dedication: to Annie. Hiiiiii.
notes: ANGST AHOY.
summary: There was no forgetting someone like his Princess. — Link, Zelda.
The memories came as dreams.
A lovely blonde girl with a crest on her dress that Link thought he ought to have recognized waved from far, far away, ensconced in endless grey walls and soft orange-yellow flowers. A grassy space and guards, a note scribbled in her handwriting, and that smile—
And then the Link of a thousand year later awoke with no proper recollection of it, but only the vague feeling that he was missing something important. A piece of his heart long-forgotten in another life, another world.
Maybe even another person.
It got to him sometimes, slow and underneath his skin; a persistence of memory that had no right to be invading his life.
Sometimes, when Ilia smiled at him, the exquisite smiling girl—she was a princess, she had to be a princess, there could be nothing but that—was a shatter-glass overlay on her face, too pointed and elfin to be the girl he'd grown up knowing. And in those moments, Link shuddered and forced himself not to reach out and press his hand to the arc of her throat, to touch her ears and reassure himself that they were still the curved human shells he'd always known.
Zelda, Zelda, Princess Zelda—
The name rung sometimes, when Rusl or Bo or any one of the adults said it. Reverently. Adoringly.
And Link, well, Link understood.
The dreams smeared and blurred after the first time he'd heard her name, twisted into something a little stranger, a little darker. A white blur that might have been a horse, and the smiling princess stolen away in the dark of the sun—that was what they became. A soft melody, and the taste of Time on his tongue.
Sometimes, they made him sick; dry-heaving as he gasped for air, trapped in a temple rapidly filling with water. Sometimes, they made him sweat; surrounded by dark-skinned women with crimson hair and knowing eyes. Sometimes, they made him scream.
Sometimes, they lingered even after Link had awoken.
They were like ghosts, whispering a seductive lament in his ears all hours of the day.
He didn't know what to make of them.
(Though later, when he did meet the Princess Zelda—it wasn't the same. Wasn't right. She was not blonde. She was not his lovely smiling princess. There was fear in his throat, because what if he had been wrong—)
Link ran his hand through his hair, and paid them no mind.