Just wanna say you guys are the sweetest audience ever, oh mah goodness. Also, super special thanks to JustNeedToReview for being a phenomenal beta and for tolerating me and my madness:D
Disclaimer: I don't own Frozen or Kurt Vonnegut.
Nightfall greeted them with Arendelle's port. The city was clotted with snow. The fresh powder fell in heavy sheets and softened the mounds into gentle dunes. Dozens of people littered the streets, and twice as many looked on from their homes at the three massive vessels drifting into their harbor.
"If you so much as think about carrying me, reindeer-man, I will break your kneecaps." Elsa struggled to stand. The serum's numbness refused to drain from her limbs. Its effects oozed away in slow drips like melting ice.
"You see, you're talking, but all I'm hearing is 'mehmehmehmehmeh why yes, Kristoff, I am a stubborn brat who is going to eat the deck if I don't swallow my pride and let you help me'."
Elsa huffed. "But of course. How foolish of me. Let me allow you, the more injured of the two of us, to carry me off the ship. That way we'll at least have each other when we both fall into the water."
Kristoff rolled his eyes. "C'mere, Frosty." He looped Elsa's arm over his shoulders. She didn't fight him, but she didn't let him carry all of her weight either. She growled half-heartedly as he led her towards the gangplank and to the carriage waiting for them on the dock.
"Okay, now I understand what Anna sees in you. You're like a little sun. So warm and cozy."
"…Remind me to punch you later."
"Love you, too, Ice Block."
Rapunzel met them at their carriage, and the three of them rode to Castle Arendelle. Rapunzel kept her eyes glued to the torrents of falling snow that blinded the view from the windows. "Wow. I had heard you guys were getting a double winter, but this is…that is a lot of snow."
"You get used to it." Kristoff stretched his uninjured arm. "Man it feels good to be home."
Elsa looked out the window. Home…
She had never called any place home. Not really. Her cove was maybe a semblance of one since it was her favorite spot, but years of running from hideout to hideout had trained her not to get too attached.
The gates groaned opened and slammed shut behind them as they entered the courtyard. An army of guards greeted them, and one of them stepped towards the carriage doors. The large bearded man must have been important because his armor was finer than the rest and he wore a red cape with a matching sash across his breastplate. He stammered a greeting when Elsa stepped out, and he stuttered into a deep bow when Rapunzel followed behind her.
"Princess Rapunzel, Your Highness. Please forgive me. If we had known sooner that you were coming, we would have prepared a proper welcoming party."
"It's alright, captain. I suspected I would get here before my messenger could." Rapunzel turned, completely revealing Elsa to the wide-eyed stares she had shuffled behind Rapunzel to hide from. "And I've brought back a few friends."
"I…I see. But where did—?" Kristoff stepped out of the carriage, and the captain's mustache tilted into a large smile. "Kristoff! There you are, lad!" He prepared to embrace the smaller knight, but he stopped and scowled at Kristoff's sling. His brow furrowed ever deeper when he saw just how much Kristoff favored his left side. "By the gods, what the hell tore into you?"
Kristoff avoided the question and pretended not to see Elsa's wince. "Nice to see you too, Reylin. Good to see the place didn't burn down while I was gone." He looked at the mass of extra guards, and he raised an eyebrow. "…Nothing did burn down, right?"
"No. But trust me when I say there has been plenty of excitement in your absence." Reylin turned suddenly serious. "Actually, excitement wouldn't do recent events justice—insanity, more like. The Princess will fill you in, surely. I don't have the authority to divulge details with so many ears around us."
"What do you mean? What happened?" Reylin only gave Kristoff a tired look and glanced at Rapunzel. Kristoff turned on the brunette princess, and Elsa gave her attention to their conversation when she heard the concern in Kristoff's voice. "Am I missing something here that you know and didn't bother sharing with us?"
"Well…technically yes, but you have to understand that you two were already very stressed and I didn't want to—"
The wall of guards behind Reylin broke open like they had been hit with a battering ram. Gerda was a blur as she ran forward and threw her arms around Elsa and Kristoff, enveloping them in a tight hug that they both winced into.
"Oh, gods be praised!" the elderly handmaid cried. "You're safe! You're safe! You're safe!" She grabbed each of their faces and gave them fervent cheek kisses. "Oh dear, you two look awful! I'll have Dr. Geri summoned immediately, don't you worry—" She turned on Rapunzel, and her soon-to-be victim cringed and offered a small wave. "Princess Rapunzel!" Gerda babbled at a loss for words before smothering her. "Oh, thank you, my dear! Thank you for bringing them home! This is splendid!"
Rapunzel eventually escaped Gerda's grip. "Hello to you too, Gerda. It's good to see you. My parents would have come too, but with everything that's going on, they can't afford to leave Corona."
A crowd sprouted at the edges of the courtyard, drawn closer by Gerda's cries. Elsa shrunk under their attention and tapped Gerda's shoulder. "Gerda," she whispered, "where—?"
Before Elsa could finish, Gerda ushered them into the castle with sudden urgency. "Princess Anna and His Majesty will be thrilled to know you're all here and safe! That girl has become so serious lately—"
Elsa tried to stop her. "But where—?"
"—to the doctor. Oh, I can only imagine what—"
Gerda talked as she maneuvered them through the halls. Dozens of wide eyes followed them. Elsa and Kristoff tried their damnedest to keep up with the ecstatic older woman.
When they reached the imposing doors of the great hall, Gerda dashed to the guards lining its front, speaking quickly. As Elsa gazed at the rune-lined doors before her, she couldn't help but be reminded of when Crow dragged her into there for the first time.
They opened the doors. Silence hummed around the great hall, the empty room nursing a few dying wall sconces whose weak flames blended into the pale moonlight streaming through the stained-glass windows. A few servants milled around the room, and their surprised murmurs at the appearance of their new guests loomed like shouts in the quiet.
Gerda talked some more, saying something that sounded like an apology, a reassurance, and a promise, but Elsa stopped pretending to listen. Anna was just here. Her scent was barely stale in the air, faint and lingering like a passing thought. Blood was in the air too, though it was far older. Elsa knew it wasn't Anna's—though she did vaguely recognize it—but the proximity of the two scents blossomed fear that threatened to knot her stomach, and her desire to find and finally be with her princess grew into a need as primal and starved as every living thing's need for food and water.
Elsa parted her mouth. Crushed leaves and leather jumbled about the room in a tangle of scents that warmed her from head to foot even though they were stale. A faint draft like a breath carried its strongest thread, and her head swiveled towards it where it disappeared into one of the side doors. Longing gave way to impatience that stilled Elsa's shaking limbs. She whined without realizing.
Kristoff nudged her. "What are you waiting for?" he whispered. "Stop whining and go get her."
Elsa hesitated. "I can't just leave."
"You seriously believe Gerda will let me go anywhere before she corrals me into Dr. Geri's office first?"
"…You need a distraction."
"Something like that."
Kristoff made a quick scan of the room. His eyes fell back to Elsa, at first thoughtful but then irritated. "You're really going to make me sacrifice my pride so you can go meet your girlfriend before the crowd does, aren't you?"
Kristoff nearly laughed. "Okay, if you're begging for my help, then I know the situation must be dire."
"I am not—"
Kristoff staggered away from her. "Ooooh, gods…I…I don't…" He fell to his knees and clutched his arm. Rapunzel knelt next to him. "I don't feel so…good…" He fell into Rapunzel's arms just as Gerda appeared at his side. The whole room's focus shifted.
Kristoff flashed a wink into his act, and Elsa smiled. She slipped behind a guard and into the side door when Kristoff swooned. Thank you.
The urge to sprint hounded Elsa's mind as she quietly made her way through the castle, but she didn't dare try her luck when adrenaline alone let her walk without a limp. Her senses stood at attention, eager to pounce on the curved tone of Anna's voice or the spice-like warmth of her scent.
It wasn't long before Elsa found herself in front of the library's large oak doors. Kai stood before them, and a dozen guards stood on either side of the doors a few yards away. The head butler looked surprised and relieved as he talked to a servant boy. But when he saw Elsa, he sent the young messenger on his way and greeted her with a smile as bright as Gerda's.
"Lady Elsa." He bowed. "I can't express how relieved I am to see that news of your safe return is true. It's so very good to see you."
Elsa's eyes refused to leave the doors. "What? Oh. Thanks…I mean, thank you." She shuffled her feet and swallowed, hands twitching at her sides. "Is she…?"
Kai laughed. "Yes. And she doesn't know yet. She ordered quite clearly that she was not to be disturbed 'unless the castle is on fire or if someone is dying'. Although, I think her warning was really intended for Lord Vidkun and the council. She left them looking quite pale." He smiled and stood aside. "I think she'll understand your arrival as an exception."
Elsa nodded. She glanced at the butler once more and steeled her nerves before she opened the door. She turned the knob like she was opening a safe, and the voice that greeted her through the crack echoed among the rafters and over the silence, slipping into Elsa's ears and filling a void within her like a missing piece to a puzzle.
Elsa's heart threw itself against her chest, thumping blood into her temples with all the speed and ferocity of a stampede, and she breathed properly for the first time in days.
"—to do! But if he thinks he can just…Oh, I know. I know. You're right. But still, I won't—"
Anna stood before the window overlooking the fjord, bathed in moonlight like an oil painting. The falling snowflakes dappled shadows over her that slid down her form like rain on a window. She bit her lip in-between her thoughts as she spoke, her hands gesticulating in animated intervals with predictable unpredictability. Her hair was up. It wound into a tight bun on top of her head, a streak of platinum curled in bright contrast through auburn.
Elsa's shoulders shook in a small laugh that didn't make sound. She watched Anna pace on the far side of the library and seek council from the large painting on the wall like she was watching a daydream. The library was dark—nearly black with the moon at its crest, but Anna somehow managed to bring light to the dark room without meaning to. Her dragged footfalls on every other step that were so familiar and yet still so far away stirred the dead quiet and reverberated in the halls between the massive bookcases like ripples on a pound's surface.
There she was. Her Anna. The inferno of Castle Arendelle and the light of her life. Dressed like a queen and rambling to a painting.
She was the most beautiful mess Elsa had ever seen, and the beat of every passing second stoked the warmth in Elsa's chest like the pumps of a smith's bellow, gushing the forge of her soul into bright flames and slowly falling cinders. It forged a purr so loud that even Elsa herself heard it thundering through the room and shaking against the silence like a cave about to collapse.
Anna stopped. She turned around, and pins and needles exploded in Elsa's chest. Anna was, by nature, a sunny soul. But there were shadows under her eyes and grief clinging to the sag of her shoulders.
But then their eyes met. And suddenly, nothing hurt anymore.
Anna went transparent, her head light like it was filled with ether. Her body became as faint as tracing paper.
'Elsa' she mouthed, not daring to speak lest saying her name aloud would dispel the apparition before her.
Anna floundered like she was being drowned by a black wave. Her insides crashed against themselves and fizzed into mist. Emotions gushed forward like a hail of arrows loosened by the hope of a dream coming true.
Elsa was here. Elsa was home. Elsa—
The cold haze of novice detachment rolled over Anna like fog descending onto a small town, and she tried to glare at the taunting specter that wore Elsa's face. She refused to fall apart to the naivety of impossible dreams and the vulnerability of doomed hopes. Elsa wasn't here. She couldn't be. The world was too sadistic for their fairytale to be that easy.
No. This wasn't a dream come true. This was a nightmare brought to life by stress and exhaustion and the sick joy the gods got from yanking Anna's heart into shreds. It was cruel, and it hurt how well the mirage mimicked the soft curl of Elsa's smile and the way she could talk without speaking, her eyes fading to a gentle sky-blue like a whispered I love you.
But, a mirage of Elsa was still Elsa, and Anna's love for her was too simple and too desperate to allow her to wish away what couldn't be true. Her exhaustion welcomed Elsa when she stepped forward, and Anna struggled not to fall apart when Elsa's hoarse voice spoke from across the library. Her words echoed like she was in a cathedral and plucked Anna's heart in the hollow of her chest.
"Hi, honey. I'm home."
Anna's lip quivered violently. "'I'm home'?" A sniffle. "R-Really? 'I'm home'? That's what you're going to say?" Her voice carried loud and clear, but her regal mask failed to hide the tremble in her words. A thick veil of tears glazed her eyes. "And what kind of time do you call this, then, honey, to just come strolling in like everything is perfectly fine?!"
"Hey, why are you crying? Are you really that sad to see me?" Elsa turned like she was making for the door. "I can come back later if you want."
Anna balked, jaw opening and closing several times. Elsa's laugh left a bittersweet taste in Anna's mouth. "Did you—Are you laughing?" More redness oozed into Anna's face, crimson and hot like lava. Her furrowed brow lowered so deeply that it forced her eyes shut, tears squeezing out and rolling down her face. "Why would you be laughing? What about this situation is in any way funny? I was looking for you!" Anna paused. She looked confused—and hurt—by her own words. "I…I-I am looking for you, you…you jerk!"
Elsa's smile spread into a grin that reached her eyes. She pointed her thumb to the door. "So, should this jerk come back later, then?"
"Oh-ho that's rich. Real funny." Anna looked to the Joan of Arc painting. "And what about you? Don't you want to hop out of the canvas and join the conversation?" The martyr was reduced to blobs and smudges through the pools gathering in Anna's eyes. "I mean, that's exactly what El—what she would say, isn't it? I-Isn't it?"
There was a beat of silence. Anna turned her back on the painting. She struggled to keep her shoulders squared towards Elsa. "You know what? Just g-go ahead and go if you want to! Go! Knock yourself out! Actually, yes, do that! Knock yourself right out! It's not like I miss you and don't know if you're okay or if you're scared or hurt or—!" Anna swallowed her shuttering breaths, but that didn't stop her hiccups from squishing her words. "I-I—I…" She hugged herself and looked at something that was either far away or not really there.
Elsa's steps were quiet on the wooden floor. Anna could sense her trying to meet her eyes, but she refused to make the connection.
"If you think missing me is hard, you should try missing you."
Anna bit her lip. Elsa's voice was gentle—calming and warm like the heat that seeped into Anna's very pores when she sat by the fire during a snowstorm.
"It's much too quiet without you around. The silence is maddening."
Anna looked at her with a watery glare that attempted to snarl. "How could you—!" Her eyes widened when she saw Elsa's form barely a few arm's-lengths away. "No! No!" She backed-peddled into the wall. "G-Go away!"
Anna closed her eyes. She's not here. She's not here. She's not here. She repeated the phrase in her head like a mantra, but the words beat into her like physical blows, their cruel reminder clawing at the seams of her tattered heart. She's not here…Elsa's…Elsa's not here…
Through Anna's tightly closed eyes, she felt—she imagined Elsa's shadow casting over her. "Go away…" She tucked her chin to her chest and retreated into the circle of her own arms. Focusing on the weight of her tiara kept her from unraveling completely, but that thought betrayed her as well, because what kind of princess would tremble against the wall like a little girl trying to shoo away a nightmare? "Go away…You're—Elsa's n-n-not here…Please just…just go away…"
The shadow didn't stop, and Anna tried to belly her resolve. "I said go away! D-Don't touch me—!"
Anna thrusted her hands forward, but when she hit solid flesh, she froze. Her eyes opened and the breath left her lungs like she had just been thrust under icy water.
The body before her was solid and warm and real. It drew closer, and Anna's knees grew weak when she recognized the calming purr and unnatural warmth that radiated from it.
Familiar arms wound around her. A kiss met her brow, then her temple, then her cheek, then her temple again. Then a face was nestling into the cradle of her neck and shoulder.
This was real. This was her. And as Anna crumbled against alabaster skin, the first of a dozen sobs keened from her throat. "Elsa…" She babbled Elsa's name against her collarbone and smeared how much she missed her against her throat. Purrs and gentle coos answered her. She shook like she was freezing to death, so Elsa's warm arms pulled her closer. Anna wrapped her arms under Elsa's, curling her hands over her shoulder blades and holding her like she was the only thing anchoring her to the world.
It was a small eternity before Elsa pulled back and held Anna's chin, gentle pressure persuading her to look up. She rubbed Anna's tear-stained cheek, rubbing the bags below her eyes and wishing she could wipe them away just as easily. Her insides howled when she saw the tainted mix of fear, grief, and desperate longing polluting her eyes, and a purr-like sound that Elsa didn't know she could make instinctively trembled in her chest.
Then something shifted in those teal pools. They flickered to life faster and brighter than dry brush catching fire. And even though Anna's choked gasp and suddenly wide eyes told Elsa exactly what was about to happen, she smiled and opened her arms anyways.
Anna threw herself at Elsa like she was fired from a cannon. Pain hit Elsa everywhere at once, but she bandaged it with a laugh and let Anna's joy wash over her like a salve. Elsa was able to keep them upright for a few steps, but she stood no chance when she hit the back of the couch. They tumbled over it in a tangle of limbs. Anna was a constrictor around Elsa's neck, her tumble of smiles and tears preventing Elsa from being able to ask if she was okay.
Elsa laughed and purred for all she was worth, nearly numbing Anna to the bone from the force of the vibrations. She bathed in her scent and drowned in her voice, Anna's chorus of I love you's making Elsa smile so much that it hurt. She could feel Anna's heart beat into her own chest, like it was pounding at the walls and trying to get to hers.
She got lost in her beautiful, foolish princess, but it was the best kind of lost that's exactly like being found. And in that moment, Elsa finally understood.
This was what home felt like.
Inevitably, a knee in her spleen made Elsa yelp, and she suddenly found herself yanked to her feet with the kind of grace only Anna could manage.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I…I…I-I'm sorry—"
She kept apologizing like Elsa was going to leave, so Elsa kissed her quivering lips.
Elsa pulled back. Anna stood frozen like a suddenly doused fire.
"Hi," Elsa said.
Anna blinked back to life. "H…H-Hi, me? Hi? Me?"
Elsa chuckled lowly, and Anna felt it where they were pressed together, chest to chest. Elsa rested her brow on hers before holding her close.
They stood there for a long moment before Anna leaned out of Elsa's arms. Tears fell from her face, and she sniffled. "Oh gods, Elsa…" She touched Elsa's face and shoulders, worrying over every bandage. She started and failed to form her concerns into sentences. "How did you…What did…?" You're here. You're back. You're safe. I love you. I missed you— "You look horrible."
Elsa's smirk pretended to look thoughtful. "Really? I thought the blood and bruises really brought out my eyes."
Anna's lips pursed. "You—You—!" She poked Elsa's chest. She poked her again when Elsa laughed at her watery pout. "Y-You stop that! It's not funny! This is serious!"
"What's serious? I'm not serious. Are you serious?"
"Yes! I am! I am very serious!"
"Oh, that won't do at all. Here, let me fix that for you."
Elsa held Anna close and attacked her face with a hundred kisses. Playful growls and overjoyed purrs rang in her ears. Anna gently beat her chest and squirmed like Olaf did when he refused to bathe.
"No! Don't you dare—!" Anna pushed Elsa's chest and leaned away, but that didn't stop Elsa in the slightest. "Haha!—S-Stop it! Down! No more!" Despite her best efforts to treat their situation with the severity it deserved, Anna squealed when Elsa exploited the ticklish spot behind her ear. "Elsa! Stop it! I-I have questions!"
It was easy for Elsa to ignore the hits to her bruises when Anna's giggles swam in her ears. "Hm. I'm sure you do. Fire away, I'm not answering any of them."
"Elsa, so help me I will—haha! W-W—hahaha!—W-Where were you? H-How did you get back? What—Elsa! W-What—Hahahahaha!"
Elsa relented only after Anna's once serious face was clouded with redness and shielded with a bright smile, giggling as she caught her breath. The shape-shifter looked proudly at her work. She kissed Anna's nose. "There. Much better."
Anna panted for several minutes. She laid her head on Elsa's chest and eventually laid all of her weight in her arms. Elsa held her close despite the deep throbbing in her shoulder that lanced pain through her arm.
Silence overtook them. Sleep teased the drunken happy haze of Anna's mind as she laid against Elsa. She nearly caved-in to the warmth of her lost love and the soft pit-pat thrumming from Elsa's chest. Elsa rocked them softly, rubbing her cheek into Anna's hair.
"You…You're really…" Anna's voice was small, muffled when she snuggled closer. She swallowed and held Elsa tighter like she was going to slip away. "You're here. You're back, but how…What happened to…?"
Elsa shushed her. "It doesn't matter. I'm home. We can talk later—"
Anna stiffened. "'It doesn't matter'?" She pulled away to look Elsa in the eye. "Elsa, you were kidnapped by a lunatic with a vendetta against you. You were gone for over a week. I had no idea where you were or what was happening to you—I thought you were dead." She started to cry again. "I couldn't figure out where you were—I tried and I tried but all I got were probable guesses—and I was going to lose you because I couldn't find a stupid boat in my own godsdamn sea..." Anna sloppily wiped her eyes. "…I thought I'd never s-see you again and I m-missed you and it…*hiccup*…it…"
"Shhh…" Elsa rubbed Anna's back and kissed the thin streams running down her cheeks. "It's okay, Anna. Look at me. I'm right here, see? Please don't be upset. I'm right here."
Anna closed her eyes and didn't listen to Elsa's words, though her body responded to her touch like she was an instrument Elsa was playing. "—m-my fault because I told you to go there and—A-Are you hurt?" She smacked her own forehead, nearly knocking off her tiara. "Gods, Anna, of course she's hurt. That's a stupid question. It should have been your first question. It's all…I…I mean just…just look at you…" The gentle scratches on Anna's lower back tuned down her sobs to quiet sniffles and soft hiccups. "…You're all banged up and…and bruised and…" Elsa hummed and kissed her brow. "…Wait, why are—? No, don't…don't tell me…I…I don't…" Anna's eyes grew dry, her muscles all suddenly tired, and she was as malleable as wet river clay in Elsa's hands when she pulled her into the protective cage of her arms. "…No, wait, I do…*sniffle*…I mean I…I just…"
"It's not as bad as it looks, Anna. I promise. I feel fine." Elsa smiled and kissed her just because she could. Anna's mumbles died to murmurs like she was talking in her sleep.
"…and your hair's a mess…and you sound terrible…and you…you…but you're here…" Anna clung to Elsa's tunic, speaking into the purple fabric. "You're really here…You're actually really here…"
Elsa rested her head on Anna's. She created a lullaby with her purr that rose and fell like the words to a song she didn't know. "Of course I'm here. I love you, Anna—I love you more than you can ever know—and I'm not going anywhere."
There was a beat of silence and a sniffle before Anna spoke.
And with three words, she broke Elsa's heart.
"…I missed you…"
Elsa's chest ached like she was hit with a hammer. Anna hiccupped.
"…I m-missed you so much…"
"I know. I know." Elsa cursed herself when her eyes grew hot. She was too happy to be sad, dammit. But Anna's pain was practically her own, and she rubbed her thin stream of tears into copper and platinum hair. "But there's no reason to miss me anymore. I'm here. I'm home."
Anna's mumble was so muffled by Elsa's tunic that the shape-shifter barely heard her. "…I love you, Elsa."
Elsa laughed. "Do you? Because if you did then you would know that a mere kidnapping wouldn't stop me from coming back to you." Her grin swelled into a smile. "Besides, who else could possibly provide you with such quality affection, stellar companionship, and breathtaking kisses?"
Anna whined an insult into Elsa's chest. Her small laugh made Elsa's insides preen, and she kissed Anna's head. "I love you too," Elsa purred.
Anna pulled away, and Elsa was relieved to see that she wore a smile. Her eyes were red and puffy but happy when they looked at her. "But…But how did you get to Arendelle? You were partway between Corona and Wheila as far as I knew—as I thought I knew. Did you turn into a fish or something and swim back?"
"You sent for your cousin, yes? She found us."
"Cousin—Wait, wait, Rapunzel? She's here too? Wait, where's Kristoff? And why…?" She held Elsa's face and pulled her close, staring into her eyes like she was looking for something. "And why are your pupils so dilated? Are you okay?" Anna plummeted back into a worrying mess, rambling muttered code to herself and patting Elsa down.
Elsa held her wrists to keep her still. "Kristoff's fine, Anna."
"He's fine. I'm fine. We're both fine. Everyone is fine."
"How can you be so sure? He and you haven't even—"
Elsa sighed. "And yet despite the look on my face, you're still talking." Anna stopped mid-sentence and puffed her cheeks, preparing a rebuttal, but Elsa closed the discussion with a quick kiss and buried her opponent in the comfort of her arms. "Gods I've missed you."
Anna squirmed until she recognized the exhaustion in Elsa's voice. She was tired. Very, very tired. And when she released her, Elsa looked at her with happy eyes that were half-lidded, her shoulders loose and her posture not as coiled and confident as it usually was.
Anna paused. She thought to herself for a long minute, her brow furrowing.
Anna blinked. "Wait, what?"
Elsa scowled in concern. "Anna, what's wrong? You looked like you were planning murder for a second there," she said, laughing lightly.
"Nothing's wrong, Elsa." Teal eyes looked her over. "Are you tired? You look exhausted."
"Anna, I've hit the point where I need a stronger word than 'exhausted'. I'm going to hibernate for at least three days."
Anna nodded. "Good." She stood back, holding Elsa's hand in hers. "Come on, then. Let's get you into a bath and into bed. You need rest." Anna smiled, squeezing Elsa's hand.
Elsa groaned. "Can't I not take a bath and just say I did? I've had enough of the water to last me for a while."
Anna's heart stung at the implications of the statement, but she controlled herself enough to save painful questions for later. "You really need to bathe, Elsa. I'm sorry, but you're pretty filthy. And you stink."
"I think I can live with that."
"Well I can't sleep with that. You're either going to bathe yourself or I'm going to bathe you for you." Elsa paused, and Anna smirked. "See? Not so fun when someone uses your own methods of coercion against you, now is it?"
Elsa cleared her throat—twice—and looked at Anna's hand in hers. She started and failed several sentences, and Anna giggled and kissed her cheek, lingering long enough to feel the heat of Elsa's blush grow hotter under her lips.
Elsa let herself be dragged to the doors like her arm was a leash. Teal eyes glanced back at her, Anna's smile peeking at her every other second, her voice lifting with small questions and motherly concerns as Elsa followed her.
Elsa smiled. She had found her home, and it was redheaded and foolish and tripping over her own feet because she was so happy to see her.
And when Anna smiled at her again, Elsa felt at peace. Because for the first time in forever, everything felt perfect and nothing hurt.
Ah yis. This does put a smile on my face