Little Victories – a series of sporadically updated oneshots focused on Flynn and Rapunzel adjusting to life in a castle. Varying genres and subject matters and maybe even points of view. Inspired by the song "Little Victories" by Matt Nathanson.
And I'll be awful sometimes
Weakened to my knees
But I'll learn to get by
On little victories
- Matt Nathanson
1. You're Beautiful
Flynn was lost in the castle again. The multitude of corridors and passageways could confuse even the most talented of thieves. He'd been looking for Rapunzel when, after about twenty minutes of walking in the direction he thought her royal suite was, he realized that he was going in the completely wrong direction. He stopped in the hallway and frowned, trying to figure out where in the castle he was. Maybe if he could figure out which direction – east, maybe? – he was facing, he could find his way back to where he started. He knew his particular room, which was smaller than Rapunzel's suite but still pretty lavish for a guy who spent most of his life sleeping on a floor, faced west toward the setting sun, so maybe if he could find a window—
A voice coming from behind him made him jump.
"Ah, Mr. Fitzherbert. What on earth are you doing all the way over here?"
Flynn, recovered from the embarrassing flinch he'd just had, turned to face the King and smiled innocently. "Your Majesty. I got lost looking for Rapun—the princess."
The King narrowed his eyes and looked from Eugene to the priceless paintings and statues that lined this particular hallway. "Is that so?"
Flynn cleared his throat. "Uh… yeah. I've never walked around the inside of this place, really. Just scaled the out— Ahem. Anyway, I thought Rapunzel, I mean, the princess, would like to go outside. She hasn't been in the city since the celebration."
It had been three weeks since Rapunzel had come to her true home. There had been a weeklong celebration in her honor. Flynn was able to show her more sights around the capital. She'd obviously enjoyed her time outside. The celebration helped keep her mind off of the last time she was in that god-awful tower, and now she had loads of free time in the castle. The King and Queen were reluctant to let her leave.
The King sighed and looked ashamedly at the marble floor. "We have been keeping her here, just like that awful witch."
"You're just protecting her, your majesty," Flynn said, feeling a strange mix of guilty and protective. "I'm sure she knows that."
The King cleared his throat and smiled sadly at Flynn. "Call me Francis, boy. I don't want you calling me 'your majesty' anymore. I can tell how Rapunzel feels about you. You're obviously going to be here a while, so don't ruin it."
Flynn smiled proudly this time. "Francis. That's a much better name than Eugene."
"You don't have to tell me twice."
He eventually found Rapunzel in the highest tower of the castle. It was mostly unused, save for guards who needed to keep an eye on the borders, so dust filtering through the last dregs of sunlight blinded him for a moment. For a second, all he saw was her petite silhouette, then, as he stepped forward on the creaky floorboards and whispered her name, she whipped around, startled, and gasped.
"Eugene! You scared me." She tucked a short brown section of hair behind her ear and smiled up at him. "I was just looking out at the kingdom. There's a wonderful view from this window."
Flynn frowned at her. "Why do you seem so sad?"
She blinked. "What? What do you mean? I'm not sad!"
He raised an eyebrow. Then she started babbling.
"Alright. I—I cried at a maid today. I didn't mean to, but she said something that upset me, a compliment, really, and I just couldn—"
"You cried?" Flynn was shocked. He couldn't picture her crying in front of someone over something as trivial as a compliment. Ever.
Rapunzel looked off to his left, anything to avoid eye contact, and shrugged. "Like I said, I didn't mean to, and I—"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa." Flynn put his hands up to stop her from continuing. "Hold up, Blondie. What did she say to you that would upset you so much?"
She didn't say anything for a minute. Instead, she stepped forward and hugged Flynn, hiding her face against his chest. He hugged her back and rested his chin on top of her head. Then she said, "Caroline, the maid, said I was pretty."
Flynn frowned again. When he didn't say anything, Rapunzel continued. "Mother—I mean Gothel—never said I looked pretty. She told me I was plain and would never be as beautiful as she was. Only, when I met you, I felt like I might be pretty. You know?"
He felt her tears soak through his shirt and he held her closer, wanting to protect her from something that happened long before he met her.
"And so, after Caroline told me that, I just started crying. I have no idea why. Then I got embarrassed and ran out of the room. I didn't want to face anyone, so I found this place. For some reason, being up here is calming."
"Rapunzel," he finally choked out. "You're beautiful."
She sobbed more. "You really think so?"
He pulled back and smiled at her. Using his thumb, he gently brushed away the tears on her face and then tilted her head up so she could look right into his face.
"Yes. I really think so." He leaned down and watched as her eyes closed, waiting for a kiss. He smile as he closed his eyes and their lips touched, gently at first, then not so gently as she reached up around his neck and brought him closer. He wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her up and spun her around the small room. They broke apart, laughing, and held hands all the way back down to the dining room to meet her parents for supper.
Later that night, Flynn lay in his bed, thinking about Gothel's effect on Rapunzel and his own time at the orphanage.
He'd been one of the few older kids, and he went along with them to get food for their caretaker to cook for everyone. More than once they'd been spit at in their dirty hand-me-down clothes. Once, he'd been told that he was worthless, a nobody.
But the worst thing was the pitying glance, the I-Feel-So-Sorry-For-You look that often graced the women of the working class who passed by the small group in the market. Those were worse than anything anyone actually said. Those looks made young Eugene feel sick to his stomach. He turned to the Tales of Flynnigan Rider and imagined a life where no one looked down on him.
But Rapunzel had been abused by the one person she trusted the most, who also happened to be the only person she knew. He'd only met the woman once, when she'd stabbed him, but Rapunzel had to deal with the witch her whole life. As he was trying to imagine Rapunzel growing up all alone, his door creaked open.
"Who's there?" he whispered. He sat up, blinking in the light from the hallway.
"It's just me," Rapunzel whispered back. She poked her head in the door. "Can I come in?"
"Rapunzel? Yeah, you can come in."
He heard her feet pad across the floor, then his bed sink in as she sat down next to him. Finally, his vision cleared enough in the harsh new light so he could see her. She had obviously come from her own bed, as she was wearing a thick, white linen nightgown. She was sitting cross-legged on the foot of his bed, grinning at him widely.
"What brings you here, beautiful?" he said, moving closer towards her and flashing a smolder-like smile.
She laughed, shoving him away gently. "What did you call me?"
He grinned at her genuinely this time. She was already becoming more confident. He felt immensely proud to be able to have this effect on her.
"Beautiful?" he said like he was unsure. "Did you come all the way to hear me call you beautiful?"
She smiled, guilty. "Maybe…"
He pulled on her arm so she fell forward against his chest. She blinked up at him, noticing the change in mood this caused.
"You're beautiful," he whispered. He leaned forward to kiss her for the second time that day. This kiss was slower, heavier than the first had been. He brought his hands up to cup her face, and she rested hers on his chest. Soon his lips parted and he ran his tongue across her own, warm, inviting, swollen lips, asking for permission.
She gasped, breaking the contact. He froze, looking apologetically at her as she touched her lips with her fingertips, then reached out and touched his. He closed his eyes, praying for some self-control.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I just got caught up."
"It's okay. I—I was just a little surprised. That felt so good," she said.
"Yeah, I know." He shrugged. They stared at each other. The tension in the air was so thick it was hard to breathe.
Then, as if she couldn't take being in the room for one more second, she jumped off of the bed and ran to the door.
"Well, goodnight! See you tomorrow!" she called as she opened the door and stepped into the light of the hall.
"Goodnight," he groaned, falling back against the pillows as she slammed the door shut behind her.
She was too beautiful for her own good.