Here's another one. I'd like to apologize for not updating this as early as I thought I would. My computer's been having a field day with me, refusing to start and shutting down when I'm out on the internet, among other things. Hopefully, this problem will soon be solved.

****'

"Hey, all I want is what's real

Something I touch and can feel

I'll hold it close and never let it go"

- Bullets, Creed.

.

Sheik jumped off the horse, not letting go of the reins, and stared coldly at Nabooru, who had followed them up to the castle. He refused to even look at Malon, and he still looked angry. Malon herself didn't dare look at him, and was staring down at her hands.

"Hey, Sheik, what's wrong?"

He gestured to Malon.

"What possessed you to bring her?" He asked, barely hiding the rage in his voice.

"I brought her because we need her. And don't you dare protest, Sheik, you know I'm right."

"Nabooru, what part of ´war´, is it that you don't understand? This is dangerous, Nabooru, and I cannot allow for Malon to be in the middle of it."

"So you're saying you wanted me to leave her in the Fortress, all alone but for a few guards? What if the raiders had come there, instead of here? Then what would you do?" Nabooru asked, her hackles raised." I know just as well as you do that that would have been worse than bringing her here."

She glanced over at Malon who was sitting on her horse still, not daring to look either at her or at Sheik. She seemed to be holding back tears. Poor girl; she hadn't done anything wrong, but Sheik was angry with her anyway.

"Now look what you did! Give her a hug and say you're sorry, or I'll whip that sorry ass of yours!" Nabooru ordered.

He looked at Malon, as if seeing her for the first time since they arrived. His face fell, and he seemed to calm down as fast as he got angry. He helped her off the horse, and threw the reins to one of the stable hands.

"Hey, Malon, I'm not angry with you, alright? Please, don't cry? Please?" He wheedled, while giving her a hug.

Malon sniffed, and nodded. She dried her tears and smiled at him. He smiled back.

"There, not so bad, is it?" Nabooru cut in. "Let's go meet this Queen of yours, then."

Sheik hurriedly let go of Malon and led the way towards the throne room, avoiding looking at Malon as much as possible. Nabooru grinned to herself; things were going according to plan. Of course, since it was her plan, it was brilliant.

**'

Zelda was trying to calm the nobles down, telling them that there was no possible way for them to take on the raiders by themselves, and that they needed the Gerudo. She was close to giving up when the doors slammed open to reveal Sheik and a woman with red hair, and an equally red haired girl that looked vaguely familiar.

"Zel, the help has arrived." Sheik called out, gesturing to the woman at his side. Apparently, this was the Nabooru he had talked about, the leader of the Gerudo thieves. Thieves or soldiers, she didn't care.

She rose to her feet to give the woman a proper greeting. Every other person in the throne room was silent now, watching as their Queen and ruler welcomed a, in their eyes, barbarian woman.

"Welcome to Hyrule Castle, my lady. We are honoured to have you here."

"Oh, sit down, will you? You look ready to fall over, girl, when did you eat last?" Nabooru shot back, sounding concerned.

Sheik hard a hard time holding back laughter, and was practically rolling on the floor, while the nobles in the room tried to gather up their jaws that had dropped to somewhere in the vicinity of their knees.

"Nabooru, you idiot, this is the Queen, you can't order her around!" He managed to get out before collapsing to the floor in a helpless fit of laughter.

Behind him, Malon was trying very hard not to follow him. Nabooru's expression was too hilarious to stand. Then, at just the wrong moment, Link burst in through the door. He took in the scene; Nabooru looking confused, Sheik rolling around on the floor, Zelda looking even more confused, and Malon not far from laughing, and then scratched his head in confusion.

"Uh, Malon, what are you doing here?" He asked.

Everyone snapped around and faced him, Sheik immediately stopped laughing, and Malon smiled a bit.

"I came with the Gerudo, Link." She said.

*****'

A few hours later, when all misunderstandings had been cleared up, and the nobles had given whining, and thrown up their hands in disgust, Malon followed Sheik out to the courtyard, where all the Hylian Guards had gathered for their daily inspection. Link had pestered her about when, how and why she had come, but she had finally managed to explain to him, and had gotten away.

To Malon's confusion, the Guards were talking to each other, ignoring both Sheik and any form of discipline. And Sheik didn't seem to be doing anything about it. He just stood there, looking at them impassively, arms crossed over his chest.

After a while, the Guards were still talking. Even Malon was fed up with them at this point, and Sheik still hadn't moved. She pulled out an arrow and knocked it quietly on her bow. It was time to give these Guards a lesson.

The faint creak alerted Sheik that Malon had done something, and a quick glance to his side confirmed his suspicions; she had drawn her bow. He grinned beneath his veils, and winked at her. Now, all they had to do was wait for the Hylians to notice, which shouldn't take long. They were throwing glances in his direction every now and then, laughing and joking about him. Well, this time they were in for a surprise.

He was right, it didn't take long. One after the other, the Guards noticed Malon, and more importantly, Malon's bow. After a minute or two, all of them were silent. Sheik grinned again.

"Hey, what do you think you're doing? You can't threaten us like that!" One of them called out.

"Threaten you? I was not aware that I was threatening you?" Sheik said, one eyebrow raised.

"She is merely inspecting her bow. There is a war coming, after all, which all of you seem to have forgotten. Today," he looked up at the large clock on the castle wall,"it took you a quarter of an hour to line up. Tomorrow, it will take less than a minute, understood?"

"You can't order us around, you're just some pathetic little moron who thinks he's a friend of the Queen's!" The same Guard called back.

"Pathetic, am I? Idiot, am I? Well, let me tell you little Guard, that while you were lazing you days away here at the castle, growing fatter my the hour, I was out in Hyrule Field, making sure you didn't have to move your lazy ass further than a few feet every day. As for thinking I am friends with the Queen, I am a friend of the Queen's. In fact, I am more than just a friend; I am her teacher, her adoptive cousin, and her commander."

"Commander?"

"Yes; commander. She gave me command over Hyrule's military force, which I am sad to say, is the most pathetic group of men I have ever seen. Which is why I called in the Gerudo. Now, you will go on fortifying the town, while I and the Gerudo take care of the fighting. If I hear one word about how pathetic I am, or how worthless the Gerudo are, I will let my friend here shoot you." He jerked a thumb towards Malon, who did her best to look dangerous.

The Guards left as quickly as they could, all the while throwing fearful glances at Malon and Sheik. As soon as they were out of sight and earshot, he turned to Malon. He grinned, and she smiled slightly back, even though she couldn't see his face. She put away her bow and arrow, just in time to be enveloped in a bear-hug from Sheik.

"Thank you, Malon. I've been trying for day's now, but I couldn't make them believe me or anything I had to say. Thanks." He said.

"Uh, that's alright." She answered, not knowing exactly what to say.

Someone had turned her world upside down; she was treated like an equal by the Gerudo, she had just scared off a squad of Hylian Guards, and Sheik had hugged twice in one day. Yes, her world was definitely upside down.