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The Essence of Life

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“I say, little boy? Hello?”

Link glances up from petting his favorite ewe, Dolly, and tosses a glance around the field. The rest of his flock mills about, chewing the wild Hyrule Field back down to a respectable height. A steep hill lies to his left, and he’d thought the voice rang from that way. But he sits a moment with Dolly mouthing at his palm and listens.

“The young master with the sheep, yes!”

Shaking his head, Link gently nudges Dolly away and stands from the stump he’d squatted on. A glance over the crest of the steep hill to his left finds the source of the voice. An odd looking… man has collapsed on the ground. Link cocks his head one way and then the other, trying to make sense of it. Sat on his ass, the odd man shoots a sheepish grin up at him. One leg splays beside him, the other… is sunk into the ground up to his mid-thigh. Link shakes his head again and shoos Dolly away from carefully head-butting his hip. She’s rather displeased he’d only given her a little bit of the alfalfa she knows he has in his pocket. Her white snout bumps the hidden cache, and he keeps turning her head away while staring at the odd fellow below.

Link has never seen hair quite so red before or eyes so electric even from this distance. It almost hurts to look at the man directly, like a bright light surrounds him. His state of dress is odd, too, in some aristocrat clothes. He can't make out details this far away, but the maroon overcoat suits him. However, the road is far from this field and Castle Town farther still… No wagon or horse tracks lead anywhere near the fallen man.

The staff in Link’s hand whines a bit as his fist tightens around it. He should be kind to any stranger, yes, but this one is a bit too odd. Link glances at the forest that eats up the field and meadow down below. Could he be a faerie of some sort? Or a demon? Link thins his lips in a line and motions to turn away, but the mellow voice below cries out for him again.

“Oh, little lamb, please help me! I’ve caught my leg down a mole hole, and I can’t quite get it out. I mean you no harm, I promise! I have no weapon, no tricks!”

Link brings his right hand up to his mouth and whistles for Nanny, his sheep dog. She comes bounding up from another hill, sheep dodging out of the way. He pets her a few times and then dismisses her. She’ll stick closer to the flock while he’s gone. He thinks for two seconds about bringing Nanny with him instead, but if the man below is some sort of snobby aristocrat, then he’s outmatched at this point. Link will make sure to eye the man up and down for a sword or a flimsy gun. He’s only ever dealt with the rifle at home, but he knows gentlemen often carry around dueling pistols. And they’re usually quick to show it off, like they’re not afraid to take the shot. Despite the odd glow around the man, Link keeps his eyes on the stranger’s hands as he slowly makes his way down the hill. Once he’s on flat ground, but still out of an accurate shooting range, Link stops again.

This close, Link spies that the man’s hair is braided down his back, although some strands escape to frame his face. It’s not a style of cut he’s ever seen, especially the odd flop of hair over his forehead. Link avoids meeting those bright eyes, dashes his gaze over the friendly grin below them, and then gives the man’s waist a once over. There’s no bulge of a pistol anywhere, no handle to a sword. The man doesn’t even appear dirty or disheveled, hair almost perfect without a strand out of place.

Link flinches when the stranger lifts a hand, but it’s only so that he can wave Link closer. The friendly smile is still there, but it does little to soothe Link’s nerves. Nothing about this situation makes sense to the poor farm boy, but he shuffles closer anyway. Again, Link eyes the tree line and squints to see any sort of ambush—human or otherwise—waiting to leap out and attack him. The bottom of the hill is quiet and still, though. Birds sing nearby, which is a good sign. Link holds tightly to his staff while finally taking the last steps towards the fallen man. He’s as radiant as the sun, so Link avoids looking at him. His face heats up under that penetrating stare, but he refuses to meet it.

“See? No harm, no tricks. I did promise you,” the man says with a little laugh in his voice. Link stares at the backs of his brown hands, waiting for anything. “Little lamb, will you give me a hand and help me up? I honestly tried to extract myself first, but as you can see, was quite unsuccessful.”

Link wishes he could see the humor in all of this. He’d feel infinitely better if the man’s horse were standing around, waiting for him. There’s nothing at the bottom of the hill. Just this man. The grass around him is immaculate—no scuffs, no torn blades. It’s perfect. Link passes his staff to his right hand before offering his left. Link flicks up an eyebrow when the stranger also offers his left. That strikes Link as odd, since he’s the only person he knows who is left handed. His family and the other farms around are all right-handed people. He’d been teased by grandparents and other elders for being wicked for this. That just adds another mark to Link’s suspicions about this man. The hand that captures his is warm and soft, like the stranger has never worked a day in his life.

Link plants his feet into the grass, but before he throws any strength into them, the man pops right up. The change in their positions startles Link, and he staggers on his feet. The soft smile on the man’s face persists as he holds Link by his right arm and gently tugs with his left. That prevents Link from falling on his ass, but he instead tips forward and leans on the man’s chest. Perfume like fresh flowers and crystal clear water, earth fertile and dark wafts into Link’s nose. It surrounds him like a sparkling haze, and Link winces at the intense pressure behind his eyes. It springs up with the cloud of the gentleman’s perfume, but the pressure is not unpleasant. Link’s head fogs, and he must hold onto the man to keep his knees under him.

“Thank you, little lamb,” the man says into Link’s hair, breaths playing with the strands tossed about by the wind. “You’ve done me such a kindness. Can I repay you in some way?”

He should never accept offers of favors from strangers. His grandparents had taught him that rather firmly.

“N-No, sir, no thank you,” Link stutters out. Why does his head swim on his shoulders so? What’s happening?

The warm hand cradling Link’s upper arm slips up to catch his chin. The grip is not rough, but it is absolute in its desires. The man tilts Link’s head up with no resistance from him until their eyes meet. It still hurts to look directly at the stranger, and Link pinches his eyes shut. A little hum vibrates under Link’s free hand splayed on the man’s chest. The fingers curled around Link’s chin twitch, and then that hand rises up to cup his cheek instead. Link shakes on his knees at the intimate gesture. He should step out of this embrace, chastise the man for acting so familiarly with him. But all Link can do is focus on his breathing and how each inhale drags more of the man’s perfume into him.

“Might I have your name, sweet lamb? At least give me that.”

There is power in names, and Link chokes back the sounds of his before they escape. He’d almost said it once asked. Link tries to shake his head to clear it, but he barely twitches in the stranger’s hand.

“I must… get back to my flock, sir.”

The palm cradling his cheek shifts once more to blanket his forehead. That blocks the sun—or perhaps the glow of the man—from Link’s eyes. Under that gentle caress, Link finally tunes in to how warm his skin is. A strong breeze rolls over Hyrule Fields above where the flock is, and he’d actually wished for a scarf or a robe. Now, he sweats and shivers in this man’s grip like a terrible fever grips him. What is this madness?

“Oh dear, you’re quite warm. Let’s take shelter in the shade of a tree for a moment until this passes, yes? I’d hate to see you fall or hurt yourself.”

Link tries to take his hand back, but the larger one wrapped around his won’t budge. The hand blanketing his forehead falls away, allowing the slighter breeze in this valley to cool the sweat on Link’s skin. Link has a moment of still wonder before his world shifts. The gentleman releases Link’s hand only to loop both arms around Link and pick him up. One curls under Link’s knees. The other supports Link behind his shoulders. It hurts to open his eyes, so Link slumps against the gentleman’s chest and wiggles to resist. The man just chuckles above him and carries them easily, like Link weighs nothing.

The light behind Link’s eyelids dims like the man has indeed walked them into a shady spot. Link trembles to think this demon, this faerie has stepped into the woods and secreted him away forever. But when Link risks pain by cracking open an eye, he finds them under a lone tree near the mole hole. The man sits with Link still in his arms, without a shake in them or a grunt. Legs crossed, the gentleman settles Link astride his lap and holds Link loosely around his waist. It is cooler under the shade of the tree, but Link’s head perhaps swims even worse than before. Strength leaves him, and Link slumps in the crook of the man’s arm. Distantly, Link’s long ears pick up the calls of his sheep. He’d forgotten about them.

Long fingers pet Link’s bangs off his forehead before the man asks, “Is this better? It’s nice and quiet over here, better in the shade. It’s a beautiful day… I do wish you’d give me your name, young one. There’s no harm in that, is there?”

Hmm… What is his name? Link presses his forehead to the firm body hidden beneath the gentleman’s perfectly pressed overcoat. He gives a little hum too as the pressure decreases some in his head. He can think for a moment, but not think about why it’s a bad idea to give his name. Why had he hesitated in the first place? The stranger seems gentle and kind enough. Yes, what is the harm in giving his name?

“Mmm, it’s Link, sir.”

One arm unwinds from Link’s waist, and a hand sinks into his hair. The strands are probably dusty and a little slick from grease, but the gentleman pays that no mind. The caress relaxes Link further, and he practically melts in the man’s lap.

“Link hmm?” The mellow voice purrs in his ear. “What a pretty name. Thank you for giving it to me.”

Link’s eyebrows come together in the center at those words. They should rub him the wrong way, especially with the kiss to his hair that follows. This stranger shouldn’t hold him so intimately, shouldn’t kiss him. It’s inappropriate! In his state, though, Link cannot manage more than an odd sense of discomfort. That discomfort manifests in his stomach, and Link squirms in the gentleman’s lap. The chest against his shoulder vibrates with a laugh. The man holds him a bit tighter and kisses the top of his head again. He must find all this amusing, because a laugh twinkles in his voice when he speaks next.

“Yes, it’s a lovely name. You may call me Sidon, if you wish.”

That’s an odd way to introduce oneself. Link frowns against the overcoat smashed to his cheek. He can’t coordinate his mouth enough to question that or anything else this “Sidon” has done so far. Nothing makes sense, but the fog in Link’s head is pleasant. Everything is warm and fuzzy, his skin alive with extra sensation. He wants to run a hand over his arm, but none of his limbs are attached. Nothing responds. The only thing preventing him from toppling onto his side and into the grass is Sidon around him. Link blinks straight ahead at the rolling grass beyond their shady spot as a large hand drifts up from his waist. Long fingers pluck at the strings holding the neck of Link’s linen shirt closed.

“You’re still terribly warm, my little lamb. Can I undo this?” Sidon gives a little tug on one of the strings. “You’ll feel better with a bit of wind on your neck.”

That makes sense to Link. Link gives a tiny hum and rolls his head back, thinking Sidon needs the space. Another laugh tickles his ear, and quick, long fingers do away with the string crisscrossed through Link’s shirt. The neckline opens in a V, ending a bit below where his collarbones meet. A breeze instantly blows over them, and yes, it does feel nice as Sidon had said. Link gives a feeble jump in Sidon’s lap when fingers slip in through the opening to pet at his dusty skin. Link’s hands are useless, curled up on his thighs. He… He doesn’t think he would reach up and stop the gentle caress along his collarbones, but… Link’s head rolls forward, and the skin of Sidon’s thumb touches his chin. Link shivers and cranes his head forward more to pin the hand touching him. It wiggles under the point of his chin and frees itself. Those fingers then turn on Link’s chin, grab it, and angle Link’s head up. It hurts a bit less to look at Sidon, now, but it still upsets Link’s stomach.

“Poor Link,” he sighs like he doesn’t think this is unfortunate at all. “Your temperature just keeps climbing. Let’s remove your shirt entirely, perhaps. If we lay you out on the cool grass, that might help, too.”

It’s not a request for permission. Link groans and squeaks out tiny whines as the world shifts once again. The earth is cool against Link’s back as Sidon maneuvers him down. He isn’t down for long before warm hands pluck the hem of Link’s shirt and draw it up his body. Sidon wraps an arm around Link in order to free the back of his shirt and remove it easier. Link’s arms tangle while his heart gives a little kick inside him.

He should stop this, shouldn’t he? He wouldn’t normally submit to something like this. Sidon is handsome, yes, but a stranger. Link shivers again when his body crushes the grass under him. Head rolled to the side, Link blinks at the grass in the sunlight beyond the shade of the tree. The blades dance in the wind, creating waves. When his shirt comes free of his head, not even tangled by his ears, Link hiccups and turns his head to stare up.

Sidon kneels in the grass between his legs, carefully folding Link’s shirt. Once it’s in a neat square, he scoops Link’s head up and places the garment under him. He offers Link a soft smile when he catches Link’s big, hazy eyes watching him. Sidon says nothing while sitting on his knees between Link’s legs. He doesn’t seem to care about the grass rubbing into his trousers, probably staining them. Link blinks down the line of his body and watches those hands hover over his bare stomach. When they touch down, just the barest graze of skin on his, Link arches off the ground and into that caress.

His head is caught in a tornado of haze and sweet smell, now. It’s more sweet that the perfume he’d smelled earlier. A wild, hard shiver runs through Link as warm hands slide up his stomach, over his flat chest, and then dance across his clavicle. Link’s hands lie useless and limp in the grass by his head. Sidon’s hands leave the valleys and peaks of his collarbones—one flattens to the ground, lacing their fingers, while the other pets his cheeks.

“This is much better. You must feel cooler now, yes?”

Link tries to shake his head, but he doesn’t even manage a twitch. He blinks up at wild, golden eyes instead. Whereas once Link could barely look Sidon’s way, now those eyes possess him. He can’t look away.

A little smile ticks up under those eyes as Sidon says softly, “Please, let me repay you for your kindness. You’re in no state to return to your flock anyway.”

The curl of knuckles caressing Link’s cheek slip down his jaw until a thumb flicks across his lips. Link lips peel apart, sticking together a bit because they’re dry, and a hitched breath blows over Sidon’s thumb. That hand lets him go, and Link almost protests, thinking Sidon will stand and vanish. The dirt between his knees grinds as Sidon shifts. Hands fall into the grass on either side of Link’s head, and then warmth billows over him from Sidon’s body. They don’t touch anywhere, but Sidon hovers close enough for body heat to roll off him.

Link still teeters between boiling hot and shivering from a chill, so Sidon’s warmth is a blessing and a burden. The back of Link’s head is flat in the dirt and grass beneath him, gaze angled straight above him to meet Sidon’s electric eyes. Link’s face heats up even more. Link’s eyes almost cross as Sidon lowers himself, slowly and carefully. His eyes are trained solely on Link’s lips, and Link’s head clears enough for him to recognize what’s about to happen.

“W-wait, wait,” Link wheezes. Warm breath blows across a cheek, and Link thins his lips into a line. When Sidon doesn’t sink any closer, Link peeks an eye open and confesses, “If you m-mean to kiss me, sir, you should ask first. I’ve not kissed anyone before.”

Rather than surprise, interest flicks up Sidon’s eyebrows and widens his eyes. He cocks his head while watching Link and murmurs, “Curious. You can still speak quite well… If that’s the case, should I let you up? I’d intended to kiss you a great deal, amongst other things.”

Link’s face blushes all the way to his hairline. It extends to his ears when Sidon smirks at him from above. His brain is too busy imagining what “amongst other things” is to wonder why Sidon had seemed puzzled over him speaking. The fog in his head wavers long enough for him to shake his head. He shouldn’t permit this. He knows that. Sidon is a stranger, and an odd, suspicious one at that. If the man had wanted to kill him or something nefarious… wouldn’t he have done it already?

Link’s eyes squeeze shut as the fog builds between his ears again. Thinking grows sluggish and murky. He’s so caught up in it that he jumps hard at plush lips kissing his cheek. They peck him a few times with a smile in them, following the curve of his jaw down to his chin. They pay no mind to the dust sparkling his skin or the salty taste of him. Link’s whine at the first brush of those lips on his tickles them. The smile pressed to his mouth widens a bit.

Sidon’s hand on the other side of Link’s face holds Link steady as he brushes kiss after kiss to Link’s mouth. Link relaxes more and more after each one. The fog between his ears teeters on the verge of drowning him, and he almost suffocates under the sweetness of Sidon’s perfume. They’re nowhere near flowers. He doesn’t understand why every breath he takes is full of sweetness. Sidon’s hair, collected into a braid Link barely recalls, slips over his shoulder and dangles by Link’s head. All of the strange man reeks of the perfume Link had smelled earlier. But with each kiss, with Sidon adding his little noises to Link’s, the sweet scent of flowers overtakes the other notes.

Link is almost a puddle in the grass, completely relaxed. A warm tongue petting over the seam of his lips has Link jumping under Sidon again. Opening his mouth seems like a good idea, if only to tell Sidon to slow down, to ask what he’s doing. He’s never felt the warm, wet slide of a kiss like this. Link startles again, but he keeps his lips barely parted for Sidon. When they separate, just far enough to breathe, Link licks at the buzzing sensation caught in his lips.

Link expects Sidon to come at him again, to seal their mouths together and try again. Instead, he kisses a path from under one of Link’s eyes to his jaw and then his neck. There’s no shirt to block these kisses, and Link sucks in a loud gulp of air as teeth nibble at him, too. He wants to pick his hands up and hold on to Sidon somehow, but they’re limp like the rest of him. Well, almost like the rest of him.

The seat of his pants brushes Sidon’s clothes as the man shifts above him, and Link tunes in to how warm he is between his legs. It’s a shameful sort of thing, something he’s not supposed to talk about or act on. He’s as curious as any other young man his age, although he would never admit to such things. Until just now, he’d never kissed anyone, let alone… anything having to do with that! Link blushes harder and harder until he’s dizzy. He doesn’t feel Sidon’s fingers slip from between his where they’d held hands in the grass.

“Ah!” Link gasps, sound tiny and nearly muffled in his mouth. The long fingers that had laced with his tickle over his stomach and sweep up to pet across his chest. He squirms under Sidon’s foreign weight and warmth when that caress nears a nipple. “M-mmm…”

“You’re so quiet,” Sidon purrs into his neck. “No one is out here, little lamb. No one will hear you if you moan. It’s all right.”

When Link bites himself to keep quiet, Sidon drags a dull nail across Link’s nipple to firm it up. He jerks hard again and finally lets go of his lip to whimper. Why does that feel so good? Why do fingers plucking and pinch him shoot a white-hot arrow straight behind his navel? Everything within Link tightens at such attention paid to such a small area. Sidon doesn’t touch him anywhere else besides there and the hand he uses to pin Link’s hips to the ground. He needs it especially when he’s done nibbling across Link’s neck and turns those wicked lips to Link’s other nipple. Link’s hips try to rock off the ground as he flinches and lets out a cry. With the powerful grip at his hip, though, he doesn’t get far. Sidon smirks against his chest and mouths at his poor nipple, tongue flicking across the nub before sealing around it to suck. Link’s eyes roll back in his head, and his lips stay parted to let free the stream of moans bubbling out of him.

The fingers rolling his other nipple finally let go to make a swift trip down Link’s body. His skin comes alive even at such a light caress. Link’s hips wiggle and struggle in Sidon’s grasp, but they do not lift off like before. The warmth of a palm setting on top of one thigh strangles Link’s next breath. He chokes on it and then chokes on a moan when Sidon slides his palm over and fondles him through his trousers. They’re itchy and made of thick wool, but they protect him from the strong wind of Hyrule Fields. They offer some shielding from barbed plants and snake strikes, too.

But for now, they just trap all the heat and sweat between his legs. Sidon palming him through the front of his trousers doesn’t help, and Link accidentally rubs himself into Sidon’s hand while squirming away. Sidon hums around his nipple, and Link stops trying to get away. He rolls his body as best he can into Sidon’s hand like he knows what he's doing or what he wants. No one has ever touched him before, and nerves churn in his stomach despite the pleasant fog of sweetness pouring off Sidon’s skin and hair. Sidon must pick up on it somehow—either by Link going still or going quiet, maybe both.

Sidon squeezes the firmness in his hand as asks, “Sweet lamb, should I stop? You were making such pretty noises, but I’ll stop if I’ve scared you…”

Link’s shoulders hunch up around his drooped ears as he stutters, “I don’t-I haven’t, I mean…”

Sidon rocks forward on his knees to brush his lips across Link’s burning cheek and murmur, “Shhh now, it’s all right. Little one, you’re in no danger with me. I won’t hurt you, I promise.”

Link blinks haze out of his eyes in order to meet Sidon’s gaze. It beckons him even with Link’s eyes closed. Link has since forgotten all about his reservations of fraternizing with a stranger. Sidon feels like an old friend at this point, like he’s always known the man. Link frowns at the thought, like it isn’t right, but another wave of sweetness chases his frown away.

‘His lips are soft and pliant when Sidon angles them together. Link knows a bit more now, knows to breathe through his nose and keep his jaw relaxed as they bob in and out of kisses. Link’s head drops back to the grass when he’s had enough. He’d remembered to breathe, but his head swims anyway. The warm palm rubbing him through his pants hasn’t dropped away, and Sidon gives him a squeeze to wrangle a noise out of him.

“Little lamb,” he says in a sing-song voice. “Won’t you be mine? I realize you’re a virgin, sweet Link, and I will be gentle. You’ll feel no pain, only pleasure. Let me show you?”

Each word sends Link spiraling deeper into the haze that invades his head. The ties of his trousers go slack, and then cool air from the shade licks at the sweat where his thigh meets his torso. Link’s eyes flutter as his head rolls back. He squirms in Sidon hands, but does not reach to stop him, does not collect his voice to protest. Sidon hums and calls him sweet things while undressing him. The ground feels like it softens under him and cradles him, draws out the remaining nerves in him. A dopey smile draws Link’s lips up, and he feels it when Sidon kisses him again.

Sidon gathers him up, and the world shifts again. Sidon guides Link’s arms around his neck, and the poor boy holds on as Sidon moves them how he wants them. The ground does not pinch Link’s knees when Sidon settles Link onto them. The wind blowing through the field cools the sweat on Link’s back, the little trickles of it that follow his spine. He’s hotter to the touch than ever before, but his skin buzzes so hard he worries it might fly off him. The only places he has true sensation are where Sidon’s hands are on him.

One keeps his hips still while the other scoops under him. Link jumps and whimpers into thick, red hair at the gentle petting of his entrance. More sweetness soaks the air he breathes, and Link doesn’t feel the oily press of fingers inside him. It doesn’t hurt, not like how he expects burning, searing pain like an ember falling on his hand. Link moves on his knees without a prompt from Sidon and moans in his ear at the light fullness inside him. Sometimes, Link forgets it’s his body filled with so much pleasure and sensation. He has to come back to himself and tighten his muscles around Sidon’s fingers to remember it’s him, his body being caressed and penetrated. Sidon brushes across something inside him, and Link’s voice rings through Hyrule Fields. It startles his sheep far away and up the hill, but he’ll never know.

“Yes, just like that. That feels good, doesn’t it, sweet lamb?”

Sidon’s fingers slam into him particularly hard, and Link belts out a moan that sounds like, “Yes!”

Link whines when the pressure inside him lessens and then disappears completely. He blinks moisture out of his eyes and tries to sit back. Sidon’s arm around him is firm and doesn’t let him budge. Breathing hard, Link shuffles and wiggles on his knees to coax that delicious pleasure begin again. Link slumps against Sidon when something warm swipes across his buzzing entrance. He has to hide a squeaky whine when he realizes it’s not fingers but something else. Link pants in the safety of Sidon’s neck, not even sure if the man is still wearing clothes, and belts out another cry as Sidon urges him to sit. Link opens beautifully to the warmth and weight of something new inside him. It doesn’t hurt, again not like he expects, and he moves when Sidon’s hands squeeze his hips. Somehow, his body knows what to do, how to drop his weight down to get both of them moaning. Black spots appear at the edges of Link’s vision before Sidon slows him down.

“Gently, Link, gently. Don’t hurt yourself.” Sidon snaps up and into him, jolting Link on his knees. “We have plenty of time.”

They must, because the rest passes in a blur. It feels like hours and hours he spends on his knees, their bodies gliding together and touching him in places that make him see new colors. He’s too inexperienced to keep up and comes between them, pitiful and whimpering. Sidon just holds him and pets his trembling back through it all. They don’t stop, but it’s too good for Link to even think of asking. He can’t think of much other than the pleasure of the heavy pressure inside him moving and jerking him on his knees. Link hooks his chin over Sidon’s shoulder and just holds on, keeps his tongue away from his teeth as the powerful snap of hips under him has him shaking and bouncing around.

The heat and pressure inside him increases at one point, and Sidon holds him down by the hips while releasing his own stream of moans and cries. The fog in Link’s head becomes too much. He’d come once early on, but now comes again as a burst of molten metal fills up all the empty spaces in him and sets him ablaze everywhere. Link’s back lands on the grass once more. And with lights flashing on the edge of his vision and Sidon glowing brighter than ever, Link blinks up at the trees.

And then nothing.

And then the world comes back slowly. The sun is high in the sky, where Link remembers it. He’s propped against the trunk of the tree Sidon had carried them to. But his clothes are in order, staff lying on the ground parallel to his leg. Nanny snuffles and whines at him, licking the sweat on his face. Link’s eyebrows come together in the center as he glances around the valley. How had he ended up here? Where is the odd and bizarre looking man, Sidon?

Link ponders all this while reaching up to rest a hand on his stomach. Warmth lingers inside him somewhere, like a fever but in his belly. Other than that he is… well rested. Fully awake, body free of aches and ready to go. Link is sure his head had been full of bees before, and pressure behind his eyes had nearly made him cross-eyed. None of that lingers, now. He hasn’t felt this good since he was a child. The warmth behind his navel concerns him, and when Link stands on shaking legs, he pokes himself a little. Lifting his shirt provides few answers.

There is no mark where he’s warm inside. No insect bite, no snake strike. Link tucks his shirt under his chin and feels around with both hands. He’s not sore between his cheeks either, but he pushes those thoughts away with a blush on his face. No throb of pain ripples out from his knees, and surely they would be sore. He’d been on them, squirming and bouncing around for… How long had that moment lasted between them? Had it happened at all? Link shivers while feeling across his belly. A glance around proves he’s alone.

Link tugs his wool pants down a bit and feels the area between his navel and cock. He should be messy in a few places, but there’s nothing. His clothes are clean, his skin as dusty and sweaty as he remembers. Link’s fingers pet over the soft area above his cock and find it… different. Straining with his shirt bunched under his chin, Link looks down the line of his body. That little mound… is it bigger than before? To touch himself is a shameful thing, but he knows his body well. Link pokes and prods himself, feels for any firmness that shouldn’t be there. It’s not firm, just… bigger. A little fatter, like he’s lazed around the house and not tended to his chores. Link hums while pinching and feeling the extra softness. What in the realms has happened to him?

Chapter Text

There is no mark where he’s warm inside. No insect bite, no snake strike. Link tucks his shirt under his chin and feels around with both hands. He’s not sore between his cheeks either, but he pushes those thoughts away with a blush on his face. No throb of pain ripples out from his knees, and surely they would be sore. He’d been on them, squirming and bouncing around for… How long had that moment lasted between them? Had it happened at all? Link shivers while feeling across his belly. A glance around proves he’s alone.

Link tugs his wool pants down a bit and feels the area between his navel and cock. He should be messy in a few places, but there’s nothing. His clothes are clean, his skin as dusty and sweaty as he remembers. Link’s fingers pet over the soft area above his cock and find it… different. Straining with his shirt bunched under his chin, Link looks down the line of his body. That little mound… is it bigger than before? To touch himself is a shameful thing, but he knows his body well. Link pokes and prods himself, feels for any firmness that shouldn’t be there. It’s not firm, just… bigger. A little fatter, like he’s lazed around the house and not tended to his chores. Link hums while pinching and feeling the extra softness. What in the realms has happened to him?

 

 

His answer comes a few days later in the form of a sheepish smile on Sidon’s face. He stands on the other side of the pigpen, hands not even touching the wood. Link had spent some time in Castle Town, bringing bundles of wool to trade for things Mother and Father needed purchased. It’s easy to send him, since he runs along the road and doesn’t need one of the horses. The library had caught his interest, and between trading and buying, he’d stopped and read up on demons and creatures of the forest. He has convinced himself that Sidon is some sort of demon, some spirit who tricks people and… has their way with humans.

Link had blushed and quickly shoved the book back into its place on the shelf. He’d fled the library before anyone could accuse him of improper behavior. He knows what had transpired between them was real. He wakes at night to a terrible fever sometimes, feels the extra softness above his erection and fondles himself with the other hand. Whatever trick or spell Sidon had cast… it lingers. Link gives him a blank stare as the man—or demon maybe—sweats in the sun.

“My sweet lamb, how are you? It’s another beautiful day, isn’t it?”

Link slams down the bucket in his hands a little harder than necessary. He maintains his neutral expression while stepping between pigs and heading for the stable. It’s far away from the fence of the pen. He bets Sidon will not open the gate and follow him. He’d read that some demons and spirits must be invited into a place. To deny them is one way to protect oneself from them. Link just wishes the day were cooler. He could shut the stable door and be done with the man.

Sidon scoots around the fence to stay as close as he can. Link considers, only for a second, the flintlock rifle above the mantle in the house. To get to it would require Link exit the fenced in area currently protecting him. And yes, he admits with a scowl on his face, that what’d happened between them was… pleasurable. More so than Link has been able to recreate these past nights. But it had been dishonest! Link had been right all along to be wary of Sidon, to approach him with his guard up and high. Link’s cheeks puff out as he spies the man carefully standing in the shade, nearest to him as he can get. He won’t go away. Link knows he won’t.

Snatching up a pitchfork resting against the stable wall, Link points the business end at Sidon and mutters, “Go away, demon. I’m on to your tricks, and I won’t have you here.” He jabs the sharp ends at Sidon, eyeing the pitchfork but not scared, and says, “Go on.”

Golden, blazing eyes flick up to Link as Sidon says softly, “No tricks. I promised you none a few days ago. Allow me to explain myself? I don’t often visit the same human more than once, but…” He sighs and almost leans his arms on the fence. He thinks better of it and just says simply, “There’s something about you, Link. Please? Let me explain?”

Link doesn’t lower the pitchfork.

“You can explain right there on that side of the fence.”

Sidon sighs, extremely put-out about this, and vaults over the fence like it’s nothing. Link stands his ground for a second, feels the haze from a few days ago creep up on him, and turns tail. The metal of the pitchfork clangs as it hits the ground, but Link doesn’t care. He’s not sure where to run, just fueled with panic and searching desperately for a place to go. He doesn’t bother checking over his shoulder to see if Sidon follows him or not.

It’s perhaps a good thing he hadn’t. As Link bursts out of the back door of the stable and into the small section of field between it and the house, the ground rebels against him. The grass and plants leap up like water skipping on a hot skillet, wrap around his ankles, and trip him to the earth. Landing chest first knocks the air out of Link. He wheezes with his chin bruised and scuffed and gives a yelp as the grass pulls him over and onto his back. Sidon stands above him, eyebrow flicked high. Link’s fingers paw at the lively grasses beneath him, but they don’t budge.

“I suppose, since you called me a demon, that you thought the fence might save you.”

Link’s cheeks burn at the humiliation.

“Little Link, you left the gate open on the far side,” Sidon says with a shrug. “It’s not a complete perimeter without the gate closed. Remember that next time.”

Eyes slamming shut, Link turns his head away and grits out, “Do whatever you want. I won’t scream or beg for my life. Just leave the animals and my parents alone.”

Another sigh rasps out of Sidon above him. The ground ripples under Link like ants carrying food to their colony. The grass hands him off, blade by blade, wave after wave until he lies in the shade of the house. It’s easier to stare warily up at Sidon this way, although it hurts to look at him just like the first time. Link suspects that’s because he’s a demon or faerie. Maybe looking at him too hard unravels the illusion he’s casted over himself? What if he’s a terrible monster?

Link’s shoulders try to hunch up by his ears, but the grass still firmly as him. It’s not a tight, painful hold—just firm. Much like Sidon’s hand gripping his chin. Or his hip. Such a grip on him should throw him into a thrashing panic. But besides the uptick in his pulse, he does not struggle. Above all, what keeps Link calm is that the grass doesn’t hurt him. Sidon had promised that day to not hurt him, and even now the grass holds him tenderly. Link swallows hard the longer Sidon stares down at him.

“I’m not here to hurt anyone or anything.” Sidon cocks his head the other way and asks, “If I let you up, will you try to run again?”

Link’s cheeks flush in shame as he mutters, “No. No point. I clearly can’t get away from you.”

Sidon just hums at that and waves the grass away. Everything settles like the whole turf hadn’t moved like a wave to carry Link here. Link sits up on his ass, hands braced behind him, and waits for whatever is about to happen. He doesn’t expect Sidon to sigh, turn on a heel, and lower himself to sit down, too. He sits beside Link, but not close enough to brush their clothes or legs together. The shade is much nicer, and Link squirms in the dirt until his back hits the wall of the house. He keeps his posture straight like that, and Sidon shuffles to mimic him.

Link turns his head enough to keep both eyes on Sidon, although his vigilance is wasted. The man… demon… whatever has already proved that Link is powerless in this situation. Sidon sighs beside him, endlessly sighing, and regards Link with almost a pout.

“I wish you wouldn’t glare at me so. I meant you no harm that day, and I mean you no harm right now.”

Lips in a thin line, Link bites out, “You tricked me. You promised none of that, but you did.”

Sidon rubs a hand over his face, sweat shining on his upper lip, and pleads, “I meant no nefarious tricks, little lamb, and I gave you no nefarious tricks! You fought me rather valiantly, but you are as weak to me as the rest of your kind. Was my seduction dishonest?” Sidon shrugs. “Perhaps. But I did not trick you. And I did not harm you.”

Scowling, Link asks, “I think the dishonesty is enough, whatever you are. And you came back, so you have plans. What do you want?”

Some of the steam blows out of Sidon at that point. He slumps against the house and blinks up at the perfectly clear, blue sky. It gives Link a moment to glance over him. He’s in the same get-up as that day—clothes perfect, every strand of red hair in place. Sidon takes a quiet moment to blink at the sky before turning his head to catch Link’s eyes. Sidon holds him that way, and Link knows he’s caught.

The haze between his ears isn’t as bad as last time. It must be some sort of power of Sidon’s—his way of luring his victims into relaxing and allowing him to do what he wants. The warmth deep in Link’s belly throbs a bit, and he has to stop himself from lifting a hand to cover it. Sidon’s eyes dart down like he knows exactly what has happened. The tiny expression makes Link nervous, and Sidon must pick up on that.

“You have questions. And I have answers.” He turns to face Link with his legs crossed, hands loose in his lap. “Why don’t we… make a game out of it? I will answer your questions, and you will do something for me.”

“I reckon you’ll take whatever you want from me,” Link bites out. “You did last time. What’s stopping you this time? Why even pretend?”

Sidon holds in his sigh, but just barely.

“You won’t believe me if I apologize, and I’m not sorry for what I did. You… intrigue me, and I want to make amends for upsetting you. I’d hoped when walking up that you might react differently, but I can tell you’re very cross with me. Play my game, and I’ll make amends this way. You know I won’t hurt you.”

Gritting his teeth, knowing Sidon probably won’t leave willingly, Link throws his hands up and says, “Fine. I’ll do it. How do we start?”

Sidon sits up straighter on his rear and says with a flick of his hand, “Ask me something. I’ll answer whatever you want. Consider your words carefully this time, my dear. And remember I want something in return.”

Crossing his arms, Link asks, “What are you?”

“The Spirit of Spring,” Sidon says simply, like that’s supposed to mean anything. At Link’s firm lips and frown, he stumbles over himself to explain. “That is, I am… Not quite a god, but I am the physical embodiment of spring. As you saw, I can bend plants to my will. I’m rather attached to them, the animals, even you humans, although you lot do a great deal to ruin so much.”

Sidon stops himself before that statement turns into a rant. Link’s expression hasn’t lightened any.

Pushing some of his hair off his face, Sidon tries again with, “I am… the force behind spring. I’m the reason the snow melts, the reason plants grow, why the days are long and warm.”

Link’s frown straightens out a bit, only now it’s confused.

“So… not a demon?”

Sidon waggles a finger at him and says, “That’s another question, unless you’d like to repay me twice in a row.”

“So you’re not a demon?”

“No, I am not.” Sidon crooks that same finger he’d waggled at Link. “Please come here and sit by me. And stop glaring at me.”

Link considers going back on their little game. But he has so many questions that he knows that’s not possible. He needs to know if what’d happened between them was real, what this odd warmth inside him is, and why his body feels different. Link huffs, adverts his eyes, and hops forward until their bent knees touch. That must satisfy Sidon, because he waves Link on to his next question.

“When I helped you up, I felt like I was drunk. Thinking was difficult. Was that something you did to me? To soothe me and get my guard down?”

“Yes,” he says softly. “It’s something I can control, but I wanted you for a very… specific reason that day, as you found out. It’s much easier with a willing partner.”

“I wouldn’t call it ‘willing,’” Link points out under his breath.

“Dishonest, yes, we’ve been over this. I’m not sorry, Link. You’re not the first human I’ve bedded, not by a long shot. You won’t be the last. I had a pretty milkmaid shortly after you. She won’t remember me, but you did. You fought me so hard that you managed to talk even after I had you loopy and well within my grasp. You are special amongst humans.”

Link huffs a breath out of his nose, wishes this unknown milkmaid good health, and then gives Sidon his attention. Sidon holds a hand out, tips of his fingers twitching towards himself. Link turns over one of his hands to the spirit, palm up. Sidon takes his hand and rubs little circles into the callouses of Link’s palm. It feels good, but not like anything from a few days ago. Mother may as well be doing this to him. He feels the same, even if he blushes a bit.

“So… You seduced someone after me. Why do you do that? Seduce us?”

Sidon is quiet for a moment as he watches their hands. Once he’s bored or done with rubbing at Link’s callouses, he flips Link’s hand and thumbs over his nails. They’re short, broken, bitten things. Link thinks he recalls digging them into Sidon’s back at one point, but he can’t be sure. That whole time between Sidon calling out for him and then waking up to Nanny whining is a blur. Link suspects he wasn’t meant to remember any of it. He remembers enough, though.

“That is… a complicated story.” Sidon sighs and stops playing with Link’s hand. He stares somewhere in the middle of Link’s chest, but maybe a few inches behind him. Through him, somehow. “I am the reason your crops grow, why most animals give birth in the spring, why the snow melts. I have what’s called the ‘Essence of Life.’ It’s in all of you from the moment you’re born until you die. It is heavily concentrated in me. However, it drains out of me. That is especially dangerous when I sleep in winter. I go through cycles of sleeping and wandering the world. If I kept it to myself, all of it would drain, and nothing in spring would grow.”

Sidon sits up straighter, shuffles closer to Link, and squeezes the bones of his wrist. It feels good, so Link allows it.

“When I wake to melt the snow, I’m full of life. Everything is ready to spring back into action, so to speak. But as I said, it leaks out of me. So, I… spread it around. To humans, in order for them to keep it safe through winter. They typically don’t notice the change in their bodies. And then come winter, sometime between the first thaw of the year and me waking, the Essence of Life leaves their temporary hosts and returns to me.”

He pauses to smile and squeeze Link’s wrist again. When he continues, a little laugh lingers in his voice.

“Of course, not all of it makes it back to me. Sometimes the hosts die and take the extra life with them. Sometimes human mothers give birth to twins, unexpectedly. But spring is so full of the Essence that it makes no difference.”

Sidon sighs, rolls his head around, and then captures Link’s pretty gaze.

“I’m sorry if that doesn’t make sense. I don’t think about it much. It’s just something I have to do, to ensure the next spring.” Sidon’s whole expression turns down at that point. He releases Link’s hand in order to pet some bangs out of his eyes. “Some of you are willing without the smoke and mirrors. I wish it could be that way all the time.”

When Sidon’s soft hand cups his cheek, Link allows it. His head is completely clear. At that point, though, Link does slip a hand towards the warmth inside him. That must be what it is. The Essence of Life Sidon had given him to keep safe. The idea makes him nervous and uncomfortable.

“I felt different when I woke up,” Link admits. “I remembered you and felt… something in me. And my body changed, like you said.”

“I’m sorry if that scared you. No one remembers me when I leave them. They don’t notice the changes, or if they do, they dismiss them. There’s… nothing I can do. It will go away after the first thaw, though. I promise.”

Link believes Sidon, even though the news does upset him. He’d consented to sex under suspicious circumstances, if any one could call that consent. He certainly hadn’t agreed to… this. Link swallows hard and digs his fingers into the extra softness below his navel. It’s not noticeable through his clothes. He notices it, just because it’s his body. Link forces himself to unhook his fingers from the soft mound and slides his hand onto his thigh. He leaves it there, flat, while considering his next question.

Sidon sits there silently, waiting for him, too. His hand remains on Link’s face, thumb petting under his eye. A fly buzzes near Link’s other ear, and he swats at it. The day is wasting away. He’s just lucky his parents are gone. Link spares a thought that maybe Sidon has a hand in that, but he won’t ask.

Swallowing hard, Link glances at Sidon through his bangs and asks, “What do you want, now? You found me again so you… must want something.”

“Mmm… I suppose I have two answers for that. One is the honest, brutal truth. The other is… still the truth, but softer.”

Link turns his head away from Sidon’s gentle caress and mutters, “It’s one question. It only counts as one favor.”

Sidon chuckles and twists a finger around a lock of Link’s hair.

“Yes, I know. But which would you rather hear? My honest answer or the other one?”

Link suspects he knows why Sidon is here. Sidon had said he’s special, that he doesn’t visit the same human more than once… Link bottles a shiver that wants to give him away and commits to a response.

“The… The honest answer.”

The finger twisted around Link’s hair wiggles to free itself. Then, all five of them glide into Link’s hair tied up low and loosely. Sidon cups the back of Link’s head to drag him forward and smash their mouths together. Link remembers just enough to breathe. He yelps at first and opens himself to swipes from Sidon’s tongue. Sidon’s other hand grabs Link by the front of his shirt and yanks him closer still, until Link spills onto his knees in order to keep his balance. He whines and whimpers while shoving one hand at Sidon’s chest. The other grips the grass beneath them for dear life.

Link is too busy whimpering around a fast, vicious tongue to pay attention, but he thinks the green blades hold his hand like Sidon had. The blades slip between his fingers, like he’s lacing his with Sidon’s. Eyes tightly shut, Link shoves again at Sidon’s chest and whines to get him to stop. When they part, Link’s mouth is wide open, tip of his tongue poking past his lips. He snaps his mouth shut and goes right back to glaring at Sidon. His head is still clear. That’s the only thing that stops Link from punching the spirit right in the gut.

“That,” Sidon says, a little breathless. “That and much more. I want you, little lamb. I can’t stop thinking about you, wanted you again the same day I had you. It wasn’t enough.”

Blushing, Link huffs through his glare and says, “I gathered that much.”

Sidon’s smile is slick like oil and a little nasty at the edges.

“Mmm, then why did you ask, silly boy?”

Link’s mouth opens and closes a few times. He says nothing, mostly because his lips still buzz. And Sidon won’t stop staring at them. Link reaches back to smack Sidon’s hand out of his hair. Some of it has come loose from his tie, so Link yanks the ribbon free to fix it. Sidon’s hand reappears, lightning quick, to snatch Link’s wrist and hold it. Link glares at Sidon over the blond peach fuzz on his arm. But Sidon just hums at him and plucks the ribbon from Link’s hand. Link’s other hand, the right one, is still caught in the grass. The blades haven’t released him, and Link won’t risk hundreds of tiny cuts trying to rip his hand free. Plus, he suspects Sidon won’t let him go regardless.

Twisting Link’s blue ribbon between his fingers, Sidon proposes, “Give yourself to me again, Link. You enjoyed the first time, and I promise any other meetings between us will be just as pleasurable. I’ll stay with you from now on, hold you, do whatever you want.”

Link’s insides jump at that idea. Even the warm spot inside him clenches hard. Link would reach down to cradle it if his hands weren’t preoccupied.

“I don’t see what’s in it for me,” Link throws out as a poor attempt to deny Sidon. He… can’t say that what Sidon had done to him was unpleasant. “You’re just gonna mess with my head again and make me stupid and then leave. So why even ask me?”

Sidon keeps hold of Link’s ribbon on one hand. The hand wrapped around Link’s wrist guides his arm down, and Sidon kisses the knuckles of Link’s left hand. The knuckles, down to the tips, and then the bones in the back of Link’s hand all receive light, little kisses. It’s… such a tender thing that most of Link’s anger slips out of him. Because he’d meant what he said. He has no power here. If Sidon wants him, who would stop him? Of course Link has read stories growing up of demons snatching pretty maidens and stealing them to the forest, never to be seen again. If Sidon wants him so strongly, as he claims… He could steal Link like the demons in the stories. Link doesn’t know why Sidon hasn’t done that already. He shuffles on his knees and forces his eyes up. Sidon is ready for him, speaks the moment their gazes lock.

“I won’t do that to you ever again. Unless… you want me to, in the future.” A little blush darkens Sidon’s cheeks, but before Link can ask for an explanation of “in the future,” the spirit continues. “I won’t pull the wool over your eyes anymore, if you’ll pardon the expression. The pleasure will be the same. You will feel no pain with me, ever. You would be doing me a great service.” Sidon squeezes his hand. “I prefer willing partners. And with you on my mind, I don’t want anyone else. It’s difficult to… perform, if you will.”

Link snorts at that and almost rolls his eyes. He’s dealt with a ram or two who had “difficulties” performing. Sidon beats around the bush so much, but he has a charming way about him. The blush makes him pretty in a boyish kind of way. It takes away from the majesty of him, makes him more human. It almost doesn’t hurt to look at Sidon anymore, which Link finds strange. He would ask about that, but… Not now.

Link shuffles on his knees to work some blood through them and asks, “If… If I did this… You’d be giving more Essence of Life to me. I don’t want to alarm my family or be uncomfortable. It… The feeling of it in me is… strange.”

Sidon nods.

“I understand. I… can’t stop that. If I lie with you, you’ll receive the Essence whether you want it or not. I cannot mate with humans without giving it to them.”

It’s Link’s turn to nod, although his is less sure. He can’t believe he’s considering this…

“I… We can’t do this here. My parents—”

“Won’t be a problem for the rest of the day,” Sidon says vaguely. “They’re enjoying their trip to Castle Town. They won’t be back until after sundown.”

Link’s suspicions about his parents and Sidon may be correct. Rather than get angry over it, Link sighs.

“…You’ll be gentle, right? Like before?”

Link asks so from under the safety of his bangs, which Sidon reaches up to pet out of the way. Link’s ribbon is twisted between his fingers like the blades of grass holding Link’s hand.

“Of course, little lamb. Anything for you.”

When Link gives his hand a little tug, the grass blades let him go. Sidon pops up to his feet before Link can and helps Link stand. It isn’t necessary, but Link appreciates Sidon’s gentlemanly way. Link stares at their feet as they linger in the shade. He knows Sidon probably wants to pull him to the house and have him right away. He won’t risk a glance up to Sidon’s face or anywhere in between. Sidon must not like that, because he tips Link’s head up by his chin. Link’s gaze locks with Sidon’s electric stare immediately.

Link worries the fog will come next, but it doesn’t. His skin buzzes like last time. Every inch of him tingles. The warmth Sidon had left inside him grows particularly hot, like it somehow knows Sidon is here, that more is to come. Link breaks out into a sweat at that thought and tries to shove it away. Will the soft mound above his cock get bigger? Will he carry around an even greater warmth? Will his skin hunger at night grow worse with more Essence inside him? Link wants to bow his head as he panics, but he’s caught in Sidon’s powerful stare. Sidon takes a step towards the front of the house. Another. And more until Link follows him without thinking about his feet hitting the ground. The wooden door shuts behind them, and Link loses himself once more.

“In the future” rings in Link’s head long after Sidon leaves him the second time. It’s early in the morning a week after their second time. His parents shuffle about the kitchen below. Link is alone in their shared bedroom for now. Link’s right hand lies curled up on the pillow next to his head. The other gently massages the warmth in his belly. He stares up at the ceiling while he does this. As he’d feared, the mound has grown larger, the warmth stronger. Sidon had said himself that he doesn’t visit the same human twice in a year. He probably wouldn’t know much about his impacts on humans with repeat visits.

Link shudders in bed and digs his fingers into the softness above his cock. It… isn’t unpleasant. It scares him in a way that confounds him. He wonders if this is the fear young girls his age feel when they become pregnant, on accident or on purpose. He can’t help but see the parallels between him and them. The only difference is come spring next year, he will be alone. Link wonders what becomes of Sidon when he leaves, where he goes, if he lives somewhere in the forest. The heavy thumps of Father’s boots marching up the stairs are a warning that he needs to make himself presentable. Link draws his left hand out of his nightgown and lies with both hands above the duvet. He tucks away thoughts of the spring spirit for now. There is work to be done.

Link is not surprised at all to see Sidon that same day. Nothing has changed about the spirit. His outfit is the same, hair the same. He leans against a post of the fence and watches Link work. When Mother wanders by, she walks like a stranger is not lounging on their fence. Link shoots her a look before turning that look on Sidon. Sidon’s eyebrows flick up, and he grins at Link. It makes sense that Sidon can make himself visible to only those he wants. Why attract unwanted attention to himself? He’d said that he has an affinity for all living creatures. He wouldn’t want to hurt a human or cause one distress in a scuffle. And as someone who apparently tangles with young women, women who are daughters to someone, Link bets that invisibility trick comes in handy. He doesn’t know what could kill Sidon, but the end of a rifle to the face sounds mighty challenging. Link laughs at that thought and refuses to explain it to Sidon later when they’re alone. Sidon follows Link out to Hyrule Fields with the flock and Nanny. Nanny barks at Sidon even with Mother nearby, so Link suspects maybe Sidon can trick some, but not all.

Link wanders amongst the sheep in his flock with Sidon at his side. The spirit often tries to catch his hand and hold it, but Link just switches his staff to that side. There is work to be done. He can’t indulge Sidon right now. He hadn’t counted on losing so much time that second day. Link had woken to Mother and Father stumbling into the house, just as confused as him. They’d all blamed a brief, light cold on the odd day and called it quits. He hadn’t gotten into trouble for skipping many of his chores, but he won’t risk it again. So when Sidon’s hands settle on his hips and squeeze him, Link smacks them away.

“Stop that,” he chastises over his shoulder. “You’re getting in the way of my chores.”

Sidon just cuddles right back up to him and murmurs into his hair, “You can spare a little bit of time, sweet Link. It won’t take long.”

Link elbows him next and smirks at the gust of air that punches out of Sidon’s mouth.

“If you’re in that great a need of a warm body, try the next farm over.”

Sidon’s warmth blankets Link’s back once more, but his hands do not reappear at Link’s hips.

“I don’t want anyone else. I only want you, my lamb.”

Link’s ears blush a bit at that, but he doesn’t budge on the matter. The warmth in him twists like it’s angry at Link’s refusal. It’s grown, is warmer than before. Heavier than before. That is part of Link’s refusal. The Essence scares him.

Cheeks pinking a bit, Link says to the wind, “If you want me, then you can wait. I’m busy right now.”

Sidon’s breath tickles Link’s ear when his voice rings in it.

“A kiss, then? Just a little one to hold me over?”

One side of Link’s lips tick up in an annoyed grimace. He twists around at the hip, grabs Sidon by some hair that frames his face, and then kisses his cheek when it’s in range. He just as quickly releases Sidon’s hair and strolls deeper into the herd. Dolly is behind him and nearly trips Sidon when Sidon tries to walk after him. Link hides a smile in his hand when he hears the spirit curse at the ewe. Sidon must take the hint at that point, because when Link glances over his shoulder, he finds Sidon sitting on the stump of a tree, pouting.

It’s the same stump Link had sat on the day Sidon called to him. Then again, Link often finds himself in this general area. This is Link’s favorite part of Hyrule Fields. The grass is always greener here, his sheep always happier here. When Dolly wanders up to his side after causing mischief, Link holds some alfalfa in his palm as a treat for her. She sweeps it right up and then nudges him for more. He pets her instead and tosses one more glance over his shoulder. Sidon watches him with a soft smile.

When the sheep are calm and Link deems them safe, Sidon picks him up and runs down the hill behind the stump. He runs like the distance is nothing, like Link in his arms is nothing. They reach the base of the tree where they’d lain the first time. Link blushes pretty and pink when Sidon lowers him in much the same place and peels his clothes off. Link helps occasionally, but Sidon holding his hands and kissing each bit of skin freshly revealed stops him. The grass is especially soft under him, and Link writhes in it with his legs in the air, toes curled.

There is no worry about filth or pain between them. Link jumps at the wet press of a tongue between his cheeks. Eyes rolling back, Link rocks his body into the caress and comes in Sidon’s hand with barely a whimper. He grips the green grass on hands and knees next, hair and body shaking to each thrust from behind. Link’s chest touches the ground when Sidon comes in him, pours more Essence of Life into him. They lie there in the twisted grass, Sidon holding him from behind. When Sidon reaches down to feel where Link holds the Essence, Link smacks his hand away.

“Don’t,” he croaks, voice still weak from screaming. “Don’t touch me there.”

Sidon is quiet behind him for a moment before his hand settles over Link’s navel instead.

“Why? I can feel my power in you. I know where it lies. I want to touch you there.”

Link scowls and makes to roll away or at least onto his front.

“I said no.”

Sidon huffs in Link’s ear, not unlike an impatient ram, and complains, “I don’t mind what the Essence does to you, Link. You’re beautiful to me, the perfect lamb.”

Link does elbow him at that point and struggles to stand.

“Well, I don’t like it, and I said no! I’m leaving.”

Link snatches his clothes and staggers on weak knees. Sidon attempts to stop him a few times, begging with explanations. Link just slaps his hands away, kicks dirt at him at one point. A whistle to Nanny would be enough to chase Sidon away, Link thinks. The spirit had flinched away from Nanny barking earlier. But after kicking at Sidon, the spirit stops pawing at him and lets him dress. Sidon keeps close as Link marches up the hill, only to make sure he’s okay, or at least he says.

Link doesn’t look at him the rest of the time they’re in the field. He’s oddly empty inside despite how much Essence now sits heavy and warm in his gut. He rests on the stump, watching his sheep, and digs his fingers hard below his navel. He doesn’t acknowledge Sidon that entire time, not until they leave for the day. When Link and Nanny round the flock up, Link stops and plants a hand firmly in the middle of Sidon’s chest.

“I… I want to be alone for a while. I don’t want to see you right now.”

Sidon’s shoulders drop and his face opens up, full of remorse.

“Link, my sweet, my lamb, please, I’m sorry, truly I am, I—”

“I said I want to be alone. You didn't listen to me when I asked you not to touch me. You aren’t listening to me right now.” Link turns his back on the spirit and stumbles away. “If you can’t listen to me, then I don’t want to be near you. Goodnight, Sidon.”

Link suspects Sidon sticks around, but just conceals his presence. Link takes to carrying around his staff or a shovel and swinging it wildly while he works. He never hits anything, but still he suspects. At night, the heat in his gut grows worse and worse. That also makes him suspect Sidon is nearby, although his has no proof of such correlation. Link sweats through his nightgown each night, and his parents worry he may be ill. He’s fine during the day, but at night… He dreams of Sidon, of a warm body lying behind him and holding him. They’d only lain in the bed together once, their second time. Link has to force himself to remember that there is a third, now. He shoves his face in a pillow to hide the way his chin shakes while he holds himself. And if the phantom caress of fingers through his hair makes him cry harder, then maybe it does.

Link doesn’t see Sidon for a week. On the seventh day, he wanders Hyrule Fields with a thundercloud of despair over his head. Maybe… Sidon will never come back. Link makes himself sick thinking about it. The spirit has lain with him three times. Link is a tool to him, a means to an end. Why should Link shed tears and mope at their separation? He'd sent Sidon away for good reason. Besides that, he means nothing to Sidon. He tends to his flock with that thought in his mind, head down. His melancholy does not escape Dolly. She keeps close and nudges his hand for pets. Link only picks his head up when Nanny comes running, barking up a storm.

At his stump, Sidon sits, looking a little worse for wear. It’s the only time Link has seen him change. He sits in simple clothes, like Link and his family wear. His hair is tied high on his head, long strands left to dangle down his back. Sidon stands when Link looks at him, but he makes no move to come closer. Nanny runs up to him and sniffs around him. His fingers are tied in a knot in front of his chest, well out of biting range of Nanny. Link shoos Nanny and Dolly away, whistles for Nanny to patrol. She takes off like Sidon isn’t here. Alone with only the rush of wind and the calls of sheep in their ears, Link turns to Sidon and looks up at him. The spirit actually has bags under his eyes, and his complexion looks sickly. When Link lifts a hand up to cup his cheek, Sidon covers the back of Link’s hand with one of his.

“I… I’m sorry,” Sidon says first. “I stayed away, just like you asked. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’ll leave if-if you want me to, but I had to see you. Just for a moment.”

Link’s staff lands softly in the grass when he releases it. His left hand joins the right on Sidon’s face, pulling the spirit down. Sidon comes willingly and tilts his head for Link when Link kisses him. Their twin hums tickle their lips, and Link backs down after that one kiss. Sidon does not pursue him. That warms Link’s heart, especially the part that had thought the spirit was gone for good. Sidon searches his face, though, clearly wanting to kiss him again. Link wonders if Sidon had sought other humans this past week. If he hadn’t… is that why he looks so ragged? Link doubts the spirit needs sleep like a human would. Link sighs, pulls Sidon close, and kisses him again. It’s a simple, sweet peck. They feel each other through the kiss and just breathe for a moment. When they part, Link removes his hands.

“I accept your apology. I… I hope in the future you listen to me. Especially when I tell you no.”

Sidon nods hard enough to send his hair bouncing around his face.

“I will.” He reaches for Link’s hair, and Link nudges his head into Sidon’s touch. “Oh Link, you must know how sorry I am. How much I’ve regretted my actions. I thought about you everyday, needed you every moment we were apart. I’m so sorry, my lamb. Truly.”

Link nods between Sidon’s hands.

“I believe you. I… missed you, too.” He steps close and allows Sidon to hold him tightly. It almost hurts, but after being away from Sidon for so long, the crushing embrace is almost like a sigh of relief. Freeing. “You… look different. Are you unwell?”

Sidon nuzzles the top of Link’s head and admits, “I won’t have anyone but you, sweet Link. I couldn’t convince myself to take any human but you. I am… not well, no.”

“Do… Do you want me to…” Link blushes a bit at the offer, knows it’s ridiculous when they’ve only just reunited after the argument. “We can if you want to…”

Sidon shakes his head, holds Link tighter to him, and says, “Only if you want to, little lamb. I never want to force my hands or myself on you again. Never.” He pets Link’s hair, ever so gently, and adds, “I would love to have you, Link. If you would give yourself to me.”

Link is the one to lead them down to the tree, down to the grass this time. It’s the first time he concretely remembers Sidon removing his clothes. They face each other, and Sidon takes his time. It’s soft and tender, even more so than all the other times. Link clings to Sidon when they roll, drags Sidon on top of him until there’s no room left between them. Link’s ankles lock around Sidon’s back when the spirit comes in him the first time. The next, the tree’s bark bites into Link’s palms as he straddles Sidon’s lap. They make up for lost time, and Link is ready to sleep the rest of the day after the third, ready to sleep for a week after the fourth. Sidon tries to stroke him and make him come, but he can’t after the first two times. Link offers him a lazy smile and just holds his legs up. There’s no strength left in them anyway.

They twist the grass into a mess by the time they’re done. This part of Hyrule Fields is in shadow with the sun dropping low in the sky. Sidon has Link cradled tightly to him, sat astride his lap like their first meeting under this tree. If Link could manage the strength to look up, he would find Sidon right as rain, looking put together like always. Link could fall asleep against Sidon like this. He’s not sure how he makes it back into his clothes, up the hill, and then rounds all the sheep up to return home. Sidon is there when he falls into bed. Link faces the wall, and Sidon is there, curled up with him. Mother and Father say nothing when they come to bed, and Link buries his face under Sidon’s chin. He hasn’t slept so well in a week and doesn’t even remember falling asleep that night. When he wakes, Sidon is gone.

 

 

Chapter Text

Link is guarded and tight lipped the next time Sidon shows up at the fence. Since their gentle marathon of coupling under the tree, Link’s worry over his body has only increased. Sidon had given even more Essence of Life that time, more than their three times before. It shows, and each shift of Link’s body and each step reminds him. It might begin to show through clothes if Sidon gives him more. And Link knows he won't tell the spirit no. Still, he wants to talk about it.

Link gives Sidon a brief smile that morning, but can muster nothing else. Sidon must pick up on his mood, because he keeps his distance. More importantly, he keeps his hands to himself, which is how Link comes around to tell Sidon what's wrong. Keeping his worries to himself had been his original plan. But Sidon's good behavior makes Link soft, and he wants to share his woes with the spirit. He waits until Mother and Father lie down during the heat of the day. Once they're alone, Link takes Sidon by the hand and guides him a bit away from the farm. It wouldn't do for one of his parents to glance out the window and see them. The barn is good enough, and Link hops up to sit on a hay bale to think. Sidon flinches to sit beside him, but thinks better of it.

Kicking around loose hay on the floor, Link says with his head down, “My parents are going to notice the changes in me soon.” He picks his head up when Sidon says nothing. “We overdid it last time. It’s… bigger now. And I know you won't take another human.”

Sidon shakes his head once he's sure Link is finished speaking.

“I've only thought of you since the day we met. Only you can satisfy me.”

Link sighs at that and plucks some hay free of the bundle. Sidon shifts in front of him, maroon overcoat and waistcoat hugging him like always. Link doesn't look up even when Sidon kneels in the dust and hay on the floor. He thinks he's strong until the moment the curl of Sidon’s knuckles caress his cheek. Link turns his head towards the gentle touch and wishes he could hide his face. Sidon sees him struggle with his frustration. If he sheds tears right now, they're out of frustration more than anything else.

He does want to help the spirit, does want to help ensure the next spring with Sidon. His body changing like this and the warmth inside him are just too much. He doesn't want to see Sidon run down like during their break. He doesn't want to send the spirit away again. Link's shaky exhale blows over Sidon’s knuckles. A watery smile tries to make it onto his lips, but it fails. Sidon shuffles closer as Link’s heart rises in his throat to choke him. With both hands cradling Link’s face, Sidon holds them together with their foreheads touching.

“Please don't cry,” Sidon pleads lowly. He turns their heads just enough to nuzzle Link’s cheek. “Everything will be all right. I will stay away from you if you ask me to, my lamb. I don't want to, never want to part from you, but I will. I don't want you to hate me for what's happened.”

Link sniffles with a weak smile on his face.

“I don't hate you. Even when I was angry before, I didn't hate you. I don't want you to go, either. I just… I don't know what to do. My parents can't see me like this. They won't understand.”

“We could… tell them? I explained what I am to you.”

Link shakes his head.

“No, they'll… they'll be furious. They’ll either think we’re lying, or if you show them your powers, they'll think I've been rolling around with a demon. They won't believe you're the Spirit of Spring, Sidon. I know they won't.” Link turns his head away to end their gentle cuddling. “And even if they believed you, they would be upset at us… touching each other. They don't agree with that. They want me to marry a girl at some point and take over our farm, have children. They might settle for me marrying a man, but you're… you're not human. And we aren't married.”

Sidon hums at that, probably not understanding human ways like that. Link knows sex is just sex to him. He's not caught within the rules or trappings of society. Link sighs, plays with a lock of his hair, and then finally turns to regard Sidon. The spirit has a smile waiting for him.

“I have an idea. Can I steal you for a moment? I promise we won't be gone long, won't go far.”

Link glances out the open door of the barn. Mother and Father will sleep until after two or so. It's too hot out for them to work. This is usually when he takes a break, too. They won't notice him gone, won't care too much if they peek out the window and can't immediately find him. Swallowing hard, Link nods. Sidon takes his hands and rises back to his full height, drawing Link up with him. They stand close in the cool cover of the barn, and Sidon stoops down long enough to kiss him. That brings a smile to Link’s tired face.

That smile lingers as Sidon sweeps Link off his feet like he's done a few times before and marches out of the barn. Link squirms at first, considers ordering Sidon to put him down. But even as he squirms, Sidon pecks his cheek with kisses and hums in his hair. It's nice to be held like this… And there's no one around to see Sidon fawn over him like this. Link allows it, but holds on tightly around Sidon’s neck. He's not sure what to expect.

Sidon walking them across the field to the cow pond isn't what he expects. The heifers lounge about, using the shade of their tree during the heat of the day. Each huge head picks up and regards Sidon without tension or fear. They sniff at him and fall quiet, calm. Link has never seen them so at ease with a stranger. Not a single one gives a call of outrage or runs to hide behind her fellow cow. Even the calves waddle right up to Sidon and follow him. They mouth at the length of his overcoat, tugging in it. Sidon pauses long enough to free himself each time, pet the calf on the head, and then continue. A little twist and jerk of his hip usually tugs his coat free. He won't unwind his arms from under Link’s knees and shoulders.

He makes sure to pay attention to Link during their journey, tickling him with kisses and laughing softly into his hair when Link squirms. They stop in front of the tree with their mooing audience, and Sidon slowly lowers Link back to his feet. Link doesn't go far and holds on to one of Sidon’s arms as they stand in the shade. Sidon carefully pushes Link’s hand away and steps closer to the tree.

“You must have wondered where I go when I leave you. Where I sleep in winter.”

Link nods.

“I reckoned you'd tell me at some point, if you care so much about me.”

Sidon rests a hand on the gnarled bark of the tree. He twists at the waist to shoot a soft smile Link’s way and says, “I do. I care very much about you, my sweet. Which is why I want to show up where I live. We don't have to hide from anyone there. We can just be together. Getting there... It requires a bit of whimsy, though. Don't be alarmed.”

Link opens his mouth to demand an explanation. But Sidon winks at him, steps behind the tree, and then nothing. The cows look around, too, confused. Link jumps on his feet and darts forward to scuttle around the tree. There's nothing here, no trace of Sidon. Link’s fingers dig into the bark of the tree, gripping it as he leans his body around the trunk. When a warm hand settles on top of his, Link shrieks and leaps away. The cows scatter in a panic, and Sidon covers his laugh with a hand. Link almost trips over the long grass by the shore, almost goes flopping into the pond. He saves it but still falls on his ass to do so. He blushes hotly and scowls at Sidon laughing at him.

“Don't scare me like that!”

Eyes glittering over his hand, Sidon admits, “I couldn't resist, my lamb. Forgive me my mischief.”

Link huffs on the ground and rolls onto a hip to stand. He blushes even hotter while Sidon just stands there and watches him struggle to his feet. The extra softness in his belly isn't that bad yet, but he's been bone-thin most of his life. Link ignores Sidon at first and takes another walk around the tree. His hand steadies him on the soft shore of the pond when he steps around a part of the tree. There's nothing special about it, at least what he can see. No mark is scratched into it, no magical symbol burned in anywhere. Link huffs, crosses his arms, and then turns to stare at Sidon. Sidon bites back a smile, finding Link’s impatience adorable.

“Well? How did you do that?”

Sidon steps close, towering above Link, and kisses his hair.

“I need to be able to go anywhere in Hyrule. And with the exception of Death Mountain, which why on earth would I want to go there, I can reach every corner of our world thanks to trees.”

Sidon pulls Link away from the tree by his hips. He even manages to dodge Link swatting at him. But he must move Link back enough to demonstrate the important part of his traveling.

“The tree must be as wide as I am,” Sidon says with his hands on his hips. “I might be in trouble if I were bigger than I am.”

Link’s expression sours a bit, and Sidon stutters over his words to correct that ill-timed quip.

“I-I didn't mean anything by that, Link, you know I find you irresistible, beautiful, so much—”

Link holds up a hand to stop Sidon’s frantic excuses, but to also stop his stumbling steps forward.

“It's fine. I'm just… sensitive about it. It'll go away, like you said.” Link closes his eyes to tap down his irritation about his body. Link holds himself with an arm while the other dangles by his side. “You were saying?”

Sidon looks two seconds away from fighting Link about this. Link knows Sidon doesn't care about the change in him, doesn't panic the way he does. He doesn't understand. Link sighs and crosses his arms over his chest instead. Mother and Father will rise from their nap eventually. Sidon is wasting his time.

“... Yes, well, I use the trees to travel through Hyrule. It's magic, you see. I sort of… feel where I want to go in the world, walk through a tree where I reside, and then I'm here.”

Link drops his arms and takes a step forward.

“Are you going to take me there?”

Sidon holds out one hand while splaying the other over the trunk of the tree.

“I would love to, Link. You may want to close your eyes as I walk us around. It's a bit like falling from a high place or off a horse, and I don't want it to upset you.”

Link thins his lips into a line at that. He doesn't want to be sick from this. But curiosity wins the day, and Link takes Sidon’s offered hand. If he hadn't watched Sidon disappear behind the tree, he might not believe it. Link closes his eyes right as Sidon scoots him closer and steps beside him. Sidon keeps hold of Link’s left hand in his and guides Link forward with a little squeeze from his right cupping Link’s upper arm. Link takes careful, little steps forward with his eyes shut tight.

The worried calls of the cows and the breeze rolling off the fields all die down. Piercing silence so thick that Link hears his throat squeeze as he swallows almost makes him nervous enough to open his eyes. He doesn't until their few steps around the tree end. Sidon guides their hands to the trunk, but Link knows it's not the same tree. The bark of this tree is smooth compared to the maple they'd stood under in his pasture. Sidon is warm and firm behind him—real. Link peeks an eye open, and then both lids fly open at the scene before him.

Towering above them, flowering trees shed petals continuously. Everything is painted in warm hues of pink and orange. The sweet scent in Sidon’s perfume—or whatever makes him smell like that—is everywhere, drifts on the breeze without a care. A grey, stone path under Link’s feet gives him purchase, and Link takes a step forward. From a bush nearby, a squirrel dart across the path. Link glances up at the pink flowers raining down on them and finds bird jumping from branch to branch. Link covers his mouth at the sight of it all and takes a few more steps into this world. A quick glance behind him reveals the same path, stretching on forever. The trees and plants have no visible end. The tree they had walked around sticks out a bit. It's the only green thing in here.

Sidon is behind him, too, smile delicate and ready to break if Link panics. But Link returns his smile, tugs Sidon’s hand, and they head down the path. None of the animals pay them any mind or scamper away in fear. It makes sense, Link supposes. What do they have to fear here? They've never seen a human before, Link doubts. Link only slows his wondrous exploration when Sidon’s hand squeezes his. Glancing up, Link watches Sidon nod his head at something off the path.

“Oh,” Link breathes.

Four stone pillars rise up from a platform just off the path. Under a canopy of silk protecting the area from the flower petals, a richly made bed lies waiting. It's done up in pretty purples and maroon, pillow cases so dark they’re almost black. Link’s hand slips out of Sidon’s as the young man steps off the path and then onto the platform. This sleeping area is walled in on three sides, too, by vines clinging to a lattice. It's cozy and private, and everything on the bed looks softer than anything Link has ever touched. He bypasses the table and chairs, the books in a bookcase, and a few other things to sit on the bed. It dips at his weigh, and the mattress hugs him as he bobs on a hip. It's plush, perhaps too plush. Link pushes a hand into the duvet and mattress beneath that and watches everything sink down like a bit of bread in molasses. Sidon’s warmth blooms by Link’s legs, and Link turns around enough to look up at him.

“You live here?”

Sidon gives him a sad smile before sitting beside him on the bed. He takes one of Link’s hands between both of his.

“Yes,” Sidon says quietly. He stares down at their hands while thumbing the back of Link’s. “All alone, I'm afraid.”

Link turns more towards Sidon in order to hop closer to him. Sidon meets his eyes, but only after Link ducks his head down a little.

“I'm sorry.” Link bites his lower lip for a second, at a loss. “I bet you roam around Hyrule just to not be alone.”

Sidon huffs out a tiny laugh through his nose and adds, “That and to spread around the Essence of Life, yes. It can be lonely here. Terribly so.”

Link hums and glances around them, unable to meet Sidon’s eyes. He spies fruit trees growing in the distance and the evidence of potatoes beneath the soil in another spot. Link wonders how those plants had ended up here. As far as he knows, farmers have twisted and bred their crops to make more and bigger varieties. Had Sidon gathered the plants himself? Link definitely spots an apple tree that doesn't grow in the wild. They have a few in the orchard. They're his favorite. Sidon sighs beside him, though, and Link drags his gaze back to the lonely spirit. Sidon is there waiting for him and lifts one of his hands to pet Link’s cheek.

“You wouldn't have to worry about the Essence’s effect on your body if you lived here,” Sidon suggests so softly, voice barely a whisper. His eyes water a bit, like he knows Link will reject him. “There's food here, and it's always warm. No one could hurt you here.” Sidon hops closer and clasps Link’s hand to his chest. “You could be happy here. I'd make sure you have everything you need. Anything you want. You wouldn't have to worry about getting injured or-or going hungry, or—”

Link only manages to stop Sidon rambling by pressing a finger to his lips. Sidon stares at him with hopeful eyes. It's a cautious hope, though. They both know Link has a family, duties at home.

“My parents… my life, my chores, I-I don't think I could abandon all that,” Link tells him gently. “They're stern and stoic people, but I love them. They love me. I've never left home before.”

Sidon shakes his head and bargains with, “I'll take you back whenever you want. Wherever you want to go in the world, I'll take you there. I'll drop everything, whatever I'm doing. Please, my little lamb, please consider it. I hate leaving you at night, hate to come back here and sleep alone.” Sidon's hand on Link’s face is warm, thumb petting the apple of his cheek so gently. “It is never cold here, but waking up alone… I may as well be frozen every morning. Please, Link. Please think about it.”

Link nods and then squeaks when Sidon pulls them down to the bed. They lie on their sides, facing each other. Link wishes his clothes and the rest of him were cleaner. He doesn't want to dirty anything of Sidon’s. The spirit is correct, though, it is lovely here. Much cooler than the farm currently cooking under the August sun. Link hums and rubs his cheek into the blanket under him. He doubts Sidon even needs to sleep with such a thing. Does he need sleep at all, besides the winter rest? Maybe he's just copying what humans do. Link closes his eyes and sighs as the flowery perfume of the spirit wafts up from the blanket. Link can't decide if everything smells like Sidon or if maybe this odd world he lives in makes him smell like this. Link startles out of his thoughts when Sidon gives the lock of hair in front of his ear a little tug.

“Don't fall asleep here,” Sidon warns. “You'll wake up somewhere in the human world.”

Grumbling, Link flops onto his back and asks, “Why is that,” with his eyes closed.

Sidon’s warmth cuddles right up to his side before a familiar mouth kisses down his cheek and to his neck.

“It's to guard against humans from wandering into my world and then getting lost. You will never grow old or die of age while here. My presence keeps everything young and healthy. However, you can still die any other way here. So if a human falls asleep here, they wake up somewhere near where they entered in their world.”

Link turns his head to catch Sidon’s lips when they peck a kiss on his chin. Link ends it before it goes far and asks, “Then how am I supposed to live here?”

A warm hand settles over his navel as Sidon returns to kissing his neck.

“You have to eat something growing here. After that, you can come and go as you please.” Sidon nips him hard enough for Link to jump and gasp. “You'll be mine, then. A part of my world forever.”

Link grimaces and thinks to object to that. But Sidon hauls them up the bed and flattens himself on top of Link. The hard length of him that he presses to Link’s pelvis steals Link’s thunder and angry questioning. The bed fluffs up around Link as Sidon grinds against him. The spirit makes sure to slide his thigh between Link’s to give the squirming human something to rub on, too. Meanwhile, Sidon twists Link’s hair in his fist and gives him biting, desperate kisses. Link gasps and moans around them, ears burning from the slick noise of them crashing together. When they separate, Sidon’s teeth find new places to bite along Link’s neck and the hollow of his throat. Link arches off the bed in order to rub his body against Sidon’s firm weight above him.

“Mmm, please, my sweet lamb, let me have you here,” Sidon groans into Link’s throat. “If you never live here with me, at least let me take you once in this bed. Just once.”

Sidon rocks particularly hard against him, and Link feels every needy, hot inch of him. The Essence in Link jumps at the chance, and Link’s head swims like he's under Sidon’s influence again. Maybe it's just the scent of all the flowers in the air. A brief, passing thought about his parents and the time constraint wanders through Link’s foggy mind. But it's like a thin cloud passing in front of the sun, and it evaporates without a trace. Link nods his head and pants for Sidon to hurry, paws at his own clothes to get them off. It's like magic, how easily and quickly Sidon can have him naked.

Link draws him down with arms wrapped around Sidon’s neck. Sidon’s hair framing his face catches Link’s loud gasp at the first nudge between his cheeks. Link claws at Sidon’s back, trying to tell him that’s too much, he's not ready. Sidon just ruts between his cheeks for a moment while moaning above him. Done with that, Sidon takes in Link’s red face, how his eyes flutter behind his lids. He unravels Link’s arms from around his neck without a fuss from the human. The blanket is almost cool under Link when Sidon rolls him over and stuffs a pillow under his hips.

“Ah! A-ah, oh Sidon mmm,” Link cries into the blanket as fingers and a warm tongue pry him open. It's not as shocking the first time when Sidon had held his legs in the air and lapped at him until he was a mess. “H-hurry. We have to go back.”

Link loses control of his voice at the end, drawing out the end of “back.” Sidon just grins between his cheeks and slows down. Link's fists pound into the soft mattress under them, sending the blanket to jump from each punch. Sidon sits up with a hum, grabs Link’s hands by the wrists, and pins them above his head. With Link held down and propped up on a pillow like this, Sidon leans his weight against Link’s presented rear and rubs himself between Link’s cheeks again.

Link squirms and bucks back as best he can. It's difficult to move with Sidon’s weight on him and his hands pinned. Link shudders and tries to throw his legs wider open, cant his as up higher. He shudders when the head of Sidon’s prick catches on his rim. Link strains against Sidon’s hands holding him down and thinks about jerking his head back and braining Sidon in the nose. That might actually hurt him, though, and would certainly ruin the mood. Link just wants to be full and overwhelmed like every time Sidon is in him.

“Hurry,” Link pants with his head twisted to the side. He can breathe like this. “Please.”

It's the closest Sidon is going to get to hear Link beg. Sidon drapes himself along Link’s back and hums in his ear while rocking one last time against him. His left hand is free and conjures up the same oily slickness he’s used on Link the whole time. Link almost sees the magic trick out the corner of his eye. All thoughts about that flatline in Link’s head as finally, finally the hot pressure off a cock bullies against his opening and slips inside. Eyes rolling back, Link arches his body against Sidon’s weight to feel more of him. They're flush together, though, so Link’s squirming is for nothing. It at least gets Sidon moaning and breathing hard in his ear, so Link keeps it up. The hand holding his wrists to the bed squeezes the joints once before Sidon sits up. Cool air licks over Link’s back where they were touching. Sidon’s hands almost bruise at Link’s hips when he grabs them. The bed shifts as Sidon gathers his knees under him, and the first smack of his hips rips out a beautiful squeal from Link.

The blanket bunched up by Link’s mouth turns damp as he pants. The whole bed rocks under him to their movements, just giving Sidon more leverage and more power behind his hips. He pops a moan out of Link’s pink, bitten lips with every slam of their bodies together. If Link could think at all, he'd wonder why it's so much better right now than every other time. Is Sidon more comfortable here? Is he truly that desperate to have Link live here?

Link closes his eyes to the room shaking and rocking around him. He squeezes out a tear or two just from his eyes watering at the pleasure building in him. The Essence must make everything better, too. Each time with Sidon has been more, better, everything than the last. Link’s knees give out, and the only things holding him up are the pillow and Sidon’s bruising hands. The pillow is surely ruined under him, spattered and smeared by his leaking cock. A hard graze of Sidon’s cock along that firm place inside him has Link’s heart skipping a beat as he comes. The pillow takes it all and makes a wet spot under him. Link doesn't care, doesn't have the brainpower to even think about it. Lungs heaving, Link lies boneless under Sidon and waits for the spirit to come, too.

Sidon drops down like when they’d started. His arms slither between Link’s sweaty body and the pillow, and he lies fully on top of him. Link doesn't mind. So long as he can breathe, he's fine. Sidon slows down at that point and takes to long, rolling thrusts instead of the pounding he'd given Link moment before. Link’s mouth hangs open, and he keeps up his song of moans and whimpers to let Sidon know how good it feels. Sidon has probably been talking to him his whole time. Link can't recall a single word, just the general sound of Sidon’s moans and voice.

Eyes fluttering again, Link closes them as Sidon slowly stops inside him. The slim hips press against his ass jerk a little, and Link blushes where he hides his face. He knows Sidon has come, poured yet more Essence of Life into him. Link already feels it pooling in him with the rest, growing warmer and bigger. He shudders hard enough to shake the bed when Sidon sits up and leaves him empty and aching.

Link gives a tiny whine when Sidon rolls him onto his back. He expects Sidon to either pick him up or hold him. The soft lips and tongue that lick up the mess he'd made while coming startle a choked gasp out of him. Link’s fingers, stiff and claw-like, grab at Sidon’s hair to push his head away. Sidon hums against his sensitive skin and sucks where his foreskin bunches up by his head. It almost hurts after coming so hard so recently, but Sidon doesn't let up. He hums all through Link’s moaning and squealing. It adds more sensation to his already buzzing, numb cock.

Link jumps on the bed when fingers pet at his sore hole, too. Three of them glide in like nothing and stoke his walls. Link chokes on gasp after gasp as those long fingers trip over that weird spot inside him. Sidon’s humming turns thoughtful while he rubs circles around and over that spot. Link clenches hard around him at the same time as he yanks on Sidon’s hair. Some strands come loose, but neither notices. Sidon just keeps sucking and rubbing until Link jerks under him and comes again. Sidon cleans all that up, too, but stops when Link rips more hair out of his head.

Wiping his mouth on the back of his hand, Sidon sits up and breathes, “That hurt, you know.”

Link’s cheeks puff up as he spits back, “So did your mouth just now. But you didn't stop.”

Sidon hums with a smirk on his face while lying down on top of Link. Link turns his head away to deny Sidon the kiss he obviously wants. But Link remembers where that mouth has been recently. He squirms and draws his knee up to jab in Sidon’s side. That gets him to stop.

“You’re disgusting,” Link grumbles.

Sidon’s grin tickles Link’s ear along with his voice when he says, “Yes, but you like me just enough to tolerate it. If I’m disgusting, what does that make you, little lamb?”

Link’s left hand squishes Sidon’s cheek as Link shoves him away. Sidon laughs as he rolls onto his side and off of Link. Link staggers to his feet as the clown behind him gets his chuckles in. Link blushes to his hairline, extremely adverse to people laughing at him. Especially Sidon, and even more so when Sidon is right. Link bites back a grunt as he bends down to scoop up his clothes. Sidon either throws them all over the place in his mad dash to have Link or folds them perfectly in a pile. Today is a mad-dash day, and Link finds his shoes thrown back towards the stone path outside.

They’re the last things he finds. And it’s only once he gathers up shoes, trousers, underwear, and shirt does he redress. Sidon is quiet and still on the bed when Link glances over his shoulder. He pays Sidon no mind and carefully steps into his underwear. Sidon had nearly ripped them. Link grumbles about having to mend them later while stepping into his trousers. Warmth blossoms against Link’s back, and then soft hands hold his hips. There are bruises there, but they don’t hurt yet.

“Link,” Sidon says softly. “You will think about it, right?” He gives Link a squeeze. “Please?”

Link does not turn around to look at Sidon’s face. He knows he’ll cave and grab the nearest fruit to shove in his mouth if he does. Standing up straight under Sidon’s hands, Link nods. He holds his shirt in front of him and can’t help but nudge his thumb against the swell in his stomach. It scares him now just as much as it had the first day, perhaps even more. As Sidon had said, his body accepts the Essence and holds on to it each time Sidon gives it to him.

Heartbeat pounding in his eyes, Link closes them again and sucks in a deep breath. Sidon’s hands at his hips twitch before they slip around to his front. One hand gently tugs Link’s shirt from his hand and takes it away from him. Once that’s done, Sidon’s hands flatten on top of each other over Link’s navel. Link bows his head to hide a tiny, private smile. He’s proud of Sidon for remembering their fight, remembering his aversion to being held where the Essence is. Link draws in another breath before wrapping a hand around Sidon’s wrist. He drags Sidon’s top hand down, guiding it to the swell below his waistline. Sidon startles behind him and flinches like he wants to rip his hand away. But Link covers brown skin with his paler hand and keeps Sidon there.

“It’s okay,” Link tells him. “I know you want to hold me and touch me here. Thank you for not doing it. But… it’s okay right now.”

When Link releases Sidon’s hand, he’s not sure what to do with his own. He leaves them at his sides with enough space to not pinch Sidon’s arms around him. Something inside Link squirms in discomfort when Sidon’s right hand slides down to join the first. But at least the spirit is warm against his back like a sun-baked rock. Link jumps a little when lips lightly kiss one side of his neck. Sidon trails those light, feathery kisses across the nape of Link’s neck and then to the other side. Link is sure that Sidon is still naked behind him, so he takes care not to lean on Sidon and cause trouble. They don’t have the luxury of time. Link barely lasts a minute or two of Sidon holding him like this before he’s had enough. Skin crawling, Link slowly steps out of Sidon’s arms and then turns around.

“We should go back. I don’t want my parents to worry.”

Sidon doesn’t ask about Link’s decision for a few weeks after that. September is fast approaching, and so is fall. Link has altered his trousers himself in order to hide his body. If he moves slower and complains of lower back pain, his parents don’t bother him about it. In their eyes, everything is normal and right. The just don’t know about all the times Link sneaks off with Sidon, stepping behind the tree at the cow pond and disappearing. Sidon often takes him there rather than anywhere else, now.

Link starts to call it Sidon’s Sanctuary, since he doesn’t like hurting his head with trying to figure out how Sidon’s little world works. Sidon had said it’s magic. And Link takes it for what it is. He doesn’t often have time to think about such things when he’s there with Sidon anyway. Sometimes they don’t even make it to Sidon’s cozy bed before they’re rolling on the ground, covered in flower petals and other things. Link doesn’t mind that so much. The earth hugs him while they cling to each other. The thrum of life beats beneath Link’s back while the embodiment of it moans into his neck. It’s a little slice of heaven until they’re sated.

Link learns something funny about Sidon that he feels embarrassed having never thought about before. Sidon is a spirit of course, not bound by the rules of humans or society. So whenever they step into the Sanctuary, Sidon’s clothes seem to… vanish right off him. Link sputters and bats the naked loon away from him the first few times. But once he wanders the odd plants and animals here, it makes sense. Why would Sidon ever wear clothes here? He has no concept of the shame of nudity. He has to beg and plead with Link to get him to keep his clothes off once they’ve calmed down from their activities. Link always springs up to cover himself. A few pets and kisses from Sidon—along with him whining—convinces Link to indulge his spirit friend in such a sin.

Of course to Sidon it’s not a sin. Link keeps the thought far from his mind while wandering Sidon’s woods like a nymph. It’s… freeing to roam the Sanctuary, knowing nothing can hurt him, that Sidon is here if he needs anything. Link thinks more and more about Sidon's proposal all the time. Even now, Link sits by a stream and plays with some flower petals caught in the sluggish current. When the ripples settle, he sees himself. Above and behind him, Sidon watches him, too.

“What were you thinking about, sweet lamb? You looked so sad for a moment…”

Link shakes his head.

“Not sad. Just… contemplating.” He says the word slowly, tongue stabbing at the syllables. It’s a word Sidon had taught him. “Thinking about this place. It's very nice here.”

Sidon sucks in a slow, deep breath above him, so Link twists at the waist to look up at him. Sidon has that hopeful look on his face that makes his eyes wide and a little wet. Link watches him bend at the knee and sink to the soft earth beside him. They've already had each other once, but that means nothing between them. So Link leans away a bit when Sidon settles fully beside him and reaches for him with a soft hand. Mother and Father will worry about him if he and Sidon take the time to lie down again.

They question his exhaustion sometimes, and Mother has questioned a few marks she thought she saw. Link usually waves them away as bruises from the barn or his other labors. They aren't stupid, though. Perhaps they suspect he has a secret lover… And what is Sidon if not exactly that? Sidon certainly treats him tenderly, kisses him sweetly, and has all manner of pet names for him. Link can't help but let loose a little smile at the spirit. Sidon takes that as permission to touch Link, and he picks up one of Link’s hands. He rubs water off Link’s fingertips before lifting that hand to kiss Link’s knuckles.

“When you're not here, I lie around and imagine that you are. Here.” Sidon watches Link up the length of his arm while admitting this. Link can't look away, caught in Sidon’s electric gaze just like the first time. “I can almost hear your laughter as you frolic. Imagine my heart break when I rise from bed and it was all in my mind.”

Link offers Sidon a sympathetic sigh and smile.

“I said I was thinking about it. And I am. There's just… so much to consider. What do I tell my parents? How often do I go back? What…” Link cowers a little, not liking to think about this next part and hating to say it out loud even more. “What do I do when you sleep during winter?”

Sidon rocks himself across the ground to grab Link by his upper arms. Link comes willingly, falling to his left hip and thigh in order to lean against Sidon’s chest. The arms around him are tight and familiar. Link sighs in their embrace and rubs his cheek across the brown skin above Sidon’s heart. Or… where a heart would be, if he were human. When Link presses his ear there when they finish, he never hears or feels anything. There's no twitch or jump in Sidon’s neck, fingertips, anywhere. No pulse.

It makes sense, and Link cuddles up to him and nuzzles above his not-heart anyway. By the time they stop moving, Sidon has dragged Link into his lap and is busy kissing the young man’s hair and temples. It only takes a few nudges to Link’s forehead for Link to tilt his head up and meet Sidon’s kisses. Link holds on to Sidon’s forearms while bobbing and humming with him. It feels good, of course, but they need to have this discussion. When Sidon tries to ramp up their kisses, Link slips a hand between them and pushes Sidon away. Link bites back a snort at Sidon’s almost pout.

“No more,” Link says gently. “I'm worried about what happens in winter, Sidon. I mean it.”

Sidon huffs and tucks Link under his chin. His mellow voice tickles Link’s long ear where it's pressed to his throat.

“I don't disappear or anything. I lie in bed and sleep, that's all. You can sleep next to me, roam the forest. You're perfectly safe here, and there's food and water for you.” Sidon pets Link’s loose hair in a thoughtful sort of way. “Waking up to you beside me after so long… I can't imagine anything better than that. Waking up alone and full from the Essence returning to me is always lonely and a little painful. I at least wouldn't be alone with you here.”

Link’s hair shifts as Sidon cranes his head down to kiss the strands again. Sidon swallows hard against the weight of Link’s head on his neck. Link sits up a little, heart skipping a beat. Sidon has tensed a bit under him. Sidon is almost never tense. But now it's like something eats him up inside.

“Link… My sweet lamb… May I confess something to you?”

Staring at all the beauty around him, chest and stomach tight, Link gives Sidon a tiny nod.

Sidon draws in a deep breath, shifting Link against his chest, before beginning lowly, “I have been here since near the beginning of time. You humans live such brief lives in the grand scale of the cosmos. So, I… I've never become entangled with one. Not like you.” Sidon’s arms tighten around him. Sidon swallows hard again and redirects his monologue, nervous. “Wandering Hyrule, of course, I see the way you humans live. Your suffering and your joy. They way two of you might look at each other in a special sort of way. It's something I've never been able to touch, I…”

Link shifts in Sidon’s lap, wanting to look up at him. But Sidon’s arms around him are tight, firm. They don't let him budge.

“I'm not making much sense, I bet,” Sidon continues with a humorless laugh in his voice. He quiets for a spell before saying lower than before, “I look at you and… I want to look at you that way. I think I do, but I'm not sure. Growing attached to a human is a painful affair, but I… I never stop thinking about you, Link.”

Link’s insides grow tighter and tighter as Sidon keeps talking. He of course knows Sidon is talking about love. Link calms himself with the knowledge that of course Sidon wouldn't know what it is, what it feels like. Time to him must be like the wings of a butterfly—fleeting and untouchable. Link judges it a foolish thing for a timeless creature like Sidon to ever love a human. Foolish indeed. The idea doesn't upset Link. It saddens him at first, thinking of Sidon all alone for eons, only connecting with living creatures when he has to protect the Essence of Life. How empty such an existence must be. But the thought also tickles Link and makes him blush. No one has ever loved him before. No one besides his parents, and this is quite different. Link does struggle a bit in Sidon’s arms then in order to meet the spirit’s sad, golden gaze.

“I think about you, too. I've never thought about someone so much like I do you.” Link captures a lock of hair that frames Sidon’s face and plays with it. “I think that's how my parents feel about each other. They… love each other.”

Sidon hums and nods, turns his head enough to try and kiss Link’s hand. His lips tickle Link’s skin when he speaks next.

“Love? Is that what you humans call this?”

It's Link’s turn to nod.

“Mmm… That settles it, then.” Sidon urges Link towards him by squeezing him tightly. Once they're close enough, he kisses Link softly like they've just finished each other. “I love you, then.”

He… says it so easily. To Link, it's not just something Sidon should say willy-nilly like that. The confession puts pressure on him, and Link isn't sure where his feelings lie. Affection for the spirit bubbles in his heart, yes, but is it love? Just as no one has ever loved Link before, Link has never felt such a thing for someone. When would he have had the opportunity? It's lonely on the farm, but it’s home. The idea bounces around Link’s head until he locks up. Link blinks at Sidon’s soft smile and doesn't immediately return the spirit’s sentiment. The longer Link sits there, silent, the more Sidon’s smile slips from his face.

“Is… that all right? That I love you? I'm sure that's what it is, if you've put a name to my feelings. I just want to be near you and take care of you, keep you safe. I never stop thinking about you, my lamb. Honest.”

Link sucks in a breath. All the tension melts out of him.

“That’s love, at least how I know it. How I've seen it between my parents. Um…”

Sidon holds him tightly and adds quickly, “I don't suppose you feel the same? You said you think about me all the time, too. Do you love me, Link?”

Link turns his head to break their stare and blurts out, “I don't know! I've never been in love!”

Sidon draws them close and pecks Link’s cheek a few times.

“But Link, how do you know that what I feel is love? You said it so surely… If you've never been in love, how do you know that's how I feel?”

Link gives a feeble shove to Sidon’s chest, but Sidon doesn't let him go. He wants to run away from this conversation for now. Maybe forever. It's just like when his parents hint at their inevitable deaths and him taking over the farm. He hates it, and it makes his stomach squirm like it’s infested with worms.

“Let me go, Sidon, I need to go home.”

“Link, please, answer me! Don't push me away, don't-don’t do this. If you love me, then you do. It's easy, it’s—”

“It's not easy! It's not easy at all.” Link shoves him harder and still doesn't budge in Sidon’s arms. “What happens when I grow old? What happens if I get sick and die? You'll be all alone, you’ll…” Link stops fighting Sidon at that point and stares at the peaks and valleys of Sidon’s collarbones. “You'll be alone again. And it'll be my fault.”

Sidon guides Link’s heavy head to the crook of his neck. Link takes that offer to hide and presses his hot eyes to Sidon’s neck. He doesn't want to cry, but he thinks about these things. His parents are getting older all the time. It's dangerous on the farm. One startled horse could change their lives forever. Or a fire started in the barn or attic. Or a plague. Link thinks about it all the time. And for someone like Sidon who will never know death… How cruel would it be for Sidon to find happiness, only to watch it slip away? Link breathes hard for a minute or two, pressed tightly to Sidon’s neck. He can't imagine that sort of misery. He doesn't wish it on anyone, especially the Spirit of Spring.

“Little lamb, please don't fret. I've told you, you will not die while here with me. We could be together for as long as you want. Forever, if you'd have me.”

Link sighs in Sidon’s tight embrace and sits up enough to look at him.

“You really want me to live here, don't you?”

“Yes. I meant what I said when I told you that I think about you wandering around, laughing and loving life. I think about it all the time.” Sidon unravels an arm to caress Link’s cheek with the curl of his knuckles. “I love you, Link. I think I've loved you for a long time, now.”

Lips in a firm line, Link gets his feet under him. He shoves hard at Sidon’s chest, sending the spirit toppling onto his back in the petal litter. Sidon sputters and wiggles on his back as Link jumps to his feet and takes off. Sidon will right himself soon enough and come out of his surprised stupor. Link runs away from the stone path, eyes searching the pink trees around him. Sidon’s voice calls for him from the stream, but Link doesn't stop.

He nearly trips on roots and ruts in the fertile soil, but he catches his footing each time. He's too busy looking for something amongst the flower petals and pink leaves to watch his feet. Pinks, oranges, and soft reds pass Link in a beautiful blur as he searches for something. Sidon’s voice is much closer now, almost in his ear. Link comes to a screeching halt and changes direction when his eyes catch on something round and soft hanging from a tree. There!

Sidon is warm against Link's back, not even breathing hard, when Link wraps his hand around a peach. It comes free of the tree with only a little tug.

“My lamb, wait, you don't have to—”

“I do,” Link says firmly while turning on the ball of his bare foot. He holds the peach up to his mouth, and the sweet scent of it wafts up through the fuzzy skin. “I do have to. I have to eat this to stay here. You said so.”

Sidon reaches for him, but stops when Link flinches away.

“Only if you want to! Don't do this just because I love you. We have time, Link, I can wait for you to fall in love with me. And-and if you never do, then—”

Sidon nearly chokes on his next word as Link’s sharp, front teeth carve into the peach. He stands there, rooted to the spot like the infinite trees and plants around him. Link almost glares at him while chewing and swallowing the orange flesh of the peach. One bite done, he stuffs his mouth with a bigger bite than before. They stand there in the soft breeze, watching each other as Link nearly inhales the peach bite after bite. It would be hilarious if not for the serious, binding nature of such an act.

His hand and cheeks are sticky with juices, but he doesn't care. When only the black pit remains in his palm, Link snatches Sidon’s outstretched hand. Link’s short fingers are sticky as they force Sidon’s palm flat and then smack the pit into his hand. Link clutches their hands together and steps into Sidon’s personal space. Sidon’s fingers tangled with his almost hurt when they clamp down. They squeeze the peach pit between them until the rough shell bites at their palms.

“In the human world, we exchange vows when we marry. It's how we join with someone forever. Consider this”—Link squeezes their hands and thus the peach pit—“our vows.”

Face finally lighting up as it all makes sense, Sidon asks softly, “You'll have me, then? Forever?”

Swallowing hard as emotions threaten to choke him, Link nods and shuffles closer. He tips his head up for the kiss he knows is coming.

“Yes,” Link whispers amongst the petals and life thrumming around him. “Yours. Forever.”