Sidon examined the letter in his hand one final time, trying to glean any further information or inspiration that he could from it before putting it away.
Unfortunately, Link’s hastily scrawled ‘FUCKING DRAGONS’ in what appeared to be charcoal on an extremely worn scrap of paper continued not to provide any answers. Or context. Sidon would have gleeful enjoyed some context.
On one hand, he did not think it’d be anatomically possible for Link to perform such an action, given the Celestial Dragons’ gargantuan size. On the other hand, Link was incredibly stubborn, and could no doubt accomplish any goal that he set his mind to.
Sidon dismissed that train of thought, carefully folding the ragged scrap of paper containing the precious, abieit confusing words, before putting it away and heading to the throne room. Usually Link’s letters were much more informative. Helpful, even.
Over a year had passed since Link’s final battle with Calamity Ganon and the now-Queen Zelda released and working towards restoring Hyrule. Link was weary of battles, and both Link and Zelda had agreed that Link was no longer her Champion. As such, Link was not as tightly bound to Zelda's side.
A good thing considering that while Zelda could access the Sheikah Slate, Link was the only person who could actually use it, and thus could continue to teleport between the various Shrines, often acting as a messenger for those in the widely-spaced capitols. Link stopped by as often as he could, but more frequently than not, Link would leave a letter at the Ne'ez Yohma Shrine on his way to another part of Hyrule.
Sidon often left his own responses there for Link to grab if no one was around. And while wasn’t the same as seeing his dear friend, the system worked. Link was one of the few people still living Sidon felt comfortable sharing his thoughts and distress with. He knew Link would not judge him or think him lesser for not knowing all the answers, and while the advice Link gave back was frequently unconventional, it was useful all the same.
Both his father and the Council had repeatedly mentioned how much Sidon had grown as of late, acting both more grounded and with greater nuance in his diplomacy, which Sidon privately attributed to Link's influence.
Although, Link had not stopped suggesting bombs for a great deal of his issues. Sidon did not believe him to be entirely serious, but it made him laugh every time.
Details on about how Link was doing were unfortunately not quite as forthcoming, as most of his comments were complaints about the temperature, such as ‘too hot’ or ‘too cold’. Or occasionally such things as ‘Fucking Dragons’, that Sidon had no context for, and Link clearly had no interest in providing, instead preferring to hear about what was going on in the Zora Domain when he was here. However, if Sidon could convince him to stop long enough stay the night, Link could usually be coaxed into sharing a story or two.
If Sidon wished that Link could spend the night every night, well, that was a thought he was careful not to voice. Link greeted Sidon with kisses that he found himself greedy for whenever they met, but there had been nothing further that denoted ‘courting’ behaviour, as far as Sidon could tell.
He was hesitant to ask if the types of kissing he and Link had been exchanging truly were of a courting nature, as Zelda had suggested, partly due to a lack of time, and partly due to Sidon’s reluctance to end their custom of kisses. If it turned out that Link did not mean them per Hylian tradition, as it could possibly mean an end to both their fond camaraderie and kisses.
As Zelda had been the one to notify Sidon of kisses in Hylian courting, Sidon had eventually gathered the courage to broach the topic with Zelda in private about other Hylian courting customs. She’d started giggling so hard it had taken her quite a few minutes to stop.
She could give advice for general Hylian customs, but when it came to Link, who knew? Link couldn’t remember the customs he’d been raised with, and rarely felt the need to bother with the ones he did eventually learn. After the time spent in the wilderness, fighting everyone and everything, Link was too wild to be bothered by ‘proper manners’ now, in her opinion.
Although that wildness was trait that Sidon loved about Link, it didn’t make the warrior any easier to figure out. As much as Sidon wanted to court Link, he was uncertain how to. As a Zora, a gift of armour was customary, but Mipha had already gifted Link with Zora armour, and Sidon had yet to figure out a gift on par with such a thing. Everything seemed paltry in comparison, and Link had no need for treasure or riches.
Sidon sometimes fantasized about fighting the largest and most deadly creatures he could find so he could lay them at Link’s feet as a gift, but Link had already killed them all. Time and letters seemed to be all Sidon could offer.
Still, he was grateful for whatever glimpses of his dear friend’s life he could get. Link was doing important work, and as much as Sidon wished they could spend more time together, as a Zora he was a bit limited in where in Hyrule he could travel. As fascinating as the Rito, Gerudo, and Goron cultures sounded, there was no way he could survive in the blistering cold mountains, scorching sands of the desert, or the raging rivers of lava.
And first and foremost, as Prince of the Zora, he had duties inside the realm that took priority. Or so Sidon assured himself when the urge to follow Link got too much.
Realising that his thoughts had carried him from his rooms to the throne room where his father and Muzu were already waiting, he greeted them both with a smile. His father seemed less weary now than he had a year ago, some of the weight having disappeared from his shoulders. Yet another gift Sidon could attribute to the tiny Hylian’s charms. “I trust you slept well?”
Father let out an amused huff. “Well enough. And you, my son?”
“I am refreshed and ready to work!” Sidon beamed at him, holding up a fist and flexing his arm to show his determination.
“Excellent.” Muzu drawled, sounding anything but impressed. “If you are both ready, the first order-”
“It’s not ready yet!” An accented voice caught Sidon’s attention, and he turned to find a red-faced Link being forcibly escorted in by a highly amused Bazz. Sidon brightened, his tail fin flapping happily at the surprise of his dear friend’s presence and the gift of hearing Link’s voice.
While Link had regained the ability to talk, it was not something that seemed to come as naturally to him as hand signing. Too much speech seemed to wear his vocal cords out, though he had improved by leaps and bounds since that first day, and he could now almost hold a full conversation without his voice giving out.
It was much more common to hear Link’s laughter than his words though, and Sidon didn't think he'd ever grow weary of hearing it.
“It’s close enough.” Bazz chided lightly, seemingly oblivious to Link’s arguments. “Trust me.”
Sidon caught Link’s eye for a moment, then Link glanced away, the crimson of his blush darkening. Sidon’s enthusiasm dimmed slightly, replaced by curiosity.
Link’s hands moved, greeting Sidon, even if he didn’t look quite at him. ‘Hi’ His hand gestures seemed strangely shy.
“Hello, my dearest.” Sidon smiled gently, delighting as he got a small smile in return. Link stepped next to Sidon, wrapping his warm fingers around Sidon’s fingers, then pressed his face to the back of Sidon’s hand, as if gathering strength from the contact, his face warm against Sidon’s scales.
It wasn’t the same as the exuberant greetings they usually exchanged, and Sidon felt some disappointment at the lack of kisses, but it wasn't nearly as strong as the disappointment he felt when Link pulled away.
“Link has something he wishes to present to his Majesty and the Prince.” Bazz announced to the room, a hint of smirk on his face as he glanced towards Sidon. Sidon gave Bazz a confused look, clearly his second in command was privy to some additional information that Sidon lacked.
Not that Sidon was jealous about that. Such an emotion would be petty, and below him.
“We are always pleased to welcome Link to the Zora Domain.” Father rumbled, a mix of curiosity and amusement colouring his tone, and Sidon had a feeling that at least part of that was a jab aimed at him. “And we are eager to see whatever he may have brought.”
“I…” Link’s voice cracked, and he grimaced, glancing up at Sidon for a second before taking a deep breath, and though he stepped forward, he kept his hands within Sidon's line of vision, allowing him to follow the conversation. ‘A gift.’
Link reached for his pack on his back and pulled out something that was much too large to have logically fit into the bag. Sidon got the impression of something serpentine. Link gave Father a brief nod of the head, then began laying it out.
It was armour, but not armour that Sidon had ever seen before. First came out the greves to protect the lower legs. Then bracers for the lower arms, a chestplate much too large for any Hylian, and sturdy pauldrons.
It appeared very similar to the armour that the Zora wore, but that was where the similarities ended. Instead of graceful sculpted metal, it was made up of overlapping scales of red, green, and blue, set in an angular pattern.
There was a rough elegance to it, and looked strong, but it was also missing a lot of the silver and decorative elements that most armour had. Father made a curious rumble, leaning forward to inspect it. Even Muzu stepped forward, eyes going wide.
Link handed one of the bracers over for Sidon to inspect. The scales were like none Sidon had ever seen before, each one carved into almost an arrowhead shape and sewn onto a heavy boiled leather. There was absolutely no metal in it at all.
Upon inspection, Sidon realized that all of the pieces were large enough to fit him perfectly. He gave Link a curious look, given that there were no other Zora of Sidon’s size, then pulled off one of his silver cuffs put the bracer on in its place. It just just long enough to protect his arm, yet short enough to allow free movement of his elbow fins.
He pulled the laces tight, then looked it over for any adjustments that needed to be made. It was a perfect fit.
“For Prince Sidon.” Link said, his voice a little rough. Muzu made a hissing noise that Sidon barely registered through his shock. Link. Link had made him armour.
Link gave Sidon a bit of a smile, then began to sign. ‘I made it myself. Since I have no scales of my own, I gathered the best I could.’
“And what scales would you deem worthy enough?” Muzu snarled, clearly taunting the diminutive Hylian.
Link did react to the bait, simply reaching into his pack, which should not have been able to contain anything else, and pulled out a blue scale the size of Father’s eye. He handed it to Sidon, who was surprised to note there was faint kind of glow on the edges to it. It looked like it had been shaped to be worn on the head as armour. Zora royal crest, three crescent moons back to back, had been carved into the centre.
“Dinraal. Farosh.” Link said, pointing to the scale in Sidon’s hands. “And Naydra.”
Sidon nearly dropped the scale in shock. Dinraal, the Red Dragon of Fire. Farosh, the Green Electric Dragon. And Naydra, the Blue Water Dragon.
Suddenly, Link’s message of ‘Fucking Dragons’ made a lot more sense.
Muzu choked, gasping for breath, and Bazz made a smug sound in the back of his throat.
He glanced back at Bazz, wondering how his second in command knew. Bazz gave Sidon a smug wink. “He needed to get your correct sizes somehow.” Bazz whispered, looking entirely too pleased with himself. “The leather is from a Lynel he killed and tanned himself.”
Of course Link had gone and killed a Lynel by himself. It would have taken Sidon and a squad of Zora soldiers to accomplish such a task, and even then, failure was a possibility.
‘The armour's not done yet.’ Sidon's attention was drawn back to Link as the Hylian signed and tilted his head up to give Father with a serious look. ‘The set is only Thrice-Blessed by the Great Fairies.’
Sidon’s breath caught in his throat. Link was offering him Fairy Blessed armour.
For Link to do such a thing, he’d first have to find one of the hidden fountains the Great Fairies lived in, and pay a price to awaken them. Then give a payment for each of the three pieces of armour to be blessed, before he’d have to find another Great Fairy and repeat the process. The cost greatly increased for each Great Fairy he woke, and for each time the armour was blessed.
To be Thrice-Blessed was an amazing feat in and of itself. But for something to be blessed by all four Great Fairies? That was nigh unheard of. Although if anyone were to accomplish such a feat, Sidon thought, it would have to be Link.
Muzu made a sound like he was dying. No one looked at him.
“I took an axe to the armour before it was Blessed, and the armour brushed it off like it was nothing.” Bazz grinned, looking pleased with himself. “Now, it should be damn near indestructible. Show them the rest, Link.”
Sidon tried not to gape as Link shot Bazz a dirty look. The rest?! As if Blessed Dragon Scale armour wasn’t enough?!
Link reached into his bag and pulled out even more items, polished turquoise and shimmering red rubies. It was a full set of jewelry, necklace, belt, and wrist cuffs crafted out of stone and leather. As Link laid it out on the floor, Sidon could see that the set was clearly designed to rest on top or as part of the armour. There was also an odd glimmer to each piece, as though they were more than just metalwork and gemstones.
Again Link reached into his bag, this time the jewelry he laid out was of a different design. This set, unlike the first rounded set, was in silver and glistening yellow, the topaz shaped like vertical eyes. The silver framed the stones in bold lines, small metal spikes sticking out of the corners like protective spines. It was no less stunning than the first set.
As if the first two were not enough, Link reached into his bag yet again, his hand filled with a third set of jewelry. This set was different from the other two as well, the frosty blue sapphires cut an angular diamond shape. The Zora tri-crescent framing the gems, the silver bands taking on a swooping tendril design. Link laid them alongside the other two sets, a pile of treasure laying on the Throne room floor.
“They’re also Thrice-Blessed.” Link said, looking at the jewelry. He made a face. “I’m working on it.”
“Working… on it-?” Father ventured, shock rippling through his words.
Linked shrugged, switching back to signing. ‘I harvest the gems and metals myself when I have time, I-S-H-A taught me how to make jewelry with the enchantments, but I haven’t gathered enough up yet for the final blessing.’
Muzu hit the floor. Sidon did not blame him in the least.
The armour, the Dragon Scale armour by itself was worth a Prince’s ransom. Possibly more so, because it’d been made by the Hero of Hyrule. With adding the enchanted jewelry to it, even without a fourth blessing, the entire set was probably worth an entire domain.
Sidon was aware of a high pitched sound of shock coming from from the back of his throat, and snapped his mouth shut, silencing himself. There was nothing in the Zora Domain, possibly any domain, worth its equal. And Link had just… gifted it to him.
“Link.” Father rumbled, leaning forward in his seat. Link looked up, but didn’t seem to find Father a threat, as his body language continued to be calm, though mildly nervous with the giant Zora above him. “In Zora culture, the giving of armour is the same as a proposal of marriage.”
Link nodded. “Mipha made me armour, once.” He said quietly, his voice low and sad.
Of course he remembered that. Link had worn her armour when he rode on Sidon’s back to defeat Vah Ruta.
‘I don’t know If I would have accepted it, if she’d offered it to me, before.’ Link signed with blunt honesty, answering a question that had lingered over them since the Calamity. Sidon felt a pang of sadness for both his sister and Link's lost memories, but Father simply nodded, as though he'd expected that answer.
Link took a deep breath, and then let it out, his throat and mouth working soundlessly for a moment before he managed to get the words out. “Sidon’s my best friend.” He said, giving a small shrug. “I wouldn’t have been able to soothe the Divine Beasts and defeat Ganon if it hadn’t been for him.”
That was… quite a bit of an overstatement, in Sidon opinion. “I did nothing more than anyone else would.” Sidon protested and Link only laughed softly, his voice hoarse.
“No.” Link shook his head, giving Sidon a fond grin. “You welcomed me. You invited me back whenever I wanted. Gave me kisses.” He teased, and Sidon found himself blushing slightly, while Bazz chortled knowingly in the background.
‘Others welcomed the Hero, the Champion. Some assisted me and wished me luck in defeating the Calamity.’ Link reached out, taking Sidon’s hand in his, and Sidon wrapped his fingers around Link’s tiny, soft hand. Link squeezed Sidon’s hand, then pulled his hand back to sign. ’You gave me something to look forward to beyond the fighting. You kept me going. I promised myself after each Beast, after Ganon, that I could come and get another kiss.’
Sidon swallowed, his own throat thick with emotion. “As many kisses as you like.” He promised again. He was not going to repeat the ‘where ever you like’ in front of his Father, who would never let such a thing be forgotten. “Whenever you like.” He added, because he’d really prefer to see Link more often.
Link gave him a watery smile, lifting Sidon’s hand and giving him a soft kiss on the back of the knuckles. Sidon barely repressed the urge to shiver at the gentle, electric contact.
“The armour’s yours, no matter what.” Link said as he took his hand back. He then stepped away, his voice becoming rougher as he spoke, as though it was wearing out from the strain of so many words. “I made it for you. You said you wanted to see more of Hyrule, so there’s armour to protect you on the road, Ruby to keep you warm in the Rito Mountains, Sapphire to keep you cool in the Gerudo Desert and the Goron City, and Topaz to protect you from electrical shocks.”
Link paused, a grumpy expression flickering across his face. ‘And, because you’re an idiot who went up against Vah Ruta on your own first.’
Father guffawed, his voice echoing throughout the Throne Room. Sidon found himself blushing again, Bazz’s mad cackling not helping in the slightest.
“I don’t think you have much room to speak, Dearest.” Sidon said primly as Link beamed at him, his smile wide and bright. Considering how many enemies Link had vanquished by himself, the hero had no room to talk at all.
Lynel leather. Really.
Link held up a finger, looking like he just remembered something, reaching into his pack and pulling out a light red material, as soft as gossamer appeared in his hands, the tri-crescent symbol woven into it. It reminded Sidon of the Gerudo Vai clothing that Link sometimes wore.
‘This is from R-I-J-U, she says you should wear this when you visit.’ Link signed, then tossed the pink silk into the air for the ocean breeze to catch, the airy material fluttering like a banner.
Sidon caught the fabric edge of the silk with his free hand, and the fabric rippled around him, pooling at his feet. He marvelled at the texture, how exotic and soft it felt. It was Gerudo silk of a higher quality than what Link usually wore, and there was enough for Sidon to wrap it around himself several times to protect him from the desert sun.
With the jewelry to keep him cool, and the silk to protect him from the sun, Sidon could do that now. He could travel with Link and visit Gerudo Town in the desert, meet their Chieftain in person and thank Riju for her thoughtfulness.
It was a priceless gift, made even more priceless by the thought and the care taken by the person who had given it to him.
‘I wanted to give you something to show how much you mean to me.’ Link signed with a slightly nervous smile, looking like he wanted to bolt. ’It doesn’t have to be a courting gift if you don’t want it to be.’
In terms of wealth and prestige, Link had offered them a courtship gift of legendary proportions that the Zora Domain could not refuse. Not that Sidon was likely to. If his feelings were returned, there was no way Sidon would even entertain the idea of turning down Link’s proposal.
But, as a Zora Prince, and the Hero of Hyrule, there were political aspects to their union that he doubted Link had thought of. Link was very clever and savvy, but politics tended to bore him general.
They also needed to make sure that they both wanted the same things from each other. As much as Sidon loved their kisses, it had started because of a misunderstanding.
He desperately wanted them to be on the same level with this.
Sidon knelt down, the pink silk rippling as it did so, the dragon scale still cradled in one hand. “Do you want it to be?” He asked quietly, pitching his voice so it did not carry throughout the room in an attempt to give them as much privacy as he could in the middle of the throne room, with everyone staring at them.
Link’s face blushed a furious crimson, and Sidon could practically smell his anxiety, see how hard he was working at keeping still and not running. His dear friend was much better at challenges he could tackle with his fists and weapons.
Finally Link drew himself up as if he was about to charge into battle, giving Sidon a single sharp decisive nod. Yes. Yes, Link wanted it to be a courtship gift.
And he was just as nervous about it as Sidon was.
Sidon couldn’t help the bright grin that grew across his face, tailfin wagging happily. “In that case, I accept!” He wanted to sing it out at the top of his lungs, but he managed to keep the volume down to something soft and more intimate.
Link gaped at him for a moment, as if he was uncertain that he’d heard it right. Then, in a sudden flurry of movement, he launched himself at Sidon. Link wrapped his arms around Sidon’s shoulder and tucked his face against Sidon’s neck in what was rapidly becoming a familiar and intimate gesture.
It was one of the most vulnerable areas on a Zora, but Sidon had long ago stopped worrying when Link did it. It seemed to comfort Link, and the way Sidon looked at it, he had the most dangerous person in Hyrule protecting his weakest spots. He wrapped his arms around Link, draping them both in Gerudo silk.
“I can’t believe you made me armour.” Sidon whispered, running a hand down Link’s spine. He would have never, ever guessed.
“You make me feel safe.” Link rasped, his over used voice trying to give out. There was wry tone to his voice belying Link knew how strange that probably sounded. Link was the Hero of Hyrule, there was nothing in the land Link could not defeat, he could probably take out everyone in the room, Sidon included, within a matter of minutes. “So I made you stuff to keep you safe.”
Sidon couldn’t even begin to calculate how long it’d taken Link to gather all the supplies and shape them, or how long he’d been plotting this out. It certainly explained his constant travels, searching for the materials needed. He held tight to Link, overwhelmed by this tiny, amazing Hylian.
“I think.” Sidon raised his voice as he looked up at his Father. “That two sets of hands gaining the materials for the final blessings would make things go by much faster.”
Father gave a pleased rumble, a wide knowing grin began to spread across his face. “I believe that you are correct, son.” He nodded, subtly giving Sidon his blessing.
Link leaned back just far enough to look Sidon in the face, a question evident on his face. “I can hardly accept ‘unfinished’ armour.” Sidon teased. “And I have been wanting to visit these places and people you talk about in your letters. It makes sense that we work together to accomplish this goal, does it not?”
“Yes!” Link exclaimed, his voice breaking in excitement. Sidon laughed out of sheer joy, squeezing Link tight again. Link returned the favour, radiating happiness.
“This would certainly make diplomatic relations easier.” Father mused, sounding pleased as he clearly made plans in his head. “I can think of several places that a personal visit would be much more efficient-”
“Excuse me, Father.” Sidon said, then shifted so Link was resting in the crook of his arm, and he could set the dragon scale down. “Of course, there are several considerations we will need to discuss and details to hammer out, but I have a very important duty I must attend to first.”
“Oh?” Father inquired, looking indulgent.
Link made a funny hiccuping sound, then grabbed the sides of Sidon’s head and pulled him down for a kiss. This one he placed firmly on Sidon's mouth, Link's lips fitting sweetly against Sidon’s.
Sidon had kissed Link in lots of places, and looked forward to kissing him on lots of other places as well, but they’d never kissed like this before. With joy overflowing in his heart, Sidon decided immediately that this was something that must be repeated as many times as possible in the future.
Father and Bazz roared with laughter, but Sidon didn’t pay them any mind. He had a promise to happily fulfill.
As many kisses as Link wanted.
Whenever and where ever he wanted.