"Daddy! Daddy!" Flynnegan held out his arms as he ran towards his father, who had just gotten down from a magnificent white stallion.
"Flynn!" The man shouted as he cupped the boy by his armpits and flung him into the air. Prince Flynnegan squealed in absolute glee as he flew in the grasps of his father's strong arms.
"I missed you so much," the man said and paused.
"Wait, what happened to your hair? That is too little hair!" Flynnegan's father asked after he got through the fact that his son had had his hair shorn to its roots, leaving otherwise the glorious head of dark brown hair with nothing.
"Don't tell me you've got," the man speculated, his eyes wide with horror. He set the boy on the ground and the boy ran away when he saw his mother approaching.
"Cooties!" Rapunzel interjected and started complaining to her husband's despair.
"That's what you get when you bring your son to the orphanage to play with the wards."
"Oh Rapunzel. Your never complained about that before. In fact, you love it when I brought him there. By the way," he said and held her close by the waist and stole a kiss from her lips. Rapunzel pushed him back, only after he got what he wanted.
"Ouch, you're testy this morning!"
"Yes! No! Yes! Ahh!" Rapunzel moaned angrily.
"I'm so mad at you. But I don't know why. You've been gone for so long. Ugh, I feel like clonking you with a frying pan, but then I can't let you out of my sight – ugh, this is so complicated!" Rapunzel said as she switched back and forth between rapidly changing emotions. All of the sudden, the Prince Consort saw that his wife was about to cry when just seconds before she was angry. He held her close while she struggled to be free.
"I'm here now, Princess. The orphanage has been completely upgraded. It's got a new wing, and there's a library and these new baths that are absolutely sanitary. And all is done!"
"You didn't have to be gone for the whole week!" Rapunzel yelled. Thank goodness Prince Flynnegan was yards away with his new pursuit.
"I've got to make sure that everything's perfect. No so-called noblemen stealing the taxpayers' money that is meant to help the community. That is what being a Prince Consort means, not just lounging around, learning etiquette, learning fencing and eating sandwiches and scones. This is what it means to be a royalty, Rapunzel. You know that."
"But I missed you so much!"
And just like that, his wife was being emotionally attached to him again after that feisty show of temper as if she wasn't going to let him go. A thought so horrifying crossed his mind.
"Your parents were right," the Prince Consort said, deep in thought as he held Rapunzel's chin.
"About what?" Rapunzel asked testily.
"By the way, I stopped at the castle before I rushed here. And your parents told me something that I needed to know."
"You mean, about what is happening to us? We are unhappy! That is the truth."
"No, they told me about what's happening to you."
"So, this is all my fault?"
"Yes. The depression, the mood swing, the melancholy and the overdramatic acts."
"You think that I'm making this up?"
"I think, and everybody thinks that you're PREGNANT!"
"Yes, darling. You're pregnant with our second child," The Prince Consort said and held her close to his chest. Suddenly, the cold and barbed wire wall in Rapunzel's heart fell asunder. The next thing she knew, she was crying. The Prince Consort rubbed her back in an effort to comfort her.
"So, are we going to do this? Introducing Flynnegan to the grave?" He asked finally.
Choked back by her tears, Rapunzel could only nod. The Prince Consort sighed heavily. This is going to be a long day, he said in his heart.
"Flynn!" The Prince Consort called to his son, who was determinedly trying to pursue something among the rocks in the bushes. The little prince gave a squeal.
"Coming, Daddy!" He yelled as he came running to his parents.
"What's that?" The Prince Consort saw a slimy green thing in his son's hands, clamped between dirty fingers.
"It's a frog!" He squealed excitedly.
"Yay!" The Prince Consort squealed in turn. Rapunzel shook her head.
"It's a chameleon, boys!" She said.
"Nuance!" Both of them said in a chorus.
Prince Flynnegan kept the chameleon in his pocket. His father held him by the shoulders and led him to the black stone marker that he had visited with his mother.
"Come, Flynnegan. Daddy want to introduce you to a very important member of our family."
"Your grandmother. My mother. Wilhelmina Marlowe-Shakespeare."
Prince Consort Eugene Fitzherbert, his wife Princess Rapunzel and the young Prince Flynnegan sat cross-legged on the grassy ground in front of the tombstone. It was going to be a long session of reminiscing and remembering and putting back together painful memories. The princess was resting her head on her husband's shoulder, suddenly weakened by the revelation to the cause of her melancholia and abject emotional disorder. It was just as bad as when she was carrying Flynnegan. But it never stopped her from coming on to Eugene like a madwoman. That crazily beautiful solar plexus and those addictive scars and that puzzler of a belly button! She swore.
"How did she die?"
"Well, it's a long story and a very sad one, but I'll make it short and it will get better at the end. Are you ready, Flynn?"
Prince Flynnegan nodded. Eugene took a deep breath and began retelling the saddest, most perplexing day of his life.
"One day, during a great adventure, I got hurt pretty bad," Prince Consort Eugene narrated to his child.
"Hurt? Pretty bad?" Rapunzel choked at those words. Eugene just ignored her.
"I got hurt when I was fighting against a very bad person."
"Fighting? Like with swords and stuff?" Flynnegan asked excitedly.
"Yeah, some sort of like that," Eugene agreed. He liked the idea even though it was not completely true.
"Huh!" Rapunzel clicked her tongue.
"But you're not supposed to get hurt. Flynn Rider never got hurt," little Flynnegan complained.
"This is different. I thought if I get hurt, the said bad person will stop hurting people, and I was correct."
"So you let yourself get hurt?"
"Yeah, kind of."
Eugene paused, thinking back of the things that made him made that decision. That time, it felt so real. Now, it seemed that all was like from a bad dream of long ago. Even if it was not for the tombstone etched with the words 'Wilhelmina Marlowe-Shakespeare, Loving Mother' it all could have remained a bad dream.
"But your grandmother, she was there too."
"With you? Like momma always follow me around?"
"Not like that. But yeah, she was with me that time. And your momma too."
"That is not cool."
"Yeah, yeah," Eugene said rolling his eyes and he continued.
"But your grandmother was a wizard."
"Yes! I told you this story's gonna get better."
"She casted a spell to stop the bad person. But since I already hurt myself to stop the bad person, her spell was wasted."
"What happened to you, daddy?"
"I was hurt really bad. Everyone thought that I was not going to get well ever again."
Rapunzel was amazed by how such terrifying event could sound so effortlessly soothing through Eugene's words. He was not 'hurt really bad'. He was not 'not going to get well ever again'. He was already dead. Stone cold dead. Dead as a doornail. His struggle against the hurt he was inflicted with was spectacular. And he lost against it spectacularly. That promise, his final breath. He is such a drama king!
"But then your grandmother remembered that the spell she had is to take life and give life."
Rapunzel remembered how heavy and silent the loneliness was in the company of Eugene's cold and prone form, until she was disturbed by the manic shouting from Wilhelmina as she ran up the dark stairs of the tower. The woman was saying 'the gift of taking life and giving life' and in return she should have her life forfeit. The woman kept saying that she should have died the moment the spell had worked on Gothel. That was what the promise wanted in return. For the gift, Wilhelmina must give up her life. And Wilhelmina was still alive after Gothel died. Of course, that time it didn't make sense to Rapunzel because she was in a stupor of deadly sadness. Then Wilhelmina took Eugene's limp form in her arms away from Rapunzel in manic possessiveness that made her irrationally envious. Wilhelmina sang to her son's cold dead body, her voice triumphant and rejoicing.
I promised my soul to give
For my only child to live
Let him survive and believe
In his mother's redeeming gift.
"And your grandma ran back to me and sang another spell and I was well again."
"But what happened to her?"
"Well, that kind of power did not come for free. She helped to make me well and because of that all of my hurt went to her; and she died.
There were moments after the incantation was sung when Rapunzel started shedding tears again, spellbound by a grieving mother's desperation. But next, she saw white light enveloping Wilhelmina's body as she began to grimace as if she was in terrible pain. Suddenly, Eugene began to stir. Rapunzel called his name in amazement. She held his face as he opened his eyes. He called her name too. But their entranced gazes into each other's eyes were distracted by the light coming from Wilhelmina's body. Eugene called out to her, his arms reaching out to hers, but he was too weak from his wounds and from the exertion of such tragedy. Both of them could only watch helplessly as Wilhelmina began to lose her corporeal form and slowly turned into mist.
Momma, don't leave! Eugene whispered hoarsely.
Goodbye my child, Wilhelmina said wordlessly. And she disappeared, leaving behind the clothes that she was wearing in a heap on the floor. She was gone. She gained her redemption. She was finally free.
"Poor grandma," Prince Flynnegan said.
"But then for what she did for me, I and your momma got to have you, and see you born into the world," Eugene said, ending the story with a sigh.
"Yay!" The little prince yelled triumphantly.
"And soon, you're going to have a little sister," Eugene said to his son.
"Or a little brother," Eugene demurred.
"Do you have any idea what to name our new baby, Princess?" Eugene asked Rapunzel. With a choke, the princess answered.
"Wila for a girl, and Wilhem for a boy," she said and just like that, Rapunzel was crying on Eugene's shoulder at the end of the story. She had become uncontrollable. Eugene kissed her head lightly.
"Oh Eugene, I can't stand it. One moment I was fine, and the next I get angry and later I will be crying like I've got onions stuck in my eyes."
"I understand. It's difficult, but we're going to get through this together. This is our new dream."
"Promise me that you won't leave me again."
"Not if I can help it, yes, I promise."
Rapunzel understood and it was reason enough that Eugene said it that way, them having been through things that they couldn't prevent. But for that moment, everything was perfect. No one knew how long it was going to last, but that moment was all they have got.
"So, is this happily ever after?" She asked him, eyes imploring.
"Most definitely, yes," he answered, kissing the lips of his one and only dream, boy, baby, mood swings and all.
THE END, REALLY!
A/N: Seriously, who can deny Rapunzel and Eugene their happily ever after? Thank you dear readers, An Unknown Foreign Beauty, forgetmenotjimmy, the139Blossom, InkSpellWeaver, NikkyPickles, Spring-Heel-Jacqueline, Soccermustang, AIOFanNCRM, Romance and Musicals, Lady with a veil, Funkywatermelon, Nausiccaa of the Spirits, Sailor Dreamer95, SparkleWolf7000, readers who reviewed anonymously, readers who put the story on alert. Till next time. Love you all!