"Anna, I don't have a good feeling about this." Kristoff squirmed as Anna adjusted his jacket.
"Oh no you don't!" Anna scolded. "You're not getting out of this one too!"
"Anna, you know I don't like these things!" Kristoff insisted, shrugging and trying to get his jacket to just be a little more comfortable.
Anna sighed. "I know, and I'm sorry. But it's been a year since Elsa's coronation, and this one isn't a state function or anything truly political. It's just a nice ball. Simple, but I really want to be there for Elsa. She's pretty nervous."
Kristoff felt that he was being immensely selfish, but somehow couldn't shake this feeling in the pit of his stomach that this just wasn't the place for him to be. Of course, he always felt this way before any royal gathering – political or not. There were too many people, there was too much formality. Everything had a rule and a proper way, and he just couldn't seem to get any of it!
But Kristoff looked over at Anna as she finished pinning up a few loose hairs in a vanity mirror, and knew that he absolutely had to go. Even if it meant spending a night in a tight suit, surrounded by stiff people, he wouldn't want to lose a night spent with Anna. He had almost lost her before, and he didn't need anything like that again to make him realize that she was his priority.
"Well, you're right. I shouldn't complain." Kristoff smiled weakly. "Shall we head down."
Anna jumped a little and clasped her hands, dashing over and kissing his cheek. "Oh, I'm so glad you changed your mind!" she grabbed his calloused hand with her two tiny ones and pulled him forward and out the door. "Let's go, let's go!"
Kristoff lumbered behind the girl, and Anna couldn't quite decide where she was supposed to go. "It's faster down this hall – right? – but this way is by the kitchen and if they are bringing the desserts out then – are we late – what time is it, I think-"
"There you are!" Elsa said, shaking a little as she stood, hunched by the door.
"Elsa!" Anna exclaimed and wrapped her sister in a hug. "Are, are you okay?"
"I'm, I'm fine." Elsa said softly.
"You're still nervous, aren't you?" Anna asked gently, grabbing her hand.
"A little…" Elsa conceded. "Oh Anna, what if they don't like me? What if all they remember is…the incident? What if they don't want to see me? They're gonna hate me, I know it! I just know it!" Elsa dipped her head and bit her lip.
"Elsa, if they didn't want to see you then they wouldn't have come here!" Anna said brightly. "Now everyone has been in quite high spirits! The kingdom is doing wonderfully, and everyone is very eager for this ball – and very excited to see you!"
Elsa shrugged a little. "Are…are you sure?"
"Your majesties," a well-decorated man stuck his head through the door. "it is time to enter, are you ready?"
Anna linked arms with both Kristoff and Elsa, as they both nervously entered. "You guys are gonna do great, I promise!" Anna smiled at both of them.
The townspeople received Elsa with every grace that Anna promised. They were respectful and warm, bowing and curtseying and engaging in light conversation. Elsa turned down a few invitations to dance, but no one seemed offended by it. No one brought up the incident, but no one danced around it either.
Kristoff, however, was not having such an easy time. People, out of naïve kindness, continually tried to engage him in conversation, but Kristoff stumbled over his words and babbled out incoherent and awkward answers.
"So, erm, what if your title, again? Do forgive me, I don't wish to address you falsely."
"Oh, uh, well." At this point Kristoff turned quite red. "I don't really have one of those, I mean, I'm an ice deliverer, I'm courting Anna – Princess Anna – but we're not married so, prince, no, not yet, well I-I-I don't want to assume – I am good friends with the reindeer though so maybe I'm, uh, their, uh leader? I don't have a human title but I'm like the, uh, reindeer king so…uh."
"Reindeer…king…Kristoff…" the man repeated back, slowly retreating.
"Nice talking to you." Kristoff said quickly, running his words all together and rushing back to Anna.
"Kristoff, are you okay?" Anna said worriedly.
"Anna let's run away." Kristoff said, grabbing her hands and pulling her out into the hall. "Come on, both of us. I still have a cabin up in the mountains and I can provide for you. It won't be anything like the palace, but we won't have to do this anymore and we can be together and – " Kristoff stopped, for although Anna had said nothing to rebuff him, Kristoff knew he was being more selfish now than ever before. He was asking Anna to leave her home, her duties, her sister, just because he was miserable.
"Kristoff…" Anna began gently.
"No, no. I'm just…stressed. Overwhelmed. That's all." Kristoff said flatly. "We can stay here but…I need to take a walk. You go back inside."
"I want to be alone!" Kristoff snapped, a little harsher than he meant. He instantly felt badly about it, but forced himself to turn away. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and walked down the hall. It's been a year, but he was already stretched too thin. He didn't want a life of opulence, a life dealing with people and conversations. Dealing with their problems and having to always know what to say and do. He didn't know which glass to drink from or how to have people address him – because apparently just 'Kristoff' wasn't appropriate in aristocratic society.
There was a reason he was an ice harvester, and a mountain man. He would be alone, except for Sven, of course. He could do his work, honest, hard work, and get enough money to provide for himself. He could live by himself, work by himself, and do whatever he pleased whenever he wanted. It seemed to be a perfect life, and he was content with it.
Until he met Anna. He wanted to bring her with him, and spend every moment with her. They could live together in his mountain cabin and he'd show her everything he knew and work as hard as he could to give her everything she needed. But it didn't quite go that way, instead, she brought him over with her. So here he was, in an opulent castle, completely out of his comfort zone.
He knew he was being selfish. Anna gave him everything he should need to be happy, and if he ever had a complaint or a problem, she worked to try and help him fix it. Not to mention, her duties as a princess were exponentially more important than his as an ice harvester. Even if he was the official royal ice delivery boy.
But he couldn't help feeling this way! Kristoff slumped against the wall and ran his fingers through his hair. He loved Anna, he truly, truly did, but he didn't know how much longer he could take this lifestyle! It went against his every wish, instinct, and preference.
He shook his head and tried to perk up a bit, but to no avail. He squared his shoulders and marched back into the ballroom.
Everyone was swirling, gowns flaring out and clashing back in time with the music; perfectly choreographed. Anna was twirling around with a muscular man, with dark hair and green eyes. She was laughing, and clearly enjoying herself, and the man was a far better dancer than Kristoff, just by possessing the skill to actually dance at all. The music cut out, and the partners bowed and curtseyed to each other.
Anna said something to the man and he smiled, paused, and then stepped forward and kissed her square on the lips.
Kristoff froze, and felt himself filled with anger. Anna pushed the man away and turned to storm off, halting in her steps as he saw Kristoff standing there.
"Kristoff…" she began, her voice seeming almost scared.
Choking back a rare sob, Kristoff turned around and left the ballroom, running out of the castle.