Sorry for the long wait! School started up again, and between that, theatre, and my job, I got a little overwhelmed. I'm not too sure I can promise weekly updates anymore, but I'll certainly try! This chapter is only part 1 of this little story arc. The whole arc was supposed to be one chapter but it ended up being really really long, so I just found a stopping point and decided to post that.
"Just for a little bit" turned into three years, and Anna was forced to face the reality that talking to paintings and a closed door might just be the new norm. After having travelled the universe for so long, being stuck in a castle day in and day out was almost comparable to a prison. Everyday she woke hoping to hear the familiar TARDIS noises, but everyday she was disappointed. It was another closed door, another person who had locked her out of their life and out of their heart, or hearts. Some wishful side of Anna remembered that the Doctor was a terrible driver, what might be three years for her could be just seconds for him. Another, more cynical side of her, bred from years of being pushed away and disappointed, reminded her that the Doctor had left people behind before, so why not again?
Despite the circumstances, Anna knew that she had to keep living. The Doctor could traipse about the universe forever, but she had to move on. As routine had dictated, Anna once again found herself sitting outside her sister's locked door every evening. She would tell Elsa how her day had gone, what she had eaten for breakfast, what books she had read, her new personal record of sock sliding distance. But for whatever reason, Anna could not bring herself to tell Elsa about the Doctor. To her older sister, the madman in the funny blue box was nothing more than Anna's imaginary friend, a relic from her childhood that was not ever meant to transfer over to her years as a young woman. A part of Anna wanted to keep it that way, to separate her life as a princess from her life as the Doctor's companion.
That's not to say she didn't hope he'd come back. She always did. Every evening, as she leaned back against her sister's door, and as the silence seemed to smother her, she would look longingly down the hall. She'd smile wistfully as she remembered apple grass, the lost moon of Poosh, the lovely people she'd met on some planet called Akhaten.
It wasn't until her sister's coronation that things changed. She had been woken up late, her hair was in it's usual rat's nest and her mind was utterly befuddled. Then she remembered, Doctor or no Doctor, today she was free. A giddy laugh worked it's way up from her belly as she lept through the streets of Arendelle. She wanted to sing, to jump for joy, to dance as if the streets weren't full of the very dignitaries she was meant to impress.
For the first time in forever, nothing seemed to be in her way… except for a horse. Anna had been so distracted by the sheer thrill of being beyond the castle gates, that she failed to notice that there was indeed something right before her, knocking her off balance, and sending her tumbling towards the fjord.
She let out a grumpy, "Hey!" before looking up into the eyes of a very handsome stranger.
"I'm so sorry. Are you hurt?"
Anna quickly composed herself, utterly charmed by this very handsome and very regal man. Attempting to appear sophisticated, despite laying legs spread and in a boat, she tried to greet him properly. "Hey… I a- No. I'm okay." She gave a weak smile.
"Are you sure?"
Anna blushed, My goodness, he was charming. She made an attempt to stand up and brush herself off, desperately trying to undo the damage she had done, "Yeah, I just wasn't looking where I was going. But I'm okay. I'm, um, great actually."
He hopped gracefully down from his horse, stepping into the boat and holding out a hand to help her up. She accepted gratefully. He smiled, that altogether charming smile that made butterflies dance within Anna's stomach, and breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank goodness."
Their eyes met for just a fraction of a second, but that was enough for Anna to feel her breath hitch in her throat. "Prince Hans of the Southern Isles," He greeted with a perfect bow.
"Princess Anna of Arendelle," She returned with a wobbly curtsey.
"Princess?" He seemed taken aback, and rather horrified at the revelation that he had nearly knocked the princess of Arendelle into the fjord. Quickly getting down on one knee, and bowing low, he continued, "My lady."
At that exact moment, the boat tipped once again, sending both Anna and Hans tumbling backwards. Anna felt her cheeks heat up with the humiliation of it all. As Hans helped her back up she tried to look anywhere but his eyes, and that's how she spotted him. He was wandering around her village looking entirely out of place, with his bow tie and tweed jacket, but altogether happy to be there. He seemed to spot her at the same moment, reaching his hand up as high as it would go and calling out an excited, "Anna!"
Her eyes widened in surprise, hardly registering that Hans was attempting to get her attention. "Princess, do you know this man?"
"Wha-? Oh, yeah. Yes, of course. If you'll excuse me." She gave an awkward little half curtsy before stumbling out of the boat, eyes never leaving the Doctor.
"Hello Anna!" His smile suddenly fell from his face as he took in her appearance. Shoulders slumped, he continued, "I've missed the date again, haven't I?"
She rolled her eyes as a smile played upon her lips. "Just by a bit, yeah. About… three years late? Better than before, I have to say. But I've," She paused, taking a deep breath. "I've missed you Doctor."
"Well, I never have been very good at keeping my promises. If it helps, I've missed you too."
Anna seemed a bit surprised. Selfish as it may have been, she had always assumed that the Doctor just skipped ahead to their next meeting. "What have you been up to then?" She asked, genuinely curious.
"Oh, the usual. Actually, I ended up on the Dalek Asylum a bit after bringing you home. My friends were there, Amy and Rory. Haven't seen them in a while. Oh! And I met a lovely girl there, incredibly clever. She saved us, but she um-" Anna gave him an encouraging nod, noticing how he had trailed off. "She died."
"Enough about me. What have you been doing?"
She smirked, mimicking his previous response. "Oh, the usual. Closed gates, empty castle, distant sister."
"Well, the gates are open today."
This time, she smiled so wide her cheeks started to hurt from the strain. "It's coronation day!" She exclaimed giddily. "Doctor, you have to stay for the coronation. Please?" She stuck out her lower lip in a pout as she batted her eyes at him.
At that moment, the bells started to ring, catching Anna off guard. "The Bells?" Realization seemed to strike her suddenly and she swiftly grabbed the Doctor's hand, forcing him to follow her towards the castle. "It's time! Hurry up!"
The ceremony seemed to drag on far longer than Anna had anticipated. She found herself growing increasingly bored and had to fight back the urge to let out a yawn. With some convincing, Anna had finally gotten the Doctor to stay for the coronation, sitting him in the very last row and occasionally making eye contact with him and attempting a small wave.
When she turned around for what had to be about the eighth time, instead of locking eyes with the Doctor, she was caught in the warm gaze of Prince Hans. Anna could practically feel herself blushing from her cheeks to the very tips of her toes. Certain that she was about as red as a cherry, she attempted a shy smile and wave. Much to her relief, he waved back.
By the time that the ceremony was over, Anna had counted the number of freckles on the back of her hand approximately nine times, waved unobtrusively at the Doctor about thirteen, and daydreamed about talking to Hans again about a thousand. And when Elsa was proclaimed to be queen of Arendelle, she let out a heavy breath of both relief and mild pride.
She waited until the hall was clear before returning to the company of the Doctor. "Sorry about that," She said with a huff, sitting down beside him. "I didn't realize it would be so long."
The Doctor seemed too focused on something else to pay her statement any mind. "Did you notice something strange? About your sister, I mean."
Anna looked at him incredulously. "Well, I guess she did seem a bit nervous, but she was just crowned queen. Wouldn't you be?"
He shook his head dismissively, "No, no, not that. There was something else-"
Anna put up her hand to stop the long-winded speech she was sure would follow. "Doctor, I'll let you finish in a second, but I have to ask a question. See, the party's in like three hours, and I don't really want to wait around doing nothing for that long, and I mean, I thought that since you have a time machine and all, that you might, well I don't know-"
"Skip ahead?" He supplied.
She nodded excitedly. "Oh, could we please? The castle is just so boring, and I'm not really allowed to leave again until I'm formally introduced at the party. Which I think is totally stupid, but it wasn't really my place to say and I really just want to-" She stopped herself, realizing she was getting off track. "I mean, can we?"
"Well, short jumps are a bit trickier, but I think we could have a go at it."
With a squeal of delight, Anna leapt up from her seat, dragging the Doctor up after her. "Oh! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
With a short skip and a hop, Anna tumbled out the back doors, hand in hand with the Doctor, moving as quickly as she possibly could to reach the place she knew the TARDIS would be. She turned the corner, slipping on the freshly waxed floor and ran head first into the last person she expected to see. Her sister.
Elsa raised one eyebrow, taking in the pair. Anna was out of breath, her chest heaving up and down with each deep lungful of air. The man appeared even stranger, clad in a tweed jacket with a bow wrapped around his neck, and one hand holding her sister's.
Anna's eyes were wide in surprise. She took one last shuddering breath before speaking. "Elsa? Or, um, Queen." She made an awkward little bow before continuing, "I, uh, didn't know you'd be out here. I thought you were going back to the library or something."
"I was heading that way. May I ask who your companion is?" Anna tried not to feel her heart deflating with the formal way her onetime best friend regarded her, as if she was nothing more than another visiting dignitary.
The Doctor, never one to pick up on social cues and therefore missing the awkwardness of the whole encounter, made a deep bow and smiled widely at the newly crowned queen. "Sir Doctor of Gallifrey, your majesty."
Elsa searched her memory for any mention of such a kingdom, but came up short. Anna, despite knowing next to nothing about her estranged sister, seemed to recognize the look of near panic at almost offending a guest spreading across her sister's face, and stepped in to ease her discomfort. "He came unaccompanied, and I... offered to show him around the castle!" Anna smiled smugly, proud of the lie that had gracelessly tumbled from her lips. "Now if you'll excuse us." She straightened her posture, dropping the Doctor's hand and placing it gingerly upon his arm. With a curt nod, she continued to lead the Doctor down the hall, hoping that her sister had believed the lie.
Sort of a weird place to stop this chapter, but it was really the only one that made sense. The next chapter will involve more of an adventure, which I'm really excited about. It involves a bit of badass Anna... Anyway, I'm always happy to answer questions and receive feedback. Just send me a review and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.