I turned to Elsa, my hand reaching out to her. She was scowling, her lips pulled down in a frown. The gates were closed, but only for the night. It was past dusk; everyone was tired after skating all day.
"Elsa," I said, confused by the darkness on her face and the tears budding in her eyes. "What's wrong?" I was almost sleepy from skating so long. Kristoff and Olaf were off somewhere in the palace, probably exploring.
"Nothing, Anna," Elsa murmured and I bit my lip. We were not doing this. She was not closing herself off from me, not after the past few days. She was going to talk to me.
"Something must be, Elsa," I said firmly and Elsa turned her back on me. I nearly froze when I saw one of her hands go to her face, for her eyes. She was crying. "What's the matter? Is it about Hans? Everything's fine between us, Elsa . . ." I didn't know what to say. We had spent our entire lives apart from each other. I didn't know how to help someone I hardly knew.
The thought made my own eyes water. I hardly knew my sister.
I comforted myself with the pleasing thought that it would change. One day, I would know Elsa. I'd know my sister and she would know me. We were strangers for now, but that was all right.
Elsa sniffled and I hurried to her side, slipping on the melting frost on my shoes. Elsa had removed the ice blades somehow. Her control over ice and frost never ceased to amaze me. I pulled Elsa into a hug and felt icy cold tears drop onto my neck.
"You can tell me." I murmured to her. Elsa nodded stiffly in my arms and swallowed. I took her pause as a chance to ask, "Is it about. . . Mother and Father?"
Elsa shook her head, and I sighed in my mind, relieved. I would have had no idea how to soothe raw feelings about their deaths. Every time I thought of their kind faces, I would lapse into tears.
"A-Anna," Elsa struggled to say my name. I pulled away from her gently and gazed at her with warm blue eyes, trying to let her know she had my undivided attention. Elsa's eyes seemed a lighter shade of her usual blue. Her tears were the color of ice water and she wiped at them, flicking them into the air. They stuck to the wall beside us as little icicles.
How wonderful is that? I cheered in my mind. I swallowed the amazed smile that began to twist the corners of my lips and tried to stay serious.
"What is it?" I asked, ready to pull Elsa in a hug again. For some reason, she looked more upset as she gazed at the icicles. Did her powers upset her now?
"They loved it," Elsa murmured, her light blue eyes going back to mine. She sniffled and her lips twisted into a smile of pain. "They loved the ice and snow."
"Of course they did," I said soothingly. Who wouldn't love Elsa's magic? "They think it is beautiful."
"The Duke didn't." Elsa mumbled and I scowled.
"The Duke wanted to steal from us. It doesn't matter what he thinks." I said, almost reprimanding. I softened my tone. "I think the ice was very beautiful."
"Even when I had no control?" Elsa asked, her eyes on my face.
I nodded fiercely. "Even more so! Your ice is you, Elsa. You're beautiful just like your powers are."
Elsa shook her head, tearful. "I nearly hurt people, Anna. When I was leaving the ball, I nearly hurt everyone there."
"You have more control over it now," I soothed her. I had never seen Elsa so upset.
Elsa shook her head fiercely. "No, I mean," ice began to crawl around her heels, "T-They all hated me before. I had no control over it, and I nearly hurt people, and they all hated me."
"They don't now," I wanted to pull her in a hug and I took a step forward, nearly slipping on the ice that began to maneuver its way to the closed gates.
"But they did before!" Elsa cried and the tears on her face ran down to her cheeks, turning into ice trails. "I-I'm just- They love it now because I can prove myself!" Her light blue eyes were boiling and the ice began to thicken under my feet, making me wobble. "I had to prove myself to them for them to trust me! All those years when they didn't know about my ice," the way she said 'my ice' pleasantly surprised me, "but the second they found out, they called me all sorts of names and-"
"Elsa!" I cried and Elsa froze, her mouth open.
She looked at the hunched over way I was standing and her right hand went to her eyes. She groaned an apology and the ice was suddenly gone under my feet. I watched, amazed, as the ice drifted off of the hardwood floor and into my older sister's hand. The ice became a ball and Elsa clenched it tightly, mumbling under her breath.
"Everyone's okay," I told her and walked in front of her, almost wary. I took the ball of ice from her hands and tossed it onto the floor; I heard it break with a soft pfft. "No one's hurt. I'm not hurt. Olaf's going to be around forever and Hans won't return here again!" I said, grasping both of her hands in mine. Her hands felt cold, almost frostbitten.
I made Elsa look at me by shaking her hands in mine. "Everyone is okay." I said, willing her to believe it.
Elsa swallowed, her pink lips trembling. She shook her head once.
"Everyone thought I was a monster."
I nodded at her words, flinching at the hurt that filled her gaze. She thought I agreed with them.
"Elsa," I breathed and pulled her into a hug. "I didn't like the names they called you. They didn't like you for a while, but none of them hated you. They were afraid. Afraid for themselves and afraid for you."
At Elsa's gasp of confusion, I went on. "They thought we were both normal princesses without any sort of enchantment. So when you leave the ball with ice flying out of your hands, they thought you had been cursed or something. They worried for you, and me, who as far as they knew control fire or something." I chuckled at myself. "They never stopped caring for you, Elsa, and they never hated you either."
"How do you know?" Elsa asked me, her voice steady. My words had calmed her. "How do you know they didn't think I was evil?"
"If they did, then I was the only one who didn't think so." I pulled away from Elsa yet again and stared at her, keeping eye contact.
"Everyone else thought that you were evil." I said, "In regards to the Duke himself and his guards. They thought that you had done it all on purpose. I thought differently."
"Differently?" Elsa sounded confused, her eyebrows pulled down in confusion. "Differently, Anna?"
She is so dense sometimes, I nearly giggled at Elsa's confusion.
Her mood was lifting, and I was smiling at her.
"Yes!" I exclaimed. "Yes, I thought differently!"
I looked into my older sister's pretty blue eyes as I explained myself.
"They saw evil in your powers. I saw beauty and freedom."