Disclaimer: Still not mine.

Kristoff had been joking that first day when he told Anna that Rapunzel was probably just like her, but as far as he can tell? He hadn't been far off the mark.

Rapunzel is sweet, and kind, and a spaz, just like he'd said. But she's also tiny and freckled and makes friends wherever she goes. She has a bit of a mouth on her, and she gets passionate about the strangest things, and leaps before she looks. It's kind of uncanny, really.

At first he'd wondered if maybe he was just uninformed, and all princesses were as uninhibited and fun, but it only took the thought of Olaf's receiving line to remember that wasn't at all the case. Some of those girls made Elsa seem breezy and easygoing by comparison.

So maybe it's just the kinds of princesses who grew up alone that appeal to him. The kind who would go on adventures, or marry commoners.

Not that Eugene is common, exactly.

Not that he's thinking about marrying Anna.

The point is that he likes Rapunzel, and he likes Eugene. The past week with them has been great, and he's starting to think he's going to really miss their company once they've gone.

But none of that means that he wants to bring the Prince Consort of Corona with him on his first ice harvesting trip in weeks.

"Kristoff, come on," Anna says for like the fifth time, and if Eugene's so keen to go up into the mountains, why isn't he arguing his case?

Oh right. Because Anna's a crazy person.

"Absolutely not. What I do is dangerous," he says, stepping around her as he packs up all the new gear Anna bought him. She didn't just replace what burnt, she got him top-of-the-line quality… everything. He's never owned anything this nice. He tries to focus on that, on the shine of the metal and the smell of new leather.

"But he's been cooped up in castles for so long—"

"That's what I'm afraid of. He's a royal, okay, ice harvesting isn't something people can just do."

"He was Flynn Rider!"

"You can't steal ice!"

He doesn't know how it came to this. An hour ago they were having a perfectly nice dinner, but when he'd answered Elsa's totally innocent So, what are you doing tomorrow, Kristoff? with the truth, it was like all hell broke loose. He wasn't trying to challenge anyone's masculinity, but apparently Eugene felt threatened or whatever, or Anna thought he should, and then when Kristoff tried to bail Anna followed him down to the stables. He doesn't even know. Somehow, this is his life now.

"That was a low blow," Anna says. "Eugene is a good guy."

"I never said he wasn't."

"Then why won't you let him go with you?"

Kristoff tugs at his hair. "We've been over this a half dozen times already. Why is this so important you?"

"Because I'm worried about you!" Anna shouts, and—wait, what?

He blinks at her, and though she's breathing hard, nostrils flaring in anger, she doesn't seem like she's about to take it back. "You're… worried about me," he repeats, the words feeling strange on his tongue.


"Anna…" he starts slowly, testing his thoughts before he voices them, "Yeah, working the ice is dangerous, but I don't need a babysitter watching out for me. I promise I'll be safe."

Some of the anger seeps out of her, but it gets replaced by frustration as she rolls her eyes at him. "Not that kind of worried, dummy. I'm—what I mean is that I want to make sure that you're… that you have friends. Because you don't have, like. Any. And hey, I'm one to talk, I've never had friends either, but if we have the same friends that works out worse for you than it does for me, because you're just surrounded by girls all the time. You should have guy friends."

"Sven's a guy."

"Sven is a reindeer. Sven can't stand up and be your best man at our wedding!"

Kristoff's eyes go wide as dinner plates, but that's nothing compared to the shock Anna seems to have given herself. "Wha…?"

"I. I mean. Your wedding. To anyone. Not me." If anything, hearing that come out of her own mouth seems to make her panic even more. "Not that it couldn't be me, but I'm so not ready to get married, like so not ready. Not that I think you're ready to get married, I just—I, um—"

It takes about three steps to close the gap between them, and when he bends down to kiss her because it's the only thing he can think of to shut her up, her returning hum is so grateful he thinks she's been waiting for someone to do that for years. He has to really slouch to keep their foreheads rested together when he pulls away, but the ache in his back is worth it.

"I'm not lonely," he tells her, because he's never had this before—someone worried about him like that. Not a human someone, anyway, and… okay, he's starting to see her point.

She runs a small hand up his chest, pulling away to look him in the eye. "Yes, you are," she says, the expression on her face impossibly understanding. "I just… I just want you to be around people who want good things for you."

He thinks about her face when she said Nice duet, and how she didn't even know him but she bought carrots for Sven anyway. He thinks about the way Eugene sometimes rubs at his ribs when he thinks Rapunzel isn't looking, and… well, he's got to start trusting people eventually.

"Fine," he grumbles, "he can come. But if he falls through the ice I'm blaming you."

"I'll take that deal," Anna sniffs, turning her nose up all I told you so, so he tickles her until she cuts out the princess act.

(Later, he walks her to her door just to say goodnight, and when she dreams, she dreams of Kristoff moving warm and heavy above her.)

The next morning dawns bright and hot, and Kristoff tries to ignore the trickle of sweat running down his back as he loads up the last of his gear. He may be overheating now, but once he gets into the mountains he'll be glad he dressed in extra layers.

"Do you have to go?" Anna asks, draping herself over the seat of his sled in the most obnoxious way possible. He'd get annoyed, but he thinks he used up all of his annoyed last night, and there's something in her eyes that tells him that despite the tone she's taking, the question is honest.

"It's July, Anna," he says gently. "People need ice."

"Not anymore. We have Elsa now."

He sits down next to her, whistling low. "Wow. Just like that, I'm out of a job."

"You're good at other stuff besides ice harvesting," Anna says, twisting around to face him better.

"Oh yeah? Like what."

"Like…" she pauses for a moment, and his chest does a skip-jump of combined affection and dread as he wonders what she'll come up with; if she can even come up with anything at all. "Ooh, like lute playing! You could be the town troubadour. You have a lovely singing voice."

He flushes. "I only sing for Sven. And besides, Elsa wouldn't have named me Chief Ice Guy—"

"Ice Master and Deliverer, thank you very much."

"—if she was just going to make the whole kingdom's ice herself. Her ice is magic. How do we know it's safe to drink? What if it hurts someone?"

"Well, that would be easy enough to find out…"

"And who's going to be the test subject?" he asks, raising an eyebrow. "You?"

Anna frowns. "Okay, okay, I see your point. But… do you really have to go?"

"I'll be back in a few days. You'll be fine, you have Elsa and Rapunzel to keep you company."

"And you'll have Eugene," she says, sounding more like she's reminding herself than him.

"Not if Eugene dies of heatstroke before we leave the courtyard," a voice grumps from behind them, and when they both turn around Anna has to slap both hands over her mouth to keep from laughing.

It seems that someone—probably Rapunzel, who's standing beside him and looking at him like he's her own personal dress-up doll—took the whole it's cold in the mountains thing very seriously. It would be a miracle if Eugene can even see out of the tiny eyehole left to him between his high scarf and low hood, and it looks like he can't rest his arms comfortably at his sides.

"Nice outfit," Kristoff deadpans, and Eugene points an accusatory finger at him.

"Don't start."

"I'm not starting anything, I'm approving. I did tell you to dress warmly."

Anna moves to get down from the seat, but manages to completely miss the little footplate she's supposed to step on and tumbles forward. For a split second, her world is whirling uncertainty—and then she's caught by strong, steady hands.

"Gotcha," Rapunzel says, hair falling into her eyes, and Anna's heart pounds from the adrenaline of the near-fall.

"Thanks," Anna breathes.

"Okay, okay, let's get this show on the road," Eugene says, climbing up to take Anna's place. "Mush."

Kristoff makes a face. "You say that to dogs, not reindeer."

"Nuance," Eugene shrugs, and then with a flick of Sven's reins, they're off.

Anna's mouth falls open as they ride away, because she was supposed to say to be careful, she was supposed to tell him she'd be waiting for him, and she didn't even manage to get out a goodbye. She waves until the sled is just a speck on the horizon, and then not even that, because the last time Kristoff left her to go into the mountains she died, so it's just—it's a little—well. It's a lot, actually.

"So," Rapunzel says, pulling Anna back to reality. "Now what?"

Now what turns out to be a lot of things. They drop down by the docks to see how the repairs to Rapunzel's ship are going, and then, inspired, decide to examine Elsa's makeshift extensions and additions to the castle. The ice is only temporary, until they can actually rebuild the parts that had crumbled into rubble under the brunt of Elsa's winter, so Anna figures now's the time.

It's kind of amazing how Elsa was able to replace every parapet and rafter in exact replica, from memory. Even more amazing that she can sustain it without thinking about it—even as she sleeps. Anna can't even walk and talk simultaneously sometimes, but here Elsa is maintaining Olaf's flurry and literally holding their home together while actually being queen.

"Cold, cold, cold…" Rapunzel whimpers as they explore what used to be the east wing study, tiptoeing gingerly. Anna grins, grateful for the distraction from her thoughts. She's never the rational one.

"See, this is why most people wear shoes," she jokes, nudging Rapunzel with her shoulder.

"I like knowing what's under my feet," she says, and the simple wisdom of it kind of throws Anna for a loop. "This is amazing, though."

Anna shrugs. "This is nothing. You should have seen her palace."

"It's not still there?"

"Um… I dunno, actually. I guess I just assumed Elsa thawed it when we brought back summer, but maybe she didn't. Ooh, I could take you! Except we'd need Kristoff to be our guide, I don't think I know the way without him."

"Why couldn't Elsa be our guide?" Rapunzel asks. "She obviously figured it out the first time."

"Please, Elsa? Please, please, please?" Anna begs.

Elsa sips her soup perhaps a tad more forcefully than necessary. "Anna, I have a kingdom to run. Much as I may like to, I can't just dash off into the mountains whenever I feel like it."

"So you would like to," is all Anna seems to hear, and Elsa rolls her eyes.

"Of course I would. But that's not the only thing to consider."

"Why not? I mean, look at the amazing things you can do. You could probably whip up a snow-Elsa to run the kingdom for a day and nobody would even notice."

"Awwwh, Olaf could have a girlfriend!" Rapunzel chimes in.

Elsa smiles despite herself. "Maybe before we do any of that, we should focus on getting this castle back to the way it used to be. I haven't even looked into hiring carpenters yet."

"Okay…" Anna says, folding this information into her world order, and Elsa can practically see the cogs turning behind her eyes. "Why don't we do the rebuilding ourselves?"

Elsa doesn't know where she expected Anna to take this conversation, but it wasn't there. "Wait, what?"

"I mean, not all of it, there's obviously stuff I don't know about engineering that we'd need a consultant for, but like—think about it! All of the workmen in the city are already working on The Waking Sky, so—"

"The waking sky?"

"It's what I'm calling Rapunzel's ship," Anna handwaves. "Seeing as we're basically making it again from scratch, I thought it should get a new name. Catchy, right? Anyway, all the people who could be working on the castle are already working on the boat."

"That's—they're different skills, that's not even remotely true."

"That's not a no," Anna points out in sing-song.

"That's because I'm not saying no," Elsa says. "As long as you promise to get a professional to help you, I'm happy to put you in charge of the rebuilding efforts."

"Really?" Anna squeaks, and then there's a scrape of wood against stone as she pushes herself out of her chair and launches herself at Elsa for a hug. "Thank you!"

"It's your home. Our home. It only makes sense for you to oversee the repairs, especially since you—" Elsa stops, swallowing, arms still around her sister. "You probably know the castle better than anyone. Just promise me you won't try and do it alone."

"Of course not! And either way, I'll have Rapunzel to help me. Right?"

Rapunzel beams. "Oh, yes! And I've actually studied architecture before. When I was fifteen I went through this phase where I built a lot of miniature models for Pascal—I got pretty good at it. I don't have the books anymore, but I'm sure in your library there's all sorts of things."

"See?" Anna says. "We don't even need—"

"That was not the deal," Elsa says, shutting Anna's thought down before she can even complete it, but Anna shrugs it off with a smile.

"Do you think Elsa would let me paint in one of the rebuilt rooms? If we're already doing a total redesign, why not go all out?"

They were supposed to retire to their chambers after dinner, but Rapunzel'd slipped into Anna's bedroom in her nightgown a half hour later, head full of ideas. She paces by the window, apparently too energized to sit. Anna, amused, watches her from the bed. "Even if she says no, I think we should paint it anyway."

Rapunzel pauses. "What? No. I don't want to make her mad."

"Why would she be mad? They're just walls. If we hate it she can wallpaper over it like every other room in this freaking castle. I say we should have some fun."

"You've never even seen me paint; for all you know I'm terrible."

"You? Pffff, not even," Anna says, but when Rapunzel doesn't reply, eyes distant, she frowns. "Hey. Are you okay?"

Rapunzel blinks. "Yeah, fine."

"It's just that you were staring," Anna points out, and Rapunzel immediately averts her eyes, as if that could undo it. "What were you staring at?"

Rapunzel stares at the floor guiltily, rubbing her bare feet together. "Your hair?"

"My hair?" Anna repeats, lost. "Why?"

"Well, I—because—my hair used to be…" Rapunzel can't seem to finish that thought, so she lets it go and starts a new one. "Would it be okay if I brushed it, for a bit? I used to do that to calm down, but mine's so short now, and it's just not the same."

"Of course! Is that what you were so worried about? Yeesh, c'mere," Anna says, patting the spot next to her. Rapunzel obediently walks forward and takes her seat on the bed while Anna scoots around so her back is to the headboard, and bows her head. Rapunzel deftly unties the ribbons of her plaits and starts smoothing down the strands.

"Your hair is beautiful," Rapunzel says, voice low and musical. "Do you always braid it yourself?"

"Mostly," Anna shrugs.

"Only mostly?"

"If it's something complicated, Gerda will do it for me. Elsa taught me to braid when we were small, but now she doesn't… we don't…" Anna trails off, but it's not sadness Rapunzel detects in her tone. Just hesitation.

Having totally worked out the old twists of the braids, Rapunzel lifts Anna's hair off her neck with gentle hands, and begins to work through it with the brush. "You two seem really close."

"We do?" The hope in Anna's voice is unmistakable.

"Well, yeah. I always wondered what it would be like to have a sister."

"Hey, don't feel bad about it. For a long time I did, too."

The brush stills. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean—"

"No, it's okay. I'm over it. I mean, not over it, over it, but—it's better now. So that's good. I'm okay, really."

Rapunzel resumes brushing, but her fingers seem more gentle now, even more tentative than they'd been. "People aren't meant to be locked up," she finally says.

Anna slumps a little. "No, we aren't."

For a while, the room is quiet but for the soft whispering sound of the brush.

When Rapunzel speaks again, her voice is strangely hoarse, like she'd forgotten how to talk in the interim. "Do you want me to leave it down, or should I braid it again for you?" she asks, then clears her throat.

"Um. Whichever you want," Anna breathes, swaying a little to the push and pull of Rapunzel's hands in her hair. It sounds like she's falling asleep.

"Then I'll leave it. Are you tired?"

"Me? Heck no," Anna mumbles, words slurring slightly. "I could wrestle a bear. And besides, this sleepover's only just getting started." She crab-walks backwards until she's sitting beside Rapunzel instead of in front of her, and leans back against the pillows. "So, what do you want to talk about?" she asks, with enough light in her eyes that Rapunzel wonders if she just dreamed their sleepy conversation.

"Um…" Rapunzel's never seen Anna with her hair completely down before; it makes her look different. Older, maybe. "I don't know, now all I can think about is wrestling bears."


Rapunzel reflects back on the last thirty seconds, feeling like she's missed something. "Wait. Sleepover?"

"Uh, yeah. I mean. If you want to?"

"I've never had a sleepover before. Unless you count Eugene."

"Do you braid his hair, too?"

"No, he wouldn't let me," Rapunzel complains, and Anna bursts out laughing.

That night, Anna dreams of running away from Elsa at the coronation, of getting bumped into from the side by an unknowing duke, but instead of Hans with his too-smooth Glad I caught you, it's Rapunzel holding her hand and keeping her upright. Messy brown hair falling into green eyes.

When she wakes there's a warm body wrapped around her, and a heartbeat against her back.

She snuggles in deeper and falls back asleep.

So it turns out that they actually have a Chief Architect on the royal payroll, which makes Anna's life, like, way easier. Sure he's somewhere around a billion years old and hasn't had to design anything in at least half that time, but he exists and that's what matters.

"Why is this drawn like this?" Rapunzel asks, examining the blueprints.

Okay, so it could be going better.

"Begging your pardon, your Highness, but—drawn like what?" the chief architect (his name is Rolf, but chief architect just sounds so much more fun and official) asks, distracted as he measures the width of a hole in the wall. Anna sits by the door and tries not to get in the way, but Rapunzel's frowning.

"With the load-bearing arches."

"Oh! To match the rest of the castle. Even when we redid the interiors for King Baldur a few decades back, we kept the structure the same. The Royal House of Arendelle has stood on these same stones for centuries."

"But that's not safe," Rapunzel says. She gesticulates around her, indicating the ice and open air. "I mean, obviously."

He turns to look at her, blinking owlishly behind his thick glasses. "Yes, but—it has to match."

"No it doesn't. Why would you build it worse than you know how to?"

"If I change this, I'll need to rip up the floors, take out the walls and change everything."

"So… change everything." Rapunzel says, like it's that simple.

From where Anna stands, she doesn't see why it can't be.

(Elsa doesn't bother them about getting outside help again after that.)

The hardest part is surveying all of the damage. The upstairs hallways and the outer fortifications ringing the courtyard are one thing, but revisiting the dungeon cell Hans had shackled Elsa in, the lounge off the south wing where he'd left Anna to die… they'll do those rooms last, Anna thinks, and nobody can blame them for that.

And in the meantime, Rapunzel makes it fun. She makes up little songs for them to sing as they work, and she lets Anna use the saw which is so cool—she's only nicked her finger once, and it was barely even a scratch, which has to be some sort of record—and honestly, Anna just kind of enjoys the manual labor. Maybe that's not very princess-y of her, but she likes the idea of making things with her own hands, of not sitting back and letting other people decide how her home is supposed to be. And Rapunzel totally gets that.

She also gets that sometimes, breaks are super necessary.

"Which one is your favorite?" Rapunzel asks, as they tour the art gallery for probably the fifth time since they met.

Anna looks at her in alarm. "Jeez, I dunno, it would be like picking children. I can't just—what kind of favorite?"


"Like, the one I think is painted with the most skill? The one I think is prettiest? I need categories, here."

Rapunzel smiles. "Okay. Which one means the most to you?"

Anna doesn't hesitate; she grabs Rapunzel's hand and drags her towards the west end of the hall. "This one. Joan of Arc."


"Well I mean, look at her," Anna says gesturing broadly at the sword and shield. "When I was younger, it was just because she seemed so ready to face the world. She's got her armor, she's got her horse: she's set. None of the other women in any of these paintings looked like that, and I guess I just… wanted some of that fierceness for myself. And then I learned that she was real, and I studied up on her, and I kind of fell in love."

"How come?" Rapunzel moves to sit on the chaise longue beneath the portrait; Anna throws herself into it with practiced ease. "What was she like?"

"She was unstoppable. She was like this teenage warrior-nun—I mean, not that she was a nun, can you imagine?—who… she could do anything. She ended a war in a week. She could topple empires or sass snooty judges or, o-or save lost princesses," she stutters. "I wanted to be just like her. But, y'know, she died before age twenty, so maybe that was a bad plan. Didn't think that one out."

Rapunzel's eyes are wide. "How—why did she die?"

Anna swallows. "They burned her. Because she wore boys' clothes, and she… believed. In herself, and in a better world, and no matter what anybody said, she wouldn't back down. And. And they killed her for it. Which is, y'know, awful, but I still think that's better than the other option. She never, ever broke."

"You realize you're describing yourself, right?" Rapunzel says, voice is warm and affectionate.

"What? Naw. She's—I could never—"

Rapunzel rests her hand on top of Anna's, squeezing her fingers. "But you did."

I would never shut you out, Hans had said, while he pulled that same move with her hands, and a bubble of panic rises suddenly in Anna's throat. It's not the same, Rapunzel obviously isn't trying to seduce her—forget that, Rapunzel's not a murderous liar—but no matter how hard her brain screams that, her body just won't listen. There's a rushing noise in her ears and she can't feel her fingers and somehow through all the din her mouth decides now's the time to ask, "Why are you being so nice to me?"

"I… what?" Rapunzel says, and Anna doesn't blame her, because there's no actual response to that, what is wrong with her—

"I'm sorry, I just—I have to. Go," she says, before all but sprinting out of the gallery, because she can't breathe, she can't breathe, she can't breathe.

The first time Rapunzel's mother—her actual mother, the queen—pointed out that she was mumbling and asked her to speak clearly, she'd had a complete meltdown. Even though she'd known it wasn't meant the same way, all she'd been able to hear was Gothel's voice, mocking her.

That's what she thinks about as she wanders the stacks in the library for a book about Joan of Arc; what she thinks about as she digs around the staff cellar for paints. She's been where Anna is now, where words can suddenly infect you like poison when you least expect them to. It's only in the last few months that she's been able to actually talk to people, free from the constant fear of someone dredging up a memory of her tower. For a while, she thought she'd never get here.

She only wishes she knew what she'd said that upset Anna so much.

They don't have any canvasses lying around, but then—she's never been one for convention. And anyway, she'd seen all sorts of scrap lumber in the icy east wing study, the remains of desks and tables lost in the snowstorm. She finds a piece of wood about the length of her arm and drags it back to her bedroom, carrying three books from the library with her.

Rapunzel flips through page after page of heroic feats and historic stand-offs, and tries to find Anna in the stories.

She paints.

Nobody's using the stool in the barn, but Anna finds she still prefers the safety and comfort of her hay nest.

It feels like it took hours for her heart rate to slow back to something approaching normal, but that can't be right, can it? Her head is a mess, thoughts racing from one panicked conclusion to the next as she tries to figure out what's going on with her.

Why are you being so nice to me?

Sure, Kristoff had been prickly at first, and yeah, she'd gotten used to Elsa being brisk at best over the years, but—but her first reaction to kindness shouldn't be to freak out. Hans can't possibly be the only person who was consistently nice to her. (Until, of course, he wasn't.)

She glances forlornly at what she's already come to think of as Sven's stall, wishing Kristoff were here. From the next stall over, her own horse huffs at her, as if he knows he's no longer her favorite steed.

"Don't look at me like that, Magnus," she orders, pointing her finger at him. "You ran away from me, remember?" He snorts.

"I'm not looking at you like anything," she interprets, but it's just not the same.

Rapunzel's door is wide open when Anna's finally gotten herself together enough to go looking for her, and Anna tries not to read into it. She still knocks on the frame to announce her presence before she walks in.

"Come in! I—oh! Oh, hi. I—um. You know, I can be meaner, if you want," is the first thing Rapunzel says when she realizes who's in the room with her.

Anna opens her mouth to make some kind of witty retort, but the words die on her lips as she stares past Rapunzel to see what the other princess had been working on.

"… Is that me?"

"Yes? Or maybe Joan of Arc. I'm not sure," Rapunzel mumbles, before stepping aside to let Anna have a better look at the painting. "It sort of started out as one and then turned into the other. Is… do you like it? It's not done, or anything, I just—"

"It's amazing," Anna gasps, stepping closer. The style is—loose, free in a way Anna's never really seen before, and Anna's seen a lot of art in her day. Nobody uses color like Rapunzel does. But the slope of her own nose, the distribution of her freckles, are unmistakable. "This is insane. You're, like, crazy good."

Rapunzel smiles, wide and honest. "Thank you."

Anna tucks her hair behind her ear. "And I don't want you to be meaner. I don't even know why I reacted like that."

"I'm sorry I upset you."

"No, don't even be. I'm totally okay now."

"You say that a lot," Rapunzel points out, and like—well, yeah.

"Can I watch while you work?" Anna asks, and if Rapunzel notices that she's deflecting, she has the grace to not make too much of a face about it.

"You're distracting me."

Anna pouts. "Me? I'm not even doing anything."

"You're staring."

"I'm watching. You said I could!"

"Well you're making me nervous!"

"What's there to be nervous about? If I wanted to make you nervous, I'd do this," Anna says, before hauling herself off the bed and standing at Rapunzel's shoulder. "See? Totally creepy."

"I'm ignoring you," Rapunzel says, focusing intently on adding just the right shade of cyan to Anna-Joan's eyes.

"Seriously? Come on," Anna whines, before sighing dramatically.

Rapunzel squeaks and jerks away at the unexpected air at her neck, painting a long, uneven blue slash across her otherwise-flawless work in progress.

For a long moment, no one speaks.

"Rapunzel, oh my gosh, I am so, so sorry," Anna babbles, backing away slowly, but Rapunzel only smiles, following step for step.

"No, don't be, I was just trying to capture your likeness!" Rapunzel says, and then there's a flash of blue and the sensation of wet and Rapunzel just painted on her face.

Anna's eyes narrow. "Oh, you are so paying for that."

"Prove it," Rapunzel dares, and the next five minutes blur into a haze of color and laughter.

Anna always figured that the lesson with Joan was When people tell you who they are, believe them. And she thinks maybe that messed her up for a long time, because every time she tried it kind of got her into a lot of trouble. But… maybe she was right the first time.

It's just that they don't always tell you with words.

"Give up?" Rapunzel asks, chest heaving as she holds her palette up like a shield. They're in a standoff, the writing desk and stack of books Rapunzel'd been using as an easel between them. Anna's best move would be to take the painting and run, or maybe throw it, but like—blue streak aside it's really good, and could probably be saved if they'd bother to stop fighting and focus. (Like that's going to happen.)

Anna breaks right, hoping to make it to the door, but trips on the edge of Rapunzel's blanket, which she'd pulled from the bed in an earlier attempt to protect herself. Before she can scramble up Rapunzel's on top of her, their ankles awkwardly entwined. Anna tries to slither away, and they're both so slick with paint that she almost manages it, but Rapunzel grabs hold of her sleeve and refuses to let go.

"You're caught, Anna, surrender."

"Never!" Anna insists, twisting in place to try and wriggle free. They're both giggling, breathless and giddy, and then Rapunzel dips her head, and then—for one glorious, breathtaking moment—Rapunzel is kissing her.

Rapunzel is kissing her, and Anna's world turns upside down.

And then she's not, and the sudden vertigo is dizzying.

"Oh my gosh! I'm s—I'm so sorry, I don't know what I was thinking. I just got carried away, because we're having so much fun, and when I'm having fun with Eugene we always kiss, and you're so fun, and—"

Anna kisses her again.

A/N Okay, so like... here's where this fic starts going out on a limb. I always feel weird asking for it, but I must admit that feedback honestly makes me a faster, better and more productive writer. If you have requests, or predictions, or comments, I would love to hear them! Speculation motivates me, and knowing people are out there listening is why I write in the first place. I can't promise I'll include all of what you might ask for, but you'll never get what you don't request.

Okay there endeth my plea ENJOY YOUR FRIDAY.