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A few years go by before Anna and Kristoff finally marry. It was not easy to be patient, but Anna knows she was right to make herself wait. This time she knows she has found true love. This time it feels right. This time it will be perfect. Elsa decorates the castle with splendid sculptures of ice and adorns Anna’s wedding gown with sparkling crystal patterns. The whole kingdom gathers to celebrate; even the trolls come down from the mountains to see Kristoff get married. With both their parents gone, it’s Elsa who gives Anna away. As Elsa places Anna’s hand in Kristoff’s, Anna stands between the two people she loves most in the whole world. She has never been so happy.

Elsa never marries, content to rule alone with her sister by her side. Her subjects find this a little strange, but they pay it no mind; the kingdom, at least, will have no shortage of heirs. Anna and Kristoff soon have half a dozen little blond and redhead children. When Anna hears their laughter echoing through the once empty rooms, her heart swells with joy; she knows they will never know the loneliness she and Elsa once had to bear. Aunt Elsa is universally adored by her nieces and nephews, becoming like a second mother to them. Sven and Olaf delight in their games.

Summers and winters pass by, the years blending together. Under the touch of time, some grow up. Others grow old. Elsa’s hair is already so pale that nobody notices it turning white. Anna’s face is lined from years of laughter, but her eyes never lose their youthful brightness. Every day, rain or shine, without fail, Anna knocks on Elsa’s door. It always opens, until one day it doesn’t.

Anna knocks the way she always does. There is no reply. Gently, she eases open the door and slips inside. Elsa lies in her bed, her eyes closed, her face peaceful and serene. One of her hands dangles over the edge of the bed. She seems to be sleeping, and Anna goes to wake her, but then she looks down. On the floor by the bedside, under Elsa’s outstretched hand, lie two stones, two sticks and a carrot in a small puddle of water. And all at once she knows that Elsa will not wake again.

Anna stands on the hillside, Kristoff’s arm tightly around her. Three graves stand where there once were two. Even surrounded by her family, Anna somehow feels lonelier than she has in years. The headstone looms, large and heavy; it looks like just another door to keep the sisters apart. But Anna does not knock. There will be no answer now. She burrows her head into Kristoff’s side, silent tears streaming down her face. For the first time in forever, she has no words to say.

Then the snow falls. Flakes brush across Anna’s face as if they want to wipe away her tears. The cold wind swirls gently around her, tugging playfully at her mourning clothes. Somehow, Anna no longer feels so alone.

Every year, Anna watches eagerly for the snow the way she did as a little girl. When the winter comes and a white blanket cloaks the kingdom, it feels like a message from Elsa. In the winter she seems close enough to touch; on warmer days she still feel so far away.

The first flakes fall in the early autumn, settling softly on the ground. “It’s too soon for snow,” everyone whispers, fearful of another unexpected winter. But Princess Anna, grey haired and frail, sitting outside the palace surrounded by the children she loved and raised, thinks it’s just the right time. She leans back into her chair, feeling the gentle, cold touch of the snowflakes on her face, and lets her eyes close. They don’t open again.

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