Shortcuts and Pillow Talk

"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." – Henry Kissinger

Please note: this is a "safer" rewrite to better comply with 's rules and ratings systems. The full piece can be found on my Tumblr (linked in my profile) and cut for length. It's not meant for any minors to read.

I do not own the Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Mario Bros., Super Smash Bros. or any of the franchises used, nor the characters name, nor do I make profit from this.

The first time Samus Aran had been drawn into such a tournament, she wasn't impressed. She just wanted it over with quickly so she could get back to working on things that actually mattered, like that mystery planet, Aether. And the idea behind it all was just so random.

There was a stumpy plumber, a big ape, and a guy who looked like Robin Hood, to name a few. It was less like a contest and more like something you'd find in a kids room – a bunch of random dolls, thrown about and made to fight.

So, when the siren rang, she wasn't interested in fame or glory, or even money, even if she was a bounty hunter. She just wanted it over and done with. And if that meant she had to charge up her power beam and blast away the competition, well, she'd have to do just that.

For Link, the contest was little more than an amusing event. He expected the ordeal would be rewarded at the end with something of value, and not just a paltry amount of Rupees. At best, some new equipment. At the worst, at least a heart container.

When it became clear it really was all about fame and glory, he lost his interest. He would have more to gain by cutting grass instead of tackling... what? Some brown Keaton who called itself Fox, and a funny-talking guy who could have been Talon's long lost brother? And then there was that statue-thingy, all red and amber, like someone had tried to turn a Stalfos into an art project.

He would wrap things up as quickly as he could and then head back the way he came – by the time he travelled back through the woods, he might hit Hyrule before the end of the month.

When it came down to the actual fight, it was neither Samus nor Link who took victory. In the end, it all came down to a nasty fight between the big ape and the little man in overalls. When the simian fell, the fanfare that followed was maddening. It was suddenly very, very clear that winning meant everything in this event.

On the sidelines, the losing contestants were allowed to watch while licking their wounds. Link gulped back a thick, gelatinous potion, feeling the stinging burn on his ribs begin to subside. Whatever that suit of armour was really, it was capable of leaving quite the mark. His tunic would have to be replaced entirely.

On the other side, Samus frowned and inspected her canon. The shield had fallen, which she had expected. That it fell to a sword, now that was new. A piece of long, sharpened steel had done more damage than a cadre of Space Pirates ever had. Even if the plating took most of the scores, the few thrusts had been precise enough to sever key components. She'd be looking to upgrade quite a bit when she was finished with this little tournament.

In the arena, the champion shook his hands up in triumph, while a chant of "Ma-ri-o! Ma-ri-o!" filtered through the speakers.

Winning was definitely a big thing in this whole mess, they realised. It wasn't just the key to getting out of there sooner than later – it was everything.

Later, as Link sat polishing his sword and relaxing in his Goron tunic, a tall stranger approached him. Well, taller than he was, with sharp, feminine features and an athletic build. It would be easy to stare at her, really.

"Nice colors," she said dryly. "Your sword?" He nodded, unsure of what she wanted, but she only hummed and nodded back.
"I don't think I need to tell you just how much of my suit you damaged," she accused, and it took a long moment before the light dawned on his face and he understood. As he opened his mouth, she held her hand up in protest.

"No, save it," she said, silencing him. "I'm not here to moan – I want to make an offer. A partnership." He sat, dubious, and listened as she laid her cards on the table. An alliance, she said, between the two of them. While she dominated the ranged attacks, he would handle the close quarters, and together they would sweep through the contest and be over before it began to wear on.

"You can even keep whatever prize it is," she said. "Well... most of it. I do need to replace what you broke, but you'll have enough for a new dress if you like." He scowled at her and she smirked playfully, but continued regardless.

"So, what do you say – partners... Link, is it?" She stuck her hand out, and he paused before nodding and shaking it. The sooner it was all behind them, the better, after all.
"You don't talk much, do you?" she asked, but before he could prove her wrong she shook her head, long, blonde hair swaying behind her. "No, it's a good habit. Keep it."

The tournament had originally been planned to last weeks, they discovered the next day. Popularity played a big part, but in the end it all came down to speed and power. Fortunately for the pair of them, they found that they possessed all three qualities. Link, for his heroic deeds, and Samus, the brave bounty hunter. It seemed as long as they were in a match, no one could afford to bow out, and that meant less recoveries and more concessions.

After they established that, it was just a case of the matches themselves. And there was never an issue there. She was a powerhouse, bringing heavy blows down on anyone who crossed them, while he was an athlete, crossing an arena in seconds to deliver a flurry of hits with his blade. If they were honest with themselves, they learned to enjoy watching each other work, especially knowing they weren't on the receiving end.

When the finale came, sooner than anyone expected, it was a brutal melee. The pair had learned to move and counter around each other, but they were both constantly in motion for the better part of it. More than once, one would get thrown back further than they could recover from, only to be grabbed at the last second by their partner and hauled back into the fray. It was as much a save as it was condemning them to continue the match.

When the bell rang and the winners chosen, they were both left standing in the mess they caused. Dirty and panting, with scorch marks tattooing the landscape from her power beam, while the ground itself was torn from a swinging sword. Their adrenalin was still peaked when the fanfare came, louder than before, and all for them. It was a giddying moment.

Later, the pair stumbled into the unexceptional room he had been staying in, lips crashing against each other and hands tearing at clothes. It was a battle, all over again, to see who held the most power. She peeled her skin-tight Zero suit down to her waist, immediately expecting him to fall into her tits like a typical man. She was happily surprised when his teeth sunk into her neck instead and he slowly sucked while she moaned throatily.

In the end he came first, but only just – a guttural cry as his head fell into the crook of her neck and he erupted inside her, but the filling was all she needed to sweep her away right afterwards.

She still considered it a win.

"That was fun," she said afterwards, arm draped across her forehead and licking her lips. The modest bed was too short for her, but she had no problem with letting her foot dangle over the edge while she got her breath back. It was even comfortable in some odd, adrenalin-charged way. But it wasn't cosy enough to shake off the 'what the hell happens now?' atmosphere that descended on the room.

"I'm Samus," she said lamely, lifting her hand from across her damp breasts and offering it to him. He stared at her for a second, face flushed and breath coming in ragged pants, before he took it lightly.
"Link," he answered back, voice croaky. Samus only nodded, before settling back into the mattress and closing her eyes.

She'd wait until she was sure he was asleep, she thought, and then slip out. She'd keep her word about letting him keep their mediocre reward, and it would be better in the end. Besides, she hated goodbyes, especially when she wound up admiring someone. And no one would deny that they made a powerful team.

It had been almost a year when the word came through again. Aether had turned into more of a campaign than a mission, and she was looking forward to languishing in civilization for a while until something worthwhile came up. When the call came through, she wasn't sure if she was flattered or annoyed. Yes, she was famous, but this little crazy crew had gall to go around collecting celebrity fighters.

"I'll pass," she said without thinking twice.
"Are you sure we can't convince you? It's a shame – you're the only one who isn't returning."
Now that got her attention. The only one?
"Tell me more..."

"Are you sure we can't convince you? As we understand, this is an era of peace, now." Link ignored them, busy checking how secured Epona's saddle was. He shook his head, passing a gesture with his hand, and he heard the messenger sigh behind him.
"It really is a shame – you're the only one who has said no to returning."
Link stopped what he was doing, mulling it over, before turning back to this "representative."

When Link and Samus met again, to say there was awkwardness was an understatement. She kept her visor tinted, even if her helmet seemed to swivel around and down. Link's natural silence was even more pronounced, as though he was ready to communicate entirely in nods and gestures.

"Good to see you," she mumbled, voice heavy through her armour's speaker. He nodded, licking his lips. He wasn't a fan of one-night stands, and even less when someone slipped out afterwardst.
"Put that reward to good use?" Ah – he had no gesture for that one, and he didn't like the idea that she was suddenly bringing that up. Link chewed his lip, head tilting, until there was a long-suffering sigh from the electronic helmet.

"Look, we're adults," she said. "We had a good thing, a good time and we went home, like we agreed when we shook hands. Let's not act like a pair of kids." The helmet jerked behind her and she stamped a steel fist against an armoured hip.
"C'mon, we can grab coffee somewhere in this dump and catch up. Or you can just nod and hear me out, or something."

Link couldn't help but chuckle at that, his head dropping as his shoulders began to shake, and Samus felt the urge to point it out. "Ahh, see? Back already and I'm beating you."
He had a rude gesture for that, but she took it in stride.

It soon became clear that they had been suckered, well and truly. And probably not the only ones, considering just how many new faces had joined the league. "Those who have faces, anyway," Samus whispered. The prizes were back, bigger and varied, because quote, "everyone should go away a winner."

It still stung to think they had been played for a pair of fools, along with who knows who else.
"Partners?" she asked that afternoon, hand once again outstretched, and he gave it a quick squeeze.

Warriors, like wine, aged well. At least that's how it seemed, anyway. For all their time apart, Link and Samus slipped back into their roles surprisingly well, with the Hylian slowing a rival down in time for the bounty hunter to finish them off. By the end of the first day, they were sporting a few bruises and rips, but the fanfare was every bit as glorious as the year before.

By the second night, they were back in Link's room, where Samus bent across his bed with her long legs standing apart, mewling with delight as he rocked against her. This time, he won their little "match," with her legs turning to jelly as she hit her orgasm, before he withdrew minutes later and left a pearly trail along her back.

Not all of the new faces were really new, they later found out. One was a nasty looking fighter who Link had tangled with in the past – a brute named "Ganon" who should have been executed, much less allowed free to enter a tournament. And after seeing how tough a competitor that one plumber was, Samus was less than thrilled with the idea of two of them.

Their fears turned out to be baseless. Samus and Link were beginning to earn a reputation for storming whatever battlefield they entered, and neither Ganon nor the Mario Brothers were able to hold their own for long.

"Tell me about Hyrule," she said one night, playfully running her bare leg up and down his while she relaxed against his chest. The bed was still small, and she was taller, but she was damned comfortable.
"You don't care," he mumbled, distracted by her moves.
"Tell me anyway."

Link's voice was something that she had grown to enjoy. She had always expected it to be light or high, or some awful fairy-like cheer. Instead it was low and gravelly, and the more he talked, the more she demanded he kept it up. She was almost mad to think he had kept it locked up so much, but then, maybe it was the lack of use that gave it such a rough-around-the-edges quality.

"I'd rather talk about this," he said playfully, slipping his hand down between them and stroking a finger across her bare mons. She swatted him away, unable to stop herself from giggling or her toes curling from the touch. "I don't remember you always being bare down here..." he teased.

"It's comfy," she admitted. "You try wearing a Zero suit and you'll know it too. Besides, are you complaining?"
"Oh, no, just noticing."
"You want to know what I noticed?" she whispered in a serious tone. "I know why you Hylians have those lovely long ears."

He chuckled, the sound reverberating in his chest behind her.
"Well, don't leave me in the dark," he hummed, and she grinned back at him.
"It's so I can keep you in place when you're down there," she said with a wink, and he rolled his eyes. "No, I'm serious," she continued. "You shouldn't talk at all – your tongue is too talented to waste on words."
"Gee, thanks."
"Shh – no wasting the talent."

No matter how successful Link and Samus were in battle, an alliance is only as strong as the spirit behind it. It wasn't long either before cracks were beginning to show in their impenetrable defence. There were some of these contestants, "Smashers," they had been dubbed, which Link was outright hesitant to fight. Chivalry or nobility or whatever it was, Samus couldn't decide. Either way, he never went all out when facing Zelda or Sheik, and his only explanation was a gesture with his hand that seemed to mean "eh."

Honestly – Samus had no trouble with attacking Zelda, and didn't care to stop and wonder why that was.

Samus had received more than enough attention too, thanks to Falcon and that creep in the cardboard box. At first, the wolf whistles were enough to make Link raise is sword, but she made it clear that (while it was almost sort of sweet) it wasn't needed. She was a big girl. She could handle herself.

She just had a little problem with her temper, and after the third incident she was severely reprimanded for the destruction she caused for "teaching a lesson." Link stood up for her, even breaking his self-imposed vow of silence to add weight to her character. But she was too wound up to see any favour in it, and demanded to be given time to clear her head.

This was Samus Aran code for "shoot targets." When she did make her way back, she was still fuming over the whole ordeal.

"I didn't ask for your help," she said to Link when she confronted him. "I know you think you're doing the hero-thing here, but I handle my affairs, got it?" At any given time, Link might have nodded and let her be for awhile. But then, he was known for his courage, not his wisdom, and perhaps that's why he felt the need to poke the lioness through the cage.

"Seems to me we've been handling things together awhile now," he replied, and she whirled around in anger.
"And how long will that last?" she demanded. "You've got some little field, and I've got jobs to do. So how long til all this is done and we go our own ways again?" Her face was glowing by now, frustration lining her forehead, and Link found himself struggling to want to say something for a change.

"I thought that's what you wanted," he said, and she pinched the bridge of her nose and let out a ragged breath.
"You know what? I don't even know anymore." And for the first time since he knew her, Samus seemed small. Not short, just tired and confused, and in dire need of a break. But her walls were up, now.
"I don't know what I want," she said again. "But I know what I'm good at, and that's the solo thing."

Samus rose up and pushed open the door, stopping only when she felt a hand grab her arm, and she gave it a weary look.
"This is over," she whispered, and pulled her arm back before leaving.

In the days that followed, neither Samus nor Link was spoken of in more than hushed whispers. The rumour mill was alight with news of a failed engagement, or even a pregnancy. Some of the men were quick to theorize that in secret, the Hylian was actually insufferable, and Samus had finally had enough.

All that was known is that they were both pulling the silent act now, and when they were called upon to fight, they fought alone. There was never an explanation as to why this legendary tag-team had split, but it seemed they were both "chasing glory." After all, they both took every round with a deadly seriousness, often ending things in a few quick, brutal strikes.

What else could they want except to Lord their victory over the other?

It came as no surprise when, weeks later, the tournament began to wrap up, once again quicker than they had originally planned. The rankings had been tallied, the placements had been made, and soon everyone was thrown together for their swan song. Their grand final for the season, each brawling with as much energy and skill as they could muster.

All up until the semi-final, when Link and Samus stood on opposite ends of the stage. Her Varia suit shone with a polish, as though she had spent extra days repeatedly cleaning and maintaining it. Link was a blank slate, but then he had always been good as masking who he was. A natural of social engineering without even knowing it, she had once said.

The siren blared. The countdown began.

Neither of them moved. Not in five seconds, ten, even twenty. They just stood, immobile, as jeers began to ring out over the field.
"Someone do something!" somebody demanded, while another voice erupted into a chorus from a rude song.

And still, they never moved. They just stared as precious time ran out.

The match ended in a draw. Not unusual, except that the two combatants hadn't so much as twitched a muscle.

Link and Samus were immediately disqualified, while rumours flew that perhaps they had both staged the entire thing in order to cheat their way up the ladder. Either way, what was done was done. No one saw them after that, and soon the attention was back on the centre stage where the finale was being held.

The two weary fighters didn't wait around to see the result, either. They found their way back to Link's spartan room, where they undressed and slid into bed, grasping each other's hands and slowly moving against each other.

"God," she whispered afterwards, pressed against Link's damp side and closing her eyes. "I've never been so damned miserable than these last weeks." His arm slipped around her shoulders and he nodded, certain she still knew it even if she couldn't see. And suddenly, they were back to where they began so long ago, naked and tired and sweaty, neither of them knowing what to say or do next.
"Can we not do that again?" he asked, voice rougher than she remembered, and Samus chewed her lip while snuggling closer.

"I'm a pain in the ass," she confessed. "I only know how to do the solo thing, remember...?"
"I'm stubborn," he said. "Besides, there's no shortcuts if it's worth doing." They were quiet for a long time, considering just what it would mean giving up and taking on. Samus stretched her leg out, her foot slipping out of the sheets and dangling off the edge of the mattress.
"We'll need a bigger bed, then," she hummed.
"In the morning," he agreed.