Notes at the end of the chapter.
What Must Be Done
Chapter 1: Hylia River
Her Knight had remembered. He remembered her. Vaguely, she guessed, but he did. There was no truer joy in her heart in all her 118 years than when he finally whispered a 'yes' in response to her question. Her happiness was such that she wept uncontrollably, momentarily preoccupying her hero, who soon noticed the smile that adorned her face and joined in on her glee, taking the steps necessary in her direction to tenderly cup her face in his hands and place a kiss on her forehead.
She smiled as she remembered the look on his face as he held her in his arms. She had wrapped her arms around him with too much eagerness and had caused them both to fall to the ground. Link merely chuckled, gifting her with one of the most beautiful sounds, as he let her accommodate herself next to him and continue her embrace. She had missed him so much. Her heart swelled when his arms tightened around her waist, and she took the chance to bury her head in his neck and breathe him in, having missed the scent of him for over a century. He smelled like home; like long days of riding and the clean water of streams and the flowers of spring.
How she wished she could still enjoy the warmth of his arms. After their happy reunion, he'd resumed his more stoic self, adhering to propriety once more, for the most part. Yes, he walked closer to her, choosing to walk next to her rather than behind her. Yes, he held her hand whenever he considered she needed help traversing the landscape. Yes, he smiled at her now and then, when their eyes met, sharing an unspoken message. However, he was still too distant for her liking.
After so many years, all she wanted was to confess her feelings for him, but she knew it wasn't a wise thing to do. He remembered her – yes, and clearly cared for her. But nowhere in his eyes could she see something more than what she'd seen in them before: care and duty. And so, she kept her mouth shut and only allowed herself to take him in with her eyes. And oh, did she watch him.
Every one of his moves intrigued her. He moved achingly familiarly, swift and confident, yet unhurried and timid, like he did a century ago. However, there was a newness to it all, like he thought every movement and planned every action thoroughly albeit extremely quickly. Like he calculated everything profusely before deciding. It must have come with experience, she concluded. After all, he spent months getting stronger and completing trial after trial before facing the Calamity. In the past, he used to be less calculative about his actions.
She could see it in his eyes, too, the difference. Before, he wouldn't keep his eyes off her. It seemed back then he relied on other senses to scout around them, as she could always feel his stare on her back. Now, he didn't only look at her. Instead, his eyes surveyed their surroundings continuously, studying everything as they walked. She almost missed his constant vigilance of her but having him walk next to her instead made up for it.
As she sat next to the fire he'd built, at the edge of the copse of trees next to the Hylia River, she continued her observations. Link was in the water, shirtless, as far as she could tell – although probably bare under the surface – washing up. He was working on getting all the grime and blood in his hair from the fight that occurred only hours ago. It didn't feel like that to her. In her mind, she was still trapped in the castle, and these hours that have transpired were merely a dream. However, thinking that it was a dream wouldn't stop her from her current endeavors. In fact, it encouraged her.
She couldn't sleep. She had laid in the bedroll that Link laid for her under the trees for a good part of an hour, remaining still to coach her body to give in and rest, to no avail. Unnoticed by her Knight, she had gotten up and sat down by the fire, where her surprised eyes gazed at the sculpture that was his back under the moonlight. For a second she wondered if she should join him, but with her current lack of knowledge on her Knight's state of dress, it would be completely inappropriate.
She did need to wash up, as she'd only changed her old prayer dress for a pair of trousers and a simple shirt of Link's. But, inappropriate. Watching would be less unfitting. Without shame, she sat and let her eyes take him in, drawing her legs to her chest and resting her chin between her knees. She would close her eyes or look away once he made a movement that indicated he was done, she told herself.
And so, she observed and reflected on the day's events, and wondered if she would ever be able to sleep again. She hoped the insomnia wouldn't be an everyday occurrence.
It was incredible, seeing her with his own eyes. Of course, he had seen her before, a hundred years ago, but to him now, it was something new. He'd only seen her in his memories until now, her actual radiance only a ghostly glow in his mind.
Laying his eyes upon her left him without words. She was the light. She lit up his entire existence just by joining her eyes to his. She tore the world away with her smile. The entirety of the universe dissipated before her presence, and in that instant, she was all that existed to him.
He'd looked upon her with wonder, with praise, with adoration, like he was seeing the Goddess herself and he, as a mere mortal, had somehow deserved to see her up close. When she spoke, it was the sweetest music his ears had ever been blessed with. She had spoken to him from her entrapment, but that distant voice did her melodic tones no justice. He wanted to fall to his knees, kiss her feet and devote himself to her, but her sudden tears interrupted those desires.
He rushed to her in worry and cupped her face with his unworthy hands. Before he could question his actions and regret his transgressions, her hands joined his and her face leaned in to his touch with the most brilliant smile yet. He was completely bewitched by this woman, completely under her control as she wrapped her arms around his frame forcefully and they fell to the soft grass beneath them. He couldn't comprehend how he was worthy of receiving all this from his Princess, but he took it all the same. He held her as long as she needed and restrained any further actions his body wanted in order to not overstep his lines… any more than he already had.
When the moment was over, and his feelings somewhat grounded, he re-took protocol as best as he could. Surely, the Princess wouldn't want him all over her like the malice she'd just been freed from. So, he gave her space, but kept closer than what he probably should nonetheless.
As they walked, he realized they'd unconsciously followed the same route his memories showed him after the Calamity struck. The memory hit him again when walking under the trees. The memory of Zelda breaking down at the loss of everyone they knew. Looking at her walking beside him, he noticed the sad look on her face. She must remember also. Or maybe her mind was somber for other reasons. Night was upon them by then, and even though the location was a bit unfortunate, he set up camp, quickly lighting a fire and setting bedrolls down for them to sleep.
When the Princess had settled down, the Knight, unable to sleep as usual and not really needing it anyway, made his way to the river, deciding it was as good a time as any to wash up. Before doing so, he walked around the perimeter of their camp to make sure of its safety, and then discarded most of his clothes and began his task. He never completely undressed –even before, he recalled– in case of an emergency. It would be problematic if he had to run out of the river in such a state.
He felt eyes on him as he washed his hair. He knew she was looking at him. She had spent all their time together doing so, making him wonder what it was she looked for in him. He turned around suddenly, surprising her and catching her in the act. Their eyes met, and he didn't have to see it to know her face had reddened. He held her gaze as he stepped out of the water, but then her eyes broke the connection as they followed the rise of his body out of the stream. He watched with a smirk as her eyes remained glued to the surface, where the water ended, and his body began. She didn't even try to hide it.
Luckily for him, he'd kept his underclothes on. She looked away abashedly as she noticed this, and tried to act as if she wasn't expecting to see more. He didn't comment about her curious eyes, but he sure felt a bit of pride in himself for causing such a reaction from her. He knew it was only curiosity, but it still made him feel honored.
She couldn't tear her eyes off his body, even after she had been caught. His physique was so enticing to look at. He was lean, yet somehow incredibly strong and muscled. The scars that faintly covered him only added more to his allure. Those were scars he'd earned largely by protecting her, and she currently desired to kiss each and every one of them. As he dressed, she noticed a small smirk on his lips and the flush that covered her face only intensified.
He sat next to her and she quickly uttered an apology. "Sorry for invading your privacy like that."
The Knight shook his head as if to say her apology wasn't necessary.
"I can't believe you're here. I feel like if I take my eyes away from you, I'll wake up from this dream and I'll be back there." It was one of the reasons why she'd been looking at him all day, but not the entire truth. She added the second reason anyway, always being a direct person. "Although I must admit, the view was too nice to look away just then."
His eyes widened, and his mouth opened in surprise, and he looked away as a blush crept up to his cheeks.
"Sorry," she apologized again with a smile, thinking he must have felt uncomfortable at her confession. Trying to change the topic, she began explaining the reason for her presence by the fire. "I couldn't sleep. Closing my eyes takes me back there. And going back there reminds me of the loneliness and confinement I went through. I wish I could just forget it for a while, I do need the rest."
Her Knight looked at her with worry in his eyes, but said nothing, characteristically.
"As do you. You should sleep. I don't think late night swims in he cold river are particularly relaxing. You weren't planning on sleeping at all, were you?" She questioned, remembering how he barely slept back then.
He shook his head.
"Have you slept at all lately?"
He shook his head again.
"Well that won't do. Come on, let us both try to sleep." She offered him her hand as she stood up, a complete reversal of roles from the century before. He hesitated, but he took her hand after a second and let her lead them to their bedrolls.
She let go if his hand to rearrange their sleeping accommodations. She pulled her own roll next to his and sat upon it. "Maybe we can help each other. I do find comfort in your presence after all. I hope you find comfort in mine too." She laid down and patted the space beside her, looking up at him with a smile. His hesitation warmed her heart. So pure, this man.
Knowing that he was hesitating because of his duty, she added, "there's nothing to protect me from around here. I don't see any monsters, haven't seen any all day actually." She patted the bedroll next to her again. "Come on, there's no way you can even fight properly with how tired you must be."
He sighed, giving up, and laid next to her, on his side, mirroring her position. She tried to restrain herself, but quickly lost that fight as her hand reached out to softly caress his face. His eyes fluttered shut and his face pinked slightly, showing her that he enjoyed her touch. She wanted to tell him, she wanted him to know. But she didn't want to push him.
So instead of being direct, she relied on his recovered memories to hopefully fill in the blanks of her statement. "Nothing has changed. In my heart, I mean."
He looked utterly confused at first, but his expression softened as nothing other than realization hit his features. His smile then was so adorable she almost melted right there. He raised his hand to hers, removing it from his face, only to hold on to it strongly and rest their joined hands between them.
With a small smile in both their faces and the warmth of each other's touch, they quickly confirmed the Princess's theory, as they found peaceful sleep within a few minutes of lying next to each other.
The following morning, he was woken up sweetly by his Princess, who'd propped herself up on an elbow to lean over him as he slept. She'd pressed a kiss to his brow as she softly called his name and ran her fingers through his bangs lovingly.
What he had done to deserve such devotion from her was unknown to him. Helping her seal the Calamity was nowhere near enough for this reward to be merited, but oh— how he yearned for it, how he enjoyed every minute of her closeness.
She smiled at him affectionately when his blue orbs met her green ones, and he had to fight with every fiber in his being to not pull her by the nape and kiss her. She was so very close to his face, and to make matters worse, she kept looking at his mouth, as if having the same thoughts. How was he supposed to control himself like this?
Logically, there was no reason for him to feel this want. Most of what he remembered of the Princess wasn't pleasant, as she'd been horribly rude to him at the start. However, it wasn't the memories that sparked that affection in him. At least, not directly.
It was just her. From the first time he opened his eyes, he knew that she was the most important part of his life. He knew, as soon as he heard her gentle voice coaching him into waking, that he was hers, that his life belonged to her as much as his heart. And not just now, but always... since the beginning of time until the end of it.
The sun hadn't risen yet, but the faint light on the upcoming sunrise illuminated her face beautifully. Her eyes, large and dilated, didn't remove themselves from his features. The Princess leaned in closer and whispered a question he thought he'd imagined.
"Would you kiss me, Link?"
He should refuse, he knew. He was her Knight, her protector, her friend at most. But she made it so difficult. She didn't wait for a reply as his eyes probably spoke enough to her. She leaned in even closer, noses touching, her lips parting enticingly. His hand rose to her cheek as he so very nearly gave in. But he pushed her away softly, noticing the instant hurt in her eyes.
He didn't want her to think that he didn't want what she did, so he pulled her back to him to place a kiss on her forehead, hopefully that being enough to convey what he felt. It wasn't however, as the Princess only looked glum as she sat up to distance herself from him.
He held on to her hand and sat up as well, deciding to use words to explain why it was better this way. "I am but a Knight, Princess. I can't possibly— "
"I don't care," she interrupted him, squeezing his hand as she held his with both of hers. "Link, I—"
"I know," hearing her say that would break whatever minimal sliver of control he had left.
She said it anyway. "My heart beats for you, Link."
The truthfulness in her voice and the yearning in her eyes almost ended his resolve. He grabbed one of her hands and pressed it firmly against his chest, right over his heart so she could feel how his beat for her also. She understood, because she smiled beautifully and pulled him in for a hug.
Before she could wrap herself around him, though, he held her face tenderly and met her lips with his. Damn the rules. It was a quick, gentle kiss. Full of love, full of promise. When they parted, the Princess just smiled prettily and planted another quick kiss to his cheek with a whispered 'thank you.'
As the sun rose, after the Princess cleaned up in the river whilst her Knight respectfully kept his back to her—unlike what she had done— the pair continued on their way to Kakariko Village, opting to hike through the Sahasra Slope rather than take the long way around.
Finally, after many months of working on this story, I have finished it. Since I didn't want to start a story and end up never finishing it, I waited until I wrote the whole thing to begin publishing I have been obsessed with Breath of the Wild since it came out last year. The story left so much to be filled by the imagination, that mine went wild. This is not a story that will fill in the details missing from the game. It's about what happens after.
This story will not be very politically involved in Hyrule's future, although it does play a part. It also won't have much action in the form of fights and wars and such. It's mostly centered around the relationship between the protagonists, how they deal with Link's missing memories, their feelings, and their responsibilities. There will be a lot of mature content, so I do not recommend this story for the younger audiences. I will not warn, because I personally hate the spoil of mature scenes in the beginning of a chapter.
It'll be very fluffy and smutty and inappropriate for this site, which is why I will also upload to AO3 just in case it gets taken down. I will post the full thing here uncensored until then.
I will update weekly. I will upload a new chapter every Friday.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed the first chapter. It is cute and short, and doesn't have that much of a plot, but trust it'll get there. See you in the next one!
With love, WishfulInfatuation.