The night air was the crisp sort of cold you’d imagine in the winter months, not so much in late September. Yet, Link lived for it. Despite the chill, the city streets were as busy as they ever were, people adapting easily with light jackets and hurried paces.
The lights of Little Gerudo Town were still bright and flashy, enticing people in for a hearty meal or foreign trinkets. The immigrants who lived there were resilient folk, still standing on the sidewalks, calling to potential customers as they rushed by. Link smiled and waved at familiar faces. He’d never stopped to speak to any of them, that was strictly forbidden for him. But he saw them every week as he made his way deep into the Gerudo District of Castle City, enough to exchange a friendly smile.
Beyond the vendors and restaurants, Link followed a back alley that led to another back alley. At the end, stood a very serious looking woman in a black suit. He didn’t greet her outside of more than a nod of his head, which she returned.
Further into the maze of buildings and lesser used streets, he passed another stoic guard, then another. The third one stood at the corner of an old apartment building. Link wasn’t sure anyone actually lived there, but he’d never asked. He was never going to ask.
He stopped at the third guard and dropped his backpack onto the ground slowly, then taking a step back from it and raising his arms out.
She carried a detector wand, running it over every bit of Link. Then she patted him down for good measure. Satisfied he was clean, she rummaged through his backpack. When that came up equally weapon-free, she gave it back to him and pulled up the collar of her jacket to speak into the small microphone there.
“He’s here. Sending him up.”
He waited for her to motion him along.
Someone opened the door for him from the inside, a hulking man who gave him a nod, then followed him up the stairs, all the way to the fifth floor. It was another song and dance there. Stepping into a metal detector, proving that the only metal he had on him were his earrings, getting patted down much more thoroughly, and then releasing his backpack and phone into the care of the guards. Only then was he allowed into the apartment alone.
Unlike the rest of the building, the apartment was new, modern, and fully furnished as if it were a penthouse on the upper East side. It was kept perfectly clean while he wasn’t there, and everything was exactly where it should be.
A glance at the clock told him he had an hour and a half to get ready.
The bedroom of the apartment was the least used room there, despite it having a large bed with thick blankets that were much nicer than what he had back home. He walked right by it into the bright white bathroom to shower.
Clean with hair dripping, he folded his clothes and tucked them into the empty top drawer of the dresser. The bottom drawer held clean underwear for him to put on, which he did, then he went back to the bathroom to rub rich oils and lotion into his skin.
The closet was full of clothing that was much nicer than his own. Since it was chilly outside, he chose a loose sweater that exposed his clavicles and part of his shoulders with a pair of comfy jeans that hugged his hips and ass in all the right ways. The last detail was sitting in the bedside table drawer. A golden ring, polished and shining. He slipped it onto his ring finger, feeling its familiar weight.
Glancing at the clock again, he hurried to dry and style his hair, choosing to let it hang free for simplicity. Plus, his client liked his hair down.
The kitchen in the apartment was magnificent. It was honestly one of the biggest reasons he even kept this job. The fridge and pantry were always stocked with exactly what Link asked for in only the highest quality brands, unless Link specified otherwise.
The cooking utensils all looked brand new still as Link took out his ingredients and got to work. He turned on a radio on the counter, still tuned in to his favorite station.
It was therapy for him, being able to worry about nothing but cooking the best dinner he could while swaying and humming to music.
The filet mignon was nearly finished when he heard the front door open and a pair of keys getting dropped onto the hall table. It was his cue, his warning.
Link didn't turn around though, didn't go greet him at the door. He took the meat out of the oven, still humming to a late summer hit.
He was reaching up into the cupboard to retrieve their plates when a large, warm hand came to rest on his hip. Followed by a large warm body pressing against his back.
“Welcome home,” he hummed with a smile, gently tilting his head to the side. The invitation was taken and an equally warm face nestled into the crook of his neck and shoulder, breathing deep the scented oils Link had applied after his shower.
A rumbling hum was his answer, arm hugging him more firmly into a wide chest. He chuckled and squirmed in his grip, turning around to face the man.
“You're just in time, dinner is almost done.”
His client was a man of considerable size but very little of it was fat. His skin was so dark that it looked black in low light, but his eyes were a bright gold. Like most Gerudo, his hair was a burning red. When he put his face against Link's neck again, he murmured, “the food and you.”
A neat beard scraped against his skin and Link nearly closed his eyes.
“I'm not on the menu tonight, Mister G.”
It didn't stop him from feeling up the man’s strong arms, loving how his biceps were tight under what was probably an expensive shirt.
A kiss was pressed to linger against his neck. Link had to remind himself to not react inappropriately.
It wasn't part of his contract to do things like that.
“What. A. Travesty.” Each word was emphasized with a kiss to his neck, jaw, and ear. The last one grumbled in a hoarse whisper that Link knew would haunt his wet dreams from now onward.
Link had to take a deep breath, which was hard when he was pressed against such a firm, attractive man. He forced out a playful chuckle.
“Don't be mean to me, babe. I worked really hard on dinner.”
The hold on his waist tightened and he heard his client drop a bottle on the counter behind him to free up his other arm. In all reality, if Mr. G wanted to bend him over right there and fuck him for days, there was probably nothing Link could do to stop him and no one who would help him.
But he didn't, that's not what Link's purpose was. He hugged Link up against him and gave him a last kiss to the temple before backing off.
“You're so good to me, sweetie. Thank you.”
Link smiled softly, reaching up to tug the man down just enough to softly kiss his chin in return. A small, innocent kiss.
“Now what did you bring me?”
“My favorite?” Link's eyes lit up as he spun around and found a very expensive bottle of wine on the counter. It was a blush peach color, flecks of gold reflecting light onto the white surface Link had been working on.
“Mister G, are we celebrating?” He asked in genuine excitement.
“We are,” the Gerudo drawled through a grin. Link moved to get the wine glasses while Mr. G broke the gold foil and worked the cork out with a wine screw. Link didn't have a taste for wine outside of the make believe life inside that penthouse, but he'd reach for a glass of this shit any day. He was sure that one bottle itself probably cost a couple thousand rupees and it tasted like it. Sweet nectar of the goddess.
Mr. G poured him a generous glass and they clinked a silent toast before taking sips. Link knew better than to ask exactly what they were celebrating.
“Oh! The food is getting cold,” he laughed, taking another sip before he put his glass down. “Babe, can you reach the plates for me?”
Like every Thursday, the large Gerudo man helped Link set dinner ...in the living room. Where they could sit on the comfortable couch, eat, drink, and chat about nothing in particular. Link starting most of the conversations, of course and talking largely about himself. They would share familiar touches and act as any couple would during a comfortable night at home. Mr. G praised him for another delicious meal and they finished the wine while watching whatever was currently on the television.
Link's feet rested in the man's lap, being on the receiving end of an idle foot massage. It felt really nice, especially since he was tipsy now.
“Your hair is getting long.”
Link looked away from the TV to realize Mr. G had probably been staring at him instead of the science fiction drama that was playing. There was something soft and fond in his golden eyes. Link felt his heart flutter in a dangerous way. He fought the feeling down.
With a smile just as soft, he spun a golden lock around his finger.
“Is that okay?”
“Mhmm, I like it.”
“I left it down for you.”
Link took his feet away and crawled over to his pretend husband. Right away, dark fingers threaded into his freshly cleaned hair, tugging gently. He felt the cool graze of a golden ring but didn't look at it. He looked right into the golden eyes melting into him. There was always something in the man's eyes that had Link’s heart stuttering. Something vulnerable and full of longing. Link didn't know why this man was paying him to play house once a week. He didn't even know his name. But it felt like Mr. G really needed their time together. He came to Link with a wound in his heart, and Link spent hours patiently stitching it back up.
Dark lips moved close to his own and Link felt himself flush. Kisses on the mouth were against the rules, written in a black and white contract Link had signed months ago, but he couldn't push the man away.
A kiss never came though. Mr. G took in his pinkening face and smiled wider, palm moving to cover a warm cheek.
“So beautiful.” The scent of fragrant wine followed the soft, whispered words.
Link raised his right hand to cross his body and cover the hand on his cheek, leaning into it. Their matching rings clicked against one another.
Link intended to climb into his lap and nestle close to his warmth, but the chirp of a text alert cut through the cozy haze around them. Mr. G immediately looked regretful. He didn't drop his hand right away, instead choosing to lean in and kiss Link on the forehead, breathing in the scent of his hair.
“...I have to go back to work.”
Link nodded, sitting up properly.
“I understand, baby. Don't worry about me.” He gave him a loving smile as he stood to take their empty wine glasses to the sink.
Mr. G pulled on his jacket and grabbed the keys from the hall table. Link met him there in the entrance, kissing his cheek when he came close for a parting embrace.
“Thank you for dinner, sweetie. I'll be home soon, I promise.” In another week.
“I'll be here waiting.”
The man breathed in deep the smell of his hair again.
“I'll miss you, Link.”
Blue eyes widened in surprise, arms clenching tighter. It earned him a tighter hug in return. But then it was all over in an instant, and his client slipped out of the door, leaving Link in a daze.
Mr. G never called him by his name.
When Link's acquaintances asked him what he did for a living, he told them he cooked food for an elderly rich man confined to his home. They seemed confused as to how that afforded him an apartment on his own in the middle of Castle Town, but he never elaborated beyond that.
Link didn't mind leaving everyone he knew in the dark, he wasn't very close to any of them anyway.
Similarly, Link knew next to nothing about his “rich, elderly” client. He didn't know his name and all his payments were direct deposit from a dummy business front. He knew he wore designer suits and foreign cologne that made Link feel a little too warm inside. He knew he had a lot of money and a lot of bodyguards. And a lot of solid muscles that Link loved cuddling up against. Above all, he knew the man was a Gerudo, whether he hailed directly from the homeland or not.
He also knew that he was still reeling from hearing Mr. G say his name a couple weeks ago. That's what led to Link watching endless online cooking videos and what took him shopping on a different side of Little Gerudo Town. He'd never made traditional Gerudo food, but dammit he was going to try.
He practiced every night for over a week. He even wandered into locally owned Gerudo restaurants and sweet-talked kind grandmothers into giving him some lessons. Everyone was so welcoming and excited, babbling on in a language he didn’t understand, more than happy to teach and feed him in exchange for some work around their businesses. He bussed tables and cleaned dishes for a few hours, then watched attentively as he was taught to mash and spice and simmer. Link honestly had a really great time learning something new. It gave him confidence when he emailed the grocery list off to his contact for the coming week.
He had a bounce in his step that night, showing up a full two hours early in his eagerness. He wasn't sure why he wanted to do this so badly, he wasn't naive enough to think he actually meant anything to his client. If anything, he felt like a radical therapist. He always felt inclined to help people, Mr. G was no different. He just had the added bonus of being really rich and stupidly attractive.
He showered quickly, blow drying his hair and twisting it up into a simple bun. In the closet, he picked out a thin sweater that matched his eyes. The last time he’d worn it had been the first time Mr. G had kissed him, after they’d moved past the initial awkwardness. He’d kissed him on the forehead during dinner. Link’s face had turned a burning pink and Mr. G had chuckled and called him cute. They both relaxed a lot more after that. Link considered it a good sweater.
In the kitchen, he rolled the sleeves up and brought out the full-coverage apron. He’d be very disappointed if any oil splashed on it. Halfway through chopping ingredients up, he jumped in realization and ran back to the bedroom to find his wedding ring. He didn’t want to disappoint Mr. G by forgetting to put it on. While cooking, he changed the station on his radio to find one he’d been hearing a lot of in the Gerudo restaurants recently. The pipes and drums pulled him at the hips to dance slightly as he cooked. Meat sizzled in the pan with spices while the curry simmered in a different pot. With a smile on his lips, Link gave a turn, moving his hips like he’d learned from some of the servers who’d grinned and crowed when he tried to copy them. It was easy to lose track of time like that, cooking and dancing to the music. It felt like no time at all until the meat was simmering in the curry and the rice was steaming to perfection. Link wasn’t sure what kind of wine or liquor paired with Gerudo-style cuisine, but he picked something he knew Mr. G liked and left it on the counter while he stirred the curry, hips still moving in precise jerks, trying to remember his crash course lesson in belly dancing. He didn't hear the door open, or the keys hitting the hall table after a moment of hesitation. He set the stove on it's lowest setting and turned to check on the flat bread warming in the oven.
He nearly had a heart attack when he found the tall man standing in the mouth of the kitchen, expression unreadable.
“FUCK me, Hylia.” He jerked back against the counter, heart in his throat for a second. He tried to laugh it off. “Sweet goddess, babe. You scared the life out of me.”
Mr. G didn't move, he eyed the food, the kitchen rich in the mixed scent of spices. Link quickly turned down the volume of the radio, nerves suddenly dropping into his stomach. Had this been an okay thing to try?
“I didn't hear you come in, I was, uh.” Link struggled to untie his apron, which was not flattering at all. He pulled it off and realized some of his hair had fallen free of his bun. Goddess why, why was he a mess right now? Mr. G still hadn't said a word or even moved. “I wanted to try something new. Uh, special. For you. Because you work so hard. I know my skills at this type of cuisine are lacking, but I ...hope this is okay.”
He wasn't looking up, so he only saw glossy, black shoes approach slowly before warm hands lifted his face.
He wasn't expecting the kiss that pressed against the edge of his mouth. It wasn't on his lips but it was so painfully close that Link's knees felt a little weak. He immediately pulled the man closer, hands sliding to the back of powerful biceps, and kissed him back in the same way. Mr. G made a low sound that Link thought may have been the softest whine he'd ever heard. He pulled away from kissing Link's skin and their lips barely brushed. It wasn't a kiss, Mr. G was holding himself back but Link could tell it wasn't easy.
His nerves melted away into something else, something thrilling to know the man wanted to kiss him so badly over a little food.
Link covered the hands on his face and gently urged them down, looking up into molten gold eyes. He smiled and shyly tilted his head, drawing attention to the column of his neck. The invitation was taken as quickly as it was given. The scratch of his neat beard against his collarbones paired with hot lips scattering firm kisses on his neck drew a gasp out of Link. Mr. G didn't even hesitate to press him back against the counter with his solid body that had Link's brain swimming, large hands groping his hips. He couldn't be blamed for the startled moan that slipped out when teeth grazed his skin. The man instantly froze against him, uttering a soft, “shit.”
Link didn't protest when Mr. G pulled away, looking every bit as flustered as Link felt. They watched each other for a second before Mr. G cleared throat.
“Excuse me, I need to use the john.”
Link barely nodded.
Alone in the kitchen again, he felt over his neck and looked in the reflective surface of the toaster. The pink spot was small and barely there. But it was there. Mr. G had given him a hickey. Link felt too warm in the kitchen. He took the flatbread out of the oven then grabbed the liquor he'd picked out, along with a glass, and went to stand at the living room window. He could feel the cool air outside pushing against the glass. It helped cool his nerves, though he couldn't tell if they were frazzled or excited. He drained a glass quickly and pressed his forehead to the cool surface of the window.
Mr. G’s body wasn't built for stealth, Link heard him approach from the bedroom after a stretch of time that Link hadn't been keeping track of. He took another sip of his second glass and turned around to greet a guilty face. The man approached slowly, looking for any sign of recoil from Link.
“I'm ...sorry about that. I didn't mean to get so carried away. If I frightened you or if you'd prefer to leave--”
“No, no. I didn't, I mean, you didn't--” Link shook his head and smiled in embarrassment. “I'm fine. I don't want to leave. That was ...kinda nice, thank you.”
He said the last four words softly, hoping maybe Mr. G wouldn't hear them properly. He did, of course. At least, he smiled back like he did.
Link was about to take another sip but his client stopped him, gently taking the glass.
“As much as I love this cognac, if we’re going to eat that amazing-smelling meal you’ve made, we’re going to need something better.”
He offered Link a hand and Link took it with a small smile. Mr. G put the cognac away, instead taking a dark bottle out of the cooling fridge under the bar’s counter. Link stood on the other side and eyed the new bottle with interest. Mr. G had never shown him that one before. The label was written in the curling letters of a language Link recognized as the native language of the Gerudo. He couldn’t read any of it though.
“What’s it called?”
Mr. G hummed in thought, bring out two tumblers and dropping one ice cube into each.
“Loosely translated, it means, ‘in the effort of noble pursuit’. So in Hylian, we just call it Noble Pursuit.”
“Noble Pursuit,” Link repeated softly, watching his pretend husband unseal the bottle. The man took a savoring whiff before pouring them equal amounts. One glass was pushed towards Link.
“It’s alright if you don’t like it.”
The liquor was the color of melted amber and it smelled strongly of the same spices Link had used in their food. Without a second thought, he knocked the whole tumbler back. He didn’t just let it drain into a swallow though, he let it stay on his tongue and swirl around his tastebuds. Mr. G watched him and waited until he’d swallowed it down. It tasted somewhat familiar, tickling parts of Link’s memory that refused to surface.
“You’re right, this will taste much better with dinner.”
Mr. G’s face split in a grin, laughing as he refilled Link’s glass. Dinner was set on the dining room table for once and the radio was left on as background music. Mr. G pulled his chair close to Link’s while they ate. He complimented the curry, although Link knew it was nothing like the real thing. Mr. G assured him that no curry tasted like the real thing outside of the desert, not even the curry in Gerudo restaurants. He ate extra helpings though, which eased Link’s insecurity about it. For once, it was Mr. G who took the lead in conversation and Link was starry-eyed and happy to drown in the deep timbre of his voice. He talked entirely about his homeland, leaving no doubts that he’d hailed directly from it. He gave Link stories and folktales, letting the blond ask questions, and talking with more animation than Link had ever seen of him. When neither could eat anymore, Mr. G bodily picked Link up at the waist to take him into the bedroom. Link laughed, being tossed over the man’s shoulder like he weighed nothing to him. He made sure to nab the bottle of Noble Pursuit before they left the table. There was a television in the bedroom but they didn’t turn it on. Instead, Link got Mr. G to take his shoes off and they sat in the center of the bed to keep drinking and talking. Link messed up the blankets to pull one around his shoulders and Mr. G moved closer to him, silently offering his natural warmth, which was far more inviting.
“Did you really do all this for me?”
Link was sitting on the mattress between thick thighs, legs thrown over to the side. A strong hand rested on his thigh comfortably, another arm around his back. Link raised his brows over the edge of his glass.
“The food. Have you been taking classes?”
The question edged on the boundary of things they weren’t supposed to ask each other. Link swallowed his drink and licked the flavor from his lips. Mr. G didn’t miss the appearance of his tongue.
“Sort of?” He was embarrassed to admit it out loud, to his client of all people, but he also didn’t want to man thinking it was someone else’s idea. That someone suggested it to Link in an effort to keep the Gerudo happy with him. “Um, a couple weeks ago you…”
He smiled, feeling foolish. “You said my name. As you were leaving. I, um, liked it? It made me weirdly happy? So I wanted to return the feeling, is all.”
Mr. G’s expression was unreadable again.
“So you learned how to make curry.”
Link nodded. “There’s a great place near ...uh, in town. They were very kind when I asked, gave me some pointers.”
The man was quiet for a minute or two. Link wasn’t sure if he should start getting uncomfortable, but the bottle of Noble Pursuit had barely a third left in it and his nerves were smooth and unbothered.
“Link,” Mr. G started, watching the pass of shy joy on the smaller man’s face. It earned a small smile out of him. “...Thank you.”
He didn’t need to say more than that. Link settled comfortably against him, pleased from his toes to his fuzzy brain.
A dark hand gently tilted his face to the side so Mr. G could press a wet kiss to his neck, directly over the small hickey he’d left hours before. Link sighed in contentment. The kisses followed up to his ear in a slow trail that had his skin buzzing as much as his brain. Before he could lavish Link in any more attention, though, they both heard a familiar chirping sound from the dining room. From the phone Mr. G had left there. The night had gone so quickly. He felt the lips against his neck fall into a grimace.Then Link was gasping in surprise when he felt teeth against the same spot as before, this time not shy or pulling back right away. Mr. G held him until he was satisfied with the mark he’d made and Link felt more than a little warm under the collar. He had to bite his lip to keep from moaning again. Another kiss was pressed to his ear afterwards.
“I’ll be home soon.”
Link nodded, licking his dry lips. As always, he followed the man to the entryway and gave him a hug goodbye. When he was close, Mr. G whispered for only him to hear.
“I’ll miss you, Link. I always do.”
Feeling flustered and shaken up, Link kissed the man’s cheek twice, wishing he didn’t have to release him so soon.
“I’ll be here waiting for you to come back.”
It was a Monday when his contact texted him, requesting Link meet her at a popular local cafe around four in the afternoon. Link hadn’t needed to see the woman face-to-face in months so he felt instantly worried. Thursday had gone so well. Mr. G had loved the food and they’d done nothing but talk for hours . It had been really nice. Probably the nicest night Link had in years. He’d gladly do the night over again for free. Mr. G seemed so happy that night.
Plus that hickey had lasted for days. Was that why she wanted to see him? It wasn’t against the rules, per se. Not explicitly. Though it was definitely the first time it had happened.
Regardless of the reason, Link showed up thirty minutes early through nerves alone. His contact was a very pretty Gerudo woman with bright green eyes. She didn’t seem much older than Link, but he was also bad at telling people’s ages. Her clothes were both professional and stylish with heavy gold jewelry.
“Link, we meet again.” She smiled as she sat down, though it looked more like a smirk than anything. He realized she was looking at the nearly faded yellowing skin on his neck so he shrugged his scarf up higher.
“Riju.” He greeted her with a nod.
She sat down across from him, immediately taking a file folder from her bag and slapping it on the table.
“Straight to business, then. As per request, I’ve drawn up a subclause for your contract. Two, actually. I’d like for you to read them over.”
When Link reached for them, though, she covered his hands and looked at him very seriously.
“However, you are in no way required to sign them. These are merely propositions. Only sign them if you really and truly want to. There is no pressure here. Nothing will ever be done outside of your comfort zone if you choose to say no.”
She did this the first time he’d read and signed his contract. He nodded in understanding and she let him go, leaning back to cross her arms over her small chest.
“You never say very much to us.”
Link gave a shrug as he opened the folder.
The first subclause had him flushing in minutes. Long clause short, if he signed it then he would be giving Mr. G permission to kiss him on the mouth. Though, not as a form of trying to initiate sex. In fact, Link would be in control of how deep or how long the kissing went on for, and what would be allowed. His head swam a little bit. As a distraction, he flipped to the second subclause. It was shorter, essentially outlining that he would be giving Mr. G permission to give him gifts. Not like the wine and desserts he frequently brought home to go with dinner, or the clothing in the penthouse closet. These would be be gifts for Link to take home with him. Things that would be his outside of their make-believe relationship, to do with as he pleased. Again, it emphasized that he could refuse or return a gift at any time without consequence. And he would not be expected to do anything in return for those gifts that he was not otherwise comfortable offering. As in, Mr. G couldn’t demand sexual favors in return for the gifts. Not that Link could ever imagine the man demanding a sexual favor of him. He always treated Link like he was something special, not some kind of escort. As to whether or not Link really was special to him was purposefully unclear.
“Please take your time to consider them.” Riju caught a waitress and ordered an espresso while Link read over each clause thoroughly to make sure he understood what was being asked of him. Mr. G wanted to kiss him and give him gifts. As if he wasn’t doing enough for him already. Link only had to work one day a week to pay all of his expenses plus some. The man was far too generous already. Below those thoughts though, Link ...wanted to kiss Mr. G, too. He couldn’t help it, his feelings towards the man were so confusing at this point. He wasn’t sure about the gifts, though. He read that subclause over once more. It did say he could refuse a gift at any time.
He kept Riju waiting for nearly an hour before asking for a pen.
She left once both papers were signed with his signature and hers, stating that Mr. G was going to be signing a similar subclause in his own copy of the contract agreeing to never trying to pressure Link into things he didn’t want based on the subclauses. She gave a thumbs up to the cafe camera when they’d finished. Before she left though, she turned to tell him one last thing.
“Mr. G has requested that you don’t prepare dinner this week. The food preparations will be handled by a third party, so you need only arrive early enough to get yourself ready for the night.”
He was surprised but nodded in understanding all the same.
The rest of his evening was filled with thoughts of what it would be like to kiss that man.
Link was surprised to find a box sitting on their bed when he arrived on Thursday. It was a small, white box with Gerudo lettering in gold on the top. A gift already? His heart did a tumble. Equal parts thrilled and cautious, Link picked the box up and opened it. Inside was a slip of a note, written in Hylian.
I got these for you a long time ago, I'm happy I can give them to you now. I thought of you the moment I saw them and I hope you don’t think they’re too much. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. -G
It was a pair of earrings. They were simple studs but Link felt the air leave his lungs. They were sapphires, as bright and blue as his eyes, set in golden posts. Though basic in design, they glittered in the light.
His face felt too hot, stomach fluttery and nervous. They were simple but they were absolutely gorgeous. Above that, Mr. G had seen them and thought of him. He knew in his head that accepting them was dangerous for his heart, but he couldn't put the box down.
Link loved them.
Getting ready afterwards felt like wading through clouds. He put on slacks for once with a grey sweater since the weather was only getting colder. He braided his hair along the back of his head with expert fingers and the help of mirrors. Finally, he slipped the earrings into his empty holes and flustered at his own reflection. He looked like he actually had money. Like he might have married into wealth, after everything. At that thought, he went to find his wedding band in the drawer. The gold of it matched the earrings. Just to round the outfit off, he went through the selection of jewelry that was kept for him in the penthouse. He rarely wore it, but he chose a very simple gold chain necklace with no pendant. It was long enough to hang down his chest under the sweater, but was delicate and thin.
Link was still looking at himself in wonder when he heard the distant sound of the front door opening. His heart jumped into his throat.
In the entryway, he found his client struggling with take out bags that filled the hall with a familiar aroma that had Link's mouth watering in seconds. He quickly grabbed two of the bags so Mr. G could close the door and give him a smile.
“Welcome home. What's all this?”
Link carried the bags into the kitchen with the man on his heels.
“I brought you dinner.”
Link inhaled the aroma again and said, “this smells like… Is this from the Golden Pumpkin?”
“Yes.” Mr. G was clearly pleased that Link recognized it.
“I didn't know they offered take-out.”
He watched the man smirk and pull out a large tub of soup, peeling the lid off. “They don't.” He gave Link a wink and the blond laughed.
He retrieved the dinnerware and set it right there on the kitchen island. Mr. G took a taste test of the soup before he served it, humming in pleasure. He offered a spoonful to Link next. It had been years since he'd had the famous pumpkin soup. It tasted even better than he remembered.
“Mmm,” he hummed in bliss, savoring the taste on his tongue.
Mr. G served both of their portions while Link arranged the other goodies on their plates. The fresh bread was perfectly crisp and there was apple turnover that Link took a sneaky bite of. It was buttery and melted on his tongue. When they set themselves at the dining room table, Mr. G surprised him even further.
“The Golden Pumpkin's tavern house brew.”
Link was a fan of beer and he'd traveled a lot. He knew which ones were the best. Mr. G poured them both pints from fresh bottles. They clinked their steins together and both drank long. It stirred up a calm sense of longing for years passed in Link, but he was glad to lower his mug and see Mr. G there smiling at him with a beer mustache.
“Is there any form of alcohol you don’t like?” It was asked as a joke, but Link sternly nodded his head. Mr. G’s smile grew playful. “Like what?”
Link took another swallow and put his mug down.
“You’ll just have to try and find out.”
“Don’t tempt me, Link. I’ll take that challenge seriously.”
Link leaned over and wiped the beer mustache away with his thumb. “Please do.”
He returned the playful smile as he finally tucked into the soup, losing thought in the perfect blend of flavors. Every ingredient was chopped so finely and simmered for hours. Pumm was an absolute artist when it came to anything pumpkin, he’d really earned his reputation; and the right to his sky-high prices. After they both relished the initial flavor of their food, Link looked over at the man who sat right next to him, almost afraid to ask.
“What’s the occasion?”
“Hm?” Ganon hummed around his beer.
“You never bring home dinner. Not that I mind, I haven’t eaten at the Golden Pumpkin in years.” Link chuckled and belatedly realized that he’d just let on that he used to eat at one of the most expensive restaurants in Castle Town. Mr. G didn’t think anything of it though. He smiled kind of sheepishly, which looked adorable on his stern features.
“You worked really hard on our last dinner together. This is my way of saying thank you.”
A dark hand reached out to cover his and Link returned the hold. Immediately he thought about kissing the man. He’d signed those papers and Mr. G had already given him a gift. Link had thought the kissing would come much sooner, but the Gerudo had made no move to even try. Even though their last departure had been somewhat ...heated. Looking into those fond, gold eyes, it struck Link that Mr. G was probably waiting to get a green light from Link himself.
Mr. G’s brows pinched together when Link sat up from his chair, but the expression switched to surprise when a small, shy kiss was pressed to his lips. It lasted for barely a second before Link sat down again and kept eating with one hand. He smiled to see Mr. G’s expression out of the corner of his eyes. If he wasn’t mistaken, dark cheeks seemed just a bit darker than normal and he looked somewhat dazed for a moment. Link squeezed his hand and the man cleared his throat and kept eating as well.
When dinner was over and done with, Link pulled the man to the couch and turned on whatever. He didn’t pay any attention to it though because he dropped the remote before making himself comfortable in the man’s lap. His client held him warmly, pulling a soft blanket down to cover their legs.
“Thank you for dinner, babe, and ...for my gift.”
Mr. G tucked a bit of Link’s bangs behind his ear and touched the back of one earring.
“Do you like them?”
“I do.” There was no pandering in Link’s voice. He raised a hand to idly stroke the red beard along the man’s jaw. “I really do.”
The kiss that followed was less shy, but there also wasn't anything heated about it. Mr. G’s lips were comfortable; they felt like a familiar place, even though they weren't. It was like kissing an old lover and Link's heart was content. They parted with matching smiles.
“I like that, too.”
“Do you?” Mr. G hummed and tilted Link’s head by his chin, smacked a kiss next to his ear.
“Mhm.” Link sucked a buzzing lip into his mouth, eyes falling closed when another kiss was pressed to his neck. “And that.”
Mr. G smiled against his skin. “And this?” Teeth grazed his neck again and Link’s lips twitched up into a smile.
At the sound of that word, the man’s mouth closed over the point of Link’s pulse. He let nothing but gasps escape him while Mr. G took his time painting a pretty bruise on him. The kisses that trailed back up to his lips afterwards were hotter but they didn’t deepen against his lips. Link was grateful, he wasn’t sure he could handle too much too fast. Instead they parted with pleased sighs, foreheads resting together.
“I like it, too.”
Link found and brought Mr. G’s left hand up to hold, thumb brushing over the golden ring there. They kept their gazes soft and fond. Even the quiet moments between them were worth savoring.
It was only an hour or so later. Link was falling asleep against the man’s shoulder, drowning in the scent of his cologne. A soothing hand was trailing up and down his back.
“What’s that name you call me?”
Blinking tiredly, Link hummed, “babe?”
“No, not that one, sweetie.”
“Mm, Mr. G?”
“That one, yes. I don’t think I want you to call me that anymore.”
Link became more alert right away. He sat up a little, surprised by the casualty in which his client wanted to change one of firmest rules Link had been given. He chose his next words cautiously.
“What do you want me to call you?”
The man didn’t look worried, his eyes were just as fond as they’d been the whole night. Dark fingers brushed over Link’s cheek, nudging an earring. He smiled after a moment.
“How about you just call me Gan.”
Gan. It was simple but sounded so much more personal. As intimate as a kiss.
The man gave a pleased sound, pressing Link closer.
“I like that much better. Do you?”
“Gan.” Link said it softer, letting their lips brush. The dreaded sound of a phone chirping didn’t stop them from kissing again.
It was very strange, seeing her again like this. In the middle of a quirky coffee shop patroned mostly by college students and nerds. He also never thought he’d see her wearing an old hoodie, of all things, hood covering her flaxen hair. She waited until they’d gotten their coffee before she spoke.
“How have you been?”
Link could tell that the question was as strained as her smile. He gave a shrug, sipping from his mug. He wasn’t really dressed for interaction, hair in a messy bun with sleep still crusting his eyes. He really wished she’d given him more warning, he wasn’t ready for this. Although, in all fairness, if she’d given him warning, he never would have shown up. It wouldn’t have been the first time, either.
“How are your cats?”
“They’re fine, Zelda.” His voice was cracked. He hadn’t spoken for almost two days.
“Good! That’s good.” Her smile became more genuine at the sound of his voice.
They trailed off into awkward silence.
“So, what have you been doing? Decided to work or are you still volunteering?”
“Animal shelter and a restaurant.” He kept his answers purposefully vague.
“A restaurant, that’s great, Link. You’ve always loved cooking.”
“I’m just bussing tables.”
“The Golden Pumpkin?”
“No,” he fiddled with his mug uncomfortably. “A local place.”
Zelda was leaning on the table.
“I could talk to Pumm if you’d like. I’m sure he’d be more than happy to take you on-”
“No.” His tone was firm, it caused a flash of pain to cross the woman’s face. He didn’t care. “I’ve told you over and over again. ...I don’t want anything from you. Except for you to leave me alone.”
She was fed up immediately but remained perfectly calm.
“Link, I am the only reason you’re being left alone. Maybe you should act a little more fucking grateful, if you want to keep your simple, quiet life instead of ending up... “ She trailed off to collect herself. They couldn’t look at each other anymore.
“I just worry about you.”
She huffed a sigh, knowing she wasn’t going to get anything else out of him.
“Until next time then.” Without another word, she got up and left, responding politely to the shopkeeper’s farewell. A shopkeeper who had no idea he’d just had their Princess sitting in his cafe. Link finished his coffee slowly, savoring it. Afterwards, he exchanged dollars for coins and let go of his frustrations in the cafe’s vintage Street Fighter machine. He stayed there until closing time.
Since it’s initial success, Link had decided to try making Gan a new Gerudo dish once a month. He was still frequenting the small restaurant near his apartment. So much so that the owner offered to start paying him. He turned the offer down. Learning in the kitchen was the only payment he needed. Gan caught on to his pattern after a few months and started bringing home traditional desserts and drinks. Those nights tended to involve a lot of laughter and warm kisses shared over hot food. Lively conversation filling their pretend home. It was so easy to feel like it could be real and they were both happy to sink further into the lie of it all.
Link’s apartment was located in the artisan district of the city. He liked it there. The people were weird and unafraid to be themselves. They didn’t judge others for their lifestyles. Link appreciated that. Realistically, he could have afforded a much larger apartment. He was being paid well enough, but he liked the apartment he was in. It was in a renovated warehouse that had been split into a bunch of different apartments. Most of them were studio but Link had snagged a multi-room at the top corner of the building, fire escape outside leading right up to the roof where he kept plants. Link technically only had three cats, but he tended to keep his windows open which attracted a lot of strays. Especially when he was cooking.
Two cats wound around his ankles in the kitchen, rubbing against him with hungry mewls. One watched him from the counter while two more sat on the windowsill singing to strays in the street. He sang along, much to the humor of his neighbors. He was perfecting his cat imitation. Cold air pushing in through the open windows, cooling him off from the heat of the kitchen.
He took six dishes out of the cupboard, dividing up the sauced salmon and greens for the cats and himself. His soft friends ate their feast, lined up by the counter in his kitchen. Link poured a sloppy glass of malt whiskey, dropping a few ice cubes in, then made himself comfortable on his squishy couch. He was just in time for his favorite show, the theme song filling his living room with lively anticipation. Link sang along under his breath as he grabbed his favorite pillow to put his plate on.
“Vilia’s Drag Race, start your engines ...May the best woman win…”
It was his typical Wednesday night.
Din finished her food first, always the quick eater. She leapt onto the cushion next to him and curled up. He scratched her neck fluff briefly to get her purring.
“Are you ready for Bolsen Balls to walk all over these beeshes, Din? ‘Cause I am.” A cute kitty chirp was Link’s answer.
He judged his dinner a success during a commercial break when he stood up and saw every food dish empty. He refilled his whiskey and grabbed a pint of ice cream from his freezer. Nayru and Farore were cleaning their privates on the carpet in front of the television when he came back.
“Very classy, girls. No shame.”
Din immediately perked up and tried to stick her fluffy head into his ice cream when he peeled it open.
“Ah, no, Din. You just had dinner. ..Don’t give me that look, I am a grown man. I bought this pint of delicious deku nut ice cream and I am going to eat it. When you start paying bills, you can eat all the ice cream you want.”
As soon as he took a bite, though, an icy wind blew in from behind him. With the oven and stove off, the apartment was cooling down. Holding the edge of his pint between his teeth for it’s safety, he jumped back up to shoo the strays out and close the windows. Back on the couch, Din was licking the ice cream lid he’d left behind.
“Din…” He sighed in defeat, petting her tail. “This is why your sisters accuse me of favoritism.”
Before Link sat down again, he was stopped in his tracks by a knock on the front door. At first he thought it must have been a mistake, he literally had no reason to have visitors, especially at night. When the knock came again, he figured it was probably some drunk hipster who’s hook-up gave them the wrong apartment number. He grabbed his spoon and scooped up a mouthful. On his way to the door, he paused to crack open the hall closet and called out.
“Who is it?”
No one answered, but the floor in the hall creaked under a living weight. It was his first opportunity to regret not putting in a peephole yet.
“If you’re looking for drugs, you have the wrong place, my friend.” He ate another spoonful and listened. The knock came again, softer and somewhat hesitant. He left his spoon in his mouth and started unlocking the heavy bolt and chain, pulling the door open.
Gan looked different outside the rosey setting of their penthouse. His suit was still sharp and expensive, the smell of familiar cologne underlined with a metallic tang that had Link’s spine growing stiff. Yet, the air about him was haggard and looming. He leaned against the door frame, filling nearly the entire thing and panting slightly. Link’s eyes traveled down from his stony face to the awkward way his arm hung at his side, then down to the red droplets hitting the hardwood floor of the hallway. Link’s spoon joined them with a clatter.
“I am, yes. Now, I know this is strictly against the rules outlined in our respective contracts, but may I come in?”
“What.” Blue eyes snapped back up to the man’s face.
“Feel free to turn me away.”
Link gaped for a second, then laughter from the stairwell at the end of the hall startled them both. Link grabbed the man’s tie and yanked him in, soaking the blood spots up with the bottom of his sock before he shut the door. He locked it all up before he could second guess himself and quickly shuffled the large man down the hall and into his bathroom, ignoring his pained hissing.
“Gently, please. I did just get shot.”
“More than shot.”
Link pulled an extensive medical kit out from under his sink. He huffed at the man with a hard look.
“Bullets don’t give people dislocated shoulders.”
The man paused before humming in admission. “True.”
“Shoulder first, it’ll hurt less.”
The man barely hid his surprise, but sat down on the toilet seat and turned to give Link access. Once Link positioned the aching arm the way he needed it, he placed his first hand to his shoulder and the other firmly on his back.
“One, two, three-”
A sharp push popped the joint right back in, Gan grunted only once. Flexing his fingers, he eyed the young man who was now rummaging through the medical kit.
“Take your jacket off.”
He visibly hesitated before complying. Link immediately saw why. He wore a gun holster between his shirt and suit jacket. In clear line of sight, he removed the heavy pistol and disarmed it, setting the pieces down on the edge of the tub. Then he unbuttoned his shirt. The shot was more of a graze to his ribcage than anything. Bloody but not deep. Link had to pause and take a deep breath, letting it out slowly up towards his ceiling. He could do this. With hands as steady as he could make them, he used a hair clip to keep the shirt out of the way while cleaning up the mess. Gan just watched him work quietly at first.
“Your file stated that you worked in the military for a time.”
“My file?” Link perked a brow but didn’t look up.
“From your background check.”
Link snorted. “I served in the military for a few years, yes.”
“Is that where you learned to patch people up? It stated that you’ve never actually been deployed.”
Link shrugged. “Gotta pass the time somehow in this era of peace.” His words were only a little sarcastic. They both knew that there was no true peace. Gan accepted it without further clarification.
He worked with surprisingly calm and deft hands, despite how long it had been since he'd done this. Despite how hard his heart was racing, because his client was sitting on his toilet, bleeding, and had brought a gun. Link was tempted to glance at the magazine and see how many bullets were missing. He didn't.
“Well, you won't need stitches.”
“That's good news.”
The man wasn't even flinching while he worked on him. Instead, he watched Link's face, expression carefully masked. Link finally glanced up and let their eyes meet. He offered a shy smile. A dark hand raised slowly to his face and pinched the edge of the glasses perched on Link's nose. He'd completely forgot he was wearing them. They weren't functional, purely for looks. Link felt cute when he wore them.
Immediately flushed, he pushed them up on his head and focused on bandaging the wound. Gan relaxed back on the toilet seat. When he was done, Link gave the man a pat on his knee as he stood.
“That should keep you together until you see a real doctor.”
Blood stained the water as he washed his hands. Link tried not to look at it. Gan waited on the toilet lid until he was finished putting everything away, then followed him out of the bathroom. Link lightly kicked his hall closet door closed as they passed it.
Nayru started trilling at the sight of a visitor. She jumped up onto the coffee table and rolled over to offer her belly. Gan stopped short at the sight of her.
With an awkward gesture of his arm, Link smiled sheepishly. “Welcome to Faron Castle.”
The television suddenly started loudly playing the theme song for Vilia’s Drag Race again, making Link dive for the remote and jab the mute button. He cleared his throat after.
“Allow me to introduce the three Princesses of the realm: Nayru, Farore, and ...Din.”
Din had gotten off the couch and was sniffing Gan’s pant leg. It was a very thorough sniff, even shoving her little nose into the cuff and pulling it out quickly to sneeze. Afterwards, though, she purred and rubbed her body against him, shedding ginger fur over the expensive twill.
“You apparently pass her test.”
Gan still hadn't said anything, it was making Link very nervous.
“You can sit. I have whiskey, if you want any.”
“...Whiskey sounds good, thank you.”
Link left the man to go into the kitchen. He took the silly glasses off and fixed his ponytail. His tee was ratty with holes in the seams but it was too late to change it. Link had to pause when he realized what he was doing.
This wasn't work. Gan had shown up to his home , outside the realm of their contracts. This wasn't his pretend husband he'd just patched together, it was just a stupidly attractive man that he knew almost nothing about. Basically, he'd let a stranger with a gun into his home. Link wasn't going to change anything about himself for that.
With two glasses of whiskey in hand, and the fake glasses back on his face, Link found Gan sitting on his couch with Din in his lap. He was petting her gently and Link felt his chest flutter and melt a little. The man smiled in thanks for the drink.
“I was expecting something ...bigger.”
Link perked his brows, unsure of his meaning, so Gan elaborated.
“Your apartment. I thought I paid you better than this.”
Link plopped down on the couch next to him with a snorting laugh, folding his legs up underneath him.
“You do, but I don't need anything bigger. This is just enough for us. Right girls?”
Gan looked at Link strangely but accepted it with a nod. It had Link chuckling again.
“I have everything I could possibly need. What I don't need is the judgement of a stranger sitting on my couch drinking my whiskey.” He said it playfully but he was still guarded. Gan could tell. This whole situation was weird.
“I suppose you don't.”
He swallowed almost the entire tumbler, looking pleasantly surprised that the whiskey was top shelf. Silence settled between them, but it wasn't as awkward. Link gnawed his bottom lip a little until Farore jumped into his lap and stretched out. He ran his fingers through her soft fur, chasing his courage there.
“So ...just here for a visit?”
Gan looked at him and hummed. “Something like that.”
“Did you miss me?” He tried to joke.
“I always miss you.”
Link stopped, glass pressed to his lips.
It wasn't the first time he'd said it, but hearing it outside of their penthouse was another experience. Especially since there wasn’t an ounce of insincerity in Gan’s voice when he said it, or in his eyes as they looked at each other. Link forced himself to take a shaky sip. The man looked away when he did, clearing his throat softly.
“I’m sorry, that was inappropriate.”
“No, I mean, really it was just ...unexpected?”
Gan looked at him again side-long after draining his glass. There was something cautious but hopeful about his expression. Link was talking again before he could stop himself, looking down at Farore and feeling her purr against his thigh.
“I know you’re not going to tell me why you’re really here, and that’s fine. It’s just one more thing that I don’t know about you. But I don’t need to know all these things about you to know that what I do for you ...means something to you.” Link let himself look into golden eyes again and smiled straight from his heart. “It’s not inappropriate to express that. Outside of the rules, maybe, but you even stepping into this building was outside of the rules, so. Break ‘um while you can, I guess.”
Din and Farore bolted when Gan leaned across the couch to kiss Link, twisting at the hip, despite his injury. It was a reverent press of lips laced with whiskey and the taste of the man that was quickly becoming familiar. Link blindly shoved his glass onto the coffee table and pushed him back, breaking the kiss.
“You crazy man , you’re going to start bleeding again if you don’t take it easy.”
As soon as Link made sure his posture was straightened back out, he kissed him back; kneeling above him, knees pressed against a firm thigh as arms brought him closer. It didn’t take long for reverence to melt into heat and Link threaded his fingers into bright, coarse hair. They parted when Link felt a hot hand trail down his side and pause on his bare thigh, a shiver stumbling up his spine as a slow gasp filled his lungs.
“...May I?” Gan’s voice was soft. They both knew they were edging something they’d wanted for months but still the man hesitated to ask. Link worried his bottom lip, golden eyes watching. He wanted to say yes so badly.
“If I say yes now, will either of us be able to say no when we ...when we’re at home?”
The Gerudo man gave the question careful thought. His thumb traced back and forth over the soft hair on Link’s thigh but his hand didn’t raise to slip under his sleeping shorts. Instead, he sighed and Link knew his answer. So Link planted a soft kiss against those full lips, suckling the bottom one for a second as he pulled away. Gan made a grumpy sound at the sensation and Link couldn’t help chuckling as he checked to ensure that the man hadn't started bleeding again. When he was confident he was still okay, Link grabbed his whiskey and settled back into his seat. Gan didn't exactly look happy over the loss of contact. It made Link smile but he couldn't bring himself to sit closer. He wanted those large hands to touch him everywhere . If he couldn't have that, it would be best if they didn't touch him at all.
“I have to cancel dinner tomorrow, for obvious reasons.” Gan said after a moment of composing himself.
“You'll still get paid for your trouble tonight.”
“Gan, you don't have to do that.”
“I know.” The man reached over, completely oblivious to Link’s internal sigh of aching, and took a much paler hand in his own. “I’m going to do it anyway, because I want to take care of you.”
Link’s mouth felt dry in a way that the whiskey couldn’t wet it. He squeezed calloused fingers with his own.
“You do take care of me. Very well.”
He could tell the Gerudo man wanted to say so much more, but instead he nodded and smiled in a soft, adoring way that tightened Link’s chest up. Gan’s face wasn’t used to such soft expression, Link could tell, but he seemed to see it a lot. Goddess, he wanted to kiss him again. He wanted to show the man his real bed. Link knocked the rest of his whiskey back in a quick gulp. Just in time, too. As soon as he was finished swallowing, a phone went off so sharply that Link jumped hard in his seat. So hard that Gan squeezed his hand again in assurance.
“That was me, it’s alright.”
One-handed, Gan fished into his pocket for an unfamiliar phone, grimacing in pain when he did. He answered with a swipe and murmured in familiar Gerudo that Link still didn’t understand outside of a few kitchen terms. A large thumb traced a soothing circle on the thin skin of the back of Link’s hand while he talked briefly to whomever was on the other end. He hung up without expression.
“My ride is here.”
“Bummer,” Link said with a light smile. Gan snorted with a smile of his own. He brought Link’s hand up and kissed the back of it.
“Thank you for the drink, and for cleaning up my blood. I’m sorry for the intrusion.”
“Don’t mention it. You certainly made my night more exciting.”
“Mm.” Another lingering kisses pressed to his hand as the man stood.
Link huffed and clambered up on his couch, surprising Gan when he leaned against him for a real kiss. It was eagerly received. This time they parted with small smiles and a tender gaze.
“I’ll see you next week.”
Link watched the man retrieve his pistol from the bathroom, putting it back together and holstering it. Din made sure to rub against his pant leg again before he slipped out the door, like she was hoping to convince him to stay. He leaned down gingerly and gave her head a rub, then stood up and gave Link’s forehead a kiss. Then he was gone. Link sighed at how empty his apartment suddenly felt.
The next gift nearly knocked Link on his ass. It wasn't given to him on a work night, it was delivered to his home on a Monday by way of post. Link had opened all three of the boxes and just stood at his counter for half an hour, trying to calm down. They were cat collars, made of rich leather in three colors with the names of his girls embossed in golden letters. They were extravagant, too extravagant. He was about to wrap them up to send back when Din hauled herself onto the counter and went right to the red collar with her name on it. She sniffed it and mewled, turning her big golden eyes on Link. He caved with a groan. He was already known in his building as the queer with the spoiled cats, Gan wasn't helping his reputation. His princesses looked beautiful in their new collars, though. Especially Farore, but Link was always been partial to the color green.
On Thursday, he would have been more than happy to drop to his knees and blow the man as a thank you. But that was highly against the rules. Instead, he sat himself in Gan’s lap, straddling his hips, and kissed him so heatedly that the man had to excuse himself to the bathroom for a while. That night, Link took home the thrilling memory of feeling the outline of Gan’s dick hardening in his trousers. He wasn't shy about masturbating to it before he fell asleep.
Gan still took up the majority of his door frame, poking at the peephole that hadn’t been there the first time. Link waited patiently, taking the time to look the man over but finding no sign of injury this time. The Gerudo hummed, turning his attention to Link in his worn-out Navi tee. The tour dates on the back were so faded that they were no longer legible.
“Am I interrupting anything?”
Link shook his head. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, he usually spent them at home, doing whatever he fancied at the moment.
“I’m almost done baking. Did you want to come in?”
Link led the tall man inside, a small chorus of happy cats coming to greet them. Din was leading the pack, which was mostly strays. Farore was asleep on the open windowsill while Nayru sat in front of the oven like a sentinel. Gan kneeled down to give the ginger fluffball a good pet and neck scratch. She seemed very happy to see him. He seemed very happy to see her wearing the collar he’d picked out. Link let them be and went to check on the oven. They were just about done.
“What are you baking?”
“Dog treats!” Link whipped around with a wide smile. Gan was taking off his suit jacket and draping it over one of the bar seats. He still wore a holster underneath and, like before, he disarmed his pistol and left the pieces on the counter.
“Not cat treats?” He asked with a smile.
“I finished the catnip treats, already. That’s why everyone is so happy.”
It was true, every cat wandering around his apartment was purring happily, rubbing each other, rolling around, or just sleeping. Gan snorted as he rolled up his shirt sleeves.
“And why treats?”
“I volunteer at an animal shelter sometimes.”
Link grabbed his mittens and opened the oven again. The treats were shaped like bones and smelled like pumpkin and peanut butter.
“Those are dog treats?”
“Smell great, right? You should try one when they cool down, they’re basically pumpkin cookies.”
Link covered the tray with another and weighed it down with a bag of rice to keep greedy cats from stealing. A warm body sidled up behind him and he turned to meet it.
The kiss was slow and soft fur rubbed against their ankles as they moved to hold each other. Link hummed when he pulled back.
“Plans today?” The danger of the question went out the open window when Gan kissed him again.
“Nothing I’d regret blowing off to stay here with you.”
Link smiled at the scratch of the man’s beard as kisses trailed to his jaw and neck. His own question was mumbled back at him, near his ear.
“Mmm, normal things. Dishes, putting my laundry away, brush the cats, water my plants, etcetera.” Link shamelessly pushed himself closer in Gan’s arms, earning himself a soft bite to his jugular. His voice was a little breathier when he added, “honestly, I think I’d rather take a nap though.”
Gan snorted and raised his head.
“A nap,” Link confirmed with a slight smile and warm eyes. “Care to join me?”
The man looked surprised and mildly baffled.
“You want to sleep in the middle of the day?”
“Yeah, that’s what a nap is. Do you not nap?”
“I’m normally too busy for such luxuries.” It was a tease, but he wasn’t far from being right. Being able to nap as he pleased was a privilege Link eagerly took advantage of. So, with a smile, Link leaned up and kissed the man’s beard, then pulled him out of the kitchen and into his bedroom.
There wasn’t much to be seen there. Wardrobes took up almost an entire wall while his bed took up most of the remaining space. The window was open in there, too, plants sitting on a desk underneath it. It was tidy, bed made. That is, until Link hopped onto it, pulling his hairband out and shaking blond locks loose. Behind him, Gan took off his tie and holster, toeing off his shoes.
“Not afraid of wrinkling your clothes?”
Link lounged back and watched a cocky smile touch the man’s lips. Neither was shy enough to look away as he undressed down to his boxer briefs and undershirt. Thrill sunk into Link’s skin then. Gan definitely wasn’t going to be leaving in a hurry.
His bed was more than big enough for them both, memory foam dipping gently under their respective weights. Gan let out a sigh of appreciation to know Link was definitely spoiling himself where it mattered. Like instinct, they cuddled up together. Link was more than happy to let Gan pull him into a possessive embrace. The weather outside was warming up with the spring, but he pressed into the man’s constant heat, hoping to soak it in through his own skin. The sound of the city outside slowly lulled them both to sleep.
Link was clearly more accustomed to napping, he was awake within an hour. Gan, however, was still out cold when he opened his eyes and gave a stretch, careful to stay inside the arms circling him. Din had joined them on the bed, a fast asleep ball of fluff in the corner. It was pretty surreal, actually. Link never let anyone into his apartment unless they were maintainance or had four legs and a tail. It had been a long time since he’d slept in proximity to another human being, but there they were. Napping together like a couple. He probably shouldn’t trust Gan that much. He didn’t know who he was exactly, but he knew what kind of person Gan must be and the most accurate descriptor was probably ‘dangerous’.
Gan didn’t scare him though, had never even made him nervous like that. That was probably a testament to how fucked up Link was now, but he didn’t care for personal introspection on the matter. He liked Gan, whoever he was. He liked having him in his home.
“Like what you see?”
Gan’s voice was thick, but his words were clear. Gold eyes peeled open to match Link’s gaze, a smile pulling his lips. He’d clearly not been as out cold as he’d looked. Link couldn’t help smiling back.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing more.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t.”
Gan shifted to lay back more, but kept an arm around Link. Kept him close.
“Please feel free.”
Link bit his lip but didn’t respond. Instead, he drug his hand down over the white undershirt that covered the man’s barrel chest. It had ridden up while they’d slept, so Link’s fingers didn’t even graze the waistband of his underwear when they hooked the hem and pulled it higher. Gan’s skin was so dark that Link looked horribly pale in comparison, but the smooth perfection of it was broken by scars both old and new. He’d not really had the opportunity to admire how solid and cut his muscles were when he’d been bandaging him up, but he did so freely now. He wasn’t built like any of the beef heads back in the service. The ones who spent most of their time lifting weights instead of studying strategies. The kind of guy Link ignored, though they tried very hard to get his attention. Gan was more like the old-style body builders he liked ogling at the beach. He was thick, his body screaming power. Gan had never gotten rough with Link, but he was pretty sure he’d pop a boner on the spot if he did.
Link traced the lines and dips of his stomach, careful around pink scars that looked the newest. He made his way up until Gan had to let him go to pull his shirt off over his head. Link somehow managed to not moan like a flaming queer at the sight of him. He ran his fingertips through coarse, red hair between the man’s pectorals, following its trail all the way down to his navel. Gan breathed in a little deeper, but didn’t say anything. He was perfectly content to let Link do as he pleased.
Stroking up his sides, Link sat up enough to press his cheek to that broad chest, breath in deep, and mumble, “fuuuuck.” Gan brushed his bangs out of his face.
Link made a sound like he’d just been jipped on the best damn dessert in the world, turning his face in to kiss warm skin. He was definitely pouting.
“You’re really hot. It’s not fair.”
The chest beneath him rumbled in a laugh and warm fingers tilted his face up to meet Gan’s eyes.
“I know we agreed something like this was a bad idea, but I think we’re both pretty good at making bad decisions anyway. I’m here again, after all, and you let me in.”
Link pushed himself up quickly, relief and excitement flooding into his limbs as he moved up to give the man a short but hard kiss.
“I’d like to let you in again now.”
Gan groaned and tried to pull Link on top of him, but the blond man ducked out of his hold and leaned all the way across him to his bedside drawer.
“I don’t have any condoms, though. I hope that’s okay. If it’s not, I’ll have to run down to the corner store.” He grabbed his bottle of lube, glad that there was still a good third of it left.
Hot hands groped up the back of his thigh and down the small of his back.
“You’re not going anywhere.”
“Bare it is,” Link said with a hint of a smile in his voice.
He didn’t climb on top of the man still, he wasn’t done appreciating his perfect body yet. He handed the bottle off and leaned down to kiss Gan like he’d wanted while Link’s hands wandered.
Dark nipples perked quickly under his touch and Gan groaned softly against Link’s tongue. He let his kisses trail away and scooted down to take a stiffened nub between his teeth, loving the hiss Gan pulled in. His fingers followed that holy trail of red hair down past his navel this time to the elastic band of his underwear. It was easy to find and trace the outline of the man’s cock. It was tucked to the side under the black cotton and a shiver went down Link’s spine. He was already expecting it to be large, but the girth of it made Link unsure if he was already aroused or if it was just that big .
Link sat up and gave Gan a quick kiss on the lips, stealing the lube back. “Excuse me, I have business elsewhere.”
“Business elsewhere?” To his credit, Gan actually did look both ruffled and confused; but Link went no further than turning around to give that beautiful man’s dick the attention it deserved. He heard a loud snort behind him. “Size queen.” Link couldn’t deny that.
He reeled in his weirder urges, it was too soon for that. Instead, he dipped his thumbs into the elastic band and eased the underwear down over his hips and off. It looked as big as it had felt, skin fading from dark at the base to an almost pink head. Link couldn’t help leaning down to give that head a sweet kiss before anything else. It twitched so slightly against his lips but Link smiled wide all the same. It was heavy in his hand and warm, warmer where the vein topside ran from root to tip. It felt like velvet against his tongue. Gan’s musk was heady but clean and it wrapped around Link’s senses, pooling a rushing heat down his own body.
“Can it stand on its own?”
“Mm, sometimes, but not by much.”
Link squirted some lube into his hand and squished it around with his fingers to warm it up. In the meantime, he laved his tongue down to heavy balls, nestled in kinky red hair. A moan finally rumbled from Gan’s throat. He’d been about to start massaging the lube onto the man’s shaft when Link’s entire lower half was suddenly lifted. His balance shifted, putting his entire face firmly into Gan’s crotch before he could catch himself. Honestly, though, he’d never been happier to have dick on his face.
His legs were settled on either side of Gan’s chest, hot hands roving up the back of his thighs and under the thin fabric of his sleeping shorts to gently grope. Link had noticed the the Gerudo man always seemed to touch him as if he were made out of something precious. Not breakable, but something that was meant to be savored. It made his face flush almost as much as his dick. He gave the lube a backward toss, offering it up as he went back to his own intentions and wasted very little time popping the flushed head into his mouth. He wanted to take in more, but it had been so long since he’d given a blowjob and Gan’s size wasn’t a joke. He didn’t want to strain something by being too eager. So instead he tried to remember his old tricks and listen for what the man might like best. He stroked the rest with deliberately irregular movements, free hand keeping him upright.
The hands on his ass were greedy, despite their reverence. Happy to fondle and squish. Link’s ass was more rounded now than it had been in his military days. He was eating indulgently and did a lot less cardio. The result was more to cup and jiggle, which Gan took advantage of. He paused to groan softly, hips barely twitching but not raising from the mattress into that sweet mouth. Not wanting to seem ungrateful, Gan pulled both shorts and underwear down those lithe hips. Link’s ass was like a masterpiece. Supple under his fingers as he smoothed his thumbs over the edges of the cleft and gently pulled his cheeks apart.
“I have jerked off so many times thinking about what you’d feel like around me. What you’d sound like, screaming for me.”
Link shuddered at the deep voice of confession and let the cock slip out of his mouth, a thick trail of saliva following for a second. There was a laugh in his voice. “You jerk off?”
“Doesn’t everybody?” Gan said with a smirk, smoothing lube between his fingers before tracing around the pink bud. Link shivered harder then, gasping. His next question was more breathy.
“You think about me that much?”
Gan paused in his answer.
“...More than I should.”
Link turned his head as far as he could to catch sight of those burning, gold eyes. They didn’t match his gaze, though. Gan was focused on massaging his tight ring. It hadn’t been long since the last time Link had played with himself there. When he did, the man behind him was usually on his mind. Before he could admit to that, a finger pressed into him.
Like the rest of him, Gan’s fingers were thick. Even with lube, Link could feel the calloused pad rubbing against him inside. A soft whine of encouragement earned him another finger. Gan used plenty of lube, squishing his fingers in while his free hand continued massaging his cheek and hip. Link shivered for it, completely forgetting what he’d been doing. In place of sucking it, Link just pressed his face against the velvety hot skin of Gan’s prick and moaned.
“Link.” Gan’s touch fell down his thigh, then up again prod at his balls, massaging them. Link could only respond with a questioning hum, canting his hips more in offering. “Have you been with anyone since you started working for me?”
Calloused fingers rubbed against his perineum while Gan was still working two fingers around inside of him to loosen the muscles. It didn’t feel like he was trying to find his prostate yet, just get him ready for something much bigger. Link still trembled and felt more blood pool into his erection. He shook his head before answering.
“No, I haven’t been with anyone ...in a while.”
“A few y ears! ”
Gan held his hips still, slowly brushing passed his prostate again and watching him squirm. Link's cheeks burned with delight. The touches were teasing, playful. He returned the gesture by pressing wet, open-mouthed kisses to the root of Gan’s erection while his thumb rubbed lightly over the tip’s slit. The man beneath him groaned deep in his chest.
“A few years is a travesty for one as stunning as you, Link. You deserve to writhe in pleasure each night.”
Link glanced over his shoulder again, this time catching that burning gaze.
“It took me a few years to find someone who deserves to see me writhe in passion.”
A moan cracked past Link's lips as Gan stabbed against his prostate forcefully. A third, slick finger finally pushed it's way inside and had Link seeing stars. The arms keeping him propped up over Gan's hips nearly gave out. He tried to keep the eye contact, but the drag of all three fingers inside of him was too distracting.
“Please,” he whispered, breathless, “Please fuck me?” His while body was trembling, heat churning under his skin like lava.
Slowly, Gan removed his fingers, massaging the rim as they left Link gaping and clenching around nothing. He pulled Link with him as he sat up and turned him around with ease so Link was straddling his lap, their faces close. Link was somewhat dazed, blue eyes glazed and cute. He hummed into the soft kiss Gan gave him. Since Link was leaving his limbs loose and complacent, Gan lifted him by the waist, lining up to let his smaller body sink down onto his girth, but Link came out of his daze to protest.
“Not like this.”
Gan furrowed his brow.
“This position will be easiest on you, you'll still have control. I want you to be comfortable.”
He wasn't expecting Link to roll his eyes as he quickly shed his ratty tee. With a quick push and rock, Link rolled backwards until he was flat on the bed with Gan over him. Their bodies touched everywhere and Link let out a pleased moan.
“I don't want control.” He looked up at Gan with something wild and beautiful in his eyes. “I want you to take me how you think I deserve to be taken.”
He raised his arms above his head and tilted his chin to show off his smooth, perfect neck. The display of surrender flooded even more heat through Gan’s body. His next words were a desperate plea.
“Ruin me, Gan.”
His hips jerked hard, burying himself in Link's much smaller body. Even with the lube, it was a rough entry, but Link's lips parted in a shaky moan. Gan had to pause and savor the trembling heat around him. Daydreams could never compare. After a moment of adjusting, he sunk the rest of the way in, bottoming out with a grunt.
Link was flushed and trembling. He was a feast of bare skin and lazy limbs. Gan couldn't help groaning as his small body twitched and clenched onto him.
He'd never been one for dirty talk, but he couldn't help the smirk curling his lips as he asked, “you like that dick?”
Link moaned, tightening around him. He looked up at Gan and smiled. The warmth of it reflected in his eyes.
“ Yes .”
Link’s hips fit perfectly between his hands as he held them aloft; his skin supple where he gripped it hard. Gan briefly considered starting easy, but Link was eagerly rutting back against him when he sunk in a second time. Well, he did ask to be ruined.
Link yelped when both of his legs were lifted high up towards his chest. The sound, however, became a short-lived echo to the choked sounds of ecstasy Gan started punching out of him. He snapped his hips against Link’s ass sharply. It didn't take long for the skin to turn pink and flushed. The same flush bled through his face, down his neck, and painted his collarbone with pretty heat.
Link tore at his blankets, trying to find something to hold onto, to brace against, but there was nothing.
Gan leaned down over him, pushing his thighs further apart. He let go of one to angle Link’s face towards his and urge those baby blues open.
Link's gaze was hazy as he parted his lips around a wanton moan of the man’s name. Between them, his erection bounced, leaving wet smacks on his abdomin with their vigorous movement. It was a beautiful sight.
He felt the tightening before a scream broke the rhythmic sound of their fucking and Link came hard. Cum spurted in messy ribbons that soiled the skin of them both. Gan was close, but not close enough to follow. As Link went boneless on the mattress, he dropped his legs and pulled out.
Gan smirked at his confusion and easily flipped him onto his tummy, spreading the mess onto his sheets.
“Just a little more, hm?”
Link nodded and canted his hips back, welcoming Gan to ease back into him with a little extra lube. He breathed sweet little gasps and exhales with every rut, still happy to take the rough pace, despite his overstimulation. Gan draped himself over his back, damp with sweat, to murmur his own moans and gentle praise into golden hair. Pressed so close, he felt the shiver over his spine. Orgasm hit him suddenly, jolting Link with a few more sharp snaps of his hips before he stilled inside of him. Link's skin jumped gently under him. Pulling out of him again pulled a whine from his lips that had Gan chuckling through his breathlessness.
“Was that not enough?”
Limbs tired and uncoordinated, Link rolled over beneath him, squirming at the feel of warm cum dribbling down over his buttcheek. He smiled up at Gan, pulling him down for a lazy kiss and sighing against his soft lips.
“Good for now.”
It had the man chuckling and kissing him again, letting his weight sag atop his much smaller body as Link laughed. The loud and sudden sound of something metallic hitting the floor in the kitchen was what separated them. Link scrambling out from under Gan, still naked and sticky, to go scold the treat-stealing criminals and save his hard work.
Three very precise knocks woke Link on a foggy Tuesday morning. Way too early. The sun had yet to rise, casting the sky outside in a sleepy, blue light. Link rolled out of bed sluggishly, even as the sharp sound of the knocks echoed in his memory. Nayru was the only one who woke with him, following around his ankles when he opened the door.
There was no one there, of course, but he wasn't expecting there to be. When he opened the door, a slip of paper fell from being tucked in the frame. The scrawl on it was shaky, horribly so, sequence of numbers almost illegible. Even though it had been years, though, their meaning was familiar right away.
He sighed hard at Nayru’s questioning trill and shut his door again quietly. It was too fucking early. Yet he pulled on some clothes anyway, making sure his hood was pulled up before shambling out into the street to start making his way across town.
Predictably, the ciphered address was just a run down coffee house, jammed between an ice cream parlor and a local boutique. The door was barely clinging to its hinges when he stepped inside, but the smell of roasting coffee beans was strong and soothing.
Link gave a nod to the woman at the counter before he scanned the room. It was almost hilarious how much the man blended in to his surroundings, dressed just as drab and sitting in a booth perfectly still. Link ordered a coffee before sliding into the booth across from him.
“They finally released you?” He kept his voice soft, easy, but didn't lower his own hood. “I'm surprised.”
The man gave an ugly snort, lips curled into a sneer. He didn't raise his head either, cap keeping the top half of his face obscured.
“That would be surprising, but no. I left on my own.”
Link perked his brow, “You mean you escaped.”
“Nuance, Faron. Yes, I escaped. Which means this has to be short, they're probably already looking for me. The longer I dick around with you, the sooner their orders turn into ‘kill on sight’ instead of ‘capture’.”
Link smiled and leaned his elbows on the table which, in turn, caused the other man to lean back and maintain the distance.
“As paranoid is ever, Revali. And you look like crap.”
Revali finally raised his head, gaze hard and irritated.
Those sharp eyes looked over Link quickly and the thin man let out a snort.
“You got fat, Faron.”
Link shrugged and leaned back again. “I'm not a soldier any more. No reason to work out. Now what do you want?”
Revali smirked, knowing he'd struck a cord, but the small pang of victory he felt vanished quickly as he looked around. With Link relaxed in his seat, he leaned onto the table and lowered his voice.
“You need to get out of Castle City. You probably need to leave the region.”
“They're making room for you at the nut house, putting your room right next to mine. I hear the guards talk about it.”
Link rolled his eyes.
“I'm discharged and living a quiet, peaceful life, well within the guidelines I was given. I'm not a concern.”
Revali started laughing before he'd finished speaking.
“Does the name Hilda Lorule mean anything to you?”
A chill washed down Link’s spine and he fought to keep it off his face. Nothing escaped Revali’s notice though, smirk making a reappearance.
“She's been very busy these last couple of years.” Thin fingers began to drum restlessly on the wood of the table. “I know you don't read or watch the news because you seem to genuinely enjoy being an ignorant little shit, but she's worked her way up the ladder and was recently appointed Director of the KIA.”
Link jerked up in surprise, causing Revali to flinch back like they were playing some sort of ridiculous game of distance between them.
“Turned the job down. Lorule probably threatened him into submission.”
Link gave himself a moment to let it sink in, but in the end, he shook his head.
“And the only reason she hasn't dragged you in yet is because the Princess still defends you. However, I wouldn't underestimate Lorule’s ability to sway the King with that viper tongue of hers. She wants our heads, Faron. All of them. And there aren't many of us left.”
“...Why are you telling me this?”
Link watched the man shift uncomfortably, grimacing at the floor outside the booth.
“We all made a vow to look out for each other, didn't we. Everyone else is dead, so I'm stuck with you being the only jackass left to keep an eye on.”
They both went silent for a while. Finally, Revali huffed and pulled his hat down again.
“I did my part, do whatever you want with it.”
And before Link could even think of a response, the man was gone. Slipping out the door like an ill breeze. Only then was his coffee brought to the table.
Link blinked the haze out of his eyes and realized he had been sitting there quietly holding a piece of homemade pizza halfway to his mouth.
Gan placed a comforting hand on his back and glanced down.
“Are you hurt?”
“What? Oh, no. I'm fine.” He'd been rubbing his sore tummy without realizing it. It had been way too long since he'd done muscle training and his body was not happy. “I'm just kinda sore.”
He smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring manner, but Gan didn't look convinced.
“I'm fine, really. I just went to the gym yesterday and, uh, let's just say it's been a while.”
Gan was silent a moment longer before he accepted it with a nod and they finished their pizza. Once the dishes were cleaned up though, Gan pulled Link to sit in his lap on the couch, letting him wiggle to get comfortable. The following kisses were lazy, self-indulgent, but the wandering hands even more so. With a warm hand resting over his hip, Gan trailed his kisses away and grumbled, “your body is perfect the way it is. Don't let someone else convince you it's not.”
Warmth filled his tummy more than the pizza had and Link leaned back in for more of those adoring kisses.
Link wasn't surprised at all when there was a knock on his door late Wednesday evening. He half expected it, really. And he'd been hoping. He let the door swing in and leaned against the hall wall, giving the man a hooded gaze and a good look. Gold eyes groped his body as effectively as hands could.
“Special occasion tonight?”
Four inch metallic gold pumps brought him closer to the Gerudo man’s height, but still just shy of it. They matched the sequined skirt that covered very little leg and accentuated the shape of his hips and waist nicely. The cropped tee was just one of his ratty old ones, but he liked the look over all.
“Drag Race finale.”
It was clear by the look on Gan's face that he had no idea what that meant. Link rolled his pretty eyes and tugged him in by his tie to encourage Gan to box him in against the wall.
“Can't I just dress up for no reason?”
“Whenever you want.” Hot hands brushed down over his hips. “I certainly won't complain.”
Biting back a grin, Link looped his arms around Gan’s neck while he leaned in to claim those soft lips in a kiss. Someone leaving their apartment down the hall pulled them apart enough to move further into the apartment and actually close the door. Din was as happy as ever to see her second-favorite weird cat. She rubbed aggressively against Gan’s legs with noisy trilling, following him all the way to the counter. She almost knocked the pieces of his pistol on the floor while he was disarming it. He picked her up as soon as he was free of his suit jacket.
Link retrieved another flute and poured his guest a generous glass of bubbling champagne. When Gan looked baffled, he shrugged.
“I'm not gonna go to the trouble of doing my hair and make-up and getting my legs waxed to not splurge and make myself feel like a million rupees tonight. Would you prefer something else?”
Gan looked down at his legs again and hummed a no. He sunk into the couch with the flute of champagne and a ginger ball of purring fluff. Spread on the coffee table was a selection of delicate desserts from a Tabantha bakary. Gan looked glad to see it.
When Link joined him, he situated himself partially in the man’s lap with Din, resting against his chest. The television was muted on some commercials.
“What are we watching?”
“Vilia’s Drag Race. It's a reality competition show by queers, for queers. I'm a fan.”
“I can see that.”
“Ever go to a drag show?” Link asked while popping a piece of honey-butter apple tart into his mouth.
“This is gonna be fun, then. Bolsen Balls is from Hateno, my home town. He's gonna win, he's leagues above these other bitches.”
Link settled back more comfortably, grabbing the remote to turn the volume back on in time for the theme music to start. It was true that he fucking loved this show, but he was also glad to have Gan over and knew he was going to be distracted. He was okay with that.
“Which one is he?”
“You'll know when you see him. Trust me.”
When Din decided to wander off, Link took her place, spreading across strong thighs and stealing a kiss from smiling lips. Gan happily stroked up and down a smooth calf and thigh, fingers grazing playfully close to sensitive inner thighs.
“Have you had a good week?” Gan asked during a commercial break. He'd been surprisingly attentive to the show, but Link still found himself distracted by his hard body and the drenching scent of rich cologne.
“The usual, really. Mama Lamavi is trying to teach me a new dish at the restaurant to make for you, but it's ...difficult.”
“Difficult?” Gan smirked. “For you?”
Link felt heat in his face. “Just because you enjoy my cooking doesn't make me some kind of masterchef.”
“Your work is high-end, Link. I never would have hired you if it wasn't. Have a little more faith in yourself.”
They held each other in a quiet stare down before Link relented and accepted the compliment with a huff.
“Either way, some Gerudo cuisine is tricky. I haven't gotten it right yet, so plan a back up dinner for tomorrow or else we're gonna be eating on a prayer.”
“Duly noted. Now come here.”
Gan pulled Link upright in his lap, wanting him closer to kiss. Link obliged, straddling his hips with a grin and leaning in to catch the man’s lower lip between his teeth. He soothed the bite with slow licks and kisses that grew more heated with each one. Gan smoothed his hands up over pale thighs, pushing the tight skirt up his hips. Nothing but skin revealed that Link wasn't wearing underwear and it had him groaning. He groped his soft ass with gentle pinches until he paused suddenly. Link grinned against his lips again, knowing he'd felt the edge of skin-warmed metal. Curious fingers explored that edge, all around the flared base of it, before giving it a twist.
Link moaned softly.
“May I?” Gan already sounded breathless and it warmed Link’s ego.
He leaned into the man’s small but gently pointed ear.
“I put it there for you.”
The plug was pulled out in one tug, leaving Link suddenly gaping and empty. But only for a moment before thick fingers pushed inside to test how loose he was. With his clean hand, Gan held the plug up to see, television reflecting off of the wet surface.
“...Is this gold?”
“I deserve the best, don't I?” Link was fully flushed, clinging to Gan’s shoulder as his prostate was rubbed teasingly. Gan did it again, just to see him writhe, and let the plug fall onto the couch.
“Yes, you do,” he responded with conviction.
Link gripped the shoulders of his shirt, pressing their foreheads together so he could look directly into the man’s eyes. “So give it to me.”
To a man of Gan’s size and strength, moving Link took little effort. He flipped him around in his lap and pulled that pretty ass over where he was already starting to strain against his trousers.
“Lube,” he grunted, arousal clear in his rough voice.
“Between the couch cushions.”
Careful not to get his heels snagged on anything, Link spread his legs wide and pulled his skirt up more securely. His dick was already bobbing in excitement, balls rubbing across the expensive fabric he sat on when he shifted. The lube popped open with a snap behind him and he gave his lover room to free himself.
Warm skin smacked softly against the lowest part of his back and Link shivered a soft moan. The slick sound of Gan lubing up had him curling his toes in his pumps already.
“Only the best.”
They both groaned at the slide of heat and delicious pressure, much slower this time. Link cursed and slapped his hands down on Gan’s knees while his legs shook.
“Goddess, that's so fucking good. Baby, you're so big!”
“And you're awfully noisy tonight.” Gan pulled Link flush against his chest. So close that he felt enveloped by heat. He smelled like cologne and imported cigarettes, and Link knew he was getting dizzy. Heady in the coals of passion, they moved together like that. The indulgent, almost lazy strokes dragged against his walls and sparked fire in his nerves, but he wanted more. He needed it.
Link turned his head to bite at the man’s jawline, wiggling his hips. It had Gan chuckling and pinching his inner thighs without even getting close to his now weeping erection. Link almost kicked him when he laughed and tried to clamp his thighs shut.
“I seem to remember doing all the work last time. If you want more, you'll have to take it yourself.”
“Oh? You want me to take you for a ride?” Link smiled over his shoulder, leaning forward to brace on Gan's knees again. “Fine with me.”
The pace Link set was quicker but just as torturous. He took his time on the upstroke, making sure to squeeze every inch, then slammed back down as hard as he could in heels with shaking legs. He moaned freely, arching into the touch of Gan's wandering hands. It was heaven, and the angel’s choir were the deep moans he dragged out of his lover.
When strong hands gripped him firmly by the waist, Link handed over control seamlessly and without resistance. The first hard thrust was worth it and his whole body was jolted.
Cats scattered and bolted from the room as Gan pushed them off the couch and onto the floor. Link pushed the expensive treats out of his way without care, gladly bent over the coffee table. Sharp thrusts pushed them both closer to the television, feet of the table groaning on the hardwood. But nowhere near as loud as the sounds of their fucking.
Everything was Gan. The heat along his back, the scorching pleasure that raced through him with every thrust, splitting him open and taking him apart. The deep voice in his ear that praised him softly. The pressure of his orgasm was coiling tight, despite not even a single touch to his erection.
But then a hot hand did grip him, squeezing the flushed skin in a long stroke.
Just as before, Link screamed when it all crashed through him and his ears rang like the Bells of Salvation were calling out just for him. Gan followed quickly, swearing against his shoulder, but it was a muffled sound in comparison.
His breathing was heavily labored and every movement was shaky, but Link found the hand left on his hip and held onto it while he fogged the surface of the table with his panting. Gan waited patiently for his afterglow to abate with soft kisses along his exposed neck. Link knew he hadn’t been so happy in years.
It was as he was pulling out and finding a tissue to clean the mess Link had made of his hand that the sounds from the television became prominent once more and Link suddenly sat straight up with a gasp.
On screen, a drag queen with blue hair and a dress made entirely of feathers was parading down the main stage with an elaborate crown and a too-white smile. Bolson stood off to the side with another queen, clapping genially.
“Miss Fyson Feisty!? Over Bolson Balls! Who th-! Vilia! WHY?”
Gan watched his little outburst with a mixture of surprise and amusement. Tense shoulders scrunched up higher as Link took a deep breath and forced himself to relax. He found the remote on the floor and turned the volume down.
“It’s alright, he’ll win All Stars.”
With that, he was all smiles and afterglow again, pushing himself into Gan’s arms and cuddling close.
“Are you staying?”
“If you want me to.”
“I want you to.”
It was barely four in the morning when Gan got out of bed and dressed quietly in the dark of Link’s bedroom. He tried very hard not to wake his lover, but Link felt it the moment he moved. He didn’t say anything, just watched the shape of him moving around. When he was finished dressing, he heard Gan pause and sigh in his direction. There was a moment of hesitation, followed by the mattress shifting under his weight and warm breath tickling a kiss to his forehead.
“See you tonight,” Link said as softly as the sleeping city outside.
“Yes you will,” Gan responded, kissing his nose and then his lips, letting the touch linger.
The soreness in his lower back was a welcome ache that Link carried with him all day. All the way to and through Little Gerudo Town. He smiled at every guard, knowing he was a full hour earlier than normal. He needed the time to prepare. He was still very nervous about the dish he was making. Normally, he’d just back down and make something else, but Gan’s words had given him the confidence to try. Sure, he hadn’t gotten it right a single time yet, but maybe this would be the one.
The ingredients waited for him in the kitchen and Link pulled out a little note card cheat sheet covered in his own messy scrawl. The guards had checked it out but handed it back with sympathy in their eyes when they saw what it was for. It dented his confidence a bit. Before he could second guess himself for the fourth time that day, he donned his apron and got to work. Marinating the meat was first and went smoothly, music on the radio keeping him company. The sauce would take the longest and he stared at the bag of boar blood with trepidation. The final result of this meal was decadent when Mama Lamavi made it, but getting there was nothing short of witchcraft in his opinion.
He set the pot up exactly as he’d been shown, water starting to boil with a thermometer keeping track of the temperature. The bag was lowered into it carefully, tied to a spoon that laid across the top of the pot. He let out a breath and set to chopping herbs and vegetables.
Every-so often, he’d squeeze his asscheeks together just to sharpen the ache and smile. How long had it been since he’d told himself weekly not to get too excited about seeing Gan? To not get too involved emotionally outside of their make-believe home. He couldn’t remember. What he could recall was the pure and unhidden devotion in those beautiful eyes whenever they were together now. Their relationship was weird and unconventional, but Link had never been so at ease with another person. Not in a long time.
Thinking about Gan was distracting, and distracted was not the way this dinner should be made. He just couldn’t help it. If he closed his eyes, he could feel the phantom on hot hands on his skin and hear moans against his hair. Then the sizzle of water bubbling over the side of the pot.
He snapped back to reality in time to dive for the knob on the stove and turn it all the way off. But as soon as he raised the spoon, the engorged bag burst.
Summers in Central Hyrule were nothing compared to the blistering heat of Ganon’s beloved home country. In a way, he missed the sting of the sun on his skin and the hot winds blowing over the dunes. Castle City, however, was hot and muggy. The tall buildings trapped the wet heat, winds blowing off the great lake nearby. People walked around as though they were melting, or dashing between one air conditioned building to another. It wasn’t until the sun began to fade that the streets grew crowded. Ganon watched it all from the tinted window of his car.
“We’ll need to address the shipment changes by no later than Sunday evening. Our friend in the Central Police Service is getting twitchy, it would be a shame to lose him after all these years of dedicated service.”
Next to him, a woman sat going over the tablet in her lap. When he didn’t respond right away, she raised a single eyebrow and made her tone more stern.
“We could easily address it tonight.”
“I have plans tonight, Nabooru, you know that.”
“Playing house and getting your dick wet, I know. Really though, we have much more pressing matters.”
Ganon finally turned from the window to give her a wry smile and more silence. Eventually, she huffed and tapped away on her tablet, probably scheduling something for Sunday instead.
“Any word from East Necluda yet?” Ganon asked as the scenery changed from high-rises to more humble buildings and the familiar call of Gerudo merchants and music muffled around the car as they passed them.
“Not yet. And I wouldn’t hold my breath on it.”
They came to a stop and Ganon moved to get out of the vehicle, but Nabooru’s voice stopped him.
“Only two hours tonight, Gan. We have a hell of a mess that needs to be taken care of.”
He chuckled dryly, “I thank the Goddess every day that I’m your boss and not the other way around. I’ll call for you tonight, Nabooru.” He glanced back at her before he shut the door again. “I’d advise you not to hold your breath on that either.”
There was always a mess to clean up, always a problem, always a kink in the chain of his network. It was his life’s work and he knew it could be handled another day. The only thing he planned on handling tonight was blond and beautiful and made Ganon ache in his soul for a life lived less dangerously. But he couldn’t change the past, only try to carefully navigate his future, and he wanted Link to be in it.
When he stepped into the building though, his guards weren’t as calm as they should have been. Ganon’s instincts shot up right away.
“What’s going on?”
One of the guards snapped to attention before him.
“Mr. Dragmire, sir, there’s a problem with the asset.”
“Problem?” He was already moving upstairs, letting the woman trail behind him.
“We heard what sounded like a pop, sir, and when we entered the apartment we found it like ...well, you’ll see, sir. But the asset won’t let us get close enough to check him for injury. We’re not sure what happened.”
Everyone moved quickly out of his way, letting him pass through the apartment entryway. He stopped dead at the bloody state of the kitchen. Dinner was partially prepared on the counters, but there was a large splatter of blood that covered the stove and floor. A white note card caught his eye on the counter and he snatched it up, realization dawning on him.
Everyone left promptly, closing the door quietly behind themselves.
The sound of the shower running drew Ganon’s attention to the master bathroom. There was an apron on the floor, stained in bright red that was a stark contrast to the white tiles. He could see Link on the other side of the frosted glass, steam billowing up and curling around the ceiling.
Over the sound of the water, he could barely make out staggered breathing. He pulled open the door right away.
Link stood directly under the hot spray, still clothed and shaking. Ganon turned off the water and tried to turn the man around, but as soon as he touched him, Link went off. For being so small, it was amazing how expertly he knocked Ganon flat on his ass. A small hand struck into his suit jacket on the way down and pulled out something Ganon should have removed before he’d ever entered the apartment. He stayed perfectly still, hands raised in surrender as he stared down the barrel of his own pistol into wild, blue eyes.
“Don’t move.” His voice was rougher than Ganon had ever heard it, hardened like Gerudo steel. Link tilted his head towards to collar of his shirt. “Alpha Team requesting Bird’s Eye back-up.”
“Link, it’s me.”
The smallest shift landed him a knee square in his chest, hard and without mercy, knocking the breath clean out of him.
Ganon fought back a cough and leveled his voice as soft and gentle as he could.
“There’s no one there, Link. Look at your collar.”
The scowl on his beautiful features twitched and slowly, oh so slowly, he looked down at his soaking shirt in confusion.
“It’s not real. It’s just you and me here, sweetie. Do you recognize me?”
Link looked down at the pistol in his hands, then at Ganon again, brows drawing down.
“Please, put the gun down.”
With hesitance, it lowered a fraction, just as guards came running into the apartment.
“Mr. Dragmire? We heard shouting!”
Link tensed immediately, something glossy and far-off hazing his vision again. For a second, he looked at Ganon with a shudder of hate and raised the pistol again, already squeezing the trigger. But Ganon used the second of vulnerability to launch himself up. The shot rang in the bathroom, a ceiling tile shattering as the bullet ripped through. He got his arm around Link’s neck and knocked his feet out from under him. They both went down hard. The guards entered with guns drawn, but Ganon barked at them right away.
“I said get out!”
They scrambled to obey, wide-eyes taking in the sight for as long as they could.
Link struggled like a damn viper, but Ganon held him hard, squeezing off his supply of oxygen and twisting the pistol out of his grip. It took far longer than he would have liked for Link to lose consciousness. When he did, Ganon released him immediately and checked his pulse. It was fluttery, but strong. He snapped a towel off the rack and immediately started stripping Link down to nothing and drying him, being careful with his head in case he’d strained or bruised anything. He didn’t let himself feel the panic of the situation until Link was dressed and settled on the bed. Only then did Ganon fall back into a chair by the window and let out a trembling breath. There were two cigarettes left in his case and he pulled one out, tapping the end against metal before putting it in his mouth to light. But when he searched for his lighter, he couldn’t find it. Fucking Nabooru probably stole it in her passive aggressive way of trying to get him to quit. He chewed on the end instead.
There were a lot of worries and confusions that each fought for his immediate attention, but Ganon pushed them away. He was far from being a fool and he’d lived a tough life. What had just happened was obvious, but he was still reeling from the shock of seeing Link like that. Like he’d been an entirely different person. Not the Link who’d melt into his touch and smile like he created sunshine itself. Not the Link who’d eat and laugh and ...love. That Link had been a beast, a soulless soldier, and Ganon didn’t want to see him again. But what troubled him the most was that second of hate. It had burned like sharp ice, right through him. And it had only appeared when his guards came into the apartment. Why?
Twenty minutes felt like hours to Ganon, but seeing the flutter of blond eyelashes and hearing a soft pained groan erased the agony of the wait. He spit the cigarette out and carefully approached the man on the bed.
When blue eyes focused on him, it was with recognition and Ganon sat on the bed, helping draw him up to sit when those pale hands reached for him.
“Does anything hurt?”
Link groaned again, rubbing his face and looking around. “What happened?” He grimaced and gingerly felt his throat. Regardless of how necessary it had been, Ganon couldn’t help feeling a pang of guilt.
“You passed out.”
“You were making dinner and the bag of blood popped. You didn’t react well.”
Link looked at him, bewildered and trying to remember. “Dinner…” Memories seemed to catch up to him, at least a little. His eyes widened as they slotted into place and he looked down at the change of clothes. “Did I hurt you?” His voice came out a bit raspy and he touched his throat again with a grimace.
“No, sweetie, you didn’t hurt me.” WIth gentle fingers, he brushed golden bangs out of the man’s eyes. “...You got sick and fainted.”
Link focused on his face with a small furrow between his eyebrows. There was more confusion there now and his lips drew down in a frown.
“You don’t have to lie to me, I know how I get. Did I hurt you?”
Gan held his lovely face in his hands, shaking his head.
“You could never hurt me.”
“Yes, I could.”
Ganon wished he could deny it again. Maybe, twenty-four hours ago, he would have; when he had Link draped nude over him in the perfect picture of languid repose. He shook his head again.
“I promise you didn’t. Just startled the hell out of me, is all.”
Link averted his gaze and nodded, leaning into one of the palms on his cheeks. Ganon hesitated to ask.
“Sweetie.” He waited until Link met his eyes again. “Do you- Is there any medication you take for this? Do I need to have something fetched for you?”
Something in Link closed off the moment he mentioned medication and Link started pulling away. Ganon didn’t fight it but he did try to amend himself.
“I’m not judging you, Link. I just want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. I’ll believe whatever you say.”
Long ears ticked down slightly. Link was silent for a long time.
“...I haven’t taken it in a while.” His voice came out soft with a shade of shame lacing his words together.
“How long is a while?” Ganon asked carefully.
Link gave a shrug, still unable to look at him. “‘Bout a year?”
He was stunned silent for a moment and had to peel his tongue off the roof of his mouth.
“May I ask why?”
Link began to fidget on the bed, looking just about anywhere but Ganon. He shrugged again with a small huff.
“I don’t know? I don’t like the way it makes me feel. Always sluggish and foggy and I was pretty much just sleeping most of the time. It’s kinda why I took this job, only having to work one day a week was pretty appealing in that state.”
This was the most they’d talked about such personal matters. While Link was in obvious discomfort, he was still talking about it, still confiding in Ganon about it. He took it as a good sign.
“This is the first episode I’ve had since then.”
Ganon nodded his understanding. He slowly reached for the man’s hand, giving him plenty of time and room to turn him away, but he didn’t.
“If you’ll let me, I’d like to get something better sorted out for you. There must be an alternative to the medication you took before.”
Link smiled sadly at him.
“It’s literally impossible for even me to access my medical records anymore. I’ll never be able to change doctors.”
Ganon raised his hand to kiss the back of it, smiling softly against the thin skin.
“I can find ways around things like that, but only if you say it’s okay.”
Link bit his lip, considering Ganon and his offer. A pale finger stroked gently over his cheek.
Two pill bottles dropped onto Ganon’s desk with a noisy clatter, making him pause and look up from his paperwork. Nabooru was tapping away on her tablet.
“Doctor Pave suggested that Mr. Faron give both of these a try and see how he feels. Not at the same time, I’ll email the directions to him. The bottle of medication he was taking before has been sent off to the lab, and your meeting tomorrow has been moved up from one in the afternoon to eleven in the morning.”
Ganon picked up both bottles and looked them over, squinting at the pills inside. With a satisfied hum, he put both away in the topmost drawer.
“With your permission, I’m going to redo the background check on Mr. Link Faron.”
Ganon paused again.
“There are discrepancies between what his file states as record and what his behavior suggests.”
“Meaning?” Without realizing it, Ganon sat up straighter in his chair, mouth falling into an unimpressed frown. But Nabooru squared his shoulders and held her ground.
“Soldiers who have never been deployed into combat don’t get battlefield PTSD, ...sir.”
She stared back down at him just as hard, the tension in the room so thick that it almost made Nabooru’s ears ring. Then Ganon glanced back down to where he’d shut the pills away.
“Fine.” He picked up where he’d left off on the document in front of him. “But if you hit a wall, don’t force it.”
She gave a single nod, determination bright in her veins.
He’d barely heard the voice in-between two tracks switching over. Link pulled out an earbud and glanced up and down the street in confusion. She was behind him, but caught up quickly, hood pulled over her hair. He audibly groaned.
“Again? You really don’t know what it means to cut ties, do you?”
He wasn’t expecting her to grab him so roughly by the upper arm and drag him quickly down a side street, and then into an alley. He resisted her the whole way.
“Harassment, that’s what this is. I should just call MP on you.”
“I wouldn’t contact anyone in the service right now if I were you. Now what the hell have you been doing?”
“Sitting on my ass, eating ice cream,” Link drawled with a clear attitude and dangled his bag, which did hold a pint of ice cream, among other things. Like lube.
“Are you in contact with the Dragmire Group?”
Link’s spine washed cold and he stared blankly at the livid Princess hissing at him like some kind of feral cat. Not one he’d ever let into his apartment. When he didn’t answer, she stifled a scream and drug her hands down her face.
“Lorule put a detail on your apartment! She’s been getting reports that you regularly receive Gerudo visitors.”
Link took a step back from her.
“Just because someone’s Gerudo, doesn’t mean they’re gangbangers or syndicate members.”
She opened her mouth without a sound at first.
“I know that! But do you think Lorule cares?!”
“Pretty sure putting a detail on my house is also an invasion of my privacy. Does the KIA really need to keep a record of every time I invite someone over to bone me? It’d be a short record.”
“ Link .” Zelda took a deep breath, trying to calm down. “I don’t know what’s going on with you. You think I’ve haven’t taken the hint, I have. You hate me, I get that. You just want to move on from the whole mess and I understand. You deserve to. Out of all of us left, you deserve to walk away the most.”
She struggled to order what she wanted to say next.
“But some things are never going to go away. You need to be careful, of everything. Where you go, who you associate with. Lorule will look for any excuse to give the orders on your life. You know what she’s like. If she can’t have you under her thumb, then she’ll put you under her boot. So be careful. Please. ...He didn’t give his life for you to end up dead because you can’t keep red hair and brown skin out of your bed.”
Both of Link’s hands tightened into fists, voice shaking, “how dare you-”
“Just watch your back.” Zelda left quickly, slipping out onto the mainstreet before Link had to presence of mind to start throwing punches. She left him there, feeling as though he’d been the one punched.
His walk home was filled with nausea and seldom thought-of memories of a smile that could win any heart, and hands like an ocean that pulled him back in everytime he pushed.
He crawled into bed the moment he got home, leaving the ice cream to melt on the counter.
The following month was quiet. Link resumed work like normal, steering away from new recipes for the time being. He started on the new pills Gan had brought for him. One left him lethargic, but the other seemed fine. The man was visiting him at home more, so Link was able to see him three to four times a week. It was heavenly. And quiet.
It was the dead of night when he opened his eyes. His room was dark, curtains blocking out light from the street. He felt purring near his feet when he shifted and curled tighter over the heated body tangled up in the sheets with him. Gan let out a soft sigh and held him tighter in return, but his breathing was still even. Link slowly trailed his hand down over the man’s strong chest, feeling coarse hair catch under his fingertips. He leaned up and kissed around until he found the soft lips he was looking for.
Gan took in a deep, waking breath, humming softly and smiling into the lips on his own. He didn’t say anything. Just smoothed a warm hand up the back of his thigh while the other slipped up into his messy hair. When the hand on his thigh got too bold, fingers exploring between his cheeks to test how loose he might still be, Link pulled away from the kiss.
“It’s getting late,” he whispered. “Don’t you need to leave?”
Gan grumbled and pulled him back down. Link allowed him another kiss, pressing into it and breathing in. But he pulled away again when he was done, humming in question. Gan let out a sigh and picked his phone up from the bedside table to check the time. Link’s eyes had already adjusted to the dark, so he didn’t look at the bright phone screen. Again, Gan let out a huffing sigh.
Link let him out of bed without a fuss. He watched him dress and rose to meet him when he was done. He slipped his arms around the man’s neck and smiled in delight when he was lifted off the bed.
“Have a good day at work,” Link murmured between their lips.
“I’ll be thinking about you.”
Despite how often Gan would whisper such incredible things to him, Link still flushed with a grin. They kissed again hard.
“Get out of here before I tie you to the bed.”
Gan put him back down with a sound of interest, making sure to give his ass a little pat. After Link had closed and bolted his door again, he sighed, shoulders falling. But he couldn’t linger on thoughts of the man.
Lights still off, Link changed his clothes, digging deep into the bottom of his closet. His girls all looked at him with sleepy eyes when he gathered them onto the couch and opened the hall closet to pull out a duffle-sized pet carrier.
“Please don’t fight me on this, okay?”
With much complaining and only two major scratches from Din and Farore, all three were zipped up and put back in the closet. Working quickly, he put a skillet on the stove and dumped about a dozen bullets into it from a spare ammo box. He made sure the door was bolted tightly, not that it would make a huge difference. From his room, he grabbed very little; his favorite t-shirt, meds, and sapphire earrings were his main concern. The girls made their complaints heard when he opened the closet again to stash those few things. Over their meowing came a soft knock on the front door. Link froze, waiting to hear it again. He didn’t. What he heard was the sound of something sliding between the door and it’s frame. He shut the closet silently and crept away.
Quietly, the first three entered his apartment, all hand signals and careful steps. They weren’t amateurs. But neither was Link. Two of them found kitchen knives in their jugulars before they could make a sound of alarm. The third fought back but ended up with a snapped neck. He plucked one of their earpieces out and put it on.
“What’s the word, alpha team?” An unfamiliar voice whispered.
Link went back to the kitchen and turned on the stove. With no response, he heard the second team get permission to fire on sight. Link closed himself up in the hall closet, bolting the door closed from the inside. It took only minutes for the bullets in the kitchen to start going off.
“Open fire!” Was what he heard before the real show started.
Ganon heard about what happened through Riju. She came skidding into his office and turned the television onto the news. The newscasters were discussed hell zone in the art district that used to be a lovely warehouse apartment. Now it was a damn hole riddled in bullet holes and scorch marks. His blood froze. There were eight deaths, but none of the bodies could be identified.
“I did, sir. She’s on her way to the morgue. I’ve tried emailing and calling him, Mr. Dragmire, but so far everything has been disconnected.”
Ganon couldn’t even get out of his seat. Link had been in his arms less than twelve hours ago.
His fingers shook when he lit a cigarette.
“He may have gotten out, sir. All the reports so far have been sketchy and the Hylian government is being suspiciously quiet.” Even the newscasters sounded like they didn’t know what to make of it. Aside from the eight bodies inside the apartment, there were no other reported injuries.
“Just find him.”
Without all the guards and work mindset, the fake penthouse just looked like another apartment. One that was familiar and out of the way. He hoped that very few people even knew about it, especially given the security system he had to break through to even get in. It was the safest thing he could think of without leaving the city outright.
A small voice in the back of his head that sounded annoyingly like Revali told him that he should already be halfway to the Akkala region by now. He ignored it.
The girls were happy to be out of the duffle and free to explore. He set up their food and litter, then set up half a dozen fail-safe precautions. His hands didn’t shake like he thought they would. A sense of calm had washed over him inside that closet, listening to the heavy artillery bounce and ricochet off of the reinforced steel walls like a rain of hell fire. He thought the distance of years would have made it harder for him to end someone’s life, but it was still easy. Easy to snap and break and squeeze the trigger.
Link stayed awake all night with a pistol in his lap, listening to and aquinting himself with all the natural sounds the apartment made. The girls kept his feet and lap warm.
The following few days were hard. He didn’t try to contact anyone and only left once to stock up on food and supplies that the apartment lacked from infrequent and improper use. He saw about the shooting on the news inside of a Gerudo convenience store, two old women gossiping about it in their native tongue while lounging near a small television. He only caught a few words, bought his groceries, and left.
He used the electricity as little as possible, but kept an ear on the news through the radio, listening for any hint about what might happen next. He slept only a few hours at night, old instincts taking over as the slightest of sounds would wake him. He didn’t see nor hear anything from Gan until Wednesday. One of his guards spotted Link checking the building perimeter. She whipped her phone out and ran down the street, calling for someone else. Link went back inside. The man was there in less than an hour. He heard the car screeching to a stop outside and doors slamming.
Din waited near the door and meowed loudly when Gan appeared in it, like she was complaining to dad that mom shoved her into a bag and made her leave home. Link waited in the kitchen, wringing his hands until Gan found him. He smiled nervously, some kind of explanation waiting behind his teeth, but the words never spilled. Intense relief softened the hard lines of the Gerudo man’s face as Link found himself caught in a tight hug.
“I'm alright.” Link's voice came out a little hoarse from lack of use and it was muffled into his shirt. He hugged back just as hard. After more back-cracking moments of breathing each other in, Gan pulled back just enough to pepper kisses on every part of Link’s face that he could. It was the first time Link had laughed in days.
“Did they hurt you at all?” Gan asked in a small, soft voice meant only for him. It had Link’s heart fluttering.
“Just a couple of sucker punches,” he grinned. “Nothing I can't handle.”
It was accepted with a nod, their foreheads getting pressed together. Link's smile waned as he caught on to the pained edges of Gan’s eyes.
“I'm fine, baby. I came straight here to wait for you.”
Gan nodded again, swallowing thickly before he admitted his fears. “I thought you were dead.”
“But I'm not,” Link asserted, taking the man’s cheeks in both palms, fingers scratching into his neat beard. “It'll take more than that to take me down, much less keep me down. I'm not going to up and disappear on you.”
He would have tried contacting the man if he'd known any way to do so safely, but he hadn't wanted to risk it.
Gan held him warmly for another minute and Link relaxed into him fully, just gazing into each other’s eyes. Heat prickled Link's cheeks as delight seeped into his tummy like warm honey. He recognized the way Gan looked at him, like all the world meant nothing to him compared to Link. He'd not been looked at like that in a very long time. Link shyly smiled under the weight of it, leaning up on his toes for a simple kiss.
Din decided they'd reunited for long enough, though. She jumped up onto the kitchen counter in all her fluffy, orange glory and proceeded to knock off the first thing she could. The glass hit the floor and shattered, causing Link to jump hard with a choked gasp.
“It's alright,” Ganon soothed, voice a gentle rumble. He gave the cat a scolding look, earning the softest of mews in return, then lead Link out of the kitchen and into the living room to sit. “You're safe here, Link. I can promise you that. You made the right choice coming here.”
“I knew you'd find me here.” Despite his startle ad racing heart, Link sat himself squarely on Ganon’s thigh. “I couldn't just leave without telling you anything.”
Gan seemed to choose his next words carefully, holding him close.
“You intend to leave?”
Link bit his lip, frowning. He gave a slight shrug. “I don't know. I should. ...This isn't over, and it's not gonna stop. Not until…” He couldn't finish. Gan kissed him again softly.
“Let me protect you.”
“You don't even know who you'd be protecting me from.”
“But I can protect you.” The pain was back in those beautiful eyes. “Link, I want you to come home with me.”
A weird, buzzing numbness raced under Link’s skin.
“Home with you?”
“I want you. Not just sometimes and for pretend. Always.” That intense gaze was on him again, drowning Link in the memory of what it's like to be in love. “Please come home with me.”
In love. Was the goddess really giving him this chance again? After all the painful years? After all the blood? Gan wasn’t even asking questions, he just wanted Link to be with him.
“...The girls, too?” He asked in a tight voice.
Ganon smiled something soft and fond that Link wanted to kiss until it grew wider. “Girls, too.”
Gan was ready for the kiss, for the hands in his hair and the sweet whine of joy Link squeaked against his lips. He pulled them flush together, erasing all space between their bodies and letting Link soak in his heat.
Farore startled them both when she jumped from the back of the couch to their shoulders, circling around them with questioning meows. Nayru’s little head popped up over the side of the couch, eyes wide and observing. Link laughed brightly, so much tension melting from his back. He kissed Ganon’s cheek, then kissed Farore’s fluff before standing, claws digging into his shoulder while the calico stabilized herself.
“I, uh, I guess I'll go pack then. Oh the girls are not gonna like getting back in that duffle.”
“I can have something more comfortable fetched for them if you’d like?” Gan stood up, too, rubbing Farore’s head.
“Sure?” Link couldn’t stop smiling. He leaned up for another kiss, nearly tipping the cat off his shoulders. He felt so giddy. Ganon returned the emotion in his own, quiet way.
“You should take whatever clothing you like from here, as well. I’ll buy whatever else you want after you’re settled.”
“Offering to buy me clothes is dangerous, I think you know how much I love clothes by now.” Gan grinned at the cheeky smirk Link tossed his way while purposefully putting more sway into his hips as he headed for the bedroom. “I might break your bank account.”
“I’ll gladly reap the benefits of you trying.”
In the bedroom, Link pulled his duffle out from under the bed. Farore jumped down and skittered away immediately. Instead of clothes, he went for his weapons first. Like the knives under the mattress and the pistol under the pillow. He traipsed back into the kitchen where Ganon was now petting a very spoiled Din while she purred and stretched out on the counter. Link smiled as he removed the gun taped to the bottom of the table. Gan did little more than raise an eyebrow.
Both eyebrows went up when Link approached them and leaned against his lover. A sneaky hand slid over his waist, eyes hooded and coy, then reached behind him and into the bowl of voltfruit on the counter. He let the barrel of the gun he’d hidden there graze the man’s side as he pulled away, keeping eye contact the entire time. On his way out of the kitchen, he reached on top of the fridge and snagged his sawed-off shotgun, blowing the man a kiss as he left.
He’d disarmed most of the traps when he knew Gan was on his way, so there wasn’t much else to do aside from pack some clothes up and wrangle his cats together. Link felt like he was floating on clouds. He even changed into something nicer, cleaning his face and putting on his sapphire earrings. Gan wanted them to live together, forever! Link paused and slid open the bedside table drawer that housed his fake wedding band. Would Gan want to get married for real? He bit into his lip at the thought.
After making sure his was properly packed, Link spent another ten minutes fixing his hair. He was fussing, he knew, but he wanted to look as nice as he felt and didn’t see anything wrong with that. Finally, he decided he’d made the man wait long enough. Ganon looked him over once Link drug his bag into the kitchen, a smile tugging his lips again.
“Beautiful,” was all he needed to say.
Two of his bodyguards were there as well with a large cat carrier, Link helped them load three grouchy fur babies inside of it. Nayru went in without a fuss, Din and Farore were harder to convince.
Just as Link was closing the carrier up, the front door opened roughly and a very tall Gerudo woman stomped into the apartment with four more guards. As soon as she spotted Link, she gave the guards orders in sharp Gerudo and all of them whipped out their guns, pointing them directly at him. He froze.
“Nabooru!” Ganon stepped between Link and the guns, his tone gruff and just as sharp when he responded in kind and all the guards quickly put their guns down.
Nabooru hissed through her teeth, glaring at Link over Ganon’s shoulder.
“You won’t feel that way when you see this. ”
She marched around them both, hefting what looked like a large book up onto the kitchen island and slamming it down with a thwack. The air in the kitchen was suddenly very tense as they all looked. It was not actually a book, though it’s contents could easily fill an entire series. It was originally just a file folder. Now it had so many other folders and booklets added onto it that the papers barely held together under its own weight. The very front of it was stamped with the familiar Hylian royal seal and the words ‘TOP SECRET’, along with the seal of the King’s Intelligence Agency. The blood in Link’s veins began to flow cold, a ringing picking up in his ears.
Ganon stared hard at Nabooru before approaching and flipping it open to the first page.
Attached inside was a photo of Link from very long ago. His hair was much shorter, expression empty, wearing the formal uniform of the King’s Mercenary Unit, beret neatly folded on his head. Next to the photo was his name and rank as Unit Captain along with some dates. The rest of the page clearly held text of some kind, but it had all been carefully blacked out with marker. Every line. Ganon flipped the page but it was more of the same. There were a few words here and there that were left alone; insignificant things like ‘the’ ‘as such’, and ‘time’. Everything else was censored. Ganon didn’t have to flip very far to understand that the entire stack was that way. He let out a sigh and returned to the first page, to the photo. The entire upper portion of the page had been stamped in ink reading ‘R.E.D.”.
“Red,” was all Ganon said at first. He didn’t look up at anyone in particular when he asked, “what does that mean?”
Nabooru clearly didn’t know and glared at Link for an answer. He had to swallow very hard to get his voice to work at all.
Ganon finally tilted his head towards him. “Retired?”
Link resisted the urge to backup, to let his shoulders hunch up around his ears. His swallowed again.
“Retired, extremely dangerous.”
Silence rang after his words and Nabooru broke it with a single word in Gerudo. The guards raised their guns again but paused at a single hand wave from Ganon. Nabooru hissed at him, again in words Link didn’t understand. Ganon silenced her, too. He just stared at Link, waiting for him to feel brave enough to meet his gaze. Link didn’t understand why he was suddenly terrified, vision going blurry around the edges. Little by little, he made himself meet what turned out to be a worried gaze. Ganon let the file fall closed, taking a slow, careful step towards him, voice very soft and calm.
“Have you taken your medication today?”
The sound of him was almost muffled by how badly his ears were ringing, but Link nodded like nothing was wrong. It made the room spin a little bit. Ganon turned to Nabooru and said something too soft to hear but she looked as though she’d been slapped. It was only with a huff and another glare at them both did she leave, cursing to herself. Three of the guards went with her, the other took Link’s bag. Link didn’t see her leave or the cats get carried out of the apartment because Gan took up his entire field of view, gently pulling him close.
“Close your eyes if it helps.”
“I’m fine,” he tried to assure, but his voice came out wobbly, betraying him.The unmatched rush of euphoria he’d been high on before had been sapped into nothing the moment that file hit the counter. Now Link struggled to breathe right. He took deep breaths against the man’s chest. When he could speak again, he asked in a shaky voice, “where did she get that? That-That's supposed to be in the black archives. No one is supposed to get that.”
“She wouldn't say, but I'll find out. ...I told her not to push it.”
Ganon waited until a bit of color returned to Link’s face. He led the man to sit down at the table, staying very close to him and maintaining contact in some way.
“Link, I hate to ask you this now, but I need to know who or what we should be keeping our eyes out for.”
Link could still feel the file on the counter behind him, so he kept his focus solely on the man in front of him and the worry in his eyes. The corners of his lips ticked up in a jerky half-expression.
“You mean the King’s Intelligence Agency?”
The soothing hand on his back froze.
“....The KIA tried to kill you? That's who leveled your apartment?”
When he nodded again, Ganon leaned back to get a good look at him. He tried to smile but failed.
“I was warned it might happen, but I was hoping for the best. As far as they knew, I was in compliance with my discharge guidelines. I didn't think I'd given them a reason to…”
Ganon was quiet for so long that Link couldn't help but fidget under his stare.
“Hey,” he put one hand on the man’s knee, the other reaching up to his wide forehead, trying to pet the worry lines away. “We can talk about this more at home, right?”
Ganon covered his hand and pressed it to his cheek, turning in to kiss the palm. He nodded, love in his eyes again.
“Let's go home.”