Disclaimer: I don't own Tangled, or any places, things, characters, or ideas therein. The aforementioned belong to Disney, and the writers, producers, etc., of the movie. This story is for entertainment purposes only, not monetary gain of any sort.
Summary: It was time for him to do things the honest way, and perhaps that was what meant the most. EugenexRapunzel
Pairing: Rapunzel/Eugene (Flynn)
Author's Note: A huge thank you goes out to everyone who read, reviewed, favorited, etc., my first two Tangled stories. You all are absolutely amazing! I'm not really sure what inspired this fic - though I was thinking that I wanted to do something Christmas-y, or at least winter-y, for Tangled, all that popped into my head was this. I guess you could say this is my Christmas gift to all you amazing people who have supported me since my start in this fandom with Her Hands. Thanks again, I hope you enjoy, and Merry Christmas, everyone!
*~The Honest Way~*
He'd fallen asleep. Again.
Rapunzel sighed gustily, gently lifting Eugene's head from her lap as she moved to rise from the couch where they'd settled after the evening meal. Her parents had gone up to bed some time before, but she and Eugene had stayed to talk a while longer. Until he'd fallen asleep on her for the fourth time that week, of course.
Going to the chest in the corner, she pulled a blanket out and draped it over Eugene so he wouldn't get cold before he woke up so he could go to bed. Rapunzel didn't have the heart to wake him now, he was sleeping so deeply and peacefully. It seemed like a crime to disturb him.
As she ascended the staircase to go to her room, she trailed her hand along the banister and wondered what Eugene was doing during the day. When they'd first come to the palace, her parents had graciously allowed the two to spend most of their time together, as long as time was allotted for the royals to spend time with their daughter, naturally. As time wore on, Rapunzel started taking her "princess lessons," as Eugene dubbed them. Geography, languages, etiquette - it was a never-ending cycle. While she was occupied with that for hours during the day, though, what did he do? She had asked him before, but he had always smiled, winked, and told her it was okay, he was finding things to occupy his mind and time. She couldn't help but fret, though, and miss him. Princess lessons were always boring, and Eugene was always interesting. It was amazing how one man could be more interesting than all her teachers put together.
Rapunzel crawled into bed and stared out her window as she waited for sleep to come. The moonlight glinted off the snow that had fallen earlier in the day, and even as she watched it started to snow again, pretty white flakes shining like diamonds in the moon's silvery glow. It had been a good day indeed when Eugene had taken her out (bundled up so much she could barely see, breathe, or talk) and played with her in the snow.
Christmas, the exciting holiday filled with presents and cheer, was only a few days away now. She had all her shopping done - she'd gone with her mother to buy things for Eugene and her father, and then with Eugene and Pascal to shop for her mother. She was still debating what to get Pascal, though she knew she would have to hurry.
As her eyes drifted closed, she had just enough consciousness left to wonder what Eugene had gotten for her. She was excited about all the gifts she saw were to her under the big tree in the library, but it was his she was most curious about, since it still wasn't there…
Christmas morning came and went with a flurry of wrapping paper, happy exclamations, and delighted grins that just wouldn't fade. Afternoon held a feast that was only rivaled by the one held to celebrate Rapunzel's return to the palace, and as afternoon slowly faded into evening, Eugene assured her for the hundredth time that her present was still to come, even though she hadn't said a word about not getting one from him.
He looked more alert, his eyes wide and bright, an easy grin on his lips as they both bundled up to go out in the snow again. The sun was still up, though the bottom was almost to the horizon, as they threw handfuls of snow at each other, made snow-angels and -men, and went sledding on the big hill by the forest.
It started to snow again as Eugene took her by the hand and tugged her after him to the little gazebo where they had spent some of their fondest moments since coming to the castle. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders as they sat down, leaning his head against hers as they watched the snow fall by the light of the moon.
"I'm sorry I've been falling asleep on you so much lately," he said at length.
A little surprised, Rapunzel tilted her head so she could look up into his eyes. "It's all right," she assured him. "I've just been a little worried because you've been so tired. Are you all right?"
Eugene let out a long breath, the released air turning into steam the moment it hit the colder atmosphere outside his mouth. "I'm fine," he assured her. "It's just … well, I knew Christmas was coming, and I had this whole big plan. I had to go to your father anyway, and he offered to help, but…"
Rapunzel felt her eyes widen a bit when he stopped. "What's wrong?" she whispered tremulously.
He smiled quickly, reassuringly. "It's all right," he said. "Honest. It's just that I am - was - a thief. Almost my whole life, I haven't had to really work for anything. And this is really important, and I didn't want it to be like everything else. Accepting your father's help felt a little bit like that. Honest, of course, but - kind of the same, nonetheless. And I wanted to do things the honest way this time."
Now she felt breathless, like a giant had wrapped his hand around her chest and squeezed. What was he saying?
Eugene slipped off the seat, withdrawing his arm from her shoulders, so he could kneel on the floor in front of her. Gathering her gloved hands in his, he gazed up into her face and smiled. "The reason why I've been so tired lately is because I've been out working while you were in princess lessons. I've been doing whatever jobs I could for whoever would hire me, just so I could buy you this for Christmas." He reached into his pocket and withdrew a small pouch, pressing it into her hands and folding them together around it before he kissed them. She could feel how cold his lips were even through the thick wool of her gloves. "Go on. Open it."
With shaking, fumbling fingers, Rapunzel opened the pouch, reached inside, and pulled out a ring. It was beautiful - a delicate silver band inlaid with small green jewels. An intricate, never-ending pattern wove itself around the jewels, looking a bit like fingers interlocking.
"It's a promise ring," Eugene said softly. "I know neither of your parents are ready for us to get married yet - and, as much as I would really love to marry you, we're not ready yet, either." His eyes glowed with promise, however, that soon, perhaps very soon, they would be. "So, for now, I wanted you to have that, to know that, while I can't give you the world, or literally anything you want … I give you what I have to offer. Myself, my heart, and my love."
By now hot tears were trickling down her cheeks, thawing out her skin. Rapunzel bit back a sob of joy as she ripped off her gloves, breathless when she realized that the ring slid down to a perfect fit at the base of her left ring finger. For a moment she held her hand up, tilting it this way and that as she admired the sparkle and fire of the silver and jade.
Eugene wrapped both of his hands around hers, smiling at her with such an open, honest expression that she couldn't recall ever seeing before. Even after he had eased away from being Flynn, there had been something still guarded about him… But now, at that moment, he was completely open, completely hers.
Rapunzel fell to the ground in front of him, threw her arms around his shoulders, and gave him a kiss that soon had them both feeling very warm, despite the frigid air around their personal cocoon in the gazebo.
In all her days, in all her dreams and hopes, never could she have imagined this. Her life was still far from perfect - she faced struggles and frustrations every day as she learned to be the princess and daughter she wanted to be to her parents. But with Eugene, in their life together, nothing could be more perfect.
"Thank you, Eugene," she whispered.
"I love you, Rapunzel," he replied.
A sappy little piece of holiday fluff for you all! Originally the ring was going to be an engagement ring, but since I envision this as taking place on their first Christmas together, I figured it might be a little too soon for an engagement, so I made it a promise ring, instead. Thank you so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed, and Merry Christmas, everyone!