"Love will thaw . . . love will thaw . . . "
Elsa closed her eyes, slowing her breath, concentrating on filling her mind with love. "Love will thaw . . ." She imagined her sister's face smiling at her, the two of them laughing together as children. "Love will thaw . . ." She remembered her parents holding her when she was little, back before they became afraid to touch her.
"Love will thaw . . . love will thaw . . . love will thaw . . ."
She felt warm inside. Yes, yes, it had to be working, love was the key . . .
But when she opened her eyes, nothing had changed. The air was still cold and the snow and ice still covered the world and Anna was still looking expectantly at her. The white streak was still in her hair – that permanent reminder of how Elsa had almost killed her.
Elsa's breath quickened at her sister's voice, heaving as if the cold affected her like it did others. "Anna . . ." Her eyes were welling up. ". . . I'm sorry." A tear made it halfway down her cheek before it froze, biting into her skin.
"Elsa . . ." Anna's hands were instantly on her sister's shoulders. "It's all right, we'll figure something else out."
Elsa pried Anna's hands off her as the snow once more started swirling around them. "No, no." She swallowed, but it did nothing to moisten her dry throat. "Anna . . . I have to leave."
"WHAT?" Anna looked like she had been punched in the stomach. "Elsa, you tried that already and it didn't work." Again she grabbed her sister's hand. "Now come on, we'll figure this out together . . ."
"No, I can't!" Elsa shouted. "Don't you see, Anna, so long as I'm here the winter will continue . . ."
"But you already left and it didn't stop the winter!"
Elsa took a deep breath, blinking her way through the tears, staring into Anna's heartbroken eyes. "I didn't go far enough away. Maybe . . . maybe if I go so far away that no one will ever find me, my effect on Arandelle will wear off."
Now Anna's eyes were welling up in shock. "No . . . no . . . Elsa, you can't mean that . . ."
How she wanted to hug her sister goodbye and assure her that everything would be all right, but she could make no such promise. She backed away, slowly at first, then increasing her speed as she moved further away. She heard Anna screaming her name as Kristoff held her back, tears streaming down her face.
"Please Anna," she whispered, "this is for everyone's good."
With that, she turn around and ran away, a snowfall whipping around her.
. . .
"Elsa! Elsa! ELSA!"
Anna desperately kept crying out as her sister disappeared into the blowing snow, wrestling weakly against Kristoff's grasp. "ELSA!"
"Anna," Kristoff said in a voice that sounded like he was trying to convince himself as well as her, "she knows what she's doing."
"But Elsa . . ."
"She's doing this for you!" Kristoff exclaimed in a near-shout. "You and the kingdom. If she doesn't leave, everyone will freeze to death, do you want that?"
Anna sank to her knees as Kristoff let go of her, babbling her sister's name over and over, barely noticing Kristoff gently rubbing her back or Olaf waddling up to them.
"Hey Anna," the snowman said in a voice far too cheery for Anna's mood, "don't lose hope. Why, I'll bet Elsa will be right back as soon as summer comes back!"
Anna couldn't respond. She could only stare out into the snow after the sister she had only just gotten back only to lose once again.
Elsa was gone.
. . .
Two days later, Anna was crowned Queen of Arandelle. While she was younger than was traditional for the kingdom to crown their rulers, it was decided that given the situation, they needed a leader to look up to as soon as possible. Her stomach felt like it was in a double knot as the deacon placed the crown on her head – the crown that should be Elsa's. Of course, she had always known that there was a possibility that she could become ruler one day if anything happened to Elsa, but she had never imagined that it would actually happen.
She gulped as she faced her new subjects, along with the many guests from other kingdoms who were still stranded far away from their homes, looking to her for guidance. "E-everyone," she managed to say after gulping again, "I know this wasn't what you came here for." She tried to ignore the Duke of Weselton glaring at her. "I'm not the queen you expected to see crowned, b-but I'm the queen nonetheless . . . and as your queen, I promise that those of you who are our guests will get home." She stood up a little straighter, imitating Elsa's posture at her own coronation. "We will all work together – we'll break through the ice and free your ships and we'll repair the ships that were damaged in the ice." Her voice grew louder as she spoke. "It will be a lot of work, but I promise you, we will survive this. I don't know when the snow will melt, but I know we won't give up."
There was silence for a moment, two moments, three moments, then Kristoff started applauding, slowly followed by the rest of the audience – even the Duke of Weselton gave a bit of reluctant applause, but Anna hardly heard it. This isn't right, her mind kept saying. You're not the queen, Elsa is.
She inhaled through her teeth, trying desperately to silence her mind. It didn't matter now that Elsa was the true queen; it didn't matter that she felt like a fake queen. What mattered was the wellbeing of the kingdom, and whether she liked it or not, she was the one in charge of that now.
. . .
As time passed, Arandelle gradually grew warmer. Under Anna's guidance, the citizens and guests managed to cut through the slowly-melting ice and the guests could finally go home. Hans was sent home in chains, much to Anna's relief, though she would have liked to give him a good punch before he left.
As for the citizens of Arandelle, they adapted. They gathered whatever edible plants poked their way through the snow, hunted, and increased trade with other kingdoms. The fjord finally melted completely, ensuring their survival.
The snow, however, never went away, and Elsa never returned.
Wow, I'm posting a non-Star Wars fic here. Anyway, I've had this AU idea in my head for ages, but just like so many of my ideas, I didn't get around to actually writing it until now. As much as I love Frozen as it is, I've always found the "love will thaw" ending a tad . . . convenient. Like, just like that Elsa's in complete control? Also, one of my favorite fairytales growing up was The Snow Queen and the movie bears almost no resemblance to the original story (just about the only thing they have in common is a queen with ice powers), so this story will use some elements from the fairytale. I honestly don't know how good it will be since I've never written a Frozen fic before, but here it is.
Very interesting. I like the characterization. I'll be looking forward to chapter 2.
This is a really interesting AU-idea! Great job