CHAPTER WARNINGS: costumes, roleplay, consent play (aka "r*** fantasy", even though that's a really ugly name for it), rough foreplay, strapon sex, fluffy household moments. Also, incest (obviously).
NOTES: Well, this is about it! Sometime in the future, we might publish a "special feature" chapter that contains one or two bits we eliminated along the way, but that won't be for a while and doesn't really add anything to the story itself, so don't worry about it; instead, just enjoy this little flash forward.
We would like to thank everybody who suffered through- I MEAN, enjoyed this fiction, and for all the feedback and reviews and faves. Seriously, you guys rock! Cartesian's gonna go smoke it up in celebration and I'll be getting back to other writings (namely, NaNoWriMo at the moment), but we'll always have a special place in our hearts for our MSM readers. See you around!
Cartesian and Jessex~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Five years later...
Elsa always went about her household tasks with all the regal bearing of a queen. Even dressed in the simple clothes of a farmer's wife, she carried herself as though dressed for her coronation. On this particularly hot summer afternoon, with her hair loose and her sleeves rolled up, she thought she must have looked out of place as she arranged the silverware on the table. She wasn't sure when Anna would be home, since her side-job in town often kept her late, but she intended to hold dinner for her. Whenever she arrived, Elsa would put something quick on the stove.
Five years ago, the former Queen of Arendelle would never have pictured herself cooking dinner or setting a table. Adjusting to their new, working-class life had been hard for the sisters. Once they found the little stone farmhouse in the south of France, Elsa had to teach herself to make a home, and poor Anna had to hold down a job. But each had risen to the occasion quite admirably, and once Anna started making steady money as an apprentice blacksmith, they'd been able to buy a few animals and keep a small farm. Now they had a modest but steady income, goats for milk and cheese, and chickens for meat and eggs. Elsa found the whole situation somewhat romantic, in an idyllic, pastoral sense of the term.
After she'd set the table, Elsa went outside to collect the dry laundry from the clothesline. This was a chore she rather enjoyed on a hot and muggy evening. The light breeze gave her a bit of relief from the heat, and when the setting sun cast its light upon the hill just so, Elsa could sometimes see Anna coming down the dirt road...
Sweat and soot clung to Anna's face as she crested the next rise, the one that would grant her a view of their tiny two-story abode. Still, all in all, she was happy. The parcels she carried under either arm were the cause of her glee. This was a day she had been scrimping and saving to accomplish for a week. Yes, they had plenty of money for everyday concerns, but a luxury like this? It had to be relished. It had to be planned meticulously.
And there she was. When the former princess spotted the former queen out by the line of laundry, sheet of white-gold tresses buffeted by the cooling winds, she fell in love with her all over again. Literally. It surprised her how easily catching sight of Elsa after a long day of smithing could turn her into a gibbering sap.
Lucky for her, the packages had come today. She could do something about it. A second wind filled her lungs. Grinning, she started sprinting for the clothesline as fast as her heavy-booted feet could carry her previously-weary frame.
Elsa heard Anna before she saw her, the sound of her boots on the dirt road growing louder as she approached. Elsa dropped the half-folded sheet she was holding and ran to meet her sister, embracing her tightly as they crashed together. Despite minor rough patches and spats, the past five years had only served to make Elsa fall more in love with Anna. Every small reunion felt like a blessing and a joy.
"Good evening, love," Elsa giggled, wiping the soot away from Anna's cheek with her thumb so she could kiss her flushed skin. Then her eyes fell to the wrapped packages under her sister's arm. "Oh... what might these be?"
"Evening," Anna laughed, eyes alight. "This one is for you, and this one is for me." With that, she shoved the one that had been under her right arm into her sister's dumbfounded arms.
"Presents?" Elsa questioned. "For both of us? Anna, you..." Then she looked up and saw the familiar gleam in her sister's eye that hadn't been seen in a few weeks, but it never stayed gone for long; she knew Anna had a new game for them to play. "Oh! Ohhhh..." A grin spread across her face. "What has your wicked mind made up this time, sweet sister?"
Anna's now-free arm began to push into the small of Elsa's back, steering her quickly toward the farmhouse door. "Your name is going to be Brigitte, and you're a young French noblewoman. The word of safety is 'troubadour'. Go on upstairs and open your gift, I'll join you momentarily."
Once they were indoors, she left Elsa looking puzzled at the foot of the stairs, waving cheekily as she darted sideways into the sitting room.
Elsa raised an eyebrow, in particular at the odd name. Anna had never given her a new name before, in any of their games. But she just nodded in understanding and went up the stairs to their bedroom.
Once there, she set right to work opening the parcel. Inside, she found a very nice blue dress; not as expensive or ornate as the ones she'd worn as queen, but far nicer than she'd worn in a while. It was very low cut around the bosom, and had what Elsa thought was a ludicrous excess of lace. At any rate, it made her breasts and waist look magnificent, Elsa thought, as she weighed the effect in the mirror.
'Suppose I've missed looking like this a bit in recent years,' she thought to herself. 'Not a lot and not often, but a bit.'
All at once, the door to the bedroom crashed open, causing Elsa to turn on her heel at the sound. Standing in the frame was what at first appeared to be a uniformed member of the British army, a long handlebar moustache and a haughty glower in his eyes. Of course, on second glance the prominent freckles and slight frame revealed it to be someone a touch more familiar in disguise.
"Oi!" the pseudo-man said in a very British drawl. "We're invadin' your country, don't you know, missus?"
The laugh Elsa suppressed turned into an awkward gasp. This was an entirely new game, and Elsa had a feeling she'd enjoy it immensely... as soon as one thing was fixed. "Anna," she whispered, still trying not to giggle. "Anna, please take off the mustache. It doesn't even match your hair..."
"'oo's this 'Anna' yer on about?!" the "soldier" barked as she swaggered in, thumbs hooked in the belt of the smart uniform. Obviously, it had cost a goodly sum to have had made – or stolen, as the case might have been. Remarkably, it actually somewhat fit her, even though the shoulders were slightly crinkled where a man's would normally have filled them out. "Name's Gavin. And wot might they call a pretty young thing like you, eh?"
Elsa sighed and shook her head. She wasn't going to win this one, and she didn't have the heart to break from the game so early on. "Els... Brigitte." She caught herself at the last moment. "And you may call me 'ma'am'! How dare you intrude upon my house, soldier!"
"I'll be callin' you whatever I likes, strumpet!" Gavin slammed the door shut, striding over to loom over her. It appeared Anna had even taken the precaution of putting lifts in the shoes to provide for a more masculine height. "Now, why 'aven't you run off and saved your own skin yet, then? What's got you stuck in 'ere?"
"Brigitte" was taken aback by how forcefully Anna strode through the room, invading her personal space so suddenly that she felt compelled to move backwards, only stopping when the small of her back hit her vanity table. "Some things are more important than saving one's own skin," she replied nervously. Her eyes darted unconsciously towards a photo of Clara on the wall. "I wouldn't expect a ruffian like you to understand..."
"Then I'll just be on me way, luv," the soldier growled, stepping forward another few inches until their bodies were pushed flush with each other. Elsa gave a little cry as she found herself sandwiched between the vanity and the aggressive soldier. "In about five minutes."
"Like hell you will!" she snapped, placing her hands on Anna's shoulders and shoving firmly. The split-second the soldier was off-balance was all it took for Elsa to dash to the side. She flew through the door at a reasonable pace, knowing that Anna would probably be upon her before she even made it down the stairs.
Two strong hands clamped down on Elsa's shoulders just as she was on the second step down, and she was jerked bodily backward. The time put in at the smith's forge had clearly strengthened Anna's already-remarkable grip. "Can't 'ave you screamin' your 'ead off in the streets about this, can we? Nooo." Turning her around, the soldier pushed Elsa – now Brigitte – face-first into the door jamb, his body just behind hers, the sweat and stench of the smithy still lending a bit of musk to her scent. "Best we give you summat to scream about, methinks."
"Let me go!" Elsa shrieked as she was pressed firmly against the frame of the door, the soldier's breath hot against her neck. Anna still smelled of coal and soot and metal, the results of her work at the smithy only enhancing the realism of the game. Elsa found the simulated sense of panic arousing, but she wasn't going to give her lover such an easy time of things. "No!" she shouted, struggling ferociously against the soldier's iron grip. "No, let me go! Please!"
"Your 'usband ain't comin' 'ome anytime soon, methinks," the soldier rumbled directly into Brigitte's ear, every twitch and struggle only further reinforcing his control. "And methinks too that the lady protest too much. You're beggin' for it, you are." When Elsa tried to break away again, Anna grabbed a handful of her hair and shoved her even harder into the jamb, making sure to draw the head back just enough so that her face wouldn't connect with the unyielding wood. "Oi, 'old still, would ya?"
A whimper of protest and excitement burst from Elsa's throat as Anna pressed her more firmly against the door. She felt the soldier's toned, muscled body pressing against hers from behind, making a pleasant chill run down her spine. "Ahh... Gods, no, please!"
It was with none too gentle a hand "Gavin" grasped "Brigitte" by a forearm and, with a grip on both that and her hair, forced her back into the bedroom, where he threw her bodily upon the bed. As he dragged at her thigh-high stockings greedily, exposing flesh inches at a time, his thigh knocked one of her high heels to the floor, where it made such a clattering that they both started at the noise. "There, there, luv. Just a wee mouse. Like you're a wee mouse, and I'm the cat, coming to devour you. Just 'old still and it'll all be over soon."
Elsa couldn't believe Anna had the strength to lift and throw her onto the bed. She had known Anna was getting stronger at her work, but this was alarming. As the 'soldier' threw up her skirt, Elsa caught a musky whiff of her own arousal soaking through her bloomers. "Brigitte" trembled nervously beneath the soldier's touch as her stockings were pulled away. "Please," she gasped. "Please d-don't..."
"Your mouth says 'don't, but I smells somethin' that says 'do', strumpet." The soldier crawled over Brigitte, pinning her arms to the bed and leaning in close, a droplet of sooty sweat beading and falling from his forehead to land on her cheek. His knees sidled outward and slowly forced her legs father and father apart, opening her more to what would be his eventual attack.
Straining half-heartedly against Anna's grip, Elsa lifted her arms only briefly before they were pinned to the bed again. As her legs were forced apart she gave a nervous whimper, wincing as a bead of hot sweat hit her cheek. "N-n-no..."
The frilly dress was bunched up around Elsa's waist as her uniformed sister descended, lips twitching into a sardonic grin as her moustache-adorned features hovered closer and closer to Elsa. "Yes." When their bodies met again, a definite something was within the crotch of Anna's trousers, bulging and pressing against her stomach. "D'you feel how ready I am for this? Do you?"
Elsa gasped when she felt the familiar hardness of their favorite toy beneath Anna's tightly-buttoned trousers, and she looked up at the soldier with wide eyes. Never before had she seen her sister like this. Anna had been rough and forceful with her, certainly... but she'd never seen her so predatory and threatening. The feeling of being prey would have been sickening if this was a real situation, if it were anyone but her sister. As it was, Elsa couldn't suppress a tiny moan when she felt the soldier's body descending upon hers. Still she turned her head away and squeezed her eyes tightly shut.
"I'm not ready," she whimpered. "I don't want this!"
"Gavin don't care if y' do or don't," Anna growled, releasing one wrist to physically turn her face forward, lips brushing the corner of her resisting mouth. The moustache chafed both of them, she knew, but she had spent enough francs on its creation that she was determined not to waste it by tossing it aside. The bulge in the trousers had to be driving Elsa mad by now. She knew it to be something she absolutely lusted after, not only because of what they did with it but how often it had been the conduit of love from one of them to the other. Its presence amid their game was like an anchor, a steadfast constant amid the sea of possibilities this game might present. Knowing this, Anna decided to push her luck slightly.
"Scream for me, girlie," she intoned as she squeezed Elsa's jaw on either side, just enough pressure to pinch her face together, inflict the tiniest pinprick of pain.
The bulge in the soldier's trousers was, in fact, driving Elsa mad. Her back arched subtly into the firm pressure on her belly. When Anna let go of one arm to squeeze Elsa's face, she realized she had an opportunity to escape. With her free arm she shoved her assailant's shoulder, wedging one leg between them to give the soldier a firm kick to the chest.
"I WON'T!" she shouted defiantly, jumping to her feet and making a mad dash for the door, vaulting down the stairs as fast as her legs could carry her.
"NOT SO FAST, YE TROLLOP!"
Elsa's hand was inches from the knob of the front door when Anna caught up with her. Her lungs strained from the sudden exertion, her heart triphammered. Elsa wasn't just pretending to escape; she was really fleeing. This game, it seemed, would be one they played to the hilt. With more than a little effort, she tackled her to the floor, making sure to turn their bodies so they landed mostly on their hips and shoulders.
Elsa felt Anna's shoulder and arm connect with her back, and seconds later they both toppled to the ground. Elsa found herself pinned to the floor by all of the soldier's weight. The look in Anna's eye told her that her little game was working; by fleeing so insistently, Elsa was forcing Anna to her limit and getting her riled up.
"Let me go!" Elsa half-sobbed as she squirmed and thrashed beneath the soldier's weight. "Please let me go, I beg you! Have mercy!"
With a heave, Anna was straddling "Brigitte", teeth gritted with the effort of controlling the writhing body beneath her. She was beginning to get worked up herself; previous to this point, she had merely been playing the game, seeing how things would go, how Elsa might respond to this new idea of hers. Now, she was more than personally invested. She was aroused.
"I'll be merciful," Anna growled as she lifted Elsa. "You be good to me, luv, an' I'll be merciful to you. Now... on yer knees."
Elsa gave a frightened squeak as she was lifted bodily off the floor and her head and shoulders cornered up against the door. The soldier loomed over her menacingly. Elsa slowly sank to her knees, never taking her eyes off Anna's.
When Anna undid the front of the trousers and allowed their contents to bounce free, it swung almost straight for Elsa's nose, so she stepped back the barest inch to ensure no permanent damage. It might have been wrapped in leather, but the metal core could really do a number on cartilage under the wrong circumstances. Once it was levelled directly in her French damsel's direction, Gavin spat, "Go on."
Hesitating for the briefest moment, Elsa took the base of the leather phallus in her hand and brought her lips to the tip. In truth, she loved doing this for her sister; the simulated act made her feel dominated and taken in the most wonderful way. She pretended to be reluctant at first, just wrapping her lips gently around the end of it, and gazed up at her soldier nervously.
"We ain't got all day," Anna snapped as she clutched a hank of blonde hair and shoved the shaft deep into her sister's throat, burying every inch of it inside. Elsa whimpered softly against the shaft as it was forced into her throat. A thrill shot through "Gavin" at the sight of regal lips stretching all the way around its base as they always did, but the ruffles of the elaborate costume coupled with the sight of the officer's belts and buttons down her own front thrilled her in ways she couldn't begin to describe.
There was a time when such a forceful gesture would have gagged Elsa, but by now she was used to accommodating the toy's full length. Allowing herself a lewd grin that fit the role, Anna slowly began thrusting in and out of the perfect hole Brigitte was forming for her, the harness underneath her trousers pulling at her buttocks and thighs with every movement. Elsa closed her eyes and placed her hands on either side of the shaft on Anna's hips, feeling the steady rocking motion of her thrusts.
"Ooh..." The moan was from Anna and not Gavin; yes, it was stimulating to watch her sister filling the role so completely, but the sheer enjoyment that crept into her features cut straight through her facade and made her want her sister all over again. These games of theirs may heighten their lust but in the end, it was the sex that sated it.
"Good, good," Gavin rumbled as he yanked Brigitte to her feet, pinning her shoulders against the wall. But her composure slipped slightly as she said, "Now... I want to take you."
When Elsa heard Anna's needy moan, she knew they wouldn't be doing this much longer. Her sister wanted her, and badly. Sure enough, she felt strong hands pinning her against the door. She heard Anna slip slightly out of character, but Elsa wasn't ready to quit just yet. "Please don't," she whimpered, pushing on the soldier's chest. "Please!"
Emboldened by Elsa's commitment to their play, Anna sneered, "A bit late for that, innit?!" as she pushed the frills of Brigitte's dress up and hastily yanked the undergarment aside to expose her hot, dripping sex. Elsa was positively soaked. Passing her fingers over the slippery skin, she leaned in and pressed her currently-moustached face against that of her lover. "You're so ready. Knew you liked it rough when I first sees you, I did."
Elsa turned her head to the side as though to avoid the sight of the soldier pinning her to the wall. "N-No...!" she gasped. But as Anna's fingers danced over the outside of her heated sex, she couldn't keep her hips from rocking forward into her touch. "Ahhh... G-Gods! No, please!"
"Spit yourself on it." The phallus was up against Elsa's entrance, and Anna waited to see what would happen. Was Elsa going to force her to take her yet more forcefully than they had already done, or would she submit? Again, they stood on a line. Again, they waited to see which of them would drag the other across to which side. "Quick, now."
"NO!" Elsa cried forcefully, giving Anna a firm shove, though the soldier was hardly budged by it at all. "No, I won't!" She was playing her role faithfully; Anna would have to take her forcefully or not at all.
For the barest half-second, Anna seemed saddened, or possibly fearful. Elsa's playacting was so convincing her bottle had seemingly left her. But then, a heartbeat later, a sneaky little look stole over her. It was the same she had been wearing before dripping hot wax on her flesh, the same when she had donned the Ghostfinger costume and stolen in through the window. One that foreshadowed something very interesting was about to take place.
"We'll see about that, luv."
Then Gavin's hips swiveled, though not thrusting the phallus up and into Brigitte. Instead, she merely began to grind against the outside of her, their bodies too close and arranged just so that it would take considerable effort on one of their parts to place the length of it within instead of without.
"N-n-no," Elsa whimpered with arousal and need as she felt Anna drag the length of the phallus along her outer folds, applying just enough pressure to drive her mad with want. Her hips rocked forward involuntarily against the shaft. "Ahh! Oh Gods!"
"They call me that a lot, little bird," Gavin grunted, breathing hotly against Brigitte's cheek. At this point, he was hardly moving at all, letting her do most of the work. Within the husk of the soldier, Anna felt a pleasant ache up against the bindings that held her chest flat, and another, much hotter one at the rear of the facsimile that was grinding against her sister's well-oiled opening. Her voice was filling her bones. Neither of them would hold out much longer at this rate, but she was banking on Elsa breaking first.
Elsa knew that mischievous glimmer in Anna's eye; she was doing her best to push Elsa to her limit, and she could tell that it was working. But Elsa refused to break first. She had a role to play, and she was going to see it through to the end. "Stop it!" she whimpered, though her hips rocked steadily against her sister's. "No! P-p-please..."
'Ooh,' Anna thought as she continued to exert pressure against Elsa's arousal. 'She rose to this challenge admirably! But I really don't know how much longer I can hold out. Time to break out the secret weapon.' Her two hands brought both of Elsa's together until she could trap both wrists under a single palm. Then she trailed the other down the front of her sister's neck and collarbone.
A moan fell from Elsa's lips as Anna's hand drifted down her chest, her fingers dancing enticingly just above her ample cleavage. She couldn't believe Anna hadn't already given in; it was becoming harder and harder for her to wait. Elsa's hips bucked uncontrollably against the leather shaft as she cried. "Please! Please... stop! Let me go! I'll do anything!"
"You know what to do, I'd wager!" Gavin grunted, sounding less and less like a soldier with every thrust. Yet Anna did not yield completely. As she firmly cupped one of Brigitte's ample bosoms, every muscle clenched in pleasure at its feeling. "Come now, luv... just... let me undo your world."
Elsa came undone when she felt Anna's hands groping her breast through the lacy fabric of the dress. Her back arched painfully forward into the soldier's touch, pressing her swollen clit firmly against the leather shaft. "Aaahhh...!" she cried. "A-A-Alright! T-Take me! Take me, please!"
No time was wasted between the word "please" and when Anna bent at the knees just so, but she still couldn't quite manage the angle. Therefore, she dropped her hands to the bottom of Elsa's thighs and slid her up against the door until she was suspended in midair, but she felt her back and legs tremble with the strain. It would have to be a joint effort. "L-legs, luv! Legs!"
Elsa gave a little squeak as she was lifted off the ground. As soon as she was asked, she wrapped both her legs around Anna's waist, squeezing their bodies tightly together. It was just the angle they needed; the shaft that had been pressing against her moments ago now slid inside her effortlessly. She gave a strangled cry as it filled her completely, buried to the hilt inside her.
"Yes!" Gavin grunted. "That's right, that's 'ow we w-want it!" It was almost impossible for Anna to continue the play with Elsa screaming into her that way, with warm droplets sliding along the length of the shaft, past her trousers and down her inner legs. Faster and faster she invaded her, opening her to the world of pleasure again that they had slowly crafted over the past six years. The place she loved to visit frequently and with great expectations each time.
With both of Anna's arms beneath her buttocks to support her weight, Elsa threw her arms around her lover's neck. The soldier didn't waste any time, driving into her mercilessly hard and fast. A passionate scream tore from Elsa's throat. She couldn't maintain their play anymore, and she gave herself over entirely to her pleasure. "AAAAH...! Yes! There! Ohhhh FUCK ME!"
Redoubling her grip on Elsa's backside, Anna upped the pace of her thrusting as high as it would go, her stomach muscles clenching hard, biting nearly through her lip to distract herself from the unbelievable pleasure she was deriving from every last second. Clearly, the end was near. "YES! Yes, Els- Brigitte, you like it up against the wall like this! You like being pinned! Scream for me!"
Elsa was more than happy to scream for her handsome soldier. She gave a long, keening cry as she felt her pleasure rising, rocking her hips forward to meet each of Anna's thrusts. Her hands came up to tangle in Anna's hair. "AAAAAH! Oh, Gods, yes! I'm...I'm...I'm so close! Make me come, PLEASE!"
"I'll make you come, my little crème brûlée! Do it... do it now!" All the exertion was beginning to make Anna feel light-headed, but press on she must. Her own juices were now running down the inside of the trousers. She had hoped not to need laundering them this soon, but accepted it as a distinct possibility, given how said clothes were to be employed. "Explode for me!"
"YESSSNNHHHH!" Elsa shouted desperately, clinging to Anna's hair as she felt her release burst and run over, vibrations of pleasure stabbing through to every part of her body. Each inch of her limbs shook as their movements slowed, little by little, until they were merely panting and leaning against the door. "Gods! Aaaaahh..."
"Mmhh," Anna moaned into Elsa's lips when they collided, intertwining. Several heated seconds later, she pulled back and said, "And now, I might need ye to finish me off, missy."
"O-oh?" Elsa panted, feeling as if a second climax wouldn't be entirely outside the realm of possibility. "Wh-what did you have in m-mi-"
Suddenly the front door of the house flew open, sending Elsa and Anna sprawling backwards across the floor. "MAMA, MOTHER!" called a high-pitched voice. "I got the eggs!"
Clara! In the midst of their passionate game, Elsa had forgotten their daughter was out collecting eggs for tomorrow's breakfast. And here they were, fucking right out in the open, against the front door for heaven's sake!
"The lounge!" Elsa hissed between her teeth, her voice still strained and needy. "The lounge, now!" She pushed Anna towards the love seat beneath the window, throwing a cushion down in her lap to hide the false phallus protruding from her trousers. Elsa, still sitting on the floor, tugged down her dress and smoothed it over her legs.
A split-second later, their little girl came bouncing into the room. Over the past five years, Clara had turned into almost a spitting image of Elsa, with sparkling blue eyes to match her mother's. Only her slightly-rounder nose and somewhat darker hair gave any indication that the child wasn't an exact facsimile of the former queen. Dressed in a little blue dress and apron, she hopped about on the balls of her feet, bouncing excitedly as she beheld her parents. Setting her basket of eggs down on the floor, she plopped down in Elsa's lap and gave her a warm hug.
"Oooh, Mother..." Clara crooned, her fingers toying with the lace on the neckline of the dress. "You look like a pretty princess!" She grinned at Anna, her eyes falling on the many buttons and medals on her jacket. "And Mama, you look like a handsome prince! Are you playing dress-up?"
"Yes!" Elsa exclaimed with a slightly-strained laugh, her face turning red. "We're playing dress-up!"
Clara giggled, a joyous, innocent sound that never failed to set Elsa's heart soaring. She couldn't even think to be mad at her for interrupting their intimate time, even at such a crucial moment. "I like your mustache, Mama," the little girl said sweetly.
"Aww, well th-thank you, Clara!" Anna half-laughed as she furiously tried to think of a way of doing up the front of her trousers while their blessedly-oblivious daughter was still in the room. No such plan presented itself, and so the cushion stayed. As well-used as the faux-organ was before they were interrupted, the pillowcase would have to be laundered, too. "Why don't you tell Mama how your day was? But first, you'd better put those eggs away in the kitchen!"
Clara began bouncing excitedly in Elsa's lap as soon as Anna asked her about her day. The bit about putting the eggs away seemed to go in one ear and out the other. "Oh, Mama, I found a huuuuuuge bug!" she cried, holding her hands at arm's length. "It was THIS BIG!" She paused. "Well... maybe only this big." Her hands came a bit closer together. "But it was huge! I was gonna bring it home but a frog eated it."
Wincing at the thought of the unintentional torture Clara was foisting onto her poor sister in that location, Anna decided it was time to be firm. "Well, I'm sure the frog was very hungry. Now, what do we say about our chores, little miss?"
Clara's face fell, and she gave a little sigh. "Chores before creepy-crawlies..." she grumbled. "Okay, okay." Climbing out of Elsa's lap, grabbing the basket of eggs. "I'll put away the eggs. Then can I play dress-up too?" Elsa gave her a little nod, and Clara's grin returned. "Alright! I'm gonna be the evil wizard!"
They were both still laughing so Clara would hear it in the other room as Anna stood and whipped the trousers down around her knees, undoing the buckles on the harness faster than ever she had. Then she tossed it to Elsa, who had just finished standing up. "Put it away!" she mouthed.
Elsa fumbled with the leather shaft as it was thrown at her. "What!? You put it away!" she cried, tossing it back to Anna. Looking over her shoulder to make sure Clara had gone into the kitchen, she added, "'Crème brûlée'? Really?"
"It's a perfectly French term of endearment!" Anna hissed, looking left and right for anywhere that might make a half-decent hiding spot. Finding none and panicking, she lobbed it back to Elsa again. "And what about you, running for the damn door?! What if Jacques from down the road came by to borrow another sack of flour and saw us streaking around outside, me dressed like... like this?!"
"I wasn't really going to leave the house!" Elsa hissed. "I knew you'd catch me... goddamn it, Anna! Ugh, fine!" Catching the toy and snatching the now-dirty pillow from Anna's lap, she began making her way up the stairs. "I need to find some underwear, anyway..."
Just a few seconds after Elsa disappeared upstairs, Clara bounced back into the room. On her head she wore a tall paper bag that had once held a baguette from the market. "MWAHAHAHA!" she squealed, wiggling her fingers in the air. "I'm an eeeeeevil wizard! Where's my cape, Mama? I can't find it!"
Her laughing very obviously strained to any adult's ears, Anna crouched slightly in front of her daughter and whispered, "But you're a wizard, Clarie! Shouldn't you be able to cast a magic spell and conjure your cape right here?"
Smirking, Claire poked at her Mama's freckled nose and giggled, "Silly Mama! I'm not a real wizard..."
"Looking for this?" said Elsa as she came back down the stairs, holding her old cloak over one shoulder. Since she no longer needed the heavy garment in the warm French summers, she often let Clara wear it to play pretend.
"Yeah!" said Clara, jumping up and down and pointing to the cape. Her Mother fastened the pin around her shoulders, letting the long garment trail on the ground behind Clara as she walked.
"Ooh, and what is your wizard-name?" Anna asked her, trying quite hard to stifle her own laughter. The tiny frame in such a huge garment was the height of comedy, but Clara might be offended by such a reaction.
Clara didn't miss a beat. "I don't have a wizard name!" she replied. "I was always a wizard, Mama! Heehee, look what I can do: Aba...abacab... ABADACADBRA!" The little girl tore the mustache from Anna's face in a flash, jumping out of her reach and holding it up on her own face. "I'm such a powerful wizard, I turned the prince into a young prince!" She giggled maniacally and wiggled her fingers in the air.
"I think it suits her better, Prince Charming," Elsa remarked with a knowing grin.
Anna's theatrical gasp only made Elsa roll her eyes, but it played precisely as their daughter wanted. "You really are an evil fiend! Have you come to steal my princess away from me?! That cannot stand!" Then, quick as a flash, she had snatched up another throw pillow and tossed it with medium force at Clara's belly. "En garde!"
Clara squealed with delight as the pillow hit her, bouncing harmlessly onto the floor. "You'll never defeat me!" she giggled, tossing it right back at Anna with as much force as her little arms could muster.
"Oof!" Anna cried when it connected, windmilling her arms as she toppled back onto the couch. It had been an easy enough lob to dodge, but she wanted to give their little girl the satisfaction of putting one over on her Mama. As she got back to her feet, she noticed the tittering youth was grinning from ear to ear, moustache now hanging askew. It had been worth it. Everything had been worth it. "We'll see about that, Black Wizard Clara!"
As the two people she loved most in the world became occupied with each other, Elsa saw her chance to slip away. "Well, the princess is hungry," she said over her shoulder as she left the room. "And she certainly isn't going to sit around and wait while you two fight over her. I'll be calling you both for dinner in about half an hour, and by then there'd better be a clear winner!"
Expression turning wry, Anna grinned down at her daughter, letting a wicked gleam creep into her eyes. "Very well. Let's see how wizards like yourself magic their hands clean for suppertime! And it had better be a spell that gets under your nails, little miss!"
Elsa smiled over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. Someday Clara was going to realize how ridiculous her Mama was...
About half an hour later, as promised, Elsa called Anna and Clara for a modest dinner of chicken, carrots, and cabbage soup. It had taken Elsa ages to get used to peasant food, and even longer for her to learn to cook without major mishaps. Even now, cooking was a bit of a challenge, so every meal she put on the table was a labor of love.
Clara bounced into the room and climbed into her chair still wearing her wizard costume. "Okay, evil wizard," Elsa said to her. "You can keep your hat, but no mustaches at the table!"
"Ugh, cabbage," Anna whispered. When she saw Elsa's eyebrow begin to raise, she spluttered, "I m-mean, yay, cabbage! It goes with anything!"
Elsa shot Anna a look. Getting Clara to eat her cabbage was hard enough without Anna bad-mouthing it. "Anything and everything!" she replied with forced grin.
There was a moment of silence before Clara chimed, "I don't want to eat my caddage." This mispronunciation had stuck, no matter how many times they corrected her.
"Oh well," Elsa sighed, rolling her eyes and shaking her head. "I suppose Mama and I will have to eat the chocolate pudding all by ourselves, too."
Clara's eyes lit up immediately. "I can eat caddage," she said in a chipper voice. "I love caddage!"
At that, naturally, Anna's ears perked up. "Did... you say a pudding? But, but we haven't had chocolate in this house in..." With no further hesitation, she picked up a spoon and began forcing down the mild, pungent broth as hurriedly as she could manage.
After a good bit of playing with the food, Clara managed to eat the majority of her dinner, including all of her soup. She and Anna looked equally excited about the promise of chocolate after their meal.
"The cocoa was half price at the market today," Elsa said conspiratorially as she stood from her chair and crossed to the ice box. "Honestly, I got the impression the gypsies stole it and they were trying to get rid of it quickly... and anyway, I thought, we have a lot of milk at the house that needs to be used up..."
"You don't need an excuse for chocolate, Mother!" Clara giggled.
Elsa placed the chilled bowl of chocolate pudding on the table almost reverently. Though she made light of it, Anna was right; it had been ages since they'd had chocolate in the house. "Ah-ah-ah! Don't you dare stick your fingers in that bowl, young lady!" she scolded Clara as her little hands began creeping forward. "We use spoons in this house, remember?"
"She would probably just let you pour it down her throat," Anna giggled. As she took the small saucer of pudding Elsa offered, she started and said, "By the way, Francois says he'd like more of your ice for his restaurant. Ten pounds. He doesn't need it for two more days, though."
A smirk crept into Elsa's face. "Well, I suppose you'll have to stay inside for the weekend, so we can tell him you hiked up the mountain to get it." She kissed Anna's cheek before sitting down with her own saucer of pudding. "Which means you get to clean the house while I take care of the farm."
"Oh, joy," Anna replied without enthusiasm.
"Ooh, Mother, do the dessert trick!" Clara begged, tugging at her mother's sleeve. Elsa pointed a finger at Clara's pudding, making a thin layer of powdery, sugar-like frost on top of it. She did Anna's next, and then her own.
Anna pursed her lips, but conceded; this was the cost of being a magical family in a region that was blissfully ignorant of anything remotely arcane. "Very well. But I expect to be... compensated." And with that, she dug into the frozen crust atop her treat. Either way, she couldn't be too angry with her sister; chocolate healed all wounds.
"You shall be duly compensated," Elsa replied, her ultra-formal tone belying their true meaning. It all went right over Clara's head, of course; the little girl hardly cared what her parents were doing when there was chocolate to be eaten.
After dessert, Elsa left Anna to do the dishes while she gave Clara a bath. Dish duty alternated based on whoever Clara preferred bathe her that day, and on this particular evening, fortune favored Elsa. She cleaned her little girl from head to toe, washing away layers of dirt and pudding, and tucked her into bed with her stuffed cat.
The former queen returned to her own bedroom half expecting to find Anna naked and waiting for her. Instead she found her sister asleep face-down on the bed, still wearing the undershirt and trousers from her army uniform. Elsa considered waking her up, but then she thought better of it. Anna worked hard every day to make a better living for them; if she wanted to sleep in her clothes, Elsa considered it her prerogative as "man" of the house.
"My poor, tired husband," she mused softly as she slipped from her dress and laid down beside Anna on top of the covers. It was too hot of a night to sleep beneath the sheets, anyway.
As she huddled close against her sister's sleeping form, Elsa marveled silently at how much their lives had changed. Their lives as royalty almost felt like a distant, hazy dream now. Though she sometimes missed the life of ease she left behind, and despite the guilt that still gnawed at her heart for abandoning her kingdom, Elsa never regretted her choice to leave Arendelle. Nights like tonight, folded in the arms of her lover or gazing into the laughing eyes of her daughter, reminded her that it had all been worth every trial and heartache.
Elsa had very nearly drifted off when she heard a dreamy whisper. "Goodnight, Your Majesty."
~ THE END
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