*Author's Note: This tale takes place in May shortly before Frozen Fever. After a day of being ignored by her sister, Anna fears they are slipping back into old, painful habits.
"All day." Anna waved her arms about her as she paced before the stalls. "She's been avoiding me all day."
Sven's eyes followed her, as he munched on fresh hay.
On a wooden bench, near Sven's stall, Kristoff sat working on a piece of harness binding. His eyes raising once in a while to glance at the little red head as she stomped toward him, before turning on her heels, to march in the opposite direction. "Sounds like she was working." It was the first time he had offered more than a nod or grunt since she had stormed into the stables, half an hour earlier.
"No," She spun on him, fists clenched tight. He leaned back, keeping a close eye on her hands. "That's just her excuse. She skipped breakfast with me. I even made it on time, just to be with her. But Gerda said she showed up early, then left before I arrived."
"Maybe she had an early meeting."
"Humph," Waving off the answer she resumed pacing. "What about lunch? She refused my invitation to eat in the garden. And," She rushed toward him with a finger pointed at his nose. "She didn't even have the nerve to tell me in person. No, she had Gerda do her dirty work." With a flustered little grunt she threw up her hands, turned on her heels and began pacing again.
With her back on the war path, Kristoff turned his attention to the harness. "Did she say why?"
"Something about taking lunch in the study, so she could work." Kristoff opened his mouth to comment. But snapped it shut as she whipped around, bumping a pitchfork, sending it clattering to the ground. "And, she told Kai she was not to be disturbed by anybody, including me." Fists clenched at her sides, Anna's face was several shades brighter than her hair. "I'm not anybody," She beat a fist to her chest. "I'm her sister!" For a moment the fire of her anger flashed bright. Then it faded, giving way to the shine of unshed tears. She wrapped her arms around herself and whispered. "I'm her sister."
Kristoff dropped the harness and crossed the space separating them, in two quick strides. The tears came as he wrapped his arms around her. She clung to him as though he would vanish if she let go.
He nuzzled the top of her head with his cheek, stroking her hair. "Anna, maybe you should just give her a little space."
She leaned back to glare up at him.
Had she not been so upset, he might have found the expression cute. "I've given her thirteen years worth of space."
"Just for tonight." He hugged her closer, realizing he'd nicked a raw nerve. "If she's acting the same way tomorrow, then I promise, I'll help you break down her study door."
A soft, muffled giggle was her only answer as she snuggled into him.
With the crook of his finger he caught her chin, raising her face till their eyes met. "It'll be okay. She loves you. You know that, right?"
Her shoulders slumped as she sighed. "I know. But it still hurts to be shutout."
A callous, yet gentle hand cupped her cheek. "I know, baby. I know." He kissed her forehead, then wrapped her in a hug. 'Elsa,' he thought. 'You'd better have a good reason for this.'
As they held each other a comfortable silence settled over the stables.
"Princess." They jumped apart at the male voice calling from the doorway.
Anna wiped at her eyes and forced a smile. "Hi Kai, I didn't hear you come in."
He suppressed a smile at the young couples awkwardness as he stepped into the stables. "I didn't mean to startle you, milady."
"No, no that's alright. Did you need something?"
The Chamberlain straightened. "Her Majesty, has asked if you would, please join her."
"She did?" Anna hadn't meant to sound so surprised.
"Yes, Your Highness. She's waiting for you in the Royal Suite."
"Oh, really." Her eyes narrowed as she considered refusing. "I've been chasing her all day. Now she expects me to drop everything and come…wait, did you say the Royal Suite?"
All thoughts of petty revenge vanished in a heartbeat. "Wh, why does she want to meet there?"
Kai offered what she took to be a sympathetic smile. "I don't know, Princess." He waited a moment. "Will you be joining her or should I take a message back for you."
Anna shook herself. "No, I mean yes. I'll be right there."
"Very good." Kai bowed, turned on his heels and disappeared out the door.
She jumped at the feel of Kristoff's hand on her back. "You okay?"
"What, yeah." Anna nodded. "I'm good."
He knew it was a lie, but didn't push. "What's the Royal Suite?"
Her hand trembled as she brushed an imagined strand of hair behind her ear. A nervous laugh escaped when she opened her mouth. "It's the bed chambers for the ruling monarch."
Kristoff's brow furrowed. "Why didn't he just say, Elsa's bedroom?"
"It's not Elsa's room." Her clasped hands came to her chest, twisting nervously. "It's…our parent's room."
"Oh," Unsure what to say Kristoff rubbed at the back of his neck. "Any idea why she wants to meet there?"
"No." Came the soft reply.
The hand on her back slipped up to her shoulder. "Do you want me to come with you?"
She leaned into him, welcoming the warmth of his touch. The feel of his solid body gave her support and comfort. "No. Thanks. I think this is a sister thing."
"Okay," He stroked her back. "I'll be here if you need me."
She hugged him, nuzzling into his chest. "Thanks."