I HAD SO MUCH FUN WRITING THIS, YOU GUYS. You have no idea. This fic is inspired by, and is sorta-kinda a parody of, Mulan.
She was exceptionally brave. No doubt about that.
What Jack Frost doubted was that whether or not she knew what she was doing. Which makes her a complete and total idiot.
"She's an idiot," he said out loud for the eighth (or eight millionth) time that day, as he paced the large study that the Arendell royalty had generously provided for him for leading his army that composed of a mix of the four kingdoms of the West River—Berk, Corona, Dunbroch and Arendell—to winning the war against the Nightmare King. The army left to fight six years ago.
Six years ago, as well, a certain Princess Elsa of Arendell snuck out of her room, dressed up as a boy—which, by the way, Jack will never be able to understand how, since her… extremely feminine physique should have set her apart from the stocky men—took a horse and rode with the army.
"Jack, man, relax." Jack turned his head to shoot a sour look at his right-hand man—and, unfortunately, best friend—Hiccup, leader of the Riders.
"You didn't have a lady sneaking into your army," Jack retorted with distaste, and Hiccup shrugged, leaning further into the plush chair by the fireplace, that grew brighter and brighter as the sun sank down the horizon.
"Because said lady would've chopped my head off if I even said otherwise," defended Hiccup, "You know how Astrid gets." Jack rubbed his face.
"This makes everything so complicated," Jack groaned, moving to flop on the couch near Hiccup. The couch let out a small squeak as Jack crashed into it.
Hiccup gave a snort. "It so doesn't—well, at least, not for you." Jack's face soured even more.
"You like her." Hiccup gave Jack a pointed look, and Jack visibly shrank.
"You're still so caught up in all of this because, my friend, you have not accepted the fact that somewhere along the line, you fell for her. Hard and fast." Hiccup raised an eyebrow.
Jack gave an indignant sputter. "I did not fall for her while she was a soldier—"
"I'm not saying you're gay—although it would make perfect sense." Hiccup expertly dodged a well-aimed snowball that would've hit his face. "Just admit it. You like her."
"She's cute—that's as far as I'm gonna go," grunted Jack, folding his arms over his chest, "But she's still an idiot."
"She took on the Nightmare King, probably got punched in the boob, froze thousands of his men and probably crippled his forces from this day forward if that idiot decides to take over again—she's not an idiot, Jack, she's brilliant." Hiccup shot back, frustrated. Why was his best friend such a blind dunce?
"If she was so brilliant, she wouldn't have joined the army," muttered a surly Jack. Hiccup wanted to punch Jack in the face.
"Will you stop being so stubborn?" snapped Hiccup. "Look, I'm sick of this—of you—denying everything that's in front of you. Elsa was good—she was fantastic—and you know that majority of your army would have melted—and I mean that 100 percent—if she didn't step in and play hero."
"I'm not saying she's a bad fighter," Jack muttered, after a while. "I'm just… ugh. Don't make me say it."
"Say it," challenged Hiccup. Jack scowled.
"Fine. I was worried about her, okay?" he burst out, practically jumping off the couch to pace the room. "She was—gods, Hiccup, she was the best fighter I've seen in my life. She was a natural—raw, fierce, everything!" Jack threw his hands all over as he spoke. "She was flawless—and I knew that the minute I laid eyes on her, and I just—stars above! I was attracted to her from day one. But I can't let the King know that! Do you know what would happen if the King knew I was totally checking out his daughter?!"
Hiccup gave an amused look, but Jack was too frantic to notice—or to even look at anything other the floor. "He'd have your head?"
"He'd have my head!" Jack dug his hands into his hair. "I can't live without my head, Hiccup! I need my head to live. And what about my face?!"
Hiccup rolled his eyes. "So anyway, back to Elsa—"
"Elsa, man—she was fantastic. Amazing. Joining the army as an Ice Soldier—of course, ice powers are a given—I never really gave her—him much attention. Ales looked like a freaking kid, for crying out loud—I mentally awarded him as Most Likely to Run Away from Battle. It was that bad, Hiccup—I told you this, right? Yeah, I did, over that one dinner when we had Astrid's pie—really good pie, by the way, I should ask for the recipe—"
"Jack." Hiccup snapped his fingers. "Focus. We're burning daylight."
"Oh, right. Anyway. So, this kid is basically the most tenacious one—probably the most idiotic, too, and I turned out to be right—but holy cow, those ice powers! I was in a—I couldn't speak when he gave his first exhibition. Best in the army, I knew that; I even changed his award from Most Likely to Run Away from Battle to Most Likely to Die in Battle. So of course, small battles here and there and Ales always took charge with this air of confidence and regality—now that Ales is actually a girl and a princess, it makes a lot more sense now—so he just kept moving up the ladder too fast for me to even comprehend. I was proud, duh; he was part of my division. But then—"
"And then the reassignment." Hiccup folded his arms over his chest and watched his best friend pace a depression into the room's floor. What a shame—the tiling was nice.
Jack paused and twitched in anger. "Stupid Bunny had to take him—my division needed him most; what the heck is that furry moron going to do with a kid with ice powers? Then, by some weird twist of fate, they get captured."
And this is where the fun starts, Hiccup says silently.
"I had dozens of men who got captured because Bunny's a moron, so naturally we had to plan a siege because, apparently, Pitch managed to find and capture the north end of Corona because—and I cannot stress this enough—Bunnymund is a moron, so now King Flynn is on my case and I lost my best men and my best option was to band with other armies and kick Pitch Black out." Jack paused to give him a look. "That's where you come in."
Hiccup rubbed his stubbly chin. "Nah, I'm enjoying the story—keep talking."
Jack rolled his eyes. "Fine, whatever. So—you know this part of the story—we band together with Merida and Maximus—really, I had no idea that a horse could lead an army wielding frying pans—and we seize the Valley of the Tower."
"But…" Hiccup said, and Jack stopped in his tracks.
"We were… too late," Jack whispered, made his way to the couch and sat down. He stared at his hands. "We lost so many men—I lost so many men, those with family and friends and—Hiccup. They died because of me."
"Jack," Hiccup leaned in as his spoke, as comfortingly as he could, "You know that's not true."
Jack ignored him. "There—there were few who remained alive, and Ales was one of them. Well. Not Ales anymore."
Hiccup paused. "Wait. You mean—"
"Yeah," Jack said, lips set in a thin line as he stared at the flickering fireplace. "Pitch knew."
"Fear. And he…," Jack gave a pained sigh, "He loved her. He loved taking in her fears, he said there were so much; she was scared of being caught, of dying, losing her family—he—" Jack squeezed his eyes and pressed his palms to them. "He enjoyed making her miserable."
"I didn't—" Jack shook his head and blinked several times to refocus his vision on the fireplace.
"No one did. I got to her—imagine the shock of my life when I saw Ales with boobs—anyway, I got to her and freed her and it was just her and me, fighting, and… gods. Hiccup, I've never felt anything more right in my life."
Hiccup tried to lighten the mood. "The boobs?"
Jack's eye twitched in annoyance. "The fighting," he said severely, and Hiccup only gave a cheeky grin.
"So, and then?"
"And then… we won. It was amazing, how she held out on her own—Pitch was taunting her, reminding her of all that she was scared of, but she just… kept fighting." Jack gave a small laugh, a sound mixed with both awe and disbelief. "It was… phenomenal. She was amazing." In a softer voice, he muttered, "She's perfect."
Hiccup watched Jack clench and unclench his fists. "And?"
"And then we returned to Arendell. You know she hasn't spoken a word to me since?" Jack threw Hiccup a look. "She took charge. Talked to the army the same way Ales did, when he directed my men, and led them home. She went straight to her father when we got back."
Hiccup gave a sigh. "You mean she's been in the throne room all day?"
Jack shrugged. "Probably." Jack gave a groan as he stood up from the couch. Hiccup followed suit. "The King sent a messenger this morning to tell me I would meet him tomorrow. Your room's in front of mine, by the way. Where's Astrid?"
"Flew back to Berk." Jack gave a sly grin.
"Why—do you finally have kids I don't know about?" Hiccup gave him a playful punch in the shoulder as they exited the study and made their way to the south wing of the castle. When they made a turn, Jack stopped, and a girl far ahead turned on her heel and walked as fast as she could in the opposite direction.
Hiccup gave a low whistle. "Wow. That looked bad."
Jack gave a sigh, his face sullen. "I just wanna talk to her."
Hiccup nudged his friend. "Go. I can find my room on my own." Without a second thought, Jack took off in the direction of the princess. Hiccup smiled and turned the next corner, and paused.
Staring at the long corridor with several other adjacent passageways and countless doors, Hiccup gave a sigh.
This was going to take a while.
Posting a follow-up soon! But first, I have to sleep. Writing this has drained me.