A/N: Happy Halloween! It's my first time writing with an actual deadline (Today! Halloween!) and for this fandom (yay!), so I'm sorry if the pacing is a little rough. For now, this is just a fluffy little one-shot. Yeah, it's two men, don't like, don't read. Also, I don't own any of the characters. Now let's get to it!
On Halloween, it is said the barriers between worlds are thinnest and, for one night, strange spirits and fairies can enter our world. They appear suddenly, possibly bestowing blessings, but equally likely to bear mischief and misery. That's the reason we wear masks, isn't it? To protect our comfortable identities from these esoteric apparitions.
Gusts of chilly wind rattled though the remaining leaves on the balding trees surrounding Smash Manor. The air crackled with excitement and chatter as guests arrived one by one, via portals from other worlds, invited to a mysterious masquerade by an enigmatic host.
Lively music blared in the courtyard as several guests had already gathered to entertain themselves with conversation, games, and libations. The Hero of Time peered into a bowl of a frothy orange liquid with a sense of unease.
The hero nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt a heavy hand clamp down on his shoulder. He spun around to see a muscular man in a tattered cape wearing a somewhat unsettling demon mask.
"Nice ears; how's the punch?"
Link instinctively reached up to touch his bunny hood. He hadn't had time to fetch a proper mask before the portal opened. He silently eyed his empty cup. "I—"
"Allow me to fix that for you." Ike reached past Link to scoop a ladle of the fluorescent liquid into Link's cup, and to pour two more for himself. He lifted his mask back and drained the punch in one quaff, wiping his mouth with his forearm. He laughed, squinting a little from the burn of the beverage.
"Well, I'm sure I'll be seeing you around. It's a party so try to look like you're having a little more fun."
Link self-consciously put on the smile he didn't know he was missing and covertly smelled the beverage. Oh Goddesses. It wasn't likely to be dangerous but…damn, it wasn't likely to be tasty either. Link shrugged, the big guy with the blue hair seemed to like it, and he was right…it was a party so he should try to have fun. He took a sip felt his smile slip off his face.
His throat and body warmed right down to his toes with a finish of chemical orange curling up his sinuses. It was no Chateau Romani, but now it was already in his cup, so he braced himself and took another sip of the noxious punch and began to wander around the various groups.
The party area was now thronging with guests, most of whom Link had never seen before. He sighed with relief when he saw Zelda's familiar face, but as he approached, she seemed busy talking to a princess from another kingdom. Not wanting to interrupt, he turned around to wander elsewhere, bumping headfirst into a small dinosaur in a chef's hat.
Link opened his mouth to apologize, but noticed the dinosaur pointing at him. A small, yellow creature next to the dinosaur seemed to understand and dashed off, quick as lightning with the cape of his super hero costume fluttering behind him.
"H-Hey!" Before he knew it, the dino was headbutting him in the back, moving him away from the crowd. Yoshi led the Hylian hero a few yards away from the main group of the party to a foggy circle of dirt and waited in excitement. After a few tense moments, Link heard the sound of crunching leaves in the distance. Out of the fog came a confused looking, blue haired swordsman with the yellow rodent riding on his shoulder and…another bunny hood on his head. He was, in a word, adorable.
The two eyed each other silently for the briefest of moments before Marth gave a cautious smile and a bow. "It appears we have the same mask."
Link grinned and placed a hand of the handle of his weapon. He didn't need to hear the shouts of the two creatures to know what was to happen next.
Each swordsman took a battle ready stance, touching swords and bowing before the duel began. The first clang of the Master Sword against the Falchion was all it took for the other party guests to realize there was something far more interesting going on than their conversations. The sides of the makeshift arena began to fill in with people, holding their breath to observe the outcome.
Without his boomerang, bow and arrows, and bombs, the slower Link was no match for the superior swordplay of the lithe lord. He did his best to block and parry his jabs and strikes, even managing a few blows, but was swiftly defeated.
The prince sheathed his sword, extending his hand to help Link to his feet. An embarrassed blush spread across the Hylian's cheeks, but he accepted the help, grasping Marth's smooth hand in his own. Who was this stranger who had beaten him so easily and how had he become so skilled?
"It was a good fight. Are you hurt?"
Link shook his head. Only his pride was bruised. The crowd slowly trickled away now that the duel had ended. Link wordlessly turned to go with them, slinking away in shamed defeat. After a few steps, he was pleasantly surprised to find the prince following him.
"So…where did you come across your bunny hood? It seems like it's in better condition than mine…" A slight smile playing across his lips, the young prince came across congenial and confident. After all, he promised himself for days that he would make an effort to be more outgoing, to cast away his shyness and somehow fit in with all the legendary heroes that now surrounded him. Only his eyes, pupils huge and hidden behind teal hair, betrayed his nervousness.
Link smirked, flattered that such a skilled, and handsome, swordsman would be nervous to talk to him. Together, they wandered over to the punch bowl, where Link, accustomed to the terrible flavor, poured himself another glass, and offered one to Marth.
"Ah, no thank you. I have my own." He pulled a blue bottle from within his tunic and took a sip. "I prefer sake. What exactly is that…?"
Link shrugged, taking a sip and grimacing. Maybe he was less accustomed to it than he thought. Marth could only laugh at the cute expression on the hero's face.
As their conversation continued, the swordsmen were soon to discover they had a lot more in common than choice of headwear. Link spoke lightly and absentmindedly as they floated from topic to topic, keeping himself trained on those eyes. How they lit up and sparkled with every common interest, every "me too", of which there were many. Every time he saw it, Link couldn't help but smile back.
After some time (and a few more beverages), Marth suddenly clutched the sleeve of Link's tunic. "Hey," he hissed into Link's ear, "I heard a rumor about the host of this party. I heard he is watching and evaluating us to take part in a tournament. A couple of the others and I…we want to go find him and find out what this tournament is. Do you want to come along?"
Link nodded enthusiastically. An adventure! The manor was surrounded by woods, so having another swordhand would be a great help should they run into trouble. Link stuck close to the prince, silently vowing to protect his new friend in case of danger. Together, they met up with Samus, Falco, and Princess Zelda, wrapped up in her Sheik costume.
Falco, too cool to wear a mask, shook his feathers in agitation. "Is everyone finally here? Let's get a move on."
"Link, I didn't know you were coming," Sheik noted, throwing an obvious wink at the hero. Link smiled and nodded, ignoring Zelda's teasing.
Marth, however, could not ignore it. "Oh, you two know each other?" he asked, trying to keep his voice neutral. After all, why should he care if another man winked at Link? He was a good-looking young man…bound to have some admirers. Even he had some admirers back in Altea…at least, he was pretty sure he did…sometimes it was hard to notice. In fact, he hardly noticed as Samus began a conversation with him, smirking behind the mask of her Power Suit.
Link looked over his shoulder to find Samus gently prodding the prince, who looked bashful, but also excited. He rolled his eyes, turning his attention toward Zelda, who stopped suddenly in her tracks.
"How do we know where we're going?" she asked Falco, setting off a debate about directions, orienteering, rumors, and "who asked you to come anyway?"
Link stood silent amidst the cacophony until Marth poked him in the shoulder gently and whispered, "Look!" He pointed to a light on the horizon. "Maybe it's over there?"
Link and Marth tried to make suggestions to the warring party members, but their voices were lost in the fray and the light in the distance was dimming as they wasted time trying to get the others to listen. "This is useless, let's follow the light ourselves," suggested Marth.
As they peeled themselves away from the group, the light was already considerably dimmer than before. It was getting further away. "We must hurry." The two heroes ran as fast as they could, into the cold and foggy woods, but the faster they ran the faster the light seemed to dim. Soon, the light went out and they found themselves panting and directionless in the depths of the forest.
Marth was the first to shiver. "It's so cold out here…maybe we should just go back."
The duo looked around, surrounded by trees and alone with no indication of how to get back to Smash Manor. A gust of wind ripped through the trees, sending the Altean prince into a fit of shivers and causing Link to grit his teeth in discomfort. Link felt a slender arm wrap behind his back, circling his torso. Link looked up to see Marth, eyes closed, huddling for warmth.
"Sorry, I just…get cold really easily," he muttered.
Like lightning, inspiration struck Link. The wielder of the Triforce of (liquid) Courage conjured all his daring. He angled his head upward, parted his warm, soft lips and closed his eyes moving steadily closer until they rested upon…Marth's chin?
He opened his eyes in shock. He missed! His face turned scarlet and he began to giggle uncontrollably. Marth giggled too, for a second before taking a deep breath and pulling Link up against his body, locking lips with eyes squeezed shut in a passionate embrace. The warmth of the kiss started as a soft tingle that quickly spread to a vibrant hum, cancelling out all other stimuli. Time stopped and it was just the hero and the prince, floating in soft embrace. Eventually, they broke away from one another, breathless and with moony eyes both. However, all wonderful, magical moments must inevitably end. The sound of urgent footsteps heavily crunching autumn leaves was enough to make the heroes jump away form one another, hands resting on the hilts of their respective swords.
Sheik popped out from behind a tree, "Link, what are you still doing out here? We must hurry back; the portal back to Hyrule is going to close. You don't want to be stuck out here, do you?"
Link threw a glace back at Marth. Maybe he would like to be stuck here for at least a little while longer…
Marth opened his mouth to say something, but no words would form themselves while his lips still tingled. He stood alone in the wind, cape blowing and hair tousled, watching as Link was lead away. "Goodbye…" he whispered.
"Bye," muttered Link, under his breath.
It would be six months before they would see each other again.