Love Will Leave You Crying
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"Love Will Leave You Crying", Part 1


AUTHOR'S NOTE: I will warn you right now, this story has a very controversial theme in it. I won't say what it is, you will discover it in the course of reading. The one thing I ask of you as the reader is to look beyond what's on the surface. You may be shocked by what you're going to read. But look past that shock, look into the feelings of the characters. Although this story is suitable for anyone (in my opinion), younger people may not fully grasp the idea of this story. You have to have a certain level of emotional maturity to understand the purpose of this writing. For the same reason little kids don't analyze Shakespeare, younger readers might not get the gist of this story. While my intent is to shock you with this, I also want you to look deeper than what you read. When you're done with this story, I want you to sit back and think about it. Don't think about the shocking revelation that you will discover, think about what's underneath that shocking revelation. Put aside the shock and look at how the characters feel. If you're mature enough, then your perceptions on the story will change. Perhaps you'll look deeper into people's feelings. Maybe next time you see something shocking that looks outrageous on the outside you'll look deeper to the beauty underneath. I'm trying to get you to read what's inside the book, not what's on the cover. If this story makes you think differently, even for a second, then I have done what I set out to do. Also, don't think that this will affect other stories I will write in the future. This is merely an interlude to explore the characters more in-depth, to analyze them. I have great plans for the future, and believe me, you will enjoy what I have planned.

Love Will Leave You Crying

By: Kasuto of Kataan


Part One

It's funny how things work out. Well, maybe not funny. I guess it's more like...disappointing. I always thought that I had all the time in the world. I always thought I'd be young forever, and be able to tell him whenever I wanted to. I suppose that I'm a victim of my own procrastination. I kept telling myself that I would confess my feelings later; that I would tell him tomorrow. But whenever tomorrow came, I put it off again. After a while, I just assumed that he knew. But of course, he didn't. He had no idea; and he still doesn't. Maybe it's better that he doesn't know; I don't want him to be upset. All I want is for him to be happy. Besides, it's my fault that I never said anything. Sure, we've always been friends, but I thought that it might become something more someday. Somehow, I always knew that it would. But, I guess I was wrong. Now it looks like it will never be anything more than a simple friendship. But maybe that's the way it was always supposed to be. I still blame myself for not telling him. After all, it is my fault. Now I have to live the rest of my life with this shadow hanging over my head. I could've told him, but I never did. Why? Why did I have to be so stupid? I should have just told him when I got the chance. But I put it off...again and again. There was always more time, more time for me to think it over. But now there is no more time...it's too late. He'll never know how I feel, and I'll never know how he feels. Maybe it's supposed to be this way, maybe I'm not meant to know. I'll just have to live not knowing, and regretting it for the rest of my life. I wonder why I have to live with this burden...with this pain. Sometimes I wonder why I have to live at all. The only thing that keeps me from crawling into some hole and wasting away in my own sorrow is him. I'm still here for him. It would make him sad if I was gone, and that's the last thing I want. All I want is for him to be happy, my feelings don't matter. At least I can get some comfort from his happiness. He already has the love of his life, and I can be happy through him. Even if he doesn't know how I feel, I can accept that. He is happy...what I want does not matter.


 

 

Link opened his eyes and squinted at the bright sunlight streaming through the window and directly onto his face. He rolled over to get out of the sun's glare and sat up on his bed. It was his usual time to get up in the morning, and his stomach was already starting to rumble. It was time for breakfast. Yawning, he stood up and stretched his arms and legs. He bent over to the pile of clothes on the floor and picked out something that was decent enough to wear. Saria would have a fit if she saw this, thought Link with a smile. He looked over to the bed that was on the other side of the room. It still seemed so new; he'd only built it a few months ago. The blankets on the other bed moved up and down with the rhythmic motion of breathing, and a slight snoring sound accompanying those movements. Solo was still asleep. She's worse than me, he thought.

He walked over to the bed and stood over Solo. She was rolled on her side, her face partially obscured by her long, unruly hair. The golden strands of her bangs moved back and forth in the small breeze created by her breath. Link almost chuckled when he saw the tiny spot of drool on the pillow near her mouth. She was snoring and Link had to wake her up. "Solo, wake up," said Link, shaking her gently. She only turned her head and made an unenthusiastic groan. Link sighed. "Get up! It's time for breakfast!" he shouted. The same groan was his answer. Somehow, this was funny. It seemed as if they alternated roles each morning; sometimes Link would sleep in and Solo would wake him up and vice-versa. Today was Link's turn.

Link walked back over to his own bed and grabbed the pillow. He grasped it tightly in his hand and heaved the pillow across the room, causing it to impact directly onto Solo's previously serene face. "What are you doing?!" she yelled, pulling the covers completely over her face.

"I'm just trying to wake you up," replied Link, trying not to smirk, although she couldn't see his face anyway.

"Well, I'm tired and I want to keep sleeping," she said from under the covers, the annoyance prominent in her voice. "Why can't you just let me sleep in for one day?"

"Because it's your turn to get the fruit and stuff for breakfast. It's not nice to make Saria do it all the time."

Solo pulled the covers off her face and stared at Link. Her eyes were tired and slightly bloodshot, now Link understood why she was so crabby. She didn't look like she had gotten much sleep. "Can you do it for me just this once?" she begged, showing Link the most pitiful expression she could muster.

"What's wrong? Why don't you want to get up?" asked Link. "We all take turns."

Solo moaned. "I just don't feel good today. My stomach hurts, and my head hurts, and I had really bad cramps all night. And I'm not really in a good mood."

"You always say that," Link countered.

"Well I'm serious this time!" she shouted, her frustration growing greater. She felt generally rotten today. Her whole body hurt and she felt sick. Solo also wasn't in a good mood, she felt mad and depressed at the same time. She just wanted to stay in bed for the rest of the day, where she wouldn't have to do anything. "Please, just leave me alone."

"Fine," conceded Link. He didn't know what was bothering Solo, but he knew that he shouldn't be pestering her right now. She was in one of those moods today. It seemed as if she was becoming more and more moody everyday. One minute she was happy and the next minute she was angry or depressed. Link couldn't understand why, so he just tried to avoid her when she was in one of those moods. At least Saria wouldn't be moody; she was always calm and rational. "I'll do your stuff for you today," said Link. "But you owe me."

"Thanks," said Solo.

"Are you going to have breakfast later? Do you want me to come get you when it's done?"

"Not really," replied Solo. "I'm not that hungry and I don't feel like eating. I just want to stay in bed for a while." She positioned herself under the blanket once more and struggled to get comfortable again.

Link put on his boots and walked towards the door. Before he left, he looked at Solo again. "Are you sick?" he asked. "Because if there's anything I can do for you..."

"No, I'm fine," Solo interrupted. "I don't think I'm sick. I just feel a little under the weather."

"Well...okay. I hope you feel better." Link turned around and left his house. He was beginning to get tired of always having to bail Solo out. It seemed like she never wanted to do her chores and Link ended up doing them for her. At first, she did more than her fair share. But in the last few weeks, she hadn't done anything. She'd constantly give Link her puppy-dog face to guilt him into doing her chores. He didn't mind helping, but Solo had to do her work sometime.

Link wondered if her melancholy attitude had anything to do with her new boyfriend. After she had finally settled in months ago, Solo thought it might be fun to try and have some kind of social life. She began to hang out with the kids in the castle village, already forgetting how jealous she had been of them in the past. She no longer watched them and wished to be one of them, she was one of them. After a while, she had developed an affinity for a boy her age who lived in the town. The boy, named Akuyo, also seemed to really like Solo. They became instant friends, but Solo never referred to him as her "boyfriend." They still teased her about him, even thought she insisted that Akuyo wasn't her boyfriend. Link thought it was cute that she finally had a boyfriend, and that gave him the opportunity to tease her about it. Gone was the time when Solo could relentlessly torment Link about his relationship with Zelda; now Link could finally bug Solo. Link hadn't met Akuyo, but he seemed to make Solo very happy. So far, Akuyo had treated Solo almost like a goddess. She would come home everyday raving about how he gave her such pretty flowers and how he was such a nice person. But since the last few days, she didn't seem to be as happy anymore. Link wondered if Solo and Akuyo had gotten in an argument, which could make anyone upset for a while. Link didn't want to pry into Solo's personal life.

Link entered Saria's house to see if she had gotten up yet. He quickly scanned the house and noticed that she wasn't there. Where could she be? Link thought to himself. It's not her turn to pick the berries. Link wondered if Saria had just gone out on a walk, which she did from time to time. Link decided that maybe he should go and try to find her. Saria only went on walks when she was in a bad mood. He made his way across the Kokiri's tiny village and towards the entrance to the Lost Woods. None of the other children ever went here, for fear of disappearing or being cursed. Link and Saria both knew the tales of the Lost Woods were myths, so they never feared walking there. Link leisurely made his way towards the secret place where he and Saria had sat and talked so many times. If she was depressed, she would probably be there. As Link walked towards the Forest Meadow, memories of the things he'd done in the past--or the future--came back to him. The place seemed so strange now. There was nothing here but trees, shrubs, and the pleasant chirping of birds. All the evil forces that had once infected this world had disappeared. All of the strange creatures he had fought wee no longer here. It almost seemed as if those things had simply been a figment of his imagination; maybe all those supernatural beings never existed in the first place. He shook those thoughts out of his head; he didn't have to worry about that anymore. The world had returned to normal long ago. He no longer had to live as the Hero; he could live as a normal person.

Link walked up a long stairway nestled in the trees, which led to the Sacred Forest Meadow. This had always been the special place where he and Saria would go if they wanted to get away from the rest of the Kokiri children. None of them ever came up here, fearing the legends of monsters. Link strode into the meadow to see Saria sitting in a large tree stump. Her back was to him, and her head was lowered so her couldn't see it. Link walked up to her, knowing that something was wrong. Saria would usually come here to play her ocarina, where she would be free from the criticism of others, no matter how badly she played. But Link could hear that she obviously wasn't playing her ocarina; she must have been really depressed. He could hear faint sobs coming from the girl ahead of him. As he came closer to Saria he stepped on a twig, causing her to turn around. Saria looked startled when she saw Link and quickly turned back around, trying to hide her face in her arms. The quick view Link had gotten of Saria's face disturbed him. It wasn't her usual, jovial expression. Saria looked sad and tired.

Link keeled beside Saria and put his arm on her shoulder. "What's wrong?" asked Link in a soothing voice.

Saria's face remained buried in her arms, slight sobs still coming from her. "Nothing, I'm fine," she mumbled. She lifted her head and sniffled, trying to wipe the tears from her face. She looked at Link, and he felt saddened by her reddened eyes and tear-streaked face. "I was just a little upset."

"Why are you upset? I'm your friend, you can tell me anything." Saria knew that Link was genuinely concerned, but she couldn't tell him what was troubling her. She looked into Link's eyes, he didn't really want to know what was specifically bothering her, he only wanted her to feel better. Saria wondered what she should tell him. She couldn't lie to Link; she had never lied to him before. But she couldn't tell him the truth, either.

"I...I...can't really say," stammered Saria. "I mean...I don't really know." She sniffled again, trying not to cry. She didn't want to upset Link with her problem; all she wanted was for him to be happy. Bringing up her problems would only put a strain on their friendship.

"It's okay, you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to," said Link. He hugged Saria. "You know you're my best friend--really my only friend--and I don't want you to be sad. I just want you to know that you can come to me about anything. I've always been there for you, and I always will." Saria looked into Link's caring blue eyes. He was such a wonderful person, and it was amazing that he didn't have a hundred girls chasing after him. Saria felt privileged to know him.

"Well...I'm just upset about somebody...I thought I loved," said Saria, wiping another tear from her face. Link's face softened.

"Oh, is it some boy you're crying about?" asked Link. Link never thought Saria to be someone with a love life, but she was just like any other person. "You can tell me about it, it's okay."

"I didn't really love him at first..." mumbled Saria. "It took a while. But after I got to know him, I thought I might want to spend the rest of my life with him. But...but he didn't feel the same way. He found someone else and now he's in love with her."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I never knew you had problems like that." Link wondered when Saria had ever managed to get a boyfriend. A lot of the Kokiri dated each other but most never married. Only those rare couples actually had a real marriage. People from the outside wouldn't understand why the Kokiri children got married, they looked too immature for that kind of commitment. But the Kokiri only looked childlike on the outside, their minds and souls were just as mature as other adults, if not more so. "Did you ever tell him how you felt?" asked Link.

"No," sniffled Saria. "I always thought there would be more time, so I put it off. When I thought it was the right time, it was too late." Saria looked at Link's caring face again and looked away. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't burden you with my problems. I'm sure you have enough things to worry about."

"Nonsense," replied Link. "That's what friends are for. Can I ask you something?" he whispered. Saria nodded. "Who is it? Who's the one you like? I promise I won't tell."

Saria looked into Link's eyes; he was always curious and wanted to know things. Saria couldn't tell Link that he was the one she pined for. But if she didn't answer him, he might end up bugging her about it for weeks. Maybe she should give him some fake name, but she didn't like the idea of lying to him. "It's...his name...is not important. You really don't need to know who it is. It might upset you."

"Oh. Is it somebody I know?" prodded Link. "Because it has to be somebody from the forest and I know everyone here. Can you give me a hint?"

"Yes, it's somebody you know," replied Saria, rolling her eyes. She felt her mood improving; Link seemed to always give off an aura that brightened everyone's day. "I'm not like you, I don't go running off in the middle of the night looking for adventures. Obviously it's one of us. But no amount of prodding will get me to talk." Saria folded her arms and huffed.

"Oh please," begged Link. "Just give me a little clue. It's not Mido, is it?"

"Oh gods no! Why would I like Mido?" Link shrugged his shoulders and Saria giggled. "You know who he is, but you'll never guess." Saria was charmed by Link's na´vetÚ; the answer was right in front of him, but he didn't see it. Link couldn't understand that he was the person Saria loved so much, but she knew that it was better for him not to know. Link could be so adorable when he was clueless. "Maybe you'll find out someday. But now's not the right time. Besides, I'm the one in pain here. You should be comforting me."

"Oh, I'm sorry," said Link, realizing that he had been pestering Saria. "I'll comfort you." Link gave a big grin and had the I'm-gonna-hug-you look on his face. Saria prepared herself as Link leaned over and clutched her in a tight embrace. "See, I'm comforting you," he teased, purposely squeezing her, but trying not to be too rough.

Saria smiled inwardly and wrapped her arms around Link. "Thank you," she said. To Saria, time seemed to stop. She was living entirely in this moment, and she didn't ever want to let go. Link hugged her as a friend, but she felt more. She wanted to hold him for the rest of her life, to tell him how much she loved him. She wanted Link to tell her that he loved her, and that he felt the same way. But she never heard those words. She reveled in the feeling of his strong arms surrounding her tiny body. He was so strong, yet he was so gentle with her. He was everything that any person could ever want, and she could not have him. That wonderful moment when Saria lived her fantasy finally ended. Link released his embrace and Saria came back to the real world. "Thank you for making me feel better," said Saria. "I'm really glad you were there for me."

"That's what friends are for," said Link. "Do you want to get back to the house? It's almost breakfast time."

"There you go with your stomach again," said Saria, giving Link a small poke in the belly. They both stood up and Link began to walk her back to her home.

"I'm a growing boy," he replied.

"Yeah, if you grow any more you won't fit in your house." Saria looked up towards Link's face. He was nearly a foot taller than she was, and he dwarfed the rest of the Kokiri. Link pulled a small pouch from his belt and began to fill it with berries he picked as he passed the many bushes. "I thought it was Solo's turn to get the berries today," said Saria.

"It is her turn. But when I got up this morning she said she didn't feel like getting up. Once again she talked me into doing it for her."

Saria took Link's hand and motioned for him to stop picking. "You don't have to take her turn. I've still got a whole bunch of apples left and we don't need any berries today. We'll just stick with what you've already gotten." Link nodded and tied up the bag. "Do you know why Solo didn't want to get up?"

"I'm not really sure," replied Link. "She said that she felt sick to her stomach or something, and that her whole body hurt. I have no idea what's wrong with her, she won't tell me. She's been acting like this for the last week or so."

"Maybe she's just in a bad mood," said Saria. "It could be her boyfriend...what's his name?"

"Akuyo," replied Link.

"Yeah, maybe she's upset about him or something. Has she said anything to you?"

"No. All she does is rave about him. Solo seems to really like him. If she had problems, she would've told me. I'll ask her about it later."

Link and Saria emerged from the Lost Woods and walked back to her house. When they entered, Saria put a half-full bushel of apples on the table and smiled at Link. "See, I told you we had plenty of apples," said Saria.

"Geez, that is a lot," remarked Link. "I guess we can let Solo get away with this one."

"Well, speak of the devil," said Saria, pointing towards the door. Link turned around to see Solo standing in the doorway, yawning. She walked over to the table and sat down.

"Looks like you finally decided to get up," said Link.

"Yeah," replied Solo unenthusiastically.

"So what's wrong?" asked Saria. "Are you sick?"

"I don't know," replied Solo. "I just had a headache and stuff when I woke up. But I feel a little better now."

"Saria thought it was because of your boyfriend," said Link.

Solo smirked and blushed slightly. "What, you mean Akuyo?" said Solo. "He's not really my boyfriend. He's just, you know, a friend."

Saria smirked. "Don't try to hide it, we can tell how much you like him," commented Saria. "You're always talking about him. Are you in love with him?" asked Saria in a dreamy voice while making kissing faces.

"Stop that!" said Solo, trying not to let her embarrassment show. "I'm not in love with him. We're just...friends. Nothing more."

"Well, if he's not the problem, then why have you been acting so moody lately?" asked Link.

"I don't know. I guess I've just been in a bad mood. Of course, I don't know why, everything's been going pretty good lately." She shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe I'm just crazy or something."

"You don't need to tell us that," said Link with a large sarcastic grin. "We already know you're crazy." Solo rolled her eyes at another one of Link's inane comments. She was beginning to wonder if having a brother was all it's cracked up to be.

"You're the crazy one," said Solo, pointing to Link.

"Well, what are you doing today?" asked Saria, trying to change the subject. "Don't you have a date or something?"

"It's not a date," insisted Solo. "We're just going to go to the lake for a picnic."

"Ooh, sounds romantic," teased Link. He was thrilled to be able to have someone to tease Solo about.

"And then afterwards," continued Solo, giving Link a cock-eyed glance, "I'm gonna go over to Malon's house. She's teaching me how to ride a horse." Solo looked over to Link. "Epona misses you."

Link sighed. "I go over there sometimes," said Link. "It's not like I'm abandoning her."

"Epona is your horse, why don't you bring her to live over here?"

"I don't exactly have the facilities to take care of a horse," replied Link. "Malon has stables and all sorts of stuff that I don't have. She's a lot better equipped for it than I am."

"What kind of stuff do you need to take care of a horse?" asked Solo. "We've got grass, that's about all they need."

"No, they need love and care, too. And I don't have time for that yet. Maybe later I'll build some kind of stable or something for her."

"Whatever. Anyways, Malon thinks I'm a natural at horse-riding. She says she hasn't seen anyone learn so quickly. But I think it's just because she's a good teacher. But I'm going over there after I see Akuyo."

"Sounds like you've got a pretty full day," said Saria.

"Yeah, I like to keep busy."

"What are you doing today, Link?" asked Saria. "Besides lying in bed all day."

"Hey, I'm not that lazy," countered Link. "I'm gonna go over to Zelda's house today."

"You mean the castle," said Solo. "It's a little bigger than a house. You should call it a castle 'cause that's what it is."

"Fine miss smarty-pants," replied Link sarcastically. "I'm going over to the castle today. Zelda wants to...umm...to take me..." Link trailed off.

"What? She wants to take you what?" prodded Solo.

"She wants to take me shopping in the market with her," blurted out Link. "For clothes and stuff."

"Ouch, sounds like a death sentence," winced Solo.

"Yeah, you know how we girls are when it comes to clothes," added Saria.

"What are you talking about?" asked Link. "You've worn the same thing every single day for your whole life. What would you know about clothes?"

"Well...I...I mean, that's what I've heard..." mumbled Saria.

"That's what I thought. But yes, I know it's pretty much the same thing as a death sentence. Last time she was looking through about a million carts for the whole day. And not to mention she has enough money to buy everything."

"Why don't you try to talk her into something else?" suggested Solo. "Like a picnic or something, like me and Akuyo are doing."

"No, she's too stubborn. Once Zelda has her mind set on something, it's really hard to get her to budge. But I guess I could try."

"That's the spirit!" cheered Saria. "For once try to get her to do something that you want to do."

"What Zelda wants is what I want," replied Link. "I only want her to be happy. Maybe I can get her to do something else today, along with the shopping."

"Well, I hope you two have fun with your little love-muffins," commented Saria, garnering glares from Link and Solo.

"I told you, he's not my love-muffin," protested Solo. "He's my friend, and I don't love him love him. I...well, you know what I mean."

"Yeah, we know what you mean," said Saria in a half-sarcastic tone. "Just so I know, when do you guys plan on getting back?"

"Geez, I don't know," replied Link. "Zelda will probably be shopping till the market closes at six, so expect me back after then."

"I have no idea when I'll be back," replied Solo. "My picnic should only be a couple hours, but I'm going over to Malon's house afterwards. I might spend the night or something."

"You spend more time at Malon's house than you do with your boyfriend," said Link.

"What's the surprise in that?" replied Solo. "Malon's my best friend, and I like spending time with her. She's such a wonderful person, and always listens to me. Akuyo's fun to be with, but he gets a little annoying after a while."

"Just like Link," said Saria with a smirk.

"No, Akuyo is much worse. But he's a nice guy, he just talks too much. I think we'll have a good time today, he says he has a surprise for me at the picnic."

"I hope you guys have fun today," said Saria, as she finished setting the table for everyone. Sometimes she wished she had a life outside the forest, wondering what it was like living outside. She had been outside the Kokiri Forest a few times, but those had only been for a short time. Saria realized then that she could actually leave the forest and not face certain death, as she had been told her whole life. Although she knew she could leave any time she wanted, Saria never did. She felt somehow discouraged from leaving the forest; not really afraid, but simply unsure. She didn't belong in the outside world. Saria hoped that Link and Solo could find happy lives outside the forest, knowing that they would eventually leave permanently. Saria tried to enjoy every moment she had with Link. He left much more frequently lately, leaving Saria alone for whole days. She realized that she had taken their close friendship and the time they spent togetherfor granted so many years ago. Someday in the near future, Saria would only see Link in regular visits instead of waking up to him everyday. At times, she hoped that they could spend their lives together as a couple, but now she knew that would never happen. Although she had the mind of a mature adult, she remained inside the body of a young child. No grown man, as Link would be soon, would want to spend his life with a child. Sometimes Saria wished she wasn't one of the Kokiri; she wished she was a Hylian like Link. Maybe if she grew up as he did, he might take more of an interest in her. Saria cursed her child-like appearance. But Link already had someone in his life, so Saria's hopes had already been crushed. Now she only hoped that Link would find happiness with Zelda. After all, Saria only cared about Link's happiness. Her own feelings did not matter.
 

 

She's such a wonderful person. Being around her is like being in the presence of a goddess. I feel almost overwhelmed when I stand next to her. No other person in the world could compare to her beauty, to her personality, or to her loving heart. Sometimes I wonder if she's too good for me. It's not because she's royalty, but just because of the way she is. I could never even begin to compare to her. I just hope that she'll put up with me. Sometimes I wonder if she's an angel sent from heaven, or one of the goddesses themselves. I love her so much, for every possible reason under the sun. I couldn't begin to describe her with words. Her hair is like delicate strands of pure gold, that seem to glisten in the sunlight. Her eyes are beautiful blue gems that glow with life. It's as if I can see into her soul when I look into her eyes. They look so beautiful, the color of the ocean. She has the most beautiful smile that could melt anyone's heart. And she has such beautiful skin, it's so soft and smooth. It's like a baby. Her hands are so tiny and delicate, and I look at my own hands which are so big and covered in calluses. Her skin looks so beautiful, it almost glows. Wherever she goes, an aura of happiness follows her. She fills everyone she sees with love, especially me. She's so...perfect. That is the only word I can use to describe her: perfect. I know that people say that "nobody's perfect", but I think she comes pretty close. She is my definition of perfection.
 

 

Link entered the familiar lobby of Hyrule Castle, still amazed by the multitude of crystal chandeliers and silk tapestries. Upon hearing footsteps clamoring from within, Link turned to see Zelda running down a hallway. She was wearing a dress that he had never seen before; it must have been new. He wondered why she wanted to go shopping if she was already wearing a new dress; women were such an enigma to him. The dress was a beautiful crimson color with gold thread interwoven throughout. The dress began from just below her shoulders and went to her knees. Link had never seen her wear anything like this before. It seemed much more revealing than other dresses she'd worn. He'd never noticed this side of Zelda before; she was beautifully attractive. He had always loved her exuberant personality and loving heart, but now her physical appearance was added to the list of things he liked about her. He watched her run down the hall, and it almost seemed in slow motion. Her beautiful golden hair flowed with each bouncing step she took. Zelda was an angel coming down the hall; she was the most beautiful sight Link had ever seen. Just seeing Zelda made his palms sweat and his heart skip a beat.

Zelda finally reached Link, nearly colliding with him. She clutched onto his arm and gave him a light kiss on the cheek. "Oh, hi Linkie-pooh!" she said cheerily. She took a few steps back from Link and gave him a questioning look. "What do you think of my new dress?" She turned around to make sure Link saw every inch of her.

Link felt suddenly speechless. He had no idea how to answer her question. There were really no words he could use to describe her. What could he say? That she was the most beautiful person she had ever seen? That all the angels in heaven couldn't even compare to her? He didn't want to sound like a total sap.

"Well?" prodded Zelda, turning around once more.

"I...you..." mumbled Link, receiving a playful glare from Zelda. "You look...fantastic." Finally, that was the only word he could think of.

"Oh thank you, I knew you would like it."

"Can I ask you something? How in the world did you get away with wearing that thing? I mean, it's a little...um...revealing. Impa or your dad would have a fit if they saw you in that."

Zelda sidled up to Link and put her mouth to his ear. "They don't know about it," she whispered. She grabbed his arm and started to drag him outside. "Come on, let's get out of here before someone finds out." Link smiled to himself, that was another thing he liked about Zelda. She was always so rebellious, trying to find little ways she could get into trouble. Link never tried to stop her because he thought it was fun. It was always interesting to see what little schemes she could come up with next.

"You look really nice in that," said Link as they walked down the path towards the market.

"Thank you," replied Zelda, smiling. She knew that Link would really love her new dress. She could tell that he liked it even more than he was letting on.

"If you already got a new dress, why are we going shopping now?"

"Because it's fun!" cheered Zelda.

Link frowned. "Well, I don't really like shopping that much. I just buy what I need and leave."

Zelda grabbed Link's arm when they entered into the market and ran over to the first merchant's cart she saw. "Ooh! Look at this!" cried Zelda, picking up some random piece of clothing from the cart. Link looked at the cerulean blue dress and sighed.

"Yeah, that looks nice," said Link unenthusiastically. He looked around to see if there was anything around that he do to entertain himself while Zelda dug through piles of clothes.

"How 'bout this one?" asked Zelda, holding another dress up to her body.

"Isn't that the same one?" This dress looked exactly the same as the one she showed him just a moment ago. He honestly couldn't tell the difference between most of these clothes; they all looked the same to him.

"No, silly. This one is a different color." Zelda took the other dress and held it up next to the new one. Link squinted and tried to discern the difference in color.

"They're both blue," he replied.

Zelda sighed. "You obviously have no sense of color. This one is cerulean, and this one is aquamarine." She shoved the clothes in Link's face, trying to get him to see a difference.

"I've never even heard of those colors before. They're both blue."

"You're hopeless!" said Zelda, finally giving up on trying to get him to notice the difference. He must be color-blind, she thought. Zelda started digging through the pile again, making excited noises whenever she came across an article of clothing that she thought was cute. "Ooh! What do you think of this?" she asked, holding up a silk scarf with a tiger-stripe design.

"That looks nice," commented Link.

"Just nice? Is that all you can say, 'nice'?" Link shrugged his shoulders.

"It's...friendly and casual, yet...forceful and dynamic," said Link, trying to come up with some phrase that would satisfy Zelda.

"That was better, but you still need work."

Link stood next to Zelda as she haggled with the dealers for better prices, trying to look like he was enjoying this. "Can't we do something else?" complained Link. He looked over at a cart across the town center that had loads of jewelry hanging from it. "How about I go over there?" he asked, pointing to the other cart. "I'll go buy you a present."

Zelda looked at Link and smiled. "Oh, you don't have to buy me a present. Putting up with me is enough. If you want to go look around on your own, go ahead. I'll come find you when I'm done."

Link breathed a sigh of relief and walked through the town center. He saw a merchant who was selling a whole variety of delicious-looking pastries and other baked goods. He approached the cart and his mouth watered at all the sweet desserts that lay before him. "These, look good, yes?" said the merchant in some weird, foreign accent.

Link had his eye set on a chocolate pastry topped with an ungodly amount of frosting. "Ooh, how much is that one?" he asked the merchant, pointing to the pastry.

"Oh yes, that is good one. It cost five rupee."

Link dug into his pocket and pulled out a blue rupee. He handed it to the merchant, who in turn gave Link the pastry wrapped in wax paper. "Thank you, come again," said the merchant cheerily as Link walked off. He unwrapped the pastry and took a bite. It was so sweet and still felt warm from the bakery.

Link approached Zelda, who had moved on to another cart. She had a handful of dresses, scarves, and other assorted items. Zelda turned around and giggled when Link approached. Link held out the half-eaten pastry and offered it to her. "Want some?" he asked. Zelda giggled again. "What?" he asked, feeling self-conscious.

"You have frosting on your nose," said Zelda as she wiped the small blob of frosting from the tip of his nose. "You can go ahead and eat it, I don't really want any."

"Go ahead, try it. It's really good," he insisted, patting his belly.

"No, really. If I start eating too much of that, I'll start getting fat."

Link looked down at his belly; it looked normal for a boy his age. "It's not making me fat," countered Link as he finished off the pastry.

"That's 'cause you're a boy. Boys don't get fat from sweet stuff, but girls do."

"So? I wouldn't care if you were fat. I'd love you no matter how you looked."

"Oh, that's so sweet," said Zelda, kissing Link on the cheek. "But I'd like to stay normal weight for myself." She held up the multitude of dresses she'd purchased and showed them to Link.

"Are you done now?"

"No, there's a whole bunch more places to go. It'll probably be a couple hours before I'm done." Link sighed in frustration, having a girlfriend was a lot of work. More specifically, putting up with a girlfriend was a lot of work. "Tell me, what do you think of these?" she asked, holding up a pair of white tights.

"Ooh, those would look nice on you," said Link, imagining Zelda in a pair of tights. That would definitely be a sight to behold.

"No, silly. I was gonna get these for you." Link's face turned beet-red upon hearing that comment. Zelda looked Link up and down and smiled. "Your cute little legs would look perfect in these tights."

"No way! I am not wearing those!" countered Link. He remembered being an adult during his time-travel adventure, and he remembered the tights he'd worn. He had no idea where his adult clothes had even come from, he just woke up one day wearing them. He had felt so effeminate in those things, and dreaded wearing them. Of course, his situation had never actually given him time to purchase new clothes. Those sages really had a sick sense of humor, thought Link. He wasn't going to make the mistake of wearing tights again; it was a good thing that Zelda didn't know about that. "There's nothing in the world you can do to get me into those tights."

"But they would be so cute on you!" whined Zelda. "You have the perfect figure. Your legs are so cute, and you would look so darling in them."

"No, I made a promise to myself that I would never let you dress me," said Link. Zelda frowned and gave a look of annoyance. "I mean, I love you and everything, but I don't want you to dress me. Besides--in my honest opinion--I think you would look better in those. Your legs are so soft and smooth...and they're just perfect..." Link trailed off as he stared at Zelda.

Zelda tried to keep her face from turning red, but she didn't do a very good job. "Okay mister, you just quit looking down there. I don't want you turning into some kind of drooling maniac." Link broke his stare and returned to normal. Zelda would never say it, but she had worn this particular dress with the intent of making Link drool. She had always wondered if he found her truly attractive, and he obviously did. Now she had to be careful to create the right balance between physical beauty and inner beauty, but she knew Link would never like her only because of her physical appearance.

"Sorry, I was just admiring you," apologized Link. He mentally scolded himself for drooling over her like that. He wasn't going to let himself turn into some kind of lusting pervert. "You're just so pretty, I never really tell you that enough."

"The look on your face is just fine," said Zelda, pinching Link's cheeks. She turned around and put the tights back onto the merchant's cart. "You don't have to wear those if you don't want to. I want to browse for a while longer. You can just wander around while I keep shopping. Don't wander off too far, though," she teased.

Link left Zelda to her shopping and went to sit in front of the fountain at the center of town. "Letting your woman tell you what to do, huh?" said a male voice from behind Link. He turned around to see a group of five teenage boys standing behind him. They looked about his age, maybe a slight bit older. Judging by the clothes they were wearing, they were probably members of some street gang. The leader wore unusual-looking black clothes with tiny silver skulls sewn into them. His hair was long and tied back into a ponytail, with a few streaks of green painted into it. The rest of the boys wore similar clothing and hairdos, each one looking more ridiculous than the last. Link also noticed their faces; many of them had multiple earrings and nose-rings, one even had a ring in his upper lip. Link almost felt sick to his stomach, he had never seen so many grotesque body-piercings in his life.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Link, annoyed. The guys sat down next to Link, almost surrounding him. He was beginning to feel uncomfortable.

"It just looks like you're letting your girlfriend control you," continued the boy, who seemed to be the leader of his clique.

"She doesn't control me," defended Link.

"Maybe not, but you should get a little more control over her. You shouldn't let your girl run around and do whatever she wants. She's your property, you need to let her know who's boss."

Link was extremely angry now, but he tried not to let it show. "She's not my property. She's a person, nobody owns her."

The leader let out a loud chuckle. "We got ourselves a nice little pretty-boy here," he said to the rest of his group. They responded with laughs of their own. Link wondered what the purpose of their taunting was.

"Don't you guys have anything better to do?" asked Link, giving them all glares.

"We just saw your girlfriend and wanted to compliment you on getting a nice catch," said the leader in a condescending tone. Link was growing increasingly angry as they talked about Zelda like that.

"I don't want you talking about her like that. Just get out of my face."

"Ooh, touchy, touchy," teased the boy. "You don't look like a man who can handle a woman like that. Why don't you let us take care of her for you? We know how to take care of a woman." The other guys made lewd noises to emphasize their point.

"Get out of here!" Link shouted. "I'm getting sick of listening to you. Go bother someone else." Link stood up and prepared to walk away.

"I guess you're right," said the punk. "I guess she wasn't as good as we thought. She does look a little skanky to me."

"What did you say?" asked Link in a very slow, angered tone. No one talked about Zelda like that.

"I said she looks a little skanky to me. You know, it looks like she's been 'around' if you know what I mean. It looks like she's already been taken for a few rides, you should dump her and find someone else."

"Don't you ever talk about Zelda like that!" shouted Link right into the boy's face.

"Oh, so that's her name. You're going out with the princess, no doubt. Looks like my little guess was right." Link gave a confused but still angry look. "Don't you know? Haven't you heard? Boy, that girl really has your mind warped. The princess is the biggest whore in the town."

Link felt like his blood was boiling. If he'd had his sword with him, those kids would be dead. "You shut up!" he shouted, pushing the punk hard, causing him to tumble backwards. This only caused him to laugh louder.

"She's the village horse, everyone's had a ride!" he shouted, laughing maniacally. "She's just like a doorknob, everybody's had a turn!" Link had had enough. He wasn't going to let some street punk slander Zelda like that. Link approached the punk and pushed him harder again. His laughing expression changed to anger. "You wanna fight me?" asked the punk in a threatening tone. "Well, you got a fight buddy." The gang's leader swung his fist at Link, but he effortlessly avoided it. With lightning speed, Link planted a kick into the his stomach, causing him to double over in pain. Link had been taking martial arts training for the last two years, and these punks were no match for him.

The other gangsters saw what Link had done and pulled small daggers from their belts. The four punks approached Link from all sides, two of them holding knives. The boy to his left lunged at Link with the knife, and Link stepped out of the way. He grabbed the kid's wrist and twisted it, causing him to scream in pain and drop the knife. The punk tried to punch Link with his free hand, but Link already slammed his own fist into his face, causing him to topple over. The other punk with the knife tried to lunge at Link from behind, but he sensed his presence. Link reached his arm behind him and grabbed the arm that the boy held the knife with. In one fluid motion, Link flipped the punk over his shoulder, slammed him into the ground, and kicked the knife from his hand. Link gave the boy a quick kick in the ribs to make sure he didn't get up. He turned around to see that the last two punks had stopped dead in their tracks. They only stared at Link with frightened faces. "You wanna piece of me?" asked Link in a menacing tone. The three guys who lay on the ground struggled to get up and quickly tried to scurry away. The two standing punks turn around and ran as fast as they could.

Link watched the punks run off and noticed that a whole crowd had gathered around him. He felt extremely embarrassed and self-conscious to see all these people watching him. "Way to teach those delinquents a lesson!" shouted some bystander in the crowd. Link didn't feel proud of what he'd just done. He weaved his way through the crowd of people only to run directly into Zelda. She stood there, with a look of complete shock and horror on her face. She had dropped all the clothes she was carrying and now they lay scattered on the ground.

"What...did you do?" asked Zelda, almost in disbelief of what happened.

Link felt so ashamed that Zelda had seen that. "Those punks..." he mumbled, trying to think of a way to explain it. "They were talking about you, calling you names...really bad things. And they made me mad, and we got into a fight. I...I didn't want to."

"Why did you do that?" shouted Zelda. She felt completely overcome by anger and frustration. She was glad that Link had defended her, but she was angry that he had done something so drastic. She felt like hugging him and screaming at him at the same time.

"I didn't mean to. The guy tried to punch me."

"Why didn't you just walk away? What possessed you to almost kill those boys? Don't you have any common sense? I would've expected you to act with a little more decency than that. You shouldn't go around picking fights!"

"But Zelda, they called you a..."

"I don't care what they called me! You should have more self-control! A sane person would have just walked away. I don't want you going around picking fights just 'cause someone talked about me behind my back." Zelda picked up the clothes she bought and began to walk back towards the castle.

"Zelda, they had knives! They were trying to kill me! I had to defend myself."

"They wouldn't have pulled knives if you hadn't started the fight in the first place!"

"You're overreacting."

"I'm not overreacting! Just stay away from me! I don't want to be with some boy who's gonna go around and pick fights with everyone he sees! I thought you were different, but I guess you're just like everyone else. Just some mindless ape who wants nothing but to show off his girl and pick fights."

"Zelda please, you're taking this the wrong way. What's gotten in to you?" Link had never seen Zelda act like this, and it was beginning to scare him.

"I said leave me alone. Stop following me!"

Link stopped Zelda and gently took her arm. He looked into her face and saw pain and frustration. "Zelda please, just relax."

Zelda glared and pulled her arm away from him. "I hate you! Go home and don't come back!" She turned around and stomped back to the castle. Link stood in the middle of the path, completely stunned. I hate you. Upon hearing those words, it felt like his heart had ripped in half. His whole world had come crashing down. Did Zelda really mean what she said? Link almost couldn't believe it. He turned around and began to walk back through the market. His face had turned to a pale, lifeless expression. Zelda said that she hated him. Link couldn't believe it. He prayed that Zelda was only mad and blowing off steam. Still, something inside him made him think she really meant it. Something made him think that maybe she had been lying to him all along. His soul felt completely empty now. All the life inside him had been sucked out by those three little words.

Link looked in front of him to see that he had entered the Kokiri forest. He couldn't even remember walking there. His mind was completely blank, save for those three words being repeated in his head over and over: I hate you. Link didn't feel like living anymore, he didn't even feel alive. He wanted to just crawl into a hole and die. Link walked up to his house and climbed the ladder. He wondered for a moment is he should go talk to Saria; she always had something to say when he had a problem. But he didn't feel like talking to anyone. He didn't care if Saria wanted to help him with his problems, he didn't care about anything. Link walked over to his bed and collapsed onto it. He buried his face in the pillow and cried. He had never felt so empty in his entire life, everything he cared about was gone. The only person he ever loved said that she hated him. Link didn't care anymore. He cried and didn't care if he ever stopped.