Link has ants crawling under his skin and worms are wriggling inside. He knows what it is but tries to ignore it and shove it deep deep down. There are blemishes and bruises that weren’t there minutes ago. Cuts and scratches in places of old scars that had long since been healed over. He feels too young, feels his rage rumbling under his calm demeanor, so close to the surface, how it hasn’t been since he had been a young teen.
He had mellowed out with age and having all these feelings nearly bursting forward without a warning made him want to scream. Made him want to rage and curse the unfairness of it all. It has been a long time since he had to have such a tight grip on his emotions and it’s burning him up from the inside.
Slowly he opens his hand that he had balled into a fist. Blood starts to trickle from a wound that he got when twenty-five. It had been a faded scar seconds ago.
He looks over at the rest of the group and notices the concerned glances they are sending his way. He had felt a twinge in his side all day which he managed to ignore for the most part, but when his tamper started to flare up and he snapped at Wind of all people, well he could guess what was happening. It wouldn’t even be the first time, though it would be the first time it happened while he was with his other selves.
He stands up from where he was sitting and waves to the others, they know that he sometimes needs time alone so they let him go with only a few uncertain glances.
Wandering through the open forest surrounding their camp he feels the crawling sensation under his skin again. He doesn’t know if it’s really there or if he is just hallucinating. His body is too big. His hands too rough. His armor too heavy. The crawling is all over him now and it makes him want to vomit.
When he thinks he is far enough away from their camp, he starts to take of his armor with shaky hands. Lifting his shirt shows a bruise blooming in shades of green and violet and blue, the edges yellow. He remembers the hit with startling clarity. He was careless and overconfident, sparks were flying through the air, his sword collided with the Stalfos’ one.
Blocking. Rolling out of the way. Attacking it’s back with fast and precise slashes. He’d done it hundreds of times before, what could go wrong? Then. He missed, he overestimated himself and the Stalfos got him with a strong blow to the side. It felt like it was yesterday…
No. It wasn’t, he knows this. He was nineteen then, still a bit arrogant with a raging fire in him, he had wanted nothing to do but to prove himself. But for who he doesn’t know anymore. Himself? His friends? The kingdom that didn’t remember him?
His racing thoughts made his head spin, he stumbled before catching himself. There was a small lake a few feet from him and stumbling he made his way over and kneeled in the mud. Cupping some water in his hands he splashed his face with it. It was so cold it made him flinch.
After shaking his head he continued to sit hunched over the river and watching drops create ripples across the calm surface of the water. Focusing on himself he saw how the water distorted his face, as if in a mockery of how he felt. Slowly the water calmed, the reflections sharpening, he stared into his face.
No.This was not his face, but, it was. Out of the lake stared the face of a teenager.
He couldn’t breathe.
Scrambling away from the lake he walked backwards until his back hit a tree trunk which made the pain in his side flare up painfully but he ignored it. Sliding down he burrowed his face in the crook of his arm, his hands gripping his hair painfully.
His long hair.
Struggling to compose himself he gulped down air like a drowning man. He couldn't breathe . Every inhale and exhale burned in his chest, his body wouldn’t stop shivering. Everything before his eyes started to turn hazy and he started to feel lightheaded. A short hysterical laugh bubbled up in him, tore through his chest, making its way out.
His skin was too tight, too big, it didn’t fit. It didn’t fit. He felt like his very being was slipping, in and out, nearly bursting his too small body, not filling his too big one. There was no fitting, it didn’t fit and the crawling was there again.
He couldn’t stop himself from scratching at his skin. Something was convulsing, growing, wriggling under his skin, in his bones, sinking into his veins. Clawing at his arms he tried to get it out out out. This was wrong .
Barely noticing that he was hyperventilating he continued to scratch the crawling away. Leaving bright red streaks of pulsing skin and smearing the blood from his scratched open skin. The biting sting of the pain and the coppery smell of blood seemed to manage to clear away a bit of the haze in his head.
Trying desperately to keep it together he grit his teeth and gripped the fabric of his trousers so tightly that his knuckles slowly turned white. Deep, even breaths he reminded himself. Deep, even breaths. After some time he finally managed to breathe normally again.The shaking had nearly stopped too, but a few of his old new wounds were still sluggishly bleeding.
Sighing he leaned back and let his body relax, closing his eyes he sat that way for a while. Listening to the rustling leaves and the noises of wildlife. He could nearly fool himself into thinking that this was home, was the home he grew up in and that any moment Saria would come and ask him to play with him. But, the trees weren’t dense enough. The wildlife was different and the seemingly ethereal voices of the forest, composed of the sounds of fairies and speaking trees, were absent.
With a wince he got up and walked over to the lake again. Kneeling again he started washing his arms and his face, firmly ignoring his reflection. Taking two bandages from his pack he started to wrap his arms carefully before dressing himself and putting on the armor he spared one last glance at the lake.
His own face looked back. With a sigh of relief he turned away and started walking back to the camp. They probably were all running around like a bunch of headless cuccos.
Chuckling slightly he weaved through the trees back to the group.