Fic: Soft

Oct. 30th, 2010 10:50 am
spice_mix: (fic)
[personal profile] spice_mix
Title: Soft
Pairing/s: Link/Sheik
Rating: 15+
Warnings: Dub-con, implied violence, implied sex involving underaged characters (16+)
Disclaimer: The Legend of Zelda and its associated characters, items, and scenarios belong to Nintendo. I'm just borrowing them for a bit.
Summary: He was far too pretty for a boy.


He's eight years old when he's first taken to the castle to meet his new teacher and his new charge.

A little boy in a too-big scarf with eyes solemn beyond his years - there's no childhood amongst the Sheikah, nothing but tales and training. He's now at the castle to learn to protect and serve - a new mentor to teach him to be the perfect servant to a growing Princess.

The scarf itches. It's too coarse against his skin, not properly fitted yet. His new mentor is so highly-ranked that she can show her face - he has no such privilege. She's the personal guardian and nanny for the princess - five years old now, and at fifteen, she'll lose her childhood protector and gain... well, him.

Ten years is a very long time. He fears that when the time comes, he won't know where she starts and he ends.

Standing alone in the great entrance hall, his family long gone and his new teacher yet to arrive, he feels very small. All around him, he can hear whispers - nobility, servants, all remarking on the little red-eyed boy in the too-big scarf. It's not an easy position, for people like him - greater than a mere servant, but less than every other Hylian by virtue of his Sheikah blood. Even the most insignificant stable boy can hold their head high and look down their noses at him.

He feels it before he sees or hears it - a hush of anticipation, of something approaching. He straightens up, holds his head up, fixes a blank gaze at something abstract before him - he's not to look at her in the eyes. No one can.

Footsteps, clicking ever closer. And then an imposing figure - tall, white-haired, dressed in fearsome armour, but the same red eyes that he shares.

And behind her... a little girl.

He gazes at her for a moment, then drops to a knee with indecent haste. Tears prick in his eyes. He's scared, and the Sheikah are never scared.

The princess gazes at him for a moment, head cocked, then curtsies and touches his cheek as if she's trying to work out what he is. Her hands are very soft. "You can get up now," she says quietly, and, trembling, he does.

She studies him for a moment, then reaches out to take his hand in hers. "Come and play," she orders, and gives him an impish smile.

He studies her back for a moment, then smiles back.



They flee - a little girl and a Sheikah warrior on horseback, and behind them, on foot, in the shadows, a boy. He's half-ready to drop from exhaustion by the time they're reunited again, sheltering in the hidden caves and hollows of Death Mountain.

He's slumped against Impa, head on her knees and arms around the princess. She's afraid, she's grieving, and all he can do is hold her and try to comfort her, because in five years she's become his world.

He'd do anything to protect her.

She cries when Impa tells her what's to happen, face buried against Sheik's shirt as he tries to stroke her hair with clumsy fingers. It will mean a hiding place, but the loss of herself, the risk of discovery, an uncertain future until the world is once more in their favour.

By the time the ritual is prepared, she's quiet again, nestled in Sheik's lap as they both hold their hands out. Carefully, Impa cuts their palms; Sheik gives Zelda a small reassuring smile as he clasps her hand, letting their blood mingle. It's a forging of a bond, an exchange, something that will irrevocably tie them together for the rest of their lives.

And he watches as Impa chants and Zelda grows more and more distant, the hand squeezing his fingers loosening, eyelashes fluttering as she fights off the urge to sleep. But finally, it's too much. Finally, it's complete. Zelda goes still and limp in his lap, and a curl of light seeps out from the wound on her hand.

His own movements sluggish, Sheik raises a hand to it. And drawn by the still-open cut on his palm, the light gravitates towards him, entwining around his fingers before disappearing beneath his skin.

For just a moment, indistinct gold light flickers on the back of his hand.



He's allowed to rest for a while. By the time he does leave, Impa has carried Zelda's temporarily-empty body away so she may be hidden, he's dressed in a traveller's rags, and the cut on his hand has healed over, a supernatural injury that he can feel but not see.

The castle still stands, but the markets are abandoned, its people having fled as soon as they had learnt what had happened. Some had not been so lucky - bodies lie in the streets, picked over by carrion-eaters and those drawn to the dead.

Undeterred, Sheik presses onwards.

He waits at its entrance, trembling and trying not to. And Ganondorf gazes down at him and laughs, because he's never seen him with the princess, never seen him in the castle, and perhaps the idea of one of the Royal Family's pet shadows pledging his allegiance to their slaughterer amuses him.

He repeats Ganondorf's oath with a trembling voice, refusing to speak the truth but refusing to forget it. He will protect Zelda, he will guide the Hero of Time, but until the day comes that he awakens, he will serve the King of Evil with his life.

Even if it kills him inside.

Like an obedient puppy, he follows the Gerudo woman assigned to watch over him to the garrison, lingering on the fringes. What must these men and women - traitors and opportunists - think of him? A skinny Sheikah boy of thirteen, still practically a child, hiding behind his bangs as he haltingly repeats his story. The Royal Family betrayed my people, so I want revenge. It's a well-rehearsed lie and it trips off his tongue like the words themselves are rebelling at being spoken.

He's directed to his new bedroll, at the edge closest to the stink of the refuse pile. He's new meat - he'll get no privilege. Already late at night, he curls into a ball, drags the blanket over his head, and feigns sleep.

And, silently, he'll pray to the Three for forgiveness of what he's about to do.



Outside, Hyrule suffers and dwindles. And inside the castle, under the protection that being Ganondorf's pet servant affords, Sheik remains safe and secure.

He starts out as an errand-boy, send off to do whatever menial task is required by others. But by the time a year has passed, he's at the feet of Ganondorf himself - a trusted servant to do his bidding, to learn how to fight, to steal, to kill. By fifteen, he is his assassin, a slip of a boy who arouses no suspicion so long as his eyes aren't visible, ending lives with silent footsteps and a deft hand.

The Princess would hate him for it, if she were awake to see it.

But then, the Princess is still safe, and it's her safety that prompts him to do such deeds. If ever he was suspected, they could both find their lives ending at Ganondorf's hand, and so Sheik must do whatever is in his power to do so to as not to arouse that suspicion.

But it's hard, sometimes, when he can see Zelda staring back at him from the mirror.

Something in him has gone wrong, some quirk of his development. Perhaps as Zelda's body grows, far away, his own is affected - a curve to hips that should be straight and angular, a roundness and softness to his face. His hair is like a girl's, falling to his chin in soft locks, eyelashes that are too long and too dark framing bloody eyes.

He's pretty. Unnaturally so, perhaps. And then it's only natural that he attracts attention.

Three years after he first pledges himself to serve, they approach him. There's an ultimatum, of sorts. He may be Ganondorf's favourite servant, but to others, they see only a young man with a curve to his hips and soft hair over dark eyes.

He can go with them willingly, or they can take what they want by force. It takes him a split-second to agree, even as something in his stomach curls in disgust at the idea, at the very concept of pleasing these... men. But what choice does he have? Going willingly, pliantly, means that they won't hurt him, that they won't hurt Zelda.

And her protection overrides all sense of personal preference.

Eventually, after those first few pained months, it gets easier. He gains a reputation, certainly, but it's a reputation he prefers to that of the assassin - someone who joins men in their beds at night for pleasure, not to slit their throats. And the novelty wears off eventually, although he still has his favourites - those that he enjoys the company of, that he may have otherwise chosen as friends had circumstances been different.

They are the enemy, of course. They would not hesitate to kill him to get to the Princess, and when the time came for the final battle, he would not hesitate either.

But for now, with big coarse hands wrapped around his own (small, soft, the fingers dainty and feminine - a musician's hands, he explains) and a big coarse body pinning him to the bed, he will spend his days in the beds of his enemies, and wait for his own salvation to come.



Seven years to the day after he lost himself, he finds himself waiting again - this time, not for magic and bonds and blood, but for a boy in green.

Zelda is a steady presence in his mind. She sleeps, too, although she has moments of lucidity - where he can feel her silently watching what he does. The idea is one that scalds, burns him like the magic that protects her - he vowed to protect her, and instead he exposes her to death and betrayal and the beds of too many men.

If they now share form, does that mean that he's exposing her to these things? He can't forgive himself and he can't stop. To stop would mean suspicion, could mean death - and they're too close to be stopped now.

Now, all they need are six medallions, six sages, and a boy in green.

From the highest window in the Temple of Time, Sheik, with Zelda in tow, watches as he descends from the Sacred Realm like a god on high. The boy - no, a young man, he's grown since he first took up the sword - looks around uncertainly, murmuring something to the winged spark of light (a fairy, Zelda murmurs in the back of his mind, a half-remembered name in mind, Navi) before taking a step.

And Sheik jumps.

Eternally, Sheik will wonder what goes through the Hero's mind at the first glimpse of his guide. Confusion? Sheik wouldn't blame him - it's a soft lithe androgynous creature standing there, dressed in form-fitting blue instead of the red and black of Ganondorf's servants, red eyes gazing at him through blonde bangs. Perhaps they'd identify him as what he was - Link had met Impa, after all.

Or was that suspicion, suspecting a trap, a servant of Ganondorf? He'd have no idea how close he was - oh, Ganondorf knew that Link was to awaken on this day, knew that Sheik would pose as his guide. He had encouraged it, welcomed it - his most trusted lieutenant, keeping tabs on the Hero of Time.

And then Sheik would betray Ganondorf like Ganondorf had betrayed Hyrule. Like Ganondorf had forced him to betray himself. The sheer idea elicits a warm flush of pleasure - he can truly help Link, help restore Hyrule, help free himself.

And Link... Link is the instrument of his freedom. There's power in him, power and wisdom and endless, endless courage, and Sheik finds himself simply looking, taking in every detail. Link will free him, and free them all.

But now, they have things to attend to. Imperceptibly, Sheik clears his throat, and says, "I've been waiting for you, Hero of Time..."

Come and save me.



There's a mark on his skin that wasn't there before.

He notices it as Link heads out the door to make for, hopefully, Kakariko. A sharp pinprick at the back of his right hand makes him look down, pulling back the plate that covers it, and he starts - a Triforce, the triangle denoting wisdom glowing softly.

And with it, Zelda's voice comes loud and clear.

The Triforces are resonating, she murmurs, worry in her silent voice. Stay safe. Stay hidden. Do not return to him.

He still returns. By the time he does, it's faded. Now discernible only as a slightly faded patch of skin under the tan, the guards don't notice as they pin his hands beneath theirs. His thoughts are not there, that night - it's not the guards taking him to bed, it's a green-clad Hero, intensity and compassion both in his blue eyes. It's not a guard's detached gaze, caring only of his own pleasure - he closes his eyes and imagines Link's hands on his body, the fingers wrapped around his own a reassurance, not a restraint.

When the guard is finished with him, he doesn't watch him go. Link would stay, wouldn't he? Sheik's eyes remain closed, thoughts of the Hero keeping him docile and unresponsive as the next arrives, and he waits for the Hero to come and end this all.



Every day, he fights and follows and frees Hyrule, little by little. And every day, Sheik watches.

He rarely returns to the castle, now, wholly occupied by his task of watching the Hero. It's no longer just songs - when the Hero stumbles through the Sacred Meadow, he finds a warm blanket, a bottle of water, an apple and some bread tucked away on the trunk his friend used to sit at. At the Fire Temple, skin red and blistered from Volvagia's flames, burn salve and clean bandages await him. In the Ice Caverns, Sheik moves openly, handing the Hero the blanket before he disappears again, not even waiting for Link's bewildered, "...Thanks".

For the lake, he decides, he'll leave a towel, a change of dry clothes, something to eat. They sit by him as he sits and watches the predawn - below, he can feel something momentous about to happen.

Perhaps, instead, he should be looking above the clear surface, towards the warp platform behind him.

There's warm blue eyes above a soaked blue tunic, and Sheik climbs to his feet slowly, gaze fixed on him. Really, how could he look away? Even Zelda is looking, he can tell, can hear her silent giggle and silent urging. Go on!

He repeats words mechanically, but there's no heart in them - his entire world is just Link. Unafraid, he watches as Link reaches for his hands, wonders why he doesn't try to flee, why he yields to him. Perhaps this is a dream, and he'll find himself alone and bereft once more, but perhaps...

Perhaps, just maybe, Link feels the same.

To the end of his days, he'll never be sure who makes the first move - just that his cowl and his defenses have been torn down, and that there are cool chapped lips against his, and that his eyes are closed without him ever consciously closing them.

He's breathless when Link draws back, a pink flush across the Hero's peach skin. They murmur apologies at the same time, then Link breaks the tension with a soft laugh. He had been wanting to do that for a while, he says, and a tentative smile tugs at Sheik's lips.

Link leads him to the island's sole tree. The grass beneath is soft, tickling the palms of his hands as they make themselves comfortable - Link, reclining against the trunk like a king on his throne, Sheik, settled in Link's lap. There's concentration and fascination in Link's eyes as he lets his hands drift over Sheik's body, exploring contours and curves and angles.

When Link's hands slip beneath thin clothing to explore the soft skin beneath, though, he almost shies away. No, he wants to say, don't touch, can't he see how his body is soiled? But Link is patient - his hands still, drawing him closer in an almost-innocent embrace.

He won't do anything that Sheik doesn't want him to do, he promises. But Sheik still remembers his thoughts from the night Link awakened, almost shivers at the idea of Link's pure touch instead of a filthy soldier's. Reassuring him with a kiss, he sits back and slips off tabard and cowl, wraps and tunic.

Link makes a soft wondering noise and raises his hands to explore - a flat chest and a narrow waist that flares into curved hips, a hint of steel muscle beneath silk skin. His unbounded hair tumbles down his shoulders, no hint of roughness to his skin to marr it.

Slim. Androgynous. Soft. He glances away, shamed, but Link's gentle hands drift to his shoulders, trail down his arms, presses their palms together as their fingers entwine.

"You're lovely," Link murmurs, and brushes away a lock of hair from his face.

And Sheik finds himself surrendering to him as easy as breathing.



Every part of him does not want to be here.

Here, in the Temple of Time, they'll make the exchange. Here, in the Temple of Time, he'll put Zelda in unimaginable danger at her own request, and he will be powerless to stop it. Here, in the Temple of Time, he'll be torn away from someone he's shared body, heart, and soul with for seven years.

And here, in the Temple of Time, he'll say goodbye to Link.

His pulse is racing as he waits for his Hero, palms clammy, mouth dry. A few soft words, the painful bright glare of the Triforce, and Zelda's soul will be torn asunder from him. She will be restored, he will take her place in some faraway location.

It feels a little like death.

Link arrives, and he recites his lines with a faltering voice. Every sentence is one sentence closer to the exchange - and then the plans they made seven years ago will come to fruition.

Link will defeat Ganondorf. Zelda will send him back where he belongs. And he'll never see him again.

At the last moment, he changes the script. He races forward, presses his lips to Link's, clings to him like a child with a favourite blanket. He doesn't want to go. How can he?

"I love you," he gasps, then throws up a hand and is glad when the overwhelming glow of the Triforce means he doesn't have to see the hurt on Link's face.



For a moment, he's utterly disoriented.

For a moment, he has no idea where he is, who he is, what he is.

And then it comes flooding back. Meeting Zelda, Ganondorf's invasion, his pledge, seven years, protecting Zelda, seven years, meeting Link, the Triforce, falling for Link, sleeping with Link, saying goodbye to Link, being torn from Zelda, seven years, seven years, seven years.

He's on his back on a stone slab in a cave, dusty blankets beneath him and a store of food and drink and changes of clothing and a few bundles of paper against one wall. A lantern flickers on one wall, and he wonders who lit it. The Triforce on his hand no longer glows - instead, it's black, scorched, like a brand. Disoriented, he stumbles off the slab, making for the patch of sunlight he can see in the distance.

He emerges in the desert, nothing but sand as far as the eye can see. In the distance, some instinct tells him, is Hyrule; he knows that he's to return, but he has no idea what he'll be returning to.

What if Ganondorf wins?

What if he doesn't?

What if - oh, Thrice! - what if Ganondorf tells Link about his deeds, about how the Hero of Time's faithful Guide spent the past four years spreading his legs for the Dark Lord's servants? Will Link ever look at him the same way again - will Zelda? Zelda, who he couldn't protect from his own deeds?

And Zelda - there's no comforting whisper in the back of his mind. No presence to watch over him as he sleeps. He can't hear her any more.

For the first time in seven years, he's completely forsaken, utterly alone.

And he tilts his head back and screams to the sky.



He remains in the desert for a day, a week, a month. A Sheikah can find water anywhere, but food is scarce - he sleeps in the open and each morning awakens with disappointment he's still alive.

After all he forced Zelda to live through - how can he forgive himself? The desert becomes his penance - he lets sand and hunger erode away at soft lines, to turn him as hard and cold as granite, as brittle as the crumbling rock that stretches for miles. And perhaps one day the winds will blow him away, or perhaps one day he will let sleep take him and never wake.

But they don't. He doesn't. One day, he finds his way into the rocks that surround the gorge, following the path to the river's shore. And there, perhaps he can allow himself a moment's respite, for cool water to wash away sand and sins.

It's the lake he finds himself at later, cross-legged in the water above the entrance to the Zora's home. It's beginning to thaw, the ice sheet thin and degraded - soon, they will be free.

And what of himself?

He runs a hand through the water, lets it tug in soft ripples against the motion of his fingers. The wraps are discarded, the plates that cover his hands and the burnt-in image of the Triforce tossed aside, his sleeves rolled up to the elbow. Perversely, he finds himself fascinated by his own hands - all too easily, he can remember bigger hands around them.

Roughly, gently. Hard, soft. He can't tell which is which, now. Perhaps he is broken. Perhaps he is in need of repair.

Perhaps they can fix him.

He can hear soft footsteps on grass well before they make themselves otherwise known. But he doesn't turn around, and it's not until a booted pair and a slippered pair of feet slip into the water that he reacts.

His Hero and his Princess. So much, he sacrificed for them.

So much, he will continue to sacrifice for them. They need only say the word.

"Did you come to give your condemnation?" he asks softly, not looking.

Both pairs of feet splash through the water until they settle at his sides. Link takes his hand, and Sheik glances at it automatically - gently, softly. Nothing like the other times. Only Link - he's still here.

Zelda takes his other one, gloves abandoned somewhere in favour of warm skin against his. "There's nothing to condemn you for," she answers, and squeezes his fingers. They haven't been able to do that for seven years now, have they?

Finally, he turns to look at her. Taller than him - that's a surprise, he always had towered over her at the respective ages of thirteen and ten. Her hair has settled into the strawberry blonde of her father, darkened from the pale gold of her youth. There's something boyish about the slim frame, counterpart to the traces of femininity in him that even a month in a desert can't erase - perhaps they have something of each other about them, then. A permanent reminder, an exchange that others may remark upon.

But her eyes. They're still her own - deep and blue and wise, and not a hint of darkness or pain in them.

They twinkle merrily. "Welcome back."

And if they can forgive him, then maybe one day he can forgive himself.



Link stays in Hyrule. Nothing could make him leave now - seven years are nothing when he's found somewhere (someone) to call home. He becomes Zelda's knight, her most trusted warrior, even as Sheik becomes her protector, her guardian, and her friend.

They move as a unit, the three of them. A Hero in green, always a welcoming grin on his face. A tomboy Princess-turned-Queen - she wears her hair short, wears trousers, rides a horse. And a Sheikah, soft and curved and small, still tainted by the past but purified by the future he finds in the two of them.

Link slips a hand into his as he stands on the cliffside, arm around his waist and chin resting on Sheik's soft hair. "What are you thinking?" he murmurs, gazing out at the same view - a lake, an island, a tree.

Oh, that tree. Sheik recognises it as a place of transformation - where Link's love broke down the dams so he could begin to love himself, too.

And Sheik turns, leaning up for a kiss as he squeezes the Hero's hand gratefully.

"I think," he murmurs, "It's time to go home."

Date: 2010-10-30 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hiza-chan.livejournal.com
Oh, this was so lovely. I love the feel of everything, the way that Zelda and Sheik passed a bit of themselves to each other over the years and Sheik giving Link burn salves and blankets and how he wakes up in the desert and oh god, I loved every little detail about this. Definitely going in my memories so I can read it again. ♥

Date: 2010-10-30 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ryttu3k.livejournal.com
Thank you :) I love little details like that, so I try and work them in, and yeah. I'm glad you enjoyed!

Date: 2010-10-30 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whimsicalmusing.livejournal.com
This is just lovely. Lush, heart breaking, and lovely.

Date: 2010-10-30 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ryttu3k.livejournal.com
Thank you :) Hopefully not too heart-breaking! I was aiming for an optimistic ending *grin*

(And whoa, your icon just gave me a major nostalgia trip. I haven't played SC2 in aaaages.)

Date: 2010-10-30 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whimsicalmusing.livejournal.com
It's not too heart-breaking at all, just the right balance of angst and sweetness. :)

I don't even remember when I got this. Years ago actually. :) Forgive my ignorance but what does SC2 stand for?

Date: 2010-10-30 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ryttu3k.livejournal.com
Ah! Glad to hear it ^_^

Oh, hee, okay! Soul Calibur II - there's a whole series, mostly on the Playstation but sometimes on other consoles. SC2 was on all three at the time, all with a unique bonus character - PS2 had someone from Tekken, XBox had... I honestly don't recall, and the Gamecube had Link :) Your icon is from the intro - it's here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZlw6PZ6KMs), if you want to watch.

Date: 2010-10-30 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whimsicalmusing.livejournal.com
Duh I loved Soul Calibur II I just didn't make the connection. :)

I haven't played that in a minute...*rubs chin*

I have a tradition I've had since I was a kid to play Zelda every Christmas because I typically received a new Zelda as a Christmas gift. I've been doing it since the first Zelda came out, many years ago. : >

Date: 2010-10-31 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ryttu3k.livejournal.com
Oh, heh, okay XD Fair enough!

Ooh, that could be fun :) I'm relatively new to the series - was first introduced with Ocarina, ten and a bit years ago (I know I came into it late, but I didn't have a Nintendo until them!). Then, a few months later, Majora's Mask for Christmas - and, well, the rest is history *grin* We got Wind Waker and Twilight Princess (as a family) for Christmas, too, and I got Spirit Tracks last year. This year, I'm waiting until March to get the OoT 3DS remake for a late present.

Date: 2010-10-30 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragonmastriss.livejournal.com
Oh man did I love this.

Thank you so much, this totally made my day. :D

Date: 2010-10-31 03:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ryttu3k.livejournal.com
Thank you! :) Glad to make your day!

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