Alright, I've been bit by the Tangled bug, hard! Although I have a few other ideas, this one popped into my head and demanded to be written – so write it I did
This takes place right after Rapunzel's tear heals Eugene…some slight variances (yes, I'm aware Pascal is MIA). I really wanted to know what Eugene's reaction was when he found out Rapunzel was the lost princess so this is a quick little one-shot. May or may not develop into something more substantial in the future. I apologize for the wonky spacing when I uploaded this, just can't get my spacing right! ;) Enjoy!
I asked Santa for the rights to Tangled for Christmas…Unfortunately I don't think I've been very good this year :(
"Eugene!" With a strangled sob Rapunzel threw her arms around the bandit and twined her fingers tightly into his hair. His breath, hot and damp against her skin, reassured her that he was alive as he murmured soothingly into the crook of her neck.
"Rapunzel." He sighed softly and pulled her into his lap until she was pressed flush against his chest. Watery green eyes met hazel an instant before she pulled his head down into a kiss. Eugene's eyes widened in surprise as her lips moved hesitantly against his. It was clumsy and so not anything like the ladies Flynn Rider was used to. Rapunzel's kiss was feather-light and filled with a nervous uncertainty that he found so endearing it was hard not to kiss her back. His hands slid from her waist to cup her cheeks as he guided her with his lips. Her startled gasp quickly turned into a throaty moan that made Eugene's stomach clench in anticipation as he moved to nip lightly at the delicate skin of her jaw.
"Eu-Eugene." It was the squirming that cleared his hazy mind just enough to stop himself from completely devouring the now-brunette perched on his lap.
"I, umm- think that's enough for now." He coughed and nonchalantly slid Rapunzel to the side so she was sitting next to him, crossing his legs and folding his arms in a feat that would have made Flynn Rider proud. Eugene Fitzherbert or not, I've still got it.
"Why did you stop?" God help him, she was looking at him like that. She had those bedroom eyes that all females were capable of but very few, in Flynn Rider's professional opinion anyway, knew how to consciously use to their advantage. Eugene was willing to bet that damn crown that she had never been kissed before today and yet she was, without a doubt in his mind, positively smoldering.
"Eugene?" Her fingertips rested lightly on top of her swollen lips, her glittering green eyes fixated on the curve of his mouth. Eugene suppressed a groan when the tip of her tongue wet her lips before she worried them gently with her teeth.
"That's a story for another time, Blondie." He noticed her brief hesitation as she raised a hand to finger her newly shorn hair. Before he could read too far into the flitting expressions in her eyes, she scrunched her nose in distaste and swatted him in the arm.
"Hey! What was that for?"
"That was for making me think you left with the crown! And that," she slapped his arm again, "was for chopping off all my hair! And this…This is for dying and leav-leaving me all alone." Her voice cracked as the wound, still fresh in both of their minds, replayed in her head.
"Shh, I'm here. I'm alright, see? And I have you to thank for that." He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her snug against his side. In that moment Eugene Fitzherbert was utterly content with his life, drastic as the change in goals and motivations had been. Not even in his childhood dreams of a better life did he once envision himself falling in love. There had been money and fame and yes, maybe even a remote island, but that had all changed the instant the back of his head was introduced to Rapunzel's frying pan. Even now, sitting in the tower with the remarkable young woman at his side Eugene was ill-prepared for what she was about to tell him.
"I have something to tell you." She said softly, eyes trained on her hands as they twisted uneasily in her lap.
"Oh?" He raised a questioning eyebrow as he watched a hand move to the lace cuff of her dress sleeve to pick at a loose thread. With a nod she peeked up at him through her lashes in silence.
"Are you going to tell me what it is?" He nudged her gently in the side with an elbow that made her laugh uneasily. Eugene watched in puzzlement as her eyes darted around the room. It wasn't until she craned her head back and looked up that he realized she was looking at the paintings covering the walls.
"Look. See that design?"
"What, the rabbit?"
"No. Above that, under the girl's dress."
"I already know what's under a lady's dress, and believe me it's not-" He wiped the smirk off his face when she shot him a withering glare, and jabbed her pointer finger in emphasis towards the mural.
"Alright! Alright! Yea I see it, what about it?"
"What does that remind you of?"
"Try the kingdom crest." He coughed into his hand to hide his smirk. It appeared that only two days in his company and Rapunzel had already grasped the concept of sarcasm. He tilted his head to the right and watched as she traced the pattern in the air in front of him.
"Yea, I guess I can see that. So?"
"So? Look around you, Eugene. Open your eyes. Look over there. And here, above you." She pointed to each and every sun crest lining the tower walls, from the ceiling to the closet she had once so lovingly stuffed him in.
"So you like the royal crest, what about it?"
"I've been painting it my whole life, Eugene. I-" Her brows furrowed as she ran a frustrated hand through her shortened hair. The slightly surprised look on her face spoke volumes – it was going to take a while until brushing her hair wouldn't come as a complete shock.
"You'll think I'm crazy." She muttered with a shake of her head. Even she didn't quite believe it.
"You don't really think that, do you? I mean, you have- sorry-had, magical hair that glowed when you sang. I'm sorry but there's just not anything else you can tell me that-"
"I'm the lost princess!" The words slipped past her lips in a rush as if she could no longer contain them.
Eugene snapped his mouth shut. Opened it again. Nope. Still no good. Closed it. She watched him anxiously for a reaction, a hand resting lightly on his thigh. The suave Flynn Rider would have made a move. Unfortunately Eugene Fitzherbert was incapable of such reactions at the moment.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I said I'm the lost princess."
"And why do you think that?" He struggled to gather his thoughts and tried his very hardest not to freak out. That was the absolute last thing she needed right now.
"Well, aside from these strange pictures that flashed through my head…Moth- I mean, Gothel confirmed it."
Eugene sat in stunned silence, knowing that he should be talking but incapable of forming a coherent thought. Rapunzel was the lost princess? It was almost too absurd to even entertain the idea. And yet…
"All these years that the kingdom has been searching, sending out those lanterns…and you've been locked up here all along." It was a sickening thought, settling heavily in the pit of his stomach. Eighteen years spent in a tower and her only human contact had been with a fraud of a mother. His hands clenched into fists as anger, red and hot swelled in his chest. If only he had gotten here sooner…but he hadn't.
"It's okay, Eugene...It wasn't that bad."
"Wasn't that bad? Rapunzel for eighteen years you were locked up with a psychotic woman who-"
"Loved me. She loved me, Eugene. I have to believe that. Otherwise…" She bowed her head as soft sobs for the only mother she had ever known made her slight frame tremble. Guilt, an emotion he was not overly familiar with being a thief and all, had him scooping the weeping princess into his arms.
"It'll be alright." He kissed the top of her head and rocked her until her tears began to subside into soft hiccups. Tiny fists were reluctant to relinquish their hold on his dampened shirt as he pulled back to meet her watery eyes.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get all weepy on you." She gestured to the tearstains on his shirt with a watery laugh and used the back of her hands to dry her flushed cheeks.
"Hey, you're the princess right? If you need my shoulder to cry on, you can just command it."
"Command?" She sounded absolutely horrified at the idea, her eyes wide with unease as she shook her head.
"I don't ever want anything with you to be a-a command." Her genuine repulsion at the idea eased one of his many doubts. Princess or not, Rapunzel was still Rapunzel.
"Then it doesn't have to be. You are my dream now. Wherever you go, I'll follow."
"Even to the palace? To meet my…parents?" She stumbled over the foreign word. To think, she had parents! The idea sent hundreds of butterflies loose in her stomach.
"I'm not sure that's such a good idea, Blondie…What with all the wanted signs and all…" He trailed off when she placed a finger on his lips to silence him and gave him a look that he would later lovingly call her "princess mode".
"My first order of business as princess of the Kingdom of Corona shall be to eliminate the warrant for your arrest. How was that? Did I sound like a real princess?"
"Yea, just like a real princess." Eugene chuckled as a smile spread across her face. With a mischievous grin he reached out and ruffled her hair, laughing when she drew back in mock anger.
"I could have you arrested for that, you know!"
"Now that would just completely go against your first order." With a harrumph Rapunzel leaned against the thief and closed her eyes with a content sigh. Eugene smiled and let his eyes close as exhaustion slowly crept in.
"A real princess, huh?" She murmured sleepily. Eugene chuckled softly and gave her shoulders a light squeeze.
"Who knew, right?"