DISCLAIMER: All of The Legend of Zelda Characters and Places belong to Nintendo, and maybe some other equally important organizations/people. They are not, nor have they ever been mine. I just write silly fics.
It was out of order, Sheik mused as he watched the water level rise smoothly below him. In all practicality he should be checking the forest temple first. It was the first completed and therefore had the longest amount of time for something to malfunction. With the sages awakened the creatures of Hyrule had quieted, but unforeseen circumstances had a tradition of cropping up where powerful magic pooled.
The blue stone surrounding him was damp and cool; somewhere in another chamber a waterfall whispered through the walls. Yes, he had no logical reason for beginning with the water temple. It was merely a feeling, and an unintentional lesson from a headstrong fool about the importance of trusting feelings. Another door slid open, and he stepped into a vast chamber unlike the rest.
The room was empty of anything, the four walls, floor, and ceiling all made of matching blue stone. To the untrained eye entirely uninteresting, if not a bit curious in its utter blankness. Sheik stood at the door, hands on his throwing knives as he stared in shock.
Beneath the tree, the figure raised his head an inch and met his gaze. "You can see me." The words came out just above a whisper, and after a moment more he shakily lowered his head back to rest on the ground. One hand clenched the black tunic at his stomach, a pained chuckle echoing across the room. "It figures."
Eyes narrowing, Sheik removed a pair of knives to hold ready as he approached. At reaching the tiny island, his feet passed through the soil as if it were air and rested on the stone floor. He hadn't been expecting much more - when he lost focus he could see through the tree to the opposite wall. "What manner of spirit are you?"
From his new position above the reclining form, he watched the crimson eyes slide open on an all too familiar face. He was regarded blankly for a moment before the corner of the other's mouth turned up wryly. "I doubt I can be put to rest if that's what you're asking; you probably wouldn't want to anyway." There were stains barely visible in the dark fabric of his clothing, making an incredible contrast to the bright red when they reached his ashen skin. "I tried to kill him, you know."
Sheik's eyes snapped back, reading exactly who 'him' entailed in the knowing smirk. "Why?"
His audience shrugged, or made a movement that appeared to be an attempt. "It's what I do. I'd have done worse if I won. But I didn't."
Sheik watched him sigh and wince, gauntleted fingers curling tighter. Carefully, deliberately, he flipped the knife over and brought the blunt to one black-clad shoulder. It slipped through without ever touching. "He bested you."
"He killed me." The apparition glared at the hapless branches above him. "I should have stayed that way. He came back and stared for a fucking hour and couldn't even see me." The words bit off through gritted as he closed his eyes tightly. Slowly, he took a breath in and released it, voice slipping into subdued exhaustion. "I shouldn't be here."
It was a long moment before Sheik spoke again, softly. "Perhaps in that, we are alike." Standing, he sheathed his knives.
"Are you going?"
"This temple is but the first that needs surveyed."
"Are you coming back?" There was an emotion in the question Sheik had not yet heard in the conversation, one that made him turn halfway through the door. The other's eyelids had not lifted, one could almost pretend he lay in sleep.
"I will in time." The door slid closed.
X X X X X
He had not expected the apparition to exist on his return. It was in order this time, after visiting the vibrant life and scorching heat of the forest and fire temples. Of course, this meant going through the water maze twice before even finishing the others, but he chose to ignore that.
It-he was sitting up this time, propped against the trunk of the tree and watching him walk in. Something flickered across the pale face before the smirk slid into place and the gravely baritone sounded. "So you can tell the truth as well as see it."
Sheik let his eyes flick to the bloody patches from before, noting their slightly subdued affect on his carriage. "You are healing."
In response he received a one-shouldered shrug and a snort. "I'm reversing."
"The effect is the same however you phrase it."
That gained two raised eyebrows and a quizzical stare, before finally a nod. "I guess it is." The hazy form shifted slightly against the bark, wincing faintly. "So, what can I do for you today?"
The island as well, was easier to focus on. Silently, he approached until a few feet away and frowned beneath his mask. He did not have an answer to that. In truth, he did not have an answer as to why he returned in the first place. "Do you have a name?"
The question came from his lips unexpected, but the retort that followed threw him more. "Do you have a face?" With a dry chuckle at what must have been an impressive blank stare, the apparition tilted his head and watched him playfully through black bangs. "A name's not worth much with nobody to call it. From what I can tell, a face with nobody to see it isn't much different."
Sheik raised an eyebrow and slowly dropped to a crouch, eyes casually studying the far wall. "So the Mirror does not lie." From his crouch he relaxed back to sit, folding his legs beneath him. He ignored the widened look of surprise aimed his way, as well as the soft tingle of success in his chest at having caused it. "I am Sheik."
The surprise shut away immediately, covered by a bored smirk. "I know."
"What don't you know?"
A long pause, before a soft response. "You could start a story and we'll find out."
X X X X X
He had dismissed the idea of including his visits in his mental count of temple surveillance. It was difficult to rationalize why one would gain five times the attention when it posed no outward signs of threat. Luckily, he had not yet been asked what category these extra hours fell under, as he had not yet found a label for them.
"You couldn't clean those outside? You're getting my floor dirty." He sat unassisted today, arms crossed over his chest. Sheik was certain if he looked, he would find a red glower leveled his way.
As it was, he continued removing the tektite blood from his dirk without so much as a shrug. "You have yet to reach this section of the floor, and it is easier to work in a space that does not carry the threat of enemies interrupting."
"I'm not an enemy?" The smirk too, carried over through sound alone.
"You cannot get additional blood on my dirks." As he moved on to the second, he gave the entrance a cursory glance. None of the temple creatures ventured into this room, despite their tendency to wander through the rest. Were it a coincidence, it might have been odd.
"You saw him today." The tone was flat, breaking the mood with ease. Sheik froze, feeling the muscles in his shoulders tense before he could stop them. Knowing that in the tiny movement he had destroyed all doubt.
Across the tiles, there was a long slow exhale ending on a chuckle that held no humor. "Want to know how I know?" Although phrased as a question, the words carried an underlying bite that left no room for argument. "You never look me in the face on those days."
Sheik placed the dirk on the ground gently and closed his eyes, but the other's voice continued to carry through. "What I don't understand is why you show up in the first place." A hint of mocking, grating harshly through his ears. "If you're going to take a substitute face for your fantasies, there isn't much point in not using-"
"That is not it." Sheik's own voice was louder than he remembered, overriding the sentence.
"Do enlighten me, Sheik of the Sheikah." The sarcasm practically flooded the room.
Slowly, Sheik picked back up his dirk and gave it one more cursory sweep. He could leave, there was nothing holding him to this conversation save the wrenching in his gut. "Your voice."
"Get off on me sounding like him, then? Well that makes everything much better-"
"No, Mirror. You sound absolutely nothing like him." He sheathed the dirk and sighed, watching his hands in his lap. "That is the point. You sound like you, but in my eyes you still look as him." Silence greeted his answer, but he had nothing to fill it. Shaking his head, he turned away to stand.
A gauntleted hand suddenly grasped his chin, bringing his vision back around. Shocked, he had two blades already unsheathed before he met a glowing red gaze inches from his own. Of their own accord his eyes trailed across the other's features, the strong jaw and finely boned nose that he knew so well from memory. It was painful how close and how wrong the image was, how horrible to think of a face as wrong in the first place.
The eyes scrutinizing him narrowed before his captor spoke softly, as if to himself. "You didn't come to look at him."
The hand holding Sheik's chin released with a gentle push, and the spell broke. Sheik watched as the other shakily stood and walked back to his tree, his image flickering violently. "You were solid."
"Yeah." Using the tree for a crutch, the other sank back to the ground. "Gonna have a bitch of a headache later, too." He sighed heavily, turning into the tree and closing his eyes.
When it became apparent that nothing more was going to be said, Sheik stood and walked silently to the door. Had he not been listening so carefully, he may have missed the soft words on his exit.
"Your shadow is more comfortable than I thought it would be."
X X X X X
It had been a stupid, thoughtless mistake. During the days he never walked town streets, many times he would not set foot on one even in the darkest of night. But his thoughts had been elsewhere that morning, somewhere that took his feet on the shortest route directly through Kakariko. The rain had strengthened to a downpour that chased the villagers inside; perhaps his subconscious had taken this as a sign of safety.
Surely that was the reason for such a gross slip. There had to be one.
Across the street he stood, green tunic soaked and clinging to his frame. His blond hair had plastered to his forehead, forcing him to sweep it away from puzzled blue eyes. "Zelda, why are you dressed like that again?"
Sheik remained frozen to the spot, trapped by the honesty staring at him. Finally he wrenched his vocal control back just enough to manage a sentence. "I apologize, but I cannot say at the time."
Curiosity turned to concern and protectiveness, a step forward to match his step back. "What's wrong? Are you in trouble?"
With three more backwards strides Sheik reached the stairs to the well and forced a small smile. "No, nothing like that. I will explain in the castle, please trust me." He waited for the uncertain nod before dropping the deku nut, feeling his soul tear in two at the innocence watching him as he flashed away.
The hush of his home greeted him, the old floorboards for once not creaking upon his arrival. Outside the rain still droned, but none from Kakariko would find him within this hidden alcove beneath Death Mountain. He turned a circle to examine the surrounding room with uncaring eyes, then slowly sank to the floor against the door. Zelda would handle things efficiently and neatly, but he could not visit her for several days without drowning in the guilt her eyes projected in these cases. He could not even risk walking outside at the moment.
It would be more practical to move to a chair or change to dry clothes, but here there was nobody to watch or care. And so he allowed himself this small break of weakness. He pulled his knees to his chest, stared at the wall, and let time crawl by.
The ruling was a sensible and absolute one, although even as a child Zelda had protested. Her blood put her in constant danger - danger even a bodyguard as skilled as Impa could not be guaranteed to handle. She had argued that this was unfair, that anyone was as much a person as her, but was written away as a young girl's innocence and ignored.
Quietly, it was leaked out through the right circles that through magic the princess could change her appearance. Quietly, people were made to notice how the princess and the young Sheikah boy were never seen together, nor could anyone recall a time they could both be accounted for. The people kept it secret, obligingly addressing "Sheik" as a Sheikah should be while all the time sharing knowing glances.
In the seven years of Ganondorf's reign, he would watch their eyes brighten when he entered a room, catch the tiny smiles or winks of the less subtle. There was in fact, only one who did not know his 'true identity'.
He had reveled guiltily in the trust the Hero of Time placed in him - him, not her. How he would say his name naturally and without needing to pretend. How he would on occasion make a comment about Sheik to his fairy companion as they worked through temples. Before the Hero of Time, Sheik had never desired acknowledgment; the small smiles and vehement arguments from the princess had been enough to sustain him. But once he was given it, he found himself unable to function without it.
When the final battle's switch ripped it away, he was forced to learn again. And so he did. He breathed, worked, fought, talked, and lived.
But for some reason it hurt a great deal more than before.
X X X X X
He didn't know how long he sat there, although the overcast day had transitioned into overcast night at some point. Parts of him had gone numb from holding one position for so long; the rest gone cold and stiff from half-dried clothes in a dark house. He had given up trying to decide which feeling he preferred. The wall had yet to move or alter as was expected of a wall, but still he stared. Things might change.
He felt the warmth of a hand before he saw it, sliding up his side to reach his chin and gently turn his gaze away. Red eyes glowed in the darkness, illuminating a frown milder than he was used to. "Tell me what happened."
The deep command caused him to blink, pulling him back from his sluggish musings. The warmth of a hand became the warmth of a full body, pressed close as the light faded back to the color of a rich wine. Slowly, Sheik lifted one bandaged hand and reached for the face not a foot from his, letting the tips of his fingers brush a few black strands of bangs before he dropped his arm and looked away. "No, it was nothing."
A growl of frustration was his response, his chin jerked back to force their glares to meet. "Then tell me why it means nothing, because I sure as shit don't see how nothing ends with you like this."
"Mirror..." His voice cracked on the one word, stumbling into silence again. Beside him there was a soft sigh, the hand holding his face releasing. He curled tighter, expecting a blow or harsh words, perhaps disgusted silence.
When a warm mouth pressed to his covered neck he could not stop the gasp, his body tensing on automatic. But the mouth did nothing but press slow kisses up to his jaw, hands beginning to run across his sides. Of their own volition his arms unfolded and reached for the welcome source of heat, wrapping and fisting in the back of the black tunic. He received a low sound of approval when he abandoned the door to allow wandering fingers to caress his back, the mouth trading kisses for a gentle bite. "You could have come to me."
Sheik shook his head violently, giving the tunic a pull to force some space. "I didn't... I don't want that."
The touches did not cease, sliding down to his hips and coaxing his legs to unbend. "What do you want?" The words were murmured against his jaw, an inch from his mouth as if promising a kiss for a good answer.
"Mirror..." There was moisture on his cheeks that had nothing to do with the outside rain. "Mirror, tell me who I am." Careful fingers slid beneath the top of his mask, pulling it down and wiping away the tracks as he spoke. "Tell me who I am and I'll believe you."
Then their lips met, skin contact becoming a battle of tongues with a zeal born from desperation. Suddenly Sheik could not have enough of touching, tasting, wanting to bathe in the warmth, in the matching urgency given so freely back to him. Clothing in equipment were shed like painful memories, their feet somehow carrying them to his bed while they dropped their shells in pieces on the floor.
Mirror told him, told him again and again. While he explored every scar of the tanned skin, while he followed his fingers with tongue. Through a gasp when Sheik returned the favor. Against sweaty blond hair while their toes dug into the blankets. In a shuddering cry when the positions reversed until he was silenced with Sheik's mouth.
Quietly, sleepily, as he draped a lazy arm across the man laying next to him and rested their foreheads together.
And Sheik smiled slowly, his eyes opening a bare crack. He watched his Mirror drift into sleep before snaking an arm around the other's waist and bringing them closer. His tousled black hair spread across the pillow and draped over his eyes; his lips red and beginning to show faint traces of bruising. His face entirely peaceful. He looked like a mess, he looked wonderful, and he looked like nobody but himself.
Still smiling, Sheik closed his eyes to join him.
X X X X X
I wrote this particular fic for someone dear to me, although I am sworn off telling who or why. The pairing proved quite a challenge as it goes against my rainbows and happiness nature, but I dearly hope it is still enjoyable to read.
As always thank you for stopping by, and I will now go back to working on that chapter for TStSS. *Scampers*