The day passed uneventfully as everyone waited for dinner. Anna and Rapunzel went off to skip about town, Eugene pouting closely behind. Kristoff had claimed that he needed to see to Sven, and slipped away quietly. Elsa kept herself occupied with agreeing or disagreeing on details for Anna's birthday party, and trying to keep her mind off a certain silver-haired visitor.
However, as the time for dinner approached, everyone came back to the palace to get themselves ready. Rapunzel and Eugene were the first to arrive to the dinning table, Eugene opting for his usual trousers, boots, and vested shirt, and Rapunzel deciding on a lovely purple shin-length gown with pink accents and ballet flats. Anna was next to burst into the room, but when she noticed her secret guest hadn't arrived yet, her shoulders slumped minutely. Anna wore her hair in thick braids, with a light green shin-length gown, similar to Rapunzel's, but with a light brown sweetheart corset and light brown ballet flats. Kristoff, who trailed in behind Anna, also wore his usual trousers and pointed boots, along with a light blue vested shirt.
Anna took her place at one of the heads off the table, Rapunzel on her left, and Kristoff on her right, and they all chatted merrily as they awaited the queen. Kristoff noted that Anna seemed to be vibrating in her seat for some unknown reason, and Anna noticed that Kristoff seemed to be rather quiet, nervous even.
Elsa then entered the room, her usual regal self, dressed in her usual ice blue colors and snowflake heels, billowing train flowing gently behind her, but with a slightly shorter dress, and capped sleeves to accommodate for the summer heat. As she approached the dinning table to take her seat, however, she registered the fact that there was an extra place setting next to her own, and was about to signal for one of the servants to remove it when Anna interrupted.
"Oh, leave it, please, Elsa. I invited someone else, if you don't mind, and he should be arriving soon..." she said, with a deliberate wag of her brows.
Elsa's own brows furrowed, but before she could even protest, the bells of the front gates rang and one of the servants scurried off to get it.
As much as Jack just wanted to lay in bed all day, he knew he had to get up and attend this dinner that Princess Anna invited him to. Looking down at himself as he rose from the bed, he observed that his wardrobe was a bit lacking. Being the winter spirit the he is, all he had were his brown cloak and pants, and his trusty blue frosted hoodie. Despite only being a simple lad from Pennsylvania, he knew much of the world from his travels and immortality, though how to dress for a dinner with royalty was not one of those things. He did, however, know that there were people whose job it was to dress others for such events, or at least advise them of something appropriate. He didn't even have shoes, for winter's sake!
So, with those thoughts bouncing around inside his head, he made his way to the nearest clothing shop in town. It was modest, and all the clothes were obviously based upon the Norsk heritage of the town, but Jack figured these people knew what they were doing. Once he let the shop owner know that he would be dining with the queen and princess, and had been personally invited by the princess, the owner made sure he had more than enough outfits, and didn't even charge him for them. Leaving the shop with bags upon bags of new clothes, Jack could only think to himself, She probably only gave me all this stuff because I looked homeless...
But, after getting back to the inn and putting on one of his new outfits, he knew it was right to trust the woman. He looked older, slightly more refined, and quite presentable. "And handsome, Jack. Don't forget handsome," he said to his reflection on a grin. And so, being ready for his first royal dinner, he made his way through town and to the palace, only to be greeted once again by the beautiful, yet imposing sight of Arendelle's palace. Knowing that the Snow Queen was in there waiting for him made him square his shoulders and walk with confidence to the front gate to ring bells.
"What is your business at the palace, lad?" a green suited servant asked him as the door was opened.
"I was invited here to dine tonight by Princess Anna. I'm Jack, of Burgess."
"This way," the servant said, as he opened the doors wider to leet Jack in.
Jack followed the servant down several corridors before he was stopped before a set of double doors and told to wait. The servant entered the room and said, "Princess Anna, there is a 'Jack of Burgess' here to join the dining party."
"OH! Yes, send him in!" Jack could hear her say.
And then the servant came back through the doors and ushered him in.
Stepping into the room, Jack immediately noticed that it wouldn't just be himself, Princess Anna, Kristoff and the queen, as he had assumed. There were two other people here as well, and from the way they behaved, Jack could tell they were also royalty. Jack stopped before he reached the table and bowed respectfully, waiting for his invitation to the table. I hope this is the right protocol, and I'm not just making myself out to look like an idiot... he thought as he swallowed the lump in his throat. "Your majesty, your highness."
Anna was the first to stand, saying, "Oh please, no need to be so formal! Sit next to my sister!"
Now, Jack was never one to sweat, but he could swear he felt his internal body temperature rise as his went to take his seat next to the queen. If he wasn't nervous before, he sure was now, and looking upon the beautiful queen was doing him no favors. After reaching his spot, the rest of the table stood, followed lastly by the queen. Princess Anna took the liberty of informing him that the two other royals at the table were the visiting prince and princess of Corona, cousins to Anna and Elsa. Once they were all introduced and seated, Jack observed that Princess Rapunzel and Princess Anna shared a knowing look, and Prince Eugene and Kristoff, upon seeing the look passing between their women, rolled their eyes and shook their heads respectively.
Elsa was shocked, yet not so shocked, to see Jack walk into the room after the servant fetched him. She knew by the look on her sister's face that she had been planning something, yet at the same time, she didn't think her sister would have been so bold. Elsa noted that Jack had cleaned himself up quite a bit, and that he cleaned up quite nicely. She couldn't help stealing a glance every so often at him, either to admire the strong line of his jaw, or the mischievous sparkle in his eyes. It wasn't until the hors d'oeuvres were served that she could bring herself to converse with him though.
Clearing her throat lightly, she remarked to him, "You look quite handsome this evening, Jack. I had no idea I'd be seeing you again so soon.
Grinning, Jack returned her compliment with one of his own, saying, "You look very gorgeous yourself, your majesty. If I had known earlier that I'd be seeing you again today, I would have tried to prepare a better line."
Elsa's eyes widened upon hearing that, and should couldn't help the small giggle that escaped from behind the hand covering her mouth, nor the blush she could feel heating her face. Her blush only spread when he tacked a wink onto the end of his compliment. It was refreshing to see someone other than Eugene behave to cheekily to her.
The salad course and dinner passed in much the same fashion, with the six of them all conversing easily with one another, and with Jack throwing Elsa a small compliment or a witty line here and there. It wasn't until dessert that whatever tension was keeping Kristoff so silent finally broke.
Slamming his hands on the table, and startling everyone in the process, he slowly rose from his chair on an exhale, and fixed Anna with an intent gaze. She returned his gaze warily, unsure of what to make of this. Trying to calm him, she placed her hand on his and quietly asked him to sit down. Removing her hand from atop his own, he shook his head, and on another exhale, approached Elsa.
Unsure herself of what was happening, Elsa calmed her nerves and faced Kristoff with a blank stare.
"Your majesty. I'm sorry for interrupting dinner like this, but I just can't sit idly by anymore. Especially if it means sitting next to Anna pretending like nothing is different. " Shifting her eyes to her sister's , she saw them well up with tears as a hand came up to cover her mouth. "Queen Elsa, I just can't do it anymore. I know how your sister feels about me. But I want to know how you feel about me."
Hearing that, Elsa's eyes immediately shot back to Kristoff's, as did Jack's and Anna's, all mirroring the same emotion: surprise. "Kristoff-" Elsa began, but was swiftly cut off.
"No, hear me out. I've known you and your sister for a while now, and my feelings for you have only gotten stronger."
"Kristoff, please-" Elsa tried again, but was again silenced.
"Please! Queen Elsa, I- I really think-" he began on a stutter," I really think that I would make a great brother to you!"
Five sets of eyes blinked slowly, as Kristoff's nervous façade gave way to a smile.
"Your majesty, I'd be honored if you would bless my marriage to your amazing, beautiful sister... That is, if she'll have me," Kristoff finished, turning his smile to Anna.
Anna let out a small sob as she dashed from her chair into Kristoff's waiting arms. "Of course I'll have you! How dare you do that to me!"
Looking about the table, Elsa remarked that Rapunzel was also in tears, with Eugene's arm wrapped around her shoulders, while he himself grinned on. Turning her blue orbs to Jack, she saw that he shared a small smile that held a similar emotion to Eugene's as he looked on at the happy couple.
Feeling her own eyes begin to well up, Elsa stood and turned to Anna and Kristoff. "I would be more than honored to bless your marriage to my darling sister, Kristoff. Congratulations," she said as she stepped forward to embrace them both. Soon, Rapunzel and Eugene joined the embrace, and Jack sat back watching the scene with happiness for the family, but also with an emptiness in his heart that yearned to be filled. And maybe it will be filled...here in Arendelle...
A/N: Thank you all for waiting patiently while I had and am recovering from my surgery! And thank you also for your prayers and well wishes! Everything went extraordinarily well and I'm quite healthy now!
Reviewer Nafsika wanted me to answer some questions not related to the story in the A/N.
Q.: "Does it hurt? Do you feel the pain when the surgery is in progress? Do they drug you?"
A.: They put me under anesthesia while the surgery is in progress, so I feel absolutely nothing while it is happening. It does, however, hurt when I wake up, and I'm put on heavy narcotics directly following the surgery. I'm talking like, enough narcotics to kill a horse. I also get sent home on narcotics to manage my pain while my body is healing.
Any guesses on what's going to happen in the next chapter?