So...I finally got to the sequel of your first request @ankahikoibaat!
Continuation of this, taking place after the war (fix-it au). The Jedi Council learn that Cody and Obi-Wan have finally gotten together. Money is exchanged :) Can be read without the first part!
Readers, please send a request! I’ll give it my best shot :)
The Temple was the loudest Mace could ever remember it being, and he couldn’t have been happier.
The Initiate clans raced through the halls, darting around statues and between Jedi, giggling as some clones chased them, arms outstretched and smiles wide.
Sun streamed through the windows lining their path, only magnifying the joy that pervaded the Force, relief and peace and family and home.
Mace was heading up to the Council chamber, with Ponds walking beside him. For the longest time he hadn’t thought it was possible to feel as steady as he did in that moment, grounded and serene. But as he talked quietly with the man who’d once been his Commander, reality lay right in front of him.
It was a feeling that was hard fought for. The Jedi Order had nearly died for the Republic, and it was almost too late when they discovered that was the whole point.
Mace was looking forward to stepping down from the Council today. The nerve damage he’d taken in his fight with Palpatine could never be fully healed, even with all of Master Che’s talents, and with the end of the war, he figured he’d earned some rest.
He and Ponds fell into comfortable silence, familiar enough with one another that pointless chatter was unnecessary. Mace figured that Ponds was occupied anyways, if his awed expression was anything to go by, as he looked around the bustling hall. Mace could remember countless moments during the war where it had been clear Ponds had not expected to see its end. But he had, along with so many of his brothers, and many of them had made their home in the Temple, creating the warm and vibrant home that Yoda had long mourned, different, but no less good.
Ponds placed a hand on Mace’s elbow, as they climbed the stairs. Normally he would balk at receiving any help, considerate as it was, but Ponds had helped him for so long, in so many ways, that it was as easy as breathing to accept it from him again.
Yoda was waiting at the top of the steps. Once Mace was on the landing, Ponds knelt, and Yoda climbed onto his shoulder like they’d practiced a thousand times before.
Mace shot a sly look at Ponds. “You never offer to carry me.”
“Never offered me, did you?” Yoda cackled. “Hobble along behind you, I had to. The slow one, you are now.”
“I got you a hoverchair!” Mace protested.
Ponds smiled, walking at the same pace as Mace. A wave of fondness rolled through him, for his gentle former Commander, so kind and steady.
Most of the other Council members were gathered outside the chamber, talking amongst themselves. Yoda patted Ponds’ shoulder before jumping off, hobbling into the room. Mace said a quick goodbye to Ponds, who was exchanging greetings with Shaak, before following after Yoda. The others followed suit, Plo coming to walk beside Mace.
Mace was just about to ask Obi-Wan about his latest research project, when Luminara shifted onto her toes, looking over the group. “Where’s Kit?” she asked.
Mace looked around, curious, when the chamber door burst open again, and Kit came striding in.
“I,” Kit paused dramatically, “have something to show you all.”
He waved away any inquiries, setting up a little holoprojector as everyone took their seats. When he was finished with the little device, he moved to close the window shades.
Plo’s laugh was deep, “I didn’t realize we were having a movie night.”
“Yes, Kit, what is this?” Obi-Wan asked.
Kit grinned at Obi-Wan, but said nothing.
The room lit up in blue, as Kit started the projection, reminding Mace of days filled with battle maps and planning campaigns. This was different, though, all the tension from those days only a memory.
A Mon Calamari woman appeared, seated at a long table. A news segment, apparently.
“As celebrations continue for the end of the war, many Republic citizens are taking the chance to learn about the hidden heroes of the war, defenders of their freedom that were kept from the public eye by the Senate. In the first of a series of segments covering the valiant clone troopers, we explore the life of one Commander who was crucial in keeping the war effort afloat: Marshall Commander Cody, of the 3rd Systems Army.”
Mace turned to look at Kit, confused, before shifting to catch Obi-Wan’s reaction. His face was a comical mixture of surprised and proud, and he flushed at all of the eyes on him.
“Did you know about this?” Mace asked.
“I knew about...about them doing a segment. I haven’t gotten a chance to watch it.”
Luminara chuckled. “Saving it for tonight?”
Obi-Wan glared at her, face turning red in that very entertaining way of his.
Kit gestured wildly, shushing them. “Watch!”
Sighing fondly, Mace turned back to the holoprogram, as did the others. Kit unpaused the news anchor, who disappeared into the channel logo animation. Her voice spoke over the images and videos that followed.
“Marshall Commander Cody is from one of the oldest generations of clones, and his experience shines through. He holds the highest rank possible for a clone in the Grand Army of the Republic, and helps to lead nearly half of the entire army. He’s overseen many pivotal battles, freeing many planets from Separatist control.”
Many images flashed across the holo, a combination of action shots and more domestic scenes. Mace hadn’t realized there’d been any pictures taken during the war. And some of the shots of the Commander in battle were downright majestic. He rather enjoyed the peaceful images, as Cody leaned over a battle map, or knelt to talk to a little Twi’lek girl. A quick glance at Obi-Wan showed a blush that hadn’t lessened, and Mace laughed as he realized the identity of the photographer.
“I, uh, I was contacted for some photos, if I had any.” Obi-Wan stuttered.
“You definitely didn't disappoint,” Plo said dryly.
The news anchor continued. “Age is not the only factor in Commander Cody’s abilities. A master tactician, an exemplary fighter, and a fearless leader, Cody is a dependable and formidable soldier, who made his way through the ranks with hard work and dedication to performing his duties.”
The photos changed in a flash, and Mace’s heart warmed. The new images showed Cody as Mace knew him best, smiling softly in a group of his brothers, grinning as a little cadet perched on his shoulders, sitting cross legged in the creche as the Younglings swarmed him. There was even a picture of Cody with Mace and Yoda, laughing and talking at the foot of the Temple steps.
“However, Commander Cody is more than just his substantial contributions to the war. Described by many as ‘kind, calm, curious,’ and ‘intelligent’, Cody is a well-rounded, inquisitive soul. Sharing a close relationship with many Jedi and fellow clones, Cody is always seeking out knowledge, and is always available to lend a helping hand.”
Luminara coughed. “Kit, as sweet as this is, I don’t see why it deserves all the mystery?”
Mace tore his eyes away from the holo, to see Kit holding a finger up for them to wait, eyes shining as he continued to watch. “Give it a minute.”
“Commander Cody’s closest friend is his brother Rex, Captain of the 501st. Having grown up together on Kamino, they fought in many battles by each other’s side. But the man with whom Cody spends most of his time is his Jedi General, Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
Yoda clapped, like his Padawan had come on stage in a play, and Mace chuckled.
“Kenobi and Commander Cody share a close relationship, forged in fire but strengthened by mutual respect and understanding. They’ve spent many a night poring over paperwork, or training together as they travelled to the next battle.
“Some images have shown that their relationship might extend beyond friendship. Although Cody preferred not to comment, here they are celebrating the end of the war, announced to them as they finished the battle on Utapau.”
Mace raised his eyebrows, leaning forward, as a blurry holovideo took over the screen. It was a HUD cam, showing as a trooper ran forward, shooting down droids with impressive accuracy. There was a loud grinding sound, and all of the droids whirred to a stop, guns dropping as they shut down.
The trooper stopped running, looking around. “What’s happening?” he asks, confusion lacing his voice.
Another trooper broke into his vision, tackling him in a hug. “The Commander just got the announcement,” he panted. “The war is over!”
“Wait, what?” The trooper shouted. “You’re kidding!”
“No, it’s true! Wooley, we did it!”
Wooley staggered, camera shaking. “Where is he? Where’s Cody?”
Taking off in a run, Wooley pushed through the deactivated droids, head turning as he searched the dusty planet.
Clone troopers scattered across the area were all cheering, patting Wooley on the back as he passed. He headed towards a large crowd, nudging his way through. “Is it true? Did we really win?”
He finally broke through, and the camera stilled, almost comically, at the sight of Cody and Obi-Wan, embracing quite firmly, in a way that was definitely not platonic.
Mace barked out a laugh, before he could stop himself, as Obi-Wan pulled Cody closer--Mace wouldn’t have thought it possible--and buried a hand in his hair as they kissed.
Kit cackled, pausing the holo and leaning back, arms spread, as the Council room fell silent.
“So I won, right? End of the war? I knew they would wait!” Kit said, motioning his hand as if to collect his money. Everyone began to speak at once.
“We don’t know anything,” Shaak protested. ”They could’ve been together for months before this!”
“Now, wait a minute--” Obi-Wan started, before he was quickly shushed by the others.
“Are you kidding? We would have known. Obi-Wan wouldn’t have been able to hide it.” Mace cut in, trying to remember how much he’d bet.
“We don’t even know who initiated it!” Luminara said. “That’s half of the pool!”
“Can I just say, it’s about time,” Plo said, voice still calm as always, although Mace could hear the happiness in his voice.
“Ask Obi-Wan, we must, to clarify the winner,” Yoda tapped his stick against the floor, smiling.
Everyone turned to Obi-Wan, expectant.
“I, uh…” Obi-Wan paused, stunned in the face of the Council’s excitement. “That was when we got together. Cody initiated it.”
Kit whooped, and Mace grinned victoriously. Shaak groaned, falling back into her chair, and Luminara threw her hands up in exasperation.
Mace’s grin didn’t fade as he was handed his winnings.
“You guys...had a pool?” Obi-Wan said, raising an eyebrow.
Mace smiled as the chatter picked up again. He would miss this part of the Council, when he stepped down, but nothing could dampen his joy at seeing his family like this, carefree and lighthearted, the weight they’d once carried long forgotten.
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Surprise Party | The Sommers
A birthday surprise goes terribly wrong.
TW: Just some not great parenting and rough family dynamics.
Anna had decided that it was probably just simpler if she went home unannounced. Surprised everyone. It wasn’t like they all had so much going on that they needed advanced notice, after all, Anna figured (and as someone who had grown up with everyone’s world kind of revolving around her… well, it just didn’t seem like a big deal). Everyone would be so excited to see her! And… the real reason, of course, was that if Anna came home in an unannounced, apparently spontaneous manner, maybe it would stress her out less.
She had her bags packed, her flight booked, her spot on the airport shuttle reserved. Anna was just getting settled on the Pride U-branded van when she saw she had a missed call from her father. Oh well. She’d handle that later.
And then she saw she had a text message from him. Forty minutes ago.
A selfie in front of the Pride U sign, wearing a pair of sunglasses and a goofy grin. The caption, “SURPRISE!”
Another message, “Thought we could do something fun for your birthday! Wanted to surprise you!”
Anna gulped. Apparently she was a lot more like her father than she had thought.
Of course Anna had to approach this with humor because, underneath, she was freaking out. Dad was here. In Swynlake. Looking for her. What if he ran into Devyn? Or Elsa? Or Skip?
Okay, the third one was probably lower-stakes… but STILL!
“Um!” Anna piped up. The driver grunted in acknowledgement. “Could we, erm, turn this thing around? I’m sorry, there’s an emergency back in Swynlake, and, um… please?”
The van was already well on the highway. “Like, a real emergency?” the driver repeated.
“Well, no, but like--”
“Look, we’re in a lot of traffic and there are people on here trying to catch flights. I’ll turn around once we get to the airport.”
Anna nodded and looked out the window anxiously. She could only imagine what Dad was getting up to, wandering around Swynlake by himself…
...Meanwhile, Agnarr Sommers was very, very lost. He wondered if these university campuses were intentionally designed to befuddle adults, and while he hated asking for help, it was looking like he was going to have to. How idiotic. He was the mayor of an entire city, and he couldn’t even find his daughter in a miniature one. Agnarr approached a smartly-dressed student who at least looked respectful.
“Excuse me!” he announced. The boy looked at him skeptically. Ah, Agnarr had been wrong. Why were children so disrespectful nowadays?
“I’m looking for one of your classmates-- Anna Sommers? I’m her father. Here to surprise her for her birthday.”
The student nodded. “Er… I think she works at the ice cream shop? Ice Queen? I dunno if she’s on shift today but she’s always hanging around there because her sister owns the place.”
Agnarr didn’t even have time to process that revelation, all he knew was that he needed to get there and get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. Of course it was Elsa. Of course she was the one turning Anna against him and all of Arendelle-- how had he not suspected sooner.
“Thank you!” he called over his shoulder, already on the way to the shop. He needed to have a talk with his daughter.
Anna was flying home to Arendelle today.
Elsa had done her very best not to hover and fuss over her sister, especially not when her birthday had gone so well the day before. Anna would be fine, Elsa knew that. Father would do anything for Anna, and she had Kai and Gerta and Mother waiting for her as well!
That didn't stop the anxious twisting in her gut. Elsa pulled out her phone again, checking for any texts from Anna or updates from the airline. But no, Anna was still on the bus and the flight was still on schedule.
"Relax," Elsa breathed to herself, slumping against her office chair and rubbing her hands over her eyes. "Don't feel. Everything will be fine."
Out in the shop, Elsa could hear the ding of the bells and sighed. Edward was working today but wouldn't be in until later in the afternoon. Wednesday mornings weren't particularly busy even now with school out. "Just a moment!" she called out as she stood, pushing her bangs back out of her eyes and pulling her braid over her shoulder. She didn't bother to pull her cardigan back on while she was working alone in the shop with no risk of someone bumping into her.
Elsa walked down the hall to the front of the shop, smoothing out her tank top against her stomach and not looking up to see who had walked in. "Welcome to the Ice Queen, did you have any questions about our special Pride men-" she began, using her warmest, kindest retail voice, only for the words to freeze and stick in her throat when she saw the familiar man standing before her.
The temperature in the building dropped noticeably as Elsa came to an abrupt stop, eyes wide with fear.
I WAS GOING TO COME HOME TO SURPRISE YOU!!!
WAIT FOR ME ON CAMPUS I’M COMING BACK JUST HOLD ON DON’T GO ANYWHERE.
It was the first text Anna had sent her father in weeks. As Swynlake got further and further behind her (Anna considered asking the driver to pull over so Anna could hitchhike back to Swynlake-- okay, that was dramatic, she could call an Uber or something) panic rose in her chest and she could only imagine all of the disastrous things happening while she was gone…
She actually couldn’t, because Anna didn’t even know half of the story.
“Elsa,” Agnarr said in an odd, formal tone, ignoring the pinging in his pocket. Probably a colleague. He’d attend to it later. There were more important things happening in the present.
What did you say to your estranged daughter after nine years?
What did you say to your estranged daughter after nine years, after she dropped out of school and embarrassed the family and almost killed you (Agnarr was convinced of this) with her ice magic, and now was turning your other daughter, your only other daughter, against you (the daughter who had also almost been killed by her ice magic?!). Agnarr’s mind was spiraling out of control, reasoning out different possibilities (had Elsa made Anna go to Pride U, too? Was that why Anna had been so adamant?) and for once he was on the other side of a secret.
“I can see quite a few things make much more sense now,” he said stiffly. There was much more he wanted to say. But he didn’t know where to begin, and losing his temper now would only be for the worse. Elsa was the temperamental, unreasonable one. He needed to be the calm one.
Anna had managed to get on a return shuttle now, and she was pushing the (increasingly-annoyed) driver to go faster. WHERE ARE YOU I’M ON MY WAY BACK PLEASE JUST STAY WHERE YOU ARE.
But Agnarr didn’t read it. He was otherwise occupied.
Her father looked older than she remembered.
Of course he did, it had been nine years. But it still shocked her. There were lines on his face now, exhausted bags under the bright blue eyes that the two of them shared. There was white streaked through his hair that Elsa had not put there, only time itself had.
She wondered if she looked older to him too. If he could recognize himself in her the way she did with him. Or if she was a stranger now.
There was no warmth in his eyes.
Elsa felt her broken heart answering in kind.
“Father,” she breathed, still standing completely frozen to the floor. Possibly literally; she hadn’t checked. Everything felt so numb past the rapid, frantic beating of her heart. “I… Anna’s on her way to Arendelle,” she said quietly. She finally broke free of his gaze, head bowed as she looked at the counter in front of her. Unseeing. Unfeeling. Don’t feel. Conceal.
Don’t let it show.
She should have worn her cardigan.
“I can send you her flight details, if you go now you can probably catch her at the airport.” Her voice was quiet and meek, all of the anger she’d ever felt in the past nine years having fled. All that was left was fear and the desperate need to not cause a fuss. To do as she was told and not make any more problems for her family.
She felt like a child.
Agnarr felt like a fool. It was insulting. He was a grown man, mayor of a small city, responsible for thousands of people, and yet somehow his daughters had managed to deceive him. If things had gone according to Anna’s plans, he might have taken the surprise visit home the way it was intended-- as a fun surprise (well, he might have been a bit annoyed at the lack of prior notice but he would have quickly forgotten about that)-- but in light of the other revelations, Agnarr just felt lied to.
But he had to control his temper, or he could provoke Elsa into another altercation like last time. All of the efforts to control magic in Arendelle had been based in that fear, that his daughter was more powerful than he could imagine and did have the ability to hurt him if she wanted to. Agnarr imagined she probably did.
Well, she already had. She had taken Anna from him, the way Agnarr saw it. That felt like more of a betrayal than any dagger of ice.
“I suppose I’ll be leaving soon, then,” Agnarr responded coldly. “But first, I wanted to talk to you. Since apparently Anna is telling you things she isn’t telling me.” This was about more than the flight now. “You convinced her to go to university here, I am assuming?” He tried to keep his voice casual, but it was strained.
Meanwhile, the van was zipping back to Swynlake faster than it really should, at Anna’s insistence. She promised the driver money, free ice cream, whatever he wanted-- she needed to get back to Swynlake. As quickly as possible, before all of this blew up in her face.
Little did she know, it was already starting to.
Elsa flinched at his words, at his tone. Not for the first time, her remarkable memory failed her, and she could recall with perfect clarity dozens of hundreds of conversations just like this. Elsa, pale and skinny, standing perfectly still with her head bowed even as her too-tight gloves pinched at her dry skin, and Agnarr, distant and cold as any mountain. Equally as unyielding.
Part of her wondered if that was why she tended to run to the mountains. They were familiar in that way.
“No, I-” she began before clenching her fingers and hearing the fine crackle of frost breaking. Her fingers were blue, the thin ice wrapped protectively around them cracking as she clutched them tighter. The floor and freezers were also covered in a layer of creeping frost, and Elsa took a sharp, deep breath. It tore at her lungs like blades. The ice stopped.
“No, Father,” she said quietly. “I hadn’t even spoken to Anna in nine years until she moved to town. I didn’t know she was coming to Pride U.”
Agnarr didn’t believe her. What were the odds of Anna ending up in the same town as Elsa, without any invitation or prodding from her sister? Agnarr imagined it must have sounded inviting. Maybe Anna was bored at home, and maybe he could have done a better job of encouraging her to go to the University of Oslo. But why else would she go to Swynlake, of all places, a dinky little town that was practically the poster child for more control of magic?
(And no, Agnarr didn’t even consider that Anna would have found Elsa on her own, or that she even would have sought her out. Anna was always reading, and she was very bright in that sense, but Agnarr didn’t think she was really capable of tracking Elsa down and arranging for herself to get there.)
He looked down at the ice creeping toward him and felt a twinge of fear. He didn’t want a repeat of last time. But he also didn’t want Elsa to get away with this.
“Quite the coincidence,” Agnarr scoffed. “I know it might look like it now, but I’m not a complete fool. I just thought you would have stayed out of things, after all these years. Anna’s an impressionable girl. I’ve tried to protect her from this sort of thing, but it seems you found a way. I’m warning you, though. I will not have my daughter turned against me.”
He glared at Elsa, daring her to deny it.
‘I’m your daughter, too!’ Elsa wanted to cry. ‘I’m your baby too!’ But her heartache was quickly being frosted over as her anger began to seep back in. The gall of him to come into her home, accuse her of lying as if he hadn’t made a career off of it. To stand there like he had any authority over her now, after he’d casted her out without a second thought.
To talk to her like she wasn’t a full-grown woman, nearing her thirties. Like Anna wasn’t nearly a woman herself.
“Protect her by lying to her? Keeping the world from her?” Elsa bit out. “I have barely said a word to her about you or Arendelle because despite what you think of me, I do not spend my time thinking about you. When she comes to me with questions, I answer them. I give her facts, and all the opinions she forms are her own.”
“She’s not impressionable, she’s curious,” Elsa said, hands fisted tightly at her sides. Overhead, ice crawled along the walls and ceiling, dark and murky. “And smart. God, Anna is so smart. If she’s upset with the choices you’ve made, that’s your own bed to lie in. They were your decisions. No one put a gun to your head.”
“All I’ve done since she found me was try to do right by her. You have no right to be mad at me for that.”
The shuttle parked and Anna didn’t even take her bag with her-- she just ran. She could deal with it later-- there was no way she could carry that and get back to her dorm that quickly. That was where she assumed he was, anyway. Anna checked her phone again. No answer.
WHERE ARE YOU??? Anna texted again. She stopped in her tracks outside her dorm, where she saw a familiar face hanging out and typing furiously on a laptop. Maybe Henry had seen something. He seemed to have a good memory.
“Henry! Did you see a guy-- oldish, gray hair, same accent as me? Probably looking for me?”
“What?” Henry looked up. “Yes, I told him to go to the ice cream shop. Why?”
Anna exploded with a string of Norwegian curse words and started running again, astonished at how Henry could create the worst possible scenario. Henry just watched in confusion and went back to working on his final paper. Weird.
Back at the shop, Agnarr sneered. “I’m sure you would love to believe that, now that you’ve gotten her on your side of this.” Maybe a leap to make, but Agnarr was so sure of the way all of this had gone now. Anna was avoiding him because of the things Elsa had told her, and now their relationship may never be the same again. “She’s an amazing kid, Elsa, and I’m very proud of her, but let’s face it. She’s got her head in the clouds, there’s no way she could have done this herself.”
Anna paused outside of the door to the shop, her hand on the handle, and didn’t open it. She had gotten the impression from their last call that Dad might not think she could handle poli sci, but…
Well, it just hurt a little bit. Maybe Anna didn’t have to go in there just yet. She pressed her ear to the door.
Elsa didn’t even notice the figure hiding outside the front door, even though Anna was clearly visible through the glass. No, Elsa was too busy staring at her father in outraged shock.
Was this what her father had become since she left? Was this what she left Anna to face alone?
In the coldest nights on the mountain, curled up alone in her great-uncle’s lodge, Elsa had comforted herself with the hope that with her gone, Anna might have a normal life. That at least she could have her father back, even if their mother was lost to them all.
THIS was what Elsa had comforted herself with!?
“Whatever happened to ‘Anything you put your mind to, you can accomplish’?” Elsa asked, her voice sharp. “There used to be no one in the world who believed in Anna more than you. How little do you think of her that you think she couldn’t track me down through the presents and mail I sent her? Just because you never bothered to look doesn’t mean it was impossible!”
“I know when you gave up on me, you made that crystal clear,” she hissed between grit teeth, her emotions churning in her chest like a storm. Sharp and cold and deadly. “Don’t you dare give up on her because she decided that she didn’t agree with the horrible things you’ve done to our home.”
“I did what I had to do to protect our family!” Agnarr insisted. “Don’t act as if you know what is best for her. After everything you’ve done. I think you are the last person who should get to decide that.”
Anna gasped, straining to hear. What was Dad talking about? She had thought about going in, now that she had collected herself, but she knew that if Dad knew she was listening, he would go quiet. Anna had spent her whole life searching for the truth. She was so close. She would intervene if she really needed to, but for now, maybe a little selfishly, Anna kept eavesdropping.
“If Anna’s on her way home like you said she is, we’re going to have a conversation. She’s transferring to the University of Oslo. I’m not going to stand for this any longer.”
Outside, Anna clenched her fists, willing herself to stay quiet. There was no way that was going to happen. But first, she wanted to hear what Elsa said next. If she addressed the mysterious “everything you’ve done” that Dad brought up.
She wasn’t sure what hurt worse; her father’s accusations, or the fact that he had said ‘our family’. Like she was still included in that.
At least when she’d thought he’d disowned her completely, that he didn’t even consider her his daughter anymore, the pain was neater. Tidy. Once she had gathered it into a box she could put it away where it was only an ache in her chest.
Agnarr still thought of her as his daughter, and he hated and feared her anyway.
“I was a child,” Elsa whispered, her breath leaving her in a fog. “I didn’t- I-” Didn’t what? Know better? She had. Didn’t mean it? It didn’t matter. What’s done was done, and Elsa was fully aware that it was her fault. Anna should not have to suffer from that.
“I made a mistake that I will never be able to pay for,” Elsa said, “I know that. I know that what happened to Anna and Mother was because of me, and for that, I understand why you kicked me out. I know how dangerous I am,” she said, sad and cold and resigned. When she looked at her hand, her fingers were blue and frost curled up her forearm.
It was the same hand that had sent a bolt of ice magic, wild and unformed and crafted in panic, right into her baby sister’s head. Magic that would have killed Anna in minutes were it not for their mother’s quick thinking and sacrifice.
“But it was the mistake of a child,” Elsa said, snapping her eyes up to meet her father’s. “Everything you’ve done, the lives you’ve ruined and the people you hurt, were done with intent. They were the decisions of a grown man. Because one little girl lost control of her magic one time. You say you do what you have to to protect your family? Then why did you never take Mother to Aunt Yelena!?” Her voice was rising. Cracking. “The one person who might be able to save her and you practically banished her from Arendelle out of fear!”
“You have no say over what Anna does or does not do!” she yelled as ice began to form in the corners of the room and along the ceiling; long, sharp protusions slowly growing. The glass Anna pressed her ear against was rapidly frosting over and sticking to her warm skin. “Your fear does not make her choices!”
Anna jerked away from the door, partially because of the ice but mostly out of surprise-- suddenly, she wasn’t sure she wanted to hear more of this. What did Elsa mean, it was her fault?
Suddenly, Anna didn’t know who she could trust anymore.
And she hated that feeling, because all her life she had lived with a vague feeling of distance and maybe a little distrust when it came to Elsa. Only recently had she gotten close with her, and realized that they could have a relationship. One thing sustaining her through this whole process of realizing she wasn’t sure she could trust her father anymore was that Anna knew she could trust Elsa. But now… could she trust anyone?
She backed up, staring at the door and trying to decide whether to go in or to run away. Wasn’t that always her life now? Deciding whether or not to open a door? Except this time the door was, like, a literal thing.
Before Anna could make the choice, though, the door flew open and Anna came face-to-face with her father.
She stared at him, her eyes red and puffy, her hair coming out of the braids she’d had it in today after all of that running. Her father stared back at her, and for a moment, nobody said anything.
“How much did you…” Dad started.
Anna looked around, at the anger in Elsa’s eyes and the fear in Dad’s and the entire shop frosted over. Why couldn’t her family have normal fights?
“I heard enough,” Anna said tightly, willing herself not to cry. “I’m not transferring schools, Dad.” One thing at a time. That was an easier thing to address. Relatively. “I’m not going home anymore, either. And I would really love it if people in this family would tell me things!”
Anna couldn’t help it. She was an angry crier. She turned her back to them and wiped away the tears. “Stop looking at me!”
She would never know what her father was about to say to her because as soon as Elsa had yelled, there was movement at the door that drew her attention. She froze, teeth still bared, as her brain rapidly tried to switch gears. Was it a townie? Had someone noticed all the ice inside of the shop.
Agnarr rushed over and threw the door open and to Elsa’s horror it was so much worse.
Part of her noted that Anna looked winded. Like she had been crying or was close to it. That she looked betrayed.
But the bigger part of Elsa was suddenly frantically scrambling back, breaking herself free of the ice that had wrapped around her feet and nearly slipping. No! Nonono not now, not when her control was lost! Not when she was in the most danger!
All Elsa could see was Anna, small and cold and pale, growing colder by the moment. Curled up tiny and frail in arms that could never keep her warm. Never again.
The ice was growing inwards now, pointing at Elsa as if it couldn’t decide whether it was going to close in around her or run through her.
Eyes wide with terror, Elsa stumbled back against the wall and gasped when ice shot out from where her hands met brick. “Get her out of here!” she told their father frantically. “It’s not safe here!”
Agnarr wasn’t thinking straight. There was so much happening now, too much, and this was why he had cut off Elsa in the first place. He couldn’t think straight when he was afraid, and now there was so much to be afraid of. Elsa’s power. Anna turning away from him. But above all, he couldn’t let Anna get hurt. Not again. This time, Iduna wouldn’t be able to save her.
“We’re leaving,” Agnarr announced, turning his back to Elsa and gently nudging Anna to come with him. Anna shook the hand away.
“I’m not going anywhere until you explain to me what the fuck is going on!” Anna cried, whipping around to face her sister and her father again and shaking away Dad’s hand.
“Anna, it’s not safe here,” Agnarr said in a low voice, glancing at the door to the shop.
Anna followed his gaze and looked at Elsa. “Elsa wouldn’t hurt me,” she said defiantly, meeting Elsa’s eyes.
“We’re not having this conversation now--”
“Then when?!” Anna demanded. “Elsa, back me up!”
Elsa could feel the fear in her chest, heavy and oppressive. It made her head swim, made her want to collapse and curl up in a ball.
But no. Anna needed her. She had to be the big sister right now.
Elsa took another step back, smiling weakly at Anna. "It's okay, sunshine," she said gently, her voice and hands shaking. "You're going to be fine. But you have to go back to the dorms, now."
The building groaned as Elsa's ice grew further, and she twisted to avoid the jagged points. "Please," she begged, looking at Anna with wide, frantic eyes. "We'll talk about this later I promise, but please, you have to go right now!"
Anna looked from Elsa to Dad back to Elsa. She was tired of being told what to do, of being told that she was too young or immature (of course, Elsa hadn’t said that, but that’s how it felt to Anna). Finally, she was getting a chance at some answers, and once again she was supposed to go.
Elsa looked desperate, though, and as the words echoed back in Anna’s mind--
She’s got her head in the clouds.
I know that what happened to Anna and Mother was because of me…
Anna couldn’t take this anymore. Tears pricked at her eyes again and she ran off, zigzagging through streets and houses and taking a brief detour through the park because she wanted to be anywhere but here, and she didn’t want anyone to see her crying. So much for answers. Maybe Anna didn’t want them, anyway.
Agnarr tried to follow, but by the time he had his wits about him to realize what was happening, she was already gone. He turned back to Elsa and was silent for a moment, looking around at the ice-covered structure.
“I certainly hope you’re happy,” he said in a low voice. “You’re lucky nobody was hurt. Look at what you’ve done. You still can’t control yourself. And you expect me to believe Anna is safe here around you? It would be almost comical if it weren’t so alarming.” He sighed. “I’m going to find Anna. We’re going home. She doesn’t belong here.”
Elsa watched Anna run with equal amounts of relief and anguish. She didn't deserve this, in no way had Anna ever deserved this.
But she was safe now. At least there was that.
She looked back at her father, eyes wide as she listened to him. Each word tore at her, ripped some old wound open or slashed open new ones. By the time he had said his piece, Elsa was only barely being held up by her ice like a marionette with all her strings cut. She had no response.
He was right.
He'd always been right.
Elsa was dangerous. The monster that had nearly killed her baby sister and had cursed her beloved mother. Agnarr had been right to lock her away, to shut her out.
Were she in her right mind, she would have told him that it was up to Anna. That the life she'd made for herself here with her friends and with Devyn and with her research wasn't something she should be denied because of Elsa.
But instead, Elsa stayed silent. Tears hit the ice silently and rolled down the sharp edges, her bangs shielding her face from him.
"... Yes, Father."
She waited until she heard the door close behind him, then she slipped to the floor and screamed, curling around herself and letting the ice curl around her until all she could feel was the cold.
Outside, dark clouds rolled in and it began to rain.
Eventually, Anna made it back to the Pride U dorms. She wasn’t going in her room, though. She didn’t want Ashleigh to see her like this. She didn’t really want to explain it to Devyn or Eilonwy either, and she didn’t like Skip enough to want to tell him this stuff. Anna knocked on Poppy’s door, but she didn’t answer, and finally Anna found an empty stairwell to cry in.
It wasn’t long, though, before another friend found her and she went to vent to him. Meanwhile, Agnarr wandered the streets of Swynlake, texting Anna and cursing the rain that had started coming down harder and harder. He couldn’t help but wonder if this had something to do with Elsa, who was once again spoiling his plans. Typical.
Eventually, he gave up and made his way back to his room at the Tipton. He didn’t plan on going home without Anna, but he knew he wasn’t getting anywhere right now. Agnarr would just have to bide his time until Anna cooled down enough and everyone could put this behind them, a failed experiment.
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