"Are you sure you're alright?"
"I'm fine, Anna, I promise. Can we please just… forget the whole thing?"
"Spontaneously collapsing in the middle of a panic attack is not the kind of thing you can just forget, Ezra."
With a dramatic groan, Elsa covered her eyes with her hand and scoffed through her nose.
"Oh, grow up, you stupid baby," Anna rolled her eyes as she wrapped her arms around Ezra's neck.
Elsa glared playfully at her before turning her attention back to the book she held pinched between her thumb and index finger. She relished in the feeling of Anna sitting in her lap, her arms wrapped tightly around Elsa's neck and her ear pressed against Elsa's shoulder.
"Don't you have some kingly things to do? You're really boring when you read," Anna murmured.
"I'm only reading because you insisted that I take a short break from my duties. If you'd prefer, however, I'd love to get back to those 'kingly' things," Elsa smirked, moving her gaze from the pages to Anna's face and holding back a snort of laughter at the adorable glare she was receiving.
"I meant take a break as in do something fun and relaxing. Not reading. That's dull."
"Alright, Snowflake, what would you rather me do?"
"To start, tell me why you call me snowflake. Story time is always fun."
Elsa hummed as she placed her book on the table beside their chair, intertwining their fingers as she leant her head to rest against Anna's.
"Well, snowflakes are gentle, beautiful, and unique— much like you," Elsa explained, leaning down to capture the younger woman's lips. She enjoyed the feeling of Anna's lips moving against her own for a moment before pulling away and continuing, "However, quite unlike you, they're always quiet. Especially when I'm reading."
"Hey, I can be quiet if I want to!" Anna protested, sitting straight in the king's lap to glare up at her.
"Oh, you can?"
"Uh, yeah," Anna scoffed, crossing her arms as she rolled her eyes.
"Alright, Snowflake, let's see if you can be as quiet as your namesake for a whole day. If you lose, no chocolate for a week."
Elsa laughed wildly as Anna's eyes widened. The strawberry blonde quickly regained her composure, however, and turned a stony cold face to the king.
"And if I win?"
Elsa thought for a moment before replying, "I'll do whatever you say for an entire day. Deal?"
They shook on it, and Anna opened her mouth to say something before snapping it shut and clapping her hands over her face.
"Say goodbye to your sweet chocolate, Anna," Elsa chuckled as she rose from the seat, leaving a flustered and glaring Anna behind her as she exited the library.
…We of Corona hope sincerely that you will join us in the mourning of the loss of our dear King William. In three days' time, His Majesty's funeral services will be held. Queen Marie and Princess Rapunzel request that Queen Anna, both sister and daughter, is present. Best wishes to you, King Ezra and Queen Anna.
Elsa stared, shocked, at the letter before her. King William? Dead? He was not old or ailing in any way. She was instinctively filled with doubt but shook the thought from her head— Anna's father was dead. This was no time to feel anything but sadness and empathy towards her wife. Elsa knew well what it was like to lose a parent earlier than anticipated. With a sigh, the king folded the note and slipped it into her coat pocket, sighing as she rose from the chair in her study.
"Your Majesty, would you like me to break the news to our Queen?" a servant asked timidly from the side.
"No, Azair, I should be the one to do it. Thank you," Elsa shook her head as she descended the steps and pushed the double doors open.
She searched for Anna in all her favorite spots: the courtyard, kitchen, game room, and servant's quarters and was frustrated to find them all devoid of her wife. She was ready to give up when she passed a servant, Mela, who was very close to Anna and stopped her.
"Excuse me, have you seen Anna?" Elsa asked, worry creasing her brow.
"Yes, Your Majesty, I just ran into her. She's in the library," Mela answered
She's never in the library, Elsa thought as she crossed the hall connecting the central part of the castle to the right wing.
She stood before the old wooden doors of the library, gazing at her hand frozen around the golden doorknobs for a moment before turning them slowly and entering. She searched among the mahogany shelves for a moment before spotting Anna at a desk, huddled over a book with a steaming mug of some liquid by her side. Elsa hesitated for a moment before walking over and taking a seat next to her wife. Anna looked up from her reading to grin brightly at Elsa, who smiled sadly in response.
"What're you up to?" the king asked quietly.
Anna grabbed a pen and a sheet of paper and scribbled something down before passing it to Elsa.
"'I'm reading to keep quiet,'" the king read aloud, "'and it's actually more fun than I thought.' That's… good."
Elsa passed the sheet of paper back to Anna before running a hand through her hair.
"Anna, I've received some bad news. I'm calling off the bet," Elsa began slowly, motioning for Anna to sit in her lap. The queen obliged, a confused look crossing her face. Elsa wrapped her arms securely around her before producing the letter and passing it to Anna, pressing her forehead into the space between Anna's shoulder blades as the younger woman unfolded the letter. The crinkling of the folds sounded much louder, much harsher, like firecrackers were going off in the strawberry blonde's hands.
Anna began reading, her confused expression quickly morphing into horror as she trembled within Elsa's embrace, sobs escaping her lips. Upon hearing the heartbroken whimpers of her wife, Elsa found that she wanted to cry with her but knew it would be better if she remained strong. She forced Anna to face her, the older woman's heart breaking at the pained and despairing look on her beloved's face.
"I'm so sorry, Anna," Elsa whispered as she wiped the tears from the woman's eyes. "We will be setting sail for Corona immediately."
A/N: Long wait, I know. I apologize for the shortness of this chapter, but now we're getting into the real stuff! I want to give another shoutout to my beta, makemesmile98! They've helped me a lot with plot development and writer's block and such. Thanks for reading and please drop a review!