A/N: Tumblr prompt: Kristoff is sweaty after work, and Anna kind of likes it.
[KristoffxAnna, T, humor]
"The Scent of a Man"
Sven huffed and nudged impatiently at the back of Kristoff's legs as the ice harvester trudged slowly towards the castle.
"I know, boy," Kristoff sighed, running a hand through his hair and frowning at the slick feel of sweat against his fingertips. "It's been a long day for both of us. Just a little farther and you can eat all the carrots you want, okay?"
Sven butted happily against his side and trotted ahead with his tongue lolling about every which way. Kristoff smiled and shook his head as he went. Reindeers. So easy to please.
But then, Sven probably deserved an extra pound or two of carrots after the day they'd had. It was the height of summer, peak harvesting season, and royal decree had given Kristoff substantially more business than he'd had before he became Icemaster General, or whatever Elsa and Anna had decided to call the not-really-a-thing thing that had seen his coffers double in weight almost overnight.
That was fine by him, of course — though he'd never had too much use for all things material, he'd been plenty glad for his resoled boots that didn't leak nearly as much as the old ones — but more business meant more ice, and more ice meant substantially more work.
Kristoff rolled his shoulders experimentally and winced at the slight twinge of pain that shot through his deltoids. He'd overdone it. No question. He was no stranger to hard work, adored it, in fact, but his back and legs were fairly screaming from his overzealous exertion. There was just something to the whistling swing of the pickaxe and the clean, cold crunch of splitting ice that overrode all sense of time and physical limitation, and he'd known from the moment he and Sven had packed up for the night he'd be paying for this one.
On top of that… Kristoff tugged at the sleeve of his sweater and sniffed it, grimacing as he did. Not good. It was much warmer in the valley than it had been above the tree line, and he could feel a slow, unpleasant trickle of sweat between his shoulderblades. Combined with an unusually-productive and sweaty workday, he was, well, a bit more fragrant than he preferred.
True, he'd never been all too concerned with cleanliness, but ever since he'd traded the familiar barn-bouquet of hay, dung, and cedarwood for the castle's fresh linens and sea air and… whatever those weird little flower-things Anna liked to have all over the place, he had no idea what they were called, he'd been far more self-conscious about his grubby hands and the dirt behind his ears and the last time he'd washed his socks (which he was fairly sure was always a few days past what it ought to be — or weeks, whatever, who cared about socks). Everything about the castle was so clean, with a seemingly-endless army of people to keep it that way, everything freshly-laundered and scrubbed and stinking of flowers and lace (lace did have a smell, he'd decided — it smelled prim and dull and very, very proper. He hated it).
But there was a nice middle ground between the barn and the lace-smell, of clean soap and shaving lather and not-quite-perfectly-laundered clothing, and that was where he liked to stay. Not that he much minded the smell of sweat and leather and damp fur — it reminded him of work, and mountains, and ice, and he quite loved all three. But he felt grimy and just a hair further north of gross than he liked, and so with the thought of a hot bath and fresh clothes on his mind, he sighed in relief as he reached the castle gates.
"Go on, buddy," Kristoff said, patting Sven's flank as a waiting stablehand took his harness. "Carrots," he said meaningfully to the boy, nodding his head towards Sven. "Lots of 'em."
The stablehand led Sven off, and Kristoff stretched, closing his eyes as he made his way into the courtyard. Now it's time for a nice, long, hot bath and a quiet evening of…
He turned, eyes still closed, and held out his arms, barely moving under the warm weight that launched into them.
"Hey," Anna said brightly, twining her arms around his neck.
"Hey yourself," Kristoff said, pressing a tired kiss to her forehead.
"Mm. That obvious?"
"I just know you," Anna said, and he couldn't stop his features from mirroring the soft smile she gave him. "Want me to get down?"
"You weigh all of five pounds, Anna, you're fine."
She laughed and tucked her head in against his chest. "I missed you."
"You just saw me this morning."
"I'm still allowed to miss you," she said, closing her eyes and snuggling against him. "Mm. You smell good."
Kristoff stared at her, at the pleased smile on her lips, the gentle curl of her hands against his sweater, and he raised his eyebrows. "I'm sorry, what?"
"You do. You smell really good. Manly." Anna tilted her head up to grin at him, eyes bright and mischievous.
"…Anna, I spent a solid twelve hours splitting ice, and I haven't stopped sweating since Sven and I got to the valley. I smell like sweat."
"…no, I'm pretty sure it's just the regular kind."
"No, seriously," Anna said, reaching up to run her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. "I can't explain it. You smell like… well, like… I don't know, just manly. It's really, really nice."
"…I think you're making this a little more overly-romantic than it should be."
"I am not! It's like… cedar and mountain air and…"
"…sweat, reindeer fur, and pine tar," Kristoff finished.
"And you," Anna said firmly, a slight blush rising to her cheeks. "You smell like you. Like… familiar and comfortable and just… Kristoff." She smiled. "I like it. I like you."
"You'll probably like me more after a bath."
"I don't know…" Anna said, toying with the fur at his collar. "There's something kind of appealing about it. It's all rough and rugged and…"
"Sweaty. You keep forgetting sweaty."
Anna rolled her eyes and pulled him down into a kiss then, pressing her hands to his most-assuredly-sweaty chest as he wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her higher. He was sure he was probably dripping sweat onto her nicely-laundered gown, smudging sweaty fingerprints onto the perfectly-ironed lace detailing, but, well, who was he to argue with the princess?
Kristoff closed his eyes and shuddered slightly at the light slide of her tongue against his before she pulled back, just far enough. "I like it," she said against his lips, and her eyes had a sparkling glint and her voice a husky warmth that she only got when she… well, really, really liked something. A lot. A whole lot.
I've fallen in love with a madwoman.
"So, just to clarify," Kristoff said, hoisting Anna into his arms and carrying her bridal-style into the castle, shaking his head slightly, "I'm completely sweaty and, honestly, pretty damn gross, and I probably smell more like a barn than Sven does, and you, Princess Anna, are somehow all over this."
"Keep making fun of me and I'll be all under this," she said, crossing her arms over her chest before a flash of horror crossed her face and Kristoff nearly dropped her against his sudden choke of laughter.
"Oh my… I did not mean it like that… like… ooh. Um. You know."
"…you're really, really weird, Anna."
"I'm not the one practically licking the sweat off your chest."
It was Kristoff's turn to flush in horror as Anna squeaked and nearly fell backwards out of his arms. "Um… not that I'm… not that I wouldn't if you wanted to… oh gods, this is, uh, not coming out right, at all…"
"It's fine," Anna said quickly, her face nearly the same shade as her hair. "I, uh… yes. That happened. Okay. Um. So, uh, where are you taking me?"
"I'm dropping your weird self off at your weird room so I can go have a not-weird bath and get my not-nice, not-sexy sweat off me."
Anna huffed, thumping him lightly on the chest as they reached her room and Kristoff set her down gently.
"Well," Anna said, her pointed, confident tone undermined somewhat by her deepening blush, "I was going to point out that there is a very large and not-weird bath in my room that you'd be more than welcome to use… but since I'm so weird and all…" She grinned at him and disappeared through the doors to her room, closing them behind her.
Kristoff stared at the doors for a long, long moment.
"…I have no idea what the hell just happened," he said to himself, resting his forehead against the wood paneling.
He jumped, eyes widening as Anna suddenly re-appeared at the door, her hair unbound, one bare, freckled shoulder peeking out from a loosely-bound bathrobe. "Coming?" she asked, biting her lip and staring up at him through her eyelashes.
Kristoff couldn't help but grin at her and pull her in close for a quick kiss before he slid through the doors, carefully shutting them behind him. "You're still really, really weird, you know," he said, trying to keep his fingers from shaking as he peeled away the (still very sweaty but if Anna was okay with it…) layers of his harvesting outfit and Anna disappeared into the bathroom. The air seemed too-warm against his bare chest, and only seemed to grow warmer at the flash of Anna's bare legs through the bathroom doorway.
When Anna re-emerged, he could hear the rush of running water behind her. "Be honest — you love me," she said, grinning and attempting to lean against the doorjamb in a seductive pose, but in far-too-typical Anna fashion, missing it entirely and falling over into a pile of flailing limbs and terrycloth.
Kristoff sighed, shaking his head and smiling as he reached down to pull her up, easily hefting her weight into his arms and carrying her into the bathroom. "I do love you," he said, kissing the top of her head.
"Love you too."
"But you're still weird."
"And you're sweaty."
"See, now, that's what I've been telling you."