This is an AU story, and it's a m!Sheik/Link story, so if that's not your thing, you now know that this isn't your cup of tea.

I'm also fully aware that in cold, hard reality, Sheik is Zelda in disguise, but for the purposes of this story, he is his own person. (Because I was secretely devastated when Sheik was revealed to be Zelda :O)

TRIGGER WARNING: This story does contain themes and instances of abuse and rape. Just putting this out there as a warning to those who are affected by those subjects.

And if you're still reading by now, thanks for giving this story a chance! I hope you enjoy reading it. (You totally will).

Disclaimer: I don't own any part of the Legend of Zelda. All other original characters belong to me.

The Sheikah

Chapter One - Desert Encounters

The moon rode high in the foggy night, illuminating the small band of weary travelers. There were four of them: a father and three brothers. They were travelling north to Castle Town to report to the King the carnage and murder currently underway in Faron and Ordonna.

Barbarians had crossed the border into Hyrule from the neighboring kingdom across the mountains, Dacoda. They brought with them cruel intentions, havoc and horror; they burned through the small vilages of Hyrule's southern forests, raping and pillaging. Killing. They had taken over many of the villages in the Faron and Ordonna provinces, as well as a small portion of southern Hyrule field, attacking the people and then taking their spoils of war.

The men in the family of travelers had barely escaped with their lives. The boys' mother and elder sister… well, they had not been so lucky. That was precisely why they were crossing the desert to reach Castle Town. They weren't going to report the invasion, as the royal family was sure to already be aware, but to demand action to pay for the blood of the innocent—their family—that had been spilt.

Link looked up at the stars, sending a swift and silent prayer to Farore, the goddess of courage, for that was what he needed now: courage. He had two brothers: Jasten, two years older than Link; and Davin, the eldest and a year ahead of Jasten. They were both sleeping near the fire, sprawled on the ground and wrapped in blankets against the cold. They had rolled so close together in their sleep that they were nearly snuggling with each other. That almost brought a smile to Link's face. Link's father, Brock, sat across the fire from him. He was mending a tear in Jasten's pack with a needle, thread, and a clumsy hand. He swore as he pricked his finger for what seemed like the hundredth time.

Noticing Link's stare, Brock looked up from his work. Putting down the needle, he scratched the side of his thin, dark-haired beard, regarding Link with a frown. "Shouldn't you be getting some rest, son? Lot of ground to cover tomorrow." Link's father was a man of very few words. He was more of a physical presence than an eloquent speaker.

"Can't sleep." Link looked back up at the stars, quickly locating his favorite constellation: a bleeding eye.

"Try," his father advised.

Link sighed and flopped noisily down onto the bedroll he had already laid out. His father eyed his insurgent display of 'going to bed' with a stern expression, and Link soon stopped making a fuss over it. Link's father had never had much patience for him, but the man's tolerance for his youngest son had noticeably diminished after they'd had to flee the village. After Brock had run into his son's room once the invasion had begun and found Link there, clutching onto his mother's corpse and weeping his eyes out. They hadn't talked about what happened, not one word. Link doubted they ever would.

"Will we reach the desert tomorrow?" Link asked, yawning as he laid his head on his flat pillow.

"About midday," Brock grunted. Jasten snored, rolling over onto Davin, who pushed him away in his sleep. "I told this to your brothers, Link, but I'll say it again. We're coming up on Sheikah country." Link nodded as he continued. He had already known. "Listen, boy. I want you to steer clear of any you may see. They're not to be trusted, and I don't want any of my sons near them if I can help it. You can't trust a Sheikah as far as you can throw him."

"But what about the Gerudo?" Link asked, referring to the other, less magical, more aggressive desert tribe.

His father let out a heavy sigh "Listen, boy. Hylians have bad blood with the Sheikah. The Gerudo, they'll leave you alone, 'less there's something of yours that they got their eye on. But the Sheikah? They'll kill you soon as look at you."

"But I thought they were the guardians of the royal family?" Link yawned, the weariness from the day finally catching up with him.

Brock fixed him with a stern look. "They are not to be trusted, son. I don't want you or your brothers anywhere near them, and I swear to the goddesses, that's the last warning I'm giving you. If we do cross their path, you keep quiet and let me deal with them."

"All right, all right," Link growled, rolling over. He didn't get the big deal. Why did so many Hylians hate the Sheikah? The 'red-eyed sand devils' many called them. All they had ever done was protect the head of the country; even give up their very lives, if necessary. He had always thought it was the magic in the Sheikah's blood that he'd always heard of in stories the Hylians feared. Unexpected occurrences were said to happen around Sheikah, and no one could explain why. Not to mention it was a rare few of them who even spoke Hylian.

"Link," Brock growled.

"I heard you!" Link covered his wheaten hair with his pillow, hiding from the wrath of his father's blind prejudice. He rolled over, convinced. Surely the Sheikah couldn't be all bad. Sure, he believed there was a bit more credibility to everything he heard about the Gerudo, a desert tribe of tan-skinned women. They were said to be night terrors, thieves of darkness; very good with a pair of swords, among other things. And they had earned every bit of the gossip shared about them. They were infamous for the bits of trouble they were known to cause around Hyrule every once in a while. But there was nothing to back the negativity surrounding the Sheikah. Nothing was ever spoken about them apart from jeering and name calls, except for the times in history when they had died saving the royal family of Hyrule. That sounded noble to Link, not dark. He was, for one, intrigued by the red-eyed desert-dwelling mysteries that were the Sheikah.

It was with these thought in his head that Link fell asleep, shivering slightly underneath the stars. If he did meet any Sheikah in the next couple of days, Link decided he wouldn't treat them any differently than any other person he may meet.

The next day Link, Jasten, Davin, and their father crossed into the sand of the desert. It was everything Link had expected: hot, barren, dry, and nearly unbearable. They were running out of water faster than they could afford to if they wanted to keep their lives. The Gerudo Desert was a death trap.

But it was also many things that Link had not expected. It was beautiful, the sandy dunes rolling over themselves as far as the eye could see. Link was chastised on several occasions for not keeping up with the rest of his family when he had merely stopped to take in the titanic measure of it all.

He could definitely see why the Sheikah and Gerudo had made their homes among these lands. The forests of Faron and Ordonna suddenly seemed very closed-in and cramped to Link.

"Link, quit daydreaming and keep up!" Jasten shouted from a few hundred feet away, and Link snapped to attention, jogging to catch up.

"You have to stop that, Link." Davin looked at him with worry. "We don't want to get separated in a storm, or if—"

"Yeah, yeah, I know." Link looked at the ground as he walked, wiping the golden bangs from his eyes. If he'd overheard, Brock didn't say anything on the matter; but Link knew from experience that he was thinking more than a few things.

"I'm serious," Davin warned before continuing on at a faster pace, Jasten joining in. Link slowed down a bit in order to walk by himself, leaving his brothers at the front, his father in the middle, and him lagging behind at the rear. He liked it that way. He liked time to himself.

Link looked up when he heard a noise just in time to see a hawk soar over the midday sun, screeching its cry before swooping down to the dunes. The hawk didn't come back up with its prey, however, which Link thought was odd. Soon, a desert coyote, alerted by the cry of the hawk, trotted over to investigate, Link watching all this from several hundred yards away. The coyote disappeared behind the dune, just as the hawk had, and that was when Link heard its strangled yelp.

Link looked around him, starting to panic. What had killed the coyote? There wasn't much in this desert besides small prey, foxes, coyotes, and leevers. Even seeing the hawk seemed unusual. Looking back to the dune, as he watched, the hawk took off into the sky, and a figure, the coyote's body balanced on its shoulders, stepped out from behind the wall of sand, heading for the west.

A Sheikah.

Thanks for reading! Please drop me a review or a PM if you have the time. In my opinion, the best reward of writing fan fiction is that I get to chat with people about it, so don't be hesitant to tell me what you think. :)