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The explosion from the well took Link and Sheik completely by surprise.  They’d met amidst a burning Kakariko, and after getting the civilians to the safety of the Death Mountain trail, stopped by the well to confer on what could possibly be going on.  That’s when they were hit by the shockwave from the well.  It blew them off the terrace they stood upon, down to the lowest level of the tiered village.  

As Link got up, he saw Sheik lying unconscious on the turf, and a massive, shadowy entity hovering near the main entrance to the village.  The shadow was facing Sheik, postured as if in contemplation.  Then it started moving steadily towards the fallen teen.  Link leapt in front of his friend, sword and shield out to ward off the shadow, which quickened its pace.

And then it reached him.

Link felt himself lifted suddenly and violently off the ground, weapons falling to the ground.  As he hung suspended, he wondered what he’d hoped to do to the shadow.  Could the Master Sword even harm it?

And then he was thrown aside.  The last thing he saw before blacking out was the shadow stooping over Sheik.

When he came to again, he found himself staring into a familiar pair of red eyes.  Sheik was massaging the base of his skull, right over some pressure points - Link guessed this might be some kind of Sheikah technique.  

“There you are,” said the crimson-eyed teen, lifting him to his feet, “Thank the Three you’re safe!”  And with that, Sheik wrapped Link up in a tight embrace.  As Link hugged back, he immediately took note of something that answered a question he’d had for a while.

Ever since they’d met, Link couldn’t figure out if Sheik was a boy or a girl.  The blonde wore a ponytail braid - which he’d never seen a boy wear - yet the voice that would filter through Sheik’s white mask sounded deep like a young man’s (though that could have been an effect of the mask itself).  Yet now, with their bodies pressed tightly against each other, Link could tell that Sheik was, in fact, a girl.  That was one mystery solved, at least, though it still didn’t tell him how she’d already known his name when he first encountered her.

Sheik broke the hug suddenly.  “We need to talk,” she said, “I got some information you’ll need to hear.”  And with that, she led Link by the hand through the redly-glowing, rain-soaked remains of Kakariko, to the graveyard, where the grave keeper’s house stood intact with its large annex beside it.  Sheik opened the door to the annex and the two filed in.

It was nothing more than an empty shed, Link saw.  The only furnishings were a pair of sleeping mats and a fire ring with a metal pot beside it.  The two teens sat upon either mat now, and Link gave his full attention to his friend, wondering what she had to say.

“I know you’re probably wondering what just happened,” she began.  “Well, all I know is what Impa told me when she woke me up.  She found the shadow kneeling over me, not doing anything.  She chased it off, and it flew this way from the town square.  It’s a dark spirit by the name of Bongo-Bongo, she told me.  It’s the spirit of a Sheikah man that she fought back in the Civil War.  It seems to have taken up residence in the Temple of Shadow here in the cemetery.  She’s gone down into the Temple to see if she can weaken it for you.”

“I guess that makes Impa the Sage of Shadow, then,” Link observed, and Sheik nodded.  “I guess I’d better go in there and take that thing down.”

Sheik nodded again.  “Before you go,” she said, “There’s something I need to show you.  I had to bring you indoors for this, because I can’t risk revealing myself out in the open.”  With that, she lowered her head and brought her hands up to her eyes, fumbling around for a moment.  Then her hands went down and she looked back at Link.  

The Hero found himself looking not into a pair of red eyes now, but a pair of blue ones.  In Sheik’s hands lay a pair of tiny, transparent cups with red rings painted on one side.  As Link stared, bewildered, She pulled her mask down and tore the cap off her head.  The face that gazed back at Link was pale, petite, and a little angular.  Link couldn’t shake the feeling he’d seen this face before.

Seeing Link’s confusion, the blonde lass hurried to explain, “Link, it’s me, Zelda.  I’m sorry I had to meet you again in disguise, but Ganondorf’s been searching for me these last seven years.  Impa said it was the best way to hide from him.”

Link continued to stare in disbelief, before suddenly giving her a deep bow (rather awkwardly, given the fact he was seated across from her).  “It’s alright, Your Grace,” he replied.  “I promise I’ll get rid of Ganondorf so you don’t have to hide like this anymore.”

Sheik - no, Zelda - smiled softly in return, before taking Link’s hands in her own, stroking them gently with her thumbs.  “I know,” she said.  “You’ve grown so strong.  I have faith you can defeat him.”

It was Link’s turn to smile now, with a twinge of sadness.  “I’m sorry I kept you waiting so long,” he said.  “I guess none of us knew the Master Sword would put me to sleep seven years.”

Zelda moved to sit next to Link and put her arms around his shoulders.  “All that matters,” she said softly, “is that you’re here now.  Trust me, that’s well worth the wait.”

“Thanks,” Link whispered, throwing his own arms around the princess.  They sat there for a long time, finding comfort in each other’s arms amidst the chaos that their lives had become.

After a while Zelda spoke again: “It’s still night, you know.  We’ve both had a heck of a day.  How about we put off the Temple ‘til the morning?”

Link readily nodded, sensing what she implied.  “That sounds great,” he answered.  “It’s nice to not be all on my own for once.”

Zelda hugged him tighter at that.  Then she pulled back a little; one hand moved to stroke Link’s cheek as she looked him dead in the eyes.  “You know,” she told him, “there are no words to say how glad I am that you’re back.  When you were off gathering the Spiritual Stones, and then when you went to sleep, I...I worried for you.  I felt guilty for having asked you to do something so big and dangerous for me.  And when I saw you return in the Temple of Time...I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy as I did then.  I wanted to reveal myself so many times, but we were always in places he was probably watching.  Even if I only was around you for a little while, I wanted to tell you…” she trailed off at that, her gaze suddenly dropping to the packed-earth floor.

Link leaned in a bit.  “Tell me what?” he asked softly.

Zelda hesitated for a moment, as if having trouble deciding on something.  And then, with a suddenness that surprised Link, she brought her lips to his in a single, long kiss, before pulling away again.  “That,” she said simply, panting slightly, the implication obvious.

For a few seconds Link stared back, wide-eyed.  But when he finally internalized this new revelation, he pulled Zelda deeper into his arms, until their foreheads and noses were touching.  As she had done with him, he brought a hand up to caress her cheek.  “Zelda,” he whispered tenderly, “Don’t let yourself feel guilty over me.  I’m happy to do this, because I’m doing it for you.”  Then, once again mirroring her, he placed his lips on hers.  As he began to move away, Zelda leaned in and prolonged that kiss.  Eventually, they both switched to breathing through their noses as their lips closed on each other constantly.

How long they carried on like this, neither one could have said.  But the next thing either of them knew, they were lying beside each other, the two sleeping mats pulled together to fit them both, a single large woolen blanket covering them as they basked in each other’s arms.  

“When this is all over,” Zelda murmured, voice heavy with fatigue, “can we do this more often?”

Link softly kissed her brow.  “Of course, Zelda,” he answered, right before drifting off to sleep.