Zelda couldn't sleep. That sometimes was typical especially with the prospect of going into the wild again. The excitement would work it's way into her limbs and she would wish for the sun to hurry up. They were to depart with the sunrise the next morning.
Departing for the Spring of Power and not research.
King Rhoam had made it extremely clear to the Crown Princess of Hyrule that she wasn't meant to research a different means of stopping Calamity Ganon. The guardians didn't need her to utilize that ancient technology, even though she felt they were the key.
She sat up, the bed sheet being flung from her legs as she grit her teeth.
She weren't any closer to awakening any sort of power inside her. The inheritance, the laughable idea that she, SHE, had a power that has yet to awaken was just that. Mother had something in her, Zelda saw it. But she also saw that it didn't save her either.
Mother still died.
Irritation and depression had her out of bed and out the door into the warm spring night. She didn't wander far, only to the walkway between her bedroom and study. Her cotton nightgown and the filmy Gerudo dressing gown her only protection from the elements.
It's unbecoming of a royal of your status to be roaming the countryside on a fool's errand,her father's voice echoed again in her mind. You are better off devoting everything to your training.
"I'm doing all I can," she whispered to no one, "can't you see it?"
The sky was positively glowing tonight, the splattering of stars and a crescent moon lighting her path. A sign one of the three dragons were nearby; it had the distinct colouring of Farosh. The green ting soft amongst the blue of the sky.
She leaned on the stone wall separating her from a fall to the stone walkway below. The royal guard that usually kept watch when Link was gone on his own errands wasn't present, indicating he must be nearby. Her brow furrowed when she didn't spot him.
A gentle scrape of a boot had her looking about, catching a glimpse of him climbing up the outer wall of her quarters. How he even found handholds baffled her. He seemed intent on avoiding any notice, so she waited until he was about halfway up before speaking:
"And what are you doing, sir knight?"
Zelda seemed to have startled her guard as he slipped a few inches down the stone wall. He could put high-tailed lizards reflexes to shame with the recovery.
A huff escaped his otherwise quiet self followed by a murmured breath.
"What?" The princess leaned further on the stone railing.
His tanned face, illuminated by the moon caught her gaze. He smirked lightly, "climbing."
"I see that," the touch of laughter drowned her foul mood since returning to the castle, "but it's so much easier to use the staircase. Saves you the trouble of aggravating your arm."
He scoffed, scoffed!, at her as he climbed on, "can't do that. It works out the stiffness lest I be unfit to protect you."
Their banter was more enjoyable when unencumbered with formalities. She was more grateful for Link in keeping his guard on the further edges of her quarters. Nevermind that the aforementioned knight was known for scaling the castle from time to time.
She shook her head, "stubborn or stupid?"
Link's hand lifted as he gracefully jumped, "still up for debate."
That was when she noticed a bulky object bumping against the quiver at his hip. It looked to be the size of a shoebox all round. Every time his hip bumped it, refuse tumbled to the cobbles below.
"I guess you won't be divulging as to what the article attached to your hip is either."
Her knight paused at the junction between her bedroom balcony and the stone archway leading to her study.
His blue eyes lit in hidden mischief, "you ask a lot of questions," he flung himself over the balustrade, landing in a crouch, "besides not even trying to go to sleep. We depart early tomorrow."
She pulled her dressing gown a bit tighter about herself as if chilled during the warm spring night. It was sheer enough that Link would still be able to see her nightgown underneath.
"Yes...to Akkala," her fingers fidgeted with her loose braid hanging from her shoulder, "I doubt going to the Spring of Power will awaken anything."
Link shrugged, walking towards her, "will get you away for a few days at least."
It was her turn to huff a laugh, "a blessing." Her green eyes latched onto his. "The time away is a blessing itself."
He smiled and that little shared gesture eased Zelda's tension. One that, at the beginning of their relationship, she would have not thought possible.
"Well," Link rubbed the back of his neck, a nervous tick she found adorable, "I truly brought you something." He indicated the object he dropped at her feet.
She knelt down, "from where? I thought you were getting your wound healed?"
"It's fine!" He chuckled as she opened the parcel, "I found this when I was there."
Zelda's heart swelled at the item inside, tucked in carefully and looking better than she would have anticipated from the two day journey.
An intact Silent Princess.
The blue and white blossom glowed softly in a patch of dirt it grew in. It was nestled inside a pot she had actually been looking for to plant it in. The faint musty smell of moist soil intermingled with the delicate flowers fragrance.
"I found it near a faery fountain in Kakariko," he plucked a twig from the dirt and tossed it over the bridge, "I hope it will do as well as your previous one."
The Silent Princess in her study had withered and she did all she could to save it. However, with her father in a tizzy about her dormant powers, Zelda hadn't been able to harvest one in nearly a month.
She felt her eyes grow blurry, "you brought me a Silent Princess," she touched the petal with delicate fingers, "you didn't need to."
He only shrugged, "no. But I wanted to."
That simple statement, one not asking for anything in return or favor, made Zelda's heart stop.
She knew ever since he rescued her from the Yiga Clan in the desert that she was wrong about her protector. Link fought for her, even when she tried to sneak away from him, he was there. He was her shield, spilling his own blood when one Yiga managed to hit him in the shoulder.
The fact remains that she was very wrong about him and now didn't feel right without Link by her side.
Link, meanwhile, rocked on his heels; unaware of the emotions flowing inside his princess. He kept quiet should she-
-Zelda's arms wrapped around his neck in a fit of happiness.
"Thank you," she breathed, inhaling his scent of wood smoke, steel and the thin sheen of sweat on his skin.
He hesitated for a fraction of a second before wrapping his own arms around her waist.
You're hugging the princess. YOU'RE HUGGING THE PRINCESS!
He really, REALLY hoped no one came up here.
She pulled away sooner than he wanted, happy tears spilling over her cheeks.
She sniffed delicately, "I don't deserve such kindness, especially with how I treated you."
He smirked again, it made him seem so much younger than he was. Then, without him realizing, Link's fingers brushed away a tear from her cheek, an action that surprised them both.
Zelda dare not even breathe. The calluses on the pads of his fingertips were so warm. So REAL. She leaned into that simple touch. A stolen moment when she wasn’t a princess and he her knight. Nor a scholar and soldier.
They stayed suspended in that moment, neither willing to move. However, he stood, returned to the balustrade and began climbing down.
But not without feeling her hand on his shoulder. The one on the mend.
He tried, oh he tried to not look at her, but his eyes latched themselves onto her green ones. Head tilted, a ghost of a smile on her lips, her soft features aglow from the moon. The silky dressing gown fluttered against his fingertips as he held onto it just barely.
She breathed carefully, "Thank you so very much, Link." Her gaze lingered, "until tomorrow."
He swallowed, "yes. Goodnight-" what the hell "-Zelda."
She beamed, giving his shoulder a warm squeeze before stooping for the precious plant and headed for her room.
He waited as she lain down, the flower glowing serenely next to her. Instead of heading back to his own quarters, Link resumed his climbing to perch himself on the roof of the princesses’ study. From there, he could just see her bed and her prone figure finally getting some rest.
His heart beat a little faster as he noted that her hand rested near the flower placed on her nightstand. Perhaps she was looking at the glowing bloom. Maybe she was already asleep.
Link knew he was in trouble; romancing the princess was a major no-no he had drilled into him from the beginning. Goddess help him if Impa or, worse, Urbosa found out.
Then again...her smile, it wasn't her usual one. No. It was just for him...
He settled back, shifting only once to get comfortable. At this distance, Link could still see his princess finally resting and he couldn't wait for the sun to rise.
I'm definitely in trouble, he thought his own grin in place, but it's worth it.
Hope you all enjoyed!