Forever - Part 11

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The princess opened her eyes to the glowing blue room, the soft bed feeling wonderful to her aching body. She sighed, not realizing where she was or what had happened, dazedly lifting her left hand in front of her as she had come so accustomed to doing, even though, to her memory, it had only been a few days since she had received it. A sick feeling instantly took over, the ring Link had given her, it was gone!

She sat up quickly, looking around at the dark room that enveloped her. The Chamber of the Sages, but how? The thought occurred to her for only a moment until she saw six figures asleep on the floor under individual piles of blankets. Where was Link? Was he all right? Her heart seemed to quicken at the thought of the terrible fate her lover might have met, or the mortal danger he could be in if he was still out there. But then her heart sank. Had he made it back to his time?
The tears came suddenly and fiercely. He could be gone forever, and she had lost the only thing she had to remember him by. She freely let the tears rush down her face, crying softly as she sat. Her mind was garbled, she was confused about what had happened, how she had gotten there, what she was doing there, and what had become of her hero, knowing that the only thing that could possibly reconcile her was his soft embrace and gentle words of assurance that now seemed oh so distant.
“Zelda?” The princess jumped when she heard the voice, immediately trying to wipe away her tears with her hands. “You're awake? Are you all right?” She turned toward the voice and was surprised to see Ruto approaching her.   
“Ruto? What am I…what am I doing here? What's going on?”
“To make a long story short…” The Zora sat down on the bed beside her, speaking in a whisper, “You were found under the ruins of the Temple of Time after much searching, and Impa was then ordered to bring you here for protection…”
“Protection? From what?” Zelda asked nervously, already knowing the answer.
“You know what.” The princess looked up at the words, shocked at how Ruto seemed to be able to read her. “All right, Princess, it's time to come clean. You've already doomed this country, so I think it's time you at least tell us why.”
Zelda was at a loss for words and simply stared. “Zelda,” Ruto began again, “Is the Hero of Time…here?”
“What…do you mean?” She stammered, gripping the hand where her ring had once been in search of some type of comfort.
“You know what I mean. Is he here in this world? Did he not close the Door?”
“Oh…I uh…no…I don't know…” She laced her fingers together, reddening and becoming sick with nerves, her eyes firmly fixed on her fingertips.
“Impa found the ring.” She stated bluntly after a moment, cringing at her own words.
“Where is she!” Zelda straitened frantically, “Did she take it? I must have it back!”
“She left earlier to show it to your father. We know, Zelda, we know who gave it to you. It's time to fess up.” She spoke coolly, trying to keep her face expressionless as to not show any of the sympathy that was engulfing her.
“What!? Father will blame this entire happening on him, you know that as well as I!!” Zelda was shaken and near tears again.
Ruto bit her lip, “I'm sorry…I know that you love him, but think about it: are your feelings for one another really worth the thousands of innocent lives that have already been destroyed in this war?”   
“That's right, your two's little secret affair basically sent this country crumbling to its death. The people will not stop fighting amongst themselves, leaving Ganon free to do as he wishes as he builds his empire in secrecy.”
“Where was Link! If it was the middle of a war and if he remained in this time, than he was surely in grave danger!” Her mind was still flashing to the young soldier who had pledged his heart to her, while Ruto spoke once more. “So it is best that you do as Impa and the others say, and right now I suggest that you get some rest and try to forget about you-know-who.” With that she stood and headed back toward her blankets. “I'm sorry, I really am...I just wanted to give you a heads up on what's going on before Impa came back…I'm sorry about your ring, I'm sorry about everything…”
Zelda nodded, still in shock, lying back to her covers in a worried stupor. “Forget about him? Forget about the man who had saved her from sure death along with this entire world?” Her mind began to wander-- to do exactly the opposite of what Ruto had asked of her.
There I stood in front of the man who had just saved my life, garbed in a silken white gown, feeling the wind blowing gently through my bright golden hair. I was nervous, afraid as a lost child. His blond hair was wild and free, yet still looked handsome and well-kempt, falling just slightly below his ears. His deep, sapphire eyes were piercing and strong, yet reflected a kindness and warmth that seemed to melt away all of my fears. He was scarred and worn from battle, his body powerful and resilient, sculpted from perilous journeys. The deep green tunic he wore was soft and oh, so inviting…I wanted to simply bury my head deep within it, against that endlessly powerful chest. I had to fight myself from running into his arms and begging for his touch like a homeless person for food…telling myself ‘no' just like a mother scolding a child…
Suddenly as a flash of lightning, a shock ran through my body, and I felt myself jump. Gentle fingers had touched themselves to my cheek. They were hesitating, and I felt myself look up at him, meeting his eyes. My breathing was suddenly shallow, and my heart was pounding like the waves on a turbulent shore. Every pore in my being was electrified, and I knew one thing: I did not want him to stop. I managed a slight smile, which told him to continue.  

I felt blood rushing to my cheek as quickly as a flood…his hand felt rough and calloused, used to endless hours of battle and swordplay. Yet his touch was incredibly gentle, almost an intangible softness. I inhaled shakily, losing my strength as I felt his fingers stroke and caress my cheek…I tried to relax, I tried as hard as my being would allow…I knew from the depths of my soul that those fingers would never harm me, never bring me anything but bliss, but my body refused to listen… I let the breath out slowly, trying to at least keep my sanity as his fingers pushed toward my ear, slipping through my hair as easily as the wind…

… “Zelda…” A shiver coursed through me as I heard his voice… it was with a kind and assuring tone, yet strong like the towering mountains and just as gentle as his touch…he looked at me with warm and wise eyes as he spoke… “I love you.”

Both my body and mind froze like the ends of the earth at his words. It took a moment for my mind to comprehend what he had said…but when it finally sank in, my stupor was replaced with the most indescribable joy in the world. It is truly amazing how those simple three words can instantly take one to Heaven. It was a long and silent moment before I finally remembered the man only a few feet away from me. I looked up at him, I could see in his eyes that he was nervous, worried…his fingers had left my face, and were now fidgeting at his sides. “Link…” I forced myself to speak, watching him stiffen as I spoke, readying myself to reply. I breathed out slowly, responding in a whisper… “I…I love you…too.”

This time it was he who fell silent, and we stood together quietly for what seemed hours. I let my mind wander, but before I knew it I was shocked to reality again-- or was it reality? This was a dream come true. I felt my body shiver and warm with delight as powerful arms crept about me, pulling me closer…closer… until I felt his warm breath against me and his body gently pressing against mine. Our noses were nearly touching…my body was weak with pleasure, and I could barely breathe, still, my nerves were intense and I wasn't sure what would happen next.

I could hear his breathing as he held me, and I noticed that he too was breathing quickly and shallowly. He was nervous too. His fingers carefully lifted my chin just slightly, so that I was looking straight into his sapphire eyes. It was difficult, but I held the gaze, his fingers almost intangibly lingering below my chin, keeping me facing him. The immense love his eyes reflected was almost too much to bear, and I knew then that he had been bottling up just as much emotion as I had been. What I also saw in that gaze was passion… flaming passion that hungered for my lips. He seemed to be asking wordlessly if I would allow him a taste…and after a moment I could tell that he had his answer.

I closed my eyes, my body nearly pulsating with fervor. After a moment I felt his lips touch mine, and at that moment I touched Heaven. It was a little awkward at first, but in a moment we found it natural as the rain. His lips started off touching mine very lightly, but he carefully, gradually pressed more firmly. His tongue soon licked at my lips, my teeth…nearly unconsciously I let him slip easily inside my mouth, my tongue eagerly greeting his. I let myself begin moaning softly, so quietly that I knew that he was the only one who would ever hear…

…he let his tongue play with mine for a bit, but after a moment I felt him move one of his hands behind my head and adjust his hold upon me.  Suddenly and unexpectedly I felt him press harder, bending my head back further and nearly sweeping me off my feet. This let him plunge deep into my mouth, and I heard him growl richly and quietly from deep within his throat as he set about his exploration.

I held my arms around his neck as he kissed me in an attempt to support myself a bit more, but I knew his firm hold would never let me go. His fingers pressed my head firmly to his lips, so I let my muscles relax completely, letting myself fall completely under his control…
…Once he was finished, he slowly let me regain a standing position. I was stupefied, and we both just stood there for a moment. What had just happened…was going to make what I had to do now so much harder.

Zelda shook herself from her trance-like state, not wanting to remember any further. But he…was so adamant that they were going to be able to stay together forever…he'd never be cast out of her world so easily. On that same day they had professed their love for one another, Link had assured her of that…and she trusted him with all her heart--she knew that he would never break his promise to her.
“No”, she thought, “he mustn't have left.” For some reason she felt that he was still in this time, his powerful hand ready to guide her through any darkness that might come… “I trust you, Link, and I know you would never leave me.”
“Father.” It donned on her suddenly and she stiffened, her eyes opening. “He would kill him. He would torture and maim her lover until he was of no more! She had to help. She had to find him. He was out there, and it was her duty to find him. She sat up slowly, looking cautiously at the Sages for a moment. They all seemed fast asleep.
The princess nodded to herself, silently making the decision as she stood at the edge of her bed, and stretched her arms above her head. She sighed and took a deep breath, after a moment looking up toward the sky and beginning to mouth something to herself.
Suddenly a green circular light began to form in the middle of her hands…she held it for a moment as it grew larger, and then, with a final deep breath, she threw it to the floor. Without a sound the lime green light exploded, engulfing her…and then faded away. She was gone.
His feet crunched under the leaves as he stepped into the dimly lit forest, shivering in the cold night air. Coughing, he stumbled against a tree and leant into it. He thought for a moment about his next move: should he go and attempt to wake the children? Or wait till daybreak and speak with one of them then? After a while his mind drifted back to his beloved princess, and worry began to cloud his mind. He hid his face closer to the rough tree bark as he felt hot tears forming in his eyes. Zelda…unconsciously he soon laced his fingers together, pressing them against the bark in prayer. Please… let her be alright…
Minutes later, a young boy's shriek broke the silence. “Ahh!! An intruder has come to attack Kokiri Forest!! You guys, tell the Deku Tree!!”
“Roger!” A couple more young children shouted back to him in reply, making Link jump as they began to sprint through the leaves towards the Deku Tree's garden.
“Stop it!” A girl ran from a nearby house and grabbed the two as they ran, stopping them in their tracks. “How do you guys know he's up to no good?! Look at him, he even seems injured! You need to learn some manners!” Link examined her as best he could through the darkness, vaguely recognizing her as the girl who had spoken to Zelda on the night of Saria's sleepover. That seems so long ago… His mind trailed off for a moment until one of the boys spoke up.
“Don't blame us, Hara! We're just following Mido's orders!” The girl rolled her eyes and looked towards a tree near her home, where she saw yet another boy quickly flash behind it.
“Mido,” she scoffed, “go away…let me handle this…”
She released the two Kokiri-- who then frantically ran away as their apparent boss mumbled obscenities and stomped into a cabin not far from where Link and Hara were. She then turned to the soldier. “Sorry about that, Mido's always causing trouble…it really wasn't those boys' fault, it's just that most of the Kokiri are either too afraid to defy Mido or find him cool and want to be like him. I'm really sorry…” Link nodded, placing a hand to his forehead once more in another sharp bout of pain. “That injury looks pretty severe…you can come in and rest awhile at my place if you'd like…”
“That'd…be great…” He spoke through grit teeth as the pain seared his skull, the girl taking him by his wrist and leading him to her cabin.
“I hope you don't mind me asking,” She said after a moment as they walked, “but were you praying over there? I was watching you from my window…you seemed pretty upset about something.”
“Um…yes, but…” his breath seethed, “it's no big deal…”
“Whatever you say…” She looked at him skeptically for a moment before opening the door to a small, cozy cabin. “You know, you seem really familiar…like I know you from somewhere.”  
Link thought for a moment about whether or not he should tell her who he really was, looking at the floor as she led him to sit down on a bed. “No…I…don't think we've met…” He decided to keep his identity a secret, at least for the time being.
“Ah, well, I'm Hara. You just look really familiar to this kid I met a long time ago… but you can't be him, because he was a Kokiri. We stop growing at the age of ten, you know…which you certainly didn't.” She stopped and examined his powerful body. “You…could probably crush me with your thumb.” She stared in awe for a moment and then shook herself out of it, “So…” she changed the subject, glancing at Link's hands. “Are you married? Do you have kids or anything?”
The question struck him odd, making him stare into space for a moment. “No,” He replied, forcing himself out of the trance-like state, “Though I'd love to settle down and maybe start a family…but…” He hid his face in his hands for a moment.
“…But what? What's wrong?” The girl looked on at him with concern as she poured some soup from a kettle that hung over the fire into a bowl.
“Well…to be honest, there's only one person in the entire world whom I would ever wed…”
“What's her name?” Hara spoke suddenly, immediately intrigued.
“…um…” Link thought for a moment, “…Cecilia.”
“Whoa.” She froze for a second, nearly dropping the soup. “I knew a girl from Kakariko whose name was Cecilia…and the really creepy part is,” Her eyes grew wide, “she liked this guy who reminds me a lot of you…his name was Link, but I haven't seen him in years. I'd only just met Cecilia, but I remember her well because she and that Link guy kissed in front of us all…” Link couldn't help but smile to himself at her words. “What?” She looked at him curiously.       
“Oh, nothing…” He tried to hide his grin, “it just sounds kind of unusual…10-year-olds kissing, I mean.”
“Yeah, I guess that's why I remember them so well.” She held the soup out to him, and he took it gratefully.
“Thank you. I haven't eaten in awhile…” He took a spoonful, enjoying it thoroughly.
“You're welcome…” She blushed, looking satisfied, “I made it myself.” She then sat down on a wooden chair and raised her eyebrows, “So…why don't you marry this Cecilia girl? Did you get turned down or something?”
“No,” Link closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.
“Then why not? Are you too afraid to ask her?”
“I asked her…”
“So if she didn't turn you down, and you asked her…then, buddy, I don't know if you know this or not but…you're engaged.” Hara looked at the soldier as if he were retarded.
“I know that. It's not her that's keeping us from marrying…I um…I don't want to talk about it anymore…” He sighed, opening his eyes and turning to look at the Kokiri girl.
“Alright, alright! Sorry…it's not my place to be prodding around in your love life…so how about we see if we can do anything about those injuries?”
“Sounds good to me,” Link replied, standing and handing the empty bowl to Hara.
“Ok,” She too stood, “hey, I don't believe I've asked you your name…”
“Um…” He bit his lip.
“Don't worry about it.” She smiled, giving him a slight wink.

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