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Waiting for You

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Sidon lay on a bed of silt at the deepest depths of the East Reservoir watching the ripples of light up above. The sunny day penetrated through the water’s shiny and crackling surface in rays that writhed and twisted in a refractory dance.

The turgid murk from the season’s eutrophy turned everything above shades of algal green and left the base of the artificial lake in which he dwelled dark as the night.

Most zora preferred the reservoir in the winter when the waters calmed and turned a clear aquamarine blue but this time of the year was special to him and him alone and he, whether meaning to or not, found himself returning each year without fail.

His most vivid childhood memory was made right here in this very spot while laying in this exact position. His sister had been next to him and she pointed to the green lights up above while telling him of a place in Hebra she had visited during her duties as a champion where these same luminous waves undulated as behemoths in a star-speckled and cloudless sky.

That wasn’t the only story she told him. No, his most formative years were spent either down here or on her lap back in their private quarters being fed the stories of heros and their daring feats.

His favourite tales were of the rito warrior who could command wind and travel anywhere he wished through the sky as if it were his personal ocean…

… Or of the Hylian who carried the legendary sword that seals darkness but could just as easily take down a Hinox with a soup ladle.

Link… He wondered if his beloved had seen those Northern Lights. He would have to ask him when he returned. There was an ever-growing list of questions Sidon had for him and it was reaching an impossible infinitude the longer he was away.

He’d admit… it was difficult being the left-behind lover of the hero. Every week that passed where Link hadn’t returned to the domain made Sidon feel… heavier. (as well as guilty for feeling so neglected in the first place. He of all people knew the importance of Link’s quest)

This was one of those days where he hadn’t meant to come down here. He had duties to attend to, specifically a meeting with Mizu he might already be late for- who knew, time sometimes lost all meaning when submerged.

It was just supposed to be a quick afternoon swim but he supposed it was this heaviness that ended up sinking him to the lake’s bottom like an anchor.

He blew a few idle bubbles in the form of a sigh, well aware that this gloom was unbecoming of him. 

Finally exhausted with his own inertia, he sat up abruptly. Disturbed silt suspended and billowed around him in thick clouds.

His gills took a sharp intake of breath and he steeled himself. This expression he had been wearing was not permitted anywhere but down here, hidden in the roily water… or in front of his sister’s statue when he was certain the rest of the world was asleep.

He had always taken his position as the prince of his people as less of an obligation and more of an honour. It was his pleasure to ease their hearts with unwavering optimism and support. Even if that meant he had to occasionally pull himself out of the times where he could honestly use some of that himself.

With great strength, he propelled himself up until he gracefully broke the water’s surface.

The sight awaiting him caused his heart to skip.

LINK.

The hylian was standing by the ornate docks, only looking mildly weary for a fraction of a second before he relaxed in recognition of the prince. 

“Link! My dearest! You’ve returned!” Sidon likely broke records at how fast he swam towards the shore. As he got closer he felt himself warm with the reassuring aura that always seemed to hang around Link, captured in his magnetism. 

As he watched Sidon approach, Link spoke in the clipped and concise speech pattern that was just so characteristically his. “Mizu’s looking for you.”

At that, Sidon slowed. Ah… so he had been looking for him on the behalf of someone else. Some of the weight in his heart returned.

Doubt of their relationship had been creeping in for a while now as certain worries compounded with time.

If there was one thing he knew about Link, it was that the Hylian never said no, even to the most ridiculous request. He would spend an afternoon hunting down frogs for a zora child as if the task were on par with (and thus deserved equal consideration to) his divine duties. It was something Sidon loved about him, but it was also something that made him fearful.

When he had proposed his intentions to court Link, he had agreed readily but… was this something he had even wished for? He can’t remember Link showing any real enthusiasm about it when he reflected back. It was just with the same casual acceptance he gave to any other appeal a person might bring forward to him.... “Sure” with no extra thought than if Sidon were just another child asking for help finding frogs….

How had he not noticed? He had been so hopelessly foolish in his own delusions.

What was he actually to Link?

Did Link agree out of love or out of a tendency to follow the iron-clad will of royalty that extended to his habits of one hundred years ago?

It didn’t help how little the former knight chose to speak and even through expressions, Link was not very forthcoming with showing his thoughts on his face. He had heard that the hero during the pre-calamity rarely smiled.

Now there was a constant smile ghosting his lips but it was certainly no less cryptic. Simply… unconcerned. As if he were just a spectator watching the events of this world and he himself was of little import.

 

If this was just another example of Link’s selflessness… he didn’t want this. It would be painful to end it all but he felt like he still could. If they went any further that might change.

 

“Right of course,” Sidon muttered, trying his best not to show how affected he was. “I suppose I have kept him waiting for far too long. I apologize dear friend if I caused you any inconvenience,” he had begun to pull himself up but a hand went to the top of his crest and stopped him in his tracks.

Sidon looked up at Link in surprise.

It might have just been his imagination but Link’s ordinarily neutral and laid-back smile looked… a tad mischievous?

“He can wait a little longer,” Link said.

O-oh.

Sidon sunk back into the water, coaxed down with Link’s gentle press. In the entire motion, his gaze never left those gorgeous blue oceans contained in his beloved’s eyes. They were as deep and incomprehensible as he remembered that distant sea he once witnessed in Lurelin to be... simply entrancing.

What was he up to?

 

Link crouched down, crossing his arms on his knees and resting his chin on his triceps such that their faces were maybe only a foot apart.

Sidon ordinarily towered above him, he had never gotten to look at the hylian so up close.

His eyes were even more fascinating than he thought. There was a rippling texture like waves to his irises. Were all Hylian eyes like this? Were all hylian faces this handsome?

It was sad to admit he didn’t know. What with his size difference, he was much more acquainted with most people of this race’s hairlines rather than their faces.

It didn’t help that very few were able to meet his eye, the boldest could only look so far up as to fix their attention onto the gemstone on the fastener of his cravat.

The way Link leaned back with his hands on his hips to hold his gaze with steady confidence when they had met was definitely the first indicator that he was no ordinary man.

Link repositioned himself to sitting and let his legs dangle into the water and Sidon pursed his lips. Wouldn’t that be uncomfortable? His boots were going to be wet and sloshing for the rest of the day. He could have done any number of things first: removed the boots and rolled up his pants, changed to zora armour… It was clear he just didn’t care to be bothered.

It was… unsettling how little attention Link gave to his own body. Sidon’s eyes lowered to watch the wet seep up the thighs of Link’s pants with a worried pang. He didn’t like how poorly his love treated himself.

Hands suddenly cupping his chin distracted him and his line of observation was slowly and intentionally brought back upwards. His eyes were once again caught in Link’s deep pools.

“You’ve always been so high up,” Link said with a calmness that didn’t mirror how flustered Sidon felt at all.

Hands slowly wandered from his chin to trace every contour of Sidon’s face. The action was slow, almost reverent. 

Small upward twitches at the corners of Link’s lips indicated that whatever he was discovering in his exploration, he must have been finding quite pleasing.

Sidon had heard once that Hylian skin was more sensitive to temperature changes, he wondered if Link’s deft fingers could feel the heat he was starting to feel radiating across his face.

The calloused thumb that was running down the hollow of his cheek bone accidentally caressed the edge of Sidon’s lower lip and suddenly the prince jerked back. Water splashed Link to midway up his waist at the displacement.

He should have apologized but his mind was racing as he had just come back to his senses. This wasn’t alright! It was one thing before but now that they were officially in the first stages of courting… “We can’t be here without an escort!” Sidon exclaimed.

Link looked at him in vague surprise but then chuckled softly and sent him a look that almost caused him to melt and dissolve into the water right there and then.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this with an escort watching,” Link said simply. His eyes were dancing now with quiet mirth and Sidon wanted to pull at his pectoral fins like a timid child and scream ‘I believe that’s the point!’ but he wasn’t a child and he had enough years of being a figurehead to the zora to know how to control himself.

Link really had no right to be holding all of that charm in that tiny little body. To think he was able to even cause Sidon’s disciplined composure to fray at the seams!

Admittedly the multitiered steps to the courtship of a zora royal were already considered archaic. His mother and father hadn’t followed any of that beyond the exchange of armour and jewels.

When Muzu had sat them both down and gave them that lengthy lecture of the conduct they were expected to obey, he had known it was more in the intention of slowing their relationship down than out of actual principle.

Muzu had erroneously warned Sidon again and again that what he was feeling was mere hero-worship rather than romantic love. That Mipha’s stories had him chasing a person who could never exist. Sidon knew that he was wrong of course, hearts don’t do the things his did over mere infatuation, but he was ready to play by the advisor’s rules anyway.

“Did you not like that?” Link asked. The question would have come off as considerate if it weren’t for that remaining gleam in the hylian’s eye that told him he already knew the answer.

He was teasing him.

“Ah, no, it was… quite pleasant,” he conceded.

“Then will you come back?” Link asked, lifting his waiting hands in warm invitation.

Sidon ruefully returned to the water's edge, his resolve to act proper in the moment abating along with his reason. Link really was quite brazen to so casually brush off Mizu’s instructions like this.

He didn’t dislike this new side of him though and he wanted to see more.

To know him.

Link wasn’t an easy person to get to know and if his pearl was finally willing to open up a little here and now, Sidon wasn’t going to ruin this opportunity.

His eyes closed as Link resumed his work memorizing his many lines and edges. No minute detail escaped those tiny hylian hands’ notice. His gills were clenched and it was hard to breathe but he refused to show this… tension on his face.

He had more pride than that. As long as Link’s hands never strayed to his neck where the rapid pulsing of his carotid artery would betray him, he figured he’d at least appear as being composed.

This time when Link’s hand brushed over Sidon’s lips the action was clearly very intentional.

Sidon’s eyes snapped open to look at him but Link was too busy staring at his mouth thoughtfully.

Both hands cupped Sidon’s cheeks again and Link met his eyes once again.

Was he asking permission?

Unfortunately, Sidon was rather tongue-tied at the moment but something in his expression that he had thought he was managing to keep neutral must have spoken of submission because in the next second Link’s mouth was pressed to his.

His lips were much larger than Link’s. His darling needed to open his mouth just to fully capture Sidon's bottom one. The feeling of Link's nose exhaling softly onto his skin was a strange sensation... pleasant. Strangely intimate. 

One exciting discovery though was that the top of his head fit neatly under Sidon’s crest. Most Zora couples had some… difficulties in this department. Kissing is a complicated process for zora regardless of if your lover is a five foot hylian or has a crest that will duel your own whenever you try to lock lips. This compatibility was unexpected but exhilarating. 

Link pulled back far too soon. “I suppose that was improper too.”

“Quite…” Sidon said breathlessly.

“Did you mind?” This time Link’s question seemed more genuine and less teasing.

Oh.

So Link hadn’t caught on to Sidon’s heated willingness. When the surprisingly impish little blond had gotten no response, he had just decided to go with the “Do first, apologize later” approach.

It turned out Link could be selfish and Sidon had never been so overjoyed to learn this about a person in his life.

It was not exactly the behaviour of a storybook hero but the prince was suddenly more in love than ever.

He looked the hylian up and down and the man seemed to stiffen as the silence prolonged, perhaps beginning to consider that he might have caused Sidon actual offense.

Well… Link was already soaked anyway.

Sidon laughed before surging forward and bundling Link up in his arms. He dragged him out into the deeper waters like the predator he took after and found himself quite pleased with the startled yelp he had managed to pull out. Link had thus far been entirely and frustratingly unflappable through this whole meeting, and that wouldn't have done for his princely pride.

His large scaly arm snaked around Link’s ridiculously small waist and he brought his face close. “Certainly not my love. I’m already yours.”

He pressed a more playful kiss to Link’s lips, engulfing them with affection and then nuzzled his crest to his forehead.

Link laughed and the sound was downright melodic. He looked at Sidon, the skin around his eyes creasing with fondness. “I meant to say this earlier, but blue suits you.”

This gave Sidon pause. Blue? He wasn’t wearing blue today?

Link brushed a thumb over Sidon’s cheek and realization and embarrassment suddenly dawned on him.

“It’s coming back,” Link commented.

He was blushing .

Probably had been this entire time.

He quickly dove underwater to cool his face but he could still hear Link’s distorted laughter from up above.

Chapter Text

 

This time, they were doing things properly. Entirely by the book.

Mizu was making sure of that- unaware of course of their last intimate rendezvous. 

Sidon was at the domain’s shrine mere moments after the tell-tale wisps of blue indicated Link’s in-coming arrival, but unfortunately, he could barely get a hug and a nuzzle in before Muzu found them and had them separated six feet apart. 

(… perhaps getting caught so soon might have been his own fault for excitedly announcing Link’s arrival through the whole domain, now that he was thinking about it)

It was both a shame and a relief wrapped into one. He had felt a little guilty for how they had crossed a few of Muzu’s clearly laid out rules already but...If he were being honest, he wouldn’t have minded a few repeat events from last time to transpire once again.

But no, the advisor was intent on playing chaperone for the duration of this particular visit and that’s how they ended up as a trio on their causal jaunt through one of the domain’s more pleasant walking paths.

Muzu was… not making things easy of course. In this particular circumstance though Sidon wasn’t sure it was entirely intentional. The elder had a tendency to sometimes… forget himself having been an outspoken and trusted friend of his father for so many centuries. 

So rather than playing the proper escort, tasked only to watch the couple and ensure they didn’t engage in any ‘inappropriate’ behaviour, he continued to be quite talkative. He spent the first while grumbling about his old bones and the path that they had chosen to take but quickly started to ‘miraculously’ limber up as he became distracted with telling tales and reciting the history of the various pieces of zora architecture they passed.

Soon, he was even a couple steps ahead of them, nattering like a tour guide.

Sidon glanced at Link, hoping the light of his life wasn’t too bored or disappointed with the trajectory of this visit. He had just returned from a difficult trip in Hebra and freeing another divine beast- he deserved a relaxing break.

Link looked… entirely content.

He met his eyes for just a second, catching the zora looking and Sidon’s attention quickly snapped away.

A moment later, a hand started playing with the fin on his hip. He nearly jumped but managed to avoid alerting Muzu all the same.

On the list of indecent behaviours, this was certainly one of them.

If Link didn’t know this before, he certainly did now with how he had monitored Sidon’s reaction with the intensity of a sheikah scientist.

And for that reason, his repetition of this gesture could not have been mistaken as innocent, no matter how well he kept the expression on that hylian face ‘neutral’ and ‘unassuming’.

Sidon’s worry that they might get caught was for naught of course. The man who had been stealthy enough to collect shock arrows around an active lynel was certainly not going to be seen misbehaving by their entirely distracted third wheel.

“Ah and of course here- this statue was commissioned by the late Queen to remember the zora who lost their lives in the slope failure at the old luminous stone quarry,” Mizu said, bringing their attention to a shining memorial. Link slipped past Sidon from behind, seemingly with the intention to get a better look but on his way past a mischievous hand ran up the length of his long spine sensually and the prince involuntarily shuddered.

Link of course, had the audacity to look entirely innocent. He stood next to Muzu nodding but clearly not really listening as the elder discussed the special sculpting techniques the zora had used in this piece and why that made it unique.

As Muzu began to move on, Link sent him a conspiratorial look and Sidon shook his head. No, no definitely not! He was not in on this little game!

He was a prince! He had at least some sense of decorum! He sent Link an admonishing look and straightened his regalia, hoping to send the message.

Aaaaand, that was his gills Link was now stroking.

Goddesses help him. His heart was in his throat at the sensation. It seemed he was going to have to exchange some words with his rambunctious sweetheart.

When he was certain the older man was distracted in the crescendo of his monologuing about the golden years of zora architectural design, Sidon quickly dropped to a knee and whispered to Link. “My dearest darling,” he said tightly. “This is highly unwonted courting behaviour.”

Link's gaze turned roguish in an instant and he started to play with the two fins framing Sidon’s face. “Unwonted but not unwanted ?”

Sidon considered lying. He really did. 

“When it comes to being a royal, it’s not always about what is wanted. Perhaps this is a confusion between cultures? We zora greatly respect our elders, we cannot play this joke at Muzu’s expense. I apologize if he is being a tad…” Sidon glanced at the elder who was now theatrically reading aloud a nearby plaque (interspersing his own comments about clever choices in the wording of course) “Much.”

“Well in hylian culture,” Link said, twirling Sidon’s right fin around his finger, “The goal of couples is to get away with as much as possible when our families aren't looking.”

Sidon sighed and finally conceded an affection-laced smile. “Perhaps Muzu was correct when he said you’d be a handful my moonbeam .

“Fine,” Link sighed. “I promise I won’t do anything further behind Muzu’s back”- is what he said but then he paused with a dissatisfied frown and took one quick opportunistic peck on the tip on Sidon’s crest. “Starting now.”

Muzu began to turn around and Sidon shot up.

“Perhaps this walk is doing you some good my prince. You must be terribly out of shape to be so flushed from this gentle trail,” the elder commented.

“Perhaps so,” Sidon agreed hoarsely. 

That was of course the moment Link’s hand slid into his and Muzu and Sidon both jumped.

“Is this not allowed?” Link asked innocently.

… this was not exactly what Sidon had expected by “ I won’t do things behind his back”  but it wasn’t technically a lie.

Muzu muttered a little under his breath, “I suppose it’s... fine.”

The man continued on and the lovers exchanged a grin.

Chapter Text

The way Link was languidly lounging over by the rocks was really quite distracting. Sidon had been out on his daily swim when Link had arrived and despite his willingness to wrap up his exercise session early, Link insisted he finish.

He ruefully returned to his laps but his mind was definitely no longer into his strokes anymore.

His eyes kept darting to the rocks, making sure his sweetheart hadn’t left. Link could be a slippery little one sometimes. Just like a storybook hero, he had a tendency to be there in a flash and then gone without a trace. Often, without a word to anyone.

His worry about that particular scenario quickly faded, Link seemed far too relaxed over there, basking in the sun. It was a special sight if he were being honest. He wasn’t sure he had ever seen Link fully relaxing.

When he’d had enough, he swam over, intentionally slow, not wanting to disturb the peace with his usual jetting about.

When he arrived at Link's little outcrop, he slowly crossed his arms onto the sun-baked rock, content to stay mostly submerged in the cooler water. “Having a pleasant afternoon?” Sidon asked softly.

Link sat up and gave a long luxurious stretch. It was moments like these that reminded him of how mammalian hylians were. 

Without any rush, he crawled over a little closer to the water’s edge and settled back down. “You’re not going to tell me we need a chaperone?” Link asked coyly.

“Can you behave yourself without one for once, my darling little incendiary?” Sidon asked.

He was going to ignore that sparkle in Link’s eye and take his silence as agreeance... because he wanted to. 

He knew he was far too lenient on Link, but the hero did so much for these lands, he deserved the world. If these small moments were all it took to help him shrug off the enormous weight of his duties for a few hours and properly rest, who was he to deny him? Admittedly, the fact that they had ended up alone like this again had probably been Link’s objective. It was suspicious timing for him to have just so happened to find Sidon in the one hour of the day that he was completely on his own and away from spectators… again.

He couldn’t find it in himself to reprimand him though because honestly, he wanted this too. He didn’t get to see these different parts of Link when they were around others. Link didn’t let his guard down quite that easily and the fact that he was willing to do so around Sidon- it did things to his heart he couldn’t ever describe.

Link’s skin had a unique gleam to it. It took Sidon a moment to identify it as perspiration. Zora don’t sweat. In heat, their bodies work to retain as much water as possible.

“Are you feeling warm? Would you care for a dip love? The water is quite cool.”

Link only paused for a moment before nodding and pulling off his shirt.

Sidon’s breath caught.

He hadn’t expected the scars. Maybe a few given his line of work but not this

Without even thinking, he was on Link in an instant, pressing a large hand to his chest.

“Now look who's not behaving themselves,” Link commented slyly but when Sidon’s eyes met his, the horror was clearly conveyed and Link’s playful smirk disappeared. “Oh.”

Sidon grazed his hand over the network of rough and overlapping scars with mute terror. He had always seen Link as practically unfailable, invulnerable . He hadn’t known all this lay right under the surface, telling a very different story.   

He had started touching just below his collarbone but his fingers eventually slid down over the many ridges until he was just above that strange little hole hylians called a “belly button”. The cold dread grew with each breath. Zora and Hylian bodies were different, but he’d lived long enough to know certain facts about their anatomy. 

Link was young . He knew this before of course, but it didn’t really sink in until he was touching the slender concave curve of his stomach that was far more common in adolescents. For all of the activity Link did, there was surprisingly little bulked on muscle mass. His skin was creamy and milky under all of that scar tissue.

There was something tragic about it all. 

Sidon absentmindedly let a claw run along a crescent-shaped mark that could only be from a lizalfos. 

“Not very pretty is it?” Link finally said quietly.

Sidon froze and looked up from his inspection. The Hylian looked… pained. “It’s not… too disgusting is it?” Then after a long pause he added “You could… live with it right?”

Sidon’s heart lurched for a whole different reason now- upset by his own thoughtless actions that lead to that look of hurt in Link’s eyes.

Words failed. They weren’t pretty but they were beautiful because Link was beautiful and by proxy, so was every inch of his person. He lifted himself up, resting his upper torso on the rock. Water droplets fell like a gentle rain onto the Hylian trapped underneath him.

Slowly Sidon lowered himself to leave a tender kiss on the freshest looking tear across Link’s shoulder. “Of course” he mummered while his lips were still barely grazing the raised skin.

Link shivered and Sidon could see an array of little bumps pop up across his flesh. 

He moved over to place a second kiss right below his pectoral on the strangest of all of Link’s marks; a perfectly formed circle.

“Ah… that one,” Link said sadly.

“Would it… be overstepping my bounds to ask it’s origin? I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” Sidon remarked but quickly added, “I wouldn’t want to bring back any unpleasant memories if you find talking about it uncomfortable.

“Guardian,” Link said, voice barely above a whisper.

He seemed to be curling into himself a little, not at all like the usual confident and bold man he was used to. When Link bit his lip the action once again struck Sidon as boyish.

“Guardian…” Sidon repeated with trepidation. 

Link slowly turned around and Sidon almost felt his eyes water as he spotted the exact same mark on Link’s back. An entry and an exit….

“How did you survive?” The words were out before he could stop himself.

“I didn’t,” Link replied flatly. “I was dead for one hundred years, but they brought me back… I hadn’t finished what I was supposed to do I guess.”

If the entire world fell apart around them right there and then, Sidon probably wouldn’t have noticed.

Link eyes were downcast, but he finally moved on to removing his pants- (there were more marks along his legs too but at this point, Sidon wasn’t surprised)

Wordlessly the zora prince guided Link out into the water. The hylian didn’t have to even swim as he held him tightly and securely to his much larger frame, cradling his head preciously in one cupped hand. 

“You’re safe here,” Sidon said “and someday you will never have to raise a sword again if you do not wish too.”

Link’s head nestled into the crook of his neck.

Chapter Text

Link walked up and down the streets of Gerudo town, trying his best to memorize every detail. Whenever he saw anything curious, he made a point to stop a passing gerudo and ask. He himself wasn’t initially interested but he knew with absolute certainty that Sidon would ask him about EVERYTHING when he got back and he was going to be prepared this time.

His prince had a voracious sense of curiosity and seemed (inwardly at least) a little disappointed by how little Link had been able to describe Rito Village and its culture. He’d admit… he rushed that trip a little bit. He had been too intent on getting back.

This time he was going to be able to answer any single burning question Sidon might have.

He would give Sidon absolutely anything he wanted.

Afterall, he had given him everything .

When Link had first awoken those many months ago in the shrine of resurrection, he had felt… empty.

There was nothing pushing him forward for a long time other than blindly following Zelda’s voice. He was confused, disoriented and so preferred to be told what to do.

He didn’t want to have to think for himself. He hated thinking. Thinking never lead anywhere good. To keep himself occupied in his travels, he eagerly took up any request. Sometimes they ended up being helpful, occasionally even leading him to shrines. Sometimes they didn’t really lead anywhere but he never actually went in with any expectations so was seldom disappointed.

When he began to remember things, it didn’t make him feel any better or any more whole as he’d hoped. His fragile place in this world felt like it was slipping away. He found out he did once have friends and a family and presumably… a home but it was all gone now. Eroded in the sands of time or worse, decimated as a result of his failure.

Sidon confessing his love for Link had been… surprising.

He hadn’t known how to feel because honestly, he had shut all of that off.

But Sidon was handsome and charming and there was something in his earnestness that appealed to Link and caused the ghost of something to stir in his chest so he agreed. Zora courtship was a long and slow affair anyway, there was no harm testing the waters and exploring this… spark.

He hadn’t expected feelings to come on so soon and fast after that.

It was weird to marvel that someone somewhere was waiting for him. That there might actually be a place for him after this quest.

He hadn’t thought about what he’d do once Ganon was defeated. He had never deigned to look that far ahead.

It left a weird buzz in his head. To dream of an after.

When he first revisited the domain and saw Sidon racing towards him so excitedly… he finally melted. Some jammed ancient gear inside of him dislodged and every emotion that had only ever felt like a cold imitation hit him full force. 

And he was in love instantly.

… then he found out how fun it was to tease Sidon and something else awakened in him as well. 

He had a burning need to do anything possible to bring that beautiful blue back into his face and shock him to a point that his princely demeanor would break... He liked to see that Sidon was just as affected by him as he was by Sidon and the Gerudo certainly had developed some interesting techniques for that. The voe and you class had been quite educational in that regard.

Now he was on a mission to go check out this book everyone had recommended. When he had admitted he was courting a zora man, all of the ladies had exchanged excited looks and explained that there was one particular book he would be interested in. 

It was the only book on zora in all of Gerudo town, but certainly a household staple, or so he was told.

The bookstore was a tiny shop off of a back alley, he probably would have easily missed it if he hadn’t been specifically looking.

Upon entry, a middle-aged Gerudo woman looked up at him. “Ah, sav'aaq, welcome. It’s not very often we get a young hylian vai like yourself in.”

Link ducked his head in a silent greeting.

“Is there anything you’re looking for in particular?” She asked.

“I heard you had… a book on zora,” Link admitted. Talking was an intimidating thing to do when you were disguised as a woman. He didn’t know whether to be offended or pleased that his voice didn’t give him away.

She nodded. “Ah yes, we only have one left in stock, years later it still sells off the shelves faster than we can transcribe and bind it.”

She lead him over to the romance section of the store (which was admittedly at least seventy percent of the collection) and handed him a thick tome. 

The title embossed on the maroon cover read ‘Fifty Shades of Red’.

“It was written by one of the greatest literary minds of the Gerudo,” the bookseller explained. “After years of feeling uninspired, she decided to travel. It’s said she wrote this novel in one go, three days after passing through the zora domain.”

Link slowly paged through and…

Oh.

Oh!

It looked like he wasn’t the only one whose dreams were filled with images of Sidon. 

With a veil covering his face he didn’t even need to hide his delighted grin. This book was blatently inspired by his poor lover.

A towering and charismatic zora prince with rippling muscles and gleaming white teeth with a… secret chamber in the tunnels below the domain…

He wondered how much of this book was truth and how much was fiction. His first thought when he got the gerudo vai ensemble back at the outpost was that he’d have to give Sidon a peek someday- if only to get that adorable blue back into his cheeks but… he wondered if he’d get as virial a response as the girl in this story. Fictional Sidon seemed to like gerudo garb quite a bit.

He held back a gasp and broke into a cold sweat. TWO??

Obviously , Link bought the book. For research purposes.

He might even deign to say that this was the singular most important thing he had ever discovered in his travels.

He would probably keep it on his person for a while… to keep him company while on the move but he was ever so excited to gift it to Sidon once his travels were over. The prince’s reaction would be… entertaining. Not to mention, wholly adorable for sure.

Someday he wouldn’t need it anymore, because he’d have the real Sidon all to himself.

As he was leaving the woman quickly added. “Perhaps if you come by another time we will have the rest of the trilogy in stock!”

Oh hell yes.

Chapter Text

He was about as golden and crisped as fried heron when he finally returned to the domain.

He had never appreciated the cold humidity as much as he had at this exact moment. He made no effort to move from his delightfully cool spot at the shrine. He simply plopped down at the dry entrance and leaned back, taking in the wet air on his skin. His boots were waterproof but the cold of the crystal water still penetrated soothingly.

 

He decided to say put and bask for a bit, he was sure Sidon would find him quick en-

“Link! You’re back! I had just received word that there was another ray of light targeting the castle!”

 

There he was, and he even managed to be a little quieter this time. Perhaps there was a (small) chance he hadn’t alerted Muzu.

Sidon’s delighted grin caused that last bit of travel-worn weariness and fatigue to exit his body. If only he could bottle it up and take it with him… it would be far more effective than any stamina potion.

 

Well, there was something he could do.

 

He pulled out his sheikah plate and snapped a quick photo before Sidon could react. 

 

Link inspected his work. Perfect. Why hadn’t he taken anything sooner? Better yet, why stop at one? He had a whole GALLERY he could fill with every single one of Sidon’s many expressions.

 

Sidon blinked in surprise and then leaned down curiously. “What was that you just did?”

 

Oh- there was another one. Link snapped another photo and then turned the display to face Sidon.

 

He inspected the screen in awed silence before finally saying “Fascinating... I assume this is sheikah technology? It’s more accurate than any portrait and it only took an instant!” He smiled at Link and quickly sat down next to him. “I don’t suppose you have pictures of your journey? I imagine it must be so useful to be able to document the places you’ve been!”

 

“A few,” Link admitted. “Space is limited so I don’t take too many…” That was only partially true. He simply hadn’t… cared enough at the beginning. He mostly just took photos when he needed to for quests. Of course, he had made sure to snap a few pics of the inside of Gerudo Town that he could share. Next time he thought about it, he should warp to Rito Village as well and do the same.

 

The shrine they were sitting at was unfortunately,  pretty much at the domain’s hub. The pair were already attracting a number of curious glances. Soon the elders would be upon them like piranhas. “I’ll show you everything,” Link promised and Sidon perked. Link realized taking another photo in that moment would be excessive… but he wanted to. He promised himself he’d have more opportunities later. “In a bit… I have some matters to deal with first.”

 

Sidon deflated. Link decided right then and there that he would personally accept a duel with anyone who didn’t think his ten foot, hulking, serrated-toothed boyfriend wasn’t the most adorable person in all of Hyrule. He’d have pat his head if he could reach. It was just that… even sitting, there was simply too much torso separating them. (And rows and rows of abs he wouldn’t mind petting instead) 

 

… It was possible his time in Gerudo town had not helped his sense of self restraint on controlling his... wandering thoughts. They were all just as bad as he was and were frankly, a bad influence. 

 

“Meet me up by Toto lake though?” Link asked, lifting Sidon’s hand up to plant an affectionate kiss on one of the large valleys between his knuckles.

 

“Of course my sweet,” Sidon slowly (and seemingly regretfully) retracted the arm, but not before grazing a smooth claw across the handful of new freckles on Link’s browned shoulder in silent admiration.

 

It was almost painful to leave the prince so soon. The truth was he didn’t have anything especially pressing to do in the area. He was just hoping for some more alone time without anyone breathing down their necks. He was of course, banking on Sidon not intentionally bringing a chaperone but… somehow he was pretty sure he wouldn’t.

 

To pass the time and ease his guilt a little at the lie, he took care of the hinox and lynel in the nearby area. He had slain them so many times at this point it barely took any effort. He shrugged off the voice in the back of his head that pointed out that if he hadn’t dawdled so much he might have gotten to Ganon already and been able to give these people more permanent relief.

 

It was fine…. probably. 

 

He was…. A person. He deserved this much. That’s what Sidon would tell him.

 

There was no saying whether he was going to come out of that castle alive at the end of all of this- not that he’d ever admit that. Didn’t he deserve a couple of nice moments?

 

It was a quick glide and a short walk from Shatterback Point to get to their secret meeting spot.

 

He was there first and so had to wait. 

 

He took the opportunity to take a slow and leisurely swim through the old ruins. 

 

When he grew tired, He boosted himself up onto the remains of a crumbled wall and kicked his bare feet in the water.

 

Suddenly he saw it, a red fin making it’s way over, cutting the surface of the pond like a knife as it travelled. Link held back a laugh and pretended to have not noticed, innocently drawing circles with his legs.

 

Two massive hands engulfed his ankles and Sidon came crashing up through the rippling surface. “CAUGHT YOU!” 

 

Link laughed and shielded himself from the spray but a moment later his legs were tugged and he was pulled off of his perch with a surprised “Whoop!” and unceremoniously plunged into the deep water.

 

Arms wrapped around him tightly and he quickly hugged back. Tighter. 

 

He thought in those few seconds that if he could spend the rest of his life with this zora it would be too short.

 

When Link pulled away he smiled at Sidon softly. “I think I have some stories I owe you.”

 

“I have been waiting with bated breath all day,” Sidon agreed.

 

Link swam back towards his bag, which had been sitting on the grass from where he had first come in.

 

He pulled himself up and rustled through his things until he found his slate and he returned to the water’s edge where Sidon was waiting patiently.

 

He had been right, there were a lot of questions. The fascination though in Sidon’s eyes as he patiently answered each and every one made the extra days away worth it.

 

“There’s an artisan there who makes enchanted jewelry,” Link told him. He pulled his bag over with a thrum of excitement. 

 

It had taken two straight days of hunting gourmet meat and cooking up skewers in Hebra to afford all this.

 

He pulled out a large necklace and held it delicately up to Sidon’s collar. “Topaz for electricity resistance…”

 

He then procured a matching pair of bracelets. “... and sapphires for heat.”

 

The Prince had still been admiring the topaz neck-piece when Link had pulled out the second item and the zora froze as they were dropped into his open hands.

 

“L-Link,” He said. “You must be aware that sapphires are a form of proposal for the zora.”

 

Link blinked in surprise.

 

“Oh,” Sidon said, his tone controlled. “You didn’t know. Good thing I… inquired .”

 

He slowly handed Link back the intricate bands. “I had thought you might have tuned out that part of Muzu’s talk if I’m being honest.” His voice was still shaky but he seemed to be trying to disguise it. “What do we do with you, my rebellious little imp?”

 

He was still holding the sapphires out for Link to take back. Link simply stared at them. “What if… I offered them anyway?” He said slowly.

 

Sidon’s outstretched hands fell to Link’s lap, as if the items were suddenly too heavy.

 

“I-” Sidon gazed down at them almost longingly. “They will say we’re rushing things,” he said. “That we’re too caught up in the flurry of what’s to soon come.”

 

“Does it matter what they say?” Link asked.

 

A claw traced the perfectly cut surfaces of the largest jewel in the center of one of the bracelets. 

“What if-” Sidon finally said, but then he faltered.   

 

Link reached out and stroked Sidon’s crest, as he had been wanting to do earlier, waiting for whatever inner storm the prince was having to settle. 

 

Sidon closed his eyes and his chest raised, he was likely taking a deep breath through his submerged gills. “What if, I accepted this now, and kept it safe… it could be between us until you return from Ganon.”

 

Link gripped his wrists with intensity. “I will,” he urged. “Return,” he clarified, with much more certainty than his earlier thoughts had suggested.

 

Sidon looked at him in surprise. “Yes… I wasn’t doubting that, my love.”

 

“I’ll have a full set made by then,” Link said. “Not even Muzu would be able to scoff at it.” 

 

He knew Isha would be delighted. She had already been over the moon to fulfill the first custom order for the infamous zora prince.

 

Sidon slowly unlatched his current arm accessories and tossed them aside on the grass next to Link before displaying his exposed wrists. “Just for now then. Until we get back to the domain proper.”

 

Link swallowed heavily and nodded.

 

Hands with just a little more tremble than he would have liked, latched the circlets shut on each arm. 

 

When he was done he smiled at Sidon. 

 

The zora’s eyes were smouldering with emotion. 

 

A massive finger stroked Link’s cheek. “Has anyone ever told you that shades of red are quite becoming on you my darling?”

 

It was a teasing call-back to the comment Link had once made about Sidon’s own blue blush and it would have been the most romantic thing Link had ever heard if he hadn’t read that damn book. Instead of swooning as Sidon had probably hoped, he choked and then burst into laughter immediately. 

 

“Link?” Sidon asked in confusion.

 

Link shook his head, still trembling. “No… it’s nothing,” He reached out his arms. “Come here you molduga of a man.

 

“Mol-” Sidon started to ask but he dropped it in favour of drawing in close. Link tried to give him an impassioned kiss but it was broken again and again in his fits of giggles. 

 

He should not have brought up the molduga line.

 

This accidental proposal was a mess from start to finish.

Chapter Text

It had been a long time since he’d last seen Link. His betrothed. (Every time that thought crossed his mind he was nearly knocked breathless)

He still caught himself laughing a little each time the memory resurfaced of the impromptu ‘photo’ session Link had coaxed him into before he left. At times he really could be quite... eccentric. It was unexpected but absolutely charming. He hoped those pictures kept him good company… It wasn’t exactly fair though. He wished he had made the hylian sit down in front of a painter for a portrait as well, quid pro quo . He wanted to look at his face too…

Well he had the sapphires at least. It became his nightly routine to open his drawer and peer at them. It was fitting that Link’s symbol of love was also the exact colour and shade of his eyes.

The gems truly were almost as brilliant. Startlingly large as well, he had a near heart attack when he had heard they were mined from a Talus’s back… only his Link would think of farming one of the land’s most terrifying monsters for trinkets.

His Link.

It was hard not to get carried away in it all. The status of their relationship was still clandestine but it was Sidon’s nature to want to scream it to the whole domain from the highest balcony. He was anxious to begin preparations. It took all of his self-restraint to not immediately commission a giant waterbed for his (someday their) chambers.

...Subtly was not his strong suit. 

Curiously, Link’s absence didn’t bother him as much as it used to. That isn’t to say he didn’t miss him with every fibre of his being- but there was no longer any question about their shared feelings. There was no fear that Link was off… forgetting about him.

When Link looked at him, there was never any question anymore about where they stood… and when Sidon peered at those sapphires, he could see those eyes, bright as day, reminding him that he was adored.

Sometimes, they gave him courage as well. It was after admiring them that very morning that Sidon found himself travelling alone to Shatterback Point come afternoon, something he ordinarily would never dare to do.

He had heard from patrols that the lynel had mysteriously vanished and wished to further inspect this highly curious development.

For as long as it had been there, it had never strayed from its territory. It usually only ever disappeared after times that Link had come slain it. He didn’t think there was anyone else alive capable of such a feat, especially not a zora given their… weakness to electricity.

He wore the topaz necklace Link had gifted him but was certain the little bit of resistance it offered would not be enough if he ran into the monster. He needed to be wary. If it suddenly appeared and spotted him, he’d get in close so as not to let it draw its bow and engage it until he could see the opportunity to safely dive into the reservoir.

His apprehension and careful planning ended up being for naught. The lynel really was gone. However, not without a trace. His weapons lay abandoned in a puddle by the peak.

As Sidon looked up he saw a familiar figure sitting at the highest ledge.

After a huge intake of air he almost yelled out Link’s name but something stopped him. There was something about the solitary figure that looked… dejected.

He chose to slowly approach. Yes, Link’s form was hunched forward just a little. All was not well.

The way his legs dangled off the peak was a little worrying. He would have been afraid of startling his lover and causing him to fall from his perilous position if it weren’t for the way Link’s left ear flicked during his approach, already having noted a new presence.

“Link,” Sidon said softly.

Link turned slowly to look over his shoulder. There was a small smile painted thin on his lips… but his eyes were glassy and unfocused. 

The sight felt the same as getting punched in the gut.

“Is something the matter, love?” Sidon asked.

Link sighed and turned back away. For a moment, Sidon had thought that he had been ignored. That was until he followed Link’s gaze. He wasn’t merely looking away, he was looking towards something. The castle specifically. There were now four beams of light.

“You did it…” Sidon said quietly.

Link nodded slowly. “It’s time.”

This isn’t exactly how he expected things to go. He had thought Link would arrive at the domain after Death Mountain triumphant and in high spirits. That with the divine beasts all on his side, he’d feel more confident than ever. Perhaps… that had been a rather ridiculous notion. 

Sidon tentatively walked over and knelt down. Carefully, with a single claw, he scooped the loose hairs that framed Link’s face and delicately tucked them behind his long hylian ears.

Link’s head involuntarily leaned into the touch.

So he did want comfort. That was something he could do.

Emboldened by this first small spark of receptiveness, Sidon sat down and drew his darling back between his legs (and further from the ledge). Link had gone limp like a doll, neither choosing to nestle closer nor resisting.

Sidon frowned and rested his chin on top of Link’s head. (He had to arch his back quite a bit to do so) His hair felt less silky than it had in the past, perhaps damaged from the heat of Death Mountain? At that idle thought, Sidon planted a small kiss directly onto his part where the thin sliver of sunburnt scalp peeked out.

Link sighed at the affectionate gesture and finally moved a hand to stroke down one of the large arms enshrouding him. He was always so startlingly small once he had him between his arms...

Such a thin frame to have to shoulder the entire fate of the world alone...

“It should never have had to be this way,” Sidon said suddenly, surprising even himself.

Link had been idly catching the ridges of one of Sidon’s scales with his fingernail when this comment was made and he paused his fidgeting immediately to listen.

“You never should have had to do this alone. I… feel I was naive in the past. I more than anyone was so set on the concept of a hero and I,  just like everyone else, forced you into that role.”

Link’s breathing seemed to be getting heavier, Sidon could feel the shaky gasps through Link’s back. He placed another kiss on his head encouragingly.

“The issue with the zora lifespan I’m afraid,” he continued, “Is that we can be old fashioned at times and stuck to the ideals of our most… formative decades.”

He had noticed earlier that Link was wearing the champion’s blue, made from the same vibrant cloth as his sister’s sash. He didn’t really recall the hylian champion from his youth but he remembered the tunic. It looked different now. It was the same shade and still entirely unblemished, likely preserved by fairy magic, but it was still different

Perhaps it was that Sidon was older now… and taller.

From his current vantage point, he could see down the small gap of material at the nape of Link’s neck and view hints of the marred and torn-at flesh underneath that had been hidden from him as a child.

He unconsciously held Link a little tighter.

“There was no golden age of heroes,” Sidon finally realized. “Just a dark era where children were unfairly forced into martyrdom.”

“We all failed you,” he admitted. “I’m sorry Link… I’m sorr-”

Link had broken from his grasp in an instant and flipped around to smash their lips together. He kissed him again and again, his actions filled with graceless fervour. Sidon brought a hand up to help guide the sloppy and desperate movements but found Link’s cheek… wet. There was the faintest taste of salt when his tongue grazed the corner of Link’s mouth. 

He opened his eyes and pulled away. Link was crying.

The hylian tried to duck his head but Sidon brought his gaze back up to meet his, gently wiping away the wet sheen running down his cheeks that had been smeared in their passion.

“Link, if you think you need to hide that face from me, I’ve failed you as a fiancé.” He pecked a kiss to a patch of red and blotchy skin. “You will do amazing,” Sidon added softly. “No matter what happens I am so proud.”

New tears started to stream down at this statement and Sidon patiently blotted at them with the corner of his cravat. 

“And in turn… I am going to do you proud.”

Link looked at him curiously.

“When the dust settles, there will be a country to reunite. We will rebuild the world, but it will be better.” Sidon promised. “We will all learn to stand together instead of at the back of one. As it always should have been.”

Chapter Text

Sidon walked through the large hallways of the domain’s inner palace with long powerful strides. 

He sparkled from head to toe in perfectly cut sapphires. Each and every piece was a gift from Link. The metal work truly was spectacular, he would have to tell Riju as much when he saw her at the reception later today. He knew that the Gerudo people tended to prefer more robust designs, featuring thick, embellished bands of gold, so he was both humbled and touched by the consideration they had put into zora culture when they crafted the delicate and thin silver set used for Link’s official proposal.

For certain, this was only the start of a long diplomatic partnership. He would be quite eager to work with the Gerudian artisans again for a collaboration in designing electricity resistant armour. If only they had formed a bond between their people sooner. Why, the zora might even have been able to siege Ruta themselves! 

He had been in constant communication with the other races from the moment Link had vanquished Ganon. He had made his love a promise after all, and he didn’t make those lightly. There would be no more child soldiers. Leaders would strive to exist for the people and not vice versa. They were entering a new age… a better age- and what better a way to kick it all off than with a wedding?

He felt like his scales were vibrating, his skin was certaining humming underneath in delirious excitement. There was a warmth in his stomach and it radiated out to every cell in his body. He had never known someone could be this happy.

Workers who were running around to finish last-minute preparations paused without fail as he passed them in the crystalline halls with expressions of pure awe. 

“Dashing,” He heard one zora murmur in approval. 

It was a long way to where he was going and his legs were not getting him there as fast as he would have liked. The zora royal palace had withstood several millennia and had grown larger and larger in time. Additions seemed to be made with each new ruler, each with the aim to contribute a part of the architecture more stunning and elaborate than the rest. There was a certain charm to the original palace however, the place he was anxiously rushing to. The first royal family had their home built directly into the side of the Zorana escarpment and incorporated much of the rock’s natural features in the building’s design.

Beautifully carved luminous stone pathways ran along the rock face and lay hidden under natural waterfalls. 

Eventually, Sidon’s path tunnelled into the rock itself and he ventured down the water-carved limestone tunnels until he reached the large double doors of the royal family’s sacred springs. Link had been bathing here for the last few hours. Tradition dictates that the future spouse of the family soaks in the waters overnight but amendments needed to be made given that Link was a Hylian.

Sidon splayed a hand on the entrance and suddenly, his breath turned shaky. His heart felt ready to burst.

He pushed through anyway and opened the doors.

The tunnel here expanded out into a wide and cavernous space. In the center was a perfectly circular pool. The water was clear as a cloudless night sky revealing constellations of submerged natural luminous ore deposits beneath.

In the very center of it all, a blond head bobbed up and down. The water would have been completely still if it weren’t for the kicks of the wadding hylian that sent soft ripples outwards from his epicentre. 

Link slowly turned to him and smiled.

Sidon was at the edge of the water in an instant. Before he could even process that he had moved.

Link swam towards him in a clumsy faltering dog paddle. (frankly, the most adorable thing he had ever seen) When he reached the end of the pool, he crossed his arms over the ornate zora tiling and tilted his head, his cheek resting on his shoulder. Sidon knelt down and took the moment to marvel at his darling. The thin white fabrics that loosely enveloped his husband-to-be billowed and twisted in the water in the most gorgeous of ways. The light from deeper within the lake shone through the thin material and made Link glow with a jellyfish-like iridescence. 

But all of that imagery was nothing compared to the look in Link’s eyes. The tension and stress that had been plaguing and darkening them on the days leading up to Ganon had dissolved away now. They were shimmering and half hidden in the most alluring way under eyelids, hooded with contentment.

“It all fits,” Link said with a gentle smile, he lazily trailed a finger across one of Sidon’s new ankle cuffs. (the only thing he could reach with their positions) “You look good.”

“And you my dear, are beautiful,” Sidon replied.

Link snorted as if the statement were a joke. Such an unfortunate but expected response from a hylian male. They somehow seemed to believe that such terms didn’t exist for them. Well, he would have years to make Link see it. He would tell it to him every day if he had to until Link finally believed.

Sidon bent down on one knee and offered a hand. Link took it and allowed the zora to gently help him out. The once weightless material now clung to his figure, soaked and heavy, pouring waterfalls to the tile.

The fabric was peachy and transparent where it hugged his skin, hiding nothing, but Link stood confidently where most hylians would duck to keep their modesty, reminding the prince of the boldness he first fell for. Sidon tried not to let his eyes stray… much, whatever bit he did see he immediately felt ashamed for when he caught Link’s eyes once again and found them glinting smugly.

“Apologies,” Sidon said. “You really are quite divine my love.”

Link laughed softly and narrowed his eyes without a hint of coyness. “It’s alright to look you know,” a hand ran across his own clavicle. “This is all for you.”

Sidon felt hoarse. “They’ll be plenty of time for that later. There’s a few more things we need to do before the ceremony, shall we?”

Link nodded and Sidon guided him in the most regal fashion possible over to a large chaise by the poolside, Link wasted no time luxuriously draping himself over it.

Sidon resisted an awestruck chuckle and just shook his head. Stunning . Everything he did was just so effortlessly captivating. He found himself drawing in for a kiss but Link stopped him with a bewitching grin and a hand pressed firmly to his mouth. “Hold up, we’re already breaking every other hylian tradition. You’re technically not even supposed to be seeing me right now. At least save the kiss for the actual wedding.”

Begrudgingly, Sidon backed off.

There was an ancient chest at the foot of the lounger and it was within easy reaching range when Sidon knelt before Link. The prince began the task immediately of pulling out the sacred zora treasures.

“Each entrant to the royal family dawns these ceremonial jewels at their wedding,” Sidon explained. “And it is my duty to bestow each and every piece.”

He gently took one of Link’s long slender legs. His raised knee caused the fabrics of his scant outfit to part in a long deep slit but Link didn’t seem to mind or rush to re-adjust his apparel.

Unable to resist, Sidon softly kissed Link’s ankle and he could feel a small hand stroke his dorsal fin in returned affection. He slowly pulled out various emeralds, fastening the small clasps from around Link’s leg and allowing the thin chains to fall in place and dangle above link’s foot. Satisfied with the anklets. Sidon moved up to place a kiss on Link’s shin, then his knee. Ever the gentleman, he made an effort to keep his eyes closed but… remembering Link’s permission from earlier he found himself peeking and letting his eyes run up Link’s thigh until he saw that... 

“You’re wearing… your compression shorts?” Sidon asked in disbelief.

Link burst out laughing and threw his head back. “You really did look, huh?” He looked like he was on the verge of crying he was so pleased with his own little joke. He tapped the tip of Sidon’s crest, “Naughty shark~”

Sidon was positive he was absolutely blue in the face.

Still, now that he was properly appraising Link’s body in full. Sidon had to laugh as well. “That’s quite an interesting look my dear.”

Link pulled at his shorts and released them with a light snapping sound. “They really do go with everything.”

They really didn’t…

Link seemed to catch Sidon’s thought almost telepathically. “I couldn’t very well let Zelda watch me bathe without them,” he admitted.

Sidon felt a small prickle in his chest that he quickly brushed off. “Zelda… was your handmaiden?”

Ordinarily, the bride-hopeful or groom-to-be selects a close friend to guide them into the sacred grounds and keep them company until it is time for them to meet with their sweetheart.  

“Of course,” Link said. “We laughed about the irony that it used to be me who stood guard while she had to take ‘cleansing washes’ in white dresses.”

“Hmm,” Sidon hummed noncommittally, effectively dropping the topic.

He noticed suddenly, Link’s sheikah plate on a nearby table. “I thought you surrendered that to the princess,” Sidon said.

The glee in Link’s expression disappeared in an instant. “...yeah. There’s a wedding present from her and Purah on it… I haven’t agreed to accept it yet.”

“A present?” Sidon asked, baffled by Link’s change in mood.

“There’s a special rune… but I won’t use it if you don’t want me too,” Link explained.

Sidon just stared at him uncomprehendingly. 

“Purah… is over one hundred and twenty five,” Link said.

“The… sheikah child?” Sidon asked.

“She developed this thing called an age ruin. It backfired on her a bit but her and Zelda have been working together and they found a way to… give a hylian a zora lifespan.” Link kicked his leg a little idly, listening to the jewels tinkle together as if he hadn’t just delivered the most earth-shattering news. 

Sidon’s mouth was agape in the most non-princely way.

“I don’t know,” Link said. “It’s not what you signed up for when you agreed to our union so… it’s alright if you don’t want me to. It was never supposed to be your forever.”

Sidon shot up and clasped both Link’s hands. “Link-”

He was at such a complete loss that any words he could think of to reassure his pearl were abating quicker than they could spill out of his mouth.

“I- after you had finished your great battle… you hadn’t come to see me for an entire month,” Sidon said. “I thought you’d come back immediately but… the longer you were gone I started to wonder… what if you were hurt… or worse? What if you had won but sacrificed yourself in the process? I had to face the idea of a life without you in it and I just… couldn’t.

He sighed. “I always knew our time together would be short but… I also knew I would never love anyone quite in the same way and so decided I could take just those eighty or so years with you over nothing at all. No one can run from fate, my father hadn’t had much longer a time with my mother either... but if you are telling me we could grow old together… it’s all I could secretly ever wish for.”

Link gently stroked one of the fins framing Sidion’s face but paused and pulled away, looking incredibly guilty. “Don’t you… need an heir? I can’t give you that.”

Sidon looked at him in shock. “Is that what has been worrying you?”

Link nodded mutely.

Sidon chuckled. “My dear, this isn’t the first time two males have mated in the royal family line, not by a long shot. There are procedures in place.”

“Procedures?” Link asked.

“Once a year zora females lay unfertilized eggs. When we decide we want a child, we will likely receive a massive influx of donations. The egg is generally then picked from the clutch at random,” Sidon explained.

There was the strangest smile on Link’s face. Sidon paused. “You do… think you’d want a child some day?”

Link looked at him for a moment before nodding vigorously. “I just hadn’t thought it was possible,” Link almost whispered.

Sidon grinned. “Good, then all is fine.” He returned to the task at hand, decorating Link’s other leg before moving to his wrists.

“I… hadn’t thought of that,” Link suddenly admitted. “That you would worry… when I didn’t come back. I was just so intent on going to retrieve the jewelry I commissioned from Gerudo Town to complete my proposal that I didn’t think. Zelda needed to regroup with Impa and Purah so I had given her the slate to protect herself and so couldn’t warp to do it all faster either.”

… Zelda. Sidon sighed. He had been so unfair to her, especially after finding out she had bestowed such an astounding gift. 

“Later…” Sidon began to admit. “A few weeks in, when the bracelets you had gifted me had disappeared, I then knew you were alive but thought maybe it was your way of revoking your proposal. There have been tales through the last century of the knight who loved the princess. Mipha had been concerned about your developing relationship in her diary as well… I thought maybe when you saw her once again you… remembered your feelings and the years of loving her dwarfed our fleeting time together.”

“You thought… Zelda and I were in love? And I left you for her?” Link looked entirely shocked. He was smiling, but in the kind of way one smiles when they are silently screaming inside. “I just wanted to get the full set blessed by the great fairies so I borrowed them…” Link admitted. Suddenly, the former knight paled. “I uh… really hope Zelda wasn’t in love with me… there would have been gentler ways to tell her about our relationship.”

Sidon looked at him curiously. 

“I… hadn’t deleted any of the forty or so pictures I took of you when I gave her the sheikah plate so…” That rare hint of colour was finally returning to Link’s ears as he remembered the embarrassment that likely ensued and he buried his face in his hands.

Sidon felt a smile ghost his lips and his shoulders slack. How could he have been so jealous when Link clearly only ever thought of him? He draped the first of many necklaces over Link’s neck and the job brought their faces closer.

“I changed my mind,” Link said. 

“I beg your pardon?” Sidon asked, thoughts racing as to what decision Link was alluding to. 

“You can kiss me.” He was back to sending Sidon one of his sultry smirks and the zora’s body suddenly had the same agency as jello. 

“But your tradition?” Sidon asked in confusion.

“I’m not a traditional kind of girl.” Link winked,  “I just wanted to tease you a bit. It backfired though because suddenly… it’s all I want to do.”

Sidon leaned over and pressed a chaste kiss to Link’s lips.

He loved the way Link’s gaze danced as they separated. “Honestly,” Sidon sighed. “Those eyes could let you get away with anything, it’s hardly fair. I was completely prepared to give you a piece of my mind when you finally returned to the domain you know?” He stroked the hero’s cheek. “But then you fixed me with those eyes and said ‘I’m home’ and I was completely done for.”

Link seemed at a loss for words but finally, he managed a “noted,”

Sidon immediately regretted the power he had just given him knowing it would be fully abused and then, when Link burst into an adorable giggle, he promptly didn’t care. That was a later problem.

“I’m... happy you already see this place as home,” Sidon admitted.

Link smiled and let his hand trace over Sidon’s where it still cupped the side of his head. “You’re my home . ” Upon saying this however, Link’s face wrinkled with distaste. Sidon knew how adverse Link was to saying lines like that and so felt it only right to reward him, pressing one last lingering kiss to his lips.

Link grinned and gently removed Sidon from his person and nodded his head to the chest. “Now keep going, we have people waiting you know.”

He had almost forgotten.

He finished up adorning Link with the zora jewels and helped his fiancé up. Link’s white robes were mostly dry now, being the same special fabric as Sidon’s quick-drying cravat.

He looked… ethereal, almost otherworldly. Sidon could understand a little more of how he managed to disguise himself as a woman in the desert.

He also knew however, that such a compliment was more of an insult to men of Link’s race so he held it back but smiled to himself.

With nonchalance entirely unmatching his new appearance, Link casually shrugged. “Well then,” he said, gesturing to the doors. “Should we get on with it then?”

“Of course,” Sidon agreed and took his hand with a gentle squeeze.

Together, the pair returned to the surface and onto a happily ever after.