Joe's Note: I wrote the original Shot Through the Heart as a Christmas present for my wife back in December 2014. While I always intended to write a sequel to it, I didn't really have a concrete idea until February of this year. Added a prompt-based entry to my to-do list for Femslash February because I've gotten a bunch of reviews asking me to continue this… and let's be honest, doing more adorable princess femslash is hardly a hardship for me. So it's time to saddle up and return to DunBroch to see how Merida and Elsa are doing with their lust at first sight. Or rather, Elsa's lust at first sight. We never did find out what Merida thought of her…
Dedications & Thanks: To Nicholas, Alexander, Howard, MJ, Daniel, Christopher, Kentucky Fried Dragon, Joseph, mpop, RileyWestfall, bloodylord, Luke, Zachary, Marc, Ziryo, Elliot, Crusifikz70, Timothy, Leigh, Jason, Chris, George, Koby, Ken, Thyatira, William, Invernos, Paul, Pat, Warren, Mitch, and Jess for sponsoring me on , and making it easier for me to spend more of my time writing.
Munching happily on an apple that she'd… borrowed… from the kitchens, Merida made her way across the courtyard toward where Angus was stabled. A flash of blonde made her pause, ducking back around the corner before peeking out. Sure enough, Elsa was standing in front of the open stall, engaged in a staring contest with the massive Shire stallion.
Merida still wasn't entirely sure what to make of the queen of Arendelle. Or rather, she wasn't sure what to make of the offer that she knew was hanging over both their heads. Elsa herself was amazing. She was kind, compassionate, well educated, quick witted… all the things a queen needed to be. The redhead was fairly certain that her mother would adore Elsa once they finally met; the blonde was the closest thing to a perfect ruler that Merida had ever met, maybe even more so than her mother. Given her personal experience with it, Merida had found Elsa's magic a bit off-putting to begin with but had quickly warmed to the blonde's abilities after hearing her story.
Heh. Warmed. And it was ice magic. She made a mental note to save that joke for when her father returned; he'd definitely get a kick out of it.
But while Elsa was an incredible person and an able ruler, the subtle offer that her father had made left Merida in an awkward position. For one, she hadn't really given any thought to marriage since the whole mess involving the heirs of Clans Dingwall, Macintosh, and MacGuffin. Hadn't really felt a need, to be honest; she was perfectly happy the way she was, single and free. Beyond that, though, was the larger problem of Elsa being a woman.
Not that there was anything wrong with being a woman who liked another woman. Out of the dozen-strong women that she was training as the Bana-Ghaisgeach, Merida knew of at least two couples. And she was well aware of the rumors that swirled around her, given her rejection of three clan heirs coupled with the company that she kept. But she wasn't one. Or at least she hadn't thought herself one. Then she'd met Elsa.
Which wasn't to say that she thought that Elsa had 'made' her interested in women or some such nonsense. That would be ridiculous. Perhaps it was fairer to say that Merida still wasn't interested in women, but she was interested in a woman. She hadn't awoken one morning with a new interest in old friends or anything, but there was something about Elsa that Merida found appealing in a very different way. Others, she found pretty in the same way as a well-crafted vase or a gleaming new sword. With Elsa… there was that, but also more. Was this what it was like to be attracted to someone?
And if it was, what was she supposed to do about it? What little her mother had covered about courting had involved one man and one woman, and mostly consisted of instructions on how to react to various things he might do to woo her. Should she simply… do those things to Elsa? Were women from Arendelle even courted the same way as the women of DunBroch? Did Elsa even want to be courted, or was she here solely to negotiate an alliance?
Wait a second. Merida had climbed the Crone's Tooth and drunk from the Fire Falls, just like the ancient kings of DunBroch. Outsmarted her parents and the heads of three other clans to prevent herself from getting sold off to one of her suitors like a particularly fine heifer. Come face to face with Mor'du and… well, she hadn't defeated him, that had been her mother. But she'd lived to tell that tale. That was more than many people could say. She could do anything she set her mind to, including courting a queen.
Assuming she wanted to court a queen.
She did kind of want to court a queen, to be honest.
"So she's a bit of a fixer-upper, but this we're certain of…" Letting out a shriek of surprise as someone pressed up against her right side, Merida whirled around to find the queen's very odd younger sister grinning widely at her. "You can fix this fixer-upper up with a little bit of love!"
That was something that Merida was still getting used to: both sisters seemed to have a thing for breaking into song randomly. She'd even caught Anna trying to harmonize with one of the castle's bagpipe players the day before. Not that their voices weren't lovely, because they were… but it was still very odd to her. Then the words themselves processed and Merida found herself looking back and forth warily between Anna and where Elsa stood near Angus. "If you want me to like your sister, should you really be calling her that?"
"We both are, really. I know she told you about how we both grew up; think about what that did to us. We never even really had friends, and we certainly didn't have boyfriends. Or girlfriends for that matter." Leaning against Merida, Anna lowered her voice conspiratorially. "I think she had it the worst, though. I would always dream of the day that the doors to the castle would open, and I could go out into the world. But she was convinced that she had to stay as isolated as possible to protect people from her powers."
Merida grimaced; she couldn't even imagine what that must have been like. Her mother had spent her entire life grooming her for the day when she'd ascend to the throne but as exasperating as some of those lessons had been, she'd never wanted for company. Her parents, eventually her brothers, the servants, random residents of DunBroch and the surrounding area… each and every day of her life had been full of people. Merida couldn't picture spending an entire day without interacting with someone… anyone… much less the weeks, months, and years that Elsa had endured. And… wait. Neither sister had dated? That was great news! Well, not that they'd grown up that way. That was terrible. But if Elsa had never been courted, she would be less likely to realize that Merida had no idea what she was doing!
…it also meant that it would be a case of the blind leading the blind, because neither of them knew what they were doing. Bugger.
Looking over at Elsa once more, Merida raised an eyebrow as she realized that the queen was still staring at poor Angus, who was starting to look distinctly uncomfortable with the scrutiny. "…she has seen one of those before, right? You don't come from a kingdom without horses, do you?"
"Hmm? Oh, yeah. I have a horse named Kjekk back home. Not going to lie, I was half-expecting him to pop up on the ship once we left. He's a bit of an escape artist; loves making trouble." Anna shook her head fondly before nodding in Elsa's direction. "I think she's fascinated by huge he is. I thought our fjord horses were big, but your horse is… maybe half again their size? He's a monster."
Merida grinned; Angus sure was something, all right. "He's my monster." Well then. She had absolutely no idea what she was doing, but doing something had to be better than doing absolutely nothing. Polishing off her apple, she pitched the core into a nearby pile of hay and wiped her hands clean on her dress before making her way over to Elsa. "You want to go for a ride on him?"
Starting a bit at the unexpected voice, Elsa brought one hand up to her chest before looking back and forth between Merida and Angus. "Oh! I would love to, but I'm not sure I could handle a horse this… he's huge! He's got to be as big as Sven!"
She had absolutely no idea who or what a 'Sven' was, but… okay? The blonde's words only made Merida's grin widen; this would be a perfect chance to show herself off on several different fronts. "Wait right here." Thankfully, she'd recently taken to storing her weapons with the rest of the Bana-Ghaisgeach's in a small shed that had been constructed near the front gates and so retrieving her bow and a quiver of arrows was far less time intensive than it would have been if she'd needed to return to her room. In no time at all, she was back and hopping up onto the stall wall, leaping onto Angus's back so she could guide him forward into the sun. Leaning down, she offered the wide-eyed Elsa a hand. "So. How about that ride?"
Pressed up against Merida's back with her arms wrapped snuggly around the redhead's waist, Elsa allowed herself to grin widely as Angus galloped through the woods. Merida was definitely trying to show off for her, which was almost definitely a sign of interest. Given that her experience with romance was non-existent and courtship wasn't exactly something that her parents had thought to cover before their death, she'd been at a loss as to how to turn her interest in Merida into something more. Thankfully, the redhead seemed willing to take up the slack for her.
Shifting, Merida drew her bow and nocked an arrow, making Elsa's eyes widen. Surely she didn't intend to… she did! The blonde let out a delighted laugh as Merida let her arrow fly, hitting the center of a target suspended over the middle of the path even as her horse continued to gallop along at full speed. A bit further down the trail, she fired a second arrow into a target stuck to the trunk of a tree, quickly preparing another arrow so that she could hit a target on the opposite side of the path only a few yards later.
A fourth arrow went into another hanging target and then Elsa decided that she wanted to get in on the fun. As Merida lined up her next shot, Angus leaping into the air to avoid a downed tree in the middle of the path, Elsa used her powers to conjure an ice arrow of her own. They fired at the exact same moment, the redhead's arrow landing among a dozen or so others in the end of a limbed bough just before its icy counterpart obliterated them all. That earned Elsa an approving look as Merida twisted her hips and leaned to one side, firing backward at… Elsa peeked back over her shoulder. The hanging target that Merida had hit before Angus's jump was still spinning, but now had two arrows sticking out of it instead of just one. Amazing.
Merida turned to face forward once more before spreading her arms wide and letting out an exultant cry, and Elsa burst into applause. Blushing faintly, Merida offered her companion a shyer smile before stowing her bow once more, leaning forward to grab Angus's reins. After treating the younger woman to a few more seconds of applause, Elsa scooted forward a few inches and wrapped her arms back around Merida's waist, settling in to enjoy the scenery now that the show was over.
On and on they rode, eventually emerging from the woods onto a grassy plain that Elsa would later learn that the locals referred to as a machair. But rather than turn toward the same coastline that the Ormrinn Langi had sailed past on its way to DunBroch, Merida guided Angus over to where a series of towering rocky outcroppings loomed over the surrounding plains. The tallest was home to an awe-inspiring waterfall, which turned out to be their destination. Slowing her horse to a more relaxed trot, Merida looked back and forth several times before coaxing her stallion over toward a smaller outcropping. "This is the Crone's Tooth. I might be one of the only people alive who've climbed all the way up it, and I know I'm the first in at least two generations to drink from the Fire Falls like the ancient kings did."
"If you're trying to impress me, it's working." Elsa rested her chin on Merida's shoulder as she surveyed their destination, whistling softly. "Please do me the favor of keeping this a secret from my sister? She'd try to climb it too and if it went anything like her attempt to scale the side of the North Mountain… well, I'll need to be on hand to create snow and break her fall." Merida let out an endearing little chortle at that, causing Elsa to loose a giggle of her own before pointing past Merida at the taller outcropping. "Has anyone ever figured out where the water's coming from? Because it's obviously not a lake or river draining over the side…"
Shaking her head rapidly, Merida brought Angus to a halt before looking back at the blonde. "Nobody's ever tried climbing all the way to the top. I've thought about it a few times but… well, look at the thing. I'm brave but I'm not that brave." She scooted forward out of Elsa's arms before sliding down Angus's side, landing gracefully on the grass before turning and offering Elsa a hand. "Want to stretch your legs for a bit before we head back?"
Elsa nodded as she took the proffered hand gratefully, awkwardly dismounting the massive stallion with considerably less elegance than Merida. When the redhead didn't immediately release her hand, Elsa decided to be a bit daring and interlaced their fingers, tugging the smaller woman along beside her as she tried to get a better look at the Fire Falls. If climbing the Crone's Tooth was an achievement for Merida's people, and drinking from the waterfall was even rarer… how much would it elevate her standing in DunBroch if she could actually ascend to the top of the falls? And bring their future queen with her? Raising her free hand, she let wisps of magic dance around her fingers as she glanced over at Merida. "Do you want to see what's at the top?"
"Well of course, everyone does. But how…" Merida trailed off as her gaze dropped to Elsa's free hand, her eyes widening at the casual display of magic. "Since reaching the top isn't a competition of some sort, I suppose it's not technically cheating…"
Stepping off the icy platform that Elsa had created and then slowly grown to push them skyward, Merida's eyes widened. "So the stories are true, then. The Fire Falls truly are the work of the gods…"
How else could she explain what she was seeing? While the outcropping was large enough to be home to a significant pool of water at its top, it should have been drained in seconds or perhaps minutes at most by the torrent of water cascading down the outcropping's side. Instead, all but the water at the very edge of the pool appeared to be perfectly still, giving the appearance that nothing was draining away despite quite obvious evidence to the contrary. Who but the gods could do such a thing?
"Hmm. I wonder…" Brushing past Merida, Elsa flicked a bolt of her power into the water, creating a chunk of ice roughly the size of a Manhood Stone. She watched it bob there placidly, never moving so much as an inch toward where the water disappeared over the edge to form the Fire Falls. Growing braver, she approached the edge of the pool and dipped one foot in, then the other. "There's absolutely no current. I might as well be standing in a bath. Actually, if I stood in a bath without making sure my powers were completely dampened, it would freeze over in less than a minute. The water here is completely unaffected by me. If not a creation of the gods, then this is definitely the work of someone or something very powerful. Far more powerful than me."
Merida watched as Elsa slowly waded further into the pool, absently wiggling her foot out of one leather boot and then the other. As soon as that was done, she hiked her dress up and gave chase, splashing her way through the water to join Elsa. "I can't believe that I'm really up here. This is incredible. Nobody is going to believe that we really did this, but at least we'll know the truth. I… thank you, Elsa. If there's anything at all that I can do to- och!"
While there was a strong chance that it actually was a creation of the gods, the bottom of the pool was no more perfect than any other lake or pond that Merida had ventured into, and it proved as much by tripping her up with a large rock. The redhead's arms waved about wildly as she tried to regain her balance, and then the inevitable happened and she tipped forward. Closing her eyes, she resigned herself to her fate only to come to an abrupt stop as strong arms wrapped around her waist. Merida took a few deep breaths before opening her eyes, staring down in disbelief at the water that was a foot from her face. "I'm starting to hope that you might fall for me someday, but this is a bit more literal than I intended."
"Oh. Good. So you're interested in me too, then." Merida did her best to appear nonchalant as she twisted in Elsa's arms, turning so that she could look up at the bemused blonde. Her new position meant that a good foot or so of her hair was in the water, but she'd experienced worse. And it was far less wet than she could have been at the moment. "Just so you know, if our positions were reversed right now? I would probably try to kiss you. Or at least I'd be thinking about doing it. I'll admit that I don't know much about romance, but-"
The redhead found herself abruptly silenced as Elsa leaned down and pressed her lips against Merida's.