Here we are.
The last chapter of Shore. It's a little short because it's more of a wrap up and extra of Elsa being human.
I'll save the sentimental stuff for the very end. For now, just enjoy the chapter, my lovelies. :)
Disclaimer: Disney owns FROZEN, Secretly Geek owns "Shore," and ASAMESHI (find 'em on Deviantart and Tumblr) owns the cover photo.
Life with Elsa was amazing. My parents and I spoiled her rotten with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos and clothes and whatever else! She was getting the hang of adapting to human activities more and more each day. We hung out with our group of friends, played poker or spent money in the arcade with them, or relaxed on the beach until the early hours of the morning. Elsa and I would also go on dates, take long walks along the shore just like I had dreamed of, and nap together when the days were grey and foggy; especially in late August/early September.
There was something about experiencing all those normal things that I often took for granted with Elsa. I saw them through her eyes and understood them in a whole new light. I was starting to appreciate what I had and it felt amazing to give Elsa the opportunity to have any of what I thought of as average and everyday. To her, they were bigger than the wonders of the world. It made me realize how incredible the world was.
That December, my parents drove Elsa and I up to Big Bear where a snow storm had hit a few days prior. Our friends would join us after a day or so but we were heading up there early to show Elsa the snow, to which she was ecstatic about.
She couldn't wait, bouncing up and down in her seat like a kid going to Disneyland, craning her neck this way and that as our car chugged up the mountain side, hoping to catch that first glimpse of the snow.
"Are we there yet?" I asked plainly, grinning at my girlfriend.
"Almost," Mom chuckled. "Elsa, sweetie, relax. We're getting there."
"Anna, where's the snow!?" Elsa demanded, glaring at me as if I was at fault for the missing precipitation.
I laughed and rested my hand on her knee. "Don't worry, Baby, you'll see it."
Elsa chewed on her bottom lip, drumming her fingers against her arms, which were folded across her chest.
"It feels like we've been up here forever," she whined.
"Don't you want to look at all the nature?" Dad offered, waving a hand out across his dashboard to the forest covered areas lining the streets.
"I'm waiting for snow, David," Elsa said tartly, earning a short laugh from Dad. "I can view trees and bushes and such after I've seen it."
"She's a keeper, Anna," Dad joked.
"Shut up," I grinned, kicking his seat playfully. "She's just impatient."
"Which should be understandable!" Elsa countered, nudging my foot with hers as if to scold me. "You were the one who told me all about snow."
"You asked!" I argued.
She blew a raspberry at me, shrugging indifferently. I rolled my eyes as I leaned back in my seat.
"It's gonna be a while," I told her. "The snow is more up North and we've got a ways to go. We can do something while we wait?"
"Like what?" she asked, slowly becoming intrigued.
"I gotta deck of cards…" I offered, glancing down at my bag.
Thirty minutes later, Elsa and I ended up playing a round of Go Fish— Elsa's favorite card game for obvious reasons— in the back seat while the heater of the car settled warmth all around us, music from the radio tinkling gently behind us. Her eyes were concentrating on her hand, no longer focusing on the possible snowdrifts outside the cozy interior of the vehicle.
"Any fives?" she asked me.
I shook my head, taking a sip of water from my bottle. "Go fish," I stated.
Elsa grumbled under her breath and I giggled as she collected another card. She shuffled her hand distractedly, peering at me every so often as I considered what I would ask her for.
The car let out a shudder, causing the deck to shift dangerously, almost toppling off the middle seat. I slapped my hand on top of it before it could escape the leather cover we sat upon and glared at my dad.
"What the heck was that for?" I demanded, watching my mouth.
He grinned at me through the rearview mirror and pointed to his right. I caught on at once and smiled at Elsa, who looked a little winded from the abrupt halt. She searched my face for an explanation, blinking slowly. I picked up her sweatshirt off the floor and handed it to her.
"Just put this on," I urged.
Elsa unsnapped herself from her seatbelt and tugged on her sweatshirt. I instructed her to wait in the car and I hopped out, pulling my own jacket on. I arrived to her side of the car and opened the door for her. I held out my hand and beamed.
"C'mon," I said, my breath coming out in vapor from the bitter cold.
She slipped her hand in mine and allowed me to tug her out of the car. I covered her eyes with my free hand, earning an unhappy grunt from her.
"Anna," she said tentatively.
"Oh, relax," I said, rolling my eyes. "Don't you trust me?"
She grinned. "Of course."
"Then come on. One foot in front of the other," I encouraged.
I started leading Elsa off the side of the road where Dad had pulled over. When I had gotten out, it became clearer to me why he had stopped our journey uphill. On the little patches of earth were a few piles of snow covering rocks and bushes. It meant we were getting closer to our destination but I understood that Dad wanted the ever so impatient Elsa to see what she had been longing to.
"Are we through?" Elsa said, pursing her lips.
"Almost there," I said, stepping onto the snow. "Ready?"
She nodded. I uncovered her eyes and stepped back, grinning at her, spreading my arms out.
"This isn't much but here's your first taste of snow," I announced.
Elsa dipped her gaze down to the white powder beneath my feet. Her eyes widened slowly and she took a few steps forward. I giggled and yanked her over, her sneakers hitting the snow with a satisfying crunch!
She was like a little puppy exploring the world for the first time. She let out a choked laugh and ducked down, grabbing a handful of the snow and packing it in her bare hands.
"It's beautiful," she breathed, her fingers running along the lumpy snowball carefully. "I… I love it."
"There's more where that came from," I assured her, picking up a clump of snow myself. "We'll have snowball fights with our friends, sled, ski… there's a bunch of stuff you can do with snow."
"I can't wait!"
"Let's go then!" I grabbed her hand, making her drop the snowball. "More snow awaits!"
"Whoo!" Elsa cheered playfully, pressing her lips against my cheek as we jumped into the car.
When we arrived at the cabin— where there was more snow to behold— Elsa was a rocket out of the car. While my parents carried the luggage in, refusing my help because they wanted me to spend time with Elsa, the two of us ran to an open field across from our resort. I engaged her in a snowball fight, which she picked up the premise of the game rather quickly.
Elsa called for a truce after an hour of us goofing off, panting hard, and collapsing on her back into the snow, laughing breathlessly. I plopped down next to her, the snow melting and dampening my jeans but I didn't care. Running a hand through my hair, I reached for her hand with my free one. Once I found it, I intertwined our fingers together. Elsa hummed pleasantly, her breath a vapor in the cold air. A cool breeze wafted by and Elsa shivered, sitting up and cuddling up next to me.
"Cold," she commented.
"Yeah, that's winter for you," I grinned, kissing her temple. "But you'll get used to it the longer you're here."
"Mm," she grumbled, her breath tickling my skin.
I watched the snow-cleared streets, a few cars carrying tourists rumble by. Stacks of suitcases and packages tied down to the tops of smaller cars. A few mobile homes made their way down the street, families filling them with laughter and love. The air was crisp and clean, a new kind of clean compared to Arendelle Cove. It was busier than home but it was a good busy. Arendelle Cove was full of a warm cleanliness, the breeze nudging the citizens gently on their way. Up here, the air was a brisk cleanliness giving whoever lived or visited the place pink faces and chattering teeth. But it was always worth it because of the fun the cold brought around this time of year.
I knew that no matter where I went now, Elsa would be there to accompany me.
"Hey, Els," I whispered.
"I… I'm really glad you're here with me," I said, tightening my grip on her hand. "I'm happy you're a human now. I don't think I've said it often enough but… I really am." She glanced up at me from the crook of my neck, blinking those icy eyes of hers. "I love you, Elsa," I told her.
"I know," she grinned. "I love you, too. And I'm happy that you're giving me the experience of a lifetime."
I got to my feet, an idea sinking into my brain, pulling her up with me. I gave her a swift kiss before I spoke.
"Do you wanna build a snowman?" I proposed, walking backwards and gesturing around me. "When I lived in Colorado, I was a snowman master."
"Then teach me, O Master of Snowmen!" Elsa quipped.
I bowed rather dramatically, flourishing my hand out in front of me. "Then let us commence in the snowman building, my darling."
She curtsied sarcastically, lifting up and imaginary skirt, trying to hold in her bubbling giggles. "I am at your snowman building disposal, my love."
I took her hand again, laughing like a maniac, and dragged her over to a fresh pile of snow to work on what I knew was going to be an absolute masterpiece.
We spent our holiday in Big Bear with my friends staying in the cabins around the resort. Elsa and I were now true artists at snowman building and we were unstoppable in snowball fights, almost as if we had been born to live amongst the ice and snow. After our snow wars or sledding or whatever our group did, we would always head to a ski lodge and enjoy cups of hot chocolate. And none of that sissy powder with hot water that dilutes the flavor of the chocolate but real hot chocolate. With marshmallows and whipped cream, all of us sitting around a fire.
One afternoon, we were doing just that.
"How are you liking winter, Elsa?" Kristoff asked her.
"I love it," Elsa said cheekily from over the rim of her mug. "I think it's simply lovely."
Rapunzel laughed. "Seriously, Elsa, you're something else."
"How so?" Elsa said, blinking at her.
"You make everything so much fun," Merida explained for Punzie. "I don't think I've enjoyed the cold this much ever before you came around."
"To Elsa!" Hans announced, raising his mug in a toast.
"Here, here!" the rest of us cheered, clinking our mugs together like frat boys did with their beers. Some of our drinking sloshed over the top but it only got us giggling.
Elsa flushed humbly, sticking her freckle-dusted nose into her whipped cream. The others went on to talking as I leaned over to Elsa's ear.
"Hey, cutie," I whispered.
"Hm?" she said, glancing at me and removing her nose in the process.
I kissed her whipped cream covered nose at once, tasting the sweetness. Elsa suppressed a snort but I could just barely feel her grinning.
"Goofball," she breathed.
I pulled back and licked my lips, wiping the rest of the cream off of her face with my thumb.
"That's me," I said with a wink.
Teaching Elsa what Christmas was had to have been the most magical thing in the world. When I explained the children's folklore of Santa Claus, she leaned in on the cabin couch, nodding with her mouth open ever-so-slightly in awe. Then I continued to tell her about the presents and the mistletoe and the chocolate and everything I could think of that made Christmas shine.
Elsa was hooked, needless to say.
So when Christmas rolled around, Elsa shook me awake, demanding that I get up that very instant. I was left laughing at her childish excitement as she tore down the stairs to reach the present-stuffed tree in the living room.
"Oh, wow!" she gasped, admiring the glow of the lights hanging on the droopy branches. "It's still so beautiful."
"Merry Christmas, Blondie," I said, snatching up a bunch of mistletoe, raising it up above our heads. She rolled her eyes but kissed me nevertheless, her hand trailing the small of my back. After we parted, Elsa grinned at me.
"Presents?" she offered.
"Presents," I allowed, inclining my head towards the tree.
She clapped her hands giddily, practically skipping over to the gifts waiting for the both of us to rip apart.
"Geez, Elsa!" I chortled.
"Oh, don't you say a word," she chastised. "You'd act this way, too."
"I'm not saying I wouldn't," I said, shaking my head. "You're just too cute."
She smiled shyly at me before returning to the presents.
My parents came down sleepily, looking a little disgruntled from the early awakening but I knew full well they were happy I was still acting like a goofy kid. Not growing up too fast. Because as soon as I placed the mistletoe down, I ran over to Elsa's side and fell to my knees, snooping out my first gift.
I had a gut feeling that holidays with Elsa were going to be ten times more exciting than they had been before. Perhaps it was because I was going to experience them through her eyes. Or maybe it was because I would finally be celebrating them the way I had dreamed of. Not in a car or a plane or a boat. I would be with people I loved dearly and that made them perfect.
We returned home to Arendelle Cove for New Years, which was also thoroughly celebrated on the beach with fireworks aplenty. I actually had someone to kiss on New Years— which Elsa and I both enjoyed. She also turned nineteen that day. Because she didn't have an exact birthday, I made it New Years to give her a special day to celebrate it and she loved the idea. So our group of friends threw a party for her at Kristoff's house and, may I just say that Bulda's cakes are incredible.
That summer, my friends and I were having a little get together on the beach. We lit a bonfire in one of the pits available on the shore, waiting for midnight to strike so we could stargaze and watch the supposed meteor shower that night. Many locals were gathered in groups, scattered about the fire pits and lying on blankets. S'mores were being made over the flames that licked the night air and the delicious smell of smoke filled my lungs.
For the first half of the evening's events, a band was playing upbeat tunes that boomed through the beach. Elsa was beaming at the sound of music as it thrummed through her ears, moving her shoulders to the catchy beat. I was sitting beside her on the blankets when Eugene hoisted Rapunzel up to dance with him. Kristoff and Merida were being dorks and dancing together, laughing loudly. Hans was dancing with his new girlfriend named Laura, their feet moving in an even pace but their faces alight with affection.
"Hey," I said, nudging Elsa in the shoulder with my own. "You wanna dance?"
Elsa widened her eyes at me. "Really?"
"You've always wanted to, right?" I reminded her as I scrambled to my feet. "C'mon then, my love." I extended a hand to her and she grabbed it.
We ran out to the cool night sand together, grinning like idiots. I linked our hands together, one of mine on her waist and I coaxed her other onto my shoulder.
"Okay. Are you ready?" I said, kissing her nose. "It's a simple step… ah, y'know what?— Forget about steps. We're gonna dance like goofballs."
"I like that idea," Elsa agreed.
So I began to sway our bodies side-to-side rather comically and she followed suit, her face glowing with every passing moment. Our grips on each other tightened as the tempo picked up, the two of us giggling and dancing in circles. I twirled her under my arm every so often, which would send her into a wave of laughter.
"This is so fun!" she cried. "I love dancing!"
God, she was so cute! I pulled her in close and gave her a kiss, halting our dance at once. Elsa responded at once, wrapping her arms around my waist as our kiss continued. When I pulled away, I rested my forehead against hers with a wistful sigh.
"Thank you, Anna," she breathed, her breath ghosting over my cheeks.
"You're very welcome," I said, nuzzling her nose with mine.
The rest of the night was spent waiting for the shower. The sky was scattered with stars, as if an artist ran his or her brush across the canvas that was the galaxy, filling the Earth with a bountiful view of the universe it lived in.
I sipped my Coke absentmindedly, basking in the warmth of the fire as I chatted animatedly with Merida and Rapunzel about the community college we were all going to attend together. Kristoff, Hans, and Eugene were kicking a hacky-sack around, laughing and joking with one another. Meanwhile, Elsa was standing alone along the coast, facing the inky ocean with her back towards us.
"Hey, is she okay?" Rapunzel asked me, nodding towards Elsa.
"It's the anniversary of when she left home officially," I explained. "When her father banished her… I know she says she doesn't miss it but…" I stuck my can in the sand, getting to my feet. "I'm gonna go see if she needs anything. Be right back."
"All right," Merida said, giving me a two fingered salute. "Godspeed, Anna."
I rolled my eyes with a grin, giving her the thumbs up. "Thanks."
Wrapping my jacket tightly around my body, I slowly approached Elsa as she stared off into the distance of the big ocean blue. I came to a stop on her right, followed her gaze out to the sea, and then back to her pale face. She was taking deep, even breaths, her eyes shut tight. She was hugging her stomach for comfort, her body stalk still.
"Hi," she said to me without opening her eyes.
"Hey," I replied softly. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah…" She cracked her lids open to meet my glance. "I'm just thinking."
I fought back a grin. "Oh yeah?"
"Mhm…" She shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "You're going off to college, Anna. I barely have a decent education."
"Of course," I said, my eyes drifting out to the ocean. "You've been in there for eighteen years of your life. It's not your fault. But Mom and Dad have been teaching you well. Elsa, you love math— which is beyond me— and you have adapted to this world so fast."
"But how does that help me?" Elsa suddenly spouted, screwing up her eyes in frustration. "I want to make something of myself."
I stared at her a little flabbergasted. Elsa looked so stressed although she had nothing to be stressed out about. It seemed to me that she was trying to prove herself… for what?
Jesus, Anna, think! She's been your girlfriend for a year you should be able to read her by now, I scolded myself as I raked her expression with my teal eyes.
"Well… what do you want to do?" I asked gently, reaching out to her.
She didn't move when my hand came into contact with her arm so I moved it across her back so I was giving her a one-armed side hug. Her tense figure relaxed into my touch so I gave her a reassuring squeeze.
"I don't know," Elsa finally said. "I guess something worth while. I don't want any extravagant adventure around the world. I'm perfectly content with living in a simple town. I just wonder if I could ever fit in. I'm a literal fish out of water." She laughed hollowly, a tiny sneer on her face.
"But, Elsa, you've got so much potential," I encouraged. "There are so many people who love you and are willing to help you. I'm sure you can get an education online and then head to college. I dunno… what were you considering?"
"I want to do what your parents do," she said.
"A marine biologist? I think that's a perfect fit for you," I said with a grin. "Hell, you'll make discoveries the world has never seen!" I spread my other hand out, extending it towards the ocean. "You'll be the most successful marine biologist for years to come! I can feel it in my bones!"
Elsa smiled down at me, affection lighting her eyes. "And you? What will you do?"
"I'm gonna be a teacher," I said, jabbing myself in the chest with my thumb. "I really love kids and giving them an education is something I think is inspirational to the world. Without teachers, where would civilization be? Where would education be? To be honest, I never thought I'd be going to a community college. I thought I would follow my folks around until someone asked me to marry them or something silly like that." I laughed, earning a light giggle from Elsa. "But now I'm happier than I have ever been before."
"So would you say you have a future worth looking forward to?" Elsa said.
"Most definitely," I nodded. "And with you by my side, every day is worth looking forward to."
Her cheeks colored and she bit her lip nervously, glancing out to the ocean. Silence felt between us as she wrapped her arm around my shoulders. Suddenly, someone on the beach shouted, "look!" and there was a brilliant sparkle in the sky. Like a rocket igniting, a meteor tore through the air miles away from us quickly followed by its brethren.
"Wow," Elsa whispered.
"The sky's awake," I giggled. "It's so beautiful."
"Yeah," she agreed softly.
We stood side by side, watching the night sky fill to the brim with comets soaring through the sky, ripping the calm night apart. I let my eyes drift away for a split second, staring out into the ocean where I was confident it met with the sky. I could have sworn I saw two familiar heads bobbing in the water some distance away, watching their daughter carefully. But when I waved, they vanished under the waves.
"They miss me," Elsa said, not taking her eyes off the display of the galaxy.
"You miss them?"
"Of course. But with you… it doesn't hurt so much. You've given me so much love in this past year. Like you said, I have a future worth looking forward to with you by my side." She inhaled the salty air with a nostalgic smile. "I love you, Anna."
"I love you, too, Elsa," I replied, standing on my tiptoes to give her cheek a kiss. "And remember: no force on Earth—"
"—Can ever change that," she finished. "But hey…"
"Meet me by the sandy shore," I continued our song.
"Down by the rock at our favorite port."
"I'll chat you up on the bank."
We grinned at one another and sang in perfect unison.
"Small talk at our rock
Down by the docks
We'll stay that way
'Till our parents squawk
Going home alone
I'd rather walk the plank!"
She twirled me under her arm and we struck up a lazy slow dance, the sea lapping at our bare ankles and the meteors falling behind us with distant whooshing sounds. It was an absolutely sickening romantic moment.
But I loved it.
I was right and we knew it. A life with Elsa was going to be worth living. And it didn't matter where I would end up. As long as it was with her, I was perfectly happy. Whether we'd live in a mountain home, a trashy little apartment, or a house by the familiar shore, I would be content with it.
Elsa had come into my life unexpectedly, showed me that true love came in many forms. Love is crazy and one of the most beautiful forces on the planet. And my life had become an adventure when I fell in love with what seemed to be the impossible.
It had been exciting and will continue to be exciting.
I guess you're probably wondering what happened to Elsa and I when we grew up a little more. Well, as those cheesy fairy tales go, rest assured we are living happily ever after.
Ah, yes a cliché ending. Semi-inspired by the ending to Tangled.
So anyway… sentimental stuff:
I want to thank all of you who have stuck with this story until the very end. I couldn't ask for more amazing fans and the love and support you have all given Shore. And 200 reviews… oh, man. I don't deserve so many. Thank you, everyone. It means a lot to me. More than you know.
Of course, I need to thank the inspiration to this story. Secretly Geek's beautiful song "Shore" was so brilliant that I felt it needed a story to go along with it. Thank you for allowing me to take what you gave and turn it into this story. It's been one of my favorites to write. I hope I did your song justice.
Stay beautiful, my lovelies. Sun Kissed is coming out very soon for your enjoyment.
Disclaimer: Disney owns FROZEN, Secretly Geek owns "Shore," and ASAMESHI (find 'em on Deviantart and Tumblr) owns the cover photo.
See you next time!