Disclaimer: I only own this plot, though I would love to own Tangled.

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Chapter Thirty-One

Eugene woke up before either Pascal or Rapunzel; something that he had trained himself to do in order to avoid having a chameleon tongue shoved into his ear. It was a skill that he was enormously proud of at this point, as for the last six months, he and Pascal had been having a sort of war with one another, trying to see who could wake up the earliest. Eugene had won in the end, and so Pascal had learned to not always wake the former thief up with his tongue. Though that didn't mean the chameleon stopped this method of waking up Eugene. Far from it. He just did it when Eugene was least expecting it.

Today, however, was one of those days when Eugene got the better of the little chameleon. Smirking a little to himself, Eugene yawned slightly and glanced over at the small table next to his side of the bed, where he had placed the ring he purchased for Rapunzel. He'd waited a while to ask her…maybe today would be a good day for it. Maybe. Smiling a little as he looked down at Rapunzel's sleeping face, Eugene nodded to himself before bending down to softly kiss her temple.

"Mornin', Blondie," he greeted softly as her eyes fluttered open.

She glanced up at him and smiled sleepily. "Pascal didn't wake you up today," she mused with a soft laugh.

"Nope," Eugene said brightly. "I outsmarted the frog again."

Rapunzel didn't bother to correct him about Pascal's species as she nestled against him, smiling lovingly against his chest. "He doesn't like it when you call him that," she murmured.

"Yeah, well, I don't like his tongue in my ear, but he still does it," Eugene pointed out. "Life's not really fair that way."

The banter continued on for a while, as it did every morning, punctuated by gentle kisses and loving caresses as they both attempted to get ready for the day quickly. They never did get anything done quickly in the mornings, not since Rapunzel had discovered how wonderful kissing was. Eugene had known about the wonders of kissing for years, of course, but when Rapunzel discovered something new that she enjoyed, she always took to it with enthusiasm. Not that Eugene was complaining on that count.

Standing behind Rapunzel with a smile, Eugene wrapped his arms around her middle and softly kissed the side of her neck, a new expression of affection that Rapunzel had grown quite fond of. She hummed in delight at this and tilted her head to one side, letting Eugene continue kissing her neck if he wanted to. Eugene certainly wanted to, but he didn't, simply nuzzling against her skin.

"Love you, Blondie," he murmured softly.

"I love you, too," she replied happily.

"Marry me?"

Rapunzel blinked a little at this and glanced at Eugene questioningly. "I thought I answered that," she said quietly. "Not…not yet."

"Hey, can't blame a guy for trying," Eugene said with a shrug, still grinning at her. "And it wouldn't have to be right away. I can wait, just…" He reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring he had bought six months ago. "At least promise that you will at some point?"

Instantly, Rapunzel's eyes were drawn to the ring that he held in his hand. It wasn't too big or showy, but still beautiful. A lovely gold band with a decent-sized diamond cut in a teardrop shape, and there were beautiful engravings of flowers on the band of the ring. Looking from the ring to Eugene and back, Rapunzel opened and closed her mouth a few times before she answered.

"I…" she paused and then smiled brilliantly at Eugene. "Yes. But not yet," she reminded him firmly. "Not for a while."

"Okay," Eugene said, grinning like a kid on Christmas morning. "I can live with that."

Slowly slipping the ring onto Rapunzel's finger, he kissed her knuckles gently and then pulled her into a soft kiss.

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In the end, they didn't get married for nearly two years. Eugene didn't really care about the wait—he hadn't been lying about that part—but it did get old after a while. Of course, before he even thought of making their engagement something official for the whole kingdom to know about, he had to ask for permission from the king and queen. That was not a conversation that he really enjoyed, to say the least, but it was a great deal better than the conversation he had with Edith when they first reunited. That had been painful.

Both Rapunzel and Eugene hadn't planned to go down to the orphanage where Eugene grew up to find his sister. It had just happened. One morning, only a few days after Eugene's successful proposal, Rapunzel had come up to him in the middle of his lessons with Lord Henry—the single most boring Lord in the kingdom, if Eugene was perfectly honest—and dragged him out into the hall.

"I want to go see the orphanage," she declared with a beaming smile.

"Sorry?" Eugene asked in surprise. She couldn't mean what he thought she meant.

"The orphanage where you grew up!" Rapunzel explained, as though he was being stupid on purpose. "I want to see what it's like."

Eugene stared at her as though she had started spouting philosophy in French. Why would she want to do something like that? The orphanage, as he recalled, really wasn't much to look at. Hell, it hadn't been much to live in. "Uh…okay…" he said slowly. "Just one question…why?"

Rapunzel gave him a condescending smile and stood on tiptoe to kiss his cheek tenderly. "Because! It's where you grew up. You've been to my tower after all."

That didn't make much sense to Eugene, but he didn't bother saying as much, as that would probably upset Rapunzel. Smiling a little at her, Eugene gave a sigh like a martyr and wrapped his arms around her. "If you want, Blondie," he said reluctantly. "I don't really see why, though."

Well, apparently that had settled it. The very next day, Rapunzel dragged Eugene out of bed and forced him to dress up nicely, all the while chatting away like this was the best day of her life. Of course, Eugene knew that wasn't the case, as the best day of both their lives was still either Rapunzel's eighteenth birthday or the day when they had been reunited in the stables. Still…she was plenty excited, and it was mildly contagious. Eugene soon found himself unable to stop smiling as Rapunzel pulled him to the stables, where they mounted Max and started the ride to the orphanage.

The village where Eugene had grown up was nothing special. Eugene had always known that, but now that he saw it again, he had to say it had lost whatever charms nostalgia had credited to it. Frowning a little at this, Eugene glanced down at Rapunzel, as though hoping that she couldn't see how small and filthy this village really was. And then there was the manor house, which was the starting point of a few less-than-pleasant memories for Eugene, which he definitely didn't want Rapunzel asking him about. Finally, they reached the tiny orphanage.

It really did bring back memories, seeing the little house that had once housed Eugene and about thirty other kids between the ages of brand-new to about seventeen. Of course, it was in a little worse condition after eighteen years, and it didn't have quite as many kids running around playing in the grass. Pulling Max to a stop and jumping out of the saddle, Eugene reached up to help Rapunzel slide off the horse's back, keeping his arms around her for a moment after doing so.

"You sure about this, Blondie?" he asked in a low voice. "Because we don't have to stay here…"

Rapunzel gave him a look that said clearly said that she did want to stay here before moving past him, her large eyes wide with curiosity. Apparently the idea that this place had once housed Eugene as a child held great fascination for her, though Eugene still didn't understand that. Sighing a little, he followed after her with the air of a man being led to his execution.

It wasn't until he saw the young woman on the front porch of the house that Eugene stopped moving. Coming to a halt, he stared in slack-jawed wonder. Her face had lost all of the baby fat and her eyes were much less happy than they had been when Eugene last saw them, but there was no doubting that the woman he was looking at was a twenty-two-year-old Edith. Rapunzel noticed that Eugene wasn't following her anymore and moved over to stand by him, about to ask what was wrong when she followed his gaze. Spotting the young woman on the porch, she turned to give Eugene a questioning look.

"Eugene?" she asked. "Who is that?"

"That…that's my sister," he said in a low voice.

Rapunzel's eyes widened in surprise momentarily before she turned to look closer at Edith, as though trying to pick out the family resemblance. There wasn't much; Eugene had known that since they were both very little. After all, while they had the same father, their mothers had looked very different from one another. Edith's mother had been blonde and breathtaking while Eugene's—from what Mrs. Miller had told him—was dark and exotically beautiful. Edith took after her mother more than their father, with reddish-brown hair that was currently down to her waist—a fact Rapunzel noticed with envy—and pale blue eyes set inside a pale face with a generous amount of freckles. There was one similarity between both Eugene and Edith, however, that Eugene noted with a slight grin and made Rapunzel laugh a little; they had both inherited their father's nose.

Walking towards the house hand in hand, Rapunzel and Eugene kept their eyes on Edith, who finally noticed them and smiled kindly.

"Hello," she said, her voice deep and melodious. "How might I help you both?"

Eugene wasn't surprised that Edith didn't recognize him at first. It had been a long time since he last saw her—eighteen years!—and she had been four when he last saw her face to face. Still…it was a little insulting that she didn't recognize him.

"Actually…we were just looking around," Eugene explained slowly, his eyes still fixed on Edith's face. "Uh…is your…is your name Edith?"

This seemed to surprise Edith, who nodded slowly. "Yes, it is…how did you…?" Then recognition hit and she moved towards Eugene as though in a daze. "Eugene…?" she whispered.

"Hi…Edith," he murmured with a shaky grin.

His answer was a resounding slap that caused Rapunzel to squeak in surprise and Eugene was pretty sure that he was seeing stars now. Stumbling back in shock, he blinked rapidly in an attempt to regain his balance, all the while hearing Edith snapping at him.

"You disappear for over a decade—a decade, Eugene Fitzherbert—and all you can think to say to me is 'hello?' I should do worse than slap you! I should kill you! How dare you show up here after all these years and…" She paused as though to take a deep breath and then launched herself at Eugene, throwing her arms around his neck. "You great big idiot! Why didn't you come sooner?"

At first, Eugene didn't know how to react to this sudden shift in his sister's mood. He finally decided that it would be best to just hug her back, which he did, all the while aware that Rapunzel was staring at Edith in wonderment. When Edith finally released him, Eugene cleared his throat and pointed from Rapunzel to Edith, still trying to find the words.

"Uh…Edith…this is…this is Rapunzel. Rapunzel, this is my…sister, Edith."

The two women stared at each other for a moment before Edith arched a curious eyebrow. "The Princess?" she asked. Upon seeing Rapunzel's nod, Edith turned to Eugene with a knowing grin. "You've done well for yourself, Eugene."

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After that day, Rapunzel and Edith were all but inseparable, piecing together various stories about Eugene, both as a child and as the roguish thief turned hero. It was a little embarrassing for Eugene, but he was willing to put up with it to please the two most important women in his life. In fact, the friendship between the Princess and Eugene's sister became so close that Edith soon found herself living in a little cottage just outside of the city walls, with all the orphans brought to live with her, in a large barn that was converted to a dormitory by the royal architects, under Princess Rapunzel's instruction and guidance. Edith was so moved by this act of kindness, that she agreed to attend the next feast that was being thrown to honor Eugene for his twenty-seventh birthday.

Eugene had no idea how Rapunzel found out when his birthday was—he suspected Edith was behind it—but he didn't complain about the attention it got him. What he did complain about was that it ended with his sister—his baby sister—being courted by a young Lord Jonathan. Eugene didn't know the Lord very well, but he did know that he sure didn't want his sister to marry the guy. For one thing, he was too…foppish for Eugene's tastes. That, and he was always trying to get on Eugene's good side after meeting Edith, which just rubbed Eugene wrong in all sorts of ways.

But, Eugene couldn't stop things from progressing, and three months before the wedding for him and Rapunzel was planned, Eugene gave his sister away in marriage to Lord Jonathan. Sure, he was happy that his sister was marrying so well, but he didn't like giving her up so soon after getting her back. In the end, he just learned to like his new brother-in-law and went back to planning for his own wedding.

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I know what the real question is: did Rapunzel and I ever get married? Well, I'm glad to say that after years of asking and asking and asking…I finally said yes.

Eugene!

All rightI asked her. The party lasted an entire week, and honestly I don't remember most of it.

And we're living happily ever after.

Yes, we are.

THE END

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Author's Note: Wow! It's finally finished! I have to admit, I'm a little sad that it is, now that I've come to it. Thanks to all of you who have read and enjoyed this story! My next one will be titled The Tales of Eugene Fitzherbert: Orphan Hero, and will tell the story of how Eugene turned into the dashing Flynn Rider.

And if you want me to do a sequel to this one, please let me know in your reviews! Once more, thank you for your support, and I hope you enjoyed this last chapter!