Journey to Sperca
The waves rhythmically rocked the ship back and forth, but even at its most gentle, Elsa still feared the ocean almost as much as she feared hurting people with her magic. Elsa laid awake in her bed, thinking about what was to come; what would happen if someone noticed that I was royal, or what if the doctor's friend can't help us, or what if I never find this magic ingredient, or what if I never make it back to Arendelle? She gulped, I could end up facing the same watery fate my parents did…I could safely accomplish this assignment and still end up shipwrecked on the way back home, like my parents. Then Kristoff would die and Anna would be all alone… She looked over at Hans who was still sound asleep, if Hans had stayed back in Arendelle he could have, at the very least, been a shoulder for Anna to cry on. Elsa sighed and got out of bed. She walked over to the large window across the back of the room and as she stared out at the ocean, the sun rose, casting a beautiful reflection off the crystal blue waters. It looks so peaceful, so serene. How could something so captivating, be so dangerous at the same? She caught her reflection in the window and sadly looked down at her hands.
Shortly after, Hans woke up and yawned, "Good morning, Queen Elsa." He rubbed his eyes, "How long have you've been up?"
Elsa looked up and stared out the window, "All morning…I never fell asleep."
Hans looked over at Elsa and noticed that, for once, she actually had her hair completely down. Her long silvery blonde locks captivated Hans as they held a gentle wave that ran all the way down to her waist. He stood up and stretched, "I like your hair; you should wear it down more often."
Elsa turned towards him with a look of surprise, "What?"
He casually leaned against his icy cell, "Your hair…I've never seen it down before. It's really pretty….makes you look younger, too."
Elsa raised an eyebrow, "I'm only twenty-one, I am still young."
Hans only smirked, "Yeah but you act like you're much, much older. And sometimes it shows on your face. You seem…tired a lot."
Elsa looked back at the ocean, "I don't get much sleep anymore." She waved her hands and in no time Hans's cell evaporated.
Hans walked over to Elsa and stood behind her, watching the ocean waves gently rock the boat. They remained like that for a few moments, until Hans broke the silence, "I meant it as a compliment, you know."
Elsa continued to stare out the window, "Hmm?"
Hans looked down at her hair and resisted the urge to run his hands through the silky looking locks, "What I said about your hair, it's really beautiful. I don't understand why you always have it in a bun."
Elsa didn't even glance at Hans, "I don't always have it in a bun…I braid it once in a while."
Hans smirked, "Yeah, you've only done it once and it's been a while since then, too."
Elsa stepped away from the window and started putting her hair up, "Being a queen requires me to look professional and presentable at all times. Tell me, Hans, when your mother was queen, was her hair ever down?"
Hans thought for a moment, "No, not really-"
Elsa clipped her hair in place and faced Hans, "Exactly, my point."
Hans took a step closer to her, "But, I do recall a few holidays, here and there, that she wore her hair down. Also, she was much older than you."
Elsa placed one hand on her hip and took a step closer, "How does that have anything to do with my hair?"
Hans crossed his arms and took another step, "Well she was already married so she didn't have to try and look nice for other possible suitors-"
Elsa furrowed her brow and stepped closer, "Who said I was looking for potential suitors?"
Hans was exasperated and took another step, "No one, I just thought that you'd…"
Elsa prodded him further and stepped closer, "What? That I'd what?"
Hans threw his hands up and took one final step, "That you would want to get married someday!"
Elsa's eyebrows shot up, she was completely stunned that Hans was concerned about her future in that way. Their faces were only inches apart, as her wide eyes searched Hans's face for any sign of mischief, but she found none. She took a few steps back and remained silent for a few minutes, as she thought about what Hans had said. Finally, she looked him in the eye and thoughtfully responded, "I am one of the very few queens who have the responsibility of running their kingdom alone. I am young, I am without a husband, and I do not have the time to search for a man to rule beside me, nor do I have the choice to pick any man I'd like. I must leave myself open to marry for foreign alliances, not love."
Elsa turned and walked towards the door, as Hans quipped, "But what about Princess Anna?"
Elsa opened the door and turned towards Hans with a hard look, "Anna has been through enough heart-ache, so I'm pardoning her from the responsibility of arranged marriages, if she chooses Kristoff to be her husband, then so be it, I will bless the marriage." Elsa added in an icier tone, "He has earned my trust." Then she walked out onto the deck, with Hans reluctantly following behind her.
The Arendelle sun shone through the castle windows and upon Anna's face, causing her to stir out of her deep slumber. Although the sun was shining, Anna's heart and soul were gloomy, hurting for Kristoff. She ran her hands through her wild bed head and tiredly rubbed her eyes. She looked over at her nightstand and noticed an envelope sitting on top of it with her name written on it in Elsa's hand writing. "Hello…what's this?" She sliced open the envelope and took out the letter, My Dearest Anna… Anna continued to read the letter, feeling a greater knot form in her stomach. When she finished, she grabbed Hans's bedroom key and sprinted towards his bedroom. Once there she banged on the door, "Hans! Hans, it's me, Anna! Are you awake?" She heard nothing, "I'm coming in…I hope you're decent!" She unlocked his door and threw it wide open, "Hans?" She took several steps inside, "Hans?" Anna noticed another letter sitting on his bed, "Another note?"
I have decided to take Hans along with me to Sperca. He volunteered and persuaded that I could use some back up. I'll make sure to keep a close eye on him. Take care, I love you.
Anna dropped the note and sat down on Hans's bed, "Oh no! What have I done?"
There was a knocked on the door. Anna looked up and saw Kai standing by the doorway, "Your Highness? Is everything alright?"
Anna showed him both notes, "Elsa's gone and it's all my fault!" She buried her face in her hands.
Kai read the notes, "Princess Anna, don't worry, Queen Elsa is simply running an errand for Kristoff. I'm sure everything will be fine."
Anna looked up with tears in her eyes, "She's not just running an errand…she's risking her life! The people of Sperca are in the midst of an uprising against their monarchy, and if they find out Elsa is a royal, they'll kill her!"
Kai's face shown expressions of surprise and concern, "Oh dear…she never mentioned that to me." Kai sat down next to Anna and gently put a hand on her shoulder, "There, there, Your Highness. I'm certain that the Queen can handle herself, and besides she has Hans with her."
Anna put her face in her hands, "If that's supposed to help…well, it doesn't"
Kai raised his eyebrows, "Princess Anna, are you aware that Hans actually saved Elsa's life?"
Anna snapped her head back up, "Wait, what?"
Kai nodded, "It's true. When you went missing during the eternal winter, the Duke of Weaslton had volunteered two of his men to help with the search party with intentions of killing your sister. Although she handled them pretty well, one of the men had a clear shot of her, while her back was turned, and just as he was about to take the shot, Hans interfered and pushed his crossbow upward, missing your sister and saving her life." Anna doesn't need to know what happened with the chandelier…that could wait for another time.
Anna's eyes widened, "Really? Wow…I always hoped that some of the old Hans was still left in him, but I never knew about any of this!" Anna stood up with a new sense of confidence, "If Elsa and Hans continue to watch out for each other, I know that they will make it back safely. Thank you, Kai." Anna bear hugged him and confidently strode out the door, "Now I just need to make sure Kristoff's health doesn't get any worse."
It was the afternoon of day two on the ship to Sperca and things have been most uneventful. Elsa insisted that Hans help the crew in any way possible, and to her surprise, he actually did a great job. They haven't had a full length conversation since their little argument the day before, but honestly Elsa didn't mind it, she liked having time to think to herself as she watch the ocean waves glisten among the horizon.
The sun was unseasonably hot for this time of year, but Elsa continued wearing her simple long sleeve gowns, unlike the rest of the crew who preferred to go shirtless. At first they were uncomfortable about the idea but Elsa reassured them that it was not a problem; she didn't want anyone developing heat stroke over her presence. As Elsa glanced around the deck, she noticed a crew member walking by with a large barrel over his shoulder, blocking her view of his head and covering his face. She couldn't help but watch him as he headed across the deck; every one of his back muscles were engaged, his strong broad shoulders glistened with sweat, and Elsa couldn't help but notice his buttocks was rather firm and shapely. The man stopped and bent down to lower the barrel, making Elsa involuntarily tilt her head for a better view. When the man straightened himself back up and turned around, Elsa snapped her head straight up and quickly turned towards the ocean. Oh my goodness! That was Hans! What am I doing, staring at him in such a manner? I blame Anna, she's always telling me to loosen up and embrace the beauty around me. Well, look where that got me. I enjoy myself for just one minute then-"
A masculine voice came from behind her, "Queen Elsa?"
Elsa jumped as she turned around, her eyes wide, "Hans! What are you doing?"
Hans held up his hands defensively, "Sorry to startle you, I was just wondering if you were feeling okay?"
Elsa cleared her throat, "I-I'm fine…why do you ask?"
Hans's eyes held a look of concern for her, "I thought you said that the weather doesn't affect you."
Elsa fidgeted with her hands, "It doesn't."
Hans cautiously looked her up and down, "Well you're looking rather pale, your face is flushed, and your cheeks are red."
Elsa looked down, "Yeah, no…I-I'm fine." She looked up at him and smiled, "But thanks for your concern."
She started walking back towards her room when Hans called after her, "You would tell me if something was wrong, right?"
Elsa turned around, making the mistake of giving him a quick up-and-down glance, noticing that his front was just as toned as his back, "Yeah, okay…I mean, yes of course!" Then she walked into her room and quickly shut the door. She leaned back against the door and slide down onto the floor, "Yeesh! That's the first and last time I let myself enjoy the view around me." Elsa couldn't help but smile, "Ha. Yeah, thanks a lot, Anna."