And when time comes calling
Dark Link/Link Legend of Zelda
In, out, in, out.
Before the Zora tunic, temples with underwater rooms are complicated. He has little time to accomplish his task and his lungs burn with need for the precious air above this watery prison. Later, he discovers that Dark does not need to breathe underwater. Even without a special tunic, he can drift along under the water for hours without surfacing. Link thinks this quite unfair.
When he asks Dark how he does it, Dark smiles and tells him that the trick is not knowing how to die.
Epona has never liked Dark much. She's skittish around him, and if he gets too close to her she will lash out with hooves and teeth, wild eyes rolling. Maybe that's why Dark is grinning quite so hard when she takes the apple from his palm, crunching it loudly between her teeth.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, they sleep. They sleep curled against each other in a little room in Kakariko village, sprawled across the twin mattress and snoring in a way they were never free to do before their journey was complete. Ganon is dead, the Princess is safe within her castle, and the Hero is content. The sun shining through the open window feels like a good omen, and this time, Link will get his deserved life.
Link can best the worst of monsters. He can stare a Redead down without flinching, cut through poltergeists with ease, and take down the Desert King who had nearly destroyed Hyrule. Knowing all that, who would have thought that the Hero of Time would scream like a little girl when faced with a mere centipede?
The man at the corner store presses a mug to his hands, his grin lopsided and missing its fair share of teeth. He assures him that this new product will make a killing within a week. Link nods, and drinks the liquid down. He is curiously quiet for a moment, before holding his mug out for more. This time, he adds some sugar and some milk from Lon Lon Ranch to the drink. Upon emptying his cup once more, he smiles at the man and tells him that he enjoyed it. He says it just loudly enough that the townsfolk nearest him hears the comment.
The man was right. His drink makes a killing, and is quickly in high demand throughout Hyrule. When Dark tries the stuff, he drinks it down quickly, grimacing at the taste.
He is jittery for the rest of the day, and nearly beheads Link when he sneaks up behind him in the Water Temple. He decides against trying the liquid again.
The cavern is darker than any dungeon or cave he has ever been in- It is a round open space and he can hear the quiet melody of water dripping against stone in the darkness. His breath comes in small pants, and he grasps the Master Sword close to his chest. The air is black, and he cannot even see his own nose in front of him.
Dark Link is a comforting presence at his back, and he chuckles at the irony of his shadow being the light to guide him through the darkness.
#07 – Despair
The first time Link is wounded in battle, Dark goes wild. His attackers are reduced to gore and bones before they can even think of regrouping, and Dark is shaking so hard when he tries to staunch the blood flow that he accidentally makes the injury even worse. Navi shrieks at him, cursing and howling and eventually flies off to find one of her sisters before it is too late.
The minutes tic by, and the paler and weaker Link gets, the more frantic Dark becomes. He growls incoherent threats into green fabric and shakes him when Link begins to close his eyes. Later, the only things that Link can remember are warm arms wrapped around him and the echoing sobs of Dark's despair.
The door looms above them, larger than life, and Dark turns to Link with a grim expression and a clenched jaw. He opens his mouth and says the first thing that comes to mind-
"I think we're going to need a bigger key."
The first time Link gets drunk, Dark is so sober it's painful. The mead here is good, but he won't risk Link being taken advantage of. Even now, many of the patrons at the bar are eying him with a gleam of something far too similar to lust in their eyes. He isn't out of his mind drunk, not like some of the people here. He is quiet, and the only sign of his inebriation is the fact that he is far more affectionate than usual and has a small smile brightening his features.
Link leans against him, his weight a warm and comforting presence. The other customers are still looking at him- iHIS/i Link- and it annoys him. Link smiles and hugs him, murmuring nonsensical words into his neck. When Link draws back from the hug, he is biting his lip, and his expression is so full of innocent wonder that Dark feels the breath catch in his throat. When Link kisses him, his lips taste like mead and apples, and he is helpless to do anything but pull the other man closer.
The hero of time has his duty to Hyrule and her people. It is his destiny to protect its inhabitants from the monsters that roam the lands. Even after Ganon has been defeated, he still roams, destroying the monsters that have hidden themselves away during times of peace. He roams Hyrule until his hair is graying and lines begin to appear on his brow. He fights and fights, and Hyrule will forever tell the story of the Hero of Time and his shadow, who fought until their own time had come to an end.
Emerging from the Water Temple, drenched to the bone and shivering, with fingers so wrinkled that they seem unrecognizable and a new companion panting at his side, Link cannot help but think that he has never appreciated the soil he stands on quite as much as he does right now.
He has always thought that his life would end in battle. That he would slip up, and some creature would get the better of him. In truth, he should be surprised when his life ends quietly and he slips away without the aid of a monster's claws or a dragon's fangs. He dies in a small hut near Lake Hylia, and while he is not quite old, wrinkled, and gray, time has certainly had its effect on the weary hero. He dies next to his shadow, who has been a constant companion since that time at the Water Temple, so many years ago. They die together, and he finds that the fear he expected to overwhelm him is absent. He grasps Dark's hand, squeezes, and they are gone.
Dark has been an aid to him many times, and he to Dark more often than not. So when he slips on a patch of ice and cringes at the expectation of a brutal, crushing death, he really should have expected the hand that frantically grasps his own, hauling him back to the surface.
Dark enjoys fire. He says that after so many years alone with nothing but water and an ancient tree for company that the warmth of flame can be a pleasant change. So Link gives him his fire arrows to play with, teaches him how to cast Din's Fire and smiles at the look of rapture that crosses Dark's face every time the light of the flames dances across his features.
Sex with Dark is like having sex with a circus performer. He twists and turns, panting and moaning encouragement into Link's ear like some kind of cheap whore, wrapping his legs around the other man's waist and riding him into the ground. There aren't words of love or endearment murmured, there is just the height of passion and a closeness that can never be felt by any other creature. Through sex, they become whole again. Link and his shadow become one, as is meant to be.
Fighting is like flying. They take off, soaring on the winds of war, cooling their wings with the blood of the enemy. The exhilaration they feel as they lock swords with a creature, or even each other, is like nothing else in the world. Their hearts beat in time to the clash of metal, their breaths come in quick spurts, and they can't do anything other than surrender to the blood lust and the blinding, beautiful rage.
It is difficult to find food most of the time. When he was a child, it was simple. All he had to do was approach some old woman with a smile and tell her how terribly tiring the whole "Saving Hyrule" business was. Nowadays, all the nice old ladies with kind smiles are either hiding in fear or dead. All there is in this horrible, corrupted version of Hyrule are monsters, ghosts, and thieves. So they take what they can get, and they make do. There are still foods that Link will not touch, but now that he knows the pain of starvation, he is less likely to turn away any form of sustenance. Even if it is fried moblin.
When Link's journey begins, he finds that the tireless walking and fighting and twisting and pulling- it makes his muscles ache. After sleeping for the last seven years, his muscles are weak, tired, and they protest fiercely when he crosses blades with another. His feet feel as if they will fall off within the first fifteen miles, and by the time he has reached the top of Death Mountain, he feels as if he is going to drop dead, never mind the monsters that await him within. So when he notices the doorway leading to the Great Fairy's Fountain, it is all he can do to restrain himself from leaping at her in joy.
Link doesn't like graveyards. He tells Dark that graveyards are where all the restless spirits lie in wait, just looking for an opportunity to leap out and sink their claws into him. Dark thinks Link is paranoid, but he also thinks that Link is right to fear the dead.
Dark and Link are two sides of a coin, opposites in all regards. All the same, for them, living together is not terrible. After their journey is complete, they build a small cottage overlooking Lake Hylia. They still roam, destroy monsters and visit the friends they have made over the years, and the title of "Hero of Time" is still a destiny that Link must bear, but there are moments of domesticity when everything seems so peaceful and serene that they can hardly believe they were ever on such a quest to begin with. Sometimes, Link wakes up to the smell of bacon and eggs, and finds Dark in the kitchen with an apron around his waist and a frying pan in his hand. Other times, they will wake up with nothing to do, and spend the whole day fishing with only each other and the crickets to keep them company. It's the little things in life that makes it so enjoyable, like the smell of the forest at dawn and the feel of hot sand against bare feet. Dark likes stealing Link's clothes, parading around in them and asking if green is his color. Link just laughs, steals Dark's, and asks if black is his.
Their life is that of tranquility, and it is a refreshing change from battle.
"Why do you always wear that on your head?"
Link frowns and grabs onto the accused garment protectively. He glares at Dark, who is NOT wearing his own, and huffs.
"I like my hat."
To outsiders, Link seems hollow, some shell of a human being, held on that pedestal above all others. Sure, the Hero of Time seems kind. He saves the lives of the inhabitants of Hyrule and protects their homes. He was born to serve and protect, and he does so. All the same, nobody on his quest really knows him. He is an illusion, something there to kill the monsters and save the damsels in distress. They don't actually think about the human child beneath the layers of time and legend. To Dark, Link is just Link. He knows him better than Link probably knows himself. He sees the boy, not the Hero, and underneath it all Link is thankful for that.
Unlike Link, whose destiny is set in stone and mortar, Dark's has always been up for contemplation. He watches Link fight, his expression set and fierce, determined to slay the monsters and protect the children. There are at least two dozen redeads in this room, and they are stuck with no way out and two small children to protect. It's a bad situation, he knows. Two against two dozen are not good odds, even if the opponents happen to be undead. Several of the redeads shriek, and Link is suddenly far too still. He knows of the paralyzing shriek of the redead and can see the terror in Link's eyes. They are drawing closer to Link, circling him, and Link looks at him with eyes wide with fright. The children are still there, crouched behind him with their arms around each other and their faces wet with tears.
Yes, he thinks. Link would die for these children. But Dark is not Link, and he springs into action, slicing into the redeads nearest Link and clutching the other man close to him protectively. He tries to ignore the children's cries and the wet, ripping sounds coming from behind him. Link is trembling, and in a moment he will be able to move. The cries suddenly cease at the exact same instant that Link is able to move. Link faces the carnage, and he is gripping the Master Sword so hard that his knuckles are white. He looks away from the small corpses, and faces the redeads, his face white with rage. He sets into them with a ferocity only seen in that of wild animals, and he has destroyed them all in ten minutes, his hair and tunic covered in gore. After they face the children's parents, Link does not talk to him for weeks. It is the closest they have ever come to an actual fight, but Dark finds that he does not care. Link is a man of honor, and he would have protected those children with his life. Dark though, is not. His loyalty belongs to one person, and one person alone. And that person is alive because Dark chose him instead of the children. And that is all that matters in the end.
There was exactly one moment in the course of Dark's life that he knew hope, totally and completely. That was the moment his prison doors opened, and his savior strode through them, wearing Dark's face and carrying a sword of holy steel.
A normal shadow is just that, a shadow. A shadow is darkness, but one cannot have a shadow without light, and that applies to him as well.
Dark is only with Link for two an a half temples. The Shadow Temple and the Spirit Temple. The rest, Link faced by himself. However, when Link manages to get lost in the desert for the seventeenth time, Dark cannot help but grab him by the arm and forcefully drag him through the sands, past their guide, and to the temple, all the while wondering how Link ever made it this far without him.
The Master Sword is a blade like no other. The metal is smooth and cool to the touch and it practically hums with power. It is nothing like his blade, a decent blade, but nothing compared to the art of the blade of evil's bane.
Link does not react well when Zelda tells him that she wants to put the Master Sword on display. She tells him that it is a weapon of the people, that it saved Hyrule, so the people have the right to see it. Dark sees Link's hand clench around the hilt of the sword, his sword, but knows that Link will hand it over to the princess anyways. She assures him that she will get him a new sword, provide him with the best blade in Hyrule, and Link shakes his head, but starts to draw it, to give it away. Dark snarls and grabs the Master Sword away from him before he gets the chance. He has the tip of the blade at Zelda's throat before anyone can react, and smirks when her guards freeze, unsure of how to react. He speaks slowly, explaining to the girl in a very matter of fact way that no, she will notbe taking the Master Sword from Link, because it is his by right. He has wielded it for many years now, and knows that the sword is practically a part of Link. When he has finished speaking, he hands the sword back to Link, still glaring.
Her eyes are wide, but she nods at him, smiles, and tells Link that he can keep the damned sword.
All of the temples are ancient. There are carvings on the walls in languages that even Dark cannot decipher and the stone walls are cracked and crumbling. They are all old, but Link thinks that the oldest is the Spirit Temple. He is not sure how old it is, but it makes him think of civilizations long gone, with dark hair and golden jewelry. Dark does not like the Spirit Temple, because there are times when Link has to go back in time to get past certain obstacles. Dark can follow him to the ends of the Earth and back, but he cannot follow Link through time. While he waits for Link to return, he cannot help but worry for him. He paces inside of the temple, goes outside and sits between crumbling pillars, ventures around the small desert oasis, waiting…
During their journey, there are never truly times of peace. They run about, always in a rush, always DOING things. They kill, they hunt, they solve mysteries… They rarely have time for themselves at all. So when the opportunity presents itself, they take a break from everything. After they earn the Gerudos respect, it is simple to get a room in the fortress and bunk there for a fortnight. They are quiet and try not to disturb the fierce women. All the same, having the chance to lie next to each other on a mattress is wonderful. They train, they eat, they rest, and they fuck.
It's a good vacation from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives, but it could never last forever.
Many monsters have a paralyzing bite, Keese, Leevers, Skulltullas, even ReDeads. Over time, Link built up a sort of resistance to most toxins. All the same, Dark didn't enjoy it when he was bit, and tried to prevent it from happening as much as possible. Even if it did mean jumping between him and the aforementioned creature.
Link would never call Dark 'pretty' to his face, because doing so would surely get him skewered, or at least slightly maimed- but in the glow of twilight there was just something about him. He looked peaceful, looking up at the stars with content and happy eyes, back against the cool grass. And when he turned to Link, with a grin on his face and those strangely innocent eyes sparkling with joy, how could Link resist the temptation of leaning over and touching his lips to that pretty mouth?
Whenever it rains, Dark gets this look in his eyes. It's a look of misery and hopelessness, and Link hates it. He thinks that the rain and the gray skies remind Dark of that horrible prison of a room, and that is why Dark hates it so. So one day, Link pulls him into the downpour, grinning at him from behind drenched bangs. Dark stares at him for a moment, an eyebrow raised in confusion. Then Link pulls him into his arms, and spins them to and fro to the rain's song, laughing as he does so. Dark seems confused at first, but eventually, he smiles back at Link and shakes his head. The next time it rains, Dark smiles.
Dark has many scars. Though his attempts at death long ago had failed, each of them had left their mark. Jagged scars running vertically and horizontally across his wrists, a puckered scar where he plunged his own sword through his stomach, and others, that he obtained afterwards. The one that causes the most grief to Link though, is a single scar over his heart. Link frowns when he sees it, and kisses the phantom wound, as if after all these years he can make it better. Link still does not know how much Dark loves that scar.
Zelda dies when an assassin sneaks into the castle while he and Link are visiting the Kokiri. They aren't even that far away from the castle, which is what pisses Dark off the most. They get a letter from the postman that tells them the news and when and where the funeral will be held.
She is buried in the castle graveyard, with her father, mother, and the rest of the Royal Family. The funeral is quiet, though most of Hyrule is in attendance. The Gorons, the Zoras, the Kokiri, even the Gerudo turn up for the Queen's funeral. Link is expected to make a speech, which is ironic considering that even Zelda herself had hardly heard more than a sentence out of his mouth at a time. Zelda's children stand in next to him, and one of Zelda's daughters even clasps his hand in her own. Link speaks softly the whole time, his eyes trained to Zelda's body lying on pillows of silk, as lovely in death as she was in life.
He places a single red rose atop her breast, and turns away from the coffin.
Dark finds him in Zelda's garden, striking the stone over and over again, smearing blood all over the castle walls. Dark approaches him without a word, pulling him close to his chest. Link slumps against him, sobbing and cursing until his voice is hoarse and Dark's tunic is soaked. Dark drags him to the ground with him, holding him close until his breathing evens out.
It is an agonizing day for all of Hyrule, and after Zelda has been buried, the skies let loose, and rain sweeps across the lands. It seems that even the Goddesses mourn the loss of Hyrule's finest.
Several years after Zelda dies, they get in a fight. It's a stupid fight, over practically nothing. All the same, Dark vanishes into the night, and doesn't come back for two entire years. Those two years are the worst years of Link's life. He scours Hyrule for his lover, looking everywhere he can, asking if anyone has seen him. It is heartbreakingly lonely, and he misses Dark more than he could ever imagine. The pain is agonizing, and he spends months in various villages, just longing for some form of human contact. Sometime during that horrible first year, he spends the night with a woman. There are many women and men in Hyrule that would gladly throw themselves at his feet in an instant. This one is no different. She has dark hair and dark eyes, and her skin is darker than Dark's.
Sex with a woman is nothing like sex with Dark. Hell, sex with anyone is nothing like sex with Dark. Kiss, foreplay, he comes, she comes, the end.
In the morning, she leaves him an address. They both know that he will never visit. Link leaves the village that night, journeying to the Lost Woods. He doesn't return from his home village for nearly half a year, and travels to the Goron and Zora villages afterwards. Eventually he returns to a dusty cottage with a heart that seems nearly broken.
When Dark finally returns, bloody and acrid, Link wants to yell at him. Link wants to scream and rage until he is blue on the face. He wants to hit Dark until the man is black and blue and bloodier than he is now. All he winds up doing is running into his open arms. They sag to the floor, and sob brokenly for what feels like an eternity. Dark smells disgusting, and is staining his tunic red, but Link can't find it in himself to care. He missed Dark, and Dark missed him, and now that they are so close to each other again, Link has no idea how he had survived for two years without him.
They never get around to discussing what happened during those two years. Some secrets are meant to be kept, and this degree of separation is one of those things best not to mention.
As a born and bred Kokiri turned Hylian, Link has an affinity for all things that have to do with nature. Shrubs and trees flourish under his touch, flowers blossom just to show him their sunny faces, and the animals treat him like family. However, when Link approaches Dark with one of the most poisonous snakes in Hyrule wrapped around his neck, Dark cannot help but panic. As he runs about, looking for ways to dislodge the snake without it getting the opportunity to bite him or Link, he doesn't notice Link laughing at him until the man approaches him with amusement in his eyes. He introduces the snake as Dora, and waves its tail in greeting.
Winter in Hyrule is hardly something to bother with most of the time. Most of Hyrule gets mild winters, with slight chill, and dead trees, but nothing too terrible. So when Link wakes up to a world of white, he does not know what to make of it until Dark throws a ball of the cold, white, substance at his face.
Before he knew what Hyrule was, before he met Link, or even knew of the Hero of Time, there was always that one room. In those days, he was truly a shadow. He roamed the room, searched for ways out, ways to end the torment of nothingness. He killed himself exactly 1,391 times, and he remembered waking up from each attempt, hurting, but still breathing. His form was faded, like smoke forming the silhouette of a human. When Link opened those doors, he had waited, watched the man until he had reached the other side of the room. Only after the man had spun to face him, face surprised and slightly disgusted did he attack.
As they fought, swords clashing, fists flailing, shields protecting, he gained substance. The gray smoke he was composed of solidified into dark black flesh, hair, and bone. Only after the final blow, a thrust through the heart, did he know the joy of being made flesh. Link had returned from retrieving the Hookshot from the room, ready to leave, and had been quite surprised to see him. His defeat had given him a form. His face matched Link's, as did his clothes and boots. He was darker than Link; his hair was not blonde, but black, and his eyes were dark red instead of blue. But he had form. He was flesh and blood. When he finally absorbed the fact that he was human, he looked back at his savior, who had been regarding him warily.
He smiled at his other, and after a moment, Link smiled back.
Link can tell that Dark adores spring in Hyrule. Unlike Winter, Spring sweeps in with a flourish. Flowers sweep across Hyrule Field, painting the field in a rainbow of colors. The animals give birth to their young, and Epona gives birth to a small filly that Dark laughingly suggests that they call Epona 0.2. Spring is peaceful, and lovely, and even the afternoon showers are beautiful and warm.
About a month after Zelda dies, another assassination attempt is made. This time, it is not made on the Royal Family. They really should have seen it coming, but Dark hadn't noticed the archer until the arrow was embedded in Link's chest. Dark doesn't even bother with the assassin, rushing to Link's side. The arrow is embedded far too close to his heart for comfort, and Dark fears it may have cracked his sternum. For once, Epona cooperates with him, and allows him to rush Link to Hyrule Castle. He staggers through the doors, Link in his arms and blood drenching every part of him. He looks at Sheik, whose eyes widen in surprise, and silently pleads with the man.
They take him to the medical ward, and Sheik stays with Dark until word gets out that Link's condition had stabilized. Only then does Dark track down the assassin and rip him to pieces until he is satisfied.
Link has never particularly considered what the civilians think of his and Dark's relationship. Most of the time, they keep to themselves. They're quiet, and do not flaunt the romantic or sexual aspects of their relationship. He has heard people call them brothers, twins, cousins, and some that know the truth about Dark often have very rude things to say about Ganon's pet monsters that should be locked away and not permitted to prance about hand in hand with their Hero. He doesn't particularly care what they think. He and Dark don't hurt anyone, so what does it matter?
Only when he overhears an old woman in the Marketplace does he know what the people truly gossip about. He stands there behind her, eyes wide and mouth agape as she makes the most lewd suggestions as to what he and Dark are up to all the time. She even uses hand motions. He stands there, shocked, and truthfully a bit disgusted at some of her descriptions, and only when he feels warm breath on his neck does he react, starting badly.
Dark wraps his arms around his waist and all but purrs suggestions more perverse than the old woman's into his ear. He chuckles when she turns around and sees them like that, his breath washing over the nape of Link's neck and making him shudder. Dark grins at her, making a show of licking along the shell of Link's ear as her face flushes in embarrassment. When he asks her which of her suggestions they should try first, she huffs angrily and walks away, leaving Link confused, embarrassed and with an aching hard on.
After that day, they don't hear a word of gossip about them again. They aren't sure whether the citizens are just keeping quiet or have actually lost interest, and truthfully, they could still care less what the rest of Hyrule thinks.
Summers are often boring for them. They are hot and dry, and the land dries up and doesn't see a hint of rain for weeks. Most summers, they stay indoors, wasting the day away in bed, too tangled up in books or each other to do much else. Since they are so close to Lake Hylia, they often venture down and have a swim, racing each other, or just lounging on the banks. Sometimes they go down to the Water Temple, and stay there for days at a time, backs pressed to cool marble and taking refuge in their sanctuary. They usually stay on the upper levels when they visit, simply because they both have too many horrible memories of the place to venture elsewhere. Though one summer, when they arrive at the temple, they decide to revisit the room of water that held Dark prison for so long. As they approach the place, Dark gets tense and irritable, and by the time they reach the room he is practically snarling. When they open the doors, both of them take a step back in surprise.
The room looks almost the same. It is still covered in water. But where the dead tree once stood, drooping and angry, a majestic oak stands. The tree is huge, stretching high into the false sky of the room, which is now blue instead of gray. They stand beneath it, in awe of its splendor. Link looks at Dark, who is now calm, and nearly smiling. After that, they spend many summers in the room, until the illusions finally crack and fade, and they are left in a room of stone and marble.
Incest is generally looked down upon in Hyrule. It is not unheard of, sometimes cousins will marry to carry on a bloodline, but brothers, twins is off limits. Which is why Link is utterly terrified when Sheik walks in on them, catching Dark with one hand down Link's breeches and the other up his shirt. Sheik takes one look at the scene, shakes his head, and promptly walks right back out the door. Link and Dark look at each for a moment, mourning the loss of Link's slowly wilting erection, before bursting into nervous laughter.
He supposes that it isn't REALLY incest. They aren't actually related after all.
They never get the chance to get old and wrinkled together, to live until they are too weak to lift a sword or nock an arrow. He thinks that they are both thankful for this. Not necessarily because they don't want to be ugly with age, but because he doesn't think either of them could stand not being able to fight. Though they never get ripe with age, they die in their early fifties, when their hair is graying and they begin to notice the difficulty they each have when fighting the creatures of Hyrule. Link trains Zelda's son in his last few years of life. The boy is an excellent pupil, and Link knows that he will protect Hyrule until his own death. Even with gray hair and the beginnings of wrinkles, Link is beautiful when he fights. He twists and turns, and the laugh lines and crows feet make his expression all the more fierce.
Dark thinks that even if they had lived until they were ninety and confined to the bed that he would still think Link was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
There are exactly two wars in their lifetime. The first was the one that stole Link's childhood, and caused devastation to spread throughout Hyrule. The second occurs about a year after Zelda's death and lasts about an hour before Link intervenes. It is stupid and petty, because the Hylian's want someone to blame for Zelda's death. And of course, the Gerudo's were the perfect candidates. They attacked by moonlight, sweeping into the Gerudo Fortress and murdering the guards they find. The Gerudo are quick to retaliate, and before they know it, the massacre has begun. Link receives word of the battle, from Impa and Sheik, who look furious. When he gets there, he is quick to stop the two parties, raising his voice for perhaps the first time in any of their memories. His accusations of stupidity and naivety appear to trigger some guilt in the Hylians. He apologizes to the Gerudo casting glares that could melt any man at the small army of Hylians every few moments.
After the battle, which is really to pathetic to be called a war, things between the Gerudo and the Hylians are tense. Impa, Sheik, and Zelda's son apologize profusely for their peoples behavior, but things are still awkward between the two tribes. The peace is kept, but only because of the respect the Gerudo have for the Hero of Time. Eventually, war will come again, and when it does, Link will not be there to intervene.
There are several droughts during the course of their lifetime, some worse than others. The worst drought lasts for over three years, drying up the lakes, shriveling the fields of Hyrule, and setting fire to the Lost Woods. It is a horrible time for all of them, and many curse Ruto and the rest of the sages for allowing this to happen.
In the end, Dark is the one to put an end to the disaster.
The water temple is vast, and spreads across the bottom of Lake Hylia like a great marble palace. Even the temple is dried up, and the entire place is devoid of any water whatsoever- except in one spot. Dark crouches in front of the statue of Nayru, clasps his hands together, and begs her for help. It is not his style to pray to the Goddesses. He knows that they exist, after all, far too much has happened to him and Link for them not to, but he does not pray. But kneeling there in that small pool of untouched water, he prays and begs and hopes that She will put a stop to this famine that is killing off half of Hyrule.
Regretfully he takes his leave of both water and statue and he waits. Not a week later, it rains.
When he and Link fight, he ventures out of Hyrule, travels across the lands to a place at the edge of the Earth called Termina. There he meets a boy with hair like dusk and eyes as red as his own. The boy is called Kafei, and he is the spoilt son of the Mayor of Clocktown. They grow close, sharing cynicisms and tales of their lovers. They play cards and chess, and he quickly finds himself developing a strange sort of affection for the boy. He stays in Termina and stops a moon from falling. He gets his first chance to travel through time, and repeats the same three days over and over again until the deed is done and the town is saved.
After all has become right again, he visits Kafei once more. The boy is a man now, and for all his selfishness and harsh ways, there are tears in his eyes when Dark tells him that he has to leave and that he is never coming back.
That night is the best that he has in years. They stay by the fire in Dark's small apartment, and make love on the rug, slow and gentle, and it is so completely not like them that they both wind up laughing afterwards. His short time with Kafei should make him feel guilty. He knows that Link is somewhere back in Hyrule, and by the Goddesses, he truly does miss his lover, but he can't help but wish that he could bask in the warmth of this other boy's touch just a bit longer.
He leaves in the morning, before dawn, and even if he can't see Kafei's expression when he wakes up to find him gone, he can feel the boy's grief, because it is mirrored with his own.
Winter in Termina is very unlike Winter in Hyrule. The swamps to the south are always warm and humid, despite the time of year, just as the mountains to the North are always cold and bleak. The oceans to the East are warm and sandy, and remind him of times with Link, trekking across the desert oasis. The only difference is that the beach is distinctly wetter. The wastelands of Ikana depress him, and make him think of the Shadow temple back home. So when snow coats the outskirts of Clocktown in a thin layer, he drags Kafei outside, laughing at the white. And when he looks at Kafei, laughing and rolling about in snow, he tries not to think of Kafei with blonde hair and blue eyes and a smile that could win over time itself.
His journey home is lonely, with thoughts of dusky eyes shining longingly at him and a sad smile that he was able to brighten, if only temporarily. He treks through swamplands, over mountains, winds his way through the woods on the border of Hyrule, making his way back home with a heavy heart that warred between grief and excitement. Along the way, his ghosts chased each other in circles. Every now and then he would catch a glimpse of green cloth dart past, see a flash of impossibly bright hair, hear twin cries of laughter, different, but alike all the same. He hesitates at the border of Hyrule for more than a week, gazing down at his homeland with his stomach churning and his mind chasing itself in circles. Would Link even take him back after so long? Would he be angry? What if he had found someone else? Would Kafei's image lurk beyond each corner for the rest of his life?
But he moved on, because his light lay ahead of him, and though they had fought, he had not seen Link in two years. He missed him with a fire so fierce that it burned him, and Kafei was but an ache beneath his breast.
He almost knocked when he got to the cottage, hesitant, and suddenly very aware of the injuries his journey had caused. Link would see him again, dirty and covered in blood, and why did he hesitate?
He opened the door slowly, carefully, and tried not to cringe as blue eyes snapped up to meet his own. He knew those eyes so well, and how it pained him to see them again after so many years. Blue bled into red, and neither could break the other's gaze. Emotions flew across Link's face; rage, hatred, regret, despair, and finally relief. Tentatively, he held out his arms, and Link ran to him. They sat there for hours and cried until they had no tears left.
They never spoke of it, and though he regretted leaving the happiness he had found in Clock Town behind, he found that being next to Link once again chased the feeling of loss away. He still saw Kafei, lurking behind trees, staring at him from beyond a closed window, and above all else, the boy haunted him in his dreams, but when it came down to it, his heart was where it belonged.
And that was all that mattered in the end.