AN: Ok, sorry this took so long. I was originally planning on getting it out by Valentine's day, but that fell by the wayside. For those of you who are reading 'Three Ways To Tell You I Love You', this is the reason I haven't been updating. I'm working on Chapter 2 right now. Hope you enjoy! It's just a fluffy SheikXLink oneshot.
Fear For You
Sheik cursed under his breath as he dodged another swing of the giant sword. The stalfos in front of him raised the blade for another attack, and Sheik shifted his weight to his back foot, prepared to jump away from the blow. He was getting sick of the shadow temple. It wasn't much longer than any of the others they had braved thus far, but the darkness, slime, and multitude of zombie-like monsters was beginning to grate on his nerves. It was the worst kind of darkness; deep-penetrating and musty. The kind that played with your mind. Everything was so dark, that he was always wary of concealed enemies, making him flinch at any sound that echoed off the cold stone walls.
The constant state of alertness was beginning to take its toll on his body, the stress building up and causing his muscles to coil tightly. He had begun to tire quickly, and his eyes hurt from the strain of trying to see more than three feet in front of him in the oily darkness. He felt his muscle spasm slightly as he sprung from the ground away from the blunt sword edge, and knew he was beginning to wear out. He would need to take down the stalfos quickly, or he wouldn't have any strength left. He pulled forth one of his daggers from within the wrappings on his arm, waiting for the stalfos to raise the sword again, eyeing the monsters unarmored joints.
Just as the swing was reaching the peak, Sheik rolled to the side, springing to his feet as the weighty sword hit the ground where he had been moments ago. With one slash of the dagger, the head was severed, and Sheik quickly sent a swift kick to the bulky monsters chest, sending it tipping over the edge of a nearby chasm with a throaty growl. How they could growl with their heads missing, he would never know, and would never want to for that matter. He eased over to the edge to look into the abyss, making sure the abomination hadn't clung onto a ledge.
He turned, startled to see another stalfos barreling towards him. He barely had time to raise his dagger once again before another, slimmer sword seemed to sprout from the ribs of the monster, and gave a jerking twist to the side. The spine snapped, and the monster fell to the ground in several pieces, revealing a slime-covered Link standing not far behind. Sheik was sure a look of surprise would have forever painted the stalfos features had it been able to show emotions on its bony face.
He erased the shock from his own face, before making his way over to the hero, who, to his chagrin, looked no worse-for-wear. There were a few stains from the green gunk that seemed to cover the expanse of the walls, and Sheik could see some spattered blood of different colors, none of which was Link's, thankfully. The hero stepped forward, and Sheik was amazed at how he seemed to shine even in such a dark place at this. Maybe it was just him.
Sheik briefly wondered if his mind was finally going from all the strain.
"You alright Sheik?" Link's concerned voice broke through his self-scrutiny. Sheik nodded, still a little perturbed. "Yes, thank you." Link just nodded. "We should keep going; I doubt those were the last stalfos we'll see unless we move quickly." Sheik silently agreed, falling back behind the hero as they began to run down another pitch-black hallway. His crimson eyes looked over the muscles on the hero's strong back as they ran, everything about the hero's posture seemed to radiate strength and courage, and it angered Sheik to no end.
Here he was, twitching at every sound he heard, while the Hero of Time didn't so much as flinch as a giant skulltula dropped into the path right in front of them. Sheik kept an eye out for them as the Hylian quickly dealt with the overgrown arachnid, and then they were off again. Sheik knew it sounded juvenile, even in his own head, but that fact that the hero could take anything head-on without so much as flinching irked him. Link hadn't always been so steadfast in the face of danger, the Sheikah mused; there had been a time at the beginning of their adventures when Link had shown him fear.
At the beginning, Link had always stayed close by his side, eyes wary of danger. He had been much more cautious when going down a corridor, or opening a new door. Sheik had found it endearing, that this strong warrior would never try to mask his fear, yet would always plunge on ahead into certain danger anyway. This fear had been most tangible, Sheik noticed, when he himself was in danger. Link had always been more worried for Sheik's safety than his own, which had gotten him into quite a few scrapes. Sheik had relished in whatever attention the legendary hero would give him. Of course he was worried for Link as well, but it was always nice to get the attention of someone you were in love with.
Then they had entered the water temple, and everything had changed. Link had become withdrawn and silent. He never grabbed Sheik's hand to help him over a ledge anymore, he never pressed his back to Sheik's in the fighting stance they had become so accustom to, and he never showed Sheik the fear that had caused the Sheikah's stomach to fill with butterflies and make his heart pound so wildly in his chest. He had never been able to explain the odd sensation, hoping he just enjoyed the hero's attentions, and hoping it wasn't considered sadistic that he enjoyed seeing the hero afraid for his safety.
He had been shocked by the suddenness of the transition between the Link who had been almost too smothering with his protective nature, and the Link before him. He had no idea what had triggered it, but something that had happened in the water temple had awoken something in the hero, and not even a sliver of fear had broken through the façade on his handsome face since. He was like a brick wall that nothing could break through, and it made Sheik feel weak and helpless in comparison. It was his duty to aid the Hero of Time in any way he could, but at this point, he felt that he was just holding Link back. And, he had to admit, he was spending more time fawning after the hero than focusing on the task at hand.
Reality rushed back as he ran into Link's outstretched arm, which blocked him from running into a seemingly empty room. Sheik looked to Link in question, wondering why they had stopped. "I've never seen an empty room in a temple before, each one has some kind of trap." As Link mumbled this, he extracted the eye of truth from within his tunic and peered through it. "Take a look." Sheik peered through the red lens, and his eyes widened in shock as sharp steel spikes protruding from the floor became visible, no more than a few inches in front of them. Sheik exhaled in relief, glad that Link at least had been paying attention. He had to get his head out of the clouds now before he got either of them hurt.
Link sidestepped the spikes carefully, grabbing Sheik's bicep and tugging him along in the right direction. The masked Sheikah couldn't see anything, but trusted the hero's judgment. After the pair had carefully weaved their way around several patches of invisible spikes on the floor, Link looked up, frowning. "There has to be some way up…" He trailed off without elaborating. Sheik's hand gingerly reached out, coming to a halt as it touched something solid and unseen. It seemed there was a ledge here, but judging from Link's expression, it was too high to climb.
He mused that he would help Link look, if he had one of those nifty gadgets he was looking through. Unfortunately, it seemed there was only one in existence, and he didn't want to jump down into a redead infested well to see if there was another spare one lying around.
There was a thought. 'Excuse me sir, would you happen to have an extra lens of truth?' 'Errrrrrrrrrrrr…' Sheik would have laughed at his own joke, but was to busy being crushed by his own inadequacies to muster up the strength to exhale the amount of air necessary to so much as chuckle.
Wow…when had his mind become so cynical?
He forced himself to stop thinking that way as Link let out a little grunt of realization, as he seemed to spot something on the ceiling. He put the lens of truth away, and pulled his hook shot from the pouch in exchange. Sheik was rather surprised when one sinewy arm wrapped itself around his waist. "Hold on." Sheik happily obliged, though still a little shocked. He wrapped his bandage-clad arms around Link, still marveling at the muscles outlined on the hero's arms.
The metal hook buried itself into something on the ceiling that Sheik's eyes couldn't pick up, and they were pulled into the air with a sudden jerking motion. Sheik felt the small exhilarating rush of wind, before Link retracted the hook shot, being careful not to overshoot and make them fall too far. Sheik offhandedly registered that Link's arm tightened around him slightly before letting go, but his mind told him not to read too far into it.
Link waited for the chain to retract back into the mechanism before turning back to Sheik. "Ready?" He nodded back. Looking into the hero's piercingly blue gaze, he decided enough was enough; he was going to stop thinking such ridiculous thoughts, and focus on the task at hand. He owed it to Hyrule, himself, and most of all, Link. He didn't need to be slowing the quest down any more than he already was, and he was determined to help make a difference. He followed Link into the newly discovered door and the dark corridors beyond with a newfound sense of determination.
Sheik pushed a block towards the edge of the small platform he was stationed on. Link was below, unable to make any further progress with the tools at his disposal. The block was a little taller than his waist, and extremely heavy, but Sheik was glad he was helping in some way. The knowledge that Link wouldn't have had a way to progress further without his help made Sheik feel like he was actually aiding the hero in his adventures.
"Look out!" Sheik grunted, as he pushed the block over the edge. It was a good fourteen-foot drop, and the large block fell to the ground with a thump large enough to shake the ground slightly. The Hero of Time fanned away some of the ensuing dust, and looked up to Sheik. "Good job Sheik!" Before pulling himself up onto the block. Sheik smiled beneath his cowl, loving the hero's praise, and leaned over the edge to extend his hand down towards him.
Link was a good six feet tall, and the block was quite tall itself, leaving only a few feet to jump up and grasp the ledge, but Sheik enjoyed helping any way he could. Not to mention any physical contact with Link was a plus. The green-clad warrior gladly accepted the proffered limb, and Sheik pulled up slightly, straining against the weight and struggling to maintain his center of balance. Link's knees cleared the ledge, and the hero swung his leg up, then able to pull himself up the rest of the way.
Sheik relished in that beautiful, thankful smile once again, before walking over to the side of the platform that overlooked what appeared to be a river. But under closer inspection, what had first appeared to be a canal of some kind was now revealed as a chasm of nothing but fog. Sheik shivered at the absolute depth of it, not doubting it went on for a while. They definitely didn't want to fall down there.
The hero stepped onto the symbol of the triforce a few feet away from Sheik, and pulled out his ocarina. The notes of the Royal Family Lullaby echoed eerily off the walls, and were swallowed up into the abyss. Sheik and Link waited in apprehension for something to happen. Sheik was about to suggest another song when they heard an odd sloshing sound further down the dark canal. Sheik tensed, and he heard Link draw his sword to his right. The head of a giant black bird came bobbing into view. Sheik held his breath in terror for a split second, before he realized that it was the head decoration of a giant boat.
The monstrous vessel came to a stop in front of them, and Sheik wondered what on earth, or below it for that matter, could possibly be keeping it afloat. Slightly unsure of himself, and not in any way excited about their destination, he gingerly hopped onto the boat, testing that it wouldn't give into his weight and fall into the abyss before Link could get on. Feeling the oddly firm suspension beneath him, he motioned to Link that it was safe. The hero hopped on himself, and they both let out a breath neither of them knew they were holding when it once again stayed anchored in the air.
They patiently waited for it to move. When nothing happened for several minutes, Sheik shot a confused look at Link. The answering look was just as puzzled, and Link shrugged at him. "Try playing the song again." Sheik suggested. Link nodded, once again pulling out the ocarina and playing the tune. Sheik had always loved when Link played the ocarina. He couldn't help but be hypnotized by the beautiful melodies, especially when the hero was the one playing them. He almost forgot where he was as he became lost in the moment, allowing the soothing notes to twine around him, eyes gazing at the hero's eyes closed in concentration, the lashed fanning over his high cheekbones. His eyes became transfixed on the lips that clasped around the delicate instrument, and then the fingers that moved up and down, controlling the flow of wind.
He would have continued to stare even after the melody was done, had the boat not jolted into movement immediately afterwards. Both men almost toppled over at the sudden movement, but managed to catch themselves. The gigantic boat began to slowly but surely bob down the river, and Sheik remembered why he hated the Shadow temple so much as the musty fog flowed past them, clinging to his skin and chilling him to the bone. When they got out of here, he was going to take a long moment to bathe in the sun. He tried to see past the fog, doing his best to anticipate what was ahead.
A thump and slight rocking motion of the boat were Sheik's only warnings before a stalfo's blade came whistling towards him. Using his quick reflexes to his advantage, he twisted to the side, nearly missing the razor sharp edge. The skeletal monster gave him no time to recover as he swung the sword up sideways from the ground, nearly clipping Sheik in the arm. Sheik ducked this time, twisting around on the pad of one of his feet, lashing the other out to swipe the stalfo's legs out from beneath him.
The Sheikah took the brief opportunity to quickly glance at how Link was doing. The hero seemed to be having a harder time than usual, and Sheik mused that the giant skeleton had thrown off Link's guard, much like what had happened to Sheik. He danced away from the next blow with a determination to aid the hero. Alighting on the head of the skeletal bird adornment, Sheik crouched to keep his balance, though he needn't worry; balance came as second nature to him, he did it subconsciously.
The stalfos proved its brain was indeed nonexistent in its skull as it blindly charged at Sheik, doing it's best to scramble its bulky weight up the narrow neck of the boat. Sheik smirked under his cowl, slipping to the side at the precise moment, his arms hooking around the side just in time to catch his weight, and he dangled from the front of the boat as the clumsy skeleton toppled over the side. Sheik let out a grunt, and flipped himself back around to the proper side of the giant bird, thankful once again that it was just a decoration as his face passed by the birds beak.
His eyes widened as he saw Link and the stalfos, swords locked, at the very edge of the boat. The monster was steadily pushing Link closer and closer to the edge, the hero unable to get a good enough foothold on the smooth wooden platform. Sheik scrambled back onto the boat, all caution thrown to the wind as he charged the stalfos. He slammed into the side of the bony monster just as one of Link's heels slid off the boat. Sheik and the stalfos stumbled to the side, Sheik pushing with all his might while the monster was temporarily stunned. They teetered dangerously close to the edge, and Sheik realized his plan didn't factor his own life into the equation. Luckily, at the absence of the monsters colossal weight, Link's momentum pushed him forward, and he caught himself on the deck. Sheik had banked on this.
He struggled to push the stalfos the last few inches to the edge of the boat. Unfortunately, the monstrosity regained what little wits it had just before it toppled into the abyss, and swung it's sword around, clipping Sheik on the hip as it tumbled into the darkness. The blow threw off his usually steadfast center of balance, and he found himself slipping over the side as well. Sheik's left hand snatched up and grabbed the edge of the boat, his other going to hold his steadily bleeding hip. He took a moment to breathe, working to get past the pain before trying to move anymore. Letting go of his wound, and grunting at the new wave of pain, he threw his now blood-soaked hand up to grasp onto the edge as well.
Hauling himself onto the boat wasn't as hard as he thought it would be, but waves of pain still assaulted him as his body strained to pull itself topside. Link was doubled over, on his hands and knees on the deck, and Sheik could swear he was shaking slightly. Sheik mused the hero must have been more hurt than he had thought. He grunted as he struggled to clamor the rest of the way up the boat, and Link's head whipped over at the sound. Sheik's eyebrow rose at the odd exhale of air Link let out as the hero's eyes locked on his form. He got up, and quickly strode over to Sheik, grabbing his arms to help him up.
Just then, the boat gave a monstrous shudder.
Both men looked down in horror as they noticed the entire boat was convulsing. Gravity seemed to disappear and Sheik felt his stomach jump into his throat as the entire thing gave way underneath him. Still clinging to the side of the boat, he barely had time to push off from the side towards the edge of a nearby precipice. The adrenaline pumped through his body, pushing the pain in his hip from his mind.
His fingers grabbed hold of the stone platform, and he stopped the rest of his body from slamming into the rock by using his feet to absorb the shock. The motion brought the pain searing back into his hip, and a grunt escaped him. A gauntlet-clad hand reached down and grabbed onto his arm and he looked up to see Link. Relief flooded through him at the knowledge that the hero had made it off the boat safely as well, and he pushed his body up, clamoring over the edge with Link's help.
Once he was safely on solid ground, he slumped to the floor, taking a second to regain his breath. Gentle fingers prodded the area around his hip, and he hissed in pain. Link gave him an apologetic look, before reaching into his pack and pulling out a keg of water. Sheik felt his cheeks heat up as Link gently cleaned the wound, so no scars would be left behind. Sheik blushed at the close proximity and intimate contact of the gesture. Link double-checked his work, before digging in his pack, handing Sheik a welcomed bottle of red potion.
Sheik downed the liquid, pushing down the feeling that he was once again holding Link back as the potion burned its way down his throat. He handed to bottle back to Link, keeping his face down in shame. He stole a glance at the hero, and was surprised to find he was being watched. Link's gaze never wavered, and Sheik lifted his head slightly, wondering about the reasons behind the sudden scrutiny.
He felt the skin and tissue gently knitting itself back together over the bone, and looked down to see the cut almost completely healed already. He sat up, stretching his arms and legs out, and looked down at Link, who was still crouched on the floor, looking up at him. Sheik sent him a question gaze, and Link shook his head before standing up as well. He hoped the Hero of Time hadn't suffered a head injury during the battle. Sheik sighed.
He'd probably still be in love with Link even if he did.
The next few hours were awkward, to say the least. Link hadn't uttered a word since the incident before, and Sheik had no idea what was wrong, or how to react. They made their way through a maze of doors they had found to the right of the platform, being attacked by floor masters several times.
Sheik hated floor masters.
He hadn't been having any problems with his hip, but Link continued to cover his right side in battle, obviously not convinced the Sheikah's wound was totally healed. It hurt Sheik that Link thought he needed to be coddled in battle. The hero forged on with a power that Sheik could only assume was fueled by anger. He even clean punched through a wall of wooden spikes that had threatened to skewer them, trapping their exit from the room as it moved steadily closer.
He had burned the rest down with a fire arrow, and Sheik had thought it completely unnecessary to punch the wall in the first place. He could only assume the hero was venting anger. But he wasn't complaining, as Link extracted the boss key from the last chest, and they made their way steadily back through the small labyrinth.
Link scrutinized the platform as they returned to where the boat had sunk mysteriously into the fog. His eyes swept over the opposite bank, separated by yet another canal of fog and nothingness. His mind calculated another solution, and Sheik felt himself being gently pushed behind the Hero of Time's muscular back.
He frowned in confusion as Link took out his bow, and shot a fire arrow at a pillar on the far bank. The heat sparked and ignited on some bomb flowers that Sheik hadn't noticed, blowing clean through the bottom of the massive pillar, and causing it to topple over towards them. The ground beneath them shook, and some rubble flew past them from the fall.
That was it?
Sheik fumed. Link had obviously lost all faith in him if he tried to protect him from some measly little rocks flying his way. Hadn't be proven multiple times he was at least capable of more? Link had shielded him just like he would have shielded Zelda, or an innocent civilian caught in a skirmish. The indignation burned within him, and he walked past Link, sending a heated glare his way before crossing over the makeshift bridge ahead of him.
He noticed the shocked look on the hero's face as he walked past. Let Link chew on that. He knew he was acting childish, but the betrayal of losing his friend's trust so quickly had burned him. He waited, arms crossed, as Link unlocked the door with a smaller key they had pilfered from the temple. The hero kept sending him fleeting glances, but Sheik pointedly ignored them, acting like the etchings on the door were much more interesting than they actually were.
He followed as Link entered the dark doorway, his entire body tense from anger and alertness. Red eyes scanned the darkness, fanning over Link's back as the hero forged intrepidly on.
He would win Link's trust back; he was determined.
The room had yielded a depth of missing floor, the archway leading to the boss chamber mocking them from across the room. Sheik had been chagrined to have to rely on Link to show the way over the invisible stepping stones with his eye of truth, and it had been more nerve-wracking than Sheik would have thought to have to land on something he couldn't even see. They stood now by the giant ornate door, Link using the giant boss key to unlock it. The heavy padlock dropped to the ground, and the chain unwound from around the hinges.
They both made their way into the door, and saw a large hole in the floor. Sheik had expected Link to jump in as soon as they entered, but was surprised by the hero's hesitation. Link stood on the edge, looking down, unmoving. Sheik's breath caught in his throat, was the hero finally showing fear at the prospect of an upcoming battle? But then Link turned around, and looked to Sheik. It wasn't fear in his eyes, but a question, and Sheik could read it all to well.
He was contemplating telling Sheik to stay out of the fight, and fighting the boss battle alone.
Sheik's eyes hardened again, and before Link could react, he jumped down into the dark hole. He landed with a thump, and sprung back up into the air as whatever he had landed on opposed his weight. Once he was sure the trampoline-like floor wouldn't bounce him anymore, he felt around. It was decidedly hard, but something echoed underneath as his fingers whispered across what felt like tanned calfskin.
He moved to the side, and whistled up at Link; the signal for all-clear. He was bounced back into the air as Link's weight landed upon the floor, and Sheik could barely make out his outline in the darkness. Link sent him an apprehensive look, and Sheik ignored it, quickly running to his side and pressing his back to the hero's. It was a defensive maneuver they hadn't used in a while, but Sheik didn't care anymore, and he didn't want to take his chances in a dark place like this. Link shifted slightly behind him.
"What is this?"
"Be wary." Sheik warned. "We're on a giant drum."
Link's breath caught behind him, and Sheik automatically turned to look over the hero's shoulder. The sight that caught his eye caused him to turn around and pull out his daggers from his arm wraps. A giant black monster hung from somewhere in the darkness, its one long eye peering down at them. They barely had time to survey the monster before something slapped them to the side.
Sheik skidded to a stop a few feet from the edge of the drum, snapping his head up to look for what had hit them. Were there two monsters? He rolled to the side as a giant black disembodied hand flew towards him, slamming down on the spot he had just been and causing him and Link to fly a few feet into the air. His mind put two and two together, watching as the giant yellow eye followed them. The hands flew through the air in a pattern Sheik quickly picked up on, and he threw a dagger at an empty spot in the air, anticipating where the black mass would go next.
His aim was dead on, and the monster howled as the metal knife buried into its skin. He threw his other dagger at the hand that was harassing Link, and it quickly went down as well. Link looked over to Sheik with a look of shock as he ran over to the first hand, pulling two more concealed daggers from his outfit, and drove them into the giant lump of flesh. Link caught on, and began to slash away at the hand nearest him. The monster howled again, more enraged than in pain, and slapped Link away with enough force to have him nearly flying off the side of the drum.
That was when Sheik noticed the acid. All around on the ground around the raised platform of the giant instrument, a seething green liquid gurgled and sputtered. They did not want to get knocked off. The other, more mangled hand went after Link as well, and Sheik panicked. He sprang into the air, latching on the back of the black hand, and plunged one of the daggers into the joint of the pointer finger. A sick crack echoed through the air, and the hand fell limp from the air, twitching. Sheik grunted, that was one down.
Link had managed to scramble back onto the drum. The monsters now solitary hand pulled back to the front, alighting beneath the monster as it eyed them warily, undoubtedly concocting a new strategy. The lump of black flesh began to beat out a rhythm on the drum, causing the entire landing underneath the pair to shake. Without any warning, the hand balled into a fist, and flew through the air towards them, Link rolled, flattening himself to the ground, while Sheik flipped away nimbly.
The hand doubled back, slamming down on where Link lay.
"No!" Sheik cried out, jumping towards Link, but the hero was all the way on the other side, and the hand slammed down before Sheik could even take a few steps. Link pointed his sword up at the last second, the hand impaling itself on the blade. An electric shock passed through the hand, the enchantment on the sword rebelling the touch of evil, and the monster growled again as blood gushed from the hand, and spilled all over the unscathed Hero of Time. Sheik quickly recovered from the shock and relief, taking the opportunity to leap upwards. He landed on the monster's back, which was facing him as it hung upside down, and crawled down to the odd neck that housed the solitary yellow eye.
Pulling his last two daggers from the cloth on his hip, he drove them downward and into the giant eye.
The howl that reverberated through the cavern shook the very air Sheik breathed, and the monsters skewered hand slammed into him, knocking the wind from his lungs and flinging him into the acid below. His entire left side burned as he landed, and he twitched in pain as his head slammed into the ground. A scream poured forth from his lips before he could hold it in. The last thing he saw as his vision faded was Link charging the bloodied monster, screaming out a fearless battle cry.
Sheik awoke to the smell of herbs permeating the air. He was covered in bandages all along his left side, but under closer inspection, there was nothing wrong with the skin beneath the wrappings. His head pounded slightly, but otherwise, he was fine. His muddled mind tried to recall what had happened to cause the throbbing pain in his head. A giant yellow eye sprang forth from his memory, and he darted up from the bed as his mind caught up to him. Link, the shadow temple…
Upon closer inspection of his surroundings, Sheik realized he was in the potion shop back in Kakariko. How he had gotten here he wasn't quite sure, but he did know he was needed elsewhere right now.
"Oh, you're up then child?" Sheik's head snapped around at the elderly voice, his sight alighting on the potion woman who owned the shop. "Where is Link?" He asked, urgently. She blinked at him owlishly. "That young lad? He carried you all the way here a few days ago. He's outside now." Sheik nodded, before flinging the covers from his body and getting up. The little old woman let out a little gasp, "You mustn't get up yet! You're very hurt!"
"I'm fine." Sheik answered curtly, pushing past her gently as she tried to impede his way to the door. The sun blinded him slightly as he opened the door, but his sight quickly adjusted. Link's gaze switched from what he was doing to Sheik as the injured man came barreling through the door. He was tightening a strap attached to Epona's saddle, where all his gear was already packed. Sheik took in the sight of the hero and knew at once what was happening.
Link was planning on leaving for the next temple…alone.
Betrayal ripped a new hole in Sheik's gut, and he winced slightly, from both the new wound and the previous ones. Link had enough decency to look guilty at the hurt look on Sheik's face. Sheik's expression turned livid, and Link's eyes widened. The potion woman felt the tension in the air, and slipped back into the shop, realizing she was impeding on a private moment. Sheik felt his head pound as the blood pumped through his body angrily, and his fists clenched, his knuckles turning white. "Is that all I am to you then?" He spat out. Link flinched as if physically struck by the words, surprised at the volume and anger in Sheik's voice. "A few burns, a little bump on the head and I'm out of commission. Am I really so useless to you?"
Link opened his mouth to talk, but Sheik forged on ahead; all his anger and fear that had been bottled up until now pouring out of him. "I realize I'm not as strong as you, or as capable, but I thought I was at least useful. I thought I was at least your FRIEND!" Had he been paying attention to the hero's facial features, he would have seen the look of utter shock on Link's face, but as it was, he was too enraged to notice much around him. "I suppose friendship is forgotten in the face of battle." He hissed.
Link was by now trying to approach to him, but Sheik would have none of it. As soon as the hero got within reach, he back flipped nimbly away. But as his feet touched the ground again, the blood rushed back down in his head. The world became fuzzy, and suddenly the ground was rushing up towards his face. Link lunged forward and caught Sheik before he could come in contact with the ground. Sheik took a moment to breath, letting the oxygen flow back to his brain, before renewing his struggles to get away from the cause of his anger.
Link just crushed Sheik to himself. "Careful Sheik, you have a slight concussion. You're going to need to take it easy for the next few days." Sheik saw red at those words. "You don't get it do you!? I don't need to be coddled! I'm not so weak that I need to be protected all the time!" He struggled as much as his body would allow, twisting this way and that in a futile attempt to break the Hero of Time's concrete hold. Link's body stiffened around him at his words. Sheik began to feel light-headed as his struggles continued, and he finally slumped against the strong body holding him, panting from his exertions.
"You know what pisses me off the most though?" He whispered, still out of breath and panting. Link was still being unnaturally quiet. "The fact that you never show any fear," he sighed. "Not even for me." Seemingly out of nowhere, he felt his cowl being pulled down, and something soft was ravishing his mouth. It took his muddled mind a few seconds to realize the soft something was a pair of lips, and another few seconds to realize the soft lips kissing him belonged to none other than Link.
At first he was too shocked to react, his mind not understanding how this had happened. The fact that there wasn't much oxygen circulating in his brain didn't help. And then the information that the man he was desperately in love with was kissing him sunk in. He could feel himself shaking slightly as he began to react to the kiss, unable to keep up with Link as the hero's lips moved against his. The sheer passion that radiated from every movement Link made had Sheik bewildered, and he couldn't explain the odd twisting sensation he suddenly felt in his gut.
As Link pulled away, Sheik found it utterly impossible to think. Everything he had once known had been successfully turned upside down. He slumped against Link again, his head resting on his shoulder as he concentrated on breathing. He was far to confused and shaken to rationalize everything that was happening.
Sheik slowly opened his eyes at the hero's words, feeling the vibrations of Link's voice against his cheek. "I'm always afraid. Every minute. Every time we set foot in a temple, every time we go into battle." Sheik didn't move, afraid that if he did, Link would stop talking. "I feel so helpless."
"Everyone fears for their life Link." Sheik consoled, all his previous anger gone. A humorless chuckle escaped Link, and the hero pulled away, locking his penetrating blue gaze on a red, slightly more clouded one as he rested his forehead upon Sheik's.
"I could care less about my own life." Sheik could feel his breath catching as the hero's voice became huskier. "I don't feel fear for my own safety Sheik. I feel fear every time I think about you in harms way." Sheik's eyes widened marginally at those words. He didn't have time to get over his shock as the hero kept going. "Nothing could compare to the thought of a world without you in it. That alone keeps me up at night." He smirked at the flabbergasted look on the Sheikah's face. "As it turns out, I'm a coward when it comes to you."
Link's hands came up to cradle Sheik's face, "I know how capable you are, believe me. Sometimes it your strength amazed me." Sheik's eyes were beginning to sting slightly, and he mused that he should probably blink sometime soon, but he just couldn't look away from Link's gaze. "Had you not been there with me this whole time, I would have died a long time ago. But every time I think of you in danger, I panic." He smiled, and Sheik couldn't help but think that his irregularly beating heart coupled with his concussion couldn't be good for his overall health. "I fear for you, Sheik, above all things."
Sheik was winded; he had no idea how to respond. Everything suddenly made sense to him. The reason Link was always so protective, the reason he had been so angry after Sheik had injured his hip, why he didn't want Sheik to fight the final battle with him. Link smiled slightly at the enlightened look on Sheik's face.
"When you and that stalfos fell off the edge of the boat, I thought I had lost you forever, those were the worst three minutes of my life." Sheik's mind was going a mile a minute, placing all the pieces of the puzzle together, viewing all of Link's past actions in a different light. "When did this begin?" Sheik wondered.
Link tilted his head slightly, "When did what begin?" Sheik rolled his eyes, "You fearing for my safety." Link smiled at the exasperated look on his face, "I've always feared for your safety," Sheik gave Link another hard look, but Link continued, "But I realized I was in love with you in the water temple, when we were separated in the third chamber. I thought you had drowned." Sheik's breathing had halted as soon as the word 'love' had passed from between Link's lips. Link smiled yet again, apparently enjoying Sheik's reactions to the many confessions.
He brushed the curtain of hair away that usually covered Sheik's right eye, "So, are we still friends?" he commented, referring to Sheik's earlier outburst. The Sheikah broke through the stupor that rendered him unable to speak, and smiled back. His hand hooked around the back of the blond Hylian's head, "More than friends," he pulled Link's face towards his, kissing him soundly. The butterflies that had been fluttering in his stomach since the beginning of the conversation beat their wings full force, and he felt his insides churning as Link responded to the kiss.
Sheik had never felt so exuberant in his entire life. The feeling of Link's lips moving over his could be compared to nothing else in the world. The hero's arms wrapped around his slender form, pulling him closer, and Sheik groaned into the kiss. Hard sinew met slender muscle as their chests and stomachs pressed together. Sheik felt Link's hand travel down to his lower back in a protective manner, and right then, nothing had seemed sexier. The knowledge that Link loved him, and that he feared for his safety, just added to the passion of the kiss.
The Sheikah sighed as they pulled away, smiling at the hero that was now grinning madly as well. Epona gave a snort behind them, and both men turned to the steed that they had been ignoring up until that moment. Link got to his feet, offering Sheik his hand, which Sheik gladly accepted. A few moments before, he would have refused, but now, he mused, he didn't so much mind the smothering affection. Sheik walked towards the enormous Clydesdale, "I'll help you unpack everything." At Link's questioning look, Sheik smiled, his cowl still pulled down below his chin, "You're not going to anymore temples until I'm well enough to come with you." Link signed in defeat, though Sheik could sense the underlying tone of relief the hero felt at the prospect of not traveling alone.
Love was such a complicated thing.
But as Link fell into step beside him as he walked Epona towards the stables by the inn, he realized he didn't care how complicated everything would become from there on. He would just take everything in stride. He knew Link would always be scared for his safety, but that fear would always be reserved for him, and Sheik wouldn't have it any other way.