You'd think after a hundred years of sleeping, Link would be wide awake, but after defeating Calamity Ganon, he's more exhausted than ever before.
And you'd think that after a hundred years of fighting, Zelda would be just as tired, but she's eager to get to work a week later. Drags him out of Kakariko to see what's changed and talk about rebuilding. He agrees to it all, of course , but he's not looking to start helping out so quickly. He still can't remember anything about himself outside of the little memories he recovered from his slate. He wants to spend some time exploring Hyrule more. See if he can find anything else out about himself.
Zelda works on getting the tools necessary for rebuilding Hyrule Castle made. Something to do with Purah and upgrading Magnesis for construction. There's plenty of stuff Zelda can do that doesn't require his help or staying glued to her side. She's got hours of work ahead of her in Hateno alone. So he can take out a few monsters here and there. Recover some more scraps. Minor stuff that doesn't require diplomacy. Stuff he was probably going to do anyway.
Things are calm and peaceful and normal.
Until they're just not.
He can't place what just changes. He's spending some time down by a river, cooking up a nice lunch and going for a swim, when he just feels… different. Like something bad's just happened. It has him packing his stuff up immediately and using his slate to warp for the first time in months. He checks Zora's Domain but Sidon and the rest are preparing for some festival. He checks Gerudo Town but Riju's more concerned about an upcoming sand seal race. Rito Village is as quiet and calm as it always is and Goron City's biggest problem is figuring out how they're going to get a bunch of ore out to Gerudo Town on schedule. There's no problems in Kakariko. There's no problems in the Lost Woods.
Hateno's the same as he left it.
He's left confused and out of breath from running himself ragged. And then there's Zelda, grabbing his hand in the middle of the town before he can even wrap his head around the fact that nothing seems inherently wrong.
"Did you feel that?" she asks.
Something about Zelda makes him more nervous than the feeling in the pit of his stomach. Maybe it's because she knows who he is. Because he knows who she is . Because she's got a lot riding on him and he doesn't want to let her down. Again. He can talk so easily with just about everyone else.
Well, everyone but Sidon and his father. It's the whole 'hero of Hyrule' expectation thing. Freaks him out a little.
"I was with Purah when it happened. Did you see anything?"
He shakes his head.
She's rambling then. Ranting about how she doesn't like being out of the know. How maybe it had to do with some research they were doing.
But he doesn't think it's that. That feeling of unease is still there that night and the next day, though it's died down considerably by then. It's weird. He can't explain it and neither can Zelda, but it's almost like something's there that shouldn't. Like something bad's just happened but it's too out of reach to tell what.
Zelda knocks on his front door one night, bags under her eyes. Three days have passed since Link rushed home and he hasn't moved to leave just yet. He doesn't want something to attack Zelda when he isn't there to save her. He can't let her get hurt a second time. The second he goes, he knows something terrible's going to happen. Or maybe that's just his anxiety.
She barges in mostly because she knows she's always welcome. Link might not be able to talk to her, but he can always listen. And even if he doesn't want to let her down, she is one of his closest friends. Granted, that's because all of his friends are...
He doesn't want to think too hard on it.
"What if he's back?" she asks. "What if we didn't do it right? What if my powers were too weak and he breaks out again and I can't seal him-"
He doesn't say anything. He puts his hand on her shoulder and shakes his head. That's not it. He knows it. If that was it, there wouldn't be any calm. No waiting around wondering when the end was coming. It would have already came. Calamity Ganon is gone. They're safe from him.
"Well what is it then? " she asks, shrugging his hand off. "We can't pretend nothing happened ."
He shrugs and goes back to making himself dessert. Monster cake. After everything they've gone through, he figures cake doesn't need a special reason to be made. After all, he nearly died a hundred years ago. He didn't know when he was going to go for good so he might as well enjoy a treat every now and again.
Zelda sits down at his table. "...Is it nothing?"
"Maybe," he says. He doesn't look up from the bowl he's mixing the ingredients in. What was the recipe exactly again...? The cake always came out a bit tart... maybe he could toss in a couple more handfuls of sugar this time...
"You'll be extra careful, right?" He feels her eyes on him. "When you go out?"
He nods. "I'm always careful."
That's the thing she wants to hear him say. It's not true but she doesn't need to know that.
If he wants to fight a Lynel in the rain with just his shorts on, he will. He's an adult. Besides, the last time that happened he was going to bed before the thing shot at him. It's more careful to fight it right then and there than to stumble around getting your shirt back on. Lynels don't wait for you to get dressed.
"I really doubt that," she says. Link wonders sometimes if she can hear his thoughts. And then he panics because some of his thoughts are definitely way too private for princesses. "What are you making?"
She sticks her tongue out. Maybe she only likes fruit cake. He can't remember. "That's disgusting. I'm going to get back to my research with Purah. Are you leaving again tomorrow?" It's her way of telling him he can leave. That she'll be fine.
He's still unsure. There's still something so wrong right now. But maybe she wants him out there. Patrolling Hyrule or something. See if he can find anything.
"Sure. Why not?"
She smiles, just a little. "Don't be a stranger. Make sure to come back safe. I still need your help with Hyrule."
He wonders if there was a time where he would open up to her about things. Would he tell her why he doesn't talk much? Would he tell her how he doesn't want to settle down just yet because that means the adventure's over? That now that his quest is done, he doesn't know what he's supposed to do anymore. That he's trying to figure out the whole point of his life now that he doesn't remember a single thing about his past self.
He tries to push it aside.
If it was important, Zelda would have said something. Or any number of people who knew who he was. Like Impa or Purah or Sidon's father. Someone would have worried about it for him. They worried about everything else.
He smiles for her and sets his cake on his table. "I'll come back."
That's one thing he does have.
A home he can always retreat back to.