Who Knew, Right?
A/N: Completely in love with Tangled... and Flynn... and Zachary Levi... :D Definitely one of the best Disney movies of all time. I hope you enjoy this little oneshot inspired by the mighty frying pan. :)
If you'd like to see fan art of Tangled, go to my profile and click the Deviantart link. :) Also on my Deviantart profile, you'll find a link to my Facebook page, Tumblr, and Twitter link if you enjoy my work - either art or writing or both.
Summary: "Let's just assume for the minute that every guy in here likes me."
Disclaimer: Don't own any of it. Just sayin'.
I knew something was wrong when the pig-man grinned at me. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm used to guys grinning at me. And yelling at me. And chasing me. And giving me their best smolders. However, out of all of those men, only one guy could really get away with it. Eugene. I knew I was naive the moment I stepped out of that tower, but, despite my mother's best efforts, I managed to hold my own (with the help of a handy frying pan), and also managed to win the hearts of many men, among those dangerous criminals and the kingdom's most infamous thief. So, needless to say, when my adventure was over and I was returned to my family, I figured that it would still be easy to take care of myself, as well as handle myself around men.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. And more unfortunately, when I say I managed to hold my own... I'm forgetting one person who was there right alongside me.
And it really all started when the pig-man smiled at me. I called him the pig-man because, well, honestly, he looked like a pig. He had a big belly, a red, round face, small, beady eyes, and an upturned nose. Not to mention the fact that he was the sloppiest eater I ever saw - and don't get me wrong, I've seen many sloppy eaters - the Snuggly Duckling being my first experience with that. However, unlike the men in the Snuggly Duckling, the Pig-man was just a little more creepy. Not scary. Creepy. He also happened to be the palace tutor.
And ever since the first time I met him, when he gave me that creepy smile and drawled, "Hello, Your Fair Highness," I realized I'd need my handy-dandy frying pan. Not even Pascal was enough to stop the man's strange advances.
"Sooo..." said the Pig-man (I think his name was Dweeny) one day, "Today we will learn about the art of... roooomance," he said, rolling his r's and leering at me again. He started towards me. "And I believe a dancing lesson will be the first task for today..." He took my hand in his beefy, sweaty one, nearly crushing it in his grip, and tugged me towards the center of the room.
Nuh-uh. With a small "Eep!" I snatched my frying pan from its hiding place in my chair cushion and smashed it over his head. He dropped to the floor quicker than a dead fly and lay there, looking quite out of place. With another shriek, I dashed out of the room and took off down the hall, hoping he wouldn't wake up and come after me. Once I felt far enough away, I stopped and leaned forward, resting my hands on my knees, gasping for breath.
Then, a hand touched my shoulder, and a man's voice said: "Hey, Bl-"
I whirled around, brandishing my frying pan. Eugene hastily put up his hands, shouting, "Whoa, hold your horses, Blondie! It's me!"
With a relieved sigh, I put down the frying pan. "Oh, sorry. I'm just... you know."
He blinked. "No. I really don't."
I sighed again and brushed past him, dusting off my frying pan and staring out the window. "It's just the Pig-man. I mean, my tutor."
"The Pig-man? Wait, the guy with the beer belly? The one who's had a few too many doughnuts?" Eugene came up beside me and leaned his arms against the window sill. "What about him?"
"He... wanted me to dance with him. I didn't like him. So... I hit him with the frying pan."
Eugene burst out laughing. "Oh, man, sweetie, you are too good. Wish I coulda been there. Wait a minute." He stopped laughing and shot me a suspicious look. "Are you telling me he was coming onto you?"
"Coming onto me?"
"Yeah, you know, hitting on you."
"Hitting on me? I hit him..."
"No, no, no." He rubbed his forehead and seriously demanded, "Was he trying to touch you? In a way that made you feel uncomfortable?"
His eyes darkened. "Where is he?" he asked coldly. "I'll show him a frying pan, all right."
"He's unconscious. I think he's down for the count for now." I stared sheepishly at my frying pan. "I probably shouldn't have done that. Mom and Dad won't be too happy I attacked the palace tutor."
"Baby, the only thing they're not gonna be happy about is the fact that you might've scratched your gorgeous little hands while brandishing that frying pan," Eugene growled, starting down the corridor and taking me with him, tugging me along via the frying pan. "Trust me. Now let me at this guy." I tried to protest, but he stormed down the corridors, muttering things about being more careful about who was let into the palace these days, and why would the king and queen not do a background check on the tutor, and other more unpleasant things that I don't think I should mention.
Once we reached my tutoring room, Eugene stomped in and went right up to the tutor, who, at this point, was sitting up and rubbing his head, groaning. Eugene released me, and the frying pan, and stared down at the tutor. "Hey," he said. "You need a hand, there?" I frowned, confused. What was he playing at? I watched in great confusion as Eugene offered to help the tutor to his feet, which he did. Once the Pig-man was helped to his feet, he brushed himself off and glared at me.
"You attacked me, Your Highness," he snapped.
Eugene took one step back, closer to me. "Yeah. I know. But I gave you a hand." When the Pig-man looked puzzled, Eugene grabbed the frying pan and growled, "And now I'm giving you this!" And he swung the frying pan across the Pig-man's face. The man let out a grunt and crashed to the ground, once again unconscious. Eugene twirled the frying pan in his hand and glared down at the Pig-man, looking completely satisfied with himself.
However, when I heard a throat clearing behind me, both Eugene and I turned to see my father standing in the doorway, staring at us. I glanced at Eugene, who didn't look the least bit sorry, and then back at my father. Smiling weakly, I shrugged. "Frying pans. Who knew, right?"
Unfortunately, the Pig-man wasn't the only incident I had with other men. Despite my parents' knowledge (and the entire palace's knowledge - Eugene declared it everywhere, especially to the guards who used to chase him) that Eugene and I were together, other men from other kingdoms, and men from our own kingdom as well took it upon themselves to go out of their way to treat me very oddly. If I didn't know any better, I would say that they were all trying to get me to like them. But unfortunately for them, I already had someone. However, they didn't seem to notice.
About a month after the Pig-man incident, for which Eugene had been completely forgiven (and loved even more) by my parents, my parents decided to throw me a welcoming ball, now that I was getting adjusted to the palace lifestyle. Although I was excited, since I loved dancing (except with Pig-man), I didn't see Eugene as happy. The night of the ball, I went to his room and knocked on the door. Only hearing a grunt in return, I pushed open the door and found him glaring at himself in the mirror and tugging at his collar. When he saw me, he looked very uncomfortable and started fidgeting with his cuffs.
"Hey," he said awkwardly.
"Hey," I said, coming up towards him and looking at him through the mirror. "What's wrong?"
"I just... I don't like crowds," he muttered, tugging at his collar again. "All those people down there... they don't like me. To them, I'm still just a thief. I mean, it's worse enough that I'm a common guy, but a thief?"
I turned to face him, stepping in between him and the mirror, and smiled up at him. "Yes, you're a thief. But you have to remember that you're my thief. There's a difference." I brushed off his vest and placed my hands on his cheeks. "You look wonderful."
He smiled down at me. "So do you." He glanced down even further. "Bare feet, huh? I missed those cute little toes."
I glanced down and wriggled my toes. "I'm going to put shoes on. I'm not ready yet."
"Oh." He looked disappointed for a moment. "Well, I guess I should let you go. Don't want to be late for your own party, huh?"
"I guess not." I kissed him gently and pulled away, squeezing his arm. "I'll see you down there, Eugene."
"See you down there, Rapunzel." I heard the warmth in his voice and smiled as I closed the door behind me. Then, I glanced down at my feet and wished, not for the first time, that I could go barefoot to the ball. Well, if my dress were long enough... Grinning, I skipped off to my room. It didn't take me that long to get ready, despite my maid-in-waiting's wishes, but I was used to getting ready by myself, and, in reality, I spent more time running away from my maid than actually getting ready. Of course, I'd never tell my mother that. However, by the time I finally managed to get dressed a run a brush through my short hair, I was nearly late. Picking up my skirts, I dashed out of the room, ignoring my maid's indignant shrieks, and ran up to the grand staircase, where one of the nicest servants in the castle, Richard, was waiting to announce me. When he saw me, he smiled and stepped forward, then reached up to adjust the crown on my head.
"How do I look?" I whispered, embarrassed.
"Lovely, Your Highness," he told me. "Now get out there and just be your charming self. I believe there's a young man waiting anxiously for you." He patted my shoulder and stepped back to announce me. "And now presenting," he proclaimed in a loud voice, "Her Royal Highness, Princess Rapunzel."
I stepped out timidly into the light, wincing at its harsh glare. Once I grew used to it, I looked down and saw a crowd that filled the entire ballroom, all murmuring and watching me. Swallowing, I flattened down my dress and stepped down the stairs, one at a time. Where was Eugene? I searched the room for him, hoping he would be at the bottom to greet me, but he wasn't. Once I reached the bottom, I saw several men coming towards me, looking eager. One had a huge mustache, another had dark, slicked back hair, and another was incredibly short and old.
However, I heard an angry voice suddenly shout, "LET ME THROUGH, YOU LAZY PEOPLE, DAMN IT!" And Eugene pushed his way through the crowds and stopped short at the sight of me. I smiled at him, but he just continued to stare, as if in a trance. When I cleared my throat, he shook his head and grinned roguishly, offering me his arm. Rolling my eyes, I took it and tightly clung to him as the crowd parted before us. Eugene sighed, grumbling something under his breath, and I caught our parents giving us amused glances.
"That was brilliant," he muttered to himself. "Great way to look impressive, Fitzherbert."
"I thought you were wonderful," I told him honestly. "My parents didn't mind. You're different, and they like that."
"Yeah, right," he sighed, and turned to face me. "You sure you want to do this?"
"Do what?" I asked, puzzled. "Dance?"
"Um... yeah." I could tell that wasn't what he meant, but I didn't want to push the issue. Slipping a hand around my waist as the music started, we started dancing slowly on the floor. Other couples joined in quickly after; but as we spun around, I kept seeing people stare at me. The women's stares looked oddly angry, and the men's stares just... creeped me out. However, after two dances, someone cleared his throat, and Eugene and I turned to see Mustache standing there expectantly.
"May I step in?" he inquired in a deep voice.
"No way," Eugene snapped, drawing me closer. But I knew I had to be polite, at least for my parents. After all, I had thought the bar thugs were bad, and they had turned out to be friends. Maybe he wasn't so different.
"Eugene," I murmured, "it's only one dance."
Eugene turned to me, startled. "What? You can't be serious."
"Well..." Now, uncertain, I looked between him and Mustache. However, before I had the chance to decide, I was whisked away on the dance floor. Looking back, feeling torn, I saw Eugene glaring after us before storming away into the crowd. Then, I realized Mustache was holding me just a tad too closely, and I tried to back away. However, he leaned closer, inhaling.
"You smell of fragrant pomegranates, Princess," he said.
I frowned. "That's rose perfume."
"Oh, but of course. That's what I meant."
Luckily, I was pulled away by another man before he had much else to say. Unfortunately, the next man wasn't any better. Slick-hair, as I deigned him, had a snivelly, oily voice and wouldn't stop leering at me with yellow teeth. My hands were itching for my frying pan, but it was hidden on the other side of the ballroom in another couch cushion. And the man after him wasn't any better, either. Finally, when the fourth song had ended, I pulled away and dashed to the side of the room, slipping through the crowds until I ended up at the food bar.
"Having fun?" Eugene's voice demanded sulkily.
I sighed and rubbed my forehead. "Not really. I'm sorry for leaving you... But my parents wanted me to get to know people. I thought it would be a good idea."
Eugene deflated and picked up an apple. "No. Don't worry about it, Blondie." He bit into the apple, which, suddenly famished, I snatched from him and bit into it as well. Eugene stared at me, his hand still open, and stopped mid-chew. Then, he swallowed. "Did you just... steal from me?"
I took another bite of the apple. "I think so," I said, my mouth full. Beaming up at him, I swallowed and slipped off to find my frying pan. However, Eugene grabbed my hand, twirling me back around to face him, and kissed me full on the mouth. He tasted like apple and something sweetly spiced. Mmmm... I felt the warmth curl all the way down to my toes...
We pulled apart to see two of the men I had danced with coming towards us, almost reminding me of a herd of animals. They made me want to scream and run away, or just hit them all with my frying pan.
"Who's that?" Eugene demanded, pointing to one of them.
"Umm... he likes me."
"Who's that?" He pointed to Mustache.
"He... also likes me."
"And who's that?" he growled, motioning to Slick-Hair.
I grabbed his arm. "Let's just assume for the moment that every guy in here likes me."
Eugene's brown eyes narrowed and grew dark, and his face grew scarlet. His muscles clenched under my hand, and I saw his fists shaking. Honestly, I'd never seen him like this before. I wondered if he was quite all right, but when his lips curled back into a snarl, I knew that he most certainly was not all right.
"Stay here, Rapunzel," he growled, rolling up his sleeves. "I need to take care of something." He started towards the nearest man eyeing me, but, growing alarmed at his odd behavior, I tugged his arm, trying in vain to draw him back.
"No, wait! What are you doing?"
"Gonna go kill him."
"And the other guy."
"And that other guy. All of 'em. Every single one of 'em who's looking at you."
"Wait! Eugene!" With a last ditch effort, I slapped him upside his head and yanked at his arm, hard. He blinked and turned to face me, looking startled, as well as furious. But I don't think he was furious with me. "Eugene, you can't just go around killing people... especially people who didn't do anything!"
"Oh, they're doing something, all right," he snarled.
"What?" I demanded. "Breathing? Walking? Talking? Eating?"
"Staring," he hissed, drawing unexpectedly closer to me. "Leering. Smirking. At you."
"Everyone's looking at me. And you, now."
"No!" he growled. "You don't get it! Every single guy in here wants to drag you off and take you!"
"Take me where?" I honestly didn't know what he meant.
"Take you where? For himself!" With every word, his chest was heaving, and his voice grew louder.
I just looked up at him, still lost. "Um... why?"
Eugene let out an exasperated growl and threw his hands up in the air. "Oy vey, Blondie! Are you that thick?" As soon as the words tumbled out of his mouth, my eyes widened, and my lips parted in astonishment. I couldn't help it, but my eyes filled with tears, and I took my hand off his arm. Now staring at me with a horrified expression, Eugene opened his mouth. "Rapun..."
But I whirled around and took off through the crowds before he could finish my name.
An hour later, I was sitting on the edge of the balcony with my frying pan safely at my feet, taken from its hiding place. I stared up at the night sky, distantly thinking back to the time that Eugene and I had almost kissed for the first time, and tried not to let tears stain my eyes once again. However, when I heard footsteps approaching, I looked away and closed my eyes, feeling the salty water burn my skin.
Eugene stopped a few feet in front of me, then sat beside me on the ledge. "Look, Rapunzel," he said quietly. "I didn't mean it. That was cruel. I'm sorry."
"It's OK," I muttered. "You were right. I am thick. And naive. And stupid."
"No, you're not," he argued, taking both of my hands in his and coming in front of me. "You're wonderful, and amazing, and beautiful, and incredible... and you're one of the most capable people I've ever met. If you weren't a princess, I'd say you'd make a pretty darn good thief."
Sniffling, I wiped my eyes. "Really?"
He smiled, reached up, and brushed his hand against my cheek. I shuddered at the unfamiliar contact. "Really," he told me gently. "Rapunzel, listen to me. You're the most amazing girl I've ever met. But you're more that that. You're everything to me. Don't you get it? I lost it because the green monster swallowed me whole. When I say green monster, I mean jealousy."
Now that I understood, I blurted out, "Jealousy? What on earth would you have to be jealous of? You know I love you." Immediately, I blushed and looked away. I realized I'd never actually said those words... Oh, it was very clear how we felt about each other, but I couldn't remember a specific time where we had declared our love with that phrase. Now that I had actually said it, how would he respond? Gothel used to say that she loved me most... but this was different. This love was real. Eugene actually loved me. But would he say it?
The awkward silence lasted shorter than it felt. Finally, Eugene took one of his hands off mine and slipped it to where my jaw and neck met, gently urging me to look back at him. "I love you back," he said softly, smiling at me. "You drive me crazy, you know that?"
"I don't mean to," I said, feeling embarrassed.
He laughed and shook his head, moving forward to press a kiss to my nose. "Not like that, Blondie. I meant in a good way."
"How can crazy be a good thing?" I wondered, curious.
"Well," he said, pulling back and frowning thoughtfully, "It means... Well..." He hesitated, then looked at me again, his eyes suddenly soft. "It means I can't stop looking at you. It means that every minute, I want to be with you. It means that when I'm not with you, I can't stop thinking about you. It means that whenever you come into a room... there's nothing in the world but you."
I stared at him, then suddenly realized I'd stopped breathing and let out a long, deep breath. "Wow," I breathed. "That's definitely a good crazy."
He grinned. "Ain't it, though?"
"Absolutely." I leaned forward and kissed him. Although meant to be a light, short kiss, Eugene had other ideas. He pressed himself closer to me; and then, before I really knew what he was doing, he took my waist and lifted me up, spinning me around. I laughed against his mouth and fully wrapped my arms around his neck, then pulled back and giggled, hugging him tightly. I heard, and felt his warm chuckling against my stomach, vibrating through my whole body and sending warm shivers up my spine.
"You really drive me crazy, Blondie, ya know that?" He murmured, finally setting me down.
"You drive me crazy, too. Oh, and one more thing." I lifted up my skirts and let my bare toes peep out, then grinned up at him. Eugene grinned back.
"I love you," he growled in a strange, husky voice, moving forward to kiss me again. However, before he could, we were rudely interrupted.
"Oh, Princess!" I heard a deep voice boom. "I smell your fragrant cherry perfume! Where are you, my blossom?"
Eugene pulled away and glared at the direction of the voice. "Where's a dang frying pan when ya need it?"
I just laughed and bent down, picking up my beloved object. "Frying pans. Who knew, right?"