Chapter 12: It's Christmas!
I had no idea what I said, but now they're looking at me like I'm some sort of lunatic or something.
"Are you serious?" Anna asked.
"Apparently," I said not really knowing how to answer.
"You've never celebrated Christmas?" Elsa asked sounding just as surprised.
"I'm assuming it's some sort of holiday." I said, "Nobody is really answering my question, what exactly is Christmas?"
Agdar decided to speak up, "When you were in your home town did you ever have any winter celebrations involving giving gifts and bright decorations?"
I thought for a minute, "No, we don't have many holidays where I'm from. Some of the holidays we do have I'd rather not relive."
The royal family shared glances before Anna spoke, "Papa, why don't you get to know Zander a little better? So he can help you catch up on more recent events." Agdar nodded and he and I left the room leaving Kristoff alone with the girls.
When they were out of sight I turned to the others, "Did you hear that? Zander has never celebrated Christmas his entire life."
Elsa raised a hand slightly, "Well maybe Christmas isn't celebrated where he lives."
Mama decided to speak, "I don't think that's the case." Everyone turned to look at her, "Well when I first met Zander he said his father kept him locked away from the world. Maybe Zander's just never been introduced to Christmas."
Kristoff nodded, "Yeah I remember him saying that."
"Well, maybe we should make sure his first is one to remember." I said.
"How?" Olaf asked coming into the room, and also scaring Mama.
"W-w-what is that?" she asked.
Olaf smiled, "Hi I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs." Mama looked at me and Elsa.
"Elsa made him with her ice powers," I explained simply, "Okay here's the plan."
"So Adgar," I said, "Is there anything you need to know about me?" we were currently in one of the smaller rooms of the castle near the kitchen with some mugs of glogg on a small table next to us.
"A lot actually," Agdar admitted, "But for right now I'll just ask two things." I nodded, "You've told me about your father, but what about your mother, was she like your father?"
I thought for a minute, "No, she wasn't. She was actually concerned for me, she didn't agree with keeping me locked away sometimes, she was just scared of what people would think of me if my secret got out."
"What happened to her?" he asked catching the fact that I was using past tense.
"I'm not sure, there was an accident that killed my father, I can only assume she was killed in it too, but my memory of the accident is still a little fuzzy." I explained, "What is your second question?" I said raising the mug to my lips and taking a drink.
I think Agdar was trying not to smile, "Are you in love with my daughter?" I choked on my glogg and coughed some flames leaving my mouth.
"What?" I asked in a shocked tone my face heating up a bit.
"Are you in love with Elsa?" he asked again.
"Sir I don't think that's an appropriate question," I said.
"Don't try changing the subject," Agdar said, he's as good as Anna, it's probably where she got it from. "I've seen the way you look at her so don't bother lying."
I sighed, "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't attracted to your daughter."
He smiled, "There was that so hard?" he said. I'm beginning to wonder if he was enjoying this, "So what is it about my daughter you find attractive?" oh yeah he's definitely enjoying this.
"Are you serious?" I asked.
"I'm just curious is all," he said, "I'll admit Elsa has grown to be a beautiful girl, I just want to know what caught your eye." I can't believe I'm having this conversation with Elsa's father.
Sighing I answered, "Her face." He looked at me with interest as if wondering why I answered that. "She has a face that seems too beautiful to be human, the way her hair falls perfectly onto her shoulder, her eyes are the prettiest shade of blue I've seen in my life, and her smile… as if you couldn't ask for anything more enchanting. I sometimes question how she can have ice powers, when she never fails to make my insides melt."
Agdar smiled, "You really care for her?" I nodded, "Would you protect her?"
"With my life." I answered without hesitation.
"Good," he said, "And for future reference, you have my permission to court my daughter." Is he serious? "Yes I'm serious." He said with a chuckle and I realized I said that out loud. "So you don't know what Christmas is?" I shook my head, "Well to put it simply, it's a time for family friends to get together and give each other gifts to show that you consider them part of your family."
"Hm, I can see why my family never celebrated it." I remarked.
We spent the next little bit talking, mainly about the army and other 'man' stuff. After I don't know how long Anna came in, "Hey Anna what's up?"
She smiled, "I'm going Christmas shopping, and you're coming with me." Oh crap.
Shopping is torture, shopping with a girl is a slow and painful death, shopping with Anna is hell on Earth. Don't get me wrong spending time with her was fun… for the first ten minutes, but Anna is horrible at making up her mind. I wonder if she ever got lost trying to find her way up the North Mountain. No probably not. She'd never decide which way she would've wanted to go.
"Zander?" Anna said bringing me out of my thoughts, "What do you think Olaf would like?"
I shrugged, "Something to do with summer I would guess." One of the days I was watching over Elsa Olaf came in and sang his 'Summer' song to try and cheer Elsa up, so I'm guessing he really likes summer.
"Good idea," Anna said.
It took several hours, but Anna was finally satisfied with what she had, I told her I would prefer to get my presents alone so it could be a surprise, that and so that Anna would tell everyone what I got. She thought it was a good idea and left me alone. I knew what I want to give them, but it wasn't stuff I was going to buy, it was stuff I was going to make.
I was getting worried, about several things. The upcoming war, if what Hans did to me made me… I can't even bring myself to think it, and I'm worried about Zander. I can't explain it, but something is bothering him. the next time we're alone I'm going to ask him about it.
"Elsa," Anna said lightly startling me, "Zander's back, just thought I'd let you know." Maybe this could be my chance.
This fire mastery is really helping me work faster, my presents were done in a few hours instead of a couple days. When I came through the castle gates I said 'Hi' to Anna, she returned the greeting and left the area. I decided to wander the halls finding nothing else to do. I saw the servants handing several decorations, their colors were mainly red and green, and occasionally white. I saw that they were setting up several candles as well. So whenever they would leave a candle. I would light it with a flick of my finger.
"Zander?" I jumped and some of the flames on the candles increased in size. I turned around and saw Elsa trying to hold back a laugh. "What are you doing?" she said trying to hold back a laugh.
"Lighting candles," I said, "I got bored. Do you know where they library is?"
She nodded, "Why?"
"I need something to do," I said, "And I get the feeling you have something important to talk to me about." She nodded.
The library was bigger than I expected, but it wasn't ginormous either. I walked to an ornate table with two chairs pushed next to it, I walked over and pulled a chair out for Elsa, "Quite the gentleman aren't you?"
Chuckled I walked to the other seat, "Your praise is greatly appreciated your majesty." I sat down, "So what is it?"
Elsa was silent before answering, "Are you okay?"
I raised an eyebrow, "Are you?" I asked.
"Zander I'm serious." Elsa said.
"So am I," I said, "Whether or not I'm okay depends on how okay you are." Elsa looked down a blush dusting her cheeks, "Elsa if you're worried about what bothering me, it that I'm worried about what's bothering you. You're hiding something from me, you're hiding something from everyone. I don't want you to think you can solve everything by yourself, I'm here for you." Elsa didn't say anything. I looked down, c'mon Zander think, think of something anything… I got it!
I stood up and walked closer to Elsa and held out a hand. She looked at me curiously, "Do you want to dance?"
Elsa looked surprised, "But there's no music." She said but took my hand. I pulled her up from the chair.
"Do you need any to dance?" I asked, "Besides," I said before pulling her close, "You're all the music I'll ever need." I started to lead her around the room in a slow dance. After a bit I spun her around to that she was dancing with her back against almost touching my chest. we danced a bit like that and I twirled her around again so that she was facing me again and I stopped when I notice now close she was. She stared into my eyes and stared back into hers. Elsa started to lean in and I did too. I was positive that we were going to kiss, but then there was a knock at the door.
We jumped away from each other blushing madly and we heard Olaf's voice, "Are you guys in there?"
"Yes, we are," I said, "We better get out there." Elsa nodded, but there was still that look in her eyes and I sensed… disappointment? Elsa was the first to leave the room and I stayed behind. Xant said I needed to brush up on my history, might as well start now.
What just happened? Did Zander and I really almost… kiss? I was silently cursing Olaf for ruining the moment. I looked back into the library and saw Zander pick up a book and begin to read it. He was such an interesting person. I just couldn't figure out what to get for Christmas. I thought for a minute before getting an idea. Maybe Ithilagar could give me an idea. He usually hangs out in Zander's forge. I turned around and walked toward the entrance.
A few days passed and what the others seemed to call Christmas Eve arrived. There were several decorations put up, along with an enormous pine, or was it spruce, in the main ballroom that was being decorated. I was in my forge putting the finishing touches on my gifts. "So I take it you aren't ever going back to that fortress you made." Ithilagar said coming into the forge.
I shrugged, "I might visit there every now and then, but for now I'm needed here."
"Meaning you don't want to leave your girlfriend Elsa." Ithilagar teased.
My face heated up, "She's not my girlfriend." I said.
"But you wish she was." Ithilagar said and I didn't answer. I just turned back to what I was working on. "Look I've been doing a bit of research on Christmas, and apparently it's also a time for love. This can be part of your present to her. Take her somewhere special give her your gift and tell her how you feel. What's the worst that could happen? Don't answer that." I closed my mouth not saying what I was going to. "How does she make you feel?"
I sat down, "I feel like I'm sick, I feel awful… and wonderful. Then wonderfully awful and at the same time awfully wonderful. I can't stop thinking about her, I can't eat can't sleep. When I'm around it hurts to breathe and yet I don't care."
Ithilagar chuckled, "You definitely have it bad," He said, "well if you're that much in love with her I think you better start planning." He added before walking back into the forge. He had practically taken over the place.
"Well… I better start planning." I said getting to work.
I was up until late planning and finishing up and when I got back it was dark. I made my way to my room, when I got into it I took off my vest and boots and fell onto the bed falling asleep almost instantly.
"It's Christmas!" that phrase kept repeating in my head over and over and over, I was extremely excited. It was our first Christmas with Zander, Oaf, Kristoff, and the whole family was back together again, and this was my first Christmas with Elsa in years. I almost couldn't wait for the others to wake up. Good thing they're early risers, all of them accept Zander. He was the last person they were waiting for. Deciding I had waited long enough I went to his room to wake him up.
When I came into his room I had to stifle a giggle. Zander was on his bed in a curled up position and was slightly snoring. I almost forgot what I came in here to do, almost. I walked over to Zander's bed, so how should I wake him up? "C'mon Zander wake up."
He stirred a little, "Five more minutes," he mumbled and I giggled.
"Alright fine," I said, "I'll just tell Elsa she'll have to talk to you later." As if someone dropped water on him he sat up.
"What?" he said any evidence that he was asleep was gone.
"Oh great you're awake," I said, "C'mon Zander it's Christmas you have to get up."
Zander sighed, "Okay I'm coming." I squealed, grabbed his arm and practically dragged him off his bed and out of the room.
Man Anna is stronger than she looks, well it certainly explained the power of her bone-crushing hugs, "Okay Anna wait, just let me get my gifts." She let go of me and I grabbed the badly wrapped gifts from under my bed. Seeing my wrapping job she tried to hold back a giggle.
"You know," she said, "You could've asked for help."
I looked at her like she was nuts, "And ruin the surprise, no way."
Anna led me to the ballroom where the large Christmas Tree was, where everyone was waiting for us. "You guys were waiting for me?" I asked.
Kristoff shrugged, "We had no choice, you just wouldn't wake up."
I rolled my eyes, "Well I wasn't aware that I'd be getting an unexpected wake-up call from Anna, otherwise I wouldn't have worked so late preparing these." I said holding up the gifts. "Well why don't start handing out these gifts so we can start this unknown holiday started." Everyone agreed, Anna especially.
Before we could get started Olaf pointed something out, "Hey guys, what's that plant hanging over Zander and Anna?" Anna and I looked up and saw a leafy plant with white berries on it.
"Yeah what is it?" I asked curiously.
Anna blushed and suddenly became shy or maybe it was embarrassed, "Its mistletoe, it a Christmas tradition that if a boy and a girl stand under it. They have to…"
"Have to what?" I asked.
"They have to…" she started, and she blushed even harder when she said the next part, "kiss." Now it was my turn to blush, "Well, we can't break the tradition." Anna said looking up at me.
No we couldn't, but we could avoid it. I had an idea. My nose started to twitch and I started to take in small breaths that were getting louder. Right when Anna was about to ask me what was wrong I threw my hands to my mouth, "ACHOO!" Flames came out of the small opening I made and the flames turned the mistletoe to ash, "Sorry it must be dusty in here." I looked up and the remains of the plant, "Whoops, well now that is gone I guess we can continue with the gift giving." When everyone turned around and started to walk away Anna looked at me and I gave her a wink. She nodded and mouthed 'Thank you.'
I felt incredibly relieved when Zander accidently burned that mistletoe, the thought of Zander kissing another girl filled me with jealousy. He's not your boyfriend Elsa why are you jealous... because I want him to be with me.
Everyone gathered at the base of the tree where several presents were passed around. I got some chocolate from Anna, no surprise there. Olaf got me a crown a flowers he made himself, how he got the flowers I have no idea, maybe Elsa made him some special ice flowers or something like that. Kristoff gave me a pick just in case I needed to mine my own materials.
Several more presents were passed around and soon it was my turn. "Okay Olaf, I don't think a snowman isn't an official snowman until he has a scarf." You said handing him a red scarf.
Giving a joyful sound he wrapped the scarf around his neck, "Its so warm, how do I look?" he said.
Anna giggled, "A lot more huggable." Olaf seemed to like the scarf even more after hearing that.
"Anna," she looked at me as I tossed her the present, "sorry if it's a bad color." She unwrapped it.
"A… leather dress." She asked confused.
"Well sort of, I need you to try it on to make sure it fits." I said and she walked out of the room. Everyone was giving me strange looks. "Just trust me."
Anna came back a few minutes later wearing the poorly made black floor length leather dress, with a cape on her shoulders, "Well is sort of fits, but I don't think I can wear this." I could tell she didn't like it, now.
"You might want to hold still." I said she was about to question, but I shot my hand forward and the dress started to catch on fire.
"What are you doing?!" Everyone shouted.
"Just trust me and don't move." I said as I focused the fire to spread and only affect the dress and the cape on her shoulders. I altered the leather creating the design in my mind. When I felt like it was finished I pulled my hand back and the flames retracted into my hand. What the flames revealed underneath the dress amazed everyone.
"What happened?" Anna asked, "My dress seems to fit a little better, and why are you staring at me like that?"
I smiled, "You might want to take a look in the mirror." Else formed Anna a mirror with her ice powers and Anna gasped.
The leather dress had been transformed into her winter dress, but with a different color scheme. The cape was row red with a trim a darker shade of red. The sleeves of the dress were a light fire orange, the blouse of the dress was black and was edged with gold on the top and bottom. Decorating the blouse were red flowered vine-like designs on it. The skirt of the dress was the same shade of red as her cape.
Anna looked down at the dress and gave a slight twirl, "Do you like it now?" I asked with a playful smile.
Anna giggled, "I love it!" she said, "I mean it's beautiful, and it's so snug and warm."
"It should be," I said, "it was made from magic fire."
Anna gave be a hug, "Thanks Zander."
I pulled away from the hug, "You're welcome, but considering what happening to you I don't suggest you where that, or it might not fit as well." Anna nodded the smile never leaving her face, "Now Kristoff," I started, "I thought getting you and Sven small separate gifts just wouldn't be enough, so I decided to give both of you one big gift to share. If you would please follow me."
I lead Kristoff and the rest of the group were a large section of my forge was out in the open with a roof over it. Taking up a lot of the space was something covering by a large sheet. "I believe I owe you something because of something to do with recent events." I said while pulling off the sheet to reveal Ithilagar sitting in a large and sleek dark grey sled.
Kristoff was definitely surprised, "Are you serious?"
I smiled, "You're going to be the first person to ride around in a Zander Original. No a speck of wood so there's no chance of it burning again."
"Wait, I'm confused," Anna said, "if it's not wood, what's it made of?"
"It's a secret." Ithilagar said, "Why don't we take it for a little ride around Arendelle?" Kristoff, Anna, Olaf, Agdar and Idun started to climb in.
"It even has cup holders," Kristoff said clearing liking the sled more with each passing minute. I helped strap Sven to it.
"You coming Elsa?" Anna asked.
She shook her head politely, "No, it looks a little crowded in there. Plus I know from past experience that Kristoff's driving doesn't really agree with me that well."
"Oh… yeah," Anna said seeming to remember a not so cherished memory, "what about you Zander?"
I considered it, but then I remembered something, "I think I'll stay here and keep Elsa company."
Anna smiled, "Okay just try not to have too much fun." My cheeks heated up and I'm sure Elsa's did too as Kristoff urged Sven to move.
When the sled was out of sight Elsa turned to me, "S-sorry about that." I found myself smiling finding her stammering cute.
"It's alright," I said, "Elsa, if you didn't notice. I still haven't given you your present."
I almost lit up when he mentioned my present. I was almost beginning to think he didn't get me one. What are you think Elsa of course he got you a present. "Well that's good, because I still have to give you my present."
He smiled and I felt my heart beat faster, ever since we dance and almost kissed in the library I could barely keep myself calm when I was around him, if Anna was around she would say I was in love, and I would deny it even though I knew she was right.
I turned around so he wouldn't see my blush, "Just give me a few minutes while I go get your gift." I said walking back to the castle.
When Elsa came back I led her to the garden with the frozen lake. "Still as beautiful as ever," Elsa said looking at the snow covered area.
"Yeah, beautiful." I said, but my gaze was more focused on Elsa. She slightly glanced over at me before shyly turning away her cheeks going a little pink, "So do you want to go first?"
She nodded, "While you were studying in the library, I stopped by your forge." She said revealing a long gift wrapped in a white cloth.
I raised an eyebrow, "You got me one of my own swords?" I asked unwrapping the cloth, it was soft and cold… like snow, "Did you make this cloth with your powers?"
She smiled, "Yes I did, and as for the sword… not exactly. I took one of your swords and made some changes." I fully unwrapped it and it was indeed a sword. A bastard sword- wait this was the titanium sword I turned into dark metal. So how was it different?
It was in a white scabbard with ice blue designs on it, the dark grey with was now silver in color and the leather wrapping around the grip was white. I grabbed the grip and unsheathed the blade. The blade was now silver in color and the pulsing veins of red were now blue.
"Whoa," I said, "and I thought my work was good."
Elsa blushed and looked down, "All I did was use my powers on it, it was Ithilagar's idea."
I ran a finger down the blade, "Well this is probably the best gift I've ever been given." I looked down at the cloth, "Wait a second," I said extended the cloth, "Is this a cape?"
She nodded, "I thought it would be better considering you keep having to put out your flaming cape." I chuckled and started to put the cape around my shoulders. I was having a little trouble with the clip, "Here let me help." She said stepping closer and fastening the clip.
"Yeah thanks," I said and looked up only to see how close Elsa was. She must've noticed it too because she jumped back a little. "You know, I think I look good in white."
She looked me over, "Yeah, you do actually." I felt my cheeks burn a bit. I almost forgot about my present- wait my present.
"Almost forgot," I said pulling out Elsa's gift, "I hope you like it."
I looked down at his gift. It was in a small bag, I reached inside it and felt something. I pulled it out and my eyes widened. It was a necklace it was a silver chain connected to a locket. The locket was heart-shaped and made of silver with small strings of gold outlining it. In the center of the heart was a small star sapphire with a white snowflake on it.
"Zander… it's beautiful," I said in awe putting it on.
"Look inside, it opens." Zander said. I looked at the locket and put it into my hands and found where it opened. There was an inscription on the inside. I read it out loud.
"'I thought I knew nothing about true love,'" I started, I looked at the next part and felt my heart flutter, "'that changed after I met you.'" I looked up at Zander.
I saw several things in Elsa's eyes, I could also sense some things going in. She was mainly shocked and that was really all I could detect, but there was something else in her eyes as well, "Do you really mean that?"
This was it, I'm going to tell her. "Yeah I do. With the life that I've lived I didn't really understand what it meant to love." I said, "Living on the run being judged because of the damage I caused, you and the rest of the gang helped me find a home in Arendelle. The first time I saw you I felt something. I didn't know what it was at the time, and the more time I spent with you, the more I got to know you the stronger that feeling got." As I kept talking I could see Elsa was listening more closely, "When Hans kidnapped you my world was almost crushed and after I saved you I finally found out what that feeling was."
"What?" she asked. I smiled, put the sword down and grabbed one of her hands.
"The feeling you discovered that would thaw your ice," I said, "I love you Elsa." Tears started to well up in her eyes. I thought they were tears of sadness, but I would've sensed it.
She stepped forward and started to wrap her arms around my neck, "I never thought you would say that to me," she said before blushing, "but I always hoped you would." Then she pulled me down and kissed me.
Neither Zander nor Elsa could describe the feeling the kiss gave them. Elsa felt a comforting warmth spread throughout her body, Zander felt a slight chill, but a refreshing one like when you feel a cool breeze of a very hot day. Elsa tilted her head and tightened her grip on Zander's neck deepening the kiss. Zander wrapped his hands around Elsa's waist.
After a while the two separated their foreheads leaning against each other, "Wow," Zander said.
"That was…" Elsa said slightly breathless from the kiss.
"Amazing." They both said simultaneously and they both laughed a little.
"So… I guess this means you're okay with me courting you?" Zander asked.
Elsa smiled, "I'm more than okay with it." she said before pulling Zander down for another kiss.
I thought about going straight to Arendelle, but I didn't think Zander would believe me. So I decided to look for the proof. It took me days, but I finally found her, "You can take me to see him?" she asked when I explained my plan. "Personally I never thought anyone would find me."
I nodded, "You underestimate my skills, a grave mistake." I said with a smirk
She looked down, "I don't think he'll be happy to see me."
I sighed, "I looked deep into Zander's soul, he feels confused about it, but he knows that you weren't responsible to how he was raised."
She looked at me and then nodded, "Okay, I'll go."
"Good, they always agree in the end," I said adding a laugh, "but you really have nothing to worry about. I'm sure he'll be excited to see his mother again."