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.