Link x Dark Link: Dark Side
(Copyright The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time™)
Link passed through the door, halfway through the harrowing Water Temple. He was clothed in a sapphire blue tunic, a gift from the King of the Zoras for unfreezing him. His clear blue eyes scanned the room: it seemed to stretch for miles, with a single, barren tree in the middle. Another door could be seen past the tree, attached to a small building. Shallow water covered the ground: it was turquoise and as reflective as a mirror. Link crossed the room cautiously, expecting some strange monster of Ganondorf's creation to leap out and fight him. He was about to lower his guard until he reached the other door. It was barred by silver steel bars. Link knew at once that he was not alone.
He turned back toward the tree; he thought he saw the outline of someone almost exactly like himself standing next to it. He focused on the tree as the entity took shape: it had to have been his clone. Its build, height, features, clothes, everything was identical to Link, except its skin color, clothing color, and eyes. Its skin and clothes were completely black, and its eyes mimicked blood rubies.
As Navi came out from behind Link's hat, she pinged twice with surprise. Before she could speak, Dark Link lashed out, unsheathing his gilded black Master Sword and thrusting toward Link. Reflexively, Link grabbed his original Master Sword and met Dark's blade with his. The sound of metal clashing with metal clanged around the expansive room. Dark back flipped away as Link drew his blade back, then charged and thrusted—time seem to slow then as Dark hopped right onto Link's blade lithely and punched him in the face. Blood spurted from Link's nose, staining the water below crimson. As his hand came over his face, a flash of pain blinded him. Hot pain shot up his spine and radiated on his stomach as a dark blade ripped his tunic, tasting the light skin underneath. He swung out in front of him, where he thought Dark would be, and felt his blade connect with something solid.
Clutching his stomach, where the new gash dripped with blood, Link glanced up to see Dark holding his shoulder; he couldn't see any blood because of Dark's obsidian complexion and black clothing. Dark dashed forward, raising his sword high above his head; Link shielded himself and rolled as his pupils contracted with adrenaline. He knew that if he didn't defeat his dark side, he would die in this dank temple.
He ran up to Dark and slashed, only to be met by a black blade and the echoing clang of metal. He held his sword out, concentrating his power into a spin attack. The Master Sword began to glow blue, then red, and as Dark charged in, Link spun, releasing the powerful blow. Dark pitched forward, momentarily stunned by the force of the attack; Link stabbed Dark in his chest before he could react. He felt a painful twang in his own chest as Dark back flipped and came at him with a thrust of his black blade. Does his pain… affect me? Is he a part of me, although Ganondorf created him? Link thought as he rolled under Dark's sword, slicing his ankles. The water was cool as he rolled through it, though it didn't soak his clothes. A trail of red followed Dark as he moved through the water. He dashed full force up to Link, back flipping back as Link tried to slice him, jumped on top of the Master Sword, and grabbed his shirt with one hand. With his other he seized his blade; Link's eyes bulged as he tried to move, but he was frozen to the spot, his sword acting as a catwalk for Dark. His blue eyes met Dark's crimsons as the black blade pushed through Link's chest; blood spurted like a fountain as Link fell backward, pooling in the water underneath him. He knew now that everything was over; Ganondorf had killed the Hero of Time….
He welcomed the warmth of the ground water as he lay there. He heard Dark scream from what sounded like far away, though he was standing only a few feet away from Link. The room brightened until it was too bright to see, his eyes closed slowly as he felt his power drift slowly away from him, dispersing through the tepid water.
Dark clutched at his chest: a crushing sensation blossomed over his heart, as if he had been dealt the fatal blow instead of his enemy. Ganondorf's orders came rushing back from the day he was created, filling the huge room: "You have been created to defeat Link, the Hero of Time. You are merely a pawn that I have brought to life with my powers and with a sample of the kid's. You will probably die when Link comes to face you, but you will fight with all of this power that I have bestowed upon your worthless form nonetheless…."
"I meant nothing, yet I destroyed a being with purpose and true life… what have I done?" Dark spoke softly, his voice deep. He felt the protective spell that Ganondorf cast over him begin to ebb.
He got to his feet slowly, holding his chest. He staggered over to Link, sitting beside his head. He examined Link's features, traced the contours of his face with a soft touch. He glanced into the water, analyzed his own face; he gasped as his midnight complexion faded into cream, as his black hair turned white. "This must be my true form," Dark muttered.
Ganondorf's spell had almost entirely dissipated when an idea overcame Dark. He pulled his sword out of Link's chest, tossed it aside, and placed his hand above the dark, deep wound, saturated with blood. Somehow, weakly, Link's heart fluttered like a dying bird under Dark's hand. He concentrated the remains of Ganondorf's spell into his palm, sending it straight into the wound. The crushing feeling in his chest began to subside as Link's heartbeat regained its fighting spirit. Link's eyes opened slowly, glancing over Dark's solemn expression. "Why… did you save me?" he asked weakly, his eyes locking with Dark's.
"You have purpose, Link… you are a being of light. I could not stand here, a creature created solely to kill you, and watch you die, knowing that your life's purpose had not been fulfilled. I was meant to die here—this room is the only room I've ever known in the seven years since my creation. I have no purpose and no reason to be alive, Link, but you do. You are somehow connected to me… I think I would have died anyway if I had killed you."
Link moved his hand over Dark's, held onto it as if Dark was the only thing anchoring him to this world. "Your skin… it's like mine now… and your hair…."
"This is how I was meant to appear. Ganondorf had cast a spell on my body to protect it from harm when he created me. It made me look like a shadow; maybe because that's the only thing I am… a shade of you."
Link sat up shakily, balancing on one arm; Dark moved behind him, cradled his broken body. Link rummaged around in a small pouch inside his tunic, grabbed a glass bottle filled with a heavy red liquid. He uncorked the bottle, downed the potion, and put the bottle back inside the pouch. He stood, pulling Dark up as well. The deep gash in his chest prickled as it began to heal. "Thank you… for not letting me die."
Dark nodded. He pointed to the barred door and lifted a hand, the bars immediately receding into the ceiling of the small building. "Good luck on your quest, Link."
"What will you do now?" Link asked, searching Dark's grave sunset eyes.
"Seeing as neither of us is dead, Ganondorf will probably come for me and kill me. I failed at fulfilling my only purpose in this life, so now I suppose I'll wait for my executioner."
Link stuck his hand back inside his pouch, pulling out a lightly colored ocarina. He held it out to Dark. He brought out his cerulean Ocarina of Time and instructed, "Repeat this song and you'll be taken to a safe place. Find Lon Lon Ranch in the center of Hyrule Field and wait for me there. This song will take you out of this temple, to Lake Hylia."
Link played the Serenade of Water twice and put his ocarina away. He stepped closer to Dark, who was a few inches taller than he was, and touched his face. "Malon will take care of you. Just explain who you are and how you know me. Ganondorf will not find you there—I have already rid the ranch of his minions. Be safe, Dark."
He leaned in close as he gently brushed Dark's cheek with his hand. Dark's heart raced as his face grew hot; he leaned forward suddenly and kissed Link softly, his cheeks flushing. He played the Serenade on Saria's ocarina. As the last note sounded, blue light emitted from underneath his feet. He reached out to Link: Link grabbed his hand as the light overtook Dark. No doubt he was standing on the small island in the middle of Lake Hylia now, just above the Water Temple.
A soft smile spread across Link's face as he picked up the Master Sword from the ground and sheathed it. He headed through the once-barred door, his mind flashing to Dark, as he descended deeper into the Water Temple.