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Lips Smitten into Music

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Link hummed unhappily as Zelda straightened his tunic for the 3rd time, ‘I’m fine.’

“Well, I’m not! This whole finding a suitor business is ridiculous, I’m Queen Regnant for Hylia’s sake.”

‘child’ Link signed with a snicker, ‘ensure monarch’

Zelda rolled her eyes, “I can name a successor.”

Link nodded sympathetically and gave her a pat on the hand.

“Link would you be opposed to….”

‘marry you’ Link signed with another huff of laughter, ‘flattered. But spoken for’ He held up his arm and showed a simple zora silver band on his wrist.

“Ah, yes. Of course. I should not have brought it up, I just don’t want to marry a man Link,” She picked at her dress. “I know you and Sidon are engaged, but if we had a political marriage…”

‘no old man would question your romances’ Link signed matter-of-factly.

“Yes, we could have our own lives.” Zelda said blushing deeply.

Link placed Zelda’s crown on her head, ‘get through today, talk later’

She nodded concisely before making her way to the throne room.

--

Zelda exhaled, the day had been uneventful and unbearably long. The men her advisors had paraded before her only got worse as the day progressed. She had liked a few of the Rito and Zora men who had come by, at least they were interesting to talk to, but even though she liked them she didn’t want to marry them.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, just a bit longer and then she could escape to her room for the night. She heard heavy footsteps come toward her throne.

“Your majesty,” a guard said making Zelda snap her eyes open, “There seems to be a problem.”

“Yes, what has happened?”

“There’s a suitor here...” the guard hesitated.

“And?” Zelda prodded.

“Well they did not alert your advisors, plus the suitor is also a bit unorthodox? The advisors sent me to ask you whether or not you would allow them to turn the suitor and their entourage away.” The guard looked nervous.

Zelda nodded, “Tell my advisors to send them in.”

The guard nodded and walked away. Zelda turned to Link, “How can they expect me to marry if they don’t let me meet everyone willing to marry me.”

Link shrugged. ‘people are strange’

Zelda laughed, “Yes, I agree.”

Zelda turned forward and composed herself. She only hoped to keep this meeting short so she could be done for the day. She heard the clank of metal from outside, probably a knight of some kind.

The doors unlocked and Zelda’s mouth dropped open. Walking toward her was a group of women. Gerudo women to be exact, they were all tall and strong, built like warriors. They had boxes and boxes of Hylia-knew-what and at the head of the group stood a woman unlike Zelda had ever seen before.

She was gorgeous. She was taller than anyone Zelda knew. Her hair was red and thick, her lips were full and painted blue. Not to mention the fact that she looked like a fighter.

“Sav’aaq, my queen” The woman said, “I am Riju, chief of the gerudo.”

Zelda sat there stunned. Words died in her throat, link nudged her hard with the tip of his scabbard. The women were polite enough not to laugh.

“Riju, it’s a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance,” Zelda finally squeaked out, “may I ask what brings you to Hyrule castle? I know the Gerudo are not overly fond of long journeys such as this.”

“You, naturally.” Riju’s eyebrows raised and a few of the women behind her looked confused.

“Oh! This is a diplomatic visit then; I’ll have rooms set up for you immediately.” Zelda felt her face burn.

She quickly rose from her seat, Link looked like he was enjoying every moment of this. Zelda was about to scurry off and get Impa when Riju spoke again, “perhaps I have not made myself clear.”

Riju said something Zelda couldn’t understand and the oldest looking women in the group quickly took a large velvet box from one of the crates they had brought.

Riju took the box and presented it to Zelda, “I’ve come to court you.”

Zelda took the box surprised by the weight of the present and Riju’s words. She opened it, surrounded by red velvet sat the most intricate necklace she had ever seen. It was a web of gold, rubies, and pearls. Zelda looked up at Riju stunned.

Riju smiled, “I do believe we’ll be needing room to stay. If your majesty allows it.”

Zelda swallowed thickly. “Of course.”

Chapter Text

Riju and her entourage settled in quickly, mostly because only her guard Buliara decided to stay in the castle. Zelda had mostly stayed out of the way and let Impa do the talking. She felt a bit dazed by the days events. When she had finally excused herself she was more than ready to collapse.

Her mind raced as she walked up to her room. Riju was a girl, and she wanted to court Zelda. She was twenty and her smile made Zelda’s heart beat faster. Zelda always knew she was, well, not quite straight, but this was something new.

She pushed open her door, and toppled onto her bed. Burying herself in quilts always made her feel grounded. She needed that now more than ever.

Her shoes were still on and her dress pinched, still Zelda felt no desire to get up. Her quilts were comfortable and she needed to think.

She was queen, she had a duty to her people. Marriage was one of her duties, her father had made that clear. Children were another. A nuclear family was what was expected.

But the Gerudo were always good political allies to have. They were noble, not to mention wealthy, and Zelda’s father had never been on good terms with them. Urbosa was too strong willed for her father’s liking and although they keep up an appearance of friendship, Gerudo-Hyrule ties had always been rocky. Building bridges was vital.

Gerudo were women ruled by women, and so naturally they’d have a better relationship with Zelda. Marriage though, that was a new thought. Never in the history of the royal family had there ever been a Gerudo in the royal family. Much less two women being married.

Although, marriage would not necessarily happen. Still, even allowing Riju to court her set a new precedent. Her advisors wouldn’t be happy, but forming new ties between the races of Hyrule and the royal family was important.

Zelda was turning these facts over and over in her head when she heard a knock.

“If it’s you, Link, you can come in.” She called from her cocoon of blankets.

The door was kicked open. In walked Link with a smile and thick slices of fruitcake in each hand. He put the plates on the bedside table and signed ‘ you need this’.

“You're infuriating.” zelda grinned. “Well, today was interesting.”

Link nodded, ‘very’. He plopped himself next to Zelda and pulled her blanket cocoon apart.
He nudged one of the plates toward her. ‘Eat, please’.

Zelda picked up the plate, “Don’t worry, I will.”

The cake was good and Link’s company was always nice, slowly Zelda relaxed. This was nice, sitting with her best friend with no real expectations. The silence was still loaded though, one of them had to ask.

“Well, I suppose we should address the elephant in the room. Riju is quite bold, don’t you think? Never in the history of the royal family have the Gerudo married in. But I suppose change is always good.” Zelda looked down at the remnants of her cake, she didn’t feel hungry anymore, “Two women is also unheard of.”

Link nodded slowly, ‘yes, strange. But good.’ Link paused for a second. ‘What do you think. Your marriage after all.’

“It’s certainly a wonderful political move.” Zelda said.

‘Not what I meant. Do you like her.’ link signed irritably.

“I—well.” Did she like her? They’d scarcely talked, but she was quite attractive. Her voice was nice, and she was so confident. Zelda wondered what it would be like if Riju put her arms around her. Heat ran to Zelda’s ears. “I think I could like her.”

Link giggled, gesturing to Zelda’s ears, ‘blushing’

Zelda swatted his arm playfully, “Yes, I know.”

‘I think this will be good.’ Link signed, ‘fun to see what happens.’

Chapter Text

Riju wrapped her arms loosely around Zelda’s waist, and nuzzled her face into Zelda’s neck. Zelda leaned into the touch with a sigh.  Riju kissed the curve of Zelda’s jaw and said, “I can’t believe you hated the idea of marriage.”

 "I wouldn’t have, if I’d met you sooner.” Zelda replied daringly. She felt Riju smile against her neck at that.

 “I’m honored to have been the one to change your mind.”

 Zelda heard a someone at her door and woke with a start. She felt dazed and overheated. Her breathing was quick and her face felt flushed. Why in the world had she had a dream like that? She barely ever dreamed. Let alone that vividly.

 She suddenly felt a jolt of shame, dreams like that about someone she’d just met? One hundred years of fighting The Calamity single handedly and somehow seeing a pretty girl could do this to her. She would have thought that it’d take a bit more than that to get to her.

 Well, she had made a habit of being wrong in the past so perhaps it wasn’t so strange.

 I’ll have to see her at breakfast, Zelda thought miserably, I wonder how quickly I can embarrass the entirety of Hyrule.

 Zelda groaned heavily into her pillow, but she still got up. As much as she would like to hide in her room for the next century, It would be rude not to show up after the prior day’s events. Zelda slowly got dressed and braided her hair. She did not think about anything other than her breathing.

 She went to look in her vanity mirror and her gaze dropped to the gift from the day before. She picked it up carefully and held it to her neck. After a moment of hesitation she put it back into its box. Perhaps she would wear it another day.

~~

 Much to Zelda’s surprise, Riju and Buliara were already in the dining room. The two were talking in a language Zelda couldn’t understand but they stopped soon after she entered.

 Riju smiled, and Buliara made a short bow before stepping off to the side.

 “Good morning, Chief Riju,” Zelda said as brightly as she could muster, even though she felt her face was already starting to burn, “I hope your first night in Hyrule castle was acceptable.”

 “It was more than acceptable Zelda, the view from my room was lovely. And please just call me Riju. ‘Chief’ is much too formal, especially between friends.” Riju replied.

 “Of course.” Zelda agreed before sitting down. She poured herself some tea and had a few sips before looking at Riju again. She seemed content to let the silence linger, but Zelda was not.

 “Why do you want to court me?” Zelda blurted out before clapping her hands over her mouth.

 Riju did not look upset or even surprised, “I am sure you have heard that my people leave the town to find a spouse, yes?” Zelda nodded. “Well, I have simply left to find my spouse.”

 “I understand that much but I’m not a…” Zelda tried to interrupt but Riju raised her hand to stop her.

 “I know, I have never been a fan of voe. I had hoped the trend of marrying them would die out but I am afraid not. And I want to court you because… You’re fascinating! Link told me so much about you I am afraid I already feel like I know you. You’re courageous and kind and I think we would be great friends and perhaps, more than that?” Riju seemed to falter slightly, “If you would like me to leave I will. Without question I would.”

 Zelda felt her shoulders relax, and she felt herself smile. “I would not ask you to leave. This is strange to me but I want to get to know you as well, if you will allow me to.”

 “Yes, I believe I will.” Riju’s smile returned as she said that.

 The rest of breakfast past in silence but neither one of the women seemed upset.

Chapter Text

The rest of the day was uneventful, mostly reading over old treaties and silently screaming over how horrible they were. Link wandered in and out of Zelda’s study, he brought her random items he thought she would like (a silent princess, a smooth rock, and a moblin fang?). He would whistle and write random notes to his friends (mostly Sidon).  

His presence was comforting in its own way. The buzz from breakfast had not quite worn off, but Link’s shenanigans made her feel more normal.

“Link what do you think of this?” Zelda asked pointing to an old trade treaty with the Gerudo.

Link looked at the document and after reading for a second, he stuck out his tongue. ‘Gross. tariff on flint, really?’ He cocked his head to one side questioningly.

“Ah, yes that old thing.” Zelda rolled her eyes, “I’ll talk about removing it with Riju later.”

At the mention of Riju’s name, Link brightened up considerably. ‘Young love. So cute.’ He ruffled Zelda’s hair fondly.

“Love is a strong word Link.” Zelda scolded halfheartedly.

‘Sidon and I, Love at first sight.” Link made a dramatic wistful sigh and looked down at his Zora bracelet. ‘Kids these days.’

Zelda laughed at that, her life was rather ridiculous at the moment. Everything was new, but it was not bad. For the first time in her life Zelda was ready to welcome change.

‘Do something special for her” Link signed right in Zelda’s face.

“What?”

‘Get her a sand seal. Riju loves sand seals.’ Link signed insistently.

“I don’t know what a sand seal is?” Zelda said hesitantly, Link gaped at her.

‘Sand seals are the cutest! Everyone is good, help you ride over sand’ Link signed more insistently, ‘ask her about them!’

“If it will make you happy I’ll talk to her about it at lunch.” She replied, Link nodded and seemed satisfied with that answer.

At least we will have something to talk about. Zelda thought.

Chapter Text

Riju stood on her borrowed rooms balcony and looked out at the remains of castle town. People buzzed around the courtyard and Riju saw some Gorons helping rebuild an old wall. It was nothing like her home.

Too cold, too quiet, and so overwhelmingly foreign. She twisted the bracelets on her wrists, had she been a fool to come here? For years she had been eager to meet the princess,no Queen , but perhaps she had been too hasty when she decided to court her.

Zelda was the only political peer her age, and she was so cute! Seeing her blush made Riju’s heart swell, it was so unlike the other Gerudo. She was shy, but she hoped soon the inquisitive girl Link had spoken about would reveal herself. Link had spoken about her so lovingly that for awhile she had thought he loved her as more than a sister. But seeing them together made her think of two siblings separated for a long while before finding each other.

It made her feel a pang of grief for her mother. It also made her resolve to get to know Zelda all the stronger. Buliara had teased her good naturedly about her crush for quite some time. Insisting that she simply ‘go for it!’ as she had put it, and had been quite miffed when Riju had refused to attend Zelda’s coronation.

“If she only met you Riju! She’d be seduced by your charms and fall into your arms immediately. You’re like your mother that way, and certainly like Lady Urbosa.” Buliara had said quite seriously.

“What would you know about my mother.” Riju stuck out her tongue like a petty child.

“You forget I was her Chief Consort. Your father hated me you know, not that he was around long.” Buliara said overflowing with pride, “I didn’t like him much either, I was always too jealous for my own good. But he did bring one good thing into my life.”

“And that would be?” Riju said curiously.

Buliara had taken Riju’s face gently into her hands and lovingly said, “You.”

Riju cringed slightly as she stabbed one of her many rings into her hand, it brought her out of reminiscing long enough to finally acknowledge that Buliara was calling her.

“Riju, darling child, If you don’t start moving your lazy butt you’ll be late for lunch with the princess! Then this whole trip will be pointless.” Buliara grabbed her arm carefully and pushed her out the door, “Now off you go! Use that endless charm I know you have, and go get her. I won’t wait up”

Riju blushed for the first time in years, “It’s only lunch Buliara!”

Buliara smirked, “Could be more, if you had the guts.” She slammed the door on a very shocked Riju.

Riju speed walked her way to the formal dining room as quickly as she could. She was still late, but less so. Zelda was sitting much closer to Riju’s seat then at breakfast. She took her place next to the Hylian and smiled as warmly as she could. “I hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”

“Of course not! It’s given me plenty of time to think of things to ask you about.” Zelda’s smile made her whole face light up.

“I’ll answer as many as I can, if you will indulge me as well.” Riju leaned onto her elbows and moved slightly closer to Zelda then was strictly necessary.

A flush started to appear on Zelda’s face, But she didn’t move away. “Yes, getting to know each other is of the utmost importance.”

“I agree.” Riju said.

“Well, then I think I’ll start with the most pressing question I have. What in the world are sand seals?”

Chapter Text

Zelda watched Riju’s eyes go wide the moment the word sand seals left her mouth. She grinned like a child.

“Sand seals are the greatest animals in existence! They’re soft and gentle and amazing.” Riju was vibrating with excitement, “No one outside of Gerudo village has ever asked me about them. Well, except Link but he’s Link.

“Link shares a very similar love for them yes. Are they pets or do they have a specific purpose?.” Zelda asked.

“They are pets and they help make desert travel easier. We also have sand seal racing and sand seal merchandise! I absolutely love them.” Riju answered quickly.

Zelda couldn’t help but smile, She was just so endearing like this. No longer the cool and confident Chief, instead she was a girl who loved something so passionately that it was infectious.

“I can see that you love them. I believe I must meet one someday.” Zelda said.

“You must meet my sand seal Patricia, she’s an absolute darling.”  

“I’m sure she’s wonderful.”

“Have you ever had any pets?” Riju said

“Um, no my father never allowed it.” Zelda looked down at her hands quietly, “I’ve always wanted a dog though. A very large, fluffy one.”

“You could have one now! Being queen has its perks.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t have the time. So much is going on, rebuilding and all.” Zelda answered.

“Someday then?”

“Perhaps.”

They sank into silence,a very comfortable one. Lunch passed with lots of chatter and questions asked. It gave Zelda an idea.

Chapter Text

Zelda held a box in her hands. She had  wrapped it herself, filled it with tissue paper, and a gift for Riju. It wouldn’t rival the necklace Riju had given her for a price, but perhaps it could win in sentimental value.

The royal tailor had practically fainted at the sudden request and the even more sudden deadline, but the finished product was better than anything she’d expected.

Now the only thing to do was to give it to her. The hardest part of the whole operation. Zelda had never excelled in social graces, she was more likely to hide during balls than to dance. But this was important! She has a chance to bond with Riju and also give her something she can enjoy. She had to work up the courage to do it.

Zelda had been standing in front of Riju’s door for ten minutes and had yet to attempt so much as a knock on the door. What in the world would she say? In the end, she left the gift in front of Riju’s door, knocked, and ran like Ganon was at her heels.

It worked.

~~

Buliara opened the door and saw no one. She looked down the hall just to check and… there was a box? Messily wrapped but in adorable shades of red and blue. A note with Zelda’s personal seal sat on top.

Buliara grinned. Finally! The Hylian queen has grown a spine. She wondered what the gift was, or even more interesting what the letter said. Was it a declaration of love? A steamy love letter? No, probably not, the princess was so nervous about anything to do with romance; it was probably a formal note.

Still, this was progress! They’re talking, and not just about politics! This was a far cry from the Gerudo traditions of courting but Buliara found it rather cute to watch two spirited young girls fumble around trying to tell the other they like them.

“Riju, There’s a gift for you.” Buliara picks up the box and dashes over to her.

Riju was laying in bed, curled into a large Sand Seal plush. She only grunted in response. She was being dramatic, curling up and moaning like she’d been stabbed.

“What if she doesn't like me? I’m a fool for coming here. We should just go home.” She flopped over onto her back and sighed.

“I’m not so sure dear. Look what she left you!” Buliara said, holding out the box eagerly.

Riju shot up and grabbed the box from Buliara. She looked at the letter for a moment before ripping it open. She smiled and blushed as she read it, but refused to let Buliara read it.

(“It’s personal!” She screamed the moment Buliara tried to read it.)

After a long delay and many dreamy looks at the letter, she tore off the paper and opened the box. Her face went blank for a moment before she let out a squeal. She pulled out a skirt, almost an exact replica of Lady Urbosa’s except where Vah Naboris usually sat there was a Sand Seal.

 

Chapter Text

“Link, remind me again why I agreed to this?” Zelda said, panting in the Gerudo desert heat. She was overdressed in Hylian finery, she had ignored Link’s suggestion of more traditional Gerudo garb. (It’s to revealing Link! She’d looked at him like he was crazy)

Link rolled his eyes at her and ruffled her hair fondly. ‘Riju wants to show you Gerudo hospitality. Her home is amazing.’

“That was a rhetorical question Link.”

‘I know, I enjoy annoying you. You look great,’ Link signed ‘very hot

Zelda let out a huff of laughter, “well you’re no better off, You can’t sneak off to be with your boyfriend. There’s no water here so ha. I win!”

He raised his hands in defeat. ‘You win this round.’

Zelda grinned triumphantly, her ears perking up. The rest of the walk was pleasant, Link might even call it boring, but they got to the town with no serious injuries.

The guards greeted Link by name, making Zelda shoot him an interested glance. He ignored it and dragged her to the clothing shop.

‘See!’ Link signed seriously, ‘so much more practical, you would wear them with Urbosa.’

“Link,” Zelda sighed, “I appreciate you worrying about my health but really? I’m fine, and it was different 100 years ago. I wasn’t Queen then, I could afford to be seen in,” she gestured toward the rather revealing top, “that.”

‘Don’t want you to die of heatstroke’ Link frowned, but he relented after pouring a cooling elixir on Zelda’s head.

The Gerudo people were not subtle. If you were new, or beautiful, or important, well they had no shame in staring. Zelda was all three and having Link with her made them even more curious.

The two scurried off to the palace. Link stopped for a moment to joke with the guards, While Zelda worried her hands. She knew Riju liked her, she’d made that clear. Zelda hoped she’d made her feelings clear in the letter she had sent Riju as well.

But there was always a chance, that Riju would change her mind. Maybe she had realized Zelda was the failure her father assumed she was, or she had found someone better than her. Which was a ridiculous thought, they’d only been apart for two days, but it sat in the back of Zelda’s mind.

Link gave Zelda’s shoulder a squeeze, ‘ready?’ he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at her.  

“Link.” Zelda scolded, she didn’t really care, but this was familiar and right now she would cling onto anything familiar that she could.

She took a deep breath and walked in.