Eugene's eyes went to me, my hands tied back by rope and my wide green eyes.

Pain filled his light brown hazelish eyes.

"Rapunzel. . ." Eugene seemed unable to speak. "Rapunzel, I can't. . ."

"Eugene, please!" I cried through the sheets blocking my mouth.

Eugene winced, and I flinched back at the pain that radiated off of him. His eyes went to Mother Gothel standing next to me. His eyes went back to me, and his hands began to shake.

"I can't leave you here," Eugene said brokenly. His shoulders were hunched and his head was hung. He looked miserable.

Eugene's dark hair was wind tossed and I wished desperately for something that couldn't happen. I wished Eugene and I had met differently. I wished I had grown up like regular maidens, in a village with suitors panting after them while the maidens themselves only favored one. I wished Eugene and I had met under different circumstances.

I wished Eugene hadn't been a thief, and I wished I hadn't been an oblivious prisoner.

"She's asking you to leave," Mother pointed out, her sugary voice sharp. My eyes went to her and I sagged over in pain, my chest feeling like it was about to explode. I could feel the tears running down my cheeks and I could feel the sobs beginning to shake my body.

Eugene's gaze was still on me, and I tried to slow the tears. I blinked hard, my vision going back to him and blurring.

"Eugene," I whispered through the sheets, my heart ripping in two.

Eugene looked at Mother and then at me. He reached his hand out to me but Gothel stepped in his way. He grimaced and took a step back.

"Go," she snapped at him. "Leave us alone."

Eugene's eyes met hers and I didn't see what he saw. Eugene turned away from her and turned his back on me. A terrible sigh ripped from Eugene's chest and

I got back onto my knees to scoot forward, but Mother's brown-gray eyes went to me and I froze. My eyes gazed after Eugene and I felt the tears flow faster. My body grew heavier and I sagged back.

No one spoke, and the silence that filled the tower was broken by the sound of my heart beating rapidly.

Eugene whipped around, his eyes on Mother's again.

"Let me say 'goodbye'." Eugene said harshly, his voice hoarse with emotion.

Mother didn't move, her back to me, and then she turned to me. Her brown-gray eyes pierced through me.

"Rapunzel," she said, almost softly, "will you be able to say 'goodbye'?"

I nodded quickly though it made my broken heart begin to sharpen into shards, stabbing my chest. I wanted to confirm with words, but I couldn't be coherent with the sheets.

Mother turned back to Eugene, her eyes narrowing. "I'll let you say 'goodbye', but then you are gone, never to return. Understood?"

Eugene nodded once and he stood by the window as Mother went to me and crouched down to my level.

"Rapunzel," Mother said to me, trying to get my attention. I turned my head away though I was listening. I couldn't look at her. "Rapunzel, look at me."

I looked at her hand that was inching through the air to my shoulder.

"Look at me!" She snapped and my eyes went to her face immediately. She flinched back at the pain she saw there but otherwise showed no emotion. "Can you say 'goodbye' to him?"

I nodded again, though the tears were now turning into fire. They burned my eyes and seared my cheeks.

"I'm going to take away the sheets," Mother said, her eyes on mine. "I will also tie you loose, but I will be at the bottom of the tower. If you try to escape, I will kill him."

Shock and horror made me stiffen; my eyes quickly found my lap.

Mother sensed my disgusted astonishment. "It's for your own good. Be a good girl, and he won't be harmed."

I looked up at Mother, feeling the anger darken my face. I bit my lip and bobbed my head stiffly. I felt her hand finally meet my shoulder and I resisted the urge to pull away.

"Be a good girl," Mother repeated to me, a whispered command, and then she untied the sheets from my mouth. I didn't move when she undid the rope.

She stood up and left my side. Mother looked at Eugene in the gloom of the tower. She gave him a hard look and climbed down the secret entrance.

My eyes followed her the entire time, and then they went to the tower. My home had become a prison in three days. I no longer wanted to be here but I was forbidden to leave.

My paintings were covered in shadow and the pretty light tones of pink, lavender, and cream were hidden in the gloom of closed curtains. The wood of the tower, usually shiny and polished, seemed dull. The stone underneath me was cold and my bookcase of books seemed to hold tales of despair and pain instead of love and joy.

My home became a dark place.

"Rapunzel," Eugene's voice grabbed my attention. His voice was wrong, strained and raw with an unreadable emotion. He seemed unable to walk and only stood by the window, frozen in place.

The pain on his face, half hidden by shadows, made me get to my feet. I staggered the first few steps from being stiff, but I quickly made my way to him. My arms went around his torso and I nearly knocked him against the window.

His arms wrapped around me and I clung to him, the sobs making themselves apparent instead of being quiet. Eugene rocked me back and forth, and I felt tears trickle through my hair down to my neck. I shivered and Eugene's arms held me tighter.

His warm skin and spicy cologne made my heart ache. His facial hair tickled my forehead and I suddenly longed for his lips against mine for the last time.

"Rapunzel, I can't," Eugene mumbled into my hair. "I can't just walk away while she holds you prisoner here."

I sobbed into his vest, unable to speak. We had just found each other. An entire day before, I was sitting in the Square while red-headed triplets hopped around braiding my hair.

An entire day before, on a lake, we were watching lanterns fly into the sky. An entire day before, Eugene handed me one.

An entire day before, I had my first kiss.

"I just found you," Eugene groaned and I pulled away, trying to wipe my hands but hands shook too much. Eugene grabbed my hands and put them to my side. His fingers went under my eyes and gently, gently wiped away the evidence of sadness.

I grabbed one of his hands. "I just found you," I echoed, and then said, "I can't let you die, Eugene. I can't. She'll kill you."

"Let her," Eugene's eyes darkened. "Let her do it. I met you, and I've never been so happy."

"I can't let you die," I looked down at his hand in mine.

Silence filled the tower.

"I don't want to leave," Eugene agonized. He pulled away from me and looked at the ceiling and painted walls. "I can't leave you here. I've said it so much and it's true: I can't leave you."

I shook my head, feeling more tears fall, and looked at Eugene.

"You're not," I sniffled. I put my hand on my heart. "You'll be in here."

Eugene didn't need to say it.

I know it's not the same.

"Blondie," Eugene started and walked back in front of me. "Blondie, will you be okay?"

"Of course," I didn't know what he meant.

Eugene's eyes grew fierce suddenly.

"Will you be okay, in here? If I go, when I go, will you be unharmed?" Eugene's voice grew steadier. "I don't want you to be getting hurt in here, and I be the only one who knows. . ."

"Mother won't hurt me," I mumbled, and Eugene's eyes flashed. He said nothing, keeping whatever it was to himself.

The silence that followed was painful.

Eugene finally spoke.

"Rapunzel. . . I. . ." He met my gaze. "I love you, and I. . ."

I felt his hands grab mine.

"I'll be back for you, some way, somehow. Some day. I'll come back."

I looked at him, feeling the hope in my chest.

"Promise?"

"I swear it," Eugene said, and then he looked at where the secret entrance was. "You'll know it's me."

"How?" I asked quietly, but Eugene silenced me with a quick kiss.

A kiss that made my head spin. A kiss that made the tears die away. A kiss that made me wish for more.

My hands went to his hair, to the back of his neck, and we seemed to melt into each other. My heart swelled with love and burned with pain but my lips felt warm and with the love and pain, there burned a sense of rightness. This was right.

Eugene sighed around my lips while I cried around his.

He pulled away and then captured me in a hug.

"You'll know it's me." He murmured softly in my ear.

Mother came back in a few moments, and she found me sobbing on the bed and Eugene walking to the secret entrance.

She nodded to him and handed him something I couldn't see.

My eyes went to his and his eyes went to mine.

We hadn't said 'goodbye'.

We said 'farewell'.

Some way, somehow, some day. . .

I'd see him again.


The days faded by in strange sections of time.

After a while, Mother stopped checking in every day.

After a while, Mother left me alone instead of crowding me when I didn't talk to her.

After a while, Mother stopped talking to me.

After a while, Mother stopped coming every so often.

After a while, I hardly noticed her.

The tower was my prison, and she was my Warden.

Prisoners weren't supposed to like their wardens.

I awoke each morning and did little things to keep my mind from going back to Eugene.

But every time I slept, he was there.

Eugene was telling me stories and kissing me in the rain and telling me he loved me.

Eugene was holding my hand and laughing at my bad jokes and telling me everything was all right when I cried in his arms.

Eugene still haunted me and I wondered if I haunted him.

One sunset after Mother left, I broke down and cried.

Pascal laid on my knee as I cried on the bed. I sobbed and cried until I ran out of tears. I sobbed and cried until I stopped screaming.

I sobbed and cried until I couldn't think of anything but Eugene.


Something woke me up during the night.

I wiped away tears and sat up.

"Rapunzel!" Something called me to the window. "Rapunzel!"

I looked over at the open window, somehow it had became summer again, and crept over.

"Who's there?" I called hesitantly.

I squinted in the darkness and saw a figure silhouetted by moonlight.

"Rapunzel." the voice was somehow familiar. "Rapunzel."

They said my voice in a strange way. They had called me the first time, but now they knew I was there.

It was almost like they were recognizing me.

"Yes?" I asked into the dark. I looked back at my bed.

The voice started laughing in joy.

"What's funny?" I was suddenly sure I was dreaming. They sounded just like-

The laughter was gone in a flood of seriousness.

There was only silence, and then. . .

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!" The voice called, filled with warmth.

I felt a strange emotion fill me as I did what I was told. I looked at the figure now standing, still in the darkness, in the middle of the tower. I fumbled for a candle.

I felt my hand go to my heart.

Hands grabbed mine in the darkness.

"Eugene?" I breathed.

I glimpsed a gleam of white teeth as he smiled.

It was Eugene.

"Rapunzel," he greeted me again. "Rapunzel. . ."

He kept his promise.

A thief kept his promise to me.

"I love you," I wrapped my arms around him. "I never told you."

I heard Eugene murmur softly to me,

"You didn't have to."


A/N:

I wrote this to eliminate a bit of writers' block.

It might be another fanfic. God knows I keep coming up with them and abandon the others. *Nervously laughs*