The Return of the Shadow

Author Note: Sheik is a separate male character, and this is a Sheik/Link story. Don't like it? Don't read it.

Rather crappy summary: As evil pervades the land of Hyrule once again, a Shadow thought to be lost returns to aid the Hero of Time in his quest to defeat the malevolent forces...this time for good. LinkxSheik, yaoi.

I loved the games and I loved Sheik. At first, I loved the fact that Sheik was Zelda, but I warmed up to the idea of Sheik being a separate male character. And now, I prefer it. This story is told at multiple characters' points of view, and the chapters get longer, and I should like to think better, as you go along.

Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the Zelda franchise. If I did…well, Sheik would have been a guy and he and Link would have been a lot closer.

This first chapter contains very little dialogue. You could consider this an exposition, of sorts. Don't worry; there will be plenty of it in future chapters. Enjoy!

Chapter 1 Intruder

Link POV

Epona and I heaved a simultaneous sigh of relief as we rounded the last bend in the trail. My lonely little house, set high in the cliffs, rarely had looked so welcoming. Epona stopped in the middle of the rustic courtyard and looked back at me expectantly. I chuckled and slung my leg over the side. "I'm going, I'm going," I said fondly. My dismount was less-than-graceful; Epona moved to the side as I slid down her withers.

Mustering a tiny bit of my remaining energy, I removed her tack and rubbed her down before giving her a scoop of oats. She snorted her thanks and then proceeded to ignore me. With Epona taken care of, I removed my longshot and pulled myself up to the landing of my house.

When Zelda had asked me why I felt the need to build my house into the side of a cliff, sixty feet in the air, I told her it was to keep out intruders, which is partially true. The lesser-known, more sentimental reason is that it reminds me of my days in the Kokiri Forest, when I had friends—an especially annoying, glowing-ball-of-light friend in particular.

I opened the door and stepped into the darkness. I concentrated briefly and the torches around the walls burst into flame. I mentally thanked the goddesses for allowing me to keep my spells. Even after all the fighting was over, they still came in handy.

My vision starting to get fuzzy, I stripped down to just my shirt and under shorts. I doused the lights with another wave of my hand and slipped into bed.

Instead of sleep immediately claiming me, as I thought it would, my thoughts started to race.

Several days before, Tatl and Tael had come to me and reported some suspicious activities happening in the Ikana Canyon. Of course, being who I am, I had to investigate.

Goddesses I hate the Ikana Canyon. I consider it to be even more unbearable than the Gerudo Desert. At least the Gerudo Desert has a breeze and some semblance of living things; the Ikana Canyon only boasts a stifling climate and a distinct lack of anything living. Even after I vanquished Majora, the Re-Deads stuck around. Pamela and her father stuck around as well. To each his own, I guess.

The King of the Waste's spirit had also continued to inhabit the old Ikana Castle. As it turned out, the 'suspicious activities' ended up being nothing more than said King getting a tad restless and deciding to terrorize some of the locals for kicks. Asking the goddesses for patience, I had reminded him that such things were strictly forbidden. He was rather sulky about the whole ordeal, or as sulky as a once-glorious warrior king can be. At his request, I played the Elegy of Emptiness (and pointedly ignored the creepy shell I left behind), then went on my way.

Not really in any hurry, I spent a day or so visiting some of my friends around Termina. It was nice to actually be remembered. Once Zelda sealed Ganondorf and sent me back to my original time, no one remembered me anymore. Which is just as well, I guess. People shouldn't have to remember all that I did.

Back then, I had sought out Zelda as soon as I returned to my ten-year old self. Of course, she still remembered me, as well as all that had happened in the other time, as did Saria and the other Sages. After lengthy discussions with Zelda, and her assurance to provide anything I may need, I set about finding the people I once knew and I spent the last eight years building friendships with them again, as well as traveling to new lands and finding new adventures. Sitting about idly is not my strongpoint. My infamous wanderlust has caused Zelda several headaches over the years.

But coming to Termina always serves as a nice reprieve. Anju and Kafei finally got married, even though Anju still towers over him, and Lulu's children grew to be very talented singers. She eventually got around to seeing other people, and she and her agent, Thokau, after several years, tied the knot as well. Cremia and Romani's ranch flourished, especially after everyone who fled from Clock Town saw what a lovely place it was.

However, as much as I enjoy Termina, Hyrule is first and foremost my home. No matter where I go, eventually I feel the need to return to Hyrule. Maybe it's a lingering sense of protectiveness. In any case, Zelda does not like it when I am away for more than a few days at a time. In fact, Zelda had been rather huffy with me when I informed her that I would be gone for several days. She had been on edge a good deal lately, and when I left, she still had not figured out what was wrong. My sojourn in Termina was cut short due to an urgent summons she sent to me via her Sage powers. I had originally planned to just ride straight to the castle, but I was exhausted. I needed rest. Anyway, daylight was only a few hours away.

At some point in my rambling thoughts, I drifted off to sleep. It only seemed a few seconds later, however, that a large crash and thump made me snap awake. With no moon, I could see nothing; but darkness had never hampered me before. I slid the Gilded Sword from its scabbard and gained my feet before the figure on the floor had a chance to even think about moving. I touched the point of my sword to their throat.

Ugh, I thought, there went the rest of the sleep I was going to get for tonight.

I addressed the shadowy figure frozen at my feet.

"You have ten seconds to explain yourself before I shove this through your neck."

Sheik POV

How had I gotten myself into this position? Sheikah are supposed to be shadow itself; graceful, stealthy, collected, powerful, and absolutely silent.

Well, normally I am those things. But after having been summoned from my quiet, peaceful dwelling in the desert by one worried Princess of Hyrule, with news and a mission that was able to unsettle me, a supposedly unflappable shadow, all my best Sheikah qualities had been mysteriously absent.

Which is why I was now sprawled on the floor with a sword at my throat.

The things the princess told me and the mission she entrusted to me (which is what had landed me in this position) less than a week ago still sent chills down my spine…

An urgent summons sent on the wind by Princess Zelda had me dropping everything and traveling to the castle immediately.

On my arrival, Zelda came to greet me herself. She ushered me into her study. "Sheik, a time has come that I hoped would not. The seal on Ganondorf is weakening. Obviously, this is a very disturbing and serious matter. It is made even more so by the fact that we Sages can't detect any activity on Ganondorf's side of the seal at all. This leads us to believe someone on the outside is doing something to destroy the seal. It would take someone with extreme power to even get to the location of the seal, not to mention actively doing something to weaken it."

Now, I was raised as a Sheikah. Sheikah are taught from almost birth to become deadly killers, to do whatever it takes to protect the royal family, to sacrifice anything and everything, and to, above all, fear no one. But the thought of Ganondorf being on the loose in Hyrule again, with someone with just as much power by his side, sent a cold feeling sweeping through my entire being. Zelda may have used my body in that other time, but I was still there, in the recesses of my mind, and I saw all that Ganondorf did. I saw how the land became a land of destruction and death under him, the terror that spread through the people, and the violent and terrible acts he committed.

A person of his caliber should never be allowed to live. If he did not hold the Triforce of Power in his hands, Zelda could have killed him and been done with it. Unfortunately, that damn Triforce kept him alive, even when he was run clean through with the Master Sword. Repeatedly.

I considered her words. "So what is it that you want me to do, Princess?"

"Well, as a first order of business, I need you to bring Link to me. He is off to the goddesses know where right now, but he should be home in a few days. Sometimes, he needs a little...persuasion to heed my summons to the castle. He makes his home in a small dwelling set back in the cliffs between the Kokiri Forest and Lake Hylia. I shall draw you a map. It can be rather difficult to find. But we need Link for obvious reasons. He's fought Ganondorf before. But I don't want him working alone this time. I'm not going to put that on him again. You will work with him, and help him find whatever it is that is weakening the seal on Ganondorf, and then you will help him beat it. I would not be so worried but for the fact that there is most likely an equally powerful person working on Ganondorf's side."

I started to get nervous at that point, and not about the whole Ganondorf-returning-to-the-world-thing. As far as Link knew, I was merely a disguise that Princess Zelda used to protect her real identity during the war. He was totally unaware that the real me actually existed.

During those times that I saw him through Zelda's eyes, (technically my own, but I digress) I saw a courageous young man, thrown into a horrible situation, who was doing his best to protect everyone and come out of all of it alive, all with the heart of a child! He cut an impressive figure, too. Tall, fair, and muscular, he was a wonder to watch in combat.

After Zelda revealed herself to Link, the magic that bound us was broken and I was instantly returned to my home in the desert. I had set off immediately back to the castle (Zelda was still my number one priority), but by the time I got there, Ganondorf was put away and Zelda had returned Link to his original time. We talked for hours about all that had transpired. After her many thanks, she then sent me back in time, too, for although Sheikah are supposed to willingly sacrifice anything for the royal family, even seven years of their life, Zelda felt I should get that time back. Before I left, I requested that I keep my memories, because I felt the need to share the burden of knowing.

So, I never got to see Link, and even though I could have sought him out in the past eight years, something kept me back. It probably had something to do with my unrequited feelings for a man who thought I was actually a girl and/or not real. But now, it was all going to change.

Which is how I ended up outside of Link's home. Even with Zelda's "map", I spent four hours scouring the walls between Lake Hylia and the home of the Kokiri before finally finding a narrow pass that wound its way to a small circular enclosure. His house was built high into the surrounding cliffs, and a quiet stream twisted its way across the small valley, and a few trees and small shrubs dotted the landscape. Although it was rather crude, it had a certain charm to it.

Said charm quickly faded when I realized I would have to climb at least sixty feet up a sheer cliff to reach the actual landing of the house.

Sometimes I hate my job.

I stayed in the rocky enclosure for two days, idly sitting around and waiting for the Hero to appear. The tree offered adequate shade and the stream's water was clear and cool. Not sure of his exact arrival time, I stayed awake most of the time. But my sleeplessness caught up with me eventually, and at almost midnight of the second day, I dropped off to sleep, nestled in the branches of the tree.

Seemingly seconds later, I jerked into consciousness and peered around, unsure of the source of the disturbance. A snort made me look down. Beneath me, Epona grazed lazily, her tack hanging on a rung attached to the side of the cliff.

I glanced up to the house. Its windows were dark and nothing stirred within. Link appeared to have used his infamous hookshot to reach the landing.

Damn Hylian.

Did I mention the fact that it was cloudy and moonless? Even though, as a Sheikah, I have a heightened sense of sight, scaling a sixty foot sheer cliff in broad daylight is difficult enough; add total darkness, and everything gets a hell of a lot more complicated.

Cursing, I started my ascent.

After much more swearing and fumbling and near-falls, I finally heaved myself onto the landing. I took a moment to catch my breath. The house remained completely dark and silent. I hated to wake the Hero, but damned if I was going to stay out here all night, sixty feet above the ground on a narrow ledge. I walked to the door and firmly knocked.

There was no movement, no sound.

I knocked again, somewhat louder.

Still, nothing.

My annoyance increased exponentially. Honestly? Wasn't this supposed to be the Hero of Time, a seasoned warrior? Aren't heroes supposed to awaken at the sound of the wind blowing through the grass or some such nonsense?

I sighed and tried the windows. I struck some luck; one of the two was un-locked. I started to ease inward on the window until suddenly it jammed. Swearing softly, I pushed harder. The window would not budge. I stepped back, took a deep breath, then lunged at the window and pushed with all the force I could muster from my small frame. The window shot inward, and I flew through it and landed in an ungraceful heap inside. I did not even have time to sit up before a cold blade pricked my neck and an even colder voice said,

"You have ten seconds to explain yourself before I shove this through your neck."

I sighed internally. Apparently, the Hero didn't take too well to being rudely awakened in the middle of the night.

Great. Just one more thing to make my job even more difficult.


The figure on the ground still had not moved or answered my question. Damn this darkness! I couldn't see a thing. Creasing my brow in brief concentration, heat shot through me and ignited in my palm. I held the flame aloft and stared down into the intruder's face.

The face of an illusive shadow stared back, with the same blue exoskeleton-type suit, the same damned head covering, and the same piercing red eyes.

I sucked in a breath and my concentration was broken, plunging the room into darkness once again.