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Blue like I love you

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"Wow," Sidon thinks. "Are Hylians always this beautiful?" He watches the boy, man , making his way through rows of beasts and creatures with a certain elegance that Sidon hasn't ever witnessed. Sure, he's seen Hylians before, even if they're not very popular around his people. But they were tense like driftwood, dull like pale fish and altogether not very easy on the eye. This one though… this one...

 

Turns out "Link" is not that common of a name. Muzu is being a prick about this boy, man , Sidon corrects himself, because even if the Hero has been in a magic slumber he's still over a hundred years old. Just like Sidon. And Sidon does not like when they treat him like a boy. He'll be king, rather later than sooner, still he insists that people respect him, even Muzu. Also he insists that Muzu - especially Muzu - respects Link. The man has put his life on the line for Hyrule and for the Zora and for Mipha. And yes, he failed. Yes, he lost. And yes, he even lost his memory. But Sidon can't feel anything but sympathy for this small blue and golden figure that stands all alone in the middle of the throne room, overshadowed by the king and the rainclouds and his cruel past. Sidon feels bad that they ask Link for a favor. Again. But he's the only one who can do it. He's the only one who can save them. Again.

There's a pinch in Sidon's chest.

 

To say that Link is on edge is an understatement. Link is a nervous mess. He's jumpy and reaches for his weapon, a strange crooked metal boomerang, more than once. He keeps looking around like he's expecting an ambush even in the guest rooms where the only threat is the never ending rain that pours and pours as if the sky had never gotten over Mipha's tragic death. Sidon watches Link, small, blue and golden Link, with concern. He wonders if all Hylians are like this, jumpy and paranoid, unable to relax even for a second, or if it's just this one. It's hard to remember what the other Hylians were like, those he met before Link. It's hard. He wishes he'd paid closer attention. 

Instead he pays close attention now. And that's how he notices the perk of Link's ears when there's sounds he doesn't recognize. And how his fingers twitch when something or someone moves in his periphery. His jaw is clenched and his shoulders tense. He never relaxes, never just lets go even as there's only the sound of the rain on the arches and arcades and only the dim light that emphasizes the lazy shadows of the domain. 

It must be the fear, Sidon assumes, the fight and the threat out there. Creatures and monsters, everyone wants Link dead in the wild and even some of the Zora in here want him dead, Sidon knows that. He's very ashamed. Of course he's not one of these people. Of course he wants Link to be healthy and strong and their savior. That only makes him feel more ashamed. 

"You can rest, my friend," he offers. "No one and nothing will harm you here, I will see for it myself."

But Link gives him the glance of a man whose hand will reach for the weapon at the slightest hint of threat. It hurts Sidon a little. Just a little.

 

Why Link won't talk Sidon doesn't know. He doesn't ask. It's none of his business and he makes sure that Link can answer his questions with head shakes and nods and vague gestures. They understand each other just so much that silent moments aren't awkward. Still, Sidon wishes he knew more about their small guest. He knows now that Link has been here before even if he doesn't seem to remember. 

Ironically Sidon doesn't remember either. Maybe it's the grief that made him forget, maybe it's the same for Link. What he must have gone through Sidon can't muster the courage to imagine. So he decides to leave the past behind and make the heavy mood fade away, to encourage Link and support him and be a good friend. It's nice to have a friend. He wonders if Link has many friends.

The way Link flinches when Sidon touches his shoulder in a brotherly manner tells a story. 

 

Sometimes, when the sun sets in the west, and the reddish light shimmers through the rain, it's like Mipha is still alive. The stone of the statue has a rosy glow and the lifeless eyes glimmer just so Sidon thinks he can still hear her voice. 

"I miss you too," he answers smiling, a little sad and a little hopeful. "Don't worry, we'll be fine." Because Link returned. The man his sister was in love with even in the chaos of war. The man who risked his life to save her, and who is willing to risk it again, for all of them. He's amazing. It must have been easy, despite the chaos of war, to love him. "He's amazing." But of course Mipha knows that. 

 

When Link returns it's with two dozen lightning sizzling arrows in his quiver and one in his shoulder. All Zora present on the bridge back away from the danger of electricity, only Sidon is way too concerned to care about the risk the arrow causes for him. The smell of blood is overwhelming and all he can think of is in how much pain Link must be.

"Prince Sidon! Stop!" Muzu calls out, "It's too dangerous!!" And it's only then that Link seems to realize that Sidon has approached him. He looks at him, pale and panting, his eyes a watery blue like he's going to vanish. Then he backs away.

"I need to get the arrow out," Sidon gasps. He's so scared he can't think straight. How much can one stupid arrow hurt him anyway? Link has made all his way back to the domain with that cursed thing in his shoulder, maybe even fought with it! And all Sidon is supposed to do is watch as the blood stains the blue fabric of the Zora armor a nasty purplish black? 

"The spring," Muzu says, "its powers will counter the lightning energy of the arrow and ease the pain. Don't touch him!" he hurries to add when Sidon wants to lift Link up to carry him. It's terrible to watch Link's unsteady steps to the spring below the domain and when he's made it there Muzu shoos away the few concerned spectators before he leaves them with a glance that says he counts on Sidon. 

With a clatter that sounds way too loud Link drops the quiver to the floor. His left hand hangs at his side useless as he starts unbuckling his belts with the right one. 

"Oh," Sidon exclaims, "no, my friend, don't bother with these, just get into the water as fast as you can. We can care about the clothes afterwards."

Link looks at him like he's not sure if to follow Sidon's suggestion.

"Please go ahead. The water will dissolve of any stain and dirt and magic power."

Between the splashing sound of water as Link clumsily descends into the dimly glowing pool there's also a faint "tss", the short sound of the lightning magic fading away from the overwhelming cleansing of the spring. Nevertheless Sidon is a little nervous when he gets into the pool. The lightning seems to have completely vanished though so he steps closer to Link, examining the arrow that sticks out from the back of his left shoulder, right next to the shoulder guard, and that Link can't reach with his right hand, not that he's not trying.

"I'll pull it out," he offers, making Link give up his attempt to reach the thick shaft. "Fast or carefully?" 

Link makes a harsh gesture with his right hand that has Sidon swallowing hard.

"Fast then. On the count of three." His heart beats so fast when he carefully wraps his fingers around the wood. "One… two…"

Then he pulls. The resistance of the flesh is much stronger than Sidon expected and he could have heard the flesh and fabric of the armor set rip if it wasn't for Link's scream.

It scares Sidon, it scares him a lot. It's the first time he's heard Link's voice and it sounds so tormented, so full of pain that he thinks his heart stops. He throws the arrow away, crimson, sweet smelling blood on his hand and his chest and all over the Zora armor and calls "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!"

Link bends over, panting voicelessly. Blood oozes from the wound, staining the greenish grey leather and blue fabric more and more. It's horrifying. 

"I'm sorry!" Sidon exclaims, petrified. There's nothing he can do, he knows that, nothing he can do that won't hurt Link even more. Or maybe-

"Here, I'll pour some water over the wound, it will ease the pain." He waits until he sees Link nod, then hastily does as he has offered. He can hear Link inhale sharply when the water first touches the injury, but then Link relaxes a little, exhaling slowly and uncurving his back.

"Feels better?" Sidon asks and when Link nods pours some more water over the hurt shoulder. "I can help you take the clothes off," he murmurs, "it's hard to clean the wound with all the ripped fabric in the way." 

After Link nods again Sidon gets to work very, very carefully. He understands the concept of clothing, he is just not used to removing it, neither from his person and much less from someone else. After the many different belts and leather straps that hold the weapons in place are removed the Zora adornments are thrown to the ground along with the metal shoulder and arm guards. Sidon can’t help but frown at the useless things. Either the Lynel was lucky or very skilled when it shot to hit Link only a hair width away from the one part of the armor that could have stopped the arrow. Then there's another piece of clothing underneath, this one blue and thin like Zora skin, and very tight on Link which makes it incredibly hard to remove. Sidon can't imagine the purpose of two layers of clothing, other than making the process of dressing and undressing unnecessarily complicated. Maybe he'll ask, one day. For now he focuses on helping Link get out of the slippery, tight fabrics without making him move his injured shoulder too much. Every time Link hisses, lowly like the lightning arrow when the magic dissolved, Sidon curses himself for being so clumsy. It's so hard though. Link is so small and delicate under his big hands, even more so when Sidon peels the wet fabric from the skin to reveal his bare small body.

The scars don’t come as a surprise and yet they do. Sidon knew Link had scars, right from the moment he first saw him. Or maybe saw him for the second time, he doesn’t remember the first time after all. The small shimmering lines on Link’s face are just a hint at what his body has suffered through. And that it has suffered becomes clearer to Sidon as he has time to follow the lines over the pinkish Hylian skin. There is no place, no place at all where there’s not a scar running over Link’s body, some thin and fine, some thick and crooked and some patchy, like they haven’t been caused by claws and blades but there’s nothing Sidon can imagine that leaves marks like this. He tries not to give away how shocked he is as the horror Link has endured mirrors on the small body right in front of him, shimmering in the dim glow of the spring in macabre beauty.

“There,” Sidon chokes out, trying and probably failing to sound confident, as he drops the clothes just out of the spring. “That’s better.”

Seeing the blood run from Link’s shoulder unobscured really isn’t better at all. Façade, he tells himself, then pours water over the wound. Link remains perfectly silent, but his stiff posture relaxes a little and that’s how Sidon can tell the magic powers of the spring do their job.

“This spring,” he says, a little insecure if Link even wants to hear it, “is the center of the Domain. The royal family is bound to it, has been for a very long time. It’s a symbiotic relationship, kind of. The longer my father is King, the more powerful he becomes, affected by the spring, and the better his spiritual power feeds the spring in return. That’s how he became so big. And that’s how Mipha got her amazing healing powers. Me however…” He wipes a little blood from Link’s back, and notices how he doesn’t even flinch this time. “I’m just tall.” 

Link turns his head to look at him over his shoulder, like he wants to object. But Sidon smiles at him, trying to cover his bitterness. “That’s okay. I can carry you all the way up to the guest rooms so you can rest. The bleeding has stopped. Neither my father nor Mipha could have carried you, my friend.”

Link chuckles, voicelessly.

It makes the pain in Sidon’s chest vanish immediately.

 

Carrying Link up to the guest rooms is of course out of the question. It would make them both look farcical - a prince carrying a heroic Champion like a babydoll, no way! So instead Sidon helps Link remove the rest of the armor and after letting him soak a little more in the soothing water, hands him a cloth to dry off before they make their way upstairs side by side. Link looks like he’s about to collapse any second now from exhaustion. Still he gives Sidon a subtle smile and touches his chin with the fingertips of the right hand in a wordless Thank You before disappearing into his chamber.

Sidon waits until the door closes with a sound barely noticeable over the swish of the rain, then turns to report to his father. Naturally Muzu has already informed the king about the arrows’ successful retrieve, but now Sidon can announce that the Hero - even if weak and tired - is secure and out of immediate danger as well.

But is he?

Making his way up to the throne room Sidon can’t stop his inner eye from reviewing the state of the Hero’s body, the many, many scars and the way his blood poured from the shoulder wound like the water from Vah Ruta’s trunk.

“He can’t do it!” is what he says when his father asks about their plan. “He’s too fragile. Too small. Too… He can’t do it, father. I won’t allow it! He’s my dear friend!”

“Sidon,” his father tries to calm him down with his rumbling but gentle voice, but only because he’s not seen what Sidon has seen he still wants to proceed. Sidon is not having any of it.

“He’ll get hurt,” he predicts, his shoulders stiff and his stomach cramping as he imagines what could happen. “Or worse. It’s a miracle he is still alive with how things are. I’ve seen his scars, father, and there are so many of them, countless scars all over his little body. He’s… He’s vulnerable. He gets hurt so easily. How could he go against whatever possesses Vah Ruta when a single arrow makes him bleed so much? I can’t let him do this, not when I know how easily he is injured. I’d feel so guilty if I let a friend be hurt now that I have seen how much he has endured.” He clenches his teeth. It’s selfish, he knows that, and when the dike breaks it will wipe the entire domain away. But is sacrificing Link really worth it? Is the life one worth less than the life of many?

“Sidon.” 

At his father’s voice he looks up and is surprised to see the king smile.

“Words can not describe how proud I am to witness what an honorable and selfless man you have become. The manner in which you stand up for the sake of a person you have only met and how your heart comprises the fate of a friend so dearly pars with the grace and benevolence of your dear sister. I am glad to have you at my side in these trying times for your thoughtfulness knows no end. Still, I must ask you, that you call the Hylian Champion a dear friend: Do you not trust him?”

Sidon frowns. “Of course I trust him, father.”

“Then tell me, son, what makes you assume that Link’s strength does not equal the evil spirit of Vah Ruta? What makes you so sure he can not win?”

“I wiped the blood from his shoulder,” Sidon answers, bitterly. Has his father not understood his point at all? “I ripped the arrow out of his flesh, making him scream in agony. And not for the first time, clearly. He is littered with scars and wounds from countless battles, and half of them look like he barely made it out alive. He is a Champion, so what, you and me know best that Champions are not immortal and not invulnerable. He is vulnerable. His scars are proof.”

“But what,” his father cuts in, still smiling a gentle smile, “what else are those scars proof of?” And as Sidon just stares at him uncomprehending, he answers the question himself. “He survived, Sidon. Every single attack, those that left scars and those that didn’t, he survived all of them. And why is that? Because he is an experienced warrior. He is a master of swordsmanship and archery, blessed by the Goddess Hylia, a Chosen Hero. It is kind of you to protect him, but is it not faithless to mistrust his skills? He is the one whose fate was entwined with the incarnation of the Goddess, the Sword that bans all Evil and the one to put an end to the reign of the Great Calamity once and for all. If anything he is the one who can conquer Vah Ruta, because he has lived through the war as the only warrior of all warriors with the blessing of godly powers. And maybe it is your destiny, my son, to aid him and assist him in this first of many fights that can bring peace and happiness not only to us here, the Zora under Vah Ruta’s wrath, but to all Hyrule forever. To stand by his side as the prince of the Zora, and - maybe more importantly - as a loyal friend.” He falls silent, watching how Sidon thinks about his words, then nods, because his father is right.

He can’t decide which direction Link goes. He can’t just be in his way when Link has travelled through Hyrule to help them. It would be treacherous. It would be unfair. It’s not his place. Instead he needs to do what he can to help Link, to make his fight, his fights , as easy as possible, even if it’s just by moral support. He’ll be a friend for Link, a good friend, no - the best friend. He’ll do anything in his power so Link can go his way wherever it may lead him. He’ll be by his side, from this second on. He can do this. They can do this!

“You know,” his father interrupts his thoughts, “you are a lot more like your sister than you probably think.” He smiles at him like he knows something Sidon is not aware of yet.

No matter how gently Tona sucks on the tips of Sidon‘s two dicks, they don‘t get hard like they usually do. He just can‘t focus, not tonight, not when every time he closes his eyes he sees pale pink skin and golden hair and blue eyes before him.

„I‘m sorry,“ he murmurs, sitting up a little against the edge of his sleeping pool, feeling guilty.

Tona smiles at him softly. „Stressful day?“

„Yes...“ He sighs, his shafts pulling back behind the skin on his lower body until there‘s hardly the little slits to be seen.

„I heard about the Hylian,“ she says, tilting her head as she rises from the water. „You must have a lot of important things on your mind. You can call me anytime.“ She places a gentle kiss on Sidon‘s biceps, then leaves.

The truth is that Sidon is relieved when she‘s gone. He tried hard to focus on anything else, after he left the throne room, but his mind wanders back to the Hylian, to his tiny chuckle, his soft, barely-there smile when Sidon wished him good night. The swift movement of his blade slicing through enemies when he arrived, the toned muscles of his arms as he tried to reach for the Lynel‘s arrow. The sweet smell of his blood. The memory leaves Sidon ashamed and with nausea, but a little excited, too.

With a groan he turns in his sleeping pool to stare at the small shelf. On top of it lies the Zora armor, freshly cleaned, neatly folded, and with the loving thoughts of his late sister woven into every piece. 

Sidon is not sure how much clothing means to Hylians. Link seems to wear an awful lot of it, layer over layer, covering his skin like it’s something that can never see the light of day. Even when Sidon helped him get out of the armor earlier, he refused to undress completely, keeping the tight short trousers he wore under the armor on like it was his most valuable treasure. It might be, for all Sidon knows. After all the only set of clothing he’s ever known anything about was made by his sister as a wedding proposal and rests on the cabinet across the room in a small blue and greenish-grey pile, the metal parts shimmering in the blue glow of the luminous stones set up in the room. It bothers Sidon how there’s a nasty rip in both the slick blue fabric and the scale-shaped leather cover of the outer tunic. His sister must have put so much effort and love in this set and now she can’t even repair it. But-

With a loud splash Sidon emerges from the water. 

That’s right, Mipha can’t. But he can!

It takes him two strides across the room. The pieces of clothing feel delicate and soft under his fingers, but he holds them close as he hurries out of the room and downstairs. 

He has crafted before. It’s part of the education for both Zora boys and girls to work with different materials to make decorations and adornments, but to say that Sidon is skilled is not appropriate. Still, he tries his very best to navigate the needle through the tattered edges of the fabric and close the ripped cut with the thread he got from the market. Mipha’s statue keeps her eyes on him as he works, stitch after stitch until there's only a slightly rigged up patch where the damage used to be. It doesn’t need to be perfect, he tells himself, because the outer tunic covers that part and it’s much easier to replace the damaged leather scales where the arrow went through. The leather looks a bit different than the old pieces, making the shoulder part appear like the splotchy pattern of a karp: some dark brown scales in midst of greenish-grey. 

But when Sidon is finished after what must have been two hours his chest swells with pride and even in the twilight under the rain it feels like Mipha smiles at him. “There’s nothing a loving hand can’t do,” she used to say when she healed his abrasions and bruises from play and he remembers that in this moment, when he can feel how much he still loves her. His love for her, after all these years, and his friendly feelings for Link, that have sprouted from his heart like a lotus flower, that’s what made him capable of this. “I’ll be a good friend for him,” he promises Mipha. “I can never replace you. But I will do my best so he can be safe and happy.”

 

In the soft bluish glow of the luminous stones Link’s skin is ashen pale. Sidon’s breath hitches and his fingers clench around the Zora armor in his hands like it’s a lifeline. With hesitant steps he crosses the distance between the door and the bed to take a closer look.

There’s blood on the sheets, a deep, dark, sweet red on fabric that is as white as Link’s face. 

Deadly pale.

“Link,” Sidon whispers, his voice stuck somewhere in his throat that feels like someone chokes him with all might. 

“He’s dead,” is what he thinks, “he’s dead, because I didn’t pay attention, because I was so occupied with my own stupid feelings that I didn’t realize in what terrible a condition he was and now he’s dead, bled out while I was with Tona or out there, thinking that I could do something, be a friend, be there for him but where was I when he needed me where was I ?” He reaches out with a trembling hand, choking on the name of his friend he let down, “My friend...”

With a shriek Link’s eyes open. There’s only a split second, but what Sidon sees is absolute terror, before Link crawls backwards, his right hand groping for a weapon, his left giving in under his weight right at the edge of the bed and he loses his balance crashing to the floor with a loud, painful scream.

“Link!” Sidon exclaims, panics too, but for different reasons than his friend, who must have mistaken him for an enemy. “It’s me, it’s me, Sidon, don’t be scared!” He rounds the bed, finding Link curled into a ball, hissing from pain and clutching at his shoulder. When he notices Sidon approaching he tries to get up into a sitting position, scrambling backwards until he’s backed against the wall, like Sidon means him harm, like he’s a wounded animal. In a way he is. It hurts so much to see the fear in his wide eyes, and to be the reason for it.

Helpless Sidon stands and holds the armor close to his chest and slowly there’s recognition in Link’s eyes. His clenched jaw relaxes and he exhales with a puff, pants audibly.

“I’m sorry,” Sidon murmurs, “I didn’t want to scare you. I just wanted to bring you this and check if you are okay but…” He swallows. “There was blood on the bedsheet and you looked so…” He sighs, not sure if Link even understands what he says. The Hylian just stares at him like a shot deer. “I… I’m sorry, I… Maybe I just leave and-”

But Link shakes his head. It’s hardly noticeable in the twilight, but Sidon is sure he’s seen it.

“Should… should I stay?”

Link nods, hesitantly, but more certain than before.

“Oh. Okay, I…” Sidon looks around. When his eyes fall on the stains on the sheets he frowns. “Your wound bled,” he informs Link. “Can I have a look? To see if it’s bad?”

Again Link nods, but doesn’t move to get out of his corner, so Sidon puts the Zora armor onto the mattress and slowly approaches his little friend. 

Link doesn’t flinch when Sidon kneels next to him, and he doesn’t when he places his big hand on Link’s upper arm to gently turn him so he can see the wound. It’s surrounded by dark crusted blood and there’s a nasty greenish bruise forming across Link’s entire shoulder blade, but the cut has closed again and didn’t break open even when Link fell from the bed.

“It’s closed,” he states, his voice low. With gentle fingers he rubs a little of the dried blood from Link’s skin, making him shiver under the touch.

It’s strange, how small Link really is. Sure, Sidon is tall even for a Zora, but to see his hand on Link’s tiny back makes him very clearly visualize the difference in their size for the first time. He can’t forget his father’s words, though. No matter how small and vulnerable Link appears, he is strong. Fierce, and courageous, and breathtaking. A legend. 

And still… The way he looked at him after he woke up from his dead-like sleep just moments ago, before he recognized that Sidon meant no danger, the panic in his deep blue eyes sits in Sidon’s heart like an icy thorn.

“You should rest,” he suggests, his fingers tracing down Link’s spine. “I can stay and keep an eye on you. So you don’t need to be scared.”

There is something written over Link’s face, as he looks at him over his injured shoulder, that Sidon can’t decipher. Maybe it’s insecurity, maybe it’s shame. Maybe it’s both. He shakes his head a little then with his right hand points at Sidon and lays his palm against his cheek, closing his eyes for a second. Sidon understands what it means: “You need to sleep.”

“I can rest another time. If you want me by your side it’s the least I can do. Sleep is something I can catch up on. Your peace and well-being is more important than that now.”

Link casts his eyes downwards. There’s a hint of red coloring the tips of his pointy ears and his cheeks that Sidon doesn't know the meaning of. He knows way too little about Hylians and their customs and their anatomy. But he decides it’s nothing to worry about when Link looks up at him through thick dark-golden lashes and smiles the tiniest smile.

“You sleep,” he repeats the same gestures again. Then points at himself and forms a circle with thumb and index finger. "I'm fine."

"Okay," Sidon agrees, smiling himself. He can feel his heart beating just a little bit faster. "I'll trust you. But if you need anything, my room is just down the hall. You can come there anytime when you need something, or when your wound bleeds again or when you feel lonely. I'll be there."

The same smile and fingertips against Link's chin are his Thank You. 

 

Sidon doesn't sleep much that night, not when thinking of pink pointy eartips and a pretty little smile makes all the fatigue go away.

Chapter Text

The morning finds Sidon in Link’s room again. The Hylian Champion sits on the edge of the bed, struggling to get into a slightly shabby spare shirt when his left arm is in a sling that prevents it from moving. Sidon stands close to the door, feeling awkward to witness his friend so helpless, but he’s asked Link a few times already if he should help and the answer was a subtle shake of his head every time. Link has his pride, is what Sidon assumes, and getting into the beige shirt is really nothing he should be having such a hard time with. On the other hand Sidon knows enough about Hylian clothing now that he can tell it’s physically impossible for Link to get his arm through the sleeve without taking the sling off.

”It won’t work like this,” he states, boldly. Link freezes and huffs out a frustrated breath. He’s pissed, clearly. “Let me remove the sling, so you can get the arm through the sleeve and then we can put it on again.”

Link sighs, annoyed, but puts the shirt aside. 

Sidon heads over, sits down on the edge of the mattress, then starts loosening the knot of the fabric. One of the guards brought it earlier this morning with Link’s breakfast, he has been informed, finding their guest getting into his pants and boots even before sunrise. Sidon had ordered to report as soon as there was something going on with Link and that way he hasn’t had much sleep, with the guard knocking at his door urgently. Sidon feels exhausted from lack of rest, but from what Link looks like he must feel a lot worse.

Hylians’ skin comes in various shades from white to dark brown, just like Zora can have very colorful skin and scales as well. Unlike Zora though the color of their skin changes depending on the condition of the person. It’s rather fascinating per se, but Sidon had no idea how fast and drastic the changes can be. Right now Link’s face has almost its usual yellowish-rosy color from when before he left to gather the lightning arrows, but around his eyes it has turned a blotchy red-blue-violet, almost grey under them. The lids look swollen and like it’s hard to keep his eyes open, but Link frowns like a man who hasn’t ever heard of easing up. Sidon is not a fan of his grim determination, especially not when he’s so exhausted himself. And he’s not the one who just recently had a Lynel’s arrow deep in his shoulder and bled out on his bed but is still getting ready to embark on his next adventure.

“What’s your plan?” he asks, finally opening the knot.

When the sling is gone Link’s arm droops, making him hiss lowly in pain now that he has to support the injured shoulder with his own strength again. Nevertheless he wastes no time maneuvering his hand through the sleeve, only to pull out another tunic, one with shorter sleeves, to put that on as well. Really, Sidon will never get Link’s obsession with clothes. He hands Sidon the sling so he can tie it back again.

“Food,” he finally answers, moving his index and middle finger like shoving rice in his open mouth.

“You don't have to go out for that, my friend,” Sidon answers, fidgeting with the ends of the fabric to get it to the right length. “I can have you delivered all the food you could ever eat.”

But Link shakes his head, then points at his shoulder and moves his fingers in a wriggly motion upwards like steam rising from it.

“So the injury goes away? Like, medicine?”

At that Link nods.

“You can do something like that? Food that can heal your wounds and ease your pain? That’s amazing! Where do you find the ingredients?”

When Sidon tightens the knot Link makes a wide gesture that includes the entire room but more likely the entire wild out there, smiling gently at Sidon’s excitement.

“What splendid knowledge you Hylians possess!” Sidon exclaims enthusiastically. “Please let me go with you! I’d love to learn from you how you see the world outside and what Hyrule’s wild beauty has to offer!”

Link looks at him for a second, then another second, and then nods slowly.

It’s hard for Sidon not to tackle Link into a crushing hug. He’s going on an adventure with his dear friend! Oh, who would have thought this day would become so superb!

 

“A bug?!” Not superb, not superb at all!

“Take care of yourself, my son, and of your friend,” his father said when Sidon told him he’d head out with Link. “You can not know the dangers that await you in the wilderness nowadays. Be careful and don’t venture from the Domain too far.”

Yeah, just that the most dangerous thing they encountered so far was a lizard, and not one of the monster lizards with spears and bows, but a tiny one sitting on a stone to sunbathe until Link had Sidon jump at it to catch it. Needless to say that the lizard was a lot faster than Sidon thought and made him crush into the boulder like a stupid clumsy puffer fish. Link laughing out loud was just a weak consolation for the pain in his forehead.

And now it’s a bug.

Link nods with a smirk, gesturing at the beetle that sits on a pine trunk.

“But I thought this was about food?” At this point Sidon really isn’t sure that Link is not just making fun of him having him hunt for the tiniest creatures he can think of.

However Link nods. “For medicine you need bugs,” he gestures, first doing the hand sign for medicine he taught Sidon, then points at the beetle again.

“You gotta be kidding me,” Sidon mutters under his breath, then turns to the tree. The beetle is diminutive, even for a Hylian, but Sidon is easily one and a half times as tall as Link. How is he supposed to catch a thing that’s not even as big as the claw of his pinky finger?

Very slowly he approaches the tree. The beetle has either not seen him yet because he is moving so slowly or because he is so ridiculously huge and red that his existence is absurd to the beetle, it doesn’t even consider him a threat. Why would a Zora care for a bug anyway? Yes, why, he asks himself, if not for the sake of a snickering Hylian watching him like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever seen. It might as well be. Zora prince versus bug, the fight of the century…

When he’s close enough Sidon reaches out with both hands to cut the bug off from making an escape, then gently collects it by forming a hollow space between his hands. He can feel the beetle on the palm of his left hand, moving in his dark prison.

“I got him!” he calls out excitedly, turning to Link who looks at him with a big smile. He’s proud of him, Sidon realizes, a little embarrassed how fast his heart starts beating when Link comes over to pat his arm in praise. It feels like a major accomplishment, when in fact he has just caught a stupid little bug. A frog can do that, or a bird. But the way Link stands so close and holds Sidon’s hands in his, gently parting them to get a look at the beetle, makes him feel like he can do anything.

The bug sits on Sidon’s hand, probably irritated when light falls upon it again, but doesn’t move. It’s a pretty one, up close, with shimmering carapace and cute antennae. “I was really careful not to-”

Link crushes it.

There’s silence, then the tweet of a bird up in the tree. Link picks up the dead beetle from Sidon’s hand and stuffs it into his pouch, while Sidon just stands there mouth open.

“What-” he gasps, when Link is already turning away to collect the next ingredient of his medicine, so the Hylian looks back at him like nothing happened. And when Sidon doesn’t say anything, can’t, because he’s really at a loss of words here, he faces his palm upwards, as if to say “What?”

“You killed him.”

Link tilts his head: “So?”

“I- I was really careful not to hurt him when I caught him,” Sidon repeats, finishing his sentence, but this time it sounds more like an accusation. “And you killed him.”

Link makes a crawling motion with his fingers like a spider, then the eating sign from earlier this morning, then grimaces and sticks his tongue out. “Eating it alive would be disgusting.”

He’s right. It would be disgusting. But still Sidon feels kind of bad for the poor beetle. Not that he thinks Link is cruel, this is how surviving in the wild works after all. He should have thought of that. Nevertheless, he's a little glad now that he let the lizard from before get away.

“Come on,” is what it feels like when Link reaches up to pat his shoulder, smiling a little apologetically. Sidon smiles back, feeling a tiny tad guilty, even when Link takes him by the hand to lead him towards the edge of the wood. Most of all he feels warmth in his chest now though.

 

Getting into the spring feels like all the strain from the day is washed away within moments. Sidon sighs as he dips into the gently glowing water until only the top of his head is visible. Link follows him, carefully. He’s stripped down with Sidon’s help, only sporting the tight short pants and the sling around his arm now. Sidon's eyes are glued to his form as he walks down into the water, his scars shimmering in the blue glow.

Hylians are really beautiful. Or maybe it’s just Link who’s this beautiful. The way his muscles shift under his soft, scarred skin makes Sidon blush. Not that it’s visible with most of him under water. Lucky him. 

Link’s legs are so long but toned and Sidon’s eyes follow the surface of the water as it climbs higher and higher, over the knees, up the thick thighs, wetting the fabric of the short pants, darkening it. Then even higher, covering Link’s bulky crotch and rising up his lower abdomen, along the thin line of dark golden hair that starts at his navel. The water reaches around his hips, making Sidon imagine how his hands could reach around it too, and he bites his lower lip under water. Then Link sinks in deeper, the water rising to his chest, obscuring the many scars and the little pink nubs on each side of his pectorals. Sidon wonders what these are for, other than staring at them swelling a little when the water touches them. 

Link closes his eyes when his shoulders sink under water. Even with the sling his shoulder must hurt. They’ve been out in the wild all day after all, hunting for small animals and collecting herbs and mushrooms and nuts that Link can make potions from. Now that the spring soothes the pain though Sidon can watch how the small body relaxes as if it melts into the water.

“Don’t fall asleep,” he warns with a smile, sticking his head out of the water. “Wouldn’t want the Hero of Hyrule drown in our spring.”

Link looks over to where Sidon floats a few meters from him, an appropriate distance for friends chilling in a pool he supposes, moves his chin in his direction and then raises his right hand from the water. “You’d save me.”

Sidon shrugs with a smile that turns bitter. “Can’t go fight the Evil that possesses Vah Ruta myself.” He frowns, looking down at the rippling surface of the water. “About that… I just wanted to say that… If there was a way to keep you out of this, I’d do anything. I feel very guilty that we have to ask you for this. After all you have done already… Like, before you came back… I know that it’s a lot to ask from you, and I told my father that I am not okay with sending you up there. We don’t know what exactly is awaiting you there. It’s just… I’m not… qualified for such a task. I mean, I would try myself, to stop the madness, so the Domain is safe, but… You see, the lightning arrows are really dangerous for our species and I’m not much of a fighter, to be honest. I was trained, like all Zora children are, but…” He looks up, just for a second, to see Link watching him with concern. “I’m nothing like Mipha. She was strong and gifted and courageous and… awesome. She was our hope. And now that she’s gone there’s only me left and I’m not... I’m really not…” He swallows hard but the lump in his throat doesn’t vanish. For a second he feels like he’s about to cry but it’s gone as fast as it appeared and instead he can just feel this guilt. Guilt that Link has to step in because he’s not enough.

He hears the sound of water. When he looks up he sees Link crossing the distance between them swimming awkwardly with only one arm pushing the water aside.

“Be careful, my friend, you shouldn’t go into the deep water,” Sidon warns him, reaching out to grab Link’s waist with both hands and hold him secure with his head above water. His body feels soft under his fingers, squishy almost, and very warm. It’s a nice feeling. To touch Link like this. Not wiping blood from his skin for a change, just holding him to make sure he’s safe here in the middle of his home.

Link points at him, his eyes serious and a very dark blue, then forms a fist and flexes his arm. “You are strong.” He presses the side of his finger to his temple. “Clever.” Then touches the left side of his chest only to form a circle with his thumb and index finger. “A good heart.”

“Thank you, my dear friend. But still… I feel like you shouldn’t have to do this. This isn’t your fight.”

Link shakes his head first. With his index finger he then performs a circular motion that includes himself and Sidon. “It’s our fight.”

It almost makes Sidon tear up with how much determination Link tells him that. “I’ll do all I can to help you,” he promises, his chest tight. “I’ll stand by your side, forever, I promise.”

With a smile, Link nods.

 

Later, when Link is asleep, and the rain keeps pouring, it's like Mipha smiles at him a stony, gentle smile.

"He's wonderful," Sidon whispers, looking up to her. "I'd do anything to help him."

Mipha smiles. And Sidon starts to understand.

Chapter Text

 

In his dream, Sidon holds Link close. There’s the glow of the spring illuminating him, making the blood shimmer burgundy. But Sidon knows that Link is not hurt. He’s over and over covered in blood but he smiles vaguely, not in pain, not tired, not exhausted, not scared. 

In his dream, Sidon gently wipes the blood from Link’s skin. He does it slowly, carefully, his fingers running over the soft, warm, pinkish skin and the water of the spring that runs down Link’s small, toned body takes the blood with it in bright red droplets. There’s no sound, not even the rush of the rain outside, no heartbeat and no word. It’s just them, calm and peaceful. 

And then Sidon realizes that where he touched Link there’s a faint golden glitter, like the first rays of sunlight shimmering on Link’s scars and then they disappear. They disappear when Sidon touches them, like he wiped the blood away before, but now instead he wipes away the scars and the bad memories and the trauma. He wipes away the fear that made Link reach for his weapon oh so many times, and the constant threat that had him panic when Sidon woke him up. Link looks at him with this tiny smile that Sidon loves so much, his eyes calm and gentle and blue like the summer sky that Sidon didn’t know he could even remember. In his dream, Sidon can heal Link.

 

“There’s nothing a loving hand can’t do.”

 

It feels like his heart wants to break out of his chest when Sidon wakes up. It hammers like he swam up all the waterfalls surrounding the Domain a hundred times without taking a single breath, but the pain inside him has nothing to do with that, he knows that.

When he went to bed last night he thought that he’d be out like a light, exhausted from the long day and the lack of sleep the night before. His brain however had other ideas. So he kept idly swirling in his sleeping pool back and forth, staring at the ceiling, then at the walls, then at the ceiling again, trying to sort out his mixed feelings - and failing of course. Feelings are not something you brush aside like kelp between your toes.

He wondered and still wonders - because he didn’t reach a conclusion last night - how it was for Mipha to be in love with Link. There was war back then, a hundred years ago, when she gave her heart away to the Hylian Champion. In a way, today there’s war again, but a lazy, creeping kind of war. Not the kind of war where there are battles in the open field, armies marching against each other. But a silent kind, with Vah Ruta threatening to slowly drown the Domain, swarms of monsters and fiends ganging up closer to their home than Sidon can be not worried about, and there is word travelling of strange ongoings all over Hyrule, ancient machines clawing their way through the steppe, the Yiga clan lurking along the ways, and shadows infesting creatures native to Hyrule like a pest. They say that with the Hero returning Evil looms again to suffocate Hyrule. It’s scaring Sidon, like it must have scared his sister back then when she was chosen to stand up against the Great Calamity. In a way he is in her shoes now. Just not with the possibilities she had back then.

Then again, his hope is the same: Link is here with him, like he was with her back then, and he is strong and brave and courageous. It must have been easy to fall in love with him, if he was only remotely as amazing as he is now. 

It’s just that for Sidon it’s impossible. He knows how dearly Mipha felt for Link. Not that he remembers, but the Zora armor is proof of it. No love can ever be stronger than that which produces such a gift of utter affection. The existence of this set of armor is all he needs to know that Mipha gave her life away gladly if it only was for Link’s sake. How could he ever take that away from her?

Yes, maybe he has feelings for Link, that doesn’t even come as a surprise with how wonderful he is. But can he allow these feelings, before they turn into anything more than friendship with a hint of yearning? Clearly not! It would ridicule Mipha and her emotions and her sacrifice, and all that coming from her own brother- He’d rather end himself than trample on her legacy because of his selfish romantic distortion! So what his heart beats fast whenever he recalls the way his hands closed around Link’s waist last night in the spring, or how Link made him understand that he is not a complete letdown, or the way his eyes were so deep a shade of blue that Sidon thought he’d drown when he’s a creature born to live in water… So what Link looks at ease when they are together, and smiles his little smile at him and lets him be his friend. He’ll never be anything but his friend, ever. His very, very best friend, whose heart aches when he thinks about how close they were. And in his dream…

With a shuddering sigh Sidon hides his face in his hands. He doesn't know what to do, but if anything he can just cheer up and be there for Link the way he can actually be useful. And he’ll start by bringing breakfast!

There's no denying it though. His heart hurts.

 

Sidon makes sure there’s everything he loves: young white reed sprouts and sliced lotus roots, pickled seaweed and clamshells seasoned with salt and vinegar. Also very thin slices of tuna that look as pink as the tips of Link’s ears and Stop thinking of him that way! Sidon makes sure there’s an extra amount of sweet water chestnut, because if it makes Sidon feel energetic it will surely be good for a small Hylian body as well. A pot of freshly brewed liverwort tea and he’s good to go.

“I can deliver it to the Champion’s room,” the chef says sceptical when Sidon picks up the tablet, but he just smiles at him.

“I’m going that direction anyway.”

Luckily Link is awake already to open the door for Sidon. He peeks over the edge of the tablet. His ears twitch in interest when he sees the food and his stomach grumbles loudly, making Sidon laugh.

“Seems like I arrived just at the right time,” he chuckles.

Seeing Link dig in like he hasn’t eaten in days is actually really comforting. He sits on the mattress cross-legged and eats seemingly without any plan, trying the seaweed, then the reed, then the clamshells, taking a sip of the way too hot tea that makes him hiss. In between bites he offers Sidon who sat down on the edge of the mattress a water chestnut, but he refuses.

“I ate while I had this prepared for you already.”

 

After Link is finished they head down to the market. There’s a public cooking fire there, where Link starts preparing his potions. Sidon watches in awe, and sometimes horror, as Link grinds herbs and insects and monster horns, heats and stirs them, then fills the mixtures in bottles. There’s things that actually look like food, delicious even, like mushroom skewers and some kind of thick stew with vegetables, roasted apples and rice with salted fish that Link forms into little balls before wrapping them in dried kelp to store it away. But there’s also potions in red and yellow and some purplish, blubbering, slimy liquid that Sidon wouldn’t even consider drinking if it was the last nourishment in the world. Even just watching Link chugging the substance makes Sidon’s gag reflex strike up.

Miraculously Link just shudders, then straightens his back, and then removes the arm sling.

“Are you sure you want to-” Sidon starts, worried because for sure the medicine can’t work that fast, but Link just flexes his left arm like there’s never been an injury to begin with, then grins at Sidon.

“Amazing!” he exclaims. “I would have never suspected the splendid effect a potion can have on the Hylian body! This is far beyond anything I’ve ever heard about or even imagined! Your species is truly astounding. You are astounding!”

He laughs when Link shoves at his elbow playfully. The red shimmer is back on his ears and his cheeks. Maybe that’s the Hylian equivalent to blushing. Maybe despite his status Link is not used to being complimented. However that happened.

It’s nice to see Link healthy and in good spirits now. It seems that the potion completely healed his wound. However, that also means that Link can now prepare his departure for Vah Ruta. And that’s something Sidon doesn’t feel comfortable with at all.

“It’s fine,” his father calms him down, when they are alone after the lengthy briefing in the throne room and Link went to fetch his weapons. “You know his strength and his courage. He’s proven that he is capable of this.”

“I know.” Sidon murmurs, watching the rain outside pour like it’s a bad omen. “But I can’t help being worried.”

His father chuckles. “It would be strange if you did not worry. It only shows how much he means to you. But you must have noticed how much your cheerfulness did for him. How eager he is to take on this fight. He’s optimistic. And you should be too, my son.”

So Sidon does what he does best: He’s cheerful. He carries Link around the massive structure that is Vah Ruta in a wide circle, watching in awe how Link hits target after target to open the gate that leads inside the war machine.

“He’s amazing,” he whispers to himself when Link enters, standing by the shore with clenched fists and heavily beating heart. “He can do it. He’s amazing.”

 

At some point Sidon realizes how ridiculous it is to ever walk away from the statue that depicts his late sister. He’s coming back again either way, alternating between staring up to where Vah Ruta is located, and whispering his thoughts to the image of Mipha.

Link has been gone for three days. The only sign that he is still inside there, fighting, is the movement of Vah Ruta’s trunk that makes the flow of water change its intensity. He’s not dead. He’s still fighting, and it drives Sidon crazy.

“If there was just something I could do,” he whispers, to himself and to Mipha. “If there was just something, anything , I could do to help instead of just standing here waiting, hoping.” He told his father the same thing, but the answer is always the same: Wait, be patient, trust, pray. Hope. Hoping is all he can do nowadays it seems. Hoping and praying to all goddesses and gods and entities he can think of until he just stands there, his body tense, begging. “Please, Mipha, if you are still there,  somewhere, please protect him, please make him survive, please make him come back.”

He returns to his room, late at night when he thinks he’ll collapse from worry and lack of sleep, listens to the sound of the rain.

And then, the rain lessens.

And then, the rain stops.

It takes Sidon a moment to realize what has happened, that anything has happened at all. 

Suddenly it’s awfully quiet. It’s like the time has frozen, in the middle of the night, but it hasn’t and Sidon can tell because there’s a faint, pale shimmer coming through the window. He stares for a second but then he hurries, out of his sleeping pool, out of his room, running to the front where he can see all the way up to the moon that shines, full and bright, only obscured now and then from thin pale clouds that drift through the night. And Vah Ruta moves, slowly. Turns away from the Domain, leaving Sidon breathless as he watches and then there’s this ray of light coming from the structure, piercing through the night sky as bright as the moon towards where Sidon knows Hyrule castle is.

“He made it,” he thinks, but in fact he whispers it, then says it out loud, then calls it along with the night guards who are the only other people who have witnessed it too.

“He made it!” it echoes through the Domain, louder and louder as more people wake up and come outside to see and join in. “He made it!!”

It’s the first time in a while that Sidon meets his father outside. They stand by Mipha’s statue, side by side, all that’s left of their little family, and watch the moon shine onto the Domain for the first time in a very long time.

“You knew he’d make it,” Sidon asks his father, but it’s not really a question.

Still, the king nods. “Of course. This fine young man was not only chosen by the Goddess Hylia after all. And not only by the grace of Mipha, the Princess of the Zora. How could someone so blessed fail his task?” His smile is mysterious but gentle. Then he turns away. “When the Hero returns make sure he gets some rest. He must be exhausted after such an intense battle. His report can wait until he recovered, time doesn’t matter now. I leave it to you.”

“Yes, father.”

And he’s right, Link really needs rest. When he arrives back at the Domain it’s under the cheers of all Zora awake. They’re too excited to notice the limp and the bruises covering the little Hylian face, the stains of blood under his nose and fingernails. They make way when Sidon runs over to greet his friend and then again, when this time he picks him up and carries him towards the center of the Domain.

“Spring or sleep?” Sidon asks, ignoring the thick scent of blood, paying attention to the palm gesturing against Link’s cheek without really touching it. He takes him up to the guest room, shutting out the occasional chant of joy by closing the door and places Link on the soft mattress gently.

“Let me help you,” he offers, struggling but eventually succeeding with the buckles and straps of Link’s armor, stripping him from the stained but intact fabrics. Link is soaked to the bone, but that’s nothing Sidon can’t fix with the big fluffy towels he takes from the cabinet. He doesn’t even try to rid Link of the undermost short pants he wears, but wraps him into the towel, rubbing him off softly. At this point Link can hardly keep his eyes open. His lids fall shut as soon as Sidon kneels down next to the bed and covers him with the big white blanket. Maybe he doesn’t even hear when Sidon says: “Thank you my precious friend. For fighting and for surviving.”

Sidon falls asleep right afterwards, his head on the mattress, finally at peace.

Chapter Text

In his dream Mipha is still taller than him. That’s because she died when he was just a little boy, hardly reaching her shoulder. Of course now he’s a lot taller than she was, but in his dream he always looks up to her. Maybe it’s also because the statue is larger than she actually was. Maybe it’s also because she will always be his big sister in his mind, and that’s why he’s automatically smaller than her. That way or the other she looks down at him and her smile is as gentle as always.

“It’s fine,” she says. “There’s no need to be afraid. No one can harm you as long as I’m by your side and I’m always here with you. Even when I’m not in this world. What remains is my love for you and for father and for him . And for all the people of Hyrule. I want you to remember me with a smile. I want you to remember that I am always on your side. I am your sister and your friend, now more than ever, and what I want the most is for you to be happy. For father to be happy. For him to be happy, and for all the people of Hyrule to be happy in the end.” She holds his hands, softly like her words. “I can not make this happen anymore. But you can.”

 

When Sidon wakes up his face is wet from tears.

He sits up, wiping his eyes. His neck and shoulders hurt from sleeping half on Link’s bed but it’s fast forgotten when his friend stirs in his sleep, humming like he has a dream himself. And not a pleasant one if his grim expression is anything to go by.

“Shh, it’s fine,'' Sidon hums. “I’m here with you.” Link tosses his head from left to right, sweat making his hair stick to his forehead. Sidon’s chest hurts. Can Link never, not even in his sleep, have a break from the fight and his haunting past? Does he not deserve one night of peaceful sleep, without nightmares, if only one night after he saved all of them?

“I can not make this happen anymore. But you can,” Mipha’s words echo in his head and Sidon takes Link’s hand, gently so he doesn't wake up and panics, like he did before. His voice is low and soft when he mimics Mipha from his dream: “It’s fine, there’s no need to be afraid. No one can harm you here. I’m here with you, and I’ll protect you if you let me. I’m not strong and brave like you and I can’t make your wounds and injuries vanish, but I will make the nightmares go away. When you’re with me you’ll never, ever have to be afraid again. Or sad, or lonely. I’ll stay with you.” His thumb runs over the back of Link’s hand gently. He can feel the scars and scratches and dried blood on the back of Link’s hand. But as he keeps talking, promising alleviation in a soft and gentle voice he can see Link relax and float into calm and tranquil sleep.

He’s beautiful like this, Sidon realizes. Even with dried blood on his face that makes his skin look paler than ever. Even with the bruise around his right eye, that seems to darken as Sidon watches. Even with his split lip and the scratches on his jaw and cheekbone. He’s beautiful. And Sidon would like him to know. But he can’t and he knows how to contain himself. This is all he can have, and it’s enough for him. If Link only doesn’t wake up so Sidon can just sit by his bed and hold his hand and watch him as the dark long lashes cast blue shadows on his frail cheekbones, that’s enough for him. That’s the most he can get as Link’s friend, even as his best friend. He can sit and be close, but not too close for everything to break apart. This way he doesn’t hurt Link and he doesn’t hurt Mipha, only himself, only a little.

He wonders if Link loved her too. She was perfect, and Sidon himself loved her dearly, but that’s different. He imagines how it must have been for her, to be close to Link, and if her feelings were similar to his own. If she wanted him to be safe, to be happy, to rest, to heal. She was that kind of person. She always cared for others before she cared for herself, and that’s what he admires her for. He wants to be like her. 

But how was it for Link? He’s just like that, just fierce and strong and sometimes grim. He’s a fighter, ruthless. He’d rather hurt himself than hesitate the blink of an eye if it’s to protect people. He’s brave and courageous, but Sidon has the impression that he’s a little reckless, too. Is that how he shows his hope? Is that how he expresses love? Does he throw himself into battle to protect the Domain where Mipha’s stony eyes rest on her people, because he felt the same for her? 

There’s so much Sidon doesn’t understand. So much he wants to ask, but he can’t because maybe it’s none of his business. Mipha and Link, that’s something he should not interfere with. It’s painful for him, how painful must it be for Link to come back here where Mipha isn’t. How could Sidon be so nosy and pick at the wounds and not even his own. It’s not his place after all. He has no right. He doesn't know what Link has gone through after all, since back then. 

And still he wonders, if Link has always been this brave and reckless. Was he like this back then when Mipha fell in love with him? It must have worried her so much… Just like it worries Sidon.

“You have to take care of yourself,” he murmurs, his eyes resting on Link’s sleeping form. “This is not only you. If you get hurt, others will suffer, too. Your friends, your family. Your princess…”

He’ll have to protect him, no matter the cost. He can’t change Link to be less brave, less courageous, less audacious. He wouldn’t want to if he could. So he’ll have to follow dream Mipha’s advice. In that matter they are very similar, he and his sister: He wants Link to be happy.

 

The Trident is smaller than Sidon remembered.

“It’s not. You just have grown so much,” his father laughs, when he sees Sidon’s confused face as he turns the Trident in his hands.

“This is not appropriate,” Muzu interrupts. “Unacceptable! The Trident should stay in the Royal family, and it will only go to the Hylian over my dead body!”

“I appreciate your opinion,” the king says. “But who will wield it, I ask you? Me? I’m far too cumbersome to wield a weapon that requires grace and skill like this one. Sidon? He is a master with the sword and the bow all the same, that much is true, but will he really ideally handle a weapon so small he could use it like a fondue fork rather than to fight? Or perhaps,” Dorephan leans forward a little, eyeing Muzu with a smirk, “you will wield it, old friend? Do you possess the strength, the grace, the youth and skill and the honor to be our precious princess Mipha’s successor and become bearer of the Lightscale Trident?”

He is graceful,” Sidon says, more to himself than to his father or Muzu, but it echoes in the throne room, making both his father and Muzu look at him. So he repeats it louder now that they've heard anyway. “ He is graceful, and strong, and honorable. If anyone can wield Mipha’s Trident, it’s him. He’s proven what he is capable of. And he’s the Chosen Hero, blessed by the Goddess. His heart is pure and his intention selfless. He shall have it.”

“And, as I might add,” his father grins, leaning back again. “He’s just the right size.”

“You’re both-” Muzu hisses, but he never finishes the sentence. Instead he turns on his heel and flees the room without another word.

“I haven’t seen him this angry in a long time,” says the king.

“He’s angry all the time.”

“While that is true, he must be furious about how both of us have seen the potential in your little friend.”

Sidon shrugs, but smiles, examining the Trident. “I would have loved to keep it. But with how things are it’s wasted just lying in the treasure chest, like it’s a sarcophagus. Mipha would have wanted him to use it.”

“But what do you want?”

Surprised, Sidon looks up. “Me?”

A nod follows. “According to Zora tradition you should have gotten it, Muzu was right about that. There are possibilities to adjust it so it fits your height.”

“Maybe,” Sidon murmurs, twisting the Trident in his hand. It’s masterfully crafted, the green and red details shimmering in the white light of the late morning. “But it would be wasted on me as well. I can not use it the way he does. He’s good at those things. Fighting and protecting people. He’s…” He hesitates, but there’s no denying it. “He’s amazing. He deserves it.”

“Then it’s decided.”

“Father,” Sidon starts when he has stored the Trident away so they can hand it over to Link later. “I will do my best to fill in the gap that Mipha left as good as possible.”

“Please,” the king answers. “Don’t do that.”

“But-”

“It’s true that your sister had a unique presence that left a gaping hole in our middle and in our hearts. But I would never ask of you to make up for that. You have always been your own person, Sidon. With all the traits and all the flaws. You are the one who got swallowed whole by this octoroc. But you were also the one who defeated it in your very own manner. You are unique and precious just the way that she was, Sidon. And I love and cherish you just the same way. You don’t have to fill in her place for that. I’d rather have you live your life the way you think it’s best, even if it is not the way Mipha would have done. Mipha is Mipha. And Sidon is Sidon. And you can be loved for who you truly are. If you filled in the gap that Mipha left, then you’d leave a gap just as deep yourself. You understand that, don’t you?”

“Yes, father,” he answers, lowly. Has he been wrong for trying to equal Mipha after all?

“I don’t want to lose you to thoughts like that.” It’s rare to hear the hurt in his father’s voice, and Sidon feels ashamed. He never wanted to cause his father pain. “She is gone, just like your mother is. It breaks my heart, but I can be happy that you are still by my side. You’re not more and not less important to me than they were. But there are things that only you can do. And I want you to not hold back because of those who are not with us anymore. We are here, my son. And we owe them to live our lives so that we can be happy. That’s what they would have wanted.”

He never saw it that way, Sidon thinks, later when he hides in his room and cries more than he has in a very long time. The violent sobs shake his body, but when the pain settles back in his heart he finds himself smiling. His father is right, and Sidon has known it all along. Mipha would have liked him to be himself, and to be happy and to be good. But most importantly he wants to be himself and be happy and be good himself. He wants to be Sidon, and while Sidon will always be Mipha’s little brother, that’s not a bad thing. He doesn't need to be in her shadow and when he steps out of it, it doesn't inevitably mean he betrays her. For the people who know him now he can be an individual person. Just Sidon, Prince Sidon, who is also Mipha’s brother, but first and foremost he is the prince of the Zora and he will stand up and fight for himself and for his people. He’ll be strong and graceful, not like Mipha, but in his own way. He can be cheerful, and make the sad looks in people’s eyes go away just like he always did, since the day that Mipha didn’t come back. He can encourage people to become stronger, to surpass themselves. He can make people be confident and hopeful just with a smile and a few enthusiastic words. This is what he wants to be. This is Sidon’s Grace. And if it has helped only one single person in the world, it already has merit.

There’s a soft knock on his door. When he opens it his eyes still burn a little and the sight of Link is obscured by tears.

But he smiles and Link smiles too. His eye is swollen and his split lip is bleeding and the bruises are green and yellow and purple, but he smiles. 

Sidon’s heart is full and warm.

 

Never has Sidon seen Link sign so rapidly. He wasn’t even aware of how many signs there are. Link didn’t have much to say when they met in the throne room before he left for Vah Ruta, just overall agreeing to their plan and nodding along. But this is different. His hands fly through the air like excited little birds and Sidon can’t even try to understand what his friend is in such a hurry to report.

His father however hums and nods as Link keeps going. Even Muzu seems to understand, his expression - which Sidon can read just fine in contrary - changing from doubt to surprise to utter disbelief just when Link stops signing.

“Are you sure?” his father asks and Link nods with determination and a vague smile.

Muzu is not convinced though. “It can’t be true. We would have noticed. It’s been a hundred years, she can’t have been up there all those years without us taking notice.”

Link claps his hands once, then shows his palms upwards: “It’s a fact.”

Muzu just shakes his head. “Impossible. What you say is-”

But the king interrupts him. “As we haven’t entered the Divine Beast ourselves to witness these occurrences, I think it is wise to trust our friend, who has indeed done so. If what you say is true,” he turns back to Link now that Muzu is silent, “then at the very least it explains how Vah Ruta has stood guard by the Domain for the past century since Mipha fell victim to the evil that is the Great Calamity. The soul, be it Zora or Hylian, or else, is not easily wiped from the lands of the Goddess. They say that even if the body fails, the spirit that inhabits it ascends to the stars and flows in the waters and rides on the winds that gently whisper in our ears. It’s only when the phial breaks that the scent unveils its full potential. Considering this, it is inevitable to assume that this is not a solitary phenomenon.”

“Are you saying that-” Muzu gasps, but Sidon can just look at Link whose expression changed from astonished to determined in the blink of an eye.

He holds out four fingers.

“Yes,” the king says. “It might apply to all four of them.”

And this is when Sidon starts to understand. All four of them , that’s the four Divine Beasts. The spirit that’s not leaving the world, the soul that shows its potential even after the body failed it. Muzu claiming that it’s been a hundred years, she can’t have been up there all those years.

Mipha.

Mipha was there, up there, inside Vah Ruta, when Link went there. He’s seen her or sensed her, it doesn't matter, she was there! She stayed behind inside the Beast and kept protecting the Domain, and all the Zora and Hyrule. But then Link woke up and at the same time the Calamity rose again to torment Hyrule and took control over Vah Ruta to drown the Domain that Mipha had protected all those years. And Link saved her. Link defeated the evil spirit that had overthrown his sister’s soul. He didn’t only save the Domain. He saved Mipha’s very soul.

Sidon stares at him, this little Hylian man, with golden hair and deep blue eyes that shine so full of courage. He’s going to free all of them. The three remaining Champions, Daruk and Revali and Urbosa, he’ll free all of them, Sidon knows it. Link’s eyebrows crinkle with resolve, the blood on his face and hands the proof of his sacrifice for the hope of this world.

He’ll fight. And he’ll win.

But deep inside Sidon’s chest cramps with worry.

Chapter Text

The sunset is something beautiful. Even more so when it’s not obscured by the rain falling from Vah Ruta’s trunk. The mood in the Domain has become lighter, like after a long winter when the first days of spring take away all the dark thoughts. There’s voices in the air, laughter, music. It’s all clearly audible without the sound of the rain. And the light shimmers as the sun descends behind the horizon, making Mipha’s statue glow in red and pink and gold. It’s like she’s still alive. A part of her still might be.

The first thing that Sidon does is taking Link down to the spring. After his report the king offered him the Lightscale Trident that Link happily took from him. “You can no doubt use it,” he said and Link nodded with a determined smile. Now the Trident rests in Link’s room with the rest of his equipment, while they dip into the spring.

From what Sidon can tell Link has only bruises from what his father called the Waterblight, scratches and lacerations. But as Link strips off his clothes to pile them up next to the spring Sidon realizes that bruises and scratches and lacerations can be really bad as well. 

Basically the entire left half of Links body is swollen blue and green and violet. His limp is worse than it was when he returned last night, Sidon noticed when he walked Link down here. Now he can tell why.

“Here, let me help you,” he offers from where he floats in the water already, holding his hands out. Link takes them with a thankful smile, but still hisses in pain when he bends his left leg to get into the spring. The water around him tints a faint red before the blood is dissolved by the magic that gives the spring its powers.

“It will be better soon,” Sidon promises, watching Link’s bruised chest move with deep breaths. “Is it okay if I help you? Like before?”

Link nods, then, when Sidon starts pouring water over his battered body, sighs and closes his eyes in relief. 

Sidon falls silent as he works. Only the sound of the rippling water can be heard as Sidon slowly circles his friend, washing away the blood and stains of the battle. The water is red when it runs over the pinkish-pale skin, but not as bad as before. It does worry Sidon though when he notices the wound on Link’s left shoulder.

It’s where the Lynel’s arrow was. The flesh is red and grazed, like the potion Link drank never made the cut heal in the first place. That’s probably exactly what happened, Sidon realizes. He was so amazed at how the medicine healed the injury instantly that he didn’t see that it might only have numbed the pain. It never made the wound go away. It only deadened the ache. Sidon frowns, gently wetting the angry red flesh. He’s been so blind, so stupid. He really thought that some kind of magic potion made from horns and bugs could conjure such a serious injury away. How childish! And just like that he let his friend walk into battle against a fierce spirit, with such a disadvantage, as if it wasn’t dangerous enough already.

Angrily Sidon grits his teeth and follows the scars on Link’s back with his eyes. It will be one of them. The wound will heal for sure, but it will leave a scar among so many and it’s Sidon’s fault it’s there. Just a pinkish, shimmering reminder of how careless he was when Link needed his help. What a failure as a friend he is.

He’s startled when there’s a hand on his elbow. He looks up to find Link turned towards him, his face full of worry. It’s only now that Sidon notices he’s stopped pouring water over Link’s back, that he stands stiff with his hands balled into fists and his heart in pieces.

“I’m sorry,” he chokes out, trying to relax. His insides are still in painful twists though, even when he manages to lower his shoulders and unclench his hands. “I should not have let you go.”

Link tilts his head.

“Your shoulder. It hasn’t healed. I should have noticed. I should have used my brain and make sure you were healthy before I let you go. Instead I was an idiot. You weren’t healthy. You still aren’t, are you? That violet potion you drank, it was just a painkiller.”

Link’s hand doesn’t touch his elbow any longer. He nods. His hand balled into a fist performs a circular motion over his chest. Sidon doesn’t know that sign, but he can guess what it means. 

“You're sorry?” he asks and Link nods again, his hand falling into the water.

“But there’s nothing to be sorry about.” Sidon sighs and pours water over the scratches on Link’s cheek. “I just want you to be careful,” he explains, rubbing blood from Link’s cheek gently. It comes off in light red droplets. It almost looks like Link is crying sunset colored tears. “You know how important you are. For the people of Hyrule. And for your princess. And… and for me.” Very carefully he cups Link’s little face in his hand. His eyes are so blue, like the sky just today when Sidon watched the swallows crossing over the Domain so high up for the first time in what feels like forever. He is beautiful. There’s a little blood where his lower lip is split and Sidon wipes it away with his thumb. “You need to take care of yourself. Or else…” He looks from Link’s lips to his eyes and back to his lips again. They’re a light red where the watered down blood colored them, glossy like water lily petals. Sidon thinks his heart might stop beating. “Or else I’ll have to take care of you.”

Link looks at him. He doesn’t shake his head. He just looks at him with those bright, mesmerizing eyes and then - and Sidon’s heart really stops beating for a second - he smiles the vaguest smile.

It’s right then and there that Sidon has an idea that it might be too late for him.

 

There’s a feast in honor of Link that night. The throne room is brimming with voices and music, the scent of food and flower bouquets fills the air. It feels like every single Zora of the Domain is here, and it might be true. Even Muzu, Sidon notices, is in a good mood.

Link doesn’t wear the Zora armor. He has changed into a red tunic that goes well with the slightly red tips of his pointy ears. He nods when people compliment him on his strength and courage and he also nods when they thank him for his help. Sometimes, when he catches Sidon’s eye from across the room, he smiles a little and Sidon can feel his heart beat so fast in his chest he looks away immediately.

“You should go to him,” Tona says, making Sidon jump. She wasn’t beside him a second ago.

“He’s enjoying the party just fine without me. Besides I don’t want to monopolize him.” He sips on his seaweed wine and turns to her. “I have to care for all my friends and people equally.”

She grins. “Or so you say. You can’t fool me though. You’ve thoroughly cared for your pointy-eared friend over there in the past few days, not that it was not necessary.” She looks over to Link again. “Or incomprehensible. He is a legendary hero after all. I can definitely see the appeal. You know, tonight is an important night.”

Sidon frowns. “I’m not sure I’m following.”

Tona looks back at him. Her cheeks glow a faint violet even in the dim light. She’s probably had some glasses of wine already. “I’m just saying that when he leaves tomorrow at the crack of dawn you won’t have much opportunity to spend time with him. He’ll be gone for days, weeks, months maybe. Busy on his quest, doing legendary-hero-stuff. Who knows if he’ll ever return. They say there are fascinating tribes out there, exotic, captivating. Not to mention what will happen once he’s freed the descendant of the Goddess. But tonight he’s still here, my prince. Tonight,” she smiles at him, “he is just here for you. And by the way he keeps looking over to you,” her head tilts in Link’s direction and it makes Sidon looking across the room again, “he’d enjoy your company far more than this stupid party.”

She speaks the truth. When Sidon’s eyes catch on Link the Hylian Hero is indeed looking at him. Just like before his ears are pink, the wine glass in his hand is empty. His eyes shimmer like stars even from the distance. And this time Sidon can’t look away. There’s something, and maybe he’s just imagining it, but he feels there’s something happening in this moment, all the way across the room. The voices and the music are still there, but they don’t matter. All the people, maybe it’s all the Zora from the Domain, don’t matter. All that matters is that Link looks at him and smiles. It’s a smile that makes Sidon’s chest contract like someone squeezes all the air out of his lungs. It’s painful but at the same time he never wants it to stop. Sidon stands and watches Link and finally he smiles back at him, back at his wonderful, brave, precious, courageous, gorgeous best friend and it’s like time stands still.

But then someone talks to Link and he looks away and time runs normally again. The endless moment turns out to be not endless at all. 

Sidon turns to talk to Tona, but she’s gone.

He knows she’s right. Oh Goddess, he knows. He wants to spend time with Link, every single second possible. Even after this moment in the spring earlier, when his heart was shattered into pieces just by how full it was, and even after he just kept pouring water over Link’s wounds until he felt he could think like a sane person again. Even after he tried to regain his posture and act like the Pince of the Zora should act, reasonable and logical and helped Link out of the bath a little too formal, maybe. Even when he could finally act like Link’s best friend, even when he could stop staring at Link’s chapped lower lip, even now he wants to be by his side, as much as possible.

Should he though? He can’t answer this question. His head and his heart say different things, and they’re as noisy as the music and the voices and the laughter. So Sidon does the only thing he can think of to calm down and sort his thoughts.

He talks to Mipha.

“I just can’t help it,” he murmurs, sitting on the low stone railing across her statue. The music and the voices are far away, but his mind is racing nevertheless. “He’s… I want to be close to him. I want to look at him. And I want him to… to look at me. He’s so…” He sighs. His shoulders hang. “I’m hopeless, Mipha. If he could just stay here, where it’s safe. That would be enough. I’m fine with being his friend, only his friend. But Tona is right, once he’s out there, there’s no telling if he ever returns. What if he gets hurt when I’m not around to take care of him? You know how reckless he is. You know that he won’t avoid a single fight even if I made him promise that he’ll be careful. We both know that. He’s just… too courageous for his own good. Reckless, brave little…” He lets his head hang. “I like him,” he whispers into the night. “I know I shouldn’t. He’s yours and he’s always been. That you were up there, waiting for him, that’s proof, isn’t it? You never showed yourself to me or father, not once in a hundred years. You were waiting for him. Because you still love him, don’t you? And then there’s me, who just… I shouldn’t like him, not like that . I can be his friend. His best friend even. That’s… that’s enough for me.”

He looks up to Mipha, but it’s not really Mipha. It’s just a statue that looks like her, nothing but dead, cold stone when the real Mipha is somewhere out there where he can’t see her.

“Please,” he begs, feeling helpless like the child he was when he lost her. “If you’re still there, out there, somewhere. Please keep him safe. That’s all I wish for.”

It’s a lie. But of course Mipha knows that.

 

Link leaves without saying goodbye. It’s Sidon’s fault though. Sidon, who keeps himself locked up in his room for the rest of the night and in the morning, pretending to be sick. Or maybe it’s not even pretending. After all he really feels sick, because he is pathetic, and weak, and childish. He wastes this opportunity to see Link, to see him for the last time perhaps. He tells himself it’s less painful this way. But naturally it makes him feel like he rips his own heart out with his bare hands.

So dawn breaks and the knocks on his door stop. Sidon is underwater in his sleeping pool but he’s wide awake to see the sun rise. The light is faint but golden. Golden like…

His heart hurts so much.

Chapter Text

Gruve’s skin has the color of the afternoon sky. He twirls beautifully in the water, his palms silky against Sidon’s body, his smile mischievous and full of expectation. His pointy teeth scrape Sidon’s fin teasingly before he retreats again to circle his prince’s form. His appendices are thick, the tips violet from arousal as they brush against Sidon’s lower body. They’ve played this game so many times and it was always captivating.

This time it’s not.

“Hey!” Gruve calls out when Sidon turns away and emerges from the water. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he answers briefly, getting his adornments in order so he can leave.

“Wait, wait!” Gruve calls behind him, not coming out of the water with how swollen his dicks are. “Have I done something to upset you?”

“No,” Sidon says. “It’s not your fault. I’m just not in the mood.”

Gruve sounds a little bewildered when he murmurs “Okay…” but Sidon is not in the mood to explain himself either. He’s not in the mood for anything lately. So he leaves without another word even if he feels a little guilty dumping Gruve like that.

They used to have fun, before. They’ve made it with each other since Sidon was, what?, 93? Gruve being the first boy he ever came close to. They’re not exactly lovers, or a couple or something, just like Sidon and Tona aren’t lovers or a couple. It was just that it happened , and they benefit from each other, Sidon from Gruve’s attraction and Gruve from Sidon’s sexual eagerness and curiosity. Gruve is good at sex. Different from Tona, because he’s not a woman of course, but also because he’s playful where Tona is submissive. He has a way of tempting Sidon with little scratches of his claws and soft bites along his fin, before giving himself to Sidon when he can’t keep his appendices in even if he wanted to. Having sex with him used to be thrilling, playful, satisfying. Now he can’t even get Sidon’s dicks hard.

Sidon just hopes they’re not angry at him, Tona and Gruve, after he literally walked out on both of them. There’s nothing he can do about it though. His heart drags down his libido.

Link has been gone for almost a month. A month in which Sidon first holed up in his room like a depressed guppy, then tried to gloss over his bad mood with exaggerated good mood, then found that everyone seemed a little creeped out by his forced enthusiasm and fell back into a shallower bad mood again. He’s been trying to act normal since then. But how can you act normal when your heart is eaten up by constant fear.

He sits down in his room and stares at the wall. These days he doesn’t talk to Mipha’s statue much. What’s the point anyways. He knows it’s just a dead stone, and that she’s out there somewhere, but not here with him. If he’s lucky she’s with Link, who needs her more than Sidon ever will. And talking to himself, that’s something he can do here in the enclosed space of his room too.

He hasn’t heard of Link for weeks. In the first few days there were sightings of him, from travellers and envoys reporting that the Hylian Champion was out there fighting hordes of monsters and winning back shrines from the evil forces one after the other. But it’s been silent for a long time now. Maybe Link has travelled too far from Lanaryu for random travellers to bring word of him to the Domain. At least he hasn’t heard that Link has died. That’s something, isn’t it.

In the meantime Sidon has had time to think. A lot. Way too much. About how Link didn’t tell him that he was still injured from the Lynel. About how his father just keeps smiling when Sidon asks him about what happened when Link was fighting inside Vah Ruta. About how Muzu turned away when Sidon asked him again and again how they didn’t know that Mipha was still there. About how little he knows about her, and Link and about her and Link as… what, a couple? Partners in arms? Fellow Champions? Friends, lovers, what? 

Sidon has come to a few conclusions: First, Mipha didn’t love Link more than she loved her people and her family, she just loved him different . Sidon can tell because it’s the same thing for him. His feelings for Link are immense, not stronger than his love for his father and his sister, and not any less strong. Just different . Longing, yearning. Painful. 

That’s his second conclusion, too: He has feelings for Link. Not just platonic. Not just friendship. It feels like since he has left, there’s a part of Sidon missing, like it’s been carved out of his heart. It pierces through his chest, like a Lynel arrow, just not deadly. It makes him lay awake at night, wondering Where is he, what is he doing, is he okay? Will he come back? It’s terrible, but he can’t do anything about it. He has to endure it, and be strong and brave, just like Link, but different.

The third conclusion is that Link is by far not as strong and brave as he appears to be. He can’t be. Legendary Hero or not, he is not the godlike creature people see in him. He is just a Hylian, a man, a mortal. He bleeds. He has nightmares. He is scared. Sidon has seen it in his eyes, here in the Domain, here where Link was as safe as he can be. Link screamed in fear. Link almost collapsed from exhaustion. Link asked Sidon to stay with him, because he was lonely. The third conclusion is probably the most eye-opening. Shocking maybe. Surprising? Maybe not so much. After all, he’s been through so much, so much Sidon can’t even imagine. And what is he going through now? Maybe he’s somewhere up in the mountains where the wind howls and the snow freezes him to the bone, the next avalanche just around the corner to suffocate him. Maybe he is crossing a deep, dark forest, hot and humid, his clothes clinging to his skin and sounds between the trees from creatures he can’t see but that want him dead. Maybe he’s days into the deadly deserts, the sun scorching, burning his soft, pink skin, without water but so, so thirsty. The wild is dangerous and Link is at it’s mercy with nothing but his little weapons and the courage in his heart to defend his life.

It makes Sidon sick from worry. Not only that when Link fails, if something happens to him, all hope is lost for Hyrule. All hope will be lost for Sidon, too. 

Because his fourth conclusion is that he has to make up for it. He acted like a child on that last day, and he knew it back then, and he is so ashamed of himself. He let Link go without thinking - again - to maybe never return. What would Link return for after all that Sidon messed up? He pushed his little friend away when he needed him, maybe needed him the most. Link saved them, just to depart for the next life threatening adventure, to save more people, and what did Sidon do? He refused Link the only thing he can give him: his support. Just another indicator that he is in fact a bad best friend. But when Link returns - if he returns - Sidon will change that. He’ll do anything to prove he isn’t the stupid child that is afraid of being left alone. After all Sidon knows what it’s like to lose someone important. He’s not making Link go away to maybe never return again. He will do anything to make Link feel welcome, at home, safe, happy. He’ll be there for him when Link is scared and when he’s lonely. He’ll keep him warm and fed and calm after the deprivations of his heroic adventure. He’ll thank him. He’ll give him hope. He’ll support him. He’ll try and heal. 

“There’s nothing a loving hand can’t do, right?”

In his heart Mipha is proud of him.

 

Suddenly a second beam of light cuts through the sky. That’s when Link returns to the Domain.

“Prince Sidon!!” Bazz calls, “He’s back, he’s back!! Quickly!!”

Sidon doesn’t need to be told twice. He rushes outside and he can already see the cluster of Zora forming around a little stone clad figure. Link is unrecognizable in this awful excuse for an armor, but Sidon can tell it’s him. He recognizes the smell of Link’s blood.

“My friend,” he gasps. “I’ll take you to the spring.”

In his heavy armor Link nods, once, then makes an unsteady step forward. The stone of the armor set clanks like a rockfall and it must be heavy as a living breathing Goron. Sidon learns first-hand when he without asking for permission collects Link up in his arms. “By Hylia-” he hisses. “What did those boulder-eating cobblestones-for-brains think to make this armor sixty times as heavy as a Hylian itself? If I ever get ahold of any of those rolling hammerheads I’ll give them a piece of my mind and it will be a roast like they have never seen even on their stupid fire spitting mountain, I can promise you that.”

Link chuckles a hoarse, exhausted chuckle. It sounds scratchy and terrible, but it’s the nicest thing Sidon has heard in over two months. It’s so nice to have him back. And even his anger about how the Gorons have stuffed his lovely little friend in such a monstrosity of an armor can’t overshadow the happiness flowing from his heart.

 

Link sheds off the gloves first, with Sidon’s help. They fall to the ground with a loud thump , like someone threw a brick through the window. Immediately the smell of blood is overwhelming.

“Don’t!” Sidon tries to stop Link from fiddling with the buckles and straps that hold the helmet in place, because Links hands… 

Sidon doesn't even dare to take Link’s hands in his. They are covered in blood, thick and brownish red, and when Sidon crouches and pours a little water over them from the spring, very gently, he can see the burns and blisters covering the skin. It’s not the usual soft light pink anymore. It’s red like Sidon’s scales, and black in some places, like the flesh burned to ashes. Upon closer inspection, and Sidon’s stomach twists in shock, that’s exactly what happened.

“Oh,” he whispers, when he pours more water over them that drips down a dirty red, and then again, “Oh, oh,” when it reveals more wounds. The skin has burst open from the heat and the wounds are cauterized. “Oh, Link…” His voice breaks and his heart along with it when he reaches out to undo the straps that hold the helmet in place, but Link backs away just a little. “Please, let me help you,” he begs as gently as he can, trying not to start crying. Link seems troubled, his body tense, then he gestures. First he balls his hands almost into fists before his chest - only almost because it must be so painful - then spreads his fingers out and jumps like he’s been scared. Sidon doesn’t know the sign, he doesn't know any signs, but he can guess what it means by how startled Link appears.

“You’re scared,” he suggests, but Link shakes his head, then points at Sidon with two very bloody index fingers.

“You think I’ll be scared,” he realizes and Link nods. “Because of what you look like under the helmet? Oh, Link, my precious friend, I-” He sighs, shaking from worry. “Please,” he then begs, holding his hands out. “Please let me help you, I promise I won’t be scared, no matter what you hide under this terrible armor. I can’t stand watching you being in pain.”

Link hesitates, then lets his arms hang and tilts his head back a little so Sidon can open the buckles.

The truth is that he is in fact terribly scared when the helmet comes undone and he puts it aside carelessly to see Link’s face. There’s more blood, brown and emitting a scorched smell, crusting Link’s usually sun light colored hair, but there’s also soot and grime, ashes mixed with sweat covering his hair and face until the skin is only visible in the few streaks down Link’s bloodshed eyes. It’s terrible for Sidon to realize that the lighter traces might be caused by sweat that washed away the dirt and blood, but that it might as well have been tears. Link crying, that is a thought so horrifying that Sidon feels like he turns to stone staring at his wonderful friend. But he can’t allow himself to have a breakdown now, when Link needs his help, not again

In an unexpected moment of acuteness he picks Link up and steps into the spring.

Link yelps, hoarse and surprised, but Sidon holds him steady as he descends into deeper water. “I’m sorry my friend,” he says, not sorry at all. “But we can busy ourselves with this stony excuse for an armor later.” He dips Link into the spring until only his head is out, watching how the water dissolves from all the blood and dirt and hopefully some of the pain as well. “I can not imagine in how much pain you must be, but this should ease the torment at least a little. The plates and shells should not be affected by water too much if they withstood the fires of the Death Mountain. But as a creature of water myself I’m sure it’s best not to wait too long to cool down your frail skin.”

In fact Link relaxes in Sidon’s hands, even so much as closes his eyes and sighs. Where the stains come off the water turns a reddish brown for a moment, before the magic swills it all away. It smells like metal, Sidon notices, from the blood. Wasn’t the Goron armor supposed to shield Link from the heat of the volcano?

Gently he drifts back to the edge of the spring and sets Link down where the water is shallow.

“Now, let’s get this off,” he murmurs, then gets to work. 

When he was a little challenged with normal Hylian clothing this armor really makes Sidon frown in frustration. The construction of leather straps and buckles and slings and rivets is so unnecessarily complicated that it takes him forever to detach the stone plates from the little Hylian form. Additionally the sight of even more wounds coming to light, even through the rippled surface of the water, makes it hard for Sidon not to get out of the water and walk over to Goron territory right now to beat the person responsible for this up. “This is bad,” he murmurs, when the chest armor comes off to reveal burnt skin peeling from Link’s shoulders. “This is too much. You should not expose your body to such danger.” He looks up to Link’s face, to him insecurely biting his lower lip. “I’m serious, Link. As your friend, I can only beg you to be more careful. I can’t stop you from your quest, but…” He drops the last piece of armor next to the spring, then runs the tips of his fingers gently over Link’s collar bone. The soot and blood come off and he can see flakes of dead skin vanish in the water. Underneath the Hylian skin is a little pinker, even softer. It’s a stark contrast to the dark traces of the deadly environment that is Goron land. “I know you have to do this. You freed Vah Rudania, and I know it’s important, and I am just as thankful as any creature in Hyrule, but... “ His other hand comes up to wipe the stains from Link’s cheek. The situation seems familiar, somehow. Just that Link looks far worse than he did back after he returned from Vah Ruta. He might have died this time. And not only from whatever dwelled inside the second Divine Beast, but from the mere environment already. He’s just a Hylian, a man, a mortal. He’s easily injured. Way too easily for this task. Sidon’s hand cups Link’s cheeks, wet from the water of the spring, and Link closes his eyes and leans into the touch just a little. He smells of blood and burnt flesh. He’s so small. He’s still so beautiful… “But you need to be careful, my friend. You need to take it slow. You can’t save the world when you’ve burned to ashes or cut into pieces. You need to take care of yourself.”

He falls silent when Link opens his eyes. They’re red from burst veins. It makes the usual sky blue look dark, like the deepest part of the lake.

Link shakes his head. Then he points at Sidon, his gashed fingertip touching his chest gently. “No, you.”

It takes a second for Sidon to understand. “Ah,” he says and can’t help but smile. “I said that, didn’t I?” Right here, in this spring, and what feels like an eternity ago. 

“You need to take care of yourself. Or else I’ll have to take care of you.”

Link smiles. His face despite the burning marks and blisters gently pressed against Sidon’s skin. 

And Sidon wants to. He wants to take care of Link. He wants to hold him, safe and secure, and wash away the blood and pain, like he did in his dream. He wants to be close to Link, very, very close. He wants to see the traces of the fight disappear until there’s nothing but soft skin and this soft smile that makes Link look like he is at peace for once, when Sidon holds him. It’s like his chest bursts with warmth and pain and happiness. He wants to take care of Link. And maybe, if he’s lucky, Link wants that too, even if it’s not the same.

“I think I’ll have to keep my word,” he says. There’s a blush creeping onto his cheeks, he can feel it. He sure hopes he’s not too blue for Link to notice. “As a Prince it is my duty. And as a friend…” He chuckles. “It is my honor. Hold your breath.”

Link inhales hastily when Sidon moves. There’s a glimmer in his eyes and then they’re under water, Sidon backwards and Link in his arms. It’s sudden but not shocking for Link, Sidon can tell from his excited smile.

The spring is not very deep, but deep enough for Sidon to twirl himself and Link in tight circles that make the golden hair waft around Link’s face like a cloud of morning sun once the dirt and blood comes off. It shimmers, still moving around the pointy ears even when Sidon stops, hovering where they’re only surrounded by the blue glow of the spring. Even here Link’s eyes are mesmerizing. His skin is still burnt, but the spring does its magic and the reddened wounds and blisters heal so fast Sidon can watch it, and does so in awe. Just like that the red patches vanish from Link’s bare chest and thighs and shoulders, from his cheeks and even his severely injured hands, so Sidon takes them, gently, not to have Link drift away too far.

Link looks back at him. Maybe it’s the spring, that magic that surrounds them that has Sidon forget everything around them. There’s nothing he can do but look at Link, his tiny Hylian friend, who looks back at him and smiles, smiles so bright and so happily that it’s all that Sidon wants to look at ever again.

“You’re beautiful,” Sidon wants to say, “I like you so much.” But he doesn’t because Hylians can’t hear underwater anyway. So he pulls Link closer by his hands, just a bit, noticing a pinkish tinge on his cheeks that looks different from the reddening the burns left and he remembers that Hylians blush red instead of blue.

But then Link chokes out bubbles of air. 

Hylians can’t breathe in the water. Gripping Link by his waist and soaring to the surface the magic of the moment is broken. Still Sidon’s heart beats so fast in his chest he’s sure Link can hear it, and even more when they break through the surface and Link inhales deeply and then laughs, laughs loud and carefree and infectious.

Sidon holds him by his tiny waist, a little closer than he used to do before, maybe. They laugh, together. All the pain and the fear is forgotten for a moment.

Chapter Text

In that night Sidon sees Mipha in his dream again. She hasn’t appeared to him since Link left the Domain to fight the evil spirit of Vah Rudania. It’s an odd coincidence that she shows herself to him when the Hylian Champion sleeps only three rooms down Sidon’s quarters.

“You've grown,” she says, smiling. He doesn't answer. Doesn’t know what to say, so they just sit, on the low railing across her statue and watch the dark blue night sky.

“Of all the terrible things you can endure,” she says when the first stars start twinkling in the distance, “loneliness is by far the worst. When you are in pain for a long time, you get used to it. When you are scared for a long time, you get used to it. When you are weak, and cold, and hungry for a long time, you get used to it. When you are lonely for a long time though,” Sidon looks up to where she sits when she stops. “When you are lonely for a long time, it only gets worse with each passing second.” She looks at him, smiling softly. “Your heart knows what to do.”

 

With a start Sidon wakes up.

It’s the middle of the night, just like in his dream and it upsets him a little. It makes the dream feel real, closer to reality. Like it was more than just images in his head but another part of this world that’s hidden just around a corner.

Loneliness.

He stares up to the ceiling, drifting in his sleeping pool on his back. It’s perfectly silent.

Why did she tell him that? In all the nights since Link left she hasn’t appeared to him, no matter how much he needed her, her wise words, her advice. Not when he was scared, nor when he was desperate. No matter how much he hoped and prayed to Hylia and all the deities, to his late mother whom he doesn't even remember, and to her. She never gave a sign of herself, even when he begged for one. And now this. 

Link is back. Link is safe . Resting peacefully in the guest room, his injuries cared for and his stomach full. Why, of all times, would Mipha come to Sidon in his dream and tell him about loneliness?

Unless…

Sidon gets out of the pool and stands at the window. From here he can see Mipha’s statue and all the way back the faint glimmer of the ray of light emitting from Vah Ruta. She must’ve been lonely, he figures. He hasn’t thought about that, but it’s inevitable. She’s been up there, inside the Divine Beast, waiting for a hundred years, without anyone noticing. She must’ve been so lonely, everyone thinking she was gone when she was right there, waiting, hoping. All by herself, lost in the dark, night after night with no one to keep her warm.

But it’s fine now, isn’t it? She’s free, her soul no longer trapped by the Evil that threatened the Domain. Link freed her, saved her, and now she’s not lonely anymore.

Then why did she tell him all this, why now? Why did she make it so clear to him how the loneliness tormented her more every second? It was about her, wasn’t it?

Or wasn’t it?

It dawns on Sidon, as slowly as painfully. The timing is no coincidence. With Link back at the Domain, only three rooms away, and the moment Sidon closes his eyes she urges him to realize. To act.

Your heart knows what to do.

Stupid! It wasn’t about her, he understands when he hurries down the hallway. It’s about Link. Of course it’s about Link.

He knocks on the door gently, but there’s no answer. The sun won’t rise for another five hours, Link must be asleep. But Sidon won’t take chances anymore. As quietly as possible he opens the door, peeks inside to check if Link is alright.

He doesn’t expect the bed to be empty. Immediately his stomach cramps in fear, and he pushes the door open.

Not only is Link not in the bed, like he's supposed to, the blanket and pillow are gone, too. There’s just the plain mattress. It looks like someone stole Link in his sleep, all with sheets, leaving behind an achingly empty bed.

Panic rises in Sidon’s throat, and he looks around. “Link!” he calls out, not caring if anyone else will wake up, if the entire Domain wakes up. “Link, my friend, where are you?”

It’s when he hears a gasp and a shuffle from the corner of the room that he looks back. There, in the corner of the room that’s farthest from the door and the windows, is Link, eyes wide, back pressed into the corner, clinging to the bundle of blanket and pillow he must have dragged from the bed. He looks so thoroughly scared it hurts in Sidon’s chest.

One step after the other, slowly, Sidon gets closer, watching the wide blue eyes he loves so much darting left and right frantically as if looking for a way to escape. It makes him stop in his track, bending down into a crouch so he doesn't look so tall anymore. It hurts so much to realize but he can tell that Link is frightened, and very much so. Maybe he hasn’t recognized him yet, so he tries, in the softest voice:

“Don’t be scared, please, my friend. It’s me, Sidon, can’t you see? I won’t hurt you, I promise. I could only ever care for you.” Link looks at him now, his eyes still wide, but it seems he’s calming down, so Sidon continues: “I had a dream, just now, that I woke up from and I felt I needed to see if you are alright. I’d like to come closer, just a little, if you don’t mind. Is that alright for you?”

A moment passes, in which Sidon is not sure if he talked too much for Link to comprehend in his agitated state, but then Link nods, just once, but clearly. So Sidon gets up and gets closer until he can reach out and hold his hands out to Link. For a moment the little Hylian just looks at them, then unclenches his injured fingers from the blanket he held so close, and places them in Sidon’s hands. 

When they touch Link whines and Sidon understands what’s going on.

Burns don’t heal all that easily, not those Link endured at least. His skin feels hard like dried kelp but hot, as if he is still simmering from the inside. He must be in maddening pain. The tips of his fingers are rough from where the skin burst open. There’s only so much a soak in the spring can do it seems. But it’s the only thing Sidon can think of to help.

“I can get you into the water,” he suggests. “If you think that will help. I only know what to do when Zora are affected by too hot sunlight. The water helps us. Do you think it will ease your pain, too?”

Slowly Link nods.

“Should I carry you?”

But Link is already staggering up onto his feet. The blanket slips to the ground, revealing the reddened patches all over Link’s mostly bare body. Maybe it’d hurt him even more to be touched if Sidon carried him, so he just offers his hand in support as Link makes his way towards the door. 

Sidon grits his teeth to avoid panicking. He had guessed that Hylian skin is sensitive. But that even after he took Link to the spring earlier his body still suffers so much from the damage of heat he could not have imagined. Maybe despite being naturally prone to suffer from heat, Zora scales are a more effective protection than it appears. It’s all the more absurd how of all species a Hylian has to dare and travel the continent on behalf of the goddess. Maybe a Goron or a Gerudo would have been a lot more qualified for the task. But that’s nothing for Sidon, or anyone really, to decide. So he pushes the thought aside and leads Link into the hallway.

“Maybe,” he ponders, looking over to the door that leads to his chamber, “it would be easier to head to my room. The water of my sleeping pool is fed from the spring as well and it’s just down the hallway.”

Link nods and lets Sidon guide him down the left. His expression is stony, like he has a hard time not having his pain show. It would be very in-character for him. That’s something Sidon really has to talk about with him.

First of all he lets Link descend into his sleeping pool. A sigh escapes him once his shoulders are under water. His eyes close in bliss and he sinks deeper until only the top of his head nose upwards is above the surface.

Sidon joins him, watching closely how Link’s ears twitch when the ripples of water lick on his skin.

He wanted to keep his distance in the pool, so he’d not accidentally touch and hurt Link, but he finds himself unable to. Instead he sits close enough so he can make out individual lashes that throw shadows on Link’s cheek.

“You should have told me,” he murmurs, making Link look up to him. “That you are in pain. Ah, but…” He shakes his head. “I would not have understood, would I? I can’t understand your signs. It’s my fault after all. I should have asked if you were alright. I should have cared more.”

Link shakes his head, then points at Sidon. He gestures towards his eyes, then towards himself. His fingertips are a violetish red that makes it hard for Sidon to try and make sense of the gestures.

“You mean, I came looking for you after all?”

Link nods.

Sidon shrugs. “I should have checked earlier though. Not only after Mipha told me to in my dream. I should have thought and realized that you Hylians... “ He sighs. “There’s so much I don’t know, so much I don’t understand yet. About how different you are from me. When I promised you to take care of you. But I can’t even understand when you are in pain and need my help. I-” He falls silent when Link places his fingertips on his elbow. The touch is barely there; Link’s hands must hurt the most. It’s most likely the body part that was exposed to the heat of Death Mountain the longest. Link probably put on the rest of the armor first, closing all the buckles and straps with his bare hands, because the gloves would hinder his fine motor skills. No wonder the flesh is burnt so badly when he had to handle the hot stone and metal.

Not breaking eye contact Link makes a gesture, twisting his index fingers towards each other. When Sidon just frowns, he does it again.

“I don’t know what it means,” he confesses, troubled. He feels ashamed. Obviously his father and Muzu understand signs, but Sidon was so arrogant to never even think of learning it, too. It’s embarrassing for a prince, and even more for a prince who likes a man who relies on signs. Someone needs to teach him. Someone…

“Wait. You’re... “ His heart starts beating fast. “You’re teaching me?”

Link smiles vaguely, and nods.

Excited Sidon sits up. “What does it mean?” He mimics the sign, pointing his fingers towards each other and twists his wrists.

In response Link points at his shoulders, where the hot stone of the armor left a lot of skin damaged, then holds up his injured fingertips, then repeats the gesture.

Sidon thinks for a second, then knows the answer: “It’s pain. It means you’re in pain.”

Link nods, his eyes glittering. Then he looks a little troubled and points to the pool, forms a fist with his left hand, the thumb touching the underside of his chin and moves it forward.

“Here?” Sidon asks, making Link nod. “It’s better in the water? It means… you’re not in pain here?”

Again Link nods, then repeats the sign with the fist and the one with his index fingers. “I’m not in pain anymore.”

“I’m glad.” Sidon lets his shoulders hang in relief. “I don’t know what I would have done if the spring’s water wasn’t helping. But maybe you should stay in the water for the time being. It appeared you were doing better earlier, but those burn wounds seem vindictive. Maybe, if you are tired - you must be tired - you can just stay here and rest and I make sure you won’t drown? Let’s see if you feel better in the morning after you soak in the spring’s water all night.”

Weirdly, Link blushes a little at the suggestion, but nods nevertheless. 

“Good, I’ll just…” Now it’s Sidon’s turn to blush. “I’ll have to hold onto you, so you don’t drift away in your sleep. If that’s okay with you? The skin of your waist doesn’t seem to be so severely injured, so I could just… hold you… around your waist?” Sidon realizes he stutters, but he can’t help it. Yes, maybe it was a good idea in the beginning, but now that he has said it out loud, he feels self-indulgent. The thought of holding Link close all night when the water flows around them softly makes something swell inside his lower body. It gets only worse when Link shifts closer without hesitation. In sudden inspiration Sidon turns his little friend around by the shoulders so that at least only his back leans against Sidon’s chest. The idea of Link’s face pressed against his sternum makes his heart skip a beat, so this is better. His arms wrap around Link’s middle and he leans back against the edge of the pool so the water reaches Link’s burnt shoulders.

Link is tiny in his purely platonic embrace, small and fragile and warm. Strands of his ponytail cling to Sidon’s skin when he relaxes, turning his head a little so Sidon can see his eyes close.

“Good night, my dearest friend,” Sidon murmurs, and in return Link places his small, hurt hands on Sidon’s lower arms in a gentle gesture.

Link is asleep within moments. His breath is calm, but his heart beats a lot faster than Sidon’s, he can feel it against his own chest. It must be because he’s so much smaller than Sidon, like the heart of a little bird beats fast. It’s so cute, Sidon thinks, holding the frail body gently. 

He’s so cute.

 

Soft movement wakes Sidon well before the sun rises. It’s still night, but the darkest hours have passed already. The sky outside the windows has turned from black to a dark violet.

Link’s breathing has changed, he notices, his arms still loosely wrapped around the Hylian. The water ripples against their skin when Link turns his head, tilts it forward a little, his breath hitched. His heart beats fast against Sidon’s chest, it did before, but it’s heavier now, more urgent. Maybe he’s having a nightmare. It wouldn’t be the first time.

So Sidon does what he did last time when he sat by Link’s side to calm him down. Leaning forward a little he cradles Link in his arms, bending so he can whisper in his ear. “It’s alright, you’re safe. Don’t be scared, my friend. I’m by your side. I’ll protect you.”

Link exhales with a shudder, like a wounded animal. His face is obscured by his messy hair, but his skin feels normal, not burning like earlier, so he shouldn’t be in pain.

“There’s no need to be afraid,” Sidon tries again, running his hands gently over Link’s sides, up his ribs and down to his hip bones again, all while whispering: “I’m here, I’m your friend, I’ll always take care of you, I promise.” Link gasps, his breath hitches, his ears twitch and when Sidon whispers again “I’m here with you'', he squirms against Sidon with pink ear tips that seem to glow in the twilight of the luminous stones.

He wants to be closer, Sidon figures, he needs body contact. He’s been alone for so long, just like Mipha said, all those weeks in the wild, and the years before, all by himself, lost in the dark, night after night with no one to keep him warm. He’s lonely. 

But that’s something Sidon can help with.

“I’m here,” he whispers, “I’m here with you, my friend.” Running his hands up Link’s sides and down his thighs. “You don’t have to be alone, not tonight, not when I’m with you.”

At that Link whines, thin and low in the back of his throat. He presses back against Sidon and pulls his shoulders up, grabs Sidon’s left hand to press it against his chest, clings to it like he never wants to let him go. Like he needs him. Like he wants him close.

Oh.

“It’s alright,” he reassures, not sure if to Link or to himself. “I’ll take care of you. Is that okay for you?”

Link nods. Because of course Link is desperate for closeness. He’s been alone for so long. Out there in the fire. In the snow and the storm and the dark. Sacrificing his life for people who never do anything for him. But he’s just a man. With a soul and a heart and a body that needs affection once in a while so he doesn’t go mad. A hundred years of sleep, of loneliness, and the time before and the time after when no one cared for him. But Sidon can. Maybe he’s the only one. He’s Link’s friend after all, his best friend. And he’d do anything so Link feels better.

The muscles are hard under Link’s belly button. There’s the line of hair that Sidon saw when he first brought Link to the spring. He follows it with gentle fingers, until it disappears under the waistband of Link’s short pants he always wears, and then follows it underneath the fabric, too. With every millimeter he touches lower Link’s hands hold onto Sidon’s left hand tighter, more desperate. He can hear Link grit his teeth, his breath hissing as he pants, then holding it. Then he moans when Sidon’s hand touches one of Link’s dicks. It’s out already, which Sidon thinks is odd, because they shouldn’t come out of the slit before the muscle is gently pried open, and even then why would only one come out, but maybe Hylians can make them jut out individually, and that’s not a thought for now. Not when Link moans again and moves his hips forward, his dick pressing over the edge of the fabric and against Sidon’s fingers small and hard and warm.

“It’s okay,” Sidon whispers, “Let me take care of you, my friend,” as he wraps his hand around it.

It’s tiny, really. But of course it is, because Link is tiny as well. Considering that it’s pretty thick though, the skin soft and pliant, the tip smooth like a pebble in a river. Sidon can only see the tip when he looks over Link’s shoulder, shiny and pink under the rippling water. He gives it a few strokes, a little insecure at first when the skin around it moves along with his fingers, but Link exhales slowly, so it can’t be that bad. He rubs at it a little harder, admiring how solid if feels under his fingers, twists his wrist and presses his thumb against the tip. Link gasps, pressing back against Sidon’s chest and ruts his hips forward to meet his hand again.

“Do you like that?” Sidon asks, his lips close to Link’s ear. “Does it feel good?”

Link nods twice, then pulls his shoulders up and moans softly, when Sidon closes his hand around it, squeezing gently.

It’s a sweet sound, Link’s moan, hoarse and deep and honest. It makes Sidon’s dicks press against the muscle down there desperately. It would be so easy to just have them come out, one stroke of his thumb against the slit and they’d be there, pressing against Link’s beautiful small body, and he could rub against him, thrust them between Link’s thick toned thighs, all the while pleasing his little dick to make him moan and gasp and whine. He could make this pleasurable for both of them now, spilling out this pent up tension that neither Tona nor Gruve could satisfy.

But he’s not doing this for himself. He inhales Link’s scent with closed eyes, his lips close to the little pointy ear. He’s doing this for Link. Because Link deserves all the care and all the affection in the world, and Sidon will give it to him. Nothing else matters now, just that Link feels good.

So he does it again, squeezes carefully, holds Link close against his chest, whispers. “That’s good. Let me take care of you. Let me make you feel good. As long as you’re with me I’ll make sure you’re well. I’m here for you. My sweet little friend.”

When a moment later Link comes it’s with a short gasp, a pressed “Ah-” and a spurt of thin translucent semen that dissolves in the water immediately. He cramps like the seed is squeezed out of his entire body, before it goes soft again in Sidon’s arms, just like his dick between Sidon’s fingers.

Sidon pulls his hand back and the short pants slip back into place. The little of Link’s orgasm that stuck traces on his fingers is gone as fast as it came with the water of the spring. The fingers around his left hand loosen, then let go. Link’s breath slows and he doesn’t press against Sidon any longer. It’s odd how he no longer feels Link’s heart beat against his chest, but he figures Link must feel better now.

Still, it gives Sidon a weird feeling when Link half turns towards him and places his fingertips against his chin in a silent thank you, without looking at him. The feeling gets even weirder when Link slowly gets up and emerges from the pool, leaving Sidon wondering if maybe that was enough closeness for one night. He likes to stay with his partners after they are done, drifting in the pool in intimate togetherness before they separate after some time. But maybe Hylians are different. They must be, because Link heads towards the door without looking back at Sidon.

“See you later today, my friend,” he calls after Link, when he is almost out of the door, and the pointy ears twitch but otherwise there’s no reaction.

Maybe Hylians like their solitude after being intimate. It wouldn’t be the weirdest habit Sidon learns about them, he decides, drifting backwards through the water with as smile.

Chapter Text

“I mean it like I said it,” Muzu answers. “He’s gone.”

Sidon stares at him dumbfoundedly.

“I don’t know what your business is with him this late in the morning when you have duties to attend, but he left for Vah Medoh before sunrise.” The old Rayzora grimaces. “What? Is your majesty disappointed that his little friend did not wait for him to rise from his royal sleep? I guess it suits his traitorous personality.”

Usually Sidon would get angry about those accusations. Or maybe only annoyed because Muzu can’t just leave Link alone and makes digs at him whenever there’s an opportunity, no matter if it’s been a damn century since he supposedly let Mipha die, which they all know he didn't, or if he freed her soul and saved the Domain since then.

But now there’s only two things Sidon can feel, and it’s neither annoyance not anger. It’s disappointment, and then, a moment later, desperation.

He’s caused this. He must have. He’s not sure what happened, why Link left without saying goodbye, why he didn’t come to knock on Sidon’s door this time, why he just left him, left him behind without anything. But it must have been Sidon’s fault, because yesterday, when they dived into the spring, they were happy and together and friends. Everything was alright, and now nothing is.

Mechanically Sidon turns and leaves, ignoring how Muzu seems a little worried now after all, and returns to his room, closes the door and slides down to the floor. 

It was him, last night. There’s no other explanation. He thought he did something right, this time, thought he helped Link out and was happy about how he made a difference this time but instead he hurt Link. Or made him uncomfortable. Or angry. Or all of it. He made Link leave his chambers without a look back last night and he made him leave the Domain right afterwards, before sunrise even. He must have gone and packed his things and left right after he left Sidon.

It was his fault, and the more often he thinks it, the clearer it is. He ruined everything.

It’s exactly like Muzu said after Sidon found the guest room empty.

He’s gone.

 

It’s not that Link has become Sidon’s hyperfixation over the past few months. He’s not only focusing on him. Or Hylians. Or Hyrulean history. He does busy himself with other things, like his royal duties and swimming and weapon training, and even Tona and Gruve. But it’s true that Sidon finds himself spending time on things concerning Link more often than not. It’s not an obsession, no matter what Muzu says. He’s not obsessed. He’s just…

 

“Eager,” Tona whispers, smiling, and leans back when Sidon’s hands travel along her side gills. Her body arches beautifully on the mattress, her skin standing out against the sheets in an enticing shade of burgundy. He nibbles at the inside of her thighs that spread wider with every moan, every gasp. Her hands grasp his fin, gently but passionate enough to make him groan against her skin. It’s soft down here, smooth, unlike the rest of Zora skin that feels like the very fine sand of the beaches by the seaside. It almost feels like he’s not touching a Zora. It’s strange enough to touch her when she’s not under water, too, but Sidon likes it. The mattress shifts under their weight, making him press himself up on his arms when he leans over her to push it in. She gasps, smiles, and pulls him closer with her legs and when he closes his eyes, she doesn't feel like she used to feel like. He buries his face against her neck and thrusts, deep and hard and passionate. He tries to think of her when he does.

 

There are books about the history of Hyrule, about the lands of the Goddess, about the creatures that live in them. Zora books, Gerudo books, Hylian books. Pages after pages, filled with knowledge about hinoxes, sprites, bugs and lizards. About flowers, trees, stars, ores and weather phenomenons. Books about the Domain written from the point of view of a Gerudo traveller, from the point of view of Sheikah historians, written from the view of Muzu. Books about the legends that have survived the millennia, books about the Great Calamity. Books about agriculture in mountain soil areas. Books about sign language that was common a few centuries ago. Books about Hylians.

Sidon learns that Hylians age a lot faster than Zora. They reach adulthood at the age of eighteen, although sexual maturity can occur a lot earlier, at the age of twelve even. After Sidon read the passage three times, just to be sure he didn’t misunderstand, he calculates on the top of his head that in Hylian years he must be around twenty-four years old. His father is fifty eight, Muzu seventy-one. Mipha was twenty-three when she died. On the contrary, at the age of hundred-twenty-two, Sidon’s current age, Hylians are old geezers. It’s confusing to wrap his head around how Hylians are of age when Zora are mere larvas just learning how to walk.

But there’s more books that Sidon had Muzu bring to his study.

Books about the Hylian princess. They contain records about the ancient technology that was discovered. Records about her journey. About her life and sacrifice. And short passages about the knight who followed her.

Seven weeks after Link left, Sidon has read all of them so many times he can recite them in quotation. He knows everything there is to know about the little fairy boy who was chosen by the Sword That Bans Evil, about his extraordinary skills in regards to sword fight, archery, and unarmed combat. Sidon learns that the Hero was lacking speech, that he followed in the footsteps of his father who used to be the personal guard of the Queen, that he was trained to protect the one-year-older princess since he was a child. 

Sidon learns that Link is seventeen years old.

He does the math, and then again, because it can’t be true. The result is still the same: Link is eighty-five in Zora age. He’s not the experienced Hylian warrior everyone sees in him. He’s a boy, not even of age.

“How,” Sidon hisses, “how could they make a boy of eighty-five, of seventeen , take responsibility for the fate of the world?”

Muzu huffs. “Do you think they had a choice?” He looks out of the window, pondering, but his expression softens, which is an odd sight. 

“In that age,” he begins slowly, like he’s recalling a fairytale he hasn’t told in centuries, “Hyrule was different. People were different. Customs were different. You can be glad that you were too young to understand what injustice had befallen the Hylian royal family, when they had suffered through generations of malevolence and mistrustfulness. What you read in those books is only what the historians wanted you to read. Nothing but a smooth surface, but underneath there was a pest crawling that at last just broke through the polished gold that covers the name Hyrule. The decay of a bloodline that was corroded by fear and guilt, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, loading the burden of a cursed destiny on the shoulder of the most gentle, innocent princess and making the bearer of the Master Sword a little boy who couldn’t utter a word to refuse it. Times were desperate, a never ending circle of fright and fault until the princess and her knight broke it involuntarily by sacrificing both their lives.” 

He looks back at Sidon with a sad shimmer in his eyes. “Nothing of that is in your books, my prince. The truth is in those who are too scared to remember, because it causes them nothing but pain. Your little friend, the Hylian Champion, and his brave princess, live but not to tell the story. In the end it’s what caused all this mess, isn’t it? Untold stories, of a Calamity that can not be defeated. Truths that haven’t been shared over generations, because they caused those who held them shame. Knowledge that lies forgotten, so not even the clever princess ever finds out that her future had been predicted long before her birth. And the destiny of a cursed boy who can never show his true self even to those of his own blood.” He rises from his seat and turns to leave. “You are lucky, my prince,” he murmurs bitterly as he walks away, “that you are too young to understand what a terrible place a castle can be.”

Sidon stares at Muzu’s back as the old Rayzora retreats, then at the book, but he doesn’t see it. There’s a cold in him, like his blood has frozen in his veins, and his heart nothing but a thick lump of ice.

Maybe, he concludes, not understanding at all what Muzu was talking about, maybe it’s a good thing Link doesn’t remember. Like this he doesn’t have to bear all the pain that according to Muzu his past brings. Like this he can live with only the pain of the present and the pain the future will bring.

Sidon wants to scream.

 

Once in a blue moon Sidon sits across Mipha’s statue on the low railing. The statue is still the same as it has always been. For Sidon though everything has changed. Her smile is a little too cold. Her eyes a little too dull. And she’s too tall. She wasn’t this tall in real life, he knows that, because he saw the Lightscale Trident, the real thing and it was not as big as the one in the statue. She was small and dainty and bright. The very bright red they both inherited from their mother. “The most beautiful Angelsharkzora in all the waters of Hyrule,” his father always says, “with the wit of a devil.”

“What is it like,” Sidon murmurs into the wind of the late afternoon, “to be alone? All alone.” She told him she was lonely and that it was the worst. It must have been painful, when she could only wait and think of those she couldn’t be with anymore. How painful must it be to be alone, but without a memory of anyone? How lonely is he without anyone to remember?

The sky is cloudy. A storm is coming.

Maybe it has been his fault, Sidon thinks. Maybe he misunderstood. Maybe he took advantage of Link, mistaking Hylian body language, missing gestures of refusal, ignoring reluctance. Maybe he hurt Link. Maybe he disgusted him. Maybe it is all his fault.

Sidon looked up all the hand gestures he could find in the book about Hyrulean sign language for No , Stop , Let go and don’t touch . He can’t recall Link signing any of them. He tried to find out if Hylians have general aversions against sexual intimacy, but there wasn’t much about intercourse in the books he has. He did his best to find out what he could have done that made Link flee the Domain without any word or sign of explanation. Something so terrible that Link didn’t even want to address it. But there’s no explanation for it. The conclusion is that it must have been Sidon. Link ran away because Sidon touched him and it was bad for Link for whatever reason, after they were finished, even though Sidon asked and Link nodded it was okay for him. He can’t understand why - for him it’s not something so out of the ordinary, even when his perception of Gruve and Tona is nothing like it was before. Zora have sex, because it’s a nice thing to do, and that’s about it. He wishes he could tell Link. Tell him that he never meant to hurt him, however that happened, and that for Zora it’s not a bad thing to be close like that. He wishes he could apologize. He wishes so much that he could see Link, tell him he’s sorry, tell him he’ll never do it again, tell him he likes him, but just as a friend, when that’s the limit for Link. He wishes he could make things right. If only Link came back to the Domain.

Sometimes wishes come true.

A third beam of light appears, cutting through the dark grey storm clouds. It shimmers in the distance, all over there at the other end of the horizon where Sidon knows the Rito live. 

Vah Medoh is free. The Rito Champion, Revali, has been liberated. And when Sidon hurries over to where Link usually appears in a shimmer of blue light from his Sheikah relic he finds a body collapsed on the ground.

He screams Link’s name, he can tell from the ache in his throat. It doesn't sound like his voice though. It sounds desperate, hysterical. He drops to his knees, reaching out for the tiny figure on the ground with shaking hands.

“Link!” he croaks, the tears suffocating. “No, my friend, please! Don’t do this to me, don’t- please-”

When he grabs Link by the shoulders and turns him around to see his face, there’s another scream. This time it’s Link's.

Tears fall from the blue eyes, and he sobs violently, then screams again as his body cramps. He reaches for his feet and when Sidon looks there he sees that they seem kind of detached from his legs, like the broken branches of a tree that only hang by the fibres of the bark.

“Oh Goddess,” Sidon gasps, afraid to move when Link’s scream ebbs into a painful whine. “Oh what should I do, oh Goddess, please…” He falls silent, still crying, his hands on Link’s shoulders, when his friend looks up at him with tears running down his face. Then Link lifts his own hands to place them on Sidon’s. A silent plea, maybe.

“I can take you to the spring,” he says, his voice failing him, so it’s a mere whisper. “It’s the only thing I can do to ease the pain. Let me take you there. If you want me to.”

Link nods, crying.

When Sidon collects him into his arms Link’s voice is hoarse from overuse, but it makes his scream sound even more painful. From what it looks like both his ankles are broken, his feet powerless in the heavy boots.

It starts pouring while Sidon hurries back to the center of the Domain, the streets empty except for the guards. Sidon ignores their worried looks. The only thing he can pay attention to now is the wailing, soaked Hylian pressed to his chest.

Sidon doesn't let go, even when he gets into the spring until the water reaches Link’s shoulders. It makes him feel uncomfortable, because he’s not sure if he’s overstepping Link’s bounds. But Link only keeps his cheek leaned against his chest and sobs anguished. It’s a terrible thing to witness Link crying. So Sidon holds him. Doesn’t speak, doesn’t move, just holds him close to his heart and prays to the Goddess and Mipha to make Link’s pain stop.

After what feels like forever Link stops crying. It must be night now, but it’s hard to tell with the veil of the rainfall obscuring outside. It sounds like back then, when Vah Ruta was still mad.

“I can let go of you, if you want,” Sidon offers.

But Link shakes his head.

And then he starts crying again.

Chapter Text

The Rito Champion gifted Link the power to create upstreams that he can ride with his paraglider up, up, until the world looks like a blurred painting underneath.

The Rito Champion did however not teach Link how to land without breaking both his legs.

Sidon is ready to go and beat the living shit out of this foolish dicky bird for letting his friend get injured like this. Just that there’s not much living about Revali anymore, and less to beat up.

After Sidon consoled Link gently, and after Link stopped crying these bitter tears that Sidon can only try to comprehend, he and Nurse Corydora put Link in the bed of the guest room that must feel familiar to him by now. Around his ankles, both neatly broken just like Sidon suspected, there’s a wrapping of fabric soaked in spring water to speed up the healing process. For good measure Link chugged two of his pain killers, the slimy purple kind Sidon knows already. After a minute or two and the nurse leaving Link started awkwardly explaining what has happened in Vah Medoh: from his struggle to get into the Divine Beast to begin with to his crash landing into the surrounding mountains with only his Sheikah relic to take him back to the Domain.

“You might have died,” Sidon realizes, “if it hadn’t been for the Sheikah Slate to take you back here.”

Link nods, then mimics the motion of breaking an egg into a frying pan. The gesture is irritatingly comedic.

“Oh, my fr-” Sidon starts, but interrupts himself, insecure. Are they still friends? 

He sits by Link’s bed, a little too tall for the chair, and lets his head hang. It’s not the time to talk about what happened last time, but Sidon can’t keep his mind from going that way. 

He missed Link, he realizes. It’s comforting to have the tiny Hylian back here in the sheets where he seems to keep returning with worse and worse injuries. At the same time Sidon feels ashamed that he can’t stop thinking of that night when Tona brought him here, pulled him onto the mattress and told him to close his eyes while they were at it. He feels an azure blush creep on his cheeks and looks at Link.

He’s lost weight. Not like Link was not slender to begin with but the cute roundish shape of his face looks a little skinnier, lanker. Almost gaunt. There are new scars, too. One at his eyebrow, faint and pale pink, and one on his neck, running thin from under his right ear to the collar bone. His hair is a mess, tousled and hanging in his face like it has somehow gotten longer since Link left the Domain. He looks tired, very tired indeed. But Sidon has asked him a few times now if he should rather leave so Link can sleep and every time Link just shook his head.

He’s still very beautiful.

“But you said,” Sidon murmurs, to keep himself from falling more, “that you think there’s something protecting you from dying?”

Link nods, his expression serious. Then he makes a gesture with his outstretched index finger under his chin, then meeting his other hand before his chest.

“I don’t know this sign,” Sidon confesses. He only knows so little. Signs for pain and fear and I’m sorry .

Link points outside the window.

When Sidon follows his gesture there’s only the storm outside in the night, raging, howling. Scary and dark.

“I’m not sure-”

Then Link makes a gesture with his hand, like bumping a spear on the ground. Or a trident.

Now Sidon understands. “My sister?” he gasps, sitting upright. “Mipha?!”

Link nods.

“She kept you from dying you say? You mean she’s still there? Somewhere?”

A pained expression shows on Links face and he pinches his fingers like saying “a little”.

Sidon’s shoulders hang. “You mean… a fragment?” And when Link nods, he huffs out a weak laugh. “It’s like my father said after all, isn’t it? The spirit doesn’t just vanish. So this echo of her, it’s been with you all this time, saving you from dying?”

Link nods.

Maybe that explains other things too. Like how Sidon sees Mipha in his dreams when Link is closeby. Or how he thinks he can hear her voice when he goes to talk to her statue, but only when Link is here in the Domain. Her spirit might be attached to him, or at least the little that is left after he freed Vah Ruta.

“She’s like a guardian angel to you now. It’s a blessing,” he decides. “Can… can you talk to her?”

At that Link shakes his head.

It doesn’t come at a surprise but still Sidon is a little disappointed. After he wished so much to have her around it’s hard to hear there’s just a fragment of her left. But it has to be enough. If she just protects Link from death, even if she can’t save him from getting hurt, it’s more than he could have ever hoped for. Her essence is tied to Link’s destiny. It’s a wonderful thing.

“What about the other Champions? Are they connected to you too? Are there still remains that protect you?”

When Link nods Sidon is relieved. “That’s good news. So you have three spirits keeping an eye on you when you are out there. It kind of feels like you are not entirely alone in the wild. You can be sure that someone is always watching over you and taking care of you. Isn’t that a comforting thought that they are there to protect you?”

Link stares at him for a long moment. Sidon is taken aback when Link doesn’t react. Maybe he said the wrong thing? Maybe he hurt Link again? Maybe he made him angry? There’s something in Link’s eyes that Sidon can not read, can not understand, because he can not understand so many things. He holds his breath when at last Link shakes his head and points back at him: “No, you.”

Like he wants to say: “No, but it’s a comforting thought that you are here to protect me.” But if that’s what he means, why does his little smile look so sad?

Sidon exhales slowly. 

“I’m-” he starts, but there’s nothing he can say. He has had time to think about what to do and what to say if Link returned to him and avoided him, hated him or was even scared of him. He didn’t expect Link to be so approachable. 

He looks over to the half eaten meal on the bedside table. He had it brought here after Link was put into the bed securely, the wet wrappings around his ankles soothing, and the potions doing the rest to numb the pain for now. Nurse Corydora said that it’s the most they can do, the rest is waiting for the broken bones to heal. She couldn’t predict how long it takes for a Hylian to recover from such an injury, but she said it will surely take a while.

The thought was dreadening to Sidon. A while , that could be days or weeks or months even in which Link would avoid him, ignore him, be angry or scared of him. At least a while could also be enough time for him to figure out how to act around him, how to make things right again, after whatever he did wrong last time.

And now here they are, and Link says things like “it’s comforting that you are here for me” like it’s not a big deal. When in fact it is. To the extent that Sidon can feel his insides cramp when he looks back at Link and finds the blue eyes still on himself, glittering like the Lanayru Sea and the pupil wide and black like the night sky.

“Look,” he murmurs, lacking the courage to talk about this, but feeling under pressure to do so nevertheless. His eyes fall on Link’s hands, that lie on the white sheets idle and covered in scars. “I never ... never, ever meant to hurt you. Or scare you. Or make you uncomfortable. After you left… After last time I-” He sighs, bites his lower lip, then sighs again. “I thought I was doing the right thing and if it was in fact not, I sincerely apologize. I felt like you wanted that, that you felt comfortable around me, but maybe I was wrong, because I… I am so different from you, and the people I used to be with are different from you, too. I have been with a few people and for Zora it’s not a bad thing to be close like this, but I made you leave and while I am unaware of why that is, I want to ask for your forgiveness. I assumed you were amenable for this kind of intimacy, even if it was purely platonic. But I am aware now that I might have taken advantage of you, and I am very, very sorry. I hope that you… that you can forgive me and that-” He sighs again. “And that you’ll let me be your friend, if I promise to never do anything like that again.” His shoulders slump when it’s all out, and for a moment he felt like crying, but it’s gone now. 

Link, with his left hand, makes a gesture like he flicks something from his fingers. The matter at hand probably because when Sidon looks up at him, he smiles a little. He repeats the gesture, “It’s alright”, then points at himself and makes the gesture for “I’m sorry.”

“Are you sure it’s okay?” Sidon asks lowly.

First Link nods and then, and it totally takes Sidon by surprise, he reaches out for him with his hand.

Hesitatingly Sidon takes it and finds himself gently pulled from the chair and onto the edge of the mattress. His heart beats faster within the blink of an eye. Link wants him close. Link doesn’t hate him. Nor is he scared or disgusted or angry. He still wants Sidon close and it’s the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to him.

He sits there, looking down at his beautiful little friend and he feels like for the first time in many weeks he can breathe again.

“Are we,” he asks, Link’s small hand still holding his, “are we still friends?”

Link nods. He lets go of Sidon’s hand to make a sign. He teaches him, hooking both his index fingers into each other to form a strong link.

“Is that what friends looks like in your language?”

Again Link nods. And when he hooks his left index finger with Sidon’s he smiles so beautifully that Sidon realizes he might be falling in love.

 

Nurse Corydora has informed the king and Muzu of Link’s return to the Domain already, but Sidon can’t just forego his duties as the prince and stay by his friend’s bed forever. He wants to though, he really does.

Link fell asleep with their fingers linked to each other, smiling softly. Nothing has ever made Sidon as happy as seeing him at peace for once. After all that happened Link will probably sleep for three days; still Sidon hurries to the throne room where his father and Muzu look up from documents when the door bursts open with Sidon’s enthusiasm.

“I see your emotional drag has ended with the Hylian Champion returning to your side,” Muzu huffs with a grimace. “Who would have thought I’d ever breathe a sigh of relief at the arrival of… him.” 

Sidon wonders about the short pause. It appears Muzu wanted to insult Link but decided against it for some reason. Even the king raises an eyebrow at this, then smiles.

“It is indeed a nice thing to have my son back,” he laughs. “I assume you cared for the Hylian Champion well before leaving him to rest.”

“Of course, father.” Sidon steps closer and takes a look at the documents they are reviewing, then looks back at his father. “I had a nurse care for him as well as see for him myself as is my duty as the prince and his friend. He is resting now in the guest room. Before he fell asleep though he told me of an occurrence that I think you’ll find noteworthy as well.”

“Hear ye, hear ye…” Muzu deadpans, his sarcasm suiting him a lot better than his weird prudence from before.

Without further ado Sidon reports of how Link described the remains of Mipha’s and two more spirits to be attached to him, granting him supernatural powers that aided him on his quest.

The king hums when Sidon is finished. “So, it applied to the Rito Champion Revali and the Goron Champion Daruk as well. Luckily they were freed before the Evil could consume them.”

“As we suspected,” Muzu adds. “The Calamity Ganon, as powerful as it is, never managed to break the will of the Champions completely. The Champion Urbosa of the Gerudo is undoubtedly in the same situation and once freed might be a valuable ally in the fight to defeat the curse once and for all.”

“If only the power of the Calamity doesn't grow too fast and devours what’s left of the Gerudo Champion and the Hylian princess,” his father says. “The world changes too fast to be sure today’s rules still apply tomorrow.”

“Why though,” Sidon interrupts, “why did they wait for Link? When the power of the Calamity grows by the day, why did they not… Why did Mipha not let us know she was still there so we could have acted earlier? How did we not notice her presence?”

His father looks at him for a moment, then smiles. “Maybe we did?” he then suggests, mystically. “Maybe we did but it took a Hylian to make us realize.”

“Hylians,” Muzu jumps in, “due to their weakness, mental instability and vulnerability, are a lot more receptive to all things otherworldly.”

At this the king laughs out loud. “It’s wondrous, my old friend, how you can make a spiritual sensitivity sound like it’s a flaw.” Then he turns to Sidon again. “It is true though. Hylians are the creation closest to the Goddess herself, and therefore can sense powers easier than any other species in Hyrule. Their fragility is what makes them stand at the brink of death and that is how they are perceptive to ghosts and spirits when Zora and Gerudo and even Sheikah are oblivious. Hylians can see creatures that no other species is known to be aware of, forest spirits, the soul of trees and mountains and rivers, the Goddess herself, even be blessed and cursed to foresee the future. It is no coincidence that the Goddess chose a Hylian princess as her incarnation, that the Master Sword is wielded by this Hylian knight you call your friend and that our dearest Mipha was noticed by the very same when not even her closest family was unable to do so.” His smile is gentle when he concludes: “You have chosen a very special person to be your friend, my son. But maybe that is no coincidence either.”

As usual Sidon takes some time to realize his father has been right. It’s when he passes by Mipha’s statue that he understands she has been with him for a long time. The rain water glitters on the stone subtly and he stops to look up at her. And he feels that she is there, right here with him, just an echo through time but gentle and warm, like she was when she was still alive.

“I’m sorry,” he confesses, “that I doubted you. That I doubted your love.”

She smiles at him like she wants to say: “It’s okay.” She forgives him. She’s that kind of person. And when he turns to return to Link’s side, the rain falling playfully and soft onto his skin, he can finally forgive himself.

Chapter Text

Link wakes up with a pained expression when Sidon sits down on the edge of the mattress again. 

“I’m sorry, my friend,” Sidon murmurs and the last two words come so naturally, it makes him feel warm inside. “I didn’t mean to wake you up. How are you feeling?”

Link signs “Okay” but it’s not convincing, because he gestures to where his clothes are stacked up neatly on the cabinet, his pouch on top.

“You need another potion?”

He nods, so Sidon gets up and fetches one of the small phials. When he turns around, he finds Link shaking his head and holding up two fingers. 

With a frown Sidon takes another phial. The purple content looks even less appealing in the pale shine of the luminous stone. Link must be in great pain that he needs so much of this medicine and so early again.

Sidon doesn't comment on that though. He once had a broken arm as a child and that was terrible, not only because he was in pain but also because he wasn’t allowed to play with his friends for weeks. He can’t even start to picture how Link must feel when he can’t walk, Link who usually can’t sit still if his life depends on it.

Immediately after Link puts the second little container aside his pained expression relaxes though. He looks up at Sidon, licks his lips, once, twice, three times, then smiles drowsily.

“Better?”

Link nods and presses his head deeper into the pillow. His smile is lopsided when he lifts his hands and signs something.

“What does it mean?” Sidon asks, but Link just shakes his head, then closes his eyes.

“You’re tired?” he guesses, but again Link shakes his head, then opens his eyes and points back at him.

“You’re asking if I’m tired?”

Link looks at him for a moment, then shugs.

Sidon is not sure what he means. “I must confess, I really am tired by now,” he says, just so he doesn’t have to guess without any direction. “I reported to my father before I came back here. It’s been a busy day. But I guess that’s what a prince must do, right?”

Link chuckles adorably and voiceless.

“I wonder if your princess was feeling the same,” he muses. “Always on duty, day and night. She must have been a lot busier than I can imagine with how things were back in the day. She must have been so glad to have you around to help and support her.”

But again Link shrugs.

“Do you… do you remember her?” And when Link nods slowly, he goes on: “She must have been a really strong character to put up with the Great Curse like that. I don’t know how she did it, but I’m deeply impressed. Although I don’t even know her. I bet she is very noble and savant and beautiful.”

Link doesn’t react, just looks at him and it irritates Sidon a little. “I read in one of my books that you were trained to be a knight since you were small. And then you turned out to be the most important knight in the entire kingdom. I bet you were glad to find your place in life like that. The princess is so important for all people of Hyrule and you were there to protect her and be by her side. I bet you were good friends.”

Link is silent, and upsettingly so.

“You... must have been close,” he tries, hesitatingly. He has a feeling he’s saying the wrong thing, but he doesn’t know what. Link doesn’t look angry or sad, but his smile has vanished, too. “I read that you did everything to keep her safe,” he says, swallows, then shugs. “You… I suppose you were really close…”

It’s only now that Link reacts to his words again. He frowns first, then nods slowly. Like the memory stings.

“I’m sorry.” Sidon looks at his hands, then up to Link again. “I didn’t want to cause you hurtful memories.”

With knitted eyebrows Link brings his left index finger to his chin, then meets his other hand before his chest. Sidon knows this sign, he’s seen it before. After a moment, it comes back to him. It’s the sign for sister .

He knows what Link means. It’s the same thing when he is reminded of Mipha. It’s painful to remember she is gone, but it’s a condition he is used to now, kind of. It’s been a hundred years since he lost her, but the pain will never disappear, and for Link it must be similar.

He lies there, silent, in the big bed with white sheets and suddenly Sidon realizes how small he looks. Fragile and very soft. He’s just a boy, Sidon thinks, a seventeen years old boy who lost the person he had dedicated his life to, even if he still might be able to save her. Now and here, she is gone, just like Mipha is gone. And no matter how much Link struggles, he must be scared that he can not succeed, and will lose her forever. In a way that’s worse than having lost her already. If he fails, if she dies, it’s his fault, and of course it is not - it is purely the Calamity that caused all the suffering - but will Link not blame himself if he fails?

“I’m sorry,” he murmurs. “It must be so hard for you. I really need to get better at that cheering-up thing…”

At that Link laughs, lowly and through his nose. He slides his palms against each other and grins at Sidon, his eyes blue and his pupils wide like obsidian chunks.

“What does it mean?”

Link points at him and forms a circle with his thumb and index finger.

“That means I’m good?”

When Link nods excitedly, Sidon sighs in relief and then laughs a little. “I am not the type to be good at something though,” he jokes, “I am a prince after all, I need to be exceptional.”

Link just signs the same thing again. “You’re good.”

It makes them both laugh.

 

When Sidon almost falls asleep sitting on the mattress, Link shoos him away. “You go and sleep,” he signs, like when he first came to the Domain.

“Will you be okay?”

With a shrug Link points at his broken legs, then signs “I’m not gonna walk away.”

Still Sidon feels a little uncomfortable. With a few practiced movements of his hand he takes the whistle from his collar and hangs it around Link’s neck. “I use this for military exercises usually. If you need me… or something, just blow the whistle. I’ll be there before you know it.”

Link takes the metal piece and scrutinizes it. Carefully he runs his index finger along the mouthpiece. For some reason Sidon can not imagine, his pointy ears twitch before they turn a light shade of red that quickly jumps over to his cheeks. Nevertheless he nods and looks up to Sidon again.

“Please,” he smiles and stands, “do not hesitate to call me over, no matter what you need from me. I’m going to keep my promise and be there for you no matter what happens.”

The way Link wraps both his scarred little hands around the whistle does something to Sidon’s stomach - it flips and cramps wonderfully, then fills with warmth. It feels like he swallowed a swarm of tadpoles, but nicely so.

“Good night, my friend.”

Link smiles softly, and it’s a sight that makes Sidon feel good.

 

Through the water of his sleeping pool the sound of the whistle is more a barely noticeable ripple that goes through the water. The frequency is weak but high, and the tremor in the water short and fast. Even though Sidon fell asleep so late he wakes up immediately. He’s out of the pool within the blink of an eye, the water sloshing from his body noisily. He doesn’t waste a second. Maybe something’s wrong with Link, maybe something happened to him for him blowing the whistle, and Sidon can only assume the worst, but when he arrives and throws the door open Link is not there.

Sidon freezes in the door, his heart hammering in his ears. He stares at the bed. The bed is empty.

It can’t be. It’s absolutely impossible. It’s been half a minute or even less since he’s heard the whistle. If Link left he should have seen him in the hallway. And how could Link even walk away a single step with both his ankles broken? Maybe someone took him? Through the window? Stole him from the bed, from the Domain, from Sidon , but who could be fast enough so Sidon wouldn’t catch them after Link blew the whistle last second? The malice? The Yiga Clan? Something worse? Who would even-

There’s a sound. Faint, and weak, like a soft wind playing with the edges and angles of the Domain’s architecture. A low but very painful whine. It’s coming from behind the bed and when Sidon rushes towards it, he’s there.

On the floor, tangled up in the white blanket, is Link. He’s sprawled on the marble like a doll that someone dropped carelessly, but more alive, and more in pain. His bare upper body glows blueish in the shine of the stones, and he shivers, trembles like a leaf. He looks like he just hatched, his golden hair a mess and his eyes so blue when they fall on Sidon. Tears drip from his lashes without a sound. He tries to press up on his hands, but fails with a whine. Maybe it’s because he only uses one hand - the left one presses the metal whistle against his pale chest.

“Link…” Carefully Sidon steps closer, worried that Link won’t recognize him, like last time Sidon came to his room in the middle of the night.

But this time Link just sheds more silent tears, that drop onto the floor and turns to reach out for the cabinet.

There’s his clothes, stacked up neatly, and on top of it the pouch.

With a pang of guilt Sidon fetches it and kneels down on the floor, pulling Link into his lap. His painful whine is like a stab into Sidon’s chest but he doesn’t think about how it’s his fault that Link had to try and get to his medicine himself because Sidon wasn’t considerate enough to put it within reach for his injured friend. “There,” he murmurs, and picks a phial with violet content, then another one. “It’s fine now, it will be better soon.” He holds Link while he empties both flasks. Why Link would not call for him to fetch him the pouch is a mystery to Sidon, and he muses about it until Link, leaning into him and crying silently, finally calms down a little.

The terrible thing about seeing Link cry like this is that Sidon still thinks he’s gorgeous. He hates the thought, because he hates when Link is in pain. But the tears glitter beautifully in the twilight, and his eyes are so very dark a blue that Sidon feels like drowning when he looks in Link’s eyes. Only in the back of his mind he realizes that Link looks up at him, because he can only wonder if Hylians are always this beautiful or if it’s only him . Small, fragile and soft Link leans against Sidon’s chest, but warm and then - smiling. It’s a weird thing, smiling when the tears haven’t even dried on his face, when he didn’t even bother to wipe them from his eyes and cheeks and chin. There’s more, new, fresh tears spilling from Link’s dark curved lashes like tiny beads of luminous stone, but he smiles and Sidon can’t understand. He can only stare at him and wish so much he could kiss him. Could kiss this odd smile away from his lips so Link understood how sorry he is, how much he really means to him. Kiss him until all the pain would go away, and all the fear. Kiss him so Link knew he’s loved, and that he can rely on Sidon, that he can ask for help because he doesn’t need to be by himself anymore. Kiss him so Link doesn’t feel lonely. Kiss him so he can heal.

Instead he just wraps his arms tightly around Link and holds him close, his eyes pressed shut and his heart beating heavily.

He really wants to kiss him. But he can’t because he’s scared that it will only hurt him. Because they are friends, and hurting each other with unbridled feelings is not what friends do. He can’t risk that Link will try and run away, not this time. He’s almost died. Sidon can not scare him away. He might never return.

And besides - do Hylians even kiss?

Chapter Text

Link drifts in and out of sleep. When he wakes up, he often does with a hagridden exhale, not quite a moan, but not a simple sigh either. Sidon keeps the phials ready.

On the second day Link only takes one. Apparently he’s feeling better, the pain slowly fading away, and his legs healing. Earlier, when Sidon changed the soaked leg wrappings, he noticed the swelling reduced a lot already. He is very happy to see Link getting better. Still he hides his face against Sidon’s chest after he downed the painkiller and drifts back into sleep.

After so many hours Sidon has gotten used to resting on a bed instead of his sleeping pool. Sure, he needs to take short dips now and then so his skin doesn’t dry out too much. He does that when he needs to change the wrappings anyway, wetting them in his pool so they are soaked with the magic of the spring. Most of the time he stays by Link’s side though. It would be an understatement to say he got scared when he found Link on the floor - again. And he also feels very guilty. But he decided that it’s no use to brood about his past wrongdoings. He just wasn’t thoughtful enough to make sure Link had everything he needed closeby. However, he’s learned from his mistake once and for all. It doesn't even matter that Muzu teased him that he makes a decent prince but a much nicer nurse. This kind of disrespect can not stagger his resolve to be there for his friend while he still can. He will be by his side for as long as Link needs him and if it takes weeks for his little body to heal then so be it. With the responsibility Link bears it’s the most important thing for Sidon to support him.

So during Link’s erratic sleeping phases Sidon thinks and reads and thinks more. He carried the books from his study over to the guest room. The one about Hyrulean history, the one about legends and folk tales and two about the Great Calamity. And, then, on top, a book about sign language that was common a few centuries ago. It’s the one Sidon comes back to most often. Only when Link is asleep though.

He doesn’t know why he feels a little embarrassed when he studies basic Hyrulean Sign Language. Is it because he is ashamed that he doesn’t know it already? Maybe. Is it because he learns it only for this little Hylian who breathes softly against his chest, his small scarred hands clenched around the whistle Sidon gave him? It’s more likely than you think. Is it because after Sidon learned the signs for Hello , How are you , and I want to help you , he looks up the sign for I like you and then- 

“Both arms form a cross in front of the chest like the Sheikah character א,” the book reads. “The intertwining of two hearts and two souls in an inseparable bond. Unconditional love.” 

Sidon stares at the description. He can feel the blush on his cheeks, he must be blue like a Cichlid now. Unconditional love. Is that what his feelings for Link are?

His heart stings and he looks at the lean figure in his arms. He likes him. Oh Goddess, he does. And maybe… Maybe there’s more. Something he can’t even allow himself to feel, but that’s still there and doesn’t go away no matter how hard Sidon tries to ignore it. But unconditional love? Isn’t that a little extreme?

Link stirs in his sleep, unaware of the thoughts racing through Sidon’s head. So small, so wiry, and so brave.

He’d do anything for him, it’s true. He’d fight Ganon and his henchmen himself if he could, if it would keep Link safe. He’d go and free Link’s beloved princess and bring peace to Hyrule just to make sure Link wouldn’t have to suffer any more. He would do that, if he just had the ghost of a chance, because he likes Link a lot. Despite everything Link’s smile is so much prettier than his tears. 

But this? He looks at the text again. Maybe this is not the right sign for what he feels. It sounds final and almost threatening to him. His feelings for Link are not like this. It’s something deep and warm and painful, but beautiful. It’s him holding Link close, gentle and secure. It’s him yearning to kiss him, but resisting so he won’t oppress him.

Maybe he just really likes Link a lot, but that’s it. Not like Mipha who sacrificed herself for Link. Or his princess Zelda, who is still out there suffering. That’s probably what this sign is about. Sacrifice, hurt. Unconditional love that makes Link feel guilty and sad. Sidon doesn’t want to be like that. He never wants to cause Link pain. He wants to make him smile.

It’s good to know the sign though.

 

Sidon’s fin allows him one single sleeping position on his back, his head turned either to the right or the left, his head tilted slightly forward. He turns it to the left mostly. Like this he can smell Link’s scent. It’s earthy, musky. It reminds Sidon of grasslands when the sun shines early in the morning. Of the open sky, blue and endless. The flight of birds and a gentle wind. He wakes up with this scent in his nose more times than not and it makes his insides tingle. Even more so when the rain of the past three days stops. 

It’s also the day Link stays awake after he took his medicine.

“How are you feeling?” Sidon asks happily when Link rubs his eyes and looks around like he hasn’t seen this place before.

“Good,” his friend signs. His stomach growls and he chuckles a little. Even though it’s probably in embarrassment, it’s a nice sound.

“Let me go fetch you something,” Sidon offers. “You haven’t eaten anything proper in days.” He did indeed feed Link some kelp and water chestnuts but most of the time Link fell asleep again after a few bites. He must be starving.

Sidon would rather not leave the bed and let go of Link, but he does so nevertheless with a smile and a promise to be back as soon as possible. Then he hurries to the kitchen. The sun is shining and the sky is clear and Link is getting better. It all makes Sidon very happy. 

In the kitchen, everyone is relieved that the Hylian Champion is healing well, too. It does bother Sidon though that they only refer to Link as that - “The Hylian Champion”. Like Link has never achieved anything but. He wishes they’d call him by his name instead. Then again they are not friends with him. They don’t know better.

A generous amount of rice with reed sprouts, clamshells seasoned with salt and vinegar and avens dumplings make Link’s eyes widen when Sidon returns to the guest room. His stomach grumbles once more, and Sidon is happy to put the plate down and help Link sit up so he can eat. It’s amazing what this little body can consume, and how fast.

When he’s halfway through his late lunch Link slows down a little and looks around. His eyes catch on the pile of books Sidon left on his side of the bed, and he points at them, tilting his head in question. 

“Ah, those…” Sidon smiles sheepishly. “I was trying to educate myself a little on Hyrulean history and… other things...” The last part sounds a little like a question. At this Link squints his eyes and turns his head to read the title of the book on top. Basics of Hyrulean Sign Language . Because of course.

“Well, I…” With a chuckle Sidon scratches his throat. “I’m not really good at it yet. But I thought it would be helpful…”

“You,” Link gestures towards him, then moves his index fingers in circular motions. “Sign.”

So Sidon signs the little he has learned so far. “ Hello. How are you. I am fine. I want to help you.”, “What else… Ah!”, '' I’m tired. I’m hungry. I’m sorry. Please don’t do that. I’m uncomfortable. Stop. Thank you. It’s okay. ” Of course he knows more. But he won’t sign that, not now at least. Maybe one day. But not when Link stares at him with a smile so bright he feels like I like you would inevitably result in I love you unconditionally .

Link claps his hands excitedly when Sidon lets his hands sink.

“It’s not much, but I’m trying, so I can understand you better. Maybe… maybe you can teach me some things some day,” he murmurs, shrugs, but smiles when Link nods happily.

Not now though. First he’ll make Link eat all his dumplings.

After he is finished Link sighs happily. He looks a lot more healthy now, too; his skin has a rosy glow to it, his eyes shimmer and he smiles contently. Sidon has seen Link respond to nutrients really fast before, maybe the Hylian body can metabolize food a lot faster and more effectively than a Zora’s. It would explain how Link’s condition improves within minutes.

When Link however rubs his finger down his bare sternum he grimaces. It’s not until he smells his hair though and wrinkles his nose that Sidon understands.

“You’d like to take a bath?” he suggests and Link nods. Sidon personally doesn’t mind Link’s scent at all, but what a friend would he be to refuse Link a dip in the spring. “I can take you to the spring if you like. Or maybe just bring you over to my chamber so you can use my sleeping pool instead? It’s closeby anyway.”

Link points his finger at him and nods at the second suggestion. So Sidon very carefully picks Link up from the mattress, mindful not to move his legs too much. He can’t tell in which state of cure the fractures are, so better not try his luck and hurt Link.

Link feels different in his arms when Sidon carries him over to his room, oddly so. He has been slender before, but somehow Sidon has the impression that his body structure has changed. He seems edgier than before, not as soft and round as he used to be. His bones feel longer and sharp and his muscles stringy. Of course Sidon knows that Hylians age a lot faster than Zora, but in contrary to the few weeks Link has been away he feels like he aged years. When he gets into the water in his room with Link still in his arms, he subtly lets his hands trace the rib cage of his small Hylian friend, right where his gills would be if he was a Zora, and they feel sharp and cultrate.

“You lost weight,” he murmurs, looking Link over as he drifts at half an arm’s length, with Sidon supporting him with his hands around his chest. Link shrugs one shoulder, and it makes Sidon notice the change there too. They got wider, almost imperceptibly, but Sidon has paid attention to Link’s shoulders enough times so he can tell. The scar from the Lynel’s arrow is very much visible, even after months. It stands out against the pinkish pale skin and so does the sharp clavicle and scapula that shift when Link moves. Somehow it reminds Sidon of little Zora growing their second row of teeth and he looks closer. Indeed there’s more: a sharp edge to Link’s jaw that makes him look more mature. His arms and hands that look longer, sinewy, more toned somehow. And even his scent… Sidon swallows hard when he realizes why all of a sudden Link’s scent is so much more appealing to him. He must have grown, making him a lot more masculine than before, at least that’s what Sidon feels. Maybe it’s not so obvious for anyone else. For Sidon though, who held Link close before, who scrutinized almost every inch of his soft, scarred body, it’s as clear as the afternoon sky. It makes his insides tingle.

“Or,” he adds, “you just grew while you were away.” How long do Hylians grow anyway? Sidon read that they stop growing at one point, unlike Zora who get taller and bigger for as long as there’s nutrients. Obviously Link hasn’t reached his eventual height.

Link looks down his body that hangs in the water upright, then up to Sidon again with a smile. With two fingers he tugs on the fringe of hair that frames his eyes.

“I thought your hair looked longer than before as well,” Sidon realizes smiling. “So my mind didn’t trick me after all.”

When Link points at the water surface it takes Sidon a moment to understand. “You want to go underwater?”

First Link nods, and then he does something he has never done before. He reaches around his head and plucks the stripe of blue fabric from the base of his ponytail, putting it aside on the edge of the pool. Sidon watches in awe as individual strands of hair separate from the main strand and fall loosely around Link’s shoulders. It looks like a bundle of rushes that come loose, or like golden seaweed in a flux. Sidon inhales sharply when Link shakes his head a little and more strands fall away from what used to be the ponytail. He assumed that the hair grew in that one thick strand, like on an actual pony, but it seems that the blue ribbon was the only thing that held the tail in place. It’s fascinating. At the same time it proves to Sidon that he knows much less about Hylians than he’d like to.

Link is oblivious of Sidon’s surprise. Instead he inhales deeply, making Sidon remember that he is to pull Link under the water surface. To cover up his astonishment he hurries to do so. However, he’s not prepared for the sight to unfold before him as they sink deeper into the water. 

With the flow of water a mist of gold arises around Link’s pretty face. His hair fans out like the morning sun coloring a cloud, like liquid gold soaring from his skin. A halo that shines so beautifully it hurts in Sidon’s heart.

And he remembers the last time he pulled Link underwater. When only his fringe and the loose strands from his temples floated gently in the water. This is a hundred times more beautiful. Link is a hundred times more beautiful. Or may Sidon just is a hundred times more in love with him. In his chest the urge to show him is so much stronger too though. And the way Link looks at him and places his hands on Sidon’s shoulders makes it all the more painful. Inside Sidon screams. “You’re beautiful. I want to kiss you. I like you so, so much.” But he doesn’t because, still, Hylians can’t hear underwater. And that’s only an excuse. So he pulls Link closer, just a bit, noticing a pinkish tinge on his cheeks that looks so beautiful on his slightly more angled features. 

He doesn’t ask for permission before he lets go of Link’s ribs and reaches for the golden mist that is Link’s hair. The calloused hands on his shoulders grasp his rough skin a little harder, but Link lets him and Sidon can’t stop himself either. Who could resist this feeling? He runs his claws through the soft gold, carefully, until he touches the scalp, and scratches alongside the rounded shape of Link’s skull. He stops at the nape, making Link look up to him with his oh so blue eyes. There’s magic in the water, but not only the spring’s. His heart beats heavy and urgently in Sidon’s chest. 

He looks down at Link’s lips, so soft and pink, and then at his eyes again, looking for something that tells him to stop but there’s nothing there. Because of course Link doesn’t know the desire that spreads in Sidon’s chest, doesn’t know how beautiful he is and how good he feels and how much he allures Sidon. His eyes so blue and gentle and mesmerizing. Doesn’t know how close Sidon is to just tilt his head down a little and show him what it’s like when Zora kiss. There’s only one thing that Sidon wants more than just gently press his lips against Link’s, nip on his pretty little mouth and breathe in his sweet exhale. There’s one thing that Sidon wants more and that’s keeping Link alive. His wonderful, rosy pink, clueless little friend who doesn’t even know how much Sidon wants him close. Who probably doesn’t want all this. Who probably doesn’t like him the same way. Who probably will try to run away with two broken feet when Sidon scares him away. Who will probably die trying. But Sidon wants nothing more than Link to live.

He pulls him close against his body, holding him in his arms and struggles not to scream in shame. “I’ll protect you,” he whispers into the water. “I promise.” His hands would shake if they didn’t cradle Link’s pretty little head against his chest. His aching, aching chest.

Chapter Text

It’s even more painful when Link’s hands come to rest on Sidon’s ribs. He’s so unaware of Sidon’t struggle, he must be. His touch is straightforward and casual. It breaks Sidon’s heart. 

His fingers comb through Links hair gently, as he manages to regain his composure, then holds Link by his shoulders and with a strong movement of his lower body brings them up to the surface again. Link has to breathe air and Sidon can’t stand his gentle touch anymore anyway.

As they break through the surface Link lets out the breath he’s held, and inhales softly. His hair is all over his face and he wipes it from his forehead with a chuckle.

“You feel better now?” Sidon just hopes that Link doesn’t notice the slight strain of his voice. After all he still holds him so close. His bony shoulders feel good in Sidon’s big hands. Oh Goddess!

A short nod and a smile is Link’s answer. Not wasting time Sidon picks him up and sets him onto the edge of the pool, then emerges to fetch a towel so he can dry Link off. He tries to ignore the rills of water that run down Link’s toned body, glittering as if mocking him. As if low in his stomach there wasn’t an aroused pressure against his muscles trying to come to the surface, begging for attention.

“Here,” he drapes the towel around Link, rubbing down his upper arms without much grace to get rid of the water. He is aware of how formally he treats Link, and Link notices too.

“Are you okay?” he signs, his eyebrows crinkling adorably.

“Yes, of course,” Sidon lies. “I just have some duties that require my attention, I'm afraid.” He picks Link up, still with the cloth around him, and makes his way to the guest room. “I’ve let my tasks slide the past few days to care for you,” he explains, lies . “Now that you feel better I can go back to my obligations. You need more time to rest anyway, but knowing that you are on a road to recovery and out of immediate danger I can use the time that you need to heal. Muzu will appreciate that I can focus on my routine business again.” This is actually the truth for once, Sidon guesses.

He sets Link down on the mattress and straightens his shoulders but before he can say anything and get out, get away, Link's fingers close around his wrist.

Sidon’s breath catches when he finds Link’s eyes on him, worried, insecure even. He knows something’s up. It shouldn't have surprised Sidon. What did Muzu and his father tell him about Hylians, they are perceptive beyond the imagination of a Zora. Link feels that Sidon is torn inside. Not that it must’ve been particularly hard to see it with how Sidon acts.

“I’m sorry,” he says lowly. “If you need something just use the whistle. I’ll be there for you if you need me.” 

Without hesitation Link takes the whistle that rests next to the pillow with his free hand, and blows it softly, still looking at Sidon like that. Upset maybe. And a little lost.

“What is it you need?” Sidon asks. 

“Are you okay?” he signs, letting go of Sidon in the process. The whistle comes to lie on his stomach, right where a patchy scar covers the skin.

“I am.” Lie. “I’ll be back soon. I promise.”

Link nods, then with his pinky finger catches Sidon’s in a gentle hook. It looks like the sign for “friends”, just with the smallest finger.

“Is that promise ?”

Link nods slowly. 

“Okay.” Forcing a smile that he hopes doesn’t look too painful Sidon tightens his pinky hooked around Link’s a little. “I’ll me back soon. Promise.”

Letting go of Link feels like treason. There’s nothing he can do though other than walk away from his friend and hope to leave behind these thoughts with him. 

What an utterly terrible best friend he makes. The realization grows on him as he makes his way not to his study or the throne room or the training ground, but to his room. It’s fast and devastating. He failed. As a friend and as a prince and as a decent person.

The door is loud when it falls shut behind him, making him flinch although he closed it with his own hands. Hands that shake since he held Link, since he made them comb through Link’s golden hair. His hands that he could have angled Link’s face with, to lean down, so he could kiss him. Press his lips against his friend’s, making him gasp softly into the kiss, pull him closer, flush against his body that feels so hot alone from only imagining them to be so close. His dicks press against the slit hard and swollen. He doesn’t want that. He can’t think about Link like that. But Link feels so good, smells so good. Would no doubt taste so good. Oh, the thought alone makes Sidon grit his teeth in want.

 

Tona tells him to close his eyes, again. And he does. Her hands roam over his body confidently, like they have so many times. Still it feels different for Sidon, because this feeling sits in the back of his thoughts like a thorn. It’s shameful and pointy. It’s lust.

Tona knows what’s up, has known right when she entered his room after he had sent for her and saw him pacing alongside the window like a caged animal. “Come here,” she had offered, ordered, Sidon is not sure. But when she dragged him into the water, her hands grasping the base of his fin almost brazen and kissed him just as unceremonial he didn’t care. Claws and teeth is what she gives him and he takes it, all of it, letting her press him against the stone, kissing, biting, scratching over his chest. “Close your eyes,” she commands, and he obeys. It’s the last thing she says for a long time, only her gasps and his own moans filling the air, as she rubs at his lower body to lure his dicks out, and then rides him passionately. He grasps at her hips, her thighs, avoids her gills and chest and fin. He’s pathetic and she knows it too, but she gives him what he needs until at last he comes with one dick inside her and the other pumping into her hand. He grits his teeth when he climaxes, in order not to say anything.

She kisses his throat before sliding off of him.

“Do they cuddle?”

Sidon looks to where she drifts beside him, smiling. There’s no malice in it and he is so thankful.

He still plays dumb. “Who cuddles?”

With a smile Tona rests her head on her arms, that she put on the edge of his sleeping pool. “Guess who, your little friend of course. Who else would make you forget you called me to your chambers three days ago.”

It’s true. With a pang of guilt Sidon remembers he indeed did so before Link returned, before the rain started, before all this started and he stayed at the guest room with him. He had met her earlier that day and asked for her to spend the night with him. He felt he could need her company, instead of drifting through his pool restlessly. For her it’s easy to tire him out and make him fall asleep in her arms. But he forgot.

“I’m-”

“Don’t apologize,” she interrupts him with a smile, then gets out of the pool. The water runs from her elegantly shaped body beautifully, but it doesn’t do anything for him. And she is aware of that. “I gave up a long time ago,” she adds cryptically. “But take my advice: Don’t waste your time. He’ll leave eventually. And only the Goddess knows if he’ll return.”

It’s painfully obvious what she’s talking about, still Sidon doesn’t want to admit. He blushes and shrugs, one thing telling the truth, the other badly covering it up. “I am not sure I can follow.” It feels like they had that conversation before.

Unlike back then though Tona makes her opinion very clear this time. “You can’t fool me, my prince. I know of your feelings for the Hylian. They’re in every look, every move, every word. You can try and fool him, but I know you too well.”

A sigh escapes Sidon and he turns to face her. She’s right, of course, but it’s not that easy.

“It’s complicated,” he murmurs, staring at her feet. “I can’t just go and…” He doesn’t even know how to explain the struggle between his heart and his head.

“And why not?”

“Because I…” It’s frustrating how Tona provokes him. “I can’t just be with him like that. Hylians aren’t like that, and he’s not… I’m not even sure he would like anything that I could be capable of… And with what he went through and… And there’s so much, so much, like… The way he felt for Mipha, and how she felt for him, and… I don’t want to scare him away… I don’t want to… I can’t just fall in love with him-”

“But you already did.” There’s a chuckle in her voice. “You’ve already fallen in love with him, my prince.”

And this is true, too, and it makes Sidon huff in anger.

“And it’s not a bad thing, you know.” A few steps and she’s right beside him, small and a deep burgundy. He can’t deny she’s beautiful, even when her eyes glitter with a smirk. “I told you before, and I’ll tell you again. Here and now, you can be there for him. He doesn’t want anyone else. But what,” she gently takes his hands, lowering her voice. “What if that changes? What if he’s like you?”

Confused he looks up. “What do you mean?”

Her smile is fainter, but not resentful. “What if when his princess comes back to life he’ll forget about you. Like you forget about me when he’s around.” With a swift motion she leans down and kisses the top of his head, softly, but bold nevertheless. “I just don’t want you to waste both your time because you needlessly hesitate. I know you can give him anything he wants. But I also know that royalty is hard to resist. And love goes strange ways.” When she straightens her smile returns. “Just don’t make yourself unhappy.”

And then she leaves.

 

Red colors the sky when the sun sets but Sidon doesn’t notice. He doesn’t either when the red fades into violet and then blue and then black. He drifts in his pool idly, on his back, lost in thought, lost in emotions. Nowadays he feels lost very often.

Tona made him think. She does so sometimes, and on purpose he assumes,  because his character is to act quick even when it’s not the right time. Forgetting about her as soon as Link returned might be proof of how quickly his behaviour changes. How selfish he is when it comes to him. How selfish he is when it comes to spending time with Link, caring for Link, being close to Link. He’s a prince, sure, but first and foremost he wants to be a friend to everybody. That includes Link, but also Tona and Gruve and all his people. He wants to help. He wants to do his best to make everyone happy. It is a lot harder though than it used to be it seems. And maybe in the process he didn’t think about his actions enough.

It’s a fact that there’s a strong bond between Link and his princess. Link said so himself. Losing her to him feels like losing Mipha felt to Sidon. He guesses Link can tell because he was here a hundred years ago. He knows how close Sidon was to his sister. The very thought how painful it must be to Link to not have his beloved princess around is terrible. But it proves how strong their feelings for each other must be if Link compares it like that. 

No wonder Link goes out of his way to save his princess. No wonder he sacrifices everything to become stronger, to travel the land and get hurt over and over again if it helps him to become the knight he was a hundred years ago. There’s nothing a loving hand can’t do, is what Mipha said and naturally it doesn’t only apply to Sidon. 

But still, and this is where Sidon has to admit he didn’t think far enough, Link returns here ever so often. Tona is right when she says that Link comes back time and time again, when he could teleport to the Sheikah village to ask for assistance. Every time he defeated the Evil inside a Divine Beast he immediately returned to the Domain. And Sidon allows himself to think, returned to him . There must be something that makes him choose this as a safe haven. Or maybe some one

“I’m weak,” Sidon whispers into the dark of his room. Maybe to himself, maybe to no one in particular, but likely in Mipha’s general direction, not that she’s here. “I just really want him to like me. Even if I’m lewd. Even if I’m impudent. Even if I think he’s just too beautiful for me to stand it. I like him so, so, so much. In so many ways. Is it really so terrible to wish he’d like me like this, even just a little? Would it be so reprehensible to try and let him pull me closer if he wanted it too?”

Link never pushed him away, not since Sidon apologized for touching him and promising not to do it again. Link fell asleep leaning against his chest. Link touched his shoulders, like he wanted him close. It feels so much like he is okay with Sidon being close. Like he enjoys his company. Like he enjoys his care. And, oh Goddess!, how Sidon enjoys caring for Link!

“I’m in love with him,” he confesses to Mipha, who is not here. Tona was right. It’s too late for him. He’s in love with him and he wants to be with him. And, and he’s so ashamed of it but he can’t deny, he wants him. He’s never felt like this before, not for one single person. He’s loved, yes, and he’s felt desire, too. So many emotions making his heart ache for only one little Hylian, that’s nothing Sidon has ever experienced. 

Was it like that for Mipha, too? His sweet, strong, soft, self-sacrificing Mipha. 

“I’m sorry,” he whispers against the dark ceiling. “I’m sorry for betraying you like that. He is yours. I should have never fallen in love with him.”

“It’s not your fault,” she answers.

Ah. Maybe he has fallen asleep after all. Because only in his dream she appears to him, small and smiling, like she used to be. 

When Sidon turns his head she sits on the edge of his pool with crossed legs, with a soft shimmer around her, like she’s made from luminous stone. She looks at him the way big sisters look at little brothers.

“It’s not your fault. And you don’t need to be sorry. He’s just very loveable. I can tell.” She chuckles and tilts her head. “It’s actually good to see you feel the same way. You see kindness in people, and courage, and hope. You grew up to be the one to save him. He needs you, you know. Because you are the only one who knows how he feels. He needs this love you feel for him. Because love,” she reaches out for him and maybe Sidon only imagines it, but it’s like she touches his cheek in a gentle gesture, “love is the strongest power in this world. And he never was mine.” She says it smiling, like she didn’t just admit her feelings were not returned. “His heart is waiting.”

The sound of the whistle startles Sidon awake.

Chapter Text

At the first heartbeat Sidon breaks the surface of the water. At the second he’s pushing his body out of his sleeping pool. Three and four have him cross his room, reaching the door. It takes five, six and seven to hurry down the corridor, even though his pulse has accelerated. At the eighth heavy beat of his heart he rips the door of the guest room open.

“Link!!”

He expects a terrible view to unfold before him. Link gone, like he has before, the bed empty, painfully so. Or maybe Link collapsed on the floor, bloodied sheets and a small heap of Hylian flesh cramped between the stained fabric in fear and agony. 

Instead he finds himself frozen in the door opening and Link’s eyes on him. He’s on the bed, nestled into the pillow half upright, his small scarred hands holding onto the whistle softly. He’s alright. He’s here . It makes Sidon unclench his fists and aching jaw in relief.

“Link…” he sighs, the tension leaving his body slowly. “I heard the whistle. What’s wrong?” And because Link can’t answer him, he steps closer, scrutinizing his little friend. There’s nothing wrong with him, nothing obvious at least. No injuries, no pained facial expression, not even the scent of blood. The only thing Sidon notices is that Link’s eyes are reddened, shimmering from tears, just like his thick dark lashes. He’s cried recently, Sidon realizes, with a pang of guilt. Maybe he is in pain after all.

“Are you hurt?” he tries, making his way towards the bed so he can fetch Link’s painkillers, “Do you need something? Do you need your medicine?”

But Link shakes his head. It’s weird to see him hesitate like this when he bites his lip, then points at Sidon: “No. You.”

And Sidon stares, doesn’t understand, until he does. It means “No, I don’t need my medicine. I need you.” And he stares, watching the pointy ears droop, blushing pink, hears Link inhale shuddering. He bites his lower lip harder, looks away, like he’s embarrassed, his fingers clutching the whistle harder. The knuckles are white. He’s ashamed. Why is he ashamed?

Without a word Sidon closes the distance, and sits down on the edge of the mattress. Link doesn’t look up. He seems to shrink, becoming smaller and smaller the closer Sidon comes, like he wants to disappear. His body is so tiny and tense Sidon is afraid he’ll break apart but he still reaches out for him anyway. 

“It’s alright,” he murmurs, his voice as soft as he can manage, and low and gentle. Link twitches when Sidon touches his shoulder, but doesn’t shy away. “It’s alright, my friend,” his hand tenderly rubbing Link’s shoulder. “I told you that I’ll be there for you. I told you I’ll take care of you. Didn’t I? So here I am. There’s nothing you need to be ashamed of, my sweet friend. As long as I’m with you everything’s alright.” And with that he gently tugs on Link’s shoulder until the boy leans against his chest, his hands still closed tightly around the metal whistle that’s way too big for him. “That’s good,” Sidon coos, wrapping his arms around the small body and leaning back against the headboard. “I’m here. I’m here, my friend.” 

They lie like this for what feels like forever, until Link unexpectedly loosens his left hand from the whistle and makes a sign with one finger outstretched. It’s a narrow circular motion that Sidon doesn’t understand. Then Link looks up at him and explains in signs: “You, not here.” Then points at himself and repeats the new sign. 

Sidon understands. “You were lonely.”

Link nods, then looks away again.

It’s heartbreaking. “I’m sorry.” He really is. He promised Link to be back soon and left him by himself. Link must have thought he’d never come back, watching night fall over the Domain. He should have come back. He should have not run away from his feelings, leaving Link alone when he’s been alone in the wild for so long. This might be the only place in the whole wide world where Link doesn’t feel lonely. And all Sidon can do is abandon him and be so ignorant, because he can’t keep his feelings under control. “I’m very sorry. I should have never left you. I didn’t think about how you feel, and I’m ashamed for not being more considerate. I want to be a good friend, but maybe I’m really not good at all. I want to try and get better at this though. I want to be there for you.” He leans his face against Link’s hair that’s soft and smells sweet like soil. He’s never touched Link’s hair when it was dry. It’s silky, almost like fur, but the threads are long and shiny and flowy. It’s really beautiful. Without thinking Sidon raises his hand and threads through the golden mane with careful claws. It feels heavenly. In his gentle embrace Link sighs and presses his cheek against Sidon’s chest. His fingers fidget with the whistle idly like he wants to learn its shape by touch. He’s so tiny and vulnerable in Sidon’s arms, but he seems relaxed after all.

“You know, I-” Sidon murmurs, his fingers caressing golden strands, “I never knew someone like you. Someone with such a burden on their shoulders. Someone who’s been through so much. All my life people were just looking out for me, because I was so devastated after Mipha was gone. Everyone cared for me so much, and I’m thankful. But maybe I’m… maybe I’m bad at consoling people myself. Maybe it’s hard for me to see what people are going through. Maybe, to be there for you, and care for you, I… I need your help. Because I don’t want to mess up. Because you’re… so important to me.” He sighs. 

Link’s fingers have stopped playing with the whistle.

“Link, I know you cried before I came here.” He notices how Link’s shoulders tense in his embrace. “Your eyes shimmer like gems and your lashes like polished coins from tears. I just wish it had never come so far. You should have called for me earlier. So I could have been here with you, before you felt so lonely, before you felt so hurt. I want to keep you safe, my friend. I want you to be happy. But you need to help me. You need to call me when you need me. No matter what it is you need from me. You don’t need to go through this alone. You don’t need to be the Hero of Legend, not when you’re with me. Because I can imagine how lonely you are. How scared you are. How much your destiny weighs you down. I know, because you’re just a man, not the godlike creature people see in you. Just a Hylian, a mortal who bleeds, who has nightmares, who is scared. I can see it in your eyes. And that’s okay.” He cradles Link’s head in his big hand when Link hides his face against his chest, inhaling with a shudder. “I know you want to be strong, and brave and flawless out there. I know you need to be. But I also know how you really feel. Who the real Link is. And you don’t have to act all tough and stalwart when you’re with me. I want you to be yourself. I want you to not hide how you feel. I want to help you, my friend. I want you to know that it’s okay to be scared. That it’s not a bad thing to call me when you are lonely. That sometimes you need to cry so you don’t go crazy. It doesn’t make you any less a hero. And whatever happens when you’re with me,” he rubs his cheek against the crown of Link’s head when he hears him sob, “I adore you and I’ll be your best friend, forever.”

 

Link doesn’t explain why he cries so much. But after he stops, and after Sidon wipes the tears from his flushed cheeks, he turns to the side, hissing when he moves his legs, and snuggles up against Sidon like an affection-starved squid. Sidon is more than content to give his little friend all the soft caresses that he needs. After all, this is the first time Link actively seeks out for this kind of closeness. And he feels good in his embrace, so good!

“Maybe,” Sidon murmurs, half asleep, “when your feet are better I can take you up to the waterfalls. I used to go there with Mipha when I was little. The view is really nice from up there. I bet you’d like it.” With a smile he notices the soft, deft fingers playing with his sash, outlining the edges and tracing along them on the skin of his chest. It’s a little ticklish, but it also feels nice. Link is warm and soft. “I like this,” he thinks, or maybe he murmurs it, but before he can find out he’s asleep.

 

The sun rises way too early for Sidon’s taste. This habit of spending the nights awake is probably not so good for his circadian rhythm. Then again he’ll have plenty of time to sleep once Link leaves for his quest again. So it’s in fact a good thing the first rays of sunlight touch his translucent eyelids early in the morning. It comes with the sight Link’s disheveled hair shining like spun gold. Sidon can’t help but smile. How Link, or any creature, can be so beautiful that it makes Sidon’s heart swell with love is a mystery to him. Surprising it is not though. Link is chosen by the Goddess, so his ethereal beauty was probably inevitable. It’s impossible to look away, especially when he stirs in his sleep, his soft pink lips parting to reveal his blunt pearl white teeth. Sidon’s eyes follow the cupid’s bow, along the small pointy nose, up to the elegantly arched eyebrows. They’re the same dark gold as Link’s long, curved lashes that frame his eyes like lily petals. His lids are slightly reddened, rosy almost, but it makes him look soft the way it contrasts with the pale pink skin and the crisscross of ivory scars. His hair is in the same disarray as the scars on Link’s face, thick golden strands, some wavy like the golden clouds of the morning sky. And when he blinks his eyes open it takes Sidon’s breath away. It must be the angle of the rays of light, but they’re the most intense blue Sidon has ever seen them. It’s mesmerizing. It’d be driving him crazy, if he wasn’t crazy in love with this gorgeous creature already. He’s petrified, watching as Link looks back at him and then smiles, smiles his vague little smile at him like he is really happy. Like waking up in Sidon’s soft embrace makes him happy .

His hands come up and he signs two things, and Sidon understands without asking and without a doubt, so he answers: “Good morning to you too.” He doesn’t say “My beautiful friend”, but maybe it’s in the way he smiles back at Link. His heart feels like it’s about to burst from how full it is.

 

In the marketplace everyone is really excited when Sidon brings the Hylian Champion, carrying him in his arms like a small Zora.

“It’s good to see you are doing better,” they say, and: “Thank you for freeing another Divine Beast.”

When everyone has calmed down and mind their own business again, Sidon sets Link onto a wooden box and eyes the cooking pot sceptically.

“I’m not sure if I can do this…” he murmurs, when Link starts going through his inventory for ingredients. “I’m a prince, you know, we don’t usually cook…”

Link chuckles, then signs “It’s alright”, and hands Sidon wheat, apples, grapes and some spices. 

With more or less detailed sign instructions Sidon manages to cook porridge with fruits that Link packs away in a small container, curry rice, steamed mushroom buns and even some meat with onions that Link stuffs inside balls of dough before Sidon fries them in hot oil. It’s surprisingly a lot of fun to throw things into the pot and see it transform into juicy, steaming delicacies, emitting sweet and rich aromas. “What if I try this,” Sidon asks, pointing at spicy pepper, “with this?”, then at a shroom.

With a smile Link hands it over.

The outcome is not spectacular, but looks and smells nice enough. Next Sidon tries acorns with eggs and apples. Then bass with salt and rice. His excitement has a sudden end though when he’s feeling lucky and fries eggs with honey and monster horns. The food doesn't actually deserve the name. Scratching his throat he eyes the tacky chunks that somehow have turned purple while cooking, most likely from the monster parts. It’s almost too gross to even look at. And the smell is bizarre. It looks like eating it might cause one physical pain. “Well…,” he says, looking over to Link, who grins wide. “I guess I’ll leave the cooking to you?”

Link shrugs with one shoulder, then gestures Sidon to get rid of the dubious food.

“What’s your absolute favourite?” Sidon asks when the pot is clean again.

It takes Link some moments of thinking, then he carefully picks radish from his pouch, some herbs and little black shrooms, a bird drumstick and carrots and hands it over to Sidon. When everything is fried and simmered in the juice of the poultry Sidon sees why this is Link’s favourite. The colors are a feast for the eyes, deep orange, green and golden yellow, the truffles black as a moonless night. And the scent is rich and mouth-watering.

They try it right then and there. Link’s serving is a little smaller than Sidon’s who can’t believe he prepared this.

“I want to try and learn more!” he exclaims when they are done eating and on their way back to the guest room. Link is still way too light in his arms, but now Sidon knows what to do about it. “When you come back here I’ll be a master at cooking and I’ll show you all the new dishes I created, you’ll see. When I’m done with you, you’ll be fat like a manatee.”

Link laughs voiceless against his clavicle. It’s nice how his breath tickles on Sidon’s skin. How his shoulders shake, but not with sobs.

“Hey, listen,” Sidon feels Link twitch in his arms. “I know you have to leave when your feet are healthy again. Your quest is important. But if I have the chance…” He stops in his tracks and looks down at his friend. “I’d like to get to know you better. Learn about Hylians. Learn about Link. Not the things that are in my books, Link the Hylian Champion, Link the Hero of Legend. But the Link who likes hearty fried wild greens with poultry. If that’s alright with you?”

Link looks at him for a long, odd moment. Then he signs “Alright.” He doesn’t smile though. Sidon tries not to worry about that.

 

Back in his bed Link chugs down another painkiller and falls asleep in an instant. It’s only afternoon, but he must be exhausted. The healing process sure takes its toll.

Sidon finally returns to the study and is surprised to find Muzu there.

The old Ray Zora sits at the desk and sorts through the books that Sidon left there.

“My prince,” he greets him. His expression is serious as he turns around to face Sidon.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, worried. “Has something happened?” It’s strange for Muzu not to make fun of him for spending so much time with Link these days.

Instead Muzu gestures to the other seat and waits for Sidon to sit down before he speaks. It feels like back then when Muzu was teaching little Sidon how to act as a prince, just after Mipha was gone. And more or less, Sidon finds himself taught another lesson by the old Zora.

“I left you without an explanation,” he says, his voice low and kind of apologetic. “Last time, when I told you about the legacy of your little friend and his princess. Retrospective it was rude of me to leave you hanging like this, with only vague hints at things you can impossibly know. But as I thought about how blissful your lack of knowledge is, I found that as the future king of the Zora you need to know what happened back then, before the Calamity came upon us, before you or the Hylian Champion and the princess were born. The events that started the downfall of the kingdom of Hyrule. That started the chaos that befell all our kingdoms.”

Sidon swallows hard. “I want to know,” he says, his voice hoarse from tension. 

Muzu nods and thinks for some moments, before he starts: “Many, many years ago, the exact amount doesn’t matter, the king of Hyrule and his queen were blessed with a child, and cursed with a prophecy. Scholars and mages had seen it in the stars and their runes and the cards spelled it out for them that this child, their infant daughter, would one day bring into the world two children of the blood of the goddess, to bring chaos and to bring hope. In only two generations the Great Evil that had been forgotten and only kept alive in horror stories and cruel fairy tales would come over the land again and smash to pieces the century-long reign of the golden bloodline of Hyrule. This newborn child would be the harbinger of war against a power too great to be defeated. This newborn daughter that was a descendant of the Goddess herself would therefore not bear the name of her mother, and her mother before her, as had been tradition since the beginnings of time. She was the first princess of Hyrule ever who would not be called by the name of Zelda.”

Sidon leans forward. “What was her name?”

Muzu smiles, then recites like a chant: “Zephina Vithiatosthenes Princess of Hyrule.”

“I’ve heard that name before,” Sidon remembers, sitting back against the backrest. Then it dawns on him. “It’s the name of princess Zelda’s mother!”

“I see,” Muzu snarls but not without pride, “the history lessons were not wasted on you.”

“But how comes that she named her daughter Zelda when the prophecy… wait-” He sits upright at the realization. “The children that bring chaos and hope… Is Princess Zelda one of them?” Muzu remains silent. “Which one? Is she the one to bring hope? She must be. But who’s the second child?”

At this Muzu sighs. “That, my prince, is a question that has never been answered clearly. What we know is that the prophecy spoke of a princess of Hyrule and the incarnation of the Goddess. So when princess Zephina Vithiatosthenes was married to Rhoam Bosphoramus and gave him a daughter they named her Zelda to honor the Goddess, hoping that one day the divine powers of the deity would awaken and aid in the fight against the Great Evil. You know of the struggle and hardships the princess went through to awaken the blessing, and how in the end her failure gave way to the Calamity. The prophecy proved to be accurate in the most horrible way.”

“But if it was so accurate,” Sidon cuts in, “what about the other child? The one to bring chaos? Was there a second child at all?”

“The prophecy was accurate.”

“So, Zelda has a sibling?” Sidon is confused. “But there’s nothing in the books about a brother or sister.”

“There’s nothing in the books about a lot of things,” Muzu counters.

“How could they be so sure that the firstborn would be the incarnation of the Goddess anyway?” he wonders. “When they knew there would be a second child. How did they know the second child would not be the one to be called Zelda? Were there twins? But wouldn’t it be in the books if there were twins? You can’t just pretend there’s only one child when there’s two heirs born at the same time… And why would they have two children anyway? Wouldn’t they try and break the prophecy by keeping it at only one child?”

It’s strange to hear Muzu laugh at this. “And do you think that the king would have touched the queen knowing that a single night could be enough to fulfil the prophecy and bring destruction to the world?”

Sidon stares at him. “So the second child…” He speaks as the thought forms in his head. “The second child was not the king’s? The queen did not have another child with the king, but…” 

“The second child,” Muzu resolves, “was a bastard.”

This truth is hard to swallow. Sidon leans back and stares at the floor. From what he’s read it’s not very common for Hylians to change partners. For the queen to have someone else must be a scandal even without the terrible prophecy looming over them. And the queen must have been so well protected, to avoid a second child, guarded day and night after the first child was born, after Zelda was born just according to the prophecy. It was a secret then. A secret so well kept that not even the king had knowledge of it. The queen had an affair. With someone she loved so much not even the prophecy could keep her away from him.

In this moment Sidon can’t help but think of the sign he looked up in the book. Arms crossed before the chest - unconditional love . Strong and painful and destructive.

“What happened to the child?” he asks, his chest contracting. “The king must have known. It takes Hylians almost a year until they are born to the world. No chance the king didn’t realize the queen was pregnant.”

“I wonder.” Muzu looks at him for a moment, and Sidon can tell he is just as oblivious as himself. “Either the child was hidden, or it was killed. With the prophecy fulfilled after all, it’s not hard to guess what was the case isn’t it?”

The child survived then. Sidon nods slowly. Strange how the fate of a child he’s never met touches him. A child that should have never been born, and that was resented since the day it came in existence. Taken away from its mother the day it was born so it wouldn’t be killed in a desperate attempt to stop the prophecy. Did it know the fate that had been predicted for it? Was it ever told about the prophecy that had denied it a normal life with a loving family when such utter love was the reason it was born in the first place? Did it know who its family was? And did Zelda ever know she had a sibling, somewhere?

Sidon can’t shake the bad feeling, even as he tries not to imagine what it would be like if he never knew Mipha. Hard enough to not remember his mother. But living without the guidance of his big sister, without her smile shining upon him, that would be too tough.

He looks up to Muzu who has turned to the books on the table again. “How do you know all this?” he asks. “When there’s nothing in the books about all of this?”

With a smile Muzu throws him a glance over his shoulder. “Someone needed to be there to write those books,” he says, then looks back at his work. “To witness these events. To watch the stars and spell out prophecies…”

Sidon only understands when he is out again, facing Mipha’s statue. “He was there,” he mutters. “He was one of the scholars who saw the prophecy.”

And suddenly Sidon sees Muzu very different.

Chapter Text

Link is fast asleep when Sidon returns to the guest room. His breath is slow and sweet, his lips parted. With a heavy heart Sidon sits down on the edge of the mattress and looks at his little friend.

He wonders if he is dreaming. Do Hylians dream? Or do they only have nightmares that haunt them in their sleep, like the ones that make Link scream and cry and suffer? Do they relive nice, peaceful moments, too? Are there nice and peaceful moments for Link? What does he dream of?

Sidon sighs and lays down next to Link, who hums lowly but doesn’t wake up.

“There’s so much I don’t know,” he whispers, gently hides his face against Link’s messy hair. “Don’t know about you. You’re a mystery to me like all of your people.”

He falls asleep with a weird feeling in his chest. It’s almost as if there’s a hole in his heart that he didn’t notice before. He places his hand on Link’s thigh and inhales deeply, then falls asleep.

 

Again, it’s in the middle of the night that Sidon wakes up. Like a deja-vu Link’s breath is shallow and urgent. His body, on his side and turned towards Sidon despite his injured ankles, is tense. He presses his forehead against Sidon’s chest. It’s obvious he tries hard to keep quiet. Still, there are tiny whimpers once in a while that Sidon can’t seem to place, until he realizes what’s different: Last time, when he held Link close in his sleeping pool and woke up to what he thought was a nightmare Link wasn’t able to use his hands because the skin was painfully burnt. This time they are fine and Sidon notices the way they move. Hesitantly he opens his eyes to find Link furiously fisting his little dick, his other hand pressed against his mouth to suppress the needy whines.

Sidon’s insides scorch as he blinks the sleep away. He’s not sure how to react or if to react at all. He hasn’t moved, and Link is probably not aware that he’s woken up. Is he to say something, or do something, or just keep still and wait until it’s over? Which will be hard because Link’s sweet little gasps and his warmth and his scent are the most arousing things Sidon has ever experienced. His dicks are already swelling behind the slit and it’s only been seconds. How’s he supposed to quietly endure this? Plus, his hand is still on Link’s thigh, right below where Link gracelessly pumps his dick under the fabric of his short pants he never ever takes off. His thigh is warm and toned and twitches once in a while. Sidon imagines what it would be like to kiss the inside of it, like he kissed Tona’s thighs, just that Link smells a thousand times better. Oh, he’d nip and lick on the soft Hylian skin, spreading those long, beautiful legs and-

This doesn’t help at all!

Sidon bites back a whine on his own, and just grits his teeth. What are they even doing? They are friends, aren’t they? Why do they keep this a secret from each other, when it’s just their bodies functioning normally? He told Link that Zora don’t feel ashamed of their sexuality. With how desperately Link tries to remain silent, with his small calloused hand pressed against his lips, it seems to him that Link doesn’t want Sidon to know that he does things like that. Touches himself. When it’s such a normal, pleasurable thing to do. 

And how Link does it! Sidon frowns, watching, feeling, hearing Link work himself, carelessly, almost brutally. This is not how it should be done. Maybe this is how he needs to do this in the wild, then it’s cold and dark and lonely. But here, where it’s safe and warm, he should enjoy this. Should treat his body well this one time instead of pushing himself to the limit as fast as possible like he does when he is out there, always. It’s painful to witness. So Sidon makes a decision.

When he grabs Link’s wrist, his friend freezes with a sharp inhale. It only lasts half a second though, then Link tries to scramble away, pressing his right hand against Sidon’s chest, trying to wrestle his left from Sidon’s hold.

“Please,” Sidon begs. His chest hurts. “Please don’t go away. Please let me be there for you.”

Link’s fight dies down immediately. His arms go limp and he looks at Sidon through his long fringe.

“I can help you with this,” Sidon whispers. “I want to help you with this. You really don’t have to be ashamed about your body. This happens to me too, and I…” He lets go of Link’s hand, afraid that the moment he breaks contact Link will try to get away. But Link just pulls his arms back, holds them close against his chest and looks at Sidon with red ears and cheeks. “I want to make you feel good. If you’ll let me.”

By now Sidon can feel his own blush hot on his cheeks. His heart beats fast and he wants to move but he can’t. Link didn’t shake his head yet. Link hasn’t denied him this. Hasn’t denied them this. He looks at Sidon, his lips still parted so Sidon can see his blunt little teeth. He inhales with a shudder. Holds his breath for a moment. Exhales. His cheekbones are high, his jawline sharp. His skin littered with scars. Sidon can’t move, can’t pull Link into an embrace, can’t press his mouth against Link’s in a desperate kiss to show him how much he wants him, how much he loves him, because he loves him too much.

And then, after what seems like an eternity Link looks away. Blue, blue eyes wander over Sidon’s chest, and he bites his lower lip and places his small hands on Sidon’s shoulders.

Sidon wants to scream and laugh and cry from relief, but be just waits a second longer in which Link leans in and rests his forehead against Sidon’s chest.

Very carefully, he moves his hands, gently places them on Link’s waist, runs the right up his ribcage, back along his spine up to his shoulders, then down again. Link’s ears twitch, red and nervous. When Sidon’s hand reaches the fabric of the short pants, Link inhales with a shudder. Patiently Sidon repeats his caresses until Link relaxes, not entirely, but enough so he doesn’t gasp every time Sidon almost slips his fingers under the waistband.

The scars feel smooth under Sidon’s fingertips. Link’s skin is warm and soft. It feels wonderful. And when he breathes against Sidon’s chest it makes his stomach tingle with excitement.

“You feel so good,” he whispers, his cheek leaned against Link’s head. “So warm and soft. So different from a Zora.” He buries his nose in Link’s silky hair and inhales deeply. “And you smell so sweet.”

Link goes all soft in his hands, like he is melting against Sidon’s body, and it feels wonderful. For a moment his fingers trace Sidon’s collar bone, then they grasp his shoulders again and he goes tense when Sidon’s right hand follows the curve of his ass. The soft “Ah-” that escapes his lips makes Sidon’s dicks press against the muscles of his slit hard.

“That’s nice,” Sidon whispers, his hand playing with the firm flesh, tracing the line where Link’s ass meets his thigh, then fidgets with the seam of the pants. “You need to feel good. Safe and warm. You don’t need to treat yourself so rough, not when you’re with me. You can enjoy this, can close your eyes and let me take care of you, my sweet friend.”

He pulls Link closer with his left hand that’s still on Link’s waist and Link gasps and thrusts his hips forward, just a little, but enough for Sidon to groan into Link’s mane.

“That’s good,” he sighs, two fingers slipping under the fabric, rubbing against the soft velvet skin and making Link rut forward again. “You deserve this. You deserve to feel good.”

And with that he pushes his own lower body forward, just enough that he feels the bulge in Link’s pants press against his stomach.

They both gasp, Link through grit teeth and Sidon open mouthed. 

It’s hard not to pry the slit open with two fingers and have his dicks jut out, pressing against Link’s small hot body. They’re so hard in his pelvis it makes it hard to think, but he needs to take care of Link. That’s all that matters. So he swallows hard, and pulls his fingers from Link’s skin, and traces the waistband slowly. “Would you be okay if I removed this?” His voice is hoarse and his lips brush against Link’s ear; it makes them both gasp. “I’d like to… touch your skin… down there.”

On his shoulders Link’s fingers dig into his skin, but then he nods. Sidon can feel it more than actually seeing it in the bluish glow of the luminous stones, because Link presses his head against his chest firmly.

It’s the first time in many, many years that Sidon gets nervous when he’s with someone. Basically because he never had to undress someone. There’s something very erotic about it though, to slowly push the fabric down, revealing more and more of Link’s soft skin. His left hand is still wrapped around the tiny waist, his fingers holding onto it careful but tight. His right frees Link’s body of the pants, pulling it lower. There’s a drag, and then the waistband is pulled down Link’s hips, his dicks exposed and hard and-

Sidon is confused. There’s only one. It’s pretty, actually, thick and curved and the tip glistens from wetness like sea foam. But the second is not out, or maybe, it dawns on Sidon, there’s really only one?

He tries not to let his confusion show, but to accept that Hylians are just very different from Zora after all. He pushes the pants lower, then with his knuckles caresses Link’s lower abdomen. It makes Link twitch, his fingers digging into Sidon’s shoulders, but that’s okay. The way Link’s one single dick bumps upwards has all his attention. Curious he traces the line of hair down where it starts from the navel, down, down, to the dark golden patch that surrounds the base of his dick. He doesn’t touch it just yet, but caresses the short smooth hair that goes all the way around. It’s not as soft as the hair on Link’s head, but it feels nice nevertheless. Then Sidon finds soft bulky skin all the way down. He hesitates, but only for a second, then touches it with gentle fingers. It’s warm and soft but the inside is harder, two small pearls underneath the silky skin. Link moans loudly when Sidon rubs the pearls, caresses them again and again, because it makes Link press his face against his chest and whine and sigh and groan with this deep raspy voice of his.

“Do you like this?”

This time Link doesn’t waste a second but nods forcefully. It almost makes Sidon chuckle. This was probably the most impromptu response he ever got from his little friend.

Encouraged by this he continues to play with the soft skin, balancing out Link’s unfocused attempts to thrust against Sidon’s midriff with a deft wrist. And maybe if Link likes this he might also like…

“Here, let me…” he murmurs and with his left hand reaches around Link, first up, to moisten the tips of his index and middle finger with his tongue, then down again, following the cleft until he finds the tiny hole and rubs against it softly. Link seems taken aback at first, like he’s not had someone touch him there in a while, but when Sidon rubs at the tight muscle lovingly until it feels like it gives in under his gentle touch, he whines in the back of his throat like a needy animal.

“I can’t push them in,” he confesses. “Because of my claws. I don’t want to hurt you, Link.” He catches a strand of golden hair between his lips, just so his mouth has something to do other that kissing this beautiful man. “You need to use your own fingers and push them in in my place. I’d never want to hurt you.”

For a moment it feels like Link didn’t hear him, but then the small Hylian form curls into itself and Link lets go of Sidon's shoulders. His right hand grasps Sidon’s sash hard. Almost as if he wanted to pull Sidon down, pull him closer, as if Sidon could be any closer. His left though, it reaches behind him. Calloused fingers wrap around Sidon’s wrist and urge his hand lower, deeper. After a second Sidon understands what it means. Link doesn’t want to use his own fingers. He wants Sidon’s. He wants him

But that’s impossible. “I can’t, Link. Please. My claws-”

But Link doesn’t stop. 

“Link, please, don’t do that,” Sidon gasps. “I don’t want to hurt you, I never want to hurt you.” His claws scratch against skin that’s way too soft. It feels dangerous, and it scares Sidon. 

Link is too vulnerable. Too easily hurt. But he wants this so much, he moves his lower body against Sidon’s fingers that he holds in a death grip, like he clings to the handle of his sword. He wants him. And Goddess, Sidon can only imagine how soft and warm and wonderful Link would feel on the inside. If only his claws were not so sharp, if only he could touch Link like this, if only his claws were not there-

And when Sidon grits his teeth, because Link whines lowly, needy and too sweet for Sidon to bear it, he pulls his hand away with a silent prayer, up to his mouth and he bites his nail off his middle finger with his razor sharp teeth. What does he have these teeth for if not for making Link feel good?

It’s awkward to have his sensitive fingertip so exposed, but Link’s skin is incredibly soft as Sidon runs it down his spine, his right still cupping the little pearls firmly. Link squirms when Sidon touches him back there, then moans softly and grabs the sash with both his little hands. “I’m gonna be careful, Link,” he whispers. The hole is so small. It’s still wet but Sidon is scared he’ll hurt him. “Please, if it’s uncomfortable or if you don’t like it, please make me stop.” He groans when Link presses his face against his chest right under his sash. His breath is hot. It feels wonderful.

Slowly Sidon pushes his fingertip inside where it’s so warm and soft. He can’t help but whine. Link really hasn’t been touched there in some time, Sidon can tell by the way the muscle is so tight. It gives in beautifully though and he moans into Link’s hair.

And Link does too, his voice breaking, as he presses against the invading finger desperately. 

“Careful,” Sidon warns, but he is not sure if Link can even hear it with how needy his whine is. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t seem to hurt Link, and it encourages Sidon to press deeper into the small, hot body. He moves his finger, trying to contain himself as Link gasps and moans and whines against Sidon’s chest. It’s so hard though. He wants Link, he wants him so much. His dicks are so hard it hurts, pressing against the inside of the slit. He wants more. He wants to spread Link’s legs and thrust inside, he wants to lean in and kiss him until those sweet Hylian lips are red and puffy. He wants to sink his teeth in his neck and hold Link in place and thrust, thrust. He wants to make Link feel good, he wants to make him moan louder, he wants to make him come with all his body.

“Link,” he whispers into the blond mane, pulling his finger out a little only to press it back in. “You feel so good. My dearest friend, you feel so good, please can I touch myself-”

At this Link tugs on the sash, pulls him close almost brutally.

Sidon gasps as the metal of his collar cuts into his neck. “If it’s okay for you-”

Link nods, then with one hand pulls Sidon’s hand away from his pearls and replaces it with his own. Sidon angles his head to see Link tug on the skin there hard, but if that’s how he likes it, Sidon will keep it in mind for next time, if there’s a next time, please, Goddess, let there be a next time !

And so, Sidon presses the fingers of his right hand against the straining muscles in his lower body and his dicks jut out hard and glistening with precome. The tips are purplish plump from all the blood, like Sidon has never seen them before. He grabs them firmly; it’s almost too much already. But he needs to keep going, he absolutely has to. Because Link, his sweet, tiny, gorgeous Link, pulls him closer with his fingers in his sash, so close that it feels like Link needs him inside. The thought alone makes Sidon’s insides scorch and his breath stutter. 

Right afterwards it’s Link’s sweet moans. The pliant Hylian body fidgets between Sidon’s finger inside him and Sidon’s torso. It’s a feast for Sidon’s libido.

Gasping he pumps his dicks, catches another strand of Link’s hair with his lips. His mouth needs something to do. At this point his instincts kick in too hard to just suppress them with only will power. He needs his lips to be occupied, or else they’ll take over completely and he can’t just bite Link. Link is not like Tona and Gruve and everyone else Sidon has ever been with - Link does not have a fin that Sidon can sink his teeth into to keep him close. His skin is not rough like sandpaper, but soft like water lily petals, inside and out. Despite the urge to whisper into Link’s hair, to praise him for his beauty and how he feels and smells so good, Sidon presses his lips shut around the soft hair and thrusts his finger deep into Link’s body, squeezes his dicks together until he can’t think anything but I love you .

It takes few moves of his hand to make Link growl deep in the back of his throat and close his hand around the tip of his little dick. Then his entire body cramps, and he comes with a hoarse “Ah-”, just like he did when Sidon touched him before, underwater. Just this time the thin white semen seeps through his fingers and the scent of it drives Sidon over the edge, too.

There is no such thing as collecting his own in his hand though, because it’s so sudden and so much he could not fit it in one hand. So instead it splatters freely onto his own body and on Link’s. Thick white spurts cover Link’s thighs and stomach, his tiny waist and left wrist.

“I’m so sorry,” Sidon gasps when he turns his head to see but he finds no matter how embarrassed he is, he can’t look away.

Link’s skin is flushed pink, his scars shimmering and there’s so much of Sidon on him, the view is almost unreal in how much like a lewd dream it is. 

Slowly Link loosens his hand from his tip and looks at his own cum, then at the spurts that Sidon left on him. He looks up, licks his lips. Sidon can only stare as Link runs his fingers through a thick rope of cum on his stomach. Then lifts his hand to his lips. Then parts them, all while looking Sidon in the eye.

“Oh Goddess,” Sidon croaks when Link sucks the white from his fingertips. His pink lips close around his fingers. Soft and plush. Reddened lids shut over sky blue eyes  and around Sidon’s finger, that is still inside, Link’s body convulses when he comes a second time, his small, half hard dick leaking so little Sidon only smells it because it makes his mouth water so much.

He can’t resist, so what he does is pulling Link closer with his free hand, so close their bodies press against each other, and thrusts his finger so deep inside it makes Link whine loud, even with his fingers in his mouth.

“That’s right,” Sidon murmurs, tilting his head so that his lips are close to Link’s pointy ear. “You can have everything. Everything you need, I’ll give to you.” Link tugs on his sash, hides his face in it, his body still very tense. “I’ll do everything for you.” His finger caresses the inside, softly. Link’s moan is hoarse. “I just want you to feel good, my friend. You deserve this. You deserve to feel good. You deserve to feel loved, and safe, and happy. I’ll be here for you, whenever you need me. My sweet, beautiful friend.” Link’s inhale almost sounds like a sob. But when Sidon feels the small body relax against him, he carefully pulls out and just holds Link close. 

They’re both sticky, but it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that Link places both his hands on Sidon’s chest and leans his head against his shoulder. The only thing that matters is that they are close and that Link, his sweet Link, breathes against Sidon’s skin as he falls asleep before Sidon whispers into the blue twilight:

“I love you.”