Elsa paused in front of the familiar bedroom door. She lifted her hand to knock, but she pulled it back to her chest. So many thoughts flooded her mind. It was just a knock, but at the same time, it was a knock.
How many times had Anna knocked on this exact door when they were growing up? For years, she sat inside, trying not to hear them. It wasn’t that she hadn’t wanted to answer. She was afraid to even stand next to her little sister after what she had done.
Now, on the other side of this door, was a little boy that was scared. Not for the same reasons, but knowing another child was sitting in this room in fear broke her heart. Anna had asked for her help because she knew better than anyone what Adrian needed. They could only hope he didn’t shut them out.
She finally let go of her hand. Reaching forward, she smiled at the irony of being on the other side of this dynamic for once. In the same rhythm from her childhood, she knocked lyrically five times.
“Adrian?” Elsa called softly. “May I come in?”
“Aun Elsa...?” A little voice asked curiously. The three-year-old inside made a soft thump from his bed, and the pitter-patter of feet warmed his aunt’s heart as he came to welcome her. “Aun Elsa!”
She opened the door to see the boy’s blue eyes light up. As vibrant as the Northern Lights, joy glowed at the sight of his beloved aunt. Elsa knelt with arms wide open from him to run inside. His blond locks tossed about as he nestled into her belly. Scooping him up in her arms, Elsa twirled into the room as Adrian giggled. A short ice burst from her foot closed the door behind them.
“How is the fairest prince in the land?”
Adrian giggled as he leaned his head on her shoulder. His little hand reached to play with her loose, pale hair as it swirled about. Her warm smile was a comfort to him as he settled into her embrace.
Elsa tried to keep up the positive atmosphere. The concern was never far from her heart though. How was she to bring up the hot topic when he looked so relieved?
“You look tired,” she mused in a playful voice. Glancing toward the wide window, the woman sighed heavily. “Should I put you to bed?”
“No!” Adrian gasped, sitting upright suddenly. “I’m awake! I’m awake!”
“Are you sure?” She leaned her nose to touch his, narrowing her eyes coyly.
“You’ll go away if I go to sleep,” he replied, reaching to hold her face where it was. “I don’t want you to leave, Aunie.”
“Why?” Elsa grasped the opportunity. Hopefully, the child wouldn’t fight her about opening up.
There it was. Anna and Kristoff were at a loss for how to approach this issue. With the new baby on the way, the queen feared Adrian would feel neglected if they didn’t resolve this soon. It was Olaf’s suggestion that the former queen might have a better idea of what these nightmares were.
“Tell me about these nightmares, Adrian,” the woman walked slowly about the room as she spoke to him. She hoped the movement would keep him from getting distracted. If he focused on her, he might feel safe enough to speak freely. “Your mamma says you have them during the day. How does that happen?”
“Uh-huh...” Adrian nodded sadly, but his eyes were locked on hers. “There’s nightmares in the castle, but no one sees them but me.”
“That’s not very fun,” Elsa said with some dramatic flair. “What do they do?”
“They follow people around,” the boy replied with eyes gaping wide, “and they look at me if I stare at them! There’s one that follows Pappa everywhere, but I don’t want to scare him...”
“Really?” It was clear to Elsa that Adrian was seeing something magical, but she had no idea what it could be. It wasn’t Nature spirits, but could that mean there were other spirits around them? “Could you show me?”
Adrian nodded twice before pointing next to them. Elsa turned her head quickly, hoping the child didn’t catch the anxiety in her eyes. There was nothing there, but she had no reason to believe he would lie about this.
Anna and Kristoff looked so guilty after they sent Adrian off to his room. They hadn’t even told the boy he was going to be a brother yet because they didn’t want him to feel overshadowed. Elsa knew Anna was afraid of repeating the same isolationism placed on her sister as a child. They were amazing parents, but Anna said that Adrian had pointed at nothing since he could crawl. Now, he was calling them nightmares. What did it mean?
“Do they scare you, Adrian?” She tried to maintain her calm voice.
“Why do they scare you? Have they done anything to you?”
“No... but...” Adrian hunched his shoulders as he looked into her matching eyes. She rubbed his back as she smiled back at him. “The air feels cold when they’re around.”
“I’m cold.” Elsa made a pouty face.
“Hehehe!” Adrian giggled at the comment. “Yeah, but I like your cold, Aun Elsa!”
“Well, thank you, your majesty,” Elsa bowed, dipping the child. “I like my cold, too.”
There didn’t seem to be much more she could learn, so she twirled about the room once more to shake away any anxiety left from their talk. When she flopped onto the bed, Adrian rolled toward the middle with a yawn. Pulling him up toward the pillows, they laid quietly until his lids grew heavy. His tiny hand reached for hers with a pleading expression in his eyes. She just smiled and pulled him into her arms, knowing what he wanted.
"Where the north wind meets the sea, there’s a river full of memory," Elsa sung quietly as the boy pulled closer. "Sleep, my darling, safe and sound, for in this river all is found. In her waters, deep and true, lie the answers and a path for you. Dive down deep into her sound, but not too far or you’ll be drowned."Until the river’s finally crossed, you’ll never feel the solid ground. You have to get a little lost on your way to being found. Where the north wind meets the sea, there’s a woman full of memory. Sleep, my darling, safe and sound. Where all is lost, there all is found..."
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