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Out of Thin Air

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“I like your dress, by the way,” Anna said.

“Oh,” said Elsa absently. “Thank you.” Then, almost as an afterthought— “I made it.”

“Oh.”

They stood in silence for a few moments, watching from the pier as the last of the tall ships sailed out of Arendelle Harbor.

Then, as though struck by a sudden realization, Anna blinked and turned to goggle at her sister. “Wait, you made it? When? While you were climbing the mountain?”

Feeling unaccountably self-conscious, Elsa looked down at her hands. “No ... after.”

“You just made it,” Anna said flatly. “Out of thin air.”

“No,” Elsa said. “Out of my old dress.”

“It doesn’t look anything like your old dress.”

“I ... suppose not.”

“So, you can just make things?”

“Well,” said Elsa slowly, lifting her chin and staring thoughtfully across the sun-spattered waves, “yes. After all, I made Olaf, and my castle. I made your ice skates.”

“Oh, that’s true. Wow, that’s really amazing. Can you make anything?

“I don’t know,” Elsa said. It was a half-truth. Before yesterday, she’d been unaware of the true extent of her powers, though she’d long suspected she could do more than just manipulate the snow and ice. During her lonely childhood, she’d sometimes talked to her dolls and imagined that they could talk back, usually with her sister’s voice. Eventually she’d stopped, not because she was growing too old for dolls – though that was part of it – but because she’d begun to feel that familiar cold tingle in her palms even when she played, and she’d been frightened.

What might she have done, she wondered, if she hadn’t been so afraid? Looking back made her sad, but she couldn’t help it. Could she have animated her dolls as she’d animated Olaf – truly brought them to life? Could she have conjured a pet for herself, a friend?

And what might have happened if she had? What would her parents have done, if they’d come to her room one morning and found her playing with, say, a herd of snow-bunnies? She smiled at the image, though she doubted her parents would have reacted well. They’d loved her, she knew, and they’d genuinely tried to help her, but they’d gotten it all wrong.

Soooo,” said Anna, cutting into her thoughts and startling her, “I guess the next time I want a new dress, all I have to do is ask, huh?”

Elsa’s lips quirked. She wanted to say something tart in response, but the best she could come up with was a somewhat lofty: “Well, I suppose that’s better than raiding my closet.”

“Raid your closet?” Anna laughed brightly – almost too brightly, Elsa thought. “How ... prosaic.”

Elsa raised her eyebrows at her sister, but she didn’t speak, and after a moment Anna scooted a little bit closer and wrapped both her arms around one of Elsa’s. As hugs went, it was still somewhat awkward, but it was definitely endearing and Elsa felt her lips moving to form a genuine smile.

“I want one with glitter too,” Anna said, “but pink. No, green. No, blue. We could match.”

Elsa sucked in a shaky breath – it would take a while for her to get used to people asking her to use her power – but her smile remained steady. “We’ll see,” she promised.

3/15/2014