Rifiuto: Non Mirena
A/N: So much of the coronation is inspired by Queen Victoria's own coronation, however, the receiving of a new name (in this case, to go in front of the birth name) is inspired by the Russian tradition (ex: Alix of Hesse receiving the name Alexandra Feodorovna), hence why Iduna is in italics when Elsa's full title is spoken. Also, thank you for such a sweet review, miryamjj! I know it meant a lot to my sister-in-law! - Licia
Their reunion was not as bittersweet as both imagined; in fact, it was downright sour, once finally alone in the same room together.
Her schedule had been packed, from the moment after the funeral to now; adjusting to being solely responsible for Arendelle's survival, being forced to take a crash course in ruling in the short span of two months, as well as quell any doubts both her council and people had in regards to an eighteen-year-old Crown Princess with powers over ice and snow, and making sure everything in the household still ran smoothly. It was exhausting and she crawled into bed every night remembering nothing of what happened that day until she awoke at the early hour of six the next morning.
She stepped into the throne room, dressed in her white coronation finery, accepted the ten pound crown upon her head, the ritual blessings in the Old Tongue, and the orb and sceptre, all with her heart in her throat. So focused on the ceremony was she, that she barely had time to acknowledge Anna, who stood not far from her. She moved on shaky legs up the steps of the dais, turned and finally allowed herself to survey the crowd of dignitaries and courtiers before her. Silently, she searched for him, but was unable to find him, for she did not remember what he looked like. Fearing he had not come, she steeled her features into an expression of calm, lifting her chin as the court stood.
It was tradition in Arendelle, for when a new ruler of hereditary birth took the throne, they were to receive another name before their birth name, thus acknowledging the monarchs of time past- for her father, Agnarr had received the name Frederik- and so when it came time to choose hers, she knew exactly which one she would receive; the only appropriate name, in her opinion, and she swallowed the tears that climbed up her throat.
"May I present, by the Grace and Will of God, Her Royal Majesty, Iduna Elisabeth Isabella Katerine Bekkerdahl II, Queen and Sovereign of Arendelle." She heard Anna gasp softly, and knew the princess was fighting back tears at her choice to take their mother's name. "God save the Queen!" As the rest of the court echoed the traditional phrase, she finally allowed herself to meet her sister's gaze, an even from where she stood before the throne, she could see the tears reflected in Anna's eyes.
As the music swelled, she stepped from the dais, making her way through the court towards the balcony, where she would greet the people of Arendelle as their newly crowned queen, before doing anything else. She did not allow herself to look around as she passed the court and visiting dignitaries, choosing to focus on getting through the next several minutes.
The doors to the balcony were thrown wide, and she stepped out into the sunlight; instantly, the cheers of thousands upon thousands met her, and she let herself really look out at her people. These were her subjects; they were the people she had grown up visiting as a child when her parents went out to mingle with the people. They had watched her grow, had accepted her for her, powers and all, had loved her as their Crown Princess and now would love her as their queen. She felt Anna step up behind her, but didn't turn. Instead, she let herself bask in the relief that it was over. Once she returned inside, all she had to worry about was greeting the hundreds who had come to bear witness to her coronation.
You can do this, Elsa, all you have to do is sit upon the throne, and smile as people come up to greet you.
Easier said that done, she reasoned, as one by one, Ambassador, Duke and Duchess alike were announced to receive her. Anna stood to her right, signifying her place as the second in line to the throne, looking lovely in the dark green coronation gown with the black rosemaling design upon the bodice and skirt, her strawberry curls pulled up and back into a bun and tied with a matching green ribbon. She was quiet, hands folded before her as she watched each man and woman step forward for her sister to receive them; only occasionally, did she catch her sister's eye, the tug a smile working at her lips or her eyes twinkling.
"The Duke of Weaselton."
"It's Westleton!" The thin, short bespectacled man snapped, startling both the newly crowned queen and princess. He turned back to the new monarch, giving a quick smile before bowing, at which point, his headpiece was revealed to be a toupee. She heard her sister attempt to swallow a snort of laughter and fail, covering it up with a quick clearing of her throat; while she herself allowed a quick smile to tug at her lips as she swallowed her own laughter, becoming perfectly straight-faced once the man was upright again.
Things seem to go by much quicker after the Duke had been called, but soon, she felt them begin to slow once again, as each name and country that was called sent her heart fluttering, only to turn out not to be him. Just as she'd given up hope that he'd somehow made it to her coronation, the name that rang out both set her heart fluttering and stalling all at once.
"His Royal Majesty, Johannes Christian Andreas Westergård IV, King of the Southern Isles."
Her mouth fell open in shock, as she felt herself staring at the young man she had spent the last nearly three years sharing correspondence with, as he stepped forward and bowed before her. "Your Majesty."
The library door shut softly, and she leaned against it, forehead against the cool wood, freezing the lock out of habit.
"How could you?" She did not move from the door and he did not move towards her, hearing the shock and danger within her voice, and knowing better. "How could you not tell me that you were crowned king?" She cried, turning on him so fast icicles shot forth, working in a path around him from behind, essentially boxing him in and away from any form of shelter he might use to protect himself against the newly crowned queen's wrath. She stalked towards him, frost coating her balled up fists, anger contorting her beautiful features, pink lips curled into a snarl.
"Don't you dare 'Eliza' me, Johannes Westergård." She snapped, shoving him roughly once she got close; the snow that coated her hands like gloves leaving a small pile upon the breast of his coat. "You lied to me! For three years-" He stepped back, jumping when the backs of his legs hit the icicles around him, and he glanced back to make sure he wasn't too close. When he turned back to face her, she'd taken to pacing the length between the door and him, the skirt of her coronation gown whispering softly as she moved. Now free of the heavy ermine-lined dark blue cape with the silver crocus embroidery, she looked much more approachable- though that was the last thing he planned on doing right now, at least until she calmed down.
Midst the revelry and dancing that was now the coronation ball, the pair had managed to sneak away- separate- and meet up in the library, as they'd done the night they'd first met. Having her sister whisper at him that 'the Crown Princess needed some air on the balcony after the next waltz' while they danced had confused him at first, until the sixteen-year-old had cocked her head in the direction of the dais, where she'd been standing, observing the party but not partaking. He'd nodded, suddenly understanding, and when the dance ended, had brought her knuckles to his mouth, whispering, that 'it was exceedingly easy to balance upon a horse's back, especially a horse like Sitron', and she'd nodded, promising to give her sister the message. He'd then excused himself from the ballroom, making it appear as though he were headed for the balcony before making a quick turn and changing direction.
"Gods alive, I should have seen it! The way you wouldn't tell me anything about your family, or how the situation was going, why you wouldn't mention your father or brothers- and I actually- ugh!" She screeched, throwing her hands up in frustration as he finally deemed it safe to rush to her and take her wrist, causing her to turn.
"No! Eliza, it wasn't like that!" She pulled back, yanking her arm out of his grasp.
"Don't touch me!"
"Eliza, listen to me, please! I never lied to you! I didn't tell you because what else could I say besides, 'My father's been disposed of, the rest of my brothers are either dead or exiled, and my wasteful, spendthrift of a brother Joseph sits upon a throne he was never meant to have'- and that was no way to inform the girl I'd fallen in love with that my country was on the brink of revolution!"
They stood separated by mere feet, but it could have been the North mountain for all he knew, if the way she was watching him was any indication. He swallowed, catching his breath before continuing. "I was only crowned two months ago- a coup, a forced overthrow of Joseph. Otto has since passed long ago, and that left only me-" He swallowed thickly. "Eliza, please-" He searched her face, for some semblance of the girl he'd met at the Tercentenary, of the girl he'd exchanged letters with these last two years. "I meant to tell you, I truly did, but I didn't know how. I didn't know how to tell the girl I love that my family is essentially gone... that I now sit upon the throne of the Southern Isles, but that I am more puppet than King, asked to do the Court's bidding, all but forbidden from caring for my people... Eliza, what would you have thought, had I written out those words to you?"
He made his way towards her, reaching to take her waist, but she stepped back, and so he settled for taking her hands instead. They were cold, coated in a thin layer of frost, and he brought each hand up to kiss her knuckles, but she yanked them away, hands up and fingers curled. Frost began to appear, slipping over her fingers like gloves, and he could tell she was do all she could to keep from unleashing her magic on him again.
This was not how this reunion was supposed to go. He'd waited nearly three years to finally see her again, and here they were, back in the library at Linnea Castle, and instead of locked in a passionate embrace, they were adversaries on opposing sides of a table, unable to see compromise for their biases blocked their views. He released a slow breath, gathering his thoughts, before trying again. "I could no more write those words than I could wipe the carnage from my memory."
She lifted her chin, studying him. "Carnage?"
He nodded. "Slau... slaughtered in their beds." He choked out, a shiver racing through him at the memory of the chaos he'd returned to; moments he preferred not to think on. He had determined, the moment the crown was placed upon his head, that he would do better; that despite the council's desires, he would put his people first. "I determined then, in that moment upon returning from Arendelle, that I would not place that burden upon your slender shoulders. And I intend to keep it, especially with your parents now gone and their deaths still fresh and bleeding within your heart." He shook his head, tears glistening on his cheeks, turning from her. "I could not- would not- place that burden on you; it was mine and mine alone to bear. Please, Eliza, forgive me for doing all I could to protect the one good thing still in my life."
She studied him, seeing the tears upon his cheeks, the pain he was in, all this time later. Deaths such as the slaughter of the royal family were not so easily gotten over. Deaths in general that were senseless or unintended were not so easily forgotten; her parents came to the forefront of her mind, and and she sniffled. Slowly, she closed the gap between them, reaching up to brush the tears away. The frost upon her fingers melted at the warmth of his skin, and after a moment, he reached up, slowly covering her hand with his and turning to press his lips into her palm.
A moment passed, before she slowly reached up, wrapping her arms around his neck. Silence settled about them, as she buried her face in his shoulder, fingers working through his hair, as she held him as close as she possibly could. "I'm sorry, Hans. I'm so, so sorry. I-" He pulled away, meeting her gaze with a watery smile.
"It's okay. It was my choice to keep it from you. I should have known better- or at least remembered how perceptive you are in everything." She sniffled softly, reaching up to gently caress his cheeks. A moment passed before she breathed,
"You're really here, aren't you?"
He rested his forehead to hers, nodding. Their noses brushed together, as he slipped his hands around her waist, pulling her close. "I'm here, Eliza. I promise." Silence fell, before he tenderly brushed a kiss to her lips, pulling away after a moment to meet her gaze. Gently, he reached up, caressing her cheek. "You will make a great queen."
She turned her head, brushing her lips against his thumbs, meeting his gaze. "And you will be my strongest ally, Hans?"
He nuzzled his nose against hers. "And so much more, if you'll have me." He took a deep breath, gathering his courage to ask what he'd desired for nearly three years. "I wish to court you, Elisabeth. Properly, so that I may one day become your husband. If... if the Queen permits."
A soft cross between a sob and a giggle escaped her, as she slowly broke into a smile. "With all her heart, Your Majesty."