Legend Of Zelda Fan Fiction ❯ The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 ❯ Open Your Eyes ( Chapter 7 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

Author's Note: The between paragraphs represents a change from first to third person and vice versa.

Chapter Seven

Yeah, my feet are done. What happened with Zelda? What do you think happened with Zelda? After kissing for a little while longer, Impa broke us apart. I'm not going to even bother going into detail about the next five years. I'm working with enough problems as it is. I'm sick of walking through those happy times only to come back to this sham of a reality. So, in a nutshell, Impa kept Zelda and me on a strictly friendship level. Everywhere we went, she went. Two years later, when we were of age as Impa called it, we were left to our own devices. Needless to say, two touchy-feely teenagers' devices allowed us to experience sex for the first time.

From that first night, I made it my new mission to keep her sexually satisfied. Every grunt of "harder," I obeyed. Every moan of "faster," I diligently tried to meet. Why do I sound so bitter about that? Are you stupid? Look, look, I'm sorry that didn't come out right. Think about it, though. I was in some unknown state of happiness just holding her hand. And then to make love… when we were like that, I can't even begin to describe how good I felt about everything. It felt good to live, where as it was a chore before.

Hearing her scream my name, pull my hair, and writhe in absolute delight because of my dick will probably remain the peak experiences of my life. Now I have to wake up every single day knowing I will never get to experience that joy again, because he's there. How could I be happy remembering that? Remembering it'll be his name she's screaming, and his hair she's pulling and his… I can't even say it for fear of vomiting. Let me get my Gerudo Pass, which Nabooru so kindly granted me, since I know they'll be checking for it. Might as well get started, maybe we can reach the colossus before daybreak.

I'll speak with you later.

Link, ex-Hero of Time, removes a small piece of fabric from his saddlebag. The fabric is in fact a brown cloak, hooded to protect him from the harsh sandstorms the Haunted Wasteland is known for. Checking his boots and properly adjusting his cloak, Link begins his arduous journey into the unknown, a place he knows all too well. The sound of his boots is amplified by the hardened stone walls on either side of the bridge, though, muted by the rushing waterfall to his far right.

"Halt!" a guard shouts, her voice bold, though, obviously young. She stands before a small gate on the bridge, unfazed by the height and hollowing winds whipping her flaming red hair like a proudly raised battle flag.

Link, however, continues to walk at the same speed, slowing down only to flash the guard the pass dangling from his left wrist. Under the moon's light, she recognized it as one of her tribe's, a gift only granted to individuals skilled enough to survive their tests. The large hump on Link's shoulder and back left her wondering how he accomplished such a feat, as his familiar face had been obscured by the deep shadow of his hood. The guard sighed, leaning back against the little gate and digging in for another long summer's night.

Further inside the Gerudo grounds, Link said to himself, "I haven't done archery here in ages."

He didn't have a horse, but figured renting one out for a game or two wouldn't tap his resources too heavily. Link gave little notice to the lack of guards patrolling the interior grounds and began to walk up the incline towards the track. It had been a long while since he'd last been in the valley. Zelda's pick up in social gatherings, and expectations of him to attend had kept him preoccupied for far too long, especially since Zelda wasn't even his girlfriend to keep company. He stopped to think about that a little longer.

"Kept me away?" He lifted an eyebrow at how foreign that sounded. "It wasn't like I've been itching to get back here," Link mused of his confusion, feeling an odd twinge of emotion surge that had long since been buried.

Walking over to the area where the game attendant usually stood until the wee hours of the morning, Link found a sleeping Gerudo. The usual horse that stood watch with her was strangely absent as well. Link thought to wake her and question the changes before noticing a green piece of tattered cloth wrapped around the woman's wrist. Upon further inspection it became clear that she was…"Nabooru?" Link whispered in amazement.

He silently reached into his bag to retrieve his spare cloak, as Nabooru showed the obvious signs of a woman chilled to the bone. Link laid the plush garment over Nabooru's body, smiling a little as her brow unwrinkled and she fully submersed in the warmth. History told him her pride would not allow him to do such a thing if she was awake, so he decided against waking her. For a moment longer, he stood there watching her sleep, a sort of calm developing inside of him.

"Goodbye, Nabooru," he whispered, heading back down the hill towards the desert. Its better this way, Link kept thinking. No one else would be hurt by his departure, and no one else's sorrowful face would be etched in his mind. Walking back into the main ground, Link's downcast eyes missed a stray Gerudo guard wandering into his path.

"Watch where you're going," the young woman shouted.

Link's eyes immediately shot up to see a girl about the age of 12, if he had to guess, brandishing a bladed staff now known as a lance.

"Sorry," he mumbled, attempting to walk around her.

"Halt!" the persistent girl shouted.

"Look, I have a pass," Link replied with a little thunder, drawing a few more watchful eyes out of the shadows.

The girl just laughed at him. "As a Gerudo Guard, I have the right to challenge you to prove your skills and rightful ownership of that pass." Her arrogance only furthered looking at Link's slightly wilted form. This was going to be an easy battle, but for whom?

"Challenge me to…" Before he finished his question, the girl had smashed his jaw with the weapon.

"A fight to the death," the child finished, still looking full of herself and her skills. A few other guards began to assemble hearing her shout earlier and now a show was about to begin in their eyes.

Link remained silent while trying to douse the flames of his temper, but the boastful guard wouldn't allow for that.

"Look girls, I think I hurt the little man's feelings." Her haughty cackle filled the cool night air, seeming to echo in his mind like the stench of a spoiled fish. Unknown to the girl, her words were writing a potentially lethal price on her head.

The other women's laughter ended the moment they heard Link's heavy bag hit the ground. Of course, the inexperienced young lady in front of him paid it no mind-that is until he stood fully upright. Five-foot ten inches wasn't an amazing height, but it dwarfed her to the point that he looked intimidating. Link's cloak followed to a few gasps, as those who kept their eyes and ears open knew of him. And what they knew of him said, "Don't push him, because when Link pushes back people have a tendency to stop breathing."

"Have it your way." He met eyes with the frightened girl, a look that made her unconsciously shake. Link unsheathed the Great Fairy Sword and took up his Hylian Mirror shield, and then fell into that familiar battle stance.

The Gerudo who didn't know Link began to cheer for the younger warrior.

"Fancy weapons," the girl said shakily, trying to talk her bravado back into place. "They'll be mine after you're dead!" She lunged for him, taking a wild swing at his face. Link merely adjusted his shield deflecting the strike. It didn't dent her confidence, so she tried again.

Somewhere between her shoddy technique and over-extending attacks, Link saw himself within the child.

Look at her, he thought sadly. She doesn't even realize she's throwing away her childhood. She'll waste years fighting for one goal, and, in the end, she'll realize it's pointless! The people you risked your life for, the real person you risked your life for, won't care. They'll just keep you around for a few years and then take up residence with some fancy king. Then you'll be left to carry on with one back up plan, run… or die?

Link's mental conversation didn't interrupt his parrying of the little girl's attacks, but he did reach an answer. He dropped his sword and shield into the dirt without a word to everyone's shock. The young woman briefly stopped to say, "Ha! Every Gerudo knows not to fall for that trick!"

A swift whoosh left the blunt end of her weapon implanted in his stomach. Link simply smiled feeling the fresh pain outweigh his emotional troubles. Again she hit him, time after time, blow after painful blow, yet he stood tall, acknowledging the pain only as a welcomed comfort. It impressed some, frightened others, but they'd never seen someone take so much abuse without losing consciousness or even crying out. The cheering slowly subsided, as it became blatantly obvious that one so strong could dispatch their fellow sister with ease.

"You know, I think I'll hold off on killing you right away. This will teach you never to claim to be a Gerudo and to never doubt our skills!" the girl shrilled, smashing the dull end of the object into Link's face. A few trickles of blood ran from his nose, and his right eye had begun to get puffy-minor injuries considering the beating he was taking.

Still, Link didn't understand why she hadn't just staked him yet. It was almost like she wanted him to suffer, just like Zelda and the damn goddesses. While the girl sauntered around Link, playing up the crowd and hitting him at her leisure, he looked at the surrounding faces. All of them were identical, except for the expressions each wore. Some of the women looked like they were truly enjoying watching a Gerudo Warrior defeat such a prominent looking male, while the ones he partially knew looked at him as if to say, "Why are you doing this to yourself?" He didn't have an answer other than, "If I'm not the hero and I'm not Zelda's boyfriend, who am I?"

"Link!" one of the guards shouted before leaving in disgust.

His own name sounded foreign. Link let his name dance around his mind for a few moments longer, ignoring the girl's constant strikes as the query of who he was seemed more real.

Can I ever be just Link? He thought stoically. I can't do anything but make soap and fight. He continued to think, watching the little girl's motions with an expert's eye. The sloppiness in her form annoyed him, even as she landed a square shot across the bridge of his nose, and broke his tough skin. God, has she ever heard of covering up her left side? She just leaves it completely open. And give me a break, if she held that staff any looser the wind could take it away from her. How is she even standing with that awkward gate? Hell, someone with half a lick of sense could easily kill her… The critical examination ended right there. The same flaws in the Gerudo of past were in the Gerudo of present-and now they looked to get this girl killed.

"Enough," Link shouted, the first noise he'd made since it all began.

The women all jumped at the sudden boom of his voice, except one and she saw fit to push some buttons.

"Awe, gonna beg for your life now?" his young adversary asked, this time thrusting the sharp end for his head.

"No," Link replied calmly, catching the wooden part of the staff before the blade could make contact. "I'm going to save yours."

On the last word, he jabbed the lance into the girl's gut, causing her to cry out in pain. Without even a moment to react, Link thrust it into her gut again. Instinctively, the little warrior tightened her hands around the staff, trying desperately to ensure he wouldn't hit her in the stomach again. Bad move, kid, Link thought idly, pulling her forward and smashing his knee into her with a force that made the child gag. She screamed when he did it again, before receiving more compassion than anyone expected her to get.

"I guess you've had enough," Link said lightly, though his voice sounded harsh and unfeeling. Drawing his left hand back, he socked her right in the jaw. The girl went spiraling to the ground, too exhausted and hurt to make a comeback it would seem. What she may have lacked in size she more than made up for in pure determination, Link soon realized, watching her roll over to face him.

"Well?" she asked, near demanded of her fate.

"Well what?" Link replied, rolling his eyes until they landed on her fallen frame.

"Finish me! It was a fight to the death, I lost so I die!" she shouted, trying to scream her way through her tears.

"I'm not going to kill you…" Link attempted to explain himself only to be cut off.

"What, you think I'm afraid to die because I'm a girl? I am a warrior and warriors don't fear death…"

Her voice quieted as Link's face twisted in anger. "Not fearing death doesn't make you a warrior. It makes you a fool!" The hard lines lining his face seemed to quell the fight out of the child, as Link's rage seemed to radiate around him like a ghostly aura. "You can't even call yourself a warrior. A warrior knows which fights are worth fighting. A warrior would've known this wasn't one of those fights. You're no warrior, you're a child." Link tossed her weapon into the dirt beside her, his cold gaze shaking the girl to the bone.

Before Saria made him start telling his tales, he'd shy away from public speaking or outbursts like this. But the years he'd spent doing it made it seem natural now. He turned to retrieve his fallen items, leaving himself prone for attack. Link saw her hand moving towards the staff in his shield and he purposely held his kneeled position. In another few seconds she was upon him.

"Nice speech, but your words hold no meaning to me." She placed the blade to his throat, asking, "What would a warrior do now?" The girl pushed the blade upwards signaling him to stand with her.

"A warrior would do anything but that." Link slammed his head into her face, cringing both at the sinuous impact to her nose and the girl's scream.

Capitalizing on her prone state, Link slid away from the blade before sprawling the girl with another punch-no holding back in this one.

"I didn't say you were a child in a bad way," he attempted to be soothing, shocking most with his shifts between rage and calm. "I said it in a great way, but if you can't see that," Link stooped to retrieve her weapon. "I'll give you a choice. It's more choice than anyone has ever given me. Live or die? You choose." He pointed the bladed end towards her, scanning with a familiar anger into her eyes.

A strong desire to live burned inside of her eyes, he could tell. But knowledge of being considered a coward among her ranks would be death in itself, it would seem. "Die," she whispered narrowing her blood-red eyes at him, breaking Link's calm façade once more.

"You still don't get it!" He snapped the thick staff over his knee. "You've at least got a choice now. Embrace your childhood by choosing to live. Don't throw that magnificent gift away by choosing to be like me." Link threw the pieces of her weapon into the distance with a disheveled grunt.

"What do you mean be like you?" she asked watching him gather his sword and shield.

"To choose die, is to choose my life-a brief time of happiness, marred by years of inexplicable pain. A life where you're actually a warrior, but it doesn't mean anything. You save the day, but what are you after the day is over? You're nothing. You may as well be a Stalchild, because to the surrounding world you're dead." Link picked up his things, and headed toward the gate leading to the Haunted Wasteland. The other Gerudo all gave a few quizzical looks, and even less thought to his words before returning to their previous engagements, leaving the little girl to stare aimlessly at the mystery man.

"Hey! Who are you?" she called after him.

"It doesn't matter," Link replied solemnly, never turning to face her.

The girl was about to run after him and demand he tell her who he was when a hand gripped her shoulder.

"Stop, Sepaaru." Nabooru watched her old friend adjust his clothing beneath the moonlight, inhaling the scent of his soap imbedded in the cloak he'd so graciously given her with a smirk.

"Do you know who he is your highness?" the little warrior known as Sepaaru asked, evening out her petulant tone.

"That's Link," Nabooru replied, nearly whispered to the girl.

Sepaaru's eyes widened looking back and forth between Nabooru and the man.

"Hero of Time, Link?" she asked in unabashed wonder. "But if that's him why didn't he kill me? He's supposed to be such a great warrior." From the stories, it was amazing that she even had breath enough to speak after a run-in with him.

Nabooru smiled, as Link's stride began to slow. "I don't know why, but he's never killed a single Gerudo woman. No matter what we've done to him, he's never done any more than he had to in a battle with us. Even in cases where we would've certainly killed him, Link chose to let us live. Be thankful he still adheres to that line of reasoning or you'd be in the ground by now."

He stood at the gate to the Wasteland unable to shake the feeling that something watched him. Stricken with a sharp pain in his stomach and head, Link began to cough as his world began to wobble.

"Damn, I guess she hurt me more than I thought." With those muttered words, the once great hero fell unconscious into the dirt. And there he was with no fairy, too.

His memories came in short bursts, one of himself being pulled across a rough surface, and another of being placed on what he hoped was a bed.

From there, Link journeyed back into the dark recesses of his mind.

"Wake up, Link!" He cringed, as Zelda's voice sawed into his ears. Slowly, his heavy eyes opened, a few blinks and he recognized his surroundings immediately.

Zelda's bedroom, he thought, turning left to see his former love crawling up a huge bed towards a man.

"Link, don't leave me," Zelda pleaded, though, facing the wrong guy. "I need you, Link."

He was confused, because it was definitely Zelda and not some spell. From the blonde hair, all the way down to the Triforce symbol on her right breast… He shook his head to clear any cobwebs.

"Right breast," Link repeated numbly, this time audibly. He sat upright realizing that she was completely nude, and so was he. "Zelda, what… what's going on?"

Zelda abruptly stopped moving, seemingly to ponder his question. Just like the last time, her face contorted into that sinister little smile. Unlike the last time, a dark figure with glowing green eyes appeared behind her.

"Zelda, look out!" Link screamed, watching the figure's hands grasp her hips.

"Look out for what, Link?" Zelda asked, feigning ignorance to her plight, but arching her butt up all the same.

Determined to not accept what was about to happen before his eyes, Link leapt to his feet. To his astonishment, the bed stretched with every step he took. Zelda was so close, but so far away at the same time and the phantom was beginning to thrust. Zelda shrieked, pushing her ass back against the shadow. Link tried to ignore them by turning his back to it, but they were in front of him once again.

"He goes so deep! Link, don't you wish it was you?" She moaned, looking directly into his eyes with a heat that made his dick twitch. Link couldn't respond, but he understood one thing, the more he seemed to watch the louder Zelda screamed. The phantom snorted, pulling her hair until Zelda had to stand on her knees alone. She held steadfast onto the creature's neck, riding its cock like a woman possessed. The monster stared at Link now, laughing loudly as he brought the former Hero's ex-girlfriend to a shrilling orgasm.

"Stop," Link demanded, choking on the word like a marble. He felt himself growing ill watching the display in front of him, but they just fucked harder.

"Harder! Arthur!" Link's eyes looked at the shadowy figure hearing that name. "Is… it becoming… clearer now?" Zelda questioned him with the same indignant smirk, grinding her hips as the shadow took on Arthur's appearance.

Link began to run towards the couple again, this time making some progress.

"Take your hands off her!" Link growled grabbing the image of Arthur by the throat.

"You of all people should know that I can't do that," Arthur replied genially. "Do you realize how amazing this woman's holes are?" He smirked, watching Link's eyes twitch, more like pulsate, with rage.

"What kind of sick bastard are you?" he demanded, hearing Arthur say such a thing, while being in such a place.

Suddenly, Zelda cried out with a force that threw him across the room. Link picked himself up off the floor ready to begin his assault again, and then he saw it. Arthur's eyes rolled into his head before a huge smile spread across his lips. With a single grunt, a new flag had been staked. Link's eyes began to tear up, as his new nemesis in life picked Zelda's flushed body up and kissed her.

"No," he whispered watching them kiss like he wasn't even there-just like they used to do. His stomach boiled violently, which caused him to double over. Before he could stop himself, Link had vomited all over his feet. He coughed a few times, wiping his mouth before opening his eyes again. "Why are you doing this to me? I don't deserve this."

The couple looked down at him like he was a clown with three legs, two heads, and a rabid monkey on his back.

"You didn't deserve a lot of things," Zelda agreed in false sincerity. "My virginity, for example, what the hell did I do to deserve that?" She crooked her head back against Arthur's chest, smiling up at him. "Where were you at when I was 18? Fairy man here was horrible. Sure, after extensive coaching, he got better. I never had to tell you anything, though. You just slid in me and it felt so good." Her attention continued to loom on her new love before taking focus on Link again. "Geez, I don't even know why I bother. I'm kind enough to point out a few flaws and you gotta go and cry. Arthur, let's do it again, we've wasted enough time with the mute."

Link's mouth hung slack, watching the couple begin to make love again before his rage took hold.

"I don't have to watch this!" he shouted, standing up and searching for an exit.

"On the contrary, you do." Zelda sat in Arthur's lap with her legs wrapped around his waist, and began to grind anew. She leaned her head back, still smiling that cruel smile, and said, "Then again, you could always use that sword."

Link looked at his hand, and in it was a sword… the Master Sword. He looked at it, then at the couple, then back at the sword. This ends now, he thought coldly, marching towards them. This time the bed didn't expand or do anything unusual, which should've spelled the end of the couple before him. He raised the sword, as he'd done thousands of times before, preparing to end his torment. "Yah!" he shouted, swinging the sword down at them… at Zelda.

Of course, this was another request to be denied.

"Silly Link," Zelda chided, her cheeks flushed a bright red from the sexual exertion. "The sword wasn't meant for us. It was meant for you. Just end your pain. One simple flick of the wrist, Link, and you're free."

For all intents and purposes, Link really was trying to kill her, but the sword stopped itself, and now it began to push itself back towards him.

"Just do it, Link," Arthur added, smiling around one of Zelda's nipples.

"One little poke and you're free. Do it! Do it! Do it!" Zelda began to chant. "Mmmm, you do it too," she moaned, kissing Arthur loudly until Link seemed to break.

His tears began to flow freely watching the blade of the sword turn to face his stomach. He shook his head trying to be rid of the idea of ending his own life. There was more to life than Zelda. No one was worth his life. His life wasn't hers to dispose of goddamn it! As his anger continued to mount, the sword's arc lessened. Damn right it lessened, he wasn't dying like this.

"I told you before you wouldn't kill me, Zelda," Link shouted, forcing the sword further away to the couple's shock. "This time won't be any different!" With that, the possessed sword clang noisily to the stone floor, stopping the writhing couple on the bed.

Zelda and Arthur sat up sharply seeing Link refuse her.

"But you can't refuse me! I'm Zelda…" Zelda began but slowly silenced.

"You aren't mine," Link confessed as though he were denouncing Ganondorf. "You aren't even real. I don't need you to live, and I damn sure don't need this to die." He looked her in the eye menacingly, turning away from the apparitions without an emotion in him aside from relief. How the door got there, Link didn't know. What lie beyond the bright light within the door, he didn't care. Link just knew that he felt good, really good.

"You're nothing!" Zelda called out to him, trying futilely to spark some doubt, but failing miserably. Alas, Link was in a state of happiness that wouldn't allow for Zelda or anyone else to interfere.

Link's eyes opened to an unfamiliar setting, his body aching, and affording him the realization that he was truly awake now. Taking a moment to assess his surroundings, the brown bricks and dry air gave him a good idea of where he was.

"I'm still in the valley," Link mumbled to himself, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "How did I get here?" The rising sun didn't help his headache any, so he decided to return to sleep. At the brink of another slumber, he heard the door open but chose to ignore it.

"Still asleep, Link?" Nabooru asked him, sighing when there was no response. "It's been two days, why isn't this stupid potion working?" She looked at the half-empty bottle of blue potion, feeling a bit gypped. She sighed again, sitting the bottle down on the small table beside the bed. Link felt her hand against his forehead, but didn't move to acknowledge the touch. "At least your fever has broken." Like he had done for her 12 years ago, Nabooru dipped a cloth into a fresh bowl of water and placed it on the lump on his head. "Come on, Link. I know you're stronger than this. Ganondorf did more to you than Sepaaru, and you hopped to in no time." She wiped his forehead with the cool water, waiting for some kind of sign.

Link wondered if he should inform her that he was awake, but he didn't know exactly how she'd take it, so he remained still.

Nabooru continued to air her thoughts, saying, "Ah, but you hopped to for Blondie didn't you? It was all done for her, wasn't it? Wandering into unknown danger, facing the things that haunt most people's nightmares, you did it all for her." She laughed; her voice had a soothing, syrupy quality to it-quite sexy-Link noticed. "I often wondered if you really were a man," she continued. "No man I've ever heard of has done so much for any woman. Even when she broke your heart you remained loyal to her. I don't understand how or why you've let me disrespect you so for all these years. Calling you, of all people, a 'man' is a respect that no man deserves."

Nabooru paused to put some fresh water on the cloth. Link continued to lie motionless, waiting to hear if she'd speak any more kind words in his behalf.

"Out of all the suitors I have sought, I have yet to find a specimen worthy of me. Well, it's only been two suitors, but there was a lot of observation. All of them were either too afraid, too weak, or not you. Not like you care though," she said lightly, masking a sigh behind the slosh of wet cloth being applied to his forehead.

Behind his eyelids, Link began to process her admission of feelings toward him.

I bet she knows I'm awake and is doing this to try to cheer me up, Link thought idly, bringing about a new thought. Why would her desiring me cheer me up? He put his thought on pause, as Nabooru took the cloth from his head for more water.

"No, you don't care," she continued to rant with no fire, but more like venting steam. "You just want to live out the rest of your life fawning over some twit who doesn't realize what she's lost. Goddesses if you can hear me, let him at least find someone else to be happy with. He's done too much good to be reduced to this. Even if it isn't with me, just let him be happy." Nabooru silently fought for the resolve not to cry in front of him, but failed somewhat.

From under closed eyes, Link could easily see this wasn't a joke. He tried to put some rationale on what made her suddenly feel like this. What he saw wasn't sudden, though. It was present all along. Going all the way back to the day he killed Ganondorf for good, Nabooru had this sad expression watching he and Zelda kiss. There were also the little things, like how she allowed him to practice his archery all day for 40 rupees. Plus there were big things like offering to kill Arthur so Zelda could be his again. These feelings were anything but sudden. Or was it more that Link had just decided to stop ignoring them now that he was incapacitated and forced to acknowledge them?

Link continued to debate his next course of action with a fearful patience. If he spoke too soon or too suddenly, Nabooru could take his being awake to hear her as a cruel joke. But if he didn't react at all, she'd leave, and for some reason that didn't settle well with him.

I think it's time to begin again, he thought with a pleasant warmth replacing that cold numbness that had embraced him for so long.

Nabooru had done all she could think to do for him. The old woman's potion was apparently a fraud, and beyond that it appeared Link would only wake up for that blonde simpleton.

"I'll let you get some rest now," she whispered, hovering over his face a little entranced by how peaceful he looked. "I've rambled on long enough for today. Be well, Hero." Nabooru brushed her hand across his cheek for a moment, admiring his rough skin more than some might. She was having trouble stopping though, as something about his lips seemed to beckon her. The thief inside wouldn't be silenced until she stole at least one kiss. "I think this will be my greatest theft to date." The lump in her throat was hastily swallowed, as her lips moved closer to Link's.

Closer, closer, and closer still until, finally, contact was achieved.

Nabooru bit her tongue to stop herself from moaning into the kiss, and continued to leave her lips upon his until a weird feeling became present.

Someone's watching me, she thought, eerily similar to how Link would, letting an eye drift open to scope things out. That's when she found an ice blue eye staring back at her-Link's eye.

"I… this isn't what it looks like!" Nabooru shouted, as blood burned brightly in her cheeks. This went from thievery to humiliation in a mere second.

Link watched her, slightly amazed that anything could rattle the Great Nabooru. She juggled the bottle of potion and bowl of water like she had on oven mitts before he decided to say something.

"It's okay." He put his hand on her shoulder, and rubbed slightly.

Nabooru's frantic fumbling ebbed out, astonished by how a hand so rough could feel so tender. "I'm sorry, Link," she blurted out in a cluster, turning away from him to give her attention to… a bottle and an empty bowl. "I had no right to do such a thing without your permission."

Link just smiled, before replying, "You don't have to apologize. I honestly didn't mind."

"Link," Nabooru took a deep breath, waiting for his response, but still refusing to face him.

"Yeah," he replied softly, making the hair on the back of her neck stand on end.

"You remember when we first met, and you said you didn't let beauty escape your grasp?" she asked quietly, grabbing his hand from her shoulder to let her concentrate and work up the nerve.

He chuckled a little, saying, "Yeah, I remember that. Hard to believe I didn't cough up a hunk of cheese with that line."

Nabooru settled her nerves enough to turn around, still holding his hand, perhaps even squeezing it a little tighter.

"If you meant it," she said, preparing to lay all of her emotional cards on the table. "Don't do it now."

To Link, her voice was filled with as much pride as it ever was, but something about the look in her eyes. It was a look that seemed to ask something, possibly even a smoldering emotion that was begging him to fan its flames. Unknown to him, the same look lingered within his own eyes, even as they studied every curve… every little contour of her body. Nabooru wasn't arrogant to assume she was beautiful; it was just striking how he never realized it. Surprising what a man missed when he didn't try to move on with his life.

"I won't," Link replied, more confident than even Nabooru had expected. He squeezed her hand, and while rough like his, it had a delicate quality.

"It took you long enough," Nabooru said of his lingering pauses, smiling a bit demurely for one of such strength. "What?"

Link laughed, but tilted his head and continued to stare idly into her eyes with a secretive little smile. "Just remembering what it feels like to actually feel something."

"And what's it feel like?" she inquired, a little less tense, but able to mask the flood of emotions fluttering in her stomach.

"It feels a little rough around the edges, like me, but I like that." Link paused, unconsciously licking the large split in his lower lip. Nabooru immediately put the cloth to his injury, before Link quelled her incessant dabbing and just held her wrist. He sniffed her, causing the Gerudo to laugh heartily.

"Now what is… it?" Her voice cracked, noticeably so, as Link kissed her wrist.

"You smell like cinnamon," he noted, his voice dropping even lower in tone, "taste like it, too."

Was he actually trying to seduce her with a purple eye, busted lip, and enough bruises to fill a masonry jar? Funnier still, was Nabooru actually falling for it? She watched him sit up in the bed, waving off her half-hearted warning about needing rest. Link tugged at her arm, having never released her wrist, until Nabooru was directly beside him. Face to face, and nose to nose, confidence seemed to pour out of this fairy man like wine at a royal wedding. She'd seen all the angles used on men and women alike, which should've prepared her for this onslaught. There was something extra exuded from Link, and it had her nipples on end.

"Why'd you try to steal something I would already let you have?" Link could see the embarrassment in her eyes, even as she feebly tried to answer his question. Nabooru leaned forward, never noticing that he was slowly reeling her in until their faces were mere inches apart. Slowly, he cupped her face between his hands, rubbing her warm cheeks until she stopped mumbling. "I'm going to kiss you now," he stated in a voice that could've probably gotten him a lot more. Link would take it slow this time, letting this first mutual kiss do what it would, as rushing would only ruin things.