It all started with Time and Wind.
They knew from the beginning.
No, even before the beginning.
Before Dark Link started to mess with the heroes, opening portals and playing leapfrog between all of their Hyrules.
Wind and Time knew that they were not the only victims to the misplaced adventures.

Back when Wind and Time first met each other,
In the middle of a battle scarred Hyrule plagued by time rifts,
The rancher and sailor had talked it out.
They talked about their overlapping memories.
How Wind remembered fighting in the war torn Hyrule with the child Time and with a blue scarf wearing captain.
How Time still remembers his younger self helping a captain named Link defeat Cia even as he later found himself in the place of said captain, looking at his younger self and watching everything play out nearly the same.

And yet, it isn't until the Links began adventuring together that Time realises just whose adventure Wind had been placed in.

It happens at night around a crackling campfire.
The atmosphere is perfect for storytelling.
And Wind is not one to pass up the chance to regale everyone with one of his tales.

Wind: "There I was, trapped in an underground water temple surrounded by water as still as death. Never before had I seen water more lifeless than in that room. It was like walking atop a mirror, my own self reflected back to me."
Time sits up, more alert.
Wind: "Above I could see no ceiling. In front I could see no walls. Just a hazy mist that stretched on and on forever until the very horizon vanished. Through the mist I could see a massive doorway, but no walls anchored it to reality. The only other thing in the room was a dead tree, caught in the middle of me and the far double door."
Time is now wide eyed and pale.
Wind: "I moved forward, the only sound was the splashing of my feet, yet when I looked down, barely a ripple disturbed the water. I moved past the tree, black sand sifting against my boots before they were replaced by stagnant water once more. And that's when I felt it. An ich between my shoulder blades, a chill at the base of my neck. Something was watching me. I turned around. There was the barred door I had come from. There was the black tree I had passed. But now… now there was a figure standing at the tree. Eyes red as fresh blood under a noonday sun. Skin grey as cold empty corpse. It was-"
Time: "Dark Link."

That night Time and Wind share watch duty.
They have a long talk about Wind's misplaced adventure.
Its a good talk… except-
Wind: "You mean to tell me you got to go through the adventure with nobody doubting your capability because you looked older; while I got stuck being scolded by every goddess damn adult in the whole world! How is that even fair?!"
Wind is very upset about that part.

The two keep their revelation to themselves.
Links are notorious for keeping secrets.
Besides, Wind and Time are trouble makers at heart.
They want to see how long it takes everyone else to put the pieces together.

The next to realise something is up is Hyrule.
Though this is mostly thanks to Legend.

It starts when Hyrule refers to himself as a child.
Legend: "What? Rule, you're not a child."
Hyrule: "I'm not?"
Legend: "No. You're young, sure. But you're definitely not a kid."
Sky: "Why do you think you are a kid?"
Four: "I understand why some people mistake me for a kid, but you? Sorry Rule, but you're not that short."
Hyrule: "I don't know. There were these people on some islands, and they just kept calling me kid. And the talking boat called me a kid too. So since everyone kept saying it, I just thought it must be true."
Wind pops up at Hyrules elbow: "Did you just say talking boat?"
Hyrule: "... Yeah. During one of my adventures I met a talking boat. His name was-"
Wind: "I just remembered Time sent me over to say he wants to talk with you okay come on we gotta go now, bye!"
Wind drags a startled Hyrule off with him.
Legend watches the two go.
He glares.

That night Wind and Hyrule share watch duty.
Half the camp is startled awake when Wind bursts out laughing.
Legend: "What the hell sailor?!"
Wind can't answer.
He's too busy rolling around on the ground crying tears of mirth.
Hyrule looks very flustered and embarrassed.
Hyrule: "He- uh… he thinks it's funny I don't know how to read a compass."
Quite a few of the other Links think it's funny too.

Twilight is the fourth to find out thanks Sky.
Upon their first meeting Sky tells everyone about the Master Sword, calling her Fi.
This doesn't help at first because Wind, Time, and Warriors are also familiar with the sword spirit.
But then a talk about relationships leads to Sky waxing poetry about his sweetheart.
Twilight immediately realises who Sky is talking about.
Young Zelda.

Suspicions are confirmed when they end up at Skyloft.
Twilight recognises everyone.
None of them recognise him.
It hurts a little.

But then Groose flinches back when Twilight steps too close.
And young Zelda, who Wind nicknamed Sun, slips up and calls Twilight big brother.
Both Groose and Zelda look momentarily confused.
Like they don't know why they did that.
Twilight just smiles.
Even if they don't remember, something in their subconscious does.
That comforts him.

Twilight doesn't end up going to anyone about his discovery.
Though the goat herder is pretty sure Time picks up on it.
The hero of time gives Twilight a very knowing look when the farm boy takes him and Wild to a secret corner of the Goddess temple to snuggle some Remlits.

It doesn't take Legend too long after these other revelations to catch on.
He's already mostly figured it out;
What with Wind being far more familiar with Time's past then any of them
And now Hyrule and Wind sharing ocean themed jokes.
Plus, the highly intelligent Wolfie popping up now and again always reminds Legend of Midna's belief in a sacred wolf.
It's all coming together.
Sky just helps by giving him the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.

It happens in Legend's Hyrule.
They are camped out on a beach.
Sky has the first watch.
This set up is necessary on account that giving the skyloftian any other watch means taking on the herculean task of waking the sleepyhead up, then crossing your fingers and hoping he doesn't immediately fall right back asleep the moment you turn your back.

The sun is setting and everyone is slowly starting to turn in.
Legend has his back to a tree, watching the red sunset the ocean ablaze as it sinks below the horizon.
A seagull cries over head.
Legend's heart aches.
It nearly shatters when he hears the familiar melody of Marin's favourite song.
He thinks he's hallucinating.
Until he realises it's not her voice he's hearing, but the strumming of a harp.

Legend whips around.
Sky is sitting off into the tree line, fingers plucking out the nostalgic tune, eyes anchored ahead to the darkening sunset.
Legend would be furious
If he didn't see a look of utter guilt and pain painted so clearly on the soft hearted heroes face.
Legend knows that guilt.

The veteran hero waits until all are asleep before approaching Sky.
Legend: "Marin."
Sky flinches back, then looks up at Legend with such wide shocked eyes.
Sky: "How?"
Legend: "I woke up one day on an island. Marin was there to pull me from the wreckage of my raft."
There is hope in Sky's eyes.
Sky: "Then she's ali-"
Legend: "No. She's not…. Tell me what happened. I bet it's almost exactly the same as mine."

It is.
Same happy island.
Same owl telling them to wake the Windfish.
Same dungeons and bosses.
Same ending with the whale deity waking up.
And the island disappearing.

Legend: "I told myself they were like me, trapped in a dream with real lives they needed to get back too. I believed that once I woke the Windfish, we'd all be free…. But deep down, I think I knew the truth… and I still did it."
Sky: "I knew. I knew waking the Windfish would kill everyone…. That makes me a terrible person, doesn't it."
Legend: "Why'd you do it, if you were so sure?"
Sky: "... I couldn't remember if I had saved Zel- Sun or not. I couldn't remember if she was still waiting for me, trapped in time. And if I didn't wake up, she'd die and so would all my friends, and my home. So I chose her over the island. I chose Sun over Marin. I killed Marin."
Sky cries openly.
Legend doesn't say anything.
He's crying too.

The next morning Legend, dragging a tired looking Sky behind him, marches up to Time.
Legend: "We know about our mixed up adventures. So you and the seafaring gremlin can stop pretending around us."
Time just raises an eyebrow.

When Legend finds out Midna is alive,
The relief is palpable.
When he finds out Twilight fell in love with Midna,
He almost hurls.

Twilight: offended, "What?!"
Legend: "Like whoever you want to like. I don't care. Just don't talk about it around me."
Sky, unable to understand why anyone wouldn't want to hear about other people's love life, innocently asks why.
Legend: "Because it's like hearing your best friend is making out with your brother! It's just weird, okay!"
Warriors: pops into the conversation, "Aw Legend. So you do have a heart somewhere under that cactus personality of yours!"
Legend: tries to push the captain away, "Lay off!"

(Midna is Legend's best friend?)
(But what about Zelda or Ravio?)
(They must be feeling so betrayed right now.)
(Let's check in with the two and tell them the horrible news.)
(Oh what fun!)

(Zelda: "Of course we're not best friends. We're family. He's my mostly annoying but sometimes endearing little brother.")
(Well pooh. No drama to be had there.)
(Wait… Legend is royalty?!)

(Ravio: "Mr. Hero is very bad at making friends. It's why Ravio worries for him so much. Hearing that Mr. Hero has made so many new friends is wonderful! Ravio hopes Mr. Hero brings them by his shop sometime. They probably need some supplies.")
(Didn't you hear me? Midna is his best friend!)
(Ravio: "Oh! Midna is okay? That is good to hear. Mr. Hero was so very upset after that adventure. Do you think he'll bring Midna to the shop too?")
(Aren't you even a little upset? Don't you want to be your favourite customer's closest friend?!)
(Ravio: "Silly author. Ravio doesn't have to feel insecure. Ravio knows exactly how important he is to Mr. Hero. We have a contract, you see.")
(By the powers of Nintendo! You and Zelda are no fu-)
(Wait… is that? Are you wearing a ring?)
(Ravio: *⭒(–‿๏) )

Wild is next.
Not because he figured it out on his own.
Though he did figure something out.

They are in Hyrules' world, stopping in Saria Town,
When Wild murders a villager.
The villagers are panicked, just like last time Wild killed a villager in Saria Town.
The other Links are confused, but they trust their brother in arms.
He wouldn't murder someone innocent in cold blood.
Still, there's such a thing as tact.
Twilight is not sure if he wants to face palm or throttle Wild.

Wild: "What… it was a monster disguised as a hylian."
Hyrule: literal stars in his eyes, "How'd you know?"
Wild: "I just… knew."
Hyrule: "But HOW? I can never tell! They are always the ones who attack me, not the other way around."
Wild: "Well, you just… look."
Hyrule: "Look for what? Do they have tells?"
Wild: "Just… look and see the suspicious ones."
Hyrule: "Uuuhm, what makes them suspicious?"
Wild: shrugs. "They just are."
Hyrule looks close to tears.

Sky, ever trying to be helpful, suggests Wild demonstrate what he means.
Wild grabs two seemingly random villagers and presents them to Hyrule.
Wild: "See?"
Hyrule: "See? See what?"
Wild: "The suspicious one. See how obvious it is?"
The two villagers look confused, and very worried.
Hyrule: "N-no! They both look normal!"
At this point, Hyrule is actually crying with frustration.
Legend: "Give it up, Rule. No one will ever understand what goes on in the maniacs head."

Also Legend: "Oh, and Wild. You and Hyrule are sharing second watch tonight. Time's orders."
Wild: "Okay."

That night, Wild joins the 'We Know Somebody Played Mix & Match with our Lives' club.
Next day Time, Twilight, and Legend curse whoever's idea it was to give the two wanderlust explorers the same adventure.
Twilight catches them both about to sneak off to explore.
But unlike usual when he can just grab them by the ears and cart them back to the main group,
They both sparkle into fairies and flutter away.
(Sorry Twilight, but those two are not done galavanting about the countryside quiet yet.)

Warriors figures it out by pure accident.
Though Wind says he did it by being a sneaky eavesdropper.
Which the pirate immediately praised him for.
Followed by some cretic.
Wind: "Don't just give yourself away like that. Who knows what other juicy gossip ya could have overheard if you had kept quiet."

Basically, Warriors had been suspicious of Wild and Wind being up to something.
Then he saw the look they shared with Legend, before all of them found an excuse to wander off into the woods.
Warriors was sure they were planning a prank on him.
So he followed.

When he saw Time join them, he became conflicted.
Either this wasn't a prank planning committee,
Or the gremlins had recruited Time onto their team;
In which case, he was doomed.

Then Warriors heard the word Cia.
And Time talking as if Cia had hit on him too.
That's when Warriors blew his cover.

Even after everything has come to light, the captain doesn't quite believe their stories.
More like, he doesn't want to.
Because then that would mean his own adventure had been real too.
Most days Warriors does his best to pretend he doesn't remember it.
Too traumatic.
And embarrassing.

But then they end up in his Hyrule.
He takes their group to Lana and Cia to see if the time sorceresses know anything about what Dark Link is up to.
The discomfort he sees on Times' face when Cia walks in matches his own to a T.

Cia gives Warriors a look that stiffens his back and shortens his breath.
And then Time, the dad that he is, draws his shoulders back and subtly moves forward to stand between Warriors and Cia.
Warriors feels protected.

Wind catches the movement and copies Time,
Though he's much less subtle about it.
For the rest of the conversation kid doesn't stop giving Cia the nastiest glare the captain has ever seen on the sailor.
Warriors can't help but smile.
Its good to have a family to watch your back.

That night Time and Warriors go to a bar and console each other over their shared stalker trauma.
Surprisingly, it makes for a good bonding experience.

Warriors doesn't tell anyone who he switched places with.
He's not ready for them to know about him being turned pin sized.
He does stop all the short jokes he was subjugating Four to, though.
Now that he knows it was all real, he has a pretty good guess whose adventure he got chucked into.
And, as the Links have learned, when Four gets in a pranking mood...
There's no way you won't end up flat on your back.

No one actually knows when Four figured his adventure out.
Did he know the moment he met Wild and saw the hero's Sheikah slate?
Or did he notice the way both Legend and Sky hesitate to go to sleep every night?
Did Four make the connection when Warriors announces his absolute hate for octoroks and lily pads?
Perhaps what gave it away was how Twilight looks just as reverently and fondly at the Master Sword as Sky does.
Four could have also put the pieces together when he notices that Wild and Hyrule knew the same spells.
Or it might have been that he overheard Wind and Time talking until early in the morning hours about their shared experiences.

Whatever the case,
They all thought he was the last to know.
They should have seen the signs.

Wild noticed Four was just as quick a bow draw as him,
But did not question it.

The first time that Twilight walked into camp in his wolf form,
Wild and Four were the only ones not to freak out.
Later Wild told Twilight about his experience with a helpful wolf during his adventure.
So that answered that question.
But Four never did give him a straight answer why he too had recognised the wolf.

When Wild took them to meet the Gerudo Queen, Warriors noticed Four blushing at the sight of Riju.
But aside from some playful ribbing,
The captain didn't dig any deeper into Four's small crush.
A missed opportunity, really.

Things finally came to a front when the Yiga capture Wild.
The assassins almost succeed in killing the Wild before the other Links rescue him.
Hyrule uses up all his magic just to keep Wild stable.
But the feral Link is not waking up.

They were already low on potions before the Yiga showed up
And now the only potions they have left are in Wild's slate.
But the slate only unlocks for Wild.

Twilight is in an absolute panic.
Hyrule was also panicking before he fell unconcious from magic exertion.
Sky is crying.
The captain feels sick. He doesn't want to watch another friend die.
Wind is eyeing Time as the older hero grips his ocarina.
They share a silent conversation of meaningful looks on whether they should use it or not.

Before a decision can be made, however, Four steps forward and takes Wild's slate.
It splutters blue for a moment in Four's hand, before settling on a steady pulse.
Then the screen flashes on.
Four begins tapping and swiping, followed by potions appearing one after another.
Twilight immediately starts force feeding health into Wild.
Everyone else just stares in shock at Four.

Warriors: "Wait… you- what?"
Four: rolls their eyes, "You all may have thought you were being super secretive, but it was kind of obvious. I know we all somehow ended up in each others' adventures. Mine was in Wild's"
Green: under his breath "Vio still has conniptions on trying to figure out how the fabric of time is still even intact."

All the Links stare at Four in even more confusion at the sudden outburst.

Red: "Oh yeah, heheh. You guys don't know about- can we just tell them?"
Blue/Vio: "No."
Green: "Maybe we should."
Red: "Pleaaaaaaaaaaaase!"
Blue/Vio: "Fine."
Four splits.


Wild wakes up at that moment to see Four fours.
Wild: "I need another potion. I think I still got a concussion."

The end!

Thanks for sticking around through this series of silly events. Hope you enjoyed!