Its Not Easy Being Queen
*One week after the Great Thaw*
Elsa smiled to herself as she signed her looping signature on yet another document. This one in particular, was a receipt regarding the large quantities of food she was having delivered from a neighboring kingdom. She tried not to dwell on the large figure at the bottom of the parchment indicating price.
Ever since her public address a week ago, the men who made up her council were constantly reminding her of the debt Arendelle would surely fall into if she continued with the celebration she had planned. But she would simply wave the men off assuring them it would all be taken care of.
"Then go find Kristoff or Olaf. I'm sure they would be much more interesting than your dull sister."
"But I want to hang out with you," she mumbled, slumping in the plush chair she currently occupied. The princess had spent the better part of two hours sitting across from the queen's desk, chatting while Elsa worked. "Come on you have been holed up in this room all morning. Let's go into town."
Elsa sighed and looked up at her sibling's hopeful expression. Anna's suggestion was tempting. The queen was having a difficult time concentrating and she was so tired. She'd been having her night terrors every night and the only reason she'd been able to get any sleep at all was because Anna refused to sleep in her own room, even if that meant being regularly woken up by Elsa's thrashing. It was also true that she had been going over paperwork since breakfast, and the walls of her new study felt as though they were starting to close in on her.
In the past Elsa had conducted all of her royal duties in her bedroom but now that she was queen she decided it was time to move to her father's old study. At first it had unnerved her, feeling as though she was trespassing on her father's privacy, but she soon found the extra space to be surprisingly convenient.
"I'm sorry Anna, but I'm too busy right now. I have a lot to catch up on from the last few days, which, if I remember correctly, was spent almost entirely with you. I have a private meeting in a little while and then I will be holding court. It's Tuesday remember?"
One of the very first decrees Elsa had drawn up since her return was that twice a week she would open the castle to anyone who wished to speak with her. The woman was desperate to get to know her people and show them - and herself - she was fit to be a ruler.
Anna's face fell. "Oh."
It didn't matter to Anna that they had spent practically the whole week together; walking around the palace, simply enjoying each other's company and catching up. She still wanted to spend every waking moment with her sister, secretly terrified Elsa would eventually get tired of the girl and shut her out again.
The hurt on the girl's face was enough to make the older woman's chest clench painfully. Placing her writing quill back in its respective ink pot, Elsa stood and made her way over to the disappointed princess.
"We will spend time together after dinner okay," she said, placing a hand on her sister's shoulder. "… maybe there will even be some magic involved," she added with a wink.
Anna crossed her arms and stuck her nose in the air. "Fine. I suppose that would be acceptable," she said with mock indifference but Elsa could see the small smile that tugged at the ends of her lips.
"Oh it is, is it?" she replied with a smirk and gave her sister a quick poke in the ribs.
"Ow! Alright-," she giggled, swatting away the offending appendage. "-it sounds great. Who are you meeting with anyway?"
"The Duke of Weselton."
"Eww, why would you want to talk to him?" she asked rubbing the spot where Elsa had jabbed her. "My feet are still bruised from his last visit."
Elsa lips drew into a thin line. She hadn't yet told the princess about the events that had transpired at her ice palace after Anna's… departure. The young queen didn't want to keep any more secrets from Anna but she also didn't want to upset her, and the blonde knew this would definitely make Anna very angry.
Resolving to tell her about it later, possibly after the Duke had left Arendelle, Elsa simply said, "just some matters of trade."
Elsa rolled her eyes and as she did so caught sight of the time. "Oh my. The Duke will be here any minute. Anna I hate to ask you to leave but he requested to speak with me in private. You know I would spend the time with you if I could but this is an important matter. Besides I don't think you would be interested in it anyway and-"
Elsa scrambled to find another good excuse to convince Anna to leave without a fuss but the redhead cut her off.
"Okay, Ms. I'm-too-good-to-hang-out-with-my-super-cool-little-sister-cause-I'm-the-almighty-Snow-Queen. I get the message."
Elsa gave her a grateful smile and was about to thank her sister for being so understanding when she was interrupted by a knock at the door.
"Yes?" Elsa answered.
"Your Majesty, the Duke of Weaseltown is here to see you."
"Thank you Kai. Just a moment," she called before turning back to Anna. "I'll see you at dinner okay. Unless you want to hold court with me, Arendelle is your kingdom too."
"Nah, I think I will go bug Kristoff for a while. You try not to fall asleep during your boring meeting. I hear that's not very queenly," she said giving her sister a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek. "Bye."
Then she was gone, disappearing into the hallway. Elsa sighed and sat back down at her desk. She was dreading this meeting and wanted nothing more than to shrug off her role as Queen and explore the kingdom with her bubbly little sister.
"Send him in."
Once Anna had left her sister's study she had decided to hunt down Kristoff. And after a little detective work she found him in the stables grooming Sven. She didn't make her presence known right away, content to just watch him work for a while. The girl felt her face grow warm as her eyes followed the movements of his strong arms as they brushed all the dust and loose hair from his friend's shaggy coat. When he bent over to pick up one of the reindeer's hooves she almost squeaked.
What the heck is wrong with me?
"Hi Anna!" cried a familiar voice from behind her.
The princess had been so busy ogling the ice harvester that she hadn't noticed Olaf come up behind her. His sudden appearance caused her to jump three feet in the air and scream so loud that Kristoff's head snapped up.
"Goodness Olaf, don't scare me like that!" she cried clutching her chest trying to settle her racing heart.
"Hehe, sorry Anna. What are you doing here?"
"Oh, well you know. I got bored and came to see-"
"Do you always enter rooms like this?" came the teasing voice of Kristoff who had dropped his friend's hoof, walking over to the princess and snowman.
"No! Olaf just startled me," she said crossing her arms and shooting him a glare.
"Right, startled… so what brings you out here?"
"Elsa is busy being all queenly and stuff so I came down to see if you wanted to maybe do something together," she said tucking some hair behind her ears and suddenly becoming very interested in her slippers.
The man quickly glanced at Sven for help but the reindeer just kept happily munching on his hay.
Thanks for nothing you useless cow.
"Uh, okay. Sure. What do you want to do?" he said nervously running his hand through his hair.
A smile spread across Anna's face at his acceptance. "How about we go into town for lunch? I've never really been allowed outside the castle before."
Olaf seemed to think this was a grand idea.
"Yay! I love going into town, let's go!" exclaimed the jolly little snowman at their feet.
The princess had to grab his little arm before he could run off. "Sorry, Olaf, remember what Elsa said? You have to wait until the party."
"Oh yeah," he said slumping.
Looking down at the sad little snowman, Anna got an idea. "Hey Olaf, would you be willing to go on a special mission for me?" Anna asked, allowing the plan to grow in her mind.
"Special mission! Absolutely! What is it?"
"I need you to keep an eye on Elsa for me and give her warm hugs when she needs them. But there's a catch; you can't be seen by anyone except the servants and Elsa herself. Are you up for the challenge?"
The snowman began nodding his head so violently she though it would topple off the rest of his body. "Leave it to me! I'll take good care of her!" he shouted like a war cry and raced off to the castle.
Kristoff cocked one thick eyebrow in her direction looking impressed. "Nice one, killing two birds with one stone I see."
"Well you know me, always a multitasker. Wait no, that's not right, multitaskist? Multitaskifier? Never mind," she said shaking her head.
"I thought princesses had flawless vocabularies?" he teased.
"Shut up. I can still talk circles around you, ice boy. Now come on I'm getting hungry," she said taking his hand and leading him out of the stable towards the open gates.
"Good afternoon, Your Majesty."
The short, bespectacled man approached her and bowed deeply.
Elsa could see his toupee slowly unsticking from his head, but before it could fall he snapped back up again.
"Good afternoon. Please take a seat," she said politely indicating the chair that faced her large desk.
The movement of her hand caught his eye. When he noticed it was no longer gloved she saw a flicker of unease.
"Thank you Queen Elsa, you are too kind," he replied sitting down, feet barely touching the floor. "Might I ask to what I owe the pleasure of your summons?"
"I am afraid that I need some council regarding a rather… disturbing dilemma I am having," she said keeping her expression blank.
"Dilemma, Your Grace?"
"Yes you see, two men attacked me up on the North Mountain, for reasons I can only guess. Lucky for me my… how did you put it... ah yes, my sorcery was strong enough to protect me. And lucky for them Prince Hans reminded me that I don't particularly enjoy ending people's lives… even if it is in self-defence." She paused for a moment to let the man absorb what she had said.
The queen was sure that he had never gotten a chance to talk with his men since their return from the mountain. The guard captain had assured her that Hans had placed the men in a cell as soon as they returned and the men had not had any visitors. Conveniently, the captain chose to leave out the part where he let a stranger lock up his queen in a cell along with them. This meant the Duke did not know that she had single-handedly fought off the two men, almost killing them in the process and she reveled in his surprised expression, brief as it was.
"That must have been very traumatic for you Majesty," he said evenly and glancing at her folded hands once more.
"Oh yes very much so, and as you can imagine this has left me quite distraught. Which is why I am having such a difficult time deciding what to do next. I thought you might be able to help me."
"I am very flattered that you would turn to me for guidance Queen Elsa, but surely there are those much more suited to the task. Why me?"
"Well as it appears these men are from none other than your own province it seemed only fitting," she said looking him dead in the eye and watched as he fidgeted nervously in his seat. "So I ask you, what would you do in my position? If you had welcomed someone into your kingdom, provided someone with the utmost in hospitality, accidentally revealed a very vulnerable side of yourself to that someone, and in return have that very same someone try to have you assassinated. What would you recommend I do with this someone?"
Elsa let the thinly veiled accusation hang in the air as she watched for his reaction. At first he looked as though he was going to simply deny everything but he seemed to think better of himself and suddenly his face grew dark.
"You have no proof."
Elsa looked at him through half lidded eyes as though she found the man tiresome, mostly because she could tell it irritated him. "This is true, but the matter still stands that two men under your command attempted to put a bolt through my chest and of that, I have witnesses. So, I should think that two years of free trade would be adequate as a formal apology."
An angry flush spread quickly from his ears to the rest of his face and he stood so suddenly that his chair fell down behind him; which was impressive considering his size.
"Apology!" he shouted hands balled into fists at his sides. "I owe you nothing, madam; it is you who should be offering me such things. You should be begging at my feet not to reveal to everyone the monster you truly are. You may have fooled all of your witless peasants but I am not so easily deceived."
Elsa's eyes flashed dangerously and the temperature plunged so low that each breath the Duke made left a small cloud of vapor. Every candle in the room, as well as the fireplace, immediately went out, leaving the only source of light to the small window near her desk. Blue sparks cracked and hissed around the queen's hands which were clasped so tight that her knuckles had turned white.
She was furious.
"You forget yourself, sir," she growled. "You will speak of my people with respect whilst in my presence."
"You mean the people who not two days ago were more than happy to hand the throne over to Prince Hans. You are no Queen," he spat. "You are nothing more than a-"
"SILENCE!" she roared slamming her fist against the desk, leaving a small dusting of frost just beneath it.
The Duke jumped back in alarm, his eyes fixed on her hands as she drew herself up, taking full advantage of their height difference.
Elsa's composure was lost only for a second as she took in a deep breath and turned her face to stone once more. "I offered you a chance to make amends and leave here peacefully. But as it seems you have no wish to do proceed down that path, I will have to think of some other way to deal with you. Kai!" she called, not giving the nobleman a chance to respond.
"Yes, Your Majesty?" the manservant asked entering cautiously, having felt the temperature change from outside the room.
"Please have the Duke escorted back to his ship, it seems something urgent has come up and he must return home immediately." Elsa directed her attention back to the stunned Duke. "You may come and collect your men as soon as you are ready to sail. That is all," she said before turning back to her desk and sitting down.
Kai gave a bow before gently steering the man out of her study and partially closing the door behind him. Apparently the Duke recovered from his shock once they were in the hallway because she suddenly heard a cry of, "Get your hands off me fool!" before his angry footsteps faded away.
Elsa finally released the breath she had been holding, slumping in her chair and resting her head in her hands. The queen suddenly and desperately wished Anna was with her.
Why do I keep letting people get away with trying to kill me?
The faint sound of a door creaking open reached the young woman's ears. Assuming it was Kai come to fetch her for the court appearance Elsa lifted her head to assure him she would be down in a minute. However, the words died on her tongue when she saw that no one was there, as if the door had opened on its own.
She was about to move to close it when a familiar giggle stopped her.
"Olaf? What are you doing here?" she asked fondly, turning her seat so that she could face the snowman properly.
"Hi, Elsa! Anna gave me a super special mission," he replied, waddling up to her and plopping down at her feet.
"Oh really, and what would that be?" she said cocking her head to the side.
"She asked me to keep an eye on you." He opened one of his eyes comically wide and leaned forward to emphasize this. "And to give you warm hugs if you need them. Do you need any?"
Elsa blinked down at him, processing what he had said; even when she wasn't around, Anna found a way to make sure her older sister was taken care of. Was there no end to this girl's selflessness?
"Come to think of it, that is exactly what I need."
Sliding off the chair to her knees Elsa engulfed the little snowman in a tight embrace as he gasped in delight, proud that he had accomplished the mission his friend had assigned him. The blonde smiled as she felt the stress from her argument with the Duke slip away.
Thank you Anna.
After wandering through the crowded streets for a while Kristoff brought Anna to a local shop that served hot rolls and cold meats for a quick lunch. Once they had finished eating, the two decided to simply walk through the market square, two royal guards following at a distance.
Elsa had insisted that if Anna wanted to leave the castle grounds she was always to have an escort. At first the princess had flat out refused the idea, she could not understand why Elsa had so little faith in her ability to take care of herself. However, after a small argument Anna was able to weasel out the true reason behind the queen's request.
"I can't lose you again Anna. Please."
The second Elsa had whispered those words to her, all of her stubbornness melted away and she willingly conceded to her sibling's wishes.
Throughout the day Anna and Kristoff were stopped by townspeople who wanted to meet the girl. Luckily for Kristoff, everyone was so excited to see their heroic princess up close they tended not to notice the man at her side. He was not an overly social person anyway.
Eventually the crowd of avid fans let them be and the pair could return to their browsing. The redhead had already bought a package of gourmet chocolates, some flowers for Olaf and a few new ribbons for her hair. All of which were currently resting in the arms of Kristoff, but the ice harvester was too busy enjoying his time with Anna to mind. He couldn't seem to wipe the dopey grin he'd acquired since the beginning of their trip off his face.
"I hope Elsa isn't working too hard. It's too bad she couldn't come with us, but I think all these people would have made her uncomfortable. She is still getting used to being around a lot of people for long periods of time. Maybe I should have gone to court with her... I bet she's lonely… oh jeez I'm sorry Kristoff, this whole time I've just been talking about Elsa when I should be talking about stuff you like. Like ice or trolls maybe," she said looking guilty.
"It's alright Anna. It's understandable that you would worry about your sister. But I don't think you need to worry too much, you did send her a snowman that could make puppies look depressing," he replied with a small chuckle.
"That's true. Is it weird that I miss her already?" she asked glancing up at Kristoff for reassurance.
"I'm not sure that I am the right person to be getting advice about being normal," he said sending her a wink. "But if it makes you feel any better I always miss my family when I go harvesting. No matter how long I am gone."
The man almost dropped all of Anna's recently purchased items when she threw her arms around his waist.
"Thanks," she mumbled against his chest.
She was close enough that he could smell the lavender in her hair and it made Kristoff want to run his fingers through it to find out if it was as soft as it looked. The feeling of her small, warm body against his own sent a shiver up his spine; she fit there so perfectly. Shifting all of Anna's parcels under one arm he wrapped the other around her waist bringing her close. Slowly she tilted her head to look up at him and their eyes locked for a moment.
Sun and stars she is beautiful. I never realized just how much I love the colour of her eyes, it's like staring into the ocean. Wow that was corny. I wonder if she would let me...?
His eyes drifted down to her lips, but before he could make up his mind she stepped away from him. Her absence left him feeling somehow incomplete, it was like someone had removed one of his limbs and he needed it back.
Was it just him or did she look a little disappointed? No it was probably just him.
"Come help me pick out something for Elsa, I never got a chance to get her a coronation present," she said turning back toward the shops that lined the street.
Curse the man who built this blasted chair!
Elsa had given up trying to find a comfortable position while seated on her throne. The thing was terribly uncomfortable, with no cushioning beneath her and the back of the seat forcing her to sit ramrod straight. The queen had been listening to townspeople and nobles alike for well over three hours now and her backside was going numb. It felt as though her spine was about to snap in two and being among so many people for this long was starting to make her anxious.
The blonde had to blink few times in order to get her attention back on the representative in front of her; a tall man in his fifties, well-built and skin tanned brown from years of working in the sun. He had come to her on behalf of Arendelle's farming community. It seemed the rapid cold snap was going to have a significant impact on them this year.
"… so you see, Your Majesty, due to the recent… um… weather, most of Arendelle's crops have been lost, so our food exports will be taking a rather significant hit. However, since it occurred so early on in the summer, I think that we will still be able to get in another harvest before the end of the season and have enough stored away to feed ourselves for the winter," the man said twisting his hat in his hands and praying he had not offended the queen by bringing up the change in weather.
"Thank you for bringing this to my attention, kind sir. I am glad to hear that my people will not go wanting for food even if exports will be halted," she made a mental note to contact partners and warn them of this and hoped her plan regarding her new item of trade would work the way she hoped. "However, it sounds to me that Arendelle's farmers will have to endure a loss of income and I apologize for that. I hope that a reduction in taxes this season will help with this problem."
The man blinked up at her in surprise and as the realization of what she had just said sunk in, a childish grin lit up his weather beaten features. "Thank you, Majesty! You have no idea how much this means to us," he said bowing over and over again.
Elsa could feel the eyes of her master of coin glaring at her and could practically hear his thoughts:
This woman is going to bankrupt the entire kingdom because she is too busy trying to be popular!
However, the queen couldn't bring herself to care, if she had her way Arendelle would make it out of this with only minor damage, if only out of sheer force of will.
"No sir, do not thank me. It is I who should be thanking you, and all the men and women you represent. Your hard work puts food on our tables and it was high time you received the gratitude you deserve," she said with a warm smile.
"Bless you, Queen Elsa," he bowed once more before slipping back into the crowd.
There were only a few more visitors after that, a man who asked for funds to replace some livestock he had lost during the freeze, to which Elsa granted; a woman who had come to ask the queen for protection against her abusive husband; and finally a Lord from Russia who presented her with lovely furs as a coronation gift made from the pelt of a white bear. She thanked him graciously for his gift and deciding that was enough for the day, sent Kai a look over her shoulder.
Having known Elsa since birth and spending most of that time learning to anticipate her emotions, Kai was easily able to pick up on her silent message. "That will be all for today. Her Majesty would like to bid you all a good evening. All bow for Queen Elsa of Arendelle."
Standing, joints stiff from lack of use, Elsa tipped her head to the many lowered ones and slowly made her way to the exit. Once she heard the doors close behind her Elsa sank into the nearest bench and released an exhausted sigh as she felt her anxiety begin to dissipate.
Kai soon joined her and gave her warm smile. "Your father would have been so proud," he said softly.
The praise meant the world to Elsa. The queen had always looked up to her father; the way nothing ever fazed him and how he was able to command the respect of anyone with just a look. And even though Elsa knew her father loved his daughters very much she'd never felt as though he was truly proud of her.
"Thank you Kai… for everything," she said giving him a watery smile and lying a small hand over one of his large ones.
"Go and get some rest. I will come and fetch you when dinner is ready," he said after a few moments, giving her hand a gentle pat.
Elsa nodded and watched him leave, dabbing at her eyes.
It would be nice to go a day without crying, she thought to herself.
Now that thirteen years of buried emotions had been released it seemed that Elsa could barely go a few hours without crying, be it from sadness, fear, or joy.
"Psst! Psst! Elsa? Is the coast clear?"
"Yes Olaf, you can come out now," she said trying very hard to stifle the laugh that was building in her chest.
Throwing aside the velvet window curtain he had been hiding behind, the little snowman came bounding over to the young queen. Climbing up onto the bench she currently occupied and snuggling into her side.
"You were in there an awfully long time. What were you doing?"
"Well, I was listening to the questions and concerns of Arendelle's citizens."
"Was it fun?" he asked, absentmindedly playing with his stubby legs.
"Not particularly, and that wooden method of torture didn't help matters. But as their Queen it is my duty to make myself approachable."
"So you were putting their needs before your own?" he asked looking up at her.
Elsa pondered his question for a moment. "I suppose, in a manner of speaking."
"Awww that's so nice! I'm glad you love the people so much. I bet they love you too, since you're the nicest, prettiest, warmest, most loving queen ever," he proclaimed, wrapping his tiny stick arms around her waist.
Elsa couldn't have removed the smile from her face even if she wanted to. The Duke himself could have been screaming insults at her and she would have been helpless to do anything but grin up at him in joy.
"Thank you Olaf," she said returning the hug. "I was thinking of going for a walk through the palace garden before dinner, would you like to join me?"
"Absolutely, let's go!" he exclaimed, seizing her hand and dragging her toward the entrance hall.
"Slow down Olaf, it's this way."
Kristoff released a very loud yawn.
"Tired are we?" Anna asked giving him a bemused look and chuckling softly.
He bumped her softly with his shoulder. "Didn't anyone ever teach you that it is not polite to laugh at people? And yes I am thank you very much. I'm not used to sleeping in feather beds. I think I am going to have to spend tonight in the stables with Sven. Otherwise how will I ever get any beauty sleep?" he said sighing dramatically.
"Are you planning on sleeping for ten years or something?" she laughed.
"Ouch freckles," he said laughing along with her.
They spent the rest of the afternoon searching for something to give Elsa. Unfortunately, nothing was good enough in Anna's eyes. It had to be just right, something that would show her sister that Anna had put real thought into it.
"I found it! Oh this would be perfect!" the girl suddenly cried standing in front of an assortment of vibrant writing quills. The one she was pointing to was a shade of ice blue which slowly faded into white.
The man who owned the stall told her the feather came from the tail of a brilliantly coloured bird that lived in the jungle across the ocean and ate a certain kind of fruit. The girl bought it without hesitation and was practically vibrating with excitement at the prospect of seeing the look on her sister's face when she gave it to her.
"Oh, Kristoff, look! Have you ever seen anything so beautiful before?" she said holding up the newly purchased quill.
After spending the whole afternoon watching Anna be so unbelievably adorable and especially after having come so close to actually kissing her, the ice harvester wasn't exactly thinking clearly.
So he simply blurted out the first thing that popped into his head. "You're beautiful… wait, what?"
Realizing what he had just said Kristoff turned so red that if Anna wasn't currently giggling like crazy and blushing herself, she would have been worried he'd catch fire.
Smooth Kristoff, real smooth.
Having caught her breath and seeing how embarrassed the mountain man was Anna decided to save him. "Thanks, you're not so bad looking yourself. Come on we should be getting back, I don't want Elsa to worry if we are late for dinner," she said signalling him to follow her. The man had stopped listening after her statement about his looks and could only follow in a daze.
Anna and Kristoff managed to make it to the dining hall only a few minutes after Elsa and Olaf had been seated. The princess excitedly told her sister all about going into town and how fun it was seeing all the people and looking at all the items for sale. In return Elsa gave a brief description of her day, leaving out her confrontation with the Duke.
Halfway through their meal Olaf proudly declared that he had easily completed his mission of taking care of his creator. This made the redhead blush and look to Elsa a little embarrassed. However, she was pleasantly surprised when the queen took her hand and told her just how much she appreciated the gesture.
Kristoff on the other hand spent the entire meal between staring at Anna and talking awkwardly with the queen, who seemed oddly interested in getting to know him. He did his best to impress her, knowing full well that if wanted to continue seeing Anna he had to first earn the approval of the monarch. He'd seen first-hand just how protective Elsa was of her sister so he knew that he would have to tread carefully.
Once they were done eating, the mountain man wished the royals and Olaf a good night before leaving for the stables. Evidently he wasn't joking when he'd said that he wasn't able to sleep properly in the guest bed and so decided to try his luck in the hay loft.
"So what do you want to do now?" asked Olaf as the trio left the dining hall.
"Well, I do believe I promised someone that we would do something 'magical' this evening. Any thoughts Anna?" the queen said smiling in her sister's direction.
"You bet I do," she replied grabbing Elsa by the wrist and jogging toward the palace's grand ballroom.
"Anna, please this dress was not made for running!" she cried but her words fell on deaf ears as the princess continued to drag her forward, an ecstatic Olaf close behind.
When they reached their destination the girl threw open the heavy wooden double doors and came to a stop in the center of the large room. Grinning from ear to ear Anna looked up at the blonde expectantly.
"Make it snow! Make it snow!"
"Okay but not for too long, I'm tired so-" she began but the redhead interrupted her.
"Wait you mean your powers aren't like unlimited or something?" Anna said with a confused look on her face.
"No, they… ," Elsa had to take a moment to think of a good way to explain how her magic worked. "They draw on my energy reserves just like any other form of exercise. Although my, I guess what you might call 'endurance' has improved over the years. Like I said, as I grew, so did they," she said shrugging and looking down at her hands.
"But you froze the summer, built an ice palace and a huge living snowman all in few days! That must have taken a ton of energy! And now all of a sudden you're a little tired and that might affect your powers? That makes no sense," she said narrowing her eyes at the queen.
"I have been wondering that myself. And the only answer I can come up with is that I had stored away quite a bit of magic for close to three years and I was running almost purely on adrenaline," she said shaking her head. "I don't think I could do it again."
"Hmmm, I guess that makes sense."
"Well I'm really happy it happened, because that means you were able to make me!" Olaf declared happily.
"Yes, I am happy about that too," Anna said giggling and wrapping the little snowman in one of the warm hugs he loved so much.
Watching her little sister and creation hug each other Elsa felt her chest fill with so much love and affection she was afraid she might start crying again.
This is really getting ridiculous.
Smiling, Elsa called to the magic that flowed through her body, drawing in the moisture from the air and closing her eyes as she felt the ice gathering in her fingertips. Drawing in a deep breath the queen began to weave the glacial magic around her hands, gathering it into a condensed ball of snow as Anna and Olaf looked on in awe.
Peeking through one eyelid Elsa looked down at the pair, "Ready?"
When the two nodded simultaneously Elsa threw the ball of magic high up into the ceiling where it burst into a flurry of rapidly falling snowflakes that quickly filled the ballroom with a layer of fresh powder. Immediately, Elsa felt the effects of her little display as a new wave of exhaustion washed over her and realized she may have overdone it a little. Shaking off her fatigue the blonde turned back to the freckled girl who was currently trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue.
"How's that for impressive?" she said with a smug look on her face.
"Don't get too full of yourself," Anna snorted, a spark of mischief flashing in her eyes. "Ooo look at me I'm Queen Elsa, I erect giant palaces made of ice with a snap of my fingers and make my own clothes because I feel like it," she said in a high pitched, sing-song voice and flinging a braid dramatically over her shoulder. "Yes sir, I am a very important person, pardon me as a twirl my pretty little self over to the- umph," she grunted as something cold and wet collided with her face.
"Oh I'm sorry dear sister, I didn't see you there."
"Did you just throw a snowball at me?"
"Absolutely not, don't be ridiculous. As you so lovingly pointed out I am a queen and queens most certainly do not throw magical snowballs at people," she said putting on her mask of calm serenity, which Anna liked to refer to as her 'Queen face'.
"Oh you are so going to pay for that," she said gathering snow in her hands. "Come on, Olaf, you're on my team!"
"Yay Anna's team! Wait, team for what?"
"Now Anna, do you really want to challenge the Snow Queen? That hardly seems fair," she said with fake seriousness.
"Charge!" Anna roared throwing snowball after snowball at her sister who made a very undignified shriek before taking refuge behind a large marble pillar and launching her own counter attack.
The girls continued to hurl snow at one another, little Olaf running around their feet refereeing the battle. Eventually, Anna was able to catch the queen and tackle her to the ground. They lay side-by-side, breathless from laughter and letting the snow cool down their overheated bodies while Olaf made snow angels.
After a few minutes Elsa stood up and helped her sister to her feet. "Alright missy, that's enough for today. Let's get you dried off before you catch a cold," she said brushing a loose strand of Anna's hair back into place.
"Yes, ma'am!" the princess replied saluting the queen.
Laughing, Elsa gave a quick wave of her hand to evaporate the snow back into the air before slipping her arm through that of her sibling's and leading her out into the hallway.
After changing into some dry clothes, the girls sat together near a large fireplace sipping hot chocolate - Olaf had decided to explore the castle.
They had opted to stay in Anna's bedroom tonight and the queen prayed that she would be able to actually sleep. The last handful of nights had left her completely drained and she didn't know how much longer she could put up with it.
They had been sitting in comfortable silence when Anna suddenly shot to her feet, almost spilling her hot beverage in the process.
"I almost forgot! I can't believe I forgot! Come on Anna, get it together," she grumbled running over to her bedside table where a pile of items Elsa couldn't quite make out, sat.
"Ah hah!" she cried triumphantly holding something in her hands.
Elsa craned her neck to see what it was but before she could the princess quickly hid it behind her back.
"What have you got there?" she asked, curiosity piqued.
"I remembered that I never got you anything to celebrate your coronation when I was in town today so…" she said moving back to the large chesterfield where the queen was sitting.
"You got me a gift?" the blonde asked, a look of utter surprise crossing her face.
"Yup! Congratulations on becoming queen, Elsa!" she exclaimed, proudly bringing the concealed object out from behind her.
Elsa breath caught in her throat as she looked wide-eyed at the most beautiful writing quill she had ever seen. The woman reached out with shaking hands and delicately picked the utensil up from her sister's palm. It fit perfectly in her hand and the queen couldn't help but stare at the striking colour of the feather, Elsa had no idea such a thing existed.
"I figured you could use it to sketch, you know 'cause you said you like to do that," she said smiling up at the elder girl, searching her face for any indication that she had picked the right present.
Elsa could feel the tears building up in her eyes as she continued to stare down at the quill; it was the most thoughtful gift she had ever received. "I did say that, didn't I?"
"Do you like it?" Anna asked as doubt started to creep into her mind the longer Elsa stared at her present.
Oh no! She hates it, I knew it! Not even been together for a week and I have failed as a sister!
"I love it," Elsa said softly her eyes shining with unshed tears.
"It's perfect. Thank you Anna," she said placing a soft kiss on her forehead and pulling the girl into her arms. "I love you."
"I love you too, Elsa," she replied nuzzling into the queen's neck.
"Alright young lady, time for bed," the older woman commanded taking her sister by the hand and steering her toward the four-poster bed on the opposite side of the room.
"Awww, but I'm not even tired," she protested, stifling a yawn and flopping down on the bed.
Laughing, the queen prodded the remaining logs in the fireplace in order to stifle the flames. When she was satisfied, the blonde strode over to where Anna was already curled up, blankets bunched under her chin.
"Anna, are you sure you want me to sleep here tonight? I don't want to keep you up if I… have the dreams again," she said twisting her hands together and glancing in the direction of the door.
"Elsa, stop being silly and get in here," she said not opening her eyes and lifting the sheets.
The queen hesitated for a moment before slipping beneath the covers next to her little sister who curled into her side, wrapping one arm around her waist.
"Mmm, that's better," Anna sighed. "Goodnight Elsa."
I hope so, she thought to herself as she felt sleep tugging her mind into darkness. I hope so.
"Your sister is dead, because of you!" he yelled over the howling wind, his face a reflection of her own desperation.
"No! No, you're lying!" she screamed at him. But before Hans could respond he was swept away by the storm.
"Elsa? Elsa, where are you? I'm so cold," came the soft voice she knew so well.
"Anna!" she cried frantically looking for the voice's owner. "Where are you Anna?!"
"Elsa… Elsa… it's cold. Elsa… Elsa…"
Finally she saw her. The queen ran, but no matter how fast she moved the queen never seemed to get any closer.
"I'm coming, Anna! I'm here!" she cried, trying in vain to make her legs work properly, tears burning her eyes in frustration.
Suddenly, there she was right in front of her, alive. The girl was shivering and had her arms wrapped around her torso.
"I'm so cold," she whispered refusing to meet Elsa's eyes.
"It's okay Anna. I've got you," the queen soothed taking the princess in her arms, but as soon as their skin made contact the younger woman went stiff.
When Elsa looked down her eyes flew wide with horror, Anna was encased in ice, her face twisted in an expression of absolute terror.
"ANNA!" she screamed, trying to sit upright but something heavy was pinning her down. Panic spread through her like wildfire as she began to struggle. "Anna! Where are you?" she cried trying desperately to rid herself the weight that held her to the bed; she needed to find her sister.
"I'm here Elsa, it's alright, it's not real," a voice at her ear said softly, waiting for the blonde to realize it was just a dream.
Slowly the queen stopped her struggling and pressed her ear to Anna's chest as silent sobs wracked her body. The princess had soon come to understand that the only sure way to calm Elsa after her nightmares was to let her listen to her little sister's heartbeat. It wasn't long before the redhead drifted back to sleep. Elsa, on the other hand, fought it for as long she could, terrified of what waited for her when she did.