Fandom: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

  • Zelink
  • Genderbend - Female Link
  • Pre-Canon
  • Fluff

Length: 776 words, Oneshot

Date Posted: 2021-08-21

Collections: We Die Like Fen: Time Loop

a gentle thing near flame


Link helps Zelda unbraid her hair, after her pilgrimage to the spring.


Written for saiditallbefore.

"What do you want?"

Zelda has already doffed her ceremonial shift, so the aching chill of the spring's waters can no longer touch her, but her legs have yet to lose their sense of phantom cold. It still bites at her, fire-warmed and sitting side-saddle-style on her bedcovers, in the fresh, dry gown a maidservant handed her without a word upon her return.

Link simply stands before her with her typical silent stare, still the picture of a peasant girl clothed above her station. She's small enough even by the standards of Hyrule's few female knights that the standard-issue undertunic brushes past her knees, where Zelda can still see the drying spatters of springwater and muck from where Link must have stood by the shore, observing. It's hard to think of it as mere hours ago. It's harder still for Zelda to feel like she's really returned, even now, ensconced by the familiar stone walls and the posters of her bedframe.

With a slow, almost hesitant air, Link holds out an object in offering -- a hairbrush, and Zelda spies in her other hand a comb. Link herself makes rare use of them, Zelda assumes, with her own short hair always gathered and tied away, but that's not important.

I can brush my own hair, Zelda almost says, in a reflexive fit of defiance, but that's not even true. The tangled ends of her hair, well past waist length, are still soaked enough to trail wet strings down her side, and her braids still need undoing for the night, and she's so, so tired. Once upon a time, one of her mother's old ladies-in-waiting might have assisted her, but ever since all this hero nonsense began, it's been only Link around to help.

Link waggles the brush in her direction. Zelda takes it as a question, and there's something in it she struggles not to read as playful.

"Do you even know what you're doing?" is what Zelda winds up asking. Link, much to Zelda's hope and dismay, takes this as a cue to approach, settling neatly beside her on the bed, and answers by undoing the first of the ties on Zelda's braids, working the weave apart with quick, deft motions.

"I hope you do," Zelda continues. "Or I'll be quite displeased." She can't see Link's face from this angle, but she can imagine it impassive as ever. The only reply is fingers running through the unbraiding length of hair.

An ice-cold fingertip brushes Zelda's cheek, and she can't fight back a shudder in response. The touch stalls, hovering, and then Link leans around, tilting her head in unrequited concern.

"It's fine," Zelda informs her. "Just... cold."

Abruptly, Link releases her hold on Zelda's hair and stands, pocketing the brush and comb. With sharp turn on her heel, she marches over to the fireplace, and holds her hands out by the fire.

"You... you don't need to do that!" Zelda stands, as well, and in a moment between thoughts, she's across the room, grabbing Link's hands and pulling them away. "I said it's fine. There's no need for you to coddle me."

Link tilts her head again, this time glancing between Zelda and the fireplace. What she would give for even a few words, or even pen and paper with the willingness to use it.


The crackling fire warms her far more thoroughly, standing beside it. Zelda very nearly considers sitting down on the floor, propriety be damned, simply to linger near it. Link seems to stumble upon the same thought a moment later, and Zelda watches her mind seem to work through the puzzle of how to do so without compromising her original task.

With somehow unsurprising strength and care, Link walks to the center of the room, lifts the entire cushioned loveseat in both arms, and carries it back to set beside the fireplace with a single soft grunt of effort. Puzzle solved, she stands beside it, and gestures for Zelda to sit.

"That..." says Zelda, after a short pause and a few quick blinks, "... was completely unnecessary." Her cheeks are warmer than the fireplace should account for, and something burning in her chest chases away the springwater's cold. "... thank you."

Link nods, as if to say, you're welcome, and gestures again for Zelda to sit. She does.

The fire burns on, as rain rattles the windows, and a low wave of thunder rolls through the sky, from somewhere far away. Link works loose another braid, and then nudges Zelda's chin, prompting her to angle her head so Link can get to pulling the still-cold pins tucked into Zelda's hair.

Her hands are warm.