Disclaimer: I don't own Tangled. If I did . . . well, Flynn/Eugene probably wouldn't be known by so many people because I would have hidden him, not wanting to share such hotness with the world. Yes, I am in love with a fictional, animated man. There are several more fictional men as well . . . .

Here Comes the Smolder

A Tale of How the Famous Smolder Came to Be

Eugene Fitzherbert had always been a handsome boy. With his hazel eyes lined with dark lashes, chocolate brown hair that was just messy enough to make its sheer perfection seem effortless, and tall body that was lean and strong, he was the envy of every boy in the orphanage and the apple of every girls' eye.

Of course, he was completely unaware of any of that. Unlike Flynn Rider, the persona he would eventually become, he was oblivious of his innate appeal that made the girls swoon when he smiled at them. He never thought that he was the reason, assuming that the girls in the orphanage just had problems—maybe that was why they were there in the first place?

It wasn't until the matron of the orphanage called him into her office for a talkthat he finally learned the effect he had on women. The matron was stern, not knowing that Eugene was completely unaware of his own charm. When Eugene responded in confusion, she realized that he had, in fact, no idea how endearing he was. And so she explained it, not knowing she was planting the seed that would grow into Flynn Rider's cockiness and conceit.

But Eugene started small. He tried smiling at the girls, gauging their reactions and wondering whether tilting his mouth to the right or left side could influence the effect he had.

He spent months perfecting it slowly, until it got to the point that it was infallible—on women, at least. Older women would smile and talk about how adorable he was, and eventually give him what he wanted, and the women his age . . . it was pretty much guaranteed that he would get what he want.

He never used it for anything except making thieving easier or for an easy flirt. He had no interest in women—all he wanted was to be rich. The only way he would get money, though, seemed to be from stealing, and he knew that he couldn't be a thief by the name of Eugene Fitzherbert.

So, when Eugene Fitzherbert morphed into Flynn Rider, a man based off the character of his favorite book, The Adventures of Flynnigan Rider, he found it easier to be everything he wasn't as Eugene.

Eugene Fitzherbert was as brave, charming, or handsome as Flynn, and he never would have used his looks the way Flynn did. But, when hiding behind his mask, pretending to be Flynn . . . it was easier to pretend, to act like he was so confident, so arrogant, and so bent on becoming rich.

Flynn also got his name for his signature smile from someone else, a woman, actually—one of the women who'd had the pleasure of seeing the smile.

"Eugene is so gorgeous!" she trilled. (This was before Eugene became Flynn Rider, but after he had first gotten the idea for it.) "His eyes . . . when he smiles like that, it's like they're smoldering . . . ."

She went on for several minutes, and, honestly, Eugene didn't pay attention to most of it. But it was an interesting name . . . .

After all, smile was too innocent, grin too impish, smirk too mischievous . . . . Smolder, however, seemed to be an apt name. He tried it out, saying it out loud to himself as "smoldered" at his mirror. Smolder. It seemed to work.

In a way, The Smolder—not "the smolder"; "The Smolder"—was what made Flynn Rider . . . well, Flynn Rider. Without it, Eugene wouldn't have been able to con many women into giving him their jewels, or to dazzle them in a way that made them forget their surroundings or the pearl necklace in their hand until it was gone.

But, out of everything else, The Smolder gave him confidence. He saw the women's reactions, and that fueled Flynn's belief that he deserved to be rich. It wasn't his fault if the only way to get rich was by stealing! After all, a face so handsome should come with riches, too.

So it took Flynn completely by surprise when one young woman with extremely long hair seemed to be immune to The Smolder . . . .