I was just thinking about this story and thought that maybe it needed a bit more of a resolution to it. So here it is!
Oh, by the way, just to make you laugh and/or go "awww!", my five-year-old sister who is learning to read thought that Pascal's name was "Passed-Out." Hmm . . . "Passed-Out the Chameleon." The things kids say . . . . .
Disclaimer: Uh-uh. Not mine. :( Though I really wish Eugene was mine. Believe me, you'd know if Eugene was mine!
Eugene was worried about Rapunzel. She'd been having nightmares every night for weeks—she had almost never told him what they were about, but, judging from what she screamed in her sleep, they usually involved Gothel.
It was exactly pleasant topic for either one of them, which only made the problem worse because Eugene worried that trying to convince her to talk about her dreams would be less than beneficial, and Rapunzel didn't want to burden Eugene with her nightmares. In her mind, they were horrific enough without having to force them onto someone else!
But, when Eugene finally convinced Rapunzel to tell him one of her dreams, it wasn't like anything he'd expected.
"I was back in the tower," she whispered through the darkness to him, finally confiding in him what her horrid nightmare was about. "And Gothel had just . . . stabbed . . . you." Her voice grew more and more choked, and Eugene considered interrupting her, but knew that she had to tell somebody at some point.
It wasn't good for her to hold it all in. So he just had to try not to break in two from hearing how much pain she'd been in.
"But this time . . . she wouldn't let me heal you! I struggled against the chains and screamed and tried to get to you, but she forced me to stay there, watching as you died . . . knowing it was all my fault.
"When you were dead she went over and kicked your body, proving that you really were . . . gone. She dragged me over and showed me your face, how limp and pale it was already becoming. She forced me to feel how your skin was already growing cold with death, and taunted me, telling me that it was because of me that you had died. That if I'd listened to her, you would be alive.
"I knew it was all lies and I tried to scream at her, to tell her that she was the one who had murdered him, but the words wouldn't leave my throat. She dragged me away from your body, ignoring how I screamed and cried and tried to sing so I could heal you, but I hadn't realized that I could still heal you until it was too late. Pascal tried to help me, but she . . . she squished him! She killed the two people that mattered most to me now. Gothel took me away and you and Pascal were dead, gone—all because of me!
"There was nothing else for me to live for. The outside world that I'd found so fascinating . . . it held nothing for me without you."
Eugene didn't know what to do as he held the sobbing princess in his arms. Knowing one of the nightmares she was forced to see helped him to comfort her, but how was he to keep them away?
The sheer helpless he felt frightened him, and he knew he had to find a way to help Rapunzel. He'd died for her! Surely he could find a way to keep away her nightmares . . . couldn't he?
Eugene wasn't having much luck. No matter what he tried—reading her a story, assuring her that he was alive and that she had saved him and that he'd never leave her again, even trying to play a musical instrument—everything failed. Finally, desperate to help his princess, he just hummed a random tune to her and held her tightly as she went to sleep.
Frightened by the prospect of her nightmares, she tried to stay up, but eventually fell asleep. When Eugene tried to climb out, she clutched him tighter and sighed, a genuine smile on her sleeping face for the first time in ages. Unwilling to leave her to face her nightmares, Eugene simply slept there on top of the covers with Rapunzel huddled beneath the blankets, clutching him like a life preserver.
When the two awoke the next morning—very late morning, actually, because of their lack of sleep—they were surprised to find that they had slept through the night with no interruptions.
Eugene's presence kept the nightmares away.
Naturally, the King and Queen were not particularly pleased with the sleeping arrangement, but they had no choice but to conceded when they saw how it helped their daughter. Their rule, however, was that Rapunzel was under the covers and Eugene was on top. He could use a separate blanket if it was cold, but, under no circumstance, were they both to be under the blankets.
Rapunzel thought the idea was ridiculous, but no one had given her The Talk yet—Gothel had obviously never expected Rapunzel to meet a man, so it wasn't an issue—and so how was she to understand if she didn't even know what they were trying to protect her from?
Eugene wasn't planning on telling her, that was for sure—he was leaving that job to her parents.
But at least the nightmares stopped . . . .