Greetings Readers!

So, I went and saw Tangled yesterday and I absolutely loved it - best Disney movie I've seen in a long time! And I got the idea for this one-shot in my head. It's the first Tangled anything I've written, so hopefully it's okay and in character. I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Tangled or any of its characters.

The first breath he took after he died came as a real surprise. Not that he was complaining.

But last he knew he was staring at the girl he loved with as much strength as he could manage through eyelids nearly closed from the blood loss and the inability to breathe. He had tried to hold on for her, knowing that she would not take his leaving well. But unlike other times, when Flynn Rider left behind swooning crowds of women in his wake, the thought brought him no pleasure. As hard as he tried, Eugene felt himself slipping into a dark permanence, more sad about leaving Rapunzel alone than actually dying.

So it came as a welcome surprise when he felt breath returning to his lungs and was able to open his eyes to gaze into the most beautiful green eyes he'd ever seen. He groaned as he shifted in her arms and Rapunzel gasped. A grin spread across Eugene's face at the look of joy in her tear-rimmed eyes, and he couldn't resist giving one of his typical Flynn lines. "Did I ever tell you I have a thing for brunettes?"

Typical Flynn line: downplay the seriousness, act all casual about a literal brush with death, but this time it made Rapunzel light up even more and she jumped into his arms. And then Rapunzel, naïve, innocent Rapunzel had been the one to pull him into a kiss. Being the lady-killer he was, he'd had the opportunity to use the smolder to start many kisses, but this one Rapunzel was giving him was unlike any other. It was entirely chaste but full of feeling, and as he folded his arms around her he deepened the kiss, but not enough to frighten her. As intelligent as she was, she had been completely sheltered for all but a few days of her life and, if her impulse to smack people with a frying pan was any indication, she'd never seen a man before. But restrained and chaste as it was, it was the most fulfilling kiss he'd ever had.

Blushing, Rapunzel broke off the kiss and smiled shyly up at him. Eugene simply flashed her a cocky smile, a few shades softer than his usual grin, and kissed her forehead as he leaned against the wall. Rapunzel was easily guided into the warmth of his arms and together they sat on the floor, her head resting on her shoulder. It seemed strange to be sitting peacefully on a floor scattered with shards of mirror and torn curtains, but both were so exhausted from what they had been through that neither cared.

Eugene turned his head to look at Rapunzel's tired face and smiled at her before kissing her on the forehead. Her eyes slid open at the touch of his lips and the bright emeralds looked up into his face contentedly, before finally looking around the tower. A silver, rusty gleam caught her gaze and her red-rimmed eyes filled again with tears, but Eugene didn't notice since his eyes were closed as he savored the miracle of holding the girl he loved, both of them whole, safe, and alive. It wasn't until he heard her sniffling that his eyes shot open and he saw the tears trickling steadily down her face.

"Hey," he said, turning her chin to face him and wiping the tears from her face with his thumb, "what's the matter, Blondie?"

She smiled slightly at the nickname but her eyes remained dull. When it remained clear that Eugene wasn't going to let the question drop, she raised a trembling arm and pointed to an object in the distance. He squinted and saw it: a silver dagger stained a rust red from the blood of the man it had killed. Comprehension dawned, and Eugene looked back into her face to see the guilt crossing her face. "I am so sorry, Eugene," she whispered, "I never wanted that to happen to you."

"Hey, it's okay," he murmured as he wiped away the tears springing afresh, "it's okay now. I'm fine." Eugene took Rapunzel's hand in his and guided it past the torn spot in his shirt to the area where he had been stabbed. He pointedly pressed her fingers against the smooth patch of seamlessly healed skin and gently squeezed her hand. "See, I'm okay. You saved me."

"But if you hadn't come up here, then you wouldn't have –"

"I would never have seen you again, and you'd be who knows where." He kissed her forehead again, "You're worth it, Blondie."

Rapunzel still seemed a little uneasy, but she settled back into his embrace and closed her eyes. But Eugene didn't, instead his attention was riveted on the bloody blade that lay cold-bloodedly across the room. He mentally shook his head; it didn't matter. Like he said, Rapunzel had saved him, but not in a way that either of them thought possible.

In hindsight, it would have been nice to know that her tears could do that.

Not that he was thinking about saving himself when he'd rushed up into her tower. All he knew was that Rapunzel was back in the clutches of that demented witch and he had to get her out of there. And when he was stabbed, he knew that he couldn't let her keep that promise to Gothel, because she would have been trapped forever. The shard of mirror near his hand seemed like an answer to a prayer, if he'd been the praying kind, and with one swipe, he'd broken her promise for her. It hadn't been the smartest plan, since he hadn't considered what an angry Gothel could do to Rapunzel with that dagger once she was no longer useful to her. A cold jolt of fear ran down Eugene's spine at the thought that Rapunzel could have been killed. He hadn't thought of it at the time, all he knew was that Rapunzel had to be set free – that being caged again after knowing freedom would kill even her strong spirit.

He didn't care if he died, but Gothel wasn't getting Rapunzel. His life didn't matter, saving her did.

After all, she'd already saved him. When they'd met, he had learned to not let himself care about anyone, and was governed by selfish, hollow dreams of riches and solitude. Her joy in all the simple things in the world showed him how shallow those dreams had been. The enthusiasm he'd felt so annoying at the beginning of their journey had infused everyone they'd met and eventually even himself. He hadn't sung since he was a kid, but he sang twice when she was there. He'd never danced either, but in a few split moments after Maximus had shoved him into the dance in the village, he'd been caught up in its energy, the energy she had brought in it. And when he had her in his arms for that brief moment, he knew what his new, true dream was. Rapunzel cared more for Eugene more than anyone had, including himself, and he let more and more be revealed through the mask of Flynn Rider. When he was with her, everything was right and he didn't have to hide behind an empty name.

Eugene would die for her if he had to…and he had.

Again, it would have been nice to know that her tears could heal him, but he was glad he hadn't. After years of self-centeredness, he was glad to know that he could love someone else to the extent that he would die for them. Rapunzel didn't know just how selfish he'd been before he knew her, but now she could know that he loved her. More than life itself.

Eugene felt her shaking against him and he looked down to see Rapunzel fighting back tears. "Rapunzel?"

She smiled at him through her tears, "I'm sorry I'm being so weepy, Eugene, it's just – " she stared out the window where the witch had fallen, "it's my fault she's dead. And I know she wasn't my real mother, and I can't really love her since she's lied to me all these years, but she's been the only family I had…"

"Oh." Eugene hugged her tightly to him. "I understand, but now that you're free you can find your real family. I'll help!" He looked down at her. "No matter how long it takes…"

"Eugene," she cut him off, her voice slightly nervous, "I know who they are."

His eyes widened. "You do?"

Rapunzel reached up to nervously play with a lock of her hair, only to find air since her hair was no longer there. She took a deep breath. "Eugene, I'm the lost princess."

His eyes widened even more, and he stared into his face. Her emerald green eyes and blonde hair had seemed familiar when he first saw her, and now he remembered why. There was an enormous mural of the royal family outside the orphanage where he'd grown up, and Rapunzel's eyes were the same hue of the infant princess. He blinked back down at her and subconsciously tightened his arms around her. He couldn't lose her again.

But…she'd said that not as a prideful thing, but like a daughter yearning to find her family. Having lost his own parents at a young age, he could relate to that yearning which had been a big part of his childhood and still occurred on occasion although he fooled himself into thinking he didn't. Eugene couldn't keep the girl he loved from her dream, even if it meant losing her; because even though she would never abandon him, he did not know how welcome a convicted thief would be in the palace.

"Well, then, Blondie," he smiled, "let's get going then. Might as well meet them sooner rather than later."

Rapunzel beamed at him and, as he helped her up, she launched herself into his arms and gave him a very grateful kiss. After checking the stability of the trapdoor, she began making her way down and Eugene watched her a moment.

He was willing to let her go to her parents, but he was also ready to fight for her. He was not going to lose this woman again, no matter what anyone said; he would fight to be in her life.

Because Rapunzel was worth it.

A/N: And that's it. I hope you liked it. I also hope they're both in character...I don't see Rapunzel as a particularly weepy character, but she seems like the kind who would blame herself for what had happened to an extent. I'm just glad Eugene/Flynn is there to comfort her!

Anyway, thanks for reading and please review! They make me happy.