I hear the yelp of shock, and then the crash that follows mere moments after. My book is hastily discarded to the floor, and I hurry out of my room into the corridor, my eyes scanning from one end to the other as I try and work out where the noises came from.
Anna's voice pipes up from within one of the many rooms that span this wing of the castle, my own personal little library I'd asked Papa to build many years before, "Elsa? Are you there?" I can hear her pause for a moment, before I hear a defeated sigh, "Uh… Anyone?"
"I'm here," I shout back, quietly pleased that she'd yell for me first before any of the staff, "I'm coming!" My footfalls sound heavy, my jogging through the hallways lacking the decorum I'm used to displaying, until I reach the slightly ajar door. Peering inside, I practically feel myself double take when I see that most of my books have fallen to the floor, an arm sticking up haphazardly to meekly wave at me. I'm sure Mama would be appalled at the unladylike manner in which my mouth unceremoniously drops open.
"Um. Hi Elsa!" Anna calls, her voice slightly muffled from somewhere beneath the mound.
"What did you do?!" I manage to splutter eventually, "Are you alright?!"
"Nothing! Well, okay, I was climbing the book shelves to see what was at the top, just some dictionaries, by the way, and the shelves tipped and all the books fell out and I got caught up in them and fell. And now I'm buried!" She must have struggled beneath her papery prison, because a copy of The Lost Kingdom slides away and I see her face, slightly red – hopefully from embarrassment rather than injury – and she smiles sheepishly. I step into the room, and extend my hand towards hers, feeling her grip tighten around my wrist.
She nods, "Ready."
"Okay, 3… 2…" I brace myself as I count down, my plan being to hoist her up out of the books and to her feet. But Anna, as always, has other ideas.
"Nope! Down you come Elsa!" Her other hand appears from beneath my copy of Arendelle's Fables and latches onto mine, pulling back with a force I didn't know my little sister could produce. Inelegantly, I slam down atop her, unable to stop my gasp of shock or the icicles that shoot from the floor around me.
My indignant outburst is barely audible over the loud laughter radiating from the princess, and against my better judgement, I find myself giggling as well, overcome by the ridiculousness of the entire situation.
"So, did you enjoy your trip?" she manages to squeak out, her breath short from her bout of chuckling.
I frown, confused. I haven't left Arendelle in months, I've even barely left the castle in recent weeks, busy with meetings and paperwork, "Anna, what are you talking about?"
"You know, your trip? When you went south for the fall?" The emphasis on her choice of words reveal the true nature of her question, and I roll my eyes at her attempt at humour.
"Puns? Really? Stop."
"Fine. Spoilsport!" she pouts, and drags herself more fully out of the pile. Or rather, she tries to, but my weight atop her combined with that of the books makes it difficult, and, after her silly game, I'm not feeling helpful enough to move, and but I am feeling just playful enough to watch her struggle for a few moments longer. She gives up with only the upper half of her torso free, and her arms cross as she glares at me, her frown not quite reaching her eyes, which sparkle with happiness.
Suddenly, I remember the ice that formed as I fell. I wave to vanish them away, not wanting them to melt and damage my collection. Well, I can already see scuffed covers and a few torn pages, but my priority is that Anna is okay, so I'm strangely happy the books cushioned her fall, no matter the damage they sustained.
"Did you pull me down just for the sake of those awful jokes?"
I sigh, exasperated. "I hate you."
"No, you don't," She taps my nose, and waggles her finger in my face, "You're a liar."
"You know me too well, little one," I concede, sitting up and shifting off the books, allowing my sister to wiggle free. We remain sat on the floor beside the mess, the fireplace's flickering light dancing on our pale skin. Her hair seems to be ablaze, her natural colour coming alive in the firelight.
"I'm not little anymore Elsa!" she moans dramatically, "I'm nearly 20, and engaged!"
"I don't care if Kristoff waltzed in here right now and you both suddenly turned 40. You'll always be my little sister," I wink and pinch her cheek, enjoying the quiet giggle it elicits from Anna, "And anyway, I'm taller."
"Hmph... Only because you wear heels," she grumbles. Her eyes soften, and she catches my eyes, "And you'll always be my big sister, y'know. And my best friend. Even when Kristoff and I are married."
I feel my heart swell at her words. My little sister; more grown-up than I dare to think about, and definitely more so than she realises.
"Love you Anna."
"Love you too Elsa."