Chapter warning: Mild sexual content at end.
"I bought you a coffee."
Sheik glanced up from his textbook in some surprise, a smile crossing his face at the beautiful sight before him - a cup full of deeply brown, deliciously scented, steaming hot coffee.
Oh - and his boyfriend. That was rather nice to see, too.
"Thank you," he said gratefully, taking a long sip and sighing in bliss. "Ahh. Perfect. What are you doing on campus?" Especially this early - Link was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a morning person.
Link shrugged a little, settling on the bench beside him. The green jacket Sheik had bought him was holding up well, he noted. "I knew you had an early class," he said nonchalantly, "And I need to talk to the riding people at nine."
"That's an hour and a half away," Sheik pointed out, taking another sip of the nectar of the goddesses. "You should get something hot too."
Link chuckled. "Already got one," he murmured, and cuddled into Sheik's side.
Eventually, Link did depart to get a coffee for himself as eight o'clock approached. Sheik headed off to his first class for the day, raising a hand to wave, looking a little thoughtful.
He had been peering at sheet music, studying it for the class he was settling down in now. Link, leaning against his shoulder, had been doing some study of his own - and he had hummed a few bars. At the time, he hadn't thought much of it - he had been humming snatches as well. But as the lecturer started going over the class outline for the day, it occurred to him quite suddenly - Link had never had formal music training.
So how had he learnt to sight read sheet music?
Maybe he had some level of innate skill? It certainly would help bolster his confidence, allow him to feel good at something other than just horse riding (since the archery and fencing had fallen somewhat by the wayside since moving to Kakariko). Perhaps music lessons...
But in what? Link had a harmonica that he could play rather decently, but Sheik knew that he could definitely try something a little more challenging. He had taken to piano decently enough, with the little demonstration in the music store more than enough evidence than that. But no, he just couldn't see Link as a pianist...
Maybe a guitar. A left-handed guitar, he thought, would suit Link well enough. Of all the stringed instruments (and Sheik knew them all), the guitar alone seemed like it fit him - he was certainly not a harpist, he didn't have the personality for it. Violins, violas, cellos... none of them clicked in his mind, they all seemed a little too... well, formal for Link. A double bass? There were other things that Link would probably prefer between his legs. Snorting at the image, he shook his head, ducking down a little when he realised that his snort had got him a dirty look from the lecturer.
The lecturer delivering the class, he realised belatedly, he hadn't heard a word of, and hurried to catch up on the material on the current slide.
Link and music... it fit surprisingly well.
"A trip home?" Sheik repeated with some surprise, giving Zelda a curious look.
"Right!" she grinned, twirling spaghetti around her fork. "I've already checked - Link doesn't have any shifts on Friday or Saturday night, neither do you, both he and Malon have got the weekend off at the ranch, and I can move my Friday to Thursday. We can go visit Telma again, Malon and Link can see Ilia, and Aryll texted me the other day and told me to tell Link to get his butt over for a visit." Finishing her spaghetti swirl, she popped the whole lot in her mouth, smiling at them both as she chewed.
Sheik considered it for a moment. "It might be nice," he said slowly, propping his chin up on one hand. "And I'm sure Malon can take the spare room."
Swallowing her mouthful, Zelda nodded. "I've already arranged it with Dad."
Link let out a little laugh, hand over his mouth to hide half-eaten pasta. "How did you know we were going to say yes?"
"Because," Zelda told them angelically.
There really was no arguing that logic, was there? Sheik hid a smile.
"If there's no objections," she told them, spearing an innocent mushroom, "We'll get the midday train after classes on Friday, go out to Telma's for dinner, then we have all of Saturday. Although, Link, Aryll said she had Saturday afternoon free."
"You really planned this whole thing out, huh?" Link asked bemusedly.
Sheik dug back into his spaghetti, the faintest of smiles on his face. He did miss Castle City - while Kakariko had been his birthplace, that was almost insignificant compared to the thirteen years he had spent there. It had been home to him, home for a very long time, and there was a part of him that missed it greatly.
Parkour in Kakariko was a great experience. But he missed his own routes, the paths he had developed over six years, the shortcuts he had discovered. He missed the music shop where the owner knew him by name, he missed milkshakes at Telma's, he missed the hidden spot beneath the old bridge in Dinsvale Park. He definitely missed Impa - despite seeing his grandmother here in Kakariko every so often and despite Shiki and her extended family, Impa had been a mother to him for a very long time.
"And then there's Saturday night," Link said suddenly, glancing at Sheik and smiling almost gently. For a moment, Sheik was caught unawares - and then he remembered exactly what happened on a January afternoon three years ago.
"Yeah," he echoed quietly, bumping Link's foot with his under the table. "We'll go out for dinner."
How could he have forgotten? It wasn't just anyone who could manage a third anniversary when they weren't even nineteen yet.
Whatever the trip to Castle City brought, he would, he decided, make it a trip worth remembering.
It was good to be home. Not even a day had passed since the train had pulled in and he had been met by a clap on the shoulder by Impa, but already, he felt relaxed in a way that Kakariko didn't quite make him feel. The dinner had been, as usual, spectacular, and Telma had delegated running the bar to her workers once nine o'clock had rolled around.
She wanted to hear everything. And while it had only been a few months since they had last visited, quite a bit had happened since then.
Naturally, she had remembered that it would be his and Link's anniversary the next day, and the chocolate cake she presented to them both free of charge was worth it if only for Link's wide eyes.
There was, Sheik noted, quite a lot of ganache on it.
But now it was morning again, and Sheik was ready for the day. Zelda had already presented him and Link with her present - a night in one of Hyrule's best hotels, entirely to themselves and with all expenses paid. There would, she promised, be a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for them - this was their first anniversary as legal adults, she pointed out, and they were definitely meant to make the most of it.
Was she implying what he highly suspected she was implying?
Knowing Zelda, she probably was. Sheik wasn't entirely sure what to make of that.
Still, they had the full day ahead. The music shop had taken new significance - at Sheik's suggestion, Link explored, going for the guitars as he had expected. Watching carefully to see which ones caught his eye, Link's skimming fingers paused at one - definitely pre-loved, and indeed battered beyond all use, even if it was left-handed. Only a few strings remained on it, and when he plucked one, it showed that it probably hadn't seen a tune up in quite some time.
He knew the store sold pre-loved instruments, but this particular one looked like it had been chewed up and spat out. And this was the one Link was the most fascinated by?
"Do you think you would like to learn to play?" Sheik suggested quietly when Link sat down with one, strumming awkwardly on the right-handed instrument. "We can hire a left-handed one back in Kakariko - I think you have a good ear for it."
"Learn guitar?" Link sounded quietly intrigued, strumming gently again. "It might be kind of fun. I can already read a few notes."
Nodding, Sheik took a seat opposite him. "That was what gave me he idea," he admitted, "When you were reading my music and humming to it - how did you learn to read sheet music?"
Link blinked. "Well - it's not hard, I just read over your shoulder when you were playing, and I could work out which notes went with what..."
Chuckling a little, Sheik patted the collection of music he had found. "You have some innate skill with music, I think. It might be good."
Smiling back, hesitant but pleased, Link nodded. "I think I'd like that a lot."
Part one of Operation Turn Link Into A Musician - a success.
In the afternoon, they had parted ways again. Link was due to visit his family, and so Zelda joined him in the shopping district, meeting (as he had requested) at the music store.
"Are you sure?" the owner asked dubiously, gazing down at the battered guitar. "We have better left-handed guitars."
"Link seemed interested in it," Sheik explained with some embarrassment. "What I want to know is if it can be repaired - and, if possible, painted or lacquered green."
The owner frowned down at it thoughtfully, reaching out to touch the fragile wood. "It's possible," he finally said, "But it'll take time - at least few weeks. And it won't be cheap."
"His birthday isn't for months," Zelda piped up, "And trust me, money isn't a problem."
Sheik still winced when the owner told them the cost of rehabilitating the injured instrument. "It'll be worth it," he told Zelda weakly as they departed, having put down a small sum to keep the guitar aside until they actually knew whether Link enjoyed playing or not. "If it's something he's good at and enjoys, well..."
Zelda nodded, reaching out to squeeze his hand. "He deserves a reason to smile," she said with a smile of her own, and Sheik was left to consider that night - where, he hoped, Link would definitely be smiling.
The dinner had been elaborate and delicious, and Link was still licking his lips after more chocolate than Sheik could have reasonably expected to stick in his mouth as they made their way up to the hotel room.
Zelda certainly had gone all out. Link's eyes were enormous as he took in every detail - the huge, plush bed, the sinfully soft carpet, the fixtures. Soft music was already playing, a string quartet (how appropriate, he thought, considering their morning) on a hidden sound system, and, as promised, a bottle of champagne was chilling.
The jacuzzi, too, was a rather nice touch.
And that was how, half an hour later, Sheik found himself naked, wet, and covered in bubbles, sipping champagne with reflexes that were becoming a little more on the fuzzy side, and an equally naked, wet, and bubble-covered Link straddling his thighs and doing his best to give a thorough exploration of Sheik's mouth with his own.
Altogether, not a bad place to be. Sheik smiled to himself as he slid his hands down Link's back, fingers gently kneading into muscles, leaning in to nuzzle against his collarbone. Link let out a little groan as his hands reached their target, hips jerking somewhat and telling Sheik exactly what state his boyfriend was in.
"Please?" he murmured, drawing back in order to kiss Sheik properly.
Was it the heat, or the champagne, or Link's proximity that made him feel so light-headed? As Sheik nodded feverishly and reached for the oil Link was pressing into his hand, he found that he really didn't care.
The real world was very far away, Sheik's universe shrunk down to hot water and a warm, willing, beautiful Hylian on his lap. There was no university, no work, no sub par student accommodation. No long train journeys ahead, no financial problems, no need to worry about anything but what was directly in front of each other. Just once, let them have each other and this night, and no one and nothing else.
They deserved it.