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Title: In His Skin
Author: purplekitte
Rating: PG
Warnings: trans-ness, trouble with pronouns, bisexuality
Word Count: 584
Prompt: Sept 25; Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Sheik/Link: genderqueer - he had forgotten how to wear skirts
Author's note: Sorry this is late.

The lacing on Zelda’s corset was not too tight, but it made his… no, her breaths be so shallow that her voice came out in short, high-pitched gasps of sound, like a little bird. There were servants to dress her in petticoats and chemises and layers of gown, but the whole court had still seen her rip her skirt from stepping on it and fall on her face in front of them. They didn’t remember the timeline Link had erased, didn’t know about things she hadn’t done, so they didn’t understand why she had changed so suddenly.

There were women in trades, but they still would have been scandalized to see their wise and graceful princess now, had they recognized her. It was child’s play to wrap up golden hair into a turban with a scarf, to take a stable boy’s suit of clothes from the palace laundry, to scale a wall, to steal a horse and ride it astride.

The kingdom needed its princess. She couldn’t cut her hair and never return. Sheik was a means to an end of her protection, not something she should have gotten so attached to. Not something she should want in the absence of need.

Pushing those thoughts down, she concentrated on being a he. Or stopped working so hard at being a girl, as the case was. Thinking every moment of taking small, dainty steps, sitting with knees together, thrusting out her chest, swaying her hips with each step, not swinging her arms too far. Being younger again he didn’t even need to bind growing breasts or cover the lack of stubble on his cheeks.

He rode, his voice rising in wild whoops.

* * *

His youngest knight found him. It wasn’t like Ganondorf, who he’d actually been hiding from, not with someone he wanted to find him.

“They’re worried you were kidnapped,” he said. He did not add, ‘Again.’

“I’ll go back with you.” He imagined wistfully being hungrier, thirstier, colder, sorer, riding in the rain while wounded on treacherous ground. Waiting for him. “Link, what did you think of Sheik?”

Link didn’t visibly react to the non sequitur, though he was always hard to read. “He helped me but avoided me. I wondered why.”

“I was safest in anonymity. I didn’t want you to be distracted from your work by needing to protect me. I didn’t want you to need to protect me like a princess, a damsel in distress, after all I’d been through.”

“Thank you for explaining yourself to me, Sheik.”

Did he understand? How did he really think of Sheik or Zelda or some person he might see as both of them?

“Many people expect the Hero of Time to marry Princess Zelda. Are you going to?”

“I would like to, but it depends on you.”

“Did you like Sheik?” I used to like to pretend that you did.

“Yeah,” he said. “I think I did.”

The racy romance tales of love between men he’d heard when he was first young talked about how boys kissed and how girls kissed as though they were completely different feeling. He’d never been able to feel that, between the bold bar maids Sheik had kissed and that gentle suitors who courted Princess Zelda. He wondered if he kissed like a boy or if Link thought him soft and silly and feminine.

He didn’t ask and Link didn’t say anything, but they both gripped each other hard enough to bruise and neither pulled back.



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