I apologize for how late this is. But I'm going to be honest, I'm pretty fed up with this story. There's almost nothing keeping me going, and I really just want to stop while I'm ahead. I'll try not to quit for now, but updates will probably continue to be slow. And if you guys agree that I should just quit, then I will. So yeah, tell me what you think.
Disclaimer: Legend of Zelda isn't mine.
Warnings: Violence, swearing, major yaoi. There is smut in this chapter. If you don't want to read it, stop at whatever point you'd like. It's obvious when the scene is coming up.
A Wandering Soul Precedes All Darkness
Chapter - X
Title - The Potion Shop
The Wolfos stood no chance against the two warriors, felled quickly by the swing and slash of sword, by the pair who worked flawlessly together, each covering the others faults as they fought. If Link were to lean too far over and leave his right side unguarded, Dark would dash in, sword at the ready, to destroy the beast that moved in for the opportunistic strike. It wasn't a long battle, but it felt like an eternity measured in blood and sweat, Link and Dark working as quickly as possible to end the wails and howls so as to prevent the arrival of more beasts. And it was with the last one to fall that Link finally sighed, throwing his head back as he breathed in great lungfuls of air, trying to catch his breath.
"Nothing like a battle to get the blood going." He said, swinging his sword to rid it of the blood rolling from it in great, fat drops. Dark smirked, "That's not the only thing that can get the blood flowing. If you'd like, I'd be happy to show you."
"Oh, shut up." While his words were without heat, Links eyes were serious. He wanted to get a move on, the pain in his thigh making him thirst for a potion. "Lets get going, I want to see what's else is on this road besides Wolfos."
Tatl reappeared as they began to walk, seating herself on Dark's shoulder. She patted his ear idly, "Good job, boys."
"No thanks to you. Even that annoying blue runt would have given us some helpful advice."
The shadow fell silent immediately, eyebrows drawing up as he realized his mistake, "I'm sorry, Link. I wasn't thinking."
"It's fine. But don't do it again." He paused, dragging his heel in the dirt. "And don't speak of her so badly. She did her best..."
"Whose she?" Tatl whispered, feeling left out. But Dark shook his head, much to her annoyance.
Walking on down the path they met no opposition, that didn't keep them from sheathing their swords, however. Knowing that they were once more out in the path of danger kept their blood boiling, bodies ready to twist into yet another fight. But there wasn't anything to be fought, and at a sudden fork in the path they stopped and stared up at the sign.
It looked as if it had been written in child's scrawl, the lettering curving and twisting all over the wooden sign.
"Wow." Dark breathed, "Even I can write better than that. And I don't even know how to write." He laughed, elbowing Link, then pulled him in the direction of the swamp, ignoring the sound of metal striking rock down the other path.
Instantly, the scent of exotic flora and brackish water met them, the grass underfoot twisting and growing thicker as well. Animals and monsters alike cackled overhead, leaping from branch to branch, peering through the leaves to stare curiously down at them. Link stared back with just as much interest, never having seen animals with such long tails before. He wondered what they were, but didn't bother asking Dark, seeing as how he probably wouldn't know either. And Tatl wasn't exactly a well of knowledge either. So he stored the question away for later, hoping they'd eventually meet someone in Termina who was willing to speak in something other than riddles.
Farther and farther down the path they went, subconsciously moving closer to one another as the swamp grew darker, plants and ferns overhead growing so thick that the sun could not shine through. Tatl was their main light source for awhile, twinkling ahead of them in a ray of bright golden light. It probably pleased her to know that, for the moment at least, she was the most important member of their team. There was no saying just where they were going, or what they were looking for. But when the wet, flimsy ground began to suck their boots in a little too deep, they stopped.
"This is impossible. How are we supposed to get through the entire swamp? By swimming?" Dark kicked at a nearby plant, uprooting it easily. It landed with a wet slap on the ground not two feet away, splashing all three of them with vile swamp water. Link wiped his face clean and narrowed his eyes at Dark, "Was that necessary?"
"I thought so."
Breathing out a long held breath, Link put his hands on his hips and threw his head back, staring up at the canopy above them with a contemplative pout. Eyes scanning everything around them, he found nothing that could offer any kind of help.
"This would be so much easier if I knew what we were actually looking for."
Chuckling, Dark shook his head in exasperation, "Giants and fairies, of course. What else would we be looking for? Something that actually makes sense? Din forbid."
A flurry of movement above them caught their attention, instantly putting them on alert. But the creature that poked its nose between the leaves of the tree it was in posed no danger. Its bright amber eyes blinked down at them as it cocked its head, and then, just as quickly as it had come, it disappeared.
"What was that thing?"
Surprising them both, Tatl actually spoke up, "That was a monkey." But just to put a damper on their moods, she couldn't help but add, "Any moron with a brain would know that."
"Are you implying that you're a moron?"
Realizing her mistake, Tatl made an offended noise and darted off into the trees, leaving them in the darkness with nothing but the glow of amber eyes and dwindling sunlight. Dark scoffed, dragging his heel through the muck once more before grabbing Link by the crook of his elbow, "Let her be that way, we'll find our own way through."
But when a single step forward had him sinking to his ankle, the shadow went still, "Or maybe not. Damn, this is getting really annoying."
"Maybe if we walk really slowly?" Link supplied.
"Or if we don't walk at all?" Dark groused.
Another voice completely chipped in as well, surprising them both. Dark and Link turned to stare at the newcomer, eye widening when they realized it was one of the monkeys they'd seen. It stared back at them, head cocked, making soft cooing noises as it tried to catch their attention. Once it knew it had, it turned and ran off into the swamp.
"What was that about?"
"It looked like it wanted us to follow it or something."
To prove this point, the animal reappeared, crowing at them in a high voice, nearly distressed as it hopped about.
"Come on, let's see what it wants." Link said, grabbing Dark's wrist as he trudged through the swampy muck, trying to keep up with the retreating creature.
It led them through the deepest of ferns and through foul-smelling water, over plants that had long since withered and flowers that were straining to reach sunlight. Once or twice they had to stop to fight off a rogue Deku Baba, teeth gnashing hungrily even as its stalk was severed. Without waiting, the monkey continued on, screeching when monsters drew near, its voice a trail they could easily follow when they became separated. Swords drawn, breath ragged, they finally came to a halt in a small clearing, the sun hidden by the canopy above. Turning, the monkey raised its arms and hopped a few times, keening at them. But for what?
A faraway scream rattled the branches around them, birds taking flight and shouting their annoyance with their rasping voices. The monkey disappeared into the brush as well, hiding itself. And Dark knew before he even turned his head what was about to happen.
Link's eyes were filling with concern, his inner Hero kicking into gear, "We have to go find out who just screamed. They could be in a lot of trouble!"
"Or, we could turn around and go back?"
But Link was already running down the path, uncaring of the thick weeds pulling and snapping on his leather boots. Sighing, Dark glared in the direction the monkey had gone, then followed suit.
It didn't take him long to catch up, considering the fact that Link had no idea where to go. Before them were three exits, each leading down a different path that carried them through yet another trio of exits.
"Who has time to make these kinds of things?" Link grumbled, hands on his hips as he nibbled his lower lip. Trying to decide which one led where, and which headed in the direction of the scream, he finally threw his hands up in defeat, "Let's just walk and hope we get there."
"Sounds like a plan," Dark winked, "After you!"
Taking off, they hurried through the swamp, feet sloshing, but not as badly as it had earlier. With all the packed down flora holding them up, the muck beneath did little to slow them down. It was because of this that they were ducking through overhangs much quicker than they would have thought possible. Though, with little idea of where they were headed, it was with a wary set of eyes that they cast around, searching for not only the one who had screamed, but the danger that had caused it.
Before long though, the pair was forced to stop, doubled over at the waist as they fought to catch their breath.
"Where... are they?" Link panted, looking to Dark for answers he didn't have.
"Beats me. I figured we would have found something already." Shrugging exhaustively, Dark straightened and stretched, readying himself for another sprint.
Another scream pierced the sky, this time carrying a single word, "Help!"
Link was gone before the word had fully formed, not caring to wait for his partner as he crashed through the thorns and bristles of the swamp.
And what they found, when Dark caught up once more, was an old, decrepit woman.
She had collapsed at some point, body thrown haphazardly on the ground. Cheek pressed to the grass, eyes blinking wearily up at them, she tried to pull herself up long enough to speak, but only managed to wear herself out further.
Link was at her side immediately, hands on her shoulders, speaking in soft words as he tried to keep her from moving. Dark, however, stood back, wondering why this old woman seemed so oddly familiar.
"Please, my sister... return to her... medicine... I need... medi..." Trailing off, the woman gave a shudder and quieted, a wheeze escaping her instead.
Groaning, Dark couldn't keep himself from saying, "That doesn't help us at all. We don't even know who her sister is!"
"I'll stay here, you go back and try to find her, alright?"
"What?" Blinking incredulously, Dark shook his head, "No. No way, I'm not leaving you all alone with some crazy old bat. Especially not in the middle of some Din forsaken swamp where who knows what is creeping about."
Rolling his eyes as he bundled the woman's clothes a bit, Link said, "I'll be fine, don't worry about me. If anything comes, I'll be able to fight it off. And trust me, I'd go with you if I could, but... But we can't just leave her here, you know?"
Thinking for a moment, fingers pressing deep into a temple, Dark came to a different decision, "Move." Knowing that what he was about to do was probably only going to trouble them further, Dark waited for Link to move aside and then scooped the old woman up into his arms, throwing her over his shoulder like a bundle of heavy vegetables.
"You can't be serious, you're going to carry her?" Link laughed, holding his stomach tightly as he doubled over with the effort, "Are you sick? That is way too nice of you."
"Hey! I'm a good guy at heart!"
"If you say so." But the blond continued to laugh, hand touching his lips to hide his smile. Growling, the shadow turned and began to walk back the way they'd come, cheeks flushed as laughter escaped his lighter counterpart.
"Yeah, yeah, laugh while you can. You won't be laughing the next time I get my hands on you."
With one final chuckle, Link replied cheekily, "I would surely hope not."
Finding their way back out of the maze was much easier than it had been finding their way in. With the grass trampled down and their soggy footprints easily visible, they quickly made their way back to the entrance, where the monkey sat waiting for them. Eyes lighting up once their came into view, it cackled at them and turned, running back down the path.
As it had before, it came back, looking to see if they were following, and they did so, figuring that, as it had gotten them that far, they might as well.
It led them around a different path this time, taking them through the thick, towering hedges and ferns to a small body of water. Lapping at their feet, it stretched out for miles, growing deeper and deeper as it went, disappearing from sight to wrap around the trees. Smack dab in the middle of it all was a house suspended on a large platform, a single ladder thrown up against it.
The monkey climbed the ladder in seconds, then scrambled up the side of the house as well, positioning itself on the roof so it could watch what the trio did.
"Well, I guess the only way to go is up." Link said, sloshing through the water to climb the ladder as well. Dark went slowly, eying the water with distaste. A sick, purple hue had taken to it, and Dark wasn't exactly keen to walking through it. Instead, he leapt over onto the platform, then clambered up the ladder carefully, trying to to jostle the woman on his back too much.
Not because he cared. But because he didn't want to slide back to the bottom and retrieve her if she fell. Troublesome old cow.
He chuckled to himself, garnering an odd look from Link once he'd made it to the top.
Holding his arms out to take the elderly woman from Dark, Link asked him, "What's so funny? Did you see something?"
Gladly handing her over, Dark shook his head, "It was nothing. Anyway, are we sure this is the place?" Tipping his head back, he could see a sign covered in odd symbols and letters, but found that he couldn't read a single word of it. "Weird writing." He mumbled, running a finger over it.
"I guess all we can do is go inside and see if anyone there can help us. Who knows, maybe the monkey really did lead us to the right place."
With the woman's arm secured around Link's neck, Dark rapped on the door. From inside, there was no reply, just the clunk and clatter of someone moving quickly. He turned to Link, who shrugged, "I guess we could just go inside?"
So, without waiting, he pushed the door open, holding it so Link could wobble in as well.
Aromas they had never smelled before met them, deep and thick and rich, some pleasant and some not. It was an earthy looking shop, shelves lining the wall, mushrooms and herbs and items of all kinds sitting upon them. A fire crackled in the corner, and a gasp from the back of the room caught their attention, "Koume?"
A woman just as old and terrible as the one slung over Link's shoulder bustled over, robes flowing behind her. Decrepit old hands reaching, she pulled the woman away, settling themselves in the floor, hands fanning a face that was slack with unconsciousness.
"I'm guessing you know each other?" Dark said, seating himself on the floor beside them to rest his legs. Self-consciously, Link sat beside him him, concern clear on his face, "Can you help her?"
"This is my sister, Koume. My name is Kotake. And yes, of course I can help her. I run a potion shop, you fool."
Blushing, Link noted that, yes, the room did smell like potions and medicine.
"Go to the back and fill a jar with some red potion, then bring it to me. That should fix her up."
Link went to retrieve the item, Dark staying behind to stare at the wall in boredom. They'd been in the old hag's shop for only a minute and already he was bored, wishing they could get a move on. Though, a move on to where? Was the monkey going to be leading them all over the swamp? Did it know where and what they needed to do?
Of course not, he groused. Monkeys were just animals, what would they know?
He watched as Link bent to dip an empty jar into the basin of red potion, appreciating the way the man's tunic rode up, the way his breeches hugged his ass...
Yeah, he couldn't wait to get out of this place.
When the blond finally returned, Kotake snatched the jar from him and practically forced it down Koume's throat, grumbling a mishmash of words that sounded more like a firm reprimanding than a plea for her sister to awaken. True to her word, the woman's eyes flickered in moments, eyes opening to stare groggily at them all, "How did I get here?"
"It's alright sister, it's alright. C'mon, up you go, you silly old bat."
"But where are we? How did I get here?" She caught sight of the two warriors, spluttered, "Who are they?" and was then led promptly from the room.
There was a crash and some swears, either one of them swearing and fighting one another in the other room. Link coughed, "I don't think they'll be coming back anytime soon. We should go."
"Without a reward?" Dark groaned, "What are we, a volunteer service? Because I think we're seriously lacking in the rewards department lately."
"I'll give you a reward."
Ears perking, Dark turned slowly, unsure on whether or not he'd heard the blond right. But Link was gone, the heel of his boot disappearing through the door just as Dark's eyes fell upon it. With a final glance over his shoulder to assure himself the bats weren't going to follow, he ran for the door, reaching it just as Link began to descend the ladder.
"You'll have to run a little faster if you want to catch me!"
Completely forgetting the monkey crowing at them from above, Dark skipped the stairs and leapt, colliding noisily with the platform below. Blinking dumbly, Link made it to the bottom of the ladder and stared awkwardly, "That's cheating."
"If you didn't want me to cheat you shouldn't have tempted me so much." Advancing, Dark nearly caught the blond man in his arms, but at the last moment his Hero jumped, pointing at something in the distance, "Look! It's Skullkid!"
And, completely forgetting that it was the very same tactic Tatl had used to fool them earlier, Dark turned, sword unsheathed, ready to cut the imp down.
Nothing, and no one, was there.
"Well, shit." Dark hissed, the sound of retreating footsteps telling him that, if and when he turned, Link would no longer be there. "And he thinks I'm the cheater."
Taking off down the swampy muck path, Link's fresh footprints guiding him, he caught sight of the man's forest green tunic whipping around a bend in the path. Knowing he was getting closer spurred him on, a smirk crawling over his features as he picked up the pace.
When a Deku Baba practically exploded from the muck, flinging water and debris in a sickly wave, Dark's sword went flying, the man flipping easily in the air, slicing through plant matter effortlessly. He didn't even turn to see if it went down, just continued running as he sheathed his sword, knowing that if Link got away, his reward was as good as gone.
Continuing, he passed giant trees, foggy water and a sun-bathing group of turtles that looked up only long enough to croak a gurgled sound. There was no sign of Link save for the path he left, but Dark could tell they were getting further and further apart. The footprints were filling with water, disappearing slowly. He sighed, a bit disappointed in himself for being so easy to fool, then dashed off again, feet sending up a spray of water behind him. The faster he ran, however, the farther Link seemed to get ahead of him. It made no sense, and after awhile, all he wanted to do was shout for the man to get his ass back. In a way, he almost expected to find the blond's body in a crumpled heap somewhere in the maze of trees and plants.
What he wasn't expecting, however, was for the blond to ambush him.
"Got you." Link whispered, pinning the man to the spongy earth. "You were too slow. What, you don't want a reward?"
"What can I say? You got away from me." Sneering, he lunged upwards, hands grasping Link's arms to flip him over, taking his rightful place atop those bony hips, "But I've got you now. Now..." Leaning down, forehead to forehead, Dark whispered, "what kind of prize did you have in mind?"
"Well, I haven't really thought past the part where I ambush you. I didn't put much thought into this in the first place, actually."
"I see..." Staring thoughtfully at the path they'd gone down, and then at the leafy sky above them he said, "Well, it doesn't look like Tatl is coming back anytime soon. We might as well take advantage of that."
Lips latching onto Link's neck, Dark pinned the man with his hips, scraping and sucking at the exposed column of flesh. Arms wrapped around the shadows neck, pulling him closer, fingers tangling loosely in charcoal hair, pulling and yanking ever so slightly.
Cool hands cupping Link's face, Dark brought their lips together, a kiss so soft and sweet that had them sighing, heads tilting to go deeper, harder. Link could feel the water seeping through the back of his tunic, knew that when he stood there would be a dark shadow of dampness crawling up his backside. So he broke the kiss, murmured something about finding a drier place, and Dark had him up and over his shoulder in a heartbeat.
It didn't matter where, as long as it wasn't the swampy, damp grass that they'd been tromping over for the last few hours. Finding something that wasn't relatively wet was another story though, and after awhile, Dark gave up.
"You're going to be taking your clothes off anyway, why does it matter?"
"Because, you moron," Link growled, smacking wandering hands away from his ass, "the grass is cold."
"Then I'll hold you?"
"No!" Blushing furiously, Link was glad the man couldn't see his flustered expression. But Dark was laughing regardless, patting the back of Link's thigh as he continued to walk, "Alright, alright, I'll find us a place, just hold on."
After a twenty minute search, however, their options were still a staggering zero. Dark had traipsed up and down every path possible, considered taking his Hero against a tree, and contemplated storming the old Hags' shop, throwing them both out to take advantage of the warm, dry house.
But after suggesting his sordid plan with Link, he'd earned a smack to the ass and an earful that still had his eardrums ringing.
Eventually, Dark threw Link down upon the driest patch of grass he could find, face set sternly. Staring up at him, the blond cocked an eyebrow, "What are you doing? This isn't any better than the first spot!"
Dark threw his hands up in exasperation, "I can't wait anymore!"
"But it's still cold!"
"Then I'll warm you up," Dark growled, pouncing upon the smaller man. He had Link's tunic off in minutes, practically wrestling the blond from the fabric. Boots were kicked off, skin met in a need for warmth, lips moving easily together. Practically wrapping himself around Dark, Link stroked his fingers down the other man's back as the shadow massaged his chest and thighs, alternating between the two as he sucked on the lobe of Link's ear.
With the scent of the swamp muddling his thoughts, and the feel of Dark's impossibly cold skin, Link felt himself growing cold as well. All he could do was press closer, hands trailing down the other man to massage sharp hipbones, mouth open in a moan that Dark immediately sought out, muffling with a rough, eager kiss.
The ebony-haired man let his hands wander downwards, mouth occupying the blond to keep him busy whilst his hands wrapped around an especially eager part of the man's anatomy.
Link's head turned, a flush blossoming across his cheeks to travel down his body, eyes closing with a flutter to avoid the other man's searching crimson eyes.
He could feel warm breath on his neck, a gentle kiss following it and a whisper that sent chills down his spine, "I love you."
They had established long ago that their relationship from the time that shouldn't have been was one to be carried over. It wasn't something that had died in the years that they had grown up together. Because in those years, it had only grown stronger. Until the present point, however, they had yet to venture past kissing, past desperate, awkward groping and cuddling. But now, in this swamp, of all places, they had wordlessly decided that those were the days of the past.
"I love you, too." Link replied, turning his head back to meet Dark's kiss, back arching with the sudden warmth in them. A curling, bestial need was twisting in his stomach, reaching out for the other man, urging him into the same frenzied state. Their hands were faster, more desperate, sighs and whispers filling the quiet space between them.
The swamp lay quiet.
Dark's fingers probed deftly, meeting a place so warm and modest that Link could not keep his gaze upon the other man. A gesture so sweet and somehow innocent; the closing of his eyes as he whispered the other man's name.
It all seemed to pass in a matter of seconds, the painful push and pull of muscle unused to prying. Sweat rolling down their backs, heartbeats so loud they wondered if the entirety of the swamp could hear them.
And as Dark finally, finally hit his limit, he made to deflower his Hero for the second time, the other man's cries nearly begging him to do so, a third voice chipped in, more a scream than the whispers they had come to be so accustomed to.
"What are you two doing?"
And as one the two warriors swore, "Dammit Tatl!"
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And if you've got the time, check out my new story: The Lament of Dusk