Red, the Color of…

Disclaimer: I don't own anything recognizable of Shigeru Miyamoto or the Legend of Zelda series. I'm just a teenager who got out of school due to a snow day and wanted to write a Valentine's Day Oneshot.

Warnings: Yaoi

Pairings: Link x Sheik

Author's Notes: You know what's sad? The fact that I have to keep stating that Sheik's a guy in my fanfics, that's what. Or that there's yaoi. How annoying. It should just be stamped across every single story that I write. Anyways, this is a long, cute oneshot that takes place after Ganondorf is sealed. It's written in Sheik's point of view and considers his relationship with Link. If you don't like this kind of stuff, I suggest you mosey on out.


Day One: Red Eyed

Red is an interesting color. Mankind has twisted its symbolism throughout history, butchered its meaning until not even they were certain what it truly signified. Because of this, red is a constantly misunderstood color that contradicts itself with all its artificial meanings. For example, red has been depicted as the color of blood, the unforgettable crimson stain of death and nauseating pain. Yet, red is also regarded as the color of love, one of the most complicated and beautiful emotions known to man. Red is seen as the color of anger, of rising fury that blinds us to everything but our own pain and suffering. And again, red is the color of passion, of the deep desire and inexplicable desperate urge to covet and protect with smothering intent.

The implicit side of me considers the color red symbolic of majesty and divinity, but my opinion hardly matters. You see, everyday I wake up, and everyday I look in the mirror, I don't see majesty, and I certainly don't see divinity. I see my two own eyes staring back at me, the black pupils barely visible in the depths of the crimson red. I don't see eyes the color of love, anger, or of passion. I only see eyes the color of shadowed blood.

This outlook of myself was purely born of my reluctance to accept my differences from those around me. Though I don't blame them, the townspeople make it difficult for me to grasp my own sense of humanity every time they stare at me with those expressions of fear and doubt. Humankind is naturally afraid of the unexplained. My red eyes remind them of blood and of the seven years of loss they suffered. My eye color is incomprehensible to them — it's not normal to them.

It doesn't help that Ganondorf's eyes were red as well.

For years I have dealt with this prejudice against my crimson irises. I suppose I should have learned to ignore the looks, to deal with the whispers, and to accept the fact that the people will never change their own outlooks on me.

But, when the elderly potion's brewer brought her hands up together and made a complicated hand gesture as we entered, I couldn't help but feel disquiet. That particular hand sign was to ward off dark magic and demons. The last time I had seen it used was four years ago when Ganondorf still ruled Hyrule. The fact that I was treated with the same method of superstition against evil as Ganondorf was sickening. I shifted my weight uncomfortably and paused inside the shop, not taking another step forward. Masking the pain in my blood red eyes, I stared indifferently at a wall lined with bottles and containers.

My companion, much to my pleasure, bristled at the gesture and growled low in his throat. The old woman's eyes widened, the film of age covering them shifting, before humbly looking away and bowing her head. Ah, of course. Everyone knew who my eminent friend was. No one ever looked up at him with fear and uncertainty.

To them, he was the beloved Hero of Time, a man of the goddesses. To me, he was Link, my one and only love.

Fingers brushed reassuringly against my shoulder as he walked past me and confronted the hag, sending shivers down my spine as I heard that airy low voice of his dealing quietly with her. Queen Zelda was working on making a remedy for the Zora King, who was regrettably dying. She needed a few ingredients from Kakariko Village's infamous Potion's Shop, and had sent her two lackeys — I mean, most trusted friends — to complete the job. Why she hadn't just sent her aide to pick up the ingredients was beyond me.

Ignoring the way a small boy was watching me, I turned and stared determinedly at a wall. You'd think people would have a little more respect for a Sheikah. Especially in Kakariko, where my own people had established the village and protected the people countless times.

But times have changed, I suppose.

"Thank you," I hear Link murmur softly, exchanging a few rubies for the needed materials. He pivots on his heel and wordlessly takes my arm, dragging me out of the offending shop. Unable to help myself, I lean into the rough physical contact, though I manage to feign anger at being so rudely handled. Link ignores my heated glare and guides me down the stone steps outside the shop, his grip tightening unconsciously as a peddler stares at us.

Link is the epiphany of justice and righteousness. To him, I'm the waylaid puppy that was beaten and mistreated before he came along. It's in his nature to protect others, especially his friends, which I like to think counts me. Sometimes, though, I wonder…what he sees when he looks at my eyes. Does he see blood, like I do?

We finally stop outside the village, or rather, Link stops and I am jerked to a halt beside him. Muttering, I brush myself off and scowl, though I doubt he can see it behind my mask. "What was that for?" I ask, eyebrows knitted together although I already know the answer. Hearing him say it, however, was well worth the effort.

Link glances at me with those gorgeous blue eyes, melting me on the spot, and his face softens from the cold warrior. "I don't like the way people treat you," he replies in that soft voice of his. Suppressing a shiver, I smile.

Link was one of my first friends. Since the moment I laid eyes on him in the Temple of Time when I was twelve, he has always been the center of my adoring thoughts and affection. He's so pure of heart and spirit it's almost terrifying. He would have willingly died for Hyrule during the Imprisoning War (1), though having lived in the Kokiri Forest all his life he had no obligation to this country. I fell in love with him during the war, while I was supplying him with information about the Sages and the Temples. His determination and steel will were admirable, but his love for a country he barely knew was…inspiring. As much as I would love to, however, I have never told my Hero of Time my feelings concerning him. He has too much to worry about anyways. The adoration of another fan would just be troublesome and annoying. He already had a flock of stalkers from the town market, no need to add another one to his list.

"It matters not," I finally reply, distractedly watching him walk down the steps to the awaiting Epona, fascinated with the fact that Link has no shadow. Gracefully following him, I manage to sway my vision from his feet to the castle looming in the distance. My keen sight picked up the sight of carriages heading for the bridge leading into market and I mentally groaned.

Link too had seen them. Mounting Epona, his expression sours. "I see the Queen's guests are arriving," he comments, winter blue eyes narrowed as he tried to get a better look. After a moment, he looks over his shoulder to me. "I suppose as Her Majesty's Guardian you're required to attend the ball?"

I nod soberly, not meeting his intense gaze. "Yes," I reply tonelessly. "It's to be expected." In three nights was the long awaited Harvest Ball. Diplomatically, it was arranged to seal ties of friendship between neighboring empires. Politically, it was to find an apposite suitor for Zelda.

That's right, Zelda and Link are not a couple, despite popular belief (and to my eternal gratitude). They had been engaged after the Imprisoning War, but both broke it off for personal reasons.

Basically, neither could stand the thought of having sex together. In the end, they were too close. Hypothetically, Link was Zelda's best friend, and I was her older brother. This also left me out of the question for marriage. When the council had raised it as an option, Zelda actually laughed at them. I was a bit offended that she did, but she so graciously explained she hadn't meant it hurtfully.

"That's good," Link replied quietly, smiling. My heart fluttered as I turned to look at him, and I shifted my weight from hip to hip. "I'm glad I'll have some good company." My blood red eyes widened dramatically at this, and I took a hopeful step forward.

"You're going?" I asked, smothering that annoying high pitched tone that kept popping up whenever I addressed him.

Link smiled mysteriously and offered me his gauntleted hand. Scowling genuinely this time, I took it in my own and allowed him to haul me up behind him on the sorrel mare. I was honestly surprised. Link wasn't exactly a social butterfly, so to say, and Zelda had already told him he should go visit Saria and the other Kokiri children during the time we would be at the ball. Grinning like an idiot, I looped my arms loosely around his waist as Epona trotted across the small bridge and picked up a gallop to the castle. Link, being ever the skilled rider, was guiding her with his knees while he held the ingredients in his arms. Resisting that tempting urge to press my cheek against his muscled back, I instead opted to slide as close as I could without making him uncomfortable, still grinning as his legs swung against mine from the stirrups.

If I could never explain to Link my deep, not so platonic feelings for him, at least I could cherish the fact he saw me as an individual, not just a red eyed creature.

For that, I will always be grateful.


"What?!" I balked intelligently, starring at the amused look on Zelda's face.

I was sitting on a stone bench in the gardens, having returned from my little expedition with Link two hours ago. Below me was the most powerful and influential woman in Hyrule, on her hands and knees, covered with dirt and grime…gardening.

"You heard me, Sheik," she replied teasingly, flicking dirt on my nose. "It's a masquerade ball. Weren't you listening to me last week?"

To tell her 'No, I was too busy drooling over the fact Link had just come in shirtless and sweaty from training' would be problematic. So I justified myself with a half-truth. "I…er…was preoccupied, I guess," I said intelligently, blinking as soon as the words left my mouth. Really, Sheik, could you get any more pathetic?

Zelda stood, this strange knowing glint in her eyes that I did not appreciate at all, and wordlessly sat down next to me, brushing off her apron. "I see," she replied mockingly, sapphire eyes alight with mischief. "This wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Link had come in shirtless and sweaty from training that day, would it?"

'Damn you and your troublesome telepathy, woman!' is what I would have liked to say. Instead, I found myself tackling her to cover her mouth with my hands, my blood red eyes wide with horror. "Zelda!" I hissed through my teeth, looking around wildly as if expecting none other than the Hero of Time to pop out of the bushes any moment. "Not so loud!"

Beating my hands off, the Queen laughed and shook her head. "I knew it!" she triumphed, pumping her fist into the air very un-lady like. "I knew you wanted him!"

To hear the most powerful and influential woman in Hyrule say something so…so…uncouth…was certainly disconcerting. I gaped at her like a fish before sputtering something in Sheikan and blushing a hideous red that I'm sure reached my ears. How could I respond to that?

"I knew it!" she repeated. "I knew it as soon as we went to Lon Lon Ranch three years ago! The rancher's daughter, Malon, had been all over Link! Goddesses, I thought you were going to burst a blood vein!"

"Zelda!" I whined, having already lost all my sense of dignity. "Please keep your voice down!" Truthfully, I wasn't so surprised she knew; it would take a moron, or Link, not to notice my ogling or adoration for the blonde.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," the so called Queen conceded, brushing her hair back from her fair face and turning to face me with her hands on mine. "This is great though!" she continued, squeezing my bandaged hands.

"Why?" I queried skeptically. "The one person I love will never return my feelings because of the fact we're of the same sex and it would be frowned upon by all of Hyrule. And the fact that I would have a hundred women banging on my door to kill me…" I trailed off, shuddering. Earlier, when we had returned from Kakariko, one teenager had actually flung herself on top of Epona to get to Link. I had oh so 'accidentally' heeled her in the neck, where her convenient pressure point was. Women (and some men) were constantly bothering Link with fanmail and love proposals. If this wasn't reason enough for Zelda, what about my eyes? An ugly color, to be sure. Not something I'd want to wake up to every morning...

Zelda rolled her eyes at me. "Sheik," she began in that motherly tone of hers, "don't be so pessimistic! I meant that the masquerade ball will be a great chance for you and him to get together!"

Her sense of logic was astounding. Really. "How?" I demanded sarcastically. "You expect me to dress up in a gown and prance about like one of his stalkers?"

" 'Like' one of his stalkers?" echoed Zelda, a pointed eyebrow raised. Muttering, I turned away and stared at the flowers, regarding the roses scornfully. How cliché. 'Love is like a rose. Beautiful, but painful.'

Someone failed to mention roses were red as well. The color red…beautiful but painful.

I scowled.

"Listen, Sheik," Zelda commanded, seeing my attention had wandered off. Snapping back to reality, I switched back into the cold, indifferent Guardian, forgetting all about the hormonal, emotional Sheik. "Link hates being around those women, and you know that. This'll be your chance to really get him to yourself and take down your mask."

"Which one?" I retorted testily. "The emotional mask or the physical one?"

Zelda didn't get angry with my annoyed tone. Instead, she smiled and leaned forward, kissing my forehead. "Both," she replied simply. "You love him, Sheik. Why deny yourself knowing how he feels about you? You're but twenty-three years old! Live a little. Tell him how you feel. The worst that could happen is that he would say that he doesn't return your feelings. But Link would never straight out reject you. You could profess your undying love for him and he'd still be there for you the very next day."

I looked away, swallowing. Maybe he could accept my feelings for him and move on without rejecting me, but I never could. If all I could have was his friendship, then so be it. I wasn't going to give myself false hope that he would ever return my miserable love.

When I remained silent, Zelda shrugged her lithe little shoulders and stood. "So," she began conversationally, glancing at me over her shoulder. "What are you going to dress up as for the ball?"


Day Two: Red Blood

"Want to spar?"

I was jerked from my thoughts as that divine voice penetrated my mind. Blinking, I turned away from the window to stare at Link, who had somehow managed to sneak up behind me. Berating my senses, I turned around completely and leaned against the windowsill, arms folded across my chest as I sized him up.

This morning, Link was dressed casually. His white, high necked shirt was loosely laced up, revealing some of that gorgeous fair skin across his collarbone, and wasn't tucked into the simple brown trousers he wore. A long green overcoat was thrown over the shirt, and it hung a few inches from his pristine brown boots. His long golden hair was tied back from his face to my surprise, for it was usually hidden behind his tunic's hat. I could see the hilt of the Master Sword peeking out from his left shoulder, and I smiled, forgetting my annoyance that he had crept so close without my noticing.

"Perhaps," I replied ominously, turned back to the window and leaning forward to regard the land of Hyrule. The vaguer I was, the more time I could spend with him. Or at least...that's what I told myself. A triumphant smirk touched my lips as I heard him approach me and settle against the window next to me.

"Perhaps?" he echoed in amusement, an eyebrow cocked as he regarded me with those soul searching blues.

"Perhaps," I repeated, grinning widely and ignoring him to savor the sight of Hyrule. Ah, who the hell am I kidding? I was grinning widely and savoring that sweet autumny scent that was distinctly Link. It was rich and crisp.

Reminded me of the Kokiri.

Shivering as his hand brushed against mine to grip the windowsill, I licked my dry lips and nervously glanced at him, mulling over Zelda's words. His winter eyes were set on something I'm sure I couldn't see if I tried, so I remained silent, opting to memorize his features.

"Sheik…" I shivered again, loving the way he said my name. "What…what's wrong?"

"Nothing is wrong," I replied instantly, eyes clouded over as I hastily averted my eyes. His jaw tightened and he spun me around to face him, pulling me closer. A part of me was thrilled, yet another was upset that, despite our two year age difference, Link was still a good head and a half taller than me. Having to stare up at him, I felt, was embarrassing.

"Is it about what happened yesterday?" he asked persistently, hands sliding down my arms much to my pleasure and distraction. I sent up a prayer to my ancestors; the skin-tight uniform of the Sheikah was at least good for one thing. His fingers against the material sent goose bumps flaring down my sensitive skin. When I refused to look him in the eye, one of his hands left my arm to lift my chin up. Swallowing, I noticed just how close we truly were. I could make out those thick eyelashes of his with ease. Licking my lips again, but not because they were dry, I managed to shake myself out of my reverie.

"What?! No! It has nothing to do with that woman," I answered in partial truth, eyes shadowed. His gaze was so intense. I tried to draw my own away, but it was more difficult that I expected. His eyes were so beautiful…hmph, unlike my own. I wonder...what did Link think of them? Was he repulsed like everyone else...or...?

"Ah, but there is something wrong," he voiced, picking up the 'it has nothing to do' line right away. Cursing him (and bursting with pride for him) I roughly pulled out of his gentle grip and placed my hands on my hips.

"Forget it, Hero of Time," I replied coldly, ignoring the way my heart was screeching at me. I was a Sheikah. I had a duty. Don't let love get in the way. Don't let him know. Don't let him get hurt. "You said you wanted to spar?"


I flipped back, a dagger materializing in front of my impatiently waiting fingers, and instantly hurled it at Link, retreating from that damn sword as he lunged at me again. I wasn't a short range fighter, so to speak, and Link was really pushing me and keeping me on my toes. I didn't want to waste any of my mana just yet, so I resorted to graceful acrobats and my resourceful daggers and dirks to keep Link at bay.

The sun beat down on us harshly, making me desperately want to strip off my tight, restricting clothes like Link had his overcoat. I could feel the sweat rolling down my back, just as I could see it rolling down Link's face. If we didn't finish this off soon, the sun would.

Back, right, back, left, spin, kick — blocked — back, left, back right…I rolled backward, my hand slipping into my boot to retrieve a dagger, and I stood, taking in his offensive position and the way he was holding the Master Sword. He rushed at me, the blade cleaving through the air loudly, but he hit nothing but air. In a flash of light, I reappeared behind him, my dagger poised above my head as I descended. Unfortunately, the Hero of Time had anticipated this and swung his leg around, catching mine, and sending us both tumbling to the ground. He rolled his feet, I vanished.

His blue eyes narrowed as he slowly loosened the lace tying up the neck of his shirt and spun around in circles. His eyes passed over me without seeing me, though he must have felt something, because he headed in my direction. Grinning, I flipped the dagger over and over in my nimble hands before letting my cloak of invisibility fall and stabbing down. The Master Sword caught my dagger, and we stayed like that, struggling against one another for dominance. His face was tight with determination and focus, and he glared up at me.

I grinned. He needed both hands for the Master Sword. I only needed one for my dagger. In a flash of my hand, my personal cruelly notched dagger slid into hand. Link's eyes widened, and he shoved forcefully against me just as my dagger sliced through the air for his neck. I fell back, and was unable to regain my footing before Link was on me again, pushing me farther away with his sword. I ducked, dodged, and jumped, surprised at this new drive in him. Thankfully, I knew that the Hero of Time had one glaring weakness while he was so wildly fighting like this.

His gaping defense.

I waited for the moment and then jumped up, landing directly on the edge of his sword as it horizontally slashed through the air. His beautiful blue eyes widened in recognition, as if this move had been used against him before, but my foot was already in motion. I swung it towards his jaw just as the sword faltered under my weight.

But Link, being ever prepared, swung his head back out of reach and let go of the Master Sword completely, which took me by shock, in favor of grabbing my leg. He swung me off, and I managed to cast a spell of transportation before I slammed into the courtyard wall.

Admiring him from quite a safe distance, I pulled dirks from their sheathes and held them between my fingers like knives. Brandishing them dangerously, I ran back into the fray, attacking wildly. By now, he had already retrieved the Master Sword and was parrying my every lunge. I vaguely noticed he was smirking, and my eyes darkened. Sheik of the Sheikah was not to be taken lightly!

I froze for a moment, laying off the offensive for defensive. Then, growling, I began hurling my daggers at him like throwing knives. He blocked the first couple with his sword, but had to resort for falling back and dodging for my last batch. When I seemingly was weaponless, he descended on me once more.

I fell back on my haunches, hurriedly unwrapping my bandages around my fingers and letting them hang to the ground from where they were tied around my wrists. When he finally swung the Master Sword down, I sprung into action. I sucked my stomach in and twitched my hips back, barely avoiding the blade, before snapping down my wrists. My bandages, with quick jerks of my hands and wrists, wrapped around the descending blade. Link blinked in surprise as I wrenched the sword from his hands with a tug of my bandages.

Of course, I had no desire to touch the Master Sword. I'd probably be incinerated by its godly powers of 'righteousness' if I tried.

Whirling my hands above my head, I uttered a few words and my arm bandages disappeared, leaving the sword to whirl somewhere out of the courtyard. Ginning in satisfaction, I turned back to Link with my hands on my hips. However, my love wasn't paying attention to me. Or rather, he wasn't looking me in the eye. He was staring at my arm with such intensity that I turned to look as well. My fingers and wrists were know exposed, leaving my bronze, untouched skin visible to view. Embarrassed (and thankful Impa was fulfilling her Sage duties, far, far away), I quickly spelled my bandages back and began the tedious job of rewrapping my arms and fingers. I could still feel Link's gaze burning into me, but tried, unsuccessfully mind you, to ignore it.

As soon as I tied off the bandages, Link was rushing back to fight, and this time it would be hand to hand.

Kick, block. Step, step, back, left, left, right, back, step. Punch, jab, kick, block, block, step, block. Left, right, turn, spin, kick, damnit I missed! I dropped to all fours as a kick soared over my head, ruffling the bandages over my hair. I stood immediately, but was forced on to the defensive. A well aimed punch was blocked by my straight, board-like fingers. Then, as the hand retreated, my fingers snaked out and locked around his wrist, tugging him forward. I kicked straight up, narrowly missing his face as he jerked it to the side once again, and, much to my extreme horror and embarrassment, my leg ended up over his shoulder.

My, my, my…what a promising position, a perverted voice whispered to me before I silenced it savagely. Link himself seemed a little surprised by my flexibility, which gave me an opening. Trying to calm my rapid heart, I pushed off the ground on my left foot and snapped my right leg down, hooking it over his shoulder. My added weight on top of him was enough to send him falling backwards. Just as I tried to untangle myself and flip back to avoid slamming into the ground, a hand grabbed me roughly by the waist and threw me down. I hit with a loud grunt, my ribs aching, though I knew I deserved it for that provocative position and attack I had used. Not even a second later, I grunted again, but this time because Link had landed on top of me. Hissing, I tried to get out from underneath, for I was vulnerable, but his weight pinned me down.

That and the fact I wasn't struggling that much. I rather liked this, truthfully.

"You win," I croaked, my throat horribly dry as I gazed up at the burning sun, trying to ignore the blush covering my cheeks. It felt so good for him to be on me, whether it was just from sparring or…

Shaking me head to clear the dirty images, I rolled it to the side, ignoring the blue eyes watching me silently. Sometimes, Link really unnerved me with the intensity of his gazes. I know he doesn't mean to be so serious, but it's difficult to figure out what he's thinking when he gets like this.

"Want…" Wheeze. "…To…" Pant. "…Get…" Struggle. "…Off of…" Failure. "…Me…?" Now I really did need for him to get off, because with all my wriggling I had felt the smooth, hard expanse of his stomach against mine, and it was driving me crazy. Sweat slid from his face onto mine, and I groaned, though I managed to make it sound like one of pain. I hope.

Link wordlessly rolled off, leaving me cold and alone on the ground, missing the feel of his body against mine. Sighing quietly, I sat up and rubbed at my aching heels, looking around for my daggers.

"Why didn't you use your magic?" asked Link softly, and to my discomfort, directly behind my ear. Shuddering in spite of myself, I glanced at him and shrugged, not really knowing why.

After a long silence, I felt hands slid under my arms and haul me to my weary feet. I could feel his breath on my neck, and I closed my eyes, trying to focus. He reached around me to take my hand. Startled, I opened my eyes and watched as he silently placed all nine of my daggers / dirks into my palm before walking off to retrieve his overcoat. I stared at one of them, noticing the crimson staining it. I had actually broke though his defenses. I hadn't even noticed. Swallowing revulsion as I saw my crimson gaze starring back at me through the reflection on the steel, I turned around to look for Link. Had I injured him badly? Usually we don't aim for killing blows, but this fight had been a little more…intense than usual. Goddesses, how careless of me! I actually cut him! Why hadn't he said anything? Did he need healing? Was he badly bleeding? And why, damnit, did I keep seeing my reflection in the damn blood? I whirled around in a circle until I spotted him, my chest tight with worry.

He was watching me from across the courtyard, having already found the Master Sword. My heart picked up again at the sight of his uninjured self. I realized he must have cut himself picking them up for me. Sighing in relief, I wiped it on my leg and began replacing my deadly edged weapons back where they belonged. Two in each boot, one on either bicep, the notched dagger behind my neck, and two hidden against my bare skin on either hip.

When I looked up again, Link was gone. Pushing back the sadness I felt, I managed a shrug. So what if he left without a goodbye? He was a busy man. At least I'd be able to see him in two days.

Which reminded me.

I still didn't have a costume for the ball.


Day Three: Red Foxes

"What are you looking for, sir?" asked the young girl politely, drumming her pink coated nails against the counter and regarding me coolly. This was surprising; most people avoided eye contact with me.

She was a bit small for her age, which I deemed to be somewhere around sixteen. Her long chestnut hair was pulled into two pigtails on the sides of her heads, and they were adorned with all sorts of accessories and ribbons. Her bright green eyes swept over my mask in interest, and I could see the question in them 'Why does he dress like that?' but she was well mannered enough to keep it to herself. Dressed in a provocatively short dress of pink and white, I immediately feared for her safety. Did parents have no standards these days?! I vaguely noticed she was barefoot, but that was probably due to the fact the floor was richly carpeted. Overall, she was a very pretty young woman, but young she was. I wondered if Zelda would allow a guard or two down from the castle to watch out for girl. She was an eye turner, and I was afraid that her youth might be used against her.

"I'm looking for something suitable to wear for the castle's masquerade ball tomorrow night," I replied softly, my eyes drifting over the rows and rows of costumes and masks and dresses in sight. All the flamboyant colors were seriously making me sick and dizzy, and…I blanched looking at a certain dress…how did one even go about wearing that?

The girl's face lit up immediately and she met my gaze steadily, beaming. "Really? So that means you'll be in the same room as…the Hero of Time!" she whispered conspiratorially, winking at me.

My expression clearly told her that I was not amused, and that if she even dared to ask me to get his autograph, I might have to gag her with that flimsy excuse for a dress hanging over the counter. When she realized I wasn't interested in gossiping about the beloved Link, she sighed wistfully and beckoned for me to follow her down an isle of costumes, her brown pigtails bouncing with each step she took.

"Do you have a date?" she asked in a bored tone.

"Does it matter?"

"Yes. If you did, which your tone tells me you don't, you would want to match color wise or at least orientation wise."


"Right, so, let's see. You look well built, but you do have a feminish curve to your body…especially your hips…"

"Hey! Stop looking at me like that!" I growled, humiliated beyond belief that this waif had commented on my hips like that. Now she was giving me a one over as if I was a specimen in the Doctor Hylia lab at the lake near the Water Temple. I scowled and twitched my hips out of sight, my arms folded across my chest.

"Any color you like in particular? I think I'd like to see you in silver…"


"Yes. It'd compliment your blonde hair and bring out your tan skin."

"…All right…?" Having no idea what she was talking about, I drifted along with her as she sorted through costumes, letting her hold them up against my body thoughtfully before shoving them back on the rack almost violently. I dare say she was enjoying looking for an outfit for me, though my patience was wearing thin.

After wandering down the hundredth isle, she suddenly squealed in delight, grabbed something off the rack, and… "Strip!" she demanded, hands on her hips.

"W-what?! No!" I snapped back, flustered, covering my body with my hands again under her scrutinizing gaze. Didn't people have any respect?

Rolling her eyes, she brusquely took my hand and dragged me to the changing rooms, shoving me inside one and throwing whatever she had picked at me. Irritated with her, I slammed the door shut childishly and locked it for good measure. I could hear her snort outside, and scowled again. Then, managing to leash my emotions — the nerve wracking fact that the ball was tomorrow was really putting me on edge — I started the tedious task of trying find out what went on where.

After over twenty minutes of swearing and banging around on my part, the girl finally gave up hope of me ever coming out and found the key to the room, unlocking it despite my protests and coming to my aid. She got the damn costume on me in less than a minute flat, much to my grudging respect, and I didn't even care at that point that someone had seen me without my mask or bandages on.

"There! It's absolutely perfect!" she breathed, eyeing me critically before spinning me around to look in the body length mirror.

I stared at my reflection in complete shock as she fiddled around with my hair, humming to herself cheerfully and awaiting my opinion.

I was wearing a black, long sleeved shirt, the sleeves slit up the sides to my elbows, and laced with silver. At the ends, where the lace tied off at my wrists, bells were attached, and they chimed with every movement I made. Over this, I wore a high collared vest of blinding silver, and it was buckled up halfway, revealing much of my chest for view, something that made me uneasy and self-conscious. Around my biceps were two silver buckled belts, reminding me of my bandages and putting me at ease. That was, before I noticed the buckled collar around my neck, a bell hanging off of it like a dog tag. I opened my mouth indignantly, but my gaze wandered lower and my mouth closed shut with a snap. A thick leather belt was slung uselessly around my waist, sliding down one hip while clinging to the other tightly. I was wearing loose black pants, but they were barely visible underneath the long, nearly thigh-high, bulky silver boots, which I found myself rather attracted too. Buckles and belts lapped around the boots, along with the strange repeated theme of bells.

I was shocked into silence. This outfit…was…lewd! It was just screaming 'ravish me'! I couldn't wear this! I had specifically said 'something suitable'! Not 'something that's likely to get me pounded into one of the guestroom beds'!

…My mind went blank when I wondered…what would Link think? I posed for a moment, and blushed, but…I did look…good? Maybe, Link would…possibly…

I felt something touch my butt, and I whirled around, snapped out my thinking, to see a flash of silver disappear behind me. Glaring at the grinning girl, I turned my head around my shoulder and stared at the mirror.

A long silver fox's tail was now sown into the pants.

"A fox?" I thought a loud, my face contorted in confusion. "But aren't foxes red?"

"Yes," replied the girl with a nod. "But foxes are often associated with wisdom and cleverness. Silver is the color of wisdom." She frowned, leaning forward to adjust one of the buckled belts, and I winced in pain.

"Oh…then…what do you think of the color red?"

When the girl just stared at me curiously, I blushed and ran my fingers through my hair, surprised for a moment as I realized I wasn't wearing my mask. "Ah, I mean, if the silver represents wisdom for the fox, what does red represent for it?"

The clerk stroked her chin for a moment, and the bracelets on her arm jingled loudly. "Well, I would say that red symbolizes deceit for the fox. Foxes are very tricky animals, you see."

"I see…" I replied dejectedly, my gaze returning to the mirror as I looked at my now deceit red eyes. I didn't notice the girl was watching me closely, and I didn't see the look of registration on her face as she saw my distress.

"But," she continued, surprising me. "Red is different for every animal."

"…It is?"

"Yes! The hawk, for example! Red symbolizes majesty and divinity for the hawk!"

"Really?" I asked, wide-eyed. My very own depiction of the color red... The hawk, hm? Interested, I temporarily forgot about my provocative costume. "Why?"

She smiled at me and twirled around. "The red hawk is the crest of the Royal Family, did you know? It's a bird of freedom and beauty. It's majestic in its gliding flight, and absolutely divine in the fact that…hawks can soar higher than any other bird known to man! They can touch the heavens!"

I blinked, and a part of me was warmed to the bone by her response. "Wow…"

"Mm-hm! And red for the dog symbolizes loyalty and friendship!" She smiled brightly at me, and for some reason, I found myself smiling back. Maybe this kid wasn't so bad after all.

"What's your name?" I asked quietly, my eyes softening as I gingerly touched the tail.

"Sakura," she replied merrily, slipping something out from behind her back and turning me back to the mirror. "It means 'cherry blossom'. My father named me it after my mother. She used to spend all her time tending to the cherry trees at the castle. They had the prettiest cherry blossoms you would ever see."

"It's a beautiful name. It suits you," I commented with a laugh. "Though I never would have expected such a gentle sounding name to accompany such a fiery young woman."

Sakura laughed with me, and something obscured my vision for a moment. "Here's the mask," she said, and I finally found the eyeholes. The mask itself was rather plain. It only covered my eyes and nose, and, shockingly enough, was silver. The eyeholes were slanted like those of a fox, and ears popped out from beneath my hair, which the girl had somehow manages to spike up in a wild fashion that was completely against my nature. Looking at my reflection, I realized something.

No one was ever going to recognize me. Not even Zelda, one of the few people who had ever see me without my mask on.

"May I ask you a question?" I asked, glancing around my shoulder at the girl who was inspecting her handiwork.

"I'd love to go with you!" she replied spastically, hugging me around the waist. "Thanks for asking!"


"…Er, no. I was going to ask why I have bells attached to every available stitch."


"Please don't cry! If you wish, I can get you into the ball because you've helped me so much, but I'm afraid I won't be able to be your date."

Sakura sniffed, and rubbed at her eyes. "You'd do that for me?" she asked in astonishment. "That's so nice! Thank you!" Smiling up at me, she took my hand and led me out of the room. "The bells are just accessories. I think it's kinky."

"Ki — w-what?!"

She giggled and stopped before a wall with many glittering…things. I honestly don't know what they were. "Now for the finishing touches…"

"Finishing touches?!"

"Oh yes. I like you, mister. Not to mention you're a cutie. So I'll make sure you blow everyone away at this shindig!"


"Ooooh! Studded earrings!"

"I don't have earring holes!"

"…We can fix that."

"H-hey! Put that needle down, or so help me, I'll — !"


Zelda blinked as I slammed the door shut, and she and Link ceased in whatever they were talking about over the dinner table as I stalked across the room and sat down on Zelda' right, across from Link. My mask and bandages were messily wrapped, and my hair was standing on end.

And a single hole was burning in my left ear where a studded earring had been punched through.

Fortunately, my mask hid it from view. I hoped I could get my hair to hide it tomorrow night. For some reason, Sakura hadn't understood that it was against the code of my people to be pierced. I truly regretted agreeing to getting her into the ball.

I glared down at my soup accusingly, as if it was the source of all my problems.

Across from me, Link and Zelda raised their eyebrows and exchanged long looks. "So, Sheik," began the Queen slowly, as if speaking to a rabid animal. "How was your day?"

"Did someone attack you?" asked Link bluntly, eyeing me up and down as if expecting me to fall apart.

"My day was fine. And no, I was not attacked." In a manner of speaking… I stabbed down with my fork, viciously attacking the meat with single mindedness. My costume was hidden upstairs in my room. The damn girl even charged me for the earring.

"Then why do you look as though someone had their wicked way with you?" asked Zelda with a sinister smirk and a glance at Link, who, in all his pureness and obliviousness, did not pick up on the innuendo.

"Someone hurt you?" he asked, standing immediately. His blue eyes were narrowed to deadly slits and his hand reached up for the ever present Master Sword.

"No, no, no!" I said wildly, glaring at Zelda who was chuckling. My cheeks were burning behind the mask. "I just got my costume for the ball today, and the clerk was hassling me about money."

"Really?" questioned Zelda, reminding me of that dreadful conversation two days ago. "Hassling you about your money? Or hassling you for your — "

"Well, I'm not really hungry!" I squeaked, standing up abruptly and knocking my chair over. I was absolutely horrified. If Link, bless his heart, wasn't so damn innocent I'd strangle her, Guardian or not! "I'm off to bed! Good night!" I dashed out of the room, but not before I heard Link call out for me and Zelda's reply for him to leave me alone.

That was not a Queen! That was a demon in the disguise of a Queen! What happened to the cute, quiet little girl I used to know? That's it. I'm burning all those romance novels she reads. They're corrupting her.

Somehow, I knew I wasn't going to be able to sleep tonight.


Day Four: Red Beauty

I sat on my windowsill in my room, my legs hanging out the window, and frowned. As expected, I hadn't slept at all. My nervousness and anticipation had kept me rolling all night. Now I was watching the sunrise drolly, my face contemplative.

The sunrise was red too.

I smiled to myself, remembering Sakura's words. The color red has always been a mixed color of emotions and meanings, but now I was beginning to consider my eyes another color than the color of blood. The color of strength. The color of loyalty. Looking at the sunset, I wondered if my eyes were the color of renewal and rebirth. Feeling finally at ease, I relaxed my muscles and slumped lazily in my perch, allowing the wind to tangle with my bare skin and mussed hair (that Sakura had put something in it, because I couldn't get it to stay down!) The castle, despite the early time, was already bustling with energy. Today was the long awaited day. I heard rumors of a Prince who wished to dance with the Queen, and of Princesses wishing to seduce the Hero of Time.

The Hero of Time.

My heart fluttered again, and I scowled in annoyance. This hold he had over me was frustrating. For the past few days, I hadn't been able to think of anything BUT Link. And yet, when I was in his presence, he soothed this raging thoughts of mine and I could see clearly again. It was absolutely outrageous…but I loved it. He made me forget about my eyes, about my troubles, about my doubts. I was simply Sheik. A friend. A companion. A fighting partner. And hopefully, if tonight went well, more than just a sparring partner.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and twitched in my seat, my long legs pushing against the opposite wall of the windowsill to force me into a sitting position.

I had decided at some point last night that I had to tell Link, because it was killing me. I just had to be honest with him. I'd hand him the key to my heart, as cliché as it sounds, and let him do with it what he pleased.

Nodding to myself, I slipped off the windowsill and onto the color floor silently padding across the room to begin dressing. I had promised to pick Sakura up before the dance, though we had both agreed we were not going as a date. I had a sneaking feeling that she was hoping to catch a glimpse of Link, but, for some reason, I didn't go red with anger or find myself jealous. No, if Link wanted to be with me, than he would chose so. If he wanted to be with someone else, than he would chose so. I just…wanted him to be happy, I suppose.

Just happy.


I paced outside the shop impatiently, my stomach doing back flips. "Come on, Sakura!" I growled through my teeth, banging on the door for the hundredth time. "The ball started nearly ten minutes ago!"

"So? We'll be fashionably late!" piped the cheery voice on the other side of the door.

"I'm the damn Guardian to Queen Zelda! I was supposed to be there a hour ago!"

"Okay, okay! Just hold on a minute! I have to clean up all this paint!" she snapped back, clearly as nervous as I was. And no wonder — she was a teenage girl who was going to be in the same room with royals and nobles.

"Paint?" I yelled back, eyebrows knitted together.

"Yeah! Finishing touches, you know? I wish I could have shown you! I actually wrote it in the ancient language!"

Ancient language? The Sheikan?

I sighed heavily and shook my head, the silver stud and the silver bells ringing, though I have to admit…it wasn't as annoying as I thought it would be. I had the mask pulled over my face, so seeing was a bit difficult, especially since it was so dark, but I could see the form of Sakura moving about inside her shop. Just as I was about to knock the door down, she opened it up and greeted me with a laugh and smile.

"Hey, cutie!" she said, winking as she pulled down her mask. Sakura had dressed up like a doe, much to my amusement. She was wearing a soft velvet dress of light brown that ended at her thighs, spotted white from place to place. Her long arms were bare, accept for the incredibly amount of bracelets and charms she had strewn them with. She had pulled on white tights and black slippers, while a little fawn tail poked out at the back of her dress. She had straightened her hair, and it slipped past her lower back to touch her thighs. On her face was a brown deer's mask, with pert ears slipped on her head.

Overall, Sakura certainly would show up the nobles with her beautiful getup.

"I remembered what you said," she told me as we walked down the street towards the castle grounds. "About being my name being gentle and yet I being fiery. Deer are gentle animals, but don't dance with one, baby, cause they'll knock you off your feet!" She pumped her fist in the air, vividly reminding me of Zelda, and I chuckled, taking her bare hand and tugging her into a brisk walk.

"I never would have thought deer to symbolize dangerous animals," I teased, an eyebrow raised though it was impossible to tell behind the mask.

Sakura's bubbling laugh echoed down the street. "That's cause you're a simple man," she retorted.

A simple man? Did she mean…like simpleton? I scowled fiercely, which promptly earned me more laughter.

Did Link think I was simple? Was being simple even a good thing?

Ugh, what did it matter. She's just a kid.

My stomach did another backflip, reminding me that…tonight was the night. I hoped I looked good. What would I do if he said 'no'? Maybe this wasn't such a good idea…

"Fox, what's wrong?" asked Sakura next to me, her head titled to the side. "You're clogging the air with all your dark thoughts and brooding."

I swallowed nervously and tightened my grip on her hand. Although we barely knew one another, I felt…a connection with Sakura. She was like a younger Zelda. A sister. "I'm nervous," I admitted quietly. "Tonight I tell the one I love how I feel. I'm not sure if my feelings will be returned, though."

"What?" scoffed Sakura, tugging me to a halt as she stared up at me incredulously. "How can anyone not like you? You're too nice! You even invited me to go to the ball with you — "

"I invited you to the ball, but not as my date," I corrected, rolling my eyes.

" — Hey, shuddup. I'm making a point here. Anyways, you're so nice and thoughtful! And I can tell by looking at you that you're strong and fiercely protective of the ones that you love. Not to mention your eyes."

My breathing stopped, my heart constricted, and my blood froze. "W-what about my…eyes?" I whispered, the bells on my outfit ringing as wind swept over us.

"They're pretty," she said simply, pulling me along once more. "They're full of so much emotion that it's almost like you don't know what to do with it. Almost like you're afraid of people looking into them and seeing that emotion." She snuck a glance at me, her green eyes wide with child-like certainty. "Almost like you're afraid to look at them yourself."

I shuddered and turned away. "My eyes are not pretty," I grated out, feeling highly uncomfortable.

"…When was the last time you really looked at them?" she asked in interest.

"I saw them this morning," I snapped back testily. What was she talking about?

"No. I mean really looked at them?"

I was silent.

Sakura 'hmphed' at me and nodded, as if satisfied. "Your love is foolish if he doesn't appreciate someone like you. But it can't be helped if they don't accept you when you don't even seem to accept yourself."

The words, spoken to me by someone nearly a decade younger, lifted a weight from my shoulders. I had to stop doubting myself. She was right.

It wouldn't be until another week that I realized she had known my love wasn't a woman.

Smiling, I squeezed her hand and nodded. "You're right."


Inside the ballroom, I suddenly felt sick again.

Thousands of animals, of people, of masks, of dresses, of costumes, of colors swirled around me in a never ending vortex. And I suddenly realized…

I had no idea what costume Link was wearing.

Panic seized my heart, and my breathing became shallow as I looked around wildly for a shock of that beautiful golden hair I so loved…but it was useless. The orchestra was picking up another song, and Sakura was tugging on my hand, begging me for at least one dance.

"Please?" she pleaded, her bright green eyes searching my face. "I know you want to go spill your guts to your lady, but I don't want to be left alone with so many people. Will you at least dance with me until someone else asks me to?"

I couldn't deny that I didn't want her alone with so many people myself. My brotherly nature was warning me of drunks so I curtly nodded my head and led her onto the dance floor, trying to quell my rapid heartbeat and calm myself. I would find him. I would find him. I had to find him.

A quick, flirty beat was strummed out, and I spun Sakura around to face me, placing a hand on her hip and the other in her hand. She laughed as we began dancing, shaking her hips and resembling some kind of wild breed of cucco. In spite of my fears of not finding Link, I felt the shadow over my heart dispel a bit and I allowed myself to enjoy the evening.

As the music got faster, so did our dancing. In fact, I'm sure it was anything but dancing with the erratic way we were moving in correspondence to the other, but I was having fun. No one knew it was the respectable Sheik, Guardian of Queen Zelda, underneath the mask of the silver fox. Not many even knew my hair color. So why be embarrassed?

"Hehe! Your tail keeps spinning around behind you, Fox! It's hilarious!" Sakura squealed, gathering the attention of those around us (actually…we had their attention when we nearly bowled them all over earlier). Just to appease her, I twitched my hips around a bit, smiling when other dancers chuckled in response. Sakura laughed again, her cheeks pink from all the dancing.

"Excuse me," said a deep voice to our right, and Fox and Doe turned as one to glare at the intruder. The Tiger ( I believe it was a woman from the sound of the voice) immediately backed down at the looks we gave her. Pft, I couldn't stand nobility anyways. It was a good thing Zelda and Link were so good at heart, otherwise I don't know how I'd deal with them…

"High five," Sakura applauded us, and I obeyed, 'high fiving' her. "You sure showed that punk, eh, Fox?"

"Yeah, I…er…showed that punk, all right," I agreed with a nod, having no idea what language this girl was taught. She must have grown up on the streets.

Too busy celebrating with Sakura, I didn't notice the sharp look we got from one of the dancers nearby. His winter blue eyes widened with recognition and he stared at us. If I hadn't been so occupied with keeping Sakura amused, I probably would have turned around after feeling such a familiar intense gaze on me.

But I didn't notice.

"Hey, Fox!" called Sakura, pulling me to a stop beside her. Both of us were panting from our foolish dancing, and all the spinning was making me dizzy. "I want a drink. If I'm not back in a minute, then rest assured I'm in good hands!"

Trying to figure out if I liked the sound of that or not, I waved, my other hand on my hip.

Now that Sakura was occupied, I could start my search for Link! Nodding to myself, I pivoted on my heel and went to head into the crowd.

And found myself staring into sapphire eyes sparkling with mirth. "Sheik!" Zelda said reproachfully, slapping my arm playfully. "I didn't know you were into younger women! Or women at all, for that matter!"

"Zelda!" I hissed, slapping my forehead. "Shh!"

Zelda rolled her eyes from beneath her mask, which I noted was that of a swan. Her dress was made purely of long white feathers, curling around her back and bosom to trail down her legs and end by brushing against the floor. It was sleeveless, but she wore elbow length white gloves encrusted with diamonds at the wrists. A diamond necklace encircled her neck as well, sparkling and glittering with every movement she made as light reflect off of it. Her mask was flared out, like feathers would, and it pointed out near her mouth and nose like a beak. Her long honey blonde hair was divided into four braids, which were intertwined with beautiful white feathers.

She was absolutely breathtaking.

…That is, if I were into women. Which, obviously, I'm not.

"Care to dance?" she asked with that evil smirk that told me trouble was a' brewing. Groaning I took her hand and began a more placid dancing than that of Sakura.

"How'd you find me?" I asked curiously. I had been sure no one would be able to recognize me. But I felt a surge of happiness that Zelda could.

"I cheated and used magic to pinpoint you."

…Or not.

"So, Mr. Foxy," she continued, making me blush, as we twirled and I dipped her. "Did you tell him?"

"No!" I hissed angrily, but not at her. I sighed, managing to stuff all my overwhelming emotions into a bottle. "No," I repeated, more softly. "I haven't. I came with Sakura and have been dancing with her since. I don't even know what Link is." I hung my head miserably and, in my lack of focus, stepped on Zelda's foot.

Zelda, having probably survived much worse dancers than myself at balls before, didn't even flinch. Instead she eased her hand to my hip and pressed on it, gaining my attention. "Oh, I don't think that matters," she said with a strange look in her eyes. Her pink lips were drawn into a grin, a grin that made me suspicious.

"No?" I asked, an eyebrow raised as I twirled her around and pulled her closer to speak more privately. "And why not?"

"Because he knows what you are. And, if my magic serves me right, he's headed our way right now." She tilted her head to the side, obviously ignoring my sudden tenseness of panic. "Hm, his energy waves seem a bit chaotic. Maybe…" She feigned a gasp of surprise. "…Maybe he was jealous you were dancing with a woman!"

I laughed humorlessly, my expression dark with doubt. "Right, and Sakura is going to be the next Queen of Hyrule," I replied sardonically.

"Who's Sakura?"

That low, soft voice was most certainly not Zelda's!

Ignoring the smug look in Her Majesty's eyes (I was so going to kill her for not properly warning me. HE WAS RIGHT BEHIND ME!), I smoothed over my features politically and calmly turned around, not a bit of me expressing the absolute nervousness that was tearing me apart.

But as soon as I saw my Hero of Time, all sense of sanity left me…along with all sense of virginity.

So far, costume-wise, there was…

Sheik the Silver Fox.

Sakura the Brown Doe.

Zelda the White Swan.


Link the Hawk. The Red Hawk.

I think my eyes fell out of my skull. I wouldn't have been surprised, because Link looked…Link looked.


He was wearing a sleeveless russet vest, which was undone to reveal a black muscle shirt underneath. His red trousers were skintight against his sinewy legs, and knee-high black boots clung to him, decorated with red feathers that reminded me of Zelda's outfit. Around his wrists were blood red shackle-looking bracelets that clunked around with his movements. His golden hair was tied back, braided with red plumage. Link had taken off his Hawk mask and was looking at me closely, as if unsure who I really was. His brilliant blue eyes seared me, and I suddenly felt weak again. I looked away, doubtful of myself, until I saw his bare arms. From his wrists to his shoulders was red painted words in the ancient language of the Sheikah. On the right was Majesty. On the left was Divinity.

"The Hawk can touch the heavens," I whispered in amazement, repeating Sakura's earlier words, instilled with heart pounding confidence and…absolute happiness. Wait...Sakura had said something about...about... I gasped aloud, suddenly remembering.


"Yeah! Finishing touches, you know? I wish I could have shown you! I actually wrote it in the ancient language!"

"What?" Link asked, his brow furrowed as he hurriedly replaced his mask in case some women spot him.

I violently shook my head, my heart pounding as this feeling of overwhelming warmth spread throughout me. The Red Hawk. I always thought the color red symbolized majesty and divinity. This…this was too good to be true.

I heard Zelda chuckle behind me, before she gently pushed me forward towards Link. "I have to go play 'diplomat' with the King of Gjairian. You two go and have a nice time!"

I couldn't even answer. I just mouthed a 'thank you' to her, ignoring the pointed wink she gave me, and turned back to Link. I was startled to see how close he was, and my cheeks immediately heated. Stop acting like a schoolboy! I scolded myself, masking my emotions. But something made me stop. ' "They're full of so much emotion that it's almost like you don't know what to do with it. Almost like you're afraid of people looking into them and seeing that emotion!" '

Nodding to myself in agreement, I allowed the blush to remain and looked up at Link with a grin. "I love the costume, Link," I admitted honestly, scratching the back of my head and looking at him hopefully.

He didn't answer. He was still staring at me, and I began to wonder if I had sprouted another head. Then, with a flash, his eyes narrowed. "Who's Sakura?" he repeated darkly, eyes burning into me.

I blinked. "Eh?" I asked intelligently. "Sakura? Oh! She's the Doe. I came with her from the — " I stopped suddenly, my own eyes narrowed. "Why do you want to know?" I asked suspiciously, my heart perking up.

Link's eyes widened for a moment before he looked away. "It matters not," he said gruffly, echoing my words from the other day, much to my annoyance. "Can we talk?"

Yet again, I blinked. "Sure," I replied, feeling my heart slump again. "Is something wrong?"

He didn't answer, and instead I realized he was taking my hand in his and pulling me through the chamber. I blushed again and stared at this beautiful, if foreign, object holding my hand, repressing the girlish sigh that threatened to spill from my lips.

Well, at least I found him.


I faithfully followed Link into Queen Zelda's personal courtyard. I vaguely remember spending much of my time as a child playing with Zelda here, sometimes sneaking peaks through that small rectangular window to watch 'serious business' taking place in the King's court.

Now Link was standing in the middle of the courtyard, staring up at the stars silently. I walked up next to him and regarded him affectionately. Link always had loved watching the heavens.

The Red Hawk…

Shaking my head, I thought for a moment about what I wanted to say and do before smiling, pleased that I had come thus far. I had nothing to loose.

…Except the love of my life, but besides that.

…And my pride. Dignity too.


Argh! Stop thinking! Start talking!

"Link?" I asked hesitantly, looking up at him with guarded eyes. When he remained silent, I realized he had, quite rudely, forgotten about me. Kiss him! Part of me hissed excitedly.

And get a mouthful of Master Sword? I don't think so.

I sighed. I had come here to share my honest feelings with Link. Everything boiled down to this moment. Licking my lips, I reached up and tugged off my mask and my ears, dropping them to the ground. I had come here to share my honest feelings with Link. I had to shed the mask. Both the emotional and physical one.

"Link," I called out again, this time more forcefully and determined, gently pulling on one of his shackle-like bracelets. The Hero of Time started and turned away from the sky, an apology on his lips as he twisted to look over his shoulder at me.

But at the sight of my bare face, he just stopped moving all together.

I blushed at the expression on his on as he fully turned around to regard me, his mouth hanging open slightly. I had forgotten how shocking it can be for those I know to see my face. Zelda's own reaction had been…comical…to say in the least.

But Link's…Link's gave me hope.

"S-Sheik," he began in surprise, his winter blue eyes sweeping over my face again and again as if to memorize every detail. "You…"

"It's in the code of the Sheikah that we do not reveal ourselves to outsiders," I explained quietly, shivering as the wind passed over my skin. The moonlight was streaming down on us now, and the romantic side of me was quite appeased.

"…I can see why…" he responded softly.

I looked away, hurt by that answer. Maybe I should have kept the mask on…

"…You're absolutely beautiful."

I gaped in shock, my eyes popping out of their sockets as a blush spread across all my body like wildfire. My heart was pounding against my ribcage frantically, and I watched in captivated awe as he stripped his own mask off and walked over to me, his eyes never leaving my face. I tried to force something out of my mouth, how about a 'thank you'? But I couldn't...I was just so...surprised. My stomach back flipped again, but not with nervousness.

"Sheik…" he began in that crooning voice of his that made me want to weep with desire, "…there's something I…need to tell you…" His hand reached out slowly to my face before he stubbornly curled it and returned it to his side.

I think my eye just twitched.

"…T-tell me? Tell…m-me wh-what?" I asked, my entire body trembling violently. Oh-oh! I know! Pick me! I know what he wants to say! If this was a corny romantic novel of Zelda's (which I most certainly do not read), Link, the love of my life, would say —

"I love you."

I blinked. Link blinked, his mouth open as he was about to reply to my question. No, I told myself in bewilderment, that hadn't been Link who had said those delicious three words. I frowned and looked around the clearing, but it was just us.


My eyes widened in horror. ME! It had been me! I damn blabbed it out! I clapped my hands over my mouth and jumped back from Link as if burned. Damn you mouth! Damn you to hell! Now I would never know how he feels about me! I just had to go and ruin the moment by —

And then my mind went blank.

Because Link, AKA the Hero of Time, was flush up against me. Kissing me, Sheik, AKA the virgin wonder.

My eyes slid shut on their own accord, and my tense body immediately relaxed. I didn't question. I didn't speak. I didn't think. It felt too right and good to do…anything. His weather roughened lips were pressed tightly against mine, and his fingers were caressing my face slowly, as if in wonder. Hesitantly, my arms wrapped around his waist and I pulled him closer, returning the kiss. I never thought that…Link might have ever even considered…me this way. The fact that he was kissing me effectively wiped away all the doubt and stress that had been building within me for the past few days.

Link returned my feelings. I could feel it. Not one to speak more than necessary, I doubted I'd get the confession out of him anytime soon…but…


This…this was happiness. This was amazing. This was better than my perverted dreams — Sheik?


Stop. Thinking.


After a while, I wrenched away, panting for breath, my face as red as blood, or as passion, or anger, or whatever red is. My body shuddered from the loss, and I cursed my need for oxygen. But then lips found my jaw and I shuddered again, this time in pleasure, as he kissed his way down to my neck, his own rapid breathing hot against my skin. "…Beautiful," I heard him whisper against my skin. I threaded my fingers through his hair, relishing in its silkiness, freeing it from the braid and of the feathers.

"Me?" I asked, dumbfounded. I was beautiful? No one had told me that before.

…Actually, Link had. About a minute before we had started sucking each others faces off.

"Mm," he replied, the sound sending shivers down my spine as he kissed his way back to my face. "You're absolutely beautiful, Sheik…" Link continued, much to my embarrassment and pleasure. I sighed happily and kneaded his back through the vest. "Especially your eyes…"

There it was. Again. First Sakura and now Link…My body immediately stiffened, and my eyes narrowed in repulsion.

"My e-eyes?" I echoed, this time in disgust instead of pleasure. "What's so great about them? They're the color of blood," I spat, feeling betrayed. Why bring up my treacherous eyes?

'But it can't be helped if they don't accept you when you don't even seem to accept yourself,' Sakura had told me pointedly.

Batting away the words and the confusing emotions, I blankly stared past Link's shoulder, noticing dully that he had pulled away and was now staring at me.

"That's…what's been bothering you?" he whispered incredulously, his face one of honest disbelief. "These past few weeks? You think…you honestly think…?"

I tried to turn away, but Link pulled me back to him with the strength he was renowned for. "No," he told me firmly, tilting up my chin and staring me in the eyes. "You're wrong."

"I am?" I asked unenthusiastically.

"Yes…you're eyes aren't the color of blood, Sheik. They're the color of fire."

I blinked. "F-fire?"

"Fire," he repeated, dipping down to drop a light kiss to each eyelid. "They're always burning with such suppressed emotion, Sheik…like you have to restrain yourself from that passionate blazing. All because of the Sheikah Code...your duty...I love that…"

Fire. Not blood. Burning. Not crimson. Passionately blazing. Not cold and indifferent.

I think…I think I just fell in love with Link all over again.


We emerged from the courtyard nearly an hour later, to find Queen Zelda patiently waiting for us at the door to the ballroom. I hastily let go of Link's warm hand to fix my shirt collar and smooth back my hair, wondering if the marks on my neck were blaringly visible. Link had no shame whatsoever. He quickly took my hand back in his and nuzzled it to his cheek, his own clothes…disoriented, to say the least.

Zelda clapped her hands together and squealed in delight at the sight of us, reminding me of…

"Sakura!" I gasped, running for the doors to get inside. "What if some drunk took off with her? I knew she was showing too much leg! Why did I leave her alone?"

Link jerked me to a halt and pulled me against his chest, eyes concerned. "How old is she?"

"Sixteen," replied Zelda, studying her nails with that same devilish grin she had worn earlier.

"About fifteen or sixteen!" I responded, having not heard Zelda at all.

"What's her costume?" asked Link, glancing from me to Zelda.

"She came as the Doe," Zelda supplied, rocking back and forth on her heels.

"The Doe!" I frantically said, trying to pull out of Link's deliciously possessive grip that tightened suspiciously as he stared at Zelda.

"And what color hair and eyes does she have?" Link asked softly, staring at the Queen.

"She has..." I trailed off, finally realizing that Zelda had actually been answering my questions for me.

"She has brown hair and green eyes. She's about this tall, too," Zelda demonstrated, hand at her chest as she smiled demurely at me and Link.

I blinked. "Yes," I replied slowly. "How'd you know that?"

Zelda took off her mask and smirked, leaning forward and staring at me in the eye. "What do you think of the color red?" she asked me suddenly. "I think the color red is an interesting color. It just needed…a few finishing touches…" she winked at me before pumping her hand in the air.

My mind went blank as sudden realization swept through me, slapping me in the face.

"Y-you!" I cried, my eyes wide with horror. "That…you…and…strip! You told me to strip!"

Link's face, which had been understandably suspicious and confused till this point, contorted into a scowl as he glared at Zelda. "What?!"

The Queen giggled and shrugged. "You're a simple man, Link," she said lovingly, patting his cheek. I continued to stare at her in abject dismay until I realized…

…what Zelda had done for me. For us. Because of her, as devious and tricky as she was…me and Link…

"Thank you," I whispered sincerely, smiling at her. "But I think you are better suited to be the deceitful Fox."

The Queen of Hyrule shrugged her lithe shoulder. "Really? Aw, and those bells looked so kinky on you."


Red is an interesting color. Mankind has twisted its symbolism throughout history, butchered its meaning until not even they were certain what it truly signified. Because of this, red is a constantly misunderstood color that contradicts itself with all its artificial meanings. For example, red has been depicted as the color of blood, the unforgettable crimson stain of death and nauseating pain. Yet, red is also regarded as the color of love, one of the most complicated and beautiful emotions known to man. Red is seen as the color of anger, of rising fury that blinds us to everything but our own pain and suffering. And again, red is the color of passion, of the deep desire and inexplicable desperate urge to covet and protect with smothering intent.

Red, I have learned, doesn't have to be a negative color. Red, as my lover tells me, is a beautiful color.

And you know what?

I agree.


Footnotes Galore:

(1) The Imprisoning War is the seven years under Ganondorf's rule.

Author's Notes: My first oneshot. If school hadn't been cancelled, this baby never would have been born. Well, I hope you all enjoyed it, and thank you for reading, but now there's only one more task left…