(Added to the archive by the moderators)
Anna stumbles across something at her best friend's place that gets her thinking that maybe not everything is hopeless...
Canon Compliant Characters:
Anna, Elsa, Gerda, Kai, Kristoff, Olaf
(1) MinorFluff Level:
(5) Puppies and BunniesGenre:
(2) Kissing and/or Light PettingWarnings:
13 Apr 2014 Updated:
14 Apr 2014
1. Chapter 1 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
2. Chapter 2 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
3. Chapter 3 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
4. Chapter 4 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
5. Chapter 5 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
6. Chapter 6 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
7. Chapter 7 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
8. Chapter 8 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
Chapter 1 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
Anna took her time walking through the streets of Arendelle on her way to visit her best friend Kristoff, a royal guard trailing behind her at a respectful distance. There had been no point in staying in the castle, as Elsa would be meeting with advisors and local officials all day. Boring. Besides the last thing she needed were hours on end with nothing to do but stare at her sister. Blushing, Anna stopped at a stall that sold jewelry to distract herself from the memories of staring at the stunning beauty that was Queen Elsa.
"Princess Anna!" The boisterous stall owner put down the elaborate gold piece he was polishing. "Welcome to my humble stall, are you looking for anything in particular?"
Anna smiled. "No, just look-" A piece caught her eye. "Can I see that one please?" She pointed to a simple silver hair comb.
"That one Princess?" The short blonde man used long hook to grab the piece from the top row of the display. "I have much more beautiful pieces befitting your position." He said as he handed over the hair comb.
"No." A small smile graced her lips as she ran a finger of the three blue jewels embedded at the top. "Perfect. It matches Elsa's eyes."
The merchant did his best to suppress a smile. "You would know Princess. I will wrap this up for you. What is the occasion for the gift?" He was mentally going through the various boxes he had to wrap it in.
"Occasion?" Anna looked startled. "Oh. I guess I could... well, her birthday was last month. Solstice is still a few months away." She looked sadly at the perfect comb for her sister, the plan to give it to her tonight fizzling out.
"No reason is needed to give a gift to the one you love" he commented casually.
"Love?" Anna blushed. "I uh.. I don't love her." Her eyes widened as she realized what she said and panicked. "Wait, yes. She's my sister. Of-of course I love her. She's family. I love her. My sister. I love my sister. Family should-"
"Her Majesty will love anything you bestow upon her. I will wrap this." He turned quickly to hide his smile. Normally he would wrap such a simple comb in brown paper and tied with a string, but this one was special. Reaching under his table, the merchant pulled out a rosewood box. Inside was lined with blue velvet, outside a cherry wood inlay, each snowflake on the sides different and the large snowflake on top showed the true craftsmanship of its maker. This box belonged to a much more expensive piece, but considering what was going into the box, far less valuable than the simple silver hair comb with three blue sapphires. After tying a light blue ribbon around it, he turned back to the still blushing Princess.
Anna smiled widely at the box, it was perfect. After an argument over the price (the merchant wanted to give it to Anna but she insisted on paying for it), an agreement was made for a reasonable price, and the Princess and her guards were back on their way to Kristoffs. She never saw the grin the guards shared with the merchant as he scribbled some words down on a bit of paper before handing it to his errand boy.
Sitting at the table where he took his meals, Kristoff sipped a steaming hot coffee as he started to read the newest edition of his favorite paper. Sven was sleeping on the other side of the cabin, a rare day off in these last days of summer.
"Kristoff!" Anna bounced through the front door without knocking.
Startled, the blond man nearly choked on his coffee. It was luck that Sven woke up and immediately went to the bubbly red head for pettings and love, the distraction giving Kristoff the few seconds he needed to hide the paper in a nearby sack of carrots.
"Anna? I thought you were were going to accompany Elsa in her meetings today." The man walked over and gave his best friend a hug, leaning through the doorway to wave at the guards waiting down at the front gate. "I'll take her home guys!"
The two guards waved back with a nod, then turned around to head back to the castle. But not before stopping at The Snowflake Pub for the latest newspaper.
"I was going to, but after last week..." Anna blushed.
Her friend stifled a laugh, recalling the story she told about being so distracted at the last set of meetings she had later found that she had mistakenly volunteered to plan the next ball to be held that coming winter.
"Still want some help with the planning?"
"Oh gosh yes! I'd ask Elsa but I kinda want to show her I can do this, that she can depend on me." Anna sat down at an empty seat at the table. "Can I have some tea?"
Kristoff nodded and walked over to the stove to heat up more water. Meanwhile, Sven decided to amble over to nuzzle the redhead, desiring more attention.
"Aww Sven, who's a good reindeer? Hmm?" Anna scratched affectionately. "Want a carrot?"
The reindeer wiggled happily at the word carrot.
Anna reached inside the bag of carrots but instead of a vegetable, she felt paper. Wondering what could be in the carrot sack, she pulled out the papers to read... and then a carrot for Sven. It wouldn't be nice to tease the happy reindeer.
"The Thaw Times?" An odd name for what appeared to be a newspaper. It was small and only three back to back printed pages. Anna thought there was only one newspaper in Arendelle called "The Public News" that held notices of any royal decree, announcements of all sorts, and any happenings (that tended to be old news by how quickly gossip spread in town).
"Hey Kristoff?" Anna called for her friend's attention. "Where did you get this?"
He looked over as he grabbed the tea tin and promptly dropped it when he saw what Anna was holding up.
"Nothing! No need to read that. It's from somewhere far, far away and has nothing to do with Arendelle!" Kristoff hurried over to take the paper away but Anna was too quick for him, she dodged his grab and moved so the table was between them.
"Nothing?" Anna smirked. "So it won't matter if I read it?" It was probably just a paper going on about ice, since it was his life, so she wasn't particularly interested in what the paper had to say, but the panicked look on her friend's face made her curious though.
"No really, Anna. It's a boring paper. Lots of stuff about... uhh... ice! And trees!" He made a grab for the newspaper across the table.
"Haha missed!" Anna backed up and started to read the first page out loud. "Queen Elsa and Princess Anna were spotted strolling Royal Gardens holding hands last week. Both looked happy and didn't notice our informant as both ladies were in deep conversation. This columnist will keep watching for developments between these two sisters and hope that..." Anna's trailed off as her eyes skipped ahead to see what was written. She looked up at her blond friend stunned.
"Uhh... I can explain?" Kristoff smiled weakly as the redhead started flipping through the pages.
"This whole paper is about Elsa and I?"
"It didn't start that way. After Elsa thawed out Arendelle, a few people loyal to the crown started the paper to show support for Elsa. Then it just kind of...changed into this."
"Wait... 'There is still time to place your bets on when their first kiss will happen'?" Anna's face matched her hair in color. "First kiss?" She squeaked. "But...wha...she...and I..."
"Whoa whoa, calm down." Kristoff finally made it over to a shaking Anna's side and wrapped her in a hug. "You know you can tell me anything right?" He had been waiting for this moment to be there for his best friend, he just didn't think it would be like this. Hearing her starting to sniffle broke his heart. The last thing he had ever wanted was to upset her.
"There are people who... want Elsa and I to..."
"To be happy. And if that is together romantically, then okay," Kristoff grinned.
They were silent for a while, Kristoff just hugging his friend as she calmed down, the sniffles slowly dissipating.
"Am I that obvious?" Anna pulled back and smiled weakly; she truly believed she was being discreet.
"Kinda. People started picking up on it at the Spring Ball..." He trailed off when Anna covered her eyes with both hands.
"Oh god, people heard that?" Three glasses of heavily spiked fruit punch had Anna wobbling all over the place. Elsa had figured out what happened fairly quickly but, obviously, not quickly enough. Anna had loudly proclaimed that her sister was the most beautiful woman in the kingdom and she would fight anyone who said differently.
"You were kind of loud. Did you really challenge the Duke of Landren to a duel for Elsa's hand?"
"He was flirting with her!" Anna started pacing back and forth, waving her arms around wildly. "Was I really supposed to just let him do that in front of me? That slimy little toad should have kept his comments to himself..." She paused mid-rant. "Um, I think I see your point." The redhead officially gave up. She was in love with her sister. It was strange... strange in that it felt perfect, somehow
"You really think I wouldn't notice that my best friend is in love? I should know, I grew up with love experts." Kristoff grinned.
Chapter 2 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
Anna couldn't contain the giggle as she read another article in "The Thaw Times" she had taken from Kristoff. This one was about a dress her sister had worn two weeks ago. It had been deep purple, sleeveless, with a sweetheart neckline, clinched waist, and a small train. The sisters had gone to a showing of a traveling opera that Anna couldn't remember. She found she wasn't fond of opera, but Elsa was and that was enough for her to grit her teeth and go. The dress her sister wore was an added bonus. A night ignoring singing and secretly admiring her companion made for a wonderful evening.
She was more blatant with her affections than she thought if the observations in the article about her "moony eyes" and "blushing sighs" were any indication.
"The Thaw Times" was fun to read. It had articles about sightings of the two, poetry, letters from various citizens, and even some fictional stories about them. The stories freaked her out at first, until Anna kept reading them. Now she couldn't get enough. Kristoff was just going to have to give her the back copies so she could catch up on a couple of serials in the paper.
"ELSA!" The redhead quickly stuffed the paper under her pillow. "Hi! What are you doing here?"
Elsa laughed softly as she watched her sister scrambled up from her comfortable lounging on her bed. Stunning would only be the start of how she would describe her younger sister. Though to be honest, with the years of separation between them it was hard to think of Anna as her sibling.
"What were you reading?" Elsa asked, not really caring about the answer. She still enjoyed being able to have an actual conversation with her, it didn't matter that it had already been a year of open gates.
"Nothing! Just something Kristoff gave me. Boring stuff." Anna hurried over to her sister. Stepping into Elsa's waiting arms for a hug, love and belonging filled her while she held her sister close. Anna nuzzled Elsa's neck,the blonde even smelled good.
Closing her eyes, Elsa sighed as she held her sister. The feeling of being in Anna's arms made the time spent staying up late to finish the affairs of the kingdom worth it, allowing her free time to spend with Anna. Staying here in this moment sounded perfect.
"Oh, I got a present for you!" Anna let go of her sister and bounced over to her dresser.
"A present?" Elsa was surprised. "What ever for?"
"No reason. I saw it and thought of you." Anna bounced back over to her sister. The happiness in being in Elsa's company seemed to translate in Anna bouncing about like a demented rabbit most of the time, but she couldn't help it and had no intention of stopping. After handing over the box to Elsa, Anna began to wring her hands.
"This box is beautiful." It truly was and Elsa loved it. The design was perfect, the snowflake on top reminded her of the one in her Ice Palace on the North Mountain. She missed her Ice Palace, her first real controlled display of her powers. But it no longer felt like the sanctuary it once was. Having her sister back and the acceptance of her kingdom made it unnecessary, though they did visit it every once in a while. Though Kristoff seemed to be the one most excited about going most times.
"Open it." Anna couldn't stop wringing her hands nervously.
The blonde opened the box and pulled out the silver hair comb.
"I was right." Anna couldn't stop the big smile from taking over. She gently took the comb from her sister and nestled it in platinum blonde hair. Tucking a few stray blonde hairs behind Elsa's ear, Anna stared into the sparkling blue in front of her. "It matches your eyes" she whispered.
For several long moments Elsa couldn't breath, the loving gaze directed at her was all she could see. The warm hand on her cheek pulling away snapped Elsa out of her trance. Blushing, she stepped back to put some distance between them. Last thing she wanted was her feelings to get away from her and scare her sister away forever. A cool breeze was the only outward sign of her distress.
Anna did her best to ignore the butterflies in her stomach at Elsa's look. For months now she had been telling herself to ignore her feelings, that her sister was her sister. Nothing else. Nothing else could happen. She did not have those kind of feelings for Elsa. But now...
The redhead watched her sister blush and back away. Anna looked over to her bed where 'The Thaw Times' was hiding. Maybe things weren't as hopeless as she originally thought.
Chapter 3 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
Two days after giving Elsa the silver comb, Anna was reading one of the back issues of 'The Thaw Times' she had Kristoff bring over, when an article caught her interest.
"Five Signs of Queen Elsa's Feelings." Anna read the title aloud in her room. The article itself read as a checklist.
She put down the paper, her mind racing.
"Sign One: It has been noticed that our beloved Queen Elsa does not tolerate anyone in her personal space. Ever. Unless you're talking about Princess Anna. Then the Queen can't get close enough."
Knock knock knock-knock knock.
"You don't have to knock Anna" Elsa called from inside the library.
A large smile in place, Anna walked over to the comfortable couch. "Are you busy?" She could guess the answer already by the pile of papers on her sister's lap.
"Very." Elsa sighed and held up her stack of papers. "The ambassador of Landren is visiting. Apparently some of the aristocrats there are still a bit offended about an incident that happened a couple of months ago. Any idea what that is about?"
"Uh, not a clue." Anna would have blushed if she wasn't silently fuming at the remembered words of the Duke. That duel was starting to sound like a good idea again.
Elsa chuckled. "Did you need something?"
"Not really, I just wanted to spend some time with you." Anna pulled out a book she had started last week from a bookshelf and sat down on the opposite end of the couch.
"I am probably going to be up late reading-"
"That's fine." Anna turned and caught Elsa's eyes. "I just want to be with you."
"Oh." Elsa smiled.
Silently, Anna opened her book to a chapter she'd already gone over and pretended to read.
Page two and Elsa was fidgeting. Normally the two would cuddle when reading. This felt strange.
Page four and Elsa scooted halfway across the couch.
Page five and Elsa was now next to her sister.
Page eight and Elsa leaned against Anna with a happy sigh, cuddling while reading boring trade documents.
Anna couldn't keep the grin off her face as she wrapped an arm around her sister's shoulders.
Sign One, check.
"Sign Two: When the Queen has been seen to dine with her sister, she can't keep her eyes off the Princesses lips. Staff and patrons at "Royal Court" restaurant, where the royal family eats after performances, can attest this happens every time."
The plan had been to have breakfast and lunch with her sister that day, but with the ambassador of Landren visiting, the blonde had been busy making nice and getting her own ambassador on equal footing in negotiations. The two ambassadors were currently at the 'Royal Court' on a business dinner and Elsa had just been able to get out of going by claiming to be exhausted. She was tired. Just tired of them and the political double talk. Now she just wanted a good dinner and time with Anna. Which is why she was hiding in the small private dining room rather than the main hall, waiting for her sister.
"Hey Elsa!" Anna waltzed in, ready to try out sign number two. She was looking forward to it after last nights cuddle fest.
"Good evening, Anna, it's nice to see a friendly face," Elsa smiled tiredly.
"That bad?" The concerned redhead sat across from her sister at the small table.
"If you ever challenge someone to a duel again, I will personally drag you to the dueling field," Elsa glared playfully at her sister, though she was more annoyed than truly upset.
"I will take up my fencing lessons again."
The blonde stilled as the image of Anna in breeches brandishing a rapier appeared in her minds eye.
"Your Majesty?" Two male servers hovered by the table with a trays of food.
"Please." Elsa snapped out of her daydream and motioned for the servers to plate the food which they did with swift practice and left the room. "How was your day?"
"Busy. Kai gave me a copy of a bunch of papers Mom used to plan Balls with. I've been going over those." Anna decided to try out Sign Number Two.
"If you need any help with planning..." Elsa's voice trailed off. "Oh."
Having finished stirring honey into her tea, Anna brought the spoon to her mouth and was slowly licking it clean. "Mmmm." Doing her best to not grin, she watched Elsa as her cheeks turned pink.
"How do you like it?" Anna asked.
"What?" Elsa's eyes widened in panic, certain she was caught staring.
"Dinner?" Anna motioned innocently to the food. "How do you like it?"
"Oh! It's delicious." The blonde quickly took a bite.
Spearing a small piece of roasted potato, Anna brought it up to her mouth and chewed slowly then licked her lips. She could swear a whimper came from the other side of the table.
"You should try these." She knew this was horribly cheesy, but the idea did came from a romance novel.
Anna slowly leaned over with another roasted potato on her fork, holding it out in front of her sister's mouth with a grin. Elsa's eyes were definitely not on her face. After the blonde took the potato, Anna sat back down in her chair, watching as Elsa's eyes followed the plunging neckline of the redhead's dress.
It took a few moments after Anna was seated in her chair before Elsa's eyes moved to her sister's face.
Anna smiled and raised her eyebrows.
"I-I have to go. There are papers I forgot to sign before tomorrow. I'll be right back." Blushing furiously, Elsa left her meal barely touched. Normally she was able to keep herself in check but some time to herself was needed to regain her composure.
As soon as the door closed Anna stood to twirl excitedly around the room, giggling. Mentally, she checked off Sign Three on the list, too.
"Sign Three: Princess Anna has a lovely figure and the Queen isn't immune to its charms."
"Sign Four: The Queen has a serious soft spot for her sister. Does the royal invitation to the famous chocolatier Ida Fiske ring any bells?"
Anna sat on Elsa's bed staring at the other end of the room, at sketches and paintings, most finished, though there was a scattering of half finished pieces. While she had taken to talking to the paintings and admiring them, Anna never had the patience to sit down and learn the skills. Her sister, however, found solace in the activity and had an obvious talent. Standing, Anna walked over to a painting she loved. The sisters had talked about this particular piece before. The snowy scene of the North Mountain and Ice Palace had taken Elsa eight months to finish. Turns out painting snow and ice after a lifetime of avoiding those two things in all aspects of her life made it difficult.
Anna picked up a sketch book and flipped through slowly, enjoying seeing things from Elsa's eyes. Closing it, she returned her attention to the painting. She was contemplating it so intently she never heard the door to the room open.
A hand was suddenly on her shoulder.
"AAAAHHHHH!" Anna screamed and the sketch book in her hand went flying over her head, across the room, and, once again, broke the vase on Elsa's dresser.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." Elsa did her best to stifle her laughter.
"You did that on purpose!" Anna glared at the shattered pieces on the floor. "Stupid vase."
Elsa couldn't hold back her laughter anymore. "Don't ever change, Anna," she said as she pulled her sister into a hug and flicked her wrist to restore the vase once again.
Anna melted into the embrace.
"Why were you staring at that painting?" Elsa pulled away still chuckling, but didn't let go entirely, keeping an arm around her sister.
"It's my favorite. The work you put into it and the fact that it's of your Ice Palace. It's where you finally let go. I love that place." Anna laid her head on her sister's shoulder. "It reminds me of you, grand and beautiful."
They were silent for a long while, enjoying the feel of each other and the art on the wall.
"Take it," Elsa whispered.
"What? But you love this painting." Anna was startled. Sign Four was supposed to be tomorrow morning and a last pastry or cookie. Not Elsa's prized painting.
"And I want it to go to someone who will love it just as much." Elsa placed a kiss on her sister's forehead. "Please take it."
"This is the second best gift I've ever gotten."
"The best was getting you back." Anna couldn't keep her eyes from filling with tears. Even if nothing more than just a close bond with her sister ever happened, she would be forever thankful to have this with Elsa.
Deciding it would be best to lighten the heavy mood, Elsa ruffled Anna's red hair. "Come on, it's time for dinner. There's chocolate cake for dessert."
"Really? Come on!" Anna grabbed the blonde's arm and pulled her out of the room, already having decided where to hang her new painting.
"Sign Five: Our Queen takes her royal duties very seriously and works diligently to keep our kingdom prosperous. Princess Anna is the only one who is able to get Queen Elsa to leave the castle and relax."
"Come on, Elsa!" Anna linked their arms together. "The fair started hours ago already."
The blonde laughed as her sister pulled her along the streets of Arendelle. The fair held at the end of every summer officially opened yesterday, an event Elsa performed as part of her royal duties. In a couple of more days the fair would end with her covering the royal courtyard with ice for the citizens to skate around to herald in the coming of winter.
There was a certain sweets booth Anna was excited to show Elsa. She stopped at the end of the lane near a group of food stalls and purchased something wrapped in wax paper.
"Try this!" Anna turned around fed Elsa a small piece.
"What is this?" Elsa peered into the wax paper the redhead had her hand. "Is there anymore?"
"They call it white chocolate and yes." Anna handed the bundle of wax paper to her sister and turned back around to buy one for herself.
"Mmm... it's delicious." Elsa said as she ate another piece.
The redhead turned to face her sister with her own pieces of white chocolate and laughed."You are such a mess." Anna reached out and gently wiped away the smudge of chocolate on her sister's cheek. "But you're my mess." She leaned in and placed a kiss on Elsa's cheek.
Ignoring flustered gaping of her sister, Anna intertwined their fingers and pulled a willing Elsa along to the game booths to play. Which they did. All day.
Anna grinned, in hand a copy of 'The Thaw Times' Kristoff had given her that afternoon fresh off the presses just two days after her outing with her sister. Earlier that day Elsa created a sheet of ice to close the end of summer fair and most of Arendelle was still out skating and laughing in the night. At the desk in her bedroom she opened up the paper and started reading.
"Please note that the views of the next few letters printed do NOT reflect the opinions of this paper or staff. These are being printed for the sole purpose of our readers to know what the opposing side believes."
Dear The Thaw Times,
Your paper is disgusting trash. The Queen and the Princess are SISTERS. You do realize this right? Anyone who believes these two would ever share any sort of romantic feelings are perverts.
-A Faithful Citizen of Arendelle
Dear Thaw Times,
Sisters? Really? You filth.
- C. Dalen
Dear Thaw Times,
They are sisters and this whole paper belongs in the garbage. Do you even have any siblings? Obviously not, or you wouldn ' t believe such a disgusting thing. Whenever I see one of these papers I will destroy it so no innocent people will be subject to such trash. If I meet any of you, beware.
Anna dropped the paper on her desk in shock, not bothering to read the other letters and the hate spewing from the people who had written. Shaking, she sat back down staring at the lists that consisted of her naive plans of a romantic fairytale night to try and sweep Elsa off her feet. Balling them up, she threw the wad in the garbage.
"How stupid can I be?" Anna wiped the tears from her eyes angrily. There was no way she was going to put Elsa, or her reign, in danger with her stupid feelings. Picking up 'The Thaw Times,' she stuffed it in a drawer with the others, not bothering to read any more.
The sound of the slamming drawer was drowned out by Anna's sobs and dying hopes.
Chapter 4 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
"Anna? Is everything alright?" Elsa asked worriedly at dinner, the first time she had seen her in nearly a week.
Five days ago, they had enjoyed a day skating hand in hand in the iced courtyard with the other citizens of Arendelle. After, the two had shared a private lunch where, again, Anna sat next to her instead of the across the table. Her sister had gotten into the habit a couple of days before the ice skating and fed Elsa bits of food from her own plate with a "Oooh, try this," even though Elsa had the same food on her own plate.
Then, suddenly, later that day, Anna had withdrawn. Meals were now spent alone and Elsa was frightened to know why. Maybe Anna had found out about her own not-so-sisterly feelings. God, she hoped not, but this couldn't go on.
"Anna?" Elsa asked again.
"Hmm?" The redhead pushed her food around her plate, not taking a bite, the words from those stupid letters she'd read days ago echoing in her head. Staying away from Elsa was the only thing she could think to do and it was slowly killing her. Keeping the blonde safe was her top concern, her own inappropriate feelings would not put all of Elsa's hard work risk. Anna sighed softly and poked her food some more, unaware of the falling temperature in the dinning room.
BANG! Elsa slammed her hands on the table as she stood.
Anna looked up from her mashed up meal, startled.
"Please, tell me what I did!"
"What?" Anna was confused.
"What did I do?" Elsa whispered as tears filled her eyes. "Why are you pulling away? Tell me so I can fix it."
"Oh god, Elsa." Anna rushed around the table and wrapped the trembling woman in her arms. "I'm so sorry, please don't cry." Some sister she was Anna berated herself, she hadn't even considered how her actions would appear to the blonde.
"What did I do?" Elsa cried into her sisters shoulder. "I can't lose you again."
"You won't ever lose me." Anna pulled back and gently held her sister's face between her hands, wiping Elsa's tears away with her thumbs. "You did nothing wrong. I just..." She sighed. "I just had some sense knocked into me."
"About what? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Anna couldn't help but smile, even when Elsa was hurting she looked out for her. Leaning in, she closed her eyes and placed a kiss on her sister's cheek. "Everything is fine." She would just have to get over herself, she decided, because she never wanted to see her sister in tears again.
The next day found Anna reading through a stack of papers Kai had given her regarding the current preparations regarding the ball to be held in two months. It was a beautiful afternoon so she had taken her reading out into the garden.
"Anna!" Kristoff called as he rushed over, Sven ambling behind. "I am so sorry. I just read the last issue, I swear I didn't know."
Closing her eyes, the redhead tried to ignore the sinking feeling in her stomach. The morning had been wonderful; breakfast with Elsa had been delightful, laughing and enjoying each others company and now she was being reminded of those horrible letters.
"Please, read this." Kristoff held up another issue of 'The Thaw Times.' "It came out today."
"I don't need to read more." Anna didn't look up from her papers. "It was all just a dream. A wonderful..." she sighed sadly, "fantasy."
"No!" Angrily, she stood. "It's time to face reality. I will not risk Elsa or this kingdom over... over..."
"YES!" The redhead yelled over her shoulder as she walked away.
"Then what is worth risking everything for?" Kristoff asked quietly.
"You once sacrificed your life for hers. You stepped in front of a sword believing it would strike you and save Elsa from harm." The blonde man walked over to his best friend, her back still turned to him. "But you aren't brave enough for you both to be happy?"
"Most of the citizens of Arendelle want their Queen and Princess to be happy."
Silently they stood there.
"Elsa is worth risking everything for," Anna finally spoke. "Her whole life has been about sacrifice for other people. She deserves someone who will put her and her happiness first."
She turned around to face her best friend, a soft look of hope on her face as she continued. "I want to be the one to make her happy."
"Please," Kristoff handed over the paper in his hands, " read this."
Taking the paper, Anna noticed that it seemed thicker than the other issues and opened it to read.
There were letters.
Lots of letters.
Dozens of people had written to the news paper in outrage over the last issue and in an outpouring of support of the Queen and Princess. So many letters that they had to add two extra pages to accommodate them.
On shaking legs, she walked back to her seat to think.
That night Anna snuggled down under her covers with 'The Thaw Times.' Rereading the letters of support lifted her spirits again. Turning to another page, she continued on to the fiction section of the paper. Normally she would save it to read last, but tonight she needed the stories to believe in. Skipping a couple of story serial updates (she still needed to fully read the last issue's updates), she started to read a new short story.
"Oh my god," Anna squeaked and stuffed the paper in her night stand. "Time to sleep, yes, sleep." Blowing out the candle, she laid down to sleep, banishing what she read from her mind.
"Who would write something so... so...," Anna swallowed, "intimate."
She tossed and turned for a while before giving up and pulling out 'The Thaw Times.' Hands shaking, she lit her bedside candle again to read. This was the first time she had read something like this in the paper. Hiding in a corner of the library reading steamy romance novels was one thing, she expected that when secretly reading those books, and they didn't star her sister and herself.
Blushing redder than she ever had in her life, she continued to read hesitantly. The more she read, though, the quicker she got over her embarrassment (if not her coloring). Anna was breathing hard by the time she got through the second story.
Eyes wide, she put the paper on her night stand, sure she wasn't going to get much sleep that night.
Chapter 5 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
Anna slid on the polished wooden floor to a stop in front of the dining room almost overshooting the door. Being extremely late for breakfast with her sister was not how she planned to begin her day. The stories the night before had sent her imagination in overdrive and she found it very difficult to sleep. Running her hands down her dress to smooth out the wrinkles, she tried to prepare herself to face her sister with only minimal blushing.
"Good morning, Elsa!" Anna happily chirped, while taking a seat next to the blonde.
"Good morning, Sleepyhead," she laughingly replied.
"I had a late night." A pastry and a cheese sandwich made their way to her plate.
"What had you up so late?" Elsa inquired as she put down her papers to give her full attention to the young woman next to her.
Anna stopped mid bite at the memory of the images the stories had created in her mind.
"Anna?" Elsa was worried. Her sister wouldn't meet her eyes and she was turning a bright red. "Is everything alright?"
"Yes!" She needed something to distract the both of them. "Try this!" Anna held up a bit of pastry to Elsa's lips. "They're my favorite."
"They are all your favorite." Elsa smirked before taking the bit of food offered, her lips brushing the fingers holding the tasty morsel. "Mmm. This is delicious."
"I'm glad you like it," Anna murmured, entranced by her sister's rosy lips so close.
"I do", Elsa whispered, just as distracted. "Very much."
The redhead felt herself leaning in, so close to finding out if the lips in front of her were as soft as they were in her dreams.
Holding her breath, Elsa wasn't sure what was happening. All she could feel was the thick tension in the room and her heart pounding a fast beat. She couldn't do this, she couldn't force this on her sister. It wasn't right.
"Oh, I am so sorry Your Majesty, Princess. I didn't realize you were still in here." The young maid quickly backed out of the room and accidentally banged the door closed.
"Uh... I should get going," Anna squeaked. She leaned back and stood up. "Late start you know."
Elsa stood when her sister did. She had dawdled long enough this morning and needed to get to work. There were many political preparations to do before the winter ball in a month and a half. She kept her head down, unable to meet her sister's eyes.
"Time to go do Queenly things?" Anna bounced on her toes happily. After what just happened a new determination took hold of her. Things were going to change between the two of them. Or rather, Anna decided to be brave enough put her heart on the line and hope Elsa felt the same and wasn't just caught up in the moment.
Elsa smiled as she gathered the papers she had been reading. "Yes, it's time to do 'Queenly things.'"
"I'm going to double check the invitations before they go out today." Anna placed a hand on Elsa's cheek, leaned in, and placed a kiss on a cool cheek. "Have a good day at work." She placed another lingering kiss on a now pink cheek before turning away to leave, large smile in place and a pleased bounce to her step.
Something felt different about that goodbye, Elsa mused. It was more intimate than any other they had shared. Happier than she had been in a long time, Elsa walked to her study, ready to tackle the pile of papers on her desk. For the rest of the day she tried to keep the delight at getting closer to her sister in the forefront of her thoughts and her inappropriate actions away from spoiling such a lovely morning.
It didn't take long for Anna to approve the final invitations, they had been gone over several times over the last two weeks by herself and Kai. After a long talk with Elsa and the Queen's advisors, it had been decided to extend invites to Weselton and the Southern Isles. Anna hadn't wanted to, still angry at what the two representatives tried to do to her sister, but she had been voted down. But that didn't stop her from ordering extra security.
Now the redhead was back in her room, pulling out the issue of 'The Thaw Times' she had started reading last night.
Dear Thaw Times,
I am genuinely horrified by the letters from last week. While I do understand and appreciate why they were printed, I hope to never see those kind of letters in this paper again. This has always been a place of hope and support for the Queen and her sister. We should remember that.
-A TRUE Citizen of Arendelle
Yes we know they are sisters. It doesn't bother us for one reason, love. We love our monarch and the princess. And if they really do love each other the way we supporters think they do, then good for them. Your shouting won't change things.
- Heidi Naas
I wonder if those people remember their history. I bet they celebrate the Feast of Orton every year like the rest of us. You know, the beloved brother and sister who married each other and lead Arendelle to one the most prosperous and peaceful fifty years this country had ever seen? Their child continued leading this land and died on the battlefield protecting it, and their line continues to rule this kingdom. Move to another kingdom if it bothers you that much.
Dear Thaw Times,
If you people are that much against love, go away. We won't miss you. Our Queen and Princess are in love and there's nothing you can do about it. The real loyal citizens of Arendelle will support and protect them.
- Serving with Pride in the Royal Guard
Anna smiled and looked over the printed letters again. They did more than give her hope that the kingdom wouldn't revolt if she were to woo her sister, but that Elsa might actually return her feelings. The letters weren't why she had the paper out, though. There had been an article that caught her eye the previous evening. She would have read it then, but she had gotten distracted by those steamy stories.
It only took a few moments to find what she was looking for.
Opposing Side's New Move
Attention Readers! A reliable informant has given us some information on the actives of those opposing the romance between our Queen and Princess. Thankfully, the little one page pamphlet they tried to produce last week did so poorly that they have already closed shop.
While this should have been cause to celebrate, they have simply changed tactics. It was told to us that they want it to be known how many supporters they have so others will 'rethink their disgusting beliefs and change people's minds.'
What is their idea? Lapel pins. They are making pins for their supporters to wear and are going to try to pressure people into their way of thinking by showing how many of them there are. They will be round but that is all we know so far. They should be out on the street sometime after this printing.
This is, surprisingly, a good idea. Too bad it isn't an original one. The informant from the meeting they held told us it comes from a city near our capital here.
Time to make our own.
We are going to flood the capital city with support. You know who to talk to, they will soon have information on when ours will be ready. It is time to rally around our Queen and Princess.
"A pin?" Anna frowned. Tomorrow she was going to corner Kristoff and ask him some questions. Right now, though, it was time to start planning. The previous plans were already in the garbage, but they would have ended up there anyway after this new edition of 'The Thaw Times.' Those plans had been about keeping everything behind doors, secreted away so that no one would ever have an inkling anything happened.
Maybe that shouldn't be the case.
Anna wandered into the library looking for Kai. While making new plans, she had found one glaring flaw. Time. She needed to find out how easy it would be to change Elsa's schedule secretly and quickly.
"Kai!" Anna grinned.
"Yes, Princess Anna?" Kai pulled a book off the shelf the Queen had sent for him to fetch and returned the smile.
"If I wanted to plan something special for Elsa, a surprise for instance, how hard would it be to clear her schedule?" Anna tried to look innocent. She wasn't ready to tell Kai yet. It was important to find out who would support her first and those closest to her sister had to be carefully considered.
"A surprise?" Kai studied the young princess.
"What might this...surprise... be?" Kai's posture stiffened, his expression going blank.
"It's a surprise." Anna was startled. The long time servant was cold, so different from every other time she talked with him.
They stared at each other, one confused and the other not giving anything away.
"The Queen's schedule is set for a reason, it simply can't be changed on a whim," he said condescendingly.
Anna narrowed her eyes at him. She had a bad feeling which side he fell on.
"Mr. Sandvik," the Princess straightened, her normally friendly demeanor replaced by a more royal bearing. "Sometime soon I will require you to clear the Queen's afternoon schedule secretly and I expect my order to be obeyed. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Princess." Kai bowed.
Without her normal farewell, Princess Anna turned on her heel and left the room. Her thoughts were racing. Rattled from her confrontation with Kai, Anna went to her room to calm down.
Once the Princess was out the door, Kai let himself smile. Worries of how the redhead would react when confronted face to face with opposition were eased, no longer was she the girl at the coronation. He started to mentally change Elsa's schedule, deciding which meetings were too important to miss and prepared to have them moved to the mornings. He also needed to find Gerda and tell her it was time.
Chapter 6 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
Anna stood at the busy bar of The Snowflake Pub waiting for the two meals she ordered to be brought out, while her guards were by the front door relaxing. The Snowflake Pub was a popular place for off duty Royal Guards and consequently there were more than just two pairs of protective eyes keeping watch.
"Good afternoon, Princess Anna," an unknown stocky man greeted her. "How are you doing this afternoon?"
"Good afternoon," the Princess turned to greet the man. His blatantly arrogant stance caught her off guard as she noticed a round disk pinned proudly to his chest. It was a crudely made round wooden disk with a black sloppily painted line running diagonally across the surface. Casually, she glanced around but couldn't spot anyone else sporting the same pin.
"Princess?" The man raised an eyebrow at the Princess' wondering attention. "Is anything the matter?"
Before she had a chance to open her mouth, a redheaded off duty guard she recognized came up. "Hey, buddy," the redhead smiled, "I thought you were told to not come back here?"
"Now, Arne-" The stocky man held up his hands.
"We don't like your kind here." The guard's smile dropped as he grabbed the other man's shoulder.
"Time to go!" Pulling the other man along, Arne didn't stop until the man was pushed out the door to a smattering of cheers and clapping.
"I am sorry, Princess Anna," Jon, the owner of the Pub apologized having come out of the back to see Arne escort the unwanted guest outside. "We try to keep them out of here but they still sneak in."
"Them?" Anna inquired, though she had a good idea what he was talking about.
"Oh!" Jon's eyes widened and he tried to distract her from his slip up. "Here's your lunch. Enjoy your afternoon with Kristoff."
"Thank you, Jon. Them?" She wasn't going to let this go.
"Just a handful of people who try to cause trouble. That's all." Jon smiled, itching to shuffle away quickly, knowing that doing so would be an egregious breech of etiquette when talking with someone of the royal family.
"Hmm. Good afternoon, Jon." Anna let the subject drop, certain she could convince Kristoff to answer her questions later.
"Kristoff?" Anna was eating a bit of cheese when she finally spoke up.
"Yeah?" Krisoff held out a carrot to Sven, and after the reindeer took a bite he offered it to Anna.
"Uh, no thank you." It took a bit of effort to keep herself from gagging at the saliva dripping off the vegetable. Why he kept offering her carrots like that, she didn't know. "The last issue, there was a bit about lapel pins. I think I saw one today in The Snowflake Pub."
"Really? How the heck did they get in there? That place doesn't allow those people in the Pub." Kristoff took a bite of carrot before giving the rest of it to Sven. "Was it a round wooden disc with a black line? They started showing up this morning."
"They look kind of... ugly."
"Yeah. I heard they rushed it and no one wanted to actually work on them." Kristoff finished his sandwich and grinned. "Ours are going to look great!"
"Sooo..." Anna scooted her chair closer to her best friend. "What are they going to look like?"
"Nope, not sharing." Standing, he began clearing away the trash from lunch and grinned again. "The first batch should be out in two days."
"How do you know these things?" Anna questioned, exasperated with how much he seemed to know about what was going on and how little she did.
"Not telling," Kristoff teased.
"Aw, come on!"
"Fine," Anna huffed. "Then take me around town. I want to see how many of these ugly pins are out there."
The blonde man rubbed his hands together. "Time to spot the enemy. Come on Sven, no biting this time."
Anna looked sideways at her friend, thinking he seemed a bit too excited about the adventure.
The next evening was beautiful and warm enough to only need a light wrap over their shoulders. Out to a special showing of Elsa's favorite opera, Dido and Aeneas, which was being performed as a gift from a neighboring kingdom, the two woman nodded politely to those who bowed in their direction. Anna frowned as they strolled into the theatre side by side. A third round pin was spotted in the crowd, so she kept her distance from Elsa. Normally the redhead would have been glued to her beautiful companion's side, arm in arm, but these discs were making her cautious.
"Anna, are you alright?" Elsa inquired softly, so as to not be overheard by the crowd. She noticed the distance her sister put between them, shifting away when they drifted close enough to touch. Maybe not everything was as settled between them as she believed.
"Yup." But Anna wasn't paying attention. She narrowed her eyes at a woman who was sporting the fourth round disc she had seen that evening.
Elsa frowned as she watched Anna stare down a woman she didn't recognize. Perhaps her little sister knew her; Anna did spend more time in town, after all.
"Do you know her?" Elsa was curious, feeling that she was missing something important.
"Nope." Anna spotted another damn disc pin, this time on a very handsome young gentleman next to them. Yesterday Kristoff and she had only seen six of the ugly pins.
The young man bowed to the Princess when he noticed her eyes on him, a cocky grin in place.
"Good evening, Princess Anna and Queen Elsa. Do you require a gentleman to escort you to your seats?"
Elsa's eyes widened at the angry growl coming from her sister.
It startled the young man and he backed away quickly.
"Hurry up, My Queen, we need to take our box seats." Grabbing Elsa's hand and intertwining their fingers, she pulled the blonde up the stairs to their box seats. Every plan to be discrete in public flew out the window. No one else was going to escort her Elsa anywhere.
It was intermission and Anna stepped out of the box seats to fetch Elsa some refreshments. She had insisted on doing it herself and leaving the attendants so she could stretch her legs, but mostly it was it avoid any questions her sister might have asked, embarrassed at losing her temper and abandoning her plans to be cautious so quickly.
"Princess Anna?" An older woman dressed in an intricately designed brocade dress with numerous ruffles curtsied. "How are you this fine evening?"
"Very well, thank you. And yourself?"
"Wonderful. I must say it is a lucky thing our Queen has the powers she does. Makes coming to the theatre much more pleasant." Something flashed on the older lady's shoulder distractingly.
"Pardon?" Anna squinted at the shining bit of metal but the design on the dress hid the thing reflecting light on the silver blue dress.
"Her ice powers. When she attends, the Queen always intentionally cools down the theatre so it's not so unbearably hot. All those candles and lanterns needed to light the stage do make it so ghastly warm." She placed a hand on Anna's arm. "You two look beautiful tonight, absolutely stunning."
"I am sorry to interrupt you, Countess Wilberg," a server working at the theatre called, carrying two cups on a platter. "Princess Anna, the wine for the Queen and yourself." He bowed slightly and then stood erect, ready to follow her to the box seats.
"Thank you. Pardon me, Countess," Anna curtsied. "I should be getting back to my sister."
"Of course, Princess." The curtsy was returned. "You mustn't keep Your Queen waiting." Tittering, the elderly woman drifted away to her own seat.
Anna blinked, utterly confused about that parting comment. To anyone else it would seem like a simple phrase, but she was starting to understand how much the citizens were invested in the relationship between her and Elsa, and it caused her to second guess every seemingly innocent comment.
"Oh yes, this way please." A glint of metal flashed, this time from the server's jacket and it was easy to see a pin there, though the glance wasn't enough to see exactly what it was.
Back at the box seats, instead of taking her chair immediately, she turned to face to server. There, on his shoulder, was a highly polished silver pin. Anna was surprised to see the design closely resembled Elsa's signature snowflake but stamped in the middle was a green enamel crocus, the official crest of Arendelle.
"Anna?" Elsa placed a hand on her sister's arm. "Are you alright?" This was turning into a very odd night.
"What?" Anna finally looked away from the shiny pin. "Oh." Smiling, she took her sister's hand. "I'm fine."
Elsa raised an eyebrow.
"Promise." Turning back to the server to pick up a drink from the tray, Anna saw an elated grin on the young man's face before he was able to school his features into a more dignified expression.
"Thank you," Elsa thanked the server as she picked up her cup from the tray.
A quick bow and he was off, as the rest of the opera was about to start.
Various attendants turned up the flames on the scattered lanterns at the conclusion of the last act, the audience clapping and cheering loudly as the performers bowed. Anna clapped politely, having lost track of what was happening on stage before intermission and spending the rest of the production lost in thought.
"Elsa?" Anna was concerned when she finally turned to her sister and saw tears falling. What did she miss? "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Elsa smiled sadly and wiped away her tears. "The last aria always makes me cry. To have the love of your life leave for war and slowly die of a broken heart. To live through that..."
"Oh." She knew Elsa was thinking of when Anna had frozen into a solid block of ice in the fjord and been thought dead, gone forever and leaving the blonde to live her life alone. "I have to work on my Italian then, I had no clue what was being sung." Anna frowned. Why was this her sister's favorite opera? It seemed that each one she saw ended in tragedy. Elsa really needed a lighter form of entertainment.
"It wasn't Italian. This one was sung in English." Elsa smiled at her sister's confused expression.
"I thought they were all in Italian?" Standing, she held up Elsa's wrap, and as the blonde slipped into it Anna placed a kiss on a still damp cheek.
"You really don't like opera, do you?" Elsa laughed. "The last one was in German."
"Hey, I do enjoy attending these with you. And wasn't the last one about a thief and a wizard?"
"It was the story of Adam and Eve."
"Oh." Anna searched her memory. "Really?"
Elsa raised an eyebrow. Opera wasn't something her sister enjoyed and Elsa knew it. Every time she planned to go, she always gave Anna an opportunity to go off and have fun, but each time Anna would attend with a smile.
They walked down the stairs from their private box, their attendant and two guards trailing a respectful distance behind them. As the crowd parted to let the royal family by, Anna kept searching for round discs on lapels and couldn't find a single one, though she did notice a couple of dozen shiny silver snowflake pins. She was positive that they hadn't been around before the show and now they were everywhere. More people were wearing them than not.
At the Royal Carriage, before the driver closed the door behind them, Anna spotted him wearing the same silver snowflake pin with the small green enamel crocus in the middle.
"Elsa, did you notice the pin on his lapel?" The redhead had an idea what those pins meant. If they really were the supporter's pin, courting her sister would be a lot easier than she expected. At least in terms of the Kingdom - it wouldn't mean much if Elsa actually only felt a sisterly bond with her.
"Pin?" Elsa wondered what was important about a pin. "Should I have?"
"I think something was mentioned in the last paper about a pin." Anna watched her sister closely.
"I don't remember anything about a pin in "The Public News." Elsa frowned as she mentally reviewed the various articles she had read. "I'm certain there wasn't."
Just as she thought, Elsa didn't know of "The Thaw Times" or the war of pins. It struck Anna as odd. Elsa was the Queen of Arendelle and the people in charge of keeping her informed of various activities in the realm were slacking. She decided that some inquiries needed to be made to ensure that the information network they relied on wasn't breaking down. Anna groaned when she realized what that meant.
"Anna? Was that you or your stomach?" Elsa smiled.
"My stomach. Are we almost there? I'm starving." Anna really wasn't looking forward to having a talk with Kai again.
Chapter 7 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
"Kristoff!" Anna called as she walked through the front door of his home, her guards waiting out by the front gate as usual. "Are those pins out?"
"You know, knocking is considered polite." The ice man was packing his gear to head out and gather orders before traveling to harvest the ice.
"Kristoff!" she stomped.
"Okay, okay. Geez," he grumbled. Turning, Kristoff grabbed something small off the table next to him and presented it to Anna. "These are the pins. We bought ours this morning."
Sven sauntered over to Anna, proudly showing off the shiny snowflake pin attached to the ribbon of the medallion he wore when out on official ice business.
The redhead examined both pins. They looked exactly like the ones she saw last night at the opera. Anna patted the reindeer on the head absently. Sven wasn't happy with that and nearly knocked her over trying to get her attention. Laughing, she hugged him.
"I saw these last night." She handed it back to her friend who promptly pinned it to his vest.
"Word got out that people were wearing those stupid disc pins," he explained, "so a few of us brought some of the finished ones over to sell. There are now two silver smiths working to make more." Kirstoff held up a small bag. "I'm selling them along with ice today."
"You are the best friend ever," Anna punched Kristoff in the shoulder.
"Ouch," complained the blond as he rubbed the area. "You're a lot stronger than you realize, runt."
Anna frowned and punched him again.
"Good afternoon, Princess Anna," a woman dressed in the latest fashion hurried around the counter and curtsied. "I am Mona Enstad and welcome to my shop."
"Good afternoon, Mistress Enstad. You have a beautiful place." Anna motioned around the room. Brightly colored silks and thick velvets hung from racks, matching ribbons in every width coiled tightly around spools lined one wall, dresses in various stages of completion hung on dress maker dummies scattered throughout the room.
"Please, Princess Anna, call me Mona."
"Mona, I need a new dress. Something..." Anna trailed off as she noticed the snowflake pin.
"Princess?" Mona asked encouragingly.
"What a beautiful pin. I've noticed them around Arendelle lately." Anna considered her next words carefully. Large portions of her planning relied on help from others. "I'm glad to see those ugly round pins weren't that popular."
"Many establishments would never hire a person who would wear such an... unsightly pin." Mona tilted her head thoughtfully, also being careful with her words. "Myself included."
Smiling, Anna started to walk around and admire the dresses for sale. "These are very beautiful."
"Thank you, Princess Anna. I designed most of them myself, those over by the hats are by my apprentice. She is showing great promise. Are you looking for something special?" The seamstress followed the young royal as she browsed the different fabrics.
"Yes, I am." Taking a deep breath, Anna steadied herself to take a leap of faith. "I am looking to wear a dress Elsa would find... um... fetching."
"Ah, I am sure I can make something our Queen will find... enchanting on you. Do you need a day or evening dress?
"E-e-evening." Faced with finally sharing her secret was harder than she first thought it would be. "It's for a special night I'm planning. A surprise."
"A special night?" Mona was finding it difficult keeping still in her excitement.
"Hopefully the first of many."
"What will Queen Elsa be wearing? On such an important night, I would hate for your outfits to not compliment each other."
"Oh, I guess one of her ice dresses." Anna hadn't thought about that.
"Marvelous! I will have some some sketches ready for you by tomorrow." Starting to mentally take stock of materials on hand, Mona grabbed her tape-measure. "When do you need this dress by?"
"How quickly can it be made?" Anna held up her arms as the seamstress started to measure.
"After you approve the design and I have everything, for you Princess, a day or two," she answered while noting down the measurements, knowing already that her other customers wouldn't mind their orders being a little late. Not for this.
"In four days?" It was very quick, Anna knew, but it was the first day for the next two weeks that they didn't have some visitor staying at the castle that would take up her sister's time.
"Come back this afternoon and I'll have a few drawings ready." There was no longer hiding the excitement of being asked to make the dress for such an occasion.
"Perfect, I'll be back later. I have another stop to make after this." Anna walked to the front door but paused before reaching it. Turning, she commented casually over her shoulder, "thank you for wearing that pin, everyone's support means so much." She saw a look of understanding on the seamstress' face as she left. Lunch sounded like an excellent idea at the moment, as it would give time for the gossip to spread.
"Eva!" Mona called to the back of the store. Quickly she pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote. "Takes this to Jon at The Snowflake Pub. And be fast about it, it's important." If the Princess was really going on a date with the Queen as it seemed, she was going to make sure the woman received help from everyone.
Some time after leaving the dress makers store, Anna relaxed on the stone ledge of a bubbling fountain, one of many dotted around the city, chewing on the last of an apple from her lunch. Unfamiliar with this part of the city, she waved over Arne, one of her guards for the day. She smiled at the snowflake pin both her guards were wearing.
"Where's a good place to eat here?" Anna asked.
"Braatan's stall is here most of time," Arne told her, confused. "Good prices, good food. Stay away from mead though, it's a little strong. I can go purchase something if you want?"
"Actually, I was thinking of someplace for later, nice enough for a," Anna bounced her knee nervously, "a date."
"A date, Princess?" Arne's eyes widened in alarm. Who was this person going on a date with the Princess? There had been no news in the paper of someone else spending time with Princess Anna. "The nicest place in town is 'The Royal Court.'"
"Too uptight and we always go there. I was thinking someplace new." Anna frowned thoughtfully. "Where would you take a date?"
"The Blue Fish," Arne replied quickly, catching on who this mystery date might be. He pointed to a small place to his right. Food about average, the setting romantic in the evening, but, most importantly, the guard knew that the owner and all the staff were supporters of the Princess and Queen.
"Thank you, Arne." Anna stood to walk over to the small restaurant, her guards trailing behind. Seating was provided inside and outside on a small patio, unlit lanterns hung from ropes strung over the outside seating which was roped off from the main square. Busy admiring the beautiful setting, Anna never noticed the guards whispering to each other or the young boy in a blue cap who ran up to them, talking with excited gestures and then running off again.
"Princess Anna!" A tall redheaded woman hurried out from behind the bar in the back. "I'm Ingrid Dalen, owner of 'The Blue Fish.' How may I serve you?"
"Can I reserve a table on the patio? For dinner?" As Anna looked around, it seemed most of the patrons and all of the staff had a snowflake pin. They were multiplying like rabbits.
"Oh. Um... no. Four days from now?"
"Of course. Is there something special you require for this dinner?" Ingrid pulled out a small bit of paper and pencil to take notes.
"Maybe flowers at the table and music? Something romantic." Anna shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot as she noticed more and more eyes turned her way.
"Mr. Botner," called the tall woman.
A tall willowy man stood from his meal and walked over.
"Anette?" Ingrid waved over a chubby brunette woman who had been practicing her flute at a corner table that was covered in sheet music.
"Princess Anna, Mr. Botner runs the flower shop close by. His shop makes the most delightful arrangements. And Anette plays here on the nights she isn't serving."
"Can you make the arrangements Miss Dalen? I do have to get going. I will send a messenger over to get the details and with payment." Anna would have loved to stay and talked with them herself, but after years of isolation, being the center of attention in small crowded rooms still made her nervous. While it was getting easier, the stress of planning the date was too much.
"Of course, Princess." They all bowed and curtsied respectfully.
After the departure of the Princess, the small boy in the blue cap from earlier hurried up to the small group still inside the restaurant.
"Miss Dalen! Miss Dalen!" He hopped excitedly from foot to foot. "Arne wanted me to tell you that he believes the dinner the Princess is planning is a date for her and the Queen! It's happening! They're going to get their "Happily Ever After!'"
"Shh! Don't shout. What did Arne say exactly?" Ingrid demanded as the rest of the group held their breath in anticipation.
"Arne said that the Princess wanted a nice place to eat for a date. She said that the 'Royal Court' is where they always go and wanted someplace new." The boy could no longer contain himself and danced around happily. "True love! True love!"
"Mr. Botner! Mr. Botner!" shouted Jonas, a young angular man with blonde hair came rushing through the door.
"Jonas! Who is minding the flower shop?" Mr. Botner reprimanded.
"Word just came from 'The Snowflake Pub.'" Jonas breathed heavily from his sprint a few streets away. "Mrs. Mona Enstad had a visit from the Princess this morning for a special dress. A date with the Queen."
Anette gasped, clutching her flute to her body. "It's true! Oh, there's so much to do-"
"There's more. Mrs. Enstad is positive that Princess Anna knows about the pins and what they mean."
They were all silent, even patrons seated at their meals and those who had come over to find out what all the fuss was about.
"Boy," Ingrid called.
The child stopped mid jig.
"Run as fast as you can to 'The Snowflake Pub.' Tell Jon all that's happened here and that he needs to call a meeting."
He nodded before darting off with cries of 'true love' and 'happily ever after' on his lips.
"Ladies and gentleman," Ingrid began. "I think it's time for us to help."
Enthusiastic whispers filled the air.
"But what if we're wrong?" Anette spoke up worriedly. "What if we we're just seeing what we want to?"
The room went silent again for several long moments.
"But what if we're right?" A man from a nearby table challenged as he stood. "Can we really risk not helping?"
Everyone looked at one another and the pins worn on collars, shoulders, breast pockets, anywhere that would be visible.
"If we're going to help make this perfect, we'd better get to work," Ingrid declared. The room buzzed with excitement once more.
Knowing that Elsa was currently elsewhere, Anna marched into her sister's study, her back straight and her expression somber; she was prepared for battle. One that she would win. It had been a long day, but the place for the date was set and the dress designed approved. Now for one last thing. Anna marched up to the large wooden desk.
"Mr. Sandvik, you are to clear the Queen's evening schedule in four days time."
"Perfect!" Kai smiled. "Elsa doesn't have any pressing meetings that day that can't be rescheduled. I will clear the next day as well, Ambassador Flom can greet our visitors that morning."
"Wait, what?" Anna was confused. This was far from the reaction she had been expecting.
Kai didn't respond, he merely smiled as he tapped his lapel.
Anna's teal eyes widen in shock at the sight of shiny silver snowflake pin.
"But... what? Do you know what...? The pin?" Anna stammered, flailing her arms around. "You? What? Huh?"
"Anna, do you really think I am unaware what these pins, or the round wooden ones, stand for? Or I don't know that every week Kristoff brings you a copy of 'The Thaw Times'?"
"You do?" came the weak reply as she wrung her hands together.
Kai walked over and placed a comforting hand on the young Princess' shoulder. "It is my duty to ensure the Queen is well informed on matters of the Kingdom. Of course I would know about this. And before you ask, no. Elsa has no clue about 'The Thaw Times' or the pins. This is one thing I believe she needs to learn from someone else."
"But last time we talked-"
"I needed to know if you could stand up to someone who challenged you," the man interrupted. "Not everyone is going to support a relationship between you and Elsa. Are you ready to face that when it happens?"
"Yes," Anna answered, determined.
"Splendid. Now I must get going, I have work to do and I'm sure you do, too." Walking back to the desk and busily rearranging the papers he needed, Kai did not notice Anna walk over.
"Thanks, Kai!" Anna nearly tackled the man in a big hug, sending his papers scattering all over the floor. "You're the best!" With that last exclamation, she bounced happily out of the office.
"A little decorum, Princess," Kai reprimanded to an empty room. Then he sighed, knowing it was a lost cause.
Now, Anna realized as she walked down the hall to her room, the only thing left was to actually ask Elsa out on a date.
Chapter 8 by Dont_Tell_Them_Its_me
Sorry this took so long! I have not, and will not, abandon this fic. As I put on my profile... Mid-February (after I had written Chapters 6 and 7 but hadn't published them yet) I severely hurtboth of my hands to the point here I couldn't use my right at all and only my pinky and ring finger on the left. This made typing impossible. I was able to use my iMac's dictation feature for emails and the like, I just could not get the hang of using it for my writing. While I still have very limited use of my hands, I can now type with greater (though slow) ease, but the next update will be slow. Sorry. There should be probably two more chapters to this.
"This is not easy." Anna flung herself backwards across Kristoff who was sleeping face down on his bed fully clothed, having not even bothered to remove his boots before drifting off.
"Wha?" Kristoff groaned. "How did you get in here? Go away." Exhausted after harvesting and delivering ice the past two days, all he wanted to do was stay perfectly still and sleep.
"I picked the lock." Anna wiggled, hoping the constant movement would wake up her friend. "Now get up, I need your help." An elbow accidentally hit her friend's head. "Oops, sorry."
"Picked the lock?" Kristoff elbowed her sleepily. "When did you learn to do that?"
Anna stiffened. Scrambling down, the redhead shifted uneasily.
"Anna?" Kristoff sat up, now fully awake, and stared at his friend. He hated when she was sad or upset, and right now she was obviously both.
"I..." Anna swallowed. "I learned a long time ago. I thought if... if I could just get into Elsa's room and talk to her or even leave a gift, we could be friends again." She wiped a lone tear that escaped. Wasted hours perfecting that skill, and still not being able to see her sister, had plagued her for years. "I could open every door in the castle, but not hers." Anna shrugged dejectedly. "Guess now we know why."
Kristoff stood and walked over to hug Anna. Before meeting the feisty redhead he had never been one for hugs, or friends for that matter. Now he had people that had fun with, besides Sven and the two sisters, and knew when it came to Anna, hugs were always best.
"What happened yesterday? You were ready to ask her this time!" Kristoff had visited after his last delivery that day to find his friend flitting about, straightening her already clean room. It took a rousing pep talk reminding her the importance of True Love (thank you, Grand Pabbie) to get Anna out of her funk and ready to try again. He chuckled, remembering Anna stomping around her room with resolve and repeating over and over she would get it right.
"I was!" Anna clenched her hands into fists in front of her seriously, looking ready to fight. "She was in the library so I marched right up to her and..." Sighing, she dropped her hands and sat on the bed crestfallen . "And grabbed a book right behind her then ran away. On the up side, I now know what plants and berries I can eat next time I get lost."
"What?" Kristoff's grin fell. "The date is tomorrow."
"I know." Anna scrunched her nose in annoyance. She was more than fairly certain that her sister would react positively to her invitation, but getting the words out was harder than she imagined it would be.
"You've got to ask her!"
"I know!" Anna stood up again, too agitated to sit still.
"Everyone has been so excited about it! It's all they've been talking about."
"Hey, with all the hints you were dropping, by the time you left 'The Blue Fish' it was all over the city. They've arranged to keep the area free from those other guys and are even cleaning up the square." He frowned thoughtfully. "In fact, they had to hold a drawing to see who would gets to help."
Anna's jaw dropped and her flailing movements intensified. "What?" she barely managed to squeaked out.
"They want this to be perfect for you two!" Kristoff grabbed Anna's shoulders and stared unwaveringly into her eyes. "You went to the North Mountain to find her, you fought off wolves and a giant snowman, turned into ice to protect her, and punched that jerk Hans right off the damn boat! You can do this!"
"That's right!" Anna nodded fiercely before marching out of Kristoff's home and back to the castle. It was going to happen this time for sure.
The ice man fell back into bed and was asleep again almost instantly.
Smiling, Elsa finally gave up trying to work and watched Anna's jerky movements on the far side of her office. She had seen the redhead come in just as she started making notes concerning the new trade agreement with Landren; her sister had taken one look at her and started pacing frantically while muttering to herself and waving her arms all around in wide arcing gestures. A year ago, before getting to know Anna again and her quirks, this would have worried Elsa greatly, believing something was wrong with her sister.
In fact, that was exactly what happened the first time she had seen her sister pace in this fashion. A week after she had thawed Arendelle and took up her duties as Queen, Elsa had found her sister in the portrait gallery doing the exact same thing she was now. Scared she had somehow upset Anna, she had fled the room and hidden herself in her study. Later that evening her sister had hesitantly come to her and asked if they could travel together to the ice palace. She hadn't made the connection then, or even the next time, but the fourth time after witnessing Anna's unique pacing then having Anna come up to her later to ask about something she was obviously nervous about, it clicked. Now the blonde knew she just had to calmly wait for her sister to seek her out.
Elsa covered her mouth with one hand to stifle a laugh as Anna nearly tripped over a small rug for the third time. Whatever Anna had to ask her must be important, it had never taken three days before. Yesterday in the library she had been certain the redhead was going say something but as she had done was walked away with that random book and Elsa's curiosity was piqued.
The sound of footsteps drawing closer broke the blonde out of musings and she sat up straighter in her overstuffed red velvet chair.
Anna walked right up to the ornate wooden desk covered with important files and papers, placed both hands on its dark polished surface, and leaned in close to her sister.
"Yes?" The blonde smiled encouragingly while doing her best to ignore the thought of how easy it would be to lean in and gently kiss those lips in front of her.
"Hi," Elsa coaxed, propping her chin on her closed fist, keeping her posture relaxed and inviting.
Anna abruptly turned around and fled the room hastily.
Elsa tilted her head in confusion as the study's door closed.
The blushing was new.
Anna was leaning back against the wall as she sat on the floor in a hallway hardly ever used in the normal day to day running of the castle when Kai found her. He was on his way to meet the Captain of the Royal Guard with permission granted from Queen Elsa to hold a celebration in the courtyard for a large group off duty guards. Apparently the clamor to be the ones that guarded the royal siblings and surrounding area on their date had been decided, not that the Queen knew that part.
"Oh!" The startled princess grinned sadly. "Hi, Kai."
He watched the redhead go back to staring at the floor in front of her morosely and wrapped her arms tighter around her legs. With a sigh, Kai lowered himself next to Anna on the floor, like he used to do when she was little and just like he used to do when her father, and himself for that matter, had been a young man. Joints popped a bit more and he was certain he pulled a muscle or two, but he was now sitting on the floor. Getting up should be interesting.
"What's wrong, Little Anna?"
Anna smiled. How many times Kai or her father had asked her that very question as they sat next to her, she couldn't begin to count.
"The date is planned for tomorrow."
"I haven't asked her yet."
Kai waited for Anna to continue.
"I've tried asking her but every time I try, I just... I can't seem to get the words out." Anna banged her head back against the wall a couple of times in frustration at herself. "I almost asked her today, but I ran away." She closed her eyes and sighed in defeat. It looked like there would be a lot of disappointed people tomorrow. "Guess I'm not as brave as I thought."
"Your father had the same problem when he was Prince." Kai chuckled at the memory. "He tried to ask to be your mother's escort to the Winter Ball a few times. Her family had arrived a week early from the kingdom of Drammen to celebrate a prosperous year for the two kingdoms."
"What did he do?" Anna had never heard this story and couldn't imagine her father being scared. Even when Elsa couldn't control her powe, she had learned from her sister that her father was never scared Elsa would hurt him and it had broken his heart to see his daughter frightened all the time.
"He went riding on Sun Drop - your Aunt used to name all his horses for him, then dressed in his official uniform for court."
Anna turned her head to look quizzically at him. "Why?"
"He felt his bravest when riding and confident in his uniform. It reminded him that he did have the courage to ask your mother to the Ball."
"Oh." Anna relaxed and she stretched out her legs, her expression thoughtful. "That makes sense... I guess."
"Go change into your practice clothes." He patted her knee. "I'll tell the Sword Master you'll be down soon. It will work." He leaned down and caught her eye. "I promise."
This time he was ready for her enthusiastic hug.
"Thanks!" Anna got up quickly and sprinted around the corner towards her bedroom. If it worked for her father, it should work for her, too.
Kai grunted, she was more like her father at that age than most realized. He began trying to, unsuccessfully, get off the floor.
"Sorry, Kai," Anna apologized as she hurried back. She grabbed his hands and pulled him up easily, then rushed off again.
How did that girl become so strong, Kai wondered, as he walked to find the Sword Master and the Captain of the Guard.
After a rigorous sword training session, Anna bathed and put on a clean practice outfit which consisted of a simple green long sleeved tunic and brown leather britches tucked into sturdy boots. Clean wet red hair was kept out of her face in a bun at the base of her head. Stretching her arms as she walked down the hall, Anna felt a satisfying pull of well worked muscles and decided that she needed to practice more regularly again. There were a few moves that should not have been so hard to perform.
Leaning against the doorway to her sister's room, she watched the blonde, dressed in a casual flowing purple dress, peering out the window while swaying to the lively music that could be heard drifting up from the courtyard.
"Why is there music playing?" Anna questioned after watching for a bit.
Elsa turned around clumsily, startled by her sister.
"Sorry," Anna grinned, not at all sorry. It wasn't often that she got to surprise her sister.
"I can tell." Elsa rolled her eyes at her sister's grin. "The guards are celebrating. Something about a contest and winners."
"Ah," Anna nodded, deciding to not tell her sister yet what the celebration was about. She had heard the guards talking about it as the Sword Master worked her relentlessly.
Finally taking in what the redhead was wearing, Elsa's eyes widened. Her imaginings from a few weeks ago held nothing to the real thing.
"Why are you wearing..." She trailed off weakly as her eyes traveled up and down the obviously toned body. How was she supposed to concentrate on anything while Anna was wearing that? The girl was distracting enough, but now...
"Oh," Anna peered down at herself. She forgot that Elsa had never seen her in these clothes. "It's what I wear when I practice my sword work."
"You know how to fight with a sword?" Elsa was surprised. While female swordsmen were not unheard of, the fact that her parents would allow her sister to take up the sword staggered her. The girl was exceedingly clumsy at times and Anna could be hurt severely.
"Dad decided I need sword lessons to keep me occupied. I think he was tired of me knocking over...well, everything, with my running around," Anna commented as she walked over. Kai was right, she felt confident and the panic receded to a distant corner of her mind. She had made no plans beforehand this time, she would simply wait for the right moment.
"Did it work?" Elsa asked, her heart beating faster as the redhead approached. There was something provocative in the way Anna moved in her close fitting practice clothes and it was affecting Elsa in a very physical way. Her sister was close enough she could smell the scent of rose soap she used.
Anna shrugged with a grin. "I stopped crashing into the armor." Stopping next her sister, Anna also gazed out of the window to watch the dancing in the courtyard.
"Have you ever gotten hurt?"
"Bumps, bruises, a few strained muscles, but I've never stabbed myself if that's what you're asking," Anna laughed, practically feeling the eye roll from her sister. "I'm actually very good. Sword Master Vallen said he would recruit me on the spot to be a Royal Guard if I wasn't a princess."
"Please, just be careful. I don't' want to see you get hurt." Never again. The nightmares still came at night, of Anna frozen solid and, herself, powerless to help.
"As you wish, My Queen." Anna had to work very hard not to squeal and bounce around the room with delight at the pink that showed on her sister's face. From the corner of her eye, Anna could see her blushing sister turn to the window again. After listening to the music for a few minutes, she nudged Elsa with her shoulder.
"Yes?" The blonde focused her gaze on their reflection and her breathing hitched as their gazes met.
"I'm claiming your first dance at the Ball," Anna spoke, breaking the spell between them.
"You'll be waiting quite a while then," Elsa turned her attention back outside, missing the frown on her sister's face. "I don't dance, remember?"
"Please? Just one dance?" Anna begged, reaching for both of her sister's hands and turning Elsa around to face her. "For me?"
"I would," the blonde grimaced, removed her hands from Anna's, and nervously played with her fingers. "But I don't know how," she said, embarrassed.
"You never learned?" Anna was surprised. Her own tutors were adamant that she learn everything needed to properly entertain important guests in any situation. And she found it helped her keep track of her feet in her sword fighting.
"No," Elsa sighed. "It wasn't safe."
"It is now, so come on," the redhead pulled the blonde to the middle of the room as the music outside slowed to a waltz. "I'll lead."
"I don't think-"
"The Queen has to learn sometime." Anna wrapped her right arm around Elsa's back and held her other out at shoulder height. "Close your eyes. Listen to the music." She was silent for a few beats, then started to count the rhythm out loud. After a few missteps and demonstrating a tricky move, the two women started to dance. The music picked up speed again and so did they. Anna twirled Elsa around the bedroom floor and the two sisters laughed, enjoying the closeness as their bodies moved together.
"You're a natural!" Anna exclaimed as they, and the music, started to slow down again.
"I don't know about that," Elsa laughed, still mentally counting her steps but growing more confident with each smile and laugh from her sister.
"Does this mean I get your first dance?" Their gazes held.
"If that is what you'd like." First, last, and every dance between to be like this, in your arms. Elsa thought, wishing she was brave enough to say the words aloud but knowing she shouldn't.
Eyes locked, they stopped moving as the slow music continued on, breathing heavily from the fast dancing, their bodies so close they were touching from hip to chest.
"Go out with me tomorrow night?" Anna whispered sincerely, her gaze never wavering.
Elsa felt herself start to smile as hope swelled within her but then she closed her eyes and reined it in. The small pleasant flip in her stomach at the words turned into a horrible sinking feeling and tears filled to her eyes when she realized Anna could never mean it the way she wanted.
"O-of course." Her voice faltered as she stepped back from the intimate embrace. "What would-"
"Hey," Anna interrupted as took a step forward to close the gap between them again and brought her left hand up to her sister's cheek . She had seen the hope and love shine from Elsa's face at the question, the look had stolen her breath and sent her heart beating rapidly. It physically hurt to then watch that look die painfully.
"Hey," she tried again, willing Elsa to open her eyes and look at her.
Finally those sad icy blue eyes met her teal ones, Elsa tried to say something but no sound would come out.
"Will you go out on a date with me?"
Anna continued talking as she saw a spark of hope return to the blonde's eyes.
"A romantic date. Dressing up, going to a beautiful restaurant, maybe dance or a starlit walk, and a-" Anna swallowed hard, her cheeks feeling warm with the blush gracing her face. "A goodnight kiss."
There, she said it. Anna had officially asked her sister out on a date.
Elsa was stunned. Any thoughts that this would simply be a sisterly outing vanished and she stared, the pleasant flip in her stomach back, much stronger than before. It actually surprised Elsa that her weak knees where holding her up as hope once again rose to overwhelm her.
"Yes," came the soft, heartfelt, answer.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.