Side Story: Betrothed (Stronger Together)
A/N: Country bumpkin ain’t a man who likes to wait. —–
I woke up this morning with a determination, and a strange hunch.
Zelda isn’t doin’ well today.
The mirror door was unmoved, so my head assumed she was fine, and proceeded with the usual drill: get up, early morning training with the soldiers, then breakfast, then specialized training, then paperwork, then lunch.
And after all that, whatever her sweet heart desires.
She dives daily into that darn pile of papers - shucks, I bet it’ll disappear the day hell freezes over - for a couple of hours.
These days have been the exception though.
‘Cause she is mine now.
Rembemberin’ any moment of the last four days makes me crazy happy. And to think I almost convinced myself I didn’t deserve any of it.
Now, despite my hunch, I’m headin’ to Auru’s studio, ‘cause I gotta ask him something concerning the relationship Zelda and I are havin’ from now on - and by that I’m meanin’ “what do I do to be with her for the rest of my life”.
I knocked the door and it immediately opened.
‘I was just thinking about you, son’, he cheerfully welcomed me, ‘Take a seat’.
Auru poured some tea before starting speaking.
‘The Princess’ behavior has been quite unusual these days’, he commented, very serious, ‘This morning she seemed quite upset, and the last weeks I had seen her quite downcast, sometimes even on the verge of tears’ - he sipped quietly his tea - ‘I wondered if you had any information on that, since you are very close to her’.
Well, I guess it wasn’t time to play dumb.
‘I dunno why she was upset this morning’ - my hunch was bullseye! - ‘but I do know the reason of her earlier demeanor’. I stayed silent for a moment, and took a deep breath. There’s no way back on this anymore.
‘It was I’. I breathed in again.
Auru just raised an eyebrow in not-so-much surprise.
‘I confessed my feelings for her on a letter while I was at Snowpeak’, I explained him, fidgeting a lil’ - why in the Goddesses’ green land was I actin’ like that?, ‘To my surprise, I found out she loved me back when I returned’.
‘So everyone’s suppositions were on point’, he affirmed, holding his chin. ‘Specially Lady Naima and Ashei’s’.
‘What were those two saying?’. I bet my soul almost left my body at those words! Them ol’ cheeky nosey rascals!
‘That sooner or later your friendship would turn into something more than that’.
I bet my arse it ain’t what they really said - or thought.
‘Anyway’, Auru continued, ‘since my doubts are partly cleared’ - he grinned - 'I have a glimpse on why you have come here’.
'You betcha!’, I chuckled, 'I wanna know the deets on all the protocol to court and marry her’.
He hummed affirmatively, musing for a second.
‘Well, it’s simple’, Auru started, 'just go and ask her’.
I should’ve looked really, really dumbfounded.
'You thought it was a near-impossible feat, full of treacherous, gossipy courtiers and suitors?’, he cackled, hitting the desk with his palms, 'This is not a dungeon or a temple, son!’
'You ain’t no kiddin’ me’. I couldn’t believe it.
‘Absolutely not’ - he was crystal clear like the waters of Lake Hylia - 'and even if you had any opposition, who would dare deny the hand of the Queen to the Hero of Light, bearer of the Triforce of Courage, and Commander of the Army? And most importantly, she is her own woman, her choice shall prevail always ’.
And then it hit me like a mad goat: I’m not a mere country bumpkin anymore - at least for more formal purposes. Ordon born and raised, ‘till I cross into the Sacred Realm, y’all.
‘’You’re right’, I smiled, still struck by the sudden realization I had.
‘You should go with her’, Auru suggested, ‘The Queen is at the Library’.
She always goes there when she’s feeling down.
‘Sure thing. Thanks’. I got up, waving goodbye to Auru, and dashed to the Library.
She was hidden between piles of book, eyes rimmed in red, brows frowned. I’ve seen that expression before, when she read the Kingsrecord. Not good.
I sat in front of her and the barrier of books between us. She didn’t notice me, so I wrote a small note and threw it over the wall.
'Howdy, my sunshine? A lil’ birdie told me you weren’t fine’.
A bittersweet smile graced her lips. 'Link’, she whispered, her eyes meeting mine. A bit dull, but still shinin’, full of that gleam that stole my soul.
'Can we go to my chamber to talk?’, she asked, rubbing her temple, ‘ I would not like anyone to overhear us’.
We moved to the place quickly, taking some books with us. They were about the Sheikah.
Once the books were on the table and the door closed behind us, she threw her arms around me.
'I dreamt of the future’, she sighed, 'it does not look good’.
She told me of what she foresaw. It’s grim, and gritty and terrible. Those kids will have it hard. I know it might be strange, but I feel that despite the dark scenario, they’ll succeed.
'But it ain’t the immediate future, is it, love?’
‘No’. She sighs and swallows hard. 'But it makes me feel like we are trapped in an endless cycle of destruction, and no matter what we do, or how many times we defeat our enemy’ -she pauses- 'it always will happen again. It is like a curse’.
‘Oh, love’, I held her tight, 'you always carry the weight of the world on yer shoulders alone; don’t do that, please’.
She hummed, and clung tighter.
'Lemme share the burden with you’, I finished.
Zelda broke the embrace and looked me in the eye; her gaze was all “what the heck do you mean”.
'Your love is the real thing’.
'Dontcha steal my thunder, love’. I warned her, making her lips curl into a tiny smile.
I took a step back and cleared my throat.
'I told ya the other day I wanted to go all the way with you’, I remembered her, ‘No matter what happens now, or in a bajillion years from now on, or even in our next incarnation’.
I offered my hand to her, just like when it was the last battle against Ganondorf.
‘I never thought I’d be making you this question outside my imagination, so here it goes’ - I inhaled deeply, ignoring my face probably resemblin’ a crisp red apple- 'Zelda Nohansen, will you do me the honor of marrying me?’
She placed her hand over mine silently, holding it softly. Her cheeks were of a dusky pink, and her smile like a ray of light breaking through the clouds.
And from her lips, the most beautiful words were uttered.
'Yes. I will’.
The weight of the world will feel like a feather if I’m with her.