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20 February 2014 @ 01:52 pm
Fic: The Snow Queen and the Ice Demon 1/4  
Fandoms: Thor/MCU and Frozen
Characters: Loki, Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Thor, Frigga
Rating: PG, gen

Summary: A stranger arrives in Arendelle, and Elsa discovers that frozen hearts run in her family. Only one thing can thaw his, and luckily it's something the sisters have in abundance.

(or, FAMILY FEELS. Sisters and brothers and parents. That's what this is about. er, not in an incesty way, I should make that clear...)

Author's Note: Set right after Frozen (for this purpose set ~1790), but note this 'verse does not become exactly the MCU in the present; it's an AU where Loki is told of his ancestry a lot earlier. He doesn't take it well in this 'verse either.

Thanks to [personal profile] hearts_blood for looking it over.

AO3 - ff.net

Elsa looked up from the small fountain at the sound of someone clearing a throat in a quiet request for attention. She'd heard no one approach, and only Anna should have been able to pass the guards to enter the side garden.

But it wasn't Anna standing in front of the rose trellis and the small beds of kitchen herbs, but a stranger. He was very tall. His hair was black and long enough to curl against his collar, and worn unfashionably loose and pushed back from his high forehead. His clothes were fine, including a dark green tail coat with gold buttons, dove grey waistcoat, black breeches and knee boots, all tailored to slim effect. His eyes were light, possibly green, and gazed on her with a direct openness that she saw from few people except her sister, especially since the coronation and revelation of her powers.

With a start, he seemed to realize he was staring at her and gave a bow that was graceful and flourished his long coat-tails, and yet was also little more than a nod of the head. "Forgive me. I knew you would be here, I sought you out, and yet to see you feels sudden and strange."

His voice were smooth, with hardly any foreign accent, and he seemed polite. She frowned at him. "So you sneak into the garden to meet me? Instead of attending a proper audience."

"I have little patience for propriety, Elsa," he said, with a flashing grin. Despite the admission and highly improper use of her given name, she couldn't help smiling back.

"Oh?" She lifted her brows. "And by what name should I call you, stranger?"

He opened his mouth to answer, and then hesitated, as if reconsidering, before saying simply, "Loki."

"Like the pagan god?" she asked. It was curious and rare to name a child for one of the old gods, especially the most ill-omened one.

His lips curled upward, in definite amusement. "Very like, and yet not like at all."

"Hm, you bandy words like a courtier, Loki," she said. "Are you at court somewhere?"

His lips tightened and his gaze flickered away, before he found another smile. "Not at present, no."

"You wish to join mine?"

He laughed. "Oh, as delightful as that might be, no. I'm a restless spirit, Elsa, and I do not suffer confinement well."

"Then… what is it you sought me for?" she asked.

"To see you," he answered but in contradiction to his words, he lowered his gaze to the small fountain. "I only recently heard of your coronation and specifically the unseasonable weather that followed," he murmured. "I was some distance away and I wanted to meet you."

"Oh?" She frowned at him, but had no chance to ask further as he held out a hand to the fountain. The water in the basin froze instantly, the spray and falling droplets joining together into a delicate tree of ice.

Elsa looked and knew she hadn't done it, which meant…. "You! You have powers like I do! I've never met anyone else who could do it."

His gaze stayed fixed on the ice and his smile seemed tinged with sadness. "No, you wouldn't. On this world there is only you and I."

"But there was another," she told him eagerly. "Have you not heard the story of the Ice Demon? He was no true demon though; I believe he was a sorcerer who lived high in the ice and came down to the villages, and he had powers like us, too. My parents collected the stories when I was little, and--" When she noticed his smile she petered to a stop, understanding. "Oh. It was you?"

It was disappointing; in the stories, the Ice Demon had eyes of gleaming silver, claws like a bear, and a cape of wolf fur. Apparently the stories had been greatly exaggerated. This tall youthful man standing before her seemed as normal as she was; he was no demon.

He inclined his head in acknowledgment. "Yes. Me."

Except one thing had to be true about the stories… "But that must have been a hundred years ago!"

He waved his fingers in a negligent gesture and the fountain returned to playing its sweet watery tune, the ice melting and vanishing as if it had never frozen at all. "Not quite so long, I should think, though Midgardian time is somewhat difficult to track."

"But you look scarcely older than I am."

Suddenly he vanished. She felt a presence at her shoulder and a voice in her ear and she twitched in startlement. "I have other powers than ice, young one."

She turned to find her eyes at his white cravat and the pale skin of his throat, until long fingers tilted her chin upward and she looked into his face. She had the passing thought that she should be worried or afraid, but she wasn't, even though he'd admitted to being the Ice Demon. His touch was gentle, and his eyes looked on her with curiosity.

She'd thought his eyes were green, but they must have reflected the color of his coat, because at this close distance they were more grey-blue, like the sea on a cloudy day. He murmured, "You favor your mother, so much. And yet this, so pale…" His other hand trailed across her hair and he chuckled. "Where did this come from?"

"My magic, they say," she murmured.

"Mixed blood seems more likely," he answered, lips twisting in a wry smile. He let her go and stepped away, the smile fading to a more troubled expression. "I wish I had known of you, Elsa. I would have come to you to help you learn your abilities, but I was far away in warmer climes."

She frowned. "It… turned out all right. I learned how to manage."

He lifted a brow. "Without spring or summer? Only winter? That was managing. I see."

At his dry tone, her cheeks felt suddenly hot and she glanced down, embarrassed. He finished, "Nonetheless I would have spared you that particular education."

"Why?" she asked, feeling a little breathless, as though she stood on the edge of a precipice. "Just because we share an ability?"

He shook his head once, in the negative. Those keen eyes sat on her for what felt like forever, and she could feel the weight of the judgment, then he inhaled a deep breath and let it out with the air of a man who'd made a decision. "You share my ability, Elsa," he corrected. "Because … you are my daughter."

She gasped. "How is that--?" She was no child, she knew how it was possible. "But no, that can't be! My mother never would have --"

Loki lifted a finger, halting her outraged protests. "I can be extremely charming. And I have many talents. I was feeling my loneliness, she reminded me of someone, and the king was away. She remembered it only as a very pleasant dream. Though I suspect she found her husband a trifle… disappointing afterward." He smirked and Elsa wanted to slap him -- he was talking about bedding her mother -- but she also smiled.

"I never expected that night to bear fruit," he admitted. "I did not think it could. I wandered away, and it was not until I heard of the Snow Queen and her winterland, that I knew I had sprouted an unexpected branch of my family tree."

Elsa sat down on the rim of the fountain, her knees feeling too weak to carry her, while she thought about what he'd said. Or really, she wasn't thinking at all, while she stared blankly at the rose bushes on the other side of the small courtyard. There were only a few late blooms remaining, hanging on despite the fading summer.

He darted a glance at her and tucked his hands behind his back, standing there like a shadow against the sunlight. "I have a little experience with discovering difficult truths myself," he said finally. "So I understand if you are angry with me."

Looking up at him, she said in confusion, "Angry? I - I'm surprised, but I'm not angry. Well, I suppose you cuckolded my father, which was rather shoddy and I should be angry about that, but I'm not. Not really. This is all very sudden. I don't know what to think about it."

She held out her hand, a small ice sculpture of her parents forming on her palm. It was how she remembered them, from the last time she had seen them. Her mother had been so excited to go to the wedding in Corona of her dear friend's daughter, but the ship had never arrived.

"This was a mistake," he said abruptly. "A poor jest on my part, and I apologize. I should not have come back. This was a foolish idea. I should take my leave. Forgive me for intruding on your peace." He turned to go, hasty words spilling fom him. Elsa had the sudden intuition that if he left, she'd never see him again.

"No, wait!" she blurted and a thin sheet of ice sprang up in front of him blocking his path. He reared back and eyed it with some caution, before touching it with his finger.

"Very strong," he murmured. "Without spell, it heeds your will. Impressive."

She smiled. "I get it from you," she said, ignoring the excuses he'd tried to offer. Because she could feel the bond between them and she knew it was true.

He banished her ice sheet and faced her. His expression was schooled to polite patience, but there was wariness in his stance, how he held himself so perfectly still, as though he expected rejection. The Ice Demon had once terrorized the villages of Arendelle and lower Norway, and for the first time she wondered if that been vengeance and retaliation for being named evil and chased out into the cold by fearful villagers. Had he suffered what she had feared? Few places would view his magic as anything but demonic, and that meant there were few places he could go and be welcome as himself.

Elsa decided Arendelle would be one of them. "Would you stay? Only as long as you're comfortable," she added hastily, "but I'd like to get to know you. My parents are gone -- I mean my mother and my--"

"Your father," Loki said. "He raised you, Elsa. That counts more than blood. Or should." He cast his eyes up to the sky, looking sad briefly.

"Your father's gone, too?" she asked. "You may not have heard if you were away, but both my parents were lost at sea three years before I attained my majority."

"Mine… were lost to secrets and angry words I could never take back," he murmured.

"I'm sorry." She stood up and touched his hand. His gaze whipped down as if to check those were really her fingers wrapping around his. His surprise that she would want to touch him was comical, yet sad. It reminded her of her own fear to touch. She tightened her grip and smiled at him, when their eyes met. "Please stay. As long as you like."

"How can I possibly refuse such a gracious invitation?" he responded and lifted her hand to brush a kiss on the back.

She ended up saying he was a traveling scholar from distant Latveria, and told only Anna that Loki had a power like hers. She thought about telling Anna the whole truth, but it felt like something she wanted to hold to herself for a little while. It was hard to believe Loki could be her father, since they appeared so close in age, and Anna might be frightened to find out that he was over a hundred years old. Not that much of anything frightened Anna, Elsa had to admit, but still, it was a lot to understand.

But Loki fit in the palace smoothly and Elsa wondered if her assumption that he'd been born poor and chased from his village by his powers was correct. Of course he was a century old, had traveled widely, and was a sorcerer, so it should be no wonder he had manners and arrogance to spare. Yet, it nagged at her curiously, where he truly had come from.

He refused to answer that question; in fact, he avoided an actual answer so adroitly she only realized she'd been misdirected later. He also strangely refused to go to church. He smiled at her when she invited him to attend with her, as it was one of her duties. "Ah, no, I think that would be … awkward. I find it all rather absurd."

"You're not a Christian?" she asked in shock, and he laughed.

"With a name like mine, should you be surprised?" he returned easily. He waved to the paper before him, which she leaned over his shoulder to look at. It was written in German in a messy hand, but that did not explain why she could barely understand one word in six as she scanned what he'd written. "I'm writing a letter to a student at Ingolstadt University, to encourage his studies in electro-chemical processes."

"You're an infidel, sorcerer, and a scientist?" she asked with a laugh. "I think we shall keep that between us." She planted a kiss on the top of his head and he snapped his head up to frown at her curiously.

"What was that for?"

She shrugged, grinning. "No reason. Enjoy your letter and I will see you this afternoon."

Anna decided they needed to go outside the palace and visit the market. A ship had arrived and she wanted to look through the wares, and with Kristoff away, she was determined to bring both her sister and their guest out into the sunlight.

Loki followed, waving them ahead indulgently when they wanted to race across the bridge. When Elsa reached the end, she turned to find him standing in the middle, looking up at the northern mountains, perhaps thinking of his time as the Ice Demon. But as she considered fetching him, he turned away to continue across the bridge to join them in the square.

Beneath the cheerfully bright awnings of the market stalls, Elsa and Anna examined the newly arrived fabrics, while he waited for them by leafing through the books. "Anything interesting?" Elsa asked, coming up to his side.

He picked up a small black volume and waved it around, even as he looked through another.

Elsa plucked it from his hand and smiled at the merchant. "I'll take it."

"Your Majesty." He bowed and tried to give it to her, but she insisted on paying and slipped the book into Loki's coat pocket.

"There. But you are forbidden to read it until we're home. There is more to see and the sun to enjoy."

"The sun isn't really my specialty," he grumbled but put the other book down.

She laughed. "Mine either. But we must suffer to make Anna happy."

"I heard that!" Anna's voice came through the canvas and then her head peeked around the corner. "There's cheese and olives from Spain! Let's go."

Elsa tucked her arm through Loki's and followed her sister's bright hair. She smiled and greeted everyone as they strolled, pausing to create a ice patch on request for the children to slide around on. Loki watched her and at first he seemed anxious for her, as if the people might turn against her, but after he understood that no one was afraid, he relaxed. A smile curled his lips, and once, he surreptitiously gestured with his fingers, adding to her patch of ice beneath a vegetable seller's feet. The seller went tumbling and dropped the box he was carrying, so potatoes and turnips rolled everywhere. Loki looked innocent when she turned to narrow her eyes at him.

"Oh dear, ice is so slippery," he said with false regret, and then snickered.

"Sorry!" she called to the seller, who waved it off and gathered his vegetables before the people sliding around could mash his wares. She yanked Loki down with a grip on the green collar of his black velvet coat and whispered harshly at him, "You are a hundred years old. Aren't you supposed to be wise by now?"

He laughed, unrepentant. "If we don't have fun with our magic, what's the point of having it?"

There was some wisdom in that, though pranks seemed a bit childish. But on the other hand, pranks were better than the more extreme things he'd done with his powers as the Ice Demon, so perhaps she should be grateful. She shook her head at him, and he pretended to be ashamed of himself in a way that made her smile.

Anna came back to them, since they were lagging behind. "Elsa, Loki, look who I found!"

Elsa heard Olaf's voice before she saw him, on Loki's other side. "Oh! Hello! Aren't you very tall?"

Loki's step halted and he looked down at Olaf. Then, in a quiet, wary voice, he asked, "Elsa. Is there a … snow creature speaking to me?"

Olaf answered brightly. "I'm Olaf."

Loki's tone was bland, but the look on his face was one that suggested he feared he was going mad. "Olaf. Of course you are."

Olaf smiled. "You look like you need a hug." He darted forward as if to hug Loki around the waist. Loki stepped into a defensive stance with the fluidity of a trained swordsman, pushing Elsa behind him with a strength that made her gasp, and his free hand somehow held a long-bladed dagger. Olaf's eyes went huge and frightened, as Anna shrieked and threw herself in front of him, her arms spread wide.

"No! It's okay! He's a friend! Don't hurt him!"

Loki hesitated and glanced at Elsa, and she reassured him, "He's friendly."

Olaf nodded frantically. "I'm friendly, really, I promise. Did you have a bad experience with snowmen before? I'm just asking, because your reaction seems a little fierce. And a little extreme, maybe? I'm sure you have your reasons, but maybe we can hug it out?" Olaf held out his little stick arms and waved his hands, head cocked a bit to one side adorably.

"No hugs." Loki glowered at him, but he lowered his hand, dagger suddenly not there anymore. "Where did you come from?"

Anna was the one who explained, patting Olaf's head after a big sigh of relief. "Elsa made him, of course."

"You made him?"

"Is that so shocking?" Elsa asked. "It's our magic."

Loki seemed troubled, frowning at Olaf. "It's possible, and I've seen such things before, but never using something as temporary as snow. Though I see you also gave him his personal weather. Clever." She smiled and lifted her chin, proud at the compliment. Loki went on, "I was cautioned against such spells, both because they're difficult and require a lot of power, but they also tend not to … end well."

"What do you mean?" Olaf asked, now sounding worried. "Why wouldn't they end well?"

"You seem unlikely to start slaughtering humans in their beds, but it has happened," Loki said, so drily that Elsa wasn't sure if he was joking or not.

"Making him wasn't very difficult," Elsa said. "I didn't even realize what I'd done until later. Maybe because he's snow it worked more easily?"

He hesitated as if he wanted to disagree, but instead, dropped the subject and nodded with a cheerful smile. "I'm sure that's it." With a small bow, he extended his arm again for her. "Cheese and olives, Anna said. I could use an early supper."

But when he thought she wasn't looking, his forehead creased and he pressed his lips together at the sight of Olaf twirling on the ice pond to the delight of the children.


Crossposted from DW There are comment count unavailable comments over there. Feel free to comment wherever.