AN: A cute little one shot I thought up a while ago, but have only gotten around to writing it now. I know it's late, but I hope you all like it, and Happy (Very)Late New Years everyone! :)

Disclaimer: I do no own Tangled. Disney does.

For most of her life, Rapunzel had lived by a carefully timed schedule.

At exactly six thirty in the morning, she would wake up to get a head start of greeting the day, completely dressed and ready to start her chores but the time the strange clock Gothel had brought to the tower a few years ago chimed seven. By then, it was a game to see whether she could beat her previous record, racing from task to task with a brilliant efficiency that had come from fourteen years of doing the exact same things everyday for as long as she could remember. Mother, on the days she was there at least, would comment on just how good she had become at keeping the tower in order, before leaving to venture out onto the world, gathering the supplies they would need to maintain their existence within their home.

By the time Gothel had left the clearing, Rapunzel, in accordance with her time table, would have already gotten started on the various tasks that awaited her, activities designed to help drive away the boredom that often lurked in the back of her mind. In the exact same order, for the exact same amount of time, she would move from painting to reading to whatever was next on her list, playing with Pascal and just generally dreaming that her life was different, that she was free to see the world that waited outside her tower.

Finally, as the sun would begin to set, Gothel would return, the two of them would eat a simple dinner, and exactly at ten at night, they would go to sleep, oblivious of the hours that passed them from one day to the next. Then, just like the path of the hands on the face of the clock, their day would restart into the exact same pattern they had just left behind. Rapunzel's life in the tower was one big circle, with single day an exact repeat of the one before.

Except for one.

Every year, for this one day, things would change, her life becoming almost unrecognizable in its new strangeness. Instead of awakening at her normal six thirty, Mother would allow her to sleep in until the sun was full and round in the sky, its harsh light flooding the valley her tower resided in. Then, from the moment she awoke, for the rest of the day, she would help with the preparations. Baking tons of sweets, decorating the tower with fresh flowers Mother had gather for the occasion, and making small paper dolls with the name 'Death' scribbled on their side, for hours the two of them would work side by side, transforming their home for the festival.

And then the sun would set, freeing them from their tasks to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Everywhere she went, Rapunzel would find one of the dishes Mother had created, already cut and laid out for the taking. Although Mother normally discouraged eating too many sweets a day, just like with everything else, the normal rules were discarded and sweets were open for eating. Within a few moments, Rapunzel's head was pleasantly buzzing and if felt like she could climb her tower a hundred times, even without the assistance of her hair.

For the rest of the night it continued like this, the two of them eating and laughing and playing games, just doing the exact opposite of what they would normally be doing had it been a normal day. Every time the clock chimes out that another hour had passed, the two of them would take one of their Death dolls and throw them into the fire, the flames greedily consuming their newest fuel. For a moment, glancing at her mother, watching the woman watch the toys quickly burn into ashes, Rapunzel couldn't help the flash of fear as a shadow crossed over her mother's face, turning the familiar young face into the twisted mask of an old hag, her skin withered, her hair lank, and her evil eyes sunken deep into her face, much like what she believed a skeleton would look like. But just as swiftly as the shadow appeared it would be gone, and within a few moments she would forget about it as Rapunzel and Mother found the newest game to play.

Finally, with just a few hours left until sunrise, the two of them would find themselves sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall right under the window, struggling to remain awake as the rush of energy they had obtained from the treats earlier wore off. It was this time that Rapunzel always loved the best, for while the rest of it was fun too, sitting there, propped up by the wall, just barely staying awake through pure willpower, Mother would begin to tell stories. And they weren't her normal bedtime stories either, where some little girl was too stupid to listen to her mother and ended up going through horrible things before finding her way home again. Nor were they like the stories in her storybooks, where some brave prince rode in on his white steed to fall in love with the girl and get married to her. No, these stories were very different, for they were real. They were the stories of Mother's past.

For the last few hours of the night, taking breaks only to give their hourly offerings to the flames, Mother would talk about what her life had been like before Rapunzel had been born, before the two of them had moved into their tower to keep her hair safe. She would talk about her family, Rapunzel's grandparents and aunts and uncles, people who were long since dead by now and had been for quite some time. She talked about the man she had loved and eventually married, a man who had been better then any prince, Rapunzel's father, and about the children she had given birth to, the brothers and sisters she had never gotten the chance to meet.

With tears in her eyes and her throat clogging, Mother would tell about how each of them had died, how her grandparents had died of old age, her father because of an illness that they had been unable to cure, and her siblings through a combination of childbirths gone wrong and foolish wars that had taken place over nothing and that had left nothing in their wake. Mother would tell of how, with her entire family, even her youngest grandchild, a niece Rapunzel would never hold or love, dead, she had wandered the earth for many years, growing older and older with each passing day.

Finally, Mother would tell of how she had one day stumbled across a patch of magic that had seen her for the wonderful person she really was and had accepted her as its owner. Gifting her with restored youth, the magic had also performed one other miracle for the lonely woman, and had given her another chance at being a mother. Soon, she was blessed with a daughter, one that looked almost exactly like the husband that she had loved for all those years, but the child was infused with the same magic that had first helped to bring her into the world, bestowing upon her a gift greater then anything the world had ever seen: magical hair that healed all wounds. And so, determined to protect her last child, Mother told of how she had had the tower built by some villagers she believed could be trusted, and since the day the last brick had been placed, Rapunzel had remained safe within the tower, protected by her mother from the world that meant to harm her.

By the time Mother would finish telling the last story, the night would be close to being over, leaving them almost no time to prepare for the final event of their festival. Forcing themselves to stand, the sweet promise of sleep dragging on them, they would each hurry off to complete their assigned task, Mother pulling up the old ladder from the basement while Rapunzel gathered their last two Death dolls and some matches. Throwing open the sky light, Mother would align the ladder with the lip of the roof before climbing up onto the pointed covering that protected from the dangers of the sky. Then, for one time each year, Rapunzel would leave her tower and enter the outside world, if you could call climbing onto the roof of her home leaving.

Sitting there in the freezing cold, the darkest part of the night slowly fading as the sun began to rise, Rapunzel and her mother would burn the last of the dolls, holding onto the flaming cloth toys for as long as they could before the pain of the flames forced them to drop them into the river below. Then, at Mother's cure she would begin to sing, her hair bringing a premature morning to the valley, reflecting off the water below and the few puffy clouds above. She would sing slow and loud, putting every ounce of energy she had left into lighting up her home, the years of practice giving her perfect timing. Just as the last word of the song left her lips and the glow began to die, the real sun would rise, replacing the glow of her hair with its brilliance.

Whenever this day would roll around, Mother would always talk about it in the past tense, as another year gone, another year she had managed to foil the evil plans of Death. For Mother, it was a constant struggle, a continuous fight against what most people would consider inevitable. But for Rapunzel, watching as the sun slowly rose over the horizon, its golden rays pushing back the shadows of the night, breathing life back into the world, the sunrise didn't mean another year lost. It meant that the two of them had a whole new year ahead of them, another year for them to be together.

It meant that, for another year and hopefully for the rest of their lives, Rapunzel would always be able to be with her mother.

"Happy New Year Mother."

"Happy New Year, my flower."

AN: Really, the only explanation I have for why this New Years one shot is so late is that Gothel might not celebrate New Years with everyone else. She might celebrate the day she found the flower for her New Years. Anyway, I hope you all liked this, and thank you very much for reading. :)