A/N: I apologize for the delay. My health and other serious life issues have made it near impossible for me to perform any of my creative duties. This chapter isn't as long as I would like, but I thought it would be better to upload something than keep everyone waiting any longer.

Thank you for your continued support. You're all amazing and I love you.

Chapter 8

The Rite of Passage

Dawn breaks over the desert, a forward line of molten light that sweeps over the rise and fall of the sand dunes; vanquishing the spread of darkness that spawned overnight.

Link feels rather than sees the silent conflict, the hairs on his skin prickling to attention as his body shifts from sleep to wakefulness.

The morning brings with it a sense of balance, of serenity that had not been there before today. Link soaks up the sensation, lets it wash over him like a fine milk bath.

The calm leads the hero's mind back into thoughts of unconsciousness, but the subduing effects of sleep have left him and have no hope of returning until the moon reappears in the sky.

Exertions are kept to a minimum as the blond alternates laying on left side to laying on his right, the thousands of stinging bees in his limbs a consequence of staying in the same position for too long. Link isn't the type to keep still, even while asleep, and it's most likely the reason why the two males have migrated to opposite ends of the blanket instead of being tangled in each other's arms like the intricate twists of a vine.

Link is content to hold his pose because his right side is cooler, darker, comforting and he prefers it over the direct projection of sunlight.

They built their camp around the premise of shade, the rock formation above them providing them with said luxury, but in a few hours there won't be any shadows to escape under so the swordsman forces himself to enjoy the reprieve while he can.

Link takes a deep breath in an attempt to relax and blows it out; the expelled air splitting across the spine of the solid form in front of him in the same manner a fog bends around the dark wood of a forest.

Try as he might to remain motionless, Link begins to squirm, his body becoming acutely aware of his lover and all the amorous affairs that such a subtitle suggests. His blood still carries the satisfaction of their joining and those latent chemicals alight simultaneously, making his flesh sing with unbridled energy.

Unable to persist in his self-induced stillness, Link sits up. His eyes are forced into a squint as they take their first peek of daylight. He hisses and raises a forearm to block out some of the rays.

The man nestled beside him groans his dissidence and Link finds it strange that out of all of his tossing and turning, his bedmate chooses now to make a protest. He follows the sound, his eyes falling on the breadth of Ganondorf's bare neck and shoulders and the Hylian feels his breath catch as he remembers how those shoulders looked rocking under the force of his thrusts.

The blond indulges his sudden taste for voyeurism, watching as the larger man's muscles expand and contract around each even breath. His blue eyes trail lower, down the slope of Ganondorf's back and lower still until his sight is hindered by the threads of a blanket. The hero realizes, in awe, that the source of his peaceful mind and invigorated body is laying right next him.

He cannot explain how Ganondorf had healed his soul, had freed it from the enervating shackles; if it was by the use of magic, exchanged invisibly during the course of their love-making (the effects of which he could still feel) or if it was done with a bond of trust, made whole by the act of cosumation itself.

Link thinks himself foolish to question the means of his happiness any further. Instead, he accepts it for what is even if he cannot define it yet because he is grateful that they have become closer, almost equal and that is all the affirmation he needs.

Link smiles. The answer he intended to give Ganondorf last night has not changed, but it has grown in intensity. His Lord had been right; it was wise to wait; to think over his decision before making one based on things like obligation, guilt, or appearances. Having spent a little more time to explore the subject, Link finds he no longer harbors the doubt that stems from speaking impulsively. Before he had hesitated, had panicked and would have provided a response that was forced and insecure. Now he is certain.

Not wanting to wake his lover and at the same time needing to dress and prepare, the blonde shifts as quietly as he can towards their supplies.

Galla snorts, nearly making the pointy-eared boy shout out his surprise. She must have sensed his approach, but the black mare had been sleeping so soundly that he did not expect her to stir. He gives her an apologetic smile, knowing he disturbed her rest, and reaches out to pet her muzzle. She allows the touch, seems more receptive to it because she cannot sense any of Link's prior unease. She settles her head back down and closes long dark eyelashes over crimson eyes.

Link gives her a few tentative pats before he grabs what he needs from the harness laying astride her and panders a short distance away, far enough that he won't alarm the two sleeping.

The process of putting on his tunic and leggings is executed at a causal pace. He brushes his feet clean of sand and then steps inside his boots. The baldric is wrapped around his shoulders and tested for fit. Ganondorf had the foresight to bring along some of his equipment: a Mirror Shield, a Fairy Bow with a quiver of arrows and a sword. While the sword is not his own, a common weapon of iron Ganondorf had given him in place of the Master Sword, it would serve it's intended purpose.

Link assembles the last piece of his attire, his cap, when he hears his lover groan again. The blond looks back to find that Ganondorf is awake and watching him lazily from his spot on the bed of blankets. Ganondorf seems to favor laying on his side, his face propped up on a bristly fist.

"You're up already," Ganondorf sighs, his eyes falling shut briefly in exhaustion. His voice is still gruff from sleep when he says, "Curse you; you've foiled my plans to sleep in."

It both pains and pleases the Gerudo to see Link donned in Hylian garb, but putting aside his personal grievances, he understands why Link chose to wear it.

Many challenges have been accepted and won while the boy had been clad in green and Ganondorf sees no reason why the boy shouldn't carry on the tradition for his greatest trial. Doing so will only inspire the boy's confidence.

The hero knows how the dyed cotton rests on his shoulders, how it bends along with the strokes of his blade and that knowledge can aid a warrior in battle; especially if the clothes compliment the wearer's skills.

Ganondorf prefers the weight and reliability of leather, but Link on the other hand, would gladly sacrifice the protection of armor for the speed of a lightweight tunic.

Ganondorf has to admire the strength of companion's dedication, not just here and now, but for the past seven years. The boy has never asked for more than what was necessary, his confidence and instincts his two most formidable assests. The gilded ornaments that wealth and status provide would cheapen his talents. His victory today will be because of his wits and nothing more.

Link kneels down next to his lover, smirking confidently.

"Forgive me for thinking to dress before confronting the task ahead of me."

Ganondorf sputters, eyes going wide at the implications of Link running around Hyrule naked. It takes a good moment for the King to peal himself from the distracting image, clearing his throat as he does so.

When he speaks again, his tone is serious, "You're certain you're ready?"

Link nods concretely; the mirth gone and determination taking it's place.

The corners of Ganondorf's mouth curl up because despite the boy's harsh change of expression, there's still a lighthearted sparkle in his eyes.

Ganondorf adores that look and it's almost as if the younger of the two knows it because the boy's otherwise perfect sculpture of gallantry is broken by the liveliness of his blue eyes. The older male can only assume that the modification was made in order to please him. He realizes how fantastical that sounds and banishes the thought from existence.

The king reluctantly sits up, wiping the drowsiness from his face. He wraps a blanket around his hips as he stands to his full height, tying the ends together keep his modesty. Galla, aware of her Master's actions, raises to her hooves accordingly, knowing her assistance is needed.

"Very well," Ganondorf says in acquiesce, "In order to earn your rite of passage you must strike down a powerful enemy."

"And where would I find such an enemy," Link asks, raising a suspicious eyebrow.

The hero's unabashed taunting earns him a pointed look and a snort of indignation. Ganondorf doesn't know where the stench of vainglory came from, but it is agitating his sinuses.

"It is here, hiding beneath the sand. Did you think bedding you was my only motivation for bringing you here," the red-head requites, seeking to embarrass the boy with his seedy words.

Now it is Link's turn to flush. The hero averts his eyes, a hand coming to rub at the reddening skin on his neck.

"No, I never suspected that was it …"

Ganondorf is placated by the boys reaction and decides to pardon him. A King cannot be without humility.

The blond looks up just in time to receive the sweet kiss his lord places upon his lips.

Once separated, the tanned beast growls, a heat coiling in him. "I wanted to show you that no matter what path you chose, I would accept it. Nothing can change what I feel for you. That is why I gave myself to you last night, to release from your earthly bounds."

Link feels his insides jump after hearing the provocative admission and he leans into Ganondorf's touch, their bodies pressed tightly together.

"I hope to give myself to you in the same manner," Link admits in a very small voice. He buries his face into the dark contours of his lover's collar-bone, hoping it will bring him some relief.

Ganondorf laughs, a lusty sound. "And here I was expecting you to say something more moralistic."

Thick hands carefully pull the boy away from his hiding place. The taller man is met with some resistance, the smaller of the two insistent on staying where he is, but such weak protests are easily thwarted. The lord waits for the hero to show his face before he lays claim to his lips.

Link smiles into the kiss, giving in to the warmth.

"So was I," he says and connects their mouths together again.

Ganondorf indulges the hero in a series of firm, tentative kisses leaving plenty of time for stroking hands to message and grinding hips to tease.

Ganondorf is half tempted to finish this out, but he reminds his throbbing loins that gratification is best reserved for a later date.

He pushes the boy way from him before his resolve curtails, forcing himself to think of the present future. The king retrieves a monster horn from Galla's saddle and hands it to Link.

"Use this to summon the creature," Ganondorf instructs before pulling out another item.

"You will also be needing this."

A rolled carpet, decorative, but worn with use, is dropped into the hero's arms with no elaboration of it's purpose.

"I will be watching you from close by, but I cannot aid you. Gerudo law forbids any outside interference."

Link knows there is a clause to the rules that Ganondorf is refusing to disclose. He can tell by the way his Lord's eyes lose some of their color, but the hero doesn't press to know what it is his lover is hiding because there's also a promise there, one that states that he will come to the boy's rescue should he ever be in utter peril.

"Thank you, but I won't be needing help."

The former half of the Hylian's sentence is sincere. The later holds a challenge. A glimmer of seduction screens Link's features, daring his lover to stay true to his word.

Such open displays of enticement from the triforce of courage invoke the beast from it's dormant state and the evil entity laying inside of the Gerudo King is all too eager to accept the challenge. The red-head's entire countenance clenches, fighting down the ferocious need to conquer every stretch of the boy's body, to extinguish every last flicker of his spirit.

Ganondorf can only hope his determination and obstinance are enough to keep the beast at bay. The prestige he once held over his alter ego is waning and the beast seems to know this better than he. The Gerudo inwardly chastises himself for being careless. The mirror that separates the two halves of his soul has cracked and those small rifts provide the beast with an vacant opportunity to shed it's influence, but soon all the glass will break and it's liberation will come at last.

"Just give me enough time to dress and clear out before you begin," comes Ganondorf's gravely ocatve.

Link notices the snarl in his lovers voice, the waver in his step, but attributes it to suppressed passion and smirks, a little prideful for causing such stirrings in the Gerudo.

Ganondorf wastes no time preparing Galla. The saddle is mounted with mild regard and the mare whines when the cinch is buckled a notch too tight. Her discomfort is a distant undertone and before he thinks to address it, his vision begins to blur; the beast inside of him offering a small demonstration of it's incredible power, proving how easily the other can be succeeded.

The red-head squints, the lenses of his eyes becoming that of an inverted telescope. He concentrates on his hands, moving them slowly and experimentally over the leather seat as he tries to reclaim his equilibrium.

The dark entity is very amused by it's host defiance. Such diminutive attempts for control over the conduit they call a body will get it's host nowhere. The beast keeps up a mock rendition of a struggle and then yields in compliance; bored of such dull entertainment.

Ganondorf's vision returns to him, but he isn't so gullible. He knows this is not how or when the deed to his body will be decided, but he will do everything in his power to ensure that the beast's arrival will come after his own plans are complete.

The king's next series of thoughts have him rotating around, frightful of what harm he might have done during the course of his episode only to find the hero unaware and unharmed.

Ganondorf barely registers his relief before it twists into something else. He cannot determine the nature of Link's mischievous grin, only that some thoughtful design has taken possession of his companion.

Link raises the horn to his lips and realization strikes Ganondorf like lightning.

"You wouldn't dare," he threatens, "blow that horn right now and you won't live to regret it."

The hero wets his lips, amused by his lovers attempts at dissuasion.

Ganondorf's eyes bulge in a splice between anger and incredulity.

Link may be ignorant of what chaos the instrument will summon, but it doesn't stop the older male from wanting to tackle the boy to the ground and reclaim the item he had given him. A verbal deterrent was likely his only option considering the devastation any physical contact with the boy had on him.

Link sucks in a lung-full of air and Ganondorf curses, haphazardly grabbing what remains of their belongings and sliding his bare foot into the stirrup, nearly tumbling backwards in his haste.

Link watches Ganondorf gallop away, muscled calves and the round indications of a thigh made visible by the tug of wind on his makeshift clothes. Link is reminded that there are places on his lover that are of lighter complexion than others, places that he's never been given proper allowance to admire and this principle holds true as Ganondorf shrinks away into the horizon, the well-kept secrets of his lover's body enveloped by the shimmering waves of the sand.

The slap of guilt is strong. The seemingly cruel stunt he pulled on the Gerudo was not an offense he wished to commit. He needed a diversion to drive the other away without attracting too much suspicion and the illegitimate methods of subterfuge was all his inept mind could think to do.

Link doesn't make a habit out of divulging his insecurities, but he knows Ganondorf doesn't trust him, not fully, not yet.

He is still a boy in his lover's eyes and he wants so badly to be a man, one capable of bringing peace to a kingdom divided, cursed and at war. Tasks otherwise said to be impossible. Link captures this purpose before it can fly away, seals it inside his heart so he can look upon it always.

A few grainy steps later and Link hears a second pair of footsteps beside him. There, wiggling in close to his feet, is the very same lizard that escaped becoming his dinner last night. The lizard seems to bear him no grudge for their past differences and growls up at him in what Link can only assume it's a command to pick up the pace. Link continues onward, faster this time, his lips raising into a quick smirk.

Looking up at colossus before him, standing at the base of it's feet, the hero closes his eyes and breathes in one last meditative breath.

He does as Ganondorf instructed him to and the note that follows is so terrible that it rattles ears and sand alike. The horrid noise eventually dies, but for a few short piercing moments, the land around him seems to curl away from the sound, Link being no exception.

Life's natural animation resumes.

No foe appears.

Preoccupied with fear of what had gone wrong, Link misses the subtle vibration under is feet.

There's a quake and the hero screams, footing thrown off by the massive movement of loose earth. His small sidekick echoes his screams as it too falls onto it's back.

They are sinking, Link realizes as a hole formulates around them. The lizard fumbles, finding the fabric of Link's arm and affixing it's claws into it, climbing to the alcove of his shoulder. Link scrabbles on elbows and heels to avoid being consumed by whatever creature lurks at the bottom of the pit.

The Hylian manages to spin himself around and reach the outer edge of the crater, but the mouth of the hole is expanding too rapidly for him compensate for and the loss of traction causes him to slip further down.

These wild movements cause the carpet to become dislodged from the hero's belt and the incline provides the object with sufficient terrain to go barreling towards doom.

Link almost lets it go, but decides the old rug must serve an important purpose and jumps after it, catching the object just before a leafy tentacle does. The appendage is big, bigger than him and it moves serpentinely, seeing without eyes.

The blond boy is afraid to make any sudden movements, though he doubts running will get him very far. The sides of the pit are too steep for him to scale. He must find another way out.

He slowly reaches for his sword, trying to hold down the terror of being eaten alive.

The tentacle senses his hostility and lunges. Link has just enough time to roll to the side, keeping the carpet in close to his chest.

Another tentacle uncovers itself from the sand and if Link believed in such superstitious activity, he would say that the carpet in his hands just jerked in an attempt to flee.

The creature buried beneath the sands cries, the raspy screeches telling tales of hibernation and hunger as pincers, scraggily and black, protrude under Link's boot.

The incisors open in self-enforced increments, funneling it's prey into the dark void of it's stomach, putrid breath steaming up from the depths to cradle the bite-size hero as he descends into it's waiting mouth.

The carpet's frantic thrashing is too prominent to be considered coincidence, but Link doesn't see any of it, his eyes can only look down as he falls, his hand loosening just enough for the fabric to unravel and fly them up, up, up.

Link cries in distress, praying his fingers won't let go of the tired old stitching. The upholstery veers and Link has to grapple with both hands or else risk being thrown off. Once a safe distance away, the floating textile evens out it's winding flight pattern so the hero can sit himself atop it.

The monster's mouth snaps closed, the roar of emptiness a precursor to the megaton form that erupts from below.


Thank You for Reading.

Comments and Questions Welcome

Chapter Completed: October, 14, 2013 11:00 PM