He is, like usual, injured pretty badly and stumbling through the woods when he catches the tune.
At first, he thinks he had misheard. It is quite peculiar, after all, for a person to be out here, playing an instrument no less, in such a dire time. But as he walks further and further ahead, the notes grow firmer to the point of making up a melody. And it’s faint, far away, but certainly there.
It’s so strange…
“Do you hear that too, Midna?”
Link finally asks after the fifth note, hands reaching to grip the familiar weight of his master sword (ignoring the pain that shot up his arm). What if it was another monster luring him into a trap? And what if he was going insane? Or did he injure his ear because Midna wasn’t-
A solid hand reaches out from his shadows and smacks him upside the head. “Stay focused, idiot. Yes, I hear it, but you have to go get yourself healed.” A breathy giggle leaves her mouth. “We don’t want you to be dying now, would we?”
He nods faintly and frowns, because he knows he should be focused. Because he knows things like this shouldn’t bother him. And yet, it still does, and it tugs on his strings like some sort of a magnet, and it bothers him, too much.
Someone sighs behind him, and Link flinches, awakening from his little trance. “Fine…Fine. Just one glance, though, and we’re going, okay?”
Link smiles with an enthusiastic nod. As he sets foot on the vague direction of the notes- on to the west, possibly- he can literally hear a pair of eyes being rolled.
(Which he ignores.)
The further he walks, the clearer the notes become. It is certainly a gracious song- pellucid, gentle, and beautifully crafted together. By the way the edges of the notes slightly curve into a flat end makes it apparent that it is played on strings- preferably a lyre or a harp- but yet, those flaws are difficult to read, for the player is deliberately hiding the ending of the notes behind another beginning- thus making the song overall smooth and flowing. A clever method, if you ask him- it masks the string’s weakness, twisting it into something much more clever and beautiful.
If not for his highly sensitive sense, Link wouldn’t even have known that the melodies were played on the strings. This person is certainly skilled.
But then… Who in his right mind would be playing an instrument out in the wild on a time like this? Especially in a monster infested for-
A harsh whisper stops him dead in his tracks-the feminine voice, it’s Midna- and his eyes suddenly meet bright gold. He squeezes his eyes shut- it’s so bright!- and takes a step back, surely Midna couldn’t be safe under this- and it hurts-
As suddenly as the light appeared, is dissipates, leaving Link groaning and blinking painfully. His eyes feel like they had burned off. Link asks if Midna is okay through the black spots adorning his eyes, but she doesn’t answer him- was she okay? Was she hurt?
But that thought is wiped away from his mind when his sight finally clears and he sees the silhouette standing in front of him.
His back turned to Link….
..With a golden lyre in his hands.
He’s wearing a form fitting attire that, even though there is not a single piece of skin showing, is somehow much more revealing than any clothing Link had ever seen. The tight fabric stretches across his muscled yet curvy form- sinewy legs, angular hips, yet equally wide shoulders and muscular arms- each movement of his fingers against the lyre sending the muscles wavering through his back. (How does one develop such compact muscles?) His form seems… ethereal, somehow. It feels like his hand would pass right through his form when he reached out to touch.
This should’ve alarmed him, this unsettling realization, but...
This guy is familiar. He’s not a danger, nor a monster.
And his name….
Suddenly, a branch snaps under Link’s boot, and he lets out a gasp as the man ahead jumps from his trance. He lingers for a moment as if he’s scared or uncertain- though of what?- then he turns, revealing white bandages and unruly macadamia hair that parts to reveal a single, red eye. It’s so familiar that Link could feel it itch- this situation, him, he knows this somehow-
The voice is like a whack to the head. Melodious, deep, yet quiet and breathy. And Link feels his eyes widen as suddenly, he’s met with images he cannot describe. His head feels hazy, blurry, and damn distorted-
“I’ve been waiting for you-
-you did it!-
-You must go-“
“-things I want to tell you and only you-“
Link speaks, voice trembling. It’s no longer him that’s speaking, no. Something else had taken over him, a spirit, something, and everything seems mushed out and blurry. It’s a strange feeling, this, a sudden rush of knowledge and seriousness suddenly taking over his mind. And yet, he still feels everything around him as clear as he used to- just a bit washed out and-
No, that doesn’t matter anymore. Link calls the man’s name once again, more surely and softly this time, and tumbles a few step forward, swimming in those deep, deep red eyes of his. It’s beautiful, just as he remembered…
“…Yes, Link….” Sheik says, eyes sliding to a close. “…It is me…” His voice trembles, like leaves shaking under rain, and Link cannot resist the urge to come forth and hug him in his arms.
And wasn’t he always a man of words? So Link, taking bold, shaky steps forward, envelops the man into an embrace and tightens his arms around him.
The hug is so… strange and unfamiliar yet they fit together like a glove. He does not how or why but it just… is, so perfect and warm and …blissful. He does not ever want to let go the shaking Sheikah, never again…
“…L…Link…” Sheik is crying. He hears it in his breath and feels the warm tears against his head. “I need to… apologize… For what I’ve done to you. For the lie I had to tell, for the hate you had to nurse…. I’m just so, so.. sorry.” He takes another shaky breath than buries his head into Link’s shoulder, “I’m sorry, Link… I’m sorry I could never call you your name….”
The apologies tumbling out the Sheikah’s lips squeeze hot tears out of Link’s eyes, and his heart aches. He does not want to hear them any longer. It will break him and the Sheikah for sure, and Link does not want that. So instead, he speaks up in a strangely deeper, shaking voice…
“You’ve always been forgiven, Sheik…. I’m sorry you had to suffer so much as well…”
And that day, they do not kiss, they do not proclaim their love. They only hug until the tears stop, and then and only then do they step apart, smiling. Holding each other’s hands.
“…We should go now, shall we not?” Sheik says, adorable in his red nose and eyes, and Link nods faintly, squeezing Sheik’s hands once again in an act of reassurance.
“Yes, we should. After all, it is far past our time now…”
After one long, electric gaze, both smile and two sets of eyes close, excess tears slipping out of the lids like a hidden treasure. And there is a flash of bright light and the Hero of Twilight lies, unconscious, in a pool of warm, shallow water…
..Only to be shaken awake by a Sheikah, much shorter than the previous one, who is clad in navy clothing and bandages.
“Whoever you are, you can’t be sleeping out here! A monster is coming!”
The Hero of Twilight, dazed and surprised why his wounds are suddenly healed, stands up, shaking his head. The familiar weight of Midna on his shadow is there, yet…
“Do you wish to die?” The Sheikah asks, eyes glinting red with annoyance, and Link jumps up, meeting his eyes.
And he cannot erase the feel that this is familiar somehow…
Not much time to contemplate that, though. With a firm nod and a quick shake of his head, Link grasps the hand stretched in front of him and runs, runs, runs away from the forest, hands entwined with a shadow that- until far, far later, he wouldn’t know to be the other half of his soul.