Disclaimer: Ha – if I owned the Legend of Zelda then I'd be sitting in a Mediterranean villa on the South Italian coast – but I'm not. So, logically, that also means that I do not own anything to do with Legend of Zelda.

Their two fevered bodies lay next to each other, each panting both with exhaustion and a rapidly-fading ecstasy. How could they bear to separate ways after what they had just done? They had started out as enemies and now... now they were more than friends, more than lovers – and yet they were still sworn to kill each other.

Link stood up slowly, shakily, and began to pull on his clothes again. He was stopped by a rough, battle-scarred hand on his arm and looked round into his lover's dark, troubled eyes.

"You'll be ok – won't you?" The hoarse voice asked. He smiled gently, caressing the ebon hair comfortingly with one hand.

"When this is over, we can live together, out of Ganondorf's shadow, and no one will ever threaten us again." His voice was low and sonorous. "This I promise."

The figure in front of Link sought in the pocket of his black tunic for something.

"Here," He said, holding it out in his hands after he had found it. "Take it. I was supposed to be guarding it, but I don't need it anymore."

"I can't take this!" Link gasped. "Your most treasured possession...!"

His lover pressed it into his hands, and his hands were in turn pressed against his chest.

"It's more use to you than it is to me." The husky, enchanting voice rang. "Take it. It'll remind you of me. Your quest will be long and difficult, and it should help you, especially in this temple."

"Where will you be while I'm gone?" Link asked, stowing his new item safely away in his pack.

"I'll be at my master's palace, explaining that I lost to you and was forced to give you the longshot." There was a smile at Link's look of shock and ever-so-slight fear. "Don't worry, I'll be fine. I was his prized creation, he won't destroy me for one error."

"You never know," Link responded worriedly. "He's evil. He might kill you anyway. Be careful."

"I will be. You have my oath." A hand moved round to caress Link's cheek. "And you must, too. Morpha is dangerous. Please, Link. Take care."

They said their goodbyes and embraced one last time before leaving to go down their own paths, Link on his quest and the other back to his master.

Link hadn't seen him since.

The dark corridor was endless, and the smell of death was overpowering. Was this really what Ganondorf had lusted for? Hyrule Castle was a pit of decay...

Link strode down the hallway, cautiously wielding the Master Sword, Navi flitting along beside him, scouting for danger. There was a giant door at the end of the corridor, and that was Link's goal. He felt – or rather, knew – that Ganondorf was in that room, and that was where he was headed.

He wasn't injured, as such. He was limping slightly with exhaustion, but the blood that stained his green tunic was not his own. Countless monsters had been slain in that awful, endless corridor, another sign of Ganondorf's evil.

He placed on hand on the heavy iron door in front of him, glancing at Navi, who swallowed determinedly. They had come so far; there was no turning back now. With a hard shove, the door creaked open.

It was hard to see anything in the murky blackness that swamped the new room, and Link advanced cautiously, clutching his sword in the "ready" position. He squinted, trying to make out the barely-visible shapes that moved around in the shadows.

"Link!" Navi screamed suddenly. "Look out!"

The Hero of Time whipped round and watched the grate fall across the door. Now he was well and truly trapped – was there another way out?

"Welcome, Hero." A cold, mocking voice. Link gripped his sword tighter as Ganondorf himself stepped forward out of the shadows. "I hoped you'd get this far."

"Ganondorf." The Hyrulian spat.

"I'll make this easy for you." The Gerudo King idly inspected the man in front of him. "Give me the Master Sword and the Ocarina of Time. And I'll let you go."

Link stared in disbelief – he had been expecting an enraged fight to the death.

"You think I'll just give you the Ocarina and the Sword? You must be insane!" He snapped, leaping at Ganondorf, ready to strike. The Gerudo swatted him away as easily as if he were a fly.

"Yes, I rather thought you'd take that approach." He breathed. "So I brought something to bargain with. The Ocarina of Time and the Master Sword... and I'll spare that pathetic excuse for a minion over there." He gestured vaguely in to the darkness.

Link peered in the direction of the waving hand to see a shadowed figure slumped forward, held up only by the manacles attached to his wrists, the iron fastened directly to the wall and his arms held upright. He – it? – was clearly unconscious.

"Why would I care if you killed one of your own monsters?" The Hero asked incredulously – this was last thing he had been expected. Ganondorf trying to barter for the things he treasured most with the life of something Link would probably kill anyway?

"Take a closer look." A cruel smirk formed with the words and, suddenly, the room was lit with a dim, fiery glow. As Link's eyes adjusted to the sudden light, he realised, with a sickening lurch in his stomach, that he recognised the slumped figure against the wall.

"No!" He gasped. "Oh, no!"

The face, though bowed and concealed by the straggly, matted black hair, was quite visible enough to be that of the man whom he had left in the Water Temple so long ago. He had been stripped; all he was wearing was a small amount of cloth bunched around his loin – possibly all that remained of his trousers. There were red welts and purple bruises scattered across his bare, sinewy chest, but the skin was not yet broken in any place – or if it was, then it was not visible to Link.

The Gerudo Prince of Darkness moved over to the unconscious form and began bathing his brow almost lovingly with a damp rag. Dark Link, as he was known, awoke suddenly with a great inhalation and a whimper.

"L-Link...?" His voice, naturally hoarse, was shaking. "W-what are you d-doing here?"

"He came back to me one day." Ganondorf hissed, disregarding the shadow's words, staring at the chained body with a look of disgust. "He sauntered in and told me you had obtained the longshot, thinking he would get away without punishment. I saw that he spared your life and you spared his – I almost killed him then and there, but foresaw that he would be useful to me."

Link swallowed, fighting down the urge to rush to the other man and comfort him, to kiss his hurts better. After what they had done in the Water Temple together, how could he not want to protect his dark-haired lover from harm?

"So how about it, Link?" Ganondorf drew a knife from the depths of his clothing and pressed the flat to Dark Link's throat. "Your Ocarina and Sword for his life."

A look of panicked fear crossed the shadow's bruised face.

"No, Link! Don't do it – !" The words were cut short as Ganondorf snarled and struck him hard across the face and pressed the knife further in to his throat.

"Stop it!" The Hero of Time cried out, Navi flitting anxiously above his head. "Stop hurting him!"

"Think about it, Hero..." Again the confident sneer from the Prince of Darkness. "What are the Sword and Ocarina worth to you? Are they worth more than this useless creation of mine? I put him in the world, you know – I could just as easily take him away."

"Don't listen to him, Link!" the husky voice cut through Ganondorf's sneer, hurling Link back to what he had last said to his lover, back in the Water Temple. "When this is over, we can live together, out of Ganondorf's shadow, and no one will ever threaten us again. This I promise."

"No!" He snarled at last. "I promised him I'd destroy you!"

"Link, you shouldn't make promises that you can't keep." The Gerudo King tutted, swiftly moving the knife so it pressed against the shadow's exposed chest. Dark Link's breath caught as the cold metal brushed against his right nipple.

Link watched in dismay as the silvery metal was turned so that the sharp blade was pointing towards his other's skin. Ganondorf dragged the knife roughly along the bare flesh, drawing a both a deep, bloody line and an agonised scream.

"I'm so glad I gave you pain receptors when I created you." He breathed in Dark Link's ear, ignoring the tears that were beginning to spill down the shadow's face.

"No!" Link yelled, starting forwards. "Please don't!" He stopped suddenly as Ganondorf pressed the point of the knife to a different part of skin and began to twist, boring it deeper and deeper, seemingly oblivious to Dark Link's pitiful cries.

"What will it be, Link?" The Gerudo King used the flat of the bloodstained knife to tilt the chained shadow's head up so he was looking tauntingly in to the terrified, pain-filled eyes.

"L-leave, Link!" The black-haired man yelled suddenly. Ganondorf slammed his head back into the wall.

"Quiet, scum! How dare you talk over your betters?" The knife plunged straight in to the shadow's thigh, punctuating the words by drawing another scream out of the dark-haired man.

Then a sick grin crossed Ganondorf's face, and he held the knifepoint towards Dark Link's crotch, pointedly overlooking the loll of the shadow's head. Link froze in horror.

"You wouldn't..." he gasped, noting Dark Link's twitch as the blade inched towards the area of ultimate pain.

"You know what I'm offering, Link. The choice is yours." There was no confident sneer in Ganondorf's voice now, which was a deathly whisper, punctuated only by Dark Link's quiet whimpers.

"Don't do it, Link, please to the goddesses...!" The shadow panted hoarsely, emitting a small moan as the blade prodded him. The Prince of Darkness snarled and withdrew the knife, sliding it down the shadow's back, creating another gaping wound.

"I know something that will be even more painful, even more humiliating." He snapped at last, after the screaming had subsided slightly. Link again started forwards, yelling out in protestation, realising what Ganondorf meant. But it was too late.

Without a preparation, without a warning, without even pausing to widen the entry, Ganondorf thrust the blade deep in to Dark Link's backside. There was a shriek of agony from the black-haired man, and then moaning and sobbing as his creator twizzled the blade around, giving an entire new definition to the word "rape".

"No!" Link breathed desperately, as though denying it would change the torment his lover was going through. "Oh, goddesses! Leave him alone!"

Ganondorf seized a fistful of Dark Link's ebon hair and used it to wrench his prisoner's head back, thrusting his tongue into the other man's mouth. He drew away, with the shadow's tears staining his face.

"Does it hurt, Link?" The Gerudo asked cruelly. "Does it hurt to see me violating this worthless scum? Give me what I want and the pain will stop. I put him in this world and I have complete control over him – watch."

The Prince of Darkness ripped away the sad remains of Dark Link's trousers, giving the knife a savage twist and eliciting another howl from the quaking figure, who was as tense as a bowstring. Ganondorf's free hand snaked round to gently tickle the shadow's cock, and there was a convulsion in the ebon-haired man's stomach as he retched.

"No – no, please..." He gasped, the waves of agonising pain created by the twisting knife fighting down the electric signals that were being sent, against his will, from his abdomen. It was brain versus bodily instincts, with Dark Link desperately trying to fight down the inevitable.

But it was too late; the shadow's shaft had already leapt to Ganondorf's bidding and the Gerudo King fondled it gently, lovingly, while at the same time jerking and wrenching the knife around, creating a huge, gaping wound. Dark Link screamed in agony as the blade probed his insides and he felt the growing pressure in his abdomen, his aversion to it making it grow more intense.

Poor Link could only stare in a frozen horror, completely robbed of his speech, only able to make incoherent spluttering noises. The young Hyrulian closed his eyes as the cruel hand began to pump his tormented shadow, wishing he could just as easily close his ears to the cries that emanated from the helpless man.

With a tortured, sob-like scream, Dark Link released into Ganondorf's hand and the Gerudo sneered. At the exact same moment the shadow had come, he had slammed the knife in right up to his hilt, and the clashing emotions finally became too much for the battered man, who retched violently and vomited the meagre contents of his stomach.

Ganondorf grinned and moved his hand to tilt the shadow's wide-eyed, pain filled face towards him, but froze suddenly, staring in amazement at the arrow that pierced his hand right the way through and stopped barely an inch away from Dark Link's jugular.

The Hero of Time stood, panting, bow drawn and another Light Arrow already notched on the string. He had snapped under the stress of being forced to watch the person he cared for most go through such agony and, without quite realising what he was doing, he had shot the Gerudo King.

Ganondorf clutched his hand to him and his cloak whirled about his person as, in a flurry, he left the room with a curse.

"You be sorry, Hero. I'll kill you anyway, and take the ocarina and the sword. And then who will save Hyrule?"

The arrow clattered on the floor as the door slammed shut, and Link hurried over to the writhing figure by the wall, desperately pulling the knife out of the deep wound and using it to unlock the simple manacles. Dark Link slumped to the floor, shivering spasmodically.

Link cradled his other in his arms, looking down into the battered face, stroking the shadow's brow softly. The Hyrulian ripped a bit off his green tunic and used it to carefully mop the dirt and sweat away from the shadow's face. There was a hoarse cough from the prone form.

"I'm dying, Link..." the ebon-haired man managed. Link's tears splashed on to his bare, bleeding chest.

"Don't talk like that," The Hero of Time retorted. "You'll be fine. I'll get you help; I'll take you to Kakariko or... or to the Kokiri! They're good at healing!"

A hissing laugh followed his statement and he stared into dark eyes that were already misting over with death fog.

"Don't be silly... I couldn't survive that... I'm not you..."

The Hyrulian cradled the injured man in his arms, moving the scrap of cloth round his face and on to his chest to wipe away the gore that stained the long, diagonal wound that ran from shoulder to side.

"You almost are," He protested, trying to persuade himself more than the shadow that he would live. Dark Link shook his head, his mouth lolling open as he panted.

"No... I was made... to survive a single... fight to the death... not... this torture..." The shadow felt the splashes of Link's tears on his cheek. "Why... why are you... crying? It... doesn't hurt... anymore..."

"I'll miss you..." The Hyrulian sobbed, at last resigning himself to the fact that his other could not be saved.

"I'll miss you too..." the hoarse voice sounded faint, as though it was coming from far away. "Link...? You know... you promised we... could live together... without Ganondorf... threatening us?"

"I'm so sorry..." Link began. He had been hoping that his dark-haired lover would forget that particular promise so close to death; there was no way he could keep it now.

"I know how... it can still... come true..." There was a tiny sigh at the end of the words. "I'll be waiting... in Heaven..."

Link inhaled slightly and dropped the bloodstained rag, clutching the shadow tightly to his chest. A few moments later, with one final shudder, the stiff, tense body relaxed and went limp. The Hero of Time gave a heartrending sob, burying his head in the other man's hair, his eyes filled with tears of grief.

Link didn't know how long he knelt by the dead man's side, grieving. It seemed like an age passed between the shadow's final breath and Link at last getting, ashen-faced and dry-eyed.

The Hyrulian used the Master Sword to lever up one of the slabs of stone that made up the floor, revealing the soft dirt underneath. After digging a bit out, he reverently laid the limp young man in the shallow pit, covering him with the earth he had previously removed and laying the slab back over him, marking the stone with a cross.

Later, when Ganondorf had been vanquished, the Hero of Time would return to the grave of his friend and, with the Master Sword, carve on the tomb the following inscription for all to read:

'A hero, no matter what he's done, will be mourned at death. But what about those with no choice, forced to work in evil's shadow? Who will mourn the Dark One, who, though created to destroy me, gave everything he had for my cause? Who will cry for him, when he sacrificed his life so that others might live? I will, and I hope you will also. May he live forever in our hearts. - Link, Hero of Time'

Author note: ; sorry about the morbid-ness. Not sure what possessed me to write it, either, but I think I was slightly depressed at the time.