"You're going to marry one of lord Macintosh's children, whether you want it or not!"
The words still echo in Merida's mind. She doesn't want to be married to someone she barely knows. Hell, she doesn't even want to get married. Relationship, okay, but marriage? Way too overrated, thank you very much.
It's what her mother wants though, and her mother, Elinor of the island Dunbroch, has it her way, always. If she tells you to marry a purple sea monster, then you marry a purple sea monster. It's always been like this and her mother certainly does not want to change that.
Her mother always telling her what to do makes her furious. 'Merida, you have to marry a Macintosh. Merida, ladies don't eat cake in such an uncivilized manner. Merida, you can't storm off now, they're trying to catch a pirate.'
A pirate? Pirates are everywhere, but Mother doesn't seem to realize it. Chances of being attacked by a pirate are always there. A treasure-obsessed lunatic running loose is the least of her problems right now.
She sits down at a crate, looking at all the busy people in the harbour. Some are preparing their ships, others are just coming off of them, ready to hit the bar and get drunk. However, there's not a pirate ship in sight.
Ha. Pirates. Heartless, brainless creatures, as Mother put it. If pirates are really brainless, she'll have no trouble dealing with one of them if she runs into him or her.
"Excuse me, but aren't you the daughter of Elinor, the ruler of Dunbroch?" She hears someone ask.
Merida resists the urge to sigh. Why do new people always ask her that? She looks at the person asking the question and is pleasantly surprised.
The woman, who is still giving her a questioning look, has hair almost as white as snow and blue eyes that remind her of ice. They pierce her soul, as if they're trying to freeze her. Merida almost shivers.
"Yes, I am. Merida Dunbroch." She shifts uncomfortably, trying to escape the woman's gaze. "And who are you?"
A grin appears on the woman's face. "Absolutely perfect!"
There's a dagger placed on Merida's throat before she has a chance to react.
"What the hell!?" She yells, panicking. This is bad, very bad.
"Nice to meet you, Merida Dunbroch. I'm the Snow Queen." The woman whispers in her ear.
The Snow Queen. The coldest pirate of this age. Relatively new to being a pirate, but incredibly dangerous nonetheless.
Today is not her lucky day.
"What do you want with me, you monster?" Merida asks calmly.
She feels a small stream of blood trickling down her throat. The dagger is sharp, it hurts her.
"First of all, while it's the truth, I don't want to be called a monster." Whereas her voice was rather kind before, it now sounds cruel and maybe a little hurt. "Second of all, you're alive now, but another noise and you'll be dead."
"Hey! You there!"
Merida never thought she'd be happy to hear Macintosh's voice, especially not today. He's here, he's got the royal guard, he can safe her. She wants to call for help, but the dagger still rests firmly on her throat.
"Let go of Ms. Dunbroch!" Macintosh yells at the Snow Queen, who pulls her closer upon hearing the words.
"Let me think about that… how about no?"
"Give up and come with us. You can't escape anymore."
"To the gallows? No way in hell. But if you let me go, I'll release this unfortunate redhead."
"Hey! That's offensive"
"Didn't I tell you not to speak?"
"...Deal. Let her go." Macintosh yells.
"I apologize for the inconvenience," the Snow Queen whispers, roughly pushing Merida away. The redheaded girl groans as she hits the ground.
"Get her!" Macintosh's men run off, going after the pirate. Macintosh himself stays behind, bending down to help Merida up.
"What just happened?" She asks, slightly confused.
Macintosh pulls her up, glaring off into the distance. "The Snow Queen happened. She arrived here today and tried to steal a ship."
Merida joins him in staring at the distance. "Why the hell doesn't she have a ship?"
Macintosh shrugs. "I have no idea. I only know that she's pretty and extremely deadly."
Merida finds herself agreeing with both of those things. The Snow Queen was prettier than she imagined a pirate to be like.
"Go home, Merida. We'll catch her and you won't have to worry about her anymore."
When she arrives home, she gets yelled at by her mother, who isn't at all amused by her story ("I told you to stay inside, but look what happened!"). Her father's response is milder. He just tells her that Macintosh managed to capture the Snow Queen and that she'll be dead tomorrow. "Try to forget it happened," he says to her, in an attempt to cheer her up, "That nasty cut won't leave scars."
It doesn't help. Merida does not forget. The Snow Queen's face is still haunting her. Scratch pretty, she was beautiful… for a pirate. She finds herself thinking that the Snow Queen shouldn't die, even though she would definitely have killed her if it had been necessary.
Maybe she's going crazy. The Snow Queen is a pirate, a dangerous one even. Her death is a good thing.
Before falling asleep, Merida makes herself a promise: she'll talk to the imprisoned pirate and get her name.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
This chapter is a little longer. Dunno if you think that's good or bad, but enjoy it either way!
Elsa Arens, the Snow Queen, is not much of a talker. When the bunch of male pirates try to strike up a conversation with her, she ignores them, only replying when it's absolutely necessary.
Today did not go as planned. She came here for a ship, not for prison and a one-way ticket to the gallows. The gallows are the next stop and there's no way out of here. Everything she went through, everything leading up to this moment… it was all for nothing, apparently.
If only the guards had kept their promise… she gave them their hot girl back, they gave her freedom. They had agreed to it, but did not grant her that freedom they promised. And then they say pirates are cheats.
She tries to sleep, but it doesn't work. The jail floor is hard, definitely not suitable to be a bed. Not that she'd sleep well on a bed; Elsa is sure she hasn't slept well in years. Goddamn nightmares all the time.
She's almost drifted off into sleep, when she hears a cannon shot. Not just a shot from any cannon. She recognizes this. This ship used to be hers. If only that jerk Hans hadn't taken it and left her to die on an island, she wouldn't be in here.
Now, hearing Hans raiding the island, it just makes her roll her eyes and sigh. She wants to get out of here and personally rip his vocal chords out (after he tells her exactly what happened to Anna and Kristoff, of course, she's not stupid). Sadly, she's still stuck, unable to escape this prison and death.
She's really lost the game of life now.
She closes her eyes, trying to fall asleep once again.
"Hey, Snow Queen. Wake up."
Elsa opens her eyes and is immediately blinded by the sunlight. She hasn't slept well, as expected. Her mind is still being plagued by horrifying nightmares.
She sits up, looking right at a girl with a messy mop of red hair. A smirk begins to appear on her face.
"You again, Ms. Dunbroch? Why are you here?" She asks. Merida seems to be weary around her, and it amuses her.
" I'd like to know your name," Merida states, trying to keep a straight face.
Elsa gives this a quick thought. Revealing her name might be dangerous, but on the other hand… she's going to be dead in a few hours. This girl knowing who she is will not be the end of the world.
"Elsa Arens," she says, holding out her hand. Merida does not accept it, probably thinking that pirates do not understand the concept of 'personal hygiene'. In fact, judging from the smell coming from the bunch of fools in the cell next to her, that might be the truth. She withdraws her hand.
"Elsa. That's a nice name. I suppose you remembered mine?"
Elsa nods. "I do, Merida, but I don't believe you're only here to ask me about my name."
"Why do you need a ship?"
Elsa looks the redhead dead in the eye. "You're… asking a pirate why she needs a ship?"
Merida starts laughing. Elsa involuntarily finds herself thinking the laugh is adorable, but decides not to mention it.
"Let me rephrase myself… What happened to your ship?"
"It got taken by Hans, the guy who raided your island in the night," Elsa explains, "I need a new ship to find my sister."
Merida stays silent, leaving Elsa wondering if she said something wrong. Why is she giving all the personal information away so easily anyway? She never liked talking, but this conversation has a nice flow to it.
"You know that guy from last night? Are you friends with him?"
"'Mortal enemies' is a better way to describe our relationship."
Merida's eyes light up. "I want to propose a deal with you, Elsa" Merida begins, "A deal that might just be a bit crazy."
"Whatever it is, it can't be worse than the gallows. Tell me all about it, I can handle crazy."
"My mother got taken by this guy you call Hans. I want to save her."
Now it's Elsa's turn to laugh. She lies down on the hard floor again, crossing her arms.
"Are you kidding me? That's too much crazy. In fact, It's downright ridiculous."
"… It's not that crazy."
"Yes, it is. You don't like your mother. I don't like your mother. Why should we save her?"
The redheaded girl gives her a glare. "She's still my mother, and my father and his buddies won't get the job done fast enough. I can't just do nothing"
Elsa isn't convinced. "Why don't you just say you desperately want to get off this island and go adventuring?"
Another glare. "The adventure is a fun bonus. My main motivation is saving my mother."
"Just hear me out," Merida tries again, "If I give you your freedom back, will you help me save my mother?"
Elsa's expression hardens. "Here's the thing, Dunbroch: I've still got a little dignity left. I'm not gonna lose all of it at once by trying to help someone who will have me murdered as soon as she's back on this godforsaken island."
Merida shrugs. "If that's what you want… Tell the executioner I said hi, will you?" She turns around, waving at Elsa and walking away.
Saving Elinor Dunbroch? Who does this Merida think she is? Being pretty does not give a person the right to manipulate others.
It does offer a chance to escape the gallows.
"Dunbroch. Wait." Elsa groans. "I changed my mind. I accept your offer."
Merida turns around, a bright smile on her face. "That's what I wanted to hear!"
She walks over to the desk in the room, searching for the keys to open the door, Elsa watching her every move.
"Quick question: why me? I almost killed you yesterday," Elsa mentions, glancing at the wound on Merida's throat, "I don't see how you can trust me."
Merida holds the keys up. "Have you looked at the other pirates here? They're even worse than you."
"I beg to differ."
"Do you want out or not?"
Merida is about to open the door, but stops. "Hold up. Who says you won't break the deal when I let you out? You're still a pirate. You could try to kill me again."
Elsa mentally screams. What's up with stereotypes these days? It's 1715, people, why can't you all calm down?
Or maybe it isn't 1715. Elsa hasn't checked the date in a long time. It could be 1718 already and she wouldn't have the slightest clue.
"I'm afraid you'll have to trust me on this one, Dunbroch, but if it helps, I promise I won't break the deal. I never break a promise."
Merida hesitates for a second, but eventually opens the door. Elsa steps out of the cell, looking around. The pirates in the other cell are yelling at them, begging to be released. Pathetic.
"Thanks. Being locked up isn't a fun experience."
"If you don't want to be locked up, you shouldn't be a pirate," she hears Merida mutter. She pretends she didn't hear to those words.
"Tell me, Merida, which ship is the best ship in Dunbroch?"
"That would be the Black Bear. But why take the best ship? That one must be the hardest to steal."
Elsa clicks her tongue. "I'm not sure if you understand, but if I'm going to be the captain of a new ship, the ship better be good."
"But how do you want to steal it?"
"That's easy enough."
"Right. Not like you got caught last time you tried."
The sound of a something hitting the desk in the room is heard and Merida quickly turns around, frantically searching the room for someone who could've been spying on them. It's better if nobody catches her talking to a pirate. There is no one besides them and the imprisoned pirates.
When she turns back, Elsa is nowhere to be seen either.
"Hey! Snow Queen! You said you'd help me!"
Apparently, Merida has let herself be fooled. Elsa has escaped. Or not?
Someone taps on her shoulder, startling her. It's Elsa. Merida doesn't know if she should be happy about that.
"You didn't see me, huh?"
"Christ, why did you do that!?" Merida does her best not to shout.
"To demonstrate how easy it is to distract people. If I can go unnoticed in a tiny room like this one, I sure as hell can steal a ship."
Elsa has a point, and Merida can see she's proud of that. The annoying grin still hasn't left her face.
"Let's… let's just go and get out of here." Merida opts.
"Lead the way, Dunbroch, I'll follow."
Elsa doesn't trust Merida… yet. It might all be a trap. She follows her, careful to walk behind her the whole time. You can't be stabbed in the back when you're the one walking behind.
Fortunately, people pay little attention to them and she is not recognized. Elsa figures the people see her as a new friend of Merida's, as someone who's been living on this island her whole life and was never important enough to remember.
They reach the harbour, further disappearing in the crowd. Elsa can easily spot the ship Merida was talking about; it is, by far, the fanciest ship here. Maybe it will be tough to steal after all…
"There's your future ship, Ms. Genius. Now where's your plan?"
Elsa holds her hand up. "Cut it on the attitude and talk to the hand. I'm trying to think."
Elsa is intelligent, even if not everyone believes that. It's never taken her long to come up with complicated plans, and today is no exception.
The ship itself is empty, its owners being out to drink. A few members of the royal guard are standing in front of it, guarding it from people like her. If she can get the guards to leave, she can take the ship. This is where Merida comes in.
"Listen carefully. I'll stay here, while you go to those guards. You tell them I escaped and tried to kill you, then you point at me."
"…Do you want to go back to prison?"
"No, but it's a risk I'll take. You get the ship ready to leave, and I'll get rid of those idiots when they start chasing me. Clear?"
"Crystal. But I don't know how to get the ship ready."
Elsa looks at her in utter disbelief. "You. Do not know. How a ship works."
"If I knew, I wouldn't even need your help. I thought that was obvious?"
Elsa facepalms. What follows is a rapid, complex explanation. Merida tries to understand all the pirate jargon, but completely fails to do so.
"I think I'll manage," Merida interrupts the story. She doesn't understand a thing yet, but if the sailors come back, they won't have a ship.
"Alright then. Go for it."
Merida approaches the guards nervously, hoping she'll sound convincing. She'd lied to people before, of course, but she never truly mastered the skill.
"Guard! Guard!" She attempts to sound panicked.
The tall guard looks down on her, a stoic expression on his face. "Ms. Dunbroch. What is it you need?"
"Pirate," she pants, "Snow Queen. Escaped. Attempted to kill me."
She points at Elsa, who's standing in the crowd, glaring deviously at the guards.
"How…?" The guard begins, motioning for his men to follow him. Merida enters the ship, hiding, watching Elsa run off with the guards chasing. It's an enjoyable sight.
Elsa finds the experience to be less enjoyable. She's fast, she can outrun these guards, but it's tiring and unpleasant. She sees Merida watching, not doing anything.
"Goddamn it, weren't you listening to me?" She growls, turning around. She runs straight towards the surprised guards, who did not expect their target to suddenly come running at them. Elsa takes advantage of this surprise effect by avoiding them and sprinting to the ship. When she enters it, she starts doing what the redhead was supposed to do.
"Your help is appreciated a lot, Merida, thanks."
Merida simply shrugs. "Hurry up. The guards are comng back.
They sail away before the guards reach them, leaving the island behind. Merida wasn't joking when she said the ship was fast.
"Well, I'm sorry I'm not a pirate."
At least she has a ship. Now she only needs a competent crew. Also…
"Dunbroch? I have a serious question."
"…What year is it?"
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Elsa has some hidden secrets and Corona is a bad, bad place.
Merida just cannot figure out what Elsa thinks of her. It's like the girl has no idea what to do with her.
"I'm the captain of this ship," Elsa had stated, like that wasn't obvious. "You know what that means?"
"It means you're allowed to throw to the sharks whenever you feel the urge to do so?"
Elsa blinked a few times at that. "Now that you mention it... yeah, that too. But I was only going to say you should follow my orders."
"Oh. I shouldn't have given you that idea."
"Whatever. Just... go and explore the ship or something. Maybe there's something useful here."
Merida hesitated for a second, but quickly decided she did indeed want to see whatever this ship had to offer.
"I have one final question. What if the guards from earlier today hadn't all left? What if one had stayed behind?" She had asked before leaving.
Elsa grinned at that. "I know that kind of people. They're never the sharpest tools on the shed. They see pirates, they just run off to catch them, probably hoping they get promoted."
That was 30 minutes ago, and the answer still doesn't make much sense to her. Elsa still doesn't make sense to her. First she's kind of scary, then she changes to friendly and awkward, just to turn and suddenly become all smirky and smug. All in under three minutes. How does a person even handle that much emotion?
She leaves the enigma that is Elsa Arens alone to admire the ship, noticing how well crafted it is. Her father had been serious when he told her it was one of Dunbroch's finest pieces of work.
Speaking of her father, his strange behaviour of earlier today is still bothering her. When she told him they had to do something and go find her, he just looked at her with a dumbfounded expression, like he didn't even know who he she was talking about. So did her brothers, and even the servants seemed to have forgotten, like her mother had never even existed. She wonders what Hans did to them. When Elsa hadn't flat out denied her mother's existence, Merida had genuinely felt surprised.
She doesn't want to think about it anymore. She decides to go back to Elsa, seeing if she can now get something more out of the strange pirate.
Elsa has no idea what's happening to her. She almost stumbles backwards, slightly dizzy, but manages to stop herself from falling somehow. Her brain hurts and she feels a little nauseous. This can't be right.
She searches the pockets of her coat for the small book she hid, quickly turning to the page she needs while stopping the hastily scribbled notes from falling out. Fortunately for her, those idiots back ashore weren't smart enough to consider searching her for anything other than weapons.
She quickly reads through her half-finished translation of that particular page. She knows she should've waited until she had translated it all. She must've done it wrong, she has to get back to the translating as soon as possible. She has to help the Redhead find her horrible mother, and also get some advice on this matter from her friend.
In the meantime, she ignores the throbbing pain in her head and goes back to concentrating on navigating to their temporary destination safely. Whatever is going to happen, it can't be that bad, right?
Oh god, there Merida is again. Elsa quickly regains her natural composure, doing her best not to let her currently weak physical state show. The little book is shoved back into her pocket, hiding it from Merida's curious eyes. Maybe if she just doesn't do anything, she'll also steer clear of more awkward conversations. In fact, wouldn't it be a perfect idea to just jump off the ship right now and drown?
"Y-yes?" She ends up stuttering, not prepared for this conversation .
Merida gives her a weird look. "I'd really like to know where we're going."
Oh, that's a question she can answer.
"Corona. Have you heard of that?"
Merida nods. "I heard it's an island primarily inhabited by pirates. Like, some sort of secret base."
"Yes. We're going to see a friend of mine and get him to help us. He'll find us a crew."
Merida snorts. "You have friends?"
"Why does that surprise you do much?"
"How many friends?"
"Including family members?"
Elsa grits her teeth. "Yeah."
"You mentioned you have a sister and you also said that she has a boyfriend, so that makes only one friend. Liar."
"I'm not a liar, I'm just being a little creative with the truth."
It's silent for a second, but then both girls burst out in laughter.
"I'll admit, that was a good comeback." Merida says, still laughing a little.
"Yeah. We've arrived at our destination, by the way." Elsa points at the island they're slowly approaching. "There's Corona."
Elsa watches as Merida stares at the island in awe. She can see why, the view is rather beautiful. Someone who's never seen it before will definitely think of all the lights in the night as enchanting.
Once on the island, everything is a little less beautiful. The streets of Dunbroch are definitely safer for a non-pirate than the streets of Corona. Pretty much everyone here is a pirate, with people like Merida, people who got here by chance, being the exception. Even for a pirate, this place isn't entirely safe. Not every pirate follows the rules, certainly not when drunk.
"I want you to listen carefully now, and I mean it this time. Please don't just ignore it like you did earlier, when I told you about the ship."
Merida opens her mouth to protest, but Elsa continues before she can say anything.
"If a shady person approaches you, don't hesitate to cuss them out or knock their teeth out. Also, make sure I can see you at all times, got it?"
Merida flashes her a mischievous grin. "You like looking at me?"
"I'm serious. It's dangerous here, especially if you're here for the first time, without weapons."
"Aw, you care!"
That's it. No one messes with Elsa Arens. Merida is not the only one who can play this game.
"Fine. Do as you please, but don't expect me to help you if you get yourself in trouble." She starts walking away at a quick pace, not looking at Merida once.
A few seconds later, Merida is walking next to her again. "Don't just abandon me like that!"
"Missing me already? That's fast."
"Shut up. I don't have a weapon and I don't want to die yet, that's all." Merida replies, slightly annoyed. She doesn't like being beaten in her own games.
They arrive at a bar not soon after. A worn-out board shows that it's called 'The ugly duckling'. Merida wonders if a pirate bar is any different from a normal one.
"For your information, this bar is not safe either." Elsa warns.
"I get it, I get it! I won't try anything funny, calm down."
As they enter, Merida sees that it's not very different from a bar in Dunbroch. People -primarily men- are drinking, laughing and fighting everywhere. The place reeks of alcohol, blood, and dirt. She's not sure if she likes this place, and decides that staying close to Elsa might not be a bad idea.
Elsa, however, does not seem to be phased by this place at all, probably used to being here. She walks towards the bar in a straight line, ignoring all the ruckus her, avoiding the bodies of passed out pirates.
The bartender is a girl with long, blonde hair, who appears to be happily talking to her customers, amused by their stories and weird, drunk behaviour. She's probably used to this too. Her face lights up when she sees Elsa, but her expression shows confusion too.
"Elsa! You're… not dead?"
"Why would I be dead, Rapunzel?"
'Rapunzel' awkwardly scratches the back of her neck. "We heard of what Hans did. People were starting to make bets on if you would be alive or not..."
"Then I suppose a lot of people will lose a lot of money." Elsa chuckles. "We're actually looking for Hiccup. Have you seen him?"
"We?" Rapunzel notices Merida only now, but gives her a nice smile nonetheless. "Oh, are you here with Elsa? Welcome!"
"Nice bar you got here," Merida tells her. Rapunzel's smile grows wider, and she starts asking Merida more questions, obviously interested in why she's here.
"Rapunzel. I need my question answered before christmas, okay?" Elsa interrupts, impatiently tapping her fingers on the bar.
"Right. Hiccup's over there, in the corner." Rapunzel replies, pointing at two guys.
"Thanks." Elsa grabs Merida's arm and drags her along, towards the guys.. "Hiccup!"
The guy with brown hair and a peg leg turns around as if he's seen a ghost. Upon spotting Elsa, his frightened look turns into a surprised one. "What the hell?"
Elsa halts, releasing Merida's arm. "wow, you're friendly today, Hiccup. Happy to see me?"
"Actually, I now know that I lost a bet."
Elsa sighs. "Good to know you have so much faith in me."
"Most people who are left to die on an island don't make it out alive, so I couldn't know. How'd you even get away from there? How'd you get here?"
"I'll tell you some other time. I actually want you to get me a crew."
Merida listens to the conversation, soaking up all the information. Elsa hadn't said a thing to her about being left alone on an island, she had only said Hans took her ship.
"Leave it all to me. I'll assemble the best crew I can find!" Hiccup says, raising his glass.
"Thanks a lot, Hiccup. Come to my ship in the morning with whoever you can find."
"Got it. I'll be there." He sets his glass down and leaves the bar, the guy he was talking to following him.
"We're leaving too," Elsa tells Merida, "I don't want to stick around here any longer."
Merida wants to stay, to talk to some of the interesting people. The people she's met so far have all been nice, so what's Elsa making a fuss about? Her previous doubts about the place are gone, it isn't that bad.
"Can't we stay? I want to talk to more people."
"Hell no. You think they're nice, but you really can't trust most of them."
"Hiccup and Rapunzel seemed nice."
"Just because some of them are nice doesn't mean they all are."
"Just because some of them are untrustworthy, it doesn't mean they all are."
Merida thinks she's got Elsa with that, but the latter is having none of it.
"This is not up for discussion. As captain, I'm responsible for your life. If something happens to you, it'll be my fault, and I don't want to deal with all that right now. We're getting out of here, right now!" Elsa raises her voice a bit, hoping it's enough to convince Merida.
Merida scowls, but gives in. She still needs Elsa's help, after all. "Have it your way."
They leave The Ugly Duckling, not saying another word to each other.
Chapter 4: chapter 4
Merida tries to get Elsa to talk to her again and some of the pirate's secrets are revealed.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
As long as Merida is asleep and doesn't notice her absence, everything will be fine. Well... as fine as things can be right now. There are multiple big problems she still has to take care of.
Elsa walks through the dark streets, hoping she can find Hiccup again. She couldn't discuss this earlier with Merida being present too. She'd refer it if no one knew about this, but Hiccup might be the only person who can offer some help, or at least, advice.
"Hiccup!" She yells when she spots the peg-legged pirate. He had been talking to a dark-skinned woman, but tells her to wait for him and approaches Elsa.
"What is it with you interrupting my conversations all night? You're crew will be ready tomorrow, don't worry about it." He tells her, failing to hide the annoyed tone in his voice.
"Actually, it's about something else." She grabs his arm, pulling him along with her. "C'mon, this streets to busy for this."
"Hey, what-" Hiccup protests, struggling. Elsa fixes him with a cold glare, and he lets himself be dragged into a dark alley.
"Okay, so this totally isn't safe. You know anyone could jump us here?"
"I'll take that risk."
"What's up with this anyway?"
"Well… see, I might've messed up a little here and there..." Elsa admits. God, how can she say this carefully?
"I've seen you mess up approximately 1279 times. Did you think I'd be surprised?"
"Well, no. But this time, it's a little worse and more complicated then all those other times."
Hiccup now looks genuinely concerned. "Worse than that time you tried to sell your soul to a random guy in the street for just one piece of gold? 'Cause really, I didn't believe it could get worse than that."
"We don't speak of that incident. We also don't speak of the other 1278 incidents."
"Really? Remember when you-"
"Hic, do you want to hear about mistake 1280 or not?"
Hiccups expression turns serious again. "Of course. Hit me with it."
Elsa sighs. "Don't freak out."
"What makes you think I'll-" Hiccup begins, only for his jaw to drop when he sees ice forming on the wall Elsa is touching. A high pitched squeak escapes his throat, resulting in Elsa putting her hand over his mouth.
It feels too cold.
"I told you to not freak out, didn't I?" She removes her hand, allowing him to breathe again.
"Sorry… but… how?" Hiccup asks, and Elsa can't tell if he sounds scared or intrigued.
She pulls the tiny book out of her pocket again and hands it over to him. Hiccup opens the book, looking at the pages and the hastily scribbled notes inbetween them.
"Is this a book on magic?" He asks. "How'd you get your hands on this?"
"Does it really matter?" Elsa pulls a specific note out of the old book. "I'm translating it. Here are my notes on cryokinesis. Notice anything weird?"
Hiccup stares down at the note. "It's incomplete."
"Yes, exactly. Can you figure it out now?"
He nods. "I'm guessing you tried to get magic powers without fully understanding the consequences of it."
"Correct again. You're good at this, Hic."
"So? What do you think'll happen now?"
Elsa shrugs. "Not really, but I've been feeling downright miserable. It can't be right. I must've messed up something."
"Who says that's not what's supposed to happen? Besides, what can a little ice and snow do?"
"That's the thing." Elsa looks down at the ground. Hiccup follows her gaze and notices that the ground around them has frozen over. "It's still pretty weak now, but it'll get stronger. I can't control it."
"What's your plan now?"
"Don't know. I think I'll hide it as long as possible. But can you do something for me?"
Hiccup nods. "Yeah, of course."
"If this gets out of hand and I become dangerous, I need you to kill me. Promise me you do that."
Hiccup gulps. "Okay. I promise."
The next morning when Merida wakes up, she sees Elsa standing ashore in front of the ship talking to Hiccup. He's brought a bunch of people, and she guesses they will make up the new crew. She decides to go and see for herself.
"This is everyone I could find," Hiccup explains. He starts giving everyone a quick introduction, but Merida has to admit that she's not really paying attention.
"I'm coming too, of course. And I'm guessing your friend with all the red hair also joins us?"
"Hell yes, I'm joining."
Elsa nods, apparently not opposing to that. She can't do that anyway. They have a deal, and Elsa promised to stick with it.
"This should be fine. I'll take them." Elsa says, before walking back to the ship.
Merida does notice Elsa sending a suspicious glare to a tiny, sly looking man. If Elsa does not trust him, she should probably stay away from him. Who knows, maybe she'll freak out again when Merida tries to be a normal, social human being?
Speaking of last night's incident, Elsa still hasn't talked to her and does a good job at avoiding her. Even now, when adressing the whole crew, she stays away from Merida, never even looking at her.
Once they set sail, Merida thinks it's time to solve the problem. Elsa, who apparently made sure she didn't have to do a lot of work by herself, is about to disappear in the captains cabin, but Merida stops her.
"Are you just going to ignore me now?"
Elsa gives her a look that might be a weak attempt at a glare. "If you want an apology, you won't get one. You realize that, right?
Merida sees Elsa reaching for the door, but she's not going to let it happen, she's not going to let Elsa run away. She grabs the other girl's hand and feels Elsa flinch.
Woah, her hands are cold.
"Let go." She sounds a little panicked, but Merida ignores it.
"No, I won't. Not until you stop ignoring me."
Elsa opens the door with her other hand. "Fine, I'll talk to you. About what?"
"Maybe tell me about what we're going to do now? How we're going to find this Hans?"
"Fair enough." Elsa pulls Merida inside and closes the door. She sits down at her desk, looking at Merida expectantly. Merida does not realize what she means at first, but then remembers that she should sit down.
"So, what do you think Hans wants with my mother?"
Elsa leans back in her chair, crossing her arms. "I only knew him for, hm, a week or two, so I can't really predict his actions based on what I've seen. If I have to guess, I'd say he's keeping her as a back-up plan."
"Yes, precisely. Do I have to explain?"
"Please do so."
"When I was captain of the crew Hans was in, I told them about a treasure on an island. I'm guessing Hans plans on going there. However, the succes rates for that plan aren't high, so he kidnapped your mother in case it doesn't work. So he can get money in exchange and isn't left empty-handed."
Merida can see how that would work.
"How come my father and brothers didn't even remember my mother?"
Elsa eyes widen. "I'm sorry, I'm confused."
"When I went to my father to tell him he had to send out a search party, he didn't even blink twice. He just sort of… waved it off. And then he basically denied the existence of my mother."
Elsa looks down at the desk, muttering incoherently.
"Can you say that to me, but louder and in English?" Merida tries.
Elsa looks up at her. "It has to be hypnosis. That's how makes everyone forget. That's how he set ny crew up against me. There is no other explanation."
Merida can't stop herself from laughing. "You believe in magic?"
"What? Do you know what else it could be?
"That island you believe Hans is heading for, where do you think it is?" Merida asks, avoiding having to answer that.
Elsa glares at her, but there is no real malice in it.
"You're avoiding my question, but I'll let it slide. To answer yours, I don't know... its exact location is unknown."
"How can we go to an island without knowing its location?"
"One second." Elsa opens the desk drawer, pulls out a sea chart, and lays it open on the desk so Merida can see it too. "Look, this island over here is..."
She stops speaking. Squints. Opens her mouth, closes it. Squints again.
"If this is... Tor... tuga, yeah, Tortuga, and this is-"
"Can you read?"
"Of course I can read, I'm not stupid."
"Then why do you make reading look like it's the hardest thing in the world? It says Tortuga here very clearly."
"I was trying to avoid this," Elsa mutters, phishing a pair of reading glasses out of her pocket. "If you laugh at me, I swear to God..."
Merida does her best to surpress her laughter, she really does, but to no avail. She didn't expect a badass pirate to need reading glasses and it's just so damn funny, she can't conceal it.
"See? You're laughing. I look fucking horrible."
"No, no, not at all, it looks kind of adorable." Merida blurts out, immediately regretting it. Elsa does look about 100% cuter with the glasses on, but she hadn't been intending to say that. Wait, when did she start thinking of Elsa as cute?
Elsa smiles at her. "Thanks. I'll try to believe you."
Elsa nods, then points at the map with a crayon. "So if Tortuga's here, then this is Jamaica, and then the island is supposed to be somewhere inbetween. It's not on the map."
Merida mentally lets out a sigh of relief, glad that Elsa hasn't said anything about her previous comment. It wasn't a very subtle thing to say…. At least they talk again.
I dunno, glasses suit Elsa in my opinion
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
Elsa tries to figure her new crew out and finds that not everyone is so fond of her. Meanwhile, Merida's main focus is still on figuring out the captain.
Sometimes you just realize that you have no idea what all the names of the stuff on the ship are in English and you basically discover that everything you know about pirate lingo in English is... nothing.
Well then. It'll be fine, I suppose
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Nobody can say Elsa isn't observant. The young pirate notices a lot, taking in all the info, silently learning everything there is to know about her crew.
She knows Hiccup already, of course. He was in the same crew as Anna and her when they were completely new to this whole 'piracy' thing. He's a trusted friend, so she sees no need to be wary or suspicious of him.
The other crew members are a different story.
The guy Hiccup was talking to is the first. He goes by the name 'Jack Frost' in an attempt to hide his real identity, but he really should do a better job at that. She found a letter from someone who must be his sister in his belongings, and it was adressed to a 'Jackson Overland'.
His tendency to use the nickname could make him suspicious, but his behaviour suggests otherwise. He's carefree, kind to pretty much everyone and loves having fun. Even though she wasn't too amused when he claimed she should 'loosen up a bit' and immediately challenged her to a race to the crow's nest, he isn't that annoying and he doesn't raise any alarmbells. As long as he does his job and stays the way he is now, she might even start to consider him a friend.
The second is Tadashi Hamada, the gunman. While he is in control of the weapons on the ship, he definitely strikes her as more of a pacifist type. Instead of being all weapon-crazy and talking about nothing but guns, like she's seen most other gunmen do, he just… well, he does his job, but it looks like he only likes the job because he likes how the weapons function and not because he wants to kill people.
He's also quite gifted when it comes to anything medical. The guy is a living first-aid kit. When Jack fell out of the crow's nest the other day and miraculously didn't die, Tadashi was the first to arrive and offer medical help. She wonders why he never considered a career as a doctor.
Tadashi has a little brother, Hiro, who is the swabbie. He doesn't like his job. In fact, Elsa thinks he despises it. He swabs the ship deck with a bored expression and looks enviously at his brother, whose job he might like a lot better.
He also doesn't seem to fond of her, as opposed to his brother. If it's that he doesn't like the way she runs things or if it's just weird puberty issues, Elsa doesn't know. The other day he was swabbing the deck so furiously he accidentally hit her in the face with his swab. He apologized, but the look in his eyes told her he didn't mean it. At all.
Whatever. The kid is fourteen and literally everyone on the ship can lift him up with only one hand and no difficulty. He can't be a threat, not even if he'd want to be.
Then there's the cook, whose name remains unknown to her. Not even Hiccup knows who she is, while he's the one that got the woman on the ship in the first place. At first glance, Cook is a normal woman with dark skin and exceptional cooking skills, and Elsa thinks she's not much more than that, even when nobody knows who the woman is. So far, no one has died from poisoned food yet, and that makes Cook okay in her book.
That would be the most notable crew members, in Elsa's opinion.
The motives of the tiny man, who goes by 'Wiesel', are getting more clear to her too. He's German, a european like her, and wow, she's lucky she bothered to learn some german when she was younger. She hides that fact from him though, so he won't get suspicious of her when he's muttering to himself in his native language again. He frantically tries to get the rest of the crew to like him, but without a lot of success so far. Hiccup mostly ignores him, Jack almost tricked him into swimming with some sharks and Hiro whacked him in the head with his swab, which only strengthened the suspicions she had about the kid doing that to people he dislikes.
Elsa has seen this behaviour before. Hans acted the same, though he was more charming and actually able to turn her former crew against her. Wiesel wants to lead a mutiny and he should be stopped.
Lastly, there's Merida, who appears to be having a lot of fun and is able to blend in with the rest perfectly, even though she isn't a pirate. Not yet, at least. She wants to help with everything that looks like fun to her and she gets along with everyone, something which Elsa envies just a little.
Merida also tries to get closer to her, a thing that Elsa doesn't particularly like. Sure, she's nice and cute and all (fuck, don't think that), but Elsa can't get too close to people, not right now, at least. This… magic, this curse, can hurt and kill people, she has to get it under control first.
It's not like Merida can't find ways to entertain herself without Elsa around though. Right now, she's swordfighting, furiously trying to defeat the more experienced Hiccup. She's definitely not bad, Elsa has to admit that. She was honestly surprised when she learned Merida could handle weapons ("you can fight but you don't know how a ship works. Seriously?"). With some more practice, she could really do some nasty damage.
Still, Hiccup doesn't have time to play now. Elsa walks up to them. "Hiccup, don't you have work to do?"
Hiccup shakes his head, not looking away from his opponent once. "Nuh-uh, nothing else to do. Everything is fine. Besides, your friend here could use a little practice."
Can she consider Merida a friend? Elsa hopes she can, even if it's not a thing she should want right now.
"Okay, keep on fighting, but if you're needed, you stop immediately. Got it?"
She walks away without waiting for an answer, but stops upon hearing Merida's voice.
"Captain! Fight me!"
Elsa can't help but look at her like she's crazy. Doesn't this girl realize that she is way more experienced? "Do you realize what you're asking?"
"I'm asking you to fight me, obviously. Please? I want to test my skills."
"No, sorry. I really don't want to hurt you."
Merida gasps, obviously exaggerating. "Have a little more faith in me, captain. I'm sure I can handle you."
Elsa knows Merida will not let this go. Refusing isn't an option this time. She'll just have to take the risk.
"Okay, I'll fight you. But don't come crying to me if you do end up getting hurt."
Merida excitedly pumps her fist up in the air while Elsa takes her own sword. "Ready?"
The clashing of swords resounds in the air. Merida is determined to win, giving Elsa a hard time. Elsa does have more experience though, and while Merida's stabs are wild and brash, Elsa can fight with an effective, deadly elegance.
Elsa focuses a lot on her defense, Merida can tell. She keeps stabbing and swinging her sword, but Elsa blocks her every time. It's a clever strategy. Merida feels tired already, which must be what Elsa is hoping for. The Snow Queen will only strike when the time is right.
Elsa flinches, loses her focus. She feels a sharp, stinging pain as Merida's sword leaves a cut in her cheek. It's bleeding.
Merida now gasps for real, staring at Elsa with a concerned face. "Oh my god, sorry! I- I didn't expect that one to hit…"
"It's fine. You couldn't help it." Elsa turns around, looking into the eyes of Wiesel. "He's the one who should apologize."
Wiesel is definitely furious. He's had it up to here with whatever Elsa's done. The look in his eyes reminds Merida of a predator, hungry for power.
"Captain!" He yells again. A few other crew members stop doing their work, instead choosing to watch and see what will happen. "Aren't you too old for games?"
Elsa clutches the sword tighter, while trying to stop the bleeding at the same time. "Mr. Wiesel, last time I checked you weren't in a position where you could tell me what I can and can't do."
"Not right now, but what if I were the captain? Wouldn't that be much better?" He raises his voice, frantically looking at the crew members around him. "Wouldn't it!?"
It's Hans all over again. Only Wiesel isn't going to be able make his mutiny work.
Elsa starts laughing. A lot. She doesn't even now if it's out of amusement or fear.
"What? What's so funny?" Wiesel shouts, looking at no one in particular.
"Seriously?" Elsa stops laughing and looks at the crew members. "Do you think any of these people would choose you as leader?"
No one speaks.
"I'll ask differently: If you want this old fool as your captain, raise your hand."
No one raises a hand. Elsa turns to Wiesel, a triumphant look on her face. "There's your answer."
Merida does not want to admit it, but she's nervous. Is Elsa going to die? Are they all going to die?
Wiesel starts cursing in a language Merida can't understand, the words that must be insults primarily aimed at Elsa. Elsa apparently does know what he's saying, because she says something to him in the same language.
That's when the blood starts flowing. Wiesel's body falls backwards, with his hands clutching the wound on his stomach and a shocked expression on his face. He doesn't move anymore; he's dead, no doubt about it.
"If anyone else gets ideas like him, they can join him," Elsa exclaims, still holding the bloodied sword. "Hiro, can you clean this up?"
Hiro grumbles something in reply and starts cleaning, while Elsa disappears into the captain's cabin after that.
Merida tries to comprehend what just happened, but can't. The other crew members don't seem phased and are going back to their work. She feels she has to talk to Elsa about this, she has to understand this better.
She barges into the cabin without warning. "I don't get it!"
Elsa stops cleaning the blood off her clothes. "Don't get what?"
"First you take me to Corona and tell me you don't want anyone to die, so you obviously care about what happens to others. But then you just sort of go and kill the first annoying person you come across. What the hell is up with that?"
"He would've killed both of us, do you realize that?"
Merida blinks. "Why?"
"Did we just witness the same scene or not? That guy was definitely crazy. He would've killed me so he could be captain himself."
"Then why would he kill me too?"
"Because your useless, that's why." Elsa says this with a straight face.
Merida has to admit that those words hurt a lot when they come from Elsa, and she's not proud of it. She slams her fist down on the desk. "I'm not useless! I can fight, you just saw!"
"I know. You're a good fighter. But tell me, if Wiesel had become captain, would you fight for him?"
Merida calms down a bit. "…No. I wouldn't."
Elsa nods. "Exactly. He would've killed you because you're too stubborn to listen to him. You would never fight for him, and that's why you're useless to him."
Now that that's cleared up, Merida feels brave enough to go back to interrogating Elsa on… more personal things. "And what makes you think I would fight for you?"
"I certainly don't think so. You would never fight for me either."
"You fight mainly for yourself. For your own sake and freedom. Respect for that, by the way. I couldn't tell you to fight for me, even if I tried."
Merida pulls up a chair, sits down and relaxes. Elsa doesn't talk that much, so she seizes the opportunity.
"Who do you fight for then? Somebody special?"
She can almost feel Elsa contemplating what to say. "Anyone who needs me to, I suppose."
Merida fully expected Elsa to lie or end the conversation, but the answer seems sincere. She does look like she doesn't want to keep talking about it, so Merida changes the subject.
"How did you deduce all that stuff so fast? That Wiesel was bad news and such?"
Elsa laughs a little. "Told you I wasn't stupid. I went to school too, you know."
"Yeah, sure. Lemme guess: you got really bad grades, so you decided to run away from your parents to become a pirate and be free. Am I right?"
"Wrong. And right."
Could this woman be any more of an enigma?
"You're gonna have to tell me a little more, Ms. Cypher."
"My grades were the highest, believe me or not."
Merida snorts. She's never heard of a pirate without a fucked up childhood and education. Then again, she doesn't know that many pirates on a personal level. "Then how did you end up here?"
"There was an… attack. My parents had a lot of money, so we were always a target for criminals. They didn't survive. My sister Anna and I did. At that point; I didn’t know what the hell I had been doing all my life. I was always busy being the perfect daughter, and then that suddenly wasn't something I had to do anymore."
Merida can relate. She has to be the perfect daughter too, she knows what it's like. "I get what you mean. I have to be perfect too."
"I figured. You were muttering some stuff about your mother and pirates when we met."
Did she seriously say everything she thought out loud that time? That's embarassing.
"… please just continue with your story."
To her surprise, Elsa continues.
"Then a pirate ship arrived in town, and Anna decided she wanted to join the pirates. I tried to talk her out of it, but I ended up coming along to make sure she wouldn't die. That's why I'm here now."
Merida laughs a little. "Sounds plausible. But I still don't believe the good grades part."
"Oh, come on! When did I ever lie to you?"
Merida has to admit that Elsa hasn't lied to her once so far. She's not going to give the other girl the satisfaction, though. After a lot of digging in her mind, she remembers something.
"When you had that dagger against my throat, I called you a monster and you said I was right. That was a lie, so that makes at least once."
Why does it feel like it's getting cold all of a sudden?
Elsa seems a bit taken aback by her statement, her smile disappearing from her face. "Believe me when I say that it was the truth."
Now it's Merida's turn to look taken aback.
"What the fuck do you mean with that? You're not a monster, serious-"
"Enough! Okay? Don't talk about what you can't understand!"
Merida jumps out of her chair, shivering slightly. "The only thing I can't understand is you. Do you know that?" She walks out of the door and slams it closed behind her, leaving the cabin.
Elsa buries her face in her hands. "I know."
Wiesel is German for 'weasel'. I bet you all figured out who he is
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
Merida told herself she wasn't going to talk to Elsa anymore, but the latter makes that difficult without even intending to.
I like messing with the emotions of my gay fictional children. It's great fun. You guys should try it sometime.
They're back to not talking to each other, just like when the ship set sail. Merida hates it. Elsa avoids her like the plague now, only talking to her when there's absolutely no other way.
Merida is fine with it. Or at least, that's what she tells herself. She isn't going to be the first one to try and engage in conversation again. If Elsa doesn't want her around, she'll give her exactly that what she wishes for.
She uses the time she has for herself to spend more time with the crew. Hiccup proves himself to be a great friend, and Tadashi and Hiro are pretty cool too. Hiccup wasn't kidding when he said he'd find a great crew; Wiesel was the only person to think about mutiny, the rest are loyal and friendly. As friendly as pirates can possibly be, that is.
Elsa is still on the back of Merida's mind, though. No matter how hard she tries, she can't forget about the blonde pirate. She finds herself hoping Elsa will just take the initiative and talk to her again. Which doesn't seem to be happening any time soon, but they're still on this ship together, with that deal they made some time ago, and Elsa can''t avoid her forever. Merida is tired of making amends all the time and swore to herself to stubbornly wait for Elsa to make things right this time.
The only thing that really clears her mind of the Captain, is dinner time. She eats with the crew, laughs with them. Elsa is never there, probably eats alone (it doesn't surprise Merida at all). The food isn't anything to write home about, but it's good enough. Cook does her job and makes edible meals out of food that looks like something her mother would've had the servants throw in the trash weeks ago.
She watches as Hiccup pours her a bowl of hot soup.
"There ya go." He says with a smile.
Merida gratefully accepts the soup. It still surprises her that the food is so different from what she got at home, much simpler. She loves it that way. Learning to eat it wasn't difficult at all.
Not that she wouldn't eat it if she didn't like it. She wouldn't get anything else and she's seen how Cook looks at the people who think the food is disgusting. Hiro claims that Cook can kill grown men with a mere teaspoon, and while she doubts his credibility, she is not going to test it.
So she spends another evening laughing and talking with the crew. Also drinking. Pirates really do have the best rum, and she's happy she's good at handling alcohol. It takes a lot to get her drunk, a skill that comes in handy in this kind of life.
After two bowls of soup and three glasses of rum, Hiccup gently reminds her that it is her turn to help Cook with the dishes, wearing a smug grin; He had to help yesterday, now he watches how Merida suffers.
Doing dishes isn't that horrible. Cook is an excellent conversation partner (Certainly better than a pirate captain she knows).
Merida has decided that she likes Cook. Heck, she likes everyone. Elsa too, even if the woman is a damn idiot.
A sexy idiot, that is.
Fuck. This is exactly what she did not want. She's falling for a pirate, the coldest one, one who might not even like her… at all. She should want to kill pirates, not kiss them, dammit.
As if reading Merida's thoughts, Cook steers their conversation to another subject: Captain Elsa Arens.
"Do me a favour, Merida." Cook points at a bowl of soup on the table with the spoon she's washing. "Bring that to the captain when you're finished, will you?"
Merida nods, putting a now dry glass down. "She hasn't eaten yet?"
Cook focuses on her dishes again. "See, the captain eats only when she tells me to make her something, and it's been two days. Girl's got to eat something, right?"
Two days. Two fucking days. Elsa, what the hell is wrong with you?
Merida contemplates it. Part of her wants to say no, wants to let Elsa take care of this herself. It's a weak attempt to keep her promise to herself. She goes over the list of character traits and other things she has mentally noted, and asks herself: 'Would Elsa overwork herself so much that she forgets about eating?'
The conclusion she reaches is: Yes. Yeah, she goddamn would. She doesn't know if that realization or the fact that she's most definitely going to break her vow to herself frustrates her more.
"Sure, I'll do it. No problemo, Cook!" She throws the towel down to get the soup, but Cook pulls her back.
"No way in hell, young lady. Dishes first!"
Well, it almost worked.
She can't just let Elsa starve, she decides. She cares about the girl more than she probably should, and if she has to move mountains to get Elsa to eat, then that's what she'll do
Don't fall asleep. Don't dare to fucking fall asleep.
Elsa rubs her eyes. She's tired, exhausted, but the guaranteed nightmares are enough to keep her awake. She's good at avoiding, does it all the time. She can't avoid sleeping forever, she'll sleep eventually, but not now. Now is not the time.
Speaking of time, she doesn't even have enough of that to sleep. She has the book, that little book on magic she got when she involuntarily stayed at Motunui. It has to be translated. She needs to figure out everything, to find out what's happening to her, to find out more about the hypnosis she suspects Hans is using. It can't wait. Sleep is less important than the mess that is this book and its content.
The translation has proven to be difficult. With nothing but Chief Moana's notes on the language to aid her in her work and the issue of the Tokelauan language being an absolute mess, the task is time-consuming and incredibly frustrating.
She is rudely awakened from her semi-asleep state by someone swinging the door open. She panics a little when she sees all the red hair. She is so not ready for this confrontation, no matter what it's going to be about.
Merida marches in and sets a bowl of soup down on the desk, almost spilling a little on her carefully translated documents.
"Merida, what are you doing?" She asks, more confused than annoyed, while trying to collect her papers in a calm, non-suspicious way.
The expression on Merida's face is mix of anger and concern. "Cook told me you haven't eaten anything in two days."
Oh. She forgot again. She doesn't know how to explain to Merida that she doesn't need the food, that if she forgot, she probably just wasn't hungry and that she doesn't even have time to eat, she has to get her work done.
Apparently she's taking too long to answer, because Merida feels the need to explain what's happening.
"This is soup. It's something you can eat. And you are going to eat it, that's for sure." Merida pulls the familiar chair up again to sit down, which is strangely comforting.
Elsa is about to just get over with it and eat to get Merida out of here fast, when she remembers she's the captain of the ship. She's not going to be bossed around by a random hot girl, and wait, what was that adjective? Oh god, this isn't happening. The lack of sleep must be getting to her.
"As captain, I refuse your offer." She slowly states, reaching out to grab her quill pen to start writing again.
Merida literally slaps it out of her hand, with just enough carefulness to not injure her. "As someone who cares about the captain's health, I demand you accept my offer."
She cares. Why does Merida still care about her? Elsa can't say she's treated the other girl with a lot of kindness the last few days. And why is she so glad that Merida doesn't hate her after all?
"I'm going to sit here until you eat. I have time, I can do this all night, every night." Merida crosses her arms, still staring at Elsa with that mixed look.
Merida isn't going to let this go, not today. Elsa can feel it. So she yields and tells herself it's because she wants the redhead to leave quickly and that it's definitely not because Merida saying that she cares made her feel a little better.
"Fine, I'll eat. Only because you asked so politely."
Merida's face lights up, not even bothering to comment on Elsa's last sassy remark.
The soup does taste good, especially after two days of nothing at all. Merida keeps watching, making sure she does eat everything.
"Are you happy now?" Elsa shoves the empty bowl off of her paperwork.
"Very." Merida picks up the bowl and gets ready to leave, when she suddenly gets an idea. "By the way, we're gonna do this every night."
"You heard me. I'll eat with you instead of with the crew."
"...Why would you want that?"
"I don't want you to die because of your ridiculous stupidity." Merida opens the door, but Elsa walks up to her and stops her. She needs an answer.
"You know, I don't understand you either! I keep pushing you away, but no matter what I do, you come back. Why are you still trying to get close to me? Why can't you just hate me already?"
Merida closes the door again, realizing the conversation isn't over yet. "Why would I hate you?"
Damn it. She's revealing too much. "…Because I'm a pirate…"
liar. It's because you're a monster.
"Do you want me to hate you?" Merida asks slowly, as if she's trying to solve a challenging puzzle.
"Yeah. Yes. Well, no, not really, no." Elsa doesn't know what she wants anymore.
"Can you explain that?" Elsa sees that Merida tries to be careful with what she says, probably hoping to steer clear of another fight. There's not a high chance of more fighting; Elsa is too tired to try.
"I... I hurt… everyone." She manages to choke out. It's not even a lie; it's part of why Merida should stay away, though it's not the main one. The magic. The magic can hurt her. Elsa can hurt her. "My parents died becauae of me. Anna and Kristoff… I don't even know, but whatever they're going through, it's my fault. Hiccup losing his leg was my fault."
It's the truth, nothing bit the truth, and yet, it's still.a lie.
"Is that why I shouldn't get close to you?"
"It's why you should stay the hell away from me. For your own good."
Merida is radiating conflicted feelings; if Elsa had to guess, she'd say that Merida's thought process is a mix of 'I sort of understand but I think it's ridiculous and I'm not sure if I can handle you and all your goddamn complications'. But of course, that's just a thought.
"Listen… I want to make another deal with you."
Elsa finds herself nodding. This is business. She can talk business.
"You stop shutting me out, or at least try to, and I promise you I won't let you hurt me, while I doubt that's a thing that could happen. Deal?"
Oh, you wouldn't know how badly I'll hurt you. I'll break your heart into a thousand pieces and tear you apart with cursed snow and ice. It'll hurt me more than you can imagine, it'll destroy both of us. It's what I do. It's what monsters do.
Elsa doesn't speak that scarily disturbing thought out loud. She knows she needs to refuse this, needs to make Merida just go away, away from her, so she can't be hurt in any fucked up way. But she knows it won't lead anywhere. Merida is too stubborn and reckless to know what's good for herself and she won't leave Elsa alone, she's proven that. She's not leaving. She has to leave, but she doesn't. Because she cares.
And secretly, Elsa is extremely happy she does.
"Deal." With that one word, she seals both of their fates. There is no way back.
Merida pulls Elsa into a hug. "Awesome! Thanks! Oh, wait…" She quickly releases the pirate, blushing slightly.
Elsa wants to yell at her for touching her and risking getting hurt by cruel ice, but it would reveal everything. She goes with her other option: be nice and say you don't mind. "Oh, uh, doesn't matter. It's fine." Again, only half of a lie. Hugs are nice, she likes hugs.
"Yeah, still a little... embarassing…. I'll just… leave... as in, right now." Merida practically runs put of the cabin, while Elsa watches with a tiny smile tugging at her lips.
The paperwork can wait; maybe it's time to get some sleep.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
Elsa is bad at drinking, but having ice magic just makes it a million times worse
A more light-hearted, not do angsty chapter, I suppose. I don't know if you peeps considered some other chapters angsty, but if you did, this is a nice break.
The following days are, according to Merida, better than the last few. She still helps the crew, but she isn't angry at Elsa anymore and they talk again. There are some things that have been bothering her though, and Hiccup is the one who can fix that.
Hiccup smiles and walks up to her. "What's up?"
Hiccup groans at the reply. "For once, I'd like you to answer the question differently. Let's try again: what's up?"
Hiccup gives up and asks her what she wants.
"How did you lose your leg?"
Hiccup chuckles. "Haven't told that story in a long time."
"Are you okay with me asking?" Merida remembers Elsa's reluctance to talk about certain things, and she wonders if this is a sensitive subject to Hiccup.
"Of course, but it's nothing special. We attacked a ship and I got into a fight with the captain of the ship. Can't remember a name, but people called her 'the Red Death'. Now that I think of it, that nickname would suit you."
"Oh, shut up and continue."
"In that fight, I lost my leg. That's it, end of the story. Nothing special."
Hiccup is definitely sincere, Merida can tell. But where is Elsa in this story?
"What about the Captain? Was she there too?"
Hiccup frowns. "Yes, she was. Are you asking about my leg because she mentioned something about it?"
Merida nods and Hiccup groans again. "What did she- wait, no, don't tell me. She said it was her fault, right?"
"If it comes up again, tell her she shouldn't think about it anymore. It wasn't her fault at all, but she's the only one who doesn't believe that."
"But why does she think it was?"
"I have no idea. She probably believes she could've helped me."
The topic changes after that, and Hiccup has to go back to work.
Merida still enjoys dinner a lot. Eating with the crew was fun, but eating with Elsa is too. It's a different kind of fun, but Elsa seems to enjoy the company, although she is a little wary. Merida's favourite part, aside from the good food, is that she can get to know Elsa better. For example, she never noticed that the pirate was left-handed.
Elsa also enjoys the dinners with Merida more than she probably should, and not only because she actually eats something now. It's been a long time since she let someone get closer to her, and she admits she missed it. It was always a little lonely after Anna disappeared.
"Can you speak in that stereotypical pirate accent?" Merida asks this evening. Elsa speaks normally, but perhaps she knows the accent?
Elsa stares her dead in the eye, putting her glass down. "Aye, 'course, matey. Ye seriously askin'?"
Merida almost spits out her drink from laughing. "Does every pirate just know that? Is it in the code or something?"
"No, it isn't." Elsa slips back into her normal way of talking. "But I met some people with really thick accents. I just spent a lot of time imitating them behind their backs."
"How many other pirate stereotypes apply to you, I wonder?"
Elsa shrugs. "I don't know. Name a few."
"Obsession with gold, money, and treasures, drinking lots of alcohol, no problem with incest," Merida sums up.
"Why are you making this sound like an interrogation?"
"Hush. Answer my questions."
"Alright. I do like money. The only one drinking alcohol in this cabin is you, I have water." Elsa takes another sip of her drink. "As for the last one, why do you think I want to find my sister so badly?"
Merida really does spit out her drink this time.
"Jesus Christ, I'm just kidding. I don't even want to know how you thought I was being serious."
"Haha, that was so funny. I can't stop laughing," Merida replies, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Be sarcastic all you want, I'm fucking hilarious."
"…And your sister."
"I just said I wasn't!"
Merida does laugh this time. Yeah, she's definitely not letting go of this. She gets out of her chair. "I'm gonna get another drink. Do you want too?"
Elsa hands her the glass and Merida disappears to get drinks. She pours two glasses of rum.
Wait. Elsa said she didn't drink alcohol. Merida contemplates whether to throw the alcohol away and get the pirate a glass of water.
Nah. Elsa will have to deal with it. She probably won't even notice, girl looks tired all the time. And perhaps the rum will magically give her a better sense of humour?
This idea has literally no downsides.
Merida enters the cabin and hands Elsa the glass. "There you go."
Elsa looks at the brownish liquid like it's mud. "I said I didn't drink."
"I, uh, I get drunk pretty fast?" If Merida knew about Elsa's magic, she'd realize it's actually because Elsa has no intention of figuring out the effects of alcohol on said magic. However, she doesn't know, and even if it's a cover-up lie, Elsa is not good at handling her liquor.
"After only one glass? I don't believe that."
"It really is that bad, believe it or not."
Merida gives her a teasing look. "Still don't believe you."
Well, maybe one glass won't cause a snowstorm. "Okay. Fine. But you deal with the consequences that will definitely be there."
"What consequences? Nothing will happen."
Elsa just rolls her eyes at that.
The glass gradually becomes empty, the temperature gradually drops and Elsa gradually becomes more…. Talkative? Merida doesn't know if there's a name for 'talking about random stuff without making any sense whatsoever'.
It's hilarious though.
"Do you know about the sea trolls?"
Merida shakes her head, trying extremely hard to not start laughing. "Tell me all about it."
"The sea trolls are the henchmen of Davy Jones."
Merida has heard about Davy Jones, but sea trolls are new for her. It's definitely something Elsa made up in her drunken state. Her pronunciation also gets a bit weird.
"What do the sea trolls do?"
"Well, ye see, the Davy Jones needs to get them to do things for him. That's what the sea trolls do. So if Jones doesn't want to sink the ship himself, he gets the sea trolls to do it for him."
Elsa's intensely serious look does not make it easy to keep a straight face.
"Anything else they do?"
Elsa stares of into the distance. "Well… I suppose Davy Jones keeps them as… official sandwich makers?"
Merida bursts into laughter after that.
"What? I'm being serious here."
Merida wipes a few tears from her eyes. "Sorry, but your 'serious' story is really funny."
"Yeah, sure…" Elsa mutters slowly, struggling to keep her eyes open. She almost falls asleep, but then jerks awake again. It's strange to see.
"Hey, I think you should maybe go to sleep." Merida suggests, already moving over in case she has to help Elsa up.
"…I don't want to sleep…"
Fortunately, Elsa does not resist when Merida pulls her out of the chair and acts as support.
"Nightmares. Too much of 'em."
Merida hadn't heard that one before. "You're a pirate captain, a competent one. I'm sure you can handle a few bad dreams."
Elsa tries to glare at her, but fails horrible. "You don't understand. I can't go to sleep."
"Yes, you can and you are going to."
"What can I do to change your mind?"
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing."
"Oh, wait! I know!" Elsa sing-songs.
Before Merida can reply, she feels Elsa's lips against hers.
Elsa is kissing her. Actually kissing her. Well, she's drunk as hell, so maybe it doesn't count as a real kiss, but Merida is overjoyed either way.
When Elsa pulls away, there's a smirk on her face. "Aw, you're blushing!"
Yes, Merida's face is definitely as red as her hair now.
"You're still going to sleep though."
Elsa protests a little longer, but she eventually gives in. Merida watches as Elsa stumbles to her bed.
When Merida leaves to go to sleep herself, she can only wonder if Elsa will remember this.
Chapter 8: Bonus chapter 1
The Kraken is a mysterious creature
Bonus chapter! I like doing the occasional bonus chapter: this particular one is set between chapters 6 and 7.
I got inspired by a writing prompt. I think it was 'butcher the myth of the Kraken to make it fit in your story', or something along those lines
"You're saying you saw the Kraken once?"
Elsa nods, incoherently muttering something.
"What did you say?"
"Not the Kraken. A Kraken. There are more of them."
Merida blinks a few times in confusion. "What the hell? That's not how the legend goes. You're just trying to fool me now."
"If I find my sister at some point, she can confirm it. We were both there. I'm serious."
"Sure you are."
"Does this face look like the face of a liar?"
Elsa pretends she doesn't hear it.
"How about you just tell me the story and I'll judge if it's true or not." Merida proposes.
So far, Elsa deeply regretted tagging along with Anna. As far as she knew, her sister's impulsive desire to sail the seven seas was suicidal.
The food was bad, the people were bad (did they know what manners were?) and her sister seemed to enjoy every second of it.
The girl ran along with the pirates happily, practically stalking the captain until he gave her another job to do. Elsa, on the other hand, preferred to stay as far away from Captain Pabbie (or whatever his name was) as possible.
But if Anna was happy this way, she'd find a way to deal.
Even though that mentality was a lot harder to stick to now that it was storming like crazy.
The waves played with the ship as if it was nothing but a feather in the wind, with rain falling down and soaking the deck like there was no tomorrow. The Captain told them it might've been better to avoid the deck.
Naturally, Anna completely ignored that advice.
"I'm gonna join the others on the ship deck, Elsa! You comin'?
"Anna, do you really have a death wish? The captain even said we should stay here."
"Correction: he said it was better to stay here. Not that we had to."
"Going up now. Have fun here, sis!"
She left, leaving Elsa no choice but to follow her and make sure she didn't die.
When she made it up to the deck, she was immediately greeted by a splash of water in her face and her smiling sister.
"Elsa, look at this, it's amazing!"
"I wouldn't describe almost dying in a storm as amazing."
"Lighten up!" Anna grabbed her sister's arm and dragged her across the deck, with little difficulty to keep standing. In comparison to Elsa, she really nailed the sea legs thing.
Pirates around them were struggling to keep standing themselves, clutching tightly to whatever part of the ship they could find. Elsa knew she heard the captain yell orders, but Anna, for once, ignored them and kept moving.
"I mean, all these crashing waves and that dark sky… it's like they took it right out of those paintings Dad had in his office-"
"Anna, look out!"
A big wave crashed into the girls, effectively knocking them off of the ship.
"I told you it was a bad idea!" Elsa yelled at Anna, before accidentally swallowing some sea water and almost choking on it.
Anna, much like herself, was trying her hardest to keep herself from drowning. "You might've been right…"
That was all Elsa heard before everything went black.
"Elsa. Elsa. Wake up."
Elsa opened her eyes and saw Anna. Or, a blurry version of Anna.
"I'll wake up when the afterlife stops spinning…"
"We're still alive, sis."
Elsa shot up straight, sending her into a coughing fit. Her clothes were soaked, her hair was wet, but surprisingly, she wasn't dead.
"Okay, so there's someone you really gotta meet-"
"I keep telling myself the day will come where you actually explain things to me.
She was once again dragged away by her sister, but ignored it this time. The place they were in was actually a cave, with dark, stone walls and shining crystals on them. Washing up in a cave sure was possible, but together, and both alive? What were the odds?
They were standing in what Elsa would describe as a giant room. Of course, it was a cave, but it still looked ridiculously like a room, with its smoother walls, its lighter atmosphere and the throne-like rock on which the giant squid was sitting- wait, what?
"Don't tell me we got brought here by the Kraken."
"The Kraken? I am simply a Kraken."
It spoke too. Elsa was sure it was all a dream or other hallucination of some sorts.
"Of course, sorry. I should've known you went by Mr. Grumpy Tentacles."
That earned her a stomp in the side from Anna.
"You are insulting the ancient monster that saved our lives."
"It's all a dream, who cares?"
"My offspring," said Mr. Grumpy Tentacles, "is what you landlubberd call the Kraken, though there is no one of him."
"Hey, I'm no landlubber! I'm a pirate!"
"Anna, you haven't even been a pirate for three weeks."
"If you're real," Elsa began slowly, "then why did you save us from drowning?"
"It wasn't your time to die yet."
Anna turned to her sister. "How do you think it knows that?"
"It's an ancient sea monster. Of course it knows exactly when we're going to die."
"If you want to, sarcastic one, I can tell you your exact date of death."
Elsa put her hands up in defense. "No, thanks, Mr. Kraken. Father-of-Krakens. Kraken overlord."
The Kraken paid no further attention to her and instead turned to her sister.
"Friendly one, it saddens me to tell you that you will face betrayal in your life."
Anna's face fell. "I'm all for free divination, but can't you tell me something more… positive?"
"Very well. You will not break under the betrayal and emerge victoriously. You will face grave danger, but it will never kill you."
Anna turned to her sister, beaming. "I might be immortal."
"Probably not. I think it's just a way of speech."
"I'm going to assume he means I'm immortal."
The Kraken turned to Elsa now.
"Fear will be your enemy."
She blinks a few times and raises an eyebrow. "That's all? You give Anna a clear explanation and you give me a cryptic message?"
"You are simply more difficult to read."
"Awesome. Look, if I want to live until the day fear becomes my enemy, we're going to need a boat to get out of here."
The Kraken lifted up a tentacle, pointing to his left.
"There is a rowing boat waiting for you there."
"We really are going to die at sea."
"Of course not. I'm immortal, remember?"
"Dear God, why did I ever leave the house?"
"You definitely made that up. It's almost as ridiculous as thinking Hans is some wizard with a knack for hypnosis." Merida places her now empty glass of rum back on the table.
"It's a weird story, and it defies every legend, but it's the truth."
"I have no trouble believing that first part, but the last part is what makes me think you're just playing me now."
Elsa shrugs. "Believe it or don't. Your choice."
Merida gets up. "Well, gonna wish you a good night now. Have fun with your imaginary squid."
"Sure. Good night."
As Merida goes back to the ship's deck, she can't help but glance up, half-expecting to see thunder clouds. Elsa's story and the rum have messed with her mind, she assumes.
And yet, it doesn't look like a failure of her mind when she sees the tentacle of a giant squid in the water, moving around as if waving at her.
Chapter 9: Chapter 8
It's mainly just Elsa being confused (as always)
Elsa wakes up to a terrible headache. Damn. Deciding to prove Merida wrong was not a good idea, especially since her nightmares only get worse under the influence of alcohol.
Her memory of everything that happened after drinking is shrouded. She hopes there wasn't anything embarassing. She tries to remember, seeing as it's important to not say anything strange to someone who might just be your crush.
Wait. Something comes up. Something important, something very awkward…
Now, what kind of drunk idiot decides to talk to their crush about non-existent sea trolls?
She half-consciously notices how she unintentionally labeled Merida as her crush and really wants to beat herself up for it.
Smooth, Arens, very smooth.
Maybe she can go back to avoiding Merida? Or jump of the ship and join the sharks in the ocean?
On the other hand, it's just sea trolls. There are much more embarassing things she could've done.
She's almost forgotten about it completely when she goes back to work, the only reminder of the whole incident being the headache. Merida will without doubt tell her everything about whatever happened in great detail, and Elsa accepts that she will probably never live it down. She can live with that, she thinks.
Someone knocks on the door.
"Come in, it's open."
Merida cautiously looks around the corner, looking slightly nervous.
Well, that's unsettling. Elsa remembers the Merida from a few days ago, who didn't even bother with knocking and just ran in with a lot of confidence. She remembets how Merida wasn't even the slightest bit nervous during their sword fight, or when they stole the ship. She didn't even show a lot of nervousness when Elsa literally held a dagger to her throat when they first met.
Merida was never nervous about talking to her, and now she suddenly is? It doesn't make sense. It's odd. And 'odd', in this context, is a synonym for 'bad'. Elsa now tries even harder to recall what happened the night before.
"Are you… okay?" Merida asks. God, her tone of voice is off too. It's as if she suddenly decided that the captain is, indeed, some dangerous creature that should be locked up somewhere for eternity. Elsa wouldn't have minded if she had thought that days ago. But now, that thought just hurts.
Elsa raises an eyebrow. "Yeah, I'm fine? Terrible headache, but that's all."
"Good. Very good. Just wanted to check, bye!" Merida says rapidly, closing the door and leaving.
No way in hell Elsa will let that happen now.
"Hey! Get back in here!" Elsa yells, thinking she probably should've sounded less commanding.
"That… might be the first time you wanted me to come in instead of going out?" The door slowly opens again and Merida saunters in, avoiding eye contact. She's blushing a little.
Elsa is confused, to say the least. Now that Merida's actually in here, focusing on the floor rather than on the pirate in front of her, she's at a loss for words too. What was she going to say again?
"Are you going to ask a question or what?" Merida snaps, sounding a little pissed off.
"I… uh… what?"
The redhaired girl's expression softens up a little. "Didn't intend for that to sound so harsh. What do you want, captain?"
Elsa somehow manages to snap out of her state of muteness, but still doesn't really know what to say.
"I want to… I want to apologize? For whatever I said yesterday, I mean. To be honest, I don't remember. But you look kind of uncomfortable, so…" An apology seemed like the best way to go about it.
"So you don't remember?" Merida looks both delighted and slightly disappointed.
"Aside from something vague about sea trolls, my mind is blank."
"Ah. I see."
"Look, I said I was sorry for…. Whatever it is. Please accept it so this awkwardness is gone. If I said or did something that upset you, I didn't mean it. But I don't even know what happened."
The blush on Merida's face darkens. "Honestly, it might be better if you don't know."
That comment only makes Elsa more curious. "No, it isn't. There's a problem here, I know that much. I want it solved."
"I thought you always ran from your problems?"
"I do, but I can make an exception. Please tell me what I did wrong?"
"Fine, I'll tell you. You sure you can handle it?"
Elsa almost feels offended. "Yeah."
"You kissed me."
Long story short, Elsa can't handle it. She feels her own face heating up too and goes mute again. She guesses the look on her face isn't the most intelligent one.
She guesses right, for Merida starts laughing a lot not soon after she realizes it. "Sorry, but your face is- it's ridiculously funny!"
Merida's laughter is comforting, more normal. Elsa almost forgets anything happened between them at all. However, when Merida calms down again, the awkwardness returns.
"So, I kissed you. That's it?"
Merida nods. "You're also right about the sea trolls." She tries to cover up the smile that appears on her face when mentioning Elsa's imagined sea beasts, bit does a horrible job at it. She shifts to being serious when she sees Elsa's expression. She's come to know that look.
"Hey, don't go blaming yourself again. I shouldn't have given you alcohol in the first place and I was warned about any consequences. We're both at fault here."
"But it was! I should've just poured that goddamn drink in the sea."
Merida gives her a steely look. "Stop blaming yourself for literally everything."
"I still should've refused."
"You are unbelievable."
"Yeah, I know."
Elsa hesitates for a second, before saying: "If there's anything I can do to make up for this, just say it."
"What? You don't have to make up for it. it... was…" Merida's voice trails off into incoherent muttering.
"Can you maybe repeat that, but in coherent English?"
"Nice. It was nice. Okay, I said it, now please stab me to death so I don't have to live with the humiliation of being rejected for the rest of my life?"
Elsa takes a few seconds to register what she just heard. Merida thinks the pirate should maybe see a doctor to check if she doesn't have brain damage, with all the times she seems to simply black out. She watches in horror when a playful smirk appears on the captain's face.
"See, the problem here is, I'm not okay with killing you. I like you. Stabbing you to death doesn't sound like a good solution to the problem to me."
Merida doesn't know how to react. "What do you propose, then?"
"Well, if I don't reject you, you won't force me to kill you. Actually, I wasn't even planning on rejecting you in the first place."
Elsa understands the risk. She's still dangerous. She has magic that she doesn't know how to control. But sometimes, you have to take the risk, or you'll regret it.
Merida gives her a big smile. Elsa knows she's made the right decision. For now.
"By the way," Elsa begins, "there's this thing I heard a while ago. Can't remember who told me, but they said kissing is 100% better when sober-"
She's almost immediately silenced by Merida's lips on hers and smiles into the kiss.
Smooth, Arens, very smooth.