A/N: Hey everyone. I am sooo sorry for the delayed update. I'm not really fond of making excuses, but since I'm about to use one now…you see, school's back in full swing, so I couldn't work in the pace I wanted and I'm definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed and…and…yeah, really sorry. Especially to you, Guest 2.0. So…
I solemnly promise to give all you awesome readers my best (regular updates and such), or may the shard of an evil troll-mirror lodge itself into my heart and ultimately freeze me to death. For now, hope you guys enjoy this one!
Blame It on the Fondue
Elsa was a fast runner. The blonde clearly had a knack for running, and unfortunately for Anna, it was not just for the metaphorical kind. Apparently, Elsa was gifted in the heart-pounding, sweat-inducing, weight loss-promising kind of running, too. And to top that, she could shoot tiny, whizzing orbs of ice magic at breakneck speed while sprinting like her life depended on it, making any potential threat to her safety seem more like a potential joke instead.
The good news? Elsa's aim could still use a little work. The bad news? Anna was going to be what Elsa would consider a top potential threat for the foreseeable future, and the prospect of subjecting herself to the blonde for target practice wasn't exactly something she looked forward to. What Anna did look forward to that evening was an exciting and magical (perhaps even a little romantic?) chocolate fondue party (date) with her older sister, who she may or may not be developing weird and confusing (yet positively electrifying) feelings for. Anna still wasn't sure what said feelings meant, but she was determined to find out before the sky woke up the next day – a goal she hoped to reach with the help of a little troll magic and just the right amount of chocolate.
Still, things haven't been easy for Anna, even with her plan being simple and flawless enough; earlier her acting skills were put to the test when she had feigned hurt (dirt smears, twigs and scratches were essential to the act) to lure Elsa into accepting her invitation; her venture in the kitchens had nearly ended with an irrevocable banishment and an additional dish washing sentence from Cook; the pair of shoes that went perfectly well with her evening gown had decided to turn against her and went missing at the last minute; and now, she was running late for the very date – party – she had set up, courtesy of her renegade footwear.
Elsa had probably reached the venue of their little party before her, the blonde being the more punctual of the two. But what if, while waiting for Anna, Elsa eventually gave in to her worries and hesitation, and left before Anna even got there? Then all of Anna's efforts would go to waste!
No chocolate fondue, no magic, no Elsa.
A sudden burst of speed, and Anna finally reached the staircase that led to the garden doors. Without a second thought, she hopped unto one of its banisters and glided down with all the grace and skill one would expect from a princess who glided down banisters regularly.
Not gonna happen.
Anna was totally gonna win back Elsa's affections; that's that. No way was she missing out on any more of Elsa's hugs and caresses (particularly those aimed at the knee and maybe a little higher) after receiving a generous amount of those earlier during the day. Only a healthy, daily dose of Elsa was going to make her happy now.
Flying through the double doors that opened to the garden, Anna turned sharply to the left and followed the trail that led to a more secluded part of the area. She had been there earlier to set up the party with Carina and a handful of other servants who, funnily enough, were about as eager and nearly as meddlesome as the "love experts" when it came to resolving her Elsa-related problems. The dizzying amount of questions, comments and suggestions at the mere mention of the party shot way past any and all expectations Anna had of the modest group of servants.
"Scented candles are the best for this type of occasion. Perhaps some beeswax would do the trick…"
"Forget scented candles! Nothing beats a fresh bunch of flowers when it comes to aroma and romance."
"Whoa, who said anything about roma – "
"You are old enough to drink, aren't you Princess? Chocolate and champagne complement each other perfectly."
"Especially chocolate covered strawberries and champagne, so don't forget the strawberries!"
"Actually, you won't need too many dipping treats this time, Princess Anna. It's just a date for two, so keep it simple and romantic."
"Wait, wha -"
"And I've got just the table for this one! Simple, yet elegant."
"You guys heard me the first time, right? Party, not date."
"Princess Anna, would you prefer soft music playing in the background over none?"
"None's fi – "
"We could request Master Olaf to perform. I've heard he's got quite the singing voice."
"But – "
"Let's not forget about the perfect attire, everyone. There's this gown Queen Elsa is absolutely partial to…"
"But Elsa's not – "
"That's it! Paper lanterns. They'll definitely set the atmosphere right."
"Aaand now no one's listening to me…"
It was touching how Carina's group held genuine enthusiasm for the party, and how everyone had put much thought and effort into arranging an affair they weren't even obligated to help out with. Sure, they had practically ignored all of Anna's protests regarding the true nature of said affair, and their short brainstorming session had made her already muddled thought and feelings – well, become even more muddled thoughts and feelings – but really, who was she to complain? The fiery passion of a love expert's heart blazed within all of them. It might make one intrusive when it comes to matters of the heart, but even more so, it breeds the inherent desire to see true love flourish.
And that was precisely how Anna was going to thank all the love experts who've helped her get this far: tonight, she was going to make her true love flourish like crazy. Upon conception, the idea did appear quite far-fetched, seeming more like wishful thinking. But the moment she stumbled (quite literally) upon the scene of the party…boy, did that change.
She had teasingly hinted at it earlier, she had stubbornly insisted against it next, and eventually, she began to toy with it in her head at the off chance of it actually happening. But now…now there was no denying it.
Flower petals sprinkled all over a lush carpet of grass: check. Lanterns and candles glowing softly from strategically located positions: check. Dramatic arrangement of roses at the center of a very well-dressed table: check. Tantalizing aroma of chocolate, rich and smooth, wafting through the evening air: check.
And at the very heart of the scene, clad in a blue dress reminiscent of the beauty and wonder exhibited by powers of ice and snow, was Elsa herself.
Anna's breath caught in her throat; and with that, the list was complete. Stunningly attractive companion for the evening who can easily make your pulse race, your face flush, and those butterflies in your stomach flutter: check.
Anna continued to stare at Elsa shamelessly, the blonde having failed to notice her sister's rather unbecoming entrance. Stepping closer to the light, Anna realized that Elsa was actually in the middle of crafting a figurine when she had arrived. Watching Elsa use magic was something Anna had already done hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times before; but it was something she never grew tired of.
Not wanting to interrupt her sister, Anna glided toward their table, her eyes never leaving the blonde's lithe form. The closer she got to Elsa, the further the spread of warmth from her cheeks.
Anna particularly liked the way Elsa's brow furrowed gently in concentration as she went about her task, and the tiny grin that adorned the blonde's lips whenever she let go of her power was simply endearing. The way Elsa's hands, so skillful and elegant, weaved seamlessly in the air as the magic flowed through her fingertips was nothing short of captivating, and the way her normally pale skin seemed to glow under the lanterns' quiet light only strengthened her hold on Anna.
Elsa had always been beautiful; the redhead had admired her sister's beauty ever since they were kids. But tonight, Elsa was just…wow. Unable to hold herself back any longer, Anna reached out to make the physical connection, the desire to touch Elsa's incredibly smooth-looking skin being too great.
Her hand was only inches away from Elsa's cheek when the blonde's focus suddenly snapped back to reality. "Anna, you're here!"
Quickly, Anna redirected the wayward hand to her head, pretending to scratch it in apology instead. Close call. She could've made a fool of herself there, touching Elsa out of the blue like that.
Wait, when did touching Elsa make her all nervous and awkward again? The evening had just started out, and already the tension was high between them. Still, over thinking things wasn't going to get her anywhere, so Anna shook herself from her thoughts and went along with her supposed apology. "Y-yeah. I'm really sorry for being late, especially since the entire thing was my –"
Whoops. No point apologizing now, not when Elsa was looking at her like that again. Elsa's eyes had turned a shade darker, a deeper blue that burned like ice. At that point, they were the only things paying attention to Anna. And what rapt attention they paid.
It might not have been as intense as before, but Anna still felt the trail of heat left by Elsa's gaze as the blonde's eyes raked over her body. The emotions from last time were there too, flitting swiftly across Elsa's eyes before she managed to suppress them and completely return her focus to Anna's (hopefully not too red) face.
Thankfully, Elsa's own cheeks were flaring when she looked up, sparing Anna from going through the whole ordeal of tomato facing alone.
Laila had been right; Elsa was absolutely partial to the gown Anna was currently wearing. The way the blonde's eyes lingered on her chest area definitely didn't go unnoticed to her.
"Wow," Elsa breathed out. "You look…"
"Unbelievably beautiful?" Anna offered, hoping to ease the tension with a little teasing.
Elsa responded with a smirk. "Noticeably better than you did this afternoon." Anna laughed with genuine amusement, slapping her sister's shoulder playfully.
"That's the first wisecrack I've heard from you in quite a while," the redhead remarked, causing Elsa's smirk to slip into a timid smile. The quiet apology conveyed through the blonde's eyes at the implications of her comment made Anna want to kick herself and hug Elsa simultaneously. She opted to squeeze the hand on the table instead. Reluctantly, the hand squeezed back, sending a jolt of electricity up Anna's spine. And just when her heart was about to recover from its frenzied pounding…
"Oh, my apologies," Elsa said, abruptly getting up from her seat. Anna took the moment to calm the hammering in her chest, her hand still tingling from the momentary connection. Initiating contact with Elsa was one thing, her sister reciprocating such contact – or better yet – initiating it herself was a completely different matter. If something as innocent and simple as hand squeezing could already spark such a reaction from Anna's body, what more if Elsa were to engage in something much bolder with her? Something brazen and passionate, something like –
Whoa there, feisty pants! Kristoff wasn't kidding the first time he told her that; she really could get feisty at times – most of the time. Now if only Elsa could get just as feisty, if not feistier…
There! She did it again!
"It must be the atmosphere… It has to be the atmosphere," Anna mumbled to herself, warranting a puzzled look from Elsa as her sister gallantly helped her to her seat.
"Atmosphere?" the blonde questioned, taking her place opposite to Anna. Unable to come up with an immediate reply, the redhead motioned to the entire party-turned-date setup.
Elsa nodded with a faint smile on her lips. "Did you prepare everything by yourself? It really is impressive. Thank you."
"No, there's no need to thank me," Anna replied, flustered over the simple gratitude from her sister. Why did Elsa have to be such a knockout tonight? "Actually, I had a lot of help. From Carina and her friends. So really, it's them we should thank."
But should they really be thanked? Anna took another glance at the surroundings responsible for inducing inappropriate thoughts fromher. She had only seen the early stages of preparation from Carina's group, never really expecting her friends to carry out what they had in mind. "They did take certain liberties in designing the place, though…"
"It does have a rather intimate feel to it," Elsa said quietly, her eyes casually roaming the scene. Her gaze returned to Anna. "Um, party, right?"
"Yes, yes, of course!" Anna replied a bit too quickly. "Party. Chocolate fondue party. What else could it be?" A nod, and then another smile from the blonde. It looked rather forced, though.
"It's a shame Kristoff isn't here," Elsa said, eyes glazed with a distant look in them. "I bet he would have loved this sort of thing."
The tone of defeat in Elsa's voice instantly gave pause to Anna's uneasiness, causing the redhead to look at her sister firmly. As expected, Elsa avoided Anna's gaze and busied herself with the ice sculpture she had created earlier. Up close, Anna was finally able to recognize the sculpture's form; with its wings spread out strikingly and its neck elongated into a beautiful arc, the goose figurine gave the impression of life – it seemed like it would take flight at any moment.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Elsa said, her voice barely above a whisper. Gently, she ran her finger along one of its delicate wings. "Ice is most powerful when it's doomed to melt. There's a sadness when it's gone," She carefully rotated the fragile sculpture in her hands before setting it in front of Anna, "but there's a sense of happiness that it was there. Thank you again for inviting me tonight."
At last, Elsa eyes rose to meet with Anna's, smiling that sad smile of hers that made her glow with the frailty of doomed ice. Was that how Elsa viewed herself, or perhaps how she thought Anna viewed her? Like ice doomed to melt? It was true how ice possessed a romantic frailty to it, how the knowledge of its finite existence heightened one's awareness of its beauty. But Elsa was more than just an object of fleeting admiration and wonder, beautiful as she was. And Anna's love for her went way deeper than that.
Even if Anna supposedly harbored romantic feelings for Kristoff, even if she had shared her first kiss with him, and even if she did care for him deeply, it was her true love for Elsa – not Kristoff – that thawed her frozen heart in the end. She had gotten through all the trouble of traveling to the Valley, facing Cook's daunting personality, and preparing the special fondue party just for Elsa. And even if the party did end up becoming a date (as it probably had already), so what if it was with her beloved sister instead of her alleged boyfriend? So what if she was actually beginning to love Elsa that way, too? She came here tonight to make her true love flourish like crazy; therefore, she will not leave until her true love flourished like crazy.
Reaching out from across the table, Anna secured Elsa's hand with her own. "If I wanted to be with Kristoff tonight," she began, her voice resolute, her gaze unwavering, "then I would've been with Kristoff tonight. But Kristoff isn't here, Elsa; it's you I'm with. And everything you see around us – from these flowers, to those lanterns, to this dress, and even – "
From seemingly out of nowhere, Olaf appeared a few feet away from their table, adorned with a bowtie and his goofy smile. Following him from behind was Felix, another one of Carina's friends, who was equally well-groomed and with an accordion in hand.
"Ohhh, this is the night
It's a beautiful night
And we call it Bella Notte..."
As horrifying as the surprise was (a romantic song from Olaf? Seriously?!), Anna couldn't help the giggle that escaped her lips. "Yes, even that," she continued, turning back to Elsa who was wearing an expression as equally horrified as Anna's initial one. But it wasn't long before the blonde's grimace was replaced with giggles of her own.
"Everything was especially set up for you and me, Elsa," Anna said, her confidence growing along with the grin on the blonde's face. "So what do you say about enjoying the evening laid before us – just for the both of us – while indulging on some exquisite chocolate fondue?"
"Chocolate sounds good right about now," Elsa agreed rather shyly, the air of sadness previously wrapped around her completely gone. As if on cue, another servant appeared from behind the trees, wheeling in a cart that carried the treat the entire affair was centered around. Both sisters took in a deep breath, drawing in the sweet aroma, before smiling at each other in content. "Chocolate."
"Ohhh, this is the night
And the heavens are right
On this lovely Bella Notte"
A/N: Not too bad, I hope? Let me know what you think. Reviews are more than appreciated. To me, your reviews are like what summer is to Olaf, so please keep them coming!
Speaking of Olaf, the lyrics he belted out in this chapter are from the song – yep, you got it – Bella Notte from The Lady and the Tramp.
The reasons for Elsa's running away referenced at the beginning of this chapter as well as the true nature of Pabbie's potion will finally be revealed next time, so you could look forward to that. Yup, that's all.
Thanks again for reading and supporting this story!