Title: He's a Rebel
Summary: Rapunzel's misguided and occasionally brilliant attempts at securing Eugene's heart as inspired by the sage advice of The Crystals, The Ronettes, The Shirelles, and other hopelessly naïve Girl Groups of the 50's and 60's.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction for which the author receives no profit.
Chapter 1 of 6
He's a Rebel
1. He's a Rebel
"He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good. He's a rebel 'cause he never ever does what he should. But just because he doesn't do what everybody else does, that's no reason I can't give him all my love."—He's a Rebel by The Crystals.
"What was he doing climbing into your tower?" the Queen asked gently.
All of the details of Rapunzel's 'rescue' were coming out in drips and drabs. It seemed clear that the King and Queen were wise to the fact that to demand the Princess' story all at once would have pushed her too far, and he was grateful for that, feeling protective of her as he did. Protective enough to trade his life for hers—a fact that he could not quite explain.
All the same, Eugene wished this particular detail would not come to light. Thus far, questions about Eugene had been answered in what he'd come to know as typical Blondie fashion: "He's Eugene and he saved me. Isn't he wonderful?" That left him feeling uncomfortable, but not afraid for his tenure in the palace. Indeed, the King and Queen seemed to think him as wonderful as their daughter did, although he did not think that appraisal would continue if his story was properly fleshed out.
"Hiding," Rapunzel replied around a spoonful of rhubarb pudding.
Eugene's eyes darted from the Queen to Rapunzel, wishing he could wordlessly advise her to keep her lips sealed—shut your trap—on some pertinent details, but she would not understand why everyone should not know that Flynn Rider crawled into her tower with the Lost Princess' crown in his satchel. Gothel had warned her about men and thieves both, but in her experience both were inexplicably Charming. Who could take issue?
"From the Law," she finished, swallowing another oversized bite and biting her lower lip in barely contained enthusiasm. This is her favorite part, he thought with a sigh, the part where the best day of her life began thanks to the thief who crawled into her tower and ended up stuffed in the closet.
He was sure that if he had not delivered their daughter to them, the Queen's face would not have remained as serene at this pronouncement as it did. "From the Law," she parroted back, her eyes skimming over Eugene.
Did he look like Flynn or Eugene in this moment? The two were wholly distinct in Eugene's mind, and while he would have preferred at this awkward moment to have the confidence of Flynn, Eugene might serve him better within the walls of the palace. At least it was some relief to know that there was no way the Queen recognized him from his wanted posters—they always got his nose wrong, and the Queen no doubt spent very little time wandering the kinds of places they had been tacked up.
"Eugene doesn't do back-story, but I don't mind telling you. Flynn was a thief," Rapunzel announced with what sounded like pride, as she pushed the empty crystal sherbet glass away from herself.
Eugene coughed into his hand. "Uh, Princess," he began, turning pleading eyes at her.
"Not a very good one," Rapunzel continued, pulling her shoulders up to her ears. "I got the crown back from him and hid it."
There was no doubt about it now: they would draw the connection between Eugene Fitzherbert, who arrived hand in hand with their long lost daughter, and Flynn Rider, who stole the crown, was locked in the Royal Jail, and escaped in a most dramatic fashion. They weren't going to be pleased.
"Perhaps you're a better thief than Mister Fitzherbert," the King said with an indulgent smile for his daughter.
They are more concerned with their daughter than they are with me. For now.
"I'm quick with a frying pan," Rapunzel beamed. "So you don't have to be afraid," she assured her parents, ignorant to the fact that they only need call upon the palace guards should he pose the kind of threat she imagined they were anticipating.
He suspected they would eventually be concerned about the sanctity of more than the Crown Jewels.
"Besides, he's not a bad man. He's very good. Aren't you, Eugene?" she asked, looking at him with green eyes wide enough that he could lose himself in them. "His back-story might be different than mine, but he's always been very good to me."
Always. The woman she had thought was her mother—the only soul she had known in her eighteen years—had betrayed her, deceived her, used her, so while he had only known her a couple of days, he was the only one she could trust. The thief held the Lost Princess' heart in his hand.
He swallowed, his mouth gone dry. Both the King and Queen were looking expectantly at him. He wanted to crack wise. He wanted to laugh. Shrug. Shake his head at her naïveté. I'm Flynn Rider, babe. You have no idea.
But that, he feared, would end with him staying in the stables. And he wasn't that close to Maximus.
"Listen," Eugene ventured even though he did not know what he was going to say to smooth the way—Flynn generally flew by the seat of his pants. But he was interrupted by Rapunzel, who finally seemed to have recognized that not everyone was comfortable with this line of questioning.
"You're not angry with Eugene, are you?" she asked, anxiously bringing her clasped hands beneath her chin.
"No, we're very thankful," the Queen began before Rapunzel rushed in once more.
"You won't take him away, will you?"
He could see that her unimaginably resilient cheerfulness in the face of what had happened to her was slipping away at the perceived threat. He balled the linen napkin in his lap in one hand, fisting it tightly. There was no way someone was going to separate her from him. Not even the King and Queen. He'd use a damn frying pan and smash his way out of here with her at his side if need be.
"You'll barely even know he's here. I'll take care of him. I had Pascal for years and Moth…" she stumbled, her cheeks turning pink.
The frog, which was perched on her shoulder, turned a rosy shade to match Rapunzel's dress, demonstrating how he could easily blend into the scenery, so to speak. Eugene groaned: Rapunzel drew no line between himself and her pet. A kept man. He'd never even conceived of belonging to someone. He was a lone wolf, a consummate bachelor, a man of the world.
Rapunzel stretched out a small hand to his and he took it in his, squeezing.
Well, better to be hers than someone else's. Perhaps he would even get used to it.
"No one will be sending Mister Fitzherbert away," the King said kindly. "For there's no cause for concern, is there?" he asked a little more sternly, leveling Eugene with a steely stare.
Eugene smiled thinly, feeling three sets of eyes upon him. He chuckled nervously. "Me?" he squeaked most embarrassingly. Pull yourself together, buddy! Furrowing his brows and crooking a half-grin, he did his best to convey—this guy's golden. Just the kind of guy you can trust in a palace alone with a beautiful princess.
Rapunzel sighed heavily, relief softening her features as she withdrew her hand from his to clap. "And he can sing and dance. Don't let him tell you otherwise."