Link received word of his engagement to Princess Zelda midway between Mount Doom and Kakariko village. He supposed he shouldn't be surprised – the king always had had his eye on the Hylian as a mate for his daughter, and given she'd just reached marriageable age it made sense for him to choose her husband now. Still, it seemed rather sudden. One moment he was fighting dodongos and the next he was a week from being a kept man.
He really hoped Zelda wasn't going to let her Aunt design his wedding tunic. After the last disastrous royal affair he'd attended he wasn't sure he was ready to risk flashing everyone again. Especially not at his wedding.
He made it into Kakariko by nightfall to a round of applause from the ever-present carpenters. Did everyone know about the engagement? His question was answered when Malon of all people dashed forward, a wide grin on her face. He knew how far a trip it was to Kakariko from the Lon Lon ranch, so the news must've reached the people early—morning or early afternoon.
"Hey," he said awkwardly as she propelled herself forward, allowing him to lift her by the waist and twirl her the way he always did. So like a child, he thought. "I take it you heard?"
"Yes!" she exclaimed, not missing a beat even as he lowered her to the ground. "My fairy boy is getting married? Oh, I'm so glad I caught you here. Come on, we have a lot to talk about! I reserved the best seats at the bar—if you're not too tired. You aren't, are you?"
He shrugged. When it came to Malon, he didn't have much of a choice. "Never too tired for you," he said lightly, offering her his arm and allowing her to tug him towards the Inn as quickly as she could. True to her word, the two best seats were empty, the bartender beckoning the pair towards them. Link nodded in thanks as Malon seated him down.
"Now," she said, looking him in the eye. "Tell me. Everything."
Link raised an eyebrow. "Everything?"
"Everything," she confirmed.
"Well, Zelda's birthday was last month, right?" he reminded her. She nodded, eyes wide as she looked at him. Well, this was going to be fun. "Her aunt tailored my tunic for the party. Halfway through, when I was greeting the Duke of Such-and-Such, whoever, someone important, the tunic ripped, and everyone got a view of—"
"I know that part!" Malon protested. "Everyone knows that part! What's you flashing the whole party have to do with your engagement?!"
"Well," Link said quietly, as if trying to keep others from listening. Malon leaned in again, playing right into his hand. "After I'd embarrassed everyone like that, she brought me up to a guest room to find me something to wear. We were all alone for once, just us two. She pulled my tunic off…"
Malon looked ready to cry when he trailed off. "Liiiiiiiiink! Come on! What happened next?"
"She told me to put on my regular tunic and just leave so I could spare everyone more shame," he replied, watching her blink and then groan. "Hey, you said tell you everything."
"About the engagement!" she demanded. He chortled, accepting a beer from the bartender. "Link. We've been friends for years. It hurt that you got engaged and didn't tell me about it personally."
Link took a swig from the flask. "I just found out too," he admitted. "I kinda figured it'd happen sometime, but I didn't think it'd be so soon. But hey, next time I find out I'm getting married I'll let you know straightaway."
The farm girl giggled, taking a beer for herself. "I'm invited to the wedding?"
His usual room at the Inn was set up just how he liked it—and just how Sheik liked it, too. That was obvious from the way the Sheikah moved about comfortably (and silently) in the space. Link stifled a laugh at how domestic the other man was, already folding the clothes Link had put up to dry when he'd arrived.
"Hello to you too, Sheik," Link greeted, dropping his wallet by the bed and pulling off his boots. The Sheikah nodded in acknowledgment. "So, you heard about it?"
Sheik nodded again. "It's rather hard to miss hearing of the princess's upcoming nuptials when the entirety of Hyrule is celebrating it," he quipped. "Even more so when you work in the castle, you know. How did you find out?"
"Bird," Link answered. "You know Zelda and her hawks."
Link flopped onto the bed. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Sheik polishing his lyre, now finished folding the Hylian's clothes. He didn't know why he bothered—he just shoved them into his bag anyway. Who cared if he wore wrinkled clothes? He was the Hero of Time! And why would anyone care if Sheik's lyre was polished or not? People were too entranced when he played it to pay mind to how it looked. Seemed like wasted effort.
"It seems Calpia is in charge of your wedding attire," Sheik informed him. Link sighed in relief.
"Good. I was afraid it was going to be Zelda's aunt again," he admitted. "So, what do you think about the wedding?"
"I think it's too fast, considering you're barely above the age of majority," the Sheikah told him bluntly. "In addition, I don't approve of the way this has come about. Arranged marriages seldom work out well for both parties involved, and this is so public—but if this is what you want, so be it."
Link turned over Sheik's words carefully before formulating his response. "In the end, it's what the king wants that matters," he said carefully, like treading about a graveyard late at night. "And I'll be away enough that it won't matter much, right?"
Wrong response. He could feel Sheik's anger flaring from across the room. Great.
"Relationships—especially marriages—require commitment, Hero. You can't just abandon your lover because someone needs saving," he snapped. Link couldn't see him, but he knew him well enough to know what the expression on his face would be. "You can't just take everything lightly! Everything changes. Everything. You don't get to pick just one or two things!"
"Sheik," Link cut him off, sitting up on the bed. The Sheikah's shoulders were hunched towards his ears, long back facing the Hylian. This was just perfect. "Sheik, you're the one who broke things off with me. You don't get to lecture me on commitment."
Sheik's hands came down to grip the sheets. "Hero—this isn't about—I'm not saying—Zelda is like family to me. The only family I have left. You are going to respect her as she deserves. Do you understand?"
The Hylian watched the muscles in Sheik's back tense. He'd never explained why he'd broken off their budding relationship two years ago, and part of Link knew he'd never fully understand the reasons behind it. They'd been happy one day, enjoying a day of fishing, racing, occasionally rescuing the stray child from drowning, monsters, what have you—and the next, Sheik informed him it was over.
It was a miracle they got along as well as they did anymore.
Link swallowed his retort. "I'll go to the castle for a fitting tomorrow, then," he said quietly. "Are you coming to the wedding?"
"Of course," Sheik murmured. And then he was at the window. "I will see you tomorrow, then, Hero."
Sheik used to call him by his name.
Even before they had begun their short affair, the Sheikah had started calling him Link. Something about it was comforting somehow—some sort of familiarity the Sheikah showed no one else. There was a feeling Link never could name that bubbled up whenever they would exchange greetings with names.
Even in their relationship, he couldn't quite understand that feeling. He recognized love: that was the feeling that took over his chest and throat when Sheik would kiss him or even just send him a quizzical look or a smile. He knew lust: watching Sheik bathe, seeing him needy, or doing what he could to please him.
But not what bubbled into his head when Sheik would use his name.
The memory of Sheik saying his name brought a hollow reminder of that feeling and time. It brought memories of dark days, celebrations, heated nights—and that elusive feeling.
And he wished Sheik would call him by his name just once more.
Link's fitting was interrupted by a message from a scout saying something about an outbreak of monsters about the Gerudo fortress. The message had been passed to Zelda, who of course burst into the room so she could send her favorite mercenary to go clean up as an act of 'goodwill'.
Her favorite mercenary and, of course, her favorite Sheikah. After three days of preparation (more than they were usually afforded), they were sent off, albeit with instructions that the princess's fiancé return in one piece and in time for the wedding.
The ride out was quiet, Link remembering their spat the night before and knowing all too well that it was all Sheik could think about too. The pair made it to the outskirts of Gerudo territory without speaking a word, and after a brief look at the chaos at the walls, each man went his separate way, preparing to ambush as necessary.
Unfortunately, the attack came on Link first.
He'd been told to be wary of the monsters—that there was an outbreak of Stalfos to look out for—but apparently the Scout hadn't gotten a good enough look because there were no Stalfos. Instead, there were Iron Knuckles and Leevers. And there were a lot of them.
Link was informed of this fact by a blow to the side delivered by the thorns of a Leever, tearing into his tunic and throwing him off his horse. He knew part of him had just been all but ripped to shreds, but he had a fairy to help him there, so he simply drew his sword, rushing the closest one. Before he knew it he was surrounded.
Who decided this was a good idea? It took every trick in Link's inventory to even stay alive. Spells, swordsmanship, bombs, etc. He didn't know how long he fought.
God, he never knew how long he fought. It didn't matter, just so long as he was alive at the end of it.
Still, it seemed like an eternity before he was standing alone, nothing attacking him or coming at him with spikes or swords or anything of the like. He surveyed the area warily. ReDeads? Stalfos? Anything?
There was no sign of the Sheikah, no response to his call. Where was he? Link traced the path back towards where they'd split, trying to follow the tracks Sheik probably hadn't left behind. There was blood—that worried him. Iron Knuckles and Leevers didn't bleed.
"Sheik?!" he called out again, surveying the battlefield again. "Come on, Sheik. We need to get back or the king is going to kill us. Where are you?"
It was faint when he finally hear it, just a tiny exhalation, barely discernable from the breeze in Link's ear. But he'd know Sheik's voice anywhere, any size, any situation. He rushed in the direction, seeking, searching, hunting—there.
Covered in blood.
It didn't even occur to Link to look for the source of the blood. All he knew was that Sheik was hurt, really hurt, and he needed to help. Had he brought his ocarina? Gathering Sheik onto his shoulder, Link let his fingers travel over the familiar notes of the Prelude of Light.
He hardly paid any mind to the gasps of the villagers as he raced through the castle town to the castle, Sheik's body limp in his arms, blood dripping onto the ground below—
In the end, Sheik's injuries weren't as life-threatening as he'd thought, but Link wasn't going to complain about that. The Sheikah had only needed two fairies and a red potion to fully recover, though on Zelda's orders he was to remain in bed until the wedding. She withdrew herself, the servants explaining that the groom mustn't see the bride before the day of from this point on.
That wasn't important to Link, though. Sheik being able to snip about being treated like glass was more than he could have ever asked for. Seeing the Sheikah try to act like he hadn't come close to death was so reassuring that he couldn't help but stay by his side again.
And watching Sheik defiantly peeling his own apples, obviously irritated that everyone was treating him so carefully was what broke Link's carefully built control.
"I loved you," he said firmly, resting his arms on his thighs. The Sheikah barely reacted, continuing to turn the apple against the blade, but Link saw the way his eyes twitched. "Sheik, I loved you two years ago. And I love you just as much—maybe more—right now. That's probably never going to go away."
Sheik had to set the apple down when Link said this, which he initially counted to be a good thing, but then red eyes fixed upon his.
"It should," he informed him. "Hero, you will marry tomorrow. It is best if you pretend we had never—"
Something possessed Link to force his lips against the Sheikah's, clambering up onto the bed atop him. At first there was no reaction, and then that mouth opened, allowing Link access. He could taste so many things in that mouth – bread, potion, the lingering blood from his injuries—and he wished he could be this way forever.
But Sheik didn't want this.
Link pulled back reluctantly, watching the Sheikah's eyes open below him, red pools reflecting his wounded expression. Sheik let out a long breath, and then—
And then really, there was no going back from there. Link's mouth was on Sheik's again, hands clawing at the bedshirt Zelda had provided him. Who cared if he was about to get married or if Sheik had broken his heart or if this wasn't a private room—all Link knew was that he needed Sheik, needed him now.
The bedshirt was discarded quickly enough, Link running his tongue over that skin he hadn't touched in so long, trying to remember the spots that affected Sheik the most, mapping out that vast expanse of skin closed to him all this time…and finally, finally Sheik responded, pulling Link's face up to his and kissing him hard. It was sloppy, desperate, familiar—
Hardly any time seemed to pass before Link was inside the smaller man, relishing the feeling he'd missed these past two years. Sheik was almost sobbing against his shoulder, legs wrapped tightly around the Hylian's waist and hips bucking lightly against his.
"Needed this," Link panted, pressing his lips to Sheik's neck. The Sheikah let out a moan that was close to a wail. So sensitive—Sheik had always been so damn sensitive. One touch sent him halfway to ecstasy. "Gods—Sheik—wanted you. Wanted this. Love you."
The rhythm of his thrusts accelerated, sobbing groans and cries escaping his partner. Every few breaths, Sheik would pant out his name, urging him forward. It was almost too much.
"What're you thinking?" Link managed between grunts. The bed was starting to quake with the force he was delivering, rattling the posts and making Sheik wail louder. "Say—say it. Please."
Sheik cried out again, grinding his hips against Link's in a motion that almost had him climaxing then and there. His red eyes clenched shut and opened again, focusing first on the ceiling and then locking onto Link's as he moaned in response to Link's actions.
"You," he gasped, clenching Link's shoulders. "Eyes, teeth, voice—two years, two years, ah! Might as well----mmm—have been a hundred—Link!"
Link pounded harder, forcing Sheik up higher on the bed. At this rate, the man was going to come without even having had his cock touched.
"Touching you," Link breathed out, slowing his pace slightly in an attempt to keep from coming at the thought. "So long—now—I'm touching you again…"
Sheik threw his head back, and Link remembered everything—the way Sheik wailed when he was about to come, the hue his chest took at orgasm, the way his eyes clenched when he was close—
"I wanted you first," the Sheikah whispered between whimpers. "Wanted you, wanted to-ah!-marry you, wanted a family with youuuu—God, Link, you were----mine!"
With that final word, Sheik let out a long cry, muscles clenching and spasming all around Link. So much, too much—Link couldn't help himself anymore, and all too aware of the evidence of Sheik's satisfaction streaking their chests, he hauled the man's legs further up and pounded as hard as he could. Deeper, he needed to go deeper, and then he was there, crying out Sheik's name as he twitched once, twice, and shot, hips bucking in some desperate attempt to extend the moment.
And then it was over, Link collapsing upon the Sheikah, breath shaky. Sheik was panting, still letting out the tiniest of whimpers, like he was still trapped in the moments before. Using energy he wasn't sure he still had, Link lifted himself up on trembling elbows and kissed the Sheikah again.
Sheik would push him away after this. He knew it already from the way his kisses were just accepted, not returned. Two days before his wedding, even.
He let himself collapse against the other man again, just trying to absorb all the warmth, the feel, the smell that Sheik exuded as he could into himself. His eyelids were so heavy—but no, he couldn't sleep. Sheik would get away if he did. But he was so tired…
And before he realized that he'd lost the battle, the world around him was gone.
Predictably, Sheik had defied orders and left the bed when Link awoke. Equally predictably, Link found he was fully dressed, the sheets changed and spotless, no evidence left in the room of the night before. One of the attendants was folding something to his left.
"Where's Sheik?" he asked blearily, trying to spot a clock. Damn, already noon.
"He's reporting to the King about what was found at the Gerudo fortress," the woman said pleasantly, smiling at him. "He asked we let you sleep as long as you would like. He knows you took good care of him while he was injured and feels you deserve a break, especially before the wedding."
That was right. In four hours, he was getting married.
"Why's he reporting? I told the king everything," Link grumbled. The lady giggled.
"I mean no offense, Sir," she murmured, "but all you did was shout that you were attacked by Leevers and Iron Knuckles and demand that your friend was healed. Everyone's rather been wondering what could have happened to put a Sheikah in such a state."
Link pondered this, admittedly a tiny bit embarrassed. He had done that, hadn't he? "How is Sheik today?" he asked, mind sneaking back to the night before. He'd been pretty rough with him, but it wasn't like Sheik was a virgin. Even so, he was curious.
The woman cocked her head. "Well, he claims to have healed perfectly, but he does seem to be moving a bit slower than usual," she said airily. "But then, that could just be my old eyes catching up with him at last!"
Link chuckled. So maybe Sheik was feeling it. He always was a little slow after a good night.
Had he had any lovers in the past two years? It seemed unlikely, given the effort Link had to exert to get the Sheikah into bed with him the first time, but he supposed it was possible. Sheik was made for sex, all sensitive inside and out, passionate, needy—it would make sense for Sheik to have gone to someone else. Why think about it?
Why not think about it, though?
He regretted that.
An image floated to his mind of Sheik allowing another man to touch him like Link had, reacting just the same, kissing just as passionately, and it was too much. He didn't want anyone else to know Sheik like he did.
He stood up at last, charging for the door. He had to find Sheik sometime before the wedding, force his feelings out of him. He needed that closure.
But fate seemed determine to deny him that, a seamstress appearing at his side out of nowhere and tugging him insistently towards his dressing quarters. He attempted to escape, but her grip was iron around his elbow.
"It can wait," she ground out, forcing him in the room. "The guests are starting to arrive and they wish to meet the princess's groom. And for that you must be presentable!"
And he couldn't resist, not when she was already stripping him down. A few more women joined in, each bearing a garment for him to wear. Gods, he just wanted to talk to Sheik. But before he knew it he was dressed and frogmarched between two of the servants and shoved into the ballroom where waiting dignitaries, kings, queens, and other such officials eyed him.
Well. This was just great.
He was at the altar when he finally saw Sheik, standing in the back next to a sulking Malon. From what he could tell, Malon was complaining about not getting a spot closer to the front. She was probably pulling the 'best friend' card about it, too. Sheik merely nodded, occasionally glancing about the room. It was so strange seeing him wearing something so formal – a black coat, smooth facemask, and slacks that brushed the ground. His hair was wrapped in its usual turban, but his eyes—
Sheik was refusing to look at him.
It was almost enough of an answer in itself, and then the room was silent. He blinked. How long had he been staring? The bridal procession was beginning, with girls and flowers and men in matching outfits escorting women in elaborate dresses. He couldn't see Sheik anymore, no matter how he craned his neck. A few people chuckled, no doubt assuming he was looking eagerly for his bride.
Zelda entered at last, white dress and veil, and Link knew he should be looking at her. He forced his eyes onto her as she approached, head bowed and her father's arm in hers. Rauru stood behind Link, barely visable but for his slight glow, illuminating Zelda's dress.
She stood up before him, her father murmuring something to the pair, but Link wasn't really listening. Once the man had taken his place to the right of his beloved daughter, Link cast his eyes over the crowd again, this time finding Sheik almost instantly.
His heart stopped.
The Sheikah's eyes were wide and raw with irrepressible emotions. The rest of him stood completely still, and to anyone else it might seem he was simply watching the ceremony. But Link knew better. He knew Sheik better than anyone.
And he didn't doubt Sheik knew him just as well.
He forced his eyes to his bride. She met his gaze evenly.
"A lot of people are expecting a wedding," she whispered, just hardly audibly. Link nodded. "And my father has wanted this for a long time. We ought to do this properly."
Link swallowed. "Yeah."
And then, it wasn't Princess Zelda or the woman he was to marry who stood before him. His best friend was smiling almost amusedly at him, lips curving upwards in what he could have interpreted as mischievious. "Well, then, what are you waiting for?" she asked playfully, propping a hand on her hip in a completely un-regal stance. Link blinked. "If we're to have a proper wedding, you shouldn't be marrying me. You march right down there and grab the man you should be marrying. And if he tries to struggle, just tell him it's an order from Her Royal Highness."
It took a moment for Link to process what she'd said, and he couldn't help but pull her into a tight hug, the people in the hall (including the king) letting out sounds of approval at the affectionate display. Oh, if only they'd heard her. He pecked her on the forehead as an afterthought and then hopped on down the aisle to a few confused murmurs. Finally he stood before Sheik.
"You know what you said last night about wanting to marry me?" he asked, watching the Sheikah's cheeks flush over his mask. Oh, he seemed to remember all right. "Well, I hope you still want to, 'cause Zelda says you have to marry me. Royal orders."
Sheik's eyes were even wider now, and before the Sheikah could react at all Link scooped him into his arms bridal style and marched him up to the altar. Scandalized murmurs filled the room – was the princess marrying a Sheikah? Why was a shadow being brought to the alter? Link set him down where Zelda had stood before, sending his biggest grin at the girl now standing beside Rauru.
"My friends, subjects, allies, and all others that may be here," Zelda called out, eye lingering on Malon for a moment. The room fell silent. "I know you were brought here today under the impression that you would be blessing my marriage to our hero and my dearest friend, Link. And as much as we'd love to give you what you expected, I'm afraid that just doesn't seem to be on the agenda."
The king moved to stand, but Rauru kept him seated, pressing him into his seat. Sheik was slowly starting to understand what was happening, and before the man could try to escape, Link grasped one of his hands with both of his. The Sheikah was trembling.
"As you can see," Zelda observed with a giggle, "it seems another wedding should be held in the stead of mine. My dearest friends, Link and Sheik, seem to have more reason to wed than I do right now, and I believe that we should allow them that. I feel they are more deserving of it than anyone. Anyone who does not approve may now leave. You are not welcome anyway."
No one seemed to react. Link swallowed hard, and then Sheik's free hand was atop one of his. He met his eyes and saw the relief, the surprise, the happiness inside and clenched harder. How could he have even considered marrying Zelda?
The girl cleared her throat. "Very well. Then we shall make this ceremony short and sweet so that the two of them might actually have some time to themselves before they have to save the world again," she declared, and a few people actually laughed. "So, Rauru, would you do the honors?"
The king, still forcefully seated, let out a small sigh, but he didn't seem inclined to stop the wedding. Which was a good thing, considering he was the only one with the power to do so. Rauru retook his place before the altar, smiling at the pair.
"I don't think there are any vows you two have not already taken for each other," he said simply, and Link continued to stare at Sheik. The smaller man was breathing in, out, measured and even the way he did when he was getting too emotional. Link leaned closer to relax him. Rauru chuckled. "I suppose that if you would like to be married, you should now kiss. And with the power bestowed upon me by the Goddesses, the royal family, and the Sages, I may declare you wed."
He hadn't even finished the sentence when Sheik finally snapped out of his trance, pulled his mask down just slightly, and cupped Link's face in his hands, forcing his lips against the Hylian's. Scattered applause changed quickly into overwhelming clapping, but it didn't matter to Link. All that mattered was the mouth on his, that familiar taste on his tongue, the knowledge that he and Sheik were together now—
When they finally pulled apart, Rauru was clapping as well. "Well, then! It seems I may declare you wed," he said cheerfully. Zelda, at his side, reached for the rings she and Link were to use. "Do you really think those would fit?"
Link had no doubts they would – Sheik's hands were almost precisely the size of Zelda's, and true to his observation the ring slipped on without any problems. Link felt almost reassured by the cool metal on his finger, and when Sheik's eyes met his again he couldn't help but lean in to kiss him again, pulling down the mask in front of everyone present and forcing his tongue into his mouth. When they broke apart this time, Link turned to face his best friend.
"Zelda," he said cautiously. "Er. We don't really know anyone here, so would anyone mind if we…?"
She smiled. "Guest bedroom. Second floor. You know the one," she replied. "I'll take care of all the political stuff. You two have at it."
Sheik seemed scandalized somehow, but Link just tugged on his hand, dashing with him out of the hall, up the stairs, to the door—
"We should be thanking the guests, even if it wasn't supposed to be our wedding," Sheik tried to argue, but Link just kissed him again, forcing them through the door and towards the bed. The Sheikah attempted to look cross at him. "Honestly, it is quite important that we—"
"Forget it," Link interrupted. "You said you wanted a family with me, right? I think we should start work on that right away."
And once again, Link didn't have to see Sheik's face, as he pulled him into a deep kiss, to know the happiness no doubt upon it.