me, and that someday I would understand their purpose in getting me to wake you like that. And, he said that on that day," she reached up to run a finger over his lips, "That it would be….how did he say it…. 'something so great it cannot be described.' I think maybe today might be the day he was talking about."
"So, you think this was…..their gift to us, for saving Hyrule?"
"Yes," she said, softly running her nails down his chest. "I do."
Link smiled, remembering a few hours earlier when she'd said those words, and he'd said them back to her, and he thought of the gifts brought by those who had witnessed their union….and the most precious of all gifts, which they had given to each other.
They lay there quietly, thankful for all of these, after all the time they'd suffered, had been apart, and had then lived those seven years all over again.
But the Goddesses were not through with them yet. For that night, another gift had been bestowed on the soon-to-be king and queen. Deep within the princess, inside her very core, wisdom and courage fused, and a Triforce so tiny it could not yet be detected, began to glow, with two pieces alight.