a/n: i have seen the movie and it is wonderful and i want more! so i present my own little romp in their world, taking place One Week after the events of the movie. slight spoilers, then, obviously. that being said, i know a lot of people haven't seen the movie, and all i ask if that if you still are interested in reading, even if it means waiting until after you've seen the film, let me know!
if you do want more, though, please review :)
"I'm just taking it out for a little test run."
"Well, why can't I take it out, too? There's no reason I can't!"
"Do you remember what happened the last time you rode in my sled?"
"I—I—we were being chased by wolves, I didn't run it into a tree! Besides, it's not like we can't replace it or anything."
"You don't—you don't need to replace it every time I break it—"
"What are you saying? Are you going to break it a lot or something?"
"No, I'm just saying that I can take care of myself—"
"I never said you couldn't, how did you even—"
"Fine. I didn't need to go anyway."
"Well, don't just—walk—ok, there she goes. What are you looking at? Give it a rest, Sven." Kristoff scowls at his feet, scuffing his boots along the cobblestones of the harbor. A week ago, the same harbor had been encased in ice; now the water glittered beneath a waning summer sun. He looks to the mountains, the tall peaks impervious to the warm glare, and the beautiful snow crowning their heads. He itches to be out there. Sven nips his sleeve. "It's not that I don't want to be with her," he snaps, swatting his friend away. "It's that I do."
With that he heads to the stables, to gather tack, and rope. He needed to clear his head. Fastest way to a clear head was twelve thousand feet up.
Elsa watches her sister attacking her meal and says, very coolly, "Is something wrong?"
"No," Anna snaps, between tearing off chunks of bread with her teeth and slurping the pea soup situated by her left elbow. "Nothing's wrong, why would anything be wrong, everything's perfect."
Elsa sets down her spoon. She enjoys the feeling of the cool metal against the bare pads of her fingers. There is a manservant by the door to the kitchens—Elsa, wincing, can't remember his name, as he had been part of the influx hired after opening the gates to the palace—and he is watching Anna with a mixture of horror and fascination. "Anna," she sighs.
"Don't Anna me," Anna mumbles, but, as per usual, her anger is spent, burnt quick, like a lit match. She sets down her bread, reaches across the table—"That's not—" Elsa begins—and takes a long, long sip of Elsa's mahogany colored wine.
Anna spits it into her pea soup.
"—watered down," Elsa finishes, lamely and lately.
Anna proceeds to scrub the bread over her tongue; Elsa takes her glass from her sister and almost smiles. Her lips twitch up in the corners. But it's a strange thing, smiling, and she doesn't quite manage it—not fully, at least; not yet. A week, and things were still strange, new—feelings. She was stumbling around in the dark like a newborn.
"How do you—drink that stuff?"
Elsa says, dryly, "I swallow."
Anna shoots her a withering look, then sags back in her chair. Her eyes flit down the table; it's a long table, and covered with a cherry red cloth, and at its head is a single empty chair, and one next to it, as well; and then, perhaps five feet away, there they are perched, two sisters; and then the empty space of the rest. Anna says, "I just—I'm sorry. I had a fight with Kristoff. Earlier today."
Elsa liked Kristoff infinitely better than she had liked—him. But that didn't mean that Anna hadn't rushed head first into things; there may not be a marriage at the end, but there had not been enough time, either. "I'm sure—"
"I mean, it wasn't really a fight. More like me getting angry, and I just don't know, I just wanted to spend some time with him, and it was like he was running away, which is ridiculous, because why on earth would he run away?" Anna stops, gulps in a deep breath. Elsa blinks blankly. "Sorry."
Elsa shakes her head. "No, Anna, don't be sorry; I want you to be able to share things with me," she finishes softly, like she's afraid to say it. "And I know things have been—hectic, this past week."
Perhaps hectic wasn't the proper word; down near impossible, would be a better description. Elsa had to send apologies to at least fifteen foreign dignitaries, arrange a kingdom-wide meeting in the square to address the issue of her curse, and choose new palace servants—a task which she had set Anna to oversee.
"I'm afraid it isn't love," Anna says abruptly. "I don't—" her eyes flit back to the head of the table. The empty chairs. "I don't necessarily have the best judgment when it comes to these things." She laughs softly, a little self-deprecatingly.
"I wish I could help you," Elsa clenches her hand on the table; her skin is almost translucent against the cherry red backdrop, "but I'm afraid I don't much know, either."
"Well," Anna says, sniffing, wiping the back of her hand across her mouth in a very un-princesslike manner, "at least we have each other."
Elsa smiles, and somewhere inside, a little more of the ice cracks.
Anna faintly registers the door opening—that is, somewhere in her dream of trolls and wedding dresses, there is a creak. Then one of the trolls opens her rocky, moss-filled mouth and Olaf's voice says:
"Olaf," Anna groans, waking up but refusing to open her eyes, "I thought we talked about this." There's a chilly breeze, and she knows Olaf's own personal storm cloud must be hovering somewhere over her left arm. She burrows deeper into the blankets.
"The sky is awake," Olaf says happily, "and so me too!"
Anna can't help but laugh at that, smiling into her pillow, the echo of a memory playing across the back of her eyes. She peeks one open. The French doors leading to her balcony reveal a sky tinged violet around the edges. "It isn't awake yet."
"But it's going to be! Get up, get up!"
"Alright, geez," Anna yawns, sitting up. Olaf is dancing on the covers, blowing snowflakes everywhere. "Let's go."
She hobbles out of bed, wincing as her feet hit the cold marble floor. She shivers, and the shiver hurts, somewhere inside; she'd been more sensitive to the cold, since what happened. She could bury herself in a hundred blankets and never feel warm—like a tiny sliver had stuck in her heart, and she could picture it, always there.
Is this what it had felt like, to be Elsa?
Anna opens the doors to her balcony and is greeted with the dying chill of a cool summer night. In the distance, over the peaks, she can see the first rays of sunlight. Olaf practically dances with joy next to her. "Have you ever seen anything so lovely?"
"Well, yesterday's was pretty lovely, too," Anna yawns, leaning against the stone railing, "and the day before that; and the day before that."
"Yeah," Olaf sighs dreamily. He can't quite reach the railing, except for the tip of his nose. The sun is just beginning to show itself. Anna laughs.
"Olaf, you're—Olaf!" She snaps straight suddenly. "Kristoff must be back!"
"Yeah—I've got to go, sorry, I just—"
"But the sun's not all the way up!"
"I know!" Anna cries, barreling into her room, pulling on two mismatched slippers and mixing corsets and skirts. "But I just need to apologize!"
Elsa opens her eyes, and the sun is the color of apricots, and she realizes she's slept too late. She sits up, and the lists of duties she must attend to grows in her mind—to start, that missive she received just yesterday from the Southern Isles, still unopened. She sighs.
Then her door slams open.
"Elsa!" Anna piles forward. She's wearing a pink snowcap, a yellow skirt, a light blue top, and two different colored slippers. Elsa blinks. "What are you—"
"He's not back yet," Anna says. She begins pacing at the foot of the bed. "It's been a whole night—practically an eternity, and he's not back yet, his sled's gone—"
"Yes! I thought he'd be back by now and do you know he's been insisting on sleeping in the barn with Sven? Well, he has, I told him he could sleep in the spare room, but anyway that's not—the point is he wasn't there. I mean, I don't know, do you think he ran off?" Anna pauses for a breath.
"…no?" Elsa wants to laugh, which is probably the wrong reaction to have. "I'm sure he's fine, Anna. The ice harvesters? They spend weeks alone in the mountains."
"Weeks? That's too long." Pause. Then: "So you don't think anything's happened to him?"
"No," the right side of Elsa's mouth rises. "Now go get changed. You look ridiculous."
Anna glances down at herself, and her eyes widen, like she finally realizes what she's wearing. "Oh, man, is that how I—oh. Ok, I'll go do that now. Good idea."
Elsa watches her go, picking at a thread on her blanket.
Anna watches the distant mountains like they'll tell her something. The North Peak looks small and insignificant from here. Above her the night sky is twinkling, a thousand stars lighting the sky, and she is freezing.
It's not particularly cold, and she knows this, but she can't stop from shivering, even with her arms drawn close together and her toes pressed next to each other. There's a fire blazing in her room behind her, but other than that the palace is quiet, the lights off.
It's not that—she wants to smother him, or anything, but he'd left like that and she needed to apologize. She stares at her fingers, pressed against her sides, and Hans' face flits into her memory like a weed. She grimaces, sticking her tongue out. Mostly she felt shame, and embarrassment.
Mostly she was afraid it would happen again.
Mostly she was afraid she didn't know what love really was.
She sighs, and presses herself closer together, and then she hears, "Are you cold?"
She turns, halfway; Elsa is there, outlined in her doorway. She remembers a time when they had shared a bedroom. An entire childhood, wasted. She says, "No, I'm completely—"
Elsa waves her hand, and an icy breeze gathers the comforter on her bed in its frosted grip, drags it outside, and with a swirl deposits it neatly onto her head. Anna laughs. She can't see anything but interlocking diamonds. "You're getting better that!" she raises her voice to be heard through the fabric. "Do you think you could fly me over the wall?"
Elsa doesn't say anything. Sometimes—and that is, all of the time—Anna is convinced joking is not in her vocabulary; then, Anna is only partly joking. If she could fly over the wall right now she could find Kristoff. She hears footfalls, and then Elsa's arms are folding around her, tightening the blanket.
"Hi," Anna smiles. She shrugs back and wraps the blanket around her shoulders, so her head is visible. Elsa is standing there, looking a little concerned and lost in the moonlight. Anna reaches for her hand. "You're still up?"
"So are you," Elsa counters. "I had business to attend to. What's your excuse?"
"No one. I mean, nothing. No excuse. Just can't sleep."
"Kristoff is fine, Anna."
"I know! I'm just—admiring the stars!"
Elsa gives her a look. The kind of sister look that calls her lying. She smiles cheekily. Then Elsa does the thing Anna didn't want her to do and notices the goosepimples running along her arms as she adjusts the comforter. "Are you cold?" her sister frowns.
"A little. It's nothing. I think I might be getting sick." She hadn't told Elsa how she couldn't get warm anymore, not really. Her sister didn't need that weighing on top of everything else. She changes the subject. "So can I help with anything tomorrow?"
Elsa purses her lips. After a beat, however, she bites. "There are a few things, yes. I need to schedule the royal painter for our portraits and then answer a few letters. Perhaps you could check that the supplies are coming into the harbor alright?"
Anna nods, smiling. "Of course."
They stare at each other for a minute. Anna likes this. Likes having someone to talk to, even if they are just feeling each other out again, after all these years. Her smile widens, and she bends forward for a quick hug. Elsa's skin isn't like ice—it's a bit warmer than it used to be—but it's close, and it doesn't help Anna's own temperature. She says, "Goodnight."
Elsa smiles, a small, fragile thing. "Go to bed."
"Yes, ma'am!" Anna clacks her heels together, watching her sister go, and then she turns back to the vaulted castle walls of the courtyard, and the fjords beyond. It's peaceful. It's silent. She just wanted to say sorry, was all. She sighs, slapping her cheek into her hand. The blanket falls around her shoulders. The gates are still open, even at night, now; something Elsa had said about making it stick. Anna didn't care. They were open, and she could leave, if she wanted to, and—
Where would she go?
"Ugh, Kristoff," Anna sighs, watching the two guards propped on either side of the gate. They flicker in the light of the brazier. "Stupid, fat head, can't believe he—"
There's the sound of hooves. Faint, at first, and then barreling forward, past the two frightened men and into the courtyard. Anna shivers stock straight, because Sven is there, and he is very much Kristoff-less.
"I knew it!" she hisses, peeling backwards and throwing her blanket to the floor of her room. She slips into her boots (matching, this time) and her pink cape and throws on her hat for good measure and then she's gone, racing down the hall, not stopping, even as several of the Night Guard shout at her passing. She slides into the courtyard, winter-gear feeling just perfect in the cool of the night air, even when it shouldn't, even when she should feel stifled—and there's Sven, Sven—"Sven!" she shouts, trips, and only just manages to catch herself on his antlers. He looks worried. "Sven, where's—what's—"
Sven blows out his lips.
"I can't speak reindeer, Sven, only Kristoff can."
Sven repeats the motion, and then bits her sleeve. She hoists herself onto his back.
"Alright, bud, if something's wrong—you gotta take me to him." They bound past the guards by the gate. "Tell my sister I'm trying to find my stupid boyfriend!" she shouts back at them, but she can't tell if they've heard or not, because by then they're little pricks in the distant corners of her vision, and she and Sven are barreling to the North Peak.
Anna wonders why she's whispering; there's no need to whisper. It's quiet as the grave, and the snow is old, and packed, but she can't help but remember the wolves. She whispers again, a little louder, "Kristoff?"
Sven brings her out of the pine trees, and into the bright moonlight, reflecting off the white ground, enough that she can easily make out the sled. It's fine, not a scratch. There's a torch, half-sputtering and mostly embers, lying on the ground next to it. Her heart is beating awfully fast. She dismounts Sven, ungracefully, landing hard on her back; the reindeer motions impatiently forward. "Alright, ok, I'm coming, let me just—" she gets to her feet. She doesn't want to see what happened. She'll do it quick, like ripping off a bandage. She runs forward.
Sven, with a sort of neigh, grabs her cloak with his teeth and snaps her back just before the edge of a jagged, narrow canyon she had not seen. She falls backwards once more, heart pounding.
"Thanks, Sven," she whispers. She crawls forward.
The gap between her side and the far side isn't big—it's really narrow, actually, and she could jump across it. There are markings on the other side, like someone had. The dark, black rock cuts into the earth, and she peers over the edge of the cliff; the narrow sides continue down for perhaps six feet, and then she can't see. It's black.
"Sven, where is he?"
The reindeer nudges the torch her way. She picks it up, blowing on the embers to get some light back into it. It flickers dully in her hand. She sticks it between the narrow gap in the earth and shouts, "KRISTOFF ARE YOU DOWN THERE?"
Heartbeat. Two. Then, a groan. "…Anna?"
"Kristoff!" she shouts, and she sags with relief. "Where are you? I'm coming to get you!"
"No, just go back, Anna, you can't do this by yourself—"
"It's fine—here, I found the rope." She loops it over her shoulder. "Where are you? What were you doing, anyway, how far does this—"
"Anna, there're no footholds, you've got to—"
She sticks the torch further down the gap, trying to see into the blackness, and she catches a flicker of light, a murmur of something violet, and she bends a little further. "I'm dropping the torch, is it above you?"
"No, but Anna, just—"
She lets go. The torch falls maybe twelve feet, and then lands, with a dying hiss, on something cold. It vaguely lights up the interior of whatever is beneath, and she can see Kristoff's prone form. "Why aren't you standing? Did you break something? Are you broken?"
"Anna, please, I don't want you to—"
"Here, I'll make a snow anchor!" She turns behind her, and Sven cocks his head, and she's grateful for something to do, something to keep her blood moving and her mind off things. She begins digging the snow away in a little curve, slipping a looped end of the rope over the mound she makes. "What were you doing down there, anyway? Doesn't matter. I knew something was wrong. There."
She finishes, testing the rope, and then ties the other end around her waist. She stands, stretches briefly, and then teeters to the edge of the canyon in the earth. There's another stretch of rope lying in the sled, and she grabs it. "Alright, I'm going to lower myself as far as I can and give you the rope, and then—then Sven can pull us up or something. You know, whatever, we'll get to that part when we get to it."
"Anna, it's slippery," Kristoff warns. "Just get some of the guards—"
"No, are you kidding? We can do this. It'll be," she grunts, leaning forward, "a bonding experience," she leans forward a bit more, and then, with a noise like a pillow falling to the ground, the snow anchor slides away. Sven makes a grunting nose. Anna doesn't even have time to scream before she's falling. She knocks her head on the side of the narrow entrance before it widens and she's still falling, only underground now, and then—
"Oof," she lets out in a gasp, her air gone, vision sparking. She's lying on something lumpy.
"I think you broke my spleen," Kristoff manages at a gasp.
"Kristoff!" Then she realizes what just happened. The torch is dying, five feet away, embers flickering weakly, and the moonlight isn't enough. They're in a cavern, but that's all she can make out. Kristoff stirs beneath her; she feels his hands coming to rest on her upper arms.
"Well," Anna says, "this could be a little better."