"We can't keep meeting like this."

"I agree, it's highly inappropriate."

"Good. We agree on that then. So… this will be the last time."

"Sure, sure."

"Don't give me that; it will be the last time."

"Of course, whatever you say."

Zelda watched him for a few minutes, unsure if he was being sarcastic or not. Link rolled over onto his side, fetching his pipe and his small pouch of tobacco, the bedsheets never straying below his waist. As he packed it and lit the woodsy-smelling stuff, she nodded. "So we're in agreement then." She wished he'd stop smoking, but he never listened to her on the matter, as it was his house anyway. Zelda rubbed her face with her hands and grabbed a random item of clothing from the floor, pulling it on. Oh. It was Link's tunic. No matter, she was just going to wear it to start the kettle for tea.

"It has to be the last time!" she called from the kitchen, checking that the kettle was already full of water and stoking the embers, piling wood up. Sad that she knew the layout of his home better than her own.

Link wandered out, having finally bothered to pull on his pants, the pipe sticking out of the corner of his mouth. As much as she hated smoking, it suited his face well. "Yes, yes, I've already said it's fine." He used his bare, calloused hands to rearrange the logs on the fire. "You know you can't stack these too high, the ash won't get any oxygen an' your fire's done-" He turned and looked at her, standing there holding a mug and a ball of tea leaves, trying to look stern and regal. The effect would have worked better if she was in her own clothing. "You're wearing my shirt," he muttered. No wonder he couldn't find it.

Zelda shrugged her shoulders. "It's just for a few minutes. I don't want to bother with putting on my corset just yet."

Link nodded once. He hated her corset anyway; not only was it difficult to remove, but it was too tight all over, and left red welts on her skin. "Is this because you're finally engaged?" he asked, stabbing the wood with a poker a little too hard.


"That…" he gestured with one hand, "you're making all these grand statements about how you're through with your ridiculous obsession with me." Zelda stared, dumbstruck, shaking her head. "I did not say anything like that-

"Yes you did, last night," he replied, straightening from the fire and folding his arms. "You were doing that thing you do after, where you roll away and start planning how to straighten your life out, that you'll quit after this, and that was your grand proclamation to the stars and the goddesses and all of creation." He gritted his teeth hard around the end of his pipe, his eyes narrowed. He'd been angry about the statement since last night.

Zelda looked away, and a cord in her throat twitched under an angry bruise. Link remembered the way his teeth sank in, how she cried out and raked her nails down his back. In fact, he was pretty sure there were a few minute pinpricks of dried blood on his side of the sheets. Great. She'd better leave soon, so he could handle himself alone. "Look…"

A shrill whistle, and Link distracted himself with getting the kettle off the fire, taking the tea ball from Zelda and throwing it into the water with anger. He gripped the edge of the counter and squeezed as tight as he could, staring out the window at the early morning sky. He was not about to beg for her to keep seeing him. IF she got pregnant by him before the marriage, he would be killed for violating her virtue, no matter if Zelda consented. And if she got pregnant after, the child would belong entirely to the kingdom, and Link would never be allowed to see it.

Zelda licked her lips and tossed her hair back out of her face. "Bertrand is good for Hyrule."

"I'm better," he countered, not knowing he was going to say it. "I've done more for this country than some pampered prince living off his father's accomplishments."

"You don't want to be king," Zelda retorted, shaking her head. "It would kill you far faster than anything else."

"At least I'd die at your side in a proper way." He poured them both tea, adding plenty of sugar for Zelda, the way she liked it. She took a sip to keep from saying anything else. "Does he know that you like your tea sweet?" Link asked quietly, leaning against the counter as he drank his own. "That your eyes are blue grey, not just blue, that ye've got a scar on your knee from walking on stilts as a child?"

"Stop it."

"That you cry at night, knowing you have to marry him?"

"Stop it."

"That you're fucking a peasant boy with nothin' to his name but a title no one but us know?"

"STOP! IT!" Zelda screamed, slamming her mug down. "I did not come here for a lecture on how I am a terrible person, Link!"

"No, you just came to get off and run away again! Pretending to be a good girl so your daddy doesn't die of shame, sayin' that you're staying with Ruto on those nights you ride out of the castle, as she just had her wedding and she had so many tasteful ideas you want to borrow! An' good thing that Ruto lies for you too! Wait, how is she alive to lie for you? Oh! I know! I saved her! You asked me to save Hyrule, and I did, and the thanks I get is a quick fuck and to watch the woman I love marry some pompous ass in the name of kingdom preservation!" He took a deep breath. Zelda walked hurriedly into his room while he brooded and sipped his tea, and when she reemerged, she was mostly dressed.

"Well. I… guess from now on, you'll get a pin instead," she replied. It wasn't a very good retort, but it was all she had. Zelda walked to the door, carrying her things under one arm and holding her head high. Link took several long-legged, quick steps over, slamming the door as soon as she opened it, putting his other hand on her shoulder and pulling her back against his chest. Zelda tugged against his grip half-heartedly.

"Stay," he whispered in her ear, roughly, the voice she liked because it was husky and full of a growl, a lust.

Zelda closed her eyes. "It was our last time, remember? I'm off to do right by my… future husband and my dying father."

Link wrapped both his arms around her, holding her close, his cheek against her temple. Zelda stayed in his arms, rocking gently with him. "One last time," he murmured against her hair.

Zelda shook her head. "We say that every time."

Link chuckled.