AN: My second Tangled fict! First, let me say thank you all so much for your support with 'Reputation.' You all are amazing, and have helped me feel better about posting my stories on Fanfiction. Thanks guys. :) Second, I have to thank/blame Shrek 2 for this fanfict. While watching it, I head the song "Holding Out For a Hero" and immediately began working on this. For those who haven't heard the song, it's pretty good, though I like the original on better. Well, I hope everyone likes this. Reviews and suggestions are welcomed!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters from Tangled or the song "Holding Out For A Hero." Disney and Bonnie Tyler do.
Ever since Rapunzel was a little girl, Gothel had taught her that men were crude, boorish, dirty creatures that would kidnap, rob, and kill her as soon as they saw her. And being six when these stories started, Rapunzel had believed her mother almost completely without question. For, as far as Rapunzel knew at the time, Gothel had never lied to her before, so why would she start now?
Of course, there were a few discrepancies to Gothel's tales, with Rapunzel's storybooks being the prime example.
Although Rapunzel had only owned three books herself, Gothel had often bought her others from the outside world, allowing her to read then for a few days before taking them back to wherever they had first come from. It was a constant system of exchange, with new books traveling in and out from the tower almost like magic, taking with them their wisdom and knowledge of the outside world that Rapunzel craved. Many of the books that Gothel had brought her were 'How to' books, often times leaving her with a new hobby to help whittle away the hours of each day.
Others were encyclopedias, books filled with facts about the world that confirmed everything Gothel had told her about the world, from the poisonous spiders and snakes to the cannibalistic murders that haunted a string of islands to the south of Corona. They described wars and serial killers and everything else bad about the world, strengthening her belief in Gothel's tales.
But then there were the storybooks. Large books, collections, filled with chapter after chapter of magic and goodness and love. Books that followed different groups of people through terrifying situations, escaping death at the last moment, just to fulfill a single act of goodness. Books about men, men just like Gothel had describe, and yet at the same time completely different, that were kind and sweet and caring, willing to lay down their lives for the ones they loved without a second thought. Men that sacrificed their own well being on a daily basis of it meant that a single child slept easier at night. It was these men that made Rapunzel wonder about Gothel's version.
Of course, once Rapunzel got up the courage to ask Gothel about the men in her storybooks, Gothel had the perfect answer, as if she had been waiting for Rapunzel to question her about the subject. Without hesitation, Gothel pointed out that every single story Rapunzel had read so far had been written hundreds of years ago, during a time when men like that had existed. Princes and knights and even the occasional peasant man had been raised by their own mothers to be the best that they could be, to always fight against the barbaric urges within that overwhelmed the current specimens that they were forced to share the planet with.
However, Gothel had made sure to point out, for every man that had been raised properly, there had been ten or twenty that had just been thrown loose into the world, tainting the bloodlines of humanity. Even with proper maidens as mothers and good men as ancestors, humanity had slowly lost its ability to produce the people in her storybooks, the princes and knights replaced with thugs and thieves. Heroes had died out, leaving only a world of villains.
'Which, my Flower, is why you must never leave this tower. There's no one out there to save you, should you one day meet the rest of humanity."
Gothel would often talk like that, as if the two of them were different from the rest of humanity, as if they were the last descendants of the fair maidens and chivalrous knights that were featured in her stories. And perhaps they were. Rapunzel had never had any reason to ask Gothel about the rest of their family, like grandparents or her father or aunts and uncles. So, for all Rapunzel knew, they could have been the last of a dying breed of humans.
Her questions for the moment answered, Rapunzel had wandered back to her stories and encyclopedias, wondering just how it was that the same species that produced brave and noble knights that died on a regular basis for others could also produce an entire race of people that found their greatest pleasure in kidnapping and killing little girls. It was a conundrum too confusing for her young mind to understand at the time, one that had her mourning the fact that she had been born a few hundred years too late to meet her own Prince Charming.
However, even with Gothel's truth spread out before her, ingrained in her mind, Rapunzel couldn't help but dream that one day, somehow, that lost breed of men and women would return, creating a world safe enough for her to leave her tower. Even if there would be people who wanted her hair, there would also be those willing to protect her, to save her from the monsters that hovered at the edge of her dreams.
And then there would be him. The kindest, most caring of them all, the crown prince, who would come galloping in on his white steed in a suite of armor to rescue her from whatever trouble she had gotten herself into. He would always have a smile on his face, glad for the chance to prove himself to her and to rid the world of some new evil. He would treat everyone as his equal, from his father the King to the youngest orphan, spreading goodness and light all throughout the land. And, most importantly, he would love her. He would love her and her magical hair, treating her as a normal person instead of an object to get rich off of. In short, he would be the exact opposite of the men Gothel described.
For the next twelve years, the image of her prince riding his valiant steed into danger, unconsciously looking her, his one true love, played at the back of her mind, coming forward to taunt her during the times when she was at her most bored. It appeared almost like a moving picture before her eyes, obscuring whatever it was she was working on to show her her prince charging a dragon or tribe of ogres, his swords flashing in the sunlight to strike the enemy, all the while his noble steed reeled and struck out with its hooves, fighting to protect the master it loved. Of course, because he was the good guy, he would escape from the battle with barely a scratch, heading into town with proof of his victory to the villagers. Then, because the villagers would be so grateful that they were now safe, they would offer him the most beautiful of their daughters to be his wife. He would look over them, examining every detail of each of their faces, before turning away disappointed, unable to accept any of them as his. When the villagers questioned him, he would mount his horse, the two of them still fresh despite the battle they had just taken part of, and state that he was searching for his true love. Although he didn't know her yet, he knew that, once he saw her, he would know that she was the one. Finally, turning into the sunset, he and his horse would gallop off, continuing to bring peace to the world during their search for her.
Of course, Rapunzel knew that they were just daydreams, not even anything tangible like her dream to one day see the floating lights that appeared every year on her birthday. Just like Gothel had said, men like her prince had long since been extinct, replaced instead with the monsters that were featured in her nightmares. But it was a pleasant thought, that someone out there besides Gothel could want her for more then the money her hair could bring them. It helped to entertain her when there was nothing else for her to do but dream, though as she grew older and wiser to the ways of the world her mother described to her, the daydream came to her less and less often.
By the time her eighteenth birthday rolled around, Rapunzel had all but forgotten about her old daydreams, instead focusing on the hope that her real dream would come true, that she would be able to finally convince Gothel that the floating lights weren't in fact stars, but something much more wonderful and special. That, this year, she would finally be able to go see them for herself.
It was a great disappointment then when Gothel once more refused the request, instead reminding her about all the horrors of that plagued the seemingly innocent world, the worst of them being the men with pointy teeth. Watching as Gothel once more left the tower to obtain the needed supplies for that week, Rapunzel had been surprised at the feeling of anger that had risen within her. Anger at Gothel for not even considering going to the lights, anger at herself for not being good enough to go see them herself, and, most surprisingly, anger at her prince for not coming for her. Although she knew he was an image of her imagination, she had spent so much of her childhood dreaming about and waiting for him, that she had almost come to believe he existed. If her prince had come, then there would be no need for Gothel to worry. The three of them could have lived together, safe from the dangers of the world, for he would have protected them. She was mad at him for not being real, for being dead.
It was an even greater surprise when, after having calmed herself down with some knitting, the voice of someone other then Gothel reached her in her tower. Without thinking, Rapunzel grabbed the frying pan she had been washing and hid, the pan shaking in her grasp as she listened. It was deeper then both hers' and Gothel's, with a gruffness about it that sent a wave of panic down her spine. Someone was coming into her tower!
Drawing farther back into the shadows, Rapunzel watched in wonder as the someone pulled themselves in to her tower through her open window, their chest heaving as they recovered from the climb. They weren't paying attention to their surroundings, instead focusing on a bag they had cradled in their arms. Leaning over, they opened the bag, muttering under their breath as they gazed at whatever it was that was in there. At the moment, Rapunzel struck, her frying pan meeting the persons' head with a resounding thunk, leaving the person passed out on the floor.
Rapunzel slowly approached the person, using her pan to push a lock of short hair from its face. With a gasp she recoiled, her eyes widening as they fell upon the masculine features. Glancing at Pascal, she nodded as the chameleon ran over to Gothel's picture of a red man with pointed teeth, his face twisted into a snarl. Flipping the pan, she poked at the mans' face, lifting his lips to reveal a set of white, even, not pointed teeth.
Backing up a few steps, Rapunzel took a moment to consider the man before her. He was nothing like the men Gothel had described, though of course he was unconscious, so she couldn't be sure. As she stood there, considering the different options she had for dealing with him, a thought passed through her mind, freezing her body and mind in place.
'Could it be...Him?' Just a few hours ago, she had been angry with a figment of her imagination, angry that the prince she had dreamed up so long ago hadn't shown himself in all the years she had been waiting for him, even if she was only waiting in her daydreams for something she knew was extinct. But what if, just maybe, he hadn't been a daydream? What if the prince she had been watching in her daydreams for so long had actually been real, that the visions she had seen were the true adventures he had been on while searching for her?
Stepping forward, Rapunzel leaned over him to get a better look, hoping to catch some feature she recognized from the man in her daydreams, when one of his eyes popped open, staring at her in confusion. Letting out a yelp, Rapunzel let her frying pan fall once more, sending the man back into oblivion for the next few hours.
Shaking her head, Rapunzel pushed the thoughts of her old daydreams away. There was no way they had been real, no way that the man she was pushing into her closet was a prince or a knight. Most likely, he was one of the men Gothel had warned her about, one of the ones that wanted her for her hair, the ones who wanted to kidnap her and hold her hostage, forcing her to heal evil people for a price so they could continue hurting those few innocents that remained in the world.
She would show him to Gothel, convince her mother that she could take care of herself, and he would be her ticket to seeing the lights. And if Gothel still didn't agree to let her see the lights, Rapunzel was sure that the man would do what she wanted in exchange for whatever the thing in his bag was. But still, as Rapunzel waited for Gothel to return from the market, the child within her that had started the dreams about the prince couldn't help but send out one more thought before returning to her subconscious, allowing her to focus solely on the speech she was sure would finally convince Gothel to take her to see the lights.
'Even if he isn't a prince, perhaps Mother is wrong about some men. Maybe, just maybe, this one will be a hero.'
AN: Thanks for reading everyone. I really hope you liked it. :)