AN: Hi everyone! On tvtropes . com, they were talking about how Fitz- is the prefix normally given to a illegitimate child, so it kinda inspired this one. Ok, now, before anyone sends me any hate mail, I am aware of the story 'A Tale of a Rider' by RacRules. We both obtained the idea from the same source, and we both wrote a story about it. I did not steal the idea from her. In fact, I wasn't even aware of her story until I was about 3/4 done with this. (Sorry Rac, I loved the story, but it's true. I normally don't read many not complete ficts until they're done in case the writer decides to stop writing it.) There are some bare similarities between our storied due to the shared source of inspiration, but they are small. That being said, I hope you all like it! Reviews and suggestions are welcomed!
Disclaimer: I do not own Tangled. Disney does.
Eugene hated his name.
To begin with, there was his first name. Eugene. When you were a ten year old boy, living in an orphanage in the rough part of town, you did not want a name that made you sound like a wuss. Which was exactly what Eugene was. It was an old person's name, one that you would expect to hear a distinguished lord being referred as in the middle of a royal banquet. It was not the type of name that fit in with the beggars and small time ruffians of the capital slums.
Of course, in a way, he could never completely hate the name Eugene, though as a child he would never admit it. While it wasn't the typical street name like Killer or Thug, it was a name that suited a dreamer. Many times he had passed the night dreaming that, one day, he would become someone famous and important, someone that the King himself would praise. Someone who even Flynnigan Rider, the richest man in the world, would bow to. During those times, he was glad that his name was Eugene instead of something else, for Eugene fit into those dreams while Hook stood out like the missing thumb it was. Eugene had class, poise, and was just perfect when placed after 'Lord."
So, Eugene he could live with, once he became one of the most important people in the world.
It was Fitzherbert that he couldn't.
Of course, when he had been little, he hadn't understood why, at the mention of his full name, people who had formerly been friendly would shun him, pushing him away as if he was diseased. At first, he had thought that it was because he was an orphan, one of these few unlucky children that Fate decided had to grow up parentless. That theory had quickly been proven wrong, though, by watching how everyone acted with the other orphans. As soon as a person would come into contact with them, it was like someone had told the stranger that the little girl before then was the Lost Princess, or that the boy was nephew to the King. They would coo and fawn over the child, eventually leaving them with some sort of treat.
And that was how it would start with Eugene too. Standing there in his ragged clothing, people would come up to him, asking him questions about himself and if he was a good citizen of Corona. And with perfect sincerity, his natural charm-even then strong despite his young age-pushing through with his every answer, he would answer. Then, just as he believed he had done well enough to deserve the treats all the other orphans received, they would ask his name. And the moment he replied they would leave him without another word, confused and saddened over his lost prize.
It wasn't until he was ten, though, that he decided to get to the bottom of why people treated him so differently.
It had started as a normal day, his hopes high for once. Just a few weeks ago he had celebrated his tenth birthday, a milestone that marked not only another year of being alive, but one that also allowed for him to apply for an apprenticeship. It would be hard, he knew, working for someone else day and night for the next seven years, learning the trade of his master. But it would also help him achieve the dream he had often held on to through the years, the dream of becoming someone so powerful and amazing that the kingdom itself would tremble at the very mention of his name. And what better way to do that then to become the rich Master of a guild?
By noon his dreams had been smashed, the pieces scattered to the wind as each craftsman slammed his door in his face, the same disgusted look thrown at him with the mention of his name. The baker's wife had even thrown some burnt bread at him, the stone hard pieces shattering as they made contact with his head. So, it had been with tears in his eyes and crumbs in his hair that he had made his way back to the orphanage, looking for comfort and answers from the women who ran it.
It was then that he first learned about his mother.
According to the women, she had appeared in the middle of a stormy night almost eleven years ago, jabbering on in some foreign language. Thinking that she was probably a refugee from one of the many countries that were in the middle of the war that had been going on at the time, they had taken her in, glad for the extra pair of hands to help with the influx of orphans the war had brought to their home. She had been a beautiful young girl, barely more then a child herself, so it had come to a surprise when her stomach began to round with the first signs of her pregnancy.
A thousand questions had filled their minds at the time, though complete communication had proved to be impossible. While she had quickly learned enough to take orders and give commands, a full conversation had been far beyond their grasp. However, they had been able to learn enough about the girl to know that the child within her would have been unknown to its father, even if the man hadn't been killed shortly after impregnating her. There had been no marriage between them, not even a promise of one. There had only been love, and a fear that their love would be taken from them.
So, when the soldiers had come, killing her beloved and wealthy family, she had fled, unaware of the life within her. It had taken her almost two months to reach Corona, one of the few kingdoms not in the middle of a civil war, where she had hoped to find a place where she could live out the rest of her days, morning the loss of those she had loved. And in a way, she did.
Soon after Eugene had been born, she had fallen gravely ill, her body no longer possessing any reason to continue. She had seen the birth of her son, had placed him in kind, safe hands, and was content. Within hours she had died, leaving behind only her son to be raised by strangers. The only thing she left him to remember her by was his name: Eugene Fitzherbert.
The moment the story had finished, the women had gone on to explain just how his name marked him, at least to the people of Corona. For them, the prefix Fitz- marked him as he was, an illegitimate child of two unwed lovers. The name after, Herbert, was quite possibly his father's name, or at least that's what they thought it could be. Put together, his name marked him as the bastard son of a man named Herbert.
Of course, the women had gone on to explain that that was just the name his mother had left him, that she hadn't been able to speak the language well so it was quite possible that they had misunderstood most of what she had said. For all they knew, the two of them had claimed, he would have been the next heir for the thrown in one of those countries, his mother a queen fleeing in hope to preserve the royal blood line. That, in his mother's country, Fitzherbert was the name of a long and powerful line of wise rulers, men and women that had changed the world just by breathing.
But for Eugene, these maybes and ifs were just an attempt to sugarcoat a pile of rotten apples. It didn't matter whether his mother was a queen and his father the duke of some far off country or if they had been poor peasants. It didn't matter whether he had rich relatives searching every corner of the globe for him, if they even knew he existed, or if his entire family was dead. What mattered was, from the moment his mother named him, he had been marked for failure.
He had seen before what the fate of bastard children was, a cruel fate handed to them by a world that didn't care. A few years before, the village had been home to a beggar, an older man who had roamed the streets, fighting with the rats for scraps of rotten food. It had been a pitiful sight, watching as the capable man withered a bit more each day. Then, one day after a harsh winter night, he had been discovered frozen to the door stoop he had fallen asleep in. His life has been full of misery, so much that, when they found him, a smile had been plastered on his pale skin. He had been buried in a shallow grave outside of the town, his existence quickly forgotten by the villagers.
And if Eugene let it, that would be his life too. Unable to get work, kicked out of the orphanage once he turned eighteen, he would be forced to turn to charity to survive, that is if they would give it to him. For the remainder of his life, which probably wouldn't be that long, he would be a disgrace to everyone. All because of how he had been born.
He refused to accept that.
After the women had finished explaining about his past, his ears ringing with their false promises, Eugene had slowly wandered back to his room, his eyes quickly falling on his most prized possession: the book Tales of Flynnigan Rider. The book that had inspired all of his dreams, it now taunted him, acting as a reminder to his most likely fate. He would never go on adventures of his own, gaining the respect and admiration of everyone from the highest king to the lowest peasant. He would never waltz in the Great Hall with the lords and ladies of the court, treated as their equal. Never would his name be spoken with admiration, only disgust. His dreams would never come true, not as long as he bore the name Eugene Fitzherbert.
So he chose a new one.
A new name, new dream, new destiny, a new everything, really. Sitting there, staring at the book on his bed, his heart broken for the first time by the cruel reality of the world, Eugene decided that, if he was going to be cast aside by everyone just because of who he was, than perhaps it was better if Eugene Fitzberhert died. Throwing his things in a small bag under his bed, he climbed out the orphanage window, using the long curtains that had kept out the sun as his rope. Running through the village, he quickly found a band of travelers that agreed to take him anywhere he wanted to go, provided that he worked for his keep.
As they left early the next morning, the man driving the wagon slightly turned his head towards his new ward, the question in his eyes before it even touched his lips.
"So boy, who are you?" Without thinking, the ten year old answered, relishing the words as they flew off his tongue, marking his new identity in the world.
"Name's Flynn Rider."
Eleven years can be a long time for a thief, especially for one just starting out like Flynn. Learning the rules of the trade, running from the guards when he was caught, sleeping in trees when the ground was covered in snow, life was not kind to him after he left the orphanage. It was a struggle to survive, stealing half rotten fruit from the food stands that lined the market places of the towns he visited. It was nothing like he had expected when he had run away.
When Flynn had left, he had imagined that, using his assumed name, he would be able to travel to the farthest corners of the globe, fighting thugs and saving villages from all the dangers of the world. He would become a world class adventurer, transforming himself into the real Flynn Rider. He would leave behind his past, forging a new place in the world for himself, a place where he could become whoever he wanted to be. It had become his new dream, his new reason to strive towards the future.
What he got instead was an empty belly and a greater understanding of just how cruel the world was. His 'adventures' were him trying to not die, not fighting off dragons threatening the greater good. His life was miserable.
But it also opened a door he never knew was possible.
Stealing to survive quickened his mind and his reflexes, allowing him to soon fill the satchel he had stolen after setting out on his own without even the threat of being caught. He made fools of the guards that chased him, taunting them with his stolen goods, laughing at their empty threats to have his head as he escaped into the woods. Later, when he sold the trinkets he had snatched from the market stalls, he used his developing charm to raise the prices, adding the hard earned coins to his collection he had stashed in the woods. By the time he had turned thirteen, wanted posters lined the allies, for Flynn had, at last, found a dream he could obtain.
He would steal until he had enough money to become the richest man in the world. Richer then the King of Corona himself, richer then Flynnigan Rider could have ever been. He would buy himself an island, someplace as far from reality as he could get, and live there alone, away from away from the cruel world.
He had been close to completing that goal too, when he decided to enlist the Stabbington brother's help to steal the crown of the Lost Princess.
And fell in love with its owner, Princess Rapunzel. To his surprise, she fell in love with him too, convincing her parents to excuse him of his crimes so they could stay together. He renounced his past as Flynn and once more became Eugene Fitzherbert, the man who was to become the next King. Once he learned how, of course.
Walking through the corridor, his mind full of the day's lessons on ruling the kingdom he had just left from, Eugene froze as voices drifted past him, the slight echos reverberating around him. His instincts kicking in, activating his want for privacy, he slid backwards into a doorway, concealing himself from their sight. It turned out to be a mistake.
"A bastard as King? I don't know what their Highnesses are thinking, but it'd be better if the Princess was married off in a political marriage then if she married him."
Eugene stiffened as the maids moved away, the familiar feeling that had haunted his days as a child welling up in his chest. It was the same feeling that had appeared whenever, as a child, he had been scorned by the villagers in the town he had grown up in. That feeling of worthlessness that still haunted his darkest moments.
Leaving his sanctuary, Eugene continued his wandering, his spirits sinking with every step. Perhaps, it would be better if he hadn't revealed his real name, if he hadn't accepted the invitation to stay. Flynn Rider he could see becoming a king, even with his shady background. But Eugene? The bastard child of some guy named Herbert? It was amazing that he was even still alive. He knew he had nothing to offer Rapunzel, nothing that he could do for the kingdom. Even with the King's instructions, he was still just, as the maids had so kindly reminded him, a bastard.
Wondering through the halls, his mind sinking from the weight of that old feeling, he was unaware of the voice that followed him until it was right next to him, the warmth and love striking through the darkness to lift the shadows that had fallen over him.
"Eugene? There you are!" Eugene turned as a slight body ran into him, her arms wrapping around him in a tight embrace. Smiling, he felt his spirits raise as he buried his nose in her hair, breathing in the tantalizing scent that always surrounded her.
"Where were you going Eugene? Did you forget the meeting we have to go to Mr. Fitzherbert?" Shaking his head, Eugene tightened his hold on Rapunzel, placing a kiss on her confused forehead.
"Of course not Blondie. Let's go."
Striding down the hall way, his arm wrapped around her waist, Eugene couldn't help but smile as they passed the same maids from before, their disapproving glances going unnoticed. When he was with Rapunzel, Eugene could say that he was proud of who he was. When he was with her, even though he was still given the same disgusted looks that he had faced as a child when he introduced himself, they didn't seem to matter anymore. When he was with Rapunzel, his name was Eugene Fitzherbert, and he liked it.
Mainly because she liked it too.
AN: Thank you all for reading! I hope you liked it. :)