Ice was his life. He wished he had gotten to know Anna's sister better before she was … gone.
This is what Kristoff saw when Elsa let herself be executed. And afterwards. This is the happiest ending I could come up with for chapter 1.
Please read chapter 1, (or don't if you already have and don't need to weep any more.) and then read this chapter.
Kristoff was uncomfortable with people and with feelings. But he felt a connection to Anna, one he really couldn't explain. He had met her on her crazy quest to find her sister during a howling blizzard; he had been there on the fjord when Anna had saved Elsa from Hans.
And he had been there when another blade had taken Elsa's life. Watched as she walked to meet death with regal dignity; watched as she knelt and laid her neck bare to the guillotine. He clenched his eyes shut when the blade began its descent; that he had no desire to watch. He turned away and heard the crowd cheering hysterically as Elsa's head was held up in a macabre display, pushing people aside roughly as he strode out the castle gate and went to drown his feelings at the inn where he had taken a room. After he had puked his guts out in the privy.
He hadn't shared any of that with Anna. She had her own nightmares to deal with, she didn't need the burden of his, as well.
He was there when Anna buried her sister.
Elsa's grave wasn't near her parents. She had died in disgrace and was buried in a corner of the graveyard that was unconsecrated ground. The only marker was a stone set flat in the ground that read, "Here lies a traitor to Arendelle".
There had only been a few people in attendance. Kai, Gerda, Anna. The Bishop, who had insisted on blessing Elsa before the interment, to Kristoff's surprise and Anna's as well.
The coffin was plain wood, cheap and shoddy. Someone, Gerda probably, had seen to the preparation of Elsa's body, making sure she had been washed and dressed with a high-collared blouse and that her makeup was perfect and her hair arranged properly. It was the last thing Gerda could do for a little girl she had loved almost as much as her own children. And for Anna.
Before the lid was nailed on, he watched Anna slip a small child's doll under Elsa's arm. A doll with red yarn braids. A last kiss on her sister's forehead, and then the sound of hammers closing Elsa away forever. They watched as the coffin was lowered into the grave and the earth shoveled over it. The grave diggers nodded to Anna as they left, the Bishop touched her arm and murmured some platitude. Kai and Gerda hugged her and left her alone in her grief. Alone except for Kristoff.
He wasn't sure how long they were there staring at the mound of dirt covering her sister. It was dark now, so it had been hours. Anna swayed on her feet, light-headed and dizzy. She swooned and would have fallen if he hadn't caught her.
"Anna, are you okay?" He held her in his strong arms and lowered her to sit in the damp grass. She looked up into soft brown eyes under a shock of unruly blond hair. She saw the tears on his cheeks and reached up to touch them.
"I don't think I'll ever be okay again, Kristoff."
He was there the day they had buried Elsa with all the pomp and honor Arendelle could muster.
It had taken a couple of years.
When Anna had gone through Elsa's papers she found the plans Elsa had written as she laid out what she wanted to accomplish during her reign. The earliest pages were clearly influenced by their father, as the dates indicated Elsa had only been 15. But they were detailed and made a lot of sense, and they would not only add to the prosperity of the kingdom, but help get them through the winter.
The kingdom used those plans to salvage much of the crops damaged by the untimely freeze. Anna made sure everyone knew where they had come from. Once it became clear that Elsa's ideas worked and that there would be no starvation, Anna moved on to the rest of the pages and started implementing the things her sister had written there.
By the third anniversary of the "Great Thaw", Arendelle was more prosperous than it had ever been and there were nations and kingdoms clamoring to become trading partners and implement their own versions of "The Arendelle Experiment". Anna commissioned the University of Arendelle to publish a book with all the details of the plan, with the dedication making it clear that everything in the book was the creation of Elsa, Queen of Arendelle, also known as the Snow Queen.
Anna didn't say anything in her own voice, although she had Kristoff drop a few hints at Guild meetings, and maybe she had Kai suggest a good story or two to one of his friends who published the Arendelle newspaper, and perhaps she had dropped a few coins in the pockets of a couple of bards who regularly sang in the taverns, but she wasn't surprised when at the Royal Council meeting that August of 1843, they presented her with a petition, "Representing the wishes of the people of Arendelle, Your Majesty, if it please you to consider them."
A petition to posthumously pardon Elsa, declare that her reign as Queen should be acknowledged and that she be exhumed and buried with all Royal Honors next to her parents.
Anna graciously granted their petition and decreed it be carried out immediately. She didn't mention that she had written the pardon three years ago, right after she found Elsa's journals.
Kristoff had been with Anna when Kai came to her to tell her that the new coffin was ready for Elsa. They had exhumed her and brought her to the castle for the preparations. Anna didn't feel brave enough to watch, so she sat with Kristoff in the library waiting …
But when Kai came to the library, he was shaking and could hardly speak.
"Your Majesty, I think … I think you need to come see … your sister."
Kristoff couldn't believe Kai would ask Anna to do that. Three years in the ground, Anna didn't need to see what that did to a human body. Kristoff knew, he had seen it in the mountains.
"Please, Your Majesty, this is … extraordinary, I wouldn't ask this of you, but … " Kai was almost in tears.
Kristoff and Anna followed him to the lowest room in the castle, the one reserved for preparing Royals for burial. They hesitated at the door, then Anna took a deep breath and went in.
Elsa was laying on a pallet, covered by a white sheet pulled up to her chin. She looked as though she was just sleeping, as if she would wake up at any moment.
Anna gasped and ran to her side. "How … how?" Anna whispered. She reached out to touch her sister's forehead, but her hand was shaking so badly she pulled it back.
Kai stepped closer and cleared his throat and said, "There's more, Your Majesty." He reached out and pulled the sheet down slightly. Elsa's neck was unblemished; there was no sign of the cut that the blade would have made.
That was too much for Anna and her knees buckled. Kristoff caught her before she could fall.
"How?" he demanded of Kai. The only response was Kai shaking his head and shrugging.
The Bishop chose that moment to join them. He walked up to Elsa and stretched his hands out as he whispered a prayer. When he finished he turned to Kristoff and Anna and said, "It's a miracle, I believe, Master Kristoff."
Kristoff didn't much believe in miracles but he'd take the Bishop's word for it. Or maybe it was some effect of Elsa's magic? He hugged Anna close and made a mental note to discuss it with Grandpabbie.
Miracle or magic, it meant that instead of in a sealed mahogany casket draped with the flag of Arendelle, Elsa went to her final rest on a bier, dressed in the closest approximation to her ice dress that Anna could get the Dressmaker's Guild to produce. Ten of the guild masters worked on the cape alone. They fought for the privilege.
Elsa's catafalque was placed in the courtyard in front of the castle portico. Anna knew the church was too small. She lay in state for three days, and it seemed as though every man, woman and child in Arendelle filed past to pay their respects. Kristoff heard more than one murmured apology addressed to Elsa from that line, mixed in with many a whispered, "A miracle!" And he saw the tears.
When the funeral procession took her to where her parents' memorials stood, the roadway was lined with mourners, all strewing crocus petals to cover the path for Elsa. When they got to the hillside there was a new stone there, and a freshly dug grave beneath it.
The stone was engraved with the dates of her life, her pitifully short reign and a carving of her snowflake.
And her epitaph: "Elsa of Arendelle, Worthy Queen of Greatness".
It wasn't as good as having Elsa back, but it was the best Anna could do.
A year later they returned to that hillside, Anna and Kristoff and the new heir to the Crocus Throne.
Anna held the baby and Kristoff had his arms around his precious wife. Anna looked at the stones and at her daughter and said, "Mama, Papa, Elsa – meet your granddaughter, your niece – Crown Princess Elsa Kristanna Idunn."
The baby cooed and reached out a chubby hand to the stones, and she made a snowflake appear. Then another. Kristoff smiled. It appeared Elsa's legacy for his daughter was more than a name.
Okay, I violated a couple of my personal headcanon rules here, what with the miracle of Elsa's preservation. But it's the happiest ending possible here. Hope you liked it.