Disclaimer: I don't own Frozen
A/N: Thank you for reviews! They are always appreciated! And I'd love to hear your thoughts on the helsa fandom! What would it take for Hans to be redeemable in your eyes?
They watched him leave, both of them standing with mouths agape. The visiting lord, Viscount Maxim Brandt (as they had learned was his full name and title), was... Well, he was gorgeous! Genuinely kind, as far as either of them could tell, and Anna hadn't stopped elbowing her since the man entered the room! After their short chat, he bowed and wished them a good day before leaving, his coat billowing behind him and his voice echoing through the hall as he chatted with the attendant about the gardens and the tapestries. Even his voice had a clear as crystal bass quality that was near irresistible. "Your Majesty,"
Elsa was still staring when she heard the call, her mind reluctant to think of anything other than the encounter she'd just had with the dashing brunette.
"Umm... My Queen?" The voice tried again. Her family's most trusted servant Kai had stepped before the throne, literally placing himself in front of them and blocking their view of Maxim. "I apologize, but this is urgent!"
Urgent or not, Elsa was still annoyed.
"Yes, Kai?" she sighed. Anna was standing on her tiptoes, trying to peak around the large man to see the Viscount exit the hall.
"So sorry to disturb you, my queen, but..." Kai was wringing his hands, fidgeting... very unlike him.
"But?" she pushed. The servant finally had her full attention. Kai swallowed and looked down at his feet. Elsa's ring of ice had grown, nearly touching the toe of his shoes.
"I'm afraid I have just been informed that a Prince Augustus of the Southern Isles has stepped foot onto the docks."
"What?" The sister yelled in unison. Kai shrunk back, he'd always hated being the barer of bad news. The last time King Edmund has visited, Anna had knocked down every portrait in the castle with the ferocity of her door slams. Obviously, this was going to be no easier. Anna was already beside herself, throwing her arms in the air and kicking her skirts
"No warning? No heads up? What do they think this is? An inn?"
"Anna, please." The ice queen had no choice but to be the strong one in this situation. "Kai, if you would make sure our guest is escorted to the throne room upon arrival."
"Yes, my lady." He quickly bowed and hurried away, leaving the two sisters to stew in their nerves.
"Ugh! It's just so- I can't even believe the nerve of those people!" Anna continued, stomping around the floor like a flustered ostrich. "I swear if he asks for your hand in marriage, I'm gonna tear his head off."
"No," Elsa grasped her sister's hand, halting her mid pace. "Anna, we don't know what he wants. Something could be wrong."
"What?" The younger sister made a face of disbelief. "You don't know that. It's probably just some stupid proposal or apology or whatever. Well, we're not buying, ok?" Elsa faked a smile when her sister linked her arm with hers. "And when Mr. Of-The-Southern-Isles walks in here, we're gonna tell him to turn right back around and beat it!"
"Of-The-Southern-Isles isn't his last name, Anna."
"Well, whatever. We're still telling him to get out. The sooner he's gone, the sooner we can get back to handsome Viscount Maxim of Corona." Anna rolled her tongue and poked her sister's arm. "I saw the way he was looking at you, and he was totally flirting!"
"flirting?" She blushed. Her mind instantly went back to fawning over the Viscount. No one had ever been bold enough to flirt with her.
Before Anna could pick up on what she was thinking, she hurriedly pulled out of her sisters embrace and sat on her throne. "Maxim is very... "
"Yeeeeaah?" The redhead skipped over and leaned on the back of the chair, snaking her arms around to tug on her sister's braid.
"-Nice to look at." The queen smirked. "But I'm in no hurry, Anna. I told you."
"We'll see," She winked. "Just wait 'til the party!"
Hans Westergaard had nothing.
He had no supplies, no extra clothes, no plan, and no money-uh...except for the small amount he'd stolen the night before from a (very intoxicated) sleeping cook. Still, it wasn't much and certainly not enough to buy himself the new trousers that he so desperately needed. The clothes on his back were still the oversized mess Augustus handed him at the castle. They were deteriorating fast, much like his health.
"Ah!" He scrambled out of the way as a herd of children clumsily chased each other through the village. "Brats."
Among his newly acquired possessions was a sailor cap that made his hair sweaty and matted under the worn dark blue fabric, an old lady scarf, and an pair of boots. He'd been given the lace-up boots from the old man he'd met on the boat, laces not included, and a handkerchief for his endless coughing fits. He was thankful, truly. Walking around a ship bare-foot was about as comfortable as walking bare-foot on a filthy tavern floor and probably just as dangerous.
As a whole, his appearance was scruffy, dirty, and unattractive... traits he was slowly starting to grow accustomed to. As a prince, Hans knew how to keep himself. The art of charm had to be learned and practiced, and the 13th son of a king made sure he was an expert on the subject. What he wore, how he combed his hair, what he smelled like, it all contributed to the act. People listened to you when you were attractive. People noticed you, he learned. People assume the best of a pretty person. People would never believe you would be capable of stealing a fresh cookie before dinner, dumping horse piss on your older brother's bed sheets, cheating on your studies evaluation, or murder. And now that he was here, standing on the same dock where his last game had started, at a loss for looks... how would he play the game this time? What upper hand did he have without royalty or charm. Without his title, how would he get to Elsa?
Hans looked down at himself, torn cloth, dirt and all. True, he was a mess, but this land only remembered him as the well polished prince they'd seen at the Queen's coronation. With his overgrown white-washed hair, and his ill hunched over form, Hans was positive no one would guess it. Perhaps that could work in is favor...
As he weaved his way through the busy town, he was very conscious of the chatter and excitable squeals that seemed to be coming from every group of people he passed. Funny, he doesn't remember this kingdom being that overjoyed with life.
"Can you believe? A royal wedding!" The prince scrunched up his nose and slowed his pace, walking next to a huddle of women who were all smiles and giggles, carrying baskets of rich looking yellow fabric.
"I can't wait!" One of them screeched, throwing her shawl in the air and catching it, dancing a circle around a content, old, plump woman.
Royal wedding? Oh, lord Hans almost barfed! Elsa was getting married? That was rich! Like anyone would ever want to marry that cold, hard, dull, witch of a-
"And that boy is so handsome!" A young girl hooted. "He's so tall and muscular-"
"Adina, watch your mouth!" The girl's mother shook her finger in her daughter's face. "That man belongs to Princess Anna."
What? Hans eyes widened. A particularly harsh spike of pain nearly had him on his knees.
Anna was getting married? Not Elsa, but Anna? Married married? Already? "Hm..HA!" Now that's laughable! Someone could actually stand that redhead's nonsense for more than two minutes? Well, whoever the sucker was, Hans wished the man all the luck in the wo-AHH! AH-Pff! OOF!"
With an embarrassing yelp that had everyone in the market turning in his direction, Hans tripped over two bags of seed and landed, very painfully, on his face. Arms sprawled out and butt sticking up in the air so that everyone could see the hole in his trousers. The women's chirping turned to gasps and laughter erupted from the street. Out of the corner of his watery dirt filled eye he could see a flurry of skirts rushing towards him.
"Damn." He cursed. Attention was the last thing he needed.
"You poor man!" He heard her before he felt her attempt to pull him upright, a failed mission as his face smacked the dirt once more. The rest of the women followed suit, cooing and fussing. "Look at him! Someone help this old fellow up!"
Cheeks scuffed and red, They pulled his face out of the gravel and helped him stumble to his feet.
"There you are, dear." The mother smiled and brushed her hands down his filthy shirt, shoving her handkerchief on his face.
"Men and their egos," The elderly plump woman snorted. Hans brushed the ladies' hands away and shied back, picking his hat off the ground and pulling it down over his brow. "Get yourself a cane and stop pretending your thirty again, you fool!"
"Excuse me?" He coughed and looked the old woman in the eyes. She was completely serious! 'Pretending I'm thirty?' he thought 'I'm not even twenty-five!'
How bad could he possibly look? How tired, how run down, how big were the bags under his eyes and the dark circles to make them think he was forty years older?
"You're lucky you didn't break hip!" The old woman continued to shout. "Get a cane, I said!" The rest of the ladies hushed her, but of course Hans wasn't about to argue. So, nodding his head, he shuffled away until he was far enough to break into a wobbly sprint.
"Good one, Hans." He grumbled to himself. Embarrassed, annoyed, insulted, in pain... had he left anything out?
He had just barely turned the corner when the fits started up again. They were tearing at his throat now, creating that all too familiar taste of copper in his mouth. Gingerly, he ran a sleeve over his lips, leaving a streak of red in the fabric. He wouldn't make it much longer. He was cold. He was shaking. He was-
"COME ON, BOY! Make yourself useful for once and take these boxes to the castle!" In a panic, the disgraced prince dove behind a litter of crates as an overweight man burst from the back door of the bakery Hans had been coughing next to. The man was carrying three large boxes in one hand, and dragging his odd looking son behind him with the other.
"And don't you dare take a bite of these cakes! I want you to look your best in front of the queen" The scroungy boy folded his arms and ran an agitated hand through his blonde hair. "Are you listening, Fredrick?"
"Stop yelling at me!" The squeaky little asshole hollered and tore the boxes from his father's hands, nearly toppling them on the ground. "I'll get there when I get there! Jeesh!" The poor, tired baker wiped his hands on his apron and sighed.
"Remember to smile, for the love of god, and request to give these to her personally."
"Why? I don't wanna talk to her!"
"You will if you want to ask for her hand in marriage!"
"Why would I want to marry her?"
"Skies above," Hans muttered. This kid was an idiot. As if Elsa would ever accept a proposal from a baker's son, let alone some snotty, skinny, exceptionally ugly moron like this creep. He had to plug his nose just to stop himself from laughing at the very thought of this kid becoming the husband of Queen Elsa. If this imbecile was able to get through the gates, anyone cou- ...
A dark smile crept onto the prince's face.
Anyone could get through those gates,
Anyone if they had something to drop off for Anna's little party,
Ohhhoho! This was too easy! There was only one problem, of course. One teeny, little, skinny, snotty, problem...
"Just take it to the castle!" The boy's father bellowed and slammed the door in his son's face. Fredrick grumbled like a spoiled child and kicked at the air, finally dragging himself out into the busy street.
Chuckling to himself at last, Hans gave the kid a good head start before crawling from his hiding space and following.
The boy wouldn't be missed, surely. He would do this hardworking father a favor.