You should be grateful: you’re the only boy I’ve ever waited for.
It’s not every day a princess offers to marry you, you know. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
Well, for you I guess it’s twice-in-a-lifetime. Can you blame me for not seeing that little twist of fate coming? Who gets propositioned by two princesses in the same 7 years? Although, of course, I claimed you first. I doubt Princess Zelda said a single thing about marriage until you were big and strong and strapping, but I loved you when you weren’t. You should be grateful.
I should be grateful. Did I ever really apologize for making you wade through that icky mess to save me from Lord Jabu-Jabu’s stomach? I probably didn’t thank you, either. I was a stuck-up little snot when I was young. Now I’m not so little anymore, but the rest? No promises.
But even back then I knew you were the cutest boy I’d ever meet. I wasn’t in a very good mood when I first saw you, but can you blame me for being snippy while stuck inside a sticky, gross cage? How could you? And you certainly can’t blame me for falling head over heels for the boy who came and rescued me. It’s hard not to get to like a boy who carries you around like a princess and saves you from evil monsters. You try it!
But I also fell for you because you didn’t treat me like a princess, Link. You didn’t bow, you didn’t apologize, you didn’t even leap for joy when I named you my husband! Anyone else would have, but you’re not just anyone. You’re the hero of Hyrule, or shaping up to be it, and I never doubted you for a second. I knew, in my heart, when I saw that boy in his silly green hat!
Two times you’ve saved me, Link. Three, counting how you unfroze my people. I know you’ll always be there to help, but that’s not as comforting as you might think. I know you’ll always be there to help anyone, old or young, man or woman. It’s who you are. And it’s who I am to want more, always more. Do you hate selfish girls? It’s selfish of me, but I want to monopolize you–keep you all to myself. I want to spend all day in the shallows holding you, being held by you, and when someone says there’s trouble on the horizon we’ll say “go find someone else to help.”
I know that could never happen. I knew it from the moment I saw you, seven years older, standing there looking like the man I knew you’d grow up to be. You took my breath away, Link. And I teased you, led you along through the temple, guided you once or twice but you didn’t need my help. Not really.
And you didn’t need me. Your eyes didn’t light up when you saw me, and they didn’t linger on my body, and they didn’t say “I love you” or “I missed you.” Or even “I remember our promise.” The only time you seemed really, truly alive was when you saw a new puzzle, a new enemy to beat. I could tell your thoughts were already preoccupied with the other princess courting your affections. I spent 7 years trying to learn how to lure you when you came back, ensnare you with my body–and it was hers you were imagining. Or maybe a Zora’s body just doesn’t interest you: I was stupid to hope otherwise.
I was so stupid, not making you fall in love with me when I had a chance. Even if it couldn’t have ever been, at least I would have tried. At least I wouldn’t have lost you just because I was selfish, and prideful, and certain you’d never get a better offer.
And she is better. She’s the princess of Hyrule, and pretty and tall, and soft and warm. And here I am, Princess Ruto, ruler of a bunch of water and stupid fish. It’s fitting: I’m ugly and cold and my skin is slick just like one. But if you chose me I’d make you the happiest man in the world, I swear. I’d make you food every day and join you in bed every night, and everything a princess should say “no” to I’d say “please.”
If you ever wanted anything my people would bring it to you. All I have to do is snap my fingers and they’ll give me whatever I ask. Of course, I’m selfish. I’m snotty and I’m ugly and I’m chained to the water like a dumb, flopping, choking fish. And I only ever wanted one thing.