There is no better illustration of the relativity of time than being trapped in a constant state of twilight. Hood drawn up over her head, Zelda stands in front of her window and watches the sun as it hangs, suspended just above the western horizon. Long light filters hazily down through the fog, casting shadows so deep she’s sure she’d drown if she set foot in them. Time passes in the space between heartbeats, and the tight, terrible tidal flow of air exiting her lungs. Her mouth tastes like soapstone and soured wine, failure made physical. Zelda doesn’t know how long its been since she’d allowed her kingdom to fall into this endless in between, can’t translate her log of hiccuping breaths and cold tears into a tangible timeline.
Her dreams smell like leaf rot and the high bush cranberries that grow low in the foothills of Snowpeak summit. Zelda brings her fingers to her mouth when she wakes, surprised each time she does not taste sharp juice and the very beginnings of fermentation on her tongue. It would be appropriate for her hands to be stained red, though perhaps not with berry juice, she muses grimly. Midna makes for good company, flits in and out as the sprite sees fit, smirk sharp and teeth sharper when she flashes a predatory grin Zelda’s way. She clings to these fleeting interactions as breaks in the monotony, presses her hands to the thick glass of her window and wishes for the taste of melting snow on her tongue. How long does she have until she starts to go mad? The thought hangs heavy in the back of her mind, presses harder and harder against her occipital lobe every time Zelda tries to slip into fitful sleep. The twilight never changes, flat light constant and oppressive, and Zelda wraps her scarf as tightly around her mouth as she can to try and keep what little hope she has left from tumbling out past her lips and into damp air. The skin between her ribs sinks a little lower each day, body cannibalizing lean muscle to try and keep the spark alive.
Broken glass bites beneath her fingernails, snags on the silk of her gown when she smooths her hands down the outside of her thighs, she’s surprised each time she doesn’t see blood. The Crown Princess stands alone in her room and chafes at the eyes on the nape of her neck, finds that somehow she feels more like an animal up for observation now than she ever did upon the throne. War drums beat to the throb of blood inside her wrists, and Zelda can’t count the days she has waited here, but understands her time to be running out.
When she first stares into sharp blue eyes, they’re set in the face of an impossibly large, dark wolf. There’s no mistaking the intelligence behind them, especially not so when the beast steps towards her, breath hot where it luffs against her hand in imitation of a reverent kiss. A fealty sworn. The would-have-been Queen blinks in surprise at the way her ribcage hollows out when blue eyes hold hers steadily, catalogues the sadness that swims in them for later assessment. War drums whip into a frenzied refrain, tempo ratcheting up in response to the rising flush that colors her cheeks. Her skin begs to sink against him. The wolf pants heavily, teeth bright and white where they peek past his lips.
Voice shaking and throat tight, Zelda details the fall of her kingdom, each word like a knife against her lips. Tall ears fold back against dark fur as the wolf watches her intently. He doesn’t say anything, can’t say anything– Zelda selfishly finds herself grateful for it, thinks she might buckle like too thin steel under misplaced pity. The silence that follows stretches out between the three of them like the final few seconds between a lightning strike and the rumble of thunder. She feels like she’s been hit by a bolt of lightning herself, counts the seconds between charges where they arc up the length of her spine.
There’s a manacle closed tightly over his front left ankle, chain dragging loudly behind him across the polished stone floors of her bed chambers turned prison when the wolf closes some of the distance between them. Zelda sinks to the floor, wets her lips beneath the worn fabric of her scarf, tastes hope on her lips for the first time in so many heartbeats, and reaches out to smooth her hand down between pointed ears. Her heart all but stops. Zelda inhales slowly, feels her lungs expand more easily than they ever have before, and releases a little of the longing that has packed in against her pericardial cavity for as long as she’s been alive with her next exhale. Goosebumps rush up her arm in response to a cold, wet nose against her wrist. She doesn’t think her mouth has ever been so dry.
That night she dreams of calloused hands against her ribs, feels phantom nails scrape delicate paths up her torso with their fine points. When she wakes in the morning (if it can even be called that), it’s to a wildly beating heart and the smell of fresh cut grass and woodsmoke hanging in her nose. Zelda fights to remember how to breathe, clenches her eyes shut in an attempt to cling to hazy summer sun. Perhaps if she simply doesn’t open her eyes she can drift back to sleep, could tempt her brain into giving her a glimpse of the face attached to those hands.
It doesn’t work. Flat purple light and a thin curtain of rain running down her window greet Zelda when she finally surrenders, grey eyes reluctantly opening. Her fingers taste like sweat and goat milk soap when she shakily raises them to her lips out of habit.
She wonders when she’ll get to see the wolf again.
As her time trapped within the crumbling masonry of her ancestral home draws on, her dreams become more vivid. It begins as hazy visions of emerald green fabric tossed indifferently over broad shoulders, the flavor of cured leather on her tongue. Next comes long, silent nights spent traveling through the shadows, eyes trained on a man dressed in that same shade of green. Zelda never quite reaches him, doesn’t get to see anything more past the taper of his waist and the sword strapped across his back. Some nights are spent dreaming of delicate white flowers pushed into her hands by scarred fingers stained with the milk from their stems. Her favorite dreams are the ones that smell like cut grass and woodsmoke, the feeling of a thickly muscled body pressed tightly against her own beneath late summer sun. She clings to the taste of goat milk soap where it sits high on her tongue.
When next the beast ducks his head beneath the high arch of her bedroom door, Zelda feels as if an epoch has passed in its entirety. He has seen battle since last they shared space: the evidence lies in fur matted with blood and grime, and the collection of new notches that decorate the edges of his ears like some kind of crown. Her beast steps over the threshold of her chambers carrying a small, painfully still body. Dread crawls up her spine, chasing away the pleasant heat that had initially cascaded down it at his appearance. Zelda’s heart lurches against her sternum, the wolf whines. She doesn’t know what to do.
Except for the fact that she does.
Sacrifice has always come easily to Zelda. She’s felt it in the hollow spaces of her bones for as long as she’s drawn breath. Has made her peace with the understanding that her story will likely end with a holy sword through her breast. Perhaps that’s why her hands don’t shake when she reaches for the small body, why the anxious chuffing of her beast doesn’t deter her in the slightest. Zelda thinks of the sacred cows raised in the south, milky white and blessed by the goddesses when her hand comes to rest on Midna’s cheek. Inhales slowly through her nose and savors the smell of conifer forests and cold air where it clings to him.
His name is Link. She feels heat bloom between her hipbones as she rolls the name around in her head, just barely fights the urge to taste it on her tongue. His name is Link . She hopes he succeeds, wishes a bright and sunny future for his kind blue eyes even as she sends him after a prophetic sword almost certain to doom him. She hopes he gets to watch the sun rise and fall. She hopes he doesn’t die.
He twitches the fur over his shoulders, bares his teeth when her hand begins to glow. A virgin at the altar, Zelda bends her head in mockery of prayer, and hisses through her teeth when she feels her blood begin to boil. Balance of light and dark, the smell of cold alpine air beneath relentless sun. Full moon light that pours across Hyrule field in the winter, bouncing back up off the snow to illuminate the night. Equivalent exchange.
Zelda slips from consciousness into warm arms and woodsmoke smell. Distantly, she wonders what they’ll do with her body ( will she even leave a body behind ). She hopes he’ll be so kind as to close her eyes.
When she wakes it is with the taste of Midna’s suffering heavy on her tongue. Zelda comes back into her body slowly, like feeling returning to limbs after too long out in the cold. She curls her fingers into the armrests of her throne, tightens her grip until her knuckles go white, and forces words out past the lump in her throat. Standing before her, broad shouldered and dressed in a shade of green so right it makes her chest ache like she’s been struck, is the most beautiful man she’s ever seen. Link’s lips are parted slightly, breath coming in sharp pants not unlike the ones she had felt against her wrists, pushed out past the long line of his fangs. Zelda swallows thickly, nostrils flaring as she drinks in the sight of his face, all high cheekbones and sharp angles (even in this form, she notes how long and sharp his incisors are), she burns with how badly she wants to touch him.
She stumbles when her feet hit the tall grass of Hyrule field, diaphragm drawn taught in preparation to scream. Zelda glances around wildly, unprepared for the unsettled breeze against her bare face. Grey eyes find the castle, study its jagged skyline for any sign of what transpires within, close briefly when there’s nothing to be gained. Her mouth tastes like ash. Zelda’s blood beats staccato with panic against her eardrums. The breeze dies abruptly, lets the grass at their feet fall still, dread crawls up her spine. Link pulls in closer to her, jaw clenched and eyes tight at the corners. If she were to just reach out now she could trail her fingers down the strong line of his forearm. He studies her intently and gives a small nod, Zelda struggles to breathe past the smell of woodsmoke.
When the castle crumbles before them, Zelda feels the broken pieces of her kingdom catch in her throat. Wonders if she spit, would fragments of old granite masonry tumble to the crushed grass at their feet? She clenches her jaw, breath coming in shallow gasps, and rolls the bitter taste of feldspar, quartz, and failure around against her teeth. Link glances between her and the ruins of her kingdom wildly. They’re going to have to move soon.
It’s the sight of Ganondorf brandishing Midna’s helm that breaks the dam centered just behind her sternum. Zelda levels her stare at the usurper upon his frothing steed and feels holy flame lick up the back of her throat. Her mouth only tastes like rage now, cold and bright as she rolls her shoulders back and paces behind Link. If she doesn’t move they will die. The invocation pours from her lips instinctually, words familiar on her tongue even though she’s never once rehearsed them. Zelda snarls out the Demon King’s condemnation through bared teeth, relishes the way it blisters her lips like blue flame as she hurls it from her chest. She steps forward towards the wreckage of her kingdom, drags her skirts out of and over the shattered pieces of her Father’s helm, and feels her spine straighten violently: the cold blade of righteous justice.
Link watches her with wide blue eyes as she finally, finally gets to taste his name against the charred remains of her lips. Water laps softly at their feet, the sound of waves drowning out the frantic beating of their hearts, and Zelda only just barely fights back a whimper at the softness of his stare when he traces her features fervently. His lips pull up into a smile, bright and earnest, and Zelda is wrecked. She returns the gesture, knows in her bones that she will do whatever it takes to keep this man alive and smiling at her. When she places her hand in his, Zelda breathes freely for the first time in her life. Gloved fingers curl warm and strong against hers, and Zelda wants nothing more than to hold onto him forever. Based on the way he licks his lips, pupils blowing out when their eyes meet, she suspects he feels the same way.
She presses her chest against his back when they mount his mare, rolls her neck against the tension developing in atrophied muscles, and fights a whine down when she smells goats milk soap clinging to the soft skin of his throat. Her hands do not tremble as she pulls her bowstring back, but her thighs do as they grip his mare’s sides. Zelda rests her cheek against her hand, stares down the shaft of her holy arrow, and exhales so strongly on the release that she watches the fine hairs at the nape of his neck stir in response.
Her arrow lands home. They defeat evil incarnate with her breasts pressed flat against the broad planes of his back. The sun resumes its dance across the sky.
One week after the mirror had shattered, fragments lost to the lazily waving grass of Hyrule Field, Zelda sits amongst the ruins of her castle, Link coiled like a spring beside her. His breathing is slow and steady, enough so that Zelda knows she could keep time by it if she so chose. Her fingernails no longer sting with the feeling of pulverized glass beneath them. Instead, she glances down at her hands where they’re folded against the cool white satin of her skirts, and studies the soil ground beneath ragged nails. They’d spent a good part of the morning digging for radishes, shoulder to shoulder beneath long, late autumn sun. Link has promised her a soup that requires a a great deal of them, eyes bright as he describes how they’ll slice the root vegetables just so.
Zelda inhales slowly, takes stock of the silence between them, and lets herself shiver with the overwhelming smell of wet masonry warming up beneath low hanging sun. When she glances to her side, Link is watching her steadily, eyes lit up by golden rays. He offers her a smile, and Zelda can’t even begin to hide the blush that crawls up her cheeks even as she feels her own lips pull up in response. Her heart beats unsteadily, a flock of small, buffy birds erupts over the crumbling wall to their right to tear across the sky loudly, and Link says nothing even as he shifts closer to her.
She’s come to understand over the course of the last seven days that he prefers to communicate with the roll of strong shoulders and his hands against her back. It’s intoxicating, a crippling difference from the prettily poisoned verbal sparring she had been raised amongst. The pad of his thumb finds the back of her wrist and pulls slowly across it, this time when she meets his eyes they crinkle at the corners before darting back towards their horses. His message is clear: let’s go eat . Zelda gives a bashful nod, heart fluttering, and when Link rises to his full height he holds one gloved hand out to her. She takes it without hesitation, and allows Hyrule’s Hero to lead them out of her kingdom’s graveyard.
They don’t look back.
Reconstruction efforts mobilize not long after, filling the Castle grounds with the frenetic movement of carpenters and masons alike. She and Link watch from the backs of their horses, and not for the first time she shivers with just how lucky she is to have him beside her. Zelda inhales, feels the water that used to rest so heavily in her lungs evaporate just a little bit more, and bites her lower lip.
“Thank you for staying, Link.” Barely more than a whisper, painfully honest in her mouth. Her Hero blinks innocently, one sharp incisor slipping past his upper lip when he grins.
“Anything for you, Princess.”
Perhaps it really is that simple.
Everything with him is simple, she learns over the course of the next month. Hyrule yawns its way into winter, rhythms slowing down with rain that turns to sleet that turns to snow. Zelda watches the toes of her boots vanish along with the reds and golds of late autumn foliage beneath wet, heavy snow ten days into October. Link grins wildly up into the sky, throat bared to her as he laughs.
“It doesn’t snow like this at home.” Zelda wants to lay her lips against his pulse point.
They spend the whole day out in the snow, noses red and cheeks burning (though perhaps not with the cold). When they finally stumble back to the little village of thick tents that has sprung up like so many mushrooms after autumn rain, Link holds her stare a little too long, eyes a little too desperate. The soon-to-be Queen swallows thickly, feels fire against her scapulae when he cocks his head just slightly to the side and inhales. Off in the distance a dog barks, throwing his voice into the tension between them. Her tent, empty and lonely looms before them like a mausoleum.
“You know,” Link starts slowly, voice rough and low, “if you asked me to, I would stay with you.” Zelda is aware. Perhaps painfully so.
She doesn’t ask him to stay that night. Or the night after. Loses hours of sleep to turning that twelve syllable sentence over and over and over in her head. He’s placed the decision in her hands, acknowledged their mutual attraction in so many words. If this were a game of chess, Zelda imagines how she would stare down the trajectory of her Bishop. The next morning she watches him out of the corner of her eye, counts the tiles between them and imagines how his tongue would taste in her mouth. In the end, she moves her Rook first: asks him to become her General sweetly over tea and scones one early winter day. Link drums clawed fingers against the freshly varnished wood that separates them and considers, shoulders low and loose.
“Your knights are rather pitiful.” He’s not wrong and they both know it.
He says yes, takes a sip of the tea she’d made him and grins when he realizes she’s gotten the ratio of sugar to milk correct. Zelda feels her heart beat almost all the way out of her chest. She wants to kiss him (feels the words catch in her throat, stuck somewhere halfway up her trachea). Link cracks his neck, lays corded forearms across the cluttered surface of her desk and rocks up onto them. The princess swallows thickly, smells goat milk soap and black tea when she inhales, tries and fails not to lick her lips. Link smirks slyly, pupils blown wide as he studies her.
She shows her General how to climb onto the roof above the armory, just two days later. Tucks her skirts around cold ankles and waits for him to settle beside her. The sun hangs heavily halfway down, long purple light pressing heavily against her chest. Eternal twilight lies just a little too fresh in the back of their brains, heavy in the same way late autumn fog is. Zelda tries to shake the shadows from her eyes, still sees Zant like a retinal burn when she blinks. Gloved fingers brush against the small of her back and the Queen-to-be blinks back into the present.
Link smiles softly at her, ducks his head away from the burgeoning sunset in such a way that tells her he feels it too. Zelda allows herself to lean into his shoulder, curls even closer when the snow starts to fall again and Link pulls a thick cloak out of his pack to drape about their shoulders. They sit like that for the next hour, breathing together slowly as the sun dips beneath the horizon. His forearm lies across the small of her back like a brand, hot as red iron even through the oppressive layers of her bodice. When Zelda turns to look at him she catches blue eyes fixed heavily on the spot where her collarbone sweeps out past the neckline of her dress. Link inhales slowly, lifts a strong hand to cup her cheek, and Zelda fears her heart might beat out of her throat.
“Could I kiss you?” The bridge of his nose is dusted with freckles, Zelda counts each one as she struggles to breathe.
He does, triforce hand brought up to curl sweetly against her cheek. Zelda leans into the touch with a sigh, wraps cold fingers around his wrist to hold him there. Her General makes a low sound of approval at the motion and rubs the skin just beneath her ear in praise. They part reluctantly, only opening up enough space to inhale shakily before Zelda is chasing his lips again. Link laughs softly, and meets her halfway with an open mouthed kiss that leaves her clutching at his tunic desperately.
“I have wanted to do that,” he almost growls against her trembling smile, incisors nicking the corner of her mouth, “since the day I first met you in the tower.” Zelda brushes sharp crystal snow from his shoulders, laughs breathlessly when he tugs her into his lap. Her Hero runs his lips along her jawline, inhaling slowly as if savoring the scent of her skin.
“When you were a wolf?” She giggles at the scrape of his teeth against her skin when Link nips her playfully.
“Yes, when I was a wolf.” He pulls back to peer at her, smiling so softly it makes Zelda’s chest ache. The Crown Princess of Hyrule slides cold hands up the broad planes of her Hero’s chest to wrap loosely around his neck before placing an open mouthed kiss against his chin. He huffs out a growl in approval.
“Me too,” she admits against his stubble, takes the drop of his jaw as an opportunity to trace her tongue against the inside of his upper lip. Link’s hands flex against her hips in the same way she’s watched them against Epona’s reigns. Her throat runs dry.
“I apologize for making you wait then, Your Grace.” He’s smirking at her shamelessly, peppers her face with kisses when Zelda grants him a grin in return.
“All is forgiven, General.”
They stay tangled together atop the roof until the moon hangs high enough in the sky as to throw her light straight down on them.
They stand side by side atop freshly tilled earth and watch as the final few finishing touches are put upon what will grow into the Royal Gardens. Presently, the lush lot is comprised of dormant trees, not yet clipped into their topiary shapes, and stretches of flowerbeds that will erupt into bloom come springtime. Zelda’s nose is filled with the scent of damp earth and the faint woodsmoke smell that clings to Link wherever he goes (she’s not standing close enough to smell the goat’s milk soap upon his skin, the Princess notes with a sigh). Beside her, her General tilts his head towards the team of groundskeepers that are currently arguing over the best way to keep the Gazebo’s roof from avalanching snow onto the flowerbeds poorly placed beneath it. His mouth says neutral, but Zelda can see barely confide mirth dancing at the corner of his eye. She doesn’t blame him.
A chill wind sweeps across the grounds, snapping Zelda’s cloak behind her and sending frozen fingers searching for Link’s hand. She acquires her target easily, and doesn’t miss the way he releases a quiet sigh of relief when their fingers tangle together. Zelda couldn’t agree more. The sun climbs steadily higher in the sky, and and groundskeepers migrate to the north side of the castle where they’ve a mole problem to address. Zelda takes advantage of the newfound privacy and saunters closer to her General with a grin.
“I’m terribly cold, Sir. “ A half truth. Link shoots her a wolfish grin and tugs until her back presses firmly against his front, releases her hand only to curl both arms around her waist.
“I’ll do my best to warm you up, Your Grace.” Spoken against her ear and punctuated with a kiss to the corner of her jaw. Zelda melts into his embrace.
“Does it stay warm like the summer all year long in Ordon?” Link pauses to consider, absently rubs the tip of his nose up and down the top of her ear as he thinks.
“Not quite as warm,” a kiss against her temple. “But close, we get very thick fogs from Faron woods that roll in and blanket the village, and it rains the whole time.” Zelda tries to picture it as he carries on. “It’s chilly enough that you need an extra layer or two, but not so cold that we can’t wear sandals.” He shrugs one shoulder, Zelda tilts her chin to peer back at him. “You’d like it, it smells good.” A kiss atop the bridge of her nose.
“What do you do with the goats?” Surely there must be some adjustment to their husbandry in response to the march of the seasons. Link chuckles, and Zelda feels it more than she hears it.
“Nothing too different, we just watch them a little more closely out of respect for the wolves.” They share a loud laugh at the irony of that statement, Link’s clawed fingers decorating her bodice with small snags. “The trees drop their leaves but the air stays warm and you can smell it when they wake up on sunny days.” She can hear the smile in his voice. “The goats stay much closer to the village, and so we get to spend time in a different part of the forest than we do in the summer when they really wander.” Zelda wonders if he might take her with him for a summer, imagines long, hot days spent deep in the forest with linen against her skin. “There’s a spring they stick around in the winter that you would love. It’s home to a type of bird that hunts bugs in the water.” One clawed thumb rubs absently just beneath her breast, Zelda swallows thickly.
“I’d like to see it.” She cannot see her General smiling, but suspects that he might be when he huffs out a barely there laugh.
“Perhaps next winter then, Zelda.”
She thrills at the sound of her name in his mouth. Link continues to describe winter in Faron to her for the better part of an hour, speaks more than she’s heard him do so in weeks as he shares his love of the woods with her. The soon-to-be Queen listens intently, hangs on each word as he paints a picture of the wild just for her in hushed tones. Slightly chapped lips alight on the tip of her ear, and Zelda feels her chest expand impossibly with a bright bubble of joy. She can almost smell Faron now. Link doesn’t loosen his arms around her waist until the sun has started to flag from its apex, walks beside her through lengthening shadows as they make their way indoors.
“Join me for tea?” Zelda requests, a blush riding high on her cheeks that has nothing to do with the cold. Link hooks his thumbs into his belt and studies her intently for a few long seconds before replying, Ordon twang heavy on his tongue.
“Sure thing, Princess.”
Zelda wishes for murmured stories of Faron woods against her ear as they stand together in the skeleton of the Throne Room. Trusses sweep up towards the sky in a stone and mortar impression of a ribcage, only covered by the beginnings of a roof as of this morning. Link stands silently beside her, blue eyes soft as he watches her study the room that she will be coronated in. If she closes her eyes and thinks on it, Zelda can already feel the weight of the crown settled atop her head. She feels ill with the thought.
How can it be that someone who had failed her nation so profoundly is able to ascend to the throne? Surely her bloodright doesn’t outweigh the blood that stains her hands. Shame crawls up her spine, making its home at the nape of her neck where it licks until her hair stands on end. Zelda forces a sigh out through her nose, and pulls her gaze from the hem of her gown to study late afternoon light where it slants through floor to ceiling windows. Twilight will begin to bleed across Hyrule field in the next hour, Zelda already anticipates the tightness in her throat when flat purple light filters in through the windows of her temporary chambers.
“Hey,” Link breaks the silence, gloved hand hotter than any freshly forged blade when he skates it down her spine to rest at the small of her back. “Stop thinking like that.” Grey eyes find his across the scant distance between them, and her General leans in to ghost a kiss against the side of her neck, banishes building shame away with his breath.
“I can’t,” she admits, voice small in the huge, empty room. “I’m not worthy of this station.” She studies the dias where her throne will stand and wants to cry. “I have already failed this nation once, how could they ever trust me not to do so again?” The hand at her back presses forward until Zelda’s caged within his arms, cheek resting against one strong shoulder. She closes her eyes and allows the comforting smell of goat’s milk soap and woodsmoke wash over her. Link rubs her back slowly, speaks in a voice she’s only ever heard him use with her.
“They already do trust you.” A kiss against her temple, right where the band of her crown will rest. “You brought the kingdom out of twilight too, you know?” Zelda frowns into his throat, unconvinced.
“But I-” He cuts her off firmly, tightens the arm that’s slung around her waist with a whisper of chainmail on satin.
“But nothing. Hyrule wouldn’t be free without your sacrifice, your bravery. The people know that, Zelda.” If he feels her tears when they begin to fall atop the neckline of his tunic, Link doesn’t give any indication. “You’re going to be a good Queen. Hyrule is lucky.”
He makes a soft sound of surprise when Zelda surges forward to kiss him, allows it to melt into a groan as the hand at her back slides upwards to cradle the base of her skull. Link kisses her eagerly, lips soft and sweet against her own, and Zelda wonders at the fact that she’s still standing. Her General flexes his hand against her hip as they pull apart for air, makes up for the slight distance between them by showering kisses across her jaw and throat. Zelda’s laughter echoes through the throne room right up until the second it cuts off into a gasp at the feeling of fangs against her throat when Link nips her.
“Sir!” His chuckle is low and hot against her collarbone, and Zelda bemoans the breathy vibrato of her voice. Goosebumps tear across her skin when he inhales deeply, lips slightly parted against her wildly racing pulse.
“Begging your pardon,” Link lays an open mouthed kiss against the same spot he’d bit, “I didn’t mean to offend.” Zelda giggles again, weaves long fingers into his hair to tug upwards until Link’s mouth is back against hers.
“Oh, I promise,” she closes her own teeth around the swell of his lower lip, “you didn’t.” Her General only gives a growl in response, pupils blown fully out as he levels a stare at her through tangled lashes. When he kisses her next, Zelda is unable to stop the needy whine that builds in her throat, tugs at his hair until Link pushes his tongue past her lips to taste the tea they’d shared together earlier that afternoon.
They’re all too quick to leave the not quite yet completed Throne Room after that, hand in hand as they hurry towards her chambers.
Zelda likes to believe that she has more patience than the average person. She’s earned the right to that accolade, after an eternity spent in endless twilight. It’s given her the ability to compartmentalize time: break it down into manageable portions in her mind until a four hour meeting is only eight increments of thirty minutes, one of which she can count on to be spent arranging for tea. She runs through these familiar paces now, scans the agenda neatly transcribed in front of her and disassembles it into digestible portions. It would all be going rather perfectly were it not for Councilman Mantua, who currently glares at her from his position three fourths of the way down the table, quill trembling in one hand.
“Your Grace, I beseech you to consider the ramifications of failing to predetermine seating arrangements within the banquet hall.” Zelda inhales slowly through her nose in an attempt to keep herself from huffing an irritated sigh. It works, but only just barely. “Seating carries immense weight, as it is a direct reflection of guest’s station. We cannot afford to make errors in such a delicate field.” Coiled like a spring behind her right shoulder, Link doesn’t bother in the slightest to tamp down the rumbling growl that builds in his chest. Mantua has the good grace to look unsettled.
“I appreciate your concern, Councilman,” her tone drips with derision, and Zelda doesn’t care in the slightest. Mantua has wasted nearly an hour of this meeting digging his heels in over seating arrangements of all things, he can find himself on the receiving end of her disdain. “However, if you may have noticed: I’ve a castle to rebuild, and the banquet hall in which you’ve chosen to prioritize seating doesn’t currently have a roof.” The other council members in attendance shuffle and then reshuffle papers anxiously, beady eyes trained firmly on the table before them. No one comes to his defense. Mantua opens his mouth and then closes it again, knits grey brows together for a half second as he glowers up at her. Zelda simply smiles. “Pardon me if I’m more concerned with addressing distribution of grain to our rural, non agricultural settlements.”
Silence falls across the long, mahogany table. Link inhales deeply behind her, holds his breath for a second, and sends goosebumps tearing across her skin when he exhales and it luffs against her shoulder. Mantua does not speak for the rest of the afternoon.
In the end, and in no small part thanks to Councilman Mantua’s little stand, the meeting runs an hour over. The room erupts into movement when Zelda dismisses the council, politicians all too hasty to put some distance between them and Zelda’s palpable irritation. Her General steps out from behind her seat with a murmured Your Grace before drawing up beside Mantua. The older man looks fit to run when Link inclines his head evenly, shoulders square as he escorts the Councilman from the chambers. Zelda sits alone at the table for a few short seconds, focuses on exhaling out her irritation with each frustrated breath. She’s not yet risen from her seat when Link reenters the room, stalking through the door with a dark look upon his usually sunny face.
“Zelda,” her name is rough on his lips, almost a snarl. Blue eyes find hers across the room as Link devours the distance between them, Zelda suddenly finds herself keenly aware of the months he had spent as a wolf. Link moves like a predator. He’s gentle when he pulls her seat away from the table with one gloved hand, exhales in relief when he flattens his palms against her armrests and presses his lips to her hair. Zelda blinks, heart racing equally at his sudden proximity and the way he’s boxed her in against the tall back of her chair. “Do you want me to make sure he never attends another meeting again?”
The offer comes in the form of a low growl against her ear, too soft for anyone out in the hallway to possibly catch. Zelda swallows thickly, struggles to breathe past the feeling of his lips against the shell of her ear. She’s sure she’s blushing
“Link…” Her protest trails off into a tremulous sigh when he slants a kiss against her pulse point before turning into an honest whine when he gently scrapes his fangs against the skin there, careful not to draw blood.
“I know you can manage him yourself,” a kiss against her jaw, “you were fucking spectacular just now,” she shivers at the profanity, wants to make him swear for entirely different reasons, “but I will get rid of him if you want me to.” Zelda brings damp palms up to curl into his shoulders, and licks her lips.
“Please kiss me, General.”
He enthusiastically obliges, forces her mouth open to curl his tongue behind her front teeth. It’s all Zelda can do to keep quiet, painfully aware of the cracked door just to their right. Link lifts one hand from the arm of her chair to gently grasp her jaw, and tilts her head until he’s got her exactly where he likes her best. Zelda whimpers. He pulls back just enough to make eye contact, gives her a front row seat to the way his eyes almost burn in the warm torchlight.
“Do you know how good you smell?” She shivers at the rasp of his voice, frayed at the edges like so much unfinished linen. Zelda feels lightheaded with the scent of goat’s milk soap and woodsmoke. “I can’t fucking think when I stand too close to you.” He punctuates the statement with a kiss before tucking his face against the junction of her throat and shoulder, Zelda swears softly under her breath when he takes a long, open mouthed inhale.
“Link,” his lips are on her chin, the hand at her jaw drops to ghost a touch along her ribcage. “Link, please escort me to my chambers.” He all but pulls her out of the chair.
By the time spring settles against the cradle of Hyrule Field, Link has become a staple in Zelda’s bedchambers. They’re finished now, built with windows that welcome in the sun each morning and a bed big enough for two. She doesn’t much care what the council thinks, knows her own intentions when it comes to the sandy blonde who currently occupies himself with feverishly unlacing her corset. Suspects, when he dips his head to press a kiss that feels more like a prayer against the side of her throat that she’s got a good grip on his intentions regarding her, too.
They’re locked safely behind the heavy, oak doors of her study, bathed in liquid spring sun and panting. Link has her corset hanging loosely around her ribs, and rubs his jaw along her collarbones with a happy sigh before pressing a lazy kiss to the swell of her right breast. With each movement of his open mouth against her skin, Zelda feels the tension in her shoulders release, moves a little farther away from her frustrations with the council, and the stress of her impending coronation. Her breath tumbles out past bruised lips to stir the hair at the crown of Link’s head, followed swiftly by a delicate hand as Zelda cups the nape of his neck to press his mouth more firmly against her nipple. Hyrule’s General gives an approving grunt, and uses his free hand to push her hips closer to the edge of the desk Zelda currently perches upon. That same hand wanders up her skirts casually, worn leather warm when it skates along the delicate skin at the inside of her thighs. One calloused finger traces the trim of thin panties, and Zelda doesn’t bother to try and stop her whine when he begins to tug them down her legs.
“Lay back,” murmured against her sternum and followed up with a kiss. Zelda obeys. Link hands her the hem of her skirts as he continues to slide the thin fabric of her underwear down until he’s guiding her ankles out of it. The Crown Princess hiccups out a moan when he blinks up at her from his knees, one sharp incisor catching the light as a lupine grin blooms across his face. He presses a kiss against the side of her calf and slips the scrap of fabric into the pouch at his side. Zelda knows she won’t be seeing that particular pair of undergarments again for some time.
Goosebumps tear across her arms and chest when Link slants a kiss against the inside of her knee, scooting forward on the polished stonework to draw the very tip of his tongue up her cunt in a long, hot stripe. She only nearly closes her mouth around a moan and feels the tendons in her neck jump up into relief when two fingers press easily inside of her. Sweaty palms twist at the fabric of her skirts where Zelda clutches them to her stomach, heedless of wrinkles as Link establishes a torturously slow pace.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he’s speaking against the junction of her thigh, all teeth and tongue when he nips affectionately at the thin skin there, “I could do this all day if you’d let me.” Goddesses above she wants nothing more than to let him. Link quickly abandons speech in favor of laying his tongue against her clit, acquiesces to her breathy pleas and allows his wrist to snap more rapidly in and out of her. His fingers curl, midday stubble chafing at her skin when Zelda can’t quite stop her legs from closing around pointed ears, and when she comes it’s with his name on her lips.
“So good ,” a kiss against the inside of her thigh, quickly followed by another atop her hipbone. Link noses her skirts up and out of the way to bite softly at her lower stomach, drags his jawline over that same spot and lets out a long breath through his nose when one hand drops against his hair to scratch lightly. Zelda struggles to raise herself onto her free elbow as he crawls up her body, blue eyes nearly luminous when late afternoon sun catches them at an angel.
“I love you.” She can’t quite stop the words from slipping past her teeth, blinks in surprise at her own audacity even as Link’s face splits into a grin so brilliant she almost has to look away.
“I love you too, Princess.” Zelda swallows dryly, nostrils flaring as she impatiently watches him tug his cock free from the tight confines of tan trousers.
When he sheaths himself inside of her Zelda muffles her moan in the crook of his shoulder, earns a kiss against the shell of her ear in praise. Link has one hand curled hard enough into her hip that she knows she’ll have delicate bruises splashed across pale skin in the morning, and the other braced flat against the top of her desk. Almost as if urging a steed, Zelda digs her heels into the small of his back and spurs Link into motion. At this angle, almost the full length of his cock drags against that one spot that has her eyelids fluttering closed with each stroke. Link takes full advantage of that fact with languid rolls of his hips, mouth parted in reverence as he moves. She’s well on her way to another orgasm, hip flexors fluttering against the soft fabric of his tunic when three sharp knocks at the door ring out through the room.
“Your Grace,” a strident tenor voice muffled by thick wood. Grey eyes narrow in recognition, Councilman Borsa. Zelda presses her palms against her General’s chest, tries to still his movements so she can think, but all he does in response is flash her that same, wolfish smirk and pick up the pace. “I’d like to discuss the possibility of instating a sub council for the seating arrangements of our banquet hall.”
“Enough with the damn banquet hall,” Zelda growls in frustration, cheeks flushing when Link’s laugh breaks against her throat. His hips never stop, drawing her higher and higher even as the Princess struggles to find her words. It’s the feeling of his tongue pressed flat against the valley between her breasts that urges her to speak. “I’m afraid I’m feeling unwell councilman,” Link snickers again, muffled by her skin, “perhaps we could convene at a later date.” Silence, save for the barely audible sound of Link drawing almost fully out of her. Link captures her lips in a kiss so filthy it sends her cunt clenching down desperately around his cock, and then.
“Very well, I will inquire again tomorrow.” Zelda’s sigh of relief turns into a squeal when calloused fingers leave her hips in favor of working expertly at her clit.
“Fuck,” Zelda pants, chin tipped back as her lover works his mouth against the flushed skin of her throat. Stubble burns the skin just above her pulse, before Link begins to speak.
“Come to Ordon with me,” he murmurs against her mouth, punctuates the request with his tongue against the backside of her teeth, rolls his hips in a way that has Zelda’s toes curling in her heels. “I have a house, it’s warm and quiet.” The Princess trembles in his arms, whimpers when Link drags sharp incisors down her throat, thin stripes of blood blooming in his wake. “We could stay for a week or two,” his tongue laves against the scratches, hot and gentle, “you deserve a chance to be outside of the castle and away from those pricks.” Her General continues to argue his point with nimble fingers against her clit, and Zelda considers his offer hazily even as she feels the first few building waves of her orgasm crash over her.
They’re on the road to Ordon Village three days later.