Continuing Tales

For the First Time in Never

A Frozen Story
by JE Glass

Part 13 of 24

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Anna peered around the corner of the alcove she'd hidden in, not sure if she was breathing or not. After a moment she scrubbed her burning eyes with shaking hands as if trying to rub the memory out of her head.

What did I just see?! Oh God, I can't un-see it!

She knew the answer, knew exactly what had been going on between her sister and…someone. It was just impossible to fathom that Elsa would ever, ever do anything like that in public, or at all! It had been like walking in on her parents, which thank all the saints in Christendom she'd never done, and Anna shivered for the fifth time despite the hallway being comfortably sun warmed.

Still rubbing her face, the princess heard the library door creek open and fought for half a heartbeat to keep from looking, but curiosity won over the need for discretion, and she peered around the corner. At first she saw only the front half of an open door and pressed herself against the edge of the alcove, heart hammering in her chest. When at last the person opened the door and leaned around the outer edge to peer down the hallway, the princess had to clap a hand over her mouth to keep from screaming.

Revel? Sweet mother of Christ…Revel?!

Hundreds of questions exploded in her head so fast for half a second Anna's vision went blindingly white. The guard Captain, seeing nothing in the hallway, quickly closed the door behind him and headed in the opposite direction of Anna, tugging at his pants as he went. Suddenly breathless, she pressed her back against the alcove and felt her mouth shape a perfect 'O' of shock that faded when she heard the library door open again as her sister emerged, straightening her top and skirt in an attempt to appear as normal as possible.

I have to talk to her…no, I can't! I mean, she already knows I know, but, with me knowing, she knows I'm going to talk to her…right? Wait, she's the oldest…wouldn't she already know about this stuff. Did Mother and Father ever talk to her about the 'snake and the cave'? Oh God, what if they didn't! Elsa reads, but there's only so much you can get from books…unless we have those book in the library. Wait…do we? No, stay on track. I have to talk to her! I have—

"Oh my God, Revel!?" Anna said jumping out of the alcove, body moving on its own accord, and sufficiently scared a blast of ice out of her sister which she remarkably avoided. "Of all the people in our kingdom, Revel!?"

Elsa clutched her chest, left arm thrown out to keep her balance and to keep her ice from further frosting the hallway. "Oh my sweet God, Anna! What's wrong with you?"

Damn, I thought I had more time, Elsa cursed silently.

"Me? Me?! I'm not the one," Anna realized she was shouting and immediately lowered her voice to a harsh whisper, "I'm not the one grinding with our guard Captain in the library!"

Anna saw her sister's face flush a brilliant red, and Elsa turned away, heading towards her room. "We're not having this conversation, Anna."

"Like hell we're not! When did this become a thing? When did you become interested in…anyone?!"

"It…we…Anna, seriously, this isn't the time," Elsa stammered as she hurried to her room, face and neck on fire with the heat of her flush.

"Elsa, I'm your sister. Shouldn't I have been— I don't know— told about you possibly having feeling for someone? I mean, this is huge! This changes so much. No wonder you've been acting strangely! I should have put two and two together when I watched the two of you dance at the Yule Ball. He's been courting you—"

"No he hasn't—"

"And you seemed so infatuated with him."

"I'm not infatuated with anyone—"

"How long have you two been together? And I don't mean together but together together. Wait…wait…was that your first time!? Did Mother and Father talk to you about the 'snake and the cave'?"

Elsa spun on her sister, her face livid with embarrassment. "That's not something I want or will ever discuss with you Anna!"

"Ok, ok, I was just asking. I mean, they had it with me, but since I never saw you, I didn't know if that knowledge was open to you."

The queen groaned and shouldered open her door with Anna close on her heels, prattling on with a rapid fire barrage of questions. Too flustered to answer most of them as quickly as her sister threw them at her, and head still spinning from her encounter with the Captain, Elsa hardly heard a word her sister was saying until Anna paused for breath and asked the one question that brought the queen's warm, albeit embarrassed, afterglow crashing back to earth.

"But why him? The two of you can never be together. He's not a prince."

"I…what?" Elsa tuned towards her sister. The realization of what Anna had just said hit the queen like a fist in the gut and she almost staggered backwards, a gust of arctic wind encircling her. Anna seemed to realize what she'd said as well as she watched her sister's face fall like a stone through water and immediately raised her hands as if to catch her.

"Wait, wait that came out wrong. I didn't mean…that is, I'm sure you can… you did it with Kristoff. I'm sure it wouldn't be…ah hell," Anna scrubbed her face with her hands and groaned. Why was she so good at putting her foot in her mouth?

"No, I know what you meant," Elsa said with a little more bite to her voice than she intended. "And no, I can't do for him what I did for Kristoff. As you so bluntly put it, Queens can't wed anyone but princes."

Just saying the words out loud hurt, and the pain she felt arching across her chest was unlike anything she'd previously felt. Elsa crossed her arms over her chest, ice crept into her fingertips as she turned away from her sister, embarrassed and ashamed of being caught, of her choices up to this point, of her inability to separate herself from the entangling and confusing feelings she had towards Revel.

What was I thinking? Why did I let myself get caught up? Why did I have to fall in love?

Because that's what humans do, Elsa heard Saja's voice brush against the back of her thoughts and jerked in surprise. We are beings who crave love and being loved. It's our very nature, and not something that can be pushed aside or smothered under other emotions.

"Elsa, please, I'm sorry; I didn't mean it like that. Please," the princess reached for her sister and grabbed ahold of her upper arm, expecting Elsa to pull away, but the queen surprised her and suddenly Anna was wrapped in a powerful hug. Startled, she stiffened for a moment before melting into her sister's embrace, squeezing as hard as she could.

"I have a knack for putting my foot in my mouth. I'm sorry," Anna mumbled into her sister's shoulder.

"I'm so confused, Anna. You're right, I can't ever be with him, so what do I do with these feelings?"

"Oh, Elsa," Anna sighed and squeezed her tightly again before pulling back. "Come on, let's sit on the bed."

Elsa allowed herself to be pulled towards her bed and sat down heavily on the edge, folding her hands in her lap. She felt uneasy having this talk with Anna; after all, wasn't she the older sister? Wasn't it her responsibility to be passing on these pearls of wisdom and not the other way around?

No, it should be Mother having this conversation with me, Elsa thought sadly and glanced at the small painting of her parents she kept above her fireplace. Why did you have to go so soon, Mamma? I have so many questions.

Anna followed her sister's line of sight and felt a weight settle in her chest. "I know Mamma should be having this talk with you and not me, but I hope I can help. Even if it's only a little bit."

Elsa took her sister's hands in her and gave her a faint, teasing smile. "Go ahead. Impart your wisdom upon me, oh mighty Love Expert."

"I think the most important thing here is: do you love him?" Anna asked squeezing her sister's hands.

Elsa was quiet for a long time, her eyes lost in thought. "I…I don't know. I don't know how to differentiate the love I have for you and Kristoff and Olaf and everyone else in this castle against what I feel towards him."

"Do you want to have sex with all of us?"

It was such a straight faced question, Elsa thought Anna was being serious until she saw the edges of her lips curl up and playfully pushed her.

"No, I do not. So, just because I want to…be with him…in that way—"

"It's called sex, dear sister. Let's not beat around the bush."

"Fine. Just because I want to have sex with him, does that mean I love him?"

"It's a start to knowing for sure, but there are other, more complicated things that go on in the heart that tell us we're in love. I first realized I was in love with Kristoff when he came back for me during the whiteout blizzard. I didn't necessarily want to…jump him…at the time, but I realized I had deeper feelings for him than I previously thought. As time wore on, and we got to know each other more, we both discovered we had similar likes and dislikes, had similar ways of thinking. Sure, there were plenty of things we disagreed on, and we had our fair share of fights—"

"I remember hearing those," Elsa said with a half-smile.

"Yeah, they could get pretty heated at times. But regardless, I realized that, the more time I spent with him and the more we got to know each other, the more I couldn't imagine my life without him. He was my best friend, aside from you, of course."

"I couldn't be there all the time…"

"You have your duties as queen. I knew that and still know it, but he was my best friend and confidant. It also didn't help that he was a tremendously amazing kisser."

Elsa gave her sister a sidelong glance. "He was the first man who kissed you; how can you say he's an amazing anything without having prior knowledge?"

"How does Revel kiss?" Anna asked with a smug grin that only grew when her sister looked away, red faced.

"He kisses fine…" Elsa mumbled.

"Point for Anna," the princess said making a check sign in the air in front of her. "Anyway, just thinking the same way as someone doesn't mean you're in love with them. I think the most important thing is the ability to share."

"Share?" Elsa asked incredulously. "Share what…exactly?"

"Saliva and bodily fluids, of course." Elsa gave her sister a confused look then swung the closest pillow she could reach at Anna. The princess giggled and deflected the blow with her forearm, ginning, before continuing. "Well yeah, share. You share your dreams, your fears, your scars. You laugh with them and cry with them. You enjoy the quiet moments and have a complete conversation without ever saying a word. I've heard its vulnerability that makes the relationship into something more than just a friendship, and I think whoever said that was right. Am…am I making any sense?"

Elsa took a deep breath and let it out in a gusty sigh. "A little. What you're saying makes sense, I just don't know how to judge or measure these things."

"It's different for everyone. What worked for me and Kristoff might not work for you and Revel, but maybe that's a good thing!" Anna said seeing the sad and confused look on her sister's face. "Maybe this will give you a chance to learn something new about yourself and allow you to confide in something that isn't me. Not that I mind you doing that, by the way. It's just nice getting a second opinion or sharing things with someone who is separate from the rest of us."

"Or I could fall flat on my face," the queen said putting her face in her hands.

"We fall so we can learn to pick ourselves back up. You remember who told me that?"

"I did," Elsa replied with a meek smile. "Thank you, Anna. For trying at least, but you're right. I think I have to figure this out on my own."

Anna returned her sister's smile and opened her mouth to say something when a sudden thought struck her and she shot off the bed. "Tea! You need tea!"

"What? Anna, I'm not thirsty."

"No, not that kind of tea. You need…you need…" The princess made a face somewhere between embarrassment and bemusement that instantly made her sister wary.

"Anna, what are you talking about?"

"You need no-accidental-babies tea." Suddenly flushing a brilliant red, Anna looked at her feet and shuffled them like a child caught doing something they shouldn't. "Gerda gave me some when Kristoff and I started seriously courting. Said I had to drink it after every…'encounter'."

The implications of what Anna was admitting to would have upset the queen had she not done the same thing with Revel not a half hour ago in the library. Breathing another sigh, Elsa nodded. Truth be told, she was grateful her sister had said something about the risk of conception. It had never, and probably wouldn't have, crossed her mind until the consequences appeared nine months later, and that was a scandal she knew her kingdom and reputation would not recover from. And somehow that made her a bit angry. She could ice her entire kingdom and nearly lock it in an eternal winter and her people would eventually, at times reluctantly, forgive her. But God on high forbid an unwed queen become with child. God also forbid she find love in a man who wasn't royalty. Pushing aside her irksome thoughts, Elsa tried to focus on what her sister was telling her about the no-accidental-babies tea but couldn't get her mind off her promise to Revel and what their encounter tonight could lead to.

The afternoon had slipped away without him noticing, the sun crawling lazily across the sky. Now the ball of fire had sunk below the horizon, the last of the lavenders and pinks bleeding out of the sky as darkness descended upon Arendelle. Revel sat down at his small square table for the fifth time in ten minutes and anxiously drummed his fingers against the smooth wood. He'd already worn his feet raw with pacing the length of his quarters, and if he didn't find something to get his mind off what had happened that afternoon, he was liable to punch something. Not out of anger but just as a way to rid himself of the overflow of raw energy sparking under his skin.

What was I thinking! No, that's the problem, I hadn't been thinking. I pushed too hard; let myself get too caught up in the moment. Jesus, Revel, what the hell is wrong with you? The queen? Of all the people in Arendelle, I had to make a move on the queen. Now look what's happened! I've…I've…

He knew what had happened, what had changed between them in the forge-fire heat of passion and lust. The Captain had felt her surrender body and mind, felt Elsa's fears and insecurities fall away, and he had, in turn, brought down his own walls and allowed himself to believe that what they were sharing was, in essence, a raw kind of love. Never had anything in his life felt so right, but it couldn't have been more wrong. Revel could love her, he did love her, loved her more than he realized, but there were obstacles between them, and so much she couldn't know about him.

Would she understand about my past? Would she accept me?

Revel glanced at his fireplace and the single discolored stone on the back wall, the usual tumble of battle armor butterflies that accompanied thoughts of the queen suddenly replaced with coiling snakes of dread and uncertainty. He swallowed hard and looked away.

No, she wouldn't understand, and I won't burden her with the knowledge.

Releasing a heavy sigh, he put his head down on the table and felt the weight of his years pressing down on his shoulders. Revel wasn't a day over thirty, older than most of the guards under his command, but he was young in the kingdom's eyes. Still, there were times when his years on earth, the years he'd spent running from his past, caught up to him and he felt three times his age.

"Father, what should I do," the Captain mumbled, conjuring the image of his late father into his conscious thought. "I'm in love with a woman I know I can never have, and who has the power to tear everything away from me. What should I do? What would you do?"

Revel's father had always known what to do when his middle child was in crisis. Sometimes they'd go riding, though Revel wasn't fond of horses, and the beasts seemed to return his dislike for them with their own brand of contempt. Sometimes the brothers would sit in the kitchen while his father cooked for them; a rare occurrence since Gregor had servants to do his cooking for him. Revel could remember sitting next to the hearth or at the servant's table while his father pulled ingredients out of the cupboard and arranged them carefully in front of his son. He'd explain what each one was and what it would do to the dish he was preparing. That had been the start of Revel's love affair with cooking, and suddenly he knew what he could do to keep his hands busy.

An hour later, he heard the door to the training chamber open and stopped quartering the potatoes on his table, knife hovering over his work. Revel listened, heart in his throat, and nearly jumped out of his skin when someone knocked gently on his room door. Wiping his hands clean on his pants, he slowly opened the door, arranging his face in a bright smile that he hoped hid is utter trepidation.

"Good evening, Elsa."

The queen, wrapped in her customary black cloak, gave him a sheepish smile and nodded. "Good evening, Revel."

It didn't occur to him the two were standing in an awkward silence, her at his doorstep and him holding the door handle like a man about to fall off a ledge, until she cleared her throat nervously.

"Is this a bad time? I could—"

"No, forgive me. I lost my train of thought. Come in," he said stepping aside and allowing her to enter. The Captain took her cloak and hung it on a peg before bolting door shut behind him for good measure.

Even if nothing happens, privacy is paramount.

Revel turned and saw Elsa examining the produce on his table and the pot simmering over a cheery yellow fire. She was wearing one of her sparing outfits; burgundy fencer's top, light cloth vest, black pants and boots. Her hair was braided in her customary style and slung over her shoulder, the platinum standing in stark contrast to the dark cloth of her top.

"Have you eaten yet?" Revel asked motioning towards the cooking pot.

"I had a little to eat a few hours ago with Anna. What are you cooking?"

"There's a thin stew boiling in the pot that I intend to thicken up with some potatoes, beef stock, and a few chunks of venison. I had also hoped to sear a few deer fillets with the spring onions and mushrooms I had stashed in my cupboard. Are you partial to deer meat?" Revel asked conversationally as he walked around the table and scooped up the diced potatoes. It was comforting having something to do that took his mind off the awkwardness.

I'd like to know where that confident man in the library went, because I feel like if I open my mouth I'm going to shove my foot into it.

He carefully placed the potatoes into the pot, poured in half of a clay jar of cooled beef stock, and gave the stew a stir before tossing in the thin strips of chilled deer meat he'd been saving in his private cooler for a special occasion. Meat wasn't a rarity in Arendelle. Since the kingdom rested at the edge of a fjord, there was always fresh fish delivered to the wharf vendors daily. Venison, however, was something that rarely came into town unless a special request was made or someone went and hunted it for themselves. Revel had done the latter, taking an extra day to hike into the mountains long before winter locked Arendelle in ice and snow.

"I've not had venison in a very long time," Elsa said, taking a seat in the chair next to the fire and watching the Captain intently as he pulled a sizzling hot frying pan out of the bed of coals and gently set it on a cooling rock. It was a little known fact that Elsa found cooking fascinating. She'd never been brave enough to venture into the kitchens and ask Gerda for a lesson, she wasn't sure how her powers would react to fire, but there were many nights the queen would sit in the kitchen and watch the service matron and her assistants cook the evening meal, memorizing their movements and the ingredients that went into each individual dish.

"Wouldn't it be easier to sear the fillets if there was a little oil in the pan?" Elsa asked before she realized she'd spoken. She immediately chastened herself for opening her mouth and bit into her bottom lip to keep from saying more.

Revel turned to her and cocked an eyebrow, a smile spreading across his face. "I didn't take you for someone who cooked."

"I don't, I've just watched my kitchen staff enough to know that the meat will stick to the pan and burn if there isn't any oil in it," she said by way of explanation.

"Well, it appears your memory has come to the rescue. That would be a better idea, thank you."

The Captain doused the pan with a thin layer of oil before adding the thick piece of venison. A thin veil of smoke rose from the pan as the rich smell of cooking meat filled the chamber. Elsa closed her eyes and breathed deeply, unsure why the smell was so soothing. Maybe it was primal, something that harked back to a time long before man began living in walled cities and could grow their own crops and raise their own livestock. Maybe it was because her father used to smell like wood smoke and cooking meat whenever he returned for a hunting venture. For whatever the reason, the queen felt the tension in her back and shoulder blades ease enough that she didn't have to sit ramrod straight.

"Where did you learn to cook?" she asked after a few quiet heartbeats.

"My father taught me when I was young. On days when my lessons were rough, or I was just having an off day, he'd take me into the kitchen and cook me something. When I got older, he began teaching me different recipes. It was more of a luxury when I was younger, but after leaving home, I had to be able to feed myself. Especially when I couldn't afford to buy food." Revel grabbed a set of tongs next to the fire and gently moved the searing fillet back and forth on the pan to make sure the skin wasn't sticking.

"During your travels, you mean?" Elsa said leaning her elbows against the table. Again she was presented with a rare opportunity to peer into Revel's past and learn a little more about the man she'd found herself falling in love with.

Is it love or something else? I guess only time will tell.

"Yes. That's also when I learned how to hunt. Well, I say learned. I was taught by fur traders in Finland. We'd agreed on a…mutual trade agreement that, if I could help get them access to a prominent Duke's land, they would teach me how to hunt properly."

Elsa sat back and frowned. "You worked for poachers?"

"I'm not happy about some of my life choices, and poaching is hardly the worst I did when I was younger, but yes, I worked with poachers for a few seasons," Revel said making certain his eyes remained fixed on what he was cooking. "There weren't bad men, and the Duke who's lands they were hunting on was a tyrannical man who wanted to keep the best meat and fur for himself. Hard to make a living in a hamlet, or to simply live, where the only meat is provided by the Duke and he charges an exorbitant amount for grisly cuts I wouldn't even feed a dog. I was happy to help the people of the hamlet while learning a valuable life skill. A fair trade in my book."

"Theft is theft, but I can see your reasoning," Elsa said once again leaning on the table.

"A difference of opinion; though I can assure you my record here in Arendelle is clean," Revel said flashing her a sly smile that made the queen's face flush.

"I might have to double check that," Elsa replied with a devious smile of her own.

Seeing her smile, and make light of one of the sordid moments of his past, put Revel's mind at ease for the moment, and he relaxed. He still felt like a rabbit staring down a wolf whenever he looked at her, but his previously felt anxiety was quickly melting away as he realized that very little had changed between them. Sure, they had shared a powerfully intimate moment only hours ago, their first intimate encounter ever, but Elsa didn't seem any different for it.

Maybe that's just a mask, he thought watching her out of the corner of his eye. Maybe she's feeling as confused and befuddled as I am; she's just better at hiding it. So how do you break the ice?

The thought of ice breaking made him laugh and blush at the same time, and the queen gave him a queer look.

"Something wrong?"

"No, it was just a humorous thought." Then an idea struck him. "Elsa, would you like to learn how to cook?"

"I'm not sure I'd be any good at it," she said, folding her hands in her lap.

"You never know unless you try. Come on, I'll show you how to thicken a stew and sear a fillet."

Before she could object, Revel walked around the table and pulled her to her feet. He positioned her in front of the simmering pot over the flames and handed her a long spoon with holes in the belly.

"Fish out a few potatoes and check to see if they're done," he said flipping the venison fillet and setting the pan back down on the bed of embers.

"How do you know if they're done?" Elsa asked swirling the spoon in the stew as she attempted to wrangle a wayward potato that bobbed to the surface.

"Use the fork next to you. If the prongs slide easily into the skin, it's done. If there's resistance, let them cook a little longer."

Elsa did as she was told and checked. Not quite soft enough to qualify as done, so she put the vegetable back into the pot and let them simmer for a little longer. Meanwhile, Revel set aside one finished fillet and pulled another out of his cooler at the foot of his bed.

"I'm going to show you how to sear this," he said setting the piece of meat down on a piece of butcher paper.

"Are you sure fire and ice can mix?" Elsa asked uneasily. She'd never experienced being burned, not by fire anyway, but the memory of the pain in her hands the night after receiving word of her parent's death at sea was still a sharp reminder of how much she could hurt.

Revel saw her unease and gently took her hand in his, kissing her knuckles. "Fire and ice are both intense elements."

Olaf would say putting them together just makes sense, Elsa thought with a smile.

"I won't let you get burned," Revel finished

Reluctantly, the queen moved in front of the pan and reached for the handle, but Revel stopped her before she could wrap her hand around the long piece of metal.

"You shouldn't grab any metal, especially metal buried in hot coals, without protecting your hand first. I know your magic is strong, but let's not take any chances."

"But you picked it up bare handed," Elsa said giving him a quizzical look. In response to her reply, Revel lifted his gloved right hand and wiggled his fingers.

"Cooking mitt," he said with a self-satisfied grin.

Elsa glowered at him and pursed her lips, but said nothing as she turned towards the fire, encased her hand in shimmering ice, and grabbed hold of the pan. Strangely, she could feel the heat from the metal radiating against her palm, but it was a distant sensation and completely painless. Small wisps of steam rose from her hand as she moved the pan onto the hot rock Revel had used to help cook the first fillet.

"Alright, point taken," he said with a sigh and smiled as he moved behind her to set the fillet on into the pan. He felt her stiffen but ignored it. "The pan is a lot hotter now, so this piece of meat won't take too long to cook. How do you prefer your meat?"

"I…what?" Elsa stammered as she returned from a string of unconscious thoughts and turned to look at him wide eyed.

"Cooked, Elsa. How do you like your meat cooked. Bloody, somewhat blood, a little pink, no pink? Why, what did you think I meant?"

"Make no mistake, I will hit you with this frying pan," Elsa said seeing the mischievous grin on his face.

"Then you would be assaulting me with the official weapon of Corona."

Elsa snorted with laughter. It was true. Corona did have a healthy love for frying pans. Her cousin Rapunzel had even gifted Anna with an ornate set for her wedding. Gerda refused to use them, saying they were too beautiful to use for cooking, and had them hung in the kitchen like a work of art.

"Better a frying pan to the head than a knee to the crotch."

Revel chuckled and leaned in close, arms snaking around her waist as his head came to rest on her shoulder. He was close enough to feel the coolness of her skin and smell the rich peppermint and frost in her platinum hair. Elsa shivered at his closeness.

"You've already put an arrow through my heart, so what's an extra whack to the side of the head with a frying pan."

This time, when he felt Elsa go rigid, he felt a burst of arctic air wash over him, a sure sign that something was wrong. Startled, he stepped to the side and turned her by her shoulders so he could see her in the firelight. Some of the color had drained from her face, and her eyes were as wide as saucers.

"Elsa, what's wrong? Did you get burned?"

"It…it's nothing," she said looking away from him and suppressing a shudder.

"No, don't do that. Did I do something wrong?"

"You didn't do anything wrong," she said taking a breath and trying to draw her magic back into her body so she didn't accidentally ice the Captain's room. The warmth of the fire on her left side and his warm hands on her shoulders relaxed her enough to reign in her magic.

"What you said about an arrow piercing your chest…it just reminded me of a vivid nightmare I had a few days ago, that's all.

A nightmare about me, he wanted to ask but kept himself from saying anything. Instead, he wrapped her in a hug and kissed the top of her head.

"I'm sorry."

"You didn't know, so why are you sorry?"

"Because you seemed really scared just now," Revel said.

"I'm fine, don't worry about me. It was just a dream. You should be paying more attention to your—"

Elsa stopped when Revel leaned down and kissed her, and felt her world grind to an abrupt halt, heat spreading across her body with startling quickness. She felt his warm hand cup the back of her neck and sighed contentedly, relaxing into his arms. It wasn't a long embrace, and certainly not as forceful or passion charged as their first encounter in the library, but sensuality could be just as powerful as passion, if not more so. Passion tended to burn hot and fast while sensuality could burn slowly for an eternity as an insatiable hunger.

Revel broke away and leaned back to look down at her, pleased to see she was as flushed as he was. She looked at him as if with new eyes, hand pressed against his chest directly over his heart. He could see the uncertainty and fear that had once stretched like a chasm before them closing as she surrendered to some unspoken decision. He felt her softening, her once stiff back and shoulder muscles loosening as her regal posture slipped. Elsa nervously laughed and tucked a wayward strand of hair back behind her ear, a gesture he found absolutely adorable.

"Shouldn't we…finish cooking your dinner?"

An unspoken admission of what was building between them, unspoken consent. Revel could read between the lines as much as she could and felt his body reacting in a most familiar and pleasurable way.

"See," the Captain said reaching over to remove the pan from the hot rock and push the stew pot away from the fire, "that's one of the beauties of cooking. You can always come back to it."

Gently, he backed the queen against the edge of his bed and pushed her onto the soft mattress, straddling her left leg as he continued to probe her mouth with his tongue. Elsa moaned and ground her hips against his thigh which pressed into her groin, tightening her legs around him as a sweet ache formed in her abdomen and spread through her body. Revel could feel her heat through the layers of his pants and stifled a growl as he tugged her fencer's top free from where she'd tucked it into her breeches, lifting it up and over her head with a swift tug. The queen fell back against the bed, bare from the waist up, and he took a moment to take in her pale, arctic beauty. She was starlight and fresh fallen snow made flesh, skin glistening with prickles of sweat as her chest rose and fell excitedly. It was only when he shifted to the right, the firelight falling across her shoulders, that he caught sight of the dark bruise on her left shoulder and froze, all thoughts of a carnal encounter fading for the moment.

"Elsa, what happened?" he said pulling her up by her wrist. When he touched the mark it felt like marble, cool and firm under his fingers. The queen reached up and tentatively touched the brand, her eyes downcast.

"It happened when I fainted in my room a few days ago. I don't know how, but I must have grabbed ahold of my shoulder, and my magic must have left a mark." It was startling how easily the lie came to her lips, and she felt a surge of guilt for not telling Revel the truth. But how could she? The truth was stranger than the fiction she'd just told him, and she didn't know how he'd take to the knowledge that it had been a visit from her ancient ancestor that had left her marked with a brand.

Revel could sense she wasn't telling him the whole truth, and a part of him seethed at the deceit. What wasn't she telling him? Had this been caused by another person? Had she been grabbed by someone? The idea of anyone laying a hand on his queen put a volcanic fire in his blood. To leave a bruise that deep and detailed they would have had to be immensely strong. Revel didn't realize he'd been growling as he stared at the mark until Elsa's cool hand touched the side of his face and brought him back from the dark thoughts swirling in his mind.

"Revel, stop. I'm alright. It's just a bruise. Believe me, it's better now than it was."

"And your magic did this?"

Elsa hesitated for a second, and it was all the confirmation he needed to know she was lying. "Apparently there are things about my magic that I don't know. Please, don't be angry. Not…not now."

The Captain sighed and gently touched the mark again. Perhaps she wasn't telling him the exact truth, but he didn't sense any fear under her words, so she wasn't being threatened by an outside source. Maybe this was an effect of her magic, but he couldn't shake the feeling she was lying to him.

She has her secrets, and I have mine. It's only fair. As long as she's safe, that's all that matters.

Slowly, he bent down and kissed the mark, surprised when a spark of power jumped from the bruise and spread across his lips, numbing them momentarily. A faint buzzing washed across his skin like hundreds of dragonflies had just flown by and barely touched him with their wings, but it was gone before he realized what had happened. Pushing the questions from his mind, the Captain felt a familiar need start to fill him again like molten metal pouring into a crucible. He shifted so that Elsa was straddling him, her bare chest flush with his, and began gently nibbling on her neck while his fingers traced her spine, ringing halting gasps from her.

Elsa instinctively wrapped her arms around him, returning his affections with kisses of her own, her mouth leaving lines of frost along the underside of his jaw, down his neck and across his chest. Her fingers trailed frost in their wake causing Revel to buck into her and grind the unyielding hardness of his erection into her groin. She knew he wanted to rip the fabric from her body, could feel him tense and shake every time she rolled her hips teasingly against his arousal, but he held back for whatever reason the queen couldn't fathom. At last it seemed her torment had become too much. With a throaty growl, Revel pushed off the bed with his feet and rolled on top of Elsa, his unnatural green eyes glinting like gems in the firelight.

Leaning back, Revel smoothed his hands along the creamy white skin of her flat stomach, following the plane of her muscles between her breasts and across her chest, waking waves of goosebumps and lines of volcanic heat as he went. He could feel her pulse quickening as he moved over her; the drum of her heart matched the tempo of his almost perfectly. When his lips found the hollow of her throat, Elsa let out a ragged sigh, turning her head to the side and raked her fingers through his thick hair and down across his broad shoulders. The Captain worked his way down, kissing and licking, savoring her clean, wintery taste as if it were a fine wine. His tongue brushed against the sensitive bud of her nipple before his mouth closed in around it. Elsa arched into the curve of him like the drawn belly of a bow, her gasps turning into faint cries.

He teased her almost relentlessly, mouth moving from one breast to the other before kissing lines of fire up her chest and neck before alighting back on her lips with an almost bruising force. The queen twisted under his weight, body rolling and bucking, building friction against him as instinct took control and she began to lose herself to the burning desire banking inside her. When Revel's hand slid slowly down her stomach again, she shook in response and bit her bottom lip to keep from moaning; when his fingers curled into warm wetness between her legs it was all she could do to stop herself from screaming and arch off the bed.

"Revel…" she husked as he continued to work inside of her, each plunge pushing her farther towards the edge, her plaintive cries becoming more and more insistent. "Please," she panted into his shoulder, breathing heavily in order to catch her breath. Elsa wanted to say more, to command, to plead, to cry out for him to take her as they'd done earlier that afternoon, but her mouth was having trouble forming the words her brain was shouting.

Revel ignored her cries and continued his sweet torment, determined to drive her to the edge before allowing himself to enter…though he didn't know how much longer he could hold off, the tightness in his pants almost to the point of painful. The moment her hand clamped around his upper arm, fingertips crackling with blue power, was the moment her body rose off the bed as fire and electricity erupted in her lower abdomen and raced through her body. Her cries reached a desperate pitch, hands grabbing fistfuls of sheets, before she collapsed back into the mattress gasping for breath.

As she lay panting, Revel all but ripped off his breeches and did the same with the queen's, exposing her full nakedness to the cool air of the room. If she felt it she didn't stir, eyes half closed as she rode the wave of electricity sparking through her veins. It only took a few teasing kisses to her inner thigh to bring her back round, and she stared at him with primal eyes that made his skin prickle. Positioning himself again, Revel slid a hand under her buttocks, lifting her and slowly sliding in, body trembling with overwhelming pleasure as he sheathed himself entirely. Unlike before, there was no jagged pain and no tearing. Elsa could still feel areas of sharp sensitivity, but those were quickly being overridden as the Captain began his slow, methodical grinding.

They rode together in perfect synchronization, bodies becoming one as the nova that had burned between them finally hit the point of eruption. Her hips rose to accommodate his deep thrusts, her head thrown back as gasp after ragged gasp was pulled from her lungs. Hunched like a predator, Revel sought and found her mouth, kissing it with a desperation that matched the roll of his hips. Elsa's nails raked red lines of icy fire down his back, her need for climax almost too much to endure: the rigidity of Revel inside her driving her beyond the point of madness. Lights danced before her eyes, and flakes of snow drifted from the ceiling above, dissipating before they ever touched the lovers. When at last she thought she could take no more, the dam broke under the weight of her need and an explosion of white and blue brought her off the mattress with an ecstatic scream. Moments later, Revel shuddered to a finish, body tense as a bow string, as he emptied himself, euphoria engulfing him entirely.

Bliss followed the tumultuous storm the two had weathered, both lovers collapsing in a tangle of limbs, sweat, and contentedness. Revel had the foresight to pull his comforter over them before wrapping Elsa in his arms and pulling her close, never wanting to let her go. Elsa, too spent to form proper words, let alone proper thoughts, shifted back into his comforting warmth. There was peace to be found here: perhaps the truest, purest peace she had felt in years. Here she was safe. Here nothing could touch her, and she let herself fall into the certainty of protection and acceptance.

A sudden breath of cool wind touched her face and she wrinkled her nose at the familiar smell of salt and damp earth. Had Revel left his window open? No, that couldn't be right. It was late February, and there were no semi-warm breezes blowing in from anywhere for at least another month. Confused, Elsa cracked open her eyes and gasped. She wasn't in Revel's room any longer, or in Arendelle for that matter.

She stood at the top of an imposing cliff face overlooking a fjord that looked eerily similar to hers. She spotted an island just off the water: a large piece of land that could easily hold a castle if one was ever built. Across the water, the walls of the fjord climbed into heavens set aflame by the sunset: purple, red, and pink clouds drifting lazily across a cobalt sky. Turning slowly, Elsa felt the cool wind, rich with the scent of the sea and tilled earth, brush against her face one more time and closed her eyes. Wherever she was, whether this was Arendelle before its founding or an eerie premonition of things to come, the queen somehow knew she would find no answers standing on the cliff's edge. So she began climbing the steep incline behind her, taking one step at a time until she reached the top and the woman waiting for her there.

Saja sat on a low, gray boulder overlooking a sweeping valley that had been hidden behind the cliff walls, buffeted by gusts of wind that rolled up the incline. She wore the same strange outfit of wolf fur, leather, and chainmail; wore her hair in the same micro braided fashion with bits of black chainmail woven into the braids that clinked together each time the wind picked up a strand and moved it around. The woman's back was to the queen, but she seemed to sense the approaching monarch and turned ever so slightly, azure eyes flashing in the fading sunlight.

"This is a beautiful overlook," Elsa said as she cautiously approached. She knew this was a dream, but her last encounter with her ancestor while dreaming had left her with an icy brand on her shoulder and two days of lost time.

"It's funny you would call it that since this is your overlook."

"I'm not sure I follow."

"Is this not the place where you buried your parents?" Saja asked as she motioned to the area around her.

Elsa looked around, taking in every rock and tree and sweeping expanse of land with a critical eyes. Yes, now that she actually focused on her surroundings, this did look familiar. If she concentrated, she could envision Arendelle kingdom sprawled out in the valley below, hundreds of homes clustered together in a semi-chaotic snarl that reached all the way to the water's edge.

"Is this Arendelle before its founding?"

"Yes," Saja said with a slight nod. "Even great kingdoms have small beginnings. There is a village on the other side of the rise at the base of the mountains. In your time, it no longer exists, but that was the seed to your kingdom so many hundreds of years ago."

"Was that where you were from?" Elsa asked coming to stand next to the woman. She heard Saja laugh, a husky rumble that suggested the Frost Born didn't laugh very often.

"No, my birth village is many miles from here by sea."

Arms crossed over her chest, Elsa remained quiet for some time, letting the wind spiral around her and pull at the fabric of her modest green dress. After what seemed hours of silence, the queen gathered enough courage to ask the question that had bothered her since she'd arrived in this strange dream land.

"Why did you bring me here, Saja?"

"I thought it would be more comfortable for you to be out in the open air and not in the room with your sleeping lover. Our last encounter indoors was…poorly planned. There is much I would like to speak to you about, but so little time to do so."

"May I sit?" Elsa motioned to a spot next to Saja, and the woman nodded.

"Of course."

Elsa scooted in next to her ancestor and rested her elbows on her knees, fingers knitted together. "Are you here to be my guide?"

Saja cracked a half grin. "I didn't think someone who followed the teachings of the White Christ believed in spirit guides."

Elsa stiffened and frowned. "Looks can be deceiving, and I never proclaimed any such loyalty. There are traditions that are followed in my kingdom, traditions I am obligated to follow, but not everyone who lives under the Catholic banner is Catholic."

"I sense fire mixing with ice inside you," Saja chuckled again. "Perhaps I misjudged you, so let me answer your question plainly. Yes, I am here as a guide, though whether or not I'm a spiritual one is entirely up to you."


"There is spirituality in our ice and the way we use it. We Frost Born are connected to the earth as firmly as a tree is anchored in deep soil by its roots, and with each magical weave we cast we are drawn closer and closer to our terrestrial mother. I will show you what you can truly do with your magic. There is beauty in it, to be sure, but where there is sunlight there is always darkness. Our magic can be a terrible thing to behold."

"I've seen what my magic can do to people," Elsa said quietly as the image of her sister, frozen solid in aquamarine ice flashed inside her mind.

Saja sighed and leaned into the wind, eyes closed as she silently enjoyed the gusty fingers trailing through her hair. After a moment she looked down at her booted feet. "Ah yes, you've seen that it has the capability to kill, but your sister could have suffered a fate worse than death had you allowed it."

"I…I'm not sure I want to hear this."

"It is a facet of your power, Elsa. Tell me this," the woman turned so she was facing the queen, elbows resting on her knees, "do you understand the bond you have with your ice and that it is strengthened by the force of your will?"

"Revel calls it will-ice," Elsa answered softly, arms snaking around her waist.

"A fitting name. All the ice you conjure, even the smallest snowflake, is a part of you and submits to your will. You move it, mold it, and command it where to go, and it goes without question. You harden it with your will into an unbreakable force, into a blade so sharp it can pierce stone. You can even shape it into living beings."

Something suddenly streaked out of the sky, and Elsa gave a tiny squeak of surprise when a hawk alighted on Saja's extended left arm. For half a heartbeat, she thought the animal was flesh and blood until she looked closer and realized with a start that the hawk was made entirely out of ice that flashed and winked like lightning whenever the bird shifted. Soft feathers, the same blue gray color of the sky at dawn, fluffed and flattened as the ice bird adjusted itself on its mistress's arm, staring at the queen with a weird kind of sharp intelligence behind its azure eyes. It tilted its head and snapped its semi-transparent, aquamarine beak before letting out a piercing shriek.

"This is Himmelen," Saja said by way of introduction with a fond smile.

"He's beautiful," Elsa whispered, her eyes wide with wonder. She understood that sentient life could be made with her ice, she'd made Olaf and Marshmallow, but, even when creating her tiny ice sculptures, she'd never been able to understand how she'd given life to two snow beings. Seeing Himmelen perched on Saja's arm was a sharp reminder that she had a long way to go before she fully understood the depth of her magic.

"May I?" the queen asked extending her arm.

Saja tilted her head towards the hawk who in turn did the same. It appeared something passed between them, an unspoken conversation privy only to the two of them, before the woman nodded and turned back to the queen.

"Shield your arm in ice. His talons are sharp."

Elsa did just that, sleeveing her forearm in ice before extending it toward the hawk. The bird of prey shrieked at her, hopped to the end of Saja's arm, then bounced onto Elsa's with a weighty click. The queen could feel the heaviness of the creature, could feel it shift and move as it sidled up her arm and came to rest just below her elbow. For a silent moment the two appraised one another before Hammelen shook himself contentedly, his feathers fluffing in a spray of fine silver powder, before beginning the tedious process of pruning.

"You made him?"

"He is my eyes when flying. I can connect with him and see what he sees."

"Can I do that with Olaf and Marshmallow?"

"The golem and snow-being you created? Yes, you can. Anything you've created with your magic you can connect with when your mind is in proper alignment. This is why I say your sister could have suffered a fate worse than death had you allowed it. She became consumed by your ice, killed by its power, but it was still your magic. Had you willed it, you could have…resurrected her…in a fashion."

Elsa felt the blood drain from her face, and she realized she was shaking only when Himmelen gave a squawk of discontent and shifted on her arm. The first thing that popped into her head was necromancy, and it made her shudder with dread. The reanimation of the dead through means of nefarious magic was not only taboo, it was forbidden and punishable by death.

"You could have summoned Anna back to life," Saja continued, "but the frozen thing on the fjord would not have been your sister. It would have walked like her and talked like her, but she would have only been a puppet controlled by your will to keep her alive."

"Please stop talking about this," Elsa said feeling bile rise into the back of her throat. She didn't even want to entertain the horrific idea of what Saja was describing. Almost losing Anna had been bad enough, but turning her dead sister into an ice puppet, a walking wraith, put a clawing fear in her stomach.

"As I said, there is a dark side to our magic that is oftentimes masked by its beauty."

Elsa could sense something unsaid under Saja's words and turned to look at the woman. Had she tried the same thing? Had her magic reanimated the corpse of someone she knew, a loved one perhaps? The queen didn't want to ask, didn't want to dwell on the sickening subject. Instead, she focused on something else that had been on her mind since her first encounter with the Frost Born.

"Saja, why are both of your arms encased in ice?"

Saja shifted uncomfortably and turned her hands so that the light of the setting sun flashed across the glass smooth surface. Gently she flexed her fingers, each joint popping faintly.

"All magic comes at a price, Elsa," she said quietly. As if sensing its mistress's discomfort, Hemmelen spread his wings and flapped hard a few times, rising off the queen's arm in a rush of air, until he'd reached Saja's shoulder. "I was young and foolish and stretched my magic too far, too fast, and this was the price I paid. The flesh of my forearms was replaced with ice as a permanent reminder of my folly."

"What…what did you do?" Elsa asked, unsure if she really wanted to know the answer.

"Another time, perhaps," Saja said quietly, her eyes distant as memories rose into her conscious thoughts. "Our time is short, and we've already wasted much of it."

"Can't you control time in dreams?"

"This is as much as dream as it is a memory, and it takes a great deal of energy to speak to you through our connection." Saja pointed to the light blue handprint on Elsa's shoulder. "I will only be able to connect with you a few times before my energy is spent and I retreat back into your blood memories, and we have so much to cover in that short amount of time. The worst part of this is, I can't properly instruct you from within a dream."

"I'm not following," Elsa said frowning.

"When I was taught how to use my powers, I had a flesh and blood instructor. I cannot do that with you, so what I show you here in this world, in this pocket of existence that only exists because of the brand on your shoulder, will be lost in translation when you return to your body." Saja could see the confused look on the queen's face and sighed. "I will try to explain this more clearly. There is a chance you won't remember what has been said between us, or if you do remember, it will be difficult for you to recreate what I've shown you."

"What I learn here won't come back with me?"

"I can only show you what to do. You can't properly learn your magic in this realm because you are not connected to the earth, which is paramount for a Frost Born. We are like trees; we draw power from the air and sky, and channel it down into the earth which roots us in place. The closer to the sky you are while still maintaining a connection to the earth, the more powerful you'll be, and the more you'll be able to control your magic."

"Is that why I was able to build my ice castle so easily?" Elsa asked stroking Himmelen gently on the breast.

"That and other reasons. What you have learned on your own is impressive, but you lack the knowledge of how to properly tap into your power. For instance, you don't know how you were able to make your golem and snow-being and breathe intelligent life into them. The answer is both simple and complex. You formed each out of your magic and imbued them with your will, but you also laid within them a portion of yourself, a facet of your internal thought.

"Your golem is a simple being. You commanded him to protect you and your family and destroy anything that poses a threat, so the part of your soul that grants him movement is the part of your internal thoughts that desires protection. The little snow-being is different. In him, you laid a portion of your innocence, the childlike mind you kept locked away because of the fear that consumed you."

Elsa had expected that about Olaf. The little snowman was pure innocence, bounding around the kingdom with childlike enthusiasm. He was everything the queen couldn't be as a child all balled up into sentient snowman form.

"How many times can you split your mind?"

"That depends on the depth of the magic weaver. Snaer had the ability to split her internal thoughts into thousands of fractures, maybe even hundreds of thousands. I know I can manage about ten thousand fractures, though not all at once. At least…not anymore. Once a fracture is made you cannot reclaim it unless you dissolve your magic. Think of it like a coin purse. If you remove all the coins from the purse more coins won't magically appear. You have to put them back. The same applies for your ice magic, but only you can discover how far you can stretch your mind. Judging from the castle you built in the mountains, you have the ability to split your internal thoughts at least four thousand times, but I may be wrong."

"How many fractures does it take to make something?" Elsa asked, her head spinning. This was like her arithmetic lessons all over again.

"That's a hard question to answer. For Himmelen here, it took fifty fractures. For a dagger, maybe two or three. For an ice castle…well, that's why I told you I didn't know how much power you had. Your palace would have taken thousands of fractures to make, and you built it in a matter of minutes. As I said before, Elsa Frosburg, you are a powerful Frost Born."

Saja looked up suddenly as Himmelen took flight off her arm and rose into the sky shrieking. Squinting into the sunset, the woman could see the first hints of darkness creeping into the land, shadows lengthening and turning from light gray to dark purple, and let out a slow sigh.

"Our time is at an end, I'm afraid." Standing, Saja offered Elsa a hand and helped her to her feet. "I will come again when my energy replenishes itself."

"What can I do until then?"

Saja half smiled and gave the queen a knowing look. "I'm certain your time will be plenty occupied. The novelty of new love."

Elsa felt her face flushing and opened her mouth to retort, but Saja was already walking away from her, quickly descending the steep incline while Himmelen circled above.

"Wait, how will I get back?"

"This is a dream, Elsa Frosburg! Simply wake up!" Saja called over her shoulder.

It was difficult to see the woman now as the shadows continued to lengthen and swallow everything that was once familiar, blurring lines and bleeding colors together. For one terrifying moment, Elsa thought they would swallow her as well and never let go, but just as the last shred of light winked out of sight, and blackness engulfed her, she opened her eyes and found herself staring at a hair dusted chest that rose and fell in the peaceful rhythm of sleep.

Sitting up slowly, wool comforter sliding off her bare shoulders, the queen took in Revel's living quarters with bleary eyes that refused to focus. The fire in the hearth had burned low, throwing long shadows across the room while giving off a faint orange light. It took her a moment to realize where she was and what had happened, both in reality and in her dream. Once the puzzle pieces finally fell into place, Elsa slid out of bed, careful not the wake Revel, and padded over to a low table that held a basin of water and a small silver cup, aware of her nakedness as she moved.

The water was lukewarm but welcome, and she drank her fill before wetting her hands in the basin and rubbing the back of her neck. She could still recall fragments of her dream encounter with Saja, though a few details were fuzzy. Hadn't they talked about some important things? Something about her magic? Shivering despite her immunity to the cold, Elsa looked around and spotted one of Revel's white undershirts lying haphazardly on the chair next to his writing desk and threw it on. She was instantly enveloped in his scent and breathed deeply for a few moments, savoring the familiar and comforting musk. Relaxing in the warm, oversized fabric of his shirt, Elsa opened her eyes and glanced around the room, looking for a clock. Unable to find one, she looked towards the window, hoping the sun hadn't yet begun to rise, and pulled up short when she saw the snowflake she'd given him at Christmas hanging against the dark glass. Gently, she reached up and touched the fragile spines, a small smile pulling at her lips.

He kept it.

And once that thought crossed her mind, suddenly her interaction and conversation with Saja came back to her in a flood of colors and voices.

Revel woke when he'd felt his bed shift and mumbled softly in his half sleep. Shifting fractionally, he reached out, expecting to feel a warm body next to him, but instead felt an empty spot that was rapidly cooling. Frowning, he cracked open an eye, not wanting to let on he was awake and coherent, and looked around his heavily shadowed room. Everything was how he'd left it the night before save for the beautiful platinum blond standing under his window, clad in one of his white undershirts that barely reached the middle of her thighs, watching her snowflake twinkle and sparkle as she moved it back and forth. Revel felt himself smile as he watched her, and a warmth spread through his chest that rivaled the battle armor butterflies pounding around in his stomach.

A year ago, if someone told me I would fall in love with the queen, I'd have punched them in the mouth. Hell, even six months ago, I would have given him a black eye.

After a moment, he pulled back his covers and put his feet on the cold stone floor. Apparently, Elsa was preoccupied with her thoughts because she didn't see or hear him sneak up next to her and jumped when he wrapped her in his arms, holding her tight. A burst of arctic air swirled around them and he shivered.

"You should know better than to sneak up on me," Elsa chided lightly as she leaned back against him.

"You looked lost in thought," Revel said burying his face in her fragrant hair and breathing deeply. "I didn't want to disturb you."

"So you decided scaring me would have been a better idea?"

"I like it when I surprise you," he growled lightly in her ear, and it was the queen's turn to shiver. "What were you thinking about?"

"A dream I had. I think it was about something important, but I can't remember what it was," Elsa said closing her eyes and leaning her head back against his chest.

"Don't think about it and it'll come back to you."

Elsa sighed and nodded. "I'm sorry, did I wake you when I got up?"

"Yes, but that's alright. I'm a light sleeper anyway."

"You could have fooled me," she said and teasingly pushed him away from her. "You passed out."

The Captain smiled wolfishly and folded his arms across his chest, aware he was standing in front of the queen completely naked. He knew he wasn't the most chiseled man in the kingdom, some of his guards, like Sigmund, could pass for Greek statues and had all the women swooning over them, but what muscle he did have had been forged from countless hours of hard drills and lean eating. He caught the queen staring at him out of the corner of her eye, and his grin widened.

"See something you like, Majesty?" Elsa realized she'd been caught, and her sudden, furious blush only made him grin more. "I'm not the only one who passed out afterword. You seemed quite relaxed and….content, before dropping off to sleep."

"Yes well, it has been a very…exciting day…for the both of us," she said after finding her voice.

"Come back to bed," Revel said extending his hand and nodding towards his mattress.

Elsa shook her head. "I should be getting back to my quarters before someone realizes I'm gone."

"What's a few more hours of sleep? I promise I'll wake you before dawn."

"I don't even know what time it is," she said glancing out the window.

Revel squinted at the small clock on his mantel that the queen hadn't noticed. "A little before four in the morning, two more hours before sunrise."

Reluctantly, Elsa followed Revel back to his bed and slid under the covers, fighting a contented sigh when she stretched out on the cool mattress. The Captain slid in front her and snuggled close, arms encircling her shoulders.

"Promise you won't let me over sleep?" Elsa mumbled into his chest, already slipping back under.

Revel gently stroked the side of her face with his fingertips, careful not to brush the cut on her cheek. "I'll wake you in an hour or so. Get some rest."

She might have said something else, but it was lost in the garble of sleep. For the next hour and a half, Revel watched his sleeping queen, memorized every pore of her face, every freckle, every hair and eyelash. He wanted to know her with all of his senses because there was no telling how long this would last. Fate had never been kind to him in the past. Still, he'd savor every moment with her as if it were his last, content with the knowledge that he had finally loved a woman and she had loved him in return.

For the First Time in Never

A Frozen Story
by JE Glass

Part 13 of 24

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