The Snow Queen and the FireHeart

Aberrant Cause

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Aberrant Cause

Anna stood silently, staring at Elsa. Her sister felt the weight of those eyes and frowned, her attention timid and her hands twisted into one another at her waist. Although she should have appeared confident in her reasoning, there was a clear lack of conviction in her decision, something that didn't bode well for her attempts to sway her. In that awkward silence, Anna's eyes would shift over to Yasha, who stood near her and looked equally discomforted to be under their weight. Incredulous and wanting to verify if she were actually hearing the proposal correctly, she looked over to Kristoff, but his look of stupor only confirmed the fact that it was exactly as she had heard. She then looked back to the two standing before her, a scolding expression on her face and her mouth still hanging open. It took her several moments to even know where to begin, though she inevitably went straight to Yasha.

"So let me get this right. You want to take my sister, the one that you've sworn to kill, alone, back to your kingdom, where they will supposedly kill you on sight, sneak her into a giant volcano where this FireHeart is and have her freeze it, which is exactly why your kooky king sent you to kill her in the first place?"

He listened to her entire rant with a neutral expression.

"Yes," he answered candidly.

Anna was floored. "Uhm, no?" she sang just as candidly. He appeared to have expected such a response and that angered her as much as anything. As she was seething at him, she turned her attention back to Elsa, her concerns becoming much more intimate, though not losing any of their edge. "You can't seriously be thinking about this. It's insane! I mean, I can't find any part of it that even remotely sounds like a good idea. When I wanted you to work out your issues, this isn't what I had in mind!" There was obvious doubt in Elsa's face and she had no idea what was really compelling her to push forward, as she agreed with everything that Anna was saying. Secretly, she felt like someone else was standing there and trying to appeal to her about the plan, while her watching from a distance. As she tried to convince herself of the choice she had already made, she suspected that aside from the noble purpose of saving Yasha's people, a part of her had latched onto the fact that like her, he was touched by extraordinary magic, and that even though she had nothing but scorn for him, that forged some kind of strange connection between them. There was curiosity at how he grew up living with his powers, where they came from and if they isolated him from the world as they had for her.

In him, she was secretly hoping to answer some of the questions that she had for herself, though she was unsure if that was reason enough to go forward with his proposal.

"If freezing this FireHeart will help his people as he claims, and it stops him from coming after us, then I think it's worth the risk. Besides, although he's still dangerous, I think we've settled whose magic is stronger," she explained, a bit of superiority flaring up in her voice.

As if appreciating the sassy side of her, a smirk crossed his face.

"That's great and all, but that still doesn't explain why you're going with him alone. If we all went…" Anna began, though he was quick to interrupt her.

"It is not an option. You expect too much from me if you believe I can march a small parade into the Scoria Chamber without notice, Princess. Only the Snow Queen may come."

She glared angrily back at him. "Oh, I'm so done listening to the moody kidnapper right now," she seethed. She suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to smack him once more, but Elsa was quick to diffuse the situation.

"Anna, this seems to be the only way that everyone gets what they want, even if it's not the perfect solution to any of our problems. Right now, it may be the only choice we have," she said, watching her sister turn back to her with more objections hot on her lips, though she moved quickly to defuse them. "I want you and Kristoff to go back to Arendelle and take charge until I return. We can't both be gone and it's too dangerous for you to come," she instructed, finally sounding like the queen she wanted to be.

Those instructions made Anna dig in even harder.

"Too dangerous? Did you forget who trekked up the side of a frozen mountain to chase her flighty sister? Did you forget to faced wolves and angry snowmen just to get a chance to talk some sense into her?" she argued, annoyed Elsa could even try to make that point. No small part of her felt abandoned by the plan, for she had seen herself mediating their fate until there was no more hostility between them. She had no allusions that they would become fast friends, but she also saw the parallels in them, with their magic a common factor in why they shouldn't be turning it at one another.

She wanted to be the one that brought them together.

"If you think I'll sit by while the two of you go skipping off into the sunset to try and freeze this stupid FireHeart, I don't think either of you know me as well as you think you do."

At this point, no one appeared to be able to defend against her solid objections until the most unlikely person stepped up next to her and took her arm softly. "Come on, Anna, let's do as the queen says," Kristoff said, though judging by the look on his face, he was aware of how precarious his position was. He wouldn't try to hide the reservations he had about the proposal, but the points about her safety struck strongly with him and he was prepared to suffer her wrath to preserve her well-being.

Anna looked surprised by his betrayal. "Hey! You're supposed to be on my side!" she protested.

"I am on your side. That's why I'm taking you away from the giant volcano and not towards it," he replied flatly. She was breathing heavily, trying to navigate all of the resistance around her, but he had that same, collected expression on his face that proved he had thought it through before speaking up. He rarely moved without checking the ground in front of him.

"Besides, when it comes to dealing with some magical ball of fire," he said, shifting his eyes to Elsa and Yasha, "we should let those with the magic handle it." The logic in that was powerful, but Anna's head wasn't swimming with logic, nor was her heart. Something about the situation felt very wrong to her, though she couldn't put it into words. It became especially evident when she looked back Yasha. A shiver ran through her when she saw the look on his face and the masked intent hiding somewhere behind his eyes.

For some reason, she didn't like his expression at all.

"Anna, you said you trusted him," Elsa argued, making rationalizations that she didn't believe in.

"Only when I can keep my eye on him," she snarled.

"Then trust my judgment," Elsa replied, stepping to her and taking her hands. "Maybe a part of this is finding out what good my magic can do, when all I've done is cause problems for so many. He says only my power could stop this FireHeart, and if he's willing to risk his life for the sake of his people," she continued as she looked back to him, the doubts in her eyes chained to the glimpse of hope she had for him, "maybe he deserves a little bit of trust."

Yasha stood under their scrutiny, hiding his emotions well. He hoped that not even Anna could detect the turmoil within, for he secretly had many reservations about their path forward, though he had already resigned himself to the necessity of playing this hand. He also knew this was the hardest part of his plan, to separate the sisters, so it was also the most critical time for his steadfast performance. If Anna suspected him even for a moment or convinced Elsa to let her join them, it would complicate things greatly. He did find it ironic that they both searched so hard for reasons to trust him when he had done nothing to earn it, especially as he strangled the truth right before them and didn't hesitate for a moment to do what it took to reach his ends.

In all honesty, he wasn't sure he would have been so willing to trust had he been in their place.

"Elsa," Anna started, bringing her sister's attention back with a squeeze of her hands, "I really don't want you to do this. It isn't about who I trust and who I don't, but the bad feeling I get when I think about you going along with this plan. Something about it just feels wrong and I'm worried about you. I'm afraid you might not come back." Elsa obviously sympathized with those feelings and understood them completely, which she took as a good sign as she reluctantly tapped her foot in defeat. It was a strange thing to feel so strongly about something and know you had to let it go. She wondered how much of her decision was because she desperately wanted to be right about Yasha. "But if you think this is the right thing to do, I guess I can't really argue with you. Just promise me that you'll be careful and come back safe."

"I promise," she replied, squeezing her hands back.

It reassured her slightly. Her expression then fouled as she shifted her attention to Yasha. "And you. I'm so not your friend right now. If anything happens to my sister, or if you get any funny ideas going through that thick head of yours, the things she did to you will seem like a massage compared what I'll do," she warned, brandishing her finger at him.

"I…will…hurt…you."

He raised his hands out, placating her. "Your concerns are unnecessary, Princess. Nothing is as important to me as getting the Snow Queen to the FireHeart safely. You have my word on that," he assured her, hiding lies within truths. It was obviously doing little to convince her of his plan's merit.

She continued to scowl at him and try to figure out a way to break his plan.

The tension didn't weaken and silence permeated the scene until something came crawling out of Yasha's shirt and burned brightly against the dim light in the grotto. Sid's reappearance dispelled the subject and drew everyone's attention on her, though she seemed little interested in anything but the proximity she had to him. "Ugh, can we go now? I'm tired of listening to the bait's posturing," she yawned, hanging on the lip of his shirt. Anna winced at the sight of the sprite, while Elsa stared intently, essentially seeing her for the first time. The realities of his magic were potent and she was able to instantly draw the parallel with Olaf, finding that the similarities of their powers only drew her in further to the idea of staying close to him. It oddly made it easier to accept his dubious proposal. Kristoff was also still amazed by the magical creature, but something more practical came to mind as he watched her tiny, flaming body rage brightly against his skin.

"Doesn't that hurt?" he asked.

Yasha cocked his head at the question, not following his meaning. Only after he thought a moment did he realize it. "If you are referring to her flames, then no, it does not. Being touched by the FireHeart, I cannot be burned by flame," he replied. They seemed astonished by that, though the logic was apparent, at least to him. He dismissed their amazement to look down at Sid and smirk at her content sighing. "Before we depart, I am going to do something about my filthy appearance. You, Sid, should remove yourself from there, unless you wish to be doused out of existence."

She pouted and slumped over the lip of his shirt, uninterested in giving up such an intimate place. "Might be worth it," she sighed, "Besides, can't you just stay dirty? It's not like you need to clean up for the bait or the snow hussy."

"Snow hussy?" Elsa gasped, surprised she was being insulted by some strange creature she had just met.

Anna was only slightly less offended. "Ugh, you get used to it. That little fireball needs to learn some manners," she complained, "She's not nearly as pleasant as our Olaf." As she looked down to the snowman for his agreement, she found him fixed upon Sid once more, his eyes sparkling and his hands locked together shyly.

He was obviously still smitten by her. "There she is again. My little fire angel," he sighed, far beyond any criticism of her.

At Yasha's insistence, Sid fluttered out of his clothing and lamely hovered in the air, watching him leave them all and head towards the pool of water. While she knew about his secret discussion with King Nazir and that this was all a ruse to get Elsa back to the FireHeart, she didn't like the idea of traveling with such a dangerous and beautiful woman. Just her presence made the sprite shudder, as their elements were at complete odds with each other, not to mention that she was already disturbed at how easily Yasha had become attached to Anna. The journey to Fria was going to fray every last string of her patience and she was already feeling annoyed.

For some reason, that annoyance suddenly became stronger. "So your name is Sid, huh? I'm Olaf," said a familiar voice and she whirled around to find the smiling snowman.

She reeled backwards. "Eww, not this oaf again," she groaned.

"Olaf," he replied, correcting her, "It's Olaf. Oh-lah-ff. And has anyone ever told you that you're beautiful when you're angry…and on fire?"

The sprite flared, even more annoyed. "Take a hint, frosty!" she cried and zipped around his head, lighting the twigs there on fire, then soared off into the grotto and away from him. Once more, Olaf shrieked and clawed at his head, wondering just how much of him would be charred black before the end of the day, but suddenly felt a wave of cold air blow over him as Elsa flicked her hand out, making the fire go out and magically restoring his twigs to their rightful state. The snowman grinned at the full use of his hand again and looked to her affectionately, though there was still a sheepish chuckle for his courtship of the fire sprite.

"She's just playing hard to get," he remarked.

Not to be turned off of his pursuit, he strolled after her, calling loudly into the grotto and following the sounds of her disgusted groaning. Elsa was satisfied with her restoration of his body and then turned her attention to Anna, frowning at the ragged condition of her dress. "Now, let's do something about you," she said and twirled her hand, making a wave of magic run over her. Anna giggled as the magic tickled her skin and her rags were magically changed into a dark blue dress with pale gray accents, far more suitable for being outside, with sleeves all the way down to her wrists and a heavy shawl hanging over her shoulders. Like Elsa's dress, there were swirls of beautiful patterns near the hems, and a cylindrical, fur-like hat that popped into being on her head. It was delicately made of snow crystals that somehow survived the heat of the caves.

Once the magic did its work, Elsa was busy looking over the dress, satisfied with her tastes, while Anna twisted and turned to look over her first magical dress.

"It's amazing!" she said, remarking how even in the dull heat of the caves, it was cool against her skin. The feeling was refreshing. After a moment though, she tugged at the long sleeves and the heavy shawl, quirking her brow as she looked to her sister. "Isn't it a bit much, though?" she remarked, surprised that her dress was so conservative while Elsa's was not. Inwardly, she suspected she was still suspicious over Yasha's liberal cutting of her clothing.

"It's fine," Elsa replied sharply.

Now she was sure of it.

Dismissing the smothering nature of her dress, Anna turned to ask Kristoff what he thought, though she found that he was watching Olaf as he was trying to chase down Sid. The fire sprite obviously wanted nothing to do with him, but it didn't seem to discourage the snowman. Kristoff was amused by the entire thing and watched with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face, denying Anna the compliments she wanted to hear from him. Pouting, she turned her back on him to give him the cold shoulder, which suddenly felt easier as her new magical dress seemed to bleed out cold air. "Hmph, would it kill him to notice a girl's new dress. Someone needs to get his priorities in…" she began until something at the far side of the cave strangled her attention and caused her eyes to widen, her mouth to hanging open.

"Whoa boy…"

Elsa was surprised by her sudden change in attitude and followed her eyes, twisting her brow as she tried to imagine what could draw such a response from her sister. When she found it, she gasped as well, her expression mirroring Anna's perfectly.

Yasha was kneeling in the pool of water, his hands resting on his thighs and his head leaned back as cool water ran back from his face. He was no longer wearing his shirt and only the leather sleeves remained tied to his arms, coming up over his shoulders and tying across the top of his chest and back. For the first time, they could see how lean and muscular he was and the many scars that marked him, a product of living on the fringes of nature and struggling each day to survive. The unique sleeves set an exotic air about him, and the water was washing away all of the dirt, but this was part of the allure. The clean water had pulled back his long dark hair from his face. It released his handsome features from the feral drape and the dark strands were now smoothed out and swept back, though still retaining a flare of wildness in its length. He appeared like an entirely different person with the dirt washed away, making them both gawk at the stark difference of his appearance.

They were also not accustomed to having men bare before them.

Kristoff, who had moved on from Olaf's quest for Sid's heart, turned back to them, his head shaking. He knew the snowman had an impossible task to accomplish, but he had to admire his dedication. When he found Anna and Elsa acting strangely, his smirk faded away and he followed their eyes, finding this wicked-apparent kneeling in the water in a meditative state. Seeing the affect he had on the both of them made a hot fury wash through his veins.

In that flood of emotions, he could only manage one word.

"Seriously?"

Anna snapped out of her daze and looked to him, her face still blushing, which was made even worse by the fact that he had found her gawking. The scene had simply caught her off guard, though the apparent sin she committed against him suddenly became apparent as she saw the fury in his eyes. "Oh! Uhm, this isn't…I mean, we weren't…you know, looking at anything in particular. Definitely not anything on that side of the cave," she stuttered, trying to whittle down his anger. He continued to glare at her, unable to mold his mood into any tangible words, and this only made her more anxious and eager to escape the situation. Ultimately, she found that the easiest way to escape was to just run away. "I, uh, need to go over here now, and, well, look for something. So, uhm, bye," she said quickly, turning from his glare to escape. At her side, she was confronted with her sister's milder reaction, noticing the way she had been standing to the side and staring to the ground with an embarrassed blush on her face. Anna envied her moderate response, but she was also slightly annoyed and elbowed her in the arm to get her attention. "Why don't you come and help me, sis?" she said with her teeth grit. The jarring elbow shook Elsa away from her quest to avoid the scene and she blinked at her sister, though her eyes still seemed distant.

"Look for something?"

Feeling she would get no help from her, Anna locked her arm into Elsa's and dragged her to the other side of the grotto, where they would be out of sight from Yasha's impromptu bath. Kristoff watched them go, his mouth twisted and his mood foul. It was bad enough to have to trust this man with Elsa's fate, but seeing the kind of effect he had on them made him only despise him more. Glaring back, he tried to fight the urge to go over and have a more pointed conversation about his responsibilities for Elsa's safety. His hands were already twitching at the thought.

"I should have slugged him when I had the chance," he huffed, unsure why women had such a strange fascination with men of dubious character.

After cleaning up in the pool of water, Yasha had replaced his shirt and felt the fabric clinging to his wet body. Idly, he considered using his refreshed powers to dry himself as he had so many times in his youth, though he thought better on it as he was trying to keep his recovery a secret from his new companions, something that was itself a great irony to him. He never thought he would be allying himself with them in a bid to return home. That allotted fate was especially potent as he felt his magic surging within and a part of him now wondered of his renewed chances against the Snow Queen, but the idea was quickly dismissed as he looked across the grotto to her. It was no time to satisfy his pride and he was certain she was still far more powerful, something that continued to bewilder him. Quietly, he tried to imagine what embracing the FireHeart would mean and how it would feel to wield power of that magnitude. He also wondered what could have possibly happened to her to make her so timid when she already had such power.

"Can we go now?" whined Sid as she suddenly quickly took refuge behind his back and peeked over his shoulder, tired of being pursued by the snowman. Once Olaf had seen her with him and the familiar look of annoyance on his face, he halted his advance with a sigh and decided to keep his distance, trudging back over to Sven in order to lament his failure to capture her. He was obviously learning his lessons well, that he was no one to get close to, though that logic seemed to escape him when it came to the searing fire sprite. Yasha watched him retreat, then sighed as he pushed his hands back through his damp hair, glad to finally have it out of his face. Usually, he had little regard for his appearance, as shown by the careless length of his hair, but in the company of these royal sisters he suddenly felt conscious of his looks and combed his fingers through it in a vain attempt to not look like a feral animal.

The reason for that escaped him.

"Yes. It is time to finally leave this place," he remarked and walked over to his destroyed furniture, looking at it with very little remorse. He had lived there for nearly ten years, yet it wasn't home to him. The grotto had simply been a place to sleep while trying not to die. He felt nothing about abandoning it. Finding his robes to be completely lodged under an immovable stone, he decided to leave them, as well as the dented mask he had worn on many occasions. The sight of his ravaged books did make him sigh, as if they were the only part of the grotto he would miss. In the end, the only things he took from the wreckage were his bamboo flute, which he carefully tucked into his belt, and the misshapen ring on the leather cord. Looking it over, he took a moment of reverence before he slipped it around his neck and tucked it into his shirt, safely against his heart. It had been a while since he had actually carried it with him, and it moved him to feel the slightly sharp edges rubbing against his skin.

After gathering his things, he resolutely turned and headed towards this group of strangers he had come to know, eyeing each of them for their bizarre variety. The Snow Queen was radiant with beauty and ironically gifted with the most powerful magic he had ever seen, yet suffered fear and hesitation so fiercely that it entombed her, creating this vortex of power and fear that could consume the world around her. In Anna, he still found himself intimidated by her capacity to be honest and utterly fearless in contrast to her sister, not to mention as intoxicating as any ale he had known. While at odds with Kristoff, he saw the eyes of a survivor and a man that knew how to act when the situation called for it. Even the snowman was gifted with unassuming perception. Apart, they were a mess of noble but fragmented qualities, but together they fit together to create this beautifully fluid dynamic that tempered desperation, ignorance and fear. Oddly, he imagined that being with them would have been rewarding, if the world had been a different place. He wanted to insert himself into their party, to imagine how he could fit in. He thought that, perhaps, he could extend the strange friendship that he forged with Anna, and that they would accept him despite his apparent flaws. Even the snowman didn't annoy him as much as he let on and he allowed himself to enjoy this simple fantasy, to belong somewhere and to be called by name.

With his grotto destroyed and his life fleeting, he was reminded of his loneliness and felt the overwhelming desire to forget his fate and his schemes, to embrace truth and accept their judgments of him and his cause. In that, at least, there would be relief, with no more lies and no more isolation.

Even with their admonishments, at least he wouldn't be alone.

As a shiver of hesitation rippled through him, the ring at his neck scraped him over his heart and tore away the fantasy, making him reach up and feel the disfigured metal under his shirt. It was a reminder that his loneliness was payment for the path and that he didn't have the luxury to make friends. There would be no vindication to the mountain man or pleasant banter with the playful princess. There would be no chance to vindicate himself to the Snow Queen.

There was only the task ahead, and it had only one end.

Exhaling sharply, he shook of the longings of his heart and briskly walked over to the gathering group as they waited for him, wiping away any trace of his hesitation and hardening his eyes to the realities of the world. Once more, he focused on Elsa and wished to quickly get underway before anything else, inside or out, could delay them.

"It is time to journey to Fria, Snow Queen. Are you prepared?" he demanded.

The reality of their departure made her frown and pause once more, though she was apparently more confident of herself after being with Anna. There was still much doubt in her eyes as she looked at him and that same strange haze drifted dangerously over her, but she had resolved to no longer hesitate. Once a choice was made, she wanted to hold to it, regardless of the doubts she felt.

Taking a deep breath and bracing herself against the forcefulness of his eyes, she straightened her back and nodded to him.

"I'm ready."

He nodded in return and turned to leave, unceremoniously ignoring everyone else. It was apparent, however, that Anna wasn't going to let him escape so easily. "Yasha," she said softly, making him pause. A strange feeling overcame him and he had to keep looking away to sufficiently hide it from her. Slowly, he turned back and found her standing before him, holding something in her hands. It was his Xenocryst, the dagger he had lost in the battle with Elsa. She was clutching it like a prayer book, the handle touching her chest. She was looking up at him, her eyes obviously torn by him taking Elsa from her. Her expression was striking and he realized why he had been avoiding her.

It was difficult facing her honest eyes knowing he might ultimately betray her.

Slowly, she pushed the handle of the dagger towards him and touched it to his chest, the sharp blade pointed dangerously at her own. Her eyes didn't falter. "This is my trust in you. You should know what my sister means to me, and I can't even try to explain how much I hate your plan. The only reason I'm going along with this is because in spite of everything that's happened, I trust you. I believe in you. And I want you to take this…" she said, pressing the pommel into him harder and letting her eyes force her expectations upon him."…and do everything you can to avoid my unrequited hatred of you."

Using his own words against him rattled his resolve, and she had the most ferocious expression he had seen. He slowly reached up to take the dagger, but his hand stopped before he could grasp it, his fingers gnarled with the turmoil in his heart and his lips pursed in a myriad of quiet confessions. Her making his Xenocryst a covenant between them was devious and he wondered if he had misjudged her cunning, but he knew he couldn't consider her actions as simple manipulation, as the look in her eyes told him far more than her words ever could.

Anna would use any means necessary to bind him to Elsa and make sure he looked after her.

That was her resolve, and he couldn't fault her for it.

Suddenly, he felt unable to betray her, as even the short time between them felt like a lifetime of friendship. He still had no idea when he had fallen under her spell. "You have my word, Princess," he said, avoiding any double meanings or hidden intent. In spite of his task, he felt truly bound to do anything he could to not destroy this unthinkable trust she had in him, casting away the consequences and swearing to not waste such a precious thing. Among his greatest regrets was that he didn't have the opportunity to honestly be her friend, nor the right to accept this affection she showed. In that short moment between them, he wished he had met her under different circumstances, unhindered by darkness and unchained of the lies he told her with every breath. Those regrets were searing in his chest as he finally retook his dagger, pulling it from her heart and replacing it in its empty sheath on his belt, his eyes still on her.

He found he lacked the strength to say anything else to her.

"All right. Now you may call me Anna again," she announced, talking down to him as a small, personal revenge.

While the remark made a slight smile touch the corner of his lips, he felt he couldn't endure her attention any longer and turned away, finding an angry glare from Kristoff aimed straight at him. He didn't blame him either, though there was nothing to say that could appease him. Strangely, he found himself a bit jealous that this burly man had earned Anna's heart and that he had the station to stand next to her. A part of him respected that and he wished that he could have done something to find redemption from him, though in the end he could only bear that anger with silence.

Feeling hurried, Yasha suddenly looked to Elsa, giving her the least amount of regard as he was confident there was still so much sin left ahead of him. "Say your farewells quickly," he said and looked to flee from their circle as quickly as he could. Before he could leave, however, he paused. Deep down, he knew this would be the last time he would ever be in this position, or feel the warmth he felt there. He had trouble hiding the sadness in his voice as he stared down at the ground at his side, not even able to look back one last time.

"Goodbye, Anna."

The weight of his voice hung in the air, and he then hurried towards the remaining pathway that led to Fria and disappeared into the darkness beyond. His tone had been like funeral bells and she watched him leave with a strange realization rising within her. Instead of the ever-present fear that she would never see Elsa again, it felt more likely that the one that she would never meet again was Yasha.

Why that struck her in that moment she didn't know, but she also hated the situation and why she couldn't feel simple things about him.

"Anna," Elsa said, breaking her away from that mood. Her sister stood before her, but suddenly felt as if she didn't know what to say. Neither of them knew exactly how to react to the situation and the way it didn't fit any measure of their expectations. Elsa's departure and her reasons behind it were still flawed and neither of them had been able to succeed in convincing the other of the prudence in their choices. At best, it was simply the lesser of two evils and the only way to spare them from the cruelty of Yasha's unwavering resolve.

Anna shook off her premonitions about him and managed a bitter laugh as she took her sister's hands. "It's still not too late to change your mind, you know. We can still go back home together, get about a hundred more guards for the castle and order them to arrest any moody kidnappers shooting fire from their hands," she suggested, trying a pale attempt at humor but also not beyond going through with that option as long as it spared Elsa of the danger of Yasha's plan.

The suggestion made an equally bitter laugh escape Elsa's lips. "I'm tempted, but it's all right, Anna. Everything's going to turn out okay," she replied, still not convincing herself of her words. They were both being stubborn and they were both unsure about many things, but the one thing that Elsa was sure about was that if she wanted to learn more about her magic and herself, she had to do this.

Something deep inside told her she had to do this.

Slowly, she turned her attention beyond her sister and eyed Kristoff, finding his pensive gaze garnishing the mood. "You'll see her home safely? Make sure she stays out of trouble?" she asked, more sisterly than queenly.

Kristoff stiffened at her attention.

"You have my word, Your Majesty," he swore.

The confidence in his voice made her smile and nod at him, then she returned her gaze back to her sister, terrified of once more letting her out of her sight. "Take care of things back home until I get back. The regent might be a little angry, but try and make him understand," she said, squeezing her hands tightly as she clung to every moment with her. Anna was looking her in the eyes and relapsed at how dangerous this journey was going to be, making her fragile consent began to crack and thaw. Suddenly embracing her, she tried to hide her feelings by pressing her head against Elsa's, sucking in sharp breaths.

"Take care of yourself. Don't do anything I would do. Just freeze that thing and come right back," she replied as her hands were clawing at her back softly as she tried to touch as much of her as she could before she left. "And definitely sleep with one eye open."

Elsa knew that if she let her, Anna would hold her there forever and she suddenly stepped back, holding her arms and trying to hold her smile.

"I will," she replied.

Her fears unconquered and her heart beating wildly, she stepped away from Anna, letting her hand slide down her arm until only their fingers were touching, until that too became a cherished memory instantly clenched in her heart. "I'll be home soon," she reminded her, then turned before she lost all of her nerve. Backing away, her footsteps quickly carried across the cluttered cavern, where she found Yasha standing deep within a murky passageway, shadowed by the darkness and his eyes intently glowing. The sight of him made her pause and want to look back to Anna, but she knew that if she continued to look back, she would never conquer him. It was the first step she had to take on this journey and it began with looking forward, right into his powerful eyes, and not flinching.

Her hand on the cave entrance, she took a deep breath, pushed down the fear of this creature in the shadows and stepped into the dark passage where he awaited her.

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