When I'm Gone
As Hans and Elsa were getting ready for bed that night, they decided that it would be a good idea to pack up their things for tomorrow because, hopefully, tomorrow night they will be on their way home. Hans watched Elsa happily hum to herself as she hung up the traveling clothes that Eir lent her, "Well you seem to be in a good mood…can this possibly have to do with the fact that we're going home tomorrow?"
Elsa sighed, "I'll be relieved once we pull into the Arendelle docks in three nights time. I want to give the antidote to Kristoff as soon as possible; we don't even know how long it will take to actually cure him."
Hans leaned back on the sofa, "I'm sure he'll be fine…we've only been gone about eight days. I figure Kristoff has easily a good month, month and a half maybe, left without the antidote."
Elsa walked to her wardrobe, "Less than a month, actually…"
Hans sat up with intrigue, "How do you know that?"
"Because…" Elsa remembered that her parents told her to never mention what she experienced on her quest for the Balembo fruit, "…I talked to the doctor before I left. He gave me a rough estimate that Kristoff had about a month left."
Hans fell back against the sofa, "Oh…for a minute there you seemed really sure of yourself. Anyways, we still have at least another two weeks before the end of the month. What can go wrong?"
Elsa pulled out her riding boots and placed them by the rest of her clothes, "I don't know, but I certainly wouldn't want to jinx anything."
Hans sensed Elsa's uneasiness, "Well, on a happier note, I had a lot of fun with you today, Elsa. You know besides you almost killing me."
Elsa laughed, "It was an accident! Besides, you started it! I didn't even want to play with the swords, it was you who took them off the wall and practically forced me to duel with you."
Hans teasing shook his head, "Tsk, tsk…Elsa, I can't force you to do anything you don't want to do. You caved to my persistence because deep down you wanted to duel with me, what your intentions were is what I don't know."
Elsa turned to face him, "What are you even talking about?"
Hans propped up his feet on the table and put his hands behind his head, "Well, did you fight me because you wanted to show off your skills, or because you wanted to let out your aggressions for what I did to you and Anna, or…"
Elsa crossed her arms, "Or?"
Hans brought his hands down, "You wanted to see if I was trustworthy enough to not kill you when I had the chance?" When Elsa didn't answer, Hans nodded, "I figured…did I pass?"
Elsa shook her head, "It wasn't a test-"
Hans crossed his arms, "Elsa, come on, you and I both know that I had the chance to slit your throat but I chose not to-"
Elsa raised her hand, "Let me finish! It wasn't a test to see if you were trustworthy or not, it was a test of skill."
Hans's eyebrows shot up, "Pardon?"
Elsa slowly walked towards him, "I wanted to see your sword fighting skills at their best so I could analyze how dangerous you were with a weapon. With that being said…" Elsa bent over and pulled the knife out of his boot, "You won't be needing this anymore."
Hans put his hand on her arm, "Elsa, I can explain…"
Elsa pulled her arm away from his grasp, "I always had a feeling that you carried more than just a sword. Is there anything else I should know about?"
Hans scoffed, "Like I'd tell you."
Elsa threateningly played with the knife, "I would if I were you." Elsa slid the knife up her sleeve then slowly walked behind Hans and placed her hands on his shoulders, "You've seen me at my best and at my worst, Hans. You know what my powers are capable of…"
Elsa slowly froze Hans's shirt to the sofa, trapping him to where he sat, "What are you doing?!"
Elsa pulled out the knife and brought it close to one of his sideburns, "So…are there anymore weapons on you that I should know about?"
Hans's heart began to beat faster, "NO!"
Elsa inched the knife closer, "Are you sure?"
Hans was beginning to freak out, "Yes! Just please don't touch the sideburns!"
Elsa moved the knife away, "Good." She thawed his shirt, "Now I know your weakness, too."
Hans wrapped a blanket around his shoulders and shivered, "You didn't have to threaten me…you could have asked me like a normal person."
Elsa slid the knife up her sleeve again, "I did ask, but you chose to give me a smart-aleck answer so I went to plan B."
Hans scoffed, "That's plan B?! I'm afraid to ask what's plan C."
Elsa gave him a nonchalant look, "I don't have a plan C, plan B usually works just fine. But even then, most of the time I don't have to go to plan B."
Hans looked at her with admiration, "You scare me, sometimes, Elsa."
Elsa gave Hans a wicked smile, "Good…" She hopped into bed, "Get some rest Hans, who knows what tomorrow may bring."
Hans couldn't help but be smitten by Elsa's spunk; in a strange sort of way…I found what she did kind of attractive. Elsa's definitely not the perfect girl that she portrayed herself to be. She never ceases to amaze me, and I can't help but fall in love with her more and more each day.
Elsa and Anna were sitting across from each other on the floor by a fireplace. Elsa comfortingly reached over and held her sister's hands, "Anna, how is Kristoff doing?"
Anna's usually cheery face seemed worn and tired, "I'm going to be honest, Elsa…he is not doing well. His health is drastically diminishing every day and I don't know how much longer he can last."
Elsa scooted over and wrapped a loving arm around her exhausted sister, "I'm sorry, Anna…but if all goes well, Hans and I will be back soon with the antidote. You guys just have to hang in there for three more nights. How are you doing?"
Anna shrugged and tried to smile, "I'm fine…just drained emotionally and physically. But we can do it, I know we can. I believe that everything will turn out alright."
Elsa gave her sister a side hug, "You're so strong and optimistic, how do you do it?"
As Anna opened her mouth to answer, the doors burst open, "Anna! Elsa!"
Anna's eye widened as she stood up, "Mom? Dad? How is this possible?"
Their parents wrapped Anna and Elsa in a warm hug, "You're dreaming Anna, both of you are actually."
Anna excitedly looked around between her parents and her sister, "This is amazing! It's like a family reunion!"
Their mother laughed, "In a way, yes, I suppose it is!"
The late King rested a strong arm on Elsa's shoulder, "Elsa, there is danger afoot for you and Hans. You must leave the castle now."
Elsa looked back at her mother and Anna, "Now? Right now?"
Anna frowned, "But you guys just got here!"
Their father sympathetically looked at his eldest daughter, "Elsa, trust me…you must sneak out the back and run into the forest. Use the foliage as coverage and double back to retrieve the antidote. If you don't leave now then there will be dire consequences."
Anna ran over and gave Elsa a hug, "I'll see you in three days, Elsa. Stay safe, okay?"
Elsa nodded, "I will…I promise, Anna."
Their mother gave Elsa a farewell hug and gently whispered in her ear, "Elsa…wake up. Please, wake up. It's time to go, you need to wake up now."
Elsa's eyes slowly open and she found Hans standing over her, gently shaking her shoulder, "Elsa, are you awake?"
Elsa blinked several times, "Hans? What's happening? What time is it?"
Hans's eyes were filled with concern, "Elsa, we need to go, now."
Elsa's dream quickly came back to her, "Right! Okay, let's go!"
Hans outstretched his arms, which held Elsa's traveling pants and shirt, "There's no time to lose, I'll explain as you change." Elsa threw him an uncertain look, "I promise I won't peek, just change as fast as you can."
Elsa grabbed the clothes from him and rushed behind the changing screen, "What's going on Hans?"
Hans briskly walked to the window, "The rebellion has begun…the rebels have stormed the castle, they want to see the end of Kendrick's reign. Unfortunately, you and Annaliese are also in danger, being that both of you are queens. The guards are trying to hold them back for as long as possible, but we need to get out of here to avoid any sort of trouble. I'm hoping that nobody has seen you because as far as I know, they don't know what you look like, so we may have a chance to blend in with the crowd and sneak out that way."
Elsa came out behind the changing screen and jogged over to her boots, "No."
Hans turned around, "No? No, what?"
Elsa sat on the bed and put on her boots, "We're not going to blend in with the crowd, we're going to sneak out the back and run into the forest." She crossed over to the mirror and began to pull her hair back into her signature braid, "From there, we are going to use the foliage as coverage and double back to retrieve the antidote, hopefully Eir will be finished and we can hide out there until the ship is ready to depart for Arendelle."
Hans questionably raised an eyebrow, "And how are you so sure that will work?"
Elsa grabbed her satchel, "Just trust me…"
Hans shook his head, "Elsa, it's not that I don't trust you…I'm just not sure that's such a good idea. If they catch us running then that will blow our cover-
Elsa started for the door, "Eir said a few days ago that our cover was already blown! Hans, we can't blend in with the crowd anymore! There's nothing left to do but run!"
Hans grabbed his satchel and followed her, "Okay…let's go."
Elsa and Hans quietly opened the door and snuck down the hallway. It was still very dark so trying to figure out which hallway to take was especially hard in such an unfamiliar environment. About ten heart pounding minutes later, they found themselves in the kitchen. Hans quickly took a look around, "So…where is the back exit anyways?"
Elsa tip-toed around some pots and pans, "I'm…not sure."
Hans gave Elsa an exasperated look, "Wait…you mean to tell me that you stubbornly forced us to follow your plan, but you have no clue where to go?"
Elsa apologetically looked at Hans, "Yeah I know…but you did the right thing by trusting me." I hope…
Both Hans and Elsa froze as they heard yelling come down the castle corridors. Hans hastily walked over to Elsa, "Well, it seems like they got through the guards. Our safety and survival are now up to us."
Elsa looked up at Hans, "What happened to your brother and Annaliese? Are they safe?"
Hans nodded and shrugged at the same time, "I assume so…I think they were the first to evacuate. I haven't heard anything yet…"
Elsa furrowed her brows, "How did you find out about the attack then?"
Hans embarrassingly looked away, "My dream…I had a sort of vision of the attack and as it got more disturbing, I abruptly woke up to the commotion at the front gates."
Elsa's eyebrows shot up, "I had a dream too! I was told to sneak out the back and hide in the forest, and so on. That's why I was so adamant about my plan."
Hans smiled down at her, "You know what that means, Elsa?" Elsa shook her head and leaned close to him, as the yelling grew closer, "It means that your dream completed my dream. I saw the first half and you saw the second half…" Hans cupped her face with his hands, "It may sound corny but, you complete me, Elsa. You are literally my other half and I don't know what's going to happen tonight, but I want you to know that…I love you, Elsa."
Hans suddenly leaned down and passionately kissed her, catching Elsa by surprise, "Hans…I don't know what to say."
Hans touched his forehead to hers and smiled, "Say that you feel the same way, that you love me…"
Elsa put a gentle hand on his cheek, "I'll let you know once we get out of this situation."
There was a brief glimmer of sadness in Hans' eyes, but he just nodded his head and smirked, "Then we better find this back exit." They checked around the kitchen for any sign of an exit, but came up empty. Hans ran a frustrated hand through his hair, "Elsa, was there anything in your dream that hinted to where we should be checking?"
Elsa rubbed the temple of her head with her fingers, "I'm thinking…" She suddenly looked up at Hans with a look of realization, "Hans! I was in a room with a fireplace…which must mean that there's a secret passage in the library!"
Hans nodded and grabbed her hand, "Great, let's go!"
Surprisingly there didn't seem to be any sign of the rebels, the hallways were extremely quiet. As they turned the final corner they spotted a group of rebels headed right towards them, "There they are! Stop them!"
Hans and Elsa ran into the library, shut the door, and quickly locked it. Elsa ran towards the fireplace and frantically began searching for some sort of hidden doorway, "I can't find it!"
Hans leaned against the door as the rebels began to bash the door down, "Well, I don't know how much longer this door can hold up."
Hans grabbed a few small bookcases and propped them up against the door, then he ran over to help Elsa, "Hans, are you ready to fight?"
Hans sighed, "I don't have a sword…and you took away my knife. I don't have any powers so, no, I'm not exactly prepared to fight."
Elsa slid out the knife from her sleeve, "Here…take this."
Hans gratefully took back the knife and slid it into his boot, "Thanks."
Elsa ran her hands along all the bricks around the fireplace, "We must be missing something…" She noticed that one of the fireplace tools seemed to be out of place, "Wait a second…" Elsa took the fire pick and found what looked like to be a keyhole. She inserted the pick and a small trap door opened up beside the fireplace, "Found it!"
In that moment the doors burst open and the violent group of rebels ran towards them. Hans sympathetically looked at Elsa, "I forgot to tell you the end of my dream…" Hans pushed Elsa through the door and cut the only rope that held the door open, "You make it out, but I don't."
The door slowly began to close as Hans turned around to face the approaching rebels. Elsa yelled out to him, "No! Hans! We can both make it out!"
Hans protectively stood in front of the door, "I need to lock it from the outside! We used to have these kinds of trap doors back in the Southern Isles castle, I should have known that Kendrick would install one here as well."
Elsa stood by the entrance, "Hans, I can't leave you!"
Hans turned around, "Elsa, you told me, before we left Arendelle, that getting back home to Anna safely was your number one priority, and that's exactly what you need to do." He turn toward the group of rebels and pressed some sort of lever on the door, "Now run!"
Once the door closed, Elsa peeked through the keyhole and saw Hans fight off about five men until another group of five came in with crossbows. Elsa covered her mouth to hold back her screams as, one-by-one, the men shot their crossbows at Hans, piercing him in the leg, stomach, shoulder, and finally two in the chest. Hans's bloody body fell heavily against the glass window, which shattered on impact, causing Hans to fall into the waters below.
Elsa was silent as she felt nothing but the rush of adrenaline. Her heart was pounding so fast that she couldn't think straight, the only thing that she could think of was Hans telling her to run, so that's exactly what she did as a trail of ice followed her.
Anna gasped as she woke up from the chair she was sitting in. She looked over at Kristoff who seemed to be sleeping quite peacefully, which puzzled her. Anna tip-toed up to him and leaned over his body; okay good, he's still breathing. Anna bit her lip and began to wring her hands as she walked towards the window; something isn't right…Elsa's in pain, I can sense it. Something must have happened…oh, I hope she's safe. Anna stared out at the fjord and thought about the strange dream she had with her parents and Elsa. "Mom? Dad? How is this possible?...You're dreaming Anna, both of you are actually…Elsa, there is danger afoot for you and Hans. You must leave the castle now…If you don't leave now then there will be dire consequences…I'll see you in three days…"
Anna took in a deep breath, "Oh, Elsa…please be careful. I don't know what I would do without you."
Elsa burst into Eir's shop, and to her surprise Eir was sitting at the table with a few vials around her. Eir looked up when Elsa strode into the room, "Elsa! My goodness are you okay, child?" She wrapped Elsa in a warm hug, "I heard about the attack on the castle and I was so worried about you and Hans-" She looked around, "Where is Hans?"
Elsa couldn't hold it back anymore, so she burst into tears and sobbed into Eir shoulder, "He's dead! I saw them kill him! It was horrible!"
Eir walked Elsa over to the table and sat her down, "What happened, Elsa? I've been so busy with the antidote…I haven't foreseen anything in a few days."
Elsa held her head in her hands, "We found a secret passageway out of the castle, but it could only be locked by someone on the outside. So Hans pushed me through the trap door and held off the rebels for as long as he could until the door closed. Once it was closed, he pulled a lever which set off the locking mechanism, but by that point…he was shot by five crossbows and his body fell out the window, into the waters below."
Eir gently rubbed Elsa's back, "I'm so sorry, Elsa. I really am…I know how you felt about him."
Tears continued to roll down Elsa's cheeks, "I think I might have loved him…"
Eir nodded, "I know…even without my gift I could clearly see that you two fancied each other." Eir tilted Elsa's chin up, "Some people are meant to fall in love with each other, but not meant to be together…at some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart, but not in your life."
Elsa solemnly nodded and gestured towards the vials, "Is that the antidote?"
Eir grabbed three medium sized vials and placed them in Elsa's satchel, "Yes…I finished them about half an hour ago. I understand that this may be hard for you, but I need you to leave Sperca right away."
Elsa wiped away a tear, "How soon is 'right away'?"
Eir stood up and walked Elsa to the back door, "Like right now…Elsa the rebels are all in the castle, you're best shot of making it to the docks without being seen is now. I've already forewarned the captain and he has his crew standing by, ready to set sail at any given time."
Elsa gave Eir one final hug, "Thank you for everything, Eir. If you ever want to visit Arendelle, feel free to stop by any time."
Eir smiled, "I just may do that, Your Majesty."
Elsa gave her friend a sad smile as she turned and ran towards the docks, via forest. Fortunately for her, Eir was right. The docks were completely empty, very different than when Elsa and Hans first arrived; Hans…why, Hans, did you insist on coming with me? Elsa scurried up the gang plank and was greeted by the captain, "Good evening, Your Majesty."
Elsa politely bowed her head, "Captain…let's go."
The captain looked back at the kingdom of Sperca, and then gave Elsa a funny look, "Your Majesty? What about Sir Hans? Will he be returning to Arendelle with us?"
Elsa started to make her way to her room, but turned and kept her most professional face on, "No he will not…Hans is dead. Now let's get out of here before anything else happens."
The captain bowed, "Yes, Your Majesty."
During the entire three day journey, Elsa did not come out of her room at all. She spent her time watching the ocean wave's crash against the boat and reflecting upon the past few days. She felt very lonely without Hans and his snarky comments or his surprising compliments and beautiful poems. It wasn't until the morning of the third day that Elsa stuck her hands in her pockets and realized that there was a piece of paper inside; what's this?
She pulled out a nicely folded sheet of paper;
When I'm Gone:
When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile,
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile.
Forget unkind words I have spoken;
Remember some good I have done,
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I've had loads of fun.
Forget that I have stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way.
Remember I have fought
Some hard battles and won,
Ere the close of the day.
Then forget to grieve for my going,
I would not have you sad for a day,
Back in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay
And come in the evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west,
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best.
Elsa could hear in the distance the bells from her kingdom approaching but nothing could distract her from this note. She immediately recognized the handwriting to be Hans' and by the end of the poem, her tears flowed nonstop for the next several minutes. "You are literally my other half, and I don't know what's going to happen tonight but I want you to know that I love you, Elsa…Hans, I don't know what to say…Say that you feel the same way, that you love me…" Elsa folded up the poem and tucked it into her pocket. She remembered the brief flash of sadness in Hans' eyes when she told him that she would reveal her answer after they got out, "He knew he wasn't going to make it out…" Elsa heard the captain announce their arrival to Arendelle, so she made her way to the door, "Foolish girl! I should have told him back when I had the chance!" Elsa wiped her last tear and readjusted her posture, "The past is in the past…let it go." Then she stepped out on deck.
From within a very small cottage in the far off woods of Sperca, the King and Queen were living off the grid, "Annaliese! Can you go to the creek to fetch some more water? We're almost out again!"
Annaliese rolled her eyes, "Yes, Kendrick! I'm on my way out the door, as we speak!" Annaliese trudged through miles of mud and tough terrain until she finally spotted the creek, "Here we are! You are a sight for sore eyes, huh?" Just as Annaliese finished filling up her buckets, she noticed that the water was not flowing as well as it usually did, "That's odd…there must be something upstream blocking the current…probably some beavers."
After a steep climb up river, Annaliese dropped her buckets, "Hans?!"
There before her lay Hans' cold dead body, covered in dried up blood. Annaliese knelt down beside him, "No…no, please no…what about Elsa? What happened to her?" "So you and Queen Elsa met a witch doctor here in Sperca that can create an all-healing antidote?...Yes, we need the antidote because Princess Anna's possible future husband is dying from some plague as we speak…When will you be leaving?...I'm not sure, Elsa hasn't told me the latest news regarding Eir."
Annaliese's face lit up, "That's it! Eir! I'll take you to Eir!" She created a sling of some sort with her scarf and managed to carry Hans' lifeless body on her back, "Hopefully she still has some of that all-healing antidote left over…"