Whoot! Anouther chapter! I've found out that I write best in class. OO but don't worry, my dears, I'm paying attention! I just need to multitask. And do something with my hands. Anyway, onto Reader Response!

Elendil Star-Lover: Ack, sorry. ; I hope I've changed that this chapter. Thanks for the heads-up! b

Little-chibi-girl: Thanks! I hope this satiates you for now.

Disclaimer: I merely own Zelda games and a couple strategy guides. Not the franchise. I just writing.

Chapter 2: Encounter

Years passed. Day after day after day of the same thing, in and out, in and out. Always the dead tree, always the mist, always the water it rested on. Always the invisible walls, always the locked doors, always the vague yearning for something unknown. Dark Link didn't know what he hungered for, when the days seemed to stretch on forever. He mostly lay under his magic tree, or dissolved into the water. He didn't walk much, as it tired him out. There were also days when the yearning became stronger, and he started pounding, scratching, banging at the doors, the walls, any boundary he could find in his madness. Of course, it subsided, like most of his silly urges. After all, no one could come through a door to nowhere.

It was a sound he had never heard before. Something smooth, quick, and a little grating. Dark Link hid in the shadow of the magic tree, to see what had caused that strange sound. He didn't have long to wait, as another sound, a creaking, and the unexpected happened: a person walked from the now open door.

How could this happen? That door didn't lead anywhere… and this person…

He looked like Dark Link. The colors were different, but he looked like him. Strange. And he had a bobbing ball of light with wings with him, too. And they were both talking, while the man walked through the room, examining it.

"I don't know, Navi, but we're still under the lake, the Water Temple doesn't go to the surface."

Water Temple...? What's that?

"Link," the light – Navi – said, "I know that, but this sure isn't like any of the other rooms."

Link… so that was his name…

Link walked across to the second door, and then turned to the talking light, "Navi, the door's locked."

It's always been locked.

Navi fluttered in an irritated fashion, Obviously, Link. We probably need to solve another puzzle or fight something to get out."

But there isn't a way out. I'm been trying for a long time…

"I'm sorry, Navi." Link said, looking around, "But there aren't any monsters here, and only the doors and that tree."

What's a monster?

"Well, maybe the tree holds the answer to moving forward! C'mon, Link!" the light flew over, trailing sparkles, over to the magic tree where I hid, then faced Link. "Hurry! Hey-!" The light bumped into Dark Link, and he fell.

"What is..?" Link said, wondering.

There was an eternity held that moment, the two reflected images staring at each other. Colored original and unique sepia. Dark and Fair stood silent in contemplation of the parallel faces.

Link broke the moment first, drawing his sword with a shing from its scabbard. Dark Link remembered Ganondorf's words "kill whomever comes". That meant sticking his sword in until they stopped. Dark Link mimicked his duplicate, drawing his own dark sword. He never really paid attention to his blade, only bringing it out once in awhile to ponder at the power to immobilize people. Even their swords and shields were similar, only Dark Link's were black, while Link's were in color. Were all people on the other side of the door so colorful?

He didn't think any more, for Link had charged, sword flashing. Dark Link dodged – he was trying to stop him! He didn't want to stop now – and he delivered a blow in return, only to be blocked with the lighter's shield. They both broke apart, testing each other. Link again tried to drive his sword through the dark one, but every time one slashed, the other parried; when one thrust, the other dodged; when one attacked, the other blocked.

It went on for an hour, going back and forth across the watery floor. Any ground one gained was soon lost to the other. They were evenly matched. Or at least with the sword.

Link shifted his footing; Dark Link reacted appropriately, shifting his own weight. He didn't know where he learned to fight, it seemed to come from inside him, some impulse that come from within; it was next to the place where the yearning came from. Link cautiously danced a little out of sword reach. He seemed to be waiting for something.

Then the pin dropped. Link brought something from within the pack that would normally be underneath his shield. It was a small glass prism, with a red fire within it. He threw it to the ground in a burst of light and flames. The light quickly dissipated, but the flames grew stronger and the radius of it grew at a rapid rate, faster then Dark Link could run away. He tried to put up his shield in an effort to make a small defense rather than a futile retreat. However, the red flames burst beyond the protective barrier of his shield and he got the full blast. Dark Link screamed from the searing pain, the flames licking his rapidly blistering skin. With more instinct then thought, he plunged himself in the cool water, dissolving into its pale marble depths.

He vaguely noticed that Link was wondering where his enemy had gone. Dark Link waited for the water to sooth his scorched and burned skin to a tolerable level before floating back up to the surface, behind Link. He nearly ran Link through, but Navi alerted him with a "behind you!". They both fell back into the swordplay pattern for a short time, but then Link seemed to weaken. His attacks were a mite slower, his steps a little heavier; he looked nervous but steeled to fight on. Dark Link pressed on sharply, but the Hero of Time managed to avoid the dusky blade. Link retreated, rapidly stepping back. But Dark Link was now quicker, and was gaining on the retreat. Link was backed up against the magic tree. Dark Link was about to pin him with his sword, but something happened. Link, with a small smile, thrust his hand back into the pack on his back. But instead of the glass prism, he pulled out an immense and heavy hammer. Dark Link tried to run, but Link was quicker on the grainy island. Dark Link had an advantage on the smooth water, where Link could slip; Link had an advantage on the rough sand, where Dark Link was slower.

Dark Link fell into a panic and started running around the magic tree, with Link closing in on his heels, half dragging the massive hammer. It would have been comical, one chasing the other around and around a dead tree. Link finally caught up with the slower duplicate, and slammed down hard with the hammer. It caught Dark Link on the leg, and there was a sickening double crunch as both his right tibia and fibula were smashed. Blood flowed like dark wine as Dark Link let out a scream from the pain and fell. He lay in the sand that was rapidly turning russet, whimpering from the blood that poured and the fragments of bone that jabbed through his flesh. Dark Link dropped his sword, hardly aware of the action, and cradled his shattered shin, while Link stood, looking down.

It was… strange. Every other opponent Link had faced never acted so… human. Link felt a small pang of sympathy as he watched the dark one writhe with the pain of the bone shards tearing through his flesh. "Link…" Navi said, silently reminding him. Link nodded; he had to finish this. Link brought his sword up before impaling Dark Link through the chest. Dark Link stopped moving, and stared up at the one who has run him through. Another eternal moment occurred, Dark Link saying with his eyes a question to which Link could not answer.

Why..?

With one swift smooth sound, the bars raised up from both of the doors. Turning, Link walked away from the only enemy Link regretted to fight.

Dark Link lay in a pool of his own blood, breath ragged. Was this what stopping meant? He felt weak, and he hurt so much. He saw blood once before, when he was looking at his sword; he had cut his finger, and with the sting came the vermillion liquid. This was much worse. A lot of blood had poured out of him, with more seeping through. His leg was a mass of agony, and his chest hurt as well. While his chest wound was bleeding, his leg bled much more. Dark Link wanted the pain to stop. With much protest from his body, he managed to drag himself toward the water. The cool, white water…

Wait, where was it? Where'd the blue stone come from? Where'd the magic tree go? How did he get here? From his reclining position, Dark Link tried to find some common landmark. The doors. The doors were the same.

…So the water was an illusion. He was in a room this whole time. It didn't matter, really. He was burned, crushed and stabbed. Dark Link didn't know why, but he felt like something was going to come… going to come… going… to…

Dark Link closed his eyes, which looked so much like his blood.

Now go back, to regain your lost time!

Who...? Who had… said that? Go back where? To what? I… Where was I, anyway? Oh… the other man… the one who looked like me, and his ball of light… Link and Navi, those were their names. And they fought, too. Why did they have to fight? No reason, really. Now I remember… the fire, the hammer… and that sword. But I'm not in pain…

Dark Link opened his eyes. He saw blue stone. He just lay there awhile, collecting his thoughts and staring at the ceiling. The ceiling that used to be a sky, on a floor that used to be water, on a spot where a magic tree and its island were.

Dark Link sat up. He didn't hurt anymore. In fact, the blood was all gone. Dark Link checked for injuries. There was no trace of the blisters on his brown skin, no hole in his chest, and his leg was whole. But something was odd. He felt… different. Not bad or hurt, but different. What could it be?

Dark Link stood up, and immediately realized what had felt so odd. He was smaller.

A/N: Yay! Happy. Oh, in case you didn't know, the tibia is the shin bone, and the fibula is the other bone. Sorry, that was anatomy kicking it. ; I really like that class… Anyway, thanks for all of your reviews! So please drop some more, 'k?