I do not own Frozen or any of its amazing characters.
The beautiful cover is a fanart of chapter 9 by the incredibly talented laikaken! The original can be found at laikaken dot tumblr dot com / post/113081476450/hey-elsa-chapter-9-the-sky-is-awake-by. Please check out the rest of her art as well!
Fully edited on 8/2/2020. Frozen 2 dragged me back with a new story, but of course I also had to revisit this one first. In the process of uploading this fic onto Archive of Our Own, I took the liberty to go through and edit it. Pruned out typos and odd sentences (and probably created more typos in the process because I'm consistent like that) and adjusted some moments to flow better. I preserved most of the original fic so there are no big changes, but keen-eyed readers might notice that certain points of dialogue/narrative are different. I hope new and old readers will appreciate The Sky Is Awake 2.0, because revisiting this fic sure filled me with nostalgic joy!
Thank you for reading! (I'll leave the original author's notes in each chapter—from this point onwards, the notes are from younger-me.)
The Sky Is Awake
I. Of Course I Want To Build A Snowman
She always heard Anna coming. Those skipping footfalls, that happy humming and the occasional yelps of surprise; Elsa always listened for them. Then the knock would come – Anna's knock – and that was when Elsa had to stop listening. She'd bite her lip and clench her hands, recite the Honorary Code or something just as bad, and pray the cold would stay underneath her gloves, far, far away from her sister, who was much, much too close.
But this time, she didn't hear Anna coming. No skipping, no humming, no tripping over herself – simply a knock. Not even Anna's special knock; just… a knock.
She curled deeper into herself, hiding her face. But even though her eyes were squeezed shut, Elsa still saw the gentle smiles of a man and his wife. You'll be fine, Elsa, the man told her.
On the other side of the frosted wood, Anna spoke to her door, still so trustingly despite years of silence. "Please, I know you're in there. People are asking where you've been… They say have courage, and I'm trying to."
Behind her eyelids, Elsa saw the silhouettes of two tall stones, and a small figure standing between them. She bit her lip, clenched her hands. Weselton, Arendelle's closest partner in timber and fur trade… Southern Isles, steady relations but minor business ties…
"I'm right out here for you… Just let me in."
Conceal, don't feel.
"We only have each other. It's just you and me…" Anna's voice trembled. "What are we gonna do?"
She heard her sister slide down to the floor, felt her head fall back against the door. For the first time in forever, they were sitting back to back. And for the first time in forever, Elsa wasn't glad for the wood and ice between them.
The snow fell harder from thin air, gathering on Elsa's shoulders. Be the good girl you always have to be.
"… Do you want to build a snowman…?"
Her nails dug into her arms as Elsa listened to the sound she hated most in the world; more than the crack of ice, more than laughter outside the gates, more than silence.
Her sister was crying.
It was only supposed to be two weeks. She'd had a king's promise. Her Papa had lowered his head to hers and smiled with his warm gaze… You'll be fine, Elsa.
But now Elsa was cold and small, and Anna was crying in a place she couldn't reach. Her room – her safety, her prison – was frozen solid.
She wasn't fine.
Raising her head just a little, Elsa opened her eyes. The unfallen tears made everything a white blur. She heard Anna stifle a sob, pictured her wiping her face, and suddenly Elsa's own face was wet.
"I really, really do," she whispered.
She heard Anna sniffle. A long pause.
Then her sister's small voice seeped through the wood and ice and silence. "Elsa?"
Elsa's eyes widened, a tear falling from her lashes. She felt her father's stare. Elsa, he murmured. What have you done? She buried her face back in her arms.
"Elsa?" Anna tried again.
Moonlight trickled through the space below her door, shining in from the arched windows in the hallway. The last time Elsa had let herself look through those windows, it was to watch their parents' carriage make its way to the ship. Maybe if she hadn't looked, they would have returned. Maybe Elsa had cursed them.
The faint light shifted as Anna moved. Her bubbly haste was absent, but so was the sound of her crying. It was the only thing that comforted Elsa right now.
A long stretch of silence. Then- knock knock kno-knock knock.
Elsa's head came up as Anna asked again, "Do you want to build a snowman? It doesn't have to be a snowman."
The familiar muffle of her sister pressing her lips to the keyhole put the smallest of smiles on Elsa's face. Of course I want to build a snowman, Anna.
Suddenly, the words threatened to rise with the lump in her throat. Keeping them down made her voice crack. Instead, hesitantly-
"Goodnight, Anna," Elsa said, for the first time in ten years.
She always listened for the sound of Anna leaving, the dejected "okay, bye" and dragging feet. If Anna turned around, Elsa would think to herself, she'd give her sister a chance, any chance. But when Anna did turn around and knock her hopeful knock one more time, Elsa's Have you been well? or I miss you, too always turned into Go away, Anna, and she'd feel even worse. She stopped wishing, yet in spite of everything, Elsa never stopped listening.
But this time, she didn't hear Anna leave.
"Good… Goodnight, Elsa."
This time, Elsa simply heard Anna. No knocks, no goodbyes – just Anna.
A/N: When I watched the movie for the first time and heard Do You Want To Build A Snowman? I always wished they'd let Elsa have the last line. I mean, come on, it fits the music! And we need every sisterly fluff we can get! It makes me sad to think that these amazing sisters couldn't even be there for each other. So here's my shot at what might have been if Elsa had said something that night. These oneshots will reimagine the three years between the king and queen's death, up to coronation day.
The chapter title comes from an amazing song by reindeersarebetter. She wrote and sang the snowman song from Elsa's POV! You have no idea how happy I was to find someone had the same thoughts as me! Check it out here: reindeersarebetter. tumblr post/69827214444/of-course-i-want-to-build-a-snowman-is-my
I'm an old fanfiction writer on a new account hashing out something for the first time in forever, so thanks so much for reading and I hope you guys enjoy the ride with me!