A/N: Written for the 2011 April Showers Drabblethon at the Day_by_Drabble LJ community.
What a Guy Wants
"What do you want?" Rapunzel asks, coming into the palace library where I've been holed up during her lessons.
I look up from my book as she flops onto the wingchair angled close to mine and drapes her legs over the arm.
"What do I want?" I repeat, like I'm a little slow or something. Which isn't far from the truth of how my brain is functioning at the tantalizing sight of truly gorgeous legs and dainty, bare feet-she probably kicked off her shoes the second her tutor dismissed her; the queen's had a heck of a time getting it into her long lost daughter's head that princesses wear shoes at all times. At the moment, answering what I want could be dangerous, and I'm 99.9% sure that's not what Rapunzel means at all, anyway, given her doe-eyed innocence and general wonderment with pretty much everything in the world.
"You're really like Flynnagin Rider now," she says. "You have enough money to do whatever you want." She swings out one leg, the silk of her skirt whispering as it slips up to reveal a little more calf and even a bit of knee, and points her foot as prettily as a ballerina to poke my leg with her big toe. "So what do you want?"
I rub my fingers over my goatee, trying to ignore what her foot rubbing my leg makes me want. "Good question."
It's actually been on my mind since the festivities celebrating Rapunzel's return died down. Alarmingly, I haven't been able to think of anything, but for some reason I'm a little embarrassed for her to know that. That whole ruined reputation thing. Got to get used to that, since you don't get much more damaging to a badass reputation than dying for a girl.
"Maybe a hobby?" I throw out at random.
Rapunzel sits up, regretfully putting both feet on the floor so that her skirts fall over her legs. "What kind of a hobby?" She claps her hands, clearly as eager for me to do something besides sit around reading as I am.
Though, seriously, how else would a guy named Eugene Fitzherbert spend his time? The kids at the orphanage certainly seemed to agree.
"Fencing? So I can be a real swashbuckler?"
"Fencing's great!" Rapunzel cries, but abruptly her face falls. "Only, I don't think you'd actually have to spend your money on that. Dad would have someone teach you for free."
This is probably true, and it's also the reason why I have yet to come up with one thing I want now that I have legitimate means to get it. The king's given me everything. I don't even need to buy myself a big house, because I have my own apartments right here in the castle. No doubt so he can chaperone until I marry Rapunzel, but I don't really mind the scrutiny because the king's a pretty cool guy-not just because he pardoned me-and my room has one heck of a view.
I guess there's always that old dream of buying an island. I could take Rapunzel way for private getaways. Then again, I bet the king already owns an island or four.
Which leaves me asking myself the question Rapunzel asked when she came in: What the hell do I want?
My eyes drift back to her legs, which are once again dangling over the arm of her chair, and suddenly the answer is oh so easy. A grin tugs at the corner of my mouth. I might even be smoldering as I toss my book aside, lean forward, grab a squealing Rapunzel by the waist, and pull her into my lap.
"Nothing money can buy," I say, and duck my head to kiss her. "And since I've got the only thing I do want, I might just give your dad his money back."
"Give it back? Why?"
Er…I didn't actually mean to say that part out loud. Kissing Rapunzel apparently loosens my lips in multiple ways.
But I realize it feels good to have that off my chest. I think the honesty actually gave me a rush-well, the kissing didn't hurt, either. I haven't felt anything like this since the last time I was in a really good chase, and that doesn't come close to what I feel now.
I'm going to tell her everything.
"I don't need it, Blondie. I don't even particularly want it. It just reminds me of how selfish I was back when the only thing I cared about was how to get rich."
"You were an orphan with nothing. No one would blame you for wanting money."
She's ridiculously sweet, but I'm not going to let her lead me off the straight and narrow path now that I've decided to be straight and narrow. Right after I kiss her again, that is. Which takes a minute. Or ten. Eventually, I come back to the conversation.
"Maybe they wouldn't blame the kid, but what about the man? It didn't matter to me who I hurt to get what I wanted." I take a deep breath. "I would have hurt you, Rapunzel."
She winces slightly at that, but then tightens her arms around my neck, pulling her body closer against mine. "But you didn't. You died for me."
"Because you changed me. I'm not Flynn Rider anymore. And the guy I am now wants to give the king his money back."
Rapunzel doesn't reply right away, and she isn't looking at me anymore. She's staring at my discarded book, The Adventures of Flynnagin Rider.
Suddenly her eyes light up like the lanterns on her birthday. I brace for a potentially insane idea.
"Don't give the money back, Eugene. Give it away."
And that, my friends, is how the Corona Home for Orphaned Boys and Girls came to have the Eugene Fitzherbert Memorial Library, chock full of books carefully selected to educate and inspire.
Including, of course, the complete Flynnagin Rider series.