*Day of Great Thaw*
The snow queen lifted a single arm, the one that was not currently linked with Anna's, and flicked her wrist. A gust of cool air filled the great vessel's white sails and slowly brought the ship groaning back to life. As they glided closer and closer to the docks Elsa realized just how nervous she was. The smile that once lit up her face slowly disappeared.
What if they are still afraid of me, think I am a monster? What if they no longer want me as their queen?
All these thoughts and more raced through the young queen's mind as she stared at her kingdom. Her unease continued to increase the more she contemplated what awaited her and she unconsciously hugged her arms around her torso.
Sensing the older woman's anxiety Anna took her sister's cool hand in her warm one; lacing their fingers together and giving it a gentle squeeze.
"They'll love you," she said softly, a reassuring smile tugging at her lips.
A warmth spread through Elsa's chest as returned the smile gratefully. "I hope you're right," she sighed.
Resolving to not let her fears get the best of her, the queen stood a little straighter as Arendelle rose to greet them.
The moment the queen's ice blue slipper stepped from the ship's gangplank to the dock below she was swarmed by a combination of her royal guard, foreign dignitaries, and some of the palace servants.
"Your Majesty, Princess Anna! Thank goodness you are both okay!"
"Queen Elsa, I demand an explanation!"
"Where is Prince Hans?"
Despite the emotional storm that raged within her, Elsa did not bat an eyelash. Years of keeping her feelings hidden from those around her finally being put to use as she slowly raised a pale, white hand. She was relieved when it elicited the response she desired as everyone stopped talking and a strained silence fell upon the crowd.
Looking around, Elsa took a few moments to decide how best to continue. The men of her royal guard looked torn between their duty to protect the royals of Arendelle and following their orders from Prince Hans. The dignitaries wore expressions of equal parts curiosity and unease while the servants, who had been faithful to the royal family since before Elsa was born, looked on with genuine concern.
Taking a deep breath and drawing strength from the red headed girl standing at her side, Elsa began to address the tense assembly, "Please. I understand you are all looking for an explanation, and you deserve one. However, this is neither the time nor the place."
Turning to one of the men, who if Elsa remembered correctly was her guard captain she continued, "Please gather everyone in the palace courtyard so that I may address my citizens properly. In regards to Prince Hans- "
As if the mere mention of his name summoned the prince, Hans stumbled toward the group, coughing and sputtering water from lungs.
"Guards seize her, that sorceress is dangerous! She killed her sister and threatened my life!" he screamed jabbing a finger in Elsa's direction.
"No she didn't you liar!" Anna shot back at him. "You tricked me and left me to freeze to death, so that you could kill Elsa and be king!"
The sweet young girl then disappeared and was quickly replaced with a confidant authority figure. "Arrest him! He will remain in the dungeons until we can send him back to where he came from!" she ordered, cheeks red and eyes blazing.
The guards hesitated only for a second. More from shock at the sudden change in their princess than anything else before rushing to carry out Anna's command.
"NO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS! SHE IS DANGEROUS!" he howled, kicking and struggling as they dragged him towards the castle.
"I had no idea you had that in you," Elsa said, looking at her sister with such pride Anna began to blush under her gaze and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear.
"Me neither," she admitted with a small shrug.
"Come, we mustn't keep our subjects waiting," Elsa said as she began to walk in the direction of the palace. The rest slowly followed behind the royals, mindful not to tread on the snow queen's long, glittering train.
Kristoff and Olaf brought up the rear mounted on Sven's back as they made their own way to the courtyard, knowing it was time to leave the sisters alone for a while.
Arm still entwined with that of her younger sibling, Elsa swallowed her fear and held her head up high, preparing herself for what lay ahead.
Upon reaching the castle the queen began ushering orders to anyone within a 10 foot radius; luckily all the lessons her late father had given her on how to be a ruler came flooding back. Elsa refused all private audiences with the foreign visitors, but assured them that she would hold a formal meeting after she made her public appearance.
To the servants she instructed that baths be drawn for Anna as well as herself and to prepare a room for Kristoff. Lastly, she asked her guards to keep an eye on the Duke of Weselton; she was still wary of him even though she'd been assured the men who had attacked her were safely locked away.
Once everyone else was taken care of the young queen finally had a chance to relax some of the tense muscles in her shoulders as she and Anna walked through the residency wing. Running a kingdom was stressful work and there had been more than a few times she'd felt the frost creeping to her fingers as one person after another hounded her for answers. If it weren't for an excitable Anna clinging to her body, it would have been very difficult to keep her frigid powers in check.
"Come along your Majesty, princess. We must get you bathed and dressed before you make your speech," said a handmaid as she tried to separate Anna from her sister's arm.
"No! No!" Anna cried, gripping Elsa so tightly it became painful and burying her face into the blonde girl's shoulder.
Elsa's eyes widened in surprise and and looked up apologetically at the maid. "Leave us Mary, thank you," she said gently.
"Of course your Majesty," she nodded knowingly and made her way back downstairs.
"Anna, sweetheart it's alright," she said taking the young girl's chin between her thumb and forefinger so that she was looking directly at Elsa. "I promise to never, ever leave you again," she said, her tone becoming serious as her piercing gaze bore into Anna's. Slowly, the princess nodded her head before hugging her elder sister, pressing her face into the crook of Elsa's neck.
"Well, now that is settled," the blonde said as she pulled away and held her sibling at arm's length, "I think it is time we made ourselves presentable, don't you agree?"
Before Anna could respond the young queen had taken her hand and pulled her into Anna's bedroom.
"Sorry about the mess, I wasn't planning on having visitors," said an obviously embarrassed Anna as she hurriedly started to tidy up her bedroom, which appeared as though a closet had exploded in it. "I don't let Gerda clean up in here anymore; she always puts my stuff where I can't find it."
Elsa raised a hand to her mouth as she tried and failed to suppress the laughter that escaped her lips. "It's fine Anna, really. You go bathe first while I pick out something for you to wear." Elsa replied looking around and wondering how on earth she would ever find something in this chaos.
"Elsa…?" the princess' shy voice caused the queen to look up from the cluttered floor to her sister, who was playing nervously with one of her braids. "I know it's stupid, but… I'mworriedthatifIcan'tseeyouyoumightdisappearandIknowyoucan'tcomeintothebathroomwithmesocouldyousing?" she said all at once without taking a single breath.
"Pardon?" Elsa asked, one delicate eyebrow raised giving Anna a bemused look.
Sighing, the young girl began again, much slower this time, "I'm – I'm worried that if I can't see you, you might disappear, you know, like it was all a dream or something. So I was wondering… " she paused pushing a stray piece of hair behind her ear, "Since I know you can't come into the bathroom with me… if I left the door open… would you maybe just talk or sing? That way I can at least hear you," Anna finished, staring at her feet, feeling for all the world like a child.
Elsa probably thought she was being stupid, of course she didn't want to sing to her. Elsa was a queen, and queens did not sing to their silly little sisters because they were feeling insecure.
"Of course Anna, I would love to," she said before gently guiding her into the bathroom. "Don't take too long, we don't want to keep everyone waiting." But Anna simply planted her feet and looked up at her.
"Sing first," she ordered, crossing her arms over her chest and refusing to budge until Elsa followed through with her request.
Elsa simply shook her head and laughed, she had forgotten how stubborn Anna could be. "Right, right sorry," she took a step back and became thoughtful for a moment before arriving at a decision. Closing her eyes, Elsa took a deep breath before she allowed the melody to flow from her lips.
"The snow glows white on the mountain tonight.
Not a footprint to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I'm the queen…"
As she continued to sing the young woman opened her eyes revealing a still unmoving Anna, with an expression of awe glued to her freckled face never having heard Elsa sing before. Elsa brought her younger sister back to reality as she snapped her fingers and pointed to a large porcelain tub already filled with hot bathwater.
Anna nodded vigorously before dashing into the bathroom, stripping off her dress and sinking into the steaming liquid. Sighing happily as the heat surrounded her aching body, the princess began washing away the dirt and grime from the last few days, all the while listening to Elsa voice drifting from the adjacent room.
"Let it go, let it go. And I am one with the wind and sky…"
Anna scrubbed as fast she could, desperate to get back to her sister. Everything had happened so fast, she was still having trouble believing it was real. They were together again, Elsa bossing her around and laughing at her antics, it was like they had never been apart.
"Okay, I'm done! All squeaky clean!" the red head proclaimed as she slid back into her bedroom, a towel wrapped around her thin frame and red hair soaking wet.
"- cold never bothered me anyway."
Song complete, Elsa smiled and made her way over to her sister. "Anna, you are dripping all over the floor," she scolded. "I have laid out a dress for you, now put it on and fix your hair. Then you can help me find something suitable to wear. Should I continue singing?" she asked stepping toward the inviting steam pouring through the doorway.
"Yes please!" replied Anna cheerfully as she turned toward her vanity but stopping when she noticed something was different. "Elsa? Did you clean up in here?"
The clothing that had once littered the floor was now neatly put away in her wardrobe. All her books and knick-knacks arranged perfectly on the shelves. Even her bed was made, Anna couldn't remember a time when her bedroom had been this orderly.
"Sorry, couldn't help myself," Elsa said starting up a new tune and disappearing from sight.
"Hmm, not sure how I feel about this," Anna mumbled looking around at her eerily clean room once more before stepping behind her changing curtain.
The dress Elsa had chosen was one of Anna's favourites; the skirt was a lovely shade of lavender trimmed with interlacing golden flowers. The bodice, dyed a deeper shade of violet had the crocus of Arendelle stitched in the center using the same golden thread. Elsa had even laid out a low-cut, white underdress and matching lavender ribbons for her hair.
Anna had just finished putting the final touches on her hairstyle when Elsa emerged from her bath; hair piled on top of her head and a silk robe tied securely around her waist.
Anna had opted for a more formal up-do rather than her signature braids, the same one she had used on the day of her sister's coronation.
"Well, what do you think?" the princess asked holding her arms up at her sides and giving her sister a twirl.
"You look beautiful, Anna," the queen answered fondly. "You always do."
"You look beautifuller," she countered with wink, blush creeping up her neck. "Now, what are you going to wear?" Anna said thoughtfully, scrunching up her face and tapping a finger on her cheek. "Why don't you just wear that dress you made out of ice? That thing was awesome."
"Thank you, but I think it is a little too informal for the occasion. Besides we are trying to ease them into the whole magical ice powers thing," Elsa said.
"Alright fine, then we better go and check your regular, boring dresses," Anna asserted before grabbing her elder sibling by the wrist and marching towards the door. However, she did not get far before Elsa yelped and abruptly pulled her back.
"Anna, I can't go out there. I'm not decent!"
"Relax, Elsa no one is going to see you," Anna said rolling her eyes.
"It is not proper for a queen to walk through the halls in nothing but a bathing robe," the blonde said matter-of-factly, causing Anna to roll her eyes a second time. "I'll just wear one of yours."
"Oh come on, Elsa. It's just around the corner. I will be your look out." Before Elsa could argue further the young princess flung open the door, checked that the coast was clear and sprinted to Elsa's room, dragging the queen in her wake.
However, when she reached the tall white door Anna froze as memories of this very same door repeatedly shut in her face came flooding to her head, rendering her immobile.
"Hurry!" Elsa hissed, eyes darting up and down the hall as the temperature began to drop. "Anna, what are you waiting for?"
"I– I- ," she stuttered before an anxiety ridden queen grabbed the handle and shoved her inside.
"I never, ever want to do that again," Elsa shuddered, arms wrapped tight around her.
Anna wasn't listening.
She was too busy examining the foreign room in which she stood. The young princess had never been inside her sister's personal chambers before; Elsa had simply not allowed it. It was much larger than Anna's own room, a four poster bed occupied one corner and a wooden desk, covered in important looking papers, filled another. A large window and fireplace kept the area well lit and warm, while a small dining table flanked by two large, plush chairs sat in the centre of a soft blue and white rug. Overall, it was a rather ordinary space, cozy even. Anna was slightly disappointed, the girl had dreamed of finally gaining accesses to this very same room for so long that she expected… more.
"When you are done staring into space could you please go find something for me to wear," Elsa said sitting down at her vanity watching her younger sister's reflection in the mirror. Blue eyes full of amusement as she ran a comb through her ivory hair.
"Hmm? Oh right, yea." Waking from her daydream Anna skipped over to the large wardrobe that dominated the wall opposite her, next to an equally impressive bookcase. "Wow Elsa, there sure are a lot of books in here," she said running her hands over the large tombs that crammed the shelves, many of which looked extremely boring.
"Yes well, one does not learn to be a politician overnight," she shrugged. "Besides, I rather enjoy reading. It is nice to escape from one's responsibilities for a while," the queen stated as she began to work her unruly hair into a tight, braided bun.
"If you say so," Anna replied turning her attention back to the wardrobe and her job of locating a proper outfit. "What about this one?" she called after a few minutes.
Elsa turned to see her sister holding up an elaborate, black and crimson dress complete with a seven foot long train. "I don't think so, a little too over the top," she replied, returning to her previous task.
"Fiiiinnnne," she whined in a very un-princess like fashion, discarding the rejected article and diving back into the closet. "Ooo la la! What is this!?"
Hearing the smile in her younger sister's voice, the blonde woman looked up as Anna pulled a bright yellow gown that was clearly much too large for Elsa from the depths of her wardrobe.
"That? That was a gift."
"From whom?" Anna giggled.
"Some official from some country, I can't remember," she replied with a dismissive wave of her hand, having successfully wrestled her hair into submission.
"Did they think you were a whale? This thing is huge, you would barely fit through the doorway!" she said bursting into fits of laughter.
"Ha. Ha," Elsa responded flatly, bending over to pick up the dress Anna had tossed on the floor. "To be fair, he had never met me before. Now, stop goofing around and help me."
Still laughing, the redhead returned the ugly dress to its original place and resumed her search. After fumbling through, what appeared to be every single item of clothing Elsa owned, Anna ripped one of the dresses off the hanger squealing in childish delight, "Here we go, perfect!"
It bore a striking resemblance to the one Elsa had worn at her coronation ceremony, with a few minor differences. Both the bodice and skirt were a pale shade of blue trimmed with silver ribbon. Along with Anna's own dress, this one also bore the crest of Arendelle sewn into the fabric. However, mother-of-pearl beading replaced the golden thread used to make the design on the younger girl's gown.
Elsa nodded her approval and took the garment along with a navy blue underdress behind a changing curtain. She hummed to herself as she changed, still mindful of Anna's earlier admission.
Stepping out from behind the divider she turned to examine herself in the adjacent full-length mirror, "Hmm, it's missing something… yes, definitely missing something."
"What are you talking about?" said an incredulous Anna. "You look amazing, you're being s- Oh!" she gasped clapping her hands together as Elsa brought both hands down her front. Ice flowed from the woman's long fingers and spread along her skirt creating a beautiful pattern of swirling snowflakes. Next, she closed one of her hands and when she opened it again, a snowflake the size of a large coin rested in her palm. Carefully picking it up, she pinned the frozen broach at the base of her throat.
"There, much better," Elsa said admiring her handiwork. "Oh, I almost forgot," she said suddenly, pointing to her head. Wrinkling her nose in concentration, a small tiara materialized among her platinum locks.
Anna thought she had never seen something so wonderful. It looked as if someone had taken an ice sculpture of a snowflake and sawed it in half. Catching the summer sun that flooded through the window it glittered splendidly as every colour imaginable danced among the frozen fractals.
"Oh Elsa…" Anna breathed, a dreamy look on her face.
"Where would the Snow Queen be without her crown?" Elsa asked with a small giggle.
A small knock at the door caused both the sisters to look up, "Your Majesty? They are ready for you," said a man's voice from the hallway.
"Thank you Kai, we shall be out in a moment." Elsa responded, stomach full of butterflies and her heart pounding in her chest.
"Very good, your Majesty," he replied.
When his footsteps faded away the queen turned to her little sister, trying to not to let her face reflect the growing doubt that bubbled in her chest. She was betrayed by her magic however, when the room grew a little colder and frost began to form beneath her slippers.
"It's going to be fine." Anna said reassuringly linking their arms once more and placing a kiss on Elsa's cheek. The queen had to physically stop herself from flinching away from her sister's sudden touch; a small part of her was still terrified she would hurt Anna.
Instead, Anna's warmth helped Elsa relax enough that the frost and cold immediately disappeared. Even though she now understood how to control her powers, Elsa had come to realize that it would still take some time to put that knowledge into practice.
"Thank you," Elsa said giving her sister one last adoring look before raising her head high and pulling her shoulders back. "Here we go."