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Elsa smiled to the passers by as she covered the short distance from the palace gates to the docks. Not so long ago, her appearance would have sent the crowds into a frenzy of excited whispers, children pointing and their parents staring, and had the port officials lining up to salute her. But now her coming to visit new arrivals to the kingdom was almost routine.

She knew that her chamberlain, following along behind her, would have preferred to see rather more bowing and scraping going on, in deference to his own rank if not hers, but Elsa had made her feelings abundantly clear. She has spent two decades hidden away inside the palace; she would be a stranger to her people no longer.

Instead, he contented himself with briefing her on the minutiae of etiquette and protocol surrounding their latest visitors. "The Municipality of Horai is very distant from Arendelle, a sea voyage of several months around the bottom of the world or a long trek across the inner lands before taking the crossing from Corona, but in the time of your grandparents there were many exchanges of scholars between our two nations--"

"Ah, yes," Elsa said, "I remember reading Dakon the Younger's account of his decade there. Fascinating."

"Of course, your majesty." He knew full well that Elsa had read nearly every book in the palace library as she grew up. "Then you will recall that Horai sets great store on protocol and the correct forms of address. Our visitors will not correct you if you get it wrong, of course -- as a queen regnant they will see you as the ultimate authority -- but they will take it as a snub."

"I can tell you are dying to enlighten me," Elsa said.

He was still explaining the niceties of the social hierarchy of Horai when they reached the ship. It was a clipper from Corona -- clearly this delegation had taken the overland route. Standing on the quay were three smartly dressed dignitaries; Elsa walked along the line, allowing the chamberlain to introduce the ambassador, and then the ambassador to introduce his two underlings.

"You all speak our language very well," Elsa observed to the second of the two after he had introduced himself.

"Thank you, your majesty," the ambassador said. He seemed, however, discomfited by something, and was beginning to try to explain when everything became clear: a fourth figure appeared on the deck of the ship, a young woman dressed similarly to the others but with rather dishevelled hair, as though she had attempted to style it in a hurry and the whole thing had fallen apart again the moment she started to move. "I'm sorry I'm late," she said, scrambling to the gangplank. "So sorry!"

It was as though time slowed down. Elsa watched, horrified, as the young woman's running made the ship rock, so that when she reached the top of the gangplank she slipped, and went flying into the air. Without even realising she was doing it, Elsa thrust out her hands to create a snowdrift for her to land in.

Silence had fallen across the busy dock. Everyone was staring at what had just happened, not least the other members of the Horai delegation. Elsa acknowledged the attention with a brief wave, then extended the same hand to help the young woman up.

"I apologise, your majesty," she said once she had extracted herself from the snowdrift. She let go of Elsa's hand at the same time as giving an overly elaborate curtsey that almost ended with her slipping again.

"Welcome to Arendelle, Miss ...?"

Another curtsey, more perfunctory this time. "I am Aya, your majesty."

"It is good to meet you, Miss Aya. I hope you did not find the manner of your arrival in our kingdom too undignified," Elsa said.

Aya smiled, a genuine unaffected smile. "I think the alternative would have been even more embarrassing," she said. "And, between you and me, I am not exactly inexperienced in the field of embarrassing myself."

"I'm sure that's not true," Elsa said.

The chamberlain coughed, not quite as discreetly as he probably imagined, and Elsa realise that the ambassador had taken on a distinctly displeased mien.

She returned her attention to him, at which he relaxed somewhat. "Thank you most sincerely for helping my assistant," he said stiffly. There was an exchange of glances that she couldn't quite interpret: was Aya in trouble for not having thanked Elsa herself? Or some other breach of etiquette in the way they had spoken? And if so, was it on Aya's side or Elsa's? Or was it more about the fact that Aya had stumbled in the first place?

"It was my pleasure," Elsa said. "Having spent so long concealing my abilities, I find it a privilege to be able to help with them."

"Yes," the ambassador said, "I have heard ... I am sorry, it is hard to know what to find credible and when to apply healthy scepticism. Is it true that you provide skating rinks for your subjects?"

"A highlight of the season," the chamberlain said smoothly.

"I'm sure," the ambassador said, sounding anything but.

* * *

At the formal state dinner to receive the delegation, Elsa was, naturally enough, seated next to the ambassador. His table manners were exquisite, but his small talk left a great deal to be desired. Perhaps he was simply being appropriately reticent, but Elsa found herself straining to catch the strains of the animated conversation the young woman from the docks was having with Kristoff; the ambassador certainly seemed happy enough with the non-committal replies she was making as she gave him only a fraction of her attention.

The delegation would be staying in Arendelle for a fortnight; any later, and the desert crossing they must make on their return journey from Corona would be unbearably hot. Elsa certainly did not relish the idea of having the ambassador's company for the three months it would take before the passage could be attempted again, but she agreed that she was more than happy to allow him and his delegation to explore any part of Arendelle they wished, both outside and within the palace.

* * *

The delegates did indeed roam across the land; two of them seemed to be particularly interested in Arendelle's trading arrangements, Elsa presumed looking for opportunities to sell non-perishable goods that could survive the journey from Horai to a new market that had never heard of them before. The ambassador himself, she found, seemed happiest dealing with the chamberlain, and the pair undertook many visits to Arendelle's nobles and master tradesmen alike.

Aya, however, did spend most of her time in the palace. Sometimes she was found studying the pictures in the portrait gallery -- Elsa had heard Anna giving her rather embellished explanations of several of them -- and sometimes she puzzled over the maps and globes in the map room, seemingly trying to make their portrayal of the world match up with the one she knew. But most often she was in the library, and Elsa established that despite her seeming the least experienced of the four delegates, and certainly one who the ambassador seemed to be displeased by more often than not, she was in fact the one with the best command of Arendelle's written language. She read seemingly at random: one day Elsa would see her looking at mathematical treatises; the next, children's stories; the day after that, the incomplete Official History of Arendelle that her grandfather had commissioned but whose author had only managed to reach halfway into the first dynasty despite decades of research.

But on one day, towards the end of the visit, Elsa entered the library to find Aya doing something very unexpected. As so often, she had paper out on the desk in front of her, but this time it was a single sheet, and she was folding it, making crisp, precise creases in a complex pattern. Elsa held herself back, partly out of a desire not to break the concentration that was written across Aya's face, and partly out of sheer curiosity to see what the end product would be.

Eventually, it became clear: a tiny, exquisite sculpture of a bird, made of nothing but paper.

"Miss Aya," Elsa said.

Aya scrambled to her feet. "Your majesty. I'm sorry, I--"

"You have nothing to apologise for," Elsa said. "It is I who should apologise for startling you."

"I will return to my studies, I did not mean to waste time ..."

"I would never call creating something so beautiful a waste of time," Elsa said.

"Thank you, your majesty," Aya said. "You may ... you may keep it if you want."

"That is very kind of you," Elsa said. "I shall. What type of bird is it, may I ask?"

"I believe in your language, the name is 'crane'," Aya said.

"Ah, of course," Elsa said. "I remember reading about cranes in Spiers' Ornitharium when I was young."

"I have not found that volume yet," Aya said.

"It's over here," Elsa said, leading her over to the right section of the shelves. "Or at least, it should be if it's still where I remember from when I was young."

"You used to--" Aya broke off. "Ah, of course. I have heard that you spent many years in the palace. You must have become very familiar with this place. I am sorry if--"

"It was a difficult time," Elsa said. "But books were always ... Books were an escape. Does that make sense?"

"Very much so, your majesty," Aya said.

* * *

On a whim, Elsa took the crane to her bedroom and placed it on the shelf where she kept a number of significant mementoes from her childhood and the more recent past. There were many official gifts from the Horai delegation stored in the vaults below the palace, but this one more meaningful, more personal, than any of them.

Before Elsa retired to bed that evening, she admired it again: the careful precision of Aya's handiwork, the dexterity with which Elsa had seen her working at making it, belied the way she often seemed slightly clumsy in other ways.

As she slept, she dreamed of a whole flock of paper cranes beating their wings steadily, migrating across a great unfurled map, all the way from Arendelle to the islands of the Municipality of Horai. Behind them, much slower, a trail of footprints appeared on the map, and then the dream shifted: some of the footprints were hers, she was walking across the desert with the delegation, with Aya, but they had tarried too long in Arendelle, left their departure too late, and the desert heat oppressed them. Even Elsa could only manage to cool things a little for them. They had to stop for the night in an encampment ...

Elsa could remember no more of the dream after that, but when she awoke she was drenched in sweat, as though she really had been in the desert. In her sleep-fogged state, she thought for a moment that she saw the crane fluttering and landing back on the shelf, but it must have simply been a gust of wind rattling it.

* * *

It was almost time for the Horai delegation to leave. There would be another grand ball tonight to mark their departure, but this was the final audience at which any official business would be transacted. Elsa had entrusted the ambassador with a long letter addressed to the Council of Prefects, extending her greetings and her wish to see the resumption of the relations that had existed between the two nations in the past, her heartfelt wishes for deeper bonds turned into slightly leaden prose at the insistence of her advisors that she not accidentally cause their other friends and allies to believe that Arendelle no longer favoured them in the way it once had.

"We thank you for being so open with us," the ambassador said as he passed the letter to one of the traders to store carefully.

"Arendelle was closed to the world for too long," Elsa said. "My parents had the best of intentions -- their concern was entirely for my welfare -- but I intend that we shall open the gates wide to all those who come in peace and friendship, whether from near or far."

"Indeed, it is clear that your kingdom has a rich and fascinating history. And much learning, old and new, from which the whole world could benefit."

"You are too kind," Elsa replied smoothly. "I am only sorry that you cannot stay longer, that we can have an even fuller exchange."

To Elsa's surprise, she realised that Aya was smiling. She seemed about to speak, but the ambassador cut across her. "Indeed. We have a proposal that we hope you might look upon favourably, and what have you just so eloquently said gives me even greater optimism that you will."

"Go ahead," Elsa said, genuinely curious about what the ambassador was going to say for perhaps the first time in the whole visit.

"You have been most generous indeed in opening up your archives to my research assistant, Aya. And you must be aware that she has some facility with your language. She has proposed that she remain here, if you would permit it, to undertake a project to translate some of the most important texts into our language, that they might reach a wider audience. When a fresh delegation arrives from Horai next year, she can return with them."

"Not only would I permit it," Elsa said, "I would insist on her allowing me to help her wherever I can."

She tried to catch Aya's eye as she spoke, but she had cast her head down. The way her cheeks were puckered in a smile, though, was unmistakable.

* * *

Aya worked diligently in the library almost every day, carefully making notes and cross-referencing as she painstakingly prepared for her task of translation. She had told Elsa that she was still at the stage of deciding which texts were most valuable, but she often seemed to be writing considerable amounts in the deft strokes of her own language. She had already shown Elsa what her own name would look like, had insisted that she would be duty-bound to include a dedication to her on the very first page of each translation, as the one who had allowed the project in the first place, and made her so welcome.

Elsa often watched from the doorway. She particularly enjoyed it when Aya was taking a break by making more of her paper animals; several more had made their way to Elsa's bedroom, including a frog that flipped and landed back on its feet again when a small flap at the back was pressed downwards.

Aya usually ignored Elsa's presence unless Elsa approached but on this occasion, she called, "Your majesty!" straight away. "I have found a most interesting volume, but there are some things in it I am a little unclear about."

"Of course," Elsa said. "What can I help you with?"

"This word here--" Aya pointed to the runes, and it was only as Elsa read them that she realised which book, exactly, this was. "In context, it seems to be about people, but ... some of the descriptions don't add up."

Elsa stood behind Aya and, keeping one finger flicked through the pages, until she found the illustration: the silhouetted figure standing, arms outstretched over the badly injured King Marten II, healing him. Just as that figure's distant descendant had done for Marten's -- her own sister Anna -- centuries later. "Does that look like it might fit the descriptions?" she asked Aya.

Aya breathed in sharply. "Your kingdom has spirits-of-the-place," she said in awe. "You are blessed indeed." She sounded out the runes. "You call your spirits t-rolls?"

"Well, Princess Anna calls them in-laws," Elsa said.

"I don't understand," Aya said. "The Royal Consort Kristoff--"

"--is not a troll, no. But they did take him in when he was young. You know, they really aren't anywhere near as fierce as that picture makes them look."

"I admit that I am a little relieved to hear that," Aya said with a laugh.

"Would you like to meet them?" Elsa asked. "I'm sure it could be arranged."

"Oh, no, no, I am--" Aya blushed. "They would not be interested in meeting someone as unworthy as me."

"You're not unworthy," Elsa said.

Aya seemed determined to change the subject. "Have you given any thought to seeking out a consort yourself?"

"You are far from the first person to ask me that," Elsa said. "And I shall give you the same answer I gave them: perhaps, in the fullness of time, I will look for love, and perhaps it will come looking for me. But my love for my subjects and my kingdom will never be diminished."

"My apologies if I have bothered you," Aya said quietly. "I shall never speak of such matters to you again."

* * *

In the end, Elsa had to insist that Aya take the occasional day off for rest and relaxation. Although she couldn't be persuaded to visit the trolls, she was amenable to a picnic in the foothills. For a moment, Elsa had felt an urge to take Aya all the way to the North mountain and the ice palace, but thought better of it: too far away, over difficult terrain. And it was most definitely not a place where she normally received visitors.

After they had finished, while Sven was slurping noisily on the leftovers and Anna and Kristoff had gone to take a romantic walk, Olaf lay back on the blanket. He patted the spot beside him, inviting Aya to join him. Nervously at first, she did so.

"So, are you enjoying life in Arendelle?" Olaf asked her.

"Very much," Aya said. "It is very different to home. But in a good way," she added hurriedly. "Different can be good."

"Not going to argue with that," Olaf said. "You don't get much more different than a walking, talking snowman."

Emboldened, Aya put her hand underneath Olaf's cloud, catching a few flakes from his permanent flurry on her hand and watching them melt. She turned to look at Elsa. "This ... this is you?"

Elsa nodded.

"All the time? When you sleep, when you're thinking about the great affairs of state, or ... I don't know, playing a game with Princess Anna--"

"Or in the library with you," Elsa said. "It's ... it's hard to explain. I made Olaf, but he has an independent existence. I didn't even realise that he was alive until Anna brought him to me."

"I'm not offended," Olaf said. In a stage whisper to Aya, he added, "I think you'll find I brought Anna, not the other way around."

"So ... once you create something, it will continue to exist, unless you specifically uncreate it," Aya said. "Powerful magic indeed." Her tone was almost wistful.

* * *

Elsa continued to watch Aya. She began to notice things that she hadn't at first. Sometimes, when she watched Aya reading in the library, the pages of the books seemed to turn themselves. Once, she was walking in the palace grounds and saw Aya release one of her beautiful cranes from the window of her quarters. Perhaps it simply caught an updraft of wind at just the right moment, but it stayed aloft until it became too small to see.

Elsa noticed other things as well. The curve of Aya's chin. The way that her tongue stuck out slightly to one side of her mouth when she was concentrating. How her smile lit up her eyes. The fact that the nape of her neck always looked so inviting when she tied her hair up out of the way while she was working. The way whenever Elsa sat beside her, her cheeks flushed and her breathing became shallower, and Elsa's own breathing seemed to match the rhythm in automatic response.

In the end, it took the combined efforts of Olaf and Anna -- the one earnest and sincere, the other gently teasing -- to make her catch on to what was happening. She decided that she couldn't be blamed for not having realise; she knew plenty of love -- of the love between family, of the love of a monarch for her kingdom -- but there were other types of love she had only observed in others from a distance.

* * *

She went to the library, determined to tell Aya how she felt. But Aya, who normally carried on working when she appeared, looked up the moment she stepped into the library and, waving her over, said, "Elsa, look at this!"

"What have you found?" Elsa asked.

"It's about home," Aya said with a broad smile. "Someone from your kingdom called Dakon the Younger visited there--"

"Yes, I've read it," Elsa said. "Is it ... Do you miss your home?"

"Sometimes," Aya said. "But I think, if I left now, I would miss here even more." Elsa's heart leapt. It was so easy to imagine that by "here", Aya really meant "you". She was about to say something when Aya went on, "Of course, a lot of what's in this book is very ... distorted."

"Oh?" Elsa said.

"I mean, it's from nearly a hundred years ago," Aya said hurriedly. "So doubtless some things have changed anyway. But there are some traditional things that haven't changed in a very long time that Dakon seems to have become ... rather confused about. I mean, I'm sure I couldn't do better about Arendelle, even if I stayed for a decade the way Dakon did in Horai ..."

The idea of Aya staying for ten years was so close to the idea of her staying forever that Elsa managed to lose track of what Aya was saying, and she had to struggle to catch up from the context. She was still talking about cultural misapprehensions.

Elsa could feel the conversation slipping away from her. "If you were to write a book about Arendelle, for people in Horai to read, what would you tell them?"

"I would describe the mountains," Aya said. "The way they're there, that wherever you are, you can see them in the distance. I've never even been to the mountains, Elsa, but I'd have to talk about them to describe Arendelle. And I would describe the people, how hospitable they are, and I'd try to explain it by saying that that's the only way to survive the harsh winters."

"I'd never thought of it like that before," Elsa said, "but you might be right."

"Or I might be indulging in enormous oversimplifications," Aya retorted. "That's the point I'm trying to make. I'd talk about Arendelle being filled with magic, that you have spirits-of-the-place and a queen who is the most powerful ice witch anyone has ever heard of."

"Is that all you think of me?" Elsa asked, downcast.

"Oh, no," Aya said. "But it's what people back home would want to know about. Perhaps ... perhaps I shouldn't talk about this any more."

* * *

Elsa went to her private chambers early that night. Dinner with Anna had gone well enough at first, but when she had asked if she had seen Aya today -- with only the slightest twinkle in her ear as she did so -- Elsa had frozen her cutlery before she'd realised what was happening.

She sat on the edge of her bed, her inner turmoil bringing the temperature of the room down by several degrees. She looked across at her collection of Aya's paper animals. Had she imagined them to mean more than they did? They seemed so flimsy to her in that moment, not strong enough to bear the weight of expectations she had put on them.

There was a knock at the door.

"Go away, Anna," Elsa said reflexively, and instantly felt a stab of guilt at doing so.

"It's not Anna," came the voice from the other side. Aya's voice. "I persuaded Olaf that I had to see you and he got me in."

Elsa rose from the bed and crossed to the door. When she opened it, Aya burst into the room, propelled, Elsa realised after a moment, by an Olaf who was already beating a retreat.

Elsa closed the door again.

"I fear I have upset you," Aya said.

"I have no reason to be upset," Elsa said.

"Oh, but you do," Aya said. "There are things I haven't told you. I fear you will be even more upset when I do."

"It's all right," Elsa said quietly. "I already know."

"You know?" Aya said.

"About your powers. It took me longer than it should have done, but ... a lot of things seemed to have taken me too long to work out. But now that I think about it, it all fits: the way you didn't want to meet the trolls ..."

"Ah, yes," Aya said. "They would have known straight away, if they are even a sixth as powerful as you say."

"I don't mind," Elsa said. "In fact, I think it's rather wonderful."

"You're too kind. But I'm afraid ... the magic isn't all I have to tell you."

Elsa felt an all-too-familiar sensation: fear gripping her heart, fear that she could never -- should never -- get too close to anyone. A fear she thought no longer controlled her. "What do you mean?"

"Can we ... sit down?"

Elsa went back to the bed, and gestured to Aya to sit next to her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, the intimacy of the situation registered, but it felt ... distorted. Attenuated.

"Why do you think I'm here, in Arendelle?" Aya asked after a long moment of silence.

"You asked to stay when the delegation left," Elsa said. "And I said yes. If I can be blunt, it seemed as though it was a better situation for everyone: you don't seem to really fit in back in Horai, from what I could tell."

"Yes, that's why I was chosen. Stories of the shocking informality of the new regime in Arendelle spread nearly as fast as ... well, you know, the story. Of what happened at your coronation. I'm sure some people were glad to see the back of me, but they also thought I would fit in well here."

"Chosen," Elsa repeated numbly. "They. Who are 'they'?"

"I may not fit in very well in Horai," Aya said, "but I am a loyal citizen. A loyal witch of the realm."

"I still don't think I understand," Elsa said, even though she had the terrible feeling that she was beginning to.

"The Prefects and the Guildmasters have long concerned themselves with the existence of ... unique individuals. Anyone in Horai who shows even the slightest sign of supernatural ability becomes a ward of the state, trained in how to control their powers. And how to use them in service of Horai."

"I wonder," Elsa said slowly. "I wonder how things would have worked out differently for me if I had had such an upbringing."

Aya nodded. "My employers do feel responsible for those outside our borders, as well as those within. What in other parts of the world are little more than legends are recorded history to us, and some of those histories are warnings, dire warnings of the abuses of unchecked power." Aya swallowed. "Earlier today, when we began to speak of how I would portray you to the people of Horai ... What had begun as an idle flight of fancy -- as though anyone would read a book I wrote -- became too close to the truth."

Elsa was stunned. "You've been ... You were sent here to monitor me?"

"Every week, I write a short report for the High Guildmaster of Sorcery. I fold it into a crane and enchant it, and it flies across the ocean, all the way to Corona."

"Horai has other ... what should we call them, 'agents', there?"

Aya nodded. "There's a small permanent embassy. The situation there is considered stable, but worth continuous monitoring. It's our westernmost permanent diplomatic presence. They send on my reports via the trading routes."

"And what exactly have you written in these reports? That I'm 'the most powerful ice witch anyone has ever heard of'?"

Aya buried her head in her hands and began to sob. "No," she said. "They already know that." She looked up, and though the tracks of tears streaked down her face her eyes were dry again. "I only write the truth. That you are a good queen. That I have seen you rule with justice and compassion in perfect balance. That you have a good heart, and wish ill to none. That you use your powers for the good of all in your realm, from the lowest to the highest. That you have mastered your powers, mighty as they are; that they do not master you. That you are not a threat, to your own people or those of any other nation."

"What you just said: that I'm in control of my powers," Elsa said. "I'm not sure that's how I feel at this precise moment in time."

"Then I should leave," Aya said. "I would not wish to be the cause--"

"No," Elsa said. "I would not have you leave." She took Aya's hand in hers. "If you have told me the truth, now, the full truth--" Aya nodded earnestly. "If your reports home reflect your true feelings about me, then you have nothing to apologise for. If I have understood you correctly, your superiors would have sent someone here."

"But I wish it had not been me," Aya said. "That I had not betrayed you."

"No," Elsa said. "I would never wish that we had not met."

Aya looked up, the faintest glimmer of hope in her eyes. "Elsa ..." she said softly, then coughed. "I mean, your majesty."

"'Elsa', please."

"After you have shown such trust in me," Aya said, "I do not want to break a promise."

With everything that had just happened, Elsa ought to have been concerned but there was a shy, sly playfulness to Aya's tone that reassured her somehow. "And what promise is that?"

"I told you that I would never again ask you about whether you were seeking a consort," Aya said.

Elsa pulled gently on the hand in her hands, and Aya took the hint to draw closer. Elsa kissed her, slowly, in a long frozen moment that she knew she would remember for the rest of her life. "Does that answer your question?" she asked when their lips finally parted.

Aya's eyes were glistening again, but they were tears of joy. "Yes, oh yes, it does," she said. And then, she pulled Elsa towards her, hard enough that Elsa overbalanced and landed on top of her.

Elsa said, "Sorry, I didn't mean to--"

Aya's only response was, "Don't be sorry. Don't ever be sorry."

Elsa kissed Aya's tears away, then began to kiss her neck, tangling her fingers in her hair. She was acting on instincts she barely knew she had, doing the sort of things to Aya that she had always imagined would feel nice if somebody were to do them to her. She was overtaken by a wild desperation, and met by an equal one in Aya. It was only as she started to pull at the fabric of Aya's dress that she caught herself. "Am I ...? Is this too much, too soon? I've never--"

"Nor have I," Aya said. "But don't stop." And she put her hand on Elsa's, helping her to pull the dress away from her breast. Elsa bent down again, kissing the soft skin through her underwear, Aya's moans in response encouraging her to keep tugging at the material.

Aya wriggled out from underneath Elsa and stood up for a moment. "Sorry," she said, "just a moment." She undid the fastenings at the back of her dress and pushed it down to the floor, then hurriedly removed her underwear so that she was completely naked. She slid back into the bed, Elsa propping herself up on her hands to allow her back into position.

"I feel overdressed," Elsa said.

Aya made a small noise of objection as Elsa began to remove her own dress. "I think ... I think I like it like this," she said.

"All right," Elsa said. "But still ..." She concentrated for a moment, and flung out one hand. Her train disappeared and her dress shortened into a nightgown.

Aya was startled. "I didn't know you could do that," she said. "I wonder what else I don't know."

Elsa bent down to kiss her again. This time, she slid across to suck on Aya's earlobe, before making a line of kisses down her neck, over her breast and down her torso. Aya gasped as Elsa repositioned herself on the bed to put her mouth at the level of Aya's hips.

Elsa paused for a moment, taking in the heady scent of Aya's arousal. When she began kissing her again, she went slowly, darting closer and closer to Aya's mound without ever quite reaching it. When, finally, exquisitely she tasted her, Aya's hips bucked upwards involuntarily. Without knowing that she was about to do it, Elsa slid a finger into Aya's wetness. "Elsa!" Aya cried out. "Please ..." Elsa licked and kissed desperately at Aya's bud, while sliding her finger back and forth. She was overwhelmed by sensation, her own desperate arousal seemingly intertwined with Aya's.

But now Aya was reaching new heights of excitement, and Elsa focused on maintaining exactly what she was doing, feverishly trying to make sure that her fingers and tongue stayed synchronised with one another. Her efforts were rewarded when she felt her fingers suddenly squeezed and tasted a gush of sweetness. But still she continued, until Aya said, "Stop, Elsa, please. It's too much."

She slid back up the bed, removing her finger but leaving her hand lying gently across Aya's mound.

"That was incredible," Elsa said.

"I think that's what I'm supposed to say," Aya said. "Elsa ..."

"Don't say anything," Elsa said. She kissed her again, long and slow as she had at first. Finally, she leaned away slightly. "We can ... we don't need to say anything right now. We can work out what all of this means in the morning. What changes and what doesn't."

"Very well," Aya said. "Let's do that." She gave a wicked smile. "But all I was going to say was 'I think it's your turn next'."