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Author Notes:

I do not own the characters from Frozen and my only recompense from this story will be reader reviews. If anyone wants to sue me for a share of those, go for it.

The title of this story comes from a translation of one of the songs in Frozen, and the main idea of it is: What if Elsa and Anna's parents (whose names I have invented, as they don't have any in the movie) hadn't made the mistakes they did in raising their daughters? Which, do not get me started on Disney parents. I'll just let my writing speak for itself. Please, enjoy!

Queen Brigitta of Arendelle laid her younger daughter gently in her bed, then turned to her older child. Elsa stood very still several steps back from the bedside, her eyes fixed on the narrow white streak in Anna's red-gold hair, as they had been intermittently throughout this most hectic of days.

"What is it, my love?" she asked.

"Papa's told the guards to close the gates." Elsa twisted one small, slim hand inside the other. "To keep the people away from us. Away from me. Because I'm dangerous."

Brigitta sat down on the edge of Anna's bed and folded her hands in her lap. "No, Elsa," she said calmly, holding her daughter's ice-blue eyes with her own brown ones. "Because you can be dangerous."

"That's the same thing—" Elsa began, her voice shrill with tension.

"It is not." Brigitta glanced towards the door by which her husband had left Anna's bedroom. "Tell me this. Is your father dangerous?"

"Papa?" Elsa scoffed. "No!"

"Are you sure?" Brigitta kept her smile internal, lest Elsa think she was being mocked. "You have seen him practice striking targets with his sharp sword, and shooting arrows from his powerful bow. You have seen him consulting with the general of his army, and with the admiral of his warships. If Arendelle were threatened, or any of us, do you not think he would become in that moment a very dangerous man indeed?"

Reluctantly, Elsa nodded. "But that's different!" she burst out, her eyes returning to Anna, curled on her side in the bed. "I hurt Anna, and she wasn't threatening anyone, she couldn't threaten anyone—"

"You had," Brigitta interrupted again, still in her calmest tones, "an accident, which is no one's fault. It was wrong of you to be careless with your powers, yes, but tell me this, Elsa. Did you know, before today, that your powers could hurt someone?"

"No." Elsa sniffled once. "I thought…I thought they were just…"

"Just fun," Brigitta finished for her daughter, and held out a handkerchief as the sniffling recurred. "The same fun the eldest troll was careful to leave within your sister's mind, although he had to take away the memories of your magic to be certain that her thoughts would be safe from freezing."

Elsa nodded miserably, and scrubbed at her eyes with the kerchief. "Why did I have to be different, Mama?" she whispered, even as delicate ice crystals formed along the surface of the fine linen in her hand. "Why did I have to be dangerous?"

As with her smile, Brigitta muffled her sigh. "Have I ever told you, Elsa," she said, "about the day I was practicing my archery with my kitten Snowball chasing birds nearby?"

"No." Elsa shook her head, her narrowed eyes making it clear that she saw no connection between a story about her mother's childhood and the problem facing her now.

"I was watching Snowball at her play, rather than keeping my eyes on my target, and so the arrow I loosed from my bow most naturally drifted towards the line of my sight." Brigitta shook her head at her daughter's gasp of horror. "No, I did not shoot my little Snowball. But I frightened her, Elsa, because the arrow struck so close to her, and she ran away from me. Before I could catch her, she had run all the way out of my father's palace." The lump in her throat, the tears in her eyes, came without summoning, and she had to stop and breathe deeply for a moment before she could finish the tale. "I never saw her again."

"Oh, Mama!" Elsa's eyes widened in understanding and shared pain, and she sprang forward and caught her mother into a fierce hug. "Mama, I'm so sorry!"

"Thank you, love," Brigitta murmured, letting the tears of that long-ago loss fall into her daughter's pale braids, then kissing the top of her head and releasing her to hold her at arm's length. "Now, Elsa, look," she said, gesturing up and down her body. "What do you see?"

"I see…you, Mama." Elsa frowned, with a trace of the uncertainty of even the most intelligent child over whether or not she were being teased by an adult. "Why?"

"Am I frozen anywhere?" Brigitta extended her hands for inspection, touched the shoulder of her dress where Elsa's face had lain, brushed a finger across her lips, which had rested in the white-blonde hair. "Did your powers hurt me in the slightest?"

"No." The word escaped Elsa's lips on the barest puff of breath. "But—but the troll took Anna's memories away—"

"Only until it is safe for her to know again," said Brigitta firmly. "And that will be as soon as you, my love, have learned one important lesson which it seems you come by honestly." She held out her hand with a rueful smile, and Elsa, after an instant's hesitation, laid her own in it. "How to pay attention."

"Mama!" Elsa protested, giggling. The sound warmed Brigitta's heart, as one she had been unsure if she would ever hear again. Then her daughter sobered, looking worried. "But what will Papa say?"

"Papa will say," said King Gunther of Arendelle from the doorway of Anna's bedroom, making Queen and Princess both look around in surprise, "that he is very proud of his strong and talented daughter Elsa, who will be a Queen to be reckoned with someday. And that he is very grateful to his wise and clever lady wife," he added to Brigitta, "for understanding what he did not."

"Yes, I have no doubt how you would have handled things if I had not spoken." Brigitta shook her head. "You were already beginning badly. Closing the gates, Gunther? Walling out the world, shutting us inside, when the eldest troll told us specifically that Elsa must not be controlled by her fear? What better way to force that to happen?"

"So I see now. And so I should have seen from the beginning." Gunther sat down on the opposite side of the bed from his wife, and stroked Anna's hair once before holding out his hand to Elsa. "We will leave the gates closed until, as your mother says, you have learned how to pay attention when you use your powers," he told her as she came to him. "But I think that will not take you very long. And as part of your practice, Elsa, you will spend a part of every day with Anna, and you will remember that she does not remember what you can do. So, when you play with her, you must be only Princess Elsa, and not my little Snow Queen." He lifted Elsa's braid between two fingers and brushed the tip of her nose with it, making her smile. "Can you do that?"

"Yes, Papa." Elsa looked longingly at her sister. "But when can I tell her again?"

"On the day we open up the gates," said Brigitta before Gunther could respond. "And that will be, Elsa, when you have passed a test, the same sort of test that pages must pass before they can be squires. Three parts, do you think, love?" she asked her husband. "A keen eye, a clever mind, and a willing heart?"

"Please, my dear, continue." Gunther sat back, as Elsa perched herself on the bottom corner of Anna's bed to listen. "What do you have in mind?"

"First, glasses of water." Brigitta shaped them with her hands. "Ten of them, hidden throughout a room. You must seek them out and freeze the water in them, Elsa, and only that water, without harming what lies around it—yes, you can," she added at a protesting murmur from her daughter. "Or haven't you been making yourself and your sister a snowy playground in our good ballroom every other day for the last year and a half, and never causing a bit of damage to the floors?"

Elsa gasped. "You knew?"

Brigitta only smiled, and went on. "Second, you will study with your father the times in the past when Arendelle has been in danger, and what the kings and queens of those times did to keep our kingdom safe. And then you will discuss with him what you might do, when you are a woman grown and the Queen of Arendelle, with your powers to act as your sword and your bow." She steepled her fingers together. "After all, what are the two best ways to enter our kingdom? By the fjord, or through the mountain passes. And what can happen to fjords, and to mountain passes, especially in winter?"

With a grin, Elsa held out her hand, over which a fine dust of snow trickled down onto a sheet of ice.

"Precisely." Brigitta gestured for her daughter to end the use of her power, and traded a small, smug smile with Gunther when Elsa did so almost absently. "And third, Elsa, you will simply live. You will come and go through the palace. You will learn lessons with your father and with me, and you will play games with your sister, and you will exercise your powers when you are alone, learning both to call them up and to send them away. And when you have mastered all of that—which, make no mistake, you will—then we will open up the gates. And then you may show Anna what you can do once again."

"Yes, Mama." Elsa sighed a little. "I still wish she'd never had to forget to begin with."

"I know, little one." Brigitta reached out and took her daughter's hand across the expanse of bed. "But we must think of the future now, not the past. And the future may yet be a beautiful one." She looked across at her husband. "I like the way you put it, love. Elsa of Arendelle, the Snow Queen."

Judging by the smile on Elsa's face, Brigitta thought, her daughter liked the title very well herself.

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Author Notes:

So, there's our beginning. How will things continue to unfold? Will Hans, and Kristoff and Sven, come into this version of the story at all? Well now, you just have to read and find out, don't you?

Thanks, as always, for reading, and if you've enjoyed this beginning, please, stay with me…my beginnings have a habit of turning into quite lengthy continuations, which is true both of my fan writing and my originals. See my website for more information!

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