The Nature of Illusion

Summary: Link's reflection on the nature of Sheik.

A/N: Drabble written in response to all the Link + 'Sheik' slash pairings I stumbled upon (but did not read) online…

Warning: this is the most blatantly 'anti-yaoi' thing I have ever written. If that will offend you please don't read – and I don't want to hear about it. Flames regarding my personal, moral, views will be deleted!

Once, very late at night, when we were all too tired for our own good and certainly too lethargic to care for the little social niceties and pretenses we maintain even amongst our closest friends, someone asked me (I cannot recall who) if things ever got strange between Zelda, Sheik and myself. Confused, and uncertain if they had mis-phrased the question or if I was just too tired to comprehend, I muttered that Zelda was Sheik and Sheik was Zelda – what was there to get strange? Surprised by my apparent lack of reaction (they were, I suppose, expecting shock) my companion floundered on.

"Well, yes… erm… but Sheik is… well, he is a 'he' and Zelda is a 'she'… and you're a… and has there ever… have you ever…" and here the stammering was joined by a bright red flush and slow comprehension dawned in my sleep-fogged brain, chasing the last remnants of lethargy from me as I too flushed and sat up straighter.

A hurried denial stumbled from my lips as I fought to regain my composure. I had never considered… but then, no one else could possible understand the nature of the relationship between Zelda and Sheik – though they now know the two are one and the same.

"It… isn't like that." I hurried to correct my now mortified friend. "It… that wouldn't be possible." Not that I wanted it to be, I thought, horrified.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean…"

I shook my head, struggling to find an appropriate reply, an explanation of some kind, but words eluded me. I had never had the need to define this before. "It just… isn't."

Theoretical, hypothetical, unlikely, and extremely uncomfortable scenarios were suddenly manifesting in my head, and I wondered if all our friends thought that… wondered if… did they really think? They couldn't

I blanched and then flushed again.

Though, from their point of view, I suppose the knowledge that the woman I loved could also be, well… not a woman, should be unsettling for me. After all, as far as they knew Sheik was a man… Was it any wonder they expected the topic to make me uncomfortable? But… that they might think that I… that we… that they thought it might add a 'new dimension' to the relationship between Zelda and myself… Oh goddesses, I thought I might be sick. They thought that 'Sheik' and I… and that we… I almost had to leave. I forced down the bile rising in my throat and tried to calm my racing thoughts.

I supposed that would indeed be… awkward… were things truly as they appeared from an outside perspective.

But they didn't understand.

Sheik is no more male than is Zelda. 'He' is but a guise, a masculine face and sculpted muscle draped over feminine, soft curves, keeping them from showing through. 'He' is not true transformation, but rather like a garment.

Beneath fitted blue lies not the form of a man. Could you but peel back the cloth you would find only a princess clothed in royal silk.

And beneath those wraps lies not red eyes, nor stubble dusted jaw. Unwind them slowly and there you'll find a blue gaze and rose tinged lips and skin as smooth as glass.

Like layered dolls or a sarcophagus - the outer layer, no matter how intricate, is but a shell.

Does a coat removed reveal a coat? No, it reveals that which was once hidden beneath – a tunic, a dress…

Does the fact that a cape is brown mean all that lies within is also brown? No… A white rose swathed in black cloth is a white rose still.

Sheik is Zelda… swathed in a male colored cloth…

He is but the mantel she wears to hide her true form from the world, as an actor dons a role, or the carnie paints his face.

There is no distinction of personality between the two, and neither is there any distinction of form. Remove even a piece of the costume that is Sheik and Zelda will be revealed. So it wouldn't be possible…

To strip Sheik of clothes is to strip Sheik of existence.

Sheik is the mask worn at the ball. And when one dances he dances not with the mask, but with the lady whose face it hides. The mask is not a dancer it is merely a prop, it has no part in the dance beneath the dance, in the twining of the souls.

And so, there was never any issue, never a question of my relationship with "Sheik" in my mind, for to me there is no distinction. Sheik is not a man, Sheik is a shell, intricately carved, but a shell nevertheless.

Were I to press my lips to Sheik's the shell would crack, falling away to reveal the woman hidden under. Were I to embrace Sheik, the form pressed to my own would melt to gentle femininity. To take Sheik to my bed would be an impossibility. 'He' would vanish beneath my touch.

One cannot hold an illusory image – it has no substance. Like a distorted reflection in a fun house, or the tricks of the magician, it holds no measure of reality.

Strip away illusion and you won't find illusion still – you'll find truth. And the truth of Sheik is Zelda.

"Sheik," I fumbled once more, trying to put all these thoughts into simpler terms, a single sentence. "There is no Sheik," I finally managed with renewed calm, "there is only Zelda dressed in Sheik colored robes."

And I watched confusion dance across my companion's face a moment before they nodded, face illuminating, and I was relieved to know they understood.

Sheik is but a cloak worn over royal garb.

And when the cloak is removed there is once more Zelda – the woman I love.

Ending A/N: Just so you know and don't twist this all around… my take on Sheik is that 'he' is not anatomically a male… if you strip Sheik naked you don't get a guy… he disappears and you get Zelda… it's in there, much more poetically, but just so the more, ahem, open minded individuals don't try to twist this into a "Link doesn't care that Sheik's a dude because it's still Zelda really so it doesn't matter if he gets it on with a 'guy'…" NO! Not what I'm saying. Note the "that wouldn't be possible" that Link says near the beginning. No slash pairing, not even an inkling!

... and, this is another one I wrote and posted on my own site forever ago, and thought I posted here but didn't... so here it is. Only review if you're going to be nice... writing critique is always welcome, attacks on my person will be blantantly ignored. I don't ask you to agree with my views, only to respect them. And, once again, for those who will label me a 'hater' or 'closed-minded' or 'judgemental'... please keep in mind that my best friend of nearly 14 years is GAY. Difficult to be a "homophobe" with a gay best friend, lesbian close friend, and several other homosexual pals. Just becuase I disagree with the lifestyle doesn't mean I dislike, or mistreat, the individuals. And now I'll stop defending myself and shut up, because y'all will think what you wanna think, and nothing I say is gonna change any minds.

Caio!!! reenas-as