Fin'amor: Latin. Older, more liberal equivalent for " courtly love". Basically here, a passionate love threading on spirituality, but never consumed, by choice.
Heteromance: Consensually romanticized friendship between a man and a woman.
If there was one thing she had come to know over her mortal years, it was the heart of her Hero.
She clearly remembered the day he had returned to her, a man again, with a newfound assurance in his steps, a testimony of maturity instead of bloodshed. Thus he had come, and this time, he brought back masks.
He had presented her a Zora, a Deku child, and a warrior whose powers surpassed any she could have held herself, eons back. She would never see them, since he could only borrow their species' features when donning them.
He had seen and lived many different things though his travels... But she had long been rid of the frustration of not being able to explore them herself. Now, only a melancholic curiosity filled her heart while he told her, so she did what she could, taking great care of his possessions - just in case he forgot to tell her about one artifact or another that was endowed with sentience.
She knew each mask was inhabited by a spirit, to whom he alone could communicate. They were now friends, he had said, and she may have found herself a little jealous for all of her well-meaning. But that was before he told her of their tales.
Of all of his masks, the old demigod frightened her. It was an enthralling being with a strong aura that seemed to pull at her magic. The Deity made her edgy in more than one way. He made her question herself and her body's response to a now married man.
Shortly after his return, Link had been content to settle in a peaceful romance with the pretty heir of the ranch. Their marriage had been brief and discreet; only a handful of people gathered in the Temple of Time, including herself, hidden under the dark hood of a commoner. He had already warned her not to even think about making it a ceremonial event, which it surely would have ended as with the Queen in attendance.
It didn't change anything, she had told herself. It was Hylia's eyes that haunted him, and only those that her hero had ever known to bring with him in his distant adventures. He might have come back, but she knew -didn't she?- what belonged to them would never change -could never change.
Of course she counted the days every time he left. Yes, she used to scout for his mind at telepathic range each time his duty as commander required him to depart the castle. Yes, she missed him, and not only because she needed a reason to slide off the weight of her crown for the span of a few hours. She could say it was because he was the only person she could truly call a friend that every month without him became painful to bear and that would have been part of the truth.
The Zora Mask's ability to swim was a sight to behold. A sight that reminded her of a man who balanced the complete Triforce in his heart, with a sailcloth at his waist and a different ring upon his hand. Not the same, never the same- but then again, neither was she.
This time, he was the husband of a beautiful girl who could offer him peace of mind in a simple love, at least. Only a word; she needed nothing more. He would have easily severed this bond to please Hylia, wouldn't he?
-Even if she didn't offer-
Such fleeting thoughts could have frightened her sometimes.
-would he only hesitate? - And it would have in a few of her past lives; times when she didn't remember anything of her own heritage and history.
Not that she would ask him that absurd sacrifice. Her chosen hero had long deserved his solace, and she had long sworn to ensure that he got it.
It is comforting to know that his devotion is a constant; that somehow, his soul belongs to her and her alone. It was this silent knowledge that stoked the fire through their affections; this fealty had always been her most precious possession as far as the other Goddesses allowed her to remember. She couldn't recall for how long she had thrived in and on it.
In their current incarnations, though, there had never been anything physical between them. She had been a comrade-in-arms, a friend, and was becoming a confidant. Each of these roles carried unvoiced truths, strong and passionate ones that, solely, allowed her to give Malon her blessings.
Yet, neither the secrets of how a fairy boy acquired a soldier's Shield, the detail of his travels and fights, nor the exact number of his scars had been shared with the kind farm girl.
Then, there was 'Sheik'.
Zelda never learnt the Sheikah ways in the Hyrule they lived in, and thus she never wore a Sheikah garb. But the muscle memories remained, and she didn't wait long before choosing another magical disguise. She hadn't given it much thought the first time she had encountered lost people or wounded merchants across the land, but the following month, when word of a strange ranger who helped travelers reached her castle walls, she realized she had been posing as a man.
Out of habit, she supposed. The training and mental conditioning she had undertaken to mold the identity of a fictive man wouldn't leave her mind and body anytime soon. She had felt embarrassed about the needless lie, but wasn't the disguise itself already one? Link found it amusing. "You have always been a tomboy, haven't you? The Sheikah themselves thought so," he claimed. "It fits you, somehow. I wouldn't want you any other way." When she huffed he grined. " Really, a female Sheik would have been strange. But...well, with you I would probably have...accommodated."
"There is no more Sheik," she assured, shifting from one leg to the other in her firm dark garb. "Only a shadow she proposed." And the ghost of an elusive freedom, fled a searing though.
But Link stubbornly kept using the name until she finally got used to it. While it sounded so old in her mind, the way he said it, murmured it to her soul, sounded strong and vitalizing. He knew what he was doing, didn't he? The boy had never truly been one...
Afterward, she greatly prided herself for having guarded her words when 'Your shadow' would had been as foolish as misleading for both of them. She has long promised herself never to burden him with wishes she was the first to refuse and still wasn't ready to honor.
Through the years, the Queen would slide out of her crown as often as possible to don these darker clothes; but only one people knew why her preference went to a tight midnight blue grab garnished with throwing knives and Deku Nuts. She loved to become the shadow of his steps, living through the sound of his breaths... Also, the character felt closer to her nature -and getting to spend ever more time with him never hurt.
For some reason, Link never told his wife the true face of the ranger who had become his best friend in a ridiculously short amount of time. And when Link would be busy patrolling and giving orders to lazy soldiers around Hyrule, 'Sheik' enjoyed escorting the girl to the market, cutting Deku Baba or grass Octoroks on their path. She couldn't deny growing some fondness for the girl and her frequent efforts to remind 'Sheik' why his 'infatuation with her' was purposeless.
It became hard to sort the exact feelings the girl elicited from Sheik. She knew they were mostly positive, through, and anyway, the ranger sound found out that staying indifferent to Malon's loveliness was simply too hard. It was easy to see why Link had fallen for the girl.
She often felt sympathy for Malon's weakness, for her inability to hold a weapon and defend her life. But the girl didn't seem to mind being rescued times after times, by her husband or even Sheik. But, perhaps, it was because Malon reminded her of herself in some way, or some life...
Anyway, both as Queen and ranger, the friendship that linked the two of them remained as passionate as it was platonic -and she couldn't only be glad of his wife's trust and acceptance.
"Not so platonic," her maids would whisper through the castle's corridors. But Zelda was serene. Despite her past pretentions and stubbornness, and repeated mistakes, she liked to think that some real wisdom could have finally found its way from the symbol on her hand to her head. As the years went by, she slowly learned to strip both their hearts and minds of all changing factors, delving deeper to find what made them so unmistakably vital to each other. She could see the connection that tied them so tightly together. Even if she couldn't pretend to comprehend it all, she had learnt, and she had spent more and more of their time probing and learning to balance each other.
While their connection remained undeniable, intertwined with magic and secrets, it was easily tarnished by passion and abuse. Letting go of regrets and guilt would take time -if the frustrating legacies of past generations were any indication.
The Princess learnt to channel the magic of their souls, to get a better grasp of his spiritual fealty, and understood what they had, what they could, and couldn't have together. This time, letting go of ungraspable promises, their bond grew into a comforting assurance fit to renew their strength, vital to wash away the lull of madness lurking in the darkest rooms of their fate.
Through time, their complicity often had they them confronted about their relationship. Always, the answer was the same: "Friends of youth. Companions in arms. Confidants, at best." But those who listened wouldn't know half of the nuances of each of these terms. They couldn't know the visceral desire of a friend after seven years of hiding, any more than they could understand the need of a helping hand after seven days of constant traumas. When eras and lives were fleeting notions, the weight of words such as friendship and loyalty didn't carry the same weight as it would for normal people. Their friendship ran far deeper than the embrace of the most generous of women; his loyalty came strong and unconditional, an unvoiced vow soaring from both romantic and spiritual desires.
They both learnt that memories of past incarnations sometimes disagreed over platonism. But she didn't need memories of other lives pulsing through their hands, linking their foreheads, and taunting her in dreams to know that anymore. They both seemed to breathe and live on this unvoiced fin'amor that wouldn't stop inspiring her kingdom's bards - disregarding how both parties called it a misunderstanding.
Now, the repetition of their lives and the thread of their fate didn't feel half as hazardous when they had found common grounds. In some eras, they would connect physically, in others they would be friends, colleagues, distant or close relatives. Always, their unique paths would come to cross and finally, they would be granted the strength -the power- they had so long pursued. They had finally found each other through the secret of a passionate friendship.
The Queen needed no divine enlightenment to know there was no satisfaction as sweet as the burning heteromance that belonged to her and her chosen Hero.
A/N: I want to thanks Nendil, who is the best betareader in the world, with a valuable knowledge on dragons, princesses and google, without who this story wouldn't have been readable. So...Nendil first betaread this for me, but that was before I decided to tweak and expend it from year to year to the point that I can only hope the grammar is still vaguely correct...I hope it still okay.
About how the "Review this Story" link feels alone: For those who usually don't, please, comment. Even if it's only one word, even if you liked it enough but don't have anything to say, just give an appretiation. Reviews are the only way so far for me to know if the fictions I post are not spam. All comments will be answered. Thank you for reading.