disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to eleni for not judging me about this piece of work. because she could.
notes: don't ask. just. don't even ask. Ruto is a raging lesbian. so don't ask.

title: factory girl
summary: In which Zelda and Ruto get married. No, seriously.

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Zelda was twelve when she realized that one day; she would have to get married to someone that she would probably never love.

It wasn't something she really had to question; royal blood meant duty before personal anything.

So love never really factored into the equation that was Zelda's future. There were lessons—maps of the world hung the walls of her father's study, and she was eager to learn. There were daily meetings with the guards, where she learned the meaning of war. Some days there were even pretty dresses that glittered with jewels, and some days there were sparkly balls where princes kissed her gloved hands and whirled her across the floor.

By the time Zelda was sixteen, the whole thing made her thoroughly ill.

She pushed long blonde hair over her shoulder, and gazed out the castle's highest window. Zelda had long claimed this tower as her own; had long filled it with the things she treasured the most. It was a place of quiet and rest, and Zelda had rarely allowed any other living being to breach it.

She sighed, and glanced down at the dress that was laid out on the bed. It was pale green and made of floaty, flimsy material that Zelda knew would never hold up if a fight broke out (it wouldn't be the first time).

Zelda sighed again, and reached for the gown.

Time to sparkle.

/ / /

Zelda stood among the Hylian delegation, head bowed. Her father's voice echoed through the throne room in that jolly, good-natured way of his, and she couldn't help but smile.

Regardless of who it was to, or even where they were, Zelda found that her father was always the most ridiculous person in the room. It didn't matter who had come for an audience; didn't matter how rich or poor they were, didn't matter whether they were merchant or foreign prince, her father treated every person equally. Zelda thought it was an attractive quality—something that would always remind the Hylian people that their leader was their leader by choice, not simply by birth.

Zelda had a lot to live up to, and she knew it.

(Peace treaty talks were tedious, but Zelda preferred them to this part—that was the problem with politics. Even at the brink of war, you had to sit with ambassadors and ask how their children were.)

The human envoys from the neighbouring kingdom of Aratha seemed to be shifting nervously in their seats, a little bit terrified. They were situated next to the Goron contingent, all of whom were eyeing the marble walls with extreme interest. Zelda did not blame them and had to stifle a giggle as one of the young Gorons began squirming.

The speeches would be over soon.

And then it would be time to mingle.

Zelda sucked in a silent, deep breath of air, and plastered on her very best smile. She was a princess, and she would act like one. Gracious is as gracious does, her mother had always said—good words to live by, better ones to die for.

And so the night went on.

She sipped bubbly golden champagne with the Gerudo tribesgirls and flirted outrageously with the head of the Merchant's Guild's son. She could feel the Arathian prince's gaze on the back of her neck, and it took all her willpower not to turn around and blow him a mocking kiss.

Be nice, Zelda, a voice in the back of her head snarked, and Zelda smiled politely at nothing in particular in response.

She glanced around, gaze sharp. The different factions were mingling, albeit warily (the wariness increased more across borders, but the Gerudo girls had no trouble teasing everyone in the entire room with flashy jewels, flashy eyes, flashy bared skin. Zelda remembered why she'd always liked having them around).

Except.

(And here, Zelda rolled her eyes towards the heavens. Din, was this really happening again?)

The Zora delegation stood out of the way, coolly aloof.

They always kept to themselves.

It drove Zelda absolutely up the wall.

The point of these meetings (parties was really what they were; but officially, they were meetings) was to heal the rift between the different races; the different countries, the different viewpoints. They were meant for understanding.

But the Zora refused to play nice.

Zelda grit her teeth, hitched a perfect smile on and smoothed her hands down her dress, and went to (harass) them.

"King Ralis," Zelda curtseyed.

The fish king ducked his head in acknowledgement. He wobbled "Princess Zelda. It has been some time."

"It has. Since… the Water-Moon Festival, three summers ago, correct?"

The king nodded, jowls shaking as he chortled. "You were but a slip of a fish, then. Much like—ah, Ruto, there you are, child."

Zelda looked up as the king seemed to scoop the Zora princess out of thin air. He continued to speak, but Zelda tuned him out as she stared at the other girl (girl? No, fish-girl).

Ruto was all flickering fins and sheer black lace, smiling at her through coy eyes, lips dark blue and parted over even, white teeth. There was something untamed in her gaze, something bored and wild and it scared Zelda just the tiniest bit.

There was something in that gaze that wanted to cause trouble, and Zelda wondered if that was what the apocalypse looked like.

Ruto pushed her father's arm off. "Daddy, go talk to people. I'm going to borrow Zelda for a bit."

King Ralis chortled as he watched his daughter loop her arm through the stunned Hylian princess' and took off.

And Zelda was so very stunned.

"What are you doing?" she hissed, frantic. This was—this was so completely improper, Zelda didn't even know what to think. People could see her ankles! People were not supposed to see her ankles!

"Shaking things up," Ruto murmured back, blue eyes glittering wildly, that edge of trouble thrilling up and down Zelda's spine.

Zelda did not do things like this. She did not ditch duties, nor did she ever show a modicum of decorum less than what was expected of her as a future ruler. She did not run barefoot. She did not skip out on meetings. She did not wear clothes that showed the everything and the nothing. She did not do things like this.

But apparently, Ruto did, and was dragging Zelda along for the ride.

Zelda had never known that the Zora were like the flow of a river; it was impossible to avoid when one wanted to go somewhere.

And Ruto very obviously wanted to go somewhere.

She pulled Zelda into the center of the dance floor, as at home and as comfortable as if she was in the midst of a very deep lake. Ruto grinned around at the watching (scandalized) guests, and promptly swept Zelda up in a waltz.

Had Zelda been anyone else, she would have shrieked.

As it was, she was having a minor panic attack.

"What are you doing, what are you doing?" Zelda whispered, rightly alarmed at the feel of the Zora girl's hand on her hip.

"I'm dancing. You need to loosen up, Princess," Ruto whispered in her ear, wicked and close, so close. Her breath was hot on Zelda's ear, and Zelda couldn't help the shiver. She couldn't help the way her body swayed, comfortably led as Ruto waltz her around the dancefloor. She couldn't help herself.

Zelda could feel every eye in the room on the back of her neck.

The scandal.

But for five minutes, Zelda realized that this was what being normal was like.

And she realized that she kind of liked it.

And the song ended.

Ruto let her go, and stepped back. She inclined her head a fraction of an inch, the wild-eyed glint taunting Zelda's sense of freedom. Ruto wanted to undo the other girl, stuff her full of dreams and hopes and wishes, sew her shut, and let her loose.

Because everyone needed to be let loose, once in a while.

Even if they didn't think they did.

Ruto disappeared into the crowd, and Zelda was left standing on the dance floor, lost in the swirl of fabric and the feel of cool fingers on her hips.

/ / /

Zelda's father knocked on the door of Zelda's tower, hesistant.

His little girl was likely to be very, very, very against the idea he had to propose; especially after what had happened earlier in the evening. A funny little smile quirked his lips. Ah, but perhaps it was for best.

Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule knocked on his daughter's door again.

"Zelda. Are you there?"

The door swung inward, and a sleepy-eyed Zelda stood in the doorframe. "Papa? What's—" she paused as she yawned. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing, dearest. I just wanted to say goodnight."

He opened his arms, and hugged her with all his might. Zelda was reminded of the way he'd thrown her around as a child, laughing over the clash of weapons and the burn of fire.

"Are you sure everything's okay, Papa?" Zelda whispered. His beard was scratchy against her cheek.

"Yes," he murmured. "Everything is fine."

"Did the Zora agree to the treaty?" Zelda asked, eyes lit up.

He seemed to stare her for a very long time. "Yes," he said at last. "They did."

"Oh, Papa, that's wonderful!" Zelda said, clapping her hands, a happy little laugh escaping her.

"Yes, wonderful. Zelda, dearest…"

"Hm?"

"How averse are you to getting married?"

/ / /

Three days later, Zelda was still in shock.

It wasn't so much the marriage as the person to whom she was getting married. She'd been expecting the marriage; at sixteen, she really ought to have at least been engaged. Her father had long resisted on the grounds that Zelda had far too much to learn to be properly engaged. But by sixteen, there was no reason for her not to be at least engaged.

And now she was.

To a girl.

The price of peace was high, but Zelda hadn't thought it was going to be this high.

How was this even going to work? What about heirs? What about—?

Zelda pressed her fingers to her temples at the knock on the door. No, no, no, she just wanted to be left alone because she couldn't think, and thinking was so important—

But the knocking was insistent. "Highness, his Majesty requests your presence. You are to, er, meet your future… queen?"

Zelda sighed, and left the window nook.

Well, this was going to be fun.

She pulled her gloves up her arms as some sort of armour. She would need it, in the long run, because Ruto was crazy and there was no escaping what was about to happen.

Zelda almost groaned.

(But that was unbecoming of a future ruler, so she didn't.)

She took a deep breath as she moved down another staircase. Three more to go to mentally prepare for this confrontation.

But that wasn't even enough to prepare herself.

Not for someone like Ruto, anyway. Zelda silently composed herself as she descended the Grand Staircase, hand trailing along the railing.

(Most girls had dreams about going down that staircase, only to have their Prince Charming sweep them away, but Zelda wasn't like that. Zelda had never wanted a Prince Charming.)

The first click of her shoe against the marble sounded like doom.

"Father," Zelda murmured with a curtsey in her papa's direction. He seemed to be enjoying himself—Zelda did not approve. She turned to the Zora king, and, once again, bent down in another gesture of humility. "I welcome you and your kin."

Ruto's smile was predatory. "Hello, sweetcheeks. How are you?"

Zelda turned an ungainly shade of puce and hissed "Control. Yourself."

Both kings looked at each other, and decided that they had been perfectly right to bring these two girls together. They rolled their eyes heavenward.

Of course they had.

/ / /

The wedding was set a month away.

The royal seamstresses bemoaned their existence; creating two wedding dresses in a month would likely be torture (until Ruto told them she'd wear pants or nothing at all. King Daphnes and King Ralis would chortle about it for years to come). The cooks bemoaned their existence; the cake was to be Hyrule incarnate in seven tiers, with particular emphasis on Lake Hylia (until Zelda told them not to worry, and that three tiers was more than enough. King Daphnes and King Ralis would also laugh about this for years to come.) The cleaners bemoaned their existence; they'd be feeding and housing five hundred foreign nobles. For the first few days, the castle sounded like a pack of skel-hounds had been let loose in the grounds.

Really, no one was happy.

The month in between was both negotiation time, and time for Zelda and Ruto to "get to know each other, dear. You'll be spending the rest of your life with her!"

(Zelda was still not impressed.

The negotiations went well; there would be adoption on Ruto's part, as she declared that "I refuse to have a penis near me, you hear?" and whatever Zelda felt like. They would spend six months of the year in the castle, two in Zora's Domain, and then the other four in the summer palace, built on the shore of Lake Hylia.

So the negotiations weren't the problem.

It was the spending time together part that made Zelda queasy.)

And thus, it began.

"What do you mean, you don't like riding?" Zelda asked, staring scandalized at the girl sitting next to her.

"Horses have permanent shoes!" Ruto insisted, shaking her head. "Who makes that kind of commitment to a shoe?"

"Horses, obviously," Zelda replied, annoyed.

"And that's why I don't like them. Let's go swimming!" Ruto crowed, laughing excitedly. Ruto liked swimming (but that was a given, and Zelda wasn't going to give her the satisfaction).

Zelda shot her most deadpan look in Ruto's direction. "You'd molest me."

It was true, and Ruto wasn't even going to deny it; Zelda could see the smirk building up in the corner's of the Zora girl's lips, and it was not a good thing.

"You'd love it," Ruto smiled smugly.

"No, I—get off of me, you heathen."

Ruto withdrew her hand from Zelda's thigh with a snicker. "It's so easy to wind you up, Princess, did you know?"

Zelda turned a darker shade of purple as she had a silent hissy fit.

Ruto looked like she was having the most marvellous time of her entire life. "So what do you want to do, then?"

Zelda took two deep gulps of air, trying to rid herself of the urge to close her fingers around Ruto's throat.

She had never wanted to strangle anyone before, but somehow, Ruto managed to be the exception to everything Zelda had ever felt. "No riding, no swimming…"

For a very long moment, neither girl said anything, sitting awkwardly next to each other, unable to communicate. Finally, Ruto stood up.

"How about a walk?" she asked, and offered a hand up.

"…Yes, I think a walk might be nice," Zelda replied, and took the offered hand.

The problem was going to last more than a weekend, and Zelda realized that all she could do was make the best of it.

/ / /

The month flew by. Between dress fittings and sleeping arrangements, Zelda found herself too busy to think about why all these preparations were even necessary. She slept little. She ate less.

Ruto poked at her side. "Oi, you're going to disappear at this rate."

Zelda scrunched her face up. "You'd like that, wouldn't you."

"You're insane," Ruto replied, decisive. "Sit down, and eat something."

"I hate you."

"I can appreciate that. Eat the sandwich, Zelda."

Zelda sighed, and put the food to her mouth.

/ / /

Zelda would have no memory of the ceremony itself. I do tumbled out of her mouth too fast, a little panicked, too eager to seal the marriage and the treaty.

(She had always known this day would come.)

However, Zelda would remember the after-party far too clearly for her liking.

"Ruto, behave yourself," Zelda hissed out of the corner of her mouth.

"Where's the fun in that? I told you, you need to loosen up. Come and misbehave with me!" Ruto whispered back.

"We have guests!"

Ruto scoffed. "It's also our wedding night. They're all expecting us to be all over each other—Nayru, I bet you they'd love to have us all over each other."

"I—will—not—"

"You wound me so, lady. Don't you love me anymore?" Ruto mocked, hand over her heard.

Zelda stared, scandalized. "Keep your voice down!"

Ruto snickered, looking for all the world as though she hadn't a care (but then, Zelda had learned that that was Ruto's perpetual state of being; she had absolutely no qualms about insulting people. Zelda secretly found it refreshing, not that she would ever tell anyone that). "Nayru above, chill out! Haven't you ever had fun?"

Zelda's glare was stony.

The laugh that left Ruto's mouth was low and amused, and it set off funny little flutterings in Zelda's stomach.

Zelda subsequently quashed them.

(There were no butterflies there.)

"You're so boring. I need to fix you. Oh, I know—after all these fools leave, I'll show you then. You'll like it, I promise."

(Really.)

"Okay," Zelda murmured. "Okay."

It took Zelda and Ruto another three hours to shake off the last of the well-wishers.

Ruto dashed up the stairs, dragging Zelda behind her. Zelda wasn't sure when Ruto had settled in her special tower room, but it had happened, and there was no getting around it. Zelda didn't even have her own space, anymore.

(She probably should have been steaming, but…)

Ruto pushed her way into the tower, and tugged on Zelda's wrist. She went straight to the window, pushed the glass open, and motioned. Zelda approached, wary.

And then Ruto was climbing out the window, and Zelda was following her, diamond-scattered white dress and all.

Zelda didn't even know how she got herself into these messes. "Are you insane?"

"Oh, don't be cucco-shit, I just want to show you the stars. That's not so bad, is it? I promise I won't let you fall."

Zelda gulped, and latched herself to Ruto's arm.

Ruto chuckled, and guided Zelda down to the blue-shingled roof. "See? Not so bad."

"I suppose."

The two—wives? Was that even the right word?—girls sat on the roof together, and murmured quietly the stories they'd grown up knowing about the stars.

"The six-point star—one for each of the sages," Zelda murmured, indicating the cluster of stars right above them.

"The Hero's belt," Ruto replied dragging her finger through the air as she pointed to three stars very close to each other.

Zelda looked over at Ruto. She glimmered wetly in the moonlight, silvery-blue, and that odd swooping sensation was back in Zelda's stomach.

(Zelda tried, unsuccessfully, this time, to quash it.)

"Thank you," she whispered.

Ruto looked over at her, and smiled in that shadowy way of hers. Zelda thought of that first night, and the way that Ruto's eyes had glittered, all shadowed grace and dark, wild beauty.

"You're welcome—"

If she tried to kiss me right now, I wouldn't object, Zelda thought in a very distant, surprised way.

"—but can we get naked, now?"

Zelda's scream of rage and frustration was audible in Kakariko, even as Ruto's laughter drowned it out.

It was the start of something beautiful.

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fin.
notes2: this is sara(version2.0)—ruining your childhood memories one at a time. please leave a review! :D