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Queen Karla of Glacia glacial_queen
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Karla and Elsa's Room, Arms Hotel, Saturday Afternoon
There wasn't a whole lot of time left before Karla and Elsa had to make their way to the Magic Box to prepare for the evening's entertainment. As much as they both hated the job, it was keeping them off the streets and with a roof over their heads. If there was one thing that Karla had learned since coming to this miserable country, having a place to hang your hat and enough food to fill your belly was a luxury few people here could afford. Wanting anything more than that, like freedom and dignity, that was only a pipe-dream.

Darkness, though, she missed home. Missed Arendelle's clean air and beautiful skyline. Missed the mountains and the snow and the fjord. Missed her parents. Missed belonging. Missed her true identity.

But it was safer not to say any of those things, safer not even to think them. Because there were worse positions to be in than singers in a glorified brothel. People more dangerous than the gimlet-eyed bastard that held their lives in his hands. And Karla didn't think for one minute that Angelface would become a knight in shining armor if he discovered who she and Elsa really were. If anything, he'd work all the harder to turn it to his advantage somehow.

Still, this was not the time to think of these things. Not when she had other, deeper concerns weighing on her. Tomorrow was Elsa's sixteenth birthday. And unlike back home, where this occasion would be celebrated with festivals and flowers and joy if their parents had been alive, Karla could only offer Elsa a small present and sheer dread.

Sixteen. Old enough to join the legions of 'working girls' if that's what Angelface decided for her. If he did, what was Karla supposed to do then?

Other than watch him burn, of course.

[Open for anyone who has reason to be in their room, or wants to wander in by accident]

iceolatedqueen

2014-07-13 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Elsa had never really been all that talkative. At least, not since childhood, before their parents had died and she'd learned fast that quiet and invisible was always, always the safest option. But today, she seemed to be pushing that usual quiet to an extreme.

Very occasionally, she would look up at her sister, open her mouth as though she was about to say something, and then think better of it, looking down again at the little case of pins that she was supposed to be putting her hair up with for their number tonight.

She was trying to remember a time when she didn't feel so cold. And with every day that went by, she found it harder and harder to do so.

glacial_queen

2014-07-13 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)

"Hey, Elsa," Karla said gently, kneeling down in front of her sister. "Let me help you with that, all right? It's almost your birthday. A day without you scraping your scalp with pins is a good way to celebrate, huh?"

iceolatedqueen

2014-07-13 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)

"That's what I hear," Elsa murmured softly, holding the pins out for Karla and barely meeting her eyes. "We're doing the sister act tonight, aren't we?"

She was speaking with so much grace, so much poise, but her eyes were pleading, begging her sister not to leave her alone tonight. She wasn't sixteen yet, no, but midnight was only a few hours away as well, and they'd both met Angelface.

glacial_queen

2014-07-13 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)

"I--I'm not sure," Karla admitted, though it broke her heart to say. She wrapped Elsa in a tight hug, trying to wish warmth her way. She was cold, so cold and it hurt Karla to see her that way. But how else was she supposed to survive.

"Even if we don't, though, I'll be close by. I'm going to do my best not to leave you alone tonight."

They both knew her best wasn't particularly great. But she'd try.

iceolatedqueen

2014-07-13 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Her best had kept them both alive this long, at least. It had kept them fed and more often than not there had been a roof over their heads. Elsa hesitated for a moment before lifting her arms to return Karla's hug, even if her heart wasn't entirely in it.

"Thank you," she murmured. She'd known that, sooner or later, there would be a time when Karla couldn't keep her safe anymore. They could only burn down so many buildings before karma would catch up with them again. "We'll put on our best show yet, tonight. We'll sing encores until the Magic Box closes, and maybe the money they throw will get us a nice breakfast before we come back to rest..."

It was almost her birthday. She could be delusional if she wanted to, too.

glacial_queen

2014-07-13 01:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Damn right she could. In fact...

"Breakfast sounds lovely," Karla said, trying to smile. "But you know what would be even better?"

She got up and went to her bed, rooting around under her mattress. No, not the silk scarf that contained their only mementos from home, but the small package, covered in thin paper. Aha! There it was.

"I was going to give you this tomorrow, but I think maybe tonight will be better," she said, offering the gift to her sister. "Here, darling. Happy birthday, if a bit early."

iceolatedqueen

2014-07-13 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Elsa accepted the gift with only slight trepidation. For all the time that they'd been on the run together, Karla had never once missed her birthday. Elsa had told her that she'd understand if money was too scarce right now for anything special, but she really should have known... Karla was always too stubborn to admit defeat by little things like circumstance.

"Oh, Karla," she murmured, staring down at the pair of gloves sitting neatly in the unfolded paper in her lap. "They're beautiful..."

She wasn't fighting back tears, whatever gave you that idea?

glacial_queen

2014-07-13 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Holidays were important, dammit. They were a reminder that things hadn't always been this way. That maybe things wouldn't always be this way. Gifts for Elsa were one more link in the chain Karla was trying to forge to keep her connected to the rest of the world.

"I know your old ones have gotten holes in them," Karla said, genuinely beaming now. "So I thought these would make a fine replacement. You only turn sixteen once."

Which was her excuse for getting Elsa a present every year, really.

iceolatedqueen

2014-07-13 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)

"And I only turned fifteen last year, when you got me the clip for my hair," Elsa replied, smiling, even if she was sniffling in a way that was terribly unbecoming for a princess. "The one with the snowflakes painted on."

Which she adored and still wore regularly. Except on the stage. Things like this were always things she wanted to keep as far away from that life as possible.

"You're too good to me, you know. You always have been. Sometimes I wonder what in the world I've done to deserve a sister like you."

glacial_queen

2014-07-13 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)

"You were born and that's enough," Karla said, in utter seriousness. "Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't had you to hold on to."

She tugged Elsa's hands and had her sit down on the bed so she could brush out her hair before their performance. It was soothing and comforting, not that Karla was sure which of them needed the soothing more.

"I won't let anything happen to you," she said softly.

iceolatedqueen

2014-07-13 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)

"I know," Elsa replied, head down, eyes closed, pretending that everything was fine. Karla was here, she had her sister. Of course everything was fine. How could it be anything but? "You haven't let anything happen yet."

Her sister was her hero in so, so many ways.

glacial_queen

2014-07-13 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)

And her little sister was her reason to keep going, to keep pushing and trying and not just giving up in despair.

"Could be worse," she teased. "We could be back at that fancy dinner where we had to stewed reindeer's eyeballs, remember?"

Elsa had been young for that dinner, young enough to be delighted when her big sister had scooped a few out of her bowl and pretended to juggle them.

They'd both been old enough to be grounded after that, though.

iceolatedqueen

2014-07-13 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)

At least that got the faintest hint of a smile out of Elsa. There were just some things that couldn't cancel out exactly how absurd everything about that situation had been.

"To this day, I'm still impressed at the height you managed to get those things to reach," she admitted. "I never would have thought they'd be so aerodynamic."

glacial_queen

2014-07-13 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)

"The Ambassador from the Southern Isles remained less than impressed," Karla pointed out, lips twitching.

iceolatedqueen

2014-07-13 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Well, I never did like him all that much," Elsa noted, smiling a little more. "and the look on his face when the first one bounced off of his forehead..."

Priceless.