Authors note: In case no one had noticed, i'm only used to writing more humerous stories. This is an attempt to widen out my field of writing in order to improve. My first area to attempt is romance and, to switch things up a bit, this story contains Yaoi. If you don't like it, don't read it. You have been warned. Otherwise, enjoy and review if its not too much trouble. Thank you all in advance ~

The Other Half of a Hero

Link stumbled his way through the third of the temples on a quest to awaken the sages. This temple, the Water Temple was by far the most miserable. Glancing up from underwater he spotted a black and white bulls-eye and heaved a mental sigh of relief. His hookshot rocketed out and latched onto the target, hauling Link out of the water to fall with a clank onto the cold stone floor.

He took a quick glance around at his surroundings. Fortunately, no monsters lay in wait. Just a door and four brown ceramic pots lining the cool blue tiles lining the walls. The Hero of Time slumped to the floor, panting as he kicked off the first of the heavy iron boots that allowed him to traverse the watery depths.

He sighed wearily, kicking the second boot off and sitting up to massage his aching calves. "Alright, C'mon Link, we're fine. Those things are just heavy, that's all." He said to himself in an attempt to cheer himself up. Never mind that he was utterly miserable at the moment. Sure, the Zora tunic allowed him to breath underwater but it did nothing to keep the chill of the water out.

Link continued the arduous task of loosening the plethora of knots in his muscles; especially down in his calves. The heavy iron boots that kept him underwater were absolute murder on the legs, plus, they'd held a decent amount of that self same water which had left Links toes very reminiscent of prunes… In fact, the rest of his body had followed suit after so many hours trudging around underwater. The boy's lips curled back in disgust as he peeled off his sopping wet gloves, ringing out as much water as he could back into the pool from which he'd entered.

Finally, the screaming ache in his legs started to die down but he knew from the previous days experience that to try running around again so soon was inviting disaster, so, he decided to stop for some sleep in this safe little alcove of the water temple, though he'd never get to sleep in sopping wet clothes. Sighing, he began the arduous task of undressing. Aside from getting off his heavy, salt-crusted leather belt which didn't feel like cooperating after so much exposure to water, the next task was simply the time consuming act of emptying his pockets but his bow and arrows, hammer, extra bottles and various other items eventually lay stacked neatly in the corner.

Now significantly lighter, he stripped off the soaked Zora tunic, and leggings, as well as the heavy chain link armor he wore beneath it, laying them all out to dry as well as they could in the time it would take him to wake up. Biting his lip, Link went to go pillage the pots against the wall for some spare hearts or if he were really lucky, a fairy. A sudden gust while he searched the final jar and pulling out a second heart left him shivering near uncontrollably as the drafty breezes that permeated the temple ghosted across his nude body. Still, hopefully it would be worth it to be dry for a little while. Having been waterlogged almost constantly since he'd arrived, the feeling was getting to be a little more than he could handle. Hunched in ball, all he could think was that this temple was by far the most miserable.

Then again, that's what he always thought. Trudging through the Forest Temple, he'd thought that was nasty; going through the humid forest, getting stuck in spider webs and sticker bushes, covered in scratches and rashes and sweat while being attacked not only by monsters but hordes of biting insects, not to mention the twisting corridors that didn't always lead to the same place, the ghosts and the eerie voices that seemed to echo out of no where…

Then, the Fire Temple. Heat, as its name would imply. Easily reaching over 120 degrees, Link had been sweating nonstop the entire three days it took to finish that temple. While the heat wouldn't be fatal, the tunic he'd obtained from the Goron city didn't protect him from forming a collection of burns across his body. Covered in burns and bat bites that stung constantly from the sweat running down into them and air so hot it hurt to breath made him wish for the days of the Forest Temple, and now here he was, doing the same thing all over again. What sort of temple could be next that would be bad enough to make him return to fond memories of this hellhole? The images materializing in his head looked decidedly unpleasant.

Being drenched to the bone and having to lug around heavy weighted boots that made his legs scream out in pain while being stuck underwater, unable to breathe at all had him longing for the days of the Fire Temple again. At least it was warm there. Here, all he had to look forward to was stagnant water… and nothing to drink. That was so insanely frustrating, but Link was not about to trust any of the water here, not after all the creatures he'd seen moving around in it. The image of a Like-like popped into his mind. Nope, definitely not drinking the water.

He shuddered to think what the next temple would be like… but it could also have been the chilly stone floor that made his body shake so. Quickly and methodically he started rubbing down his arms, chest and shoulders to get his torpid blood moving again. Slowly, the friction dried his skin and brought feeling back into his upper body. With that section dry, he pulled a dark green forest tunic over his head. Fortunately, he'd thought to put his two spare sets of clothes in a waterproof pouch before coming here.

The tails of his tunic came down slightly past the waist so he started at his feet and worked his way up, massaging sore muscles and getting blood coursing through his veins. Now, as the Hero of Time, it was expected that nothing ever go according to plan. He'd seen that law hold true time and time again, but as he sat there in the corner, vigorously rubbing warmth and feeling back into his thighs, the faint arousal growing from the attention was the last thing he expected.

Link snapped his jaws shut, slightly irritated at the blood stirring a reaction between his legs. Being still cold and wet however it could be prevented from happening, but he knew if left unattended, it would keep him up all night. He just continued rubbing himself while he debated the situation. On the one hand, in the middle of an ancient temple on the bottom of a lake on a journey to save the country, one would think that he deserved a little time to himself. On the other hand though, he couldn't help but think that it was a very un-herolike thing to do. Never mind that, having jumped forward in time by seven years, he'd effectively thrown himself right into the middle of puberty and now controlled a body capable of doing such things. He couldn't help but be curious...

'Its just for the sake of a good nights sleep' he finally told himself as he started to explore this new aspect of his adult body. He also figured that if he were going to do it, he might as well take advantage of the location. It felt kind of good to be able to just throw his head back, panting and gasping and moaning as loud as he wanted. After all, what did the monsters care?

Though he'd started off cold, the little "exercise" routine left him with a faint sheen of sweat. Perhaps this temple would be over soon and the rest wouldn't be so bad? Not likely, but the hero could hope as he lay back on his other spare tunic to catch up on a few hours of sleep.

It ended up just being a quick nap for about four hours, but Link woke feeling fresh and ready to face the rest of the Temple… until he spied those hateful boots sitting in the corner. Hopefully they wouldn't be needed quite yet. Link tried to stay optimistic as he grabbed his boots and finally opened the dark copper door that had been sitting unobtrusively against the wall for the past several hours.

Link was stunned. He was at the bottom of a lake so how on earth could he be standing outside!?

Straight ahead sat a small sandy island with a single stunted tree. The island was surrounded by a 'sea' of shallow water stretching far off into the distance to both the left and right… though he couldn't see very far. Dense fog or something like it obscured his vision, keeping him from seeing too far, but overhead it was just like staring up into the sky.

"Something doesn't feel right about this…" Link murmured uneasily, drawing the Master Sword from the sheath on his back. He stepped forward into the shallow water that covered the floor of the room and slowly approached the island. He half expected the tree to attack him or for some monstrous creature to come raging out of the mist, but as his boots touched sand, nothing happened. Cautiously stepping to the side he circled the entire tree without incident before hazarding to touch the tree. It felt like a normal tree and other then flaking off a few small bits of bark, nothing happened.

Link finally understood the phrase 'Too quiet.' One glance told him that the door through which he should be leaving was secured by solid iron bars. Frowning, he jogged back to the door he came in only to find it barred as well.

Taking a deep breath, the Hero of Time turned and set off into the dense mist gripping his blade tightly, ready to react at a moments notice to whatever horrible fiend lurked out of sight. His senses strained to their highest limit, ready to leap, duck,roll or attack in an instant so he was totally unprepared when he walked face first into a wall.

Groaning, Link pushed himself to his feet and hesitantly stretched his hand out and hit something solid. It looked like there was still an infinite stretch of otherworldly fog that a person could wander in for days without ever finding anything, and then finally when their strength failed they'd be consumed by some spectral beast and spend eternity in… No, obviously not. After all his battles against the macabre forces of evil, the Hero of Time did tend to get caught up in his imagination sometimes.

Slowly, be began walking the length of the invisible wall to see if there were some break in the wall to go through and release the bars.

"Don't bother. This room isn't nearly as big as it looks. You can trust me on that one" came the commentary from the fog. The voice didn't sound malicious, only amused, but at what? Link's leather gloved fingers tightened on his sword as he slowly turned around to see the speaker sitting casually against the tree in the middle of the room, watching. It was Link.

At least, it would be Link if he'd had black hair instead of blond and garnet eyes instead of sapphire… and wearing a black tunic instead of green. Though he looked calm enough, a dark version of the Master Sword lay on the ground next to his shadow so he knew he was in for a fight, but the shadow made no move other then stretching and crossing his ankles.

"Hero of Time. Welcome… to my humble home." Without getting up, the shadow made a casual gesture over to the tree. " Have a seat, make yourself at home. I guess it technically is in a weird sort of way… What? No one ever talk to you before?" he asked when Link made no kind of acknowledgement.

"Well…" Link began hesitantly, "You have a sword. Are you not going to fight me?" In truth, this whole situation had him baffled. His previous experience said not to let his guard down, but he'd always been the trusting type and this new arrival didn't seem all that dangerous. Still…

The shadow shrugged, holding up the blade to examine it in the light before dropping it again. "Yeah. I'm supposed to defeat you… but I've been waiting here for years, its my room and right now I'd rather have a little conversation… or would you rather we jump right to the fight?"

Link shook his head and dropped his sword into the sheath strapped to his back, strolling over to have a seat in the sand by the water where he could keep an eye on his mysterious doppelganger who seemed content to just lounge against his tree. "So, how do you like the rest of the temple?" the black haired Link asked, and it didn't take long to get a reply. "I hate it, but it needs to be done. Duty above all else."

"Then sooner or later it'll be my duty to take you down" Dark shot back. "But don't worry, I'll give you plenty of warning." At the merest mention of combat Link tensed up, but Dark seemed not to notice, chatting happily about whatever topic he came across. Mostly though, he ended up asked questions. How did Link get started on the journey? What was it like being the Hero? What was it like outside? From that last question, Link wondered if this poor creature had ever been outside this room.

"Nope" was his sad reply. "You were right. Duty above all… but that can wait, can't it? Its nice like this…"

And with that, he returned to asking questions and Link wound up telling the story of his entire adventure. He didn't think he was all that good a storyteller but Dark was leaned forward, listening intently the entire time when he wasn't poking around for more details. With no method to track it, Link had no idea how long they talked but he knew it was a long time before he finally stood and drew his sword again "Alright… I've spent too much time here. I need to be moving on."

Dark sighed and stood but he really didn't look all that happy. In fact, he looked somewhat depressed "Fine. Another question first though…"

In spite of the time they'd spent together, Link was still expecting the other boy to undergo some sudden mood swing and demand his obedience to the dark lord or something utterly cliché like that.

"What's your name?"

Again his own mirror image had caught him off guard. How? Could he be losing his touch already?

"M-my name? It's… Link"

"Link huh?" The shadow said his name slowly, rolling it around in his mouth like he was tasting a new food. "I suppose that makes me Dark Link." Dark grinned. If nothing else went right today, at least now he had a name all… well, not all his own but close enough. This name had a pleasant enough feel that he could make due.

" Well Link… Then I want you to do me a favor. I want you to surrender." Dark whispered, slowly advancing on the Hero of Time. Link jumped back, holding his sword at the ready when he realized that Dark had left his behind as he advanced on Link, his black clad body hunched forward like a stalking predator… and indeed that's what he looked like with his ruby red eyes staring hungrily at his prey.

Link slowly backed away trying to think what to do. He was a Hero, no way would he attack an unarmed opponent, but the way Dark was walking… slowly backing him into a corner made him very nervous. Link backed himself all the way into the invisible wall on the side of the room and as soon as he hit it, Dark was there, pinning Link's shoulders to the invisible barrier of fog and he could feel the warm breath tickling his ear as the other whispered to him, "C'mon Link, you're the hero and you're my first friend. You couldn't do something horrible like take my friend away, right?"

The fangs of Guilt sunk deep into the Hero's conscience, but he wouldn't give in. "No! I can't… What I want isn't important compared with what the rest of Hyrule needs."

"Aww, come on Link, you deserve to think of yourself for once. Everyone gives in to their dark side every once in a while" he whispered seductively, pressing a hand to Link's stomach and slowly rubbing his way down, til one of Link's heavy leather boots caught him in the stomach. Dark dropped to his knees, winded as Link jumped back, holding his sword at the ready, "A hero never gives in. If I have to kill you, I will."

Dark stared for a minute, a grin slowly spreading across his face. One snap of his fingers and Dark's shadow sword was in his hand. He stabbed it into the ground, leaning on it like a cane. "Well. Now I see why you're the Hero." he chuckled, even more amused at the boy's bewildered expression. "After all" Dark continued, "Its got to take some real courage for you to waltz into my Temple, go jerking off on my front door and then you come in here and tell me that you never give in? You've got balls, I'll give you that."

Again, for the third time Dark's words hit him like a punch in the stomach, though getting beaten up didn't normally make people blush. For all his strengths, the Hero of Time was horribly shy and he could feel the blood rushing up to color his face as red as Dark's eyes.

"Th… Th-that was…"

"A very un-Herolike thing to do.." Dark finished the sentence for him. "Honestly, didn't anyone ever go over the rules with you? Hero's don't do things like that. And down here in a temple of all places, Tsk tsk tsk."

Link gritted his teeth, glaring as Dark wagged his finger like he was scolding a naughty child… and Link hated it because he knew Dark was right. He'd messed up, and errant childish curiosity wasn't a luxury he could afford. But before he could try to come up with some justification for his actions, Dark lunged forward, holding his black blade waist high and slashing up.

Eyes widened in shock, Link lept to the side, escaping with a shallow cut along his ribs. Goddesses, but that boy was fast. He'd barely seen the attack coming, even with all his skill. This would not be an easy fight.

Dark frowned slightly as Link dodged the attack. He shouldn't have been able to, but then, this was the Hero of Time. Oh well. At least he'd scored the first hit, he thought to himself, bringing the blade to his lips to slowly lick off the blood, watching Link all the while with unveiled desire in his eyes. Heh. Link was blushing again. Dark loved doing that to him. Hopefully, he'd get to see that blush a few more times before this was done. With that happy thought in mind, he lunged forward again.

'How on earth can he move like that?' Link just couldn't understand it, Dark swung that sword like it didn't weigh anything, but every hit he parried sent a shock running up his arm. He could feel it starting to go numb. That sword was definitely real, so maybe the sword itself was nothing special and it was really the wielder who was exceptional. But… Up until they'd started fighting, Dark had been so… flippant about everything. He just didn't seem to have the patience to train enough to get this good. Link could barely hold his own against the vicious slashes and Dark didn't seem to be tiring at all. He just kept coming with that same smirk on his face.

Even though he felt completely outmatched, Link still managed to get in a few good hits. They seemed to pain Dark but his blade came away without any blood on it so he couldn't even be sure if his attacks were having any effect. He was covered in scratches and shallow cuts that made it hard to move but strangely, Dark hadn't given any major wounds, when indeed he could have. He had the skill… It almost seemed like… he was just toying around with his green clothed counterpart…

Link's eyes darted around as he searched for some way to win but the terrain lacked anything of the slightest use. The only feature at all of the room was the tree, which was too stunted and decrepit to actually do anything. Perhaps something in his pockets then… and his mind fell on the Hookshot. Maybe it might work.

Another few minutes of fighting had Link on his back in the sand beneath the tree, glaring up at his shadow. The hookshot slipped down the side of his tunic to his hand, concealed while Dark gloated over the fallen hero "That's it? Man, that was disappointing. What was it you said about not giving in to your dark side, huh? I told you, everyone does, whether they want to or not."

"I didn't" The tip of the hookshot launched out and pierced right through Darks shoulder. He stared for a second at the metal chains but before he could react, Link hit the button to retract the chain, pulling Dark forwards and impaling him on the end of the Master Sword.

"Heh… You got me…Fair is fair I guess… You can go" Dark whispered, snapping his fingers. The iron bars across the door slid up into the ceiling.

"Well… Goodbye Link. Its been fun… and good luck" Dark murmured quietly as he ripped the hook from his shoulder, flashing one last smile before falling backwards and phasing right through the water on the floor, falling into the reflection of the sky. Once he was gone, everything faded away and Link found himself sitting in an ordinary empty room with the same damp blue walls that the rest of the temple had.

The next room, as per the usual held a large treasure box with an upgraded hookshot. The longer range would get him to more distant targets, but though his body kept moving, his mind stayed behind in that room filled with fog. Dark…. Why did it have to end like that? Surely… he didn't deserve… No.

Link knew full well he had a duty to fulfill. He couldn't afford regrets. Hyrule needed him most.

Another entire day passed before Link found himself standing finally in front of the giant golden spiked padlock that secured the door to the boss of the temple. A Opening these locks was never a picnic simply due to their sheer size. It took a bit of struggling but eventually the padlock fell with a resounding clang to the floor and the door slid silently open. Back in his Zora Tunic, Link walked in and immediately felt something wrong. Looking around, the entire length of wall around the room was coated in spikes and in the center of the room sat a pool of water with four pillars in the middle. Again, like the rest of the temple, this was not normal water.

His suspicion was confirmed a moment later when the water rose up in a pillar. Link waited, watching the water pillar move, undulating like a snake watching its prey. Suddenly the water 'arm' came hurtling down on top of him. Making a quick dodge to the side, Link darted back in to slash at the things liquid body only to quickly find out that the attack had no effect; his blade simply cut right through and the indent it made healed over. Jumping back again, he barely made it away as the blue water tentacle tried to grab him. Then he saw it. Coming up the arm was a red and white ball. Maybe this would be the weak spot.

Running forward to try out the theory, Link swung at the amoeba floating through the water and was rewarded with a pained squeal from the thing. Unfortunately, getting in close enough to attack also left him in attacking range. Though he managed to strike the vitals of this creature, he wasn't able to get away as the water wrapped around his body with crushing strength, lifting him into the air and shaking him like a rabbit in the teeth of a ragged dog only to chuck the boy halfway across the room into the ring of spikes coming out of the wall. One of the spikes tore into the back of his right leg. Biting his lip and ignoring the pain as best he could, Link stood, glancing around warily and rolling to the side in the nick of time as another water arm smashed down where he'd been only a second ago. Then, two more arms swung up out of the central pit of water and the one farthest away held the swimming core.

Not wanting to get near those arms again, Link pulled out his bow and fired an arrow. As expected, the arrow pierced through the aquatic defenses to strike again at the heart… or whatever it was. Even more arms erupted out of the water, blocking Link off in a corner while his target was all the way across the room. With no other way to get there, Link ran forward, jumping onto the pillars in the middle of the pool, but as he went to jump to the second one, he felt a tendril of water wrap around his ankle in mid jump in pull him down into the watery depths. The pool itself wasn't very deep; only about ten feet or so and he saw ladders attached to the sides of the pillars, and in the Zora tunic, he could breath underwater but… being inside the thing felt so utterly disturbing. It didn't feel like water, but thicker like jelly and it was all over him, tugging from every direction. The hold was too tight for him to swim against and he hadn't seen any hookshot targets in the room, so how -

Links train of thought was interrupted as a slimy tendril of water wormed its way up past the wound in his leg to actually start pushing its way up inside him. Link gasped and choked as more tendrils of water forced themselves down his throat. Bringing his hands back to his right in a knee-jerk reaction whenever he was in dire trouble, he mentally recited the prayer to the Goddess, Din, to invoke her fiery wrath in an expanding dome of flames. The water didn't have any effect on the magical fire which continued to expand outwards. The core of the water beast shrieked as the merciless wall of flames rolled over its sensitive membrane. All the pressure holding Link down released and he quickly climbed his way out of the water, coughing up the water he'd swallowed.

The water in the pool began to froth and bubble angrily as tentacles shot out of the water all over the room. There was no way to get to the membrane without going through at least fifteen water arms and the thing was across the room. Not willing to jump over the pool again, Link pulled out his Longshot, and fired that instead. The hook grabbed the nucleus and ripped it out of the arm it was traveling through, dropping it on the ground at Links feet to flop around like a fish. Ripping his sword out, Link stabbed the blade down into the floor, impaling the defenseless thing and popping it like a bubble.

The water in the pool rose up one final time, draining into the ceiling until the pool was empty. Glad to finally have it over, Link climed carefully down the ladder, grabbed his heart container and stepped into the soft blue light that formed at the center of the intersection, eager to be away.

As it had the previous two times, the light teleported him to the Temple of Light where the Sage would appear and give Link a Medallion holding a portion of their power. This time, it was Ruto the Zora Princess who stood before him. Again, as usual he just stood there, keeping his mouth shut. Link had a suspicion that while they waited for the temple to be cleared, they killed time by writing their thank-you speech, so he let them have their fun.

"Link. I would have expected no less to the man I chose to be my husband. Zora's Domain and its people will eventually return to their original state. As a reward I grant my eternal love to you. Well, that's what I want to say anyways." she added when his jaw dropped open," But I don't think I can offer that now. I have to stay here and guard the Water Temple. You already have someone else anyways, don't you?" she asked, giggling. "No? Well, I'll give you one so don't be discouraged. Here, you must take this medallion. Take it respectfully."

The blue Medallion bearing the Triforce on one side and the Water Crest on the other fell down into his hands. "Oh, and if you see Sheik, please give him my thanks, ok?" Ruto added as the bright light blinded Link. A few minutes later the battered Hero found himself deposited safely on the warping platform on the island in the middle of the lake. It was nice to be able to take a few minutes to relax and see all the good his hard work had accomplished as the water lever in the lake rose back up to where it was supposed to be. Across the lake, the Fishing pond was now reachable off to the right and the old man in the marine research lab could continue his work. Looking at the research lab, Link noticed a faint blue glimmer high up in a rickety wooden observation tower atop the small laboratory. Perhaps he could get that heartpiece in a little bit.

Leaning back on the shore of the lake, Link didn't turn around as he heard footsteps behind him. "Ruto wanted to thank you." Link said, staring out over the water, but the voice that answered him was not Sheik's.

"Oh she already did, in fact that's why I'm hear" Dark whispered in Link's ear, making the boy leap back as best he could, but the sudden movement yanked a muscle in his leg the wrong way and it crumpled beneath him. It must not have fully healed. Stupid defective Heart Containers…

Dark glanced over at the ungainly form of the Hero of Time sprawled across the ground, his red eyes glittering mischievously. " Whats wrong with you? You look like you just saw-"

"Don't even go there Dark. That line is so clichéd its not even funny." Link muttered climbing to his feet and drawing his sword, callously ignoring Dark's pout.

"Now is that anyways to greet your best buddy you ever killed? And quit pointing that thing at me." Dark slapped the flat of the Master Sword with the back of his hand. Link jumped back, eyes narrowed suspiciously as all sorts of conspiracy theories about Dark coming after him for revenge started popping into his head.

"Why are you here Dark? Are… why are you being all friendly? Last time I saw you, you wanted to kill me."

"Correction." Dark interrupted, holding up one black gloved hand to indicate silence. "First off, I wanted no such thing. I never planned to kill you at all. My orders from the last boss were, verbatim, 'Defeat the Hero of Time.' Not kill; defeat, so I had a loophole. If you surrendered, I would have let you go, but noooo. Someone always has to be the valiant conquering Hero. Every. Fucking. Time."

"What, me!" Link stared, dumbfounded by the accusation that the entire messy ordeal had been his fault. Of all the nerve! "You… You came at me with a sword! I didn't know you weren't dangerous!"

"Oh I'm very dangerous" Dark shot back blandly, "But I did ask politely first." he pointed out, leaving Link stuttering around for an answer. "Anyways, to answer your questions, I'm here because the new Boss of the temple says I'm to come with you and give you whatever you need and I'm being friendly cause I'm just a good natured kind of guy.

Link sighed and flopped down on his back, staring up at the clouds. Dealing with Dark was exhausting work and…. "Wait a minute, come with me! Hey, wait a minute! You can't come with!" He shouted at Dark's slowly retreating back as he strolled across the wooden bridges towards the mainland.

"Boss's orders and you're not the boss. Duty first, remember?" Dark shouted back over his shoulder.

Link groaned. Somehow he didn't think it would be so easy. He briefly considered asking Din to strike him down to avoid the coming headaches… but that probably would not be granted. The Three Golden Goddesses were probably laughing at him just as hard as Ruto was… and sadly, a prayer for Din to strike down Ruto for her malicious joke probably wouldn't be heeded either. Ah, cruel fate…

With a sigh, Link started jogging, albeit a little awkwardly with his leg still strained after his new…. Goddess help him, his new partner.