.

.

A wash-glow of sunlight cascades through the windows and Elsa feels indescribably warm.

Mary Margaret's loft is pleasing to the eye with its soft, muted colors, as well as intimate and cozy under the patchwork quilted blankets. It's nothing like Arendelle.

The palace was all silk and satin and finery, with dust-covered, winding halls and glass chandeliers. Elsa remembers sleeping alone often as a child. There had been no visible lock on her door, but she knew that if she were to wander unaccompanied, her lady mother and her father would discipline her.

However, sleeping in an enchanted urn held no wonders upon it. Elsa never slept.

Now freed of her prison, with the overwhelming and bright knowledge that her parents loved her more than feared her uncontrollable power… she can let her guard down.

She always could with Anna beside her. Somehow, even when Elsa believed in herself she couldn't ever be loved.

The mound of heavy, wool-rough blankets shift. Elsa's fingers comb her messy, undone braid, flicking honey-white curls over her shoulder. She lies on her side, up against her sister. Anna has lovely skin, cream-rose tones against paler when Elsa rubs her hand against Anna's bare, lightly freckled shoulder and smiles to herself. The nightdress slipping off Anna's frame.

Clothing in… Storybrooke has a lighter quality to it, missing the restraint of thickly-layered bustles and embroidered corsets she grew up with. Truth be told, it's not missed. Anna looks far more flattering in looser, aqua-green fabric. When it's worn-out and the bold color has faded and aged over time.

A whimper passes Anna's sleepy lips.

Elsa shushes her gently, leaning into her ear as the noise returns, pitifully. "Anna, wake up," she murmurs, stroking the length of Anna's arm in a consoling manner. "It's alright. You're only dreaming." Elsa gets up on an elbow, peering down in sympathy as her sister finally comes to, burying her face into her freckled hands and stifling a cry.

She hates how the nightmares leave Anna sobbing into pillows, quietly like she doesn't want Elsa to hear her.

It twists an ugly, burning knot in her gut.

Elsa wants to understand; she does in a way, because they don't speak of what happened to Kristoff. Anna tells her about being locked in the trunk, beginning to drown inside it when she was tossed into the ocean by Hans and her brothers. Up until rescued by the beloved necklace, when it summoned Anna to this realm, and saving her life.

But, the reality is that they are both still trapped. With no way back to Arendelle for the time.

Elsa doesn't mind it too much. Anna has some memory loss prior to her near-drowning, but she has faith that those memories will return to her.

Anna's body shudders, making it too obvious that she's crying. Her hands remain covering her face. Elsa doesn't move to touch her, but smiles thinly.

"Do you remember watching Kai learn to skate on the ice?" she asks, and watches Anna go still.

Like a godsent miracle, Anna's sobs transform into the purest laughter, breathy and quivering. "H-He…" Her sister takes a deep, steadying breath, hands lowering. "He bruised himself."

"On his backside," Elsa says, mischievously.

It earns her a hand clapped over Elsa's mouth, in horror, as Anna stares up and laughs harder. Her round and lovely face tear-stained and reddened, but no longer grieving. "Gerda was furious!" she exclaims. "He could hardly get around to do the chores."

"But then they performed for us one night when the guards were dismissed, remember that?"

Elsa smiles wider, teeth sinking into her bottom lip. She pushes away the wetness from Anna's cheek, tracing the side of her thumb across cheekbone as the other woman nods.

"He was much more agile after falling." Anna's clear-water blue eyes narrow, partly in fear, more-so in confusion. "How can I remember that, Elsa, but not—?"

"Don't think on it for now," Elsa rushes to interrupt her, face tightening. "You need your rest."

"Is that a royal command?"

Noticing the teasing in Anna's voice, Elsa pretends to straighten up, lifting her chin regally. "As your Queen, I declare that you shall smile for more than you frown. The penalty for treason shall be a tickle-fight!" She wiggles her fingers to Anna's ribcage.

The other woman squeals high-pitched, knees bumping into Elsa.

They giggle, squirmy limbs and rosy-cheeked. Anna, with her red hair fanned below her, those freckles dark, decides to reach up.

A palm cradles to Elsa's face, filling her with more warmth than the sunshine.

"You're so good to me, Elsa."

We're sisters. You've always told me that was the reason, Elsa says in her mind.

She grins, matching the enthusiasm in Anna's own, and then kisses her.

It's simple and closed, more friendly than hot spit. She's kissed Anna before. She's let Anna kiss her, in secret, in hushed whispers and searching looks while they hid in the gallery. Like they were part of a game. A dangerous, dangerous game.

But temptation and a sense of undeniable love roars in Elsa's chest. Anna's softened, pink lips open to hers and Elsa's kissing her again. Slow and sweet, their mouths flush together.

She wants Anna underneath her, wants her, and then is granted so, legs tangled. Their breasts press weighed through Elsa's nightshirt and the aqua-green fabric of Anna's. Elsa's fingers deeply clutching in red-brown locks, feeling the gasping hitch in Anna's throat—

The steel of the loft-stairs creaks.

"Guys, how's it—oh," Emma announces, astonishment clouding her expression.

Mortification flames at Anna's already red-glowing face, hair mussed, and eyes shamefully wide.

"Oh, okay. I, uh…"

Elsa climbs off her sister quickly, protesting. If she's not careful, the temperature to the room will drop a couple degrees.

"Please, Emma—"

"Hey, not judging," Emma says, oddly straight-faced and calm. She shrugs a little, eyebrows furrowed, giving full eye-contact to Elsa. "Believe me. I've seen weirder things… I'm sure."

An awkward, low laugh escapes her.

"And I'm kind of dating my step-grandmother, so there's that." At the silent and questioning look, Emma adds with a little less bashfulness, "Regina. I meant Regina."

The Evil Queen.

Though, Elsa has admittedly not seen a hint of any evil from her—not counting the result of the Shattered Sight curse. It's a mistaken title for sure. She wonders how Emma feels about anyone still using it. Emma doesn't appear to be a person who tolerates such bigotry.

"Emma, if you—"

"I'm not gonna say anything, Elsa. Your business is your business. I'm not here to tell you what to feel, alright?" The honesty radiating from Emma releases a sigh from her. "You might wanna get a room with a door and a good, solid lock next time." Emma raises her eyebrows and she snorts, turning back. "Just a suggestion."

"Great," Anna mumbles, loudly smacking an open hand to her forehead.

.

.

Morning seems less hectic. They don't change out of their night-clothes, but there isn't company present. David and Mary Margaret are out with their infant son, and Emma's upstairs.

Anna gazes suspiciously down at one of the 'frosted strawberry Poptarts' on her plate. Elsa, across from her, stirs her apple cinnamon oatmeal, looking away dreamily.

Emma's cellphone buzzes on top of the wooden table, indicating a message from KILLIAN and 1 message received.

"What on the gosh green earth—?" Anna says, gaping at the phone as Elsa remains unmoved by the ruckus.

As if understanding its meaning, she flips the device open.

"I'm led to believe it's a way to communicate with someone long-distance…"

"Like a pigeon?" Anna replies, blinking. "Or a dove?"

Emma hurries down the loft-stairs, tossing back her bright yellow hair and slipping on a maroon-colored jacket. She smirks knowingly at them. "Not even close, kiddo," she tells Anna, who remains more and more frustrated, and so very close to pouting in anger.

"It's much faster," Elsa adds, patiently.

Her sister glances between them, almost mistrustfully, and then solemnly bites into her Poptart. Anna suddenly makes a surprised, happy 'mmm!' and wolfs down a much larger portion of the sugary pastry. It's better than anything she's had before—except chocolate. Chocolate always won. Chocolate, and Elsa.

"You guys going to be okay here by yourselves?"

"Of course," Elsa reassures Storybrooke's female sheriff. "Where are you heading off to?"

"Operation Mongoose with Henry. Don't wait up." Emma nods to the cellphone, buttoning her jacket up. "You can keep it for now. If my parents call, just let them know I'm at Regina's. Tell them Henry's with me."

"Do they know you and her…?"

Emma's lips tighten, not quite a grimace. "Anyone knowing would be complicated," she says, shortly.

Then we have that in common as well, it seems.

Elsa offers her a small, encouraging grin.

"Be safe, Emma."

At this, the other woman grins back and shuts the apartment door behind her. Elsa waits for the echo of the lock and none comes. For just a split second, the prickle of an old fear dissipates. She gazes at Anna chewing her last mouthful of newly-discovered strawberry goodness, those adorable, freckled cheeks bulging.

It reminds her of an image of a fluffy squirrel from the woods, but keeps it to herself.

"What would you like to do today, Anna?"

.

.

Her sister's excitement is nearly palatable.

"Now you press the send button," Elsa instructs, letting Anna delicately nurse the phone to herself.

"The little green one, right?"

Anna waits for further instruction and then jabs it a bit too harshly.

"Is it going? Is it—oh, OH oh oh! I did it, oh gosh!" she shouts, hands flailing, bouncing softly in Elsa's lap.

"You did it," Elsa says, proudly. She embraces Anna's waist, nuzzling her throat and breathing in the faintest scent of lavender soap under salt and flesh.

"What if it doesn't answer?" Anna speaks up, worriedly.

"Then nothing happens—"

A buzzing carries off the rest of Elsa's sentence.

1 message received.

KILLIAN
i cant bloody tell who this is anymore

"How rude of him," Anna scolds, no longer fussing, and Elsa does her best to not laugh. She would send Hook another message later to clear things up.

"Well, now you know how to work modern technology."

"But, Elsa… I know we already not talked about this. What if I never remember what happened?" Anna gestures helplessly, cellphone in her left hand. For fear of her accidentally letting it fly, Elsa pries it out of Anna's fingers with care, lacing their hands together.

"When we go home to Arendelle, I'll help you remember everything," she promises. "You know I will."

"What if we can't ever go home?" Her younger sister babbles on, tension stringing her. "What if there's bad guys there? What if the palace was burned down? What if one of us gets kidnapped—oh heavens me," Anna moans, immediately going boneless as Elsa tilts her head and nips under her ear.

"If you're not going to rest, Anna," she whispers, pressing her mouth coyly to Anna's neck. "I'm going to exhaust you out until you do."

A rumbling, pleasant sound.

"I like this idea," Anna whispers back, grinning and squeaking as Elsa's cool hands slide up under her shirt, fingernails digging softly to her abdomen.

Anna is warmth and intimacy, and wherever she may go, Elsa will follow and call her home.

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Woooo! I got to release this fic finally for the ouat-ff-exchange! I hope you all really enjoy it and feel free to leave me your thoughts! :)