Warm. Soft. Pressing. Elsa felt Anna's lips first brushing over hers, then pressing against her with urgency. Strong, nimble fingertips stroked from her shoulder blades down both sides of her spine, sending shivers in their wake as Anna's hands descended, diving beneath the waistband. Elsa tilted her head back, leaning it against the refrigerator, and was rewarded with those same soft lips and the tip of Anna's tongue tracing circles on her throat.
Elsa wove her fingers through Anna's auburn hair, following the strands like a waterfall over her shoulders, her collarbone, and onto her breasts. As Elsa's palms caressed the silky, freckled skin, she distantly heard Anna's breathy voice through her haze of lust, calling her name.
She dragged her fingertips over Anna's ribs, across the flat, taut skin of her belly, and was rewarded with Anna's cries of her name again.
Just as she traced the pads of her fingertips over Anna's hip bones, Anna's calling became more forceful.
"Elsa! Wake up!"
Her ice-blue eyes snapped open, and she found herself staring into Anna's teal irises as the redhead shook her shoulders. "Elsa, wake up! We've got to get going soon." Once Anna was certain Elsa was awake, she tore into her dresser, looking for her outfit for the day.
"Going… where are we going, Anna?" she said, scrubbing the sleep from her eyes and sitting up. Elsa stretched her arms over her head and yawned as she shook off the last remnants of her… very confusing dream.
Anna rolled her eyes. "Your followup appointment, remember? They want to make sure no new symptoms have developed, and we have to go, even though you don't have amnesia. Otherwise they'll pester us AND charge us the co-pay no matter what."
"All right, I'll get ready," Elsa grumbled good-naturedly, heading for the bathroom. As she closed the door, her dream came back to her, and she gasped, clutching the counter. She dreamt about Anna… romantically. No, more than romantically, she dreamed about Anna sexually. Elsa stared in the mirror, looking at the woman staring back at her with a fiery blush on her face.
What is happening to me? I've never dreamed of anyone like that, much less my own sister! she chided herself. Was that my sister? Or was that this Anna? Maybe it's because of how she slammed me against the refrigerator yesterday and kissed me so fiercely. No one's ever touched me like that.
Elsa finished getting ready and put on another pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt, once again omitting underwear. She quietly smirked to herself, the omission intentional just to get a rise out of Anna later. That thought stopped her again. Should I feel guilty about my dream and about… teasing Anna with something so intimate? I wish my Anna were here so I could talk to her about it.
She met Anna at the door, ready to catch another Uber.
"Hey, it's still pretty chilly out there, Elsa. You might want a coat," Anna offered, pointing out one of the jackets hanging on clothes pegs near the door.
"Oh, it's okay. The cold never bothered me anyway," she smiled, putting on shoes.
Anna snorted. "You are definitely not my Elsa. She gets all cranky if it's less than 75 out."
"Seventy-five…? Oh, you use the Fahrenheit system here! We use the Réaumur scale, so it's 19 out," she smiled at Anna before they headed out the door. Anna shook her head; she'd never once heard of the Réaumur scale.
Half an hour of traffic later, they arrived back at the urgent care clinic for Elsa's follow up. While the nurse practitioner ran Elsa through the same battery of tests, Anna sat in the waiting room, contemplating her situation. She knew the nurse wouldn't find anything, because there was nothing to find that was physically wrong with Elsa, except for being in the wrong century and possibly the wrong planet.
Anna stared at the generic, lackluster waiting room furniture, everything beige on beige, her mind wandering as the minutes passed by. Elsa's knowledge of the world, her ability to interact with complex technology, talking about temperature systems that sounded fictional, everything pointed to her story being completely true. Certainly, someone faking it would slip up here and there, and she hadn't seen any indication of deception at all. Combined with the complete change in preferences from her wife's, Anna was almost completely convinced that Elsa's bizarre time travel story was legitimate.
In turn, that created stomach-churning worry. Where did her wife go? This Elsa was a physically different person, as evidenced by the missing tattoos that her wife had; the snowflake on her back, and a tiny, embossed E+A in a diamond shape on her ankle. Was her wife out there somewhere? Was her wife stuck in a musty old castle in the 1800s? Anna's mood lurched between laughter and tears, imagining her Elsa's reactions to absolutely no electricity or Internet on the one hand and how much she would miss Anna on the other hand. Unsure whether to laugh or cry, Anna did both quietly in the waiting room.
"Mrs. Beck?" the on-duty nurse practitioner called, a different nurse than the one who saw Elsa on Monday.
"We finished examining your wife, and for the most part, she's totally healthy. We're not sure the amnesia's going to resolve itself as quickly as we'd hoped-"
Anna interrupted. "What do you mean, she's healthy for the most part?"
The nurse practitioner pulled up a couple of charts on their tablet. "Well, two minor oddities. First, her body temperature is very much on the low side, about 95F. That's… normally, that would be a cause for medical concern, but she doesn't appear impaired by it. Second, we did a few non-invasive tests, and her iodine and vitamin C levels are unusually low. Does she have any known nutrition deficiencies?"
Anna raised an eyebrow. "No, not that I know of. What would cause those deficiencies? What does that mean for her?"
"In more severe deficiencies, you can end up with thyroid issues and scurvy, but she's not in danger of that yet. She said she doesn't take any multivitamins, so I'd recommend starting there. That might also aid with the amnesia too, rule out any odd micronutrient deficiencies. It's a little puzzling, honestly. We haven't had substantial iodine deficiencies in people for decades," the nurse said, scratching her head.
Anna coughed. "Well, I'll make sure she starts taking some multivitamins. We'll hit up CVS on the way home, there's one just around the corner from our apartment."
"Great. If you could just sign here… and here…" the nurse practitioner indicated, page after page of authorizations and waivers of liability flashing by on the tablet as Anna grumbled to herself. She looked up as the door slid open, Elsa taking small steps into the general waiting area, giving her a small wave.
"Hey ba- Elsa. We're all set here," Anna smiled, taking the woman's hand. They thanked the nurse practitioner and ran out of the clinic as quickly as possible.
Anna exhaled as they walked up the street. "That was close."
"Close?" Elsa turned her head, quirking an eyebrow. "What was close?"
"You have some uncommon nutritional deficiencies in this day and age because of where you're from, Elsa. Nothing we can't fix with a multivitamin." Anna savored the feeling of Elsa's hand in hers, even if her skin was much, much cooler than her wife's normally warm, sometimes even clammy hands. "We'll stop by the store and pick some up."
Elsa nodded. "That sounds good. Umm… what's a multivitamin?"
"What's wrong with this chocolate?" Elsa chewed slowly on a bit of a candy bar they'd grabbed at the register as the afternoon sun lit the street in golden light.
Anna stopped walking in the middle of the sidewalk. "Let me see! Chocolate is no laughing matter, you know," she grinned, taking a bite of the thin bar. "I don't taste anything wrong with it?" She said, handing it back to Elsa as they walked along one of the side streets near their apartment, a more rundown block.
"It's so sugary and… gritty. Chocolate is supposed to be rich and smooth, almost like a sweet butter. At home, we drink our chocolate. This is… this is barely chocolate," Elsa grimaced, swallowing. "The solid chocolate you brought home the other day - the Sardinian-named one - didn't taste like this. What happened to this poor chocolate?"
Anna gave Elsa a sidelong glance as they walked past apartments with graffiti all over the stoops and trash idly dancing in the light breeze. "You always were a little snobby about chocolate," she muttered before playfully bumping her hip into the blonde's. "Well, my Elsa is, anyway."
"I'm glad we have that in common. I bet we'd get along famously," she grinned.
"Except for the part where she hates the cold and fish of any kind."
Elsa grinned. "We both appreciate fine chocolate. The rest is negotiable." As she reluctantly nibbled on the chocolate bar, she snuck a glance at Anna every other bite. "Anna…"
"Tell me more about… about the other version of me?" she asked, murmuring the latter part of the question into the candy wrapper.
Anna smiled as memories washed over her. "Elsa - my Elsa - well, you know she's 34, she's from Minnesota and in her words, 'moved away from the cold as quickly as she could', though why she picked Boston University still eludes me. I made fun of her for years about that, since it's not exactly tropical here." She huffed some air upwards, tossing her bangs lightly as they continued their stroll. "Her family's from Norway, from a little-"
Ahead, someone unseen made a muffled noise that almost sounded like a person screaming with a hand over their mouth. Anna was the first to look up, her posture immediately changing, her back straight, her muscles taut. Elsa lifted her hands up in front of her, hovering around her waist, as she heard the sound too.
Down a side alley between buildings, they spotted a ragged-looking man pressing a raven-haired girl against the brick wall, his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams, a knife in his other hand. The girl appeared to be a college student, backpack on the ground next to her, eyes wide with terror.
"Stay here, I'll handle this," both Elsa and Anna said at exactly the same time. They looked at each other, each with an eyebrow arched. Anna rushed ahead, with Elsa close on her heels as they closed the distance to the assailant. Her voice booming against the alley's walls, Anna shouted, "Hey asshole! Back the fuck off!"
The grungy-looking attacker, heavily bearded and dirty from head to toe, snarled through broken teeth and red-rimmed eyes at her, releasing the college student and turning to face Anna, knife held out in front of him. As the college girl ran away down the alley, the attacker turned his attention to the redhead. "Fine, bitch," he slurred, "It'll be you instead!" With a scream, he charged at Anna, knife held out like a jousting pole.
Anna widened her feet and braced herself, hands up almost like a boxer. Just as the assailant closed the last few feet of distance, Anna felt a blast of cold air from behind her, like someone had brought a polar vortex from January and dropped it in the alleyway.
A voice thundered behind Anna. "Leave my sister alone!" echoed off the brick walls. She glanced over her shoulder and saw Elsa's eyes almost glowing bright blue as the woman held out her hands.
Anna blinked, trying to figure out if she was hallucinating or if Elsa's hands really had snowflakes swirling around them, waves of cold bursting from her body like the winds of a blizzard. In another blink of her eye, what looked like a beam of glowing blue light filled with snow and ice shot from Elsa's hands. The beam crashed into their assailant, striking him dead center in the chest. His skin began to turn icy blue as vapor coalesced around him, the extreme cold pulling humidity from the air. In another second, his body froze completely, and the momentum from him running toppled his frozen form, shattering into icy shards all over the concrete of the alley floor as though he were glass struck by a hammer.
Anna's mouth hung open as something snapped in her mind.
The snow and ice vanished from Elsa's hands as she looked around furtively, realizing what she'd done, what she'd revealed. No one else had witnessed the confrontation, so she grabbed Anna's hand and tugged her forcefully to break her out of the stupor she was in. "Come on, we need to get out of here!" she urged, pulled the stupefied woman out of the alley and down the street.
Moments later, she slammed the front door of their apartment shut, bolting it tight, then sank to the floor, the adrenaline rush wearing off. Anna, still dazed, sank alongside her.
"What… how…" the redhead murmured, her eyes unfocused as she hugged her knees to her chest, rocking slowly. "I don't… understand…"
Elsa embraced her, drawing Anna in close. "It's okay, I've got you. I wouldn't let him hurt you," she reassured, slowly rubbing small circles on Anna's upper back.
As though suddenly awakened from a nightmare, Anna went rigid before pushing Elsa away, her eyes wide with panic, her chest heaving as she scrambled away from her, crawling like a crab along the floor. "What are you? Elsa, what the fuck? I know you're not my wife, and I know you're not from this time, but what the fuck? How did you- what was that? Are- are you some kind of, I don't know, witch? Or- or an alien? Or are you some kind of sci-fi TV show character brought to life like Killer Frost?" she rambled, her words rushing out as she flailed her arms.
Elsa bowed her head. "I… I'm sorry I didn't tell you about this part. It's something that took me years to… accept. It's only been the last couple of years that I could even face you - face my Anna - as what I really am." She hugged her stomach, curling up a little on the floor. "I don't know what I am. All I know is I have these… powers… magic. And most of the time I keep them hidden, but I couldn't. I couldn't watch you get hurt, Anna."
Anna slowly caught her breath. "I- wow. I don't know what to say. What- how does it work?"
"I'm honestly not sure. I was born this way," Elsa shrugged, holding out her hands in front of her. "From when I was very little, I had these… abilities with cold. Anna - my Anna - loved to play with me, and we'd use my powers for that. I'd make villages and castles and forests out of snow, any time of year." She smiled wistfully, her eyes tearing up at the memories.
"So it's not like you were sent from another planet in an alien ship or hit by an exploding particle accelerator or got bitten by a radioactive spider or anything…"
Elsa's confusion was written all over her face, her lips parted as if to speak but no words were forthcoming.
"Never mind, those are all fictional references. So… you're not only the queen of a country, but a superhero too?"
"I wouldn't say a hero, no. I have magical abilities but I try not to use them, at least not around people I don't know," Elsa shrugged, letting go of her knees and stretching out on the floor.
"Have you ever thought about being a superhero?"
Elsa sighed. "No. And here's why…"
Over the next hour, she described her accidentally hurting Anna, her tears of isolation, disastrous coronation, the coup attempts by Weselton and Hans, her ice palace, and almost losing her Anna. "So you see, I am profoundly unqualified to be a hero of any kind. I almost killed the only person who ever loved me with these powers, and I barely trust myself even today. The only reason I revealed them today was because I couldn't let that man hurt my sis- hurt you."
Anna nodded solemnly. Her wife was a generous, caring person, and if she'd had these kinds of powers, she'd definitely be out in the world using them. But her wife had never had such intense trauma like this Elsa, being cut off from most human interaction for so many years. Her story explained why this Elsa seemed to pull away from touch, too. Anna had thought Elsa's hesitance was simply the weirdness of finding out you're married to your sister, but knowing you could accidentally freeze someone to death with a touch… she shook her head wordlessly at the thought, the mental image of the guy in the alley shattering like glass. Did her years of trauma turn this Elsa into a cold-blooded killer?
"That's why you don't feel… upset? Guilty? About what happened to that guy?" she asked haltingly.
Elsa shook her head. "I almost lost you - Anna - once, and I swore to myself no matter what happened, no matter what life brought, I would never, ever allow that to happen again. He left me no choice, because I will always choose you first."
"Aww, that's so rom- um… that's so sweet, Elsa," she stumbled, catching herself.
"It's okay, Anna. I know you meant to say romantic, because you still see your Elsa here sometimes, just like I still see my Anna in you, like in the alley," she gave Anna a smile.
Anna exhaled, stood up, and waddled over to the kitchen area as feeling rushed back into her legs after sitting on the floor for so long. "Hey… want a glass of wine?" she asked as she pulled out a bottle of moscato and two stemless wine glasses.
Elsa nodded, pulling herself to her feet. "I'd love one. Possibly more than one after the day we're having." She accepted the wine glass, looking at it curiously, then sniffing it as they both leaned against the counter. "Anna… what is this?"
Anna gave a small smirk. "The glass or the wine?"
"Both?" Elsa asked, holding the glass at an angle as the effervescent bubbles rose from the wine. "I've never seen wine glasses like this before, and this wine looks like a champagne, but definitely doesn't smell like it."
"Stemless wine glasses are made for clumsier people like me who knock over regular wine glasses a lot," Anna said with a giggle, taking a sip of her moscato, "and this is moscato, which everyone knows… except… ah. Alexa, when was moscato invented?"
The disembodied smart assistant sparked to life again, startling Elsa and causing her to splash a bit of wine from her glass. "Moscato was invented in 1870 in the Piedmont region of Italy. Would you like more information?" it pleasantly asked.
"No thanks!" Anna turned her attention back to Elsa. "So yeah… you won't have moscato again for another 30 or so years from your time." A sudden thought smacked Anna upside the head, the realization that with life expectancies so short in the 1800s, Elsa might not even live to see moscato invented. She shivered at the prospect of having so short a life.
"So," Elsa cleared her throat as she moved to the living room, sitting on the couch. "Before the… umm, incident, you were telling me about your Elsa's family?"
Anna joined her, sprawling out on one side and taking another sip of wine. "Oh, yeah! That's right. So my Elsa's family came from Norway, I think Oslo. Her dad always mentions some brewery in the city, Ringnes. They came here in the 70s as kids, her mom and dad, and ended up getting married and having Elsa in the late 80s. You can tell they're from Norway because of their names-"
"Agnar and Iduna?"
"That's right! How'd you know that?"
"Those were our - my parents' names," Elsa sighed, looking down at her hands and the wine glass in them. "They.. they died five years ago now, when I was 18. But I was still… locked away, so my Anna had to deal with their loss all by herself." Tears welled up in her eyes. "I was so terrible to you - to her, excuse me - and the last couple of years, I've been trying so hard to make up for it, for all the years I was locked away."
She looked up suddenly, eyes wide. "Are… are your Elsa's parents still alive?"
Anna nodded with a small smile. "As far as I know, we had dinner with them last month." She pulled out her phone and swiped through the camera roll a few times, then held it up so Elsa could see. Around the table at a local tapas restaurant were Anna and Elsa, with Iduna and Agnar seated on either side of them, smiling. Agnar had a ridiculously oversized sombrero on, apparently the man of honor with a candle-lit birthday cake in front of him.
Elsa choked back a sob as she held the phone delicately in her hands as though it were a holy book. "They… they look so old and so happy, Anna. Look at Papa, his hair's gone totally grey, and Mama… Mama still looks so beautiful, just like I remember her."
"If… if you want, I could call them. You could talk to them? I mean, I know they're not your parents, not the ones you lost, but… maybe it might be something?" Anna offered, taking Elsa's trembling hand in hers.
"No! No, Anna, I- I couldn't. They'd know it wasn't really your Elsa in moments, and I wouldn't… I wouldn't want to worry them. Thank you, though. I… do you have any more images of them? Maybe that would be enough, just to see them a little more," she breathed, handing Anna's phone back to her.
Anna took her phone back and swiped through a couple more screens, then looked up. "Actually, all the really good stuff should be on your phone! Do you have it on you?"
"No?" Elsa answered, confused. She'd not known her other self had one of these magical black mirrors. "How would I have had one?"
Anna sprung up from the couch with a giggle. "Then it's probably in the same place you always keep it. I mean - oh, you know what I mean!" She made her way to the bedroom, Elsa following behind her. On the nightstand, in a stylish aluminum enclosure, was a fully-charged iPhone 12 in a blue and white snowflake case, accompanied by an equally snow-themed solar-powered battery pack.
"For someone who didn't like the cold, a lot of her stuff is snowflake-themed. You mentioned she had a tattoo of a snowflake, too?"
Anna nodded. "Yeah, she just loves the beauty of them, the geometry, the uniqueness." She smiled, thinking back to the early years of their dating, and how she'd made fun of Elsa for exactly the same observations her doppelganger was making now. They'd both weathered Boston's damp winters more easily than many of their peers, being from the cold Midwest.
The phone's lock screen lit up, a picture of Anna making a goofy face with baby carrots stuck in her teeth like vampire fangs. Elsa nearly dropped the phone as she burst into laughter. She lightly tapped the screen, triggering the password prompt, considered it for a moment as she tapped her index finger on her lips, and slowly spelled out A-N-N-A with a wry grin. The lock screen opened, showing rows and rows of Elsa's apps - Black's Law Dictionary, Kiwix (an offline version of Wikipedia), and dozens of others the lawyer used in her job. "All right, Anna, you're going to have to show me how to use this particular magical device, since it's definitely not my kind of magic," she smirked.
Elsa lay on the couch, Anna having gone to bed an hour earlier after teaching her how modern smartphones worked, as she scrolled through photos of this Elsa's life and times, especially of her parents. Dried tears left tracks on her cheeks and on the collar of her hoodie, from laughter and sadness alike, as a pile of used tissues grew beside her. She saw the parents she might have had if Agnar and Iduna hadn't perished at sea. Certainly, these versions of her parents were much less formal than hers, and in a different century, but their smiles and warmth was unmistakably the same.
After a few more pages, she looked down at the tiny text along the bottom of the screen, scratching her head. What does 'videos' mean? she wondered, before touching the unfamiliar word. The screen shifted to a huge collection of little photos with triangles overlaid on them, and she touched one of Agnar and Iduna close together. The photo sprang to life, and Elsa stared in shock, a high-pitched cry forming in her throat as she trembled.
"Hi Elsa! Mama and I just wanted to wish you a very happy 34th birthday," Agnar grinned, wearing a ridiculous red cone-shaped hat. "We'll be in town in a couple of days to celebrate, but we didn't want to miss the day-" he said before turning his camera to the side to focus on Iduna. "Elsa, my baby, we miss you so much and can't wait to see you soon. We love you!" She blew a kiss to the camera, and the video came to an end.
Elsa's cheeks were no longer dry, and would not be for the rest of the night.Author's Notes
This chapter presented SO many anachronisms the first time I wrote it. I had no idea Norway didn't use the metric system until 1875, and I didn't even know the Réaumur system existed at all. Crazy.Join The Party
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