This is unfortunately inspired by the recent loss of a real life Disney icon – and how Elsa can all too easily be seen with similar issues of depression, self-worth, struggles to reach out, and struggles to accept how so many can love her and care about her anyway. Fortunately, in our imagination and hearts, we can write a better ending for those who gave us so much joy, in spite of the toll it took on them.
RIP Robin Williams – whose past work also inspired the name of this story.
"Elsa, what have you done?"
"Don't touch me!"
"We only have each other, it's just you and me…."
"Your sister is dead! Because of you!"
"Just take care of my sister!"
"Let go of me!"
"Don't you understand?! I don't deserve this! I don't deserve to live!"
"Please, somebody just let me die!"
The fog of memory barely cleared by the time Elsa finally woke up.
As the voices of the past faded, Elsa's vision was too blurry for her to see where she was. She thought she made out some familiar shapes, but they just weren't clear enough. One of them was bigger than the others and seemed to be….sitting next to her.
It even began to make noises. One of them sounded like "Elsa?" When it then yelled the word "Elsa!" it began to sound more familiar. More masculine.
When it yelled, "Get Anna! Now!" it sounded more unmistakable.
And yet when Elsa tried to make a sound, she could barely get it out. She only got out the first part of the word she wanted to say. "Kris…."
As a balance, Elsa's vision cleared up enough for her to see Kristoff rushing back to her side. A side which was at….
"Elsa! It's okay, Elsa, you don't have to move or do anything!" Kristoff said for some reason. "Just relax. It's going to be okay….please don't hate me."
Why would she hate him? Even when she first met him a year and a half ago, she was more weary about him than anything, not hateful. Time and his engagement to Anna made her soften her stance.
Where was Anna anyway? And where was she?
Now that her eyes were clear, Elsa could actually answer the second part. Apparently she was in her own bed. It was just a matter of figuring out why. "What am I doing here?" Elsa asked for starters.
"Anna wanted you here. I know, you probably should have gone to the hospital. But she wanted you close by and at home. If you were gonna….she wanted you to be comfortable at home," Kristoff explained, albeit barely clearly enough.
"If I was going to what? What is going on?" Elsa spoke more clearly than him. She started to suspect it came off as a surprise.
"You don't remember, do you?" Kristoff asked. "I guess it's not a shock. You hit your head pretty hard. And you looked like you were passing out before then. And with all the powers and yelling and….your condition, you were…."
"I was what?" Elsa began to ask with more fear.
"But it doesn't matter!" Kristoff quickly backtracked. "You're alive! That's what matters!" Things took another unexpected turn when he began to crumble. "Is….is that something you're okay with? I know you didn't.…but I…."
Elsa hadn't seen Kristoff this tongue tied since the first few times they talked without Anna around. Back then, it was out of a fear that was more amusing and refreshing than anything else. Yet the fear and lack of words Kristoff was showing now….
"I just couldn't let my sister…." Kristoff couldn't finish.
But Elsa's mind was already filling in the blanks.
The jagged icicles were in place below the balcony. Elsa had made it so that they were close together, she'd have to land on one of them. Just one would do the job.
With that thought, she climbed and stood on the edge of the balcony. Just one little lean forward and justice would finally be done.
It wasn't the worst voice Elsa could have heard at the end. But it was probably at least the third.
Elsa could have jumped then and there, and Kristoff wouldn't have gotten to her in time. Yet one shred of decency remained amidst the fog of what she had to do. "Go away, Kristoff. I don't want you to see this," she gave him the out.
"This?! What is this? What are you doing….hold on, I'm getting Anna," Kristoff vowed.
"DON'T!" Elsa yelled, quickly putting one foot over the balcony ledge. "You do anything to get her here, and I'll go right now! She is NOT seeing this!"
"Okay, okay, fine!" Kristoff stopped in his track, not knowing what else to do. He scrambled his brain – one that was so inadequate for a number of reasons right now – and settled on asking, "Are you doing some kind of dangerous magic stunt? Is that why you don't want Anna to see?"
Kristoff's gut tortured him by saying that wasn't it. But if there was even a hope that it wasn't….something else, he was desperate enough to take that chance. To hope for one second that this was anything other than….
"Just take care of my sister," Elsa said, shattering Kristoff's hope. "Make sure she gets what she deserves too. That makes it okay this time…."
"Makes what okay?" Kristoff asked. "Why are you here?!"
"Exactly," Elsa said brokenly. "Why am I here? I knew I didn't belong here the second the isolation started. I should have jumped off right then….I could have done it a few times after that….especially after they died." She sniffed and added, "I couldn't do it to Anna then….but now she'll be okay."
"Where did you get that idea?! Why did you?!" Kristoff tried and largely failed to understand.
"Why not?" Elsa answered far too calmly. "Monsters and murderers deserve no less. I wanted to believe it wasn't true anymore after the Thaw. But how could I, really? I've had 18 months of being with Anna, Olaf, you, open gates….how did I deserve that?"
"Because you're….you're Elsa!" Kristoff stammered. "Who deserves all that if not you?"
"Anna does. Anna did everything to deserve it. I did nothing but run away and hurt her. For 13 years. How does someone like that deserve 18 months of happiness? Or 18 minutes?" Elsa asked. "And if I could have had that all along….if it really was as easy as letting love thaw all along….doesn't it say worse about me that I didn't? Doesn't it tell you I have no right to any of this?!"
"No! It says a lot of things, but not that!" Kristoff insisted. "Why….why didn't you say that stuff before? Why didn't you tell us or Anna before….coming out here?"
"Conceal, don't feel," Elsa stated. "It's the only reason I didn't kill Anna the second time much faster. After all that, you think I have any right to burden her with me again? I can do it now because I won't feel anything again soon…..Papa will finally be proud then.
"And Anna?! You think this won't be a burden to her?" Kristoff thought she had Elsa there.
"Now she can finally be free of me," Elsa countered. "You can show her that. You tell her why this is a good thing. You give her the family she really deserves. Then she'll forget about me and what I did to her. As it should be."
"I will not do any of that!" Kristoff refused. "Why would you want me to? Elsa, you….it's been 18 months since the Thaw! You have everything now! You have love and support and forgiveness and Anna! You shouldn't want to give that up for anything! How can you throw it away now?!"
"Because I don't deserve it! How can I?!" Elsa insisted. "13 years….and then….how could it ever be….it's just better to get it over with now. Before I ruin it again."
"You're going to ruin it now!" Kristoff responded.
"It's okay, Kristoff," Elsa got eerily calm again. "You don't have to blame yourself. You can be with Anna with a clear conscience. You have my blessing. For all of it. You don't need to care about me anymore. Anna had no choice….or at least she wasn't able to see she had one. You do now."
"Do….do you think the only reason I care about you is because of Anna?" Kristoff recapped.
"It's the only reason anyone would. There's no other logical answer. Once you all remember that, you can make Anna see it and move on too. She couldn't have before, but she can now. So now I can go," Elsa declared.
Kristoff was at a loss, trying to see how she could have gotten this bad without him, or Anna, noticing. She'd already been through the worst, most publicized horrors of her life. Things were better now and everyone loved her. How could she forget that?
He then started to remember those times when Elsa's Queenly armor didn't look as strong. All of those times came after the Great Thaw anniversary, now that he remembered it. All the reminders of what happened a year ago – and the 13 years before that which made it happen – of course they'd have to take a toll on her.
And if she was that depressed before…..which neither he nor apparently Anna knew about….between that, the endless work, the whole 'conceal, don't feel' nonsense, all the other nonsense beliefs about royalty hurting their kingdoms if they revealed any vulnerability or need for help….God, all that together….
Kristoff knew enough to know that the horror and pain Elsa had been through couldn't magically go away. Not forever.
But she'd already survived so much, that even when he saw her look weaker, he just assumed she would be strong enough to get past it again. Especially with Anna there this time. It made sense – if the past didn't break her, how could this be any different?
And that blind assumption led to this, apparently. Led to her concealing from Anna again, obviously – if she hadn't, then Anna would have certainly told him Elsa wasn't well. Maybe she'd gotten even better at concealing from her. Maybe she'd never really stopped – not entirely. Maybe….
Maybe he needed to pay attention to Elsa and stop reflecting.
Which he did a second before Elsa closed her eyes. Somehow, he knew what that meant she was finally ready to do.
With a desperation and speed he hadn't felt since 18 months ago, Kristoff ran to the edge of the balcony. He dived the last bit of the way, praying the whole way he would catch something.
Which he did – the bottom of Elsa's left leg, as it turned out. It was better than nothing.
Nevertheless, it left Elsa hanging upside down in the air, with Kristoff holding on for Elsa's dear life. "Let go of me!" she looked up and yelled.
"No!" Kristoff stubbornly insisted. He held on – even when Elsa's leg started to feel even colder. And when the wind began to pick up.
Kristoff guessed that since Elsa was accepting her own death, her powers had stayed under control. At least until now. "I said let go!" Elsa warned. "Before it gets worse!"
"You're gonna have to kill me too. Then what do you think it'll do to Anna?" Kristoff cornered her. He was pretty amazed they hadn't made enough noise for Anna to come here already. Hopefully that was only the first favor of the night.
No matter how strong the wind got, how much Elsa struggled – or how hard Kristoff struggled not to look down Elsa's open dress – Kristoff didn't let go. With his usual formidable strength, and with deeper reserves of it within, he pulled Elsa up and they both fell back onto the balcony together.
However, that only made the wind pick up more – and made the ice build up on the ground. "You have to let me go! Please! I can't stop it now!" Elsa yelled.
"Never. I'm not letting my sister go anywhere," Kristoff said much quieter, but much more forcefully, tightening his arms around Elsa.
Anna was the one with the magic loving hugs around here, yet Kristoff still hoped he had enough to transfer to Elsa. His hopes were dashed once again as the storm got worse around them, and as Kristoff felt even colder. But he still wouldn't let Elsa out of his arms.
"Let me go! Just let me go!" Elsa screamed over the wind. The tears started to fall as she pleaded, "Don't you understand?! I don't deserve this! I don't deserve to live!"
All Kristoff could do to answer was endure the cold, keep them both alive, and hope Elsa would tire herself out.
"Please, somebody just let me die!"
At that horrific plea, Kristoff couldn't stay still anymore. He had to try and get her back in the castle. Back to Anna. Back to anyone else who could save her.
He struggled with all his might to get up without falling down or letting Elsa squirm free. However, she wasn't moving much anymore. In fact, as he finally got on his feet, he could barely see through the snow and wind that Elsa looked ready to pass out.
Desperate, he tried to run through the ice without slipping, like he did when he ran towards a freezing Anna. Yet he had slipped that one time in that ordeal. And he would slip once again, only with Elsa in his arms.
He was unable to angle the fall just right. As a result, when he landed, the back of Elsa's head landed against her own ice on the ground. If she wasn't out cold by then, she was now.
Yet the one pleasant side effect was that the wind and storm had begun clearing up. When it did, he could finally see the castle and the nearby throne room. As well as the people that had gathered inside it. Including one running out to the balcony now.
"ELSA!" Anna called, just as Elsa could officially no longer hear anything.
When the last of Elsa's restored memories returned, she found herself backing up and pulling her bed covers over her body. For the first time, the cold was bothering her.
Out of the millions of questions she could have asked, only one seemed likely not to make her freak out, regardless of the answer. No matter what, she had to conceal, or else she'd….
She brushed that aside as another question she couldn't afford to answer. Not now, if ever. So she went ahead with the safe question, "How long have I been here?"
That was not Kristoff's voice.
Elsa looked over to the entrance of the bedroom. She instantly recognized who was there. But the dress worn by that person, as well as the look on her face, was not familiar in the least.
Instead of squealing, jumping up and down and rushing to Elsa's side, this….more regally dressed Anna was hesitant just to take a step inside. As she found her way in, Elsa was flooded with many more questions, which had answers she probably couldn't survive.
Shouldn't that have been a good thing, though? It was….a week ago. But now….
"She didn't leave your side the first two days. She didn't do anything but sit there, really," Kristoff started explaining. "It took 10 of us to make her leave and start filling in as Queen on day three. Even then, she just did it so she'd have anything else to do. And then…."
Elsa felt herself straining to ask, "Then what?" but nothing came out. She couldn't even move her head, for fear she might see Anna in the corner of her eye and break down. Queens did not break down for anything.
Even those who tried to give up the throne. But now that it wasn't happening for….
"Then I got to work," she heard Anna say. Yet Elsa could only keep looking at Kristoff instead. Nevertheless, Anna kept talking – albeit not for the usual enduring reasons.
"Once Kristoff told me everything again….and we figured out the rest….I knew I had to clear your schedule before you came back," Elsa heard Anna start. "So once Kai helped me clear the work you missed….I started changing things."
Elsa thought she saw a flicker of a smile from Kristoff as Anna continued. "I mean, this place was running fine while you were in your room for three years! So why does it need you to do all that paperwork, never have a moment to relax, or put all that pressure on someone who has way too much of it?! But don't worry, it's gonna be different when you're ready to come back!"
"How?" Elsa barely heard herself ask. She then saw papers being passed onto Kristoff, which he then handed to Elsa. As she looked over them, Anna's explanation became more handy and unbelievable.
"This is the system we set up. It should hold when you take my place. I gave the most capable people the most to do and the most important papers to sign. The ones who didn't….cooperate in the meetings, they got the rest," Anna said. Indeed, it looked like the most troublemaking members of the council had gotten the worst of Elsa's daily jobs.
"As you can see, Anna has just enough tasks for a normal eight-hour day, before getting some rest. It's not an 18 hour day, but it's been good enough so far. With you taking those jobs, it can probably get shaved down to six or seven hours. Not that Anna couldn't, but you could probably find a few extra loopholes," Kristoff said.
"She found a few already….ones I never would have," Elsa remarked as she looked through the papers. "She did all this?" she asked as if she wasn't there herself.
"What else could I do that would actually help?" she heard Anna. "I know I can't always be counted on for….that kinda help. But if something's really, really important and I can make myself focus….it turns out I can do a good job. Once people trust me to handle it, I can really surprise them."
Elsa heard a little guilty hiss from Anna after that. Apparently she didn't mean for that to mean anything extra. But it all too clearly did.
Before either of them could say anything about that, Kristoff spoke, "Then when she had all that free time, she started a little project. Kind of a survey, really."
"What kind of survey?" Elsa asked, finding her voice a tiny bit again.
"Just….one where she asked everyone in town to send us letters. Ones that tell us how you've made their lives better than they were 18 months ago," Kristoff revealed.
"What?!" Elsa almost jumped out of bed.
"It's okay! They don't know what happened, that's not why they did it!" Kristoff got ahead. "No one knows, and those who heard you got enough to keep quiet! And as far as anyone knows, this was one of Anna's usual weird projects to praise your name! Nothing more!"
That didn't answer all of Elsa's questions, yet she had endured the answers. At least until she heard Anna say, "I told them to get the letters in here by now."
Before Elsa entertained the idea of looking at Anna for confirmation, the bedroom doors opened again. This time, servants carrying at least four full mail bags marched in, dropping the bags and their overflowing letters beside the bed.
Kristoff picked up one bag and placed it on the bed, taking out several letters for Elsa. But she was ahead of him, rummaging through and reading the notes herself.
Some were from adults, thanking her for her patronage and visits. Some were from those who had been hurt most by the Great Freeze, and who Elsa moved heaven and earth to repay and make well. Many notes were from children who Elsa had talked to and even thrown snowballs with, even if Anna had started it.
A few children and grown-ups talked about how they felt shy and alone, but felt different when Elsa had talked to them and lifted their spirits. Some felt truly different for one reason or another, but drew inspiration from how Elsa had overcome her vast differences. Several more letter writers felt as low as possible, but drew strength from remembering Elsa's struggles and how she stayed good, honorable and true anyway.
All of these people had written about how Elsa had touched them. Whether from her story, from talking to them in person, from playing with them in person, or just from showing simple acts of kindness.
For some, just knowing someone like her thought about them, cared about them and was working to better their lives, if only for a few moments, was enough to lift their spirits when little else did.
"I've spent the last three days collecting those," Anna said. "And I didn't have to burn many negative letters at all. This….this is what Arendelle thinks of you. It's not because of your powers or your title….they're just touched and inspired by you. That's your legacy, Elsa. I….I wanted to find some way to make you believe it when you woke up."
How was she supposed to believe it? 13 years of conditioned belief – by herself and others – had taught her she could inspire nothing but fear. In the last six months, she'd convinced herself one year couldn't erase all that, and no amount of time really should. There was no deluding herself any longer.
But all these letters weren't a delusion. Anna couldn't have written them all just for this – most of the handwriting was too neat. And if that was the case, then….
"All these people…." Elsa muttered, to no one in particular. But Kristoff took in on himself to answer.
"You made yourself believe no one could, or should, love you since you were eight. And yet all of them do," he reminded. "There's probably a lot more who haven't finished their letters yet! You make everyone feel so much better about themselves and who they are. And you don't think you deserve the same kindness you give them?"
Elsa could only reread the letters again. Some of them talked about how they were touched by her visits and gestures in the last six months. Even when she was falling apart again, hiding it from everyone and willing herself not to feel it and let everyone down….she still managed to bring these people joy, if only for a moment. The kind she couldn't even give herself….
She had been able to for the first year after the Thaw. She really had. When the guilt, self-loathing and concealing began to pile up, it didn't occur all at once.
It built it gradually until it was too late for her to see she needed help – or deserved it. After that, 13 years of training herself not to feel, not to seek help, not to bring loved ones down, and not to think she deserved their love took over again.
Then the feelings she had that….it should all end permanently returned. Like they did when she was 14, 18 and 20. This time, not wanting to leave Anna alone forever couldn't stop it. Heck, the fact she had a new family now only encouraged Elsa. She thought….
Looking back, she didn't know what she thought. When she got that dark, she was a completely different person. Now that she had a clearer head, it really felt like it was someone else who was that out of control. But it wasn't. It was all her.
It was her who believed she wasn't worthy enough to live, and that the world was better without her. And now Anna, Kristoff and apparently all of Arendelle were shaming her into thinking….
"This isn't a guilt trip, Elsa," Anna seemed to sense. "Please don't think that. Please don't think you're any less worthy for….ignoring all this love. I've been going over it all week, and I realized….you weren't capable of seeing it. Not in the state you were in. I thought you were learning since the Thaw. But it can't be that kind of quick fix, can it?"
"Obviously not," Kristoff backed up. "Whatever the fix is, it can't be what we've been doing. Ignoring it. Trusting it'll all work out without doing anything, till it's almost too late. Thinking it's not okay to talk about it."
"You were taught that your whole life. And not just because of the powers!" Anna argued. "Conceal, don't feel, put on a show? That's how everyone expects people like you to live all the time! Royalty, people in power, people who are depressed, all of them! That's how Papa was trained to live, and that's why he passed it on to you!"
She paused and added, "Some days, remembering that's the only way I can forgive him. Especially these days."
With more determination, she continued, "Concealing, doing everything yourself, burying yourself in work instead of what matters, being taught it's wrong to want help, that there's something wrong with you if you do….and look what came out of it! Look what always comes out of it!"
Elsa almost reached out to Anna, like she should have from the start. Like she should have well before this, she was starting to see. Yet Kristoff beat her to the punch – which really made sense.
After holding his hand and accepting a back rub, Anna went on, "I thought you shut me out all those years because you couldn't trust me with the truth. That you thought I wasn't capable of helping you through it. That you thought I was too young, naïve or stupid to try. Or that you really thought you were protecting me, when it did anything but!"
She caught herself and corrected, "But you couldn't see it. Not because you didn't want to. You just….weren't taught to be capable of it. And you didn't think it was worth learning to be. That you weren't worth it, or worth our time and trouble. Is that it?"
"If it is, I hope this pokes a few holes," Kristoff said. "You're worth Anna taking more responsibility and fighting to decrease yours. You're worth me braving any elements to save you. You're worth so much to thousands of people who believe in you and what you can do, even if you don't. And Olaf…."
Elsa hadn't even thought about Olaf. She began to see just how much, even as Kristoff pointed it out himself. "If you had….gone over, he might have died too, I don't know. But he didn't say a word about it all week. Not because he wasn't smart enough to figure it out. All he cared about was you surviving, not him."
Of all the things that broke Elsa, that was the clincher. Knowing that so many would have missed her and so many were touched by her….that merely set her up. Knowing she wouldn't have been the only one she killed really knocked her down.
"Olaf…." Elsa breathed, then looked around the bedroom. "Where is he?!"
"I told them to get him here too. But I didn't tell him why you've been 'sleeping' so long, just so you know," Anna stated. "Other than that, he's still breathing too."
"I know you think that's a good thing. But what about you breathing?" Kristoff asked point blank.
"Elsa, you don't have to promise it won't happen again. I can't put that pressure on you," Anna said. "I know now those….thoughts and feelings don't just go away. I can't ask you to just stop feeling them. I will never tell you to stop feeling, for any reason, as long as I live," she said fiercely.
"All I've ever wanted was to be there for you. For you to let me try and help, even if you think I shouldn't have to. Or if not me, then anyone. All I wanted was for you to know, and believe, that people love you and would do anything for you, because you're worth it. You're worth everything, Elsa. There's so many people who love you and would help you believe it if you….could find a way to let them in," Anna pleaded.
"Maybe I'm not the most qualified person for that. Maybe Kristoff isn't either. I mean, I had to rehearse these speeches so many times this week, because I was so scared of saying something wrong," Anna confessed.
"But that doesn't matter. What matters is….you shouldn't be scared to reach out ever again. Not because of the past, not because of what royalty's supposed to be, what Papa said you had to be, what I said, any of it. What matters is that you believe you're worth so much more….and if you can't believe it, then….please let people who do try to help. Even if it can't be me…."
Just as Anna was about to break down – and as Elsa and even Kristoff were getting close – a small voice interrupted them. "Elsa?"
Like Anna, Olaf wasn't bouncy, excitable or jumping for joy, despite seeing Elsa alive and well. He just looked nervous and unsure of what to do or how to act, which wasn't like him at all. It was hard enough seeing that on Anna.
"It's me, Olaf…." Elsa called out. "I'm awake…."
"Do you have to go back to sleep soon?" Olaf wondered, asking what everyone else was thinking in a way. But it was the all important question.
It should have given Elsa more pause than anything else. Yet when she realized the answer – the true answer deep in her heart – she didn't hesitate to give it.
"No, I don't. And I won't," she told Olaf. "I wouldn't do that to my special little guy." Again.
Before Olaf or anyone else could question it, Elsa held out her arms. Knowing what it meant, Olaf cheered like his old self and ran onto the bed to accept her hug. Although he wouldn't normally be allowed to run on the sheets and bed, Elsa didn't care.
She didn't care what it might have done to Olaf to….do what she almost did. Let alone what it would do to everyone else. But at least she thought somewhat about Anna and Kristoff at the height of her spiral.
Elsa had always owed so much to Olaf, even 14 years ago. She vowed she would never be so thoughtless when it came to….the closest thing she may ever have to a son, again.
And if it wasn't enough to have an unconventional son….then there was her unconventional brother.
"Kristoff…." Elsa said when she looked up at him. Parting with Olaf, she further said, "You are the bravest and best man I have ever known. I'm….I'm so grateful that you're family."
"Trust me, the feeling is mutual," Kristoff echoed. "Especially now. I mean…."
Kristoff couldn't finish. The memories of how close he came to seeing Elsa die – of how close he came not to saving her – were still too strong. And like that, Elsa's next great awakening took place.
Kristoff wasn't that relieved, terrified and grateful because the Queen didn't die in front of him, or that Anna's sister hadn't died. He was barely holding it together because Elsa – just Elsa – had almost left him. The first human friend he probably ever had – and vice versa for Elsa.
Forgetting the rules of royalty, their different classes, and their hygiene, Elsa went over and hugged Kristoff with warmth she usually only reserved for Anna and Olaf. She usually only reserved hugs for Anna and Olaf, period. But that special class would now and forever have a new member.
Despite how much bigger Kristoff was, it felt like Elsa was the one giving him strength with this hug. She felt his body relax and loosen up with each passing moment, unlike their last embrace.
Now Elsa hoped some of his new strength would pass on to her, for what was to come next. There was no way around it now.
Elsa had no choice but to take her first up close look at Anna in so long. There was nothing to protect her from the guarded, careful look in Anna's eyes that she had almost never seen before. There was nothing to hide Elsa from the regal green and pink dress Anna had on, as befitting the acting queen she never should have had to be.
But she was. And instead of crumbling from the responsibility and heartache, she rose above it. She changed it and may have wound up making things easier for Elsa in the future. She rallied a kingdom around Elsa, without giving away why. And she was learning whatever she could in case those dark moments happened again.
She never should have had to. Yet once she was given a chance, she exceled. Like she always did. Always should have been allowed to do.
"Anna….I am deeply, ridiculously, proud of you," Elsa confessed. "No matter how responsible, goofy or smart you act….I have always been so proud of you."
And she couldn't even write a note telling her that before going on the balcony. She had to leave her with another mess that wasn't her fault, and more pain she never should have faced without Elsa.
This would normally be when Elsa felt the need to push Anna away. To conceal every bit of guilt, self-loathing and hopelessness. To not burden her with her unworthiness and feelings any longer, and bury them deep down so Anna would never have to face them. Would never have another chance to realize what an undeserving big sister Elsa was.
It wasn't worth it to share her pain. Pain that Elsa didn't deserve to be relieved of. It was okay to take all of it and suffer herself, so Anna and everyone else wouldn't. Eventually they'd see she wasn't worth it, just as Elsa always knew, so why delay it?
She would be a true failure if she tried. She knew that for over half her life. No worthy Queen, daughter, sister or human being could feel or show that much weakness. If they did, what good were they?
That's why she had to go away before they figured it out. That's why if it didn't work, it would be better to….truly go away before she lived long enough to see them figure it out.
These were Elsa's natural instincts to feel. She'd forgotten about them for over a year, but these last six months taught her she couldn't forget forever. So why bother fighting like the worthless failure she was, especially after all this?
The answer was found in Anna's eyes. And Kristoff and Olaf's. And in those letters. And in every word spoken tonight.
It was an awakening which made words Elsa had never spoken in her entire life – had never felt safe enough to speak – reach her lips. Even then, she couldn't make them escape quite yet.
They had done everything for her – for her – and would continue to do everything. They had loved her through everything and would prove that others loved her for who she was too. And she couldn't even say four little words.
"Anna….please help me…."
Unlike Elsa, Anna didn't hesitate to say a few small but powerful words back.
"Always and forever."
With that, she couldn't stop herself from hugging Elsa anymore. Likewise, Elsa couldn't hold anything back anymore – hugs, tears, apologies, any of it.
As Elsa's arms went around Anna and Kristoff, and she was surrounded by their hugs and Olaf's, she reached her final awakening.
She couldn't promise she would never feel that overwhelmingly depressed again – terrible thoughts and all.
But forgetting there was so much love and so many who loved her anyway? And concealing the worst from them, no matter how much they were capable of helping her?
Elsa might not promise to never have suicidal thoughts again right now. But she could spend what life she had making sure she never forgot – or discredited - all the love and warmth that was in it again. And that seeking the love and support of those who gave it to her wasn't failure, or an undeserved burden.
That was one promise she kept for the rest of her days.