Disclaimer: I don't own Tangled, or any places, things, ideas, or characters therein. The aforementioned belongs to Disney and the writers, producers, etc., involved with the movie. I am making no monetary gain from this fic in any way, shape, or form.
Summary: Not that she was an expert on male hands, but Rapunzel decided that her hero's had to be the best. RapunzelxEugene Companion to "Her Hands"
Content Warnings: Character Death
Companion to: Her Hands
Warning: As with Her Hands, it's probably best if you don't read this unless you've seen the movie, unless you want to be spoiled. There is a pretty big spoiler included in this particular fic. If you don't wish to be spoiled, I invite you to come back after you've seen (and hopefully enjoyed!) the movie!
Author's Note: Thank you so much to everyone who's read, reviewed, and favorited Her Hands. I appreciate you all so much for making my first visit to the writing portion of the Tangled fandom a great one. A few people said in their reviews that they'd like to see the companion piece to Her Hands that I had the idea for, so here it is! Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy it!
Flynn Rider was - rough. This was probably a fortunate thing, since Rapunzel kept hitting him over the head with a frying pan. It seemed, though, his head was hard enough to withstand however much pounding she had to do.
The deal she had offered him seemed fair enough. He would show her the lights that appeared on her birthday, and she would give him back the trinket he seemed so desperate to possess. Silly little bobble - pretty, but pointless to Rapunzel's innocent eyes. But since it seemed to mean so much to Flynn, she'd give it back to him. Later.
Rapunzel would be the first to admit she was absolutely clueless to the ways of the outside world. All she knew was what Mother had told her, and none of those things were nice. But after discovering that Flynn's teeth weren't pointed (and really, he wasn't bad looking, all things considered, perhaps he was even a little good looking), she wondered how much else of what Gothel had told her wasn't true. (Though perhaps Flynn was a creature in and of himself, and everyone else was like Mother had said.)
And so began her crazy adventure, her whirl through life with the dashing rogue of a thief Flynn Rider as her somewhat (read: extremely) reluctant guide. In some ways it seemed like he was trying to get rid of her, but that was really ridiculous. Without her, he wouldn't get his trinket back, so she was just being silly.
It wasn't until long after they'd left the tower that Rapunzel noticed Flynn's hands. Coarse and calloused, she was surprised how much like hers they felt when he touched the smooth skin of her arm. She knew her hands had been hardened thanks to years of work, and now that she thought about it, that must have been what made his feel so rough.
Rapunzel couldn't help being fascinated by his hands after that first brief touch. When she had the opportunity to heal him with her hair after their harrowing escape from their strange hodgepodge of pursuers, she sang the Healing Song more out of rote than anything else. She kept her full attention on his hand, studying each scar and callous and line that shaped it. She couldn't pretend to be an expert about male hands, but she had to admit that she liked Flynn's very much. They were tanned, strong, rough when felt but gentle when touching. When she unwound her hair from his palm, she wished she could place her own hand there instead and hang on for a while. But that was silly, of course.
Then she found out that something Mother Gothel told her was right - men lied. All this time Flynn had pretended to be - well, Flynn Rider. He was actually Eugene Fitzherbert, an orphan who had adopted the name of a book hero because he'd thought he wasn't good enough. In truth, Rapunzel really did like Eugene better - there was a sweetness about him, something hovering very near to the innocence she knew she had in herself. But somehow it was reassuring, knowing that no matter who he was - Flynn or Eugene - his hands were still the same.
His touch was becoming more and more common, making Rapunzel feel more and more like she was floating, and warm all over, and like her stomach was a bowl of hot mush. On the boat, in the middle of the lights rising into the sky, when he took both of her hands in his and looked at her like she was the most beautiful and valuable thing in the whole world … while her gaze was focused on his face: the genuine smile on his lips, the way the lanterns glowed in his eyes, the way his hair fell over his brow in that way that made her want to brush it aside, the rest of her attention was glorying at the fact that he'd gathered her hands in his, and she was getting to feel his palms and fingers against hers. The difference between the texture of his skin and the lightness of his touch was wonderful - the painter in her wanted to rush to the nearest canvas and try to capture those qualities, though she knew she could never do the real thing justice.
Rapunzel had honestly begun to believe his hands could do no wrong. Though she knew he was a thief, since he had told her so himself, she still thought that deep inside he was a good person, unable to do something really wrong. Until … until he shattered her world.
He'd left her, just as Gothel had warned her he would. He'd left her heartbroken and alone in her tower again, her eyes now open to the horrible truth that all the lies the woman she'd thought was her mother had told her about the outside world actually applied to herself, not the world.
But then, as if in answer to the tiny spark of hope she'd kept alive deep inside her, he'd come back. She wanted to run to the window, to throw open the shutters, let down her hair in response to his call, and pull him up into her arms and never let go of him. She'd known, somehow, that Gothel was wrong. That he was everything she was not.
Instead, she was chained to the wall, trying to scream at Eugene to run through her gag as she watched Gothel do what she wanted to do - only instead of waiting to embrace him, she was waiting to plunge a dagger into him.
It was both the happiest and most horrible moment of her life when she saw Eugene's familiar hands grasp the window ledge and pull himself into the tower. She strained forward, into the light, hoping that seeing her chained and gagged would make him move - preferably back out the window, but selfishly wanting him to come toward her instead. However, against her hopes and wishes, he froze, staring at her with wide, confused eyes.
Gothel struck, Eugene fell, and Rapunzel felt her entire world - suddenly very much larger than it had been a few days ago - crash down around her with heart-wrenching finality. Eugene…
Desperation had been a foreign concept to her until recently. Now she was desperate to feel his hand against her face one last time, to hold his hands in hers and try to memorize how they felt so she could remember them in what promised to be a very long, very difficult remainder of her life.
So she pleaded with Gothel, promised her anything so she would let her heal Eugene. She went to him knowing it would be the last time she ever saw him, touched him, spoke to him. But she went knowing that she couldn't let him die - for so long, the outside world and those lights in the sky had been the longing of her life. But now those things seemed so insignificant to her in comparison to knowing that he would live, that somewhere, he would still be breathing and living his life, even though she would be condemned to a living death. She could accept that, just so long as she knew he would be all right.
Gothel had shifted her chains to Eugene, but Rapunzel didn't pay any attention to them as she knelt next to him. She ignored his pleading that she just let him die, because her life meant so much more than his, that if she healed him, she'd be condemning herself to a living death. She couldn't seem to convince him that it was all right, that she knew what was coming, but the only way she could face it was if he was all right.
All the fight seemed to drain out of him, leaving him looking pale and tired. He lifted his hand to her hair, running the tips of his fingers through it. She let him, relishing the sensation as she tilted her face closer to his, needing to do something to let him know he much he meant to her, how much she would always cherish their time together.
And then he betrayed her again.
His fingers tightened around her hair, grasping it in a ponytail at the back of her head. The pain from that pulling lasted only a brief second before she felt her hair's familiar weight fall away; at the same time, Eugene's hands dropped, his last act of cutting her hair draining the last of his energy. She heard a clatter; looked down to see a shard of broken glass from the mirror lying next to his hand - the tool with which he'd taken away her only hope of healing him.
Panicked, Rapunzel lifted her hand to her hair, crying out in despair as she felt how short it was. She turned, saw how the long golden locks severed from her head were fading away into brown, and knew the same transformation was happening atop her head. Gothel was screaming, railing against her and Eugene and the world; and then she was no more. All that was left now was her own ragged sobs, and the painful rasp of Eugene's failing breaths.
Her desperation was back. Picking up Eugene's limp hand, she pressed it against her head, forcing his lifeless fingers to twine with her shorn locks as she choked out the Healing Song, one painful word at a time, though she knew that it would no longer work.
For the first time, tears began to pool in her eyes, hazing over her vision of his still face. Rapunzel lowered her hand, bringing Eugene's with her, resting it carefully on the floor before she lifted her hand to touch the side of his face, which was still warm. Squeezing her eyes shut, unable to bear the sight of his still face - no longer smiling, his eyes warm and soft and full of laughter and amusement at her wonderment at everything around her - she lowered her head over his and allowed her tears at last to fall. "Eugene…"
He had been her dream, and her his. Now what was she to do? Eugene was dead; Gothel, the only mother she'd ever known, was - gone; her dreams were shattered and her heart was broken. There was nothing left…
Eugene breathed in.
Rapunzel quite lost her head for a moment. She leaped on him, holding him tightly as she kissed him, again and again, reveling in the feel of his lips against hers and his hands on her back, in her hair, as gentle and rough and warm as she remembered, as she had thought she would never feel again.
Life as a princess eventually softened her hands, as life as the Crown Prince and her husband-to-be softened Eugene's. But one thing always remained the same - as long as she was able to feel his hands on her face, against her shoulder, his palm against hers and fingers twined with hers, or just touching her hair in a moment of affection, she knew the world would always, somehow, be all right.
This fic was, I admit, a fair bit more difficult to write than Her Hands. For one thing, Rapunzel was a lot more involved in the goings on in the movie, since she's a main character. And while Eugene was, temporarily, dead, she was still alive and experiencing all these sensations that he, naturally, missed. I also figured that the biggest scene where Rapunzel would notice his hands would be in the climax of the movie, which was why I concentrated on it. (By the way - I think writing his death scene was one of the hardest things I've ever typed.) And mind, I've only seen the movie once, so my apologies if I got any facts wrong. But I hope you enjoyed this companion piece, and thank you for taking the time to read it!