Embers in a Crystal Storm

Rifiuto: Not Mirena

Summary: Two kingdoms ruled by married monarchs separated by a sea would not outlast those kingdoms that came before. It didn't matter that he had loved her from the moment they met at the tercentenary celebration; it didn't matter that the secret letters they had exchanged for years had developed into a secret courtship, known to only the most trusted among their households. It did not matter that rushed, quiet vows exchanged beneath the stars in the middle of that which separated them did not make them the ruling monarchs of each others' kingdoms- not in the eyes of those who really mattered.

Everything was against them- a marriage built on such major differences could not last- but even in the quiet hush of stolen kisses and whispered longings, they were determined, that even if they could never sit together on shared thrones, they would make sure the generations they brought forth would never face the same heartache their parents faced- they would rewrite the story, no matter how desperate history deigned to tell it a different way. Even if they had to rewrite the stars to make sure their story was told.

A/N: Written: 2014. Found: 2021. Original Title: Rewrite the Stars.- Licia

Summer 1908,

The Gardens of Linnea Castle,

Arendelle

"Ah, yes, but when my darling queen gets something between her eyebrows." Soft laughter rang out among the small group gathered in the garden; the weather was warm and yet there was a coolness in the air, not uncommon for this time of year.

"Very funny, Nicolai." But the young queen couldn't hide the blush that splashed across her cheeks. The laughter of children rang out, and everyone looked up as a young girl came dashing towards the group, something clutched tight in her grasp. The young queen caught his youngest daughter by the wrist as she passed by. "And just where do you think you're going, young lady?"

The ten-year-old turned didn't turn back. "Just going to go play with my brothers and sisters, Mama."

The queen narrowed her gaze. "And what do you have there? Elisabeth?"

Slowly, the girl turned to her mother, revealing what she was held tight in her grasp. The queen's brow furrowed in confusion as she took the worn cloth. It unfolded slightly in her hands, revealing the still beautiful bright hues of the threads, despite it appearing centuries old. "Elisabeth, a shawl? Where did you get this?"

The girl bit her lip, but finally gave up at her mother's stern look. "I... I found it."

"Found it?" She turned at her father's voice, nodding. "In the room with the snowflakes on the door." She held out her left hand, revealing something else. "It was wrapped around this, Papa." A moment passed, before another hand reached out and took what resided in the girl's hand. It dangled, sparkling in the light of the sun.

An ornament, a snowflake, crafted of beautifully delicate crystal.

"It's been so long since I've seen this, I'd almost forgotten it existed."

Elisabeth's blue eyes widened, as she gasped. "Oh, Grandpapa!" She threw herself at the older man, and quickly, the rest of the party stood, showing respect for the older man. He chuckled, gently patting the girl's platinum locks before pulling away.

"You did not tell us when you were arriving, Grandfather." The queen said, going to him and pressing a kiss to his cheek as the rest of the children hurried over from their playing to greet him as well. The shawl dropped from her hands, landing in a heap on the grass near her chair with a thump! The ten-year-old was the only one to hear the noise, and scurried over to pick it up, revealing an old leather-bound book.

"Then it would not have been a very good surprise, Magda, my love." As they all scurried to make room for the older man at the table, Elisabeth parted the cover from the first page, surprised to see her name scrawled out in delicate script. Her eyes widened and she turned back to the adults, cutting through the small talk.

"Grandpapa? Who's Elisabeth?"

"What was that, Lisi, my darling?" The girl hurried to her grandfather, holding out the book, showing him the first page.

"It's my name, but it's not my handwriting." Gently, the older man took the book; his gaze softened as he drank in the familiar script. It had been so long since he'd seen the familiar writing that time seemed to freeze for the moment. Oh, how he had missed seeing the neat scrawl, how he missed the sound of her pen scratching across the parchment by candlelight.

"Where did you find this, Lisi, darling?" The girl held out the shawl.

"It was wrapped in it, Grandpapa." He took the old shawl, and instantly, his mind was flooded with memories of her- of her laughter, and her voice, her eyes and her smile, of her clothed in the most beautiful of gowns and simplest of frocks, or wrapped in nothing more than this very shawl, her gorgeous hair tumbling about her shoulders. Oh how I miss you, so, my love. "Grandpapa?" He tore his gaze from the shawl. "Who did it belong to?"

He swallowed thickly, gently setting the crystal on the table, before turning to the book and shawl. "All of these things, belonged to a very, very special woman, Lisi."

"Really? Who was she?" He gently wrapped the shawl around his granddaughter's shoulders, giving it a gentle tug.

"A great queen."

The girl's eyes sparkled. "A queen?" He nodded. "But... how do you know she was a queen, Grandpapa?"

"I know, because I met her, once, a very long time ago."

"Who was she? What was her name?"

"Elisabeth." He chuckled at the gentle scolding from the girl's mother.

"It's okay, Magda." He took the girl's hand, drinking in her platinum locks and blue eyes, his own welling with unshed tears. "Shall I tell you of how I met this great queen?" The girl nodded as the other children put their input in, begging and pleading for a story. He chuckled as the older children quickly shushed them, and after a moment, pulled the girl onto his lap. "Would you all like to hear it?"

A chorus of agreement- mainly from the children, though the adults also agreed- met him, and he glanced at each, before turning back to the book and ornament on the table. "Please, Grandpapa, tell us about the queen." He gently patted his granddaughter's head, taking a deep breath as he reached out to stroke his finger over the name in the book.

"This story is no fairy tale. There are no dragons or evil witches, or poisoned apples or cursed spinning wheels. But there is a kiss of love, and a prince and a princess, and magic- of sorts." He blinked the tears away as he let his focus settle on the name he never thought he would see written out again. "It took place a long time ago, before any of you were born, back when the world was much simpler in so many ways, and more complicated in others. Back when the world was much more fickle about love and marriage, and love matches were rare- back when a very different queen ruled Arendelle."

"The great queen, right, Grandpapa?"

He chuckled. "Not quite, Lisi, darling. The story starts out as every great story does-"

"With a prince?" One of the boys asked, and the adults chuckled. He nodded.

"Yes, Agnarr. With a prince, and a princess, a grand ball, and a first meeting that changes their lives forever."

Lisi turned to meet the older man's gaze. "Where, Grandpapa?"

He looked at each in turn, before turning his gaze back to his most beloved of granddaughters. "Right here, Lisi. In Arendelle, at Linnea Castle."

The girl gasped in delight. "Here?"

He nodded. "Here," He hugged her close with a sigh, his memory casting back to reach for that long ago night, "back in the winter of eighteen-hundred-thirty-eight."

"What's so special about that date, Grandpapa?" One of the boys asked, and he chuckled.

"Three hundred years, right?" One of the older girls asked, realizing the significance, as the others shared glances.

"That's right, Iduna. It was the Tercentenary of Bekkerdahl rule in Arendelle, and as with all grand balls thrown in celebration of three hundred years of family rule, there was always one who was hiding in attempts to avoid having to dance."

"Who, Grandpapa?" Iduna asked, and he gently tapped the book's pages.

"Her name was Elisabeth, and at sixteen, she was the Crown Princess of the ruling House of Bekkerdahl."