A/N: Well, its been entirely too long since I last updated this story (or any of them for that matter, though I did just get back to The Dark Triforce). I thank all of you who just wouldn't give up on this story, it made me feel good to get reviews even when it had been a long time since my last update. I can't promise that I will stick with this, but I can promise you that I will let you know if I decide to completely abandon it. I've changed a lot since my last update, so my style may be different now. Just bear with me while I try to feel this out again.
Kafei looked down at his hands and gasped. He blinked, but nothing had changed. The hands he was staring at belonged to a child. Those feet, those legs, that chest – it all belonged to a younger version of himself. Is this what that crazy imp had done to him?
Kafei wanted to cry. He sat down on a rock and put his head in his hands. Why had this happened to him? And why now? What would his mother and father say? What would Anju say? Oh, Anju, sweet Anju. How could he show her this? A boy? She was engaged to a boy? He could not let her see. He could let no one see.
A single tear made its way down his cheek. He would not let more fall. He would not cry. He felt as if crying would somehow be admitting defeat, giving the crazy thing that had done this to him exactly what he wanted, and he would not give in. He thrust his chin into the air in a gesture of defiance, and began to calculate what he would do now.
Sitting on the rock and thinking of how he would disguise himself, his thoughts wandered to his fiancée. How could he just disappear like this? What would she think. Their wedding was so close, how could he simply drop out of her life like this now. The wedding…his mask. A mask! He suddenly knew the answer. He would disguise himself with a mask. Children with masks were very common, no one would give him a second glance as long as he did not call attention to himself. It was the best and only way that he could see to stay in Clock Town and remain undetected.
But Anju. Oh, how could he abandon her? He would send her a letter, but what could he possibly tell her? Hello, my love, I'm sorry I'm missing in action but this crazy imp-child wearing a freaky mask transformed me into a child? She would think he had gone insane! Still, Anju deserved something. She deserved the truth, but he could not give her that. He would have to settle for some realistic lie instead.
The letter could wait. Now he needed to go in search of a mask and some sort of safe haven where he could hide until he could sort out his situation. Then he would write to his beautiful bride-to-be. Kafei stood up and shook his head again when he realized just how small he was now. He made his way to the Curiosity Shop. Perhaps he could count on the help of an old friend…
"Kafei's not here. I had assumed he was with you, dear. Did the two of you quarrel? Perhaps he's out with the boys, you know he hasn't done that very much since the two of you got engaged, dear, you really ought to let him off the hook once in a while. A man needs his freedom!" Madam Arom had said.
Anju ignored the jabs that that Kafei's mother had just taken and put on a smile. "Of course he needs his time with the boys, Madam Aroma, and I certainly encourage him to take that time." She laughed a little here and smiled wider as she said, "It's usually Kafei's idea to come and spend time with me instead. I keep telling him that once we're married we'll have all the time in the world together and that he shouldn't let his friendships suffer in the process, but you know how stubborn he is." She hoped that her own little jabs would get to Madam Aroma, and Anju smiled inwardly when Madam Aroma started to blink rapidly.
"Yes, well, I suppose he just doesn't want to hurt your feelings. Girls get so silly about their future husbands when they don't spend all possible time with them, you know. In any case, Kafei isn't here, dear," Madam Aroma replied. She went to shut the door, but Anju continued.
"He didn't tell you when he'd be coming back? You see, this is really kind of important. He was supposed to show me his wedding mask today, and he asked me to come over right now. It's not like Kafei to simply skip out on an arranged meeting. He is so much like his father in that respect, don't you think?" asked Anju. The little battle that she and Kafei's mother were having was starting to grate on her nerves. When would the woman accept her?
"How right you are, like father like son. It's funny, he didn't mention anything to me about you coming over tonight. Is it possible that you have the wrong time, or even the wrong night? I know how hectic your life is what with the Carnival of Time coming up and the wedding plans, dear."
Anju licked her lips, a habit she had when anyone was beginning to seriously annoy her. "Madam Aroma, how sweet of you to think of my sanity in these busy times, but no, I know it was tonight because I spoke to Kafei just last night about coming over today at this time. He was so excited to show me his completed wedding mask, and I was and am very eager to see it."
"Oh, and you'll simply adore it when you do see it. I'd invite you in and show it to you myself, but Kafei would be so disappointed if he wasn't the one to show it to you. Now if you'll excuse me, honey, I really do need to get back inside and entertain. When your husband is in politics you are always entertaining!" Madam Aroma said, this time almost successfully managing to close the door.
"Oh, Madam Aroma!" Anju called out to her before the door was completely closed.
"Yes, Anju, dear?"
"Would you please let him know that I stopped by? And if he gets in at a decent hour, tell him that I would love it if he'd come to get me so that I could see his mask tonight."
Madam Aroma sighed before saying, "Well, I'll tell him, honey, but I just don't see that happening tonight. It's already late, and is it really appropriate for the two of you to be together at such a late hour? I just don't see why this can't wait until another day, dear. Kafei will show it to you, sooner or later. Now it's been lovely chatting with you, dear, it really has, but I simply must go. A wife's work is never finished, you know!"
Anju was stung when Kafei's mother shut the door in her face. Of course, she had never been into the Mayor's home without Kafei, but she was Madam Aroma's future daughter-in-law and it would be nice if she would put forth an effort to spend some time with Anju. Still she wasn't surprised after all of the arguments that Kafei had related to her. She desperately hoped that Kafei was right when he told her that his mother would come around once they were married. Kafei…
Where was he? It was not like him at all to simply blow her off to go out with the boys. He would never do that to her. He wouldn't do that to someone he didn't very much like to be with, let alone his fiancée. She wondered if something was wrong. Her thoughts went back to the last kiss they had shared, its ferocity, its passion, as if it held some deeper meaning. Had he been trying to tell her something?
Anju ran her hands up and down her arms to try and get rid of the goose bumps that had risen there. She shook her head and laughed to herself as she started walking back towards the Stock Pot Inn. There was a simple explanation for why Kafei wasn't at home tonight, and when he came over tonight to tell her what it was, begging for her forgiveness, they would both laugh.
But Kafei didn't come that night, and Anju lay in her bed unable to sleep, tears falling from her eyes wondering if he had left her forever.