A/N: SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE!
First Tangled fanfic? I'm too tired to look, but I think it might be... :3 Anyway, it's from Flynn's POV, set AFTER the movie (the night after, to be precise). And if it sucks, and there's spelling errors, please cut me some slack. It's literally 3:30am right now for me. I'm barely awake. :P
That One Thing
The first family dinner was a big one. I tried to make myself scarce, but Rapunzel… she'd have nothing of it. And I couldn't really refuse her invitation anyway; I remembered how that frying pan of hers worked against my head. From what I could remember it was Rider's head, zero, frying pan, two. Or was it three?
Anyway, these stuffy servants led me to this big, equally stuffy room, where they fit me in stuffy clothes and told me the stuffy etiquette of dining with royalty. Did I mention the whole thing reeked of stuffiness? I began to seriously reconsider my role in all this. Rapunzel was the long lost princess, reunited with her family, and I should be halfway to the next country with two huge bags of gold for my troubles.
Except for one thing. It kept me from stealing the servants' powdered wigs (yes, really). It kept me from whacking that prissy etiquette master with the bedside lamp (hey, it was no frying pan, but it'd get the job done). It made me walk down the ostentatious hallway into the really ostentatious dining hall for dinner.
And when I saw the setup, all the fancy silverware and napkins and food, and realized that Rapunzel and her mother were nowhere to be seen, I took a seat next to her father and thanked the heavens that I still had love. Because just then, I felt like I was on death row again.
Let me tell you, the king is way more impending face to face than he seems to be when he addresses the public. I mean, there, he gives off the kind, fatherly feel that makes every able-bodied man (yours truly excluded) scramble over themselves to serve underneath him. Here, he still had that fatherly feel, but in the "I'll kill you properly if you even think about hurting my daughter," type way. Personally, I much preferred seeing him from a distance.
Still, I gave him my second most charming smile (the first was reserved for pretty ladies only… well, Rapunzel, now) and said, "Hey. Big day, huh?"
The king didn't look amused. He never took his blue eyes off of me as he poured himself a glass of wine (he got points for the dramatic feel of it, especially since I've never been able to pour anything without looking… not without making a mess, anyway). And only after he'd taken a long sip did he say, "I hear my daughter's fallen in love with you."
I felt myself smile the way I always seemed to when I saw Rapunzel, or heard her name, or even thought of her. Then I realized the king was still staring at me sternly, and I immediately sobered. I had to make a good impression here. I really didn't want to spend the next twenty years at an unannounced war with this man while trying to hide it from the woman we both loved.
So I said, as humbly as I could, "Yes. I'm quite the catch."
… Okay, so I'm not very humble. I could see the king's eyes darken, and I hastily tried to clear my name, "I'm joking, I'm joking! Just… trying to lighten the mood."
He shook his head, "Now isn't time for jokes, son. Now is when you show me whether or not you're worthy of her."
I stared at him in disbelief. I mean, I could understand the whole hostile-father thing; he'd missed almost eighteen years of his only daughter's life, so he probably had some catching up to do on the over-protective side of things. But still, to say that… I found myself chuckling first, then laughing outright.
That's right. I laughed… at the king.
I'm really pretty surprised I didn't end up back in jail, in retrospect.
"Something amuses you?" he growled, scowling at me.
I was still trying to keep my laughter down as I replied, honestly, "You. With all due respect, I'll never be worthy of Rapunzel. And that you thought I might be is hilarious." I shook my head and met his gaze again. "But, sire, also with all due respect, the only way you're getting rid of me is through her. I'm here to stay unless she tells me otherwise."
The king raised an eyebrow, "This is my kingdom, and my castle. You have no authority here, thief."
"Doesn't matter," I replied.
We stared each other down, and then the king did something I really hadn't expected: he grinned. Just when I was sure we'd be enemies for life, he actually grinned at me, chuckling. He reached over and patted my shoulder before taking another sip of wine, "I like you, Rider. You've got guts. You'll always be welcome here."
It took me a moment to process that, but when I did, I replied with an intelligent, "Huh?"
The king glanced over his shoulder, towards a smaller set of doors than the ones I'd come through, "Sorry about the tone, son, but I had to make sure your intentions were pure. It's one of the territories of being a father. You'll probably understand someday." He laughed lightly. "Plus, it was more fun than I've had in ages."
I was about to reply when the doors the king had just taken a peek at opened, and the queen and Rapunzel strolled into the dining hall. I couldn't take my eyes off her, couldn't think about anything but how amazing she looked, until the king tapped the back of my hand.
"Better stop gawking, son. She might get embarrassed," he smiled widely, and I couldn't help but smile back. Rapunzel slid into the seat next to me, looking between us with an interested gleam in her emerald eyes.
"What were you two talking about?" she asked, almost teasing.
The king and I exchanged looks.
"Nothing in particular."
"Just… man stuff."
Rapunzel raised an eyebrow at us, but she shrugged and looked at the food piled in front of us, "Oh, wow, this looks fantastic!"
I glanced back at the king, who winked before striking up a conversation with his wife and daughter. I watched the three of them interact, and I couldn't help but think that if it wasn't for that one thing, I wouldn't have any of this.
And that suddenly seemed like a very bleak idea.
A/N: Reviews inspire me. :3