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Six degrees of separation.

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“Everything is connected” Is a wonderful phrase. It is fitting of humans. Equivalent to their desire to connect to others, and reassure themselves of their existence through that fact. John Guare popularised the theory of the six degrees of separation. A theory seemingly far-fetched, yet attractive. Thinking that you are connected to everyone by so little steps can be heart-warming.

Link pondered, sitting in a sunny patch of warm, green grass in front of the literature building of his university, watching fellow students go by. By how many degrees was he separated from the tall, red haired woman running late to her lecture? Or from the attractive, black, long-haired teacher leaving the science building, a well-deserved cup of tea in hand. Thinking in six degrees shrunk the world around him to a size which he could comprehend. Every stranger seemed so much more familiar to him, as he wondered what their connection could possibly be.

The midday bells rang in the church tower of the small, university town. Link turned his gaze towards his left. The sports science building. Students in black and red jerseys bearing the university crest started to exit the building, group by group of friends. The blonde man observed them from the corner of his eye, inconspicuously sipping his hot chocolate to seem casual. One of them stood out more than the others. His large build was impressive even among university athletes, his long, fluffy red mane flowing down his back. Link couldn’t take his eyes off the impressive hair. It was really…fluffy. How on earth did hair become so fluffy? Did the man use a conditioner made out of cloud essence? The blonde man laughed internally as he imagined the cover of a cloud conditioner, though it didn’t really matter. He simply pondered once more.

How many degrees away was the man?

He was so close, simply walking towards the tennis court, still only a few meters away from Link. It would be so easy to reduce whatever number they were separated by to one by simply going up and striking a conversation with him. Even if he didn’t know sign language, Link had markers and a white board in his bag so they could still communicate. But what would he say? “Please write out all of your friends and their friend’s names so that we can see if we’re connected somehow?”  Yes. Great pick up line. He was definitely on the way to become the player of the university.

Link flinched at a familiar sensation on his head and shoulders. Zelda had creeped up on him from behind, resting her head and elbows on her friend, following his gaze and looking at the tennis court along with him.

“How did your weekly viewing go?” She asked with a smirk.

Link placed his cup onto the grass to sign. “How do you think?”

“Any chance you’re going to walk up to him at some point before we degrade and return to the soil?”

“Maybe in our next life.”

Zelda rolled her eyes in exasperation. “Anyway!” She claimed as she moved to sit on his right side. “When can we do the fitting? ComiCon is only two weeks away. I can’t leave my fans waiting.”

“I’m free this afternoon. I just have to help clean up our corridor. We have someone new coming in.”

“Someone new? At this time of year? Do you know why?”

Link simply raised his shoulders. He hadn’t been told, and he didn’t really care. Right now, he needed to juggle between writing assignments and sowing Zelda’s cosplay for the upcoming convention. He didn’t have time to focus on anything else. Still, his mind wandered towards the fluffy haired athlete. What would it be like to design costumes for his build? Making costumes for Zelda was fun, but he was used to her measurements. He would gladly welcome a change in routine.

“Well okay then.” She said, standing up. “Four o’clock it is. I’ll text you when I’m in front of your building so you can let me in.”

Link saluted with his left hand as a sign of agreement, watching his friend gleefully walk away. He stretched his arms over his head. It was time for him to go home as well. Grabbing his still warm hot chocolate, he headed towards his accommodation. It was close, on campus right next to the library building. It was very useful for people with complicated relationships with mornings as he had. It was a building with an old-timey feel. Link liked it.

There were three floors, each divided in two large corridors. Each of these were occupied by five people, sharing a kitchen and a bathroom. It was far from luxury, but what could one expect, living as a student? He hoped that the new resident wouldn’t ruin the quiet peace reining in his second floor corridor. Using his student card, he opened the door to his room, quickly falling in his favourite starfish position on his bed. His head turned to the right, he saw his laptop sitting on his desk, opened at the university portal page. Once he managed to get enough will power to leave the comfortable paradise, he had to start working on his assignment.

It was a few hours later that he heard the loud sound of boxes falling on the ground outside of his door. It seemed that the person who would be occupying the room next to him had finally started to move in. Welcoming the distraction from the boring work, he grabbed his whiteboard, prepared to introduce himself. Introductions were always nerve racking, especially as he couldn’t talk like most people could. There was always a possibility that the newcomer would make fun or shun him, it frankly caused him to tremble slightly. But today was okay.

This was the corridor he had been living in for months, filled with people he now called friends. In a way, it was his territory. He imagined it to be more nerve racking for the new person arriving in an already formed group of friends. With courage, he opened the door and looked to his right to greet his new neighbour. Unfortunately, none of his pep talk had prepared him for the situation he was now facing.

Crouching to grab a cardboard box, the man had put up his fluffy hair in a crimson ponytail. A fluffy crimson ponytail.

It was beautiful.

The athlete noticed that Link had come out of his room. He let down the box before walking up to the man, still in shock.

“Nice to meet you. I hope I didn’t bother you with the noise of the boxes. I’m Ganondorf but you can just call me Ganon.”

There was a small moment of silence as Ganon and Link stood still, the former feeling slightly uncomfortable as his stretched out hand seemed to be ignored. Noticing the awkward mood, Link quickly turned his board towards him to write out his name. He then immediately held it up at a height which would hide his face until he could figure out what expression to make.

“Link?” Said Ganon. The sound of the fluffy haired man’s voice as he said his name was more than Link could have ever expected.

The blonde man nodded. Erasing his name on the board to write the only thing his mind was able to process at that moment.

“It’s very nice to meet you.”

Ganon smiled. “It’s nice to meet you too. If you don’t mind though, I need to get back to moving and unpacking. We can talk later?”

Link nodded once more. They both waved at each other as the blonde man headed back to his room, closing the door as quick as he could without looking suspicious.

Ganon sighed. Looks like this place will be quiet at least… He thought. This particular living arrangement was only for a few months. All he needed to do was act polite enough for a while to avoid any stories. His friend had told him: a few smiles here and there. A few acts of kindness every now and then, and all should go well. At least he had one smile done.

Link was sitting on his carpeted floor; back stuck to the door he had just slid against. He looked at his white board. “It’s very nice to meet you.” It said. Nice to meet you.

They had met. They had talked. He had smiled. He had said his name. Had he acted okay? Did he seem weird? It didn’t seem like it hadn’t gone well. So hopefully, their first meeting was a success?  Link didn’t know what to think of the sudden change of situation between them. The sole thing which allowed him to escape the seemingly unending flow of questions to his brain was a text from Zelda. She was in front of the building. Without thinking twice, the blonde man opened the door in a hurry, rushing down the stairs to meet her, startling Ganon in the process as he was still moving boxes into his room.

Link had probably never pressed the door release button so hard in his life, under the panicked eyes of his friend.

“You look as if you’re being chased by a tiger. What’s wrong?” She asked, concerned.

“He’s here.”

“Who?”

Link spelled out his name the best he could.

“Ganon? That doesn’t help.”

“Fluffy hair!”

It took a second for the woman to understand what her friend meant. Her reaction however, was quite obvious.

“WHAT?” She screamed before Link rushed to cover her mouth, looking around to make sure no one had heard her. Calming down, Zelda pulled Link’s hand away.

“Why?” She whispered.

“He’s the new occupant.”

The woman’s smile rose up to the heavens.

“Ooooh. I see. You must be taking this so well.” She barely managed to say without laughing.

“This is no laughing matter!” Link signed expressively. It didn’t help with Zelda’s euphoria. “What do I do?” He continued.

“You live with him, get married, and adopt millions of children.”

Link had no words for how useless his best friend was being in his time of need, but he clearly showed it on his face.

“Okay, okay, I’ll help.” She said, wiping away the tears that had welled up from laughter. “For now, we’re going up to your room and, if we see him, we’ll say hi to your lovely neighbour.”

Link nodded. Both went up the flight of stairs, perhaps faster than he would have wanted, as Zelda led forward with a quick step. As their arrived to their floor, the woman opened the door to corridor to find Ganon carrying what seemed like the very last box. He put it down as he saw her entering, preparing himself to exchange introductions.

“Hello.” He said stretching his hand out. “I’m Ganondorf, or Ganon for short.”

Zelda took his hand to shake it. “I heard. Nice to meet you.”

“Do you also live here?” He asked.

“Oh no. I live off campus. I’m just bothering Link for fittings in preparation for ComiCon.”

“I see…” He said, looking at Link standing quietly in the background.

“Are you planning on going?” She asked. Planning to seize every opportunity she could.

Ganon averted his eyes. “Oh no. That’s not really my thing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to start unpacking.” He said before grabbing the last cardboard box and heading into his room.

Zelda turned towards Link, raising her shoulders. “I tried.”

Link sighed. “Let’s just go in.”

As Link started to work on the sowing once the approximate fitting was over, Zelda sat on his bed, pensive. Now that she had seen the fluffy haired man from up close, she had this intense feeling of déjà-vu. As if she was familiar with his build. From somewhere. Somewhere…

She dug into her memories.

Somewhere…

“I KNOW!” She claimed in a loud voice, startling Link. He quickly turned around to sign.

“Don’t scare me like that!”

Zelda didn’t say anything. She simply stared at the confused man, giggling uncontrollably. It creeped Link out.

“I’m scared to ask why you’re so happy all of a sudden.”

“We’re going out tonight.”

Link raised his eyebrow, falling deeper into confusion. “Where?”

“Somewhere.” She said with a bright smile. Before Link could sign any objections, she laid down on the bed, admiring the posters on the wall. Rocking gently from side to side while humming a gentle melody. Link gave up on finding out what she was planning. In all the years he had known her, if there was one thing he had learnt, it was to not question every single one of her actions. Even if just to keep sane.

They went out a bit after seven, heading towards the small city centre. They quickly came close to a fabric shop, the one Link tended to use for most of his costumes. One of Zelda’s friends worked there, which was a big advantage when securing popular rolls of cloth. The man couldn’t help but wonder why they were heading there so long after closing time. Zelda took out her phone as they arrived in front of the entrance, dialling someone.

“It’s me. We’re in front of the shop.” She said before hanging up soon after. It wasn’t a minute later that the small, wooden door of the shop opened, showing a white haired woman with a bright smile.

“Welcome!” She said. “You’re right on time, We’re just about to start the fitting and flexibility test.”

“Great!” Said Zelda as she stepped in. “You know Link. Link, you know Impa.”

They both greeted each other with a friendly nod. Impa then led them towards the back of the shop. They entered what seemed like a living room. It was furnished with an old-fashioned sofa facing a rather elaborate photo set.

“This is where I do the tests and the photos for reference and personal use.” She said, winking. “I’ve shown you the photos right Zelda?”

“You have.” Said Zelda, rocking from side to side while sitting comfortably on the sofa, inviting Link to do the same. “Where’s your model?”

“He’s changing into the new cosplay. He’ll be out-” There were steps approaching from a door on their right. “Looks like he’s coming.”

“Thank me later.” Whispered Zelda to a still confused Link.

The door opened, exposing Ganon in an almost perfect “Hanzo” cosplay, although his hair was perhaps too long for the part. “I’m having trouble keeping the open part of the kimono stable on the side.” He said, focused on the costume before his eyes rose up to observe the room. “Is there a way to fix it in place or some-” He stopped as he noticed two unknown people in the room. At least people who should have been unknown.

“Hi again!” Said Zelda.