Okay, I have not written fanfiction in…a long time. A long, long time. As in years. But I loved Tangled so much I went through withdrawal and began haunting the Tangled fanfiction section. And then I figured—eh, what the heck. Why not write one?
Because it's a waste of my time, probably. But I did it anyway. This takes place approximately two years after the main action of the movie.
Disclaimer (do we still need to include these?): I do not own anything associated with Tangled.
Eugene's—correction, Prince Eugene's—life was going pretty well. He was now rich and titled. He never had to outrun palace guards anymore—no, instead he could swagger around the palace all he wished…which he often did, always remembering to look the nearest guard right in the face. It was nice marrying royalty. Three square meals a day…though he had to admit the palace food didn't agree with him. It was heavy and rich, too much of an adjustment after his life of bread and stolen apples.
Something else that didn't agree with him were his days and days of doing nothing, which is why he'd begun skulking around the palace, playing Flynn Rider.
'If I were Flynn Rider,' he'd think, eyeing a bejeweled vase at the end of a corridor, 'I'd sneak in from that window and hide behind the statue…' Then Eugene would stride out onto the nearest balcony and creep along window ledges until he arrived at the window in question, wait until the guard in the corridor was looking the other way, silently swing into the hallway, and swiftly dart behind the statue…all without drawing so much as a second of the guard's attention. Then it would be so easy—just grab the vase, jump out the window, and run, run, run.
Of course he couldn't grab the vase because he wasn't Flynn Rider any longer. But he'd still jump out the window and run, run, run, sometimes clear into the forest until he doubled over in exhaustion, red faced and panting. But hey—he had to do something to keep his trim figure. That was something that Flynn Rider, Eugene Fitzherbert, and Prince Eugene all agreed on.
Other times he would scale the outside of the palace, scampering across roofs and climbing up towers, eyes alert for any opening an outsider could exploit to sneak his way in. He even discovered a few and reported them to the King. Really, he told himself, he was doing the same thing he used to do…only the complete opposite. Under his watchful eyes no one could enter the palace in secret. Or at least that's what he boasted to Rapunzel one night.
"Yep," he said as he admired his reflection in the vanity's large mirror, "handsome, charming, and talented…I don't know how this place ever survived without me."
"That is a miracle," Rapunzel said, placing her right hand on the back of his neck to pull his head down for a kiss. Eugene felt her fingers graze his ear and then—and then his ear came into contact with something that was definitely not Rapunzel's hand. It was cold, wet, and—slimy.
"Not again!" he yelled as Pascal leapt off his shoulder, squealing from Eugene's sudden jerking of his head.
Because no matter how much he scaled the palace, no matter how much he tracked guard movements, no matter how carefully he surveyed the entryways, that lizard always managed to worm his way in at the most inappropriate times. Locked doors, slammed windows—nothing could keep Pascal from being where he wanted to be. And lately, where he wanted to be was on Eugene's shoulder and where he wanted his tongue to be was in Eugene's ear.
"Why does he do that?" Eugene exclaimed, his hand flying to his ear to wipe off the—ugh—lizard spit. Meanwhile Pascal scampered up Rapunzel's nightgown and settled on her shoulder.
"Oh, he doesn't mean anything by it, do you Pascal?" Rapunzel cooed to the chameleon. Pascal made an affectionate clicking-noise and nuzzled Rapunzel's neck.
"If he doesn't mean anything by it then why does he insist on doing it?" Eugene growled, glaring at Pascal, who promptly changed into the same periwinkle of Rapunzel's nightgown, as if somehow Eugene would be fooled into thinking he'd disappeared. For good measure, Pascal also placed his scaly hands over his face.
Yeah, that would make the difference.
"I can still see you!" Eugene shouted, pointing to the periwinkle lump. "You don't become invisible when you change color!"
In response Pascal darted up onto Rapunzel's head and turned brown.
"I wish," Rapunzel sighed as she placed her hands on her hips, "that you two wouldn't get into so many fights…"
"I'm not starting the fights," Eugene defended himself. "He's the one sticking his tongue in my ear."
Pascal stiffened and reverted to green. He began making that throaty-whirr-growl Eugene had come to interpret as his aggressive noise. Rapunzel's green eyes rose up as she listened to the sound, interpreting it like a language, instead of what it was: growls from a lizard who had no concept of personal boundaries.
"I think he's still angry about you locking him out of our room last Tuesday night," she translated for him. Pascal nodded and scowled at Eugene.
That had been the one time Eugene had succeeded in keeping out the intruder. After discovering Pascal sleeping in his vest pocket, he'd gingerly carried the lizard out to the garden, deposited him in a bush, padded back to the bedroom, and locked all the doors and windows as quickly as possible, before Pascal had a chance to wake up and realize he'd been kicked out for the night.
But in Eugene's defense, it had been his wedding night. And while he knew Pascal and Rapunzel were incredibly close—hey, he'd married Rapunzel. Not Pascal. A lizard had no place in the bedroom of a married couple. If Pascal wanted to hang onto Rapunzel during the day, that was his own business. But during the night—no. Eugene was not sleeping in the same room as a chameleon.
Well, he wouldn't mind sleeping in the same room as a chameleon. He minded not sleeping in the same room as a chameleon. Ahem. Try explaining that to a chameleon. Or rather, don't. Because how would you even go about that?
Eugene had, in fact, made a noble stab at explaining it. The first morning he'd risen as Prince Eugene—well, he actually hadn't risen until the afternoon that day. It had been a late night. But anyway, on Wednesday at about two in the afternoon Rapunzel and Eugene at last decided they were so unbearably hungry that someone had to get out of bed to get some food and Rapunzel decided that someone was Eugene because he had such muscular arms and he was such a strong, powerful man so he could bring so much food and then they could stay in bed for so much longer and wouldn't he like that so much better?
Oh, she was good. That's what Eugene thought as he raised himself from bed, decently attired himself, and opened the bedroom door. Then he heard a familiar whirring. Then he looked down. Then he saw one very angry, scowling chameleon…who was also a very wet and muddy chameleon. Apparently it had been raining last night. Funny, Eugene hadn't noticed.
Shortly after, while Rapunzel was taking a bath, Eugene tried to explain the situation to Pascal…as well as it could be explained to a reptile, which wasn't very well. Talking to Pascal under any circumstances made Eugene feel silly, but talking to him about this just seemed ridiculous. Nonetheless, it needed to be done.
"Married couples," he'd started, "need their privacy. Not that Rapunzel isn't—not that we aren't," he hastily corrected himself, "fond of you. But spending the nights with us just isn't…what's done. Ever. So I'm going to have to ask you to skedaddle to the gardens come sundown."
"Or," he suggested hastily in response to Pascal's irate-clicking-throaty-noise, "you can sleep in the palace—anywhere in the palace but in our bedroom because a newlywed's bedroom is just too…intimate a place for a lizard. Understand?"
Pascal obviously didn't. Ever since then he'd been making that whirring noise, jumping onto Eugene's shoulder, and sticking his tongue in his ear, which, although extremely irritating, was not even what was bothering Eugene for the most part. No, what was bothering him was now that Pascal was in the room and he knew Eugene wanted him out of the room, getting Pascal out of the bedroom at night was impossible. During the day Pascal would cling to Rapunzel so he was always smuggled into the bedroom. When Eugene would try to pluck him from his wife's shoulder, Pascal would hop onto his shoulder, stick his tongue in his ear once again, and then dart away onto one of the walls, changing his color to match the murals Rapunzel had painted on them. Eugene would inevitably try to grab him, but Pascal would scuttle across the wall too quickly, changing his color at rapid speed while a giggling Rapunzel looked on.
Eventually an exhausted and defeated Eugene would sink in the bed and go to sleep. This was not what the newlywed life should have been like. Whenever Eugene had imagined what a life being married to Rapunzel would be like…well, Pascal hadn't entered the picture at all.
From the beginning Pascal had never been disposed to listen to Flynn Rider. His needs, his desires had always been steadfastly ignored by the chameleon. Relations had improved since he had reverted back to Eugene Fitzherbert. Pascal and Eugene Fitzherbert had gotten along fine. There was none of this tongue-in-ear nonsense. Sometimes during dinners Eugene would even sneak the chameleon some of his food…which was no great sacrifice considering even when he was ravenously hungry, he could only eat half of the gigantic portions served to royalty. But in any case, Pascal had appreciated it and on the rare occasion that Princess Rapunzel was called off for some travelling or big event which neither Eugene nor Pascal had a part in, Pascal would spend the day on Eugene's shoulder. For two years relations had been amicable.
But it looked as if relations between Pascal and Prince Eugene were shaping up to be more along the lines of the antagonism shared by Pascal and Flynn. Pascal laid his banishment from the bedroom squarely on the shoulders of Eugene, which was hardly fair. It's not as if he was the only one who felt the awkwardness of having a chameleon in his bed chamber.
"Well of course I'd like us to be alone," Rapunzel had responded when he'd asked why she didn't seem to have a problem with the situation. "But Pascal's so important to me and I'm so important to him—how can I possibly tell him to find different arrangements?"
"But you can tell him because you are so important to him," Eugene had tried to explain, but Rapunzel scrunched up her nose and shook her head.
"Pascal's just sore now because you made him stay out in the rain," she insisted. "He'll calm down in a few days and see reason." Her hopeful smile indicated quite clearly that she believed everything would work itself out if they did nothing.
But Eugene knew better. Doing nothing never solved a problem. You couldn't just sit around and hope somebody would change their mind. You had to influence them. Unfortunately, Eugene couldn't influence Pascal. The only way Pascal was going to find a new place to sleep was if Rapunzel told him to, which Rapunzel refused to do. He, Prince Eugene, couldn't continually catch Pascal and lock him out of the room. He, Prince Eugene, also couldn't convince Pascal to find some other place to sleep. He, Prince Eugene, couldn't do much, could he?
So maybe it was time to stop thinking like Eugene and approach the problem like Flynn Rider. What tools, what talents would Flynn Rider use to crack this problem?
Flynn Rider could steal things…but that wouldn't be any help in the circumstances. Flynn Rider could fight and ride a horse…once again, no help. Flynn Rider could also sneak around. He might be able to sneak and catch Pascal once, but that wouldn't be a permanent solution. That would just push the problem to the next day, when Pascal would be even angrier. He'd probably start sticking his tongue in both of Eugene's ears instead of just one.
What other talents did Flynn Rider have? Eugene looked at himself again in the mirror. He cocked his eyebrow and shot himself his toothiest Flynn Rider smile. His grin large and lopsided, his chestnut bangs just barely brushing into his glowing amber eyes, his nose, as it always was in a mirror, just right. Flynn Rider grinned back at him, waggling his eyebrows. Welcome back old friend. Well, not old. Welcome back friend in the prime of his life. That was better.
Suddenly the solution was so obvious. Prince Eugene had been completely overthinking things. What a sap. All he had to do was…well…be Flynn Rider. And then everything would work out.
Flynn Rider stuck out a foot and used the force to pivot 180 degrees, coming to face Rapunzel. Pascal had fled to some other part of the room, probably chortling to himself about his cleverness for blending in with one of Rapunzel's paintings again.
Never mind Pascal. It was Rapunzel Flynn Rider needed to focus on.
At the other side of the room, Rapunzel was standing by the window, looking out of it as she idly brushed her hair. Not that she needed to brush her hair; it was already quite brushed enough. Nonetheless, after years and years of living with 70 feet of hair bustling behind her, she had developed the habit of brushing when she had nothing else to do. It was a good thing her brown hair was coming in a little coarser than her golden locks, otherwise it would have been torn out ages ago.
Okay. Target in sight. Here comes the smolder. Only not of course the "smolder" smolder, because that seemed to puzzle Rapunzel more than anything else. No, he needed a subtler smolder. A smolder which…smoldered…without it being obvious he was trying. A careless "Pardon me—am I smoldering?" type smolder.
It would be difficult to explain how precisely Flynn Rider achieved that goal. Suffice to say a lot of his smolder was realized simply by telling himself he was smoldering. He looked at himself in the mirror again.
Yes, definitely smoldering. Next step…
Since this particular smolder depended in his nonchalance, he needed to come up with something so it would look like he was occupied. His eyes darted around the room before landing on a book lying on the window seat. Reading would do. He strode over and picked up the volume. It was…The Comprehensive Guide to Manners? Oh yes, the Queen had given him and Rapunzel copies years ago, immediately after Rapunzel sculpted her chocolate mousse into a sailboat. He had never even opened his copy—table manners were easy enough. Just watch the Queen and do whatever she did. But from the look of it, Rapunzel's copy had received much more attention.
The book opened easily to the chapter on appropriate topics for dinnertime conversation. Rapunzel had appended the text with some of her own notes.
Do not mention (especially at formal dinners!), she had written and the items that followed were each in a slightly different shade of ink, as if they had been written down at different times: religion, politics, other person's personal appearance (except for small compliments), my past, Eugene's past, difficulties of adjusting to palace life, how strange I think shoes feel. On the next page was a similar note, but this one said: Mother says I become overexcited and ramble when I talk about art, nature, the lanterns, Eugene. The next page's margins were nearly completely filled with sketches. Trees, flowers, water falls, fish, there was Pascal…and there he was a few times. He could imagine the scene: Rapunzel sitting down in her princess lessons as the Manners Tutor droned on and on, not noticing her pupil was avidly sketching instead of paying attention.
He sat down on the bed and let out a low chuckle, peaking Rapunzel's interest. She turned from the window and looked at her husband laughing to himself, the open book lying at his fingertips. Her green eyes widened.
Her hairbrush fell with a clack as she raced over to him, surprising him so much he grabbed the book by instinct, using it as a kind of shield. Was his smolder really that strong?
No, it wasn't. She did not look like a smolder victim. She looked…anxious?
"My book!" She shouted, making a grab for the manners book, but unable to pull it from his grip. He instinctively rose, holding the book out of her reach.
"Calm down Rapunzel—it's just your manners book." This unexpected reaction had completely wiped his smolder from him, that was for sure.
"Eugene," Rapunzel pleaded as she hopped to—unsuccessfully—remove the book from his hands, "please give it back."
"Why are you making such a big fuss over a manners book?" Flynn—well, back to Eugene, he supposed—asked confusedly, still dangling the book out of her reach. He reached up with his other hand and turned more of the pages. More sketches in the margins. Forest scenes, rabbits, there was Maximus, a sketch of her parents—
"Give it to me!" Rapunzel shouted again making a vain grab for the book, but Eugene unconcernedly raised the book even higher. Her tower, the sun, a few deer, Eugene. Eugene. Eugene again. And suddenly all the sketches were of him. He squinted at the book, trying to get a better look, which was difficult considering he had to move it around every once and a while to keep it out of Rapunzel's grasp. He strode several paces away from the hopping girl and was able to hold the book still for a few seconds, enough time for him to see that he had now entered the courtship and marriage chapter.
"Eugene—" Rapunzel huffed, but Eugene gave her a cheeky smile.
"Now Rapunzel," he said, side stepping another one of her hops, "I'm pretty sure this book would tell you it's bad manners to interrupt someone while they're reading…"
Rapunzel made her displeasure at this comment quite clear, but Eugene was too busy reading a note written again and again on one page. Rapunzel Fitzherbert. Mrs. Rapunzel Fitzherbert. Mrs. Eugene Fitzherbert. He delightedly read them aloud, his already wide grin broadening even more.
"Eugene!" Rapunzel shouted, her face quite red from exhaustion and embarrassment, "that's private!"
"It's adorable!" Eugene laughed. He guessed he could understand why it would be embarrassing, but still—it was adorable! Especially considering that, as a princess, Rapunzel hadn't even taken his last name. He excitedly looked over more of her notes. At one point the book included a list of—ooph!
Rapunzel had now figured out that, since Eugene was so tall, the best way to retrieve the book was by climbing him, so he had to hold the book with one hand, his right arm trying to force Rapunzel off his back. He probably couldn't keep this up for much longer, but it was definitely worth it.
"Oh look!" he exclaimed, scanning the waving pages as Rapunzel's left arm made another swipe. "There's a list of signs that a proposal is coming. And you've checked off each sign—and you even dated some of them!" He held the book far out in front of him, so Rapunzel couldn't reach it. She grunted angrily and tried to reach over his shoulder. Somewhere in the room Pascal was whirring in displeasure.
"Hand holding," Eugene read and squinted to make out Rapunzel's scrawl. "On the boat—that's right, I did hold your hand on the boat."
"Eugene, don't you dare—"
"Discussions about future: picnic in the forest. This book is good," Eugene added, "I was thinking about proposing when we—" He was cut off by another vain waving of Rapunzel's arm. "Bouquets with red tulips—that one's not checked off. I guess I never—oh, here's a note you made. 'Bouquet with striped tulips. Manners Tutor said meant beautiful eyes.'" He turned his head as far back as he could to shoot Rapunzel a cocky grin. "You do have beautiful eyes, but I'm afraid I had no idea that's what striped tulips meant when I gave you that—"
"Aha!" Rapunzel shouted triumphantly as she at last leaned forward enough to seize the book. The problem was, she leaned forward so much that their weight was lopsided and they toppled onto the bed. When Eugene opened his eyes, he found himself lying on Rapunzel, who whose wide eyes were staring up at him. The book was grasped in her arms, separating Eugene's chest from Rapunzel's. They stared at each other for a few more moments before, by tacit agreement, Rapunzel slipped the book out from between them and let if fall to the floor, where it lay quite forgotten.
Turned out he didn't even need Flynn's smolder, Eugene thought as his fingers ran up and down Rapunzel's back, mussing up her periwinkle nightgown. His lips pressing against hers in long lazy drags, it was difficult to even think about his plan. His body was on sensory overload—her hand clinging to his back, their legs intertwined, her shallow breathing, that whirring noi—
Wait a minute—whirring noise? Yes, a very loud and very angry whirring noise. And then something very familiar occurred. A wet, slimy lizard tongue shot in his ear, yanking him from his feverish dreamland, back to the real world where he had a sentient, overprotective chameleon to deal with and a plan to carry out.
It could be said Pascal did him a favor by sticking his tongue in his ear, because nothing helps a man regain his senses like that. His plan—his plan! He had to stick to his plan!
"Why look Rapunzel!" he shouted good-humoredly as he pushed himself off his wife. "It's Pascal! Pascal's here!"
Flat against the bed, panting and utterly confused, Rapunzel looked as if she wasn't even sure who the scandalized lizard on her husband's shoulder was.
"If Pascal's here," Eugene continued enthusiastically, "you know what that means! Must be time to turn in. Well," he emitted a theatrical yawn before giving Rapunzel's flaming cheek a quick, chaste peck and diving under the covers, "good night!" Then he closed his eyes and waited.
He could no longer see Rapunzel, but he could hear her give a strangled little gurgle amid her loud breathing. He couldn't feel her shifting, so she must still have been in the spread eagle position in which he'd left her.
Then, he wasn't sure how much time passed, but he believed not much, Rapunzel got up. The weight on his shoulder lessened—Pascal wasn't there anymore. He heard the pad of footsteps and click of the balcony door. Then he heard Rapunzel's hushed voice, saying what, he couldn't make out. Some whirring from Pascal. Some more speaking. Pascal's throaty click noise. More speaking. And at last a relenting "hmm" noise from Pascal. Then he heard the click of the door, another pad of footsteps, and he felt a shift as Rapunzel reentered the bed.
Silence. He was still determinedly keeping his eyes shut, so he couldn't see Rapunzel's expression. He waited. And waited.
"Pascal's decided," Rapunzel announced abruptly, her voice still breathless, "that all things considered, from now on he'd rather sleep out in the garden."
Eugene turned to the direction of Rapunzel's voice and popped open his eyes. "I thought he might. Now," he murmured as he crawled closer to Rapunzel, "where were we, Mrs. Eugene Fitzherbert?"