THIS... IS... THE TOURNAMENT!


Hans was in shackles as he went down the streets of his kingdom. People stared, horrified. He didn't look at any of them, just glared at the castle where he was being taken.

The guards sent the letter to the castle first, explaining what had happened. Of course, Hans eavesdropped through the door. The fanfare of the returning guards began. Then the captain addressed all of his brothers.

"King Florian, your majesty."

"Prince Henry, Prince Phillip, Prince Adam, Prince Allan (Aladdin), Prince Eric, Prince John, Prince Harold (Herc), Prince Samuel (Shang), Prince Taran, Prince Nathaniel(Naveen), and Prince Alexander. Your majesties. I am regrettably here to inform you of your brother Hans's misdeeds in his visit to Arendelle. I'm sure you have heard the rumors of the Snow Queen-Queen Elsa, to be exact. She brought back summer after her sister saved her life from Hans." A short pause. A few sharp intakes of breath.

"Hans wished to woo and marry naïve Princess Anna and then murder the Queen to take her throne. Through cunning and deceit, he nearly took the throne on his own, leaving Princess Anna to die. We have him in shackles outside." Footsteps. Hans backed away sullenly so no one would know.

"Each of your brothers has decided to address you individually. Their wives will call them back as soon as they've each had efficient time. King Florian wishes to go first."


Can I say something crazy?

I hate crazy.


His imposing oldest brother shook his head.

"What were you thinking, Hans? Killing a queen for power? Did you even realize what we had been hoping back home?"

Hans didn't answer.

"Hans, I knew there would be bitterness about having twelve older brothers," his voice was quiet, even. No anger boiled behind it.

"And I was planning to share the throne with all of you. Every year, a brother would have his chance to rule. The others would be their advisors. Unless, of course, they came to power in another kingdom. Then they would be our ambassador and it would be as simple as that. You would have been our ambassador to Arendelle, I had hoped. Now you will never have the throne. I see now what you think when you have power. My friend works in the nearby mines. He wouldn't mind another apprentice to run his paperwork. As each of our brothers takes the throne, they will choose whatever they want you to do. But whatever it is, it will be close to the palace so you can see what you are missing. You will never enter the walls of the palace again. You will be simply Hans. No more title. No more power."

The raven-haired queen called from a nearby door and Florian's smile appeared. Ignoring Hans, still on his knees on the floor, he followed her out.

"Henry, it's your turn." And Hans was alone in the throne room, weighted cuffs hindering him from moving very quickly at all. The door slammed.


All my life has been a series of doors in my face

And suddenly I bump into you


Henry marched in with a pompous air about him. He walked around his brother, inspecting him like an animal up for sale.

"Say something, then. Out with it," Hans snapped. Henry shook his head.

"Hans, I can't even begin to imagine what you believed or felt regarding this event. Lucky that princess Anna lived to save her sister, or you would be a murderer. You're not good enough to get that much of a gruesome title. You'll be working with the farmers under my rule. I think you'll enjoy working with the animals and plants. My wife was a maid to an avid gardener, you know. She taught me some of it. Hopefully you'll learn to appreciate life a little more." As an after thought, Henry kicked at his youngest brother's arm.

"Ow!" The elder prince rolled his eyes.

"Oops. Sit up, kid. Adam's next, and you know how he is." Hans paled. Adam had a major temper. Only his wife could calm him down. Hans was so dead.

"Henry," a bird-like voice said dreamily. Ella, the maid-turned-princess. Henry walked out briskly.


I've been searching my whole life to find my own place


Adam was towering over Hans. The younger did not meet the older's eyes, terrified. Adam was a handsome man, but his mysterious scars usually put people off. Even his brothers were unsure when he'd gotten them or where. Florian and Henry refused to tell. But everyone had the feeling that whoever-or whatever- had caused them was worse off.

Adam tugged at Hans's now ragged collar.

"What possessed you? What in the world was worth what you did?" Now Hans had no choice but to stare into Adam's eyes. There was a dark emotion burning behind them that Hans had never witnessed before.

"Answer me," the elder brother whispered.

"I-" and he was shoved to the ground. "It was my only chance to ever be king. I've been trying to find my own kingdom to rule for years. All of us younger brothers have. You know that." It was a pathetic answer. Rather than quelling the fire, it seemed to fan the flames.

"What's a king worth anyway? Not every one had splendor and joy in his life."

"Name one, name a royal," Hans challenged.

"Me." that shut the traitor up.

"You know? You could learn from the past . . . from others' ideas . . . you'll work in the town's library and book shop. See what being king has done to other men like you."

"Adam, what-" but Hans froze as the eyes turned on him again. And he choked on his sentence, which would have been foolish anyway-why are your eyes burning at me? It was unexplainable.

But suddenly Hans knew.

It was hatred. Adam shoved Hans once more-hard enough that he hit his head on the floor. It wouldn't do permanent damage, but still...

It was hard to swallow that your own brother hated you.

"Adam, he's had enough. Watch your temper." Adam softened and turned away to her, not looking back.


And maybe it's the headache talking, or the fact that I'm through


Allan didn't seem to take notice of Hans nursing the forming bump. Allan had always seemed easygoing. Hans had rather liked this one of his brothers. He was the one who went to visit the commoners in ragged clothes, meeting them as if they were not his subjects. Allan also traveled a lot to exotic kingdoms far away. He was an adventurer who always came back with a thousand stories for the little ones.

But the smile was not on his face as he stood over Hans.

"Clearly you don't do too well with power, brother. I'll never understand why you did it. You don't have to be king to be happy. Maybe being completely on your own for a year will teach you that. No job. Figure out survival for yourself in the city. Of course, you are still my brother. When we get to that point, I'll grant you three things within reason to keep you from starving in the streets. I can't trust you not to steal from the people."

"Me, a common thief?" He should not have sounded so outraged.

"You, a common murderer?" Allan scoffed. "You need to be an example to your people. Since that doesn't work, they'll be an example to you."

His exotic wife from one of the kingdoms he'd visited climbed in through the window.

"Come on, Allan," she smiled. They climbed out and into the streets.


But with you I'm in my place, I see your face


Eric was his tall, lanky brother who had sailed more than he'd stood on solid ground all his life. He stayed an ambassador to nearby kingdoms just to keep on the water. He was strong from the hard work of a sailor, and rough. Normally he was easygoing like Allan. Not so.

"I can't see how my own brother could do something like that... murder is wrong, no matter your reasons. How would you have slept each night?" It was hopeless to try to reconcile with Eric.

"On a bed in the king's room," Hans said under his breath.

"Then you know what? You get to work at the fisherman wharf. Hauling the catch of the day."

"What?"

"Appreciate where things you get come from, Hans. Hard work." They all wanted to teach him something. It really was aggravating.

"Eric, may I speak to him?" his wife's voice rang.

"Yes, dear." The princess examined Hans. She looked like she was about to speak. Then she shook her head, and they left him.


And it's nothing like I've ever known before

And I'm behind locked doors


John was one of the brothers that had pretended Hans was invisible, supposedly all in good fun. He was often an ambassador to other countries, so he and Hans had hardly ever spoken.

John shook his head.

"I don't understand. What kind of power is worth that?"

"Being a king, finally, knowing it was your birthright but knowing you'd never get it until you were old and grey." John shook his head.

"I married a princess from another country-most of us did. I even stopped a war between our people and hers to save her people. You nearly started one that could have gotten us all killed. Hopefully Alex will work things out with Arendelle. And you'll figure out how to foster peace with other lands. Have fun working in my old ship with the colonists. The guards will keep a special eye on you."

Hans could not pronounce the name of John's wife, or understand her language, but she smiled and beckoned to John.


All alone with you

I'm behind locked doors


Harold's big eyes looked carefully at Hans.

"I thought we all were better than that. I guess not." He was ashamed now, Harold looking at him like that. Harold was a big, lovable guy, if a bit naïve. But now he just frowned down at Hans.

"Well, stand up." The chains were heavy on Hans's wrists. He couldn't. Harold picked him up to stand. The strongest of the brothers, with the weakest will. Hans had always been jealous.

"What did you expect from us, coming home?" Harold asked. "Did you think we'd just have you on house arrest? Live a cushy life in the palace, with a few extra privileges cut off? No. But I'll give you a deal. Show me your strength, Hans. If you can stand on your own with these chains, during my year you can be a butler in the palace or something like that. I'll keep you disguised so the others don't get mad. If you can't stand, you work in the horse stables." He let go, and despite all Hans' effort, he fell.

"Figures." Harold's saucy wife-Hans never understood the connection the two had-sauntered in.

"Hey, wonder boy. Give me a sec." She proceeded towards Hans, slapped him, and they both left. That stung.


I mean it's crazy


Phillip seemed only disappointed, not angry.

"You would have had what you asked for, you know. Eventually. You didn't even need to do anything yourself. The queen there was too powerful. Weaselton probably would have taken up the violence himself. If you'd only actually fallen in love with the girl..."

"One can't force love," Hans snorted.

"True. But it can grow over time. It can happen." Phillip wandered towards Hans in a casual way.

"My marriage was arranged, you know. But we love each other after all these years. There was no need to reduce yourself to this. You could have just married the girl and waited. Hm. . . you'll be a page to my hunters. It must be easier than whatever the others have in store for you."

"Phillip, my love," said the dreamy princess, practically dancing out of the room with him. Hans could have laughed. That had been exactly what Anna had been looking for, hadn't it? But now she was being married to an ice cutter. Not her dream prince.


We finish each other's sentences


Samuel glared deeply. He was nearly as frightening as Adam, except he kept his anger controlled.

"Have you ever been to war, Hans?" he began.

"No..."

"It's filled with fire and death and pain. Our country has never been the battleground, and I've been trying to keep it that way. Unless Alex fixes your mess, that's what we'll have. I've battled a few times to protect smaller countries and such. I've seen men that I had been good friends with suffer, begging to die. You will feel the pain of war, watching our cities burn because of you. You will be a-"

"-soldier. But if Alexander succeeds?" Samuel smirked.

"You will go to our training camps. Which some say is far more grueling than battle."

"Only if you're the general in charge," smiled his wife, in full battle armor from her country.

"Is that so?" he smiled and they left.


I've never met someone who thinks so much like me


Nathaniel sighed, "You know, I hate this, Hans. You, Taran, Alex, and I-we were the ones who would party all the time, cursing the fact that we had to be the youngest. I only just recently found out about Florian's plan. It still hurts to share, I guess, when Florian could rule his whole life and we may never get it."

"What? No life lesson?" Hans raised a brow.

"I'm getting there, I'm getting there. You have to look past the surface. There's more to life than money and power and kings. My fiancé is a cook to everyone in the palace, but she's still my princess. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you find someone you love you can be happy, rich or poor. I may ask Florian if I can just be taken off the list of kings. I'm not suited for it. As it seems, neither are you. I'm too irresponsible. I understand that now. So I'll live in the palace, be a musician, get married to my favorite girl, and that will make me happy. Rich or poor. King or pauper."

"Where does that leave me, then?" Nathaniel scratched his head.

"That's the question, isn't it? I don't know. Hm . . . since I know you'd try to poison us all, cooking is out . . . eh. You know, I'll give you this-be a delivery man for my year. See the kingdom. Take it easy. See how happy the people are, even though they all aren't kings."

"Honey," the castle cook came in, still covered in flour from the kitchen. Nathaniel kissed her anyway and they left, arm in arm.


Our mental synchronization

can have but one explanation


Taran and he had been so close. He looked at Hans with pity now.

"You almost had it. All that glory, being a hero... except she ended up not being some kind of witch." Hans sighed.

"I know . . ."

"But why'd you leave the girl to die?"

"It was the only way I could prove that Elsa was a monster to the people."

"So... you knew she wasn't? That's . . . cruel. There's nothing heroic about that!"

"I wasn't trying to be a hero, I was trying to be king."

"But there's no honor with that . . . you know what, there's more honor in working with pigs than that..." Taran said thoughtfully. "I went on an adventure after keeping some pigs, you know. A lot of stuff happened while you were gone, and . . . yeah. There's more honor in being a pig farmer than being a murdering king. So you'll work with pigs."

A girl he'd never seen before came clambering in.

"Taran, this is him?"

"Yes, Eilonwy. Let's go." They held hands and left, and Hans heard her giggling. Taran called over his shoulder.

"I should probably warn you... Alex ..." But Eilonwy shushed him and Hans was left wondering.


Say goodbye to the pain of the past

We don't have to feel it anymore


Alexander was his adopted brother. He couldn't wonder more why his parents adopted a kid from the street, then had another child, but it had happened. Alex had been much like Taran, if quieter and less connected to the rest of the family. He wanted to be a hero. He was bright, energetic, and full of dreams. Both he and Taran had been younger emotionally than Hans-or so he thought, at least.

Hans hardly recognized him.

Alex's hair was black and messy as usual. His face was far paler, and his eyes darker violet than Hans remembered. He now wore black leather armor and a silver pendant. But it was his scowl that was most frightening because a new scar ran up his jawline to just below his eyes.

"Alex, what happened?" A smirk, but he just continued to glare at Hans, prowling like an animal around him. The fire in his eyes was much, much worse than Adam's-it looked like it was going to leap out and burn him.

"So, did you love her?"

"What?"

"Did you love the princess?"

"No, I-"

"Then how dare you. How dare you play with someone's heart, especially someone so vulnerable."

"What did you expect me to do? How else was I supposed to be king?" Alex sneered.

"I'm not concerned about the murder yet. Let me get to that after this. Let me explain something. Florian was unsure whether to put me on the list of kings because I was adopted. I told him I'd try peasant life for a while to see if I preferred that, and I'd tell him once I'd found a life I wanted. I met my birth parents. They had no clue I had been made into Prince Alexander. They had been so happy . . . and I nearly killed them on my birthday... Not on purpose, but I still regret it. You see, they'd given me a powerful charm, not knowing it was also a curse. They gave me power to survive, fearing I would not last much longer alone on the streets. They had no idea. So I nearly burned down the house with all of us in it-but the flames didn't harm me. All because of the pendant that was the one present they could give me.

"A terrible witch had given them the charm, promising luck to those who kept it in their house and power to those who wore it. And when they'd explained to me the truth. . . I told them I was Prince Alex. They begged forgiveness, but they didn't need to. I swore I'd let them live in the palace, I'd get rid of this witch that had forced them into debt because the charm was a curse on the family until someone took the power from it. I cannot take it off. The chain is welded to my skin with a spell. This scar is from the witch, right before she lost her spellbooks and other charms to my flames. I returned, and brought my parents to the palace, and told Florian I might try to be king."

Hans stared, slightly horrified and confused.

"Flames?" Alex flicked his wrist, and a ball of fire appeared to dance in his hand. "It took a long time to figure out how they work and how to stop them..."

"As for the murder of the queen . . . they feared me, but helped me control my powers, didn't they? They didn't assume I was a monster, or make me out to be one. Not even if it meant they could be king for more years. So no, I wasn't a monster to anyone but myself. As I see it, the only monster around here is you. So have fun being king. I'll even give you a crown. See how much it matters in the castle dungeons." No one came to get Alex, so he let the fire go out in his hand and stormed out of the room on his own.

Hans would be locked up forever in this cycle of twelve. Life could have been so much more.


I'm locked behind closed doors

Life could be so much more


King Florian beckoned to Alex.

"I don't want war with Arendelle. They are a powerful nation, especially now with their Snow Queen Elsa. Because Hans is no longer our ambassador, we need someone else to speak on our kingdom's behalf. I've chosen you, Alex."

"But-the fire-"

"I have a feeling it won't matter. Remember, the Snow Queen has powers too. You are not the only one who has to control your emotions sometimes. The royals will understand. I don't want war here, and though I'm sure they are forgiving in Arendelle, I want to keep it that way."

"Yes, Florian." The king smiled and Alex prepared for the journey.


With you, love is an open door


A ship from the Southern Isles made the people of Arendelle uneasy. What if the brothers had sympathized with Hans? But Queen Elsa and Princess Anna welcomed the ship personally, curious and prepared. There were few crew members, as there was only one true passenger. And curiously, there were no guards surrounding the prince that exited. Anna and Elsa curtsied to him.

"Welcome to Arendelle."

"It is my pleasure. I am Prince Alexander of the Southern Isles, here as an ambassador to Arendelle and to formally apologize for my idiotic younger brother." A relieved sigh ran through those who had been fearful of the rough-looking prince. But now he smiled good-naturedly, and Anna and Elsa welcomed him into the palace. He stared at everything as if it were made of thin glass that he feared he could break just by touching. He especially seemed uncomfortable near the ice.

They all had a nice dinner, Alex fitting right in with Kristoff and the staff of the palace. Like Elsa, he was quiet for the most part, but enjoyed the company. Olaf was there, interested with the newcomer.

"So, what's it like with twelve brothers?" asked Anna. Alex sighed, smiling.

"Interesting . . . I'm actually adopted. But I quite like it for the most part. There's always someone there for you if you need it. I needed them a lot for the past year."

"Why's that?" asked Kristoff through a mouthful of food.

"Similar problems to what your queen had recently. I was blessed . . . and cursed . . . with powers recently." He flicked sparks around on his fingers, created a fireball, and made both disappear to the shock of the others.

"Whoa . . ." Olaf especially seemed to like Alex now, and asked him to do all sorts of tricks.

"I've never seen someone so fascinated with fire," Alex chuckled, looking up to find Elsa mesmerized as well. Kristoff and Anna were amused like he was at Olaf's antics.

Her blue eyes shined in the flame, and Alex saw frost forming on her hands. He'd never seen something-or someone-so beautiful.

Months pass

Life in Arendelle was even better than his old home. He spent so much time with the royals, he'd come to consider them his close friends. He'd attended Anna's and Kristoff's wedding, even. They were out in the mountains, spending time together, and so the castle was far more quiet. He and Elsa worked together quietly for the first few days. They did not use their powers.

Then, Elsa was in the ballroom alone, deep in thought, pacing slowly. Alex was passing through to go back to his room and write a letter to each of his brothers-a long task, but one he felt he had to do. Elsa was humming to herself, making snow and ice crystals in time with the music. After a few moments the ice would clink against the marble floor like a bell, and disappear. A small orchestra. And then she opened her mouth to sing quietly. Alex couldn't help but watch her waltz and sing in her own little fantasy. The Snow Queen was very beautiful.

He began to experiment with sparks and little flares-he'd never thought of doing so before, except at Olaf's whim. In time with her voice, the flames curled, pulsed, and went out. Could he do something bigger? He swung his hand around, and it glowed on its own faintly. One thing led to another, and soon enough...

They were dancing, ice and fire, backs to each other with no clue. Until she spun around-and Alex took her hand.

"Oh, uh, Alexander, I-"

"You're very beautiful, Queen Elsa." She blushed slightly-it was his heat, wasn't it? He backed away.

"Thank you," she nodded. "You're quite amazing yourself." He shook his head.

"I'm not. I'm a peasant boy who was raised in a palace. That's it. Besides . . . fire and ice don't exactly go together."

"I wouldn't be so sure. Look at Olaf."

"He's . . . a special case though," Alexander allowed.

"I rather like your powers." He frowned.

"They're so destructive though . . ."

"Not really. Fire gives light, warmth. Without fire we wouldn't be here, you know."

"And ice is water, which is life itself," he said with a smile.

"I never thought I'd meet someone with powers . . . I thought I was the only one . . ."

"I've felt so separate from the rest of the world. Like there's something keeping me from reaching others. Even though we don't talk . . . I never felt that way around you . . ." Elsa smiled at that statement.

"Alexander . . ."

"Alex."

". . . Alex."

"In fact, I feel more connected to you than any of my family . . . I think . . ." he was inching closer to her, but stopped when he became aware. He had trained himself not to get close, for fear of burning someone. He backed up quickly, silent for a moment.

"You don't have to be afraid to hurt me," she said knowingly. "Trust yourself with your power. Trust your control. I feared it all, and that was my enemy. I didn't want to hurt anyone, and I shut everyone out. It only builds inside of you if you do that. Let the flames out-I'll cool any fire that gets too close. Go ahead." Permission to use his power? He'd never gotten that before. She made a layer of frost all across the room. He took two deep breaths and screamed. Everything was fire. There was no smoke, no ash, no smell. Light, heat, red-and then he couldn't let any more out. Elsa stared at him, surprised.

"Wow. That was . . . a lot . . ." He was panting. She smiled.

"It felt good, didn't it? I had that moment myself once. But our powers aren't just dangers-they are beautiful. I've accepted that." Alex continued to stare at the Snow Queen. She was elegant, powerful, and kind.


Can I say something crazy?


"I think I'm starting to as well . . ." he said quietly. He took the royal crest on his empty scabbard and melted it down, shaping it in his hand. "Thank you for helping realize that . . . Queen Elsa?" She nodded. He got down on one knee and presented the gold ring to her.

"Will you marry me?"


Can I say something even crazier?


"Yes."

They kissed, fire and ice, passion and love.

The Snow Queen and the Fire Prince would never part.