A/N: So after I posted "A Life of Ice" (see my drabble collection 'Frozen Shards') on Tumblr, I pretty much broke the Kristanna fandom. Got multiple messages with people weeping openly, many wailing WHYs, wishing I'd step on a Lego... that sort of thing. I pretty much felt terrible (and, to be fair, I cried writing it, too), so I promised everyone some serious Kristanna fluff to make up for it.
The resulting fic turned out to have a heavier helping of angst in it than I'd intended, but I think it's ultimately worth it.
"Two Steps Forward"
Anna peered carefully around the corner, a heavy tray piled high with an assortment of chocolates balanced awkwardly in her arms, a half-eaten double-fudge brownie held tight between her teeth as she snuck down the corridor towards her room.
It wasn't that she wasn't allowed to have all the chocolate she wanted — she was the princess, after all, and what good was all the nobility and entitlement in the world if you couldn't ring the kitchens on a whim and have them whip up a comprehensive offering of delicious chocolate things — but Elsa and Kristoff had taken far too much delight in teasing her for her insatiable sweet tooth over the year that they'd lived together in the castle, and besides, there was something almost daring about sneaking through the halls with a serving tray of cakes and brownies and those little tiny chocolate things with the rich soft stuff inside that tasted so deliciously decadent that it was almost like the gastronomic equivalent of making love.
(Anna had made the mistake of making that comparison just a bit too loudly at a ball once, and Kristoff had choked on his wine and Elsa had frozen the hair at the back of her neck and fine, like they were both pure as the driven snow.)
But Elsa was busy with queen things and Kristoff was still at work, so she could just settle in and enjoy all of the questionable chocolate she wanted.
Anna hummed lightly and contentedly to herself as she reached the door to her room, her smile fading into a frown as she turned the doorknob, only for the door to hold fast.
"Locked…?" she murmured to herself, raising an eyebrow.
There was a loud clatter from behind the door, and Anna felt a wave of fear rush over her, cheeks paling, and she started to turn, to yell for the guards…
She turned slowly back to the door at the sound of Kristoff's voice, muffled and panicked behind the panel before he pushed the door open, breathless and disheveled, eyes bright, cheeks flushed as he grinned at her abashedly. "Uh, sorry," he said, by way of apology, stretching one arm across the doorway and blocking her entrance. "You, uh… you weren't supposed to be back quite yet."
Anna wasn't quite sure where she was supposed to be, this being her room and all, but Kristoff was most certainly supposed to still be up on the mountains, and she stared at him, blinking in confusion. He was freshly-scrubbed, his hair neatly brushed, and his clothes, while simple, were new and expertly-tailored, without any evidence of patching or mending.
Kristoff smiled awkwardly at her, rubbing the back of his neck. "But… um… I guess it's good enough. Yeah. I mean… not that you don't deserve more than 'good enough,' you deserve perfect, but, I mean, it is good enough, or I think it is…"
"Kristoff," Anna said slowly, shifting the tray in her hands, "what's going on?"
There was a brief flash of fear across his face, and he blushed just a shade darker as he took a deep breath and moved away from the doorway so she could see inside to her room, her eyes widening at the sight.
It was easily the most romantic tableau she'd ever seen (and she'd seen plenty… well… in her imagination, anyway). A kingdom's worth of candles burned from strategically-placed sconces, bathing the whole room in a soft, warm, hazy glow. The normal garish-pink linens on her bed had been replaced with a soft, rich-looking coverlet of white, the bedposts and canopy draped with a thin, gossamer fabric that had a subtle sheen of gold in the candlelight. A small table was set up by the oversized bay window, perfectly and elegantly set for two.
Anna nearly dropped the tray in her hands. "What… what is this?"
"Just…" Kristoff shrugged in embarrassment, running a hand through his hair. "Just a little something."
"Did you do all this by yourself?"
He laughed, crossing his arms over his broad chest and leaning back against the doorframe. "I, uh, had a little help."
"Probably be easier to say who not. Gerda, Kai, probably half the handmaidens on the castle staff… really, my contribution was kind of sitting over there…" He gestured awkwardly at the table. "…while the girls told me not to move or touch anything. I lit the candles, though."
Anna smiled at him, just a little, a keen sense of confusion still tumbling about within her. "And…" She glanced at the bed, raising an eyebrow. "…they did all this so we could…"
Kristoff followed her gaze and choked a little, waving his hands. "No," he sputtered, "nothing like that. I mean… we can if you want to, that's not a problem at all, but it wasn't the main…"
"You've definitely never gone to this much trouble just for that before," Anna said, and she couldn't help the mischievous grin that tilted at her lips.
Kristoff chuckled, just a bit self-consciously. "So…" he started, carefully taking the tray from her hands and setting it on the sideboard behind her before taking one of her hands in his. "Um…"
Anna gently rubbed the back of his hand with her thumb, gazing up at him with warm eyes. "Kristoff. Seriously. What's going on? You look like you're about two steps away from a stroke here."
He didn't answer for a long moment, reaching to curve his free hand around her cheek, brushing his thumb over her cheekbone. "I…" he faltered, dropping his gaze to stare at the polished toes of his boots. "Damn it, I had this whole thing memorized…"
A note of unease began to blossom in Anna's stomach, but she held fast to Kristoff's hand, reaching up to gently cup his chin and turn his gaze back to hers. "Hey," she said softly, "are you okay?"
"…yes. No. I don't know."
"Kristoff," Anna said, touching his shoulder, "please talk to me. It's okay."
Kristoff stared at her then, really stared at her, brown eyes intent and focused on her face, and there was something intense and inscrutable within their depths that somehow frightened and intrigued her all at once.
"Okay," he said, half to himself, taking a deep breath. "Okay."
He unclasped their hands to wrap one arm around her waist, leaning down to press a kiss to her forehead. "Anna, I just… I love you. So much. You know that, right?"
Anna laughed, nuzzling in against his chest. "Of course."
"And I think… I think I'm always going to. I want to. If… if you'll let me."
A finger of ice crept along Anna's spine at his words, and her eyes widened. He wasn't…
Kristoff pulled awkwardly away from her embrace, running a hand through her hair. "And… I know I'm not perfect, my family'll be happy to tell you all the things wrong with me in detail, in song, and I know you deserve so much more than I can give you, but…" He scrubbed a hand over his face, taking a deep breath, holding it for a long moment, before exhaling on a shaky sigh. "Anna, I…"
Anna stood frozen in place, blood running cold as he stumbled, fell awkwardly to one knee, fumbling in his pocket, cursing as one of his hands got stuck…
Arms warm and tight around her waist, hands curving around hers, gold-green eyes soft and warm in the moonlight, the rush of a waterfall behind them as they danced, beautifully, elegantly, just like in a fairytale, magical and perfect…
"Anna…" Kristoff said. "Oh God, this is… not going right…"
Can I say something crazy? And there's love in his eyes, gentle and warm and so very beautiful…
"Got it," Kristoff said, and she could barely hear him through the persistent press of the memories, hazy and faded but clear enough, sharp enough, painful enough as the day they happened…
"I love you, and…"
If only there was someone out there who loved you…
Will you marry me?
Anna fell back, one arm held protectively across her chest, the tray of chocolates scattering across the floor, and pulled her hand back from Kristoff's as if burned, eyes wide with terror, shoulders shaking, and a soft, traumatized "no" escaped her lips before she could even stop herself.
She turned away, not fast enough to miss the pained, broken look in Kristoff's eyes, the defeated hunch of his shoulders, and she stumbled and fell through the doorway before breaking into a run, down familiar hallways, down familiar stairs, not sure where she was going, but Hans's voice and smile were all around her, mocking and cruel and you were so desperate for love, willing to marry me just like that, and if only there was someone out there who loved you, someone who loved you…
Anna stopped when she found herself on a familiar balcony, fringed with twisting stalks of lilac, overlooking the kingdom in the golden glow of dusk, and she leaned over the balustrade, wrapping her arms around herself, and cried, deep and full, sinking down to her knees on the flagstones.
Why did you have to do this? she thought towards Kristoff's absent form. We were happy, weren't we?
Everything had been so perfect between them, soft glances and warm kisses and beautiful, warm stolen moments, sleigh rides through the mountains and gentle touches and meals together and sleeping side-by-side and the time he'd taken her harvesting and she'd managed to get her very first ice block, and it was small and uneven but Anna was so proud of it and Kristoff had ruffled her hair and picked her up and swung her around and told her how weird she was, but he was laughing when he said it, bright-eyed and so happy, and she'd smiled and leaned down to kiss him.
She loved Kristoff. That much she knew, had come to know it as well as she knew her own name. She loved him. And he loved her more than anything — he didn't say it all that often, but he showed it constantly, laughing and hugging her when he came home from work and brushing her hair before bed and holding her at night when the nightmares came back, vivid and awful, and he always gave her his dessert and he let her drive the sleigh even though she knew he was terrified, and he… he…
Anna brought her knees tight to her chest and dropped her forehead against them.
He's not Hans, she told herself, and her throat was tight with unshed sobs. He's not.
But the memories were still there. And… he'd been right. She had been desperate for love. She'd wanted so badly for their fairytale romance to be everything she thought it was. In the space of a few hours, she'd gone from an isolated, sheltered princess to a starry-eyed girl with a handsome man on her arm and visions of a grand, opulent wedding, of a sweeping, elegant dress, and oh, she'd have been so beautiful and he already was and it would have been so perfect, so perfect…
Unbidden, she thought, distantly of a wedding with Kristoff.
They'd make him wear a suit, and he'd be so awkward and uncomfortable, setting his shoulders into that hunched, rounded posture that he always used when he felt out of place and wanted to be less conspicuous (she could see it so clearly, from so many nights dancing with him at balls, and she'd stand on her tiptoes and wrap her arms around his shoulders and kiss him, and he always managed to smile, just a little, as long as she was with him), and he'd tug at his collar and drive the tailor crazy and oh god, he'd probably want Sven to be his best man, and how would they explain that to any visiting dignitaries… and the trolls would probably be there, hooting and hollering and embarrassing him to some great, amusing length, and he'd probably trip over his own boots as he entered the church…
Anna managed a small smile through her tears at the mental image of him, awkward and stumbling, but it faded, into something warm, distant, hazier.
Elsa could drape her in gossamer threads of ice, in sparkling sheets of snow, a bouquet of ice roses and silk ribbons held tight in her hands, and she'd be radiant in frost, eyes gleaming, because he loved ice so much, almost as much as… as…
And Elsa would escort her down the aisle, her sister's arm tight and comforting through hers as she tried not to trip over her train, because she was so clumsy and graceless and she'd be so focused on making sure that she walked straight that she wouldn't even see him, not at first…
…but then, eventually, she'd raise her head and meet his eyes.
Kristoff wouldn't be crying. He was sturdier than that, far more stoic.
But his eyes would be shining with love as he watched her walk towards him. He might even be gaping at her, just a little, in that adorably clueless way of his, oblivious and uncaring as the guests stared at him.
And he'd probably forget half his vows when the time came, and she would, too, and Sven would accidentally tip over the font or something and they'd drop the rings and the whole thing would be an absolute disaster.
But… it would be okay when the priest finally said… and when they leaned in and…
Anna raised her head from her knees, eyes wide, blood running cold at the memory of the pain in Kristoff's eyes.
I think… I'm always going to…
If you'll let me…
"…what have I done," Anna whispered, half to herself.
Her feet tangled in her skirts as she quickly stood and raced from the balcony, braids swinging, breath catching, eyes desperate and searching as she ran towards her room.
Maybe she wasn't ready quite yet.
Maybe… maybe she never would be.
But she still loved Kristoff. More than anything.
And she had to make it right.
Anna slid to a stop in front of her room, twisting her hands at the front of her skirts, biting at her lower lip. She raised one hand to knock, feeling a bit silly doing so at her own door.
"Kristoff?" she called softly, pressing her hand to the panel. "Kristoff, it… it's Anna. I'm sorry I…" She closed her eyes and rested her forehead against the door. "I was just scared. After everything that happened with…" She took a deep breath and turned the knob, opening the door and stepping inside. "I'm so sorry, Kristoff, I didn't mean…"
Her words caught in her throat as she observed her room.
It was unsettlingly dark and silent. The candles had been doused and carefully put away. Her bed was once more arrayed with its usual linens, albeit awkwardly made, and the table and chairs had disappeared.
Kristoff was nowhere to be seen.
Anna stumbled back from the door, tripping over the threshold, and pressed her hands to the doorframe, turning back to the hallway.
She perked up at the sound of footsteps, heart falling as she saw a young chambermaid turn the corner with an armful of linens.
"Excuse me," Anna said, rushing over to her side.
The maid squeaked in surprise and attempted to curtsey while balancing her load. "Princess Anna," she said, inclining her head.
"Have you seen Kristoff?" Anna asked, a bit desperately.
"I… Mr. Bjorgman?" the maid asked, blinking owlishly.
Yes, dammit, how many Kristoffs live here? she thought in a panic, suppressing the urge to shake the maid by her small shoulders. "Yes! Do you know where he is?"
"I… can't say that I do."
"You can't say or you don't know?" Anna's shoulders sagged, and she turned open, pleading eyes to the girl. "Please. I need to find him."
The maid gave her an apologetic half-smile. "I'm truly sorry, milady, but I don't know where he is. You might check with Gerda, hardly a mouse scurries about in the castle that she doesn't know about it."
She'd barely finished speaking before Anna took off running past her, eyes searching the halls, the stairs, every inch of castle she passed through as she made her way to the servants' quarters.
Gerda didn't know where he was.
Neither did Kai, when she nearly tripped over him and shouted her question as she raced past the library.
She went to the kitchens, asked the cooks, the serving girls. Went to the laundress, the cleaning staff. Went to the stables and asked the groomsmen (and, in a moment of desperation, she ran down to Sven's stall and even asked the reindeer if he knew where Kristoff was, but Sven merely snuffled against her side comfortingly and snorted something, but she couldn't begin to interpret his strange reindeer noises without Kristoff, and if she had Kristoff to translate then she would have Kristoff, period, and… well).
By the time Anna slowly trudged back to her room, barely holding her tears in check, she'd asked half the castle staff.
No one had seen Kristoff.
She began to wonder if she ever would again, and the thought was so painful that it seemed to stab through her like a hot knife, twisting deep in her chest, and she almost stumbled over the cool, regal figure standing in wait by her bedroom door.
"Anna," Elsa said gently, reaching out to take her hand, "are you okay?"
Anna's bottom lip quivered, and all the strength and bravery she'd donned for the sake of the staff, of the barest adherence to the grace and nobility of her position, seemed to bleed out of her, and she threw her arms around Elsa's neck and cried damply into the blue-ice shoulder of her gown.
"I," Anna managed between hiccuping sobs, "ruined," sob, "everything."
"What happened?" Elsa asked in a comforting voice, holding her tight. "Here, come on now." She guided Anna so they were sitting side-by-side on floor, backs to the wall. "How did you ruin everything?"
Anna wiped her nose on her sleeve, wincing slightly. "Kristoff… asked me to marry him," she said, voice rough and shaky from crying. "Or, well… he started to, I don't even know if he finished because…" She brought her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms tight around them, curling in on herself. "All I could think of was… was…"
"Hans." Elsa's voice was soft, quiet, almost to herself. She closed her eyes and sighed. "Anna. It's not the same."
"You can't know that," Anna said stubbornly, and she knew she sounded petulant but she'd had a really, really hard day. Or, well… hour.
Elsa shrugged lightly, conjuring a small swirl of snowflakes in her palm. "I can't," she said, truthfully. "No one can. I can't tell you if it's the right thing to marry Kristoff or the wrong thing, I can't tell you if he'll hurt you, I can't tell you if you're making the right decision, whatever your decision ultimately is."
Anna lifted her head from her knees and regarded Elsa balefully. "You're going to get to the part where you actually help me soon, aren't you?"
Elsa's lips quirked into a small smile. "What I can tell you," she said softly, "is that Kristoff is not Hans. And you know that."
Anna dropped her head back to her knees, stubbornly silent.
"Anna," Elsa said, cupping her cheek and forcing her to meet her eyes, "I know you're scared. And I… I know what it's like to be scared. To be afraid of not knowing. And I'm not telling you what to do. But…" She faltered, the snowflakes in her palm melting into a soft sheen of ice against her skin. "…I don't want you to miss out on something… something that could make you happy, something important just because you're afraid." She hesitated before drawing Anna into a hug. "You were always so much better at that than I was."
"You had so much more to be afraid of," Anna said quietly, closing her eyes and hugging Elsa tight.
"And I nearly lost so much more because of it," Elsa countered in a gentle voice, pulling back and looking at Anna meaningfully. "Anna… I'm not saying you have to marry him, today, tomorrow, or ever. But whatever decision you make… make sure it's what you really want. No matter what happens, if Kristoff is the man I think he is, he'll understand. "
Anna regarded Elsa for a long moment before taking a deep, shuddery breath and nodding. "I think so, too," she said quietly. "I really do love him, Elsa."
"I know. And… I truly think you two are good for each other. Doubtless you're two of the only people around who can put up with each other on a long-term basis." She gently tugged one of Anna's braids with a small smile. "Now would you please talk this through like adults before you drive the rest of us mad?"
"I would if I could find him," Anna said, just a touch irritably. "I've been all over the castle, I've asked half the staff, nobody knows where he is."
"Well," Elsa said lightly, "I can't imagine he's in the happiest of moods right now."
"That'd make two of us."
Elsa closed her eyes and laughed, just a little. "He's in my study," she said finally, smiling lightly at Anna's wide-eyed stare. "I ran into him shortly after you ran out… or, more accurately, he ran into me. And half the objets d'art in the hall."
Anna felt her heart turn over in her chest. "Was… was he okay?"
Elsa paused for a moment. "I think he was…" She frowned slightly, searching for the proper words. "…a bit disoriented. He was just kind of stumbling about and running into things. I took him to my study, made him a cup of tea."
"Kristoff doesn't drink tea."
"I don't think he even knew what it was. He was just kind of… staring."
"Did…" Anna twisted her hands in her skirts, avoiding Elsa's gaze. "…did you guys… talk about it?"
"…what did he say?"
Elsa glanced up, gently nudging Anna's shoulder. "Maybe you should ask him yourself," she said quietly, rising to her feet.
Anna felt her heart constrict painfully at the sight of a familiar pair of boots dragging along the rich carpeting of the hallway.
"Queen Elsa," she heard Kristoff say, and she wanted to cry at the empty, hollow sound of his voice.
"Just Elsa," Elsa responded. She glanced down at Anna before reaching up to wrap a sisterly arm around Kristoff's shoulders. "It'll be okay," she said quietly, and Anna didn't know if it was intended for him, her, or both of them.
"Thanks," Kristoff said, and Anna hazarded a glance up at him through her lashes.
It hadn't even been an hour, and already the polished, neatly-scrubbed man who had awkwardly fallen to one knee before her, eyes shining with love, had been replaced by her familiarly-scruffy ice harvester, his hair mussed, clad in his usual worn, patched clothing. His eyes were red, and he was clearly pretending not to notice.
He didn't say anything as Elsa disappeared down the hall, lingering a moment in the doorway to her study before slipping inside, gently shutting the door behind her.
The silence grew between them, deep and heavy and awkward.
"…hi," Anna finally offered, resting her head on her arms against her knees and glancing up at him.
"…hi," Kristoff said, crossing his arms over his chest and absently scuffing the toe of one boot against the carpet.
Anna started to pull herself to her feet and stumbled, just a moment, and she saw Kristoff start to reach out to steady her before pulling back, eyes pained and conflicted, and she nearly burst into tears.
"Are you that afraid of me now?" she asked, voice little more than a whisper.
Kristoff sighed and scrubbed a hand across his face. "Not afraid," he said, and his voice was heavy and tired. "Just… everything was supposed to be…" He attempted a smile for her, but it was weak and half-hearted. "It's been a rough day."
"I know," Anna said quietly. She reached out her hand towards his, hesitated, her fingers just barely brushing over his palm, and she felt a rush of comforting warmth in her chest when he took them in a light hold.
Wordlessly, she turned the knob to her room and guided him inside, gently shutting the door behind them. "Kristoff… I'm…"
"I'm so sorry, Anna," Kristoff blurted out, and Anna turned to him, heart turning over at the pained, repentant look in his eyes. "I should never have… I know that it's hard for you, that you're scared after everything that happened with that…" His features darkened slightly, just for a moment, before he shook his head and continued. "I shouldn't have pushed you."
Anna leaned back against the door, worrying her lip between her teeth, absently dragging one fingernail against the woodgrain of the door. "It's okay," she said quietly. "It's not… I mean, it's what couples do. Eventually."
"Yeah." Kristoff laughed, humorlessly. "Sometimes, anyway."
Anna dug her toes into the carpet, suddenly unable to meet his eyes. "…I'm sorry," she said. "I know you went to… so much trouble."
Kristoff rubbed the back of his neck. "I mean… not that much trouble," he said, awkwardly. "I just… if it was what you wanted, it…" He sighed, shoulders sagging. "I just wanted it to be perfect for you. You deserve that much, at least. More."
Anna nodded, eyes inscrutable. "Are… are you mad at me because I…"
She started as Kristoff curved one hand around her cheek, forcing her to meet his gaze. "Anna," he said, voice thick, "I never, ever want you to feel like you have to do anything. We don't… you don't…" He closed his eyes and sighed. "…I swear, no matter what I do, everything's just coming out wrong today."
"Just say it, then," Anna said quietly, staring up at him, tears pushing at the corners of her eyes. "Whatever it is."
Kristoff opened his eyes, and her breath caught in her throat at the open adoration in them as he stared at her. "I…" he faltered, shaking his head as if to clear it. "Anna… I just want you to be happy. Whatever I have to do to make that happen. If you want to get married, if you don't, if you want to live in sin for the rest of our lives, if you never want to see me again…" He hesitated before leaning down to kiss her, very gently, pulling back and resting his forehead against hers.
"You deserve so much better," he said, and the words were so soft she had to strain to hear them, "and I'm… never going to be a prince and I'm always going to be a day or two off a bath and I'm still going to share Sven's carrots…"
"I've told you so many times how gross that is."
Kristoff managed a laugh and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "…but it's not about me. It's whatever you want. Just tell me what you want, and I'll do it. Always. No matter what it is. Okay?"
Anna couldn't speak, her mind rushing hot and fast with emotion, and she just nodded, trembling, her eyes held fast to his as she leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed him, warmth spreading through her chest, down her limbs and to her fingertips, tingling pleasantly, and she tilted her head and kissed him harder.
The memories hovered at the fringes of her memory, bordered shadows, if only there was someone out there who
it's not about me
so desperate for love
whatever you want, always
someone who loved
just want you to be
I think I understand it now, Anna thought to herself, shoulders shaking as she started crying, tears slipping down her cheeks, and she was torn halfway between a swell of laughter and a sob as she twined her arms around Kristoff's neck and held him tight. I think I understand.
Kristoff pulled back after a long moment, nuzzling her cheek. "So," he said, offering her a lopsided smile, "things, uh, didn't go exactly according to plan, but we can always try to salvage the night. Want to head up into the mountains for a moonlit sleigh ride?"
Anna was still crying, only half-registering his words as she stared at him, crying and smiling all at once.
"Yes," she said in an unsteady voice.
Kristoff smiled at her and kissed her forehead, tugging out of her embrace. "Okay," he said, straightening his tunic. "Sven could really use a good hoof-cleaning, but he should be all right for a quick trip there and back. Meet you down in the courtyard in fifteen minutes?"
"…no," Anna said, hands clutched tight to her mouth.
Kristoff raised an eyebrow at her. "Wait… no?"
"No," Anna repeated, shaking her head. "Yes."
"No… yes," Kristoff repeated, staring at her. "Anna, sweetheart, it's been kind of a l…" He stopped, arms limp at his side, staring at her with wide, disbelieving eyes. "…yes," he repeated, flatly. "Wait…" He breathed in, then out, eyes bright.
"…yes?" he said, voice hushed.
"Yes," Anna intoned, folding her hands over her mouth, laughing and crying and nodding. "Yes."
Kristoff stared at her for a moment, and as she watched the slow turn of emotions across his face, from disbelief, to hesitation, then to pure, open, unadulterated joy , Anna was sure it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
She laughed as Kristoff stumbled and quickly took her up in his arms, up off her feet, pressing elated kisses to her lips, her forehead, her eyelids, her hair, her shoulders, anywhere and everywhere.
"Yes?" he repeated, voice still disbelieving, the voice of a man whose life wish was suspended just inches from his grasp.
"Yes," Anna said again, and she wrapped her arms as tightly around him as she could as Kristoff tucked his face in against the juncture of her neck and shoulder, tangling his hands in her hair, desperately wrapped around her, his broad shoulders shaking, the bright sound of his laughter twining with hers, his tears mingling with hers as he leaned up to kiss her, full and deep.
A year later, as Anna stood in the church, wrapped in ice and snow, tears glittering behind her veil, cheeks aching from the fullness of her radiant smile, Elsa's hand cool and comforting against her arm, it was almost exactly as she'd imagined it.
Except for one thing.
When Kristoff saw her for the first time as she carefully stepped down the aisle, resplendent in ice, her eyes turned soft and loving to his, he did cry.