She chases Elsa, and watches her become a fragment of pale and deep blues among the foggy, spectral lights.
Anna doesn't remember a time where her older sister wasn't dying her hair these extraordinary colors — this month being Elsa's favorite ones combined in icy tones, weaved along sea-foam greens and snowy, iridescent silvers and whites.
Their feet hit wet, slippery pavement in rapid-pace, and it's the only noise to the sleepy, lulling quiet of the town.
Elsa slows down, breathing hard, clutching at her right side as if painfully winded. She groans out incoherently when her sister rushes in, throwing herself to Elsa's back and hugging her tightly in victory. Anna hollers out a delighted, short-lived yell, pressing her cheek affectionately to Elsa's. She stretches out her fingers to the tree above them.
Its branches hang low, nearly to the crest of their heads, and glimmer with tiny, orange-ember bulbs. The garden, corded lights burnish the dark, skeletal trees along each side of the town's river. They are not as crystal-dark as its rippling waters.
Everything is so much more dazzling around Elsa.
That's been Anna's life story, it seems. It's always ever been them together as family and as sisters. No one is deemed worthy to share in this bond, or share Apollo chocolate bars from the grocery store. They carry each other's secrets and prayers, whispering fears and longings into the night.
If only Elsa… would allow herself to speak once more.
Anna understands why she won't. She had been there for what happened, after all — their parents' lives taken in the explosive train accident. It had killed everyone in the wreckage save a few passengers — Anna and Elsa being among the youngest survivors listed in the hospitals records. Elsa was only eight-years-old, as Anna can recall, and has been mute since that day. The doctors expected that she would quit the behavior over time, as long as it takes to process her trauma.
(Their broken limbs healed themselves nicely, if only they could say the same for their broken hearts.)
She doesn't believe that prying into Elsa's process, then or now, would do either of them good.
The only evidence Anna has of the accident impacting her life is the empty mail slots, and the ornately high-back, empty chairs in the dining room. Family friends settled into their home when Anna and Elsa were children, legally fostering then until they both hit the age of seventeen.
Her parents were good and kind people, but seemingly washed out and monotonous to Anna's youthful memory.
(Elsa, forevermore, can be relied upon as the harmonious tinge of life and of color, when it seems missing.)
However… colors and brilliant, pleasant notions vanish into the darkness, occasionally.
Anna dreamed once that Elsa opened her mouth and a flurry of black, hairy months escaped. She dreamed the waters of Arendelle's river gleamed and overflowed with poisonous, obsidian sludge, moving quickly throughout cobblestone roads, swallowing their neighbors. Dreams of ghastly pale, veined hands emerging from nothingness, disembodied. Of ashy, fully blossomed roses glowing like a fire-pit in their centers.
Anna dreamed a lot and it frightened her. Sometimes, her dreams were true.
During an unseasonably summer day, Kristoff injured himself during his football match. He required a neck-brace for several months. Anna dreamed of it two nights before, exactly the way it happened. Elsa told her to think nothing of it. She must keep it to herself.
Secrets were a family affair.
Before Agnarr and Iduna Fyn's death, Elsa had her own lovely one. Anna witnessed snowstorms transforming, and frosty, intricate patterns of gem-bright ice creep over the window-panes — all because of Elsa. Beautiful and cold illusions.
Everyone but Anna feared what she could be capable of. Anna wondered sometimes if their parents meant to send Elsa away on that boarding trip on the train. Not that she would have allowed it. Even if she had only been a wee, annoyingly energetic girl.
The world is so dazzling, even in the ramshackle, abandoned homes they explored in their youth. Rosy-lit in the dawn, with peeling and decorative wallpaper.
Elsa climbs the staircase first, her ballet-slippers flattening onto old, stained carpet. Anna ducks the electrical wiring, pressing her hands to the white walls of the hallways before joining her older sister in another room. She crinkles her nose, taking a whiff of a foul, runny stench.
"Must we do this now? It's late," Anna complains, half-circling in place and then glancing at Elsa.
Her sister raises her delicate hands midair, her so-enchanting blue eyes upwards. Elsa mumbles wordlessly. The antique, metal chandelier melts away into a swirling, clouding layer of galactic stars, opening through the ceiling as if the building inhales the very universe to expose itself to them.
Anna's lips part in amazement, jaw dropping.
"Oh my…!" she whispers, neck craning. "How long can it stay like that? Even after you're gone?"
The question causes a flash of irritation to cross Elsa's features.
She shakes her head, eyebrows scrunching.
You wouldn't understand.
"I didn't mean it like that, Elsa," Anna explains, letting out a sigh and hoping it's not as exasperated as she feels. It's not her fault that Elsa is moving away to the local university — that is several miles too far. "I will always be here for you—that's not going to change. You know where to find me, and I know where to find you."
A rueful look, and Elsa gestures her over with a mittened hand. She points to the conjured, spinning vision of stars.
"Yes, they're magnificent," Anna says, confused as her older sister pulls off her scarf and coverings. "… what? What is it?"
With a shy, slow caress, Elsa touches Anna's face with both hands. Those naked fingers drag over Anna's cheekbones, tracing as if mesmerized by her warm, soft skin. As if to tell Anna, in her own way: So are you.
It's enough to flush Anna's entire body in tingling heat, to bring her closer and plant smacks of eager, clumsy kisses against Elsa's mouth and nose.
"Don't be silly, you goose," she murmurs, listening to a throaty, breathless laugh.
Anna loves this little, hidden town in all of its dreamy and slumberous reverence. Elsa worked at the ice cream parlor during the afternoons, and when she would return from her shifts, Anna could smell the cinnamon-sweets and dark chocolate and sugar on her aprons.
She thought she could taste all of this within the depths of Elsa's widening, hot mouth, against her teeth and on the tip of her tongue.
Anna loves Elsa's chilly hands on her too-heated skin, keeping her dizzy and delirious. They would skim over Anna's belly and tease around her aroused nipples. She remembers many evenings and late mornings, too many to count — arching and moaning and perspiring under Elsa's weight, too fucked out to be gleeful. Her orgasm pulsing and dripping around her sister's fingers, and Elsa loves burying herself deep inside her, wringing each noise and gasp out of Anna.
But tomorrow, Elsa leaves her.
Several miles is only ten, really — the problem is Elsa plans on taking the car with her. Public transport is scarce in Arendelle, and Elsa will be too busy with her studies, and Anna cannot help but feel terrified at this realization. That they may drift apart from each other.
The truth is all Anna can do is hold her under the magical ceiling stars, and then under the full moon pillaring its glow-light. Elsa's bottom lip tastes swollen and chapped to the wintry, night air, sticking momentarily onto Anna's flesh.
But, she's never looked more… god help her, Anna cannot imagine beautiful when Elsa will abandon this.
The first weekend of the school year approaches.
Anna spends it curled up and face-down on the bed. Too mopey to cry. She did all of her crying before Elsa pulled out of the driveway, and no amount of bottled water was enough to keep her from being dehydrated and feeling sick to her stomach.
When the doorbell rings, Anna shuts her eyes tighter.
"Go away," she cries out stubbornly, right into her emerald-checkered, microfiber comforter.
To hell with them. It's not like whoever it was can hear her, but it makes Anna feel slightly better to yell at something.
It rings enough times for Anna to cry out in frustration and heave herself upright, as if it is a disastrous inconvenience. She neglects grabbing a bra, opting for the horrendous 'I-just-rolled-out-of-sleep' and 'stop-staring-at-my-bedhead-or-I'll-crush-you' look. Anna shuffles her way downstairs to the front door, nearly tripping over Elsa's white, fluffy cat — Mister Marshmallow, as he was deemed. The cat spits and hisses at Anna before darting away at lightning-speed, turning sharply into a corridor with his tail erect.
She regrets opening the door immediately.
Anna blinks out the scorch-bright sunlight, thinking about hissing at it, and shields her face. And then, her regret and insecurities bubble out of existence, pooling at her feet.
Elsa grins on the porch, dressed in khaki-shorts and a flowery, pink top. She's changed her hair. It's a jet-black hue with layers of lilac and faded magenta peeking out. Her wavy curls secured and pinned up with faux-daisy barrettes.
She holds out an Apollo bar, but only for a second.
And if only Anna could see through the rush of hot, stinging tears, she would have caught the 'I love you' being signed in Elsa's trembling hands and to her chest. Anna's hands tremble just as hard, ignoring the chocolate and latching onto Elsa. Her fingers clinging to the cotton-light sensation of her top.
Because it may be years of chasing, and still, Elsa knows to come home to her.
OUAT is not mine! I had to stay anonymous for a little bit due to the rules of the OUAT Femslash Exchange, but yayyy! Finally can post! I'm so glad to be participating again this year, and if you have any positive thoughts/comments, I'll gladly hear them! :) Thank you so much for reading, lovelies!