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Fraying seams

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When most of the Links changed worlds, they would experience an ache in the gums, ringing ears, general instability or perhaps a persistant headache.

Four, however, was affected far worse. He would start shaking, be unable to put pressure on certain limbs or feel from parts of his body, once or twice he even experienced mild deafness and moderate blindness (along with prolonged or heightened versions of the other’s symptoms). All of this, mind you, is if he didn’t just pass out.

The others had no clue why. They accommodated him as best as they could, carrying him when he couldn’t walk, and being patient when he couldn’t cooperate. For this, Four was extremely thankful, although he just wanted a break at this point.

Usually, the part the others weren’t privy to, would be the distancing or possibly colliding of the parts of four that resided inside his head. Sometimes two or more of them would have to help stabilize Four to get him to get him moving, and sometimes all of them were disconnected from him for a worrying amount of time.

The others never pushed, though, and when Four’s shakiness when everything began changed slowly into more confident movement as each of them learned, they all pinned it under his body finally sort-of getting used to the change.

This time, however, was a nightmare. Pure inconvenience.

It was one of those changes in which Four could feel the dark creeping in the edges of his eyes, waiting to pull him under. However, that blissful darkness never came, and he was just left with his erratic heartbeat racing through his temples, cloudy vision, and a dead arm. It was also one of those times in which he didn’t feel whole. Well, as whole as you could be when your mind was carved into four pieces and jammed together again.

He could hear everyone else standing around him, Wind loudly and dramatically fake sobbing and someone quietly snickering. Time groaned and asked, “Four, how are you doing?”

He tried to answer, he really did, but his mouth didn’t want to open, so he just let out a pained keen and rolled onto his back.

Four was used to the parts of his mind talking to him, and he had spent many nights trying to figure out how the whole thing worked. He supposed that when he was ‘Four’, he was in fact his own person, a sort of shambly remake of who he was before the four sword. He also knew that he was still each of the people inside his head, in some sense, that he was all of them at the same time too.

Except however when this happened. He felt disjointed and fragile, like there were spirits pulling at all sides of him, trying to unravel him. The different parts of him felt more clear in his head, like colours slowly unmixing themselves. Hah.

“Green, how are we looking?” Red asked, a tone of trepidation lacing his thoughts. He sounded far away.

Four was keenly aware that, usually, he felt more connected one specific part of him, and supposed that was who was closest to the surface, the one with control. This, even in the blurry haze of his head, was currently identifiable as Green.

“Obviously not good,” Blue replied, “I think I have an arm,”

A sensation Four had unfortunately grown accustomed to was the jarring sense of certain body parts feeling almost as if behind glass doors. Easy to access, but just having an extra layer of effort required to function. He had started associating different parts of his body with colours when this happened.

“I’ve got the rest of the body, but i can’t move either arms. Blue, are you sure you only have one?” Green checked in. Four still felt detached from Green in his head, but it was the closest thing to actually having a voice amongst the parts of himself he had ever really experienced.

Sometimes limbs didn’t work, locked behind iron instead of glass, but Four had gotten used to it.

“Yeah. Vio, you with us?”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Now that he had drawn attention to it, Four was keenly aware of the feeling that part of his brain had fallen out. It had happened just a couple of times before, and the scare was nowhere near the level it was on when it first happened, but it was still… uncomfortable.

Vio didn’t respond, which Four was expecting, but was not reassured by.

“Okay, so we don’t have Vio. That’s fine,” Red said.

Four could hear the other Links asking him questions, but didn’t think he could answer them if he tried. “Blue, move your arm over the eyes please. The sun is awful,”

“Four? Can you speak?”

“I-” Ah, and there was the nausea.

“Blue, arm supporting. We’re hurling,”

Four effectively rolled onto his knees and threw up, one arm supporting him and the other limp. He was rather impressed by how well his mind worked still, given all of the apparent frayed stitching.

“Yeesh. You want a lift, Four, or you gonna try?” He heard Warriors ask.

“Wait, i can see too now.” Blue informed the others. Four was aware of his vision clearing, ever so slightly.

“I can, a bit,” Red said.

Outwardly, Four nodded weakly. Warriors hoisted him onto his back, and the jostle made him groan and bury his eyes in his scarf.

“It’ll be okay, Smithy. We’re in Wild’s Hyrule, just a trek away from Rito village, apparently.”

 

Four kept his head down for most of the journey, keeping his eyes buried in Warriors’ shoulder to abate the nausea and trying to ignore the shivers, the voices in his head silent.

Warriors noticed, however, and after not too long a band was slid over Four’s head (he assumed it was Wild’s ruby circlet), and a warmth spread through the limbs he could feel.

Four ducked his head up after what felt like quite a while, even though he was passing in and out of lucidity, to find the sun setting.

“We’re not going to make it to the Village before nightfall,” Wild said, and the rest of them groaned. “There’s a lodge up ahead though, that we’ll be welcome at,”

At that, there were noises of relief, however lacking in enthusiasm.

The last bit of the walk was surprisingly biting, but they were soon inside. Four was bumped as Warriors kicked the snow off his shoes, and then he was gently lowered to the floor against a wall by what he assumed was a fire.

He couldn’t check, however, because he was immediately overcome with blinding pain as soon as he touched the ground. He was all of a sudden curled into himself, and if they weren’t used to it by now, Four would be slightly disconcerted by how detached he felt from his body.

“Where are we? Are we okay?” Vio’s thoughts broke into Four’s mind, which was a relief.

“We’re all right. Wild’s Hyrule, snow lodge or something.” Four, or Green, updated, straining through the pain that lanced through his head.

“Four! Four, are you okay?” Hyrule’s concerned voice made its way into his ears, along with hands on his shoulders. Four desperately wanted to tell him to get off, and that he felt like he was about to explode and the physical contact wasn’t helping, but the pain was only just starting to fade. He tapped one of the hands twice, and they relinquished their grip, which helped make the pain feel like it was diminishing faster.

“I think we’re okay, Vio, are you-” Green halted when he realised he was speaking aloud.

“Are we-” it was Four again that spoke, but Red that had been caught out by talking aloud.

Four stopped. He was no longer connected to Green. He wasn’t connected to anyone. At the same time, he was all of them. All four parts equally forced into the front seat of his brain. He couldn’t tell if his headache was getting worse or not.

“What’s happening? I’m confused,” Vio was responsible for speaking. Four glanced up at the room with confused eyes, to see his travelling companions looking at him like his head was about to start spinning round in circles.

“Four, are you alright? What’s going on?” Twilight asked in a worried tone.

“I- I think i’m okay, this hasn’t happened before- I don't have the arm anymore- Wait Gree-” Four suddenly lapsed into silence after the strange display, and the others had to shake off the weird impression that Four’s voice had somehow been ever so slightly overlapping itself.

“Four, take a breath. Can you explain what’s happening?”

“I mean, we could, but someone- we can’t, we’ve been over this - Red, we can’t tell them- What’s the worst that’ll happen? I mean- we're not getting out of this without an explanation, Vio, this is so damn weird- yeah, Vio, we’re literally talking to ourself- For Hylia’s sake! Fine!”

To the others, this was rather confusing and concerning to watch the apparent derailment of their friend, but they waited in baffled silence for Four to sort himself out.

“Okay. So basically, this is a side effect of one of my adventures and what our sword did- shouldn’t you start with introductions?- i’m getting there, Red. Anyway, yeah, the Four Sword did this weird thing to Four, when he first used it, where it split his body and mind into four different parts.”

Four looked up from his knees to see vaguely concerned expressions, but nobody tried to halt him, so he continued. “And we can all come together to form back into our original body, but apparently our mind can’t do that all that well, so we’re just kind of four different people that are also kinda one person, i guess?”

The faces, if anything, were expressing only more confusion. “Wait, so you’re actually four people?” Legend asked, crouching to make better eye contact but staying his distance away.

“I guess, yeah- yeah! I go by Red. I think it’s pretty great we’re finally telling you, i’ve thought we should have from the start-” Four’s hand then managed to move to his face to rub his eyes, to which there was a “Hey Green, I’ve got the arm again,”

A couple more of the others sat in the ring they had around Four. “Wait, okay. So there’s Four people in your body, and now they’re all talking over each other? How does control of Four work?” Time asked.

“Okay, yes, we all for some reason are all at the front, which isn’t usually something that happens. As for controlling the body, I am like, a person on my own, i’m Four, but switching worlds is always weird, and right now Blue has control of one arm, and I think Green has the rest?- I have everything but the arms, I think one’s just dead right now,”

There was a moment of quiet, in which everyone’s attempts at processing it could practically be heard. “Okay, so who are you? There’s Red, Green, Blue, i think,” Time tried.

“Yes. There’s also me, Vio,”

“So the control is split?” Wild asked. There was a distinct crease in his brow, that only seemed to be getting deeper.

“I mean, not really. There’ll usually be one person that’s sort of influencing the main actions, and that’ll swap sometimes, but Four is the mind. It only really does weird stuff like this when we Hyrule jump. It fucks us up a bit.”

There were just blank expressions on faces, and Four didn’t really feel any more confident than them, and he was meant to be the one explaining.

“Okay so picture it like this. Four is the mainland, right? And each of us are little islands off from the main one connected by bridges. There’s one strong bridge, that moves from each island to strengthen the connection, right? And whoever has the strong bridge is the main island connected to Four, but the others are still there. So there’s us four, but when we’re in one body we’re just connected to the mainland, which is Four.” Four recognised the words as a metaphor he crafted himself when it all first started.

“Okay, so what’s happening now is that you all have strong bridges?” Warriors asked.

“Yeah! Really strong bridges. Direct. Which has never happened before, so we don’t really know what’s going on. Also, it was really painful, and it’s not usually painful.”

There was a quiet couple of seconds as everyone tried to work everything out. “Why didn’t you tell us?” Hyrule asked softly after a moment.

Four huffed, and Red spoke, “Because Blue said it would be a bad idea, and then Vio kinda agreed with him, meaning we didn’t tell you guys, even though me and Green thought it would be good.”

“Why did you not want to tell us, Blue? Vio?” Sky said, slight concern etched into his creased brows.

“Because i thought you would think we’re weird! And i am! I mean, look at me, falling apart at the seams.”

Four tried to cross his arms - and failed, seeing as he could still only move one of them, then dropped it and pinned his hand under his leg. It was infuriating, having four different ideas of what to do at any one time.

“You’re not weird. And you’re not falling apart, either,” The sentiment came out sounding like a scoff, but they all knew there was no ridicule behind Legend’s words.

“I am! I’m seeing multiple of everything, i can’t move one of my arms, my head hurts so much-” Four paused, hand buried in his hair, as his eyes widened. “And i’m really dumb!”

“Huh?” Warriors said, as he watched Four try and shuffle away from the wall he was heavily leaning against enough to get at the sword on his back.

“I’m sat here suffering as four people when i could just separate,” He grunted, finally managing to pull free his sword at the odd angle. Before anyone else could get a word in, there was a flash of light encompassing Four’s body, and four smaller Fours tumbled out onto the floor.

“Oh my god, that’s so much better,” Green’s words were muffled through his hands. His fingers separated to reveal his eyes, which just stared at the ceiling.

Red just sighed, whilst Blue groaned. “You couldn’t have thought of that earlier, Vio? It was the obvious solution,”

“You didn’t think of it either, asshole!”

“What…? So this is-?” It was at Hyrule’s quiet words that their attention was redrawn to their companions.

“Hi,” Green lifted one of the hands from his face in a small wave.

Vio sat up. “Ugh,” his head was in one of his hands, elbow resting on his knee. “It’s never gotten that bad before. Hi, i’m Vio,”

--

The night continued oddly normally, seeing as they were currently twelve instead of nine. Everyone kind of took the whole thing in their stride, which one was wont to do when you’ve been through what they’ve been through and seen what they’ve seen. Everyone was genuinely interested in getting to know the separate parts of Four and seemed incredibly interested at their individual fully realised personalities. Also how they bickered to Hylia and back, making it a wonder that they could come together to form a coherent, functioning person.

It was a strange feeling, being known to such a level by a group of people. Usually they hid it from everyone. However, if anyone was going to find out, they supposed, they were glad it was this group of people.

They stayed separate for a few days, enjoying functioning as their own people for the first time in a long while. When they came back together again, though, Four felt more whole than perhaps he ever had before.