Warm Hugs

Mercy

Hans looked up at Elsa, "And that's what brought me to be the man you see before you today."

Behind the closed door they could hear Anna sniffling and whimpering, "I never knew about Annaliese, why didn't you tell me?"

Hans rolled his eyes, "Because when I met you, I was trying to make you fall in love with me. So I didn't think it was a good idea to bring up my past relationship at that exact moment."

Anna slammed open the door and stepped into the cell, "But you broke her heart Hans-"

"She broke my heart!"

Elsa couldn't think with their bickering, "Enough!" The two fell silent. The Queen looked conflicted and wrapped her arms around herself, "Hans...I don't know if I can believe you-"

Hans was alarmed, "What?!"

At the same time Anna cried, "Elsa!"

The Queen raised a hand to signal for them to quiet down, "You didn't let me finish!" Elsa looked at Hans, "Hans, your story tells me that your father did not care for at all until you were at least eighteen years of age. But when I spoke to your father, before he left he made it seem as though you two grew up very close to one another."

Hans was irritated, "Your Majesty, my father lied to you and me! He told me that I could trust him but instead he sent me back here to be executed! He betrayed me! Queen Elsa, look at me! You saw me come off the boat in this condition, all broken and bruised. If my father truly loved me then he would have protected me from all this harm." When Elsa didn't respond he continued in a softer tone, "Elsa...Anna told me how you hide yourself away for thirteen years in order to protect her, because you loved her. Anna put her life out on the line to protect you, even after you froze her heart, because she still loved you. Your parents kept you isolated for so long because they loved you and they wanted to protect their daughter from turning into some sort of monster. You had and still have a family that loves and looks after you. After all I've been through, I don't even know what love is anymore."

Anna perked up at the comment, "That's okay I do! Love is putting someone else's needs before your own!" Anna silently thanked Olaf in her head.

This made Hans smile, but the Queen remained quiet. If what Hans says is true, then at one point in his life he truly was a good man. Anna gave me plenty of second chances when I didn't deserve them, so perhaps it's time I showed someone the mercy that Anna has always showed me.

Elsa cleared her throat and looked at Hans, "It's Queen Elsa..."

Hans looked confused, "I'm sorry?"

Elsa continued, "You may also call me 'Your Majesty' if you like..."

Anna questioningly looked at her sister, "Elsa?"

Elsa straightened her posture, "Well if the man is going to work at the castle then he must call me, and also you for that matter, by our royal titles."

Anna was getting excited and started hopping up and down, "So are you saying what I think you're saying?"

Elsa put on her most regal look, "Hans Westergard, in order to pay for your crimes against the crown of Arendelle, I hereby present you the option to work on staff at the castle for the remaining years of your life in exchange for waiving the death penalty. Do you wish to accept my offer?"

Hans hesitated...for the rest of my life? Well it's not like I have any family who'll miss me anyways. He looked up at the queen and smiled, "Yes, Your Majesty. I accept your most gracious offer."

Anna started squealing and hugged her sister, "Yeeee! Thank you, Elsa! Thank you! I promise that you won't regret making this decision! I'll be sure to keep my eye on Hans 24/7!"

Elsa laughed, "No, Anna that won't be necessary..." She threw Hans a stern look, "That will be my job." Hans gulped as Elsa continued talking to her sister, "Your job will be to tell Kristoff about the change in news."

Anna's eyes went wide, "But...but...but!" Elsa gave her sister a look and Anna sighed, "Alright fine...but he won't be happy about this." And with that she slumped away, off to tell Kristoff the news. Elsa looked at her newest staff member, "I will go fetch some guards to release you and bring you back up to the castle. There you will be fitted for your new uniform and then I will send in the doctor to check on your injuries."

Hans cleared his throat, "Excuse me, Your Majesty? Why won't this 'Kristoff' guy be happy with this?"

Elsa's eyes hardened into an icy stare, "...Because he hates your guts." She started to walk out of the cell, but stopped and talked back to Hans over her shoulder, "And you managed to let the one girl he ever loved freeze to death before his eyes."


Back at the stables, Kristoff was sitting down, still leaning against the stable door, and banging his head, "Please...someone...open...the...door..." Until finally he heard someone with keys unlocking the door and he quickly got up and was preparing to bear hug whoever came to his rescue. Gee, I sure hope it isn't the Queen, because that could get awkward real fast. The door swung wide open and Anna dramatically appeared singing "Love is an open DOOR!"

Kristoff was surprised, "Anna? You're back?"

Anna gave Kristoff an unimpressed look, "Uh duh, yeah I'm back. And were you not just impressed by my amazing timing and performance skills?"

Sven made happy reindeer noises in the background and Anna cheerfully yelled back to the reindeer, "Thank you Sven! At least someone appreciates me!" She grabbed a carrot and patted Kristoff on the shoulder, "It's a shame Olaf didn't find you sooner...he could have opened the door with his carrot nose." She skipped over to her reindeer friend, "Here you go buddy! How's my favorite ice delivering reindeer?"

Sven gladly took the carrot and offered the Princess a bite, "No thank you Sven, I think you deserve to eat the whole carrot once in a while."

Kristoff was confused, "Wait, so you're saying that I could have just used a carrot to open the door?" The mountain man looked around at the multiple bags full of carrots and threw his hands up in the air, "Seriously?!"

Anna laughed and sat down in some fresh clean hay, "Yup! I thought being a mountain man meant that you were extremely resourceful. But I guess I could be wrong, maybe they're only strong and incredibly handsome."

Kristoff couldn't help but smile as he sat down next to Anna, "You're right. We're only here to do the heavy lifting and act as the occasional eye-candy treat for the ladies," he put his arm around Anna, which made her laugh, "but that's why we need our women to help us out once in a while."

He leaned down and lightly kissed Anna on the lips. Anna looked up at Kristoff and slightly pouted her lips, "I'm sorry about the whole locking-you-in-the-stables-thing. It's just that-"

Kristoff smiled warmly, "Don't worry about it, I'm sure there was some reason for you to do what you did. You have good intentions, Anna, so most of the time when you do something, I usually don't need to question it." Anna gratefully kissed Kristoff on the cheek and rested her head on his sturdy chest, "But what does interest me though, is how you found out that Olaf can open doors with his nose?"

A worried look spread across Anna's face, "Well, after Hans locked me in one of the rooms and left me in there to freeze to death, Olaf somehow figured out where I was and came to my rescue. He built a warm fire for me and he actually was the one who made me realize that I loved you and you loved me too."

Kristoff's face darkened, "Hans! That's right! What were you doing going down into the dungeon with that monster?!"

Anna looked up at him and wore a look of desperation on her face, "I had to find a way to get Elsa to come to the dungeon and talk to Hans. And the only way I knew that she would go down after me, was if she thought I was in any immediate danger."

Kristoff looked confused, "Why did you want Elsa to go to the dungeon?" And then it dawned on him, "Unless..." He looked down at Anna, who guiltily shifted her eyes elsewhere, "No. Anna, please don't tell me that you somehow got Elsa to change her mind about Hans."

Anna gave him a cheeky smile, "Too late...Hans' death penalty has already been waived. He is now the newest castle staff member and will be under the close strict watch of my sister."

Kristoff ran his hand through his hair, "Oh Anna...I sure hope you know what you're doing. Just be sure to keep me away from him because I'm not making any promises that I won't personally deck him for what he did to you."

Anna flirtatiously walked her fingers up Kristoff's chest, "Don't worry, I'm sure I can find some way to keep you pretty occupied."

Kristoff leaned in for a kiss, "Oh yeah? And what exactly do you have in mind?"

Anna abruptly stood up and brushed herself off, "Well, I guess I can always lock you in another room again!"

Kristoff chuckled, "You can, but thanks to you, I now know how to escape."

Anna sauntered away with her hands behind her back, "Not every room has a carrot in it..."

Kristoff started laughing, stood up and started chasing after Anna. She screamed with delight and started running through the courtyard with Kristoff right behind her.


On her way out of the dungeon, Elsa noticed a secretly hidden passageway leading towards what appeared to be a single prison cell, one she had never seen before. As the Queen slowly approached it, she felt a strange chill run up her spine. That's odd...I don't usually get the chills. But one more glance at the strangely familiar cell door caused an unsettling feeling in her stomach, one that told her to stay away from there. Elsa stopped walking and decided to trust her instinct, so she just turned around and headed back up the spiral staircase.

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