Spoilers here and there for Frozen
Elsa didn't know if she should be amused or baffled. Which was par for the course when it came to Anna and Kristoff. Even a pregnancy wouldn't change that, apparently.
Just hours after they told her the big news, here they were on the couch, sleeping as ungracefully as ever. Anna was lying on her back, although her arm and left leg were hanging off the couch. Meanwhile, her right leg was on Kristoff's lap while he was sleeping on the other end, his mouth hung open.
"These are gonna be your parents," Elsa muttered, thinking it with both fondness and a bit of fear.
But then she started thinking about how she actually said it. Apparently to their unborn baby. Who wouldn't be even be here for seven months. And yet Elsa made an offhand comment to it about its parents anyway.
Before she knew it, she kept saying, "Don't take it the wrong way. I mean, your parents…" then stopped before she got too crazy.
She figured she'd be talking to Anna's baby bump eventually – when it showed up. Talking to her flat stomach while they were asleep….even Anna would have grounds to call it weird.
But Anna wasn't awake, was she? Elsa had that advantage on her. It wasn't the biggest one she had on Anna by far, but still.
Maybe this was a little crazy, but this was a really crazy day. There'd be a lot more to come, obviously – perhaps the best thing to do was to embrace the insanity now. And take advantage of a rare quiet moment.
After all, Elsa did want to make a good first impression on her niece or nephew. Even if it was nowhere capable of understanding it right now. Then again, who knew what would happen in the months ahead – or if Elsa would even have the chance when, or if….
No. Elsa was not going to go down that route. This wasn't then. And she wasn't the Elsa from then. Anna wasn't even the Anna from then, either. This was a fresh start.
This baby deserved to know that from minute one. Leaving aside how minute one was technically months away. Still, this was as good a time to practice as any.
Before she lost her nerve, Elsa went on her knees in front of the couch, and Anna's stomach. She kept an eye on Anna's arm, in case she was sword fighting or punching Hans in her dreams again. Otherwise, Elsa was all clear to have her first words with her niece or nephew.
"Hello," Elsa addressed Anna's stomach, suddenly feeling shy as it hit her. "In case they didn't tell you….I'm gonna be your Aunt Elsa."
And now it really hit her. In fact, it took everything Elsa had not to cry and wake them up. Or wake them with a sudden flurry, either one.
"I never thought I'd be….I didn't even bother to dream it," Elsa found herself saying, instead of just thinking. Saying to herself, technically - but she wasn't going to think that way. If there was even a chance something in there could hear her, she was going to get this out.
She still didn't master it quite yet, as she kept babbling, "I didn't even think about it after the thaw. How could I? I mean, your mother…."
Its mother. Anna. A mother. Her sister, the mother. Even after hearing the news hours ago, it was just now getting through to Elsa.
How could Anna be a mother? All those times she couldn't take care of herself alone….
She wouldn't take it seriously. She'd teach her child to goof off just like her. She wouldn't know how to teach her kid to behave like a royal. She'd stumble, she'd fall. She'd…..
….pick herself up. Like she did every single time she messed up. Like she did throughout an entire childhood without….
But that wouldn't be her child's childhood. Ever.
"Your mother's going to do things right," Elsa spoke up again. "She's going to teach you what really matters in life. Like she….well, like she does for me. You'll understand that one day."
As she pictured a little Anna learning about….her family history….Elsa made herself believe and say, "I really hope you'll understand."
As much as Elsa hoped it, she couldn't be 100 percent sure. She would never be when it came to these things. Even after all this time with Anna and Kristoff, and all that was about to come….Elsa might never be truly convinced it wouldn't go away someday.
If it went away this time, after all she'd gotten back….she couldn't get up again. She just couldn't. She wasn't strong like that. Not like Anna. And now, with a niece or nephew she could lose too….
No. Not again.
Yet when Elsa vowed this, it wasn't out of fear. In fact, she was starting to feel powerful. Real, non-wintery power.
That power made her vow out loud, "Your family history is just that. History. It won't repeat itself. Not to you. I won't let that happen, I can't. Because…."
Of all the things that took a while to sink in for Elsa….this final truth sunk her to her core. This final fact that overshadowed all others. It wasn't an official fact yet – but Elsa would make it one.
When she realized all that this entailed, her mood swung again. This time, it made her cry. Cry perhaps the happiest tears she ever shed – although she only cried of happiness one other time in her life.
This was more than worthy enough to be the second time. All because….
"I'm going to see you grow up."
Elsa covered her mouth and tried to ignore the freezing tears falling on her hand. Yet she tempted more anyway by saying, "I get to see my sister's baby grow up…."
It wasn't a question. It wasn't something Elsa only hoped for. Because it would happen.
It wasn't something that she'd run away from. It wasn't something she would ever lock herself away from.
As Elsa accepted this, her tears stopped and her mood shifted away. This time, it was with a mix of pure warmth and an iron will.
She uncovered her mouth, never breaking eye contact with Anna's stomach, and poured all those emotions out when she said, "I promise I will be there when you grow up. The entire time."
The vows didn't stop there.
"I promise you'll never feel alone," Elsa kept going. "You'll never feel ashamed of who you are, no matter what that is. You'll never be made to feel that….people are ashamed of you. You'll know you're loved and cherished every day of your life. I'm sure your parents will cover that anyway, but….you can never be too sure. That's what I'm here for."
Elsa still wasn't used to being this open and emotional. Not even for Anna. Maybe it said something that she was much freer with something that couldn't look at her, or talk back yet. But this was different. All of it was going to be different – that was the point.
"You're the only person who'll never be afraid of me in their whole life. Or hurt by me," Elsa swore. "Well, within reason. If you're their son or daughter, you might need to be scared straight at some point," she chuckled.
Yet she still promised, "But it will always be from a place of love. There's nothing you could do that would make me give up on you….or close the door on you forever. Don't ever doubt that. There's far too much we have to do."
Elsa allowed herself to dream ahead, voicing the visions she saw in her head. "I'm going to teach you everything I know. Read everything I have with you. I might have to, knowing your parents' views on education." Again she chuckled, and again she went right back to promising, "But there'll always be enough time to play when we're done."
As Elsa slipped into fantasy about ballroom snowball fights with Anna's child, she had to stop herself from getting totally lost. "But you'll be allowed to play with other kids, don't worry!" she qualified.
"Your parents will make sure you make friends everywhere you go. They'll make sure people will like you for you, not just your title. And I'll make sure you treat everyone with respect and some manners….with a little mischief thrown in. When it's appropriate. All right?" she asked as if someone could answer her.
Elsa backtracked a bit, to when she assured the baby it would play with other kids. When she assured she'd trust the baby out of her sight. And therein laid one of the bigger issues Elsa would have to work on.
"I know I'm going to be way overprotective sometimes. For that, I'm already sorry," Elsa conceded. "It won't be as bad as….I know it could be. I'm going to work hard to make sure it isn't. Old fears and habits die hard, though." She shuddered at mentioning the d-word in front of her unborn niece or nephew, which probably backed up her point.
"But I'm going to protect you. Within reason, if possible," Elsa assured. "When that doesn't work, I'm going to make you feel better. I'm going to give you the warmest hugs I have. I'm going to let you cry on my shoulder, no matter how much of a mess you make there," she had to laugh and feel a little grossed out.
"And I'm going to be so brave for you," Elsa found herself getting quiet and emotional again. "I never had real courage or strength. Not like your mother. I never really put myself on the line for her. Not the right way. But I'll make myself find a way this time. You will never doubt that your Aunt Elsa would do anything for you. With you."
She was starting to go in circles, so Elsa figured she was almost out of promises. But there was one big one left. "And I'll never ask you to conceal anything. Not your feelings, not incidents when you've misbehaved….however numerous they may be. Not anything," she solemnly swore.
"You be as honest and open as you want, and know that I will accept everything about you." Elsa said as she felt her eyes water again. "You don't even have to accept me all the time. I'm used to it, trust me. But I will spend….whatever time we have together, earning your acceptance and love. If I got it from your mother somehow, how hard can it really be?"
That wasn't the big finish Elsa was hoping for. She was aiming for something tinged with less regret and rotten memories. Yet maybe one last bad memory wouldn't be so bad. It might make this final vow even stronger.
"I don't care how hard it is, though. You're worth it. I haven't met you, but I already know you're worth it," Elsa realized. "So we're going to do things different. No fear, no shame, no hiding, no separation….just you and me. Me and my little niece - not that a nephew wouldn't do!" Elsa quickly corrected, more to herself than to the still growing boy or girl.
"Whatever you are when you come out of there….everything I have, everything I feel….I pledge to you," Elsa declared, not caring that people were usually supposed to pledge to her.
"That means I won't hold anything back. The Elsa who would….she's someone you'll never have to meet. We'll keep her away with snowmen, laughter, lessons, support and all the love we have, as long as we both live. Starting from minute one," Elsa finished – or at least she did when she admitted, "I just hope I can wait till it gets here."
To prove her commitment right from the start, she reached out her gloveless, bare hand and touched Anna's pregnant stomach for the first time. It might have made a bolder statement to lift her shirt up and touch it while it was bare.
But the cold would have surely woken Anna up then, even if Elsa's rambling hadn't. Not that her hand felt that cold at this moment.
"I love you," Elsa felt warm enough to say. As rare as it still was to say those words – especially to anyone but Anna – it felt so right now.
In any case, she'd get used to it. She'd have all the time in the world to.
"Okay, I think I've talked your ear off enough. You'll miss it once your mother starts doing it, trust me," Elsa joked, but immediately corrected, "Not really, though."
Still, Elsa got up on her feet, just about ready to go. "We'll talk some more later, okay?" she tried to wrap up. Yet it got somewhat harder when she once again realized, "We can talk as much as you want later…."
Wiping her tears before they could freeze, Elsa was composed enough to finish with, "Good night, little….something. Like I said, I love you either way."
Taking a breath, Elsa turned and walked away, her mind still swimming with the not quite familiar yet feeling of….euphoria. Of promise. Of an actual future where the past was buried forever. Where even someone like her could get a real second chance, and pull it off.
Still, as Elsa's rational mind returned, she was amazed that she found all this talking to Anna's stomach, before there was even a bump.
"I really must be as loopy as the mother…." Elsa said to herself before leaving the room.
As Kristoff finally felt safe enough to open his eyes, he realized how right Elsa was.
And how her nephew – or niece, whatever – would be the most blessed child in Arendelle because of it.
The kid already had Anna's unnatural gift to sleep through anything. So that was another plus right there too.