Elsa lay looking up at the curtains over her bed…waiting for sleep to overtake her. For the first time in her life, she was finding that falling asleep wasn't a chore. She thought it was because she was finally happy, finally after all these years. She knew someone loved her… loved her enough to die for her, to sacrifice her own self. The fact that it was the sister that she'd shut out for most of her young life was all the more amazing to her. She had literally died to protect Elsa. A sister Elsa had shut out of her life for years loved her enough to die for her. All these years, Elsa had been so frightened and so afraid she was a monster… it took losing it all to gain everything. There was a faint knock on her chamber door. A knock that sounded so familiar. One she'd heard so many countless times and forced herself to ignore.

"Elsa…? Are you awake?" came a low, tentative voice from the outside.

"Yes. Come on in.", Elsa answered, sitting up in bed and propping herself up with pillows.

The door swung open to reveal her sister, a nervous look on the young girl's face. "I'm sorry to bother you so late."

"Anna, you're never a bother.", she smiled warmly, "Is everything okay?"

"Yes, I mean, no… I mean, I just um... had a nightmare… again…and, uh…", she stammered, "I was just um… I mean, I was wondering if it would be okay if…"

Elsa smiled at her. "Would you like to sleep in here… with me?", she asked scooting over in the bed to make room for her sister.

Anna's eyes lit up and a huge smile beamed from her face. "Oh yes! Yes! I would love that! More than anything!"

"Well, what are you waiting for, come on over here.", Elsa said, raising the covers and patting the mattress invitingly for the younger girl.

She raced over and slid under the sheets and blankets, pressing her warm body into the coolness of Elsa's and Elsa pulled her close, hugging her tight, she kissed the top of her auburn hair lightly. She was freshly out of the bath and her skin smelled of talc and rose petals, her hair of lavender castile soap. A lovely, calming fragrance. Elsa inhaled a deep draught of it.

"Mmmmm, you smell nice.", she said.

Anna's eyes brightened, her cheeks coloring slightly at the compliment. "Oh, I do? Well, uh… t-thank you, Elsa. S-so do you. Not that you don't always smell nice. I mean, you always do. Smell nice, of course."

Elsa smiled back at her, nodding kindly and pretending to ignore her rambling. "Thank you.", she said, secretly loving how adorably flustered and self-conscious Anna always became whenever she praised her. It was bittersweet, though, because she knew that the reason Anna always reacted that way was because she was not used to being complimented by her sister and whenever she was, it made her feel awkward and embarrassed. This stemmed, Elsa knew, from all the years that Anna had thought Elsa hated her, when it was really quite the opposite. But Elsa also knew that any sort of kind word she spoke to Anna made her smile that irresistible little girl smile of hers and caused her eyes light up with pure joy and happiness. So she flattered her whenever she got the chance and enjoyed her younger sister's bashful, flustered response.

As long as she lived, Elsa didn't think she would ever tire of how wonderful it felt just to cuddle like this with Anna. She had slept in her cold bed all alone for all those years, now it felt so good to have someone warm to hold onto, it was like she could feel the love just radiating from her sister and permeating Elsa's cool exterior... a warmth spreading all the way to her very core. She wanted to hold Anna like this always... never let her go.

Elsa sighed. "So, bad dreams again, huh?", she asked, pulling herself out of her reverie.

Anna nodded against her. "About last week… about… us."

Elsa winced. She opened her mouth but before she could formulate a response, Anna blurted, "Please don't leave me again, Els! Don't shut me out…. I just, I couldn't take that, not again, not now that I finally got you back, I… I think I would die."

"Oh, sweetie," Elsa soothed, pulling her younger sister close, "Don't worry, I won't ever leave you again.", she said, hugging her tight. "I promise."

Elsa felt her sister relax a bit at this, but looked down to find Anna staring fiercely into her eyes. She did her best not to look away as her sister searched her eyes desperately.

"Elsa," she began, "it's just that I've been alone for so long. We both have. Without each other. So many years apart. I want to believe you. Want to trust you. All this time has gone by and you seem to have just grown cold and indifferent… and even though we used to be best friends, I'm not sure I even know you now."

Elsa flinched, "I- I'm so, so sorry, Anna. There aren't enough words in a million dictionaries to tell you just how sorry I am for what I did to you.", she said softly, her eyes filling up. She immediately felt Anna's arms tighten around her, which made the tears spill down her cheeks… freezing as they hit the air and falling onto the quilt.

"I love you, Els. I—I'm sorry what I said came out so harsh. It's just I've wanted to talk to you about this for so long."

"No, no," Elsa said, "You're right. It was fair and I totally deserved it after the way I've treated you. No apologies. We do need to talk about this. Have for 13 years." Elsa knew that they were going to end up having this conversation one day. She had dreaded it, but now that it was here, she was glad it was happening.

Anna nodded.

Elsa took a deep, steadying breath.

"I'm still the same… inside.", she explained, reaching out and taking Anna's hand in her cool one, interlacing their fingers, "Deep inside. And despite all appearances to the contrary, I never ever stopped loving you, Anna.", she said, looking deeply into Anna's eyes, letting her see through all the layers and forcing her guard down. Dropping all her walls and letting Anna see the scared vulnerable child/woman that lived inside her, the one at her very heart. Something she'd never shown to anyone, not even their parents. Then, she pressed her lips to Anna's hand tenderly. "Never. Not even during all those years of banishment… because that's really what it was. It's what our parents thought was right. But I realize now that it was wrong. Very wrong. The worst thing they could've done to me… or to you. I don't even know how to interact with people socially anymore, never mind be a Queen. And you were denied your only sister and made to feel as though I hated you when that was the farthest thing from the truth. When they died, I was devastated. I think I went a little crazy in here in this… damn room!", she said, looking around, "And, now… well, I'm sorry if I seem distant… I'm really trying. I honestly am. It's just… really hard for me to show my feelings… I've kept everything bottled up for so long… you know after what Papa and Mama drilled into me…"

"Conceal, don't feel. Yes, I know. But it should be reversed: Feel, don't conceal. If you had only let me in, Elsa… just once, just one day, just 5 minutes, I could've helped you see how wrong they were. You have to be free, Els. That's one reason you lost control so easily before, I think. You had held it all back for so long, when something emotional happened, you couldn't hold back any more."

"I know.", Elsa acknowledged quietly.

"Why didn't you ever let me in? Why? Not even once?" Anna said, trying to control her voice… hold back the tears.

"Oh Anna, I wanted to.", Elsa admitted, her face filled with anguish, "So much! So many times! Every time!"

Anna looked up into her sister's wet eyes. "I had to bury our parents alone, Elsa.", she said in a near whisper. The quiet devastation in her voice made Elsa's heart break.

"I know and I'm sorry.", she breathed, "I'm just so sorry. I don't have an excuse. I… I just couldn't face it. They were the only ones who knew about my powers. And then they were gone, just suddenly... gone. Just like that!" She snapped her fingers. "I felt so alone. So utterly lost. It was too overwhelming. I was shattered. I felt like I was on the brink of a bottomless abyss, looking in, leaning in, really. It would have only taken the slightest of breezes to push me over the edge. When they died, I just wanted to curl up and die myself. I seriously considered it many times."

"Oh, Elsa! Suicide?", Anna asked in shock.

Elsa nodded, bleakly, "It would've been so easy: create an ice dagger, plunge it through my heart; or even something far less dramatic, just lower my body temperature until my life ebbed away; or simply jump out the window. So many, many ways.", she looked up at the ceiling and sighed. "But do you know what stopped me?", she asked, looking back at Anna.

"No.", Anna said, eyes wide with the horror at what her sister was telling her.

Elsa gazed at her warmly and smiled. "You.", she said softly.

"Me?", Anna asked in disbelief.

"Yes. The only thing in my life, if you could truly call my existence back then 'life', that I looked forward to every day was you coming to my door. You and your daily visits were the only things that mattered to me; the only constants that made my miserable life worth living, justified my actual existence. I know I never answered you. And that was terrible. Unforgivable. But, I always waited for you to come. Every day. If you didn't, I worried myself sick and became even more depressed than I already was. I so enjoyed hearing about your day. All the silly adventures you'd had. What you'd done. Who you'd seen, met, talked to. What boys you had a crush on. It was really my only contact with the outside world. That and watching you through my window… riding your horse, playing in the garden, talking to people. Living. Doing all sorts of things that I never thought I'd be able to do. You were my only solace, my only outlet, my only hope, really. Living vicariously through you is the only thing that kept me sane, Anna. It was the only thing that gave me any sort of tether to the world outside my room, the world outside my own head and the demons who lived there... the only thing that stopped me from just ending it all rather than living and trying to control the curse. And your tenacity. Your drive to not give up on me.", she shook her head in awe, " I mean for 13 years you talked to a door! I stopped answering you and yet you kept coming. You never gave up. I always admired that. You had more confidence in me than I ever had in myself. I suppose I could have been consumed with jealousy for all the things that you got to experience that I didn't. But I never was. Never. Your tenacity just made me love you all the more. And be in awe of you. I didn't deserve the confidence you had in me."

Elsa's words shocked Anna into an uncharacteristic silence. She had never heard her sister speak that much in her whole life and she was mesmerized by the soft, sweet timbre of her voice as much as she was by the words themselves. Anna's eyes were bright with unshed tears, but Elsa waited while her sister let everything she'd said process.

Elsa knew she had lain herself bare. Exposed all of her deepest, most vulnerable feelings. The only person she ever would have had the courage to be this honest with was Anna. She was on pins and needles to see what her younger sister would make of it all.

Anna didn't really know what she was feeling. A sense of elation and something akin to relief had sailed through her initially at Elsa's words yet, at the same time, there was something else.

Something bad.

Anna took a deep breath.

"Elsa I… I don't know what to say to that.", Anna offered finally. "I—I honestly had no idea. No clue at all, Els. I mean, obviously, I am very happy that my being around helped you and kept you going. But I don't really understand why you couldn't just have told me your secret after Mama and Papa died, then you wouldn't have had to go through all that by yourself. I know I felt so terribly alone then and you obviously did, too. Especially with them being the only ones who had known about your powers. That had to have been so extremely painful for you. But if you'd just trusted me enough to tell—"

"Anna!", Elsa interrupted, temper suddenly flaring. "It's not that I didn't trust you! It's not that at all! I was trying to—"

"Protect me, right?", Anna rolled her eyes.

"Yes!", Elsa snapped. How could Anna not get it? And especially after she'd bared her soul and exposed herself so openly to her?

"But I didn't want to be protected, Elsa. I wanted my sister!", she said, voice shaking with frustrated tears. "I mean, how do you think I felt? I was all alone, too! And I shouldn't have had to be. Neither of us should. But you took away that choice. Our choice. You chose for both of us. You just holed up in your chambers like always. Nothing changed. After all those years, I thought surely you would let me in when we lost mama and papa."

"They were deathly afraid of me, Anna!", Elsa said, her voice shaking with emotion, "Don't you get it? They made me promise them never to let you in… for your own safety. I was just doing what they wanted!"

"But, Elsa, they were wrong! You just said that yourself. If you can see that now, I don't know why you couldn't have seen it then."

"Things were different then, Anna. I didn't know what I know now. It had been like that for 10 years. It was all I'd ever known!"

"Well, it was time to cut the apron strings then, Elsa!", Anna snapped, "I mean, it was so damned obvious how much we needed each other... especially then. But you wouldn't even open the door. You wouldn't even answer me when I humiliated the hell out of myself begging you through the door just to talk to me, to see me. You're my sister, Elsa. I shouldn't have to beg my own sister to see her. All we had was each other but you kept yourself from me. It hurt, Elsa. It hurt a lot."

Elsa sighed. "I know it did, honey, and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I honestly don't know how many more ways I can say it so you'll understand. I beat myself up for it constantly. Still. I can't sleep because of it. I love you, Anna. More than anyone else in this whole world. I never wanted to hurt you."

"But you did.", Anna spat. "All I wanted was for you to take me in your arms and hold me and for me to be able to hold you back. Comfort you, have you comfort me. Support each other, love each other. Like sisters are supposed to do. Have you tell me we'd be okay, get through it somehow, together. Even if you didn't believe it. Be a big sister. I was there for you, Elsa. But you didn't want me. You didn't care. I really needed to feel your arms around me. All you'd had to have done was to open that damned door! We could've talked it through. Our parent's deaths, your powers. Everything. I could've helped you. We could've helped each other! It would've been so easy for you to do that, Elsa! But, you chose to go through it all alone."

"Damn it, Anna, that's not fair!", Elsa replied angrily, slamming her fist into the quilt covering her legs as light snowflakes began to swirl through the air lightly. "It was not easy! Not letting you in was the single hardest thing I've ever done in my whole life! Do you think I enjoyed not being able to talk to you, hold you in my arms, comfort you, be there for you, be your big sister? That's all I ever wanted for as long as I can remember and I was denying myself of it out of my love for you, Anna. To protect you. From me! I thought I was a monster!", Elsa said, voice rising as tears began to sting her eyes, then so softly Anna could barely make it out, "Sometimes I still do."

"Oh, Els, you're not a monster."Anna told her gently, "You never were. Not in any way, form or fashion. And, I didn't need protecting. You weren't dangerous. I would never have been afraid of you."

"Then you are a naive fool, Anna!", she said in exasperation, "Sometimes, I'm even afraid of me! I have no grasp of what I can and cannot do. It's all just trial and error with me. I am still surprised by the magnitude of my powers on a daily basis. If I lose my concentration at any time, even just for a split second, bad… really bad things could happen. It scares the hell out of me!", she confessed, nearly hysterical, the tears finally starting to spill down her cheeks and larger snowflakes starting to materialize all around them as her grasp on her emotions began to slip.

"Oh Elsa," Anna said, her eyes filling with genuine sympathy and her voice going suddenly soft. All her anger dissipated watching her sister's anguish. She really hadn't realized the control Elsa had to have every day just to exist and now she felt bad for pushing her. "I'm sorry for what I said. But, really good things could happen, too. Not just bad. That's exactly why you need to use your powers, practice them. Not fear them. Learn about all the things you can do. Test them out. Like you did with the ice palace. Your powers can be scary yes, but they're also... totally beautiful. Your palace was amazing! I can help you learn to use them. I would love to do that actually. I-If you wanted me to, I mean. It would be a privilege."

"Of course I want you to, Anna, it's just that I worry-"

"Oh Els, I know you would never intentionally do anything to hurt me with them."

"Intentionally, no.", Elsa sighed, glancing around deliberately at the snowflakes that were still falling around them, unbidden.

"I know that, Els. But, if you would just trust—"

"Damn it, Anna, it's not a matter of trust!", Elsa interrupted. "I've always trusted you- I do trust you—"

"Not me, Elsa. You!", Anna advised. "You have to learn to trust yourself."

"Oh!", Elsa's icy blue eyes blinked in surprise, "I- I'm not sure I can."

"Of course, you can, Elsa," Anna said gently, taking her sister's cool hand in her warm one, "Let me help you. I could've been helping you all along after our parents died if you'd just told me about your powers. I know you probably think I would've been frightened, but I honestly couldn't have cared less. You could've told me you secretly had 3 heads and I wouldn't have cared. It wouldn't have mattered. It wouldn't even have fazed me in the slightest at that point. You are my sister, Elsa, and I love you. Unconditionally. No matter what. Forever. I know you thought you were protecting me. But that's not what I needed. What I needed was you, Elsa! I didn't care about anything else. I needed my sister. I needed you so much. But you weren't there. So I was forced to go through everything all on my own. You were able to see me and hear me pour my heart out to you, but I never got anything in return from you. It helped somewhat, I suppose, to unburden myself to a closed door but nothing like if I'd had someone to share my grief with, cry with.", she said and her voice had grown very quiet, desolate.

Elsa's heart squeezed. "Oh, honey, I-", she began.

"You wouldn't even speak to me, Elsa.", Anna said, defeated, her bottom lip beginning to quiver, "Not even thru the door. Not even when I made a complete idiot of myself and begged you to. I was in such pain, but you just ignored me. Do you have any idea how it feels to be ignored by the one you love the most in the world in your hour of need? I... I really, truly thought you hated me. I mean, how could you possibly have treated me like that, if you didn't? And I didn't know what I had ever done to you to make you hate me so much.", she said in a very small, strained voice, the tears finally flowing freely now.

Elsa reached down and flicked her tears away with her thumbs, savoring the warmth against her cool fingertips.

"Oh Anna, you did nothing. Nothing. It was me. It was all me. All the time. I could never ever hate you." she said tenderly, putting her finger under Anna's chin and staring into her eyes intently. "Never, Anna. Not in a million trillion lifetimes. It's like I told you, you kept me going during that time. My love for you is what gave me the will to live. I will tell you something no one knows: I used to sit with my back against the door and wait for you to come just so I could hear your voice. I used to sit there on the other side and when I felt the vibration of the knocks, it was the closest I thought I would ever get to touching you again. I would pretend the vibrations were your hands stroking my back and sob because I was afraid I would never feel that again. That, because of the curse, I would never be able to know what your love felt like ever again. How pathetic is that?", she chuckled humorlessly, "But, the only one I ever hated was myself, Anna. Never you."

Anna's hand absently moved up to stroke her sister's back and Elsa closed her eyes with the sensation. "I love you so much.", Anna told her and Elsa tightened her grip, pulling her close, she began to weep softly. The snow had nearly stopped falling now as Elsa's anger had subsided and she'd calmed down. She made a small gesture with her hand and the remaining flakes disintegrated

"I know," she smiled through her tears, "I'm not sure how you could after all I've done, but I know you do. And it amazes me. Makes me love you even more. You always believed in me. Even when I didn't believe in myself. You never gave up on me. Never faltered in your optimism. You were always there. You're the only one I've ever truly loved and yes, Anna, I should've let you in, but you can't understand how much fear there was inside me. So much fear! I was just so scared! Absolutely scared to death… of my own self. And for you… of what I would do… what I could do. It had been drilled into me all my life. I was a monster. The only proof I needed of this was the fact that I had almost killed you when we were kids. I had to live with that guilt all those years and I still do."

"You're not a monster.", Anna said, looking intently into her eyes, "You were 8 years old, Els. You couldn't be expected to control it at that age. You slipped. It was an accident, pure and simple. You would never have done it on purpose."

"No, but accidents happen… I couldn't risk hurting you!", Elsa cried, her face fraught with torment, "Not again after that. And accidents can happen, no matter what age… like what happened last week… I-I almost killed you… again."

"That was my fault for pushing you, making you—"

"It was not your fault, Anna!", Elsa cut her off abruptly, "Don't you dare try and take the blame for it. Not in any way. It was me! All me! Again! I honestly don't know how you could ever trust me."

"Oh but I do!", Anna told her calmly. "You're better now. Love conquers fear, always. And we have that."

"Your love for me…", Elsa began, gazing at her with such affection that it nearly made Anna cry, "the fact that you loved me enough to die for me. I am still in awe of that. That alone helped me see things so much differently. That was and is everything. Building the ice palace helped, too… a lot… it was the first time I'd ever felt truly free to be the person I really am inside in my whole life. To express myself and not be afraid. And all that's happened in the past week has helped even more, but if I'm being honest, I'm still struggling with it. It's going to take me a long time to come to terms with who I am and what I did… what I am capable of doing. The responsibility of it. It was like a huge burden lifted when I was able to produce the Great Thaw and I learned that I can do so much when it comes from love not fear. I am getting better at controlling my powers every day and that excites me to no end. I'm happier than I have ever been in my whole life right now. With you. Finally. Just holding you in my arms again is pure magic and joy. And, all I feel for you, my sweet sister, is love."

Anna looked up at her, eyes shining in the darkness. "I never stopped loving you, either, Els.", she squeezed her hand, "I promise I always will. But you have to promise me something as well."

Elsa smiled. "Anything."

"That you won't do it again…. Shut me out, I mean. I-I'm just so scared that you'll change your mind and lock the door or run off and leave me again. I know you most likely wouldn't and I'm just being paranoid, but I really do think—"

"Anna! Stop it!," Elsa held up her hand, "I promise I won't ever change my mind and I won't ever leave you. Being with you again makes me happier than anything has in my entire life. You are the thing that matters most to me. You are the one I love the most. The one I've always loved the most. Even if I was really awful at showing it. You give me a reason to exist at all. And, like it or not, you're stuck with me forever now. And if I 'run off' again, I will be taking you with me. Always. To the ends of the earth." She reached over and squeezed Anna's hand.

Anna's eyes brightened and she smiled a huge smile. "Okay, but you have to swear! Do you swear?", she asked in an eager, unexpectedly little girl voice that sounded so much like the one she remembered from when they were kids, it nearly broke Elsa's heart in two.

"I swear.", she smiled, "Cross my heart."

Anna reached over with her finger and made a cross over Elsa's chest, where she thought her heart would be. The older woman nodded.

"And cross yours.", Elsa chuckled, moving her hand over to make the same crossing gesture over Anna's heart, then pressing her hand into Anna's chest and holding it there, reassured by the fluttering she felt beneath her palm. In fact, it felt to Elsa like Anna's heart would burst from her chest at the pounding she felt there.

"It's still beating, don't worry.", Anna smiled.

"More like hammering, I'd say!", she laughed softly.

Anna could contain herself no longer, she reached up and quickly planted a kiss on Elsa's cool lips. The move startled Elsa and she reared back a bit then began to laugh. "Wow, what was that for?," she asked with a huge grin.

"It was to show you how much I love you!" Anna beamed.

Elsa feigned hurt, "Oh, only that much, huh?", she said and Anna looked slightly crestfallen.

Then, Elsa leaned in close to Anna's ear, "Let me show you how much I love you."

****Please let me know what you think so far... after this begins the Elsanna!