A/N: I really appreciate that people are actually still reading and enjoying this story. I also apologize that I stopped updating it. I admit I did lose interest for a while, so this chapter is probably not perfect...
Dark Link murmured softly into his pillow, despite his slumber. Link and Navi had been gone for about 3 days now, and of course he missed them. But right now, sleep was more important. He snored quietly and rolled over, making Skully fall off his back onto the floor. The Bubble woke up and pouted, flying away from him. He bumped into a green-clad chest as he was flying out the door.
"Master's Friend?" he chirped. The boy shushed him and nudged the Bubble out the door, closing it softly. He knelt beside Dark Link's bed, softly running his fingers through his hair and behind his ear. Dark Link smiled, purring quietly in his sleep.
"Isn't he cute?" the boy asked his blue fairy, and she giggled. He sat by his shadow's ankles, lifting his feet into his lap. He softly massaged the soles with one hand, lightly tickling the toes with the other hand. The Dark Hylian wiggled his toes adorably, grumbling in his sleep.
"Stop that…" he whined, curling his toes and lightly kicking his tormentor's belly.
"Wake up, Patches." The boy teased, lying on top of Dark Link's back.
"No, Link…" he whined; he sleepily opened one eye "It's not even morning..."
"It is morning, silly; it's just not daylight. I thought you'd be more active in the dark."
"That is a cruel stereotype that I refuse to be marked by." He closed his eyes again, trying to get back to sleep.
"I could always tickle you silly if you don't get up." Link said, lightly running his fingers along the Shadow's shoulders.
"N-No…" he whined, shuddering and yanking his blanket over his head. "I wanna sleep."
"Have it your way." Link got off of him, and Dark Link heard him step away. He knew he was in trouble and buried his face in the pillow. He felt a leather belt tightening around his ankles and curled his toes.
"Can we talk about this?" he asked.
"Not anymore." Link giggled, and his dark pet shrieked with laughter as he scratched his fingernails over his arches. He gripped the loose end of the belt and held it still, keeping his victim's feet in place.
"I-I give!" Dark Link cried. "Link, quit it!" Link took the belt off his shadow's ankles, fastening it back around his waist before grabbing Dark Link and lifting him out of bed.
"Come on! Get dressed!" he prodded. "You have to hurry!"
"Why?" Dark Link yawned, putting on his tunic and belt.
"You'll see when we get there, hon." The Light Hylian chuckled, taking his hand and pulling him outside.
"So, where are we going already?" the shadow asked, clinging to Link as Epona galloped quickly across Hyrule Field, bounding easily over two fences before trotting calmly toward Lake Hylia.
"Right here." Link said easily, jumping off Epona and leading Dark Link across the bridges to the lone tree. They sat down in the grass and looked over the water.
"Seriously, why are we here?"
"You still don't get it, Patches?" Link smiled and pointed up to the sky, where water vapor sparkled dazzlingly as sunlight was creeping slowly over the horizon. The shadow's eyes shimmered in the sun with awe.
"Never seen the sun rise before?" Link chuckled.
"Never like this." He sighed happily. "It's beautiful…" he leaned on Link's chest, and they stared at the sky. The Light Hylian twirled his fingers through his shadow's hair, hugging him softly while pretending not to notice that he'd fallen asleep on his chest. He took the time to stare out over the water, deep in thought. With the Spirit Temple done with, he was told by the sages to go back to the Temple of Time; but he had no idea what would happen once he went there or what would happen to Dark Link if he couldn't beat Ganondorf. He almost felt bad for not killing him or at least actually fighting; Dark Link was so tough and kind of hostile when they first met, but he knew that he'd softened the shadow's heart and mind. He was practically a kitten now: soft, gentle, eccentric.
Link laid Dark Link's sleeping form on the grass and slipped away, kneeling by the lakeside laboratory and scooping up some small bugs in a bottle. He snuck silently back over to him, thinking about dumping the bugs in the shadow's shirt. First though, he sat back down and softly tickled the shadow's chin with a black feather. The dark clone cringed and giggled, unaware of Link opening the bottle and softly pulling back his shirt collar. He didn't even seem to feel the insects crawling along his skin until they passed over his sides and lower back. He twitched and curled up, giggling uncontrollably.
"S-Stop it." He whined. "It's not funny anymore."
"Stop what?" he heard Link shout. He looked up and saw the Hylian sitting up in the tree. Link laughed as the look of realization-then-terror crossed his face.
"Link, I'll kill you!" he shouted, running around like a maniac.
"Aw, why?" Link asked sweetly as he climbed down from the tree. "I can help you, Shadow."
"You'd better do it fast then, and feel lucky that I don't cuff you for this"
"Well, if you're gonna be that way…" Link turned and reached for a knot on the tree.
"N-No, Link!" He gripped the fabric of Link's tunic. "You know I was kidding!" Link chuckled.
"Alright, I'll help ya."
"And how will you do that?"
"The easy way." Link tackled his shadow, sending them both tumbling into the lake. Dark Link cried out as they splashed into the cold water.
"What the heck, hero?!" he shouted, splashing Link in the face.
"Hey! I got the bugs off you, didn't I?" the Hylian laughed, splashing him back.
They eventually climbed out of the water and cuddled under the tree, shivering a bit.
"If you bite me one more time…" Link purred minutes later as Dark Link softly bit the crook of his neck, though he secretly enjoyed it.
"What?" The shadow baited, nuzzling into Link's chest.
"I'll tickle you stupid; that's what." Navi watched them from her perch on the nearby bridge post and rolled her eyes. She wished they'd get a room already. They were cute, sure, but this was getting boring.
"Kinda sappy, ain't they?" a voice tickled her ear.
"Tell me about it." She chuckled, then she flinched and spun around, seeing the orange male fairy behind her. "Who are you?!"
"Hm? Me?" he asked calmly. "They call me Ivan."
"You think I'd lie? Why? What's your name, missy?
"…Wow; Awkward…" They glanced into each other's eyes, and then burst out laughing. Navi hadn't realized how long it had been since she saw another fairy that wasn't trailing behind a Kokiri kid.
"What exactly are you doing here?" she asked. He shrugged.
"Ask Patches. He left me here." Navi looked at the two Links; she zipped over to them and tugged the Shadow's ear.
"Yeah?" he asked, the tone in his voice suggesting he wasn't really listening. Navi rolled her eyes.
"Does the name Ivan mean anything to you?" she asked. He looked up immediately.
"Ivan? Yeah, I know a guy named Ivan."
"Well, you owe him an apology!" Ivan shouted, and Dark Link's eyes lit up.
"Ivan, I've missed you so much!" he said happily.
"Not enough to come back for me…"
"I'm sorry… I'm so sorry… I've just been distracted." He glanced at Link and smiled softly.
"Yeah, 'distracted'. That's what we'll call it." The orange fairy chuckled. "Have you kissed him yet?" The fairies laughed as the young Hylians blushed. The two boys stared into each other's eyes, seeming to think on the same lines. But it's just too soon… Well, soon it will be too late… Please? ...Well…
The two boys leaned slowly into each other, and their lips just barely brushed against each other… before Dark Link lunged and softly bit Link's neck. The light Hylian cried out, giggling uncontrollably as his shadow nibbled the nape of his neck.
"You damn tease!" he shouted, trying to push him away. He tickled under Dark Link's arms, making him laugh and fall back. "Did you think I wasn't serious?!" Link pinned his shadow's legs and pulled his old Hookshot from his pouch, wrapping the chain around one of his ankles.
His Shadow was already laughing, even as he tried to kick him away. "No! Link, not this stupid chain again!" Link just smiled and caught his other leg, binding it beside the first leg. He straddled Dark Link's legs, tickling his stomach and laughing right along with him.
Both fairies rolled their eyes; these two were impossible. They looked at each other with a hint of sadness. Ivan didn't need to know Link personally to know that he had quite a destiny he needed to fulfill. Navi hadn't minced words with him: They really didn't know what would become of Dark Link after all of this was over. They had, of course, assumed that he would go back to living with the Gerudos, but if Ganondorf somehow got ahold of him, Goddess only knows what could happen. Link had mentioned on his way back to the Gerudo Fortress that he wanted to do something really special for what was probably the last time he would see his Shadow in a casual setting like this; and for some reason, playing around by the lake had been his suggestion.
"Well," Link had tried to explain. "His childhood was spent training to be an evil swordsman 90% of the day; mine was spent stuck in the forest thinking I'd die if I left and being bullied by half the other kids there. I feel like we deserve at least one day of fun together…"
So here they were, cuddling and watching the clouds like they had all the time in the world…And neither of the fairies could find the heart to force them apart.
The sun was halfway across the sky when Dark Link sat up and looked down at the Hero of Time.
"What are we doing?" he asked softly.
"What do you mean?" Link murmured.
"You know what I mean. You have to be somewhere, remember?"
"Yeah… I know. It's just that…"
"You don't have to worry about me, y'know. I can handle just about anything."
"Well, maybe; you've been trained to handle stress and junk. What about me though? How am I going to handle it if something happens, and I can't be there for you anymore?"
"And what makes you think something's going to happen to you? You really think I'd let Ganon lay a hand on you after all you've done for me?"
"You want to come with me? To fight Ganon?! I thought you were terrified of him."
"Of course I am… But helping you is worth a little terror. No doubt Ganon is going to force you through some kind of intricate labyrinth. I know his castle inside and out. I'll be your talking map, babe." Dark Link leaned over and softly kissed Link's nose before getting up and stretching.
"We should go back to the fortress." He said as the Hero got up and stepped over to Epona. "I have to pick up my sword and Skully."
"Whatever you say, map boy." Link smirked as Navi slipped under his hat; he guided Epona to stand and climbed onto her back.
"Don't push it, honey." The Shadow chuckled, making sure he had Ivan under his cap as Link kicked Epona's flanks and started them on their way.