*Day of Great Thaw*
"Hands down, this is the best day of my life. And quite possibly the last," announced an ever joyful snowman as he slowly melted before the eyes of the two women, man, and reindeer in front of him.
They all looked on in surprise as water slowly spread across the deck of the massive ship on which they all stood after the fjord was thawed mere seconds ago.
"Oh Olaf!" giggled the older of the two women, snapping out of her trance. "Hang on little guy."
With a small wave of her pale hand the sentient snowman gently rose back to his original frozen state, a small cloud forming over his head. With an excited gasp Olaf began jumping for joy, clapping his little twig hands furiously.
"My own personal flurry! Thanks Elsa," Olaf laughed, looking up at his creator fondly, a look which she returned before turning back to the younger woman standing beside her.
The girl grasped Elsa's arm tightly, for fear that if she loosened her grip even for a second, the older woman would somehow slip away again. Elsa however, had no intention of leaving. Instead she gazed lovingly at the girl, trying to memorize every freckle on her face, every eyelash, and every strawberry-blonde hair on her head.
Her beloved little sister. The one person Elsa had loved so much she was willing to all but lock herself in a room for thirteen years in order to keep her safe. The sister she never had a chance to watch grow from the little girl of her childhood to the beautiful young woman standing before her. There was so much Elsa wanted to say, and the thought that she had almost lost that chance forever brought bile to her throat and tears to her eyes.
"It's good thing that Hans guy wouldn't kiss you Anna. Otherwise you would have never found your act of true love," Olaf said, looking up innocently at the girls.
Elsa's brow furrowed in confusion. "What is he talking about Anna?"
"I... uh... well you see... the thing about that is..." the princess stuttered, fidgeting under her sister's gaze.
"We brought Anna back to the castle to get her true loves kiss so she would get better." His little face suddenly scrunched up. "But then I found her locked in a room all by herself and she said it wasn't true love... I don't really know what that means," he said with a shrug before trying to catch the little snowflakes falling from his flurry.
"Hold on, do you mean to tell me that little prick left you all alone when you were dying!?" roared the rather large blond man who Elsa recognized from the ice palace.
Elsa's eyes flew wide at his question and rounded on the embarrassed looking redhead who was absentmindedly plucking at one of Elsa's sleeves. "Anna, is this true?" Blue sparks danced across her fingertips as her temper flared.
"Elsa, I -" she began but was cut off when a groan caught her attention.
At the other end of the ship a red haired man shakily rose to his feet, nursing a sore jaw.
The rest of the world fell away for the queen. Burning cerulean eyes locked the figure before her as blood pounded in her ears. Elsa knew this man had tried to kill her - for reasons she could only guess - but that was the last thing on her mind at the moment. The only thing she cared about was the image of her baby sister locked in a room, alone and freezing to death.
The blond man moved towards the prince, clearly intending to cause a great deal of harm, but Elsa was faster.
Without thinking, the queen gently pushed Anna behind her and stalked toward Hans a predator-like gleam in her eye. The temperature dropped rapidly and a strong wind began to swirl around the woman, ripping her platinum blonde hair in all directions. Face contorted in rage, she quickly closed to the gap between Hans and herself, fingers itching with frost.
At the sound of her approach Hans looked up abruptly. Upon seeing Elsa and the small dagger of ice that slid smoothly into her palm he was suddenly consumed with white-hot fear.
With surprising speed, the queen brought the tip of the weapon to his throat and backed him up against the ship's railing. "If you even think of coming near my family again," she snarled. "I will teach you the true meaning of cold. Do I make myself clear?" To emphasize her point Elsa pushed the dagger deep enough into his skin to draw a small trickle of blood.
Hans simply stared at her; even though he had seen her fight off the Weselton men back at her palace, the prince did not think the timid queen he met at the coronation ball was capable of such threats.
"Do I make myself clear!" she roared, her voice rising to a dangerous level as frost began to creep up Hans' neck where the blade bit into his flesh.
Green eyes locked on blue, and the fear Hans had once felt melted into hatred. He had been so close to achieving his goals and yet here he was, at the mercy of this witch. She had gained power over him and it made him sick with fury.
"Crystal clear, your Majesty," he spat at her, teeth bared. Elsa however, did not lower the razor sharp ice in her hand. Her body shook with barely contained rage as wind continued to howl around them.
"Elsa! Stop! Please!"
When Anna's voice reached the young queen's ears all at once the winds fell away and the warmth returned. The dagger however, remained firmly in the queen's hand, but she lowered it enough for Hans to rub the small wound she had made. "Elsa please, he's not worth it," the princess cried as she ran to her elder sister's side, clutching the queen's free arm and causing Elsa to tear her icy gaze from the vile man. Her expression softened when she looked down at her sister's worried one.
"I'm sorry Anna. You're right. I lost my temper," she said allowing the ice forged weapon to evaporate. Raising herself to her full height and sliding her mask of cold indifference into place, Elsa turned her attention back to a still furious Hans. "Prince Hans of the Southern Isles. I, Queen Elsa of Arendelle, do hereby charge you with attempted regicide and treason. As a consequence of your actions, I strip you of your princely title and banish you from Arendelle. When we reach the shore you will be immediately jailed until such a time that I can arrange for your removal from my kingdom. I shall be writing to your family, informing them of your crimes and providing them with adequate time to decide a fitting punishment," the young queen finished in a tone that reflected the finality of her words.
As she began to turn away from the man his wrath came to a head, "You bitch!" he bellowed. "You can't force me-!" But before he could utter another word Anna whirled around so fast that he had no time to react. With all force that she could muster, the princess slammed her fist into his face causing Hans to fall head-over-heels into the freezing water below.
"Anna!" Elsa cried looking at her younger sister in shock and, if she was being completely honest with herself, pride.
Anna turned toward Elsa trying her best to look contrite but failing miserably as a wide grin spread across her freckled face, blue eyes sparkling.
"Sorry Elsa. I guess we both lose our temper when our sister is involved," she said cheerfully, holding her hands up in surrender.
Unable to hold back any longer, Elsa pulled her sister into a bone crushing hug. Clinging to her like a lifeline and burying her face into the strawberry-blonde hair. Anna returned the hug with equal enthusiasm as she nuzzled into the space where the queen's neck met her shoulders, savouring the scent of winter air that lingered there.
Anna opened her eyes to see Kristoff, who she had forgotten about until now, standing off to the side one arm draped across the shoulders of his best friend. He smiled brightly back at her as he watched the two sisters embrace, a beaming Olaf tearing up beside him. The princess could not remember a time when she had been happier; she had her older sister back and had found someone who truly loved her, but her reverie was broken was she noticed that Elsa was shaking.
The sound of quiet sobs met her ears and the young princess' smile was quickly replaced with a frown. Pulling away from her elder sibling but still gripping her shoulders Anna looked at Elsa with eyes full of concern.
"Elsa? Elsa, what's wrong? Are you hurt?" Her voice shook, fearing the worst. Did Hans harm the queen after all?
Her head bowed, Elsa slowly shook her head, unable to look up at Anna.
"Then what is it? Why are you crying?" Anna pressed softly.
"I- I'm so sorry Anna," she sobbed still unable to raise her eyes from the deck of the ship.
"Sorry for what?" Anna was becoming increasingly confused, why was Elsa acting this way? The girl could not remember a time when her sister had been this upset, not even at the coronation.
"For everything!" she blurted out finally looking up, tears streaming down her face and falling to the wood beneath their feet. "Please, Anna you have to understand that I never wanted to hurt you. I pushed you away because I- I couldn't control it," she said between sobs. "It was only supposed to be t- temporary, but I wasn't s- strong enough. I didn't want to harm you, not again," she whispered sinking to her knees and staring at her trembling hands while frost slowly spread around her.
Anna dropped down along with her, ignoring the cold and feeling hot tears of her own stinging her eyes. It was then that Anna caught a glimpse of what Elsa had gone through during all those years of isolation and it made her heart shatter. She could not stand to see the person she had idolized her entire life in such pain.
"I missed you every day, every minute. But I loved you too m-much to put you at risk," Elsa hiccuped clutching her hands to her chest. "And then, my worst fear became reality when I saw you frozen on the fjord. I failed. I couldn't keep you safe from me, I- I killed you!" Her entire body convulsed with the sobs that ripped from her throat as she repeated, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," over and over.
"Oh Elsa, shhh. Hey," she soothed wrapping her arms around the broken women pulling her close.
The queen, who a short time ago had been the perfect picture of poise and grace, now sat crumpled in the arms of her sister, all composure lost. Façade finally broken, Elsa was revealed for what she truly was, a young girl with the weight of ruling a kingdom, protecting her sister, and keeping a powerful secret hidden, on her shoulders. It had simply become too much to bare.
"Elsa, it's okay, I'm here. I'm fine," she said softly stroking her sister's blonde hair, her own tears falling freely now. In response the snow queen simply shifted her body so that she could press her ear to Anna's chest. "Yes, it's still beating. I'm not going anywhere. I promise." Smiling, she rubbed her sister's back slowly until she calmed down.
After a short while Elsa sat up and finally lifted her cerulean blue eyes to the sky blue ones of her sister.
"Thank you," she said, delicately taking Anna's face in her hands wiping any stray tears away with her thumbs and placing a soft kiss on her forehead.
Both women got to their feet arm-in-arm, smoothing out dresses, wiping away tears and putting hair back into place. The sound of someone clearing their throat and sniffling reminded the sisters that they were not alone. Kristoff appeared extremely uncomfortable and was trying to keep his eyes focused on anything but the royals as he fidgeted next to Sven. Olaf on the other hand was crying rather loudly and ran forward to hug the legs of the smiling girls.
After somewhat successfully consoling a tearful Olaf, Elsa once again became the refined queen. Straightening her back and neatly folding her hands together, she faced Kristoff with a reserved smile, "I don't believe we have properly been introduced."
Kristoff snapped to attention when he realized that she was speaking to him.
Despite being almost a full head taller than her, the mountain man felt miniscule while under the queen's calculating gaze. He had never been more intimidated in his entire life and it wasn't just because of her powers. She was strikingly beautiful and her mere presence demanded a respect that Kristoff fumbled to give. Unsure of how to address her, all he could do was stare before he lowered his gaze and did his best to bow, stiff and awkward as it was.
"Kristoff Bjorgman, your Majesty. And this is Sven," he said indicating the shaggy reindeer on his right.
"They helped me find you and brought me home when… when I was hurt…" Anna said wincing slightly hoping she didn't make Elsa feel too guilty.
She saw a flicker of pain in the young queen's eyes before Elsa nodded and turned back to the blond haired man who was now running a gloved hand on the back of his neck, cheeks turning a bright shade of red.
"Thank you Kristoff, thank you Sven," she said looking to each of them respectively. "I owe you a great deal for assisting Anna. You will both be rewarded accordingly, and as a token of my sincerest gratitude I would like to invite you to stay with us as my personal guests for as long as you wish. The gates of Arendelle will always be open to each of you," Elsa declared with a warm smile.
Kristoff looked as if he were about to protest when she shot him a look, effectively silencing him. "I insist."
Not wishing to argue with the queen Kristoff simply nodded in submission.
"Good. Now I think it is about time we went back home," Elsa said, glancing at her kingdom. "I believe I owe my subjects an apology."