After a night of dreamless sleep, Elsa finally woke up to probably some of the worst pianoforte playing the world has ever had the displeasure of enduring. It was so bad the Elsa actually physically fell out of bed. And her bird flew around in circles screeching its head off.
She groaned and slowly pushed herself off the floor and Snowfly stopped screeching and calmly landed on her shoulder. Snowfly nuzzled up to her, earning a scratch under the beak. Even though Elsa had just made her bird the other day to help keep a lookout, she felt a deep connection with it. Snowfly seemed to react to whatever Elsa thought, was way more cooperative than a particular snowman that was off chasing some butterflies in the woods, and always made Elsa feel better.
A horribly sour note hit just the right pitch that it pushed Elsa over the limit of calm and collective to the point of irritation. She quickly used her ice magic and changed out of her pygamas and created her typical ice dress that she wears most every day. After storming out her room and down a few hallways she found the source of the abomination of music.
Anna and Kristoff were sitting at a pianoforte, surrounded by dozens of other quieter instruments that unfortunately were untouched and gathering dust.
Elsa coughed softly to gather their attention but was unsuccessful, and the same for the next five times she tried. Just before she tried for the sixth time, she heard footsteps come up from behind her, and she turned around to find James slowly shuffling up looking like he had fallen out of bed too.
He had changed into a clean pair of pajamas and had on a plain brown hooded cloak. His blonde hair was characteristically messed up that he no doubt did nothing to, while Elsa actually spent time on hers but she still thought that James’ was annoyingly better. There were dark circles under his eyes that hadn’t been there before and the fire in his eyes that Elsa found endearing were replaced with just exhaustion. Somehow he wasn’t limping or even hunching over that much which he had been just the other day.
“I’m sorry Elsa but you’re going about this the wrong way,” He said politely to Elsa before stepping into the music room, “Excuse me but what do you think you’re doing to that poor instrument?”
Both Anna and Kristoff jumped at his voice and immediately stopped playing to turn around to see a grumpy James with Elsa behind him giggling at him. Elsa never saw how much James isn’t a morning person, so she was surprised at his rudeness.
“Oh James, you’re up. Well Kristoff was just giving me music lessons.” Anna explained, unfazed by James’ grumpiness. James whipped around to Kristoff and gave him a hilariously scary gaze.
“Ooooh so I assume that you actually can play pianoforte hmmmm?”
“Oh, well, uh, it can’t be that different from the lute.” Kristoff blathered out, dissolving under James’ glare. Kristoff’s claim actually caused James’ eye to start to twitch. Note to self Elsa thought to herself never wake James up early with bad music.
Suddenly James stiffened up straight and gently pushed both people off the bench, and took their spots. Then he started to play. It was like nothing Elsa had ever heard before. As children the girls’ mom played for them and was very skilled, being the best musician in all of Arendelle. But James blew her out of the water by leaps and bounds. Everyone’s mind stopped working as he played; it was beautiful enough to bring the three listeners to the verge of tears.
“Kind of a girly song.” A voice came from behind Elsa. And when she turned around she saw that it was Eowan, leaning against a wall. He was wearing a tight shirt similar to the one he was wearing yesterday and loose fitting black pants.
“At least I can captivate not one, but two, very attractive ladies. And what have you done with your morning?” James replied coolly with a deep sense of sarcasm, not taking a break from his music.
Elsa blushed at James’ comment and saw that Anna had as well. Eowan just looked flustered, he was unused to having someone not only talk back to him but talk back to so well.
“Hey Snowflake, where did you find this guy anyways.” James asked as if Eowan wasn’t there at all.
“Well, at a time he was uhm.. a potential suitor. And he is Kristoff’s only living relative. He also allowed Eugene and Repunzel to stay here as they came to Arendelle, and now to us for a time.” Elsa explained, uncomfortable about the first two points she shifted her weight from foot to foot. “Where did you get that nickname from anyways?”
“You mean ‘Snowflake’, I don’t really know but it sounds right to me. If you don’t like it I can stop calling you that.” James stated simply, who had started to play random bits of songs instead of one piece together. Playing a well recognized song from Arendelle for a few seconds before switching to a piece that sounded well written and at a totally different tempo than the previous snippet.
Once again Elsa felt uncomfortable, even after two years spent out in the world she still didn’t like having the spotlight cast on her. Plus she kind of did like the nickname but she was kind of embarrassed to admit it out loud. So instead she tried to mumble something undeterminable that sounded neutral, eliciting a small chuckle from James, still playing away.
“James, where did you learn how to play like that?” Anna asked, transfixed at how James’ fingers danced over the keys. But at the question he suddenly stopped playing, staring straight ahead silently.
“I… I don’t know.” As he admitted this his shoulders and head sagged a little bit. “I could just do it, it feels natural.”
“Forget a lot don’t you?” Eowan laughed.
Less than half a second later James had gotten up from the bench, crossed the room, and moved past Elsa coming up to Eowan standing at full height. Elsa had never noticed how tall James actually was, or at least seemed to be because sometimes she couldn’t tell. He took up the entire height of the hallway, and seemed to take up most of the hallway horizontally as well. The lanterns dimmed, a strong draft blew through, and a small quake shook the cabin.
Nobody moved a muscle. Elsa actually held her breathe for a few seconds. Eowan even stopped laughing with good reason. Quite frankly James, when he put effort in to it, he could be quite frightening, even to someone of Eowan’s size.
A few tense seconds passed where the only sound that could be heard was the wind blowing through the cabin. But then the moment passed and James, without uttering a word, brushed past Eowan and quickly made his way down the hall with his cloak billowing behind him. The wind and the shaking stopped and the flames in the lanterns grew back to their normal size and brightness. A shocked Eowan just stood there, stunned by James’ reaction. Everyone let out their breathe that they were holding in and progressively relaxed.
“Well that was, interesting.” Anna said, trying to disperse the last of the tension in the room.
“I should go talk to him.” Elsa distractedly said, but before she followed James she turned back around to Anna and Kristoff. “And guys; please don’t play any more music in the morning.”
Elsa didn’t search the house for James because she didn’t need to. She knew that James wouldn’t be in the house and so she didn’t care to waste the time to look. She instead left through the front door and created a set of ice stairs leading up to the roof. After climbing up them she found James sitting with his back leaning against the chimney, facing towards the sun that was still rising.
When Elsa had walked away from the others she thought she was going to say something to James that would calm him down, but when she got close enough to say something she couldn’t get any phrase together in her mind. So instead of saying anything, she sat down next to him and decided to stay silent until he wanted to talk.
He didn’t talk for a few minutes. Those minutes Elsa spent in between feelings of awkwardness and of bliss. Although the roof and the chimney weren’t comfortable at all, she still thoroughly enjoy watching the colors change during the sunrise. She would never admit it, but she also enjoyed having her shoulder touch up against James’ and feeling him breathing slowly, where his shoulder touched hers the familiar warm feeling that came every time she touched him spread over her shoulder, touching the base of her neck, and down her arm reaching the beginning of her wrist.
“Sorry about that whole thing.” James finally mumbled, still upset about something Elsa couldn’t quite put her finger on.
“It’s fine by me, but I think we should talk about it.” Elsa responded.
“It’s been almost a whole year and I can’t remember anything. It’s not like I regret that time with you, and everyone else of course, but the absence of my memories is always there, nagging at me. Like a fly that won’t leave you alone but you can never catch.” James explained, his eyebrows furrowed like he was thinking hard.
“It’ll come back eventually. Don’t let Eowan get you down, he’s horribly egotistical.” Elsa comforted.
“Thanks Elsa, you really are the best.”
Elsa blushed at the compliment, as queen she got a lot of compliments from people who always wanted something from her, but James rarely gave compliments and so far hadn’t asked for anything from anyone. Elsa couldn’t think of anything to say so she used one of her fallbacks.
“Hey, why don’t you show me some tricks?” Elsa asked.
James turned his head to look quizzically at her a small smile showing up on his lips. “You know you can use magic too right?”
“Yeah, but I can only do ice and snow. Please show me some tricks!” Elsa insisted, eliciting a chuckle from James.
“Alright, snowflake, whatever you want.” He relinquished, and scooted closer to Elsa.
He held his hand out, palm up, and a little blue whirlpool of magic formed an inch above his palm. Then the whirlpool transformed into a blue dragon, which stomped around on James’ hand and gave a small roar. Then James tossed the dragon in the air and it grew to the size of Snowfly. Snowfly proceed to fly at the dragon, who dodged and followed. The two proceeded to fly around playing until the dragon eventually fizzled out.
“I’ve never been able to create long lasting life. It always fades away.” He admitted. “Give me your hand.”
Elsa extended her left hand palm up, and placed his left hand, palm down, on top of hers. Elsa could feel a foreign current of magic flowing in a circle between hers and his hands. Slowly he lifted his hand off of hers and revealed a small star. It glowed just below the point of causing people to squint but bright enough to light up the area around them.
The star was made of constantly changing colors; deep reds and blues, purples and greens. The size also changed, slowly growing larger and smaller. Not only did it give an even light, it also spread waves of various temperatures across her palm, sometimes cold and other times warm.
“James, this is beautiful.” Elsa exclaimed.
“Well in that case,” James said as he scooped the star out of her hand. He waved one hand over it and the star grew smaller, but it became incased in a small glass ball that had a thin silver chain attached to it. “I think you should keep it.”And with that, and a small nod of approval from Elsa, James placed the silver chain around her neck and let the star gently fall down on to her chest, just above her heart.