Disclaimer: I do not own anything of Nintendo's.
A/N: The direct sequel to Sinful. I'd also like to thank G3rain for all of his helpful input, as well as arashi-enkou for going over my work with a fine-toothed comb. Thanks guys!
I also tried to capture Peach and add substance to her character; let me know if I succeded.
The ticking of the clock was slow and mockingly loud. The lavender colored walls seemed to glow as rays of midday sunshine spilled from the window. Laughter bounced against the glass, children spending time out on a grand, summer day.
Peach, however, saw nothing grand or sunny about it. In fact, the weather outside was positively mocking, what with the roiling emotions flooding the bedroom. She fiddled with her hands, just because there was nothing else to do, and shifted around on the purple, silk bedspread; the chill of it seeped into her dress. Peach let out a tense breath, aiming it up in an attempt to dislodge the lock of hair that drifted in her eyes. Shoot. It hadn't worked. The woman pouted, reaching up and swiping it away from her face.
Zelda remained unnervingly silent, something Peach did not like. It was a phobia of hers, one that had been crafted after her childhood years of princess training; silence made her fidgety, or restless. It was as if the people she cared about had simply vanished, leaving her all alone like her mother--
Peach squeezed her eyes shut, blocking out the memory. No, not a good time to delve into personal issues; there was something bothering Zelda, something that was eating her friend alive. That, Peach could not allow. Perhaps her feelings for her fellow monarch went a bit deeper than necessary, and at times she had consciously fought the urge to hold her older friend longer than absolutely needed, or wanted to actually hurt something that had even looked at Zelda the wrong way. Her heart said love, her mind said infatuation, and common sense screamed obsession.
Peach was a prime example of the figurative "fuck you" to the dumb blonde stereotype her gender had been given. She listened to her common sense, to her head. Her gut instinct had led her down the wrong path every damn time, and she was sick of it. Her gut instinct was demanding her to embrace Zelda, and then never let her go; which was, predictably, completely unacceptable. For one, Peach was merely having a hard time dealing with her own, lonely past and insecurities. Compared to those around here in the Mansion, or whatever they were lounged in, her past was a happy, sparkling meadow of sunshine.
Ugh. Even the metaphor sounded ridiculous.
For another, Peach knew her friend was interested in someone else; someone that was definitely not Link or her. She might have felt disappointed, if not for the fact that she was merely obsessing over her friend. She wasn't in love. She couldn't possibly be. No. Not at all.
But she couldn't help but notice the little monster known as Jealousy rear its ugly head when she had realized whom it was the queen of Hyrule had set her eyes on. Zelda hadn't told her, but she didn't need to. Fevered glances, a heated look; hell, the Hylian couldn't be more obvious, even if she had held up a neon sign that said, "I want to get into her pants".
Oh well. Who didn't want to get into Samus' pants these days? That Zero suit left nothing to the imagination, and the woman was limber enough; Peach was glad she didn't flaunt it though, as other women were prone to do.
Peach didn't hate the other woman, nor did she really wish any ill will toward her. There was a feeling of pity, perhaps, but more or less a certain, motherly urge that sparked inside of her; protect, nurture, comfort. Even she didn't know why those feelings seemed to rise when thinking about the older woman. Maybe it was that look in her eyes; an old pain that simmered beneath the surface, glinting eyes that hinted at something dark and deadly, and even a certain degree of loneliness.
It seemed to spark utterly different feelings inside of Zelda, of course. Feelings so intense, that her friend had actually done the unthinkable and slept with the blonde huntress. It was proven by the faints marks of lips on her neck, the ruined clothes in the hamper, the perfume of deeds both erotic and frenzied; Peach told herself the wrenching inside of her heart was nothing more than worry. What if Zelda had trusted her heart to Samus, and then had it stomped upon? Not even the maternal instinct would be strong enough to dull Peach's fury if that was the case. And God help Samus; she'd find out what a golf club could do to one's face when outside the brawl matches.
"Was it Samus?" The question slipped from her lips before she could stop them. Peach had put up a filter for her voice at the last, possible moment, making sure her voice was merely the sugar-sweet tone it always was; something even Peach herself grew annoyed of. The bitter, even cruel edge to the question was to be forever hidden inside of her heart.
Zelda flinched, her hands reaching up to her neck. "Yes."
"Did she hurt you?"
Something dark flitted in the navy blue pools of her friend. "Oh no. Not at all. Completely the opposite." The tone was bitter, full of spite.
At this, Peach's brows rose. Maybe her magic had seen Samus as an intruder, perhaps? Did it throw her body off of Zelda's, or had it reacted violently...? That must have been…awkward. "How?"
"She said 'I love you'," Zelda began. She swallowed thickly, and when she raised her head, tears had gathered in her eyes. "And all I said was 'thank you'. Peach, do you know how much she needed to hear the same?" Zelda lowered her face into her hands.
Peach simply froze. Most of her heart was writhing in agony, for both Samus and for the woman before her. But the dark place, the splotch on her soul she was beginning to detest, was…cheering. Cheering because, just maybe, Zelda didn't feel the same and it was simply curiosity or lust all along. She hated being human. There were days when she wished she were a Toadette. All the simplistic, childish beings could comprehend were happiness. There was no jealousy in a Toad's heart; simply the desire to help and to serve. This day was one of these; she didn't like the dark feelings in her heart, because they made her feel filthy. And in the presence of such purity, she felt…ashamed.
"…You don't love her?," Peach choked out, trying to keep her own, nasty feelings tight. She could only pray that she hadn't sounded hopeful at all.
"No. Yes. Maybe. I don't know," Zelda finally whispered, in a voice so fragile and broken Peach wondered if this woman was truly her strong friend. "I've never felt this way; I hurt all over sometimes, and sometimes I feel so, so…But, I want her to be happy, Peach." Zelda looked up, the usual, calm rationality in her eyes replaced by a sort of panic. "Would loving her make it better? Should I tell her that I do? Would that help her?"
And then Peach knew. Zelda, in her own, warped way, loved Samus deeply. To the point of no return, even. The problem the Hylian queen was having was that she had seen only the romanticized version of love; of tender music, of valiant knights and gentle heroines, of materialistic items. Obviously, Samus had shown none of that, and it must have confused the other woman terribly. That made the dark spot in Peach's heart shrink, but even the pink-clad princess was unsure as to why.
"If I were Samus," she began in a whisper. "A lie would be worse than the truth. Fake love…is just that. A lie. And don't you think she's had enough of that?"
Zelda shuddered, curling into a ball. "I don't know what to do," she admitted, her voice breaking at the end. "I don't know what to feel." Peach slid forward, wrapped her arms around the other girl, cooing gently in an attempt to soothe her friend. Keep it platonic, she reminded herself gently, tucking Zelda's head beneath her chin.
"Zelda," Peach began; she paused, swallowed the lump in her throat, and continued. "Honey... Love isn't...it isn't easy." She sniffled, and resisted the urge to kiss the queen's forehead. "Do you want to be with Samus?"
"...Yes," Zelda whispered, and Peach could feel her hands fist the silky fabric of her gown.
"Do you want to see her smile? Do you want to see her happy?" The princess licked her lips. "Would you try everything in your power to see her that way?"
"Yes, but--" Zelda paused.
"Would you live for her?"
"Do anything to see that she's protected? That she's safe?"
"Yes…" Zelda was beginning to tremble.
"You've even promised to fake feelings for her, risking an eternity of unhappiness, just for her," Peach continued. "Zelda…my sweet, sweet girl…you do love her. Utterly and completely. To a degree I've only seen once, and it wasn't in a fairytale, nor was it in a book or a movie." She pulled back, framed Zelda's face with her hands. "It was my grandparents who had that love, Zelda. The love you're thinking of…it's fake. A product of the media and imagination. The love my grandparents shared…you have that."
The queen looked shell-shocked, confused. "But she must hate me now."
"Sweetheart…if she loves you, it won't fade just that fast. She still needs you, so badly."
"What do I say now?" The Hylian woman held her head. "I…You say I love her, but it feels so…odd. Not at all like I imagined it…I'm so afraid that these feelings are fake; I don't want to hurt her again…"
"And that, right there, is your proof," the princess explained. "You're afraid of acting on your feelings; not because you're afraid of getting hurt, but because you're afraid of hurting her. Zelda, you love her." The words sounded right coming out of her mouth, but Peach couldn't help the pain in her heart. In the deepest, darkest corner of her heart, she prayed that Zelda would change her mind; that she would forget the huntress and return to her side, like old times. That Zelda would love her, instead. It was a disgusting, selfish notion, and Peach fisted the fabric of her dress in her hands, her face twisted in an unattractive way as she looked over the dark feelings in her heart.
Zelda took in a shuddering breath, massaged the skin of her temples. She finally met Peach's eyes again, and her face was remarkably calm. "...Thank you, Peach," she said. Her eyes glistened with tears, but she wasn't bawling or the like. "Thank you..." Peach smiled, and allowed herself to brush away a strand of chocolate brown hair, the motion unmistakably tender.
"...Go get her, 'hon," the princess chuckled. Zelda flashed a watery smile, before slipping off the bed and making her way to the door. She paused, looked over her shoulder.
"Thank you," she repeated. With that, she opened the door and left. Peach continued to look at the door, and then her heart began to throb.
The clock still ticked.
She was still alone.
So…this is what a broken heart feels like?
She raised a hand and gently rubbed it over the skin of her heart. It felt…weird. Like there was a foreign blade jammed into the life-giving muscle, or something. The pain that seemed to get stronger with each beat of her heart was unfamiliar to her, and she was uncomfortable. She was always in control of her body; always. She growled, and then punched the wall in frustration. There was a disturbing crack and, to her disgust, her fist was through the plaster.
"Ugh…damnit…" She pulled out her hand and noticed that the punch had torn the skin off her knuckles.
Well, is it any wonder she didn't say anything? You aren't even completely human anymore.
"Damnit!" She punched the wall again. Anger bubbled in her belly. What had she expected, really? It wasn't like Zelda could understand Chozo anyway. With that thought came the memory of the way she had said it…no mistaking that, unless you were an idiot. She watched with disgust as the plaster cracked again, and hissed a curse. Samus ran a hand through her hair, grinding her teeth. She had to shoot something inanimate before she had a chance to shoot someone. A trigger-happy woman with a broken heart wasn't a very good combo.
The huntress whirled around and stormed off to the training area, fingering the magenta colored brooch in her pocket. She pulled it out, just to study it. It appeared to be similar to a teardrop falling into a crescent moon when held vertically, but resembled a bird's beak when held horizontally.
"The Chozo made you into a weapon."
Why Mother Brains's words decided to echo in her head, even Samus wasn't sure. Her lips flattened into a straight, white line.
"I created you! I am your parent!"
For the very first time in her life, Samus wanted to crush this puny little thing in the palm of her hand. Yes, the suit had been her saving grace on more than one occasion, both in the tournament and in her line of work, but she detested the fact that Mother Brain had dared to claim that she alone created it, that she was her "parent". She detested the fact that she had been seen as only a machine, a tool; a weapon. Samus growled and stuffed it back into her pocket, forgoing the idea of training in Zero suit or Power suit.
If her hands broke and bleed, so what? If she kept going until her body or, God forbid, her heart gave out, who cared? And, really, if she did die, who would give a damn? Samus stalked into the training room, taking in a deep breath and allowing the musty smell of old training mats and the metallic tang of dried blood to cloud her brain. She curled her lip at the odors. She noticed, out of the corner of her eye, the prince with the blue hair was already finishing up his own practice rounds. He caught her eye and waved a bit with a small smile on his slightly girly features; she merely set him a nod. Then, after patting her hands with a good amount of chalk, mostly to prevent blisters, she made her way to the creature known only as Sandbag. She cracked her knuckles, neck, and back, and delivered a sharp, if not painful punch to the Sandbag's face. The creature flopped to the floor with a sickening smack, before rising vertically again.
If Samus chose to look closely, she probably might have seen a sympathetic look in its eyes. Oh, fuck that, she thought in her head. Instead of the Sandbag, she imagined Ridley; a vicious smirk on his loathsome beak, mocking her just like when she had fought him during the Subspace fiasco. She snarled, attacking the vision with a near Beserker force.
"Damnit," Samus hissed, slamming her fist into the Sandbag. "Damnit, damnit, damn it all!" She couldn't get it out of her head. The memory was too fresh, she supposed. Still, the look on Zelda's face, after she had just admitted… granted, the words were in Chozo, so Zelda wouldn't have understood them anyway.
But damn. Did she really have to say "thank you"? In her own, screwed up head, the translation was, 'Gee, thanks for screwing me Sammie, now be a good girl and go away'.
And as soon as the cruel thought ran through her mind, rage pumped into her veins again. Rage at herself, at the things in her heart, everything. Samus' fists ached, the skin peeled back, raw, but she didn't care; she'd had bigger wounds than this. She slammed her fists harder, faster, sweat slipping down her neck.
She couldn't even be considered human anymore, and her humanity was one of the only things she had left.
You're a freak, Aran. A mutated freak with a fucked up head and too much emotional baggage, and let's not forget the whole death-curse thing. Face it; she's better off without you.
She dropped to her knees, grinding her teeth. She'd never been a big fan on self-loathing—a waste of energy and time, in her opinion—but she'd be lying if she said she didn't have the occasional moment. Then, the mocking venom in her mind's voice spurred Samus to action; her fists became a blur, her feet barely touched the ground, and Sandbag, had it been an enemy, was as dead as her mother and father.
Something wet hit the training mat. Her hands hurt as air hit the raw, bleeding wounds. She closed her eyes, feeling the moisture slip under her lids.
Was she crying? She cursed, wiped an arm over her eyes. Samus Aran did not cry.
This was possibly one of the only times her brain had ever hurt. Zelda let out a small sigh, a hand reaching up to massage her temples in an effort to relieve the pressure that had suddenly been rooted there. She sighed again, her eyes faintly stinging. The hallway was surprisingly empty, most of the Smashers enjoying the sunny day outside. She licked her lips, swallowed, and found that the burning quality of her eyes had returned. She stopped in her search for the huntress, just to take a moment to press the heels of her hands against her eyes.
Oh, dear Nayru, what am I going to say?
What could she say? Sorry? Goddesses above, that just might make things worse. She certainly couldn't say 'I love you' right out the gate. Samus might mistake that for a sort of pity. Zelda sighed, and yanked on her braid. Another problem came in the form of the missing huntress. Was Samus in her room? The hanger where Meta-Knight's ship and team Starfox's Arwings lay? The kitchen? Zelda groaned quietly and hung her head, resisting the urge to run back to her room where she had left Peach.
Her answer came in the form of a sweaty, worn out prince. Marth appeared from around the corner, a towel scrubbing at his face and his tiara held securely in his fingers. He looked up, and his mouth spread into a grin as he spotted Zelda.
"Lady Zelda," he greeted smoothly, bowing his head a bit. "A shock to see you inside on such a beautiful day."
"Mm," she responded, shrugging slightly. "Marth, have you seen Samus lately? I need to speak with her."
"Miss Samus?" He tapped his chin, then nodded. "As a matter of fact, she's in the training room."
Of course, Zelda thought to herself with a dry laugh.
"But I wouldn't suggest going near her now," Marth warned, even as Zelda was on her way to the training room. "Miss Samus is in an awfully foul mood today."
"I know," was all Zelda said. She waved good-bye to the Altean prince, and was already on her way. The training room was built like a gymnasium, waxed floors and heavy equipment scattered amongst the place. Her heels made a disturbing clack on the tile, which were silenced as she stepped onto the thick, blue mats that helped to serve as a way to lessen injuries outside of the brawl matches.
True to Marth's information, Samus was there, and fighting like a demon straight from the bowels of hell. Zelda saw splotches of blood against the blue mats, and forced down a terrified gasp at the sight. The Sandbag was covered in patches of blood, and the queen could see the huntress' knuckles torn raw from her punches.
"Samus," Zelda whispered, her voice shaking slightly. The blonde woman flinched and whirled around, a warrior's grace preventing her from tripping over her own feet. "What...what are you...?"
"What does it look like?" Samus spat back in reply. "Training."
No, this wasn't training; Zelda had seen the other woman training before, and what she was doing now lacked the fluidity and grace from before. But telling Samus that would not doubt make her angry, and Zelda merely wanted to talk.
"Are you alright?" the queen asked instead, moving closer a little bit.
"Don't," Samus warned, her voice deceptively silky, but quivering with rage. "Don't. I'm not in the mood."
Zelda flinched. "I'm sorr--"
"I swear to God," the words were hissed between clenched teeth. "If you came here just to apologize--"
"I did," Zelda interrupted. "I'm sorry for what I said to you. For what I did to you." Samus merely gazed at her, eyebrows raised a bit. Then they furrowed, and the brunette winced at the slight light of distrust that was in those blue depths.
"You…you were trusting me," Zelda continued. "You placed something very, very precious to you in my hands and I just…I'm so sorry…"
"Zelda…" Samus stopped, ran a callused hand over her face. Scrubbed at her eyes. "Just saying sorry…it…no, it doesn't work like that. I don't know shit about romance, or whatever, but I know it doesn't work like that."
"I know," Zelda nodded. She looked up at Samus then, eyes hard as cut sapphires. "I'll do anything to make this better. To make us better."
"There's one problem; there is no us. So just leave and forget it."
"Look, it was a mistake. Hormones were warped and shit, I kissed you, you kissed me, we had sex, and I said something stupid. Boom. That's all. It didn't mean too much to you, and I'm willing to forget it." Samus ran a hand through her hair, and frowned as it pulled tangles out.
"It meant something to me," Zelda whispered. She wrung her fingers, the intricate designs on her dress suddenly the most interesting thing in the world. Samus scoffed, but it was weak. "You mean something to me Samus...You're my friend...but, more than that...I want you to be with me." She swallowed, and resisted the urge to hide beneath her bang. "I want there to be an us..."
Samus was silent. Then, "I don't know how that works," Samus admitted quietly. Zelda looked up, took a small step forward.
Samus didn't flinch.
"If it helps...neither do I," the queen murmured. She stepped closer, then another, and then another. "But I want to try to figure it out; with you, if that's possible."
Samus was silent, before wiping the blood on her knuckles off on her white, Chozo training outfit. Then, she reached out and touched the skin of Zelda's arm. The queen smiled, very gently, and moved in to give the older woman a hug. Gradually, Samus slid her arms around Zelda's waist, and rested her head on the brunette's shoulder. Zelda giggled faintly at the tickling sensation of breath on her skin. She tipped her head up, and met Samus' eyes.
Then, met her lips.
A hand gently fisted in her hair and tipped her head back. Lips slanted over hers, hot and tender. Teeth nibbled on her bottom lip; she gasped in response, and a tongue slipped inside, rubbed against every crevice in her mouth. She moaned at the contact, her arms linking behind Samus' head to press closer, to pull tighter. The hand in her hair slid to massage the tender nape of her neck. Zelda shivered, her hands slipping from behind Samus' head to slide over her torso, tilting her head to kiss the blonde woman deeper. In response, a low, erotic growl rumbled in the huntress's chest. Zelda giggled softly as Samus' strength lifted her a few inches off the floor, and her lower body tingled. They finally parted for air, and Zelda attacked the skin of the blonde's neck. A shudder racked Samus' body, something the queen was proud of. Just as two hands slid into the gap of her vest…
Zelda eeped and pulled away, looking to the sound of the shocked voice. Peach stood in the doorway, hands over her lips.
"Um, sorry!" The mushroom monarch squeaked out, before running out of the gym.
Peach clamped both hands over her mouth, looking blankly at the wall before her. Damn…she'd thought it wouldn't hurt this much…but still, seeing Zelda with her arms all over Samus…it made her stomach squirm. She was happy for her friend; the queen deserved a bit of happiness now.
But what about me?
She shoved the thought away, disgusted at her own selfishness. What sort of princess was she? Peach took a deep breath through her nose, but that didn't help the sob bubbling in her throat. Her knees trembled, and she fought tooth and nail to not see the two of them together, laughing, hugging, kissing. She pushed off from the wall and practically sprinted to her bedroom, ignoring the shocked looks of her dearest friends, the Mario brothers, the flabbergasted expression on Bowser's face, the sympathetic light in Lucario's eyes. The Aura Pokemon could no doubt sense her every emotion.
Shut up, shut up, shutupshutupshutup…
Peach wanted both Samus and Zelda to be happy; and maybe she could look at them without feeling like her heart had been ripped out someday.