She was panicking, looking around the room in a frantic manner as thoughts assaulted her; Anna worried about her, Anna searching for her, she'd scared Anna. She felt herself losing that careful grip on her powers as tiny pricks of snow began to fall around her, a soft wind kicking up around the room.
"Let's get the last of everything packed, then we can get down there in no time. Shouldn't take too much longer, I wouldn't think," he said, trying to be reasonable she supposed.
She needed to get back now. All of these trinkets and baubles, these frivolous purchases didn't mean a thing if something was wrong with Anna, or worse, Arendelle. How foolish of her to have been flitting about on these trips and not have checked in with the palace.
"Jack, no. No. We need to go now, right now. Anna is worried about me," she said, hurrying over to him. Surely he would see reason, he'd listened to her thus far.
"Elsa, we're almost done getting all of your things together, then you can take everything back with you. It shouldn't take more than a couple more minutes."
She turned away from him, the winter elements around her kicking up harder as she looked around. She'd have to do something.
She felt him come up behind her, turned to see him giving her an assessing look, as if trying to decide from several options of what to do with her. She paused, slightly unnerved by that look.
He grabbed her shoulders, and then.
He had to do something, he knew that. She'd read that note and gone into a full on panic as she'd paced around the room, her hands twisting together and even the snow and wind begin to fill the air around them; she was losing control.
He tried to talk to her, tried to get her to refocus on the previous task so he could then take her down to the palace, surely that made sense. She rebuked him, almost growing more desperate to flee down the mountain to check on things.
He frowning, trying to think of what he could do. She obviously wasn't listening to him. What had he seen all of those other gentlemen do that he'd watched over the last decades, he'd been pulling all of his other inspiration from them this week. After all, he barely knew how to interact with people, let alone a woman.
He walked over to her, a frown creasing his forehead as he fought to remember. He'd seen men slapping hysterical women before, but that seemed rather harsh, and mean. And he wanted her to keep liking him, so that probably wasn't a good option.
He'd seen other spouting off fluid words and poetry, so that wouldn't work either. She'd been ignoring him pretty well since she read that letter. That left one other option.
He grabbed her shoulders, hoping that he wouldn't mess this up, leaned in.
And kissed her.
She stiffened under him, obviously startled from the action, and he hoped for a moment that she wouldn't slap him; he'd seen that happen too.
But then, she relaxed. And then she was kissing him BACK. His mind whirled at that, unsure of what to think.
He pulled back, their lips parting and he rested his forehead on her, staring at her. She stared back. Both of them seemed stunned.
She opened her mouth, trying to talk again and he grinned, jumping back and hopping towards her piles of things.
"Come on!" he said. "Pack your things, and we will go down."
She closed her mouth. Paused, opening it again to try and speak before closing it again, her teeth clicking together audibly. Then she nodded and came forward.
Bags were stuffed, boxed tied carefully onto the wooden length of Jack's staff as they gathered everything up for their trip back down. He waivered on his feet, the weight of everything messing up his balance. He grinned up at her.
"I feel almost like North, carrying all of these bags of things. It's dark out too. If only I had the beard," he said, still grinning at her and carefully shuffling over towards her. Something metal in one of the bags clanked together as he moved, causing him to look down in curiosity.
She watched him, that concerned and worried look back on her face. "Why, why didn't you just come back for my things? Or let me come back for everything?"
He hadn't thought about that, truth be told. Be he wasn't about to unload everything and let her know that now. She'd claim that he'd wasted time.
He turned up his smile a little more, trying to think of something to say for a moment.
"Elsa, my dear Elsa. Certainly you've figured out that I'm not leaving you by now, there is still too much fun to be had!" he said, shuffling forward more and looping his free arm around her waist.
Because of how things were arranged around him, and how she was holding onto items herself, she wasn't able to hold onto him for this flight, however short it might be; she was completely at his mercy, thus meaning she had to trust him.
"Don't let me fall," she whispered, clutching to her bags tightly as they lifted into the night air, turning south towards Arendelle proper.
He leaned close to her, his lips just over her ear. "Never," he said, lips splitting into a grin after as they cut through the cooling evening sky.
Anna sat on a stool in the palace kitchens, grinning at Lisbet as they both pressed small sugar candies into a frosted chocolate cake that sat on one of the counters. Lisbet was sitting on the counter, small pink tongue sticking out of her mouth as she carefully pressed the little pieces of sugar into the dark icing, a huge white apron draped over her at her own insistence.
It was Marta's, Erik and Lisbet's nursemaid, birthday tomorrow. And the little girl had wanted to decorate a cake for the woman. One of the palace cooks had obliged the small princess, making up and frosting a small cake earlier that day, which mother and daughter were now finishing up the decorations on.
The aforementioned cook worked on another table close to them, decorating cookies and chocolates for the palace staff to nibble on tomorrow.
"Look," Lisbet declared, leaning back with a large smile on her face. "Look!"
The cook chuckled, a bag of icing carefully held in his hands as he piped a careful line out before glancing up at the cake.
"That looks wonderful your highness," he said, smiling at her. "Are you finished?"
Lisbet nodded at him, her whole head moving up and down in the motion as she maintained her wide smile; she was proud of her confectionary creation. Anna moved off the stool, reaching her arms out to help her daughter down, the huge apron trailing between the girl's legs like a tail. Anna set her down, helping her to take the apron off when one of the bells to the royal quarters rang.
Anna looked up, frowning. "What is he-" she started, wondering what Kristoff could be ringing for and paused as she saw which bell was dancing wildly on it's perch for a moment more.
"Elsa," she breathed, straightening up and staring at the bell for another long moment.
She turned on her heel and raced from the kitchen, sliding on her slippered feet in one hallway as she avoided a maid coming back from the laundry room with a stack of freshly laundered linens and then raced up the stairs. She ran as fast as she could down the next hall, wincing as her swollen joints protested the feverish moment.
She paused at the door, hearing Elsa speaking with someone behind the door before she flung it open; she assumed it was just a maid that had been in the hall already.
Elsa turned when Anna opened the door, the hinges protesting the sudden force Anna had applied to them and she stopped; Elsa was alone. The thought only registered for a mere moment before she crossed the room and wrapped Elsa up in a hug, the worry she'd felt about her sister's well being for the last days melting away.
"Elsa! Oh, goodness," she said, taking a moment to look at her sister again. "I was so scared. Where did you go? Where have you been? We've all been worried about you. Olaf said you had a MAN up there with you. Kristoff and I went up to check on you and you were gone!"
Anna still couldn't believe that Elsa had actually stayed away for the full length of time of her vacation, and certainly didn't believe what Olaf had said, that she had had a strange man up in her ice palace with her; but where HAD Elsa been?
"Oh Anna," Elsa said, smiling widely at her sister. Anna hadn't seen Elsa this happy since the first time they'd ice skated around the palace courtyard. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you."
She began to pull Anna towards a large pile of bags and boxes that were set by the balcony entrance. Anna's brow furrowed at this, where had Elsa gotten all of these things, and how had she carried it all?
"Jack and I went off, explored! He took me all kinds of amazing places. Went to Scotland, France, and Prussia! I got you some wonderful things," her sister continued, bending to shift through a bag.
Anna felt a cold chill run through her body. "Jack?" she said, the note of suspicion betraying the worried feeling boiling back up inside her. "Olaf was right then? You had someone with you?"
She looked over all of the items, seeing the different languages on the packaging. "And how did you get to all of those countries?" she continued, still wondering about this wild adventure Elsa had apparently gone on.
Elsa straightened back up, a wide smile still fixed on her face. "Jack Frost, Anna," she said, breathing his name like he was her saving grace. "Like from the storybook mama used to read us! But, he's real! He's a real, living and breathing MAN."
Elsa was staring at her now, in a reverent, hopeful gaze. Anna swallowed, wondering if her sister had gone mad in her journey.
"Elsa," Anna started, taking a moment to swallow as she considered her words. "He's a fairy tale. You said it yourself, that's a book of stories. Come on now, honestly, how did you get all of this?"
A look crossed Elsa's features, seemingly taken aback by Anna not immediately believing in what she told her.
Elsa tried again. "Anna, no. It WAS Jack. Jack FROST. He flew me, with his staff. THIS staff!"
Anna watched as Elsa stepped over to a blank area of air, grabbed at the air and holding her empty hands out to her. The cold chill that Anna had been feeling worsened as she watched her sister desperately trying to convince her that a fairy tale being was real. And had taken her around to apparently several different countries while she was on her vacation.
Elsa continued talking.
"And we flew to all these countries, like I told you, and, oh Anna, I had so much fun. The most fun I think I've ever had. He's just the nicest man I've ever met. He's so kind, and nice, and handsome. And just, amazing."
"But... just, how? He's not REAL! You aren't holding anything."
Elsa looked down at her hands, frowning in puzzlement before glancing to her side and then back to Anna. "You can't see it? Maybe because he isn't holding it. Jack, come here," she said, gesturing to the empty space.
"She will, just give her time. She'll see you," Elsa said a moment later to the space, looking up expectantly at Anna.
Anna was certainly concerned now, the cold chill that had gone through her body was now a knot of worry in her stomach.
"Who are you talking to?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper. "Elsa, you're scaring me."
Elsa bit her lip, looking back over at the space. "Here, I have an idea," she said, turning and walking to her pile of bags behind her, opening the original one that she had left with and pulling out the story book she had mentioned.
Seeing it made Anna smile, remembering the night's she'd begged her mother for just one more story, over and over again. She watched as Elsa opened the book and flipped through the first pages, turning it around to show the story of Jack Frost, smiling at her.
"Read the story, read Jack's story," Elsa said, voice all but pleading with her.
"Please!" Elsa begged, eyes beseeching her younger sibling. "Anna, please. Just, just read the story. I'm going to unpack some of my things while you do."
Anna stared at her sister, debating for a long moment if she should read the story or go and call for the doctor. She sighed, deciding that reading the story certainly couldn't hurt anything, and if it made Elsa feel better than maybe it would be for the best; no need scaring anyone in the palace for no need after all. She took the book, carefully marking the place in the story and turned to sit on the bed, groaning as she sank down onto the down mattress.
Elsa watched her for a moment, Anna could feel her eyes boring into her as she began to read across the painted pages, the colorful illustrations and fluid words dancing off the pages as her imagination began to make the story come alive inside her mind.
She glanced up as several maids entered the room, was vaguely aware of Elsa speaking to them as she turned the page to continue reading. She couldn't help but let a smile come to her face, the voice of her mother coming to her mind as she read the word and remembering cuddling up with the late Queen on rainy nights with the book and a candlelit lantern to read together. Anna remembered, barely, sitting with Elsa as their mother read to them both, one girl on either side and dolls clutched in their small arms.
When she'd finished, she looked up, carefully closing the cover with a smile on her face.
"I forgot how good these stories are," Anna admitted, setting it beside her on the bed. "But that's all they are Elsa, stories."
"What about the Trolls? They have magic, a special kind of magic," Elsa countered. "There are all kinds of magic in the world, you just have to believe. You can't see Jack, unless you believe in him."
Anna smiled at that. "What, like St. Nicholas?"
Elsa opened her mouth to reply, paused and looked to her side in a look of sheer awe and amazement. "Really?" she said, sounding excited.
Anna blinked, confused at what was happening. "What?"
"Jack says that St. Nicholas is real too," Elsa said, giving Anna a quick look before looking back to the open room.
"You're making that up," she said to the air, a disbelieving look on her face.
"WHO are you talking to?" Anna demanded, wondering if her earlier idea to fetch the physician wasn't too farfetched after all.
"I'm talking to Jack, I told you," Elsa said, before turning her head again to the empty space. "Come over here?"
"Elsa, if this is some joke you're trying to play on me, it's not funny anymore," Anna told her, starting to get angered at her sister now.
"I'm not joking," Elsa said, her hands gripping hard at her skirts at her sides, the room growing colder around them. "I'm very serious. He's right next to me. Jack Frost, like you JUST read in the book. Just, believe me Anna, believe he's real and you'll see him."
Anna threw her hands up in frustration, unsure of what to do now. "Elsa, you're looking at AIR, there isn't anyone there!"
"What do I have to say to convince you that he's real?" Elsa pleaded, her eyes desperate to convince Anna.
Anna hesitated. Elsa obviously believed that Jack was real, she'd never seen Elsa so vehemently defend something to her before. She stared at Elsa.
"You're- You're serious about this?"
Elsa threw an arm up, obviously as frustrated in trying to convince Anna of her certainty as Anna was that she saw nothing.
"Yes! Jack is- oh, for heaven's sake," she said, before she turned and reached into the air.
Anna watched, in amazement, as Elsa tugged at something in the air and then. Then she was kissing the air.
'No, she couldn't be kissing the air,' some small, logical part of Anna's mind told her.
And something clicked into place for Anna, as the very real form of a tall, thin man shimmered into place, standing next to, and kissing, Elsa.
Anna's mouth worked several times as she watched. He'd just appeared, from NOWHERE. Her mind screamed at all of the impossibilities of it. Then it reminded her of all of the amazing impossibilities of trolls, and Elsa's magic. She must have been babbling aloud.
"What NOW Anna?" Elsa asked, sounding slightly annoyed.
"He's-He's- Oh my, but, he's not, he's right there. He's not supposed to-but, he's right there. And you KISSED him," she felt herself rambling, one hand clutching to her stomach in an odd sense of support, the other reaching behind her for purchase on the bed as she felt her legs losing their strength.
"You can see me?" the man spoke, a note of incredulity in his voice.
"He talks," she felt herself saying, still staring at him, eyes wide.
Elsa hurried over, taking Anna's searching arm and guiding her back to the bed. Anna sat down heavily, still staring as the man danced around the room, obviously happy that she could see him. He jumped up into the air with glee, snowflakes spinning away from him.
He and Elsa spoke, the words muddled to Anna as she still processed everything. Jack Frost, was real. The fairy tale Jack Frost was real. And Elsa...
"So," Anna said after several long moments had passed, her mind coming into enough focus to see that Jack had carried his celebration outside and was now flying around just outside the window, a wide grin on his face. Elsa smiled looking at him, turning to look at Anna.
"Yeah, Jack Frost," Elsa said. "Amazing."
"And, you're in love with him?" Anna asked, looking up at Elsa. "I thought you weren't the type to fall in love right away."
Elsa stiffened at this, a strange look crossing her features. "What? What makes you say that?"
Anna blinked at her. "Uhh, that whole display back there? How you were talking about him, describing him? Sounds like YOU are in love."
Elsa stared at her, swallowing after a moment before chuckling nervously. "I-I, no. No, no of course not," she said. "I just got over excited, that's all."
Anna raised a brow at that. "That's what you call that? Because you just KISSED him."
Elsa looked up, looking out of the window again at the celebrating Jack. "I-I don't know. I don't know what I'm feeling."
A smile spread across Anna's lips. "Well, this could be interesting then."
All new content from here on out for awhile! Hope you enjoyed the chapter, please let me know what you think! Love! Aria