Author Note: Now, I have to say, that I think I had waaay more fun writing this story than you guys did reading it :D Thank you guys so much for reading and reviewing and for sticking with it for so long, and thank you also if you just read—b/c that means you thought it worth reading and I appreciate it :D Warning: Beware of fluff at the end! O.O though of course, if you are afraid of fluff, then what on earth are you doing reading a fanfic about a Disney animated musical when those are made of nothing but FLUFF! haha
Soli Deo Gloria
Disclaimer: Disney owns Tangled, its characters, and its story
"What should we know?" Ginger asked curiously.
"You should know," Eugene smiled at them, "that I am Flynn Rider."
Thomas frowned, "Huh? You're too goofy to be Flynn Rider."
Eugene sighed, "Not if you paid attention to the story. Oh, and by the way, Rapunzel's your mother."
"WHAT?" Thomas shouted, his eyes wide with astonishment.
His father shrugged, "I thought you'd catch on eventually. But then I have to remember you guys are still pretty young and no one ever calls me Flynn Rider anymore."
"But—but… I don't get it." Ginger said, her forehead scrunched up in confusion.
Eugene tried to explain, "Ginger-snap, do you remember what color Rapunzel's hair changed to when I cut it?"
"Exactly. And it's short, isn't it? Like yours?"
She nodded slowly, reaching up to finger her short locks.
"And your mother has the exact same green eyes as Rapunzel. And she can cook like Rapunzel, she can talk like her, she can draw like her, and," he grinned, "she most definitely can kiss like her."
"Ew!" Thomas looked offended. "Flynn Rider did turn goofy just like you do with Mom! It makes sense!"
"And you said at the beginning that this was the story of how you died." Annabelle pointed out, in case her younger siblings had not made the connection.
Ginger gasped and gazed up at her father, whispering, "Did you die?"
His face softened, "Well, yes. But only for a short while and then I got better. Your mother cried floods of tears on me and I came back, right as rain."
"DADDY!" He felt the wind knocked out of him as his youngest wrapped her tiny arms around his middle and squeezed.
"I'm okay, sweetie. You can—let—go…" Eugene struggled for breath, amazed that the little girl could hug so tightly.
Thomas, meanwhile, was putting it all together.
"So that means—the lanterns! And the sun! And Maximus—and the frog! And Uncle Albert, Uncle Ralph, Uncle Vlad—and all our other uncles!" He turned to look at his wheezing father, finishing dramatically, "AND CUPCAKES!"
Eugene, trying to pry his daughter from around his chest, nodded distractedly, "Yes, Thomas, the cupcakes as well. Ginger-snap," he smiled down at the forlorn face looking up at him, "I'm quite okay. You can let go."
Ginger released her father, but still kept a close eye on him in case he decided to suddenly evaporate into thin air. Eugene grinned, "Can you add anything else to that list, Thomas?"
He nodded eagerly, "That's how you got the frying pan! So you really did beat up those guards?"
"Yep. And I escaped from prison—with the help of all your uncles and Max."
"Wow Dad." His son grinned up at him in undisguised admiration. "Wow."
"But remember, I was a thief once and that's bad. Bad."
"Bad." Thomas agreed, still grinning in a way that made his father slightly uncomfortable.
"Dad, tell them the rest of the story." Annabelle said, meeting her father's eyes.
Eugene nodded and cleared his throat, "All right. It's a very short part but you ought to hear about it. After Rapunzel explained to me that she was the lost princess—and she had explain this several times because I didn't believe her—we left the tower. Maximus took us all the way back to the city, and both Rapunzel and I were extremely nervous. She was nervous because, for the first time in her life, she was going to meet her true family. I was nervous because I had just escaped from prison and I wasn't too keen on going back. However, somehow we managed to talk our way past the soldiers and finally stood on the balcony overlooking the palace courtyard, waiting for the king and queen—your grandparents—to come out.
"The morning, which had started out so grey and dreary, had brightened up by now. The city rooftops in front of us were shining in the sunlight, and the ocean itself gleamed like diamonds. Rapunzel looked at me apprehensively, brushing back her hair. She was searching for reassurance, and I silently offered my hand for her to grip. And in that action, I promised her that I would never leave her.
"Suddenly, the doors of the palace opened behind us. We turned, watching as a rather tall, broad-shoulder man and slender woman walked out. I knew instantly, upon seeing the queen's face, that she was most certainly Rapunzel's mother. She had the same green eyes and her hair was the same shade of brown. Slowly, the queen approached her daughter. She slid a hand underneath Rapunzel's chin, smiling tearfully. And then she embraced Rapunzel, smoothing down her hair. And then the king came over and with a deep chuckle he enveloped them both in a bear hug, sinking down with them to the balcony floor."
"What did you do, Dad?" Thomas asked.
"What did I do? Well, your grandmother held out her hand and I took it, expecting a handshake. Instead the queen pulled me down into the hug and for the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. And it's never changed since then."
"So all you did was just hug?"
Eugene smiled, "Yes. And, to demonstrate, come here you-," he grabbed his protesting son and hugged him tightly, kissing him soundly on the top of his head.
Thomas tried to wriggle out of his father's arms, pleading, "No—Dad! Get off! Please!"
His father laughed and released him, continuing his narrative, "Well, you can imagine what happened next. The kingdom rejoiced—for their lost princess had returned. The party lasted an entire week and, honestly, I don't remember most of it.
"Dreams came true all over the place. Your Uncle Albert went on to become the most famous concert pianist in the world! And Uncle Ralph eventually met his true love—your Aunt Miri. Then, thanks to Maximus, crime in the kingdom disappeared almost overnight… as did most of the apples."
"He does like apples." Ginger said happily.
"Yes he does. And Pascal," Eugene smiled at the still-sleeping chameleon, "well, he never changed. At last, Rapunzel had come home. And she finally had a real family. She was a princess worth waiting for. Beloved by all, she led her kingdom with the same grace and wisdom as her parents did before her. And, as for me, well, I started going by Eugene again, stopped thieving, and basically, turned it all around. But I know what the big question is."
He looked down at his children, "Did Rapunzel and I ever get married? Well, I'm pleased to tell you that after years and years of asking and asking and asking," he grinned at his youngest daughter, "I finally said yes."
All four of them turned around, surprised to find the Princess of Corona standing in the doorway. She looked exactly how Eugene had described her: petite, sweet, with short-cropped brown hair—the exact way, in fact, that he had cut it so many years ago.
Nervously, Eugene asked, "Yes, dear?"
The Princess frowned at her husband, "That's not how it happened and you know it."
"Is that true?" Thomas asked suspiciously.
"Well-," Eugene sighed and let out a low laugh, "All right, I asked her."
"Did she say yes?" Ginger watched as her mother walked over to them.
Rapunzel smiled, kneeling down and hugging Eugene around his neck, "She did. And we're living happily ever after."
"Yes," Eugene reached up and clasped her wrist, looking from her to their children, "yes we are."
Eugene rose to his feet, stretching the kinks out of his back. His son began looking for his slingshot, and he said, lazily, "It's over by the toy chest, Thomas. You might have to go through a few dolls but you should find it."
His son groaned, "Dolls?"
Eugene shrugged, "I knew you wouldn't look over there."
"Tom, don't forget you have a haircut this afternoon." Rapunzel said as she hugged Annabelle. Eugene heard a rebellious sigh from Thomas.
"How was your afternoon, dear?" Rapunzel asked, smoothing back her daughter's hair.
She smiled, "It was good. Dad and I made peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches."
"They were tasty! Even Pascal had some!" Ginger smiled and showed her mother the dozing chameleon in her hands.
"Really? Did he steal your father's sandwich again?"
Her youngest daughter nodded, "Yep."
"Well, he loves to pick on your father. Ginger, you've got grape jelly all over your face."
Annabelle took her sister's hand, "I'll take care of it, Mom. Come on, Ginger. Let's clean you up and then go outside. We can draw with the chalk."
"I'll join you girls after Tom gets his hair cut." Rapunzel called after them. Then she turned to her husband, frowning, "Why did you give them peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches again?"
"It's the only thing I can make without getting Chef Armando-."
"Arnold." She corrected smoothly.
He followed her out into the hallway, "Yeah, him. It's the only thing I could think of without getting him involved. But back to what's really important—how's ruling the kingdom?"
"Not too bad. I just can't wait until Father and Mother come back from visiting King Geoffrey and his wife. But it will be another day or so according to their last letter. Apparently, Father likes hunting with the king too much."
"I thought they went on state business only?"
Rapunzel smiled, "Yes, well, state business turned rapidly into pleasure when my father and Geoffrey decided to have their meeting coincide with the best hunting season they've had in years."
"I hope your mom's found something to do in the meantime?"
Rapunzel stopped just inside the doorway, "She is. Apparently she's known the queen ever since she was a girl and they have a lot of catching up to do. I think they're enjoying their vacation."
Her husband sighed wistfully, "Wish we could go on vacation."
"What do you have in mind?"
"Oh, you know—an island faraway. You, me—alone." He grinned at her.
"Why do your dreams always take place on islands?"
"Now that is a long story I don't really want to get into."
"Speaking of stories—did the kids enjoy yours?" Rapunzel asked.
Eugene shrugged, "As much as any kid can. Thomas was disappointed that it turned into a 'kissing story', but he'll warm up to it eventually. But we had fun. We laughed, we cried, we had a good time."
She glanced at him slyly, "Now that you mention crying—I don't remember crying floods of tears."
"I may have taken some dramatic license." Her husband said, smirking.
"Well," she smiled warmly at him, "I suppose I can forgive you that."
"I certainly hope so."
Rapunzel frowned, brushing back his bangs, "Why do you have a bruise on your forehead?"
Eugene sighed, "Your son decided to use me as target practice."
"Well-," he caught her gaze and shrugged, "-all right, our son decided to try out his slingshot."
"Looks like he found his mark."
"It still doesn't compare to having a frying pan bashing into my head. Especially when it's wielded by someone with such an extraordinary flair for knocking a poor fellow off his feet."
"Oh Eugene…" She rolled her eyes.
At that moment, however, their son raced past them, waving his slingshot and howling something about a haircut.
Eugene groaned, "Our son—future king of Corona."
"Good thing he's just like you." Rapunzel said teasingly.
"Yeah, well you say that now. Just wait until later. Anyway, do you want me to come and hold the little terror down for his haircut?"
"Probably. Although it's kind-of fun to watch the court barber chase Tom around the room."
Eugene grinned, "Well I don't have to catch him immediately. Besides, he's actually quite fast for his age so I might not catch him at all."
"Maybe." She smiled up at him.
"What does that mean?"
Rapunzel rested a hand on his shoulder, shrugging, "Oh, I think you could catch him. After all, you have a reputation for being 'uncatchable' and you know all the intricate techniques involved."
"Do I?" He raised an eyebrow, "Well maybe we can get Albert, Vlad, Ralph and the boys to come and entertain the kids next week. And then we can discuss my uncatchability on that island I was talking about."
"Surrounded by piles of money?"
"Nah. Just you. You're way more fun than a pile of money."
Rapunzel laughed and turned around to lean back against his chest as he slid his arms around her waist, hugging her close. Eugene breathed in the light scent of lavender, the soft ends of her hair tickling his very impressive nose.
"I missed you today." He said simply.
"And I missed you."
Slowly, Eugene began to rock her from side to side, his eyes closing as he sang softly: "I've got a dream… I've got a dream… Her name's Rapunzel… I have my dream…"
"Eugene?" His wife murmured quietly.
"Tell me about this island."
"Oh, it's a very nice island. It has white sand, aquamarine surf, and seashells litter the beach—but not so much that you hurt your feet out walking on them. Then of course there's the sky, which lights up like fire during sunsets and turns into a peacock-blue sea of stars at night."
Eugene smiled, "I think it's peacock-blue. But I don't have an artist's eye, so what do I know about color?"
"Not a thing in the world." Rapunzel replied, setting her hand on his face and kissing him—it has to be said—rather enthusiastically. Eugene responded in kind, absolutely loving the way she felt in his arms. There was a few seconds of uninterrupted peace. Then came a slight cough.
"Excuse me, your Highnesses?"
The royal couple looked around to see a nervous servant boy standing a few yards away, his face red.
Eugene frowned, "Why do they always find us in the hallway?"
Rapunzel smiled, "Maybe we should find a more secluded hallway. Did you need something, Alfred?"
The servant boy cleared his throat, "Um, my master—the court barber—just wanted you to know that the crown prince has barricaded himself in the royal broom closet and refuses to come out. He keeps-," Alfred smirked despite himself, "-well, he keeps threatening to steal our pet frog."
"Thomas." Eugene groaned.
His wife sighed and took his hand, "Come on, dear. We can talk about that island some other time."
The Princess and Prince Consort of Corona followed the servant down the hallway and towards the ruckus the court barber was causing as he tried to reason with that notorious thief, the ever-elusive, superhumanly handsome, dashing Flynn Rider.