Fuck this was long. Anyways this is the last chapter of the main story of this fanfiction. Don't worry, there'll be an epilogue. Speaking of that, I have something IMPORTANT to say.

Because I've changed the ending of my story and cancelled the epilogue there are questions that are going to remain unanswered, and as well as things that need to be completed that I could not within the bounds of my story. What I'm asking you to do is tell me what questions you have after this chapter is finished. What things are perplexing you? Are there any loose ends that need tying? Please tell me in a review. I need to know so that I can try to explain it through the story and not through review responses, because I prefer to explain that way (and I think you would as well) but if I cannot I will respond in a reply in the epilogue.

Now...

Warnings: Angst, more angst, and some shitloads of angst. I seriously cried EVERY TIME I read it and it's TWENTY/TWENTY-ONE PAGES LONG SO I'M CRYING SO FREAKING MUCH. There some smut in here as well, and a fight scene (which has a slightly descriptive sword thrust [not bloody but...]) And the usual M/M relationships with the smut and the fluff. (Male!Sheik x Link if you still don't have a clue :P)

Disclaimer: I still don't own Link, Sheik, or any of the characters of the Zelda franchise (or anything else for that matter) however much I'd like to. I do own this plot-line and idea and the combination of letters on a page though.

No reviews to respond to. Makes me a sad author :(


"I have been waiting for you Link."

Link turned around at the voice, a smile bursting to life on his face. "Sheik!"

Why was Sheik acting so… so neutral?

He didn't act like this when they were at the Spirit Temple, so it couldn't be because of the speeches. In fact, Sheik enjoyed it when he interrupted the speech, but Sheik was acting like their first meeting. Detached. Emotionless. Characterless.

"Sheik, what's wrong?"

"You are Link, the Hero of Time." Sheik said, and just caused more concern for Link. Sheik stopped using his title in the Water Temple, and Sheik still sounded so… dead.

Link took a step towards his lover, tilting his head. It was Sheik – he'd know that body anywhere – so what was wrong with him?

A chill travelled down his back as he thought of a dreadful possibility: Did the old witches do something to him? Did they control his mind without Link or Sheik knowing?

His hand reached out to grasp Sheik's hand, but Sheik tore his hand away before he could.

Okay, something was definitely wrong!

"Sheik! What the hell is wrong with you?" His arm shot out again – only to be thwarted by a deku nut flashing and Sheik appeared behind him, out of reach again.

"You have overcome many hardships and awakened six Sages. And now you have a final challenge, a showdown with Ganondorf, the King of Evil... Before that... I have things I want to tell only to you. Please listen."

"I know Sheik is acting strange, but maybe it's important and sooner or later Ganondorf will realize that you have awakened all of the Sages." Navi said to him.

Link nodded to his fairy and to Sheik. Very well. He'd listen.

"Another unknown legend of the Triforce passed down by the shadow folk, the Sheikahs..."

And listen he did to the story of the Triforce, to the story of how Ganondorf acquired the section of Power.

"…The one who holds the Triforce of Courage is... You, Link! And the other, who holds the Triforce of Wisdom... is the seventh Sage, who is destined to be the leader of them all..."

Link didn't have time to look at his own hand, because he was looking at Sheik who had raised his hand with a shining triangle. He took a step back as the realization came to him.

No… Not Sheik too! He wouldn't let Sheik go to the sacred realm! He wouldn't lose him! He wouldn't! He didn't care that he would be damning the world, he would stop Sheik from awakening as the seventh Sage! Link charged forward but was blocked by a surge of magic and light.

"No!"

And as the light faded Sheik was no longer there.

And in his place stood a woman, a woman whom he knew he knew.

"It is I, the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda."

"I apologize for meeting you in disguise."

Link shook his head, his body slumping to the ground. Idly he could hear a small gasp beside his ear.

It couldn't be.

No…

It was impossible…

Sheik was a boy! Sheik was male! Sheik was… Sheik was…

He was not Zelda! It was a lie! A disguise! Sheik was elsewhere! He had to be!

"But it was necessary to hide from the King of Evil."

"Shut up! Shut up!" Link protested, covering his ears in a vain attempt to block out her voice and her words. This wasn't Sheik! It wasn't!

But he knew his body anywhere. And the body that was there just moments ago was Sheik's. So… what did that mean?

Nothing was making any sense!

Even though Link hated to consider it, if Zelda was Sheik, then why was she so out of character? Why hadn't she let him touch her? Why weren't her eyes shining the way Sheik's did whenever Sheik looked at him?

And why was he looking at Zelda with hatred and horror instead of love and longing?

Because she isn't him. Of course it wouldn't make any sense. She cannot be him, it's impossible. His heart told him.

But his mind told him otherwise. Zelda told him otherwise.

"Please forgive me..."

Link didn't know if he could accept that apology.

Link's eyes widened and he took a step back while shaking his head in disbelief and horror. The words were too quiet to have echoed within in the forest, but their impact caused a rippling effect in Link's mind. Did you love me then Link? Do you still love me?

The scenarios where he had feared he went too far came to his mind. Which case was it? How many were there? When did Sheik come to his conclusion – how did he?

And why was Sheik asking?

"By the paranoid, panicked reaction I can only assume that I am right." The whispering voice became tired and weak and that hopelessness, that fear, that sorrow continued to grow. "But please tell me yourself Hero. I am sick of guessing things."

The dread pooled at his stomach and Link was the first to break their gaze for once. How would this change their relationship? It didn't seem like Sheik was likely to simply brush it off and tease him about it. The air around them was too serious for that. He didn't want to tell him.

But Sheik already knew.

Link looked down at the ground in defeat. "Yes Sheik, I loved you. I still do."

Sheik had fallen silent.

When Link looked up he saw the slender form trembling. Was it fury? Fear? …Excitement?

"What do you mean by the present tense?" The words were well-guarded and Link couldn't decipher the emotions behind them.

What did Sheik want to hear? He didn't want to drive the other away…

"And please don't tell me what you think I want to hear. I want the truth. I'm sick of drawing conclusions and sick of half-truths. I… I need the whole truth."

Why did Sheik sound so desperate? Why was there anger?

Why was he afraid?

The emotions that Link had only been guessing at had finally surfaced and made themselves known. Their reasons were beginning to emerge out of the fog and haze that Sheik had created. They had started when he found Sheik brooding on the balcony ledge two days ago…

Did Sheik suspect him then? Was that why he was acting that way?

Link bit his lip. Why was Zelda always right?

Why did he even hope things would return to normal?

Of course their past would be the thing that would separate them! That his love...

Link suddenly wished that he never met Sheik on that fateful day, that he stayed home or slept in, that he remained on the ranch and lived a dull, uneventful life.

Just so he wouldn't feel the pain he was feeling now.

"I mean…" His voice betrayed him, quietly answering Sheik against his will. "It doesn't matter that you don't remember, that your personality changed, that your comrades have changed. I… I love you regardless of all of that. I always will."

"I see… so that's the only reason…" Sheik whispered tiredly, solemnly, and hopelessly.

And yet, even though hope faded from Sheik, it filled Link. The impression that Sheik wanted the hero to love him was strong by the tone of his voice, and Link didn't miss that.

Did that mean Sheik had feelings for him?

"I still love you Sheik!" Link implored, hoping his words would get through to the Sheikah.

Their gazes met, but there were too many emotions swirling in Sheik's eyes for Link to sort them out.

"And what about me? What about the person your Sheik became?" All weakness had faded from Sheik's voice and desperation filled it instead. The once clenched fist at his chest had loosened and opened, palm still facing the tabard cloth. "Do you love me because I am Sheik, or because I am me?"

Link stepped towards Sheik – regaining his previously lost one. "I love you Sheik! I don't care who you are, or what you happen to remember, what your past–"

"No Link!" Sheik stepped towards Link defensively and threw his arm to the side – fisting it once again – and birds flew from the trees as his shout echoed into the forest. "You don't get it!" His eyes winced with pain. "Do you love me? If you had to forget everything that he was back then, if he completely ceased to be, would you still love me now? Or…" The powerful, emotional voice dropped into a low whisper. "Or are my present feelings all for naught? Are they only returned because I am a phantom of what I once was?" Sheik's form trembled again – but Link knew why. It was the overwhelming emotions that caused the shaking, it was the sorrow-filled sobs that wracked the slender, lithe body.

And Link didn't know what to do.

He didn't know what to think.

He didn't know what to say.

He didn't know what to feel.

It took him weeks to sort out his feelings for Sheik. It took him weeks to gather the courage to even try to get to know the new Sheik. It took him weeks to figure out that there was just one Sheik and not two.

And now Sheik wanted him to reverse that logic. He wanted him to differentiate between the Sheik from then and the Sheik from now.

But Link didn't know if he wanted to do that. With his prior realization he had come to accept that Sheik wouldn't remember, he had come to accept Sheik for whoever he happened to be. Because certainly a person couldn't change that much. That Sheik was still Sheik no matter what his past was. And that knowledge comforted him, it kept him going, because he would be with Sheik no matter what.

Because it meant that he didn't lose Sheik.

That Sheik didn't die when time was turned back.

That maybe, just maybe, he had a chance.

But the truth was painfully and brutally pointing out the flaws in his logic. It was flaunting itself bluntly with little care for the consequence. It was tearing down the reasons and bringing him back into reality.

Into one where he did lose Sheik, one where Sheik really did die, one where he had to be constantly reminded of what could have been.

One where he had to ask himself the very questions that Sheik had asked him.

One where he honestly didn't know anything anymore.

"I…" Link whispered. "I don't know. It's just so hard to figure out if my love for you really is also for you."

"I… I guess I'm asking for too much… We've only known each other for about two weeks after all." A dry laugh escaped Sheik. "I don't even know if my feelings for you are just attraction, an affection, or genuine love."

That forgotten hope rose in Link again and he looked back up at Sheik. "Then why don't we take time to sort these feelings out? Test them to see–"

"No Hero. I'm afraid that it cannot be done."

It couldn't be done? Why? "But why not?" Was Sheik not willing?

Link sure as hell hoped not.

"I…" Sheik started but shook his head. "I'll rephrase it Link, I'll put it into more realistic standards… Link, do you like me? Do you have any shred of affection for who I am now? Anything?"

Sheik had kept him out again. Sheik hid another secret and it hurt Link that Sheik wouldn't confide in him – even though Sheik knew that Link was a willing confidant, even though Sheik had accepted Link as one. Why? Why was Sheik keeping him in the dark? After… after whatever had just happened. Why?

"Link…" Sheik's voice was a plea. "I… I'll tell you everything later, so please answer my question. I need to know."

To make his situation worse, the sense of nostalgia hit him hard and it confused him. Even though Sheik was asking him to separate the two Sheiks and even though Sheik wanted to know if his own personality was attractive to Link there was evidence supporting his own logic. If Sheik caused nostalgia to run through him then he didn't change that much right?

But that wasn't what Sheik wanted. He wanted to know what Link's opinion of him was.

So Link closed his eyes and he sorted out the differences between the two Sheiks. They were both composed and secretive, but the way and reason they kept their secrets was different. Their aura and stance opposed – instead of cryptic and practised, Sheik had become dangerous and experienced. And while Sheik teased and toyed with him back then it was of a playful nature and not mean-spirited and a-little-more-sincere-than-joking like now.

But at the same time, Link was just starting to get to know the cold, dark Sheikah. He was beginning to find another, kinder side to his personality. One that was humble, one that seemed distrustful not from hatred but from sorrow, one that harboured fear. Somebody who was too deep in his thoughts too often.

Link wanted to get to know this person, this Sheik, but that wasn't the question, now was it?

Was he attracted to him? To the darker, colder, shyer, and more confined Sheik?

Link tried to recall any instance where his emotions were confused, where his body, mind, and heart began to throb and he found a few: when Sheik had interrogated him, when Sheik hadn't escaped even though he had the means to, when Sheik had accepted his confiding offer.

There was lust, there was affection, and, as always, there was attraction.

Link opened his eyes to stare into Sheik's and spoke with a stable, unwavering voice. "Yes." However, when Sheik's eyes crinkled in a mysterious yet dark manner, Link had to break the gaze and look down to the side. Why was he embarrassed all of a sudden?

He heard Sheik approach him and hands guided his face back so that their gazes met.

And Link could not find any other word to describe the look in those red eyes except for intense, and it drove a shudder down his spine, the blush on his face darkening.

"Are they…" While Sheik's voice was serious, there were hints of desperation. "Are they enough to act on?"

And Link's face lit up like a bale of hay on fire.

Did Sheik really just…

"I know it seems sudden – and I have my reasons for asking something I normally wouldn't dare otherwise – but… will you Link?" Sheik closed his intense eyes and took a deep breath.

The hands holding his face trembled.

And Link couldn't answer. He didn't want to ruin their friendship, he didn't want to destroy their budding relationship. He knew that Sheik had a reason for suggesting this so early in their relationship (If it had even started!) but he couldn't help but feel at unease.

"Won't…" Link whispered quietly. "Won't this change things? I mean, we don't even know how far these feelings of ours extend. Aren't we being too hasty?"

Sheik dropped his hands from Link's face and shook his own head. "I doubt… I doubt it'll change anything…" He mumbled but not low enough. Link could hear them.

The hero grabbed his friend (more than friend?) by the shoulders. "Sheik, what are you not telling me!"

It'll probably change nothing? Bull shit! It would change everything! The way that he looked at Sheik… the way that he would read too much into simple, everyday actions… they wouldn't be able to separate lust from affection or even love.

Was it because Sheik said they couldn't sort out their feelings in the first place?

Sheik didn't meet Link's gaze. "I'll explain later…"

Goddesses, why was Sheik sounding so sorrowful? That desperation from earlier had all but faded.

"Why later Sheik? Why not now?" Link asked softly.

"Be-Because… I don't want to right now… not when I can be with you."

"Then why don't we be together but not be together?

Sheik tensed and closed his eyes. "But you would be with him…"

Link didn't know if Sheik was muttering those words out of jealousy, out of anger, out of sorrow, or something else entirely, but it didn't change how painful those words sounded. It didn't change the thought behind them. It didn't change their meaning.

"Sheik…" He whispered, placing a hand on Sheik's still-covered cheek. "Are you… are you jealous? Are you feeling inferior to him?"

Sheik continued to look away but mumbled. "That's… part of the reason."

Sheik's defensive nature from earlier was starting to make more sense and the words he whispered caused even more of an impact than before.

Are they only returned because I am a phantom of what I once was?

While Link was still confused about what feelings belonged to which Sheik, he was certain of one thing: He liked this Sheik, he lusted after this Sheik and it wasn't because he was Sheik but because he was himself.

The other Sheik wouldn't make him earn trust. The other Sheik wouldn't have a motive to run away from him. The other Sheik wouldn't stalk him like a stalfos.

At the last image, Link resisted the shudder that tried to run through him.

"Then let me prove you wrong…" Link whispered and pressed their foreheads together. "I won't deny that I'm attracted to you and your dark nature, I'm only saying no because I don't want to ruin our relationship."

Sheik opened his intense eyes again. "It won't ruin it Link. I'm quite certain in that." The shadow pulled down his mask and pushed his lips against Link's – stopping any response that may have escaped him.

Sheik's lips were strong enough to bruise.

They all-but demanded him to return the kiss.

So Link didn't deny them.

One of Sheik's hands gripped itself on his shoulder while the other pressed against his chest and forced Link back. Soon the hero found himself against the tree that Sheik had jumped from before.

No. Sheik hadn't.

He had to concentrate on the differences.

"Forget about him…" Sheik whispered huskily into his ear. The lips moved slowly and sensually, and every breath burned Link's skin. "Remember me." Teeth dug into Link's ear.

Link didn't try to mask the shudder that coursed through him.

The hand against his chest lowered down his body. The hand that was on his shoulder pressed against the tree. Those hot lips trailed his ear, his jaw, his neck…

And none of those actions was gentle, they weren't soft.

Sheik was stronger, he was rougher, he was more forceful.

Link told himself to look past the undertone of desperation, he told himself that Sheik would tell him later, and those words were the only things keeping him from stopping all of this and demanding the truth, and it was something that still kept him in the mood that Sheik was creating with his hands, his tongue, his body.

"Mmm… Sheik…" Link groaned out as his body began to respond. He glanced down at the Sheikah but was struck with familiarity. No, that wouldn't do… He let his hands weave into the turban covering those long locks he had only seen once. "Let me see your hair…" He whispered softly.

Red eyes met with his blue ones, flashing with the indescribable emotion from before, then filling with determination, and he nodded.

And as Link unravelled the bound-locks Sheik responded – his long hair framing his face. "Nn… Link do you have any lubrication on you?"

It took a moment for Link to take in the question that Sheik asked him because seeing the Sheikah's hair was…

Beautiful.

Elegant.

…Dangerous.

He didn't know why the long hair – save for the bangs – flowing down his back made Sheik look that much more dangerous, he didn't know why Sheik seemed so ominous with those taken-care-of locks, he didn't know why such a bright colour could create such a dark aura, but it did.

And it didn't help Link's building lust from stopping.

"Um…" He thought for a moment and then shook his head. "All my stuff is in our room– " Link's sentence was cut off as Sheik ground against him. "Ahn! Sheik!"

"Tch." Sheik said before he wrapped an arm around Link's lower back to pull the other flush with his body. There was a flash of light and a snapping sound before the two reappeared in the room that they were given in the castle.

Link slumped down onto their bed, releasing a few heavy breaths as Sheik moved towards his belongings.

"Uh…" Link gasped out, tilting his head skyward and closed his eyes. "I have a red–"

"No." Sheik's voice was dead serious before he pulled out a vial of liquid. "It's the oil I use for my swords. It'll work."

Link's face was still flushed as he turned to glance at Sheik uncertainly.

"Trust me Link."

At the soft-spoken words, Link did.

When Sheik approached him again, there was a dark and dangerous expression in his eyes and it caused a shudder to run through the hero. When he leaned down, his long hair fell down into a curtain – hiding their faces as their lips joined in another kiss.

Sheik's tongue slipped into Link's mouth, slow at first before returning to the roughness that separated Sheik and that excited Link even more. A low moan escaped the hero and a deep chuckle was Sheik's response.

As they parted for air, Sheik moved his kisses down Link's jaw and as the Hylian watched the other he did not meet his gaze. Those red eyes were hidden from the world behind tan lids and golden lashes. The lips continued down his neck and along the exposed collarbone.

"Damn clothes." Sheik cursed and his hands moved to undo Link's belts blindly before they lifted up the lower fabric of Link's tunic.

He hesitated.

Through the lust that was beginning to mist over Link's mind, he realized that this would be Sheik's first time, that he was nervous and perhaps fearful of consequences or even fearful that he wouldn't be good enough.

"Sheik…" Link whispered and kissed the top of the other's head to reassure him. "I want you."

Sheik glanced up and a smile graced his uncovered lips. He proceeded to remove the tunic and undershirt before continuing his lip's path down Link's body – teasing the nipples, the abdominals, the circular indent – and his thumbs dipped past the hem of the hero's pants.

Link couldn't help the gasps, the groans and moans at the foreign yet familiar sensations invading his body. It had been seven long years since such pleasure had pervaded him but at the same time the pleasure felt entirely different. It was stronger, and Link didn't know why. His fingers gripped the silk sheets of his – their – bed while his back twisted backwards. When Sheik's nails grazed him through cloth a whimper escaped Link. "Sheik…"

Link didn't sense when Sheik had removed his pants, only when a warm, wet heat surrounded him while slick, slender fingers stretched him. While his mind had experience, his body did not and its limits were being strained too far. His body spasmed with his urgent call of Sheik's name and with the blinding pleasure.

"A-Ahn! Sheik!"

As his senses returned he could still feel Sheik's warm mouth wrapped around him and those slick fingers inside of him, coaxing him back into the wondrous, hazy land that was pleasure. Sparks had been ignited within him whenever Sheik occasionally had brushed that spot within him, and Link's body would arc slightly.

The fingers were slowly removed from within him, and that warmth encasing him had been removed and the air felt cold against his wet cock. Link let out a soft whimper at the lack of contact, but still his body yeaned for Sheik.

Thankfully Sheik felt the same for Link and he manoeuvred himself so that he was positioned between Link's legs. Once he knelt there, his lust-filed red eyes met Link's eager blue ones.

"Link, are you certain?"

A slight shudder travelled through Link and he nodded. "Yes Sheik. I want you."

Those red eyes closed again and Link could feel as Sheik's hard member pressed against him, pushed past his opening and into him, slowly filling him.

He absolutely loved the groan that escaped Sheik's revealed lips.

Even though Link had bit his lips, even though having Sheik within him felt almost too filling, even though the fit felt too tight, he wanted more. He wanted to feel the sensations from before. He wanted to be blinded by pure pleasure, he wanted to have Sheik moving within him fast and hard. But in order for that to happen, he had to relax, he had to lessen the tension that was clamped around Sheik. He needed to give Sheik the movement to move.

"We both know this will get better Link." Sheik's voice softly said.

And it did wonders on his nerves – loosening his muscles with simple sounds.

But why did it also strike an odd chord within him?

Link ignored that and instead focused on the physical sensations within him. "Yes." He said quietly in agreement. "Move."

The feeling of Sheik moving within him was something he had trouble describing. It coursed through his veins, burning as if acid had replaced his blood, creeping into every millimetre of his body – from his head to the tip of every toe. That bliss was pervading him and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

Except to help it run its course, to push it further so that his body would explode if a fury of pleasure. So he pushed back, he cried out, he did whatever he could to force that heat from his body in the only way that he knew how.

He watched the Sheikah move above him, felt him move within him but did not meet the crimson gaze – as it was hidden once again from view – but it didn't stop him from admiring him. He took in the beautiful features he had already once acquaintance himself with, but he also took in the differences. He focused on them. New scars had replaced old ones, and that hair. For some reason it created a darker aura, an aura that only belong to the Sheik of now.

The Sheik who caused that tremendous tremor of lust within him.

"Say something." Link gasped out. He wanted to hear that voice. That voice huskily whispering into his ear.

"It seems I was right to fear for my virginity…"

Link couldn't help himself as he sputtered out a laugh. "Y-You're the one…"

"But," Sheik bit the tip of his ear, "I didn't expect you to be so… submissive." As if to accentuate his sentence, Sheik thrust hard into that spot, sending another wave of that burning acid through his body.. "I didn't expect you to lay your body bare to me. By the Three Link…!"

That heat was not just pulsing through his body sensually and slowly anymore, but it was racing. It was storming, and Link's hand moved down on the spot it was focusing on – his cock. His hand found another – equally as hot – and together they stroked.

Fervour.

Desperation.

Impassion.

The pumping erection within him was becoming erratic – aiming to release its own heat as well – and aimed solely towards that bundle of over-sensitive nerves.

"Ahn! Ahn! Sheik" Link gasped out, his body arcing towards that heat. "Just – Ah!"

He caught a flash of red, and he could see such intensity within it. He could read a multitude of emotions: Lust, passion, happiness, accomplishment, desperation, and even sorrow. But before the hero could even contemplate that idea Sheik hit that spot again and released the acidic heat.

In his haze, Link could dully feel Sheik exiting and collapsing next to him and when he looked at the other there was weariness filling almost every pore of the Sheikah's body. It looked as if he was going to fall asleep in any moment.

Link wouldn't mind cuddling next to him and doing that right now…

But a shudder had woken Sheik up and his drooping eyes snapped open. "Go to sleep Link, I'll explain things in the morning." His voice sounded droopy, dreary, desperate and determined all at once.

"But…" The droopiness was filling Link and his protest sounded half-hearted at best. Why couldn't Sheik sleep with him? Why couldn't they cuddle?

Link could hear as a pen scratched on paper. "Don't make me use my magic H-" Through his groggy vision Link could notice that Sheik had tensed. "Don't worry Link, I'll join you soon. There's just one last thing that I… have to do."

The last thought in Link's mind was wondering why Sheik sounded so… defeated.

.+++.

Rapid movement beside him was what woke Link up in the morning.

"What in the… Sheik!" Link grumbled at first before he jolted from the bed – oblivious and uncaring for his state of dress (or lack of it) – and hurried to Sheik's side, shaking the other in attempt to rouse him. "What's wrong?"

It was obvious that a nightmare plagued his thoughts as he tossed and turned, as his head shook, as mumbled groans and whimpers escaped his throat, as the eyes behind his lids twitched rapidly.

But Sheik wouldn't wake up; he wouldn't rouse from his sleep no matter how hard Link shook him, no matter how loud Link yelled at him.

"Sheik!"

When Sheik turned he knocked over a pen on the bedside table and Link couldn't help but watch, mesmerized by the rolling utensil.

I'll explain things in the morning.

Link shook his head as lead settled in his stomach, as the foreboding thought pervaded his mind. Things were starting to fit together, but at the same time Link didn't want to listen. He didn't want to understand. He warily turned his head to the table and at a simple letter that lead solidified.

That simple piece of folded parchment was all it took to shatter Link's hopes.

"To Link."

The letters were written elegantly, and Link's hands shook as he reached out for it.

The paper crackled as he unfolded it, unsure if he actually wanted to read it.

If you are reading this then what I had expected had happened – I am most likely unconscious.

Link bit his shaking lower lip, looking back down at the still-nightmare-plagued Sheik before back at the paper.

Oh, and you probably should put something on because I would assume your yelling has attracted attention.

A small smile managed to break through Link's morose features, as did a blush, but it did nothing for his mood. Regardless, he found his pants and put them on before continuing reading.

I apologize for my strange behaviour as of late, and especially for hastening our relationship at this time, but I… I was afraid that this would happen.

Let me explain. Ever since you accepted to watch over me, I have been having strange dreams. Ones that involved me and you. No, ones that involved him and you. At first I thought they were just strange dreams, but I have come to realize that I was actually remembering the time when you played the role of the Hero of Time.

I remember when you two met – in the Temple of Time with fresh steel. I remember when he taught you melodies – the Minute of Forest, Prelude of Light, Bolero of Fire, Serenade of Water, Nocturne of Shadow, and Requiem of Spirit. I remember how your… relationship had advanced…

The only thing I do not remember is how you two parted. And… once that memory starts, I fear that I will not come back. I fear that these memories will consume me. I fear that I shall disappear and that he will take my place. And since you are reading this… I suppose my fears have come true.

Link had to stop reading. He had to recollect himself before he did something he might regret. His left hand left the parchment and he clenched it, feeling as tears threateningly glistened in his eyes. This… this wasn't happening was it? He wasn't going to lose one Sheik to regain the other? Not after they had… not after he had finally…

This couldn't be right! It couldn't be! Why!

Link uncurled his hand and let it caress Sheik's cheek. The other had finally stopped tossing and turning, but his eyes still trembled and he still let out soft whimpers.

If it was true, then this letter was Sheik's last words. So, Link turned back to the paper and continued to read.

How this came to be, I do not know. I only remember the times where he and you were together. However, I do have a few hypothesises. I think that meeting your gaze was the catalyst required to start this all. That being with you and continuously meeting your gaze had continued to prompt the memories to come. The reason why I believe this is because as I remembered, that once-crippling pain had become no more than a simple heartache. In fact, after the battle in the graveyard I hardly felt anything. I also believe this because since the day you found me on the balcony I… have not slept. And the pain had begun again. I was not remembering your time with him anymore and so, whatever had started the pain had reactivated and was telling me that I had to remember. But I didn't want to. I didn't want to remember. I was afraid – I am afraid.

I don't want to vanish.

I don't want to die.

So I'm sorry that I lashed out on you yesterday, but I… I didn't want to remember.

But, I suppose what I want doesn't really matter anymore, now does it? Because I didn't end up stopping you from reading this letter, because you're reading this right now I am…

I don't even want to write it…

But that is the reason I wanted to be with you last night, that is why I insisted in knowing that you liked me, that is why I have been acting so differently these past few days. Because once I found out that I was remembering, because once I found out that he lingered within me… I just wanted that knowledge, that experience before I…

I wish I could have spent more time with you Link, I wish I could have gotten to know you, I wish I could have gotten to love you.

I'm sorry I didn't tell you all of this, but I didn't want to dwell on what was happening to me or what was inevitable, I just wanted to live.

I don't know what will happen now, but… if there is a way that I can be with you, if you can find any happy-ending for me, could you try it? But I… I understand if you would prefer to be with him. I've seen how much you two love each other. It's fine.

So if that is the case then…

Farewell Link.

I just want to let you know I care for you and I hope you will find happiness.

Sheik

Link's hands shook.

His legs failed to work and he fell to the ground onto his knees.

The tears made his vision swim.

Farewell Link.

While the entire letter charged his emotions, it was those two, simple words which shook him to the very core.

Farewell.

Sheik knew. He knew he was going to end up like this. He knew that it would most likely be the last thing he wrote – did – consciously. And yet, he chose to say goodbye to the person who damned him. He chose to write this letter of explanation to that person…

Instead of doing something more meaningful.

The paper rattled in his hands.

Again did he ask himself those questions: Why did things have to be this way? Why did one Sheik have to die for another to live? Why did he have to feel for both of them?

"Link?"

Zelda came into the room but even the hero's honed senses were dulled by the emotional stress and whatever he had noticed was pushed to the back of his mind.

Farewell Link.

Those words echoed in his mind, hearing it in Sheik's solemn voice. He understood Sheik's actions.

"Link?" A gentle hand fell on his shoulder and Link slowly turned towards Zelda.

"What happened?"

Link was at a loss for words. He couldn't speak, and even if he could, he didn't know what to say. So instead he handed the Zelda the paper with his still-shaking hands.

Zelda took the paper, helped Link up and the hand on his shoulder fell to his mid-back as she guided him to one of the chairs by the fireplace. Then her gentle blue eyes scanned over the written words and glanced back at the unconscious Sheikah.

"I see…" She said. "It's all starting to make sense now."

Link looked up, still numb but his curiosity had been piqued.

"The sages have found the source that was causing a disturbance, and what they had found was perplexing… Somebody had created a hole within the time barrier – one that was attuned to them only, at least on their end – but, Ganondorf noticed this gap and is trying to use it for himself. He is morphing it, and his darkness has been seeping through. And once they had asked me to look at it… I knew who had created it – Sheik."

Zelda brought another chair over and sat across from Link. She took both of his hands between hers and locked their gazes. "You already know that we cannot let Ganondorf through."

Link bit his lip. Did that mean that Sheik wouldn't be able to come back? Even though he was opposed to the Sheik from now disappearing, this option didn't feel any more appeasing.

"Originally, I was planning on closing the hole, but with this letter… another option has been presented to us: we can go through with whatever Sheik had been planning while you go in to seal Ganondorf once again."

Link looked down at their hands. Why did he have to make this choice? He didn't want to be the one responsible for ending one chance for another.

Farewell Link.

His body tensed as those words whispered into his mind again.

"But." Zelda's voice rung out louder and caused Link to look back up at her. "There are downsides to each solution. With the first option… obviously Sheik would not come back, and perhaps remain in Ganondorf's grasp, but the Sheik from now… I don't know what will happen to him. He could remain in a perpetual nightmare, or he could wake up, confused by the foreign experiences and memories in his mind, or something else entirely. With the second option, well I think Sheik has outlined most, if all, of the disadvantages in his letter."

Link closed his eyes. Couldn't there be another way? Couldn't there be a path which held the both of both worlds? He didn't want to be the one who made the decisions. He didn't want to damn one soul for another. He didn't want that heavy burden on his shoulders.

It was different when he had to choose between Ganondorf and Hyrule because Ganondorf was evil, he had evil intentions. Sheik… both of them… was not evil. He had no darker desires, no ulterior motives. Certainly Sheik wasn't planning for this to happen. It just wasn't like him! Perhaps something went wrong along the lines, perhaps things backfired.

But Link didn't know what Sheik was planning, or how he wanted it done. The only thing he was certain of is that Sheik wanted to be here, be with him, and that wasn't a crime was it? Neither was wanting to live. Why was this so hard? Why did there have to be two Sheiks? Why couldn't they just be one!

Wait a minute…

"Zelda, tell me again how you and Sheik survived in the other time."

"I used the magic given to me by the Triforce to integrate our minds and bodies…" Zelda said nervously. "What are you planning Link?"

"Do… do you think you could go a step further? To meld the two consciousnesses so that they become one? That would still allow Sheik to come through the barrier, and it would allow this Sheik to survive without the problem of foreign memories and experiences."

A soft sigh escaped Zelda. "It's… a possibility. Their personalities and memories are so different though, so I don't know how well it will work. There are so many things that can go wrong…"

"But there are several similarities. Besides, the two other choices are unacceptable. I cannot choose between one or the other."

"He won't be the same."

"Since when has that stopped me?"

.+++.

He held the Master Sword in his hand as he stood at the entrance to the Shadow Temple. Zelda stood behind him as she carried the unconscious Sheik. Impa greeted them before leading them to the rift that Sheik had created.

"Link." Zelda said after placing Sheik on a stone slate. "Don't forget what I said."

A small smile graced his face and he waved his hand. "I know, I know, keep him busy until you are ready."

Then his face schooled into a stony expression as he went through the multiple layers of barriers that surrounded the rift. The moment he touched the ethereal crack, Zelda's hypothesis was proven correct – that it was only attuned on one side – and he walked through the opening that formed, into the darkness that was not tainted by any light. Link already knew of this darkness – he had experienced it in his dreams – so it did not perturb him. The rift closed behind him, and would only open once their job was complete.

Or when Ganondorf acquired his portion of the Triforce when he failed.

A dark laughter cut through the dread and Link turned towards the sound. It was the same sound that haunted his dreams, it was the same sound that mocked him as a child, and a familiar scene unfolded before him.

Just like his dreams did Ganondorf approach him, a dark light being emitted from his person. However, unlike his dreams did words escape the evil overlord. "So it is true then. Such a pity and shame that I had not noticed this earlier. If it were the case, I would not have ended up in this perpetual darkness. I could have used the Sheikah as bait, captured him and lured you in my castle instead of having him betray you. Oh well, at least he is of use now."

The crystal that once held Zelda jolted forth, but instead of holding the princess it held her protector and guardian.

"Sheik!" Link called out and lowered into a stance, glowering at Ganondorf. "He never betrayed me."

"Pity that is, isn't it Shadow? You could have had your own province to rule but instead where are you? Within my grasp for such pitiful things as love and justice."

Sheik ignored Ganondorf and placed a hand against the glass that bound him. "Link!" Within the red eyes that opened and in the voice that shouted out, Link could decipher relief, concern, and guilt. The Hylian's features softened unintentionally. Sheik was in his grasp, but not for long.

"I do so hate to ruin a lovers' reunion, but I have a country to rule." The crystal was then thrown off to the side, halting to a stop when it was far enough away and the Gerudo King drew his own sword. "Now, shall we dance, Hero?"

"You lost before, I see no reason why it should be any different this time you pig."

The sound of metal toned out the dark laughter in the darkness.

.+++.

Link gave a final jump and skewered the evil man's chest with his sword – but Link was not stupid and he knew that he had not killed Ganondorf.

The sound of shattering was soon followed by a call of his name. "Link!"

The Sheikah warrior walked towards him, a smile in those red eyes. He held out his hand. "Shall we?"

Link smiled softly and shook his head. "You go, there still is unfinished business."

"Link?"

"I… I just can't let the other person that developed differently than you disappear."

"You mean I wasn't raised at the castle…" There was disbelief in the words. "But then…"

"We have an idea but only if you're okay with it." Link still stood above Ganondorf, hands encompassing the hilt of the Master Sword. "Zelda will merge your two experiences and personalities – similar to what she did with you and her but on a more serious and permanent matter. You won't be able to turn back."

"I…see… what does the other say about it?" Sheik answered quietly.

"He… doesn't." Link carefully took one hand off of his sword and reached into a pouch to give Sheik the letter.

"Damn!" Sheik cursed as he crumpled the paper in his fist. "This didn't go according to plan at all!" He let out a sigh. "I'm sorry Link, this is all my fault. Of course I'll go along with your plan." He handed Link the paper before caressing the other's face. He leaned in for a brief kiss, a solemn but determined smile on the lips before he covered it in the cloth once again. As he walked towards the rift he plucked a piece of hair from Link's head.

Link, it's starting, just hand on for a few more moments. The other sages should be assembling soon. I'll join them once I finish with Sheik. He heard Zelda's voice in his head and, sure enough, the six sages circled him and Ganondorf.

"Hello Link."

"Brother."

"Darling."

"Hero."

"Boy."

"Young one."

Link smiled at the familiar faces and a rainbow arched over them in a dome. A few moment later, Zelda joined them.

"It is done." She said and met his gaze. "He should be waking soon."

Link nodded and removed the sword from Ganondorf's chest.

"We'll be fine, go Link." His childhood friend said to him with a smile.

And Link listened, running through the darkness and towards the door of light that would take him to Sheik. Once again it opened to his touch – as did the barriers – and once he was past them all he saw Sheik lying on the stone slab.

He swallowed gravely, hoping that his plan had worked and had not just put two minds in one body. He hoped that nothing had gone wrong.

Sheik was so still.

He hoped that he hadn't done something completely detrimental….

The red eyes opened and met his.

"I've been waiting for you, Hero."

And at that dark tone of Sheik's voice, Link knew.


As said before: if there are any questions regarding the characters [background/family/motives/etc.] please ask in a review and I will try to answer it in the epilogue.

Another note: Questions I already will be answering are...

What is Sheik's past?

Why was he with the Gerudos?

What is going to happen to the Gerudos?

What was Sheik's original intentions when he set the spell?

How did Sheik set the spell?

I will see you in the epilogue!