Yeehaw! My first ever fanfic! I fell head-over heels in love with Tangled the minute I laid eyes on the trailer. After seeing it four times, I stumbled on FanFiction, and I do believe I'm hooked! I've had fun writing this so far, and will continue if you think it's worth it.
Rapunzel lay in her roomy bed, staring up at the ceiling in the darkness. Another growl echoed from her stomach, reminding her of its growing hunger. Letting out an exasperated sigh, she slipped out of the coverlet. Groping in the darkness, her hands felt a silky robe, which she put on over her nightgown. Silently, she tiptoed out the door, and stared down the long corridor which passed through all of the bedrooms in the castle. She blinked several times to adjust her eyes to the moonlight and padded quietly down the hall. As she passed down a flight of stairs, she noticed a guard sitting against the end of the staircase. After closer investigation, she found he had fallen fast asleep.
"So much for security," she thought with a shrug.
It seemed like an eternity, weaving her way through the labyrinth that was the castle. Even though it had been almost six months since she had left her tower for the last time, she often wished she was back where everything was close at hand. Finally, she reached the kitchen and opened the wooden door. She searched for the pantry door where small foodstuffs were kept. As she felt her way through the blackened room, her hand touched something warm and firm. Suddenly, she felt warm breath blowing down on her. In shear fright, she let out a terrified squeal. A hand immediately shot out, covering her mouth. Rapunzel began to squirm, trying to turn around in order to give her captor a series of swift kicks. Then, to her surprise, the hand uncovered her mouth and a flickering flame suddenly appeared. It levitated, lighting a candle which seemed to be floating in mid-air. The candle then shed a welcome light over the corner of the kitchen. Rapunzel looked at the face which the light uncovered. It wasn't a thug, thief, or perpetrator, it was her thief.
"Eugene!" she cried out. "You scared the dickens out of me!"
"I'm sorry, Blondie," he whispered, a sheepish look on his face. "I wasn't expecting you to drop by."
"I wasn't expecting you to stand there and breathe on me either," she said, reducing her voice to a whisper.
Looking at him with confused yet convicting eyes, she added, "What are you doing here?"
"I should be asking you the same question."
"Okay then, but I'll go first. What are you doing in here?"
I'm uh," replied Eugene, running a hand through his dark brown hair. "I'm raiding the kitchen."
Rapunzel blinked several times, trying to process what he had just said.
"You're, you're stealing?" she asked, her voice steadily rising in volume.
"No, no," said Eugene, trying to find the words to explain. "I was hungry, so I came down here to get something. 'Raiding the kitchen' is just a figure of speech."
"Oh," Rapunzel replied, then added with a smile. "Then I guess I'm raiding the kitchen too."
"Well, what's the old saying, 'great minds think alike'," chuckled Eugene.
Smiling, he brushed a stray lock of Rapunzel's short brown hair from her face. Suddenly, the wooden door began to squeak open. Both Eugene and Rapunzel froze as they saw a large figure coming through the door. It had a candle with it, and when the figure came into full view, Rapunzel let out a squeal.
"Father!" she cried.
"Rapunzel," the King of Corona asked.
"Hello, Father," she said, lightly skipping over to give him a peck on the cheek.
He smiled briefly at his daughter, then turned to the squirming figure behind her.
"Good evening, Fitzherbert," he said in a deep monotone, looking at the young man with a suspicious eye.
"Your Majesty," Eugene replied, bowing slightly.
Clearing his throat, the King asked, "And what are you both doing down here in the middle of the night?"
"We're raiding the kitchen," replied Rapunzel promptly, as if the sentence had no negative meanings. "It's a figure of speech."
Behind her, Eugene couldn't contain a bout of amused chuckles. He snapped to attention when the King addressed him, however.
"Fitzherbert, I do remember you had repented from your previous ways," he asked.
Even in the small amount of light in the room, Eugene couldn't mistake the twinkle in the King's eyes.
"Oh I have, Your Majesty," Eugene replied. "full heartedly. I regret to say my stomach hasn't made the same decisions, though."
The King chuckled deeply at the young man's remark.
"Well, it's crime has been forgiven," the King laughed, then became serious. "But, I'd suggest we all head back to our quarters before we cause any alarm."
"Goodnight to both of you," he added, heading for the door.
"Father," asked Rapunzel. "What did you come down for?"
"For one, I heard all the commotion down here," he said, then added with a grin. "And I came to raid the kitchen."
After the King had left, Rapunzel and Eugene looked at each other and laughed.
"He's not as stoic as everyone thinks," said Rapunzel with a giggle. "Mother says he was even a practical joker when he was younger."
"You wouldn't have known," replied Eugene, shaking his head, then added. "Well, Princess, because we have been caught in the act, I'd say we grab what we came for and make a hasty exit."
They each took a roll from the pantry and headed back up the stairs.
"He's still asleep," said Rapunzel, motioning to the guard. "He must have been exhausted!"
Eugene smiled, "Probably."
Rapunzel looked up at him, her eyes widening, then added with a gasp, "You didn't-"
Putting up a hand, Eugene replied, "Yes, I'm afraid that was my handiwork."
"What am I going to do with you," Rapunzel asked, hands on her hips and shaking her head. She smiled, though, as she looked into his brown eyes.
They finished climbing the stairs, hand in hand. As Eugene left Rapunzel at her door, he bent down and planted a tender kiss on her cheek.
"Goodnight," he whispered.
"Goodnight," answered Rapunzel, returning the kiss.
Looking out the large window down the hall which looked out over the bay, she added, "What night is left."
The next morning, Eugene awoke as light shafted through the window into his quarters. The minute he was awake, his body tensed, ready to bolt away like a frightened deer at the slightest sound of danger. He relaxed immediately when he realized where he was. He was used to sleeping in a different place every night. Never settled down, always on the run. But now, he sighed in contentment, resting his hands behind his head. He had been pardoned of his previous crimes when he had brought the beloved Princess of Corona, whom he loved with all of his heart, back to her real parents. They had even been kind enough to let him stay as a royal guest, which was something he never expected would happen to him. When he had been caught, he expected to see a glimpse of the castle, and Rapunzel, before the noose was tightened around his neck. But it was all over now, and he had changed. He was no longer Flynn Rider, the swashbuckling rogue who had stolen the lost Princess's crown. He was now Eugene Fitzherbert, the man who had found his true dream, his reason for living. He would do anything in his power to be with Rapunzel for the rest of her days. After getting dressed and toiling with his hair, he headed down for breakfast. As he passed the armor room, he stopped short when he heard the King talking.
"And what happened, exactly," the King was saying.
"I was standing at the end of the stairs. At my post, Your Majesty," began a voice. "and all of a sudden, I hear a voice behind me. I don't know who it was, but after I kept asking for his identity, everything goes black."
Eugene felt his earlier contentment flow away like a swiftly moving stream. That voice belonged to the guard from the night before!
"I know I was hit upside the head," the guard added. "I have this enormous goose egg in that place."
"Did you see the person who attacked you," asked the King, concern mixed in his voice.
Eugene cringed. " Attack is a pretty strong word to use," he thought. "And I'll bet that he knows I did it." His mind spun as he thought about it, then jerked to a stop when the guard answered.
"I haven't a clue," he said. "I couldn't make him out in the darkness."
"Well,' the King replied. "I'll see if I can sort this out. In the mean time, take care of your head."
Hearing footsteps, Eugene quickly headed to the dining room. When he opened the large double doors, both the Queen and Rapunzel were sitting at the large mahogany table. Rapunzel seemed to brighten considerably at his entrance, and the Queen smiled pleasantly in his direction.
"It doesn't seem like she knows," he thought, as he smiled back at the Queen. "She doesn't look upset."
"Good morning, Eugene," Rapunzel's cheerful voice echoed, breaking up his thoughts. "We were wondering where you could have gone."
She scooted her chair closer to his as he sat down. Normally he would marvel at how refreshing it was to see her beautiful face every morning, but his thoughts were distracted this time. Rapunzel could tell the minute he had walked in, something was amiss. He looked a little pale, and his deep, chocolaty brown eyes were a pool of concern. She picked up his hand, giving it a squeeze, and was encouraged when he smiled at her.
"I trust you slept well, Eugene," the Queen's calm and nurturing voice interrupted the couple's thoughts.
Eugene cleared his throat and answered, "Yes I did, Your Highness. I slept quite well."
Rapunzel looked at Eugene's expression. She could tell he meant what he had said, yet something wasn't right. She didn't have long to find out what had happened. It wasn't a minute later that the King made his entrance. He sat down at his place with a grunt, and said, "Good morning, everyone."
"Good morning, darling," the Queen answered.
"Good morning, Father," Rapunzel also chimed in.
When Eugene didn't reply, the King added, "Good morning, Rider."
Eugene's whole body cringed when he heard his alias called. It made him feel almost sick to hear his own name called. When the name rolled off his own tongue, he could sense a bitter aftertaste, almost like the bitterness in his heart. He had lived a childhood which no one would have relished, and every day he had wished he was someone else. When he had changed his name, he felt like a whole new man. But now, the name only represented the emptiness that had filled his heart. The King had probably meant nothing by it, he thought, but he could literally feel the utter displeasure laced into his words.
"Good morning, Your Majesty," he replied, trying in vain to sound calm.
The whole room seemed cloaked in agitation. Before anything could be said, the meal was served, and all conversation was abandoned.
During this whole time, Rapunzel could tell something had happened between Eugene and her father. It seemed serious, and even she had begun to let
her vivid imagination go unchecked. Had something happened which had made her father want to unearth the previous charged against him? Was the death sentence still lurking over Eugene's head?
Both Eugene and Rapunzel jumped when the Queen spoke.
"Is there something wrong, Leonardo," she asked her husband. "You seem worried."
"I am," he answered after swallowing a bite of his omelet. "A guard was attacked last night."
"Really," the Queen asked, her voice sounding concerned. "Is the man alright?"
"Yes, he is," the King replied. "He just has a goose egg on the back of his head."
Rapunzel's mind suddenly halted when she realized what they were talking about.
"That must have been the guard from last night." she thought as her eyes widened.
She looked over at Eugene. He looked paler than ever as he stabbed at his ham with unnecessary force. She picked up his hand which was in his lap and gave it the
tightest squeeze she could. Eugene grimaced, but did nothing.
"Who would have done such a thing," asked the Queen, shaking her head.
"I'm not sure," the King said, looking at Eugene out of the corner of his eye. "but I think I may have a good guess."
Uh-oh. Looks like Eugene got more than he bargained for! Leave a review if you can, I'd appreciate it! I'm looking forward to hearing from you all! :)