As they crossed the doors, Anna got out carefully and went to hug Kai who received her with great tenderness.
"Your Majesty, Sir Kristoff…" he dared to ask when the hug was undone.
"Don't worry about him. He's just sleeping." Kai breathed in relief. "I'm sorry Kai, I'm afraid I need your help again."
"Anything for you, M'Lady."
"I need somebody to take Kristoff to his room. It's been a really tough day and he needs to get proper rest. And most of all, I need you to gather the guard as soon as possible."
"I'm going right now."
Kai ran to give the voice and sent two strong men from the service to carry Kristoff to his bedroom.
The guard was already gathering when Anna, still accompanied by Sven, could hear the euphoric voice of her best friend.
"Olaf!" Anna leaned down to receive him with open arms.
"You are alright!" The snowman said, embracing her as best he could with his little arms.
"Olaf, I don't know how to thank you; you've saved us all," she told him with a sweet smile.
"Me?" he asked all puzzled.
"Of course. You made sure Elsa came to help us. Without you, all this wouldn't have had a nice ending. Thank you."
Olaf laughed proudly and shyly.
"So… Hans is no longer on the loose?" he asked this time feeling relieved.
"No. Elsa is making sure he doesn't forget how cold this kingdom can get."
"Ow…" Olaf could imagine the situation. He knew that Elsa was full of love, but he also knew the resentment she felt for the one who did so much harm to her sister.
"Tell me, Olaf, would you make me one more favor?" Anna asked feeling that she was abusing the kindness of all her loved ones.
"Of course! Ask me for whatever you want!" he answered excited at the idea of being useful to the young woman as she laughed at his reaction.
"Sven has had a really rough day too. Would you be so kind as to accompany him to the barn and give him a good bunch of carrots?"
"Consider it done!"
Sven started jumping with excitement and Olaf was on his way before Anna could thank him again.
"Come on Sven! On the way, I'm going to tell you the story of how I saved the kingdom for the second time!"
Anna watched with a smile how they walked away while enjoying how much loved she felt in that place.
Soon, the entire guard was informed of Hans' whereabouts and of the new instructions affecting his person, and they set out in search of him.
With her duty accomplished, Anna went inside the palace and met Gerda who also received her with a big hug.
"Bless you, little one," she said, giving her a motherly kiss on the forehead.
"Thank you, Gerda," Anna answered enjoying the hug. "Now I head to Kristoff's bedroom. I want to be able to explain what happened when he wakes up. Please, would you bring some food? I think she'll wake up with an appetite," Anna laughed at the thought of her fiancé devouring the food.
"Of course. In a few minutes, you will have it in there."
Anna completed her way to Kristoff's room and slid inside so as not to disturb him. They had changed his clothes for something more summery that was not designed to live on ice; he looked comfortable and breathed peacefully. She breathed deep. A tear of relief was rolling down Anna's cheek when she heard Gerda behind her because she had already complied with her demand.
"I'll leave your food here," she said, placing a huge tray with food like for five wolves on the table in the room. "I'll be back with the desserts in a little while."
Anna thanked the woman for her help and she closed the door behind her. The sound of the closing was not abrupt, but it was enough to bring Kristoff out of his sleep, and he sat up in bed with a start.
"Anna!" he said opening his eyes anguished to know what had become of her.
"I'm right here," she said smiling as she sat next to him and held his hand.
Little by little, he realized where he was and that the woman of his life was before him, shining with happiness like never before.
"Err… I… How?…" he shook his head. "Are you alright?"
His look full of concern for her instead of thinking that he himself was alive touched Anna even more…
"Perfectly," she answered looking into his eyes.
At that moment, nothing else mattered. Kristoff could only hug her desperately, making sure she was real, enjoying the scent of her, and being able to feel her next to him.
"What happened with Hans?" he asked without loosening the hug one iota.
"Elsa is taking care of him until the guard arrives. I think he won't come back around here."
Anna was enjoying that hug more if possible than him. She had been about to see him die and now he was there, safe and sound and closer to her than he had been in many months. Again she could feel his warmth, his strength, and the calm that he transmitted to her.
She slightly undid that hug and kissed him, letting that feeling remain on his lips. He enjoyed the kiss and kissed her back with the same intensity, but, soon, uncertainty returned to him. What was happening? If she loved him, what had happened in all those months?
"Are you hungry?" she interrupted his thoughts with a smile from ear to ear.
"You don't know how much…" he answered rubbing his gut.
"Do you want to eat something while I tell you why are you still alive?"
"I beg you," he said with a happy smile.
In no time they had eaten half of the tray content and were sitting on the bed, leaning against each other.
"So… she didn't want to kill me?"
"The truth's even I doubted it for a second!" she said amused. "But, c'mon! How could she want to kill you?!"
"Well… I know she has some kind of affection for me but, just today, it wouldn't have missed me so much."
"Why?" she asked surprised.
"I… You see… Erhm… This morning Elsa came to see me. She was worried about you. And… I bet she didn't like what she found out," he said as he grimaced be in trouble.
"That's right. What is what 'you and I know'?" she said mocking her sister's tone.
"Well… there is a possibility that…"
"That she found out that you and I didn't wait for… well… our wedding night to…" He stared at Anna until he was sure she understood what he meant. "Sorry!" he exclaimed closing one eye and clasping his hands while with the other eye he searched for her reaction.
"Oh, really? That was all?" she answered absolutely relaxed.
"And that's it?" Kristoff asked regaining his composure. "You're fitting it really well."
"Oh, c'mon. We've been dating for four years. She wouldn't expect us to hold out without touching each other until the wedding, would she?"
Kristoff replied with a shrug and grimace, and then they laughed together.
"Kristoff…" she said as nerves suddenly surfaced in the tone of her voice.
"Tell me," he answered getting serious and giving her all the attention he was capable of. He felt that that was important.
"I have to ask you something I should have asked you months ago."
Kristoff gulped and nodded, expecting the question that, judging by the sudden tension in the atmosphere, would change their lives.
"Do you want to… Do you want to become a king?" Anna began to bite her lower lip, struggling to hold back the tears.
"Did not see that come in…"
"It's my fault you're gone, and of course you're free to go again if that's what you want, but first I need to get things done right. I want to be honest with you."
The nerves made Anna talk in a rush without giving herself time to breathe and without almost giving the boy time to process everything she was saying.
"Anna…" he tried to start saying with a discreet smile.
"Please, let me talk. If I don't drop it at once, I never will."
Kristoff immediately fell silent and sat across from her so she felt he had his undivided attention. Anna smiled at the gesture and took a deep breath just before starting to speak without brakes again.
"Do you remember my coronation day? That day you told me I would have that for an hour as if you had disguised yourself as a gift. At first, I was amused because I knew that wasn't your style. You are more practical and a little wilder, and I like you that way. However, what was endearing and fun at the time, soon turned into torment. Indeed, that wasn't your style, but, if we married, you would automatically become king and you would have no choice but to live completely immersed in that etiquette that you dislike so much. Probably, as queen, I could change the etiquette, but it is something common between kingdoms and, if we changed the way of doing it, surely they would blame the king who is not of noble birth. I don't want you to live a life that you don't like and I don't want you to be the target of attacks of all kinds. I want to make you as happy as you make me."
Kristoff listened to each word more astonished than the last and, at the same time, everything began to take shape at last.
"Besides," she continued, "ice is your life; I've always known. And as much as in the day-to-day you don't need to go to the nines, the obligations of a king are many and you wouldn't have time to keep your job that has cost you so much effort to get ahead. You would lose the ice, the mountain, the privacy, the freedom…" A tear ran down her cheek until it met the soft caress of Kristoff's fingers that took it with them. "I know you would do anything for me, but I… I don't want to do that to you.
"With that in mind, I began to avoid the subject of the wedding. I didn't dare talk about it with you. All the coronation preparations were over and it was the logical time to start our marriage's, but I was terrified to think about the consequences of this conversation. Like it terrifies me now," she smiled nervously. "I'm sorry. I don't know how I could have done that to you for so long; I've been very cruel. I… was afraid of having to part with you. I don't want to hurt you, but I don't want to let you go either: you are the best thing that ever happened to me.
Anna dropped two more tears and was silent as her entire body trembled with fear and tension. The silence lasted a few more long seconds until Kristoff gave her a new smile and broke it in his own way.
"So… may I intervene now, Your Majesty?"
Anna nodded, laughing between sobs.
"You can't imagine how boring the ice has been for these two weeks."
"What?" That caught the girl, who was looking at him in disbelief, by surprise.
"Elsa could make ice for the entire kingdom effortlessly. What was I doing there freezing myself and leaving my back in unnecessary dangerous and repetitive work? I had never thought of such a thing. I loved my job, the mountains, the fresh air, and the freedom, but, you know, day is night when you're not there.
Anna's eyes were close to deorbiting.
"Every moment that I've lived since I met you has been fun, exciting, unique! Nothing's funny or meaningful without you. And I bet reigning by your side will also be fun, exciting, and unique. I know that I have a lot to learn and that it won't be easy to get used to certain things, but, if you're willing to put up with my growls and protests until I get used to it, I'll do my best to learn as best and as quickly as possible so that they are over soon, that you can feel proud of me, and to be able to reign by your side. Cause being by your side is always what I look forward to the most. And, well, we can always escape one day to enjoy the mountain air together to clear up, right?"
"I've been proud of you since ever, you don't have to try hard for that. You just be like you are," Anna said sweetly, her nerves calming down, and grabbing his hand. "You know it's still easy for you to be in the crosshairs of a lot of stupid classist nobles, right?"
Anna looked up a little fearful of his reaction and met Kristoff's sneering smile.
"I grew up sharing carrots with a reindeer in the eyes of others: I no longer hear those voices."
"Yep. You have to stop doing that," Anna said laughing. "The question is: Will you be okay with it?"
"Little I care what other people think if I have beside me the man I love."
He smiled in relief and enjoyed seeing the sparkle in Anna's eyes again.
"Also, your cousin is married to a thief. I'll be seen as the good boy," he teased.
They both laughed, releasing all the accumulated tension a bit and enjoying each other's laughter.
"So…" she groped cautiously looking for the definitive confirmation. "Have I got you back again?"
Kristoff hugged the girl tightly, letting everything inside him pass through his body and bury itself deep inside hers.
"You never lost me," he whispered holding her head against his shoulder as if wanting to protect her and give her all the assurance that they would be together that they both needed at that moment.
"Okay, if that's the case…" said Anna, gently undoing the hug and, then, getting off the bed, she took his hand again and knelt beside him. "Kristoff, will you marry me?"
The boy's jaw dropped as a shy smile spread across Anna's face.
Kristoff, noticing his ridiculous expression, closed his mouth and took with determination Anna's hand that was holding his. Then he gently tugged on her forcing her up onto his bed until she was sitting on his knees, face to face, barely two feet from him. At that moment, with the most intense and loving look that those eyes could give, he let his lips move alone and spoke the word that he was most sure of in his entire life.
The security and forcefulness of that yes, made Anna pounce on him with the brightest of smiles and happiness pouring out of her eyes in tiny droplets until their lips met in the happiest and most passionate of kisses.
"I love you, Bjorgman," she whispered after gently kissing a small tear that escaped this time from his eye.
"I love you, Anna," he replied, letting his feelings guide him to Ana's neck where he left a soft nibble.
Anna found herself letting out a moan at the surprise and sensuality of that bite. It brought a wicked smile to Kristoff's face.
"So you like me to be wild, huh?" he said with a dangerously provocative look.
Anna was about to tell him that that was not what she meant, that it was a way of saying that he was more natural and spontaneous, but that look managed to leave her almost speechless and implanted desire in her entire being.
"Uh huh…" was all she managed to say as the blush on her cheeks grew. "Fine," he said without stopping smiling just before clinging to her and making them roll on the bed until he was on top of that wonderful woman who pierced him with lust in her gaze. "I'm going to show you how wild I can be."
A wide repertoire of moans, groans, and gasps from both began to be heard from the other side of the door of Kristoff's room where Gerda had been standing for a long time with the tray of desserts in her hands, waiting for a good moment to interrupt and deliver it.
"Oh, well," she said to herself with a calm smile, "I'll better leave this here."
And so, Gerda left her tray with resignation on a small table next to the door and left in search of a good rest. After all, busy days awaited them: there was a wedding to plan.