Soulmates are a complicated subject. Some are platonic or familial, others romantic and many people have more than one that they meet during the course of their lives. For most, they don’t have a mark, for most, it was simply a matter of finding a complementary soul and not another piece of themselves.
But in certain rare cases, there were people bound together across time and space. Rare enough that it was forgotten outside of the storybooks; the idea of sharing a birthmark with someone was as mythic as magic.
And yet, Elsa was magic. A Queen of ice and snow, gifted with powers beyond the understanding of her family and with a mark on her right hip. Appropriately, in the shape of a snowflake.
Her story was one of locking herself away, hiding her powers and her mark. Until her coronation. Until Anna saved her and then years later, they saved Arendelle and the Forest together. Her mark didn’t matter so much, until Elsa met someone she very much liked.
What she envied was Kristoff. Not the man himself, of course. He was nice. Blond. A good man, one Elsa could kind of see the appeal of, even if he didn’t appeal to her in the same way as he did to her sister.
It was their easy relationship. Anna and Kristoff were the kind of soulmates that didn’t require a mark, the kind forged by experience and compatibility and love grown over time. And Elsa loved them both, and Olaf, and the friends she was making among the Northuldra.
But there’d been a reason that Elsa had never entertained any suitors, besides most of them being men. She didn’t think it would be fair to anyone she did find attractive, should her so-called other half suddenly appear one day.
Not that she was bitter or anything.
That didn’t stop her from staring, sometimes, when someone stood out to her. That didn’t stop her from wishing, or from having idle fantasies of what it might be like to feel Honeymaren’s fingers in her hair or taste her lips.
Because the woman had caught her eye in the weeks and months since Elsa had found her destiny and the more they talked, the longer she knew her, the more torn she became. Her mark meant she belonged to someone else … and it was very likely she’d never meet them anyway, which was another source of conflict for her.
“Everything okay?” Maren was saying, walking on Elsa’s left side, her hand occasionally straying to brush Elsa’s fingers.
Elsa started, glancing at Maren with color in her cheeks. “Sorry, my mind was wandering.”
She wrapped her arms around herself and shrugged. “Not particularly. I’m sorry I zoned out on you.”
Maren lifted a hand, pushing hair behind Elsa’s ear. “It’s all right. But if you ever need to talk, or anything, I’m here.”
“Thank you.” Elsa smiled at her, that war within making her stomach ache. When she wasn’t learning the ways of her mother’s people, or communing with the spirits, she was spending her time with Honeymaren.
Once or twice, they’d even fallen asleep against each other.
“You know, this might be a good time to show you the best bathing spot in the river.”
Elsa blinked. “Do I smell?”
“Not badly, but I think you’ll like this spot better than your usual.” She took Elsa’s hand and started to guide her.
The words spilled out of Elsa’s mouth entirely against her will. “Have you been spying on me, Honeymaren?”
Honeymaren glanced behind her with a mischievous smile on her face. “And what if I have?”
Elsa’s hand nearly went to her hip, but she caught herself. Even if Maren wasn’t pulling her leg, she clearly hadn’t seen, or she wouldn’t be acting so … interested.
Oh lord, she’s interested in me? Elsa wasn’t stupid, and she was a little vain. But that didn’t make the idea any less surprising. Or exciting. And again, completely against her will, her mouth replied, “You can join me, you know.”
It was as though the idea that Maren might be similarly attracted had opened up a lot of possibilities in Elsa’s mind and for the first time in her life she completely forgot that she was marked for someone else.
Maren stumbled over a root and stammered, “I … uhm … well. If-if you insist.”
They reached the spot a moment later, Elsa’s face heated as Maren let go of her hand. There were a series of pools that drained into the river, and Elsa set aside her embarrassment to admire the view. “This place is beautiful.”
“Secluded too. You’ll see someone coming before they’ll see you.”
“I definitely like that.” Elsa turned and smiled at Honeymaren. “Thank you.”
“I’ll leave you be,” Honeymaren said.
Elsa reached out to catch her hand, but Maren moved so quickly that Elsa’s mumbled words were audible only to the trees. “I really meant you … could … join me.”
She should have expected something like that, but she hadn’t expected how much it hurt.
With a heavy sigh, Elsa turned back towards the pools, dispelling her magic and allowing her clothing to melt away, leaving only a simple pair of trousers and thin undershirt. She glanced around, then stripped those off, folding them and placing them on a rock before easing into the cold water.
She could barely tell that she was in the water at all. It was different than a bath or shower, a fact she’d noticed very quickly. But the Northuldra had their own ways of making soap and … and she’d left her soap in her pack by her clothing.
No matter. Elsa quickly submerged herself, staying underwater for several long seconds before she burst back out and shook her hair out. Then, she just needed to ask Gale for a small favor and she’d have her soap.
But when she opened her eyes, she saw Honeymaren standing nearby, eyes wide.
Elsa’s embarrassment was lost in the happiness at seeing Maren had come back. “Changed your mind?”
“I uhm.” Maren made a helpless little gesture with her hands. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. And since you’re here, you can bring me my soap.” Elsa sucked on her lower lip, watching as Maren unlaced her tunic and pulled it over her head and she prayed Honeymaren hadn’t heard her gasp.
Anna sometimes gushed about Kristoff’s abs and muscles and Elsa could finally relate.
She tapped her fingers along her leg, hands twitching, waiting for Honeymaren and wondering if this was what Anna felt when she stared at Kristoff.
Most days, Elsa enjoyed their silences as much as she enjoyed talking to Maren. Today, though, she was filled with nervous energy. “I wanted to thank you.”
Maren cautiously approached the water, holding the soap. “For what?”
“Being a friend. Helping me transition and adapt to life here. Understanding when I mess up. Everyone has, but you’re special.” Was special too strong a word? It was said and she’d just have to deal with it, even if she suddenly wanted to drown in the pool.
“I never had many friends before,” she amended.
Maren slipped into the water, coming closer, eyes seeming to drink Elsa in, wandering over her body in a way that was both terrifying and exciting.
Until they reached her hips, and stopped.
It had completely slipped Elsa’s mind and she could feel everything slipping away from her. Why would Honeymaren want her now? Why had she been so foolish as to allow herself to feel something for anyone when her fate was already dictated to her?
But Maren hadn’t moved away and in fact had come closer. Her hand brushed Elsa’s ribcage, her fingers trailing down her side and then lightly touching the snowflake on the front of her hip.
It felt a little like lightning as warmth spread through her and Maren’s face snapped into sharp relief as Elsa shivered. And on Honeymaren’s face was awe. Happiness.
Almost giddily, Maren lifted her other hand and pulled aside her own hair, tilting her head to show Elsa the back of her neck.
And there, at the base of her skull was a snowflake. Stunned, Elsa touched it, Maren shivering in much the same way Elsa had a moment ago.
A flash of memory in the back of Elsa’s mind. Brown eyes, the same every time and a smile that made her heart flutter. It was always a snowflake.
Maren slid her hand over Elsa’s hip, covering the mark with her palm and Elsa’s mind went half-blank. All she could say was a whispered, “I’ve been wanting to kiss you for weeks and it was you all along.”
Maren’s body pressed into hers, the soap slipping between them to disappear into the water, and then Elsa was pressed against the edge, sparks flooding her at every point of contact, but most especially from her lips. Elsa fell deeper and deeper, dizzy from the kiss and the feel of Maren’s skin against hers and she didn’t know if she wanted to laugh or cry.
So she kind of did both, a hiccupy laugh as her cheeks grew salty. Maren broke the kiss, resting her forehead against Elsa’s. “Do you want to know what I thought, when I first met you?”
Elsa sniffed and nodded.
Maren cupped her face, stroking her cheeks and then her hair. “That it was a sign. You could make ice! And snow! I didn’t care if you had the matching birthmark, all I knew was that I had to get to know you and if it was meant to be, it would happen.”
“It’s funny, I give up on the idea and let myself be attracted to you and you’re the one anyway.” Elsa smiled lopsidedly, lifting her hands to Maren’s face. “But I think I like it this way. Meeting you and knowing you without ever having that hanging over our heads.”
“It hung over your head,” Maren pointed out, pulling away long enough to drop to her knees and kiss Elsa’s hip, just to the side of the mark.
The jolt that shot through Elsa nearly made her legs give out. “Yes but … liked you enough to risk it…”
Then Maren kissed the birthmark directly, fingers of her right hand dancing across Elsa’s thighs and her other hand exploring up the back of Elsa’s leg. The last coherent thought Elsa had between now and later was a hope that this never got old.