The Snow Queen and the FireHeart

Moments of Redox

V

Moments of Redox

Anna squirmed and groaned as her dress was being torn from her quivering body. It was all she could do to keep her fingers gnashed tightly in the folds of her skirt as it wrenched harshly away, making a symphony of whimpers and suppressed objections slip away from her. Her skin was beaded with sweat and her tongue anxiously kept licking out over her pursed, dry lips. Sometimes her bare back would brush against the rock face and she would gasp sharply at its icy touch. On several occasions, the struggle made parts of her skin not meant to be viewed in polite company flash out, though as her blue eyes looked down at the man that hovered at her legs, she imagined that their current situation could only be viewed as a scandalous affair. Grunting and focused, Yasha was rough in his handling of her and his dagger was tearing through her skirt in jagged lines, making her wince at each stroke and fear an accidental slip across her skin. Her throaty whimpering and the way she writhed under his hands distracted him, making him pant impatiently a few times while he ruthlessly stripped her down.

In spite of the atmosphere, Anna was glad.

The fact that this bothered him strangely relieved her.

"The tailors in your Arendelle should be commended. I have never seen such resilient cloth," he griped loudly as he wiped his sweaty chin with the back of his hand, then pulled harshly at a strip of her dress until it finally tore away.

She squealed as he nearly pulled the top of her dress down past her uneasy chest, collapsing her shoulders frantically to manage the chastity of both ends of her body. "Hey, be careful!" she yelled as she wrenched the collar up over her shoulders again. Part of her was very glad his eyes had been so focused on the fabric, for she suspected that had he been looking up, he might have been privy to some very chastening glimpses of a princess's body.

Finally having what he wanted, he wheezed and sat back against a stone with his head rocked back, his face covered in sweat and his eyes closed. In one hand he had new strips of her dress for the markers, in the other his black-bladed dagger rested against his leg. Prior to their cheeky little affair, he had been concerned at how he would swindle her out of the dress, as the idea of holding her down and taking the strips forcefully felt distasteful to him. He had been very surprised when she simply agreed to it, wondering what kind of princess would consent to such a thing. So far, she had defied every expectation he had for her.

"My apologies, Princess, but your sister would not find the path without a bit of help," he panted.

Anna ruffled her ruined skirt and pouted, remembering how much she liked the dress before he shredded it. For the time being, she understood his reasons for marking their route, even if the entire purpose was hard to swallow. The caves were expansive and dangerous, leading off in innumerable directions, disappearing into dark crevasses and spiraling dead ends. Elsa could easily get lost as she tried to follow them. As counterintuitive as it seemed, she did want Elsa to find her, but only after she had a chance to talk with the bizarre man that she was also stripping bare, and was given a chance to dissuade him from his villainous task.

It was a better prospect than running away and letting him simply come after them again.

"Well, by the time we reach your place, I'm going to be prancing around here as naked as a jaybird," she complained to her mangled dress. The idea suddenly made her face blush wildly and she glared at him, pressing her hands across her chest protectively.

"Don't think I'm not on to you," she warned.

Surprisingly, a tired laugh burst from his lips and he appeared utterly bedazzled at how rambunctious she could be. As much as he didn't want the trouble, he was beginning to like this strange princess. "Do not fear. I shall do my utmost best to see you arrive clothed, and untouched," he assured her, his face relaxed and his eyes still closed. His voice was remarkably playful and he seemed genuinely amused by her.

She was shocked at how different he looked when he had such an expression.

"That's a likely story," she replied, still eyeing him defensively.

As she watched him rest, she strangely found herself less wary of him, though she could not forget the ferocity in his eyes when he spoke of his task. He appeared far more human that before and even knowing his dark intentions, she felt like she was starting to trust him, something that blatantly defied all reason. It was still so difficult to believe that his only goal was to kill Elsa, even as she didn't doubt his resolve for a moment. It was his heart that she suspected, and she felt that if she could only appeal to the person he really was before he had a chance to lift his hand against her sister, everything would turn out fine.

It was a lofty goal, but she was a lofty princess.

Trying to figure out her course, her eyes wandered down to the dagger he clutched in his hand. The strange markings that moved across the blade fascinated her and even though she should have been repulsed by its deadly nature, she took a deep breath and decided to take a chance, carefully stepping towards him and slowly kneeling at his side. Her closeness visibly made his body tighten and his eyes slowly opened to her, losing the humor they had shared.

She stared at him, pursing her lips in uncertainty, but moving forward regardless. "So, weird question but…can I have a closer look at that? I promise not to go all stabby on you or anything. Again," she asked impishly, gesturing towards the weapon in his hand. He continued to look at her in a guarded manner, the blade tapping against his leg a few times as he considered her request. He didn't instantly deny her, though he couldn't fathom her reasoning at all. A captive princess didn't ask her kidnapper for his dagger, at least not in any story he had ever heard. Any self-respecting criminal would have laughed at her or worse, yet her impish smile and honest eyes captured him once more, making him wonder just how strange their relationship could be.

With a quick motion, he swung the dagger around, making her squeak in surprise but then stare down as the handle was presented to her. His eyes were still locked on hers and they showed the apprehension in his choice. She was surprised at the act of trust, yet at the same time she had expected it. Truthfully, it had been nothing more than passing fancy, both due to her interest in the exotic blade but also to see how he would react. Had he declined, it would have been the normal response, so she wasn't sure what this choice meant. Reaching out, she slipped her fingers around the rippled, ivory handle and pulled the dagger from his grasp, sliding the blade across his skin with an audible scrape. It was heavier than she remembered, but the blade was just as stunning. She held it up in front of her face and stared at the wispy markings, trying to find where they began or ended. They seemed alive and appeared almost as smoke, swirling around in some unknown purpose and displaced from the world itself, then disappearing just as casually, as if they had never existed at all.

"It's beautiful," she said in awe.

He continued to watch her, ignoring the blade. His hands were clenched anxiously, though he was taken with how taken she was with it. To him, it was simply a tool. He fully understood its rare nature, but its mystic blade was no more impressive to him than its razor's edge or exquisite balance. It took her admiration for him to remember how extraordinary it was.

"It is Xenocryst. Very few like it are ever forged in the heart of Fria," he explained.

"It looks just like that thing that attacked us," she said, looking past the blade to him.

His head rested against the stone behind him, though his eyes never moved from her. "You might say they are born from the same place," he replied enigmatically.

Although the position she suddenly commanded was more than any captive could hope for, her attention had drifted from the dagger. The way his eyes showed such a mixture of apprehension and coiled ferocity made the back of her neck feel hot, as if he would still devour her should she try and take advantage of the blade in her hand. Even from his reclined position, he gave off a certain pressure that warned her against taking him for granted and a quiver ran through her as the tip of the dagger slowly fell forward, coming to rest against his chest not as a threat, but as subjugation to his gaze.

"It's beautiful," she repeated, quieter this time.

Yasha was motionless with the dagger at his heart. His eyes were frighteningly calm in light of the danger, and his chest was slow in its rise and fall against the blade. For a moment, he let himself be at her mercy, though the reasoning eluded him. Every rational expectation would demand he fear the eminent thrust of the weapon, but it wasn't the thing he feared when looked at her. In her, he feared the purity and honesty in her eyes, as if they were things he no longer understood. In her, he simply found grace, and it felt far more dangerous to him than any blade pointed at his heart.

In truth, he was frightened of her.

Very slowly, he reached up and carefully wrapped his hand around the black blade, his movements deliberate and focused. Between the two of them, they commanded the fate of the dagger, yet neither stirred against the other, conscious of the weight of their respective grasp. When he finally put pressure on the dagger to retrieve it, she finally blinked and released her grip on the handle, sitting back silently and trying to understand what had just happened. Carrying the same reflections in his eyes, he placed the handle with the remnant of her dress and finally stirred, scraping himself up from the rock, moving rigidly and slow. His eyes stayed on her the entire time and he reached back to slip the dagger into his belt, his breathing heavy and his eyes torn.

He wasn't sure what had happened either, but was eager to move on from it.

Quietly reaching out and taking the bundled the robes and mask from the rock, he gestured deeper into the caves. "Shall we?" he said, his voice quieter and distinctly softer now.

Looking up at him for a moment, she shook off her wandering mood and rose to her feet, forgetting the dress and forgetting the dagger. At his bidding, she started to walk with him, quietly and feeling strangely aware of looking in his direction. She noticed, for the first time, that he hadn't simply walked on and left her to follow. He was inviting her to walk with him and that gave her hope as she digested their peculiar rapport, though she was anxious to arrive at his grotto and hear him finally tell her of himself and of his task.

The key to protecting Elsa was getting him to reveal his heart, and that was at the forefront of her mind as they continued on.

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