Kristoff grinned as he watched his wife spinning around gracefully in front of him, the skirt of her dress flying up slightly in the air, and her hair had been pulled up into its normal formal style. She was wearing a bottle-green gown which was similar in design to the one she'd worn for her sister's coronation, and the corset top emphasized her perfect figure; from his position in the doorway, Kristoff had to look away quickly before he lost his mind to other, rather more inappropriate thoughts.
Coughing to get his wife's attention, he waited patiently as Anna turned to face him, and she blushed slightly when she noticed that he'd been watching her. Smiling sheepishly, she headed over to him and placed her hand gently on his arm, and she giggled excitedly.
"Don't you look... Ravishing!" She said as he began to escort her out of the room, having to pause for a second to search for the right word to describe his appearance. "You can complain all you want, but you really do look handsome in uniform."
Kristoff chuckled. "Am I not handsome without it then?" He teased, and Anna rolled her eyes at him as she winked mischievously at the man, snuggling closer to him as she progressed down the halls.
This night was going to be amazing, Anna knew it, but she could feel that deep down, it wasn't just because she was excited for the ball she was heading to now. Something was going to happen and, for a change, it was going to be a good development.
The young Queen sighed, as she looked out of the window at the street below, where crowds were beginning to gather, as people put up tables covered with cheeses, fish - including one massive smoked eel - , breads, and other delectable snacks to be eaten that night.
Ever since she had returned home to her parents after Gothel's death, Rapunzel had quickly come to understand that having a street buffet was a traditional custom for the people of Corona on New Year's Eve. On the night, the people would all meet in the courtyard outside the castle, and would watch the largest clock in the kingdom for the hour to sound, and when it did, everyone would tuck into a delicious midnight feast. Every attendant of the celebration contributed something - Rapunzel, adamant that she would not simply watch from the side lines like her parents used to, had made a chicken pie for the occasion - and even the littlest children had fun making cookies or other simple cakes to offer up.
She shivered slightly as a cold evening wind wrapped its chilling tendrils around her, making her desperately crave the sun's return, and she pulled her cloak more tightly around her body, her teeth chattering slightly. She felt a greatsense of relief when a warm pair of arms snaked around her waist and drew her backwards into the comforting warmth of her husband's body.
"Hey, Blondie. What're you thinking?" Eugene's voice was smooth and soft as it drifted across the cool night air, and Rapunzel felt strangely comforted by the sound, although she couldn't tell why. She assumed it was just some strange twist of pregnancy.
"We need to go and see Anna and Elsa, and everyone over in Arendelle. We need to thank them properly for their help, and we still need to announce that we're having a kid."
Eugene opened his mouth, but Rapunzel just glared at him, predicting what was coming.
"No, before you say anything, I will not send them a letter to say that I'm pregnant!" She snapped, glaring, "This is life changing news and I want to tell them in person! Besides, I haven't seen them in ages and I'll get separation anxiety if I don't see them soon!"
Eugene raised his eyebrows, but, after a few seconds of staring off at his wife, he sighed, rolling his eyes.
"Fine, fine. I don't mind going to Arendelle, so long as it's after the new year... Deal?"
Rapunzel looked ecstatic, as she bounced around and then stood on her tip-toes to kiss him, losing her scowl instantly.
"Thanks, Ryder," She teased, and he chuckled as he managed to swipe her crown. It was too easy sometimes, and after sleeping in the stables the other day, he felt strangely determined to actually snatch her crown. At least then it would be worth it, although sleeping in his own room was preferable. Maybe he'd be able to get away with it again...
In the end, Rapunzel didn't notice it was missing until the following morning anyway, thank God, so Eugene got off unscathed. He was rather pleased with himself, he had to admit.
Elsa grinned as she watched the approaching mass of land, feeling her heart fluttering with both excitement and nervousness. Freddie was laying quietly in her arms, sucking his fist vigorously as if he could sense his mother's elated emotions, and he was making soft, contented grunts every now and then, which made the woman holding him smile.
Elsa's head shot away from the window as she heard the door creaking open, and her eyes sparkled as she saw Odd entering with a little child following slowly behind. She smiled as she patted the seat next to her, offering for Mia and her husband to sit down, and she felt a triumphant sense of happiness as the young Princess did - timidly - rest next to her.
"Hey, Sweetie," she greeted warmly, but slowly, carefully. Over the past five days, with a lot of care and patience, Mia had slowly began to feel a little more relaxed around Odd and her Aunt, but it wasn't easy for her. Most of the time, she locked herself away in a small closet, in which she'd made herself a bed from clothes and small blankets that she found. There had been a bed made up for the child in Ida's small cabin, but she had broken into tears when the gentle maid had tried to get her to settle down in the same room as her, and had quickly run off.
Still though, after all she'd been through, no one could judge her. They just let her deal with things on her own, and in doing so, Mia had begun to slowly appreciate that they respected her and her privacy; the veil which hid her from everyone still remained, but no-one was going to make her remove it until she was ready to come out into the open once again.
"Are you okay, Sweetheart?" Elsa asked gently, and the young girl nodded slowly, whimpering slightly, but not making any move to run off, either; a good sign, so the Queen continued on with a touch more confidence. "Mia, you know that we are bringing you home, yes?"
Once again, she just nodded.
"Well... I want to tell you something," She began, and Odd sent her a warning glance, telling her to be careful about what she said. Elsa understood his reasoning - one wrong word, and all their work with gaining Mia's confidence over the last few days would have gone to waste. "Well, when we get back, your Mummy and Daddy will be there... I just need you to trust them, Sweetie. I promise you that they won't hurt you."
Mia whimpered again and slowly pushed herself off of the sofa, sitting down again on the floor a way away. Most people may not have minded much, but Elsa and Odd knew the significance of the gesture; though she still had some faith, if not much, in her family, the new revelation that she'd have to actually go near her parents seemed to break her resolve. Elsa couldn't help but wonder if she'd ever be able to trust them enough again to confide in them. Such traumatic events at such a young age would undoubtedly be ingrained into her mind now, and it would probably be instinctive for her to be wary as a result.
"I'm sorry, Sweetie..." Elsa began, but Odd shook his head at her quickly, and she grew quiet. She knew that her husband could understand the little girl on a much more personal level then she could - she was not going to argue with his reasoning, considering that he had been through tormented in a similar way as a child (although for much, much longer than Mia had).
Slowly, he stood up, and he tried not to look at his niece as he passed her, walking over to the chest of drawers, opening the second drawer from the top, and he pulled out a large glass jar, filled with a soft, pink sweet, covered in sugar - Turkish Delight.
Coming back to the couch, he sat down next to Elsa, and placed the candy in-between them, taking one out and cautiously extending his hand to his niece, leaning forward so that she didn't have to move much to get it. Mia looked at him with a frown, her eyes shining with suspicion, but she was still her mother's daughter, and she slowly reached out to take the sugary treat.
Holding it warily in-between her fingers, she sniffed it slowly, then tentatively licked it, testing. The sweetness coated her tongue and numbed her with a wave of pleasure, and she softly placed it upon her tongue, letting it rest there, before she closed her mouth and began to chew.
A small smile graced her lips as she scooted a little closer, and she opened her mouth as if waiting for more - the gesture made Elsa's heart melt, as she saw the girl acting like a normal toddler again, without the scars of trauma.
Taking one out herself, she copied Odd as she slowly offered it to Mia, who took the sweet and ate it with more confidence this time. It was strange, to be treating her almost like a skittish animal, but she didn't want to scare her.
Over the next twenty minutes, Mia slowly worked her way through the jar, and in the end, she felt rather full up and a little queasy. She eventually snuggled up on the floor next to Elsa and Odd's feet, and though she didn't quite trust them enough to curl up on the sofa with them, the fact that she'd actually gained enough faith in them that she could sleep in the same room - that, or the fact that she was too drowsy from her full stomach to notice - helped make the Queen and her consort feel a sense of relief.
There was still hope for the little Princess.
Anna grinned as Kristoff spun her around, dipping her as the song finished and the crowd clapped. His movements were anything but graceful, and he had nearly stepped on her feet multiple times, but being able to dance with him at a ball was something the Princess relished in. Normally, he would refuse - perhaps he was just having a strange day?
"Thanks, Kris," She whispered as she stood up straighter again, and her stomach growled in protest at not being fed. She giggled as she dragged her husband over to the snack table, helping herself to a sausage roll and and a rather delicious slice of chocolate cake - chocolate orange, in fact.
Glancing out of the window as she ate her treats, she frowned when she saw a black blob against the horizon, and then gasped as the doors to the ballroom were flung open by a very frantic looking Sven and Seier, both making a hell of a racket.
"What is it, bud- A ship!" Kristoff exclaimed, translating Sven's bleats, and he grabbed hold of his wife quickly, rushing over and jumping on, making Anna squeal in surprise. The guests simply watched with gob-smacked expressions as their Prince and Princess shot off, and then quickly began to follow after them in a mob of people, excited as to what was going on.
The stars twinkled overhead as Sven skidded to a stop at the docks, and Seier crashed into his legs clumsily as he let out a loud yelp. Lysse was not far behind either, and the little reindeer calf came crashing through the streets, somehow managing to scream in happy anticipation louder than anyone else.
Anna pulled a light pink poncho - offered to her by a sympathetic woman who saw her shivers - around her body tightly to help battle the cold night air, and she frowned as she watched the ship - no, ships - approaching, and then a massive grin broke onto her face.