Hey guys, sorry for the long hiatus. I have been dealing with work and a lot of personal issues then it turned out my wrist (which had been hurting a lot and prevented me from writing) needs surgery. So yeah, it's been fun (lol). But getting better now and so managed to get into the zone and write this out!
Anyway, please enjoy the chapter.
Dedicated to 116788. Thanks so much for all your help. It means a lot.
Chapter 22: Fallen Snow
"Here are your tickets to Arendelle, Norway. Your fight leaves in an hour at Gate 17. Thank you for shopping with Air Norway."
"Thank you," Elsa said taking the tickets.
Elsa grabbed her carry-on luggage and headed over to Gate 17 accompanied by her husband. This was the biggest mistake of her life. Why did she have to open her big mouth and say yes to this stupid trip? Damn that Jack Frost. He was such a smooth talker. They both soon found themselves outside the gate and in line ready to board. Normally whenever she flew with Jack, it usually took ages to get onto the plane. However, today was a different story. The line seemed to thin at an unusual rate. It was almost as the universe wanted to speed up the process of getting her in Arendelle.
They soon found their seats – 35A and 36B – and sat down. Elsa's palms were sweeting, her heart was racing and her brain was in complete overdrive. Jack just kept grinning at her. It was starting to get really annoying. He was very pleased with himself. That just made Elsa grumpier. Elsa stared out her window and looked at the runway while tapping her cheek with her index finger. A sigh escaped her. Well, she had agreed, there was no turning back now. Oh, why on earth did she agree? What force had possessed her? She just knew that something horrible would happen. At least she may get a little laugh out of seeing the looks on people's faces when she walks in after all this time.
"Ooo, check out the movies," Jack said. Elsa looked over at her husband and saw that he had been checking out the movie list and had a childlike grin plastered over his face. "Wonder Women, Star Wars and so much more!"
Elsa had a little look at her entertainment system. "Wow, they have Who Wants To Be A Multimillionaire. Now little children can beat you on two different continents."
Jack went red. "That was one time!"
Elsa let out a little chuckle and went back to checking out shows just as the captain came over the intercom to give them a little information about the flight and crew. After the captain was finished, the plane started to move towards the runway. She wanted nothing more than to yell "I wanna get off this plane" but Jack was right – of course that annoying boy was. It was time for her to go back. It was time for the next step in her recovery.
After a while, Elsa felt her eyes going to sleep.
"Elsa!" the thunderous tones of her father echoed through the house. "Elsa!"
Elsa tensed herself as she leaned over her homework. A feeling of dread coursed through her. What had she done? Her brain went crazy as she hurriedly tried to think of what she did as her father's footsteps drummed through the house. As they got closer and closer, her heart got faster and faster. The door burst open and her father towered over her. Elsa trembled in the mere sight of her father.
"Yes?" she squeaked.
"Is this correct?" her father demanded at her. Elsa was clueless on what her father was talking about but, undoubtedly, he would tell her soon. Her father ploughed on without waiting for her to respond. "I hear you didn't get the internship."
Oh – the internship, that's what he was on about. Her father had jacked up an interview at this prestigious law interview at this bigshot law firm. Elsa had gone and met one of the senior lawyers at the firm. She had a full thirty minute interview with him before being told that the job had already been given to his son. Elsa had been furious that her time had been wasted but she had put a smile on her face, thanked the man and left the office. Now – like clockwork – her father had decided that she was to blame.
"Sorry Dad," she managed to stammer out. "It was already given to the lawyer's son."
"Excuses!" her Dad roared. "You are just trying to justify why you failed. You should have been able to convince him that you were better suited for the job,"
"But-" Elsa barely got the word out before her father's hand came towards her. Then suddenly everything was black.
Elsa jerked herself awake, breathing very hard, her heart hamming like a drum. She awoke to a sleepy plane. Most of the passengers were sleeping as their flight started at night and ended in the early hours of the morning. Next to her, Jack had his sleeping mask on and his neck pillow around his neck. He was gently snoring with a small smile on his face. Elsa forced herself to calm down. She was not in her old bedroom. She was not with her father. She was on a plane with her husband – the man who always made her feel safe. The number of times he had held her after a horrible nightmare was too high to count. Still, the dream still rattled her as she cuddled up to the pillow the airline had provided.
She still wished she could go back to Burgess.
Landing in Arendelle came a lot quicker than what she wanted. Before she knew it, the captain was announcing their arrival in a sunny Arendelle. She gripped her seat and closed her eyes. Why had she agreed to this? She must have been out of her mind. She opened her eyes and looked over to see Jack grinning at him. Trust him to find this whole thing a laugh.
"We're here!" he said as if he was a little kid who had just arrived at Disneyland.
Elsa gulped. Her eyes wandered out of the window next to them. She could see the familiar Arendelle Airport just in distance. There was nothing she could do although it took everything from her not to instantly jump on another plane and head back home.
They unbuckled their seatbelts and started grabbing their carry on from the overhead lockers. Slowly, but surely, they made their way down the aisle of the plane. Elsa followed Jack through the plane, into the airport and through security. It wasn't long until they had their luggage was about to leave the airport. Elsa saw through the automatic doors Arendelle. She gulped again before she stepped through them with Jack by her side.
She couldn't fathom the feeling. It was a mix of dread and emptiness. It had been eight years since she stepped foot in her homeland.
She was back.
Anna stared at her sister. Her mouth was wide open. Saying that she was shocked and confused were an understatement. Her sister was…here? Her brain wasn't computing this. The last time she had seen her, Elsa was yelling at her saying that she would never return to Arendelle. Well, never say never, she guessed. Anna stood up, almost in slow motion. Her eyes never left her sister and her sister's eyes never left her. What was she doing here? She must have left mere hours after Anna herself left America.
"Anna?" Merida's voice was distant. It was as if she was she was in a dream.
Anna ignored her and started to walk towards her sister. Elsa didn't move, she just watched as Anna walked closer. Merida seemed to have caught on as she had finally noticed what had struck Anna. However, unlike Anna, she stayed back for unknown reasons.
"Elsa?" Anna breathed as she approached her sister.
"Hi Anna," Elsa said the words very simply.
It took a while for Anna to find the words. Her tongue seemed to be stuck in her throat. Somehow the words poured out of her.
"What are you doing here?" Anna was still gobsmacked.
"I, er," Elsa also seemed to be at a loss of words. She cleared her throat. "I, er, came to see you."
"Me?" Anna was surprised. "The last time you swore you would never set foot back here."
"Well yeah," Elsa looked at the floor. "I did say that but, ah, there are just things I gotta do, ya know?"
Anna smiled. "Jack talked some sense into you."
"Yeah he did."
Anna grinned even more. Trust Jack to talk some sense into Elsa. Well, she was grateful for it. At least it got her here. The rest was up to Anna.
"So Jack's here?" Anna asked.
She was excited to see her brother-in-law again. She didn't get much of a chance to get to know him back in Burgess but she wanted to. He seemed like a decent guy.
"Yeah he is," Elsa replied. "He's back at the hotel." Elsa's eyes drifted in the background and landed on Merida. Merida gave a small wave back at the two Winters sisters. Elsa's eyes widened in surprise. It seemed she had only just noticed her old friend sitting in the background. "Is that Merida?"
Anna noticed that her voice was not only shocked but may have a hint of sadness in there.
"Yeah," Anna said. She grabbed Elsa's arm and started to tug her sister towards their mutual friend. Elsa didn't move. It looked like she was frozen. "What's wrong?"
Elsa sighed. "I only wanted you to know I was here – well at first anyway."
"But Elsa, Merida has been yearning to see you. In fact – probably everyone does. I know our family will."
"Doesn't matter," Elsa said very quickly to which Anna raised her eyebrow. It seemed that Elsa was still hesitant about reconnecting with her past. It wasn't hard to see why but Elsa had made the first and very difficult step – coming back home.
"Elsa," Anna spoke very gently, "come on."
Hesitantly, Elsa walked with Anna towards Merida. Merida looked as if Christmas had come early. She could have squealed when she saw her old friend. Merida grabbed Elsa once she was in arm's reach and pulled her into the biggest bear hug.
"Merida….can't….breath," Elsa managed to splutter out.
"Oh sorry," Merida released Elsa who clutched her sides and tried to breath. "It's just been forever since we saw you…three coffees please," Merida added to the passing waitress who nodded at her. "So what's new?" Merida prompted Elsa who squirmed in her seat.
"Er, nothing," Elsa squeaked. It seemed as if Elsa didn't want to mention anything further than that but Anna wasn't having that.
"Oh come on," Anna said. "Why not tell our Scottish friend about my brother-in-law?"
"Brother-in-law?" Merida repeated with a shocked expression and an open mouth. Her eyes didn't even come off Elsa as she grabbed her coffee from the waitress.
"Um, yeah," Elsa said but she didn't say anything more but luckily Anna was there to fill in the gap and provide answers to questions. She held up Elsa's left hand and dangled her ringed finger in front of Merida.
"Yeah, she married this guy called Jack Frost. He's a nice guy. I think you will like him."
"Interesting," Merida said. "When do I met this Jack Frost?"
"How about never?" Elsa said turning red. "Jack is not some show dog to be poked and prodded. He is my husband."
"I still wanna met him," Merida grinned to which Elsa shock her head.
Suddenly they were back in high school talking about their crushes. Anna grinned at her sister and friend. It reminded her of the times when she paused outside Elsa's room to spy on Rapunzel, Merida and Elsa when they were chatting about guys – well more Rapunzel or Merida than Elsa.
"So why did you come back?" it was the burning question that had been still buzzing around her head. Elsa hadn't really answered it before.
"How about a walk?" Elsa said suddenly. Anna raised her eyebrows. Was she trying to get rid of Merida? Well it looked like Merida took the hint. The three of them downed their coffees and left the coffee shop.
Merida sighed before she faced her old friend. "See you."
It was a simple goodbye that Elsa acknowledged with a smile and a small wave. Merida seemed to accept that Elsa had to discuss things with her sister before she could start opening up to the others. Soon the three friends parted ways, Elsa and Anna going in one way and Merida going in another. It was a while before anything was said. The two of them wandered down the high streets of Arendelle. It had changed in eight years since Elsa had last walked down them. Some shops had changed, some had popped up, some had remained the same and some had disappeared completely. Anna noticed that Elsa's favourite coffee shop was gone. Well that's what happens in eight years.
"Must be weird, huh?" Anna finally had decided to break the silence. She knew that Elsa would never so it fell to her.
"Yeah," Elsa sighed. "I see that The Flying Coffeemen has gone."
"Yeah that went a few years ago."
"Shame," Elsa stuck her hands in her pockets. "They made a good coffee." Elsa stopped outside Eger Karl Johan- a popular clothing store – and gave her younger sister a stare. Just like always, Anna couldn't tell what was going through her mind. Could it be something to do with their past? "So you want to know why I am back huh?" Elsa skated her foot across the ground and stared down. Anna nodded. "I guess it's do with me needing to finally face my past and put it behind me. I think it's time that I finally face what happened to me." Elsa took a long and deep sigh. "I was abused by our father. It's just something I gotta accept and Jack made me realise that the first step is here."
"I guess we owe it to Jack that you're here," Anna let a small smile cross her face.
"Just do me one favour?"
Anna nodded. "Of course."
"Don't tell anyone that I'm here, I just need time to be on my own and figure out what I'm gonna say to people. The last time I saw some of these people; it wasn't exactly on the best circumstances."
As much as Anna hated not being able to sing it to the world, she had to nod. She understood where her sister was coming from. She needed time to get ready for a hurl of insults, gasps and yelling. Elsa handed Anna a folded piece of paper. She opened it with a mixture of curiosity and confusion. The piece of paper had two words and a series of numbers on it. Anna looked up at her sister with her head tilted.
"That's where I'm staying and my number," Elsa said. "If you need me, you can contact me there."
Anna then tore it in half and wrote her details on the other half and handed it back to Elsa. Elsa looked down at it and grinned.
Elsa returned to her hotel room in good spirits – well maybe not high spirits but definitely not low ones. It felt weird to be in a hotel room in the place where she grew up. At first, she thought that maybe someone at the hotel would recognise her – she was sure that the person behind the front desk was a girl she used to go to school with – but thankfully no one had yet said anything. She didn't think she could handle someone saying anything and causing a scene in front of everyone.
She opened her hotel room with her key card and found Jack lying on their bed watching reruns. He was giggling to the show that was playing. Elsa recognised the voices on the show – Jack was watching Friends which happened to be a favourite of theirs. As soon as he saw his wife, Jack reached for the remote and turned off the TV.
"So," he said, "did you make nice with your sister?"
"Yeah," Elsa took off her scarf and jacket and threw them onto the chair next to their bed. She sat down next to her husband and sighed. "Merida was also there too."
"Merida?" Jack gave her a quizzical look.
Elsa gave him a look in return. "You know her."
Jack paused to think for a moment. "Is she the Scottish one?"
"Yes," Elsa was a little exasperated now but then her voice got very small in a matter of seconds. "So yeah, she was there."
Jack sat up. "So ya got more than you bargained for? Did it at least go okay? Was she glad to see you?"
"I think so," Elsa wasn't sure. She only shared a handful of words with Merida. So whatever was going on in her mind, Elsa didn't know. It was odd, she used to be able to converse with her but now, it was different. They had changed – well she had changed, as to Merida changing, she wouldn't really know. She wasn't the same person she had been when they were at school. Maybe that was the reason why Elsa couldn't have a simple conversation with her former best friend.
"You didn't talk to her did you?"
"No," Elsa sighed. "I will though, at some point. I just gotta figure out the words – and the words to everyone else. Oh my god, what am I gonna say to Rapunzel? My family?" Elsa's heart started to race, her palms started to sweat and she was sure a panic attack was starting to set in. If this keeps up, she will need a paper bag. "Oh god, oh god, oh god."
Jack rubbed her back while Elsa buried her head in her hands. Maybe she had bitten off more than she could chew.
"It's gonna be okay," Jack said softly. He gave her a small kiss on her cheek. "It's gonna be hard but all the right things to do in life are never easy."
"I guess you're right," Elsa said but she still wondered – is this going to work?
Merida was in high spirits as she raced down the streets. She could have skipped but opted for running to her parents' house. So, Elsa was back in Arendelle. This changes everything. Ever since she had learnt the truth, everything had made sense – her isolation, her fear of her father. Now that she was back, Merida figured that things were going to be very different now, however it did beg some questions. Would Elsa's family forgive her? Would reject her instead? Would Elsa regret coming back? What about their other friends – Rapunzel for instance? Would they be able to let Elsa come back just like that? Well it looked like only time would tell.
Merida opened the gate of her folks' place and walked up to the door then pushed it opened. She found her mother cooking dinner while her father helped. As to her little brothers, they were racing around the kitchen doing nothing whatsoever as usual. Merida chuckled as she looked at the sight before her. Trust her little brothers to be this helpful.
"Hello," Merida said as she waked in.
"Oh thank the lord you're here," her mother said. "Give us a hand dear, your brothers are of no use here."
Merida let out a little chuckle but nevertheless, she aided her mother in preparing dinner for the six of them. All throughout cooking, she was in a little bit of a daydream – a fact her mother was quick to pick up on.
"Someone is in high spirits," she commented.
"Uh, yeah, guess I am," Merida wasn't really sure on what she should say here. She could proceed and tell her parents the truth. All though, if she did say something, she was sure it would somehow get around Arendelle especially with her triplet brothers hanging on every word that was being said.
"Good day at work?" her father prompted.
"I guess," Merida said.
However, her mother was giving her an odd look and Merida was sure that this wasn't the end of it. She was proven correct sooner than she thought. Merida and her mother were soon washing dishes together while her father and brothers were cleaning the kitchen. For some moments, they were alone.
"So what was the real reason for your happiness?" her mother asked as she gave a freshly scrubbed pot to her daughter to dry.
Merida took the pot and started to rub it with her tea towel. "Elsa is back in town."
"Elsa?" to say that her mother was surprised was an understatement. "Elsa?"
"Yeah," Merida nodded. "She's back in town."
"I thought we had seen the last of her," her mother said.
To be honest, Merida thought the same. Eight years ago, when Elsa ran off, Merida was sure that was the last time she would see her back in Arendelle. She had actually be considering going over to America to see her if Anna had been successful and when she said she hadn't been, that had dashed her hopes of seeing her friend again. Then Elsa turned up – here of all places. It was weird but still, it was something that Merida had wished for.
"I thought so too," Merida sighed.
Merida's mother leaned against the wall. She fiddled with her scrubbing brush for a few moments while Merida dried a pot.
"Do you reckon her family knows yet?" her mother suddenly said.
"Nope," Merida shrugged. "I guess she wants time to prepare?"
Her mother looked at her daughter with a sympathetic look.
Anna was in a conference room of a very fancy hotel setting up decorations with her cousin Astrid, her Aunt Greta and her Uncle Klaus. It had been a day since Elsa had come into Arendelle. She hadn't seen or heard anything further from her. She didn't even know what she was up to or if she was even coming to their grandmother's eightieth birthday party.
"What's up?" the voice of her cousin brought her crashing back to reality. Anna had been putting name cards on the table while Astrid were folding napkins and putting them next to plates.
"Huh?" Anna came out of a daze. Her thoughts hadn't left her sister. For at least a half an hour, she had been coming up with scenarios that would be best for best for Elsa to make her introduction back into their family – well that was of course assuming she was coming to the party later in the week.
"You okay?" Astrid looked at her cousin.
"You just seem out of it," Astrid said this sort of half-heartily as if she was almost not wanting to pry.
Anna hesitated. What should she do – admit what was preying on her mind or shrug it off? Anna opened her mouth to say something to her cousin – she reckoned that Astrid would be the only person in their family who wouldn't react act too negatively at news that Elsa was back in town – but then she noticed that Astrid's mother (her Aunt Greta) had come over to them and interrupted.
"Come on girls," Aunt Greta said "stop chitchatting. Your grandmother's party is in a couple of days and we need this room to be stunning."
Aunt Greta moved off a few seconds later. Astrid looked like she wanted to continue the conversation but Anna didn't. Her courage had evaporated the instant that her aunt had come over. Anna excused herself and headed over the bathroom. Maybe her absence for a good ten minutes would be enough time for Astrid to get distracted and move on. Anna pushed open the door to the ladies' room and leaned over the sink.
This was going to be hard.
She hadn't considered her family's reaction too much. Most of them have the same feelings against her sister that she used to. Her Uncle Klaus was livid at the death of his brother. Her grandmother Ingrid had a serious bout of depression following the incident. She still hadn't fully recovered. The loss of her son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter and the growing animosity in her family had taken its toll on her.
Anna splashed some water in her face and then grabbed a paper towel to wipe it clean. She stared into her reflection for a good few minutes. Astrid could potentially help. She did seem the most likely to be able to let bygones be bygones. Aunt Greta may be of some use too. She had never made her position on the whole trial too spoken over the years. Well, maybe a small heart to heart with the pair of them would be useful. There would be a small moment when they would go get something to eat. Anna would go along and ask for a word.
Yes, asking for a word. That was all she needed to do.
Anna quickly left the bathroom and headed in the direction of the conference room but something caught her eye. Anna turned on her heels and stared at what she saw. It was a man she recognised – her brother-in-law, Jack Frost.
Anna was puzzled. She knew Jack was in the country (having come with Elsa from America of course) but to be in the same hotel as the birthday party? What were the chances? Jack was sitting at the bar in the hotel restaurant watching some sports game while eating some food. If Jack was here – was Elsa in the building too? Anna doubted very much that she wanted to run into her family before she was ready.
That's when a light came on in her head. Jack was the one who convinced Elsa to come over from America which was something that Elsa had sworn she would never do. He was also the one who tried to help Elsa reconnect with her. He could be her best bet to get Elsa to come to their grandmother's party and reconnect with the rest of her family.
Anna abandoned her plans to head back to her family and headed over to Jack instead. She could see him eating a burger while drinking a beer. A conversation was going on between him and the bartender which seemed to involve the game that was playing. Anna slid herself into the seat next to Jack while the bartender headed off to go into the kitchen. Jack's eyes were glued to the TV which had distracted him while Anna sat down next to him. He didn't even hear her approach. The TV was playing an ice hockey game.
"Who's playing?" Anna asked.
"Storhamar Dragons and Kongsvinger Knights," Jack said before turning around and getting a shock when he saw that Anna was sitting next to him. Anna did a small wave and gave him a grin. "Anna! What are you doing here?" Jack gave Anna a small huge and a grin to match hers.
"Just helping out," Anna said. "I gather you and Elsa checked in here?"
"Yeah," Jack smiled. "This is a nice place and I do like my fancy hotels."
Anna snorted a little but then straightened out her face. "Where's Elsa?"
"Out," Jack shrugged. "She wanted to check something."
"What?" Anna was now curious.
Jack shrugged. "I didn't ask. Now, you never said what you are doing here."
Anna grinned again. "So I have a bit of a favour to ask you."
Elsa couldn't sleep a single wink that night after Anna came to her. Jack slept like a log but Elsa rocked backwards and forwards. Her brain was filled with images from that day and from her past. For hours, Elsa had stared up at the hotel ceiling. Eventually Elsa decided to get up and get dressed. After scribbling a note for Jack, she left her room.
The sun was barely in the sky, casting a soft glow upon the rooftops. Elsa dug her hands into her coat and wandered down the streets, looking at the familiar surroundings. A sigh escaped her lips. She never imagined that she would ever be back at this place. Soon, her feet took her to her favourite coffee place. She could still see the familiar logo on the sign even though it was long gone. There had been many days where she, Merida and Rapunzel would order their usual. Even now she could still recite their order. Another sigh escaped her before she moved on.
People walked on by her, talking and smiling either on their cell phones or to the person next to her. Elsa wondered why so many people were up and about but then again, this was the busiest place in Arendelle and the sun had fully risen now. Elsa was just thinking about how she should turn back to her hotel as Jack was probably awake by now – he could always help her feel better - but her feet had other ideas. Her feet took her back to her old school. Elsa leaned against the railings. Several school kids were rushing it – they were clearly late for class.
Elsa had to stifle a laugh. She remembered an old teacher of hers – Mrs Lorenzen – was quite hard on the people who were late. Once she had been late due to issues around her father and Mrs Lorenzen had been quite tough on her. She almost got a detention for being almost half an hour late for class once.
"Hurry up now girls and boys," came a voice that sounded very familiar.
Elsa almost let out an audio gasp. It was a teacher she knew very well. It was her favourite teacher – Miss Nylund. She looked older but it was her alright. Miss Nylund taught upper school biology and it quickly became her favourite class. Elsa would often talk to Miss Nylund about all kinds of things. There were even times where Elsa would almost consider telling Miss Nylund about her abuse but she always decided against it.
Elsa saw Miss Nylund stare right her. Her face turned into a puzzled one as if she recognised Elsa. A terrified feeling raced through her body. Did she know who she is? Elsa quickly turned on her heels and raced off. It wasn't long before she heard Miss Nylund calling out her name.
"Elsa, is that you?" Miss Nylund quickly raced in front of Elsa causing Elsa to quickly stop herself before she bumped into Miss Nylund. Miss Nylund looked carefully into Elsa's face – into her eyes. "It is you!" A gasp escaped Miss Nylund's lips.
"I think you have me confused with someone else," Elsa stumbled through that sentence
Miss Nylund didn't buy it for it one second. She had that same look upon her face whenever a student tried to lie their way out of not doing their homework.
"Elsa, I didn't know you were back in town," Miss Nylund's voice was quiet and low as if she didn't want to draw attention to them. "What happened to you?"
"I gotta go," Elsa quickly said before racing off.
Miss Nylund didn't follow her but instead watched her go with a look of sadness upon her face. Meanwhile, Elsa felt a horrible sinking feeling setting into her gut. What possessed her to come back to her old school? She should have known someone would recognise her. She was starting to think coming to Arendelle was a bad idea. Maybe she should just get on the first plane back to Burgess.
Jack headed back up to his room and found that Elsa had returned from her little outage earlier. She was on her laptop checking websites for dinner places. When Jack entered the room, she grinned at him and Jack gave her a small kiss.
"Hey," Jack said to his wife. "Where did ya go?"
"Out," shrugged Elsa. "No place of interest."
Jack looked at her and gaped. His wife had just lied straight to his face but he knew why. He knew her too well. There was something bothering her. He was sure it was the same thing that has been bothering her the moment they touched Norwegian soil.
"Okay, what happened?" he asked.
"Nothing," suddenly Elsa got really defensive. The only thing that Elsa ever got defensive about was her past. Jack knew a lot about it – he was probably the one who knew the most about her and that did include her sister.
"Elsa, what happened?" Jack's voice was soft and gentle.
Elsa sighed before she collapsed on her bed. "I saw one of my old teachers today."
"And she recognised you?"
Elsa nodded. "It terrified me. I think coming out here may have been a mistake."
"A mistake?" Jack gaped at her. "Elsa you have made up with your sister after so many years. You are so close!"
"Close to what?" Elsa looked puzzled then it clicked in her brain. A strange look came over her face – almost as if she was disappointed at this. "You've been talking to Anna about Grandma's birthday."
Jack did a semi-shrug. "I have, I won't lie about that."
"And she wants us to go," Elsa finished.
Jack nodded and Elsa let out a groan. Jack waited while Elsa buried her head in her hands. He hated seeing her like this but what choice did he have? In order for Elsa to fully move on, she had to face it and that meant seeing her family again. He knew it was going to be tough. He knew it was going to be the worst thing she was ever going to do. However, he knew that Elsa was also tough. She was the toughest person he knew.
"Elsa –" Jack started but he trailed off when he saw Elsa's face. Tears were forming in her eyes. Jack could see twenty one years of pain in those tears. "Elsa," Jack started again but his voice was barely above a whisper and he spoke in a soft tone. Elsa looked into her husband's eyes. Jack's voice got stuck in his throat but then courage came back to him. "Sweetie," he tucked her hair behind her ear. "You can do this. I know you can do this. However, I also know that coming back here; you are coming back to your own personal hell. When my father came back into my life, all those old feelings of hatred, anxiety, depression and fear came rushing back but thanks to you, I managed to overcome it. You, wonderful, amazing you." Elsa let a small smile cross her face. "Ah I see a smile," Jack poked at her cheek which made her giggle. "So what do you say? You wanna take a crack at your crazy family? If you don't, I understand. Trust me, I know I nearly jumped ship when Vincent came back. It took every strength I possessed not to."
Elsa sat in silence for several long minutes. A sigh escaped her lips.
"I am so going to regret this."
Anna was talking to her cousin Astrid at their grandmother's big night. She was wearing a lacy black dress with matching high heels. A glass of red wine was in her hand and her phone was in the other hand. She was desperately waiting for a text message from her sister. Anna had texted Elsa several hours ago asking if she was coming but so far, there had been nothing but silence. She had been going back and forwards between panic and nervousness. Maybe she had decided to go home. Well, she wouldn't be surprised at that decision. Just Elsa coming here was a miracle in itself.
"You okay Anna?" the voice of her cousin snapped her out of her head.
"What?" Anna had to quickly think on her feet. "Yeah, I am. No need to worry."
Anna gave a forced laugh while Astrid raised her eyebrows. She was clearly not buying what Anna was saying.
"Then why are you constantly checking your phone every five seconds?"
"I-er," Anna stammered. What was she going to do now? It wasn't as if Elsa was too thrilled with the prospect of her family finding out she was back in Arendelle. Thankfully, she was saved by her boyfriend.
"Hey Astrid," Kristoff wrapped his arm around his girlfriend and grinned at Astrid. "What is new?"
Anna was glad of the rescue. Astrid seemed to have forgotten about Anna as she launched into a story about her boss at work. For the next fifteen minutes, Anna let herself be distracted while Astrid talked. However, every few seconds that passed, her eyes flicked down to her phone.
"Astrid, honey," Astrid's mother, Aunt Greta, was waving at her to come over.
Astrid bade them a quick goodbye then hurried off to meet her mother. Anna let out small sigh of relief. Well, hopefully Astrid won't be asking too many questions.
"Well, that was an interesting chat," Kristoff lowered his voice. "So what was that all about? Was it Elsa? Has she texted you back?"
"No," Anna whispered back. She checked her phone one more time. There were no new notifications. "Maybe she isn't coming after all. I mean I wouldn't be surprised with all the shit that went down from everyone – me especially."
"Anna –" Kristoff started but Anna interrupted him.
"I know what you are going to say. It wasn't you fault, I didn't know…blah blah blah. But I should have ya know? I shouldn't dismiss it. I should own up. I was a terrible sister."
"I know Kristoff, you think that I wasn't but –"
"Anna will you shut up and look!" Kristoff pointed at the door.
Anna – slightly taken aback at what Kristoff had said – looked over to where Kristoff was pointing. Anna's mouth dropped.
Elsa and Jack had just entered the building.
Anna's mouth dropped open. Elsa was here?! HERE? But she thought…she could have sworn that Elsa would have jumped ship…er plane. Anna started moving towards her sister and brother-in-law. As she did, she pushed aside people and got some odd stares and some grumpy voices from people but Anna didn't care. Her eyes never left her sister.
However, it wasn't only her eyes on Elsa. It only started with a few people closest to her then more people noticed and then more. Soon everyone in the room was whispering to their neighbours and pointing. It wasn't surprising – practically everyone in Arendelle knew what had gone down between Elsa and her family. Anna hurried towards her sister and brought her into hug that surprised everyone – especially Elsa.
"Elsa, I am so glad you made it," Anna said when she threw her arms around her, "and of course you too Jack."
Anna nodded in his direction and he grinned at her.
"Anna," Elsa paused when they broke apart and stared around at all whispering people. The second Elsa looked in their direction; their fellow guests quickly adverted their gaze and engaged whoever was closest in conversation. Anna knew what was playing around her mind.
"Forget about them," Anna said.
"That's easy to say," Elsa said darkly. "You didn't shoot your father and then run away to the other side of the world."
"Elsa!" Aunt Greta had moved closer to them and was staring at her niece with wide eyes but didn't say anything further. Next to her was their grandmother who had come over as well. She had been in the middle of opening presents when Elsa and Jack had walked through the door. Their grandmother's mouth was open. She had been most affected when Elsa had left. She had also been one of the few who had believed in Elsa.
"Dinner's ready!" a voice from one of the wait staff rung out through the silent room.
The voice or the prospect of food brought everyone back to reality. There was a swarm of movement as people headed towards the dinner room. Elsa looked like she was frozen. Anna gave her a friendly gaze while Jack pulled her in for a friendly one armed hug.
"You can do this," Jack said.
"Come on," Kristoff took Anna's hand. "Otherwise we won't get to sit together."
"I didn't know we were in high school," Anna grinned but waited until Elsa unfroze.
Elsa shrugged but no words escaped her lips. Her expression said it all – she clearly wanted this to be over with. Maybe she was already thinking it was a mistake coming here. Well, Anna hoped not. It was only the beginning – sure it had been a shaky start but she was sure it could only go up.
They all headed into the dining room. People were gathered into groups and hovering around chairs. Anna's grandmother had taken a spot at the head of the table with Aunt Greta and Uncle Klaus on either side of her. Kristoff took a seat in the middle of the table next to Astrid who was still looking quite shocked at the newcomers. Anna sat on Kristoff's other side while Jack steered Elsa into the empty seat on Anna's left side. Jack then sat next to Elsa and took her hand. Anna saw why – Elsa was shaking. Anna still had no idea how Jack managed to get her here but she was glad he did.
Anna's eyes fell on her grandmother. Even though she was chatting to her son and daughter-in-law, her eyes were fixed on her eldest grandchild. Anna wondered what was going through her mind. Was she happy or upset at Elsa's reappearance? Or was she angry? Could she be angry at the situation? Well, her son being killed and then her grandchild running off would make anyone angry – especially at the world.
When her grandmother realised that Anna was looking at her, she quickly looked at Aunt Greta. Anna kept her eyes on her grandmother for a few moments before switching her gaze onto her sister. Elsa stared down at her empty plate as if not really seeing it. Maybe she was wishing she was anywhere else but here. Anna cast her mind around for a distraction – anything that could help. Anna's eyes fell on her menu.
"So Elsa," Anna started, "will you be getting the salmon or the steak?"
Elsa didn't respond. She kept looking down. Her hands couldn't stop shaking. When she went to pick up her glass of water, half of it spilled on the table.
"Elsa," Jack whispered as he helped Elsa put the glass of water back down, "it's okay. You are doing really well."
Elsa didn't respond. It looked like she couldn't even speak or even move. Anna gave her a small pat on her back. Hopefully it will soon get better.
"May I have your attention please?" Uncle Klaus rose to his feet tapping his glass. Everyone fell silent and looked at him. Even Elsa finally looked up. "I would like to say a few words on behalf of my mother – Ingrid Winters." He grinned down at her and she beamed back. "Thank you all for coming here tonight – it means a lot to me, my wife and daughter," he gestured towards his wife who smiled at everyone and Astrid who waved, "that you all could be here tonight. I would also like you say a very special happy birthday to my mother. So can everyone raise your glasses to the women of the hour – my mother."
"Happy birthday," everyone raised their glasses and drank to Ingrid Winters. Anna noticed as she sipped on her drink, Elsa quickly drank from her water.
"Now before we get onto the real show tonight," Uncle Klaus grinned at his mother who gasped.
"Klaus don't you dare do too much, you spoil me!"
"You deserve it mum!" Uncle Klaus grinned even more. "I would like to mention a few people who can't make it. First, if anyone has seen it on social media, Endre is currently on holiday in the Alps skiing. However he sends his love to his favourite grandmother." There was a small pause as everyone grinned at each other. Endre, Anna's cousin, had been bragging non-stop about his trip. Uncle Klaus mentioned a few more names of family members before he came to the one name that Anna was afraid would make an appearance – her father's. "Last but not least, I would like a special mention of my late brother."
Anna's eyes flickered over to her sister. Her hands were clenched and her eyes were filled with fire. Although, Anna could have sworn for a fraction of a moment, she could have seen what looked like fear move across her face. Anna turned back to her uncle.
"I would also like to give a toast to my wonderful brother who was a pillar in the Arendelle community. Not only was he philandrist but a kind friend who was always there for you no matter what. I am proud to be his younger brother. Proud to be able to say that I knew him. He was a great man and an even better father. To Adgar!"
Everyone raised their glasses and everyone started to murmuring to each other.
"He really was a suburb man."
"What a caring and considerate guy!"
"It's so sad that he is no longer with us."
Anna could see that all of this was starting to mess with Elsa's head. It seemed to bring everything back. She had clamped her hands over her ears and shut her eyes tight. She was whispering to herself.
"No, no, no, no, no," she kept repeating to herself. "Stop, stop, shop."
"Elsa?" Jack said hesitantly.
"STOP!" Elsa shouted the word and it reverbed around the room.
Everyone turned to her and they started to whisper to themselves.
"Elsa, are you okay?" Anna whispered.
Elsa stood up and she looked like she was about to explode.
"How can you say those things about him?" Elsa then sprinted out of the room as fast as she could while everyone stared. Jack hesitated for a moment and then followed after her. Everyone was stunned at what had happened. Anna knew exactly what had happened. It all had hit Elsa at once and she exploded.
"What is wrong with that child?" one of Anna's relatives said breaking the silence.
"There is seriously something wrong," another relative agreed with the first one.
"I knew it as soon as she ran off," a third said. "Spoilt little kid." The man scowled.
"How dare she come and ruin Ingrid's big night!" a family friend said to a scatter of agreement.
"You don't get it do you?" Anna finally had enough. She had endured enough of this. All her family had something to say on the topic of Elsa over the years. At first she enjoyed ranting about the disaster that was her sister but now she hated those conversations. She avoided them as much as possible.
Everyone was now looking at her with even shocked faces. Anna wondered if her Aunt's mouth could drop any further.
"Anna?" her grandmother almost half got out her chair. "Honey, what are you saying?"
"Elsa was abused by Dad Grandma!" Anna shouted. "That's why she left and that's why she had run off just now."
"What?" Klaus gaped. "No! Not my brother. He wouldn't!"
"Anna, are you sure?" her grandmother didn't look angry but she did look very upset. "I know Adgar could be hard but surely…" her voice trailed off.
"Yes!" Anna stressed the word.
People exchanged looks, some were worried, some were scared and others were sceptical. Anna decided that it wasn't worth any energy trying to convince her family. Anna just let out an aggravated noise and then stormed off. Kristoff followed her but Anna didn't slow down. She had to find her sister.
Jack hurried after Elsa as she stormed out of the conference room. He tried calling after her but she ignored him. He had trouble keeping up with her – he even almost missed the elevator up to their floor. Once inside, Jack tried to talk to Elsa but she refused to look at him. It was the most awkward two minutes of his life. The only sound was the elevator music. Jack wasn't surprised at Elsa's actions. She had come to her personal hell and he guessed she found the biggest demon of them all in that conference room. It had been walking into her own personal nightmare.
It wasn't until they reached their hotel room and Elsa had collapsed onto her bed did she finally speak. Tears flowed down her face. Her emotions finally had broken through and boy did they break through. Jack sat down on the bed next to her and rubbed her back. He didn't say anything. He knew what she was thinking and she knew what he would say. There was no need for words. For the next few minutes they just sat in silence.
"I think it's best if we went home," Elsa said in a very small voice.
"First thing," Jack whispered.
It was time to go home.
A knock was heard on their hotel door. Elsa groaned. They both knew there was a high chance it was one of Elsa's family members. Jack would have betted a ton of money it was Anna or maybe it was even Ingrid based on what Anna and Elsa said about her. Jack didn't get a chance to talk to her but based on what people were saying, it sounded like she was a pretty cool lady. Elsa slid off the bed and into the bathroom to take a shower. There was another knock on the door. Jack decided it would be best to handle whoever was knocking at their door.
Jack opened it and he came face to face with Anna. He knew she would come and he was glad she was. Maybe it was time for someone new to have a go.
"Anna," he smiled at her. "Come in."
"Oh thank god Jack!" Anna threw her arms around him. "Is Elsa okay?"
Jack shook his head. "No, this really brought up everything. I think it's best if we leave first thing. Maybe coming here was a mistake after all."
"No!" it was Anna's turn to shake her head. "Elsa needed to come back. She needed to see everyone and face her fears!"
"Well it looked like it didn't work," Jack sighed. "If you want to talk to Elsa, she's in there." He thumbed in the direction of the bathroom. "However I seriously doubt she will talk to you."
"She will!" Anna's eyes flashed with determination.
Anna walked by Jack as he stepped by to let her in. Jack started to pack things up as Anna opened the bathroom door. She didn't even knock. She didn't even bother to announce herself. Elsa was getting undressed and Anna shocked at what she had walked in on quickly shut the door but that's when it caught her eye. Elsa took off her top – she was facing away from Anna and looking into the bathroom mirror – when Anna saw it. Scars and burns were etched into her back. There must have been dozens of them.
Anna gasped and held her mouth in shock before collapsing on the floor. Elsa looked around at sudden noise and yelled out as she quickly put her top back on but it was too late. Anna had seen the horror of it all.
"Anna!" Elsa yelled. Her voice was filled with anger. "What are you doing? Get out now!"
"Elsa, I am so sorry," tears fell down her cheeks and landed on the floor. "I am so sorry."
Anna just kept repeating the same phase over and over again. It had finally it her – the full extent of what had really happened to her sister. She didn't like to think about it – to think about her father in that felt odd and the almost as if they were talking about someone else. However, now, it suddenly became real. How could she not have known? How could she not have seen it? How could her father have done those things?
"Get out!" Elsa said. She looked as Anna had caught her doing something she shouldn't have. "Please Anna!"
"What happened to you?" Anna's face was stained with tears.
Elsa sighed. She looked like she was considering telling Anna the truth. She shut the door and sat down next to Anna.
Three months later.
Anna was walking down the streets in the states. She had weaselled some annual leave out of her boss. In the time between her grandmother's party and now, Elsa and Jack had gone home. Anna had tried to convince her to stay in Arendelle – she had even offered to help with talking to their family, to try and get them to understand but it had been to no avail. The fellow Winters had trouble accepting the truth about what had happened. Some like Astrid and their grandmother had accepted without question what had gone down. Anna had a suspicion that her grandmother may have even suspected something had gone down. Others dismissed it as mere fantasy.
Hearing about it all from Elsa had been an emotional battle. To listen to hear describe what their father had done had been the toughest thing she had ever done but she needed to do it. She needed to know the truth. Those scars that she had seen…
Anna walked into Elsa's building and into the elevator. She reached for the button of Elsa's floor and then hesitated. It had been the first time she had seen her since the party. She hadn't heard much of what had happened in the meantime. All she knew is that Elsa had gone back to her life in Burgess with Jack. Anna took a deep breath and pressed the button and elevator jumped into life and headed up. Soon she found the right door and knocked.
There was a small bang, an "ow" and a male voice that said "coming". The door opened and the smiling face of Jack was right in front of her.
"Anna, what a surprise! How can I help you?"
"I am looking for Elsa," Anna replied with a smile. "Is she here?"
"No," Jack said. "She had gone out hours ago."
"Oh," Anna was surprised. She would have thought she would have found her at her apartment on a Sunday and in winter but then, the cold never bothered her. "Do you know where?"
Jack thought for a moment. "The park maybe, she likes the cold."
Anna gave a small laugh. "Yeah I know. Thanks Jack."
Anna followed Jack's directions and found a small park. She recognised it as the same park that had been in the photo that had started her journey to find her. Small drops of snow started falling gently and landed on her hair and shoulders. Anna shivered and pulled on her gloves.
Anna wondered around the park for a few minutes to see if she could find a familiar blonde head. She saw several kids playing with a dog, a couple on a jog, a girl taking photos and a man arguing with someone on the phone. However, it was on a bench next to the fountain reading a book with her headphones in was Elsa. Anna grinned when she saw the familiar braided hair that was starting to fill with snow. She hurried through the park – almost bumping into the couple that were on a jog. Her footsteps slowed down as she neared her. When she approached the bench, she gently slid into the space next to her. A few seconds passed with neither sister saying a word.
"Hey Anna," Elsa whispered, finally breaking the silence. She reached up and took out her headphones before closing her book.
"Hey Elsa," Anna replied. "What are you reading?" She gestured towards the book in her hands.
"Oh, it's just a book about Marco Polo's adventures," Elsa said.
"Is it a good read?"
Silence fell between them again. Anna didn't know what she should say. She wanted to know how Elsa was faring – how everything was working out. It had been a tough few months for her – she knew that much. There had only been a few conversations between them – mostly between Jack and Anna in the beginning as Elsa hadn't had the strength to talk.
"How are you?" Anna asked. She turned sideways in her seat and looked at her sister. Her sister's gaze was still fixed on her book which was in her lap. Elsa didn't speak. Anna gave a small smile. "Dumb question right?" Elsa gave a small smile herself. "Oh is that a smile I see?" Anna poked at her cheek.
"Stop it Anna," Elsa said wiggling away.
"She speaks!" Anna raised her hands in celebration. Elsa gave another small smile and then it faulted and sighed. She looked out into the horizon and sighed once more. "It's been tough Anna. I won't lie about that – seeing everyone again, looking into their eyes. It was too much. Then to hear what Uncle Klaus said…" Elsa threw her head back. "I dunno. I think it was a mistake."
"Elsa," Anna softly spoke and for the first time Elsa looked over at her, "I don't think it was. I think it was the bravest thing you ever done. You walked into that anniversary and told everyone that you were back. It took a whole lot of courage to do that and I admire you for that. It's time to move on from the past – I know that's easier said than done…"
"To move on?" Elsa looked sceptical. "Who knows what is in the future but can one let go of the past?"
Anna was reminded of what Elsa had said to her during her home warming.
"The past is never always in the past Elsa," Anna said. "We like to think we can forget it and ignore it but unless we face it and look it in the eye, we will never recover. You can do this sister. I have always known that."
Elsa smiled. "Did Kristoff ever tell you how smart you are?"
Anna grinned at her sister. "Maybe…"
"Maybe you and Jack should compare notes," Elsa said with a small smile. "You guys like to pep talk me."
"I'll be sure to set up a weekly meeting with him," grinned Anna.
She never knew if she would be able to fully repair the relationship with her sister. They had been through a lot over the years – from their mother's death to Elsa's trial and finally finishing up in Burgess. Anna had said some nasty things in the past and accused Elsa of even worst. Could they survive their past? Well Anna was optimistic about that. She was sure that the future held great things for the pair of them. They had already made great strides. In her mittens, Anna crossed her fingers. Here's hoping they work through everything.
She also knew that it would take a lot for Elsa to get back to Arendelle. Anna wasn't in any rush to push that button again. Well Anna was here for her sister for anything she needed. Let's just hope there wasn't a repeat of their time together in the past. Elsa had been really good at hiding in the past. The future will be different.
"Elsa, just promise me one thing?"
"What is it Anna?"
"If you ever need help, you'll let me know? In the past you didn't exactly let us in to help – albeit with good reason."
Elsa smiled. "In the past, I thought I didn't have anyone I could turn to. I thought I was all alone in this world. Now I do. I have Jack, Merida, Rapunzel, Honey, Gogo, Astrid, Hiccup, Tadashi, Caroline, Tooth, Bunnymund, Pippa, Jamie, Emma, Kristoff and…and you."
Anna moved closer to her and gently placed her head on her shoulder.
"Yes, yes you do."
The snow fell gently around them. It was almost perfect.
So this is the end of the story, I hoped everyone enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. This will probably be my final Jelsa story for now - I will be working on more of my own stories which will hopefully make it way onto store shelves soon. Although don't worry, I have heaps of other Jelsa ideas that may make it onto this site. If anyone has any questions, feel free to PM :)
I just want to give a big thank you to everyone who read and reviewed this. It has been really awesome seeing the reviews pop up. So cheers everyone!
One last thing, wishing you all a great 2019!
IceGoddess05: I hope there was enough drama for you :)
Ryner510: Yeah she kind of did didn't she? Hopefully you enjoyed the outcome.
116788: Ah my favourite student :)
Blind Red Dragon: Hey! Haha I found that funny too. Hopefully you enjoy what came next.
Kimchee2222: Aw I feel so honoured! I love Jack and Elsa's relationship. Couldn't see any errors :)
theFamousStoryTeller: Sorry about the cliffhanger! I just love them so much! Thanks!
Tigerflight: Yeah I found it funny too :) Love writing that scene. Thanks so much!
JackElsaforeve: Aw thanks! Yeah don't worry, she did!
baymaxlover49: Sorry for the long wait! Update as requested!
Cowgirlie: Oh oops! Will need to change that! Thanks for the heads up.
7 ate 9: Sorry for the long wait!
Wednesday211: Sorry for the long wait! Explanations above! Yeah they have :) yay!
Flowergirl1092: Sorry for the wait! Updated as requested!
Eria Ari: Oops, maybe I need to rewrite that bit.
Guest: Don't worry, I will finish it :) Also thanks so much!
SOmeone: Jack appears, don't worry!
Guest: Updated as requested!
Superdude117: Cheers! Well they may not do that...
Guest: Next chapter as requested.
Blardiblarr: Updated and completed as requested.