Rapunzel's eyes were shut tight.

The clash of steel rang throughout the palace, reverberating off the walls and filling her ears. Elsa's heavy head coughed and shifted in her lap. The trickling blood soaked into her dress.

She didn't want to look. Not at Elsa or Anna or Hans. She remembered the blood-stained vest she pulled back to inspect Eugene's fatal wound, the fast swipe of the shard that severed her magic, the sinking feeling in her stomach as she watched Gothel fall from the tower. She was afraid to relive those moments of hopelessness again.

But she did.

When she opened her eyes she saw Anna's hands, towering and shaking over her head, grasping onto the handle of her sword. The two blades had connected, defiant and unmoving. Anna too had shut her eyes, shrugging under the weight of his force. Gradually she opened them, hesitant to believe she had protected herself.

But she did.

Rapunzel glanced to Hans, still holding his parried sword above Anna's head. His eyes were wide with fear, and as she gazed down she soon found why – an arrow had struck into his chest. He moved his free hand towards it, palm outstretched and fingers strained, attempting to pull the arrow out.

But he never did.

A ruddy frost poured out from the wound, turning flesh to ice. As it spread, the ice became bluer, embedding sparkling snowflakes across his solidified skin, dancing across each strand of hair and each stitch of cloth. It quickly consumed him, freezing Hans in his attack. Ice encased the arrow and crawled over his sword. Anna moved hers away with a gasp before it could be covered in the ice.

Hans stood before them. Frozen.

Heads turned to Merida. The princess was still, bow steady in her hand. Her unfocused eyes stared deep into Hans for a few moments, as if he were miles away. With a gaping mouth and raised expression, she muttered, "I think I remember now. I remember the first thing I told him; I'd send an arrow straight through his heart."

Another bout of silent moments passed until King Klaus stirred, straightening himself to bellow his orders. "Seize them! Take their weapons!"

Merida's bow was ripped from her hands by a Southern Isles soldier. Anna's sword was twisted from her wrist. Rapunzel felt the rough tug of a leather strap over her shoulders and across her ears, releasing her from her crossbow.

Everyone was taken by their arms forcibly held behind their backs. Rapunzel leaned her weight against their pull, not about to leave Elsa's side. Her terrible dream flashed into her mind – Elsa needed her. Elsa, helpless and cuffed, dying by a wound Hans inflicted and blood seeping from her side. Rapunzel had to fight, for every moment, to keep them from taking her away.

Anna fought too, kicking the man who held her. "Let me go! Elsa needs me!"

Klaus raised a permissive hand. "Let the girls go."

Rapunzel and Anna and Merida flocked to Elsa's side. Rapunzel elevated her head onto her bloodied lap. Anna ripped a piece of cloth from the hem of her skirt, trying to apply it to the damaged flesh.

"You'll be okay. I've got you." Anna whispered repeatedly, wrapping Elsa's waist in the soft fabric despite the rose-colored cloth deepening to crimson.

The queen's eyes flickered, resting them upon her sister. With a weak voice, she sputtered, "I'm… sorry. I didn't… tell you the truth. You protected me… but I couldn't protect you – any of you." She gazed around the room, focusing upon Merida's white ribbon of hair.

"No, no, no! No sorries. You can't leave me, Elsa!" Anna said, wetness welling in her eyes.

"You can't blame yourself," Rapunzel said, also choking back her tears. "You kept your promises." Elsa's eyes started to lose focus, but Rapunzel could detect an appreciative glance.

"Aye. You saved my family, Elsa." Merida nodded.

Anna clutched her sister's wrist above the cuff tightly to her chest, leaning in. "See Elsa? We need you! Don't go! Don't… don't make me go to your funeral too."

Elsa winced at her plea. More blood spilled over her red lips and into her white hair. It seemed she lost the strength to speak.

"Rapunzel!" Anna cried, pulling her out of her panicked daze. "You can heal her! You can sing your song and heal her with you tears!"

She tried to swallow a nervous gulp, but her mouth was too dry. She hadn't healed anyone since Eugene, three long years ago. She was doubtful it would still work.

"I don't know…"

"You have to try!"

Anna was right, she had to try. It was Elsa's best chance. Yet Rapunzel still felt uneasy, suddenly aware of the tears that were escaping her eyes.

"Alright," Rapunzel nodded, lowering her head over Elsa's cheek. With a jagged breath, she began to sing.

Flower gleam and glow

Let your power shine

Make the clock reverse

"What are you doing?!" The King roared in confusion, gripping the rail. She started to sing faster.

Bring back what once was –

"Grab her! Keep the Corona girl away from the queen!"

Hands returned to her arms and pulled her back with a whipping force. She was forced to her feet. Elsa's head fell from her lap and onto the hard ice.

"Hey!" Eugene shouted, trying to escape the hold of the soldier behind him. "Don't hurt her!"

"No! Let me heal her!" Rapunzel cried as she was pulled away from her cousins, her friends, and her husband. The soldiers steadied her on the opposite side of the palace near Grant, still encased in Elsa's icy cage. It became more apparent just how much blood Elsa was losing now. The ice around her was a stark red.

"Princess Rapunzel of Corona," King Klaus started, "I've heard about you. Born with the power to heal the sick and the old, even with your tears. I thought you lost that ability."

"I did. I mean, I don't know." Rapunzel quickly corrected. A part of her was ashamed she had just denied her powers so fast. After all, she had to hope it still worked, for Elsa's sake.

"Well, I'm not taking any chances."

"Why? Do you want her dead?" Rapunzel asked. The soldier's grip squeezed harder at her insolence.

"A prince for a princess," Klaus replied smugly, "it's a fair trade."

"She's a QUEEN! We need her! She needs me!"

"I needed Hans too, but now he's gone. She'll rightly pay for that."

Rapunzel's eyes narrowed. Klaus didn't need Hans the way they needed Elsa. He was a pawn to him.

She shifted her eyes to Hans. A fair trade.

"I'll heal Hans if you let me heal Elsa."

Klaus lifted a skeptic brow. "You would heal Hans?"

"Yes," Rapunzel replied, firm and determined. "Just let me heal her… I promise."

The King was silent. He decided he needed the council of his brother to calculate her offer. He ushered his brothers into a huddle, secretly deliberating.

"Rapunzel," whispered a hushed voice, barely audible. "You shouldn't do this."

She swiveled her head around, searching for the voice. The small tap of ice caught her attention.

"Grant?" Rapunzel asked, watching as Grant tapped his finger against the bars that held him. The soldier behind her grabbed her roughly by the wrist.

"Quiet you!" He ordered. She pursed her lips and diverted her glance back to Klaus, still talking to his council. She gave a small nod of her head for Grant to continue.

"Hans is a pawn. Elsa's a queen. It's not a fair trade."

"It is to Klaus," Rapunzel answered, more softly this time. Their quiet conversation went unnoticed by the soldiers.

"He won't honor it. He'll let you heal Hans but not Elsa," Grant whispered, staring at the gathering pool of blood by Elsa's side. She was running out of time.

"It might be my only chance."

"But you'd be bringing Hans back."

Rapunzel looked at Grant. His eyes were wet, deep with stinging regret.

"Don't you want your brother back?"

He didn't answer her.

Klaus spoke up again. She hadn't realized he had finished with his meeting. "Very well, Princess. We accept your proposal."

Rapunzel's face lightened, a feeble smile flashing on her face. "Thank you, Klau-"

"But on one condition. You must heal Hans first."

Her smile quickly fell. Grant was right, they would let her heal Hans, but they may never let her heal Elsa.

"But Elsa is dying! She needs help first!" Rapunzel argued, with Anna's muffled sobbing accompanying her pleas.

"Please Klaus, let her – " Grant started, but the king interrupted him.

"These are our conditions. Otherwise, there is no deal."

"Okay," Rapunzel answered eagerly. It wasn't ideal, but she didn't want to lose the opportunity. "I'll do it."

Rapunzel approached Hans' frozen figure under the watchful eye of the king. The last time she did this, she was all alone in her tower, with only the company of a weakened Pascal to comfort her as Eugene lay dead in her arms. Now she had a captive audience – soldiers, thugs, friends and family, enemies – to watch as she save a man whom she felt no love for. Even Anna, preoccupied in her sister's failing breaths, nervously drew her eyes away to watch her moments at a time.

As she came closer, she could see the details in Hans' fatal pose. The ice immediately around the arrow was red, and in the shape of a heart. His eyes, now snowflakes with hollow pupils, were locked in terror. Rapunzel bowed her head under his frozen sword, stepping to his other side. If her tear did work, she wouldn't want to be standing where Anna stood.

With a deep breath, she slowly reached for Hans' open hand, still under the arrow. Her fingers nearly grazed his when frost began to crawl up her hands, chilling them to the bone.

She yelped, snatching her hands away.

"Rapunzel!" Eugene shouted, "Are you okay?"

She nursed her hands, rubbing the frost off and breathing on them for warmth. "Yeah, I'm okay. It's just cold."

Her attention returned to Hans, realizing she would have to heal him without touching him. She bent her head over his hand, her whole body shaking from both fright and cold.

Her trembling voice started.

Flower gleam and glow

Let your power shine

Already, a problem came to her mind. She could not cry for Hans.

Rapunzel glared at Hans' eyes, reflecting the same terror she felt. How could she bring him back? After everything he had done?

She had watched as Hans declared war on her kingdom, spreading panic for her people and destroying her home. She had watched as his soldiers took Eugene away, captured Merida, and sent Elsa into the bay with an arrow in her arm. She had watched as Hans threatened her, dragging her down the hall against her will.

The Captain of the Guard died by his orders. Eugene and Kristoff would have too, if they hadn't rescued them in time. And now Elsa, dying on the cold ground, was his last execution. He may have been a pawn, but he was not innocent.

She continued anyways.

Make the clock reverse

Bring back what once was mine

Her eyes were still dry. Hans wasn't hers to bring back. He didn't deserve a second chance.

A familiar voice echoed in her head. "Would you give Mother Gothel a second chance?"

Elsa had asked her that as they discussed Hans' fate, back on the Corona ship before they landed on DunBroch. It was a question she had avoided.

Rapunzel knew now why Grant never gave her an answer when she asked if he wanted Hans back. He didn't know. Just like her.

Hans and Gothel had manipulated people, murdered people, for their own selfish needs. It was a crime she never actually forgave Gothel for, swearing that she would never use her hair again. But she also promised her everything would go back to how it was – a promise she never fulfilled.

The growing rift within Rapunzel burdened down on her, torn between her promises. She didn't want to know if she still had her powers. She didn't want to be used again, by Gothel or Hans or Klaus or anyone who discovered what she could do. But her freedom always meant less to her than those she loved. She had to do it to save her cousin. Her friend.

Heal –

Before she could finish the lyric, a loud gasp escaped Anna's mouth. Rapunzel turned to find Elsa limp in Anna's hands, her blue armor fading. It became colorless, lifeless, a dull and empty ice that spread from Elsa's armor throughout the rest of the palace. The once brilliant sparkles and fractals no longer shone in the sun. Olaf's eyes became coal, his life vanishing along with the rest of Elsa's creation.

Elsa was dead.

"ELSA!" Anna screamed, almost inhuman, trying to shake her sister into futile consciousness. "NO! ELSA!"

Rapunzel gritted her teeth. Her eyes were no longer dry. Now was the time.

Heal what has been hurt

Change the fate's design

She focused herself back on Hans, leaning over his hand. If Elsa could forgive him, her own murderer, so could she. She would give him a second chance.

Save what has been lost

Bring back what once was mine

What once was mine

A tear fell from her cheek. She observed as it fell onto Hans' hand. The golden drop landed, frozen, trapped in an icy tear that could not penetrate his cold figure.

Rapunzel took a step back, astonished. The teardrop was frozen but not solid, its golden power still glowing beneath a thin veil of ice. She could heal, but the ice would not let her heal Hans.

She could still keep her powers hidden.

"It didn't work," she said in a breathy announcement.

Her friends lowered their heads. Alexander pushed his glasses up on his nose. "I knew there was no such thing as magic."

Klaus sighed, disappointed. "Indeed. What a pity." He stood tall, surveying the room, his eyes darting from prisoner to prisoner and lastly on Elsa. "I think we're done here."

He and the princes descended the staircase, passing their imprisoned brother.

"Hey, wait! You're just going to leave me here?" Grant yelled, gripping the ice bars.

"You're a traitor," Drew answered calmly. "You belong with traitors."

The soldiers released Rapunzel's friends and followed the Southern Isles' royalty to the front door of the palace. One interrupted Klaus as he exited.

"Excuse me, Your Majesty. What should we do with them?" The solider asked, gesturing to Elsa's company.

Klaus narrowed his eyes and nodded. "Their queen is dead. They've run out of moves. Leave them."

And with that, he shut the door, closing them in darkness.

Rapunzel raced to Elsa's side, taking her head into her lap again. Anna was motionless, her head bowed. "Thank you for trying, Rapunzel. I know it wasn't easy." Her voice was still course from mournful screams.

"No, Anna, I can still heal her!" Rapunzel said excitedly, taking Anna's hand. "It didn't work before because my tear froze."

A faint sparkle lit in Anna's eyes. "You can?!"

Rapunzel nodded. "I didn't want them to know. They might not have let me near her."

With the soldiers gone her friends freely stood beside her. Eugene kneeled down, holding her shoulders in a reassuring squeeze. Kristoff embraced Anna, but she kept her head peeking over his bicep to watch Rapunzel's incantation.

She eagerly started, rousing her wet eyes again.

Flower gleam and glow

Let your power shine

Make the clock reverse

Bring back what once was mine

Heal what has been hurt

Change the fate's design

Save what has been lost

Bring back what once was mine

What once was mine...

Another tear fell on Elsa's face, soaking into her skin. They waited. And they waited.

Each passing second became longer than the first. Rapunzel impatiently shook Elsa's shoulders, whispering her name.

"Why isn't it working?" Anna asked.

Rapunzel shook her head, frustrated. "I thought…"

"You don't have powers, Rapunzel." A grave voice spoke. Grand Pabbie approached them, saddened. "You've used it all."

"Used it all?" Rapunzel repeated.

The troll took her hands in his. "Earlier I thought you still had your powers. It was what kept your heart from freezing – you healed yourself with it. Something has happened to drain it from you. You only had one tear left."

"… and I used it on Hans." Rapunzel stared on in horror at Hans' frozen body. A speck of glowing light radiated from his hand. "It was meant for Elsa."

"I'm sorry, Your Highness," the troll gave his condolences, putting a sorrowful hand on Elsa's forehead. But Rapunzel wouldn't accept it.

"I can bring her back."

Suddenly, the princess rose and sprinted to Hans' figure. As swiftly as she could, she grabbed the tear from his hand. The ice froze her fingertips, covering them in frigid frost. She fought through painful tears, rushing back to the queen.

"Rapunzel, what are you doing?" Anna asked. She watched confused as Rapunzel raised the tear over her head, clutched between her frost-bitten fingers, and brought it down onto Elsa's armor. It shattered into a million little pieces.

The golden drop that was trapped within the ice had been freed. It ran down into the contours of the crystal armor, glimmering against her cold waist, until it reached the open wound.

A burst of light.

Dancing rays filled the palace, turning the grey dull room into a golden wonder. A familiar flower, wispy and ethereal, emerged from her wound. The trundles of light wrapped around Rapunzel's fingers, kissing them with warmth and melting the frost.

Everyone shielded their eyes from the intense whiteness that shone from Elsa's body. It was a display of power Rapunzel had never seen; an overwhelming dichotomy of gold and white, sun and ice, life and light. A snowflake grew from beneath her, spreading to touch every inch of the palace. Olaf's eyes returned to life as it reached him.

The light finally subsided. Elsa's wound was gone, covered by new armor that shone with dazzling purity. Her ice was white.

The queen's head stirred, her eyes flickered. "Anna?"

Anna screeched with joy, pouncing on her sister before she could recover. "You're back! You're back!"

Rapunzel joined soon after, burying her head into the nook of Elsa's neck. "I thought we lost you."

Merida chuckled. "Rapunzel changed yer fate, Ice Queen. She used her last tear on you."

Elsa smiled as she came to her senses again, realizing what had happened. She reached out to Merida and Kristoff and Eugene, welcoming them into the embrace, which they willingly took. They were united again.

Rapunzel broke the hug, wiping joyful tears from her eyes. "You should know King Klaus and his army left. I'm not sure where he went."

"We'll find him. We're not out of this yet." Elsa replied. She noticed Grant, still waiting in his cage, watching longingly at their reunion.

Elsa sighed. "Grant, I – "

An explosion interrupted them, shaking the palace. They all nealry collapsed onto each other.

"What the bloody hell was that?" Merida asked, unsteadily returning to her feet.

Another shock trembled through their bodies. A cloud of fire and iron illuminated the outside of the palace. Grant shouted over the rumble of icy debris.

"They're firing at us!"