Disclaimer: I only own this plot, though I would love to own Tangled.
Author's Note: I'M ALIVE!
I just came back from watching Tangled in the theatre, and I decided that I had to give an AU fic a shot. Because, for me at least, there was really a moment of doubt while Flynn/Eugene lay dying in Rapunzel's arms. So I figured I'd try writing what would happen if Rapunzel though he was dead. I know I still have a bunch of other stories that need work, but the muses for those are taking a break, so cut me some slack.
"You…you were my new dream."
Rapunzel's eyes burned with unshed tears as she pressed her hand against Eugene's hand that rested against her cheek. This couldn't be how it ended. Not like this…Gothel was gone. Eugene had to live. He just had to! Turning her head so that she could press her lips to his palm, Rapunzel fought the urge to sob uncontrollably.
"And you were mine," she choked out. "Please…don't leave me, Eugene."
He managed a weak smile, which cut through Rapunzel's heart like the knife that Gothel had used on Eugene. "What makes you think…that I'm leaving you…Blondie?" he wheezed, coughing slightly.
A drop of blood appeared on his lip, and Rapunzel gasped in mild horror. No…no no no…she couldn't let this happen. Moving his hand to her hair, she willed herself to focus on the magic that had once flowed through her hair.
Flower, gleam and glow
Let your power shine
Make the clock reverse
Bring back what once was mine
Heal what has been hurt…
Looking into Eugene's face, Rapunzel refused to see the life fading from him and continued singing, even though a part of her heart knew it was futile.
Change the fate's design
Save what has been lost
Bring back what once was mine
What once…was mine
Now she couldn't deny what she saw. Eugene's eyes weren't going to open again. Resting her head against his chest as sobs wracked her body, Rapunzel clutched his leather vest in her hands, as though that would bring him back.
"No…Eugene, no!" she sobbed, shaking his body slightly. "Wake up! Please wake up! You can't leave me alone…don't leave me."
She remained like this for so long that the sun had set and the moon was starting to shine through the windows. Looking up from Eugene's body, Rapunzel slowly moved over the long brown locks that had once been attached to her head until she was leaning against the window sill. Her eyes were still burning from her tears, tears that were even now threatening to spill out of her eyes, and her breath was coming in sharp gasps. The moon was shining down on her face, but without Eugene here, it wasn't as lovely. Burying her fingers in her short hair, Rapunzel gave another sharp sob before she fell to her knees.
One way or another, with or without Eugene, she had to leave. Her parents were waiting out there for her, wondering what had happened to her for all those eighteen years. It broke her heart to leave Eugene here, but at least here his body would never be found by anyone else. There would be no guards coming here searching for him. At last, he was at peace. Almost…
Moving back to where Eugene's body was, Rapunzel gently pulled the shard of glass he had used on her hair out of his hand and replaced it with a lock of her hair. Now he would always have a piece of her with him, no matter how long he was here for. Bending down over his body, she placed a tender kiss on his forehead before standing up once more.
Mother Gothel had to have come in here some way other than the main window to find out that she was gone in the first place…How had she gotten in? Looking around for a moment, she paused when she spotted the trap door in the floor. Frowning a little, she looked from Eugene to the trapdoor and back again before she finally made her way to it.
"Goodbye, Eugene…" she whispered softly, moving down the stone steps, the stone cold against her bare feet as she walked. Wrapping her arms tight around herself, she barely noticed when she reached the doorway at the bottom of the stairs. In fact, she didn't take her arms off the ground until she felt Max's nose nudging against her shoulder. Looking up dully, she instinctively threw her arms around the horse's neck and sobbed again. "He's not coming, Max," she murmured in a choked voice. "We have to go back to the city alone."
The journey back to the city was not something that Rapunzel remembered very clearly. It was very uneventful with no Stabbington brothers chasing after her and Max, which made Rapunzel miss Eugene all the more. The pain in her heart simply grew worse with each moment without her thief there to make everything worse. No adventures were waiting for her just around the corner, and there was no loveable man waiting with a charming smile and a silly comment.
Max seemed to understand her pain, as he didn't do much other than carry Rapunzel on his back and provide a warm pillow for her the one night they were in the woods. The young Princess couldn't help but feel grateful for his silent support. Without him there to help her feel better, Rapunzel was sure that she would have simply given up on the journey before it even began.
They finally arrived in the city late in the evening after Eugene's death, and the pain almost made it impossible for Rapunzel to face her parents. If it weren't for Max urging her on with soft nudges to her back, then she would never have made her way up the stairs of the palace and announce herself to the guards that tried to stop her.
"My name is Rapunzel," she said in a flat voice. "I've come to see my parents, the king and queen."
For a moment, the guards looked doubtful, but then an older man looked closely at her, especially at her large green eyes. Then he gave a start and ordered one of the younger guards to fetch the king and queen.
"Can't you see who she is?" he demanded when the younger man hesitated. "She has the queen's eyes! Go!"
Rapunzel didn't say anything as she was led to a balcony to wait for her parents, her eyes simply staring out at the water surrounding the city. Just there…not too far from where a group of fishing boats here anchored…there, she and Eugene had let their lanterns float into the sky. They hadn't known then that those lanterns were for Rapunzel herself. Tears burned at her eyes, and she hastily turned away from the railing of the balcony. She couldn't start crying again. Not now, after she had spent the last two days doing nothing but crying to herself, night and day.
Looking up as she heard the sound of the double doors opening, Rapunzel's heart leapt into her throat in shock. Her parents stood in front of her, looking as stunned as Rapunzel felt. The woman who was obviously her mother did indeed have the same green eyes as Rapunzel, and they were filling with tears as she rushed towards Rapunzel, arms open to her daughter.
Her tears finally started to fall as Rapunzel ran into her mother's arms, burying her face in her mother's shoulder and clinging to her in a way that she had never clung to Gothel. Another pair of arms wrapped around them both as Rapunzel's father joined the hug. Rapunzel wasn't sure whose sobs she was hearing as she and her parents fell to their knees together, still clinging to one another, but she was fairly certain that both her parents were crying just as much as she was. While it wasn't quite the reunion that had played through her mind when she first remembered that she was the lost Princess, it was still far better than anything else in her life. Except Eugene. Just thinking his name made Rapunzel sob harder still.
"Oh…my poor baby," the queen whispered, slowly stroking Rapunzel's sheared hair. "My poor, poor baby. It's all right…you're home now."
No, she wasn't. Not entirely. Nowhere was home without Eugene there. Still, at least she was with her real parents. Clinging tightly to her mother, Rapunzel whimpered softly and began telling her entire story. All about Gothel and her magical hair. When she finally came to the part of her story that involved the thief that the world knew as Flynn Rider but she knew as Eugene Fitzherbert, she was almost too overcome to continue. But with the soft whispers of encouragement from her mother, she managed to finish the story, even though it felt as though her heart was breaking all over again when she told how Gothel had killed him.
"Poor girl," both the king and queen whispered when she had finished. "You're safe now. Safe…"
Rapunzel wanted to believe them with all her heart, and her eyes began to flutter closed as she sobbed against her mother's shoulder.