I promise I'm not abandoning The Freeze Festival, I just needed to get the start of this AU off my chest. I've been heavily influenced by the Olympics lately and couldn't help but start this up. Hopefully you all enjoy it!
Anna stared at the sky in disbelief.
It had been the driest season on record, and today, of all days, it decided to dump a load of snow.
The auburn wasn't dressed for the suddenly frigid weather (and neither were the other students who were currently racing to their cars) and wrapped her green scarf tighter around her neck. All she had to do was make it to the ice rink across the street, and even though she was only wearing a pair of flats, jeans and a light pullover sporting the 'Arendelle Elks High School' insignia, the snow was already beginning to build up on the roads and sidewalk.
And to make it worse, she was already late.
Hockey practice started promptly at 5pm, but of course, she had study hall after school for failing to do her Norwegian homework. What made it worse, was that her Norwegian language teacher was also her coach, and he expected better from one of his star players.
Shaking off the snow that was building up in her hair, Anna jogged across the school parking lot and into the street. Her eyes were glued on the building in front of her, clutching her hockey gear at her side and continued to rush forward.
A horn honked out of Anna's view and the auburn literally had to leap out of the way to avoid being hit. All the girl saw was a head of platinum blonde hair and a stellar white BMW speed off, the driver not even looking in her direction.
"What the hell? Stupid bitch!" Anna called, gathering up a ball of snow and throwing it in the cars' direction. The snowball fell short, to Anna's disappointment, and the girl could only climb to her feet and catch the state on the plate.
"Miss Anna! You're late!"
Coach Oaken's thick accent boomed across the ice rink as a petite girl dwarfed in pads and a purple and green hockey jersey skated across the ice. She said nothing as she reached her teammates, adjusting her helmet and flicking two auburn braids behind her back.
"Thirty minutes of repetitions after practice," Oaken mumbled to her, then turned to the rest of his team.
Anna groaned and caught her best friend's eye, Kristoff, from across the group. Kristoff was a hulking blonde who was built for the hockey and towered over the majority of his teammates. He was also the star of the team, a natural on the ice, but completely clueless when it came to everything else, especially girls. He gave her a sympathetic look and mouthed, 'Where were you?' but Anna only shook her head and whispered, 'I'll tell you later,' but not without being noticed by one of the other players.
"Excuse me, Coach Oaken?" a slim, yet fit senior with the biggest chin Anna had ever seen interrupted. It was Hans, popular with the 'In' crowd (though Anna never understood why) and it seemed he only existed to make everyone else's lives miserable. She hated him with every living fiber of her being.
Hans raised his hockey stick and cleared his throat, "I think if Kristoff and Anna have something to say, they should share it with the team." The senior looked at Anna with a devilish grin, convinced that the two of them had to be dating with all the time they spent together, and always went out of his way to give them a hard time about it.
"Oh lay off," a muffled, thick Scottish accent rang out from the shortest player. Merida, a transfer student from Scotland, skated to the front of the group and took off her helmet, red hair erupting from its confines. "I didn't come all this way for social hour Hans," she said irritably, twirling her helmet in her hands.
"What's the number one rule?" Oaken shouted, trying to get control over his team.
"Helmets on when on the ice!" the players chanted, and Merida huffed, attempting to pull the object back over her unruly hair.
Hans laughed as he watched her, "You know, she really doesn't need a helmet, I'm sure her hair can do a better job. Maybe we can stick her in the goalie box without one and see how well she holds up?"
Some members of the team laughed and Oaken blew his whistle, "Stop n' go! Stop n' go!" He shouted, hoping a drill would silence the team.
The player's took their positions and Anna put her gloved hand on top of Merida's helmet, noticing that it wasn't quite on all the way and attempted to push it down.
"Woman, your hair! Have you ever thought about straightening it?" Anna laughed, applying as much weight as she could to the top of the girls' head.
"Are you kidding?" Merida asked as Kristoff skated next to them and bumped his fist down, securing the red head's helmet in place. "These are virgin Scottish locks," she continued, "To do anything to them would be a sin."
Anna and Kristoff laughed as the coach blew the whistle, sending them skating across the ice at full speed, Anna in the lead.
"So where were you?" Kristoff finally asked, skating up to Anna who was taking water before starting her repetitions.
Anna huffed and shook her head. "I don't know if you've been outside today, but it seriously started dumping snow on my walk over here, like seriously. And some person was totally not paying attention and ran me off the road! And they didn't even notice!"
Kristoff zoned out as Anna continued to talk, moving her arms enthusiastically, waving her middle finger in the air at one point, then pretending to lug her hockey gear the next, all important aspects of her story. He thought she was absolutely adorable, and loved how her eyes lit up when she was full of energy. That was another reason why he picked her for the team. Sure, she was only a junior, but she was fast and had one hell of a trick shot. It came at a cost though, the girl could be a complete klutz and broke more sticks than anyone else on the team combined.
The blonde shook his head, returning to the present. "Huh, what?"
"Are you even listening to me?"
Before Anna could say more, Oaken skated towards her and gave both players a heavy pat on the back. "Mister Kristoff, I see you are distracting our best shooter. Do you mind leaving so Miss Anna can begin her repetitions?"
"Heyyyy I thought I was your best shooter?" Kristoff mockingly complained, smiling as he skated backwards away from them and waving to Anna. "I'll text you later?" He shouted to Anna.
"Please don't! My husband would not appreciate it!" Oaken called back with a laugh, then turned to Anna with a raised eyebrow. "See you tomorrow in class, and please remember your homework this time." And with that, the team had cleared out and Anna was left alone.
Anna waited a moment and listened for the sound of scuffling in the locker room. Once all was quiet, the girl reached for her phone tucked inside her bra and turned on the Bluetooth, connecting it to the rinks' PA system.
She scrolled through her music and stopped at Boston, something in the back of her head urging her to select the band. Mumbling to herself, she swiped through the songs and starting with Foreplay/Long Time, one of her dad's favorite songs. After setting it to shuffle, cranking up the volume, and stuffing the device back in her bra, the speakers boomed to life, causing a slight vibration on the protective glass surrounding the rink. Anna grabbed her gear and rocked a bit of air guitar on her hockey stick before sprinting forward, her blades carving into the rinks' surface. Once she reached the other side, she skid quickly to a stop, her skates shaving off the top layer of ice. Anna stepped lightly, pushing her blades in the opposite direction, beginning the sprint again.
"YEaaahhhhhh," she sang between heavy breaths, continuing a few more repetitions before slowing herself in the center of the rink, poising her stick for an epic guitar solo. "It's been such a long time! It's been such a looong tiiiiiiime! – OH!"
Anna stopped dead in her tracks, almost colliding with another figure on the ice.
The guitar riff continued in the background as Anna stood frozen, blood rushing to her cheeks, struck silent by the confident girl that stood before her. Her hockey stick slowly dropped lifelessly to her side as Anna's eyes wandered over the pale figure in front of her, sporting a pair of white skates, black compression warm-ups, and a pair of black gloves. Her eyes were a rich blue that appeared stormy and distracted, with platinum-blonde hair that was braided to one side.
"Excuse me, but I have this time slot," the girl shouted over the music, looking slightly annoyed.
"Huh?" Anna dropped her stick and tossed off a glove to pull out her phone to turn down the volume, Boston now only a subtle hum in the background. "Sorry about that, what did you say?"
The girls' face reddened when Anna pulled the phone out of her jersey. She was suddenly very aware that the hockey player in front of her was in fact a girl, and the player unintentionally confirmed this by pulling off her helmet, revealing a freckled nose matched with bright bluish-green eyes and a bad case of helmet hair.
"I said," the pale girl attempted again, "…that this is my time slot."
"Ohhhh," Anna looked around and scratched the back of her head, "Sorry about that. Normally I check the schedule before I come in."
The pale girl looked at her patiently, her hands clasped behind her back.
"…but I was late today."
Still more silence.
"Oh! Sorry, I'm being super rude." Anna attempted to change the subject, the blonde girl apparently not caring much for the pervious conversation. "My name is Anna Fredricksen, this is my place." she offered her brightest smile and offered her hand.
"Your…place?" the pale girl replied, reaching for Anna's hand and giving it a hesitant shake.
"Yup. And you are?"
"Elsa…Halvorsen," she said slowly, pulling her hand away.
Anna smiled and began to skate around Elsa, picking up her dropped glove and hockey stick. "If you give me just a second I can have the nets cleared for you," she began, tossing her gear into one of the team boxes and wrestling out of her top padding and jersey which she tossed in there as well. Now with her torso only covered by her Under Armour, Anna was able to move about the ice easier.
"It's weird," Anna continued, failing to notice Elsa's pale complexion redden as she skated to the nets, "I've worked here for years and I've never seen you before. Are you new in town?"
Elsa watched Anna struggle with the other net for a moment before skating over to help, one of the ends of the goal being caught in the mooring.
"I am actually, just flew in yesterday."
It was the first full sentence Elsa had spoken since she introduced herself, and for some reason this excited Anna. The net let loose with a final tug, sending both girls flying backwards on the ice, the net rolling on top of them and sending them to the ground.
"Holy crap!" Anna exclaimed before laughing, trying to kick the net off the unsuspecting blonde. "Are you OK?"
Elsa let out a small laugh as she kicked the net with her skate, "I'm fine. Looks like you don't take those off the ice very often?"
Anna's cheeks reddened as she climbed to her feet and offered Elsa a hand. "Well, I do. The problem isn't the moorings, it's the nets. They're pretty old."
The blonde took Anna's hand gratefully and was surprised when the small girl yanked her to her feet in one quick movement. The girl may have been smaller than her, but she was surprisingly strong.
Elsa looked at the nets, then around the ice rink. She began to notice the paint peeling from the walls, the dented metal on the nets, and an overall feel of dilapidation. Decades-old banners hung from the ceiling, covered in dust, some of them dangling from their last lifeline. It was almost as if the building was weighing in on itself, beyond its prime, and stuck in a memory
Anna cleared her throat next to her, and Elsa didn't realize she was still holding her hand. She quickly snapped it back and pretended to dust ice off her legs.
"Right…so," Anna glanced at the clock, realizing she had cut roughly 20 minutes into Elsa's practice time. "I won't charge you for the first half hour for obvious reasons," she motioned around the rink, then continued, "and the ice is yours until nine. If you need anything, I'll be up there." Anna pointed to the top of the stands where it appeared a small office rested, surrounded by windows.
"The owner must place a lot of trust in you," Elsa commented, her eyes following where Anna was pointing.
"Uhm, actually, I am the owner."
"Oh," Elsa felt confused and slightly foolish at the same time as Anna grabbed the net and skated away, but the auburn stopped quickly before stepping off the ice. "Oh! Do you want me to turn off the music? Or put on Tchaikovsky or something?"
The blonde couldn't help but smile at the girl and shook her head. "No, this music is fine. It's actually very…refreshing."
Anna had her Norwegian homework spread out on one side of the desk, and a stack of bills on the other. Her one and only Zamboni machine was out of order, and the mechanic who inspected it demanded money before even touching it. In addition, both restrooms needed new plumbing, and these problems were only scratching the surface.
The auburn's face dropped into her hands, scratching at her scalp irritably. She let her eyes close for a moment, partly out of exhaustion, and could hear Boston in the background like it was her life soundtrack. Curious, Anna glanced out the surrounding windows and watched Elsa skate around the ice. She had seen a lot of figure skaters come in and out of the rink, but only after thirty seconds of critique, Elsa was by far the best.
Swiveling her chair, her homework and bills forgotten, Anna turned her full attention to the blonde girl, entranced by her movements. She moved with a grace unlike anything Anna had ever seen with a surprising power in her legs as she flawlessly pulled off a triple lutz.
Anna's hands went into the air as if the figure skater had just scored a touchdown.
Elsa continued to skate her routine, gliding across the ice, never once faltering.
"That was amazing!"
The blonde skid to a stop, almost toppling over from the voice that boomed through the speakers. She shot a glare at the office, and Anna slid open one of the windows, waving to her.
"I haven't seen anyone pull of a triple lutz here ever. Congrats, I think you're the first." Anna said through the microphone, pressing a red button that overrode the music.
Elsa was ready to complain about the interruption, but she found herself suddenly very interested in the girl. She was impressed with her knowledge of figure skating, most people couldn't tell the difference between an axel and lutz alone, and there was something incredibly endearing about her constant optimism.
"I didn't know you were watching me!" Elsa called out to her, hoping her voice would carry over the stands.
"I…uh, wasn't." Anna pulled slightly back from the window, hoping the girl couldn't see her face redden.
"Uh huh," Elsa crossed her arms over her chest mockingly, tilting her head to the side. The blonde was surprised by her own confidence and almost let her arms drop. Normally she was very much an introvert, keeping to herself, but there was something about Anna that she found so warm she couldn't help but want to keep the conversation going.
Anna could only laugh, and found herself liking the figure skater very much. Her eyes absentmindedly glanced at her clock, and realized that it was almost closing time.
She disappeared into the depths of the office, packing up her homework and paperwork, then reappeared with a backpack slung across one shoulder, and her hockey gear on the other.
Elsa did a few more laps around the ice, pivoting slowly from one foot to the other, feeling the breeze tug at her hair. With a sigh, she slid to a halt at the exit and slipped off her skates, replacing them with a pair of Nikes.
"Want me to wait for you?" Elsa called as Anna skipped down the stairs and met her at the bottom of the stands.
"You just did," the auburn said with a smile, leading the girl to the exit. She shut off the lights then let Elsa out first, following her with a set of keys in which she locked the doors behind her.
Snow was still falling heavily, and Anna sighed at the sight of her ancient station wagon across the street, the only car left in the school parking lot. A mountain of snow had accumulated around it, and it looked like she would be spending some time digging it out.
"Well, thank you," Elsa said awkwardly, shifting from foot to foot. Anna wasn't even sure what she was thanking her for, since she did pay to be there.
"Uh, you're welcome, I think. Have a good night?" Anna asked, scratching the back of her neck.
Elsa smiled, adjusting the duffle bag around her shoulder and beginning to walk backwards to her car, "I will."
Anna watched the blonde turn around and load up her car, climb in, and drive off into the darkness. It was a few seconds later when she realized that she was driving a white BMW, a stellar white BMW, which Massachusetts plates.