I was looking at fanart of Sheik and got inspired. You all know how that is. If the respone is good and my muse hangs around, I'll continue! So let me know if you like it. Don't own Zelda. :)

As I stood shakily on the lush grass, I could see the blurry outline of Link materialize before me. He seemed so powerful standing there, his eyes narrowed in an attempt to prove his confidence to himself. His green tunic was the same one that he had been wearing at the time of his transformation. It was rather stretched over his newfound muscles, and the master sword hung over the back majestically. My thoughts sounded horribly cliché even to me, but I could feel my knees weakening. And this was hardly the time.

"Good afternoon, hero," I greeted him loftily. He nodded in response.

"You've done good work," I said, observing the hookshot that hung from his belt.

"Who are you?" he breathed finally, gazing at me steadily.

For the first time, I noticed that the gauze veil I wore had slipped down to reveal the lower half of my face. Quickly I lifted it back up, but I already felt oddly violated. I couldn't afford too many more slips like that.

"I'm Sheik – the last of the Sheikah. I'm a man without a race; I'm a nobody," I said, using the soft, cat-like voice that he was familiar to hearing Sheik speak with. "And I've come to teach you the song that you must know to return here, should the need arise."

He pulled out his ocarina obligingly, but his expression was still one of suspicion. As he put it to his lips, I raised my harp.

"Repeat after me," I instructed, playing a few notes. He played them back in perfect pitch, and as we played together I could hear the subtle hum of the spirits in the Sacred Forest Meadow join in with us. Though I longed to go on, I removed my fingers from the harp's strings while I still could.

"You're just so … familiar," he said as soon as the song was finished. I swallowed sharply, afraid that he'd noticed my anxiousness.

"Fate does that to people," I replied. "We've never met… yet, it's brought us together. We have a common duty, young hero."

Link raised an eyebrow.

"You're suggesting that I just think I know you, then?" he inquired.

"I don't suggest anything," I replied, picking a few notes on my harp. It was funny how the ominous chord added to the mood of our discussion. "You can believe what you like."

"I think you know what I believe," Link said softly, in a manner very uncharacteristic for this man-of-few-words. I was suddenly struck by the way that he'd changed over the flow of time, whether he'd experienced the growth himself or not. He had the cynicism of an adult, and something in his wide blue eyes had changed. I felt as though he was staring straight through me.

"You have a task to do – as do I," I finally said, retreating back a couple of steps.

"When will I see you again?" he demanded suddenly, something like fear showing on his face for the first time.

I couldn't deny the stab in my chest that resulted from the flash of helplessness in the eyes of the hero-boy. In that moment, I realized something. Though he appeared so confident and prepared, just as I had planned it, he was still the child from whom he had just transformed - in so many ways. I wanted to step towards him and embrace him; tell him that he had more power than he could ever know. But I knew better. For him, the less I existed, the better it would be.

"Saria and I talk through the ocarina," he told me pleadingly, though I already knew that much. "Could we do that… somehow?"

"I'm afraid not," I replied coolly, stepping back another few feet. "Find your courage and enter the temple. You don't need my help."

Wrenching my eyes shut so that he wouldn't see the tears gathering in their corners, I threw down the powder Impa had given me. The earsplitting crack sounded, and within minutes I could hear the sound of spirit-voices from a few rooms down – and knew that I had returned to the safe place in the Forest Beyond the Wall.

At the sound of my return (almost as loud a crack as had resulted from my departing of the Sacred Forest Meadow) Impa raced to my side.

"How are you, Princess?" she demanded, helping me up. I shook my head.

"Fine," I replied. "He'll do fine, he's a strong warrior."

"I asked how you were," she reminded gently.

"It doesn't matter how I am. He could figure it out on his own if he had to."

"But the sages, Princess," Impa continued. "They would be lost without your guidance. And I believe in the young hero as well, but the plan was arranged so that he would have a spirit to guide him."

I sighed, not begrudging my lifetime caretaker her motherly concern.

"I'll be okay, then, if you're that worried. It was just hard to leave him on his own like that, is all. And that's terribly stupid; I'd only slow him down."

Impa stepped back, her sad smile a strange show of confidence.

"You're a strong warrior too, Princess. There will come a time when he has need of your help. Stay strong and wait for that day."

I tried for a smile as well, but really just pursed my lips.

"I'll do what I can."

"Let me know if you need something, Princess," she said, before departing the room.

I stood before the mirror, wondering why I was even trying to keep up this outrageous masquerade. I felt like a stupid little girl dressed up for a costume party. My eyes hurt from lack of rest and my chest throbbed from all of the bandaging to make it seem flat. I hoped he would finish this job fast – on a physical and emotional level, this was going to be difficult to maintain for too much longer.