Warm Hugs

Recovery (I)

Elsa was walking through the halls on her way to go see how Hans's uniform fitting was going. She knew she had to keep a close eye on Hans because although she may have spared his life, she was far from trusting him. She had left Hans alone with several guards in order to let him get settled in his quarters and also clean himself up a little. I know he may be a criminal but he certainly does not need to look like one, especially if he is to be a part of my staff. Just as Elsa reached Hans's quarters, Gerda and Kai were both running in her direction.

Gerda was the first to speak, "My lady, is it true that you have spared Hans' life in exchange for employment here at the castle?"

Elsa didn't know how they would respond so she thoughtfully replied, "Yes, Gerda. I did what Anna suggested and listened to Hans' side of the story, and after some serious thought I decided that it would be best to give him a second chance to redeem himself. But I will also be keeping a very close eye on him at all times. He is treading on very thin ice with me, no pun intended."

Kai smiled, "Your Majesty, I think that you made the right decision morally."

The Queen was shocked, "Wait, what? But I thought you said Hans should pay the death penalty?"

Kai's face turned serious, "We did Your Majesty, as your servants our duty is to keep you on the right side of the law. But as close friends, we thought that Hans deserved a second chance."

Now Gerda spoke up, "My lady, you didn't see the way Hans cared for the people of Arendelle during the eternal winter. He was a completely different man than the one who tried to kill you. He was kind, caring, and very polite. He was a true gentleman."

Elsa felt a little better about her decision to spare Hans's life and smiled at her two friends, "Thank you, Kai. Thank you, Gerda. I am very pleased to hear about the good things Hans did during Anna's and my absence. Perhaps the good man he once was is still in there, and hopefully we can bring him back out."

Elsa entered Hans's quarters to find a clean and well-groomed Hans lying in bed, without his shirt on, while the doctor checked on some serious looking bruises on his chest and stomach. The doctor became frazzled when he saw the Queen walk in, "Your Majesty! You shouldn't be in here right now-"

Elsa held up her hand, "It's fine doctor, I told Hans that I would keep a close eye on him at all times. Unless, of course, he is indecent."

The doctor bowed his head apologetically, "Yes, Your Majesty, of course."

Elsa politely smiled, "So what is your prognosis on the seriousness of his injuries?"

The doctor fixed his glasses and started to gather his things, "Well, he has severe bruising along his entire body, a few cracked ribs, a broken nose, a cut lip, a black eye, a few other bloody cuts and scrapes here and there, but most importantly a superficial fracture on his right femur bone."

The Queen was shocked, "And their approximate healing times?"

The doctor started walking towards the door, "The bruises, scrapes, cut lip, and black eye will be healing from anywhere between a week to a month. The cracked ribs and broken nose will take a bit longer, somewhere between a month to two months. But the fractured femur will take at the very least three months before he can start walking on it, with a crutch of course."

Elsa frowned, "So he cannot begin work until at least three months have passed?"

He smiled weakly, "Precisely! Now he needs to have the bloody bandages changed every hour until the bleeding stops, and rearrange the wraps around the ribs and femur whenever necessary, usually when he feels any pain or discomfort. Is there anything else, Your Majesty?"

The Queen shook her head, "No, that will be all. Thank you, doctor."

Once the doctor walked out and closed the door behind himself, it was only Hans and Elsa in the room. Now that the doctor was gone, being alone with Hans seemed a bit awkward and was making Elsa feel uncomfortable, especially with him not wearing his shirt. She cleared her throat, "Um, if it's not too much trouble for you...could you possibly put your shirt back on?"

Hans's face turned slightly red and he sheepishly reached for his shirt, "My apologizes, Queen Elsa."

Once he grabbed hold of his shirt, he tried to sit up but every move he made seemed to send more sharp pains through his entire body. He winced and laid back down defeated, "With all due respect, Your Majesty, may I just leave the shirt off? The pain is far too great for me to even sit up, let alone put on a shirt."

Elsa nodded, "Oh, yes of course." Another awkward silence fell upon them. As Hans closed his eyes and took a deep breath, Elsa used this opportunity to study Hans and his injuries. He is obviously in a great amount of pain. What on earth happened back home? He must have really ticked off his brothers in order to receive such a beating. And his father must have been willing to turn a blind eye to what his other sons were doing to Hans. This man was raised by animals, no worse than animals...monsters, and that would definitely cause a huge impact on how he turned out.

Elsa noticed that Hans was starting to drift to sleep, but she suddenly remembered that he had to have his bandages changed every hour, "Hans? Hans, I need you to not fall asleep just yet."

He groggily opened his eyes, "Hmm?"

Elsa hastily grabbed some new bandages and sat down on the bed beside Hans, "The doctor said to change your bandages every hour until the bleeding stops, so I wanted to make sure that I did that before you fell asleep. I wouldn't want to wake you in just a few short minutes to change your bandages, so this way you are ensured at least an hour of sleep."

He started waking up a little more, "But then what will you do while I sleep?"

Elsa smiled and glanced towards the comfy chair across the room, "I'll be here waiting to change your bandages for the next hour."

She started changing the bandages and took in how much he was still bleeding. I never noticed how badly these wounds actually were. They both remained silent as the Queen continued attending to his wounds. When Elsa had finished, she went to go wash her hands, and when she came back Hans was looking at her suspiciously. She raised her eyebrows, "What? Why are you looking at me like that?"

Hans cautiously answered, "Why are you doing this?"

"Because it's what the doctor ordered, he said-"

"I meant...why are you taking time out of your night to address my injuries? You could easily get some other servant to come and change my bandages every hour. But you're choosing to stay with me...why?"

Elsa sighed, "Well, first of all, I wasn't joking when I said that I would be keeping a very close eye on you at all times. Secondly, it was my decision to waive your death penalty and provide you with medical assistance, and I feel it wouldn't be right to force another servant to stay up all night when they had no say in the matter. My decision means my responsibility." She walked over to her seat and held up an object, "Besides, I have a book to read. I've been trying to get started on it, but every time I do, something else seems to pop up and require my immediate attention."

Hans smiled, "My mother would have really liked you, you know that?"

Elsa smiled back at him, "And I think that I would have really liked her, as well. Is there anything else you need?"

Hans winced, "Yes, actually, one more thing. Could you rearrange the wrap around my ribs? It is starting to cause great discomfort and pain."

Elsa put the book down and rushed over to Hans, "Sure, would you like it looser or tighter?"

Hans winced again, "Tighter, please." He took in a short breath when Elsa's hands touched his skin.

She grimaced, "I'm sorry, I kind of have cold hands. Maybe I should go get another servant-"

Hans's eyes widened, "No! It's fine! It actually felt really good...the cold, I mean!"

Elsa returned to adjusting the wrap, "Okay...if you say so." Hans tried to do his best not to show it, but Elsa could tell that he was experiencing a whole lot of pain. He would close his eyes and Elsa could see him clenching his teeth. He occasionally would let out a small grunt or shorten his breathing if the pain was serious. Eventually he felt comfortable enough that he could steady his breathing. Elsa felt relieved, "There we go, perhaps next time we'll get a little better with this and you won't have to experience as much pain."

Hans appreciatively smiled up at her, "You did a fine job, Queen Elsa. Your cold hands made the pain bearable."

Elsa got up and made her way back to her seat, "Well, I'm glad that at least my powers could do some good, other than making it snow."

Hans closed his eyes, "You could do a lot of good things with your powers..."

She sat down in her chair and faced Hans, "Such as?" But he was already asleep.

Elsa leaned back, opened her book, looked at Hans, and sighed. Now I don't want to read anymore... But she eventually fell into the rhythm of the book and throughout the night, every hour, she attended to Hans's wounds. The former prince was so exhausted that he never woke up once during the night.

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