Frozen and all characters are © to Disney. No profit made, no infringement intended.
One-sided icest, Kristanna, depression, mention of a panic attack.
As promised on Tumblr. *gestures to massive pile of stuff* Buckets, life-jackets, smelling salts, band-aids and... *roots around* Aha! Inflatable rafts. This gets worse before it gets better, people!
It starts with a painting and a broken heart. Two, actually.
"Hi, Joan!" Anna waves cheerfully as she approaches, aware of Elsa's amused regard as she pulls her sister into the portrait room by the hand and just barely catches the motion of the blonde head shaking subtly at the corner of her eye. She squeezes Elsa's hand in response, and tuts at the soft, startled noise. "Don't judge, Your Majesty," she scolds, and bites back a smile at the chuckle. "We all have our little idiosyncrasies, and this is mine, okay?"
Elsa holds up the hand that isn't clasped in Anna's, but only until she has to grab for the couch as Anna pulls her into it. They both land with a small bounce and a squeak of springs, and glance around guiltily before grinning at each other like a pair of misbehaving children.
"So." Anna flops into the padded backrest; her hand still wrapped around Elsa's and her head hitting the wall behind her with a low thump as she cranes her neck back and peers up. "Elsa, this is Joan – Joan, Elsa." She flits her free hand into the air and gestures back and forth in a semi-proper, introductory fashion. "Joan suffered through a lot of my ramblings during the..." Her gaze shifts to her sister's face, and then drops. "Well, y'know."
Elsa squeezes her hand, and her mouth tightens. "I'm sorry," she says softly.
"It's alright," Anna replies, because it is. Now. "Just don't lock me out again." She shifts with a sound of fabric on fabric, and ends up with her head pillowed on Elsa's shoulder and their clasped hands nestled in her sister's lap. "Or you'll be in trouble."
The body she's leaning (heavily) on moves in a silent, stuttering laugh, and she feels the odd, cool-and-warm clasp of Elsa's arm sliding around her shoulders while a smile is pressing into the top of her head. "I won't," Elsa murmurs into her hair.
"You better." She closes her eyes and sinks further into Elsa, whose skin is cooler than her own but still warm and pleasantly soothing. Just like when they were children, this is the safest place in the world, and the sensation makes her go almost completely boneless from sheer relaxation. That, in turn, pulls another fond chuckle from Elsa, and she feels the light stroke of gentle fingers travel over the back of her exposed neck.
"Don't fall asleep on me," comes the tease.
"Literally?" Anna rejoins gamely, and smiles at the nod she feels. "I won't." She tilts her head enough that she can see Elsa's face, and is captivated all over again by just how blue her eyes really are. Not blue-with-green like her own, or pale, almost timid blue like their mother's, but real blue; like summer skies and clear waters and gemstones. They're unusual and beautiful and look like clear, wintery mountain lakes against Elsa's pale skin, and she kinda gets lost just studying them and finding the little flecks of darker or paler blue that mix in here and there.
"I missed you," she whispers, rising up enough that she can kiss Elsa's cheek and linger there for a moment as she steadies herself with the hand that rests on Elsa's thigh.
The fingers on her neck tighten, and when she moves back a little, Elsa releases her hand and reaches up to brush away her bangs with a touch so light it's barely there. "I missed you too," she murmurs, and her touch grows uncertain and halting until Anna smiles. Then it starts skimming slowly over her forehead, down her temple and over her cheek; faint as butterfly wings but there and real and comforting, with neither of them looking away and Elsa's lips slowly starting to shape a smile.
"Anna," she says then, with her voice is as gentle as a spring breeze, and Anna just hums because she knows somehow that it isn't something that requires an actual response. Elsa's simply saying her name because she can.
"Elsa," she returns, with a grin pulling at her lips that blooms fully when Elsa giggles, and then fades when her sister sobers.
She looks so serious – even anxious – with the way her brows come together to form a tiny furrow over the bridge of her nose; how her cheeks move when she at first purses her lips, and then pulls the lower one between her teeth. She doesn't look away, though, and Anna can still feel the touch of cool fingers to the skin on her face. It's slipping lower; traveling over the curve of her jaw and moving towards her chin, and Anna isn't doing a thing to stop it both because she's enjoying it and because she doesn't even want to think about how long it's been since Elsa last had the chance – or the courage – to touch another human being.
But it hurts to see how hesitant she's being.
"Hey." Anna brings her hand up to curl lightly around Elsa's wrist, and feels the tiny start that travels through the pale arm in reaction. But she isn't preventing; just holding."It's okay. Whatever it is, it's okay."
Elsa sighs, her lips pressing together and the air escaping through her nose as her eyes drop to Anna's hand. She stares at it for a long time, and then finally looks up again. Her fingers curve to carefully hold Anna's chin while her thumb brushes over the skin just below her mouth.
"Do you love me?" Elsa questions, and something about the look in her eyes is... she almost looks frightened.
"More than I've ever loved anyone," Anna replies easily. She's going to say more – has a lot more to say on the subject – but she can't, and she's so shocked that it actually takes her a few seconds to figure out the reason, which is that Elsa is kissing her.
Elsa is kissing her. On the mouth, and while it could be just a step further from their newly-developed habit of kissing on the cheek, all ideas of innocence fly right out of Anna's head when she gasps in surprise and suddenly becomes a lot more familiar with Elsa's tongue than she's ever been. All she can do is stare. At the closed eyes and their long, dark eyelashes that she can see in detail from this close. At the faint freckles scattered across the bridge of Elsa's nose. At the few strands of pale hair that have slipped down over her sister's forehead. Stare, and feel the fingers under her chin, or the hand that settles on her waist, or the way Elsa's breath rushes over her face.
Elsa is kissing her, and it takes way too long for that message to make it from Anna's brain and down to her hands, but when it does, they reach up. She means to nudge, to gently pull away, but she shoves hard enough for Elsa to lose her balance and end up slumped back with her shoulders against the armrest. She means to clear her throat and ask calmly, to be collected, but all she can do is stare with this completely useless expression of... oh, God, she hopes it isn't horror, but it probably is, because that's how Elsa is staring at her.
"Elsa," she whimpers. "We're sisters."
And Elsa just... something in her just breaks. Something very essential in those blue eyes absolutely shatters, and because it happens before Elsa squeezes her eyes shut, Anna gets a front row seat and swears that she can hear the rending of her own heart even over the sound of it beating so rapidly that it's no more than a continuous roar of noise.
When ice starts coating Elsa's clenched hands and she folds her arms across herself to hide them, Anna knows that she should reach out. When Elsa's face shifts into carefully practiced neutrality, Anna knows that she should speak up. When Elsa stands, Anna knows that she should pull her back down because they have to talk about this and talking is kind of what Anna does. But all she can do is sit there, hopelessly mute, and watch as The Queen – not Elsa – gives her a small, polite smile that's completely at odds with both the tears and the pain and the I'm sorry in her eyes; then turns and strides from the room under a flutter of tiny snowflakes.
Anna spends only God knows how long staring at the cushion where Elsa sat, with her heart pounding against her ribs and icy hands clawing at the inside of her stomach while she tries to make sense of everything. Of anything. She's horrified and confused and frightened and sad all at the same time, and her thoughts are whirling so much that she has to drop her head into her hands and clutch at her own skull to stop herself from feeling as if it's about to spin right off of her neck. Not that it helps.
She doesn't understand exactly what just happened, but she is painfully aware of one thing. Two things.
There are no more safe places. And – she closes her eyes tightly, buries her face in her hands and feels her body heating from the sobs building in her chest – she and Elsa just lost each other all over again.
Every night, it snows, but it never actually reaches the ground. It just swirls in the air around the castle, so it takes a few days before the people of the capital city start to notice. The guards and staff, of course, don't say anything (they're too polite, too mindful of their positions), but Anna swears she can feel the questioning glances on her no matter where she goes. They're burning into the space between her shoulderblades whenever she's not hidden away in her own room – sometimes even then – wondering, waiting and watching, as if she's the one to blame for the queen's sudden, mysterious behavior.
"Your Highness," a man in the city market says to her one day. "Forgive me, but is the queen well? We've seen it snow at night lately."
Initially, Anna wishes that she'd stayed in her room like the past three days. Then she has to tamp down on a sudden surge of anger, because dammit, she's angry with Elsa and doesn't want the reminder of what happened, unknowing though it is. Next she has to fight back tears, (she hides it by looking down under the guise of brushing something off her dress) because she's terrified at the thought of losing Elsa even though she already has.
She ends up smiling and telling the man that the queen is fine, which really is the best way she can think of phrasing it. The Queen is fine. The Queen because the woman she sometimes catches a glimpse of isn't Elsa, and fine because she isn't happy or sad or angry or anything; just fine. Alive would probably be a better term, but using that would cause a lot of concern, so fine it is.
Anna's pretty sure that she turns into The Princess herself on the rare occasion that they do actually look at each other these days. They both become their titles rather than themselves, and she's willing to bet that it's probably for the same reason; as a defense mechanism. A way of putting some distance between their real selves and something that's too sensitive – too raw – to even think about.
But it's still the only thing she can think about. Her head is a jumbled mess of conflicting emotions because she's upset with herself for hurting Elsa and mad at Elsa for pushing this on her. She's mourning the loss of her sister so soon after finally getting her back and cursing her own cowardice for hiding from everything. She's angry that Elsa is locking her out again and angry at herself for being angry because she's clearly no better. She's feeling guilty for lying her way out of leaving her room whenever possible by claiming illness. She's scared for Elsa because no matter how much she tries to push it away, she keeps seeing the look in those eyes over and over again. She wants to fix everything but she can't, and she's irrationally angry with herself for that, too.
Anna isn't sleeping very much, and when she finally does, dark dreams of losing Elsa make her wake up crying before she gets any worthwhile rest. She guesses – while staring out of the window and watching the moonlight reflect off of the flurries - that the nightly snowfall is probably for similar reasons, and when the phrase running in the family pops into her head she has to spend several seconds muffling a near-hysterical laugh in her pillow because there's the problem.
It would be so much easier to deal with the fact that another woman wants her if that woman wasn't her sister, and it's a fine bit of irony that the one person she could conceivably ask for advice is the one at the heart of all the confusion. It would also be easier for Anna to get a handle on everything if the fact that the other person is a woman was the problem.
It isn't. It barely even registers.
When eight days have passed, a servant brings word from the guards at the city limits that Kristoff has returned. He's been away for a good fortnight to talk business with several groups of ice harvesters (as Royal Ice Master and Deliverer, he doesn't have the time or the ability to collect enough ice on his own, so cooperation is important), and Anna jumps at the chance to see him again and tries not to think about how a lot of that's because she's desperate for something in her life to feel normal. It's not like she hasn't genuinely missed him – she's just not really had the time to for the past week or so.
The first familiar face she sees when she reaches the little patch of city that belongs to Kristoff (a good-sized house with an adjoining stable decreed to him by Elsa) is Sven, who's looking newly brushed and actually manages to make her giggle when he gives an enthusiastic, lowing greeting and then proceeds to slobber all over her face. Which, when she thinks about it, might be part of the greeting. Kristoff – unsurprisingly – is the next to emerge. He's noticeably less well-groomed than Sven, but he's always shown himself to be the kind of guy who puts others first, so Anna doesn't give it much thought and instead chuckles when he goes red at the light kiss she gives him.
Kristoff is a sweetheart and he's anything but stupid, so of course it takes less than half an hour before this happens:
"So what's bothering you?" he asks straightforwardly around the half of a carrot in his mouth, and gives the last half to Sven who's right there even though they're in the house and not the stable.
Having a fully grown reindeer in a nice, upper-middle-class house is a little odd, but it's also very direct and very Kristoff, and Anna reflects that this unusually blunt honesty plays a big part in why she loves him. Besides, it's comforting to have Sven's head butting her in the chest until she wraps her arms around his neck and can listen to him crunching the carrot when she closes her eyes. Kristoff doesn't push – he never does – instead he just sits down (on a table, with his feet pulled up and his dusty boots still on, which is also very him) and spends his time inspecting equipment and reins and ties until Anna's tears have dried on her cheeks and she forgets to wonder when she stated crying in the first place.
"Elsa," she says, and pauses to clear her throat when she realizes how hoarse her voice is. "We got into a pretty big fight." Which isn't entirely true, but it's the best concise explanation she can come up with.
"Women," Kristoff mutters with a roll of his eyes, and instead of taking offense Anna is snickering because Sven whacks him in the back of the head with one of his antlers and she knows that they're acting goofy to cheer her up and keep her from brooding.
"Hey." Some moments later, there's the resounding thud of Kristoff's boots and mass landing on the wooden floor before Anna's leaning against him, and his large hands are surprisingly gentle when they rub her back and stroke her hair. "It'll be okay," he promises, and rocks her a little when she rests her forehead against his broad chest. "You and Elsa have been through too much to let this come between you, right? You just have to find a way to talk to her."
"Easier said than done," Anna mutters into his vest, but still squeezes her arms a little around his neck because he's being a thousand kinds of supportive and she really, really needs that. "We hurt each other... a lot. I don't even know where to begin."
"Just try," he tells her, and Anna's almost falling asleep against him even though he smells a little funny. "Keep trying. Camp outside her door if you have to. I've got a sleeping bag you can borrow, if you want."
Going by his voice he's halfway between joking and serious, and she laughs a little again because it's so much better than crying. "You make me sound so stubborn," she mutters, and peers up at him.
"No," he grins, and then makes a goofy-looking face when she sticks her tongue out at him. "You do that just fine on your own, feistypants."
Anna thumps a loosely curled fist against his chest. "Stinker," she accuses warmly, and smiles when he does before rising up to kiss him. His lips are a little rough against hers, but his mouth is warm and even the stubble on his face feels gentle when his arms curl tighter around her, and they end up breaking apart with twin sets of snorting laughter only when Sven apparently feels left out and manages to somehow wedge his massive head between them.
"How long are you staying for?" Anna asks when night has fallen and she's getting ready to go back to the castle.
"Just until tomorrow," Kristoff tells her, and holds up her light jacket while she slips into it. "We've still got a lot of harvesters to talk to, so we gotta head east next."
It's not exactly a lie, but she knows that it's a change in his plans that's probably come about because of her. Kristoff was supposed to stay for at least a week before heading out again, but he's spending barely a night in his own bed and she's pretty sure it's because he doesn't want her to worry about entertaining him when her relationship with Elsa is rocky.
"How long will you be gone?" she questions. "When are you leaving?"
"Around three weeks, and before dawn," he responds, and hugs her. "So no coming to see me off, okay? Focus on Elsa."
"Is that an order, Ice Master?" Anna teases, and smiles when he laughs.
"As if you'd take orders from anyone," Kristoff grouses goodnaturedly, and briefly lifts her off of her feet. "No, it's just a suggestion. You and me... that might last and it might not." Wow, that kinda hurt, but she's impressed that he can be this honest. "Elsa's your sister, and that's never gonna change. You're stuck with each other for better or worse, so make it for better, alright?"
"Alright; I'll do my best." She gives him a kiss on the lips and plants one on Sven's nose for good measure, which gets her slobbered on again. "Be safe – both of you - and that is an order."
Kristoff is leaning against the doorframe with a smirk, and salutes her as she steps past him. "Yes, Ma'am."
"Prat!" Anna calls over her shoulder, and his chuckles follow her until she turns the corner and can see the castle in the not-so-far distance. It's snowing again, she realizes, but the icy hand gripping her gut is weaker now, and she holds her head high as she walks.
It's well past time to stop fretting about the problem, and start looking for a solution.
The next morning is the first time in a week and a half that Anna goes to the dining room for breakfast; she actually meets a maid carrying a tray on her way there and avoids bumping into her and sending plates and cups and cutlery clattering down the stairs because it's also the first, full night's sleep she's gotten in a long while. The maid takes the tray and its contents back to the kitchen with a curtsy, and Anna half-jogs down the steps to ground level with a smile on her face because she's going to enjoy this 'good mood' thing while it lasts.
She's nowhere near naïve enough to think that everything is going to resolve itself just because she has Kristoff's support; no matter how much it means to her. Elsa wants her – desires her – so there's obviously deeper issues at hand that she can't afford to take lightly if she's to have any hope of getting things back to even somewhat easy between them.
Anna still doesn't know how to go about this, but it seems like actually showing her face in Elsa's general vicinity is a good place to start. She just wishes that her mind wouldn't bring that kiss back to the forefront of her thoughts the second she sets eyes on her sister, because it makes her heart race and her throat go dry while her palms grow sweaty, and nervous really isn't what she wants to be right now.
"Good morning," she greets quietly as she approaches the single table and its lone occupant, and gives herself a mental pat on the back for managing to keep her voice steady. Okay, so she does almost walk into the table when Elsa's head jerks up in surprise and their eyes meet, but she doesn't have time to either trip or feel embarrassed because that blue gaze drops back down so fast it almost seems like it was burned somehow.
"Good morning," Elsa says to her breakfast, and her voice sounds uncomfortably tight even though her face reveals nothing. Her eyes might give an idea of what she's thinking – they usually do – but she is not looking back up even when Anna seats herself next to her.
Breakfast looks lovely in the half-second's thought Anna actually gives it, but she doesn't notice any tastes or scents even as she eats. She's talking (babbling, rambling) between bites and watching Elsa from the corner of her eye; painfully aware of the agonizing tension in the slender shoulders and the dark circles under her eyes. And she's trying to make things a little less tense between them by just pretending that everything is normal, but she still has the sinking feeling that the only reason Elsa isn't fleeing the room is the small handful of servants waiting in a line by one wall, because she clearly wasn't expecting Anna to show up today, either.
"Did you sleep okay?" Anna asks, because the air in here is growing ever more stifled and she's desperately trying to find something to say that'll lift the heavy atmosphere. She's always been able to do that, but for some reason that particular talent is utterly failing her now. Elsa is giving no more than the minimum required in terms of answers ('yes', 'no', 'hm') and Anna's getting progressively more frustrated as the seconds tick by, because she's trying here and why can't Elsa make an effort?
"I slept well," she mutters after a full, thirty seconds of silence, and then covers her eyes with one hand and wonders if maybe someone dropped her on her head when she was very young. Because yes, that's absolutely what Elsa needs to hear when she's obviously not getting enough rest; that Anna is sleeping like a baby. Which she isn't – hasn't been ever since that day apart from last night - but Elsa doesn't know that.
The rest of the meal – and thank God there isn't much left – goes by in exponentially increasing, awkward silence with Anna keeping her face aimed towards her own plate, but glancing up every now and then as discreetly as she can. The tendon in Elsa's jaw is jumping on average once every three seconds, and she's sitting so straight-backed that Anna's surprised she can't hear bones creaking. When the plates and cutlery are cleared away by the maids, Elsa's left hand is curled tightly around the stem of a silver goblet, and Anna can see her swallowing from the corner of her eye when the door swings shut behind the servants and they're left alone.
Now's probably the best chance she's going to get, so she reaches out a hand. "Elsa." She keeps her voice soft and is vaguely aware of speaking like she would to a frightened animal. "I'm sor-"
The second her fingers settle on Elsa's bare wrist, the water in the goblet freezes so abruptly that it explodes, and the now-empty chalice rolls around on the table with an abnormally loud drone; its inside and stem covered in spiky, white ice even as both of them snatch their hands back.
"Don't," Elsa whispers harshly, and cradles her left hand in her right as she squeezes her eyes shut. "Don't touch me. Please."
Then she's gone, and Anna flops back into her chair with a groan and digs her fingers into her thighs.
Damn, damn, damn.
Elsa doesn't take her meals in the dining room for the rest of that day or at any point during the following one, and while Anna fully admits to herself that she's hurt by that, she tries to be understanding and has Gerda make sure that food is taken to the queen in her chambers or her study or wherever she is, because Anna doesn't know. No matter where she looks, it's as if Elsa was there mere moments ago and she just missed her, and she wonders if maybe Elsa's found a way to craft little snow-pigeons or something that can keep an eye on her and warn her sister whenever she approaches.
So she has the staff take care of keeping the queen fed and tries not to feel like she's been punched in the chest when she starts keeping her distance again, because that's obviously what Elsa wants right now and Anna's just gonna have to deal with it and wait.
But when she rolls over in the middle of another sleepless night and sees the fully opaque ice that coats her window, she can't stop the tears.
There's still no sign of snow during the day, Anna notes over the next week or so; chiefly because she has to try to figure this out somehow or she's going to lose her mind. Every day is an almost textbook example of late summer in Arendelle; warm and sunny with maybe a couple of showers giving some relief from the sun here and there, and the only time any snow or ice shows, it's exclusively in or around the castle and only well after the sun has set. Presumably, this means that Elsa – just like Anna – has an easier time with whatever it is she's dealing with during daylight hours where there's work to be done and distractions to be found, and that she's only forced to give in to the pain at night when there's nothing to keep her mind off of it.
Anna's spending a lot of her moonlit hours wandering. She can't sleep in her own bed because it's too dark and silent and open to thinking in her room, but she generally manages to nod off in front of the fire in the library when she's read enough that her head is filled with fact or fiction or fantasy instead of thoughts about her own life. It's at least educational, and she supposes that she should probably be glad that her body seems to have grudgingly adjusted to her lack of sleep so she's no longer walking into walls several times a day. And she is, but mostly she's back to being angry with Elsa.
It's not that she doesn't get that Elsa's hurting too; that much is so patently obvious that it's almost enough to make her nose bleed. But they're not getting anywhere, and it's driving her crazy. Everything is stagnant, standing still, not moving, stuck, trapped, jammed, wedged (at least her vocabulary's expanding with all the reading she's doing lately), and they can't just keep doing this tired old song and dance until the end of time. Something has to change because anything that stops changing is essentially dead, and Anna is not willing to just let her relationship with Elsa wither away and die.
Even if Elsa is. And damn that thought hurts.
She's walking as quietly as possible when she approaches the door to the queen's chambers, because even from several feet away, she can see the light coming from under the door in the dark hallway. More than that, she can see how the light is blocked by a shadow at even intervals, like the occupant of the chambers is pacing.
Again, she thinks with more than a faint trace of wry humor, that sort of thing seems to run in the family.
"Elsa?" she calls softly when she comes to a halt in front of the door and rests one palm against it. A glance down lets her see the light disappear, and she rolls her eyes. "Look, I know you're in there," she points out. "I know you're hurting, and I'm sorry if this sounds childish or selfish or stupid, but we both are. Hiding from each other isn't going to solve anything, and if you aren't willing to come to me, then I guess I have to turn over an old leaf and start this little family tradition up again."
Jesus. Anna bites down on the tip of her tongue and pinches the bridge of her nose. "I'm sorry," she then sighs. "I don't mean to be bitter. I just... I miss you, okay? I know I'm losing you but I don't understand why and it's driving me crazy because all I want is to find a way to make this better. I can't do that alone, Elsa. Neither of us can. We need each other to get past this, and you know exactly what I'm talking about."
"You remember that day," Anna says, and there's nothing in her tone that indicates any kind of question. It's simply a statement of fact. "And I know I'm too old to pull this card, but you promised not to lock me out again, Elsa. You promised." She hears her own voice break, and clears her throat before sniffing softly. "And I'm gonna hold you to that, whether- whether by simple or extreme means, because I can make you honor your promise in a court of law, y'know. Theo- Theoretically, I could sue you for breaching one of the prime clauses of the Treaty of Monarchist Rule of 1478 – verbal contracts." Her forehead rests against the door, and she snorts wanly. "So that's how desperate I am to talk to you, Elsa. Because it's still valid and from what I can tell, me doing that could potentially strip you of the crown, and I really don't want that, because you're good at being the queen and people love you. I love you. But I am so spitting mad at you right now that I can barely think."
For a moment, Anna just breathes and studies the shadowed, eloquent woodwork in front of her face. It's silent, of course, and there's not a single sound coming from the other side, either. And she doesn't really know why – it might be the lack of sleep or the fact that her emotions are totally shot and overworked – but she just feels this surge of white-hot anger and ends up slamming her fist into the thick, oak frame hard enough to take the skin off her knuckles and send an echo of the resulting bang traveling down the hallway.
"Fuck!" Anna cradles her now aching hand with a hiss, then leans back against the door before sliding down it and sinking to a graceless seat on the floor as the last few minutes sink in. "What's wrong with me?" She's only vaguely aware of the fact that she's crying as she stares at her reddening skin and flexes her stinging fingers, and she almost doesn't notice how the surface of the door shifts a fraction as if someone was leaning against it from the other side, but she does feel the wood cool.
"What the hell am I doing, Elsa?" she weeps, and thumps the back of her head against the door. "I punched the wall, I threatened you, I... God, I don't- wouldn't- I'm sorry. I'm sorry." And she needs to get out of here – as in right now - so she gets to her feet and feels her legs quake with the effort of holding her body up. "I have to-" A breath, a second, and she consciously has to remind herself to inhale more deeply. "Just- I'll, um... see you later." Breathe! "Okay? Okay."
Then she's running because she has to get away, and she's kind of in disbelief that her shaking legs can support her at all and that her lungs are even getting enough air, but she's tearing down the hall so fast that she's almost out of earshot when she hears the yell.
She doesn't stop or even turn, because she just doesn't have the headspace to deal with anything or anyone.
This fic is my entry for the Elsanna Contest on Tumblr, and I swear, I was planning no more than maybe a 5k oneshot to begin with. Then Anna grabbed me by the ear, and it was either keep the hell up or become the new Van Gogh – except I can't draw for shit.
I elected to keep. Both up, and my ear. But I have to start posting some of this because the entire thing is at 21k words right now and I am not done yet, so yay – double release! Or something. w00t?