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The airy material of his pants and the smallness of his shirt absolutely do wonders in staying covered and combatting the heat of the Gerudo Desert. The shoes, however, aren’t the most helpful. As light as they are, they don’t have the coverage to stop the hot sand from entering, grains shifting in his shoes as he trudges along. As hot wind pushes passed him, the veil whips against his face but it keeps the sand out of his mouth and eyes well enough. Fatigue weighs like the sand in his slippers and as the oasis comes into view he couldn’t be happier.

 

Almost immediately he takes to the water, drinking deep before splashing his face with handfuls of it. The water drips into his shirt, the sheer material clinging almost perversely to his skin. Not that he notices as he cools off in the shade of the large palms surrounding the pool. The rockside is cool as he relaxes for a moment, chest heaving with the soft breaths he catches. Recovering from the heat, he doesn’t notice the shy glances others send his way, or the more lewd ones of those who ogle openly at his wet, flat chest. When Link stretches the view of his skin discoloration is obvious and he traces it absentmindedly above his bare abdomen.

 

Water and sweat continue their descent down the space in the middle of his chest and further down to his navel. The journey leaves much room for the imagination, fueling it further as the cold water makes the buds of his chest swell hard as if plucked and his small top pulls to fit the new contour of his body. When a soft moan of appreciation leaves him, many who stare sport embarrassed looks as they hide away evidence of their interest. The rustle around him is enough to make Link open his eyes slightly to view the disturbance, half lidded as blue surveys the area. It distracts him from the water that runs down his forearm, liquid he follows with his tongue absentmindedly as he tries to figure out what is going on.

 

The display is enough for others to begin approaching him but not before a Gerudo woman, large and fierce and daring others to come forth, covers him with a shawl.

 

“You must be tired. Would you like to rest inside? We have rooms just for vai ,” she says.

 

Link, too tired to process the guilty stares of others and the protective stance of the woman before him, accepts with a lazy nod and a smile beneath his veil.

 

Please. I have traveled far. My horse couldn’t make the journey on the sand,’ his hands sign for him, words he has to repeat in different ways for the warrior to understand.

 

“You come on foot?” she asks, looking down at his feet, red and blistered.

 

He nods.

 

“We have salves inside. I will carry you, if you don’t mind.”

 

Nervously, Link shakes his head. ‘ You don’t have to-

 

Too easily was he lifted in her arms and, looking up at her in awe, he can’t help but blush down at his hands. The redness in his cheeks, however, isn’t set there in embarrassment. Rather, it is a swirling mix of admiration and, guiltily, attraction. He appreciates the care, nonetheless, and when she gently places him on a soft nest of pillows and silks, he stays as silent as his general disposition allows and lets the women inside faun over him with soft fingers and cooed words of returned admiration.

 

“A Hylian vai? On foot, here?”

 

“A long journey, and a treacherous one as well.”

 

“Amazing for such a small one!”

 

The women respect his request for privacy while he bathes so for a while longer he gets away with being one of them. He isn’t fond of deceiving them but his is admittedly fond of their soft attention. How they gush over the sharper points of his ears, decorated in jewels and metal coils of their making, and how they marvel over the softness of his belly so unlike the tone ridges of their own. Even his hair is fussed over, golden locks never seen amongst the blood red of their own natural curls. The attention fills him with an odd happiness, and the attention of the men who see him in the morning also brings another stirring deep in his gut. The girls who accompany him to the Gerudo town share bright laughs as a merchant trips over his cart, distracted by the radiance Link glows with thanks to the care of the Gerudo women.

 

  •  

 

They only stick around for half the walk, the town walls in view and close enough for it to be safe for Link to travel alone, not that he’d have any trouble in the first place. The closer he makes it, the clearer some shapes become among the heats’ haze. He spots a blur in front of him, a dark brown mass on the golden ground. The sand sifts under it as it slowly climbs over the mound to bury it. Focusing on it, Link notices that it’s a man. He must have been refused entry into the town, Link thinks, rushing to him and fishing his pouch of water out as he does. He kneels by their side, unpinning the long scarf holding his hair back so that he could shade the other. He brings the pouch of water to the man’s lips with his free hand, hoping they take to the drink.

 

The man coughs gently, spluttering and groaning, but he doesn’t do much in regaining his consciousness. At the very least, he’s alive and still breathing. His hand reaches up, rough hands brushing against soft skin as he takes Link’s hand and gives it a squeeze. It’s an anchoring action, a moment of recognition as he realizes that the person before him, helping him, doesn’t exist in the pleading reaches of his mind begging for help in the desert. Link frowns softly, squeezing back before looking around for any sort of shelter. The sun is setting and the desert nights are cold. They need to find some sort of refuge.

 

Link may be small but he is strong, a fighter in experience and life, so carrying the unconscious man isn’t a struggle. The sand does love to challenge him, however, so it takes longer to reach Gerudo Town and ask for help.

 

“I’m sorry, vai, but I cannot allow a voe to pass through these walls,” the guardswoman says, a sympathetic frown on her face. “You may collect what you need inside to help him, but he’ll have to remain outside.”

 

Can we make camp here? Outside the walls? I’d like to help him ,’ Link signs, fingers stiff as he tries to find the word to say.

 

“...”

 

The guardswoman is silent before she sighs.

 

“To your left you will find an area you can make camp in. There are many trees and a small pool of water, though you’ll find many sand seals inhabit the place. We use it as the starting grounds for our races. The Gerudo there will help you with your voe.”

 

Oh, he is not mine-

 

There is nothing more that Link can say while the man on his hip stirs again and Link realizes just how late it’s getting. He makes his way to where he was instructed, colorful flags coming into view, and when he finally makes it to a closely-growing group of trees he rests the man on it and tries to plan what he can do next. The pack slung on his shoulder doesn’t have much in the way of camping materials but he has tinder and flint to start a fire so he starts from there, using the small blade on his person to stoke the small flames. The grow higher and higher as he collects the bark off of the tall palms and a few larger bundles of wooden pieces to add to the pit he created. The cold sets in just in time for him to be warm, the fire doing wonderfully while he builds a makeshift shelter of twisted leaf cords and large, whole palm leaves.

 

Link looks from the man to the shelter and nods at it, thinking he’s done an adequate enough job to keep the other alive up until this point. If he were more sure, though, he’d leave for the town and buy a bed for the night so he can check on the other in the morning after a well-deserved rest. Instead he takes out a silk from his bag and rests it on a mound of sand he builds up to raise his head and rests on the ground a small distance away from the other. While the guard can be spotted from his position, his hand still holds tight onto his blade as he drifts off.

 

  •  

 

...cuse me? Miss?

 

A warm hand touches Link’s cold, bare shoulder and with reflexes quicker than the haze of his tired self he pulls the blade from his side and pins the person down, straddling their chest and the dagger pressed to their throat.

 

Wait…

 

“I’m so sorry! Forgive me; I didn’t mean to startle you!”

 

It’s that man. The unconscious one. Not so much anymore, Link notes, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as he sheathes his weapon. When he shifts, with amusement, he tiredly thinks how the man is most definitely awake. To save the embarrassment of an explanation he removes himself from the other, looking around to determine the time. It’s either very late or very early. Regardless, the fire is dying to embers and ash so he walks around for a moment to collect what he can to keep it going. The further away from the fire he gets, the more noticeable his goosebumps become and the louder his chattering teeth resound in his head. It makes him grumble under his breath, returning with enough to keep it going for another hour. He wonders if he can buy wood in the town.

 

He sets the pieces in one by one before building it up with thicker pieces he hopes last. The man hovers awkwardly around, sitting by the fire and looking at Link as if seeking permission to engage in conversation. Link glances at him before taking out his waterskin and tossing it over to him. With his hands he motions the other to drink. Eventually the man does, taking one sip, then another larger one, before downing it all like he had only realized upon waking that he was dehydrated. Link snorts under his breath as the other coughs, choking from drinking too fast.

 

“Thank you,” the man croaks, and Link smiles, tilting his head in acknowledgement.

 

There is silence for the better part of whatever remains of the night. Link enjoys the rattling sounds of the insects nearby, the feel of the sand under his fingers and the gentle twinkle of the stars above. He takes a deep breath, the scent of burning wood filling his nose and warming him down to his bones as he shuffles closer. He’s lying back down again and drifting when he looks over at the man who ducks his head down into his tucked knees, eyeing him.

 

What? ’ Link implies the question with a look.

 

“You...can’t speak,” he states, confused.

 

No. I cannot.

 

“Ah.” Silence again before he’s digging into his own pack. He holds it out to Link who has to open his eyes, so close to sleep, to see what the fuss is.

 

“Can you write?”

 

Link takes the parchment and pencil in hand.

 

Yes. Not great. Obviously. ’ His scrawl is messily written with his left hand. While it’s his preferred hand the words are harshly written. He hasn’t written in a long, long time. He’s almost forgotten how. Reading is easy. Writing, not so much.

 

“Great!” The exclamation surprise Link into some sort of alertness and he groans softly before rising from his sand-pillow. “My name is Bozai. And yours?”

 

Link .’

 

“Link… Correct?”

 

Link nods.

 

“What a unique name! It’s an old one…” Link stiffens, the pencil in his hand creaking under the pressure he puts on it. “I like it!” And then he releases. His fingers slacken and his shoulders fall from the tight bundle it used to be lifted up to his ears. He smiles, scribbling a response.

 

What are you doing in the desert?

 

“Oh, I-,” he coughs, a flush beginning in his cheeks, and turns away from Link as he explains, “I was hoping to find a wife.”

 

Oh?

 

“I-I’m a scholar first and am studying the legends of the desert. But I’m nearing forty and I’m still- Well.” As the man continues, Link realizes that the redness he holds is one of embarrassment. Shame. And Link frowns in sympathy and reaches over with an encouraging smile.

 

You don’t look the age you say. You’ll find someone soon. ’ He holds up a finger to continue writing on the backside of the page. ‘ Study isn’t bad. Do you enjoy your work?’

 

“Would you like to hear about it?” Bozai asks, ears low as if expecting rejection.

 

Instead, Link lies on his stomach, hip turned as he rests an arm on it, the other propping his head up. He tilts his head.

 

Please.

 

Bozai blushes and it makes Link laugh lightly. The scholar then talks about great statues and swordswomen until Link is finally falling to sleep. He feels something draped over his shoulder and sighs softly.

  •  

 

The next morning comes, bright and warm, and Link wakes to the scent of cooked meat. It's salivating, drool escaping from the corner of his mouth as he stretches the fatigue from his bones. He catches the saliva with the back of his hand as he looks toward the fire pit, shuffling to sit properly beside it. Bozai is cooking something that smells delicious and when Link is by his side he smiles and greets him with a good morning.

 

“I hope you slept well. I thought to repay your kindness and company. I don't have much in the way of rupees but this is perhaps the least I could do,” he says, taking the pan in the fire off the heat and resting it on a thick piece of fabric on the sand. “It's not gourmet but I hope it suits your taste.”

 

In the pan is a stir-fry, glazed meat and various mushrooms cooked through and smelling sweet. Link licks his lips, head bowing in a thank you. Bozai stirs the mix through once more, tilting the pan to gather some sauce onto his spoon and splash it over the meat and mushrooms again. He collects the food on it the second time round after stirring, offering it to Link. Link tugs down his veil and blows the spoonful softly; Bozai watches with a dry throat how his lashes caress the tops of his cheeks as his eyes close and he takes a bite. The sound he makes, a pleased hum as his tongue peeks out to collect more of the flavor off of his lips, has Bozai in shock. His grip is lost on the spoon but it’s no matter when Link still has it firmly in his mouth, pulling it out to suck and lick the rest of the glaze off as if starving for more.

 

“H-Help yourself,” Bozai stutters out, turning away and letting Link feast. Of course, Link helps himself, eating the food with relish and enjoying every bite, one after another. He can taste the honey sweetness and can feel the tenderness of the meat, thick with juice and soft to bite. The mushrooms provide flavors of their own, from the warmth of what Link identifies as a sunshroom to the bite of a zapshroom. As he takes to his meal so easily, he notes after a few bites that Bozai isn’t eating. He isn’t even looking at him. Link doesn’t assume correctly when he thinks that Bozai is hungry and avoiding being selfish in asking for some. But it’s something he doesn’t know when he reaches over and lightly taps on Bozai’s shoulder.

 

He holds out a spoonful of food to him, gesturing for him to eat, and Bozai flushes, shaking his head.

 

“N-No, I couldn’t impose! It’s your meal!” Bozai says, but Link shakes his head in return, pushing the food to Bozai’s lips.

 

Eat .’

 

Bozai licks his lips before accepting, blush deeply set now as Link feeds him, a back and forth between a spoonful for him and a spoonful for Bozai. Link takes the last bite, licking the last remains of the food off the spoon before throwing it aside into the pan. When he turns to thank Bozai he sees the other with his head low as his ears, curled up.

 

Are you alright? ’ Link implies his worry with a soft shake of Bozai’s shoulders that shoot up to his ears.

 

“I-I’m fine. Thank you for taking care of me. And leading me here. And everything.” Bozai still doesn’t raise his head and it makes Link frown, concerned.

 

Will you be alright in the future? ’ Link writes the question down this time, adding more. ‘ I won’t see you passed out in the desert again, will I?’

 

“I can’t make any promises, but maybe I’ll try?” Bozai says, unsure, though he still offers a weak smile at Link from behind the barrier of his knees and arms. “For you, I will.”

 

Link laughs, a soft airy sound from behind his lips. He readjusts his veil to position it back over his mouth and collects his silk from the ground to shake it out and pull it back over his head.

 

Stay safe. ’ Link writes, underlining it many times and even pointing at it an equal amount so that the message sticks.

 

“I’ll try.” Bozai laughs.

 

You will .” Link’s look says, a serious stare that deteriorates into a quirk of his brows before a smile. He waves his hand, an action known to all as both hello and goodbye, and Bozai waves back, watching Link’s retreating back and trying, and failing, to not let his gaze settle too far down his form.

 

Not that he truly knows who is behind the veil.

 

It doesn’t stop him from sighing though, longing to see the Hylian vai again.

 

  •  

 

When Link makes it to the town he notices that many he is well-acquainted with giving him knowing looks, or even giggling as he passes. Confusion is hidden behind his facial coverings as he continues to Riju’s room. She’s settled on her bed, reading amongst her sand seal plush toys she still hasn’t gotten rid of after all these years, and when Link enters she shares the same look on her face. That smarmy grin that suggests something.

 

What is it with you all? Why do you all look at me like that? ’ he demands, arms crossed as he leans on the frame of the entrance. It is easier conversation with those he considers friends after allies, hands moving to form the words his mouth can’t speak and still being understood just as easily.

 

“You are no vai but certainly the implication is known even to you, is it not?” she says, walking up to him. She’s taller than he is now, a trait apparently common in the Gerudo women. The Gerudo men that are born into their people once every blue moon...he could only imagine.

 

What implication? What have I done?

 

“Please, Link. Parading in our wear and looking as you do; you notice how the men, unaware of your true identity, stare at you?” Link flushes. Yes. He notices. Sometimes, when he wants to. Sometimes, when he wants them to. “You spend a whole night dressed as a vai and you spend a whole night with a voe .” She laughs. “We try not to gossip but it is hard not to.”

 

We didn’t do anything!

 

“I believe that. I also believe you are mute and not blind, Hero.” She smirks. “Voe aren’t permitted in these walls. You’re a lucky exception as a savior of our people, from the past and within this present.” She tugs at the light puff of Link’s pants, a playful pinch before letting go, and walks away. “I wouldn’t take offense if you were to make camp with him again instead of joining us. I trust you to be able to look after yourself easily. And our guards are within view and distance to assist you when you need it.”

 

And if I don’t want them in view? ’ Link bites back, trying to turn the tables on Riju.

 

(Not that it will help much, used to the subject of teasing. Not due to his effeminate appearance however but because still, years later, he hasn’t changed much at all. If anything, his look is one that many find themselves envying, if only because even with all his battle experience he still manage to stay as softly curved as he does instead of the known angular proportions of the Gerudo’s warrior women.)

 

“Perhaps find somewhere else to partake in what you don’t wish to be seen,” Riju replies, snorting in laughter as she leads Link by the shoulders to a nest of silks and plush toys on her floor. “Now! I know I have work for you but let us relax! Zelda has visited as often as she can but it’s been near two months since your last visit and I want to know: how are you, my friend?”

 

Link rolls his eyes and smiles, removing his headdress and casting aside his weaponry and camping gear.

 

You will not believe the quest I’ve been made to fulfil, Riju .’

 

She leans over, hands crossed under her chin, and smiles.

 

  •  

 

The familiarity between the two is a comfort Link had never assessed before. He relaxes so easily with her as she regales him with tales of hunts she was allowed to partake in despite the worry of her personal guard, Buliara, and the other guardswomen. While considered a woman, having aged to be able to be considered as such, she laments being still treated as a child, commenting on how she would like to see the world in full and to visit their friends and New Champions. As a traveller, he can only sympathize. There’s much she’s missing, he knows, having seen the sights she wishes to, but he also knows that she is the leader of her people. Prince Sidon of the Zora has had years to adjust to the reality of his duties, especially so after the death of his sister. Riju, young the responsibility laid more heavily on her shoulders, has known nothing else as a direct descendant of Urbosa.

 

So Link paints her the pictures of views she’ll hopefully see herself, one day. He shows her pictures he has taken before, uses his hands to describe the movements of rivers and the feeling of snow. She pets his head as he does, lying in his lap and reaching up to run her fingers in his hair. Her kinship with Link runs deep, finding a sibling she hadn’t shared blood with inside of the Hylian Champion. And it’s because of that that when Link runs out of things to say and looks out to the noon sky wistfully, she yawns and nudges Link with a smile. Link turns to her, unsure of what the gesture is supposed to mean, and signs his confusion. She rolls over, flicking his knee with her foot and shooing him away.

 

“Go run to that voe, Link. You’re wondering how he is, aren’t you?”

 

Not really? ’ Link scoffs, rolling his eyes as red reaches below them.

 

“Do you know him well?”

 

No.’ Link pauses. ‘ He makes an amazing stir-fry though.

 

Riju barks out in laughter. “The quickest way to a man’s heart is his stomach.”

 

You offend me .’

 

“Ah, hush. If you’ve nothing else to add of your adventure then go train with Teake and the others. I may soon join you after a nap.”

 

Don’t sleep for too long.

 

“Advice from one who knows best.” She smiles and Link laughs, replacing his veil and taking a polearm next to Riju’s curtained door.

 

The exercise will be good for him. It will take his mind off whatever is plaguing it, a subject he avoids admitting to himself even more so when he’s running a more hazardous errand outside the town for one of the guard. Apparently a Molduga makes its home to the west and has been terrorizing travellers on their way to Hylian lands. Aside from it being a danger it’s also a nuisance, eating much of the wild sand seals that are a staple to Gerudo life. It also saddens Riju, the most important reason Link goes out of his way to rid the desert of the beast, he thinks with an affirmative nod as he views the expanse of land the monster is supposedly digging around in.

 

His stance is low as he approaches the area carefully, one careful foot after another in the deep sand. He curses his footwear under his veil as a foot sinks below the fine grains and tries to remove himself without alerting whatever he can. There lies a herd of sand seals a stonesthrow away from where he is stuck. He sees their ears flick when he tries to move his foot. How sensitive. He uses it as a point of reference. If he alerts the herd then he’ll alert the Molduga, certainly. So, he digs around his foot to pull it out small scoops of sand tossed aside to roll down a dune and create another one anew. When he finally remove himself, he swings his pack to his front and tucks his shoes into it. It’s late enough in the afternoon that he can walk the sand without burning his feet.

 

There’s a rumbling in the distance that shakes the earth beneath him. The herd of sand seals scatter, burying themselves into the sand and escaping far from the origins of such a quake. Molduga. Link can tell immediately, and if the monster is preoccupied then he can take the chance to cover as much ground as possible. He runs, pulling free the spear he strapped to his shoulder and dragging the tip behind him as he surges forward. The further he makes towards the disturbance the harder it gets to walk through the sand, the ground sifting under him as the Molduga travels beneath him. When the ground finally falls properly beneath him he holds the spear parallel to the ground and holds tight as the large mouth of the Molduga attempts to swallow him whole.

 

Link’s planned for this, hissing as the polearm splinters in his hand and digs into his flesh, but planning is different from doing as he’s discovering all over again. Fishing out the cherrybombs from his bag with one hand proves difficult as he hangs onto the spear handle for dear life. Finally finding the bombs, he pulls the fuse with his teeth and drops it in. He tries to climb up the spear, shuffling over to the Molduga’s teeth to help him get up and out of the monster’s mouth. He doesn’t make it in time though, the spear snapping and Link falling with the broken pieces. He tries to hold on to the monster’s uvula, grip slipping with monster saliva and the force of the Molduga’s fall from when he grabbed onto it.

 

He hears the explosion reverberate inside the monster and the force of it shakes it entirely. Link tries to tighten his grip but he’s dropped onto the Molduga’s tongue when stomach acid and undigested bits and pieces rise up to Link’s position and pull him like a wave to the outside world. Link has swam in worse things than monster vomit but it doesn’t make him any less sick, throwing up soon after onto the sand as he surrenders to it, consciousness wavering.

 

Link? Link! Link, are you alright?!

 

Link groans in response, waving his arm weakly.

 

I am fine .’

 

No he isn’t. Evident when he passes out not even a full moment after.

 

Link!

 

  •  

 

When Link regains consciousness he notices many things all at once. One, he is in a sandstone room. Two, he is naked, save for the bandages that wrap him. Three, he is still alive. He sort of expected that one; the Goddesses wouldn’t give him up just yet, he thinks. He hopes. But everything else takes a while to process, the second one even more when he realizes he’s in Gerudo Town.

 

“Don’t worry your head. I was the one who fixed you up.”

 

Link sighs, relief washing over him.

 

Riju. What happened?

 

“Your voe returned with you,” Riju says, making her way to Link’s side and wetting a cloth to clean the sweat off his brow and the muck from his bandages. “He said he was attacked by a monster before it went to chase something else. It’s no secret nor surprise that it is you.” She snorts. “When he saw the monster lying in its defeat, he went to see what happened. And found you.”

 

I see.

 

“Yes, well, you owe him much. If it weren’t for his medicine I don’t think you would have made it. Your internal body was almost drowned by the monster’s sick. Your bodily fluids will be leaking from every pore, breaking it down and expelling it from your body. It’s interesting. But, again, it’s thanks to that voe of yours.”

 

And, again, he is not mine ,’ Link signs, groaning as he leans back into his bed. His nose wrinkles when he’s met with dampness. Ah yes. The bodily fluids. He hadn’t registered how much he was sweating until a breeze enters the room and cools him significantly causing goosebumps to quickly travel across his skin.

 

I’ll thank him in person later.

 

“I know. Rest Link. He says it’ll be a night before the effects should lessen.”

 

Great .’ Link isn’t sure if he signs it or thinks it but regardless Riju has no response as she cleans her cloth and then Link before ridding her bowl of water through a window and leaving.

 

Link tries to rest but he is restless, his body heating and sweat doing nothing to help cool him down now that he hasn’t anything to help him get rid of the excess. He even yawns but still finds himself unable to fall asleep. He tosses, turns, even brings his forearm to his forehead to wipe the wetness there but all it does is mar his sight as it gets into his eyes and blurs his vision. When the worst of his heat dies off he yawns, tears of fatigue heavy in his eyes. Sleep forces them closed but that’s the most he can do. Gerudo night air touches his bare skin and it’s only then that he can embrace sleep fully.

 

  •  

 

He wakes to setting sun and wonders if he slept at all. Looking down and seeing his bandages changed doesn’t help him much either. A peek under the bandages does, however. The bruising has turned from the angry red of rushing blood under his flesh to dark purple. A well-rested body and bruise, it seems, though when he moves he flinches and thinks that it hasn’t rested nearly enough. He licks his chapped lips and looks around. A pitcher of what he hopes is water sits next to an assortment of fruits and he drinks from it deeply, without question, relief flooding his face as the cool drink floods his throat, running down the outside of it. He drinks it entirely, straight from the jug. Nothing stops him but his injuries limit his movement as he puts down the jug and turns to the papers beside the fruit bowl.

 

Letters. For him.

 

He collects them in his hands and sits back down on his bed, sifting through note after note, curiosity shining in his eyes as he pries apart the folds and reads the differing scrawls of many writers. It’s a surprise for Link to see those who worry for him writing their worries and frustration. But it’s a good surprise, making him feel cared for and wanted. Yunobo’s large writing is full of worry and smudges from sweat and perhaps even tear. Sidon’s neat hand is quick, messier, and full of questions and concern. Teba’s note is stiff, fatherly, and expected. Zelda is words of warning, and while the worry is skin deep in the parchment she responds on he knows that the words cut deeper than a knife when she tells him to be careful. He sighs, a frown for himself crossing him. He promises to be more careful in the private of his mind and room.

 

And then there’s writing he doesn’t recognize. The letters are written in straight strokes, quick and precise, but the way the words sit close together makes it seem like the person was anything but. Link scans the letter to the bottom to find a name, succeeding and trying to stifle the amused smile that creeps on his face. Bozai. He remembers the scholar, all weak-kneed and red-faced. Admittedly endearing, perhaps an opinion swayed by the fact the man is only just older than Link is and is somehow far more innocent. Surely in all his years he hasn’t- Now Link’s mind is trailing off. The letter, he reads, also holds the same worry as the others though far different.

 

‘... Awe, concern, and then guilt and worry. All were things I felt when I saw you lying in the sand, bloody though I wasn’t sure if from yourself or from the monster that eventually faded away in plumes of smoke, sand, and monster ashes. I was shaking so much, I couldn’t capture a seal to aid in getting us back to Gerudo Town. I suppose this is a better returned favor; I carried you as far I could before three Gerudo women noticed me and took you out of my arms. I knew they wouldn’t let me in so I hope this letter finds you while you’re well. Even if it takes days for that to happen, as long as you’re safe… Please be safe. - Bozai’

 

Link hadn’t imagined the sight of his questionable victory would be so gruesome for another to see. He is the one who challenges the monsters, defeats them, returns with the scabbed-over wounds of battles that don’t matter to him as long as the world is at peace. No one sees him when he fights. No one sees when he falls. Not usually, at least. The thought of worrying a civilian is something that makes Link frown, letter tight in his grasp. It doesn’t sit right at all, makes his stomach curl at the thought of Bozai struggling to carry his lifeless body across a greater span of desert than what he carried him for. It’s not even a matter of distance but the fact that Link was saved . So used to being the Champion, the Hero , he grits his teeth as he does when his resolve wavers. When weakness pours into the small crevices of his wounds and weaves its way into his flesh and bones as they heal over.

 

He takes a deep breath, loosens his fingers and smoothes out the letter, and dresses himself in what he can. Loose pants, looser shirt, he slips on some shoes as he pulls a headscarf from the bedhead and wraps it around him to cover his face so he can walk around in Gerudo Town without being noticed. His head is ducked low to hide the obvious blond of his hair as he tries to avoid most of everyone. He refuses to be told to return to bed. He doesn’t want to. He wants to breathe. He wants to see Bozai, give his thanks and say his apologies. He wants the weight of the world to disappear for the moments at a time they do when he dresses like this and earns the attention of those that want him not for who he is but for how he looks. How shallow that must sound but what a thrill it gives him to not be Champion, nor Hero, but pretty and perfect Link.

 

The thoughts swarm in his head, has him gripping it and shaking it out so he can focus, but not soon enough when he bumps into the guardswoman of the South Entrance to the town. She stares down at him, wanting to remark on his injuries - he can’t even stand - but she says nothing and jerks her head over to the start of the sand seal racing course.

 

“He comes by every day to ask how you are,” is all she says. Link looks at her, nods, and pulls his headscarf tighter around his neck before making his unsteady way across the sand.

 

He’s surprised to see a large tent, deep red with patterns of brown and orange along the overhanging trim of the clothed roof that hangs over three crates in a row. When he comes closer he notices that two crates has a slot in it, ‘ REQUESTS ’ marked in big letters beneath one and ‘ LETTERS ’ on the other. The last crate is open, scrolls and scrolls inside. ‘ MAPS ’ marks this one. Link finds himself impressed, tracing the post that holds the shade up before his fingers travel up to trace the colorful flags above. The small business outpost the place has become makes him realize properly how many days it has been since his battle, humming softly as he wonders about what else has happened. He doesn’t dare think any more about the monster while he’s outside. He doesn’t want to.

 

“Sorry! How can I…help…”

 

Link is brought out of his reverie by Bozai’s appearance from behind the tent’s entrance and the silence between them that follows their eyes meeting is thick, almost suffocating. Link’s grip on his scarf tightens before his free hand waves and what Bozai can see of his eyes close, wrinkling at the corners in a tired smile.

 

“You’re- You’re okay…” Bozai says, soft as his knees give in and his weight falls onto one of the crates. Link’s eyes widen, a gasp forming on his lips, as he limps to Bozai’s side.

 

Are you okay? ’ his hands say, and though Bozai doesn’t understand how he speaks yet he seems to understand the intention behind the signs, chuckling behind a hand and shaking his head.

 

“You should be more worried about yourself,” he says, squeezing the hand of Link’s that rests on his own. All of a sudden Link is brought into a tight embrace that winds him, making him wince and wriggle out of Bozai’s arms for a breath. “Oh- Sorry- I-!”

 

Link shakes his head and instead replaces Bozai’s arms more softly around his waist, his own winding around the man’s neck as he returns the affection.

 

I’m sorry for worrying you.

 

He tries to translate that into the hug, hand patting behind Bozai’s shoulder as his grip tightens only just and his head buries in Link’s neck. They stay like that for a while, no words passing them like the wind does, and soon the desert turns dark and Bozai is packing the crates aside and making room for a firepit a safe distance away from his tent. Link sits, waits, accepts the rough blanket Bozai places on his shoulders. He smiles up at him and lets the man cook and talk, nodding along before lying on his stomach as the fatigue of his recovery and the night rest over his eyes. Bozai’s voice drifts in and out as he falls to a warm, peaceful sleep. He hears a soft laugh, fingers brushing his hair out of his face and tracing the scratches still healing there. What he doesn’t feel is being lifted carefully, the crackling fire getting further and further away before he’s passed into different arms and taken to a bed softer than sand. The blanket still on him is itchy but it smells welcoming and he tucks himself into that safety more comfortably and enjoys the rest of his sleep.

 

  •  

 

The next morning is one he wakes too feeling light and in a haze. When he stretches it doesn’t ache so much, and as a yawn escapes him he realizes how hungry he is and how ready he is to it. And the fruit in the bowl, while looking ripe and delicious, isn’t what he wants his first meal to be. In fact, he knows exactly what he wants, hurrying to clean the grime that’s been resting on his skin before he changes to leave town. He has to sneak again passed the hustle and bustle of the Gerudo women before making it to the outer walls. He pays the woman who let him by a smile and she huffs as if unaffected but there’s a small, amused smile on her face when he dashes ahead of her. Or as fast as his limp can allow him.

 

Approaching the campsite, he looks for Bozai and spots him speaking to a merchant. Bozai collects a bag and a bundle of firewood, giving a pouchful of rupees in return, and waves the merchant a safe farewell. Link makes his way beside Bozai, points to the goods he received from the merchant, an offer to help him with it. Bozai looks at Link for a moment, deciphering what is being said, and shakes his head.

 

“I’m fine, Link. You should be resting anyway.”

 

I can manage perfectly! ’ Link shakes his head. Then shrugs. ‘ Kind of .’

 

“How are you this morning? You passed out rather quickly. I have leftover food from then if you’d like your share-.”

 

Immediately Link’s ears perk up and he quickly shakes his head, rocking on the balls of his feet as he does so. He pats his abdomen, rubbing in circles.

 

I’m so hungry!’

 

He then points to Bozai, makes a stirring motion with his hands, and then a thumbs up.

 

Your cooking is so good!

 

“Thank you, I think?” Bozai laughs. Link nods. And then Bozai laughs again. “Do you mind rice and curry? It’s mild but if you’d like it hotter I still have some spices left.”

 

Link grins and sits in the shade of the outer tent and sheds his scarf as Bozai heads inside to get the leftover food for him. He digs his feet into the sand on the edge of the rug that sits at the tent’s entrance while he waits. The sand fills his shoes before he decides to take them off, lying down as he stretches his legs out, one after another. Bozai comes out with a clay pot and Link sits up only when Bozai sits down and takes the lid off. It’s not hot enough for steam to fill the pot and escape in a cloud but it’s cool, edible immediately, and when Bozai holds out a spoon for Link to take Link can only shake his head, smiling. He points to Bozai, then the spoon, and then himself, and it earns a blush from the man that has him grinning a little wider but a little more internal.

 

Bozai feeds Link who hums happily, the weightless feeling of this morning only building with every bite and every smile between them. It’s a more normal normalcy he welcomes, so far away from the normalcy of his championing and heroic deeds. And when Bozai talks as he feeds Link, speaking to fill the silence Link otherwise can’t, Link can almost imagine a life where he isn’t a Hylian Hero. Where he can enjoy moments like this with people he enjoys and adores. Perhaps Bozai can join this scene, with his awkward smile and divine cooking. It’s something that makes a laugh rumble in his chest as he takes another bite and Bozai questions the sound with an unsure smile, wondering.

 

Link’s hand moves over Bozai’s as he plucks the spoon out of his mouth. He points at Bozai and then the smile on his face.

 

You make me laugh .’

 

Bozai laughs in return.

 

“I suppose I should be glad for that then.”

 

His thumb brushes the corner of Link’s lips to swipe at the food that’s there and on instinct Link licks his lips at the same time, tongue catching against the pad of Bozai’s thumb. Bozai snatches his hand away as if burned, blush deep to the roots of his hair, and the sight makes another laugh buzz in Link’s chest. Link leans forward, takes Bozai’s hand back and rests a cheek in it, a teasing kitten lick against his thumb again. And he laughs again, recreating his movements that signed, ‘ you make me laugh ’, to which Bozai’s lips curl into a frown edging a pout.

 

“You’re a tease,” he accuses, jest laced in his words for he can’t be mad at such a beautiful creature. Link flutters his lashes, pointing to himself.

 

Who? Me?

 

“Yes, you. Absolutely you.”

 

Link grins, scoops up some food and offers it to Bozai who then groans and leans back with his head in his hands.

 

Link eats that spoonful anyway.

 

Maybe next time I’m left to the desert you can lend me those boots of yours,’ Link writes in the leftover sauce of his food. Bozai laughs, arm close to the small of Link’s back as he shrugs before he nods.

 

“Sure. But when they’re returned to me I’d hope that you’re still in them, preferably in one piece.”

 

Bozai grins, brows quirked as if unsure it’s a joke he should make given what had just happened with Link, but Link couldn’t be happier as he smiles and laughs.

 

  •  

 

The days that follow like this are scattered in between, Link sometimes having to travel far to the other corners of the land to satisfy the requests of many others. Even during his time away, however, it doesn’t stop him from escaping to the reprieve of wearing the clothes he dons best, scarred midriff bare and his shoulders freckled and covered by only a silken shawl. And should his fellow Champions catch him they say nothing of offense. They all seem to understand wanting to be someone else for a time, to relieve the weight of the world off their shoulders for a fraction of their life to make it worth living all over again. Link appreciates it. Appreciates them. Loves so dearly how they make him feel now they know when the stress he faced alone drew speech permanently away from his throat.

 

Aside from acceptance, he admits that teasing sweet Yunobo and supportive Sidon is also an amusement he is happy to now have. His confidence grows the more he goes out in the Gerudo garb he’s been gifted and has also bought for himself. He cares for himself more often. When he fights monsters or even travels dangerous lands to make it to another stable, checkpoints across Hyrule, he is more cautious. He fights to live. Not to defeat. And he also fights to see the others who have made his life more interesting. For Zelda, his fellow champions, and for the civilians that have become more than a passing conversation. For Paya. For the Bolson Construction Company. For Bozai too.

 

It’s amazing what an outfit can do for you.

 

He returns to Gerudo Town after what feels closer to months than the singular he’s been away for. Usually seeking Bozai first to offer his greetings, he instead heads straight into town to bathe and rest. It’s been so long since he’s felt the familiar heat of the desert that no longer makes his skin itch so easily like it used to. Upon entering the town he spots faces he knows and those he doesn’t approaching him with catty grins on their faces. He quirks a brow, unsure of what he has done to garner such a reaction. They stare at him, expectant and knowing, and he knows nothing of what they do. When they ask him if he’s seen ‘his voe’ he doesn’t hold back the roll of his eyes as he first corrects them and then answers with a no.

 

I wanted to bathe and rest, ’ he tells them, knowing that they’d be slow to understand but understand nonetheless. ‘ I will see him later.

 

The answer has mischievous grins that take on their faces, all almost identical if Link never knew them, and soon they’re ushering him back out of the town’s walls and towards Bozai’s camp.

 

Wait- no- I can’t-’ Link can’t voice his protests but his heels digging into the sand does the talking for him. They take him by the arms instead and lift him there as his legs kick around, a petulant child being forced to address the presence of a crush they totally do not have . When they make it to the camp, Bozai isn’t at the front of his makeshift shop and Link breathes a sigh of relief too soon when they instead direct him behind the tent where rests, what Link can recall, a little pool of water. Where Bozai is bathing.

 

Sav’aaq, voe! ” One girl calls, waving from the safe distance they are at before it becomes...unsafe.

 

Bozai notices the gaggle of girls, stutters about how he is currently indecent, and struggles to cover himself to regain any decency. They cackle as they approach a little closer.

 

“Look who has returned!” Another adds, pushing Link forward a bit harsher than what he expected. He turns his head to glare at them but the look is replaced with shock as he stumbles off the pools’ edge and right in.

 

He falls with a splash and the girls behind him squeal, whether in shock as well or in delight at the particular situation Link is in has yet to be assessed. Regardless, he is drenched. His veil clings to his mouth, his shirt and pants also clinging obscenely to his slender frame. He pushes his wet hair out of his face and when he looks up he sees Bozai looking stunned and something else he wants to pinpoint but feels too conceited to. Even if he’s hovering of the man, wet and warm and looking up at him with bright blues that mirror the sky above, back arched as he lifts himself on hands and knees… To Bozai he’s gorgeous, beads of water shining like pearls on his skin. Link doesn’t think of that though. Tries not to when Bozai wets his lips and swallows thickly.

 

He doesn’t want to think it because it’s absolutely the case; there’s movement under the water, a curve of flesh that points up obviously, even through the ripples that have the water distorting the images beneath, and Link holds a breath as interest stirs inside him as well.

 

“Th-There’s a towel behind me. Please, take it,” Bozai says, trying to hide behind his hair and hands as he covers himself as best he can. Link is ready to protest - ‘ Bozai, you should use it’ - but it falls flat on his tongue when Bozai insists strongly. Link only nods slowly, reaches over Bozai to grab it and can feel the man’s hot breath tingling his chest. His body reacts sweetly and Link’s face is alight when he pulls back with the towel in hand. Instead of wrapping himself, he rests the towel over Bozai’s head and shoulders, fingers softly rubbing into his head before Link stands with his hands resting over the one area that needs the most coverage. He smiles down at Bozai, and maybe a bit of suggestion takes to his lips when he turns and steps out of the pool and walks away. The girls clamor to cover him in what material they can find, trying to keep him decent, but they don’t stop their giggling.

 

Link turns his head, peeks over his shoulder at Bozai who doesn’t catch himself staring fast enough. Even with Link looking at him, he continues to watch the way the wet silk still clings to Link’s pert ass. He then proceeds to drown himself rather than finish bathing. Link laughs with the girls, allowing them that much, before returning to his guest quarters in Riju’s home and changing out of his wet clothes.

 

  •  

 

That stint early in the day doesn’t stop him from visiting Bozai that night, offering his most sincere apologies through a grin that betrays the opposite. Bozai can’t look at him, stutters when he tries, and so Link sits beside Bozai so they can both look into the fire and talk that way with Link writing and passing the note next to him. It works, conversation soon flowing into an easy rhythm of speaking and writing. Sometimes, when it gets quiet enough between them that even the twinkling of the stars ring in their ears, Bozai writes something in return. A passing comment about something mundane, or a small compliment that makes red bloom in Link’s cheeks as he smiles and nudges Bozai softly. Link likes the way a simple touch makes Bozai try to smother a large grin. It looks so silly.

 

It looks almost...cute.

 

Link can finally process Bozai this way. How his ears are as tall as they are wide. How his glasses glint from the light of the fire. How his jaw is wide and a little more round than square. How his hair is just long enough to tie back in a short and spiky tail unlike the long fine bundle of hair Link has currently draping his shoulders. Maybe his personality is what makes him so unavailable, Link ponders, and it’s a rude thought perhaps but when he reaches out to brush locks of hair behind Bozai’s red-tipped ear he thinks how handsome he is in that scholarly way. The attraction is only more apparent when Link traces Bozai’s jaw, down to his chin, fingers brushing the bump at his throat and following the thick between neck and shoulder when a pulse races under his nails.

 

“Link-!” Bozai squirms, trying to hold still as Link continues tracing the contours of Bozai’s body, watching the material give as he presses from whispers of a touch to something with more purpose. Down the ridge between pectorals that are more soft than hard muscle to an abdomen that is taut as tension builds only centimeters lower. Link would murmur appreciative nothings in Bozai’s ear, could he speak, so his gaze does the talking for him, playful as his fingers trail back up to take Bozai by the chin and bring him close.

 

And then Link moves away, giving the man only a ghost of a kiss by the corner of his self-abused lip.


I’ll see you tomorrow,’ Link writes in the sand, and Bozai has no idea what voice Link has but he can imagine it laughing at him.

 

  •  

 

Bozai sees Link the next day. And the day after. And sometimes the nights too when Link can bear the relentless teasing of Riju and other Gerudo women. Link hasn’t yet had a summons and he lives the time he has to the fullest, especially with a night of celebration ahead of the town. The town takes to preparing for Riju’s coming-of-age, an event where Gerudo from all four corners of the kingdom return to celebrate the Chief and her first steps into adulthood. A glorified birthday party, Riju comments, embarrassed about the festivities but still flushing happily as everyone fawns over her. Of course, she drags Link into the antics of the Gerudo women who also pull out rolls of material and press it to the length of his arms and legs.

 

Riju…

 

“Hmm?”

 

They’re a bit close…

 

“You’ll live,” Riju waves, “Just think of something absolutely revolting .”

 

That’s not how this works…

 

“What do you mean?”

 

The conversation is cut short by another flood of women who sweep the seamstresses out and bring jewels to Riju’s fingers and ears. Link gets the same treatment purely due to him being there beside their Chief as an equal rather than a serf.

 

“This will be a long day. Are you ready?”

 

No .’

 

Riju laughs.

 

“That voe of yours will love it!”

 

The comment keeps Link’s hands still, silence sitting between them as his cheeks and ears flood with color and his gut curls. He can’t help showing off the grin that grows on his face as he thinks about it: Bozai’s reaction. It earns a cackle from Riju who then receives a jewel to the back of her head and a poked out tongue. The rest of the day is otherwise uneventful but no less fun. Link is able to try on clothes that are softer than his own, or more daring; from short bottoms and sheer shirts to long loincloths and loops of material that wind around his neck and would hold his breasts if he had any. He supposes that an event that celebrates adulthood would flaunt as much, especially with no men to ogle at the women who would freely dance and flirt with each other as heavy drumbeats play, but he feels so exposed. For him it’s so...sensual. Pieces of his body bare to stare at by his own choice to show them off. It sends a chill up his spine.

 

  •  

 

Warm-colored flags crisscross the town square, laughter and music resounding in the air. The scent of meat being grilled and seared to perfection wafts from a corner where hot coals make a large square and burn bright while drink is being served by the tavern. The merchant women close up shop and lay gifts on the stairs to Riju’s home and the children all gather in a house with the women too old to celebrate so loud as the young adults who sing and dance to the strings and drums that make familiar beats. The only trade that happens is between the foreigners that offer their goods to the party, Gorons parting with spice to flavor the food and few Hylians and Rito offering fruits from afar and finery respectively.

 

Link joins the fray earlier than Riju who needs time to settle the nerves she has before she addresses her tribeswomen. He doesn’t mind as much as he thought he would, enjoying the energy that runs high in the veins of all, blood pumping and hands clapping. He spots Teake with a mug in hand and a lovely woman in her lap who seems to be crooning all sorts of things into the captain’s ear if Teake’s grip on the woman’s thigh means anything. Link raises an amused brow at his technical superior, biting his lip to stifle the snort that builds in his cheeks behind his nose. She growls at him, dark skin flushing darker, but from drink or embarrassment Link cannot say.

 

“You look a way, Link,” she says roughly, fingers twitching around her cup, distracted.

 

‘A good way, I hope .’

 

Teake laughs, the end of it lost to a sharp hiss.

 

“A very good way,” she purrs, and while she means the compliment he knows well enough that the tone of voice isn’t meant for him. He smiles at the other woman, giving a polite bow of his head. She returns it, eyes catty like her grin that returns to press itself under Teake’s ear.

 

From there, Link takes his leave to mingle with others and partake in a few drinks himself. Women that make talk with him compliment his outfit for the night to which is responds with the same awe they have for him. They are all so beautiful and radiant. To be a piece of that - to be like them - makes his cheeks glow and his smile light up. Such positivity jumps on his heart making it beat harder, faster, and as he drinks with them it only seems to quicken and make him more susceptible to the relentless praise they all give each other.

 

It’s not too deep into the night when Riju makes her appearance and she looks stunning . Her hair, thick and long, is done in elaborate curls that are pinned up and frame her painted face. Her eyes are kohled, dark and drawn into sharp points at the corners, lips stained crimson. White paint makes patterns on her forehead, shapes that are traditional to the Gerudo, and rings and chains hang not only from her ears but from her nose and lips too. The gold adorning her face makes up for the lack of it in her wear, the only pieces in her outfit being that around her neck, waist, and wrists. Her top has a neckline that plunges deep to her navel that is surrounded by blue crystals that seem to be stuck to her body. Her skirt is short at the front but flares, long and wide, at the back, the same sea green as her eyes and her top.

 

Before she descends down the stairs she takes off her shoes and kneels, bowing lowly to her audience. Her nose presses to the stone and she stays for a moment before raising her head again. In her native tongue she addresses them all, and Link can only catch some of the words. She thanks the people who have raised her until now. She says goodbye to those who have left from either travel or from passing. And she, informally, states her excitement to be of age and to share it with the entire town, something that earns a few whoops and laughter. And then, still barefoot, she descends the stairs with her hand taken by a different woman with each step. Slow music plays, a steady beat in time with her steps. The last woman she takes the hand off hands her a red silk trimmed in gold and Riju takes it, swinging it around her as she dances.

 

It must be traditional for no one interrupts or joins her. They all circle around her, clapping and stomping their feet as she twirls circles inside the one consisting of her town. Of her people. Link can see the emotions that cross Riju’s face as she spots him and he smiles at her, supportive as he claps with the group. She grins at him and the dancing gets faster, faster, and all too soon does the music stop suddenly, Riju dropping to her knees, her hair covering her face with her hands outstretched in front of her. The applause when she stands is tremendous and she smiles so brightly as she’s ushered to the bar for her first drink. Link tilts his head at her, also coaxing her to enjoy herself, and she takes to doing just that. All responsibilities gone for this moment in time.

 

Link understands and leaves her to it, sneaking off with a sway in his step and a bottle of something in his hand. His tongue clicks to a tune he recalls from earlier in the night as he finds the exit he wants. With the guards inside, the arched opening is sealed via long posts with pointed ends reaching up to the archway. It doesn’t deter Link from going outside anyway, slipping the bottle and his shoes between the poles before climbing the wall beside it to the other side. He picks up his belongings and continues on his merry way, still happy and still humming as he walks towards to familiar fire he’s seen as often as he’s been teased for approaching it.

 

Bozai lays beside the fire, an instrument in his arms that he strums absentmindedly as Link makes his way in front of him. Bozai doesn’t immediately notice his company until there’s a bottle swinging over his nose. He sits up to see Link pointing at it and offering it to him. But Bozai is lost to Link, or perhaps lost in him as his eyes scan and stare properly at Link’s attire. He’s sporting the top that caught his fancy first, a loose piece that leaves the space in the middle of his chest bare as the material gathers at the thick decorative band that circles his neck. His abdomen is decorated with temporary jewels similar to what Riju also showed but instead in a deep red color that is so bold in comparison to the white of the fabric that covers him. He doesn’t opt for the highrise loincloth that is supposed to be the match to his shirt. He wears as a replacement a sirwal with cuffs that rest above his knees rather than beneath and is less loose than what is typical. Gold, rubied loops dangle off of his banded wrists and also his ankles and ears, embellishments to his outfit.

 

He’s a piece of purity taking to a night of vices, it seems.

 

Link taps Bozai’s chin, the man’s mouth formerly open wide, and takes a swig from the bottle first. The drink is cold, or at least feels that way with how it burns his throat and tingles on his tongue. Then he passes it to Bozai who takes it if only to do something with himself that isn’t gaping at Link. Link winks, twirling and showing off himself. Bozai notices there’s decorative patterns along the seam that leads down from Link’s hips, also notices how low the pants sit when he gets a peek of thin material that he can only guess barely covers Link’s most intimate area. His mind trails as liquid stupidity thrums like fire in his veins, not making him more bold but making something else be more bold for him.

 

Play for me!’ Link leans over Bozai’s back to write in the sand in front of him. He pats the stringed instrument on Bozai’s lap, encouraging him to pluck at the strings and give him something to enjoy. To dance to. Because that’s what Link feels like doing as he sways beside the fire, twirling with his arms tight around him. Eventually Bozai finds himself to play something upbeat and repetitive, Link clapping and laughing as his feet kick up the sand as he shuffles through it. Despite Bozai being their only musician, Link still coaxes him to come and join, shooing the instrument away and dragging Bozai to his feet to spin to a tune only Link seems to know. Neither mind, hands held together high above their heads as they spin and twirl and tumble until they’re tripping in the sand and falling into it.

 

Link laughs, fingers stretching passed Bozai’s face as he rests his own on the other’s chest. Link huffs and tries to catch his breath as Bozai’s chest rises and falls as quick as his own. He looks up at the man, grinning, before sitting to prop himself above him. Link’s brows are quirked, a happy look on his face that Bozai reaches up to touch and remember. Link leans into the hand, tilts it so that he can press his lips to it after his teeth release them. Bozai’s fingers twitch at the contact, lava flooding his cheeks and his chest and pooling further down. Link is well aware of how far down, his thigh pressed to Bozai’s close enough to feel the telltale twitch of his burgeoning arousal.

 

It makes Link hum, a pleased sound, smug that he’s the cause of all this. And Bozai, knowing he’s being teased and has been for so long, also knows that there is no way he could mind it when Link traces a finger down his chest. Bozai doesn’t have enough alcohol in his system to do what he wants to but he still tries, fingers trembling against Link’s cheek as his thumb moves under his chin and he brings him close. Link looks at him, eyes daring him to continue, telling him he’s allowed to, and when it’s still not enough Link pushes softly forward, lips catching Bozai’s, and Bozai groans weakly and pathetically as he melts in it. Link snickers as they kiss, hands touching what he can but not where Bozai wants, and Link finds himself giddy and gleeful when he hears Bozai pant out his name.

 

Link’s lips part wetly, tongue lapping at Bozai’s lips and coaxing his own out. He wants to taste the other, wants to feel his groans on teeth and tongue and feel the restrained desperation as his hands search for spots over Bozai’s body to make him tremble like a leaf in a storm. His bare skin is hot to touch - both of them are, the fire so close yet so far from mind - and Link’s wet kisses that trail from Bozai’s lips, to neck, down over his chest cool only fractions of it and the cold doesn’t last long when the pathway down burns hotter the further down Link goes. He’s making patterns that follow the line of Bozai’s hips to the hem of his pants, then returning back up to another ridge just below his chest, then back down, and repeating the process until he can feel Bozai’s thighs draw up so tight Link can feel them on his shoulders.

 

He’s not avoiding what is going to happen. He’s trying to make himself push through it, rile the nerves inside him up and make him do what he would like to. All these years, he isn’t averse to sex and what it entails. He’s shared moments with others, a consensual stress-relieving activity that has him glowing and grinning when it’s over. But it’s different like this, practically an anonymous face to the other, not knowing of the arousal that pumps blood hot and fast into his own prick. He shudders as one hand reaches down between his legs to give himself a sympathetic squeeze. He’ll get his own eventually. Right now, as Bozai’s breath hitches when Link pulls down the waist of Bozai’s pants centimeter by centimeter, he wants to focus on someone else. On being someone else.

 

Bozai still is processing what’s happening - a beautiful, wonderful being between his legs - and too soon is Link sucking at the hard curve of his cock over his underwear. It’s a struggle to breathe, a struggle to not rock up into that inviting mouth that takes his cockhead so easily, and Link smiles when Bozai’s hand, rough and sandy, ends up in his hair and tugs at the roots gently.

 

“I- It’s been so long; I’m- I’m not going to last at all,” Bozai admits, ears downturned in embarrassment. Link shakes his head, offering Bozai’s cock a small kiss before he replaces a mouth with his hand and moves to lean against Bozai’s shoulder.

 

I’ll train you, ’ Link mouths into Bozai’s shoulder, and the man won’t understand but it doesn’t matter when he’s already at his peak, his orgasm not as entirely unexpected as Bozai would like to think.

 

Bozai is panting, hands covering his face, so red. Link gives his cheek a kiss, laughter on his breath.

 

“That was disappointingly fast,” Bozai says after he recollects himself. Link grins, stands, and tugs Bozai to his feet to lead him back to his tent.

 

I’m not done with you yet .’

 

It’s a thought that reflects in his eyes as they stumble pass the material of the entrance and Link pulls Bozai down to kiss him fully. It’s a moment that has them both dazed, Bozai more so, and Link is happy enough to be gifted moments like this. Indulgence, almost in excess, that he partakes in as he feels Bozai grind into his palm and moan into his mouth. Link makes a soft noise in kind, legs shaking as his thighs tighten, arousal apparent but unseen in the dark of the tent. To avoid being touched, avoid the leg that tries to slip between his own so they can press each other closer, he pushes Bozai to the ground and wastes no time in pulling pants and underwear down to take him into his mouth with cheeks hollowing in.

 

The loud moan that escapes Bozai has Link groaning around him, almost a whimper as his hand moves down his own body for some sort of stimulation, avoiding the growing hardness that seeks the friction of something heavier than the light cloth of his sirwal. Pre spills so eagerly into his mouth, pooling on his tongue, and he has to swallow it and the moans that build up so he can take Bozai deeper like the man’s hands guide him to do. Link encourages it, pushes his head into Bozai’s palms, reaches a hand up to make Bozai’s fingers curl tighter as if the nudge isn’t obvious enough, and when he feels the ache of his hair being tugged and his throat straining to swallow down more of his girth he can’t help but send a watery smile his way.

 

It seems to trigger something in Bozai because suddenly Link’s mouth is being wrecked, fucked hard enough for his teeth the catch since his lips don’t have time to cover them. Bozai doesn’t seem to mind the sting but Link doesn’t have the time to process that when he tries to steady Bozai’s hips so that he can pull off. Only when Bozai’s second climax does his hips shudder and he stops for long enough to allow Link’s mouth to slacken and slide off. The timing is almost too perfect for Bozai who gets to watch his seed splatter into Link’s mouth and over his face, eyes sparkling with tears and rimmed red, cheeks matching it. It’s a collection of color and creation that has Bozai tucking this moment away for future reference when he’s alone. Link, licking his lips and sighing, thinks that he’s never felt as alive as he does now.

 

“Can’t I help you, Link?” Bozai says softly, arm over his eyes as he regains himself again.

 

Link shakes his head, folds his legs and hides his hardness with his hands on his lap.

 

I’m okay. I want to please you right now, ’ Link signs, forgetting briefly that Bozai won’t understand him, still dazed.

 

“I feel bad for being the only one enjoying this to the fullest extent,” he replies, sitting up and resting a hand on Link’s outer thigh. Link shudders, skin bubbling with goosebumps. He’s enjoying himself, honestly, but as equally honest he also wants to badly to- “I’d like to make you climax as well.”

 

Bozai says it so resolutely, determined to give Link as much pleasure as he’s received, and Link has to hold himself together from swooning because he is far too pent up, far too easily susceptible to the idea of being allowed to cum. He wets his lips, opens his mouth to breathe out slowly, and shakes his head again, drawing his knees up and hiding behind them. The reaction causes a concerned look to sit firmly upon Bozai’s face, the glow that took it fading as he sits beside Link and wraps an arm around him to hug him tight to his side.

 

“Is something the matter?”

 

Oh yes, Link can only quietly lament. Bozai doesn’t even know that beneath the finery and the rouge on his cheeks is just another man searching for something. An escape. A world away from his duties. Bozai doesn’t know that it’s the Hero of Hyrule in his tent that sucked his cock like the Goddesses will never give him the chance to do such a thing ever again. That dresses in flowing fabrics that tease bits and pieces of himself he would never be allowed to due to his life mission. That wants to be fucked until he forgets what that mission is, because in that moment he wants only to succeed reaching his orgasm. He wants the voice that has been taken from him to scream his appreciation for something so carnal, something so sinful for someone so blessed, and not regret enjoying every moment of it.

 

There’s tears in his eyes when he turns his head and tries to receive a softer kiss from Bozai. He backs away after a second and Bozai sees his lower lip tremble, watches as Link lifts his top to reveal how hard the buds on his chest have gotten, and when Bozai’s eyes flick down to Link’s closed legs that are pried open by willpower and need his eyes widen just a fraction. It’s such an underwhelming reaction and Link wonders if he’s made it clear, shuffling his pants lower on his hips so that his hard prick pokes up against his underwear and makes it apparent that there is something between his legs. He looks away, embarrassed, awaiting judgement, but instead Bozai reaches for Link’s thigh again and gives it a squeeze.

 

“Is this what you’re nervous about, dear?” Bozai says softly, hand moving down to Link’s ass now. Link gasps, a whimper caught in his throat, and he ducks his head low, ears turned down as he nods. Bozai sighs and it sounds disappointed causing Link to curl more into himself.

 

“You’re still beautiful, Link,” Bozai says, pressing his lips to the tip of Link’s ear that flutters when it’s breathed against. “You’re gorgeous. All of you…

 

“From here…”

 

Bozai’s hands move so that his thumbs can rub firm circles against Link’s nipples and Link whines, hands rushing back to his lap to press down on his erection that throbs for more. Link wants so badly to touch himself, to be touched, but he wants to wait. Wants to be allowed to. Let’s Bozai’s fingers toy with him until he can grow used to the feeling and replace it with something new, edging himself closer and closer to the edge. But he doesn’t get time for Bozai’s hands to feel familiar since the man lowers his mouth on Link’s small chest and licks and sucks, small flicks of his tongue that focuses on the hard nipple rather than the surrounding skin. The attention to there in particular has Link curving his back in so that his chest pushes out more for Bozai to continue playing with his tiny tits, sucking and thumbing at the same time until the front of his pants is so wet and sticky that his thighs stick. Link’s breathing harshly now, eyes cracking open through the pleasure to see that Bozai is getting hard all over again, and he wants to touch him in return, but Bozai instead takes the role of pleasing the partner Link can’t find himself minding that at all.

 

“Even to here, Link.”

 

Bozai-!

 

Link’s mouth takes the shape of the syllables that make the man’s name but nothing comes out. Only sounds that squeeze out of his throat that start in his chest when Bozai finally, finally , touches him. There’s no mistaking it now - Link isn’t the sort of vai that can give Bozai the family he wants - but still Bozai presses onward, guiding Link to get on his hands and knees so that he can please him the only way he knows how to please anyone else and if Link could scream then he would absolutely destroy his voice all over again when he feels Bozai’s tongue against him. His eyes sting and he drops to his elbows as Bozai’s tongue pries him open, moving away every so often to breathe and see Link trembling in front of him. Link hides what he can of his front with his hand, still shy about this part of himself at least, and Bozai softly laughs.

 

“You had no problem disrobing me, my dear,” Bozai points out. Link sticks out his tongue, a weak retort, and Bozai jokingly sticks out his own in response and that silences whatever else Link wants to say because he knows where that tongue will be returning.

 

Link obediently returns to bowing his back and raising his ass, a finger reaching across his sac to test the give of his ass so he can push back on Bozai’s mouth. His first rock back is a selfish one, wanting more from Bozai who so willingly gives it to him. His second one was one of encouragement, one to tell Bozai to hurry up and fuck him until he’s wet enough for more to slide easily in. The third rock, urgent because he’s so close now, makes Bozai still him so he can no longer move, hands parting Link’s cheeks to dive deeper and eat him out more thoroughly. Link chokes when he feels it, feels Bozai’s tongue moving so far inside of him and making him see stars. Even if he weren’t chosen by the Goddesses, blasphemous, he thinks that never before has he believed so strongly in All-Seeing, All-Knowing omnipotent beings before. Gods exist and they exist to serve as guides to the heavens, appearing in moments like this where you are so lost to pure bliss and unrivaled lust, sins and saviors both making themselves known to man.

 

Link bucks against Bozai’s face, gasps as he cums in the sandy rug beneath him. His bones feel like jelly and his cock hurts with how hard his climax hit him. But despite his incapacitated self he feels so wonderful. Light, sated, and still wanted. A combination that has him still tearing up but this time in happiness rather than due to bundles of tangled nerves. Bozai wipes his mouth, offers an odd clay bottle to Link after taking a swig from it himself. Link’s sure he sees him mouth ‘ water ’ and accepts it. It escapes his slack mouth, dribbles down his neck as he downs it all, and weakly crawls over to the corner Bozai keeps rough blankets and pillows. Bozai helps him across, tucks Link into the nest of assorted cushions and throws, and Link tugs Bozai down into it with him, curling up against his chest and closing his eyes.

 

Thank you, ’ Link writes into his chest.

 

“Rest, sweet thing. You were hit hard by that climax of yours, weren’t you?” Link nods slowly, tiredly. “I’ll cook you something in the morning. Would you like that?”

 

Of course!’ Link nods, a bit faster this time, but not by much. Bozai laughs.

 

“You’re welcome.” Bozai smiles and Link returns it. His smile, however, does turn a bit teasing when his fingers trace the half-hard mound in Bozai’s pants.

 

I’ll be sure to repay you, ’ Link mouths, making sure Bozai sees what he tries to say. Bozai seems to get the hint.

 

“Go to sleep, Link.” He laughs, giving Link’s forehead a kiss. Link can’t help but shiver in delight, happy at the affection received.

 

Good night .’

 

  •  

 

Fire. Link can smell it all of a sudden in his sleep and it stirs him, wakes him to a full alertness that his battle-ready and -hardened senses have trained him for. Bozai groans beside him and Link gestures for him to stay and stay low, though it’s an order for safety that is met with confusion since Link leaves before he has the chance to ask.

 

He’s dashing forward, no shield or weapon to help, but the silk he snatched away with him would do enough as something to fight with, like how the thick gold bands around his wrists should be adequate enough armor for him to get up close as long as the weapons swing rather than thrust. He’s fought with less and survived. He has literally been left to his own devices in just his underwear, finding only a stick to defend himself, and a well-timed boulder to sneakily rid his path of any monsters blocking it. No matter the state of his health or mind, he presses on as a few enemy scouts see him with their weapons at the ready.

 

The outside of the town has only a few raiders stationed, most of them no doubt within and causing the havoc that is indicated by the plumes of black smoke that rise above shrieks of terror. The guardswomen are tied up, too tired and drunk from the night before to do much all but alert enough to damn try. This attack was planned, Link’s nose pinches at the realization, and he takes down the four that block his path. Unfortunately it’s not fast enough for them to not alert the others but Link cuts the women free and they all push onward as best they can.

 

The heat of flames and the scent burning cloth make his teeth grind together, wincing as his eyes dry in the humidity. It’s difficult enough to breathe in the desert heat and with all its sand. Raiders have already ransacked many buildings though not the one that Link knows would be safe. Should be safe. Even with the hinges knocked clean off, when he enters he notices the one place he is relieved to find that there’s one area that is very much untouched, gone unnoticed amongst the merchandise that is strewn all over the floor. (“ Voe attire? Why here…” ) The guardswomen are keeping watch behind him as he pries apart awful rug from wooden floor. All falls silent save for the fire and fight outside.

 

And then-

 

“Link!”

 

There’s a gasp of surprise before he’s gathered into a hug that he returns with a weak smile before the moment ends and seriousness begins anew.

 

“The children are safe here but the others are being forced to submit or die,” Greta scowls, closing the basement door as she makes her way up to the main floor. “You cannot fight in that,” she tells him, and Link nods as he nudges something with his foot, peering down at it. Greta does the same. “Take it. I will take the guards and we will meet you outside.”

 

Link nods, reaching down and holding the leather strap of a harness in his hand in a tight fist.

 

When he exits he isn’t blind to the shocked looks on the guardswomen’s faces but he is surprised to find that they are quick to accept. Perhaps it’s because of the chaos around them, but knowing the little Gerudo he does he is sure he hears, “ This explains much.

 

Link knows the women can hold their own well enough but with their tiredness still slowing their movements he can’t help but hope to take the brunt of every blow he can manage when they are caught unawares. Through the thick of the fight, Link tries so hard to locate Riju. To find at least Buliara. It’s no use when after one raider falls another comes to join the fray. The Gerudo are much the same, however, another taking a stand after regaining themselves when another falls prey to a moment of weakness. Link knows too well the feeling, dropping to his knee as the heat dances with his mind and makes his head spin.

 

“What are you doing? Stand, voe! Do not let your facade diminish just because you wear that garb!”

 

Buliara!

 

Link’s head lifts upon hearing her voice and he can’t help but weakly smile at her, signing how grateful he is to see her. She grins back, wildness in her eyes as she licks her lips and, with a mighty roar, swings her greatsword in a wide arch and takes down the raiders that surrounded Link. With a strong grip on his forearm, she lifts him to his feet. He struggles to stand, much like the guard that accompanied him to the town square, and he can feel the strain on her muscles when his weight falls heavy on his legs. He’s not the only one feeling the effect of a drawn out battle with pests who just don’t seem to know when to flee.

 

“You’ve driven them off from the southern side of the town into the center. The north is struggling, if only because the Canteen is located there,” she says, lifting her sword onto her shoulder. “Riju is there. She is also fighting, or trying. We think they are from the Yiga. Their attack began where we were.”

 

Link nods, standing and leaning heavily on his polearm.

 

We need reinforcements. To flush them out. Get the children out, at least.

 

“You worry for us, and I understand, but I can’t decipher you at present,” she grunts, jogging around corners as they make their way from town square toward the northern walls. “We need to find Riju, before she does something reckless.”

 

A soft noise leaves Link, a snort of amusement as tries to match Buliara’s hurried pace. Meanwhile the Gerudo behind them either follow or recuperate, others rushing to put out the fires they can by climbing the walls and pushing the water off the edge. Riju will do something reckless - it’s rooted in her personality and and pride as Chief - but still, he hopes to reach her before then.

 

  •  

 

The fight shifts, not in favor of the Gerudo for reasons of physical prowess and a victory that comes from it, but because the leader steps out into the open desert outside the northern wall, meeting Riju in it and taunting her from what Link can hear.

 

“You women are falling low, sinking into this wasteland of sand,” he calls to her, voice carrying on the wind like offensive spittle on her cheek. “You are an offense to your blood, to our Lord Demise, Ganondorf of the Gerudo-!”

 

“You will not speak his name to us, heretic!” Riju yells, pointing her spear at him. “By blood, he is my sworn brother and by the laws of our land he is my predecessor, but by the work of False Gods he is their pawn. Fate besmirched by the greed of a tyrant, you will not drag his name further into the mud!

 

“You dare invade my land, my home, and offend me further by dragging us out here. State your purpose!”

 

“Why, dear Chief, I came to take what’s mine,” the man lifts the one-eyed mask from his face, revealing a wicked smirk with intentions to match. “I can level this village of yours and make every one of you submit to our clan, or you can willingly give yourself up as my bride. You are of age now, are you not?”

 

His laugh is crude, disgusting, and Link wants to push through the crowd of Gerudo at their chief’s back to be there for her but Buliara holds him back, pushing him along softly as they shift through the bodies to position themselves closer.

 

“I will never subject myself or my people to you!” Riju roars, a powerful voice across the desert, even the thunder that rumbles above can’t challenge the strength. “I refuse to submit to a coward!”

 

The raiders behind their leader cower under the darkening clouds but when the man raises his hand their shivers stop, if only because they were ordered and not because they truly feel no fear.

 

“They I humbly refuse to listen to the childish retorts of a little chieftainess who doesn’t know when a good deal is being offered,” he replies, grin widening as he shifts a chain off his shoulder and drops a spiked-ball behind him. “We could have had something, my dear. Apparently age truly is only a number and grants no wisdom upon the anniversary of a birth!”

 

Eht vo’gha shiksa, vas’borssa! ” Riju grins, raising her spear to the sky and as the thunder grows louder, and louder-

 

No one notices it at first, not amongst the flash of electricity in the air or the dark clouds that grew a deeper grey as the bunch close above them, but there is something there. Too soon do arrows rain down on the Yiga, pinning them down to the ground, dead or alive, and when Riju’s spear lowers the clouds dissipate leaving sun and the shadows of Rito. Not just a handful, though. Flock seems too on the nose to say but it seems so correct when dozens of the bird people aim their bows down on the enemy as they retreat. Riju turns to her people with a grin before it wavers as her knees buckle and she sinks into the sand.

 

Riju!

 

If Link’s voice could carry worry in it then it would, the Hylian dashing across the sand to sink to her side. Buliara is close by, checking on Riju’s breathing and her temperature.

 

“She’s weak of heart and her skin is cold with her sweat. She needs rest. The ancestors have helped much this day,” Buliara says, her hand brushing their hair and sand out of Riju’s face. It’s a motion that seems to comfort her more than the chief. She picks Riju up, the young woman curling up to her guardian like a child seeking a parent’s warmth. Age doesn’t change much at all. As they make it to the walls, Buliara suddenly stops, feeling the unsure and still aggressive presence of the Gerudo people at her back as Link follows them. Donning the voe attire it’s obvious that he shouldn’t enter. That he, on account of his true identity, should not be allowed. But they know him. Have laughed and trained with him.

 

On all their faces seems to be a self-reprimand.

 

‘If I had known-!’

 

‘Never would I-!’

 

‘A voe in our village-!’

 

“I’m sorry Link. Considering the climate of our situation...I cannot grant you the entry you are so often allowed under the hospitality of our chief,” Buliara says, a frown deeply etched on her face, following the lines of age that seem to have made itself more apparent from their battle.

 

I understand .’

 

“I’ll send word,” she continues. And when she looks at Link, a tired and appreciative smile on her face after looking down at her charge, she says, “Perhaps some new clothes too. Riju would perhaps do the same.”

 

Link smiles back.

 

“In the meantime, if you could please send the Rito our thanks. It is thanks to one of their own that we could gain their help in such short notice.”

 

I will .’

 

  •  

 

When the heat of battle dies inside of him, he feels so empty. Without the Gerudo Town, he isn’t sure where he fits. He’s so used to being there, fighting with them and later celebrating victory. He wants to sleep for a long time. For as long as it takes until Riju is rested, if only so his excuse to return is fully able to accept him publically. It’s such a selfish wish, and while he doesn’t feel uncomfortable in the Gerudo voe attire he wanders aimlessly in it seems to feel tighter and heavier with every step he takes. He looks at it, glancing over his shoulder at the pauldron that holds Riju’s crest, to the Gerudo designs that follow the material beneath it, to his bare chest and the leather strap that runs across it and under his arm. He’s hyperaware of what these clothes feel like in comparison to typical vai attire. To his attire.

 

When he makes it to the eastern wall, he looks up the path to Bozai’s camp and then to his left where the way leads to the Bazaar Oasis. He isn’t sure which path to retreat to. Whether or not he wants to hide away from it all or seek comfort in the embrace of someone who knows the side Link he wants to feel again. Link stretches his arms out in front of him, holding his arms around himself as he walks in zig zags, towards one way and then another, but he still finds himself going in the direction of Bozai’s camp in the end, wondering how to explain everything. How to calm the worry the other may have after doing something so rash again, just like with the Molduga.

 

He doesn’t even see the flags of the sand seal race; Bozai is rushing towards Link from his right, dishevelled and glasses askew. Link wants to hide himself, remembering their night. Remembering what Bozai thinks of him. Thinking that it changes now, when Bozai sees Link how the world seems him, paragon of Hylian masculinity and Champion of Hyrule. It makes Link weak, and not in a way that would denote fancy for the idea. But instead Link is caught in a sweeping hug that pulls him off his feet as Bozai buries his face in his neck, shuddering a breath he probably held when he saw him first.

 

“I’m not blind to your abilities but I still worried so much. It was all so sudden,” Bozai mutters, pressing his lips to the soft spot beneath Link’s ear. “Would you like to head inside? Cover up?”

 

Why?

 

“I’m sorry? I still haven’t gotten a grip of your signs yet,” Bozai says. Link grits his teeth, drags Bozai to his tent to write what he demands to know of the man. He shoves the parchment in Bozai’s face, crossing his arms when Bozai takes it and reads it aloud.

 

“‘ Why treat me like this? You’re not blind to my abilities but are you blind to me? Who I am? What I am? ’ What you are? What are you Link? What do you mean?” Bozai asks, and it’s such a sincere question that Link gapes for a moment before snatching the parchment to rip it in half and throwing it aside. He angrily strips the armor from his shoulder, peeling the padding beneath and tearing the straps off his chest. He pushes the man down and straddles him, takes his hand and brings one to touch his chest while making the other properly feel the bulge beneath his sirwal.

 

I’m a man. Not a woman. Not a wife. ’ Link mouths slowly, a hurt expression contorting his scratched and dirty face into something more unappealing, making sure Bozai reads every word on his lips.

 

“Please don’t cry, Link. I’m not sure what’s going on but I hate seeing you upset. Is something so wrong right now?” Bozai’s hand brushes burnt bangs and rubs at dirt that smudges with the tears Link isn’t aware were falling. Link laughs.

 

Idiot ,’ Bozai reads on Link’s lips. Bozai smiles.

 

“Can another not be so stupid for one he deeply cares for?”

 

Link blushes, something that runs a deeper red than the blood on his face. He looks around, tries to find the remains of the things he needs to write.

 

I like you, I do. But I’m not the wife you’re looking for. ’ Link writes. He bites his lips as he writes beneath that lines. ‘ I’m a man, don’t you know?

 

“Well, physically, are you not?” Bozai says awkwardly, and Link stares at him, confused, before rubbing his eyes of the tears that are left behind unfallen.

 

No, I mean, I am a man. In figure and nature. What do you mean?’

 

Bozai finally looks shocked. And then awkward all over again.

 

“Oh! I- I’m so sorry. I thought you- I thought you were a woman. Perhaps not one who was originally named as such but one who, later in life, learns they are.”

 

Bozai squirms under Link and his stare and Link slowly finds a smile slipping on his face, brows creased as incredulity for everything the world has given him presses down on it. Bozai...truly is amazing. Link wants to think that maybe it’s only because the man has fondness for him that another would call infatuation but when Bozai looks so apologetic for the assumption Link can only push such self-deprecation to the back of his mind, snickering quietly as he rolls to the side of Bozai and rests his head in his knees.

 

Now you know properly then. Now you can search for a proper wife. One who actually is a woman.

 

“And if I don’t want to?” Bozai replies, leaning close so that his shoulder brushes against Link’s.

 

Link hides his face away.

 

I’m not looking for anything so serious. I- ’ Link pauses his writing, glancing up at Bozai before finishing his sentence off and turning to curl up by himself and dig into his eyes with his knees. ‘ I like the attention you give me, that’s all.

 

“Then...can I keep giving it to you?” Bozai asks. “I don’t mind. Any of this. If you’re a man, or if you’re not interested. I- I just think you’re strong and beautiful and wouldn’t mind having you in my arms at least twice a month.”

 

A grin forms, pressed to Link’s forearms.

 

Are you trying to negotiate an arrangement with me?

 

“If you’ll allow it.”

 

Link turns to Bozai again, uncertainty on his face but playfulness in his eyes. When he leans towards Bozai he wants to kiss him. Wants to find out what buttons he can push to properly appreciate the man who appreciates him so greatly. But rather than the slow languid movements of a person trying to figure out the answers to such questions, Link grabs Bozai by the back of his neck and steals a moment of his time with a hot, wet kiss of someone dying of thirst. Link casts aside Bozai’s glasses, crawls into his lap and kicks off his boots all the while as the sand sinks beneath them and they lose themselves to purposeful touches and long kisses. Whether they take their time properly or rush it all in the heat of the moment, Link isn’t one to care because right now when Bozai is muttering his thanks for what Link is gracing him Link is sure that all he wants is to make this man know and remember just who Link is.

 

Bozai slips Link’s sirwal a little further down his hips, thumbs pressing deep into the hard ridge between flesh and bone as he guides Link over him. One hand moves down and back, slips under Link’s underwear and grabs a handful of soft ass that makes Link moan. A pleased laugh leaves him as he shudders, guiding Bozai’s hand away from his body and back down hard enough to make a sound. The light pound of palm against his ass rings in his ears as a perverse sound that seems to affect them both, Link biting his lip and Bozai groaning as his nails dig deep and his other hand moves to grab at the other peachy cheek. Link notices the lazily smile on Bozai’s face, still a lustful look but one coupled with amusement when he kneads the flesh of Link’s ass out, around, and then back in, a massage of sorts in gentler hands. The way it feels though, so greedy of Bozai - a good look on him when his eyes flick up to meet Link’s - makes Link’s dick twitch and grind into the air, refusing to meet Bozai’s erection beneath him.

 

“Tease,” Bozai groans, biting his lip as he tries to shift and gain any sort of friction at all, even if that’s against Link’s thigh.

 

Link is huffing, breaths of moans and laughs as he still enjoys every bit of attention he gets, arches his back to earn a little more elsewhere, and Bozai is willing to give what Link wants. It’s so much, almost too much when Bozai’s tongue finds it’s way up to a nipple and flicks at the hard nub until it’s sensitive and swollen and makes Link hide the very slight curve of his chest under his hands. He doesn’t have breasts at all but when Bozai gives his chest so much attention Link feels they’re as sensitive as, aching to be sucked on as Bozai’s grip on his ass tightens only to pry apart his cheeks and run a finger down the middle. Link isn’t sure if it’s a tease or a search but the most likely answer is that is’t both, Bozai’s finger running down to the sensitive skin further below and the entrance of his ass.

 

When he feels the easy, eager give Link’s ass has on him, Bozai’s moan is low and broken, the man no doubt trying to retain some semblance of control and dominance, and Link smiles against the top of Bozai’s head when he feels the harsh breath of his against his breastbone. Between them, he feels Bozai reaching under his own pants with his freer hand to grip hard at his cock as if trying to stop it reaching the climax it wants. The climax that he wants. But Link wants to see it. Wants to taste their sex in the air when Bozai cums. He pushes Bozai back a bit to make room so his hand can replace the one trying to hold back Bozai’s release.

 

“D-Don’t- I’ll-!”

 

Link doesn’t care, long fingers wrapping around Bozai’s cock, thicker with all his arousal pent up in this one spot, and with Link’s other hand he sucks on his fingers in time with his downward strokes, tongue making sure his fingers were properly wet before he decides it’s time to fuck himself on them. It’s not a hard thing to assume and Bozai is quick on the point when his eyes widen, watching Link do all of this. To say he’s enjoying the show would be an understatement, his cock throbbing hard with every noisy slurp Link’s mouth makes around the three digits he has in it. Bozai tries to keep quiet, wants to hear the messy wetness Link makes on purpose so that the saliva comes down his chin and falls right on top of Bozai’s cockhead, cool against the heat of his erection.

 

Bozai’s hips buck upwards, knees raising as he tries to find his footing so he can grind desperately into Link but the Champion isn’t finished yet, removing his fingers from his mouth and leaning over to reach behind him. There’s a tightness in his chest when he holds back a moan. His fingers push in, one by one, after a few thrusts to make sure he’s relaxed. He can feel how hot he is. How tight, The ridges of flesh inside him that his fingers drag across to find the perfect spot. His moans grow in volume, eyes slipping shut as he reaches for Bozai’s hand to fuck his mouth before returning to stroke his cock. The view Bozai has is incredible but the feeling can’t possibly match up. He can see Link’s arm reaching back, the back of his hand moving up and down over the curve of his ass as he fingers himself. He can see Link pushing himself to take four of Bozai’s thick fingers and sucks on them harder than the grip he has on Bozai’s cock as he desperately tries to coax an orgasm out of him.

 

“Link, I’m-!”

 

Unsurprisingly, Bozai climaxes, but it doesn’t stop him from kissing Link and grinding against him and Link moans, a whine high in his throat as he gasps and grabs Bozai to bring him back. Bozai mutters such sweetness on Link’s mouth that he can taste in on his tongue, drinks it in and nods in agreement.

 

“You feel so good, dear. Your ass is so soft. Your mouth is so hot. Oh Link-!”

 

Link nods frantically. Yes, he’s so good. He’s being so good because Bozai is so good to him, touching him everywhere and not even averse to grabbing his hard prick and stroking Link off for him. It makes Link yelp when Bozai takes initiative and strokes Link off. Being alone for so long, Link can only teasingly think about how good with his hands Bozai should be, but the amusement is left unvoiced and it doesn’t last long when Bozai tightens his grip right in the middle and twists his hand on an upward stroke to gather the skin and push more pre out of Link’s little cock. Link hides his face in his shoulder, embarrassed with his body and how awkward his dick must look like this, skin gathering and pulling as Bozai plays with him. But Bozai loves it, the way Link’s cum makes the head of his prick shine over the natural pretty pink of it. How absolutely soft and suckable it looks, making him lick his lips as he wishes he could be eating Link out instead.

 

Bozai wants move Link’s fingers aside, repeat the night before and fucking him open so sweetly with his tongue to leave him wet and loose and wanting. Oh, to feel Link ride his face would be a dream come true and the thought makes his cock twitch hard against Link’s thigh.

 

“I want to taste you, Link. Would you let me? Like before?”

 

Link’s thighs squeeze, tensing as pleasure rocks his body with just a vocal suggestions, ears as red as his face as a perfect rosy flush fills his entire body from face to thighs. Link is already positioning himself on his knees but Bozai’s thoughts for positions is completely different, patting the outside of Link’s thigh to turn him over. He wastes no time in sucking Link’s prick. It twitches in his mouth and he hums his approval, loves the reactions Link’s body gives him. Bozai’s mouth feels so warm, so wet, and while Link has experienced pleasure thanks to Bozai’s mouth he hadn’t had time to imagine what it would be like like this. His fingers lace into Bozai’s hair, tugging the base of the dark strands as his hips rock up into Bozai’s mouth. Bozai has a steady hand on his hips but still Link’s body is fighting the restraint, wanting so badly for more heat and more wetness.

 

Bozai doesn’t give him enough, Link thinks when he pulls off, and he’s almost sobbing angrily with how close he was. Bozai licks his lips, grin devious when he returns back down between Link’s thighs. It’s a premature bout of anger, he realizes, because Bozai is prying his ass open with his thick tongue and Link’s eyes are wide and his fingers go from tugging hair to digging nails into Bozai’s scalp. Bozai’s tongue is not only thick, Link properly finds, but also wide, licking from hole to the underside of his sac and up his shaft in one broad lick that has Link twitching for more he can’t handle when he climaxes hard against Bozai’s mouth. Spunk gets into his hair, something Link is apologetic for but still laughs about under the giddiness of his arousal. Bozai doesn’t seem to mind to much, happy to see Link’s cheeks wet with sweat and tears of overstimulating pleasure.

 

“Still want more?” Bozai pants, smiling down at his lover, and Link is absolutely fine with Bozai wanting more. Taking more. He coaxes the man to give it to him. To sit up and press his cock in. To take him like he wants. Like they both want. And Bozai doesn’t fight, wanting it too, pushing until he’s buried inside Link’s heat, choking when he feels the squeeze around him that makes his hips shift to earn more of those spasms. Link yelps at the first thrust, voice staccato as Bozai finds a pace and sticks to it.

 

More. Give me more! ’ Link’s mouth rounds out around the words he wants to say as he rides Bozai’s cock, feeling a fullness that stretches even his bones as his thighs part to take Bozai deeper. He doesn’t feel when Bozai cums, isn’t even aware that he has, because his eyes shut tight and his hands reach in front of him for his fingers to splay against the soft lines of Bozai’s tense abdomen. His cock bobs with every bounce he makes, with every sound Link’s ass makes against the top of Bozai’s thighs, and Link is sobbing now, a right mess as Bozai marks his chest with sloppy kisses, arms wound tight around his waist as his own hips shudder to a halt.

 

“So good, Link- So good-!”

 

I am. I am so please! More. More!’

 

Link looks desperately at Bozai, so lost in the thick heat of his arousal that he’s suffocating in it. Even still, he’s embarrassed when he raises a hand to pinch at a hard nipple, fingers tracing Bozai’s jaw and hoping he takes the hint. He does, giving the bud a lick as if testing the waters.

 

“Is this what you want, Link? Do you want me to suck on these for you?”

 

Link shudders, can’t stand to hear his request voiced but like a masochist he enjoys it. He’s been told to learn some humility. He’s sure this isn’t what such mentors thought for him when he looks at Bozai with watery eyes and nods.

 

Please!’

 

“Are you saying please?” Bozai asks, voice thick as he bites his lip and fucks up into Link again and again before he has the chance to respond. “Please suck on your cute chest? Is that what you want Link? For me to taste you from here?”

 

Bozai, yes, yes-! Please, I-!’

 

Whatever babbling Link was about to make, be it with his hands or with his mouth, is silenced when Bozai’s tongue flicks between one nipple and the other as Link rides him. Link can’t move his hips anymore with hose stimulated he is, and how tired he is regardless of it. He’s such a greedy one, wanting this so badly as if making up for all the time they lost due to the raiders. So selfish. So unlike the image he is supposed to value so much. When Bozai moves so that Link is on his back, Link bites onto his knuckles as his climax hits him in hot waves that shock his body into relative stillness. He’s still shaking, aftershocks taking him, and it doesn’t at all help that he can feel every square millimeter of skin that’s coated in the mess he made.

 

After a shallow thrust or two, with Link being so tight, it doesn’t take much for Bozai to reach his own peak finally. He slumps over Link, his own body twitching, especially his hips that still move him in and out by small centimeters as he tries to force himself to adjust. Everything is too much, feels too hot, and most definitely is something explosive when Link reaches up to hold onto Bozai so he can lift his hips and slide off of his cock. Even that small obligatory movement sets another orgasm rippling through him from his thighs, and it’s something that Bozai shares just the same when his cock twitches with a small amount of his ejaculate coating the crease between Link’s pelvis and thigh. Despite still being soft, Bozai’s cock still manages to twitch feebly under Link’s fingertips when he reaches down to trace their separated bodies. Link laughs in his lost breaths, feeling how wet between his thighs are. It’s mostly from sweat, he realizes, none of Bozai’s release dragging against him save for that one final spurt smeared against silken skin and coarse hair.

 

“We need to get cleaned up. We’ll have to help each other to the pool behind my tent,” Bozai says after catching his breath, smiling tiredly at Link who returns the look before nodding.

 

Bozai sets Link on top of him when they step into the mini-oasis, positioning themselves that way so he can clean Link. Link shivers in the lukewarm water, feels the soft kisses Bozai gives to his chest and neck before his fingers are pushing inside Link and cleaning the remains of his release. Link can’t help the small, breathy moans he makes, but it’s more of a reaction than it is actual arousal. The post-coital glow and fatigue they share is enough to quell such heat, especially when Bozai wraps his arms around Link softly and kisses him like he matters more than anything. It does stir something in Link, a mixture of arousal and something else, and Link follows it in Bozai’s kisses as he winds his arms around Bozai’s neck and rocks slowly against him. It’s still daylight and the desert itself is still a public area as far as travellers are concerned but the two are lost in one another, kissing and touching moving onward to groping and grinning as Bozai calls Link the sweet things he wants and Link gives Bozai a few lessons in lasting intimacy the man needs a bit more of.

 

At the very least, he has a very good mouth and knows how to use it.

 

With Link hunched over the edge of the pool, legs spread as Bozai proves he can breathe for at least two minutes underwater, Link soon returns the favor by demonstrating a breathing technique the Zora taught him for long distance swimming.

 

  •  

 

“Get up. I’m awake.”

 

For some reason Riju is in Bozai’s tent. Her arms are in bandages but otherwise can still move and she has a catty grin on her face as she sits at the entrance, legs crossed and elbows propped on her knees as she rests her chin on knitted fingers.

 

“‘Not my voe’- ki vas - We have much to discuss, Link.”

 

She gets up, turns her back on the surprised pair who are still groggy from rounds of sex that would make someone who does such things as a profession absolutely jealous.

 

With a clink, Link notices a pair of gold bars by their feet, loops of satin threaded in a hole on one side making the gold bar appear more like an ornament than anything either can deduce.

 

“It’s a Gerudo Pass. In days of old, these were given to voe the chief of the Gerudo would make exceptions for,” she tells them. “Due to the attack, we’ll be requiring help that requires outsiders. It’s a gift and a formality. Until you decide to finally come to the village, Link…”

 

She disappears outside and her limps back to the village get quieter the further away she gets.

 

Bozai yawns and picks his bar up, observes it, and casts it aside to wrap Link in his arms again.

 

“Would you be jealous if I were to take the opportunity to find a wife?” Bozai asks, a joke in his tired voice.

 

Link snorts, shaking his head.

 

No.

 

Bozai yawns.

 

“That’s a shame.”

 

Link laughs, pressing a kiss to Bozai’s forearm.