Double The Trouble
“Krissy... I can’t do this! They’re animals!” Anna whined, slumped against the door, legs splayed out before her. Kristoff sat beside her, equally defeated.
“We can’t give up now! It’s only been a day!” Her husband responded before lurching to his feet, squaring his shoulders. “We can do this. We’re bigger and smarter, right?”
“Yeah, I guess...” Anna agreed half-heartedly allowing him to pull her to her feet. “We just have to get them ready for bed and then we’re free right?”
The pair straightened themselves out and pushed the blue and white door open to face their quarry. Inside, four little eyes tracked their movements until they were only a foot apart.
“Alright, boys. No more games, it is time for bed.” Anna adopted her sternest voice and stomped her foot for emphasis.
Her twin nephews, just a month shy of their first birthday, stood in their crib watching her display completely unfazed. They had spent most of the night thwarting Anna at every turn.
“Mama?” Greger asked, blue eyes just like his mother’s.
“No, Auntie Anna is gonna put you down, okay?” Greger’s face dropped, lip poking out, as it was most certainly not ‘okay’.
“Mama!” He cried, large crocodile tears rolling down his face as Griffin joined the meltdown!
“Hey! Stop that! Auntie Anna is here. Don’t cry!” The boys continued to do just that, causing the harried princess to panic. “Krissy, help!”
“Um, okay...” he muttered before adopting a silly face. “Hey, boys, look at me!” The effect was instantaneous and disastrous as the twins cried even harder!
“Krissy?!” Anna cried, pulling him from the crib. “What the heck was that?!”
“I don’t know! I was trying to distract them!”
“Great job!” Anna huffed sarcastically. She needed to be tough, take back control; that’s what Elsa would do. She marched up to the crib and adopted her stern demeanor again.
“Griffin and Greger, you will stop that this instant! Mama is not here and you need to go to bed.”
She was pleasantly surprised when the pair quieted down and stared at her, chubby cheeks still shining with tears. Her relief, however, was short-lived.
“No ‘Nana’.” Griffin told her, stomping his little foot, bi-color eyes alight. The boys had just begun to speak in earnest and for some reason, they couldn’t quite pronounce their aunt’s name.
“Yes, ‘Anna’.” The princess corrected him, holding her ground.
“Mama.” The elder twin repeated, his brother parroting in the background. “No ‘Nana’.” Anna was getting frustrated again at her lack of control over people so tiny!
“Yes, ‘Nana’, I mean ‘Anna’!” She fumed. Kristoff stood behind her at a loss, since the only children he had dealt with before were made of rock and far less stubborn.
“Is it getting colder in here?” He whispered in disbelief.
“What? No. I don’t know...maybe a little...” Anna admitted before a startling realization struck her and she gasped at the boys in horror! “No! Nononononono....”
On the day Elsa gave birth, Arendelle had been hit by a brutal blizzard. Everyone had assumed it was the queen’s doing but the storm had continued to rage even after the birth was over! In fact, it had continued to snow for several days though Elsa was unconscious, at one point near death, completely unaware. The queen had come a long way in her control of her powers and rarely did they act without her consent. So why had the storm raged on?
The queen had a theory, one that worried her to no end. What if one, or both, of her children had inherited her abilities? In her younger years, the queen had always assumed she would remain alone and isolated. Anna would continue to be her heir; children of her own were simply out of the question. Then suddenly everything had changed and she had her sister back, a loving husband and not one but two heirs. Would the kingdom and the world at large accept her children if they were different? Elsa was positive she didn’t want to find out. Despite her fears, everyone dismissed the queen’s worries, as the boys had shown no other indications of special abilities. But now...
“Griffin?” Anna asked the toddler tentatively. “Are you making it cold?”
The little boy stared at her as if he understood before asserting, “Mama cold. No ‘Nana’.”
“Shit!” Kristoff exclaimed behind her. But before Anna could chastise her husband for his language, she saw why he had cursed in the first place.
Large snowflakes seemed to appear out of thin air, falling softly on the nursery. Anna began to shiver, noting the warm puffs of air her breath emitted, yet the boys seemed unfazed as they began chanting, “Mama cold, mama cold!”
“Shit!” Anna exclaimed, mimicking her husband’s reaction. She grabbed Kristoff by the sleeve and tugged him out of the room.
“What are we gonna do?!” Kristoff was running his hands through his hair in distress.
“I don’t know...Oh, no...” Anna was pacing the hallway, wringing her hands.
How was she going to tell Elsa that her worst fears were realized? The princess knew for a fact that her sister would not take the news well. Anna hadn’t been able to tell if it was Griffin or Greger or both, but someone in that nursery had powers and it wasn’t her!
As the couple unraveled at the thought of facing Elsa, Anna nearly collided with a servant as she turned the corner! The poor woman was carrying a mountain of linens, which she nearly tossed all over the hallway as Anna barreled into her. She was understandably surprised when the crown princess latched on to her arm desperately!
“Find me a messenger!” Anna demanded.
“Of course, Highness!” the woman agreed, unnerved by Anna’s behavior. “Is everything alright?”
“No. No, things are not alright! Elsa is gonna freak!” She exclaimed to no one in particular before she noticed the woman lingering. “Go, now!” Then she added, “Please”, as she had previously forgotten all her manners. With a hurried bow, the servant dashed down the hall as the sounds of the princess unraveling faded into the background.
Rayce sat in Greger's study, taking in all the splendor of the castle, opulence evident even here. There were exquisite tapestries draped down each wall, a desk so massive it could have dwarfed Rayce' considerable frame, and lushly upholstered leather chairs and couches. He had settled into one such couch as Greger poured them each a glass of cooling scotch. The southern king handed his friend a glass before moving to stand near the fire. Each enjoyed their nightcap in comfortable silence until Rayce spoke up.
“How long, brother?” Rayce asked quietly as he sipped his brandy.
“Excuse me?” Greger had no idea what the other king was referring to.
“Are we to keep up this ruse?” Rayce clarified casually. “To pretend you actually wish to marry my sister. To pretend there is no ulterior motive here.”
“It’s alright, brother. I simply have grown weary of the game. What is it my wife knows that I do not?”
Greger was floored! Amina had only admitted to confessing to Elsa right before dinner. How had Rayce figured it out? As if noting the confusion on his friend’s face, Rayce spoke up.
“My wife is many things,” he began. “But what she is not, is an overly amorous woman. Her distraction before dinner, while quite enjoyable, was a distraction nonetheless. She’s hiding something and I bet my beard that it has to do with you and my sister!”
That was no casual statement! Rayce loved his beard more than should seem appropriate and balked at giving it more than even a trim. He was serious, and unfortunately, he was right! Greger sighed and sat heavily in an overstuffed chair across from his friend.
“It isn’t what you think...” He began slowly.
“Enlighten me...” came the measured response.
And so he did. It had all started last year, after that disastrous first summer summit. While most had been pleased over the reconciliation between Arendelle and The Southern Isles, there were still many who remained unnerved. After all, there were now TWO nations with rulers who possessed superhuman abilities. Few could stand in the face of one such ruler but two? It would be a losing battle for any nation.
This had been the argument made by Amina’s delegation from the Africa’s. She had assured them that Egypt and the surrounding areas were safe. They were members of a great multi-national alliance, her brother now reigned in Arendelle beside the ‘Snow Queen’ and thus their homeland would be protected. Unfortunately, they did not share her confidence.
“Your brother swore allegiance to Arendelle; resigned his commission! He has forsaken his homeland!” They asserted.
Amina had argued that Rayce was who he always had been, that their family still resided in Egypt and he would protect them. Her pleas fell on deaf ears. In order to ensure they were protected, the delegation decided to issue a decree demanding Rayce return to Egypt and prove his loyalty or action would be taken against Arendelle to bring him home!
The young woman was flabbergasted. She knew Rayce had made enemies when he’d left Egypt. If he returned, on his own or coerced, she was certain that her brother would never see his wife or children again. She could not let that happen. So the young woman had suggested a different solution. When she approached Greger with the idea, the young king had readily agreed, willing to do anything to atone for his past sins.
“Let me get this straight,” Rayce interjected. “Unless my sister marries you, Egypt will wage war on Arendelle?”
“Not just Egypt, I’m afraid.” Greger answered in a contrite tone. “Apparently, that whole side of the world fears what retribution Arendelle and The Southern Isles can bring together. With one of their delegates at my side, as my wife, they wager I am less likely to attack.”
“No.” Rayce stated firmly, rising to his feet.
“What? There is no other choice.” Greger asserted, rising as well. “Amina and I are more than willing to do this for you. For Elsa and Arendelle.”
“You will do no such thing!” Rayce replied adamantly. “Allowing you and my sister to pay for my mistakes is not a solution. I won’t sacrifice your happiness for mine.”
“Shouldn’t you discuss this with Elsa? She may feel differently.”
“My wife and I are of the same mind. I have no doubt she will agree with my decision which is why she worked so hard to hide this from me.”
“So what do we do?” Greger asked dejectedly. Rayce regarded him for a long moment before finishing his drink and slamming the cup on the mantle.
“We will find a solution, together. In the meantime,” he met the other man’s eyes with determination. “I am on my honeymoon and if we are truly to face a possible war, then I will not waste a minute with my wife.”
He placed a strong hand on Greger’s shoulder and squeezed it firmly, then headed for the door. Just before he stepped out he turned slightly.
“Have faith, brother. I believe there is nothing we cannot overcome together.” He flashed his friend a reassuring smile and went off in search of his mate, determined not to waste a moment with his beloved.