disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: bookwormtiff.
notes: I just. this pairing. is so cliché. /vomits
notes2: ANGST AHOY!

title: the fallout
summary: I follow you like toy soldiers. — Link/Zelda.






He bent at the knee, head tipped forward and down in a bow, sword at the floor, shield across his back, eyes closed. Link could not force himself to look up at her—not now, with a crown on her head and her fiancé in the room.

He'd always known it would have to have come to this.

"Rise, Hero," she said, and it was so simple that it made his stomach churn. Not Hero of Time, not Hero of Wind, not of Sky or Twilight or anything. Just Hero. Hero.

He'd spat blood and dirt to the floor not even three hours ago, on routine patrol of the Forest Temple—those fucking ghosts were going to be the death of him—and he'd fallen and bled and it was all for her; it had always been all for her. Princess Zelda. His princess.

But no longer.

"M'Lady," Link murmured.

The word was an ugly sound with a worse taste, and Link very nearly vomited where he stood. And wouldn't that be a sight, he thought, sick all down his tunic in front of all these pretentious lords and ladies. They'd hate it.

He was almost tempted, just to spite them all.

But he didn't.

He stood straight, and sheathed the Master Sword. The lords and ladies all clapped, enthused but only because they had to be. Link stared at his princess—his beautiful, magical, wondrous princess, in her dress and her blonde hair and—there was this moment, somewhere in his gut. It clenched and hissed, like every monster he'd ever slain (so many lifetime's worth, if the memories in his head are accurate) was seething in his stomach, looking for vengeance.

But this…

Zelda turned to the man who will be her husband, prince but never king, and she smiled.

It was nothing special.

Just a little thing.

But that smile had been Link's for so long that having to share it was the hardest thing he'd ever experienced.

That smile had been his for so long, he didn't think she'd ever give it to anyone else.

The fact that she was—it was torture.

Link stood in the center of the throne room in the midst of the lords and ladies of Hyrule, and felt completely, utterly alone. He stared at Zelda with a ferocious sort of hunger.

Nothing would ever be the same, after this.

She looked up at him, right then.

And she smiled.

But it was sad. Fierce in its beauty, because she was Zelda and she would be beautiful forever, but—sad. So very sad. She inclined her head a very little bit, golden as the circlet she wore, imploring and please don't go.

Link had never wanted to hurt her.

But staying had never been something he'd been good at.

And watching her like this was killing him softly.

Link hid in the shadow of a pillar, and watched her dance the night away.

He would leave for good at dawn.