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an electrifying feeling that i've known all along

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1.

 

The first time it happens, it’s after Link almost dies in a snowstorm.

 

He didn’t mean to get lost. The Hebra mountains are just so vast and the blizzard came out of nowhere. He didn’t mean to end up buried under snow, limbs frozen, eyes closed, lips blue.

This was all because of the princess. She’d asked him to pick some obscure flowers that only grow in the Hebra mountains. They’d been getting along much better these days, but that didn’t stop Link’s inkling that this trip was just an excuse for her to be alone. He understands, he really does, but it’s made his job so much more difficult than it truly has needed to be.

 

Right now, however, he’s not thinking of the princess or of his duties. Most of the little brainpower available to him just wishes he had a cooler death than hypothermia. Ha, cooler.

 

“Link? Is that...oh for heaven’s sake that is you!” A familiar voice cuts its way to Link’s barely conscious mind. Revali he wants to say, but his lips are not working. None of his body is working.

 

Something is moving him, jostling the snow from his body as he’s moved with surprising tenderness. “You idiot. What the hell are you doing out in this weather with just that flimsy tunic? Do you want to die? Can’t wait for the calamity to get a bite at you, I see,” Revali scolds, tone harsh and sharp. Link wants to respond, wants to say something, anything just to see that he can but his body is weak and now it’s not just the usual rigidness of his throat that stops him from speaking. 

 

He begins to close his eyes. I’m so tired he thinks and is then startled awake as Revali practically smacks his face. “Idiot, don’t go sleeping on me now. This is a disaster.” Link can’t make much sense of what he’s saying, but it sure sounds important. He should….should stay awake.

 

Bright white light fades into something dark and soothing. A cave, his mind registers, noticing the lack of howling mind and cold snow melting into his clothes. Revali seems to be carrying him princess style (when did that happen?), muttering what are no doubt curses at Link under his breath. 

 

The warmth emanating from Revali makes Link perk up slightly. It’s so nice and inviting, so much better than the harsh cold sinking into his bones. He tries to snuggle in more and manages to nose at some of the feathers close to his face. There’s a noise like a bird squawking, and he realizes that it came from Revali a few moments later when a voice icier than the snow outside says “And just what, pray tell, do you think you’re doing?”

 

Link doesn’t understand the question. He’s cold, Revali’s warm. Cold is bad, warm is good, he’s only following basic instincts. Trying to relay this very important information aloud, he manages to open his lips enough for “Cold…” to escape, so soft he's not sure anyone would hear.

 

Revali hears, apparently, as he stops in his tracks (they were moving? When?), his grip around Link tightening. He fidgets, “You...you spoke.”

Link tries to frown, but it’s so much effort he drops it. Of course he talks. Not often, maybe, but he does talk. 

 

There’s a tired sigh above him. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” are the words muttered before Link is unceremoniously tossed to the floor. He barely manages a groan of pain before warm feathers are on him again, Revali’s wings shaking as he takes Link’s tunic off, his shirt, his pants.

 

He tries to protest weakly, his hands easily batted away by Revali’s much bigger and much softer ones. “It’s not like I want to do this either, you imbecile.” Revali lets him go, naked aside from his underwear “I will be flayed alive, however, if someone finds out you died on my watch. Deal with it.” another whine escapes Link’s throat as cold wind bites his skin, a click of a beak is his response.

 

The sound of clothes rustling has his eyes peeling open slightly, and he notes Revali’s undressing as well. He thinks he should be flustered by that, but his brain is too tired trying not to shut down from the cold. 

 

Revali sets down the last of his clothes, his scarf, on top of a little pile. Then, seeming to hesitate for just a second, he walks back to Link’s shivering form. He only sighs before sitting down to the side,  proceeding to scoop Link up into his warm, soft, arms. Link sighs, the chill in his body slowly dissipating as he snuggles into the warmth provided for him.

 

Revali squeaks at the motion but doesn't push him away. Instead, his hold on Link tightens, as if seeking comfort as well. Or maybe that’s just Link’s cold addled brain speaking.

 

//

 

In the morning, Link wakes up in a cold dark cave. His clothes are on his body (though he doesn't know why they wouldn’t be) and there’s no trace of anyone being here besides him. Confused, he sits up, shivering as a stray breeze enters from the outside. 

 

A heavy yet soft weight around his throat has him pausing. Link reaches for it, a gasp escaping his mouth as he recognizes it; Revali’s old scarf. He runs his hand over the creamy beige and brown patterns, wondering how in the world it came to be in his possession. How he ended up in a cave at all.

 

He vaguely remembers embarking on a mission to find rare flowers, remembers the cold overpowering him until he lay buried under snow, remembers hearing Revali’s voice and-- his hands stop roaming over the scarf. Memories flood into his mind, a scarlet flush overtaking his cheeks. Ah, that’s right. Revali saved him. 

 

Making his way out of the cave, Link makes a promise to thank his reluctant hero. He tells himself his blush is only from embarrassment and the chill outside, but allows himself the tiny luxury of burying his face in Revali’s scarf. It’s freezing, after all.

 

2.

 

The chance for thanks doesn't occur until much later. It seems Revali has taken to avoiding Link after the...incident, and Link is too busy to properly track him down. Not that he truly wants to face Revali, especially after being in such a compromising position but well...he has a scarf to return.

 

Soon enough, the champions are called from their home regions to attend Hyrule Castle’s Champions ball, the party symbolizing the start of the princess’s journey to bond with the champions and her appointed knight. They are meant to travel Hyrule the day after tomorrow, hopefully becoming a team that’s strong like no other. 

 

But, before that, there’s a ball to attend.

 

As Princess Zelda’s appointed knight, he is given the royal guard’s clothes to wear, along with whatever additional personal accessories he’d like to add. Link doesn’t have much to his name, so he straps the Master Sword to his back and calls it a day.

 

Until, his eye catches on Revali’s scarf, folded neatly on the dresser of his room in the castle. That’s right, he needs to return it as soon as possible. Still, he can’t carry it around in his hands, not with the opening ceremony involving him and the princess dancing. He thinks about leaving it here, and simply asking Revali to follow him to his room later on in the night--then promptly realizes how forward that sounds, and blushes. Besides, with how Revali has avoided him in the past days, Link isn’t sure he could catch him.

 

There is only one option then. With shaky hands, Link reaches for the scarf, tying it around his neck in the same way he remembers Revali doing it. He feels odd, must look odd as well, with the garment’s weight on him. This way, however, Revali is bound to ask for the scarf back himself, most likely unable to stand Link wearing his clothes in such a public event. Yet, his logical reasoning doesn’t manage to extinguish the pink in his cheeks.

 

//

 

The ball is as exhausting as Link figured it would be. The princess had been surprised at seeing the scarf around his neck, but aside from a curious look at him, she didn’t say anything, the many eyes upon them restricting her. For that Link is glad. In the following hours, he stays next to her, but his eyes never stop searching for Revali, who seems to have disappeared, much to his chagrin.

 

It’s not until the party has ended that Link is faced with an angry Rito on the way to his room.

 

“You,” is all he hears before a wing wraps around his bicep and hauls him to a dimly-lit hallway corridor. Link lets it happen, having expected something like this.

 

There’s stone pressing against his back and Revali pressing close in front of him, using his height to his advantage. 

 

Unbidden, Link recalls some of his mother’s romance novels, the instances where the fair maiden was pressed against a wall by her love interest, and the scenes that ensued. He’s glad the Rito have poor night vision, otherwise Revali’s keen eyes would have spotted the bright blush coloring his cheeks.

 

“Take that off, this instant,” Revali demands, and Link easily complies, unraveling it from his neck and holding it out. He ignores the way his body seems to miss the weight of it. 

 

The scarf is snatched from his hand, and he's sure Revali will storm off with that done, but after a few moments, he’s still there. Still too close for Link’s thundering heart. Silent.

 

Confused, Link looks up, and with his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he sees Revali’s conflicted expression. 

 

“Do you know any Rito customs, Link? Any at all?” Revali’s voice startles him. Link shakes his head slowly. Did he commit some sort of Rito faux pas?

 

The fight seems to leave Revali, as he sighs tiredly and steps back, “Right, of course,” The air suddenly feels much too cold.

 

Confused and concerned, Link raises his hands to sign, to reach out, to do something-- except Urbosa’s voice cuts into the silence.

 

“Found them!” She yells, and Revali and Link flinch, separating even further, “What are you two doing here, trying to get in a post-party match? We’ve been looking all over for you."

 

Stepping out from the hallway, Revali snarks, “Yes, we were about to have a duel to the death, but seeing as you have shown up the mood is ruined. I suppose I have to let Link live.”

 

Urbosa rolls her eyes good-naturedly, “Right. Well, come on, we’re all a bit homesick and decided to have a good ol’ sleepover. Link,” she points a perfectly manicured fingernail at him, and he tries not to jump, “you can’t escape this, I will hunt you down.” Then, hooking an arm around Revali’s shoulders, she leads the way.

 

Link follows at a slower pace, Revali’s indignant splutters and objections falling on deaf ears. Despite the constant bristling, Link notes he never once makes a move to truly get away.

 

A small smile forms on his lips. Revali really can be so endearing.

 

//

 

To Link’s surprise, Urbosa stops in front of his room. Mipha, Daruk, and the princess all waiting in front of it. 

 

Urbosa turns to him, “I hope you don’t mind? The princess’ room is off-limits and all of our borrowed rooms feel incredibly impersonal. Of course,” she places a hand on his shoulder, “if you say no we all will accept it.”

 

He thinks about it. There aren’t many of his personal belongings in that room, only his clothes and some pictures of his family. It’s also impersonal to him, but he doesn’t mind that too much. He never did feel comfortable in the castle.

 

Though, there’s a slight feeling of irritation and embarrassment as he realizes wearing the scarf to the ball was pointless. It’s too late now, however, so he just shrugs.

 

The champions--aside from Revali and the princess-- cheer and make their way in,  Link following them.

 

The room given to him is plain, more lavish than a regular soldier’s but still clearly staff's. The walls are plain white brick, with the occasional tapestry carrying Hyrule’s insignia hanging on them. Furniture in tasteful dark wood decorates the room, one large wardrobe twice Link’s size resting opposite the bed and two smaller bed stands bordering it. The bed itself is large, footrest facing towards the door. It’s capable of holding all the champions (aside from Daruk) comfortably with only minimal squashing. For Link, who’s used to occasionally sharing a bed with Aryll and the other village kids, it feels much too large.

 

“It’s cleaner than I expected,” Mipha remarks, smiling mischievously at him. She’s one of the only champions to have seen his room in Hateno Village, so he can’t really refute the comment.

 

“Don’t feel comfortable here. Helps keep things clean.” he signs, and Mipha’s expression softens in understanding, reaching for his hand and giving it a quick squeeze before moving further into the room.

 

The champions all make themselves at home quite quickly. Urbosa is already laying on the bed, rifling through the mystery novels his father had gifted him, her silk nightclothes and loose hair making her look younger. Daruk is “quietly” chatting with Mipha, both taking their champion garments off with their accessories on top of them and placing them on the leftmost nightstand. The princess still seems a bit uncomfortable, her hands fiddling with her light blue nightgown as she talks with Revali, who looks uncharacteristically soft as he smiles at her. Link looks away.

 

Feeling a bit self-conscious but unwilling to sleep in these stuffy clothes, Link decides to just get the changing over with. He stops in front of the large wardrobe, opens it, and peels the gloves off first, setting them inside.  He takes the boots off next, letting out a small sigh of relief at being barefoot. The small accessories are soon to be placed alongside the boots and gloves. The red cord is last, but as he goes to take it off, it seems to snag on the claps of the small mantle. Frustrated, he tries to pull on it, but that makes an alarming ripping sound and he stops. 

 

Weighing the options, he decides he really just wants the thing off this instant, to hell with it. He can always fix it later…..probably.

 

“You’re going to rip it, dumbass,” Soft feathers cover his fingers, Link’s neck almost snapping with how fast he turns to look at the source. Revali. He’s close, batting Link's hands away from the cord, deftly unhooking it from whatever it had become stuck on.  Setting it aside with the rest of the clothes, he takes a step back. “I trust you don’t need my help with the rest of it,” his eyes glint, “do you?”

 

Quite certain he’s being messed with, Link shakes his head, signing a simple thank you to Revali before continuing with the rest of his clothes. He can feel green eyes boring into him, but until his face stops looking like a splotchy mess of red he refuses to look back. The sound of claws on tile becoming fainter has him sneaking a glance, sighing in relief as he notes Revali walking towards Urbosa.

 

He hastens to finish removing the top layer of clothes, standing only in the royal guard pants and the soft black undershirt. It’s not his top choice of sleepwear but it’ll have to do. He forgot how time-consuming putting on and removing these sorts of fancy clothes was.

 

Turning his attention onto the other champions, he can’t hold back a small smile. It seems the party has worn them all out, as most of them have piled on top of his bed and are in various states of sleep. Urbosa is laying on her back right in the middle, flanked by Mipha and Zelda on opposite sides, the princesses holding hands over her. Daruk has chosen to spare the bed, instead rolling into a tight ball to the left of the bed, Princess Zelda’s other hand laying on top, occasionally scratching him in her sleep. Revali is next to Mipha, his back to her as he curls into a tight ball. Most of the bottom portion of the bed is free, which Link figures is where he’ll be sleeping. 

 

Unbothered, he settles down in his spot, the exhaustion of the night overtaking him as he quickly drifts to sleep.

 

//

 

Muffled giggles. A warmth surrounding him that feels comforting but bordering on suffocating. The smell of pine and something sharp. These are all the things his barely conscious mind registers as Link wakes up. His muscles are still so tired, and he unthinkingly snuggles into the warmth in front of him.

 

The giggles become louder, until even he can’t sleep through them, and so blearily opening his eyes, the first thing he notes is the deep blue feathers blocking his view. Confused, he reaches for them, jolting slightly as he notes how warm they are. Wait. Warmth. Blue feathers. Giggles. The sleepover. Oh Goddess he’s snuggling with Revali….again.

 

At once Link tries to escape the embrace, but then there’s a tug at his waist, and looking down he realizes Revali has him in a tight hold. His face flushes and the distinct sound of the Sheikah Slate's snap reaches his ear. Looking towards the source, he finds Mipha and Zelda, the latter holding the slate in her hands, clearly having just taken a picture.

 

Meeting eyes seems to be too much for them, as the princess reel backward, letting their loud laughter spill without restraint. This, unfortunately, has the effect of waking up Revali. The wings around him tighten, and all Link can really do is stare helplessly at the face before him, his own face no doubt the picture-perfect shape of embarrassment.

 

Green eyes open slowly, blinking once, twice. The sleepy haze surrounding them disappearing as they realize just what is in front. The speed at which they focus would be incredible if it didn’t mean Link found himself tossed to the floor in a matter of seconds, the sound of enraged Rito screeches and howling laughter surrounding him. 

 

Link hides the smile blooming on his face. Even if he’s found himself tossed to the floor, this lively awakening surrounded by his friends is a welcome change of pace.

 

3.

 

Link is exhausted. All the champions are, having just defeated three camp's worth of monsters. It wasn't easy, but now the area is monster free and the champions are relaxing in front of a campfire.

 

Traveling through Hyrule with the champions is an….interesting experience. It's true what they say, you don't truly know a person until you live with them. Link feels like he's learned too much, to be honest.

 

Still, it certainly beats the silence that was ever-present when it was just him and the princess.

 

A shadow passes over him. Link looks up, and spots Revali's flying form. The proud warrior had been adamant about doing a last air survey, to ensure no monsters would sneak upon them. Link admires him, he must be just as tired as the rest of them, yet he still sets out to ensure safety.

 

His thoughts are interrupted as Mipha takes a seat next to him, laying her head on his shoulder. "Are you hurt?" her voice is quieter than usual, eyes droopy as she gazes at the fire in front of them.

 

Link shakes his head gently, making sure not to jostle her. Mipha had been working hard, healing all the team's injuries despite her own fatigue. He had subtly drunk a potion, to lower her workload even by just one person.

 

"You okay?" he signs and she nods, a small smile on her face.

 

The shadow passes over him again, and Link's eyes follow Revali's path through the air. A thought occurs to him.

 

Tapping Mipha's hand gently to gain her attention, he signs " Do you know any Rito customs?"

 

A startled look crosses her face for a moment, before it melts into a knowing smirk. Link fidgets under her gaze.

 

She picks her head up from his shoulder, "They have many customs, you know? If you do not specify which one you wish to know about we could be here all day."

 

It seems Mipha is relishing this rare chance to embarrass him, and he knows there's no escaping her when she has this mode turned on. 

 

Heaving a sigh, he avoids her eyes as he signs, " You know I mean clothing based, please do not make me say more."

 

Mipha giggles, "From what I have heard, it seems to share a personal article of clothing, one you treasure deeply, with the person you wish to court is quite common." her smile turns sharp, "It is a step behind gifting feathers, which in Hylian terms, is marriage."

 

Oh. 

 

Link understands now. He'd practically been broadcasting that he and Revali were a thing. Even though they weren't. And a step behind marriage!? No wonder he'd been so pissed during their confrontation.

 

" Do you know any Rito customs, Link?"

 

His face reddens impossibly, and Mipha's laughter only intensifies, going away from her delicate giggles into full-blown chortles. 

 

"Mipha? What's so fu-- is Link blushing?" Urbosa's voice pipes up, and he wastes no time covering his face as best he can. There are surprised murmurs from the rest of the champions and he can hear as they all gather around him. He hears someone (is that Zelda!?) say "Oh my, even his ears are red!" His blush worsens.

 

Wind tugs at his hair and Link knows without looking that it's Revali landing down. Why now of all times?

 

"What are you all doing? Aren't you meant to be resting?" his sardonic voice cuts through the murmurs and Link desperately wishes he were Any Place but here.

 

Peeking from in between his fingers, his eyes catch Revali's green ones. He seems startled as he takes in Link's red face.

 

In a moment of desperation, Link begs for help with his eyes. He knows it's a long shot, knows Revali will most likely join the teasing, but it’s worth a try.

 

“So the silent wall has emotions, big deal. Why has something so common as emotions have to be celebrated just because it’s the little knight? Careful, he’ll get an even bigger head, " Revali scoffs, and Link almost can’t believe his ears, “Night is falling fast, if you’re not taking first watch go to sleep before you become a burden tomorrow.” 

 

There’s grumbling from the rest of the champions, but soon enough they all disperse, with Daruk saying he’ll take first watch while the others set up their sleeping arrangements. Mipha gives him an apologetic pat on his shoulder, before also moving away.

 

Link breathes a sigh of relief, closing his eyes and removing his hands from his slowly cooling face. 

 

There’s a wing under his chin, his eyes fly open. Revali is kneeling before him, eyes alight with mischief, “Now hold on, shouldn’t I receive compensation for heeding your plea?”

 

The blush comes back fiercely, and all Link can do is try and keep his face as neutral as possible aside from that. By the amused look on Revali’s face, he doesn’t think he succeeds. Keeping eye contact is impossible, not when he’s this flustered, so he averts his eyes to the side, surrendering to Revali’s unrelenting gaze. 

 

Revali chuckles before letting him go. Link thinks he’ll leave, but again is surprised by Revali settling down in front of the fire next to him. Noting Link’s curious gaze, he says “I think I’ve earned the chance to rest, no?”

 

Link nods and the two settle into an only slightly awkward silence. His heart is still pounding, but at least his face is cooling down. 

 

In the absence of Revali’s usual chatter, Link begins to overthink. Maybe he should say something about the scarf, say he didn’t know and that he’s sorry. Or maybe they should talk about the reason he had the scarf in the first place. Now that he thinks about it, Link never got to thank him. 

 

Grabbing onto his everlasting courage, Link is just about to raise his hands to communicate--but then something lands on his shoulder and he freezes.

 

Revali has laid his head down on his shoulder. And, if Link listens closely he can hear soft snores. Carefully craning his neck, he looks at Revali’s sleeping face, all traces of disdain and the walls he builds gone. Sleeping, Revali looks even younger, not at all a person who has the weight of the world resting on his shoulders.

 

Slowly, quietly, Link raises his unoccupied hand, tracing his thumb over the red mark on Revali’s cheek with a touch so light he doubts it would be felt, even without the thick layer of feathers.

 

Link can’t deny it any longer. He likes Revali. Likes this sarcastic and rude bird. Likes the way he always has something witty to say, likes seeing him flustered and squawking, likes to see him be lively, and likes to see him resting. 

 

It’s ridiculous how fast Link’s heart fills with fondness, but as he places his hand back down and rests his head atop Revali’s, he can’t find it in himself to mind.

 

//

 

Link wakes up slowly. The sky is dark, so he assumes not much time has passed, and as he gains awareness of his surroundings, he realizes he’s no longer sitting up, but laying on the floor, one of the many blankets they’d packed thrown over him.

 

Confused, he goes to sit up, but a figure at the corner of his vision stops him. Revali is awake, poking at the dying fire, looking calm as can be. Everyone else seems to be asleep.

 

In an instant, Link realizes just who was the one to lay him down and cover him, and he can’t stop the smile rising to his face even if he wanted to. Covering his face with the blanket, he closes his eyes once more, knowing Revali will wake him when it’s his turn to keep watch.

 

4.

 

There’s a haze over his mind. 

 

Soft feathers surround him, a warm and comforting smell distracting him from the pain in his-- everywhere, really. Strong gusts of wind assault his back. Where is he?

 

“Link? Link! Stay awake, do you hear me? If you die I swear to Medli I’ll kill you myself!” Revali’s voice jostles the haze, and Link frowns.

 

Stay awake? Why? And really where is he, why can’t he see anything? Oh his eyes are closed. He should probably open them. He does just that but shuts them almost as quickly, the bright light of the sky causing the pain to intensify, and a small groan escapes him.

 

Why is he in so much pain? All he remembers is talking with Revali, the champions by his side before--oh that’s right. There was a surprise attack by lynels and Yiga clan members. No one had been expecting this, and the sheer numbers overwhelmed them at first. Link remembers seeing the princess in danger, remembers the way the lynel had swung its powerful weapon, remembers jumping in front because that was his job, and --he remembers pain. So much pain.

 

The rest is blurry, but he thinks he can vaguely recall the sound of the champions' cries, and being manhandled onto somebody’s back before they were off. Ah, he must be on Revali’s then. He hopes everyone is okay.

 

“Re--” he tries to speak but a sharp pain pierces through him and he devolves into a coughing fit. There’s a worried shout from Revali, and Link can only squeeze tighter where his arms are winded around Revali’s neck. It seems to be enough to soothe him, at least.

 

Despite the overwhelming pain and cold surrounding him, Link's chest is warm. Revali is warm. Link likes him so much.

 

Suddenly, it's of vital importance that Revali knows this, damn the consequences. Pushing past the spiking pain Link leans his head down to where he assumes Revali's feather-covered ear is, and whispers, "I like you."

 

Revali gasps and they take a sudden dive before he can right himself once more. "You--you're telling me this now? " he sounds flustered and angry. Oh no, why is he angry? "You have the absolute worst timing, you idiot. I won't answer the ramblings of a dying man. Tell me again once you've gained control of yourself!”

 

Through the pain, Link realizes that's not a no. Tell him once he's not dying, he says? Link can do that--he thinks.

 

Snuggling further into the feathers below him, he tries his best to stay awake.

 

//

 

"How are you feeling, stupid?"

 

Wonderful words to wake up to, Link thinks groggily. He opens his eyes, taking in the fact that he's in a Rito roost, with what feels like a mountain of blankets piled on top of him. Turning towards the voice, he's met with a Revali so disheveled he almost can't reconcile him with the Revali he knows.

 

His braids are down, hair loose and tangled. There’s no sign of his armor on him, just a simple red tank top covering his chest. His eyes look tired, and if he were human, Link knows there would be heavy eye bags under them.

 

Untangling his hands from the blanket prison is a process but he manages it, " Sore, but okay." he hesitates , "How long have I been out?"

 

"Two days. You lost a lot of blood and then you had a fever. All because you did something asinine and reckless. As always, the way Mipha tells it.“

 

Link winces. Two days. That can't have been good for anyone. He tries to rise but a wing stops him in his tracks, "You're not ready. Wait for Mipha to come back before you do anything. Asshole." the insult feels hollow, like Revali forgot he needed to be mean until the last minute.

 

Frowning, Link complies and lays back down. " Are you okay?" he asks tentatively.

 

Revali snorts.

 

"Am I okay, he asks!" he raises his wings in a frustrated motion, "After almost dying from a blow by a lynel four times his size and passing out for two days, he asks if I am okay!"

 

Link's frown deepens. It's not really the longest he's been knocked out cold. Or his worst injury. He doesn't think saying this will help, however, so he remains silent.

 

There's a bitter laugh before Revali speaks again, "Yes, Link, I'm okay. Please do worry more about yourself first." he stops, a look of pain and other complicated emotions appearing on his face, "As your friends, we all would appreciate it if you valued your life a little more."

 

Link can only stare. It's not like he doesn't value his life. He just knows that in the grand scheme of things he's, well. Replaceable. The kingdom doesn't have time to raise another princess with a sealing power. In contrast, he knows Fi would choose a worthy suitor if he ever were to perish. It makes sense to him, but he realizes that just because it's clear to him doesn't mean his friends view it the same way.

 

He raises his hands to apologize, to reach out to Revali-- but Mipha ducks into the roost, looking barely more put together than Revali does.

 

"If you'll excuse me," is all he says before rushing out of the roost. Link can only stare at his retreating back, voice refusing to work as it often does.

 

//

 

His afternoon passes with Mipha running a check up on him, using some of her healing magic to ease the soreness, but sternly tells him he's not allowed to leave the bed until tomorrow afternoon. Link smiles sheepishly and promises to follow her orders.

 

Soon enough she has to leave and Link is alone. His thoughts stray to Revali almost instantly, and he surprises himself with just how strong this longing for the Rito's company is. His eyes keep sliding towards the door, every noise raising his hopes up before cruelly crushing them as the person his heart searches for never walks through the door.

 

Eventually, the exhaustion of his still healing injuries catches up to him, and he falls into an uneasy slumber, head still turned towards the entrance.

 

5.

 

Link wakes up to a dark room and knows something is amiss. 

 

There's warm feathers covering his hand, but the joy at holding hands with Revali (the fact that Revali is even there!) is cut short as he realizes just what woke him up.

 

The grip on his hand is bordering on painful, strained wheezes escaping Revali every now and then, his other hand holding fistfuls of the blankets in a tight grip. 

 

He's having a nightmare.

 

In an instant, Link is up, gently placing his hand on Revali's shoulder, shaking him. It takes a few tries before his eyes jump open, a choked off, " Dad- " escaping his beak.

 

Link doesn't think, he only acts, reaching forward to bring Revali into an embrace. He seems to need it, as wings wrap around him in return, his forehead resting on Link's chest.

 

No words are spoken as Link tugs at Revali, urging him to climb on the bed, and he follows with terrifying complacency. He settles atop the blankets, head still buried in Link's chest.

 

There's a burning curiosity in his mind, but Link doesn't think Revali will want to share, not right now, so he remains silent, running his fingers through Revali’s hair.

 

He repeats the motions, not stopping even when Revali has calmed down, shoulders loose and relaxed. He snuggles impossibly closer.

 

"Thank you, Link," Revali gives his waist a gentle squeeze before falling silent once more. 

 

Link can only squeeze him back, dropping a soft, barely there kiss to the top of Revali's head.

 

No more words are shared for the rest of the night.

 

+1

 

Three days pass. Neither Revali or Link have brought up what occurred. Link is getting better slowly, and he's apparently not the only one recovering (Urbosa seems to have taken a nasty fall, her arm broken and in a sling), so the champions have agreed to spend one more week in Rito Village.

 

Banned from any more training, Link has taken to walking around the village in the company of the other champions. Usually it'll be Revali, their conversations flowing freely and comfortably, yet still staying firmly away from anything involving that night. Link wants to bring it up, wants to ask if it's really not just him who feels this way, but fear stops him in his tracks every time. He wonders when he became such a coward.

 

Today is another such walk, but this time they have decided to walk to the Flight Range. Mipha gave Link a glare when she heard, and made him and Revali thoroughly promise not to try any archery training until his wound was fully healed. Sometimes Link forgets how fierce she can really be.

 

The flight range is cold, and though the snowquill armor keeps most of the chill out, it seems to find ways to sneak into his bones. Still, it's peaceful, with the howling wind being the only source of noise.

 

Before properly meeting him, Link never thought Revali could be silent. He just seems like the type of person who fills in the silence, either because he likes the sound of his voice or he simply thinks silence is distasteful. However, now that they've spent more time together, it's clear that, while Revali loves to talk, he also loves to just...be, sometimes.

 

Right now is one of those times. No words are exchanged as Revali pokes the fire under the cooking pot, Link at his side, hand and wing inches apart. It feels too long a distance, but Link can't bring himself to close it.

 

The fire now properly going, Revali sets aside the fire iron. It's quiet for a few more minutes, before his voice cuts through it.

 

"That night," he begins, and Link straightens up almost immediately, "I was dreaming of my father. He was a gentle and loving parent, though he carried much of the dramatic manners one could perhaps attach to me. He loved me, and he took care of me, always with a smile on his face."

 

His voice is soft, but there's an undercurrent of pain that has Link reaching out, closing that distance and taking Revali's wing in his. A smile makes its way to his beak, and his hand is gently squeezed in thanks.

 

"When I was young, he was killed by a lynel," Link winced, but stayed quiet, "My mother was not in the picture at the time, so it was just me. I was remembering the first night without him."

 

He turns to face Link, "Losing someone, it never really stops hurting."

 

Link's mouth twists in regret, realizing what Revali means.

 

He raises his free hand to apologize, to say he'll try his best to never do it again, he'll never worry Revali like that if he can help it--

 

Revali covers his hand with his other wing, "Don't apologize, and don't make promises you can't keep," a feather gently caresses his knuckles, "Just. You have something else to say to me, don't you? I certainly will not say it first."

 

Thrown off balance, Link frowns. Something else? He searches his brain, but he can't really think of anything.

 

There's an exasperated sigh, "Don't tell me you forgot the words that almost got us both killed while I carried you on my back."

 

The sentence makes something click, and Link recalls his delirious confession with a blush. Right. He'd told Revali he liked him. And Revali had said he'd wait for Link to say the words again.

 

A giddy laugh tumbles out of his mouth, and Link extracts his hands from under Revali's. 

 

They're shaking as he moves them, but there's no sign of hesitancy or doubt, no sign of regret as he both speaks and signs the honest words from his heart.

 

"Revali, I really like you. And I'm sure in no time, it will grow into love. Won't you let me be your significant bother?"

 

Revali barks a laugh, before losing his composure and wrapping his wings around Link. "I guess there's a vacancy for some chaos in my life," he nuzzles the side of Link's face with his beak, "I like you too, you reckless fool."

 

They spend the day snuggling into each other's arms, a pleasant warmth making its way into their hearts.