Ever since the thaw, Kristoff and Anna had been increasingly affectionate. Even after their kiss, they claimed they were just friends. But everyone else—Elsa, the staff, even the townspeople—knew better. It wasn’t long before they threw caution to the wind and confronted their feelings, and the two had been inseparable since.
Kristoff had learned that he and Anna shared the same love language—touch. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other, even if the touches were still cautious and subtle. All it took was holding each other’s hands or hugging when saying goodnight for them to feel cared about. Maybe even loved, he was starting to think. Yet, he still couldn’t help but notice Anna’s unusual distress when their touches would begin to intensify. He can feel it in the way her shoulders tense when he cups her face in his hands, or whispers in her ear.
Kristoff is a fairly secure man. He knows her reaction isn’t from anything he’s doing. He’s respectful, of course, keeping a safe distance when he senses her discomfort. But he can’t help but wonder… what is it that has her taking things so slow?
One night, the princess and her mountain man are enjoying one of their regular cuddling sessions when he pulls her in closer and wraps a sturdy arm around her waist. She tightens in his arms, and he eases up.
“I…we don’t have to do this, if you don’t want,” he says.
“No, no, it’s not like that at all! I like this,” she scrambles to convince him.
He sighs out in both contentment and confusion as he lays back down, attempting to focus on the warmth of the fire in front of them as he holds her again. Something isn’t right, and he’s itching to get to the bottom of it.
“What’s going on in that head of yours, hm?” he questions her, softly petting her fiery hair.
Anna’s breathing quickens, and she can’t bring herself to look him in the eye. “Nothing, really. I’m fine. Is it a little too hot in here to you? Oh, right, the fire. I forgot you lit that. But, yeah, no, I’m totally great. Just had a little too much at dinner, that’s all, so I feel weird. Otherwise I’m good. Did you think the dinner was too filling tonight? I—”
He cuts her off, recognizing one of her classic rambles. “Anna.”
She looks almost surprised as she looks up at him. “Yes?”
“You’re not telling me something,” he says, trying not to sound stern or accusative. He really isn’t angry; he just wants to help.
“Well, I…” she cuts herself off for a moment, pressing her lips together in a tight line. He can practically see the wheels turning in her head. “You… you remember Hans, right?”
He was not expecting that. Okay, now he’s a little angry. Not at her, though—never at her. “How could I forget?”
“Yeah, tell me about it. Well. I don’t think I told you everything he did that day,” she exhales the sentence out, like she’s letting go of something with every word.
“So, okay, you- you know what he did—tried to do—to my sister. Obviously.”
“Right.” He has a million burning questions to ask her, but he lets her speak.
“And, well, I saw how much that upset you. I mean, you were ready to attack that man.”
“He is no man,” he scoffs, already getting annoyed thinking about him. Thinking about how Anna’s life was in danger—even if she wasn’t freezing to death—because an actual murderer had tricked his way into her heart.
She bites her lip. He can read her face. She’s questioning if she should even continue.
“That wasn’t all he did.” Kristoff waits patiently for her next confession, dancing carefully around this conversation. He doesn’t want to do anything that will scare her off.
“He wasn’t my true love.”
That much I’ve gathered, Kristoff thinks to himself. He won’t say that out loud, though. The last thing he wants is to make her feel ridiculed, even if his intention would only be to lighten the mood.
“Ugh, that’s not it. I don’t really know how to put this. I—I didn’t plan on telling anyone this, ever.”
Kristoff doesn’t want to come on too strongly, but he has to let her know she’s safe to tell him anything. “It’s alright, Anna. Take your time.” He places a soothing hand on top of hers, and for the first time in the night, he actually feels her tension dissipate.
“He told me- he said that no one would love me, Kristoff. He said I was too desperate, too dumb—that I practically put myself in that situation,” Anna could feel her chest getting tight.
“I don’t know, maybe it’s dumb. But just… the way he touched me—sometimes I get nervous. And you know me, I’m not one to build up walls when I’m shut out. But something about him,” she hesitates, then continues. “He- he left me to die, Kristoff.”
Kristoff felt his blood boil. How could anyone see the light within this beautiful woman next to him, and aim to destroy it? A sudden, fierce need to protect her washes over him. He has to take a moment to gather himself before he can properly respond. That small moment leaves Anna with more doubt than she’d had this whole conversation.
“I’m sorry, I know that’s a lot to unload on you all at once, I just-” she rambles again.
“Hey, hey, listen to me.” She looks up at him again, her eyes wide and trusting, and he once again wonders how anyone could want to take advantage of that. “I’m proud of you for telling me. Thank you for being so brave. Come here,” he says, voice full of warmth and sincerity, gesturing with open arms.
Anna rushes into his embrace, finally feeling at peace. She can trust him, she knows that now. He holds her like she’s something precious. And for once, something about that makes her believe she actually is.
He’s running his hands lovingly down her back and through her hair for what feels like ages before he finally speaks up again. The room feels lighter. “If I had known what he did to you back that day on the fjord… I don’t think I would’ve let you stop me. I would’ve knocked the daylights out of that guy.”
For the first time in the night, Anna actually laughs. She finally feels like this is something she can move past and heal from. And she trusts no one better to help her get there than Kristoff—this amazing, selfless man.
“So it really gets to you, then?” he asks, immediately cursing himself for asking a stupid question.
Kristoff really wants to help her. He’d consider himself pretty resourceful, and he was raised by love experts, for heaven’s sake. But honestly, he’s a little at a loss. Dealing with people has never been his strong suit.
Anna answers honestly. “It really does. And not just like this,” she gestures at their bodies, tangled up together. “I- I have nightmares sometimes.”
“Me too,” he admits, glad he can relate to her on some level, even if he wishes neither of them had experienced any of this. “D-do you want to talk about them?”
“I don’t know. It’s kind of a lot. I feel like talking about it will make it more real, if that makes any sense?” she huffs out a breath. “I know it’s ridiculous, because we—he and I—only knew each other for like, a day. But it really affects me.”
“Hey, it’s not silly.”
“You said yourself not to marry a man I just met!”
“True, but that’s not your fault. When I said that I thought maybe he snored loudly, or something. Not that he would turn out to be like… that. Definitely didn’t see that one coming.”
“That makes two of us,” she sighs.
Anything he could do to ease her pain, he would do in a heartbeat. “When it’s like this for you… what do you need from me? If you want my help, that is.”
Anna meets his eyes and smiles up at him with so much affection his heart could burst. “You’re the best,” She wraps her arms around his soft, solid torso in a moment of overwhelming fondness. “Just knowing you’re here is enough, really.”
He’s smiling so wide it almost hurts. “Well, I’m here now.”
“Good, because hugs help,” she says, snuggling in closer.
“I can do hugs. And don’t forget, if you ever need me to punch a certain prince who shall remain unnamed, I will.”
“I think I’ve got that one under control, big guy.”
“Yes, you do, feistypants,” he laughs. She can feel his warm breath against her. “You do.”