A/N: Okay, so this rated a hard T, because it of a lot of sensitive issues in it. Basically, this means rape. It's about rape. There. There is also just some adulty stuff so be careful. Anyway, I will more than likely be writing a second part to this. It takes place after the lantern scene, around when Eugene goes to give the crown back. I did have to tweak a few things in the story just to make it work, but nothing major. So enjoy.
Rapunzel was running. As fast she could, but it was no use. She ran along the beach, but there was no sign of Eugene anywhere. She couldn't believe he really left, but then again, he wasn't here. She had entered the forest again when her braided hair got stuck on a branch at the worst possible moment. As she slowed down upon realizing what had happened, they caught up to her. Rapunzel was roughly knocked to the ground, hitting a tree trunk. Looking up again, it took her a moment to see what was going on. She knew the Stabbington brothers were the ones that hit her, so of course she tried to stand up and run. When she was only halfway up she was knocked back onto the ground again, feeling strong arms restraining her around her waist. She instinctively let out a scream, kicking and thrashing as much as she could. They were too much for her. She was flipped onto her back suddenly as the two menacing figures hovered over her. No matter how much she struggled, she couldn't move very well. They were holding her down everywhere. Shoulders, wrists, legs… She was trapped.
She was breathing heavily, looking up at their faces. They were both smirking, looking rather pleased with themselves. She knew they were bad people, but how could they be happy when she was so terrified? She didn't understand. She thought they just wanted to kidnap her, so why was she being held down like this?
"What are you doing?" she asked, not surprised to hear her voice shaking. She did not like this at all. The men, however, just seemed to find it funny that she was asking.
"Shh. Are you going to able to keep quiet for us or not?" one of them asked.
"What do you – ?"
Before she could finish asking her question, one of the Stabbington brothers pulled out a piece of cloth and stuffed it in her mouth, instantly making her speech become muffled. She shouted out protests, but if she couldn't even understand what she was saying, she was sure no one else could.
Rapunzel continued to struggle against them even though she knew it wouldn't help anything. They were touching her now, more than just holding her down, which made her feel more uncomfortable than almost anything else that was going on. She felt the skirt of her dress being pulled up. There was nothing she could do to get them off of her. She would just have to hope that someone would come along and save her.
Eugene opened his eyes groggily, immediately feeling a pain in his head. There were tree branches above him, obscuring his view of the nighttime sky. Where was he? He could barely make out a few lanterns floating far above him, ascending so high they were nearly invisible. It came back to him then. What was the last thing he had been doing? He gave the Stabbington brothers the crown and then… He must have been knocked unconscious. But for how long? He told Rapunzel he would be right back.
Rapunzel. He bolted upright at once, ignoring the throbbing in his head. He knew it would go away in a few minutes. The Stabbington brothers had wanted Rapunzel. God. What if they already kidnapped her? He sincerely hoped they weren't able to find her yet, or that something had prevented them from getting to her.
Then he heard a scream somewhere in the distance. It sounded like it was coming from deeper in the forest. Someone was in trouble. It was most definitely female and it sounded like someone young. Of course, Eugene's first and only thought was Rapunzel.
He had already stood up by the time he heard more screams. The worry he felt was almost too much for him to bear. What was happening to her? If someone was hurting her, he would hurt them back, if not kill them. He started racing through the trees, trying to head towards the source of the noise. The screams seemed to stop but he still heard voices and something like a muffled scream.
"Rapunzel!" Eugene called out over and over. It was hard to find anyone in a forest like this and it didn't help that it was dark. All he knew was that he needed to find her and fast. If that was really her screaming, and he was pretty sure it was, there was no time to lose.
He heard movement nearby. He glanced in the direction it came from, but it was too late to catch whoever it was. After passing by just a few more trees, he saw someone lying on the ground. It didn't take long for him to recognize it as Rapunzel. But he was not at ready for what he saw.
She looked completely helpless, sprawled out in what looked like a rather uncomfortable position. He could see that her clothes were thoroughly messed up. Her dress wasn't off, but it was pulled down a way that exposed a lot of her body. Eugene couldn't help but walk very slowly toward her, looking at the whole scene in disgust that someone would do this. As he got closer, he could tell she was crying.
Rapunzel seemed to realize that someone was walking towards her, and she squealed, quickly rearranging her dress so she was more covered up. Her breath became quicker as she rolled onto her side, hiding her face from whoever it was. It hurt for her hips to touch the ground like that, but it was nothing compared to the rest of the pain she was feeling. She had heard Eugene calling out her name and assumed it must be him that was approaching, but she was still incredibly jumpy.
Eugene saw her attempt to hide and ran to her more quickly. He saw her braid was caught on a branch and quickly unhooked it before rushing to her side. He looked down at her for a moment, not a clue what he should be doing. He could see her in much more detail now. She looked very beat up. There were twigs stuck in her hair, which was looking very messy. Her dress was covered in dirt, she had bruises along her arms and her face seemed to have a few scraps on it. There was a piece of cloth tied around her neck, and Eugene was positive she had been gagged. Her eyes were closed (which Eugene was sure she was doing on purpose) and she was shaking slightly.
Eugene could put two and two together. He knew what had happened to her.
He knelt down next to her on side that she wasn't facing. The words just kind of came out. He had no idea what to say. "Rapunzel. Are you okay? I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to leave you, I swear. Can I help you?"
He gently, slowly reached out to touch her. He had barely even brushed her arm when she screamed and shook him off. "Get away! Just get away," she said, breaking into sobs before she was even done talking.
She didn't know what made her say it. This was Eugene. The one person who she had learned to trust completely during the last two days. She knew he was trying to be help her. But at the same time, she couldn't be so sure that he hadn't just come here to hurt her. He had the same capability to hurt her just like the other men had.
Eugene was taken aback by this and backed away from her slightly. "I'm just trying to help you. Please." He was desperate. There was no way he was leaving her here. It would be a lot easier if she would just work with him.
"Leave me alone!" Rapunzel cried. "I don't want you here."
"Please, Rapunzel. I swear I won't hurt you. I won't even touch you at all if you don't want me to. You need my help and you know it. Please, just…talk to me."
Rapunzel sniffled, taking deep breaths and wiping tears from her eyes. "Are they gone?" she asked.
Eugene was instantly filled with hatred that someone would do this to his Rapunzel. It was bad enough just to see how damaged she was, but seeing how scared she was was even worse. His main focus right now, however, was just to take care of her. He could work on getting back later. "Yeah, I-I think they're gone." He was a little surprised that his voice came out as stuttering as it did. It was rare that he got this upset. He felt like he might collapse from how horrible he felt. It was mixture of anger, sickness, and guilt. There was a lump in his throat that threatened to bring him to tears, but he would stay strong for her.
He "thought" they were gone? Rapunzel guessed she would have to accept that this was a good enough answer for it to be safe for her to open up a bit. She rolled onto her other side so she could face him, wincing just a bit. It kind of hurt to move. "It was those men," she said, glancing into Eugene's face before instantly looking away and focusing on something else, like his vest. "The two scary ones. They followed us to the Snuggly Duckling and into the dam."
Eugene hardly needed that to be clarified. He nodded. "Yeah. I know," he said, clearing his throat, hoping it would get rid of this horrible crying feeling. It didn't, really. "I…I went to return the crown to them but they knocked me out. This is all my fault."
And then it crashed over him all at once. The severity of how badly he had screwed up by going to return that crown. He should have never left her alone. If he had just stayed with her, this never would have happened. If he had never stolen the crown, if he had never teamed up with the Stabbington brothers to begin with… He knew those two were sick, but he never knew they were this sick.
Eugene sighed, touching his eyes. They were starting to feel watery. "You have no idea how sorry I am, Rapunzel. I'm really stupid. I shouldn't have left you even for a second."
Rapunzel started crying again at this. She just couldn't help it. Of course, Eugene would have no idea that something like this would happen to her. She just nodded slightly, putting her face in her hands.
Eugene sat there looking at her for a while. There were a few minutes where she just cried in silence, shaking slightly but it seemed to let up. He was still trying to figure out what to do, but he couldn't think of anything. He had never been around anyone who went through something this traumatic. The fact that he actually cared about her and that it just happened made it a million times worse. "Are you…feeling okay?" he asked finally.
"No. It…hurts," Rapunzel muttered, looking down at her body. She had never been in this much pain before. Even though they had been gone for several minutes everything still hurt. The pain was mainly between her legs, but she also felt sore in this places where she had been restrained. She still stung in a few places from where they had hit her.
"I know, Rapunzel," Eugene said. He couldn't even imagine how she must be feeling. "Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?"
Rapunzel shook her head. She couldn't imagine ever feeling better. Not for a long time, at least. "I don't know. Are you positive they're gone?" she asked, looking over her shoulder. "And they're not gonna come back for me? They ran away when they h-heard you calling for me."
"I think they're gone for good," Eugene said. He hadn't heard any movement at all since he had gotten here. Where ever they were, it was far away. He looked at her. "Can I take that off of you?" he asked, motioning at the gag around her neck.
Rapunzel looked at him for a moment and looked back down at herself. "I can do it myself," she said, untying it and throwing it aside.
Eugene frowned. He could tell she was keeping a pretty good distance for him, not making much eye contact.
He couldn't blame her for not being too fond of men right now. When he thought about, he guessed she had valid reason to hate him. He was the one who hadn't been there to save her from this.
"Where's Pascal?" he asked. It was mainly out of curiosity; he had never seen her without her companion close by.
Rapunzel broke into sobs immediately, her face in her hands. "I don't k-know where he is! He must have fallen off me sometime when I was running and I haven't seen him at all since."
"It's okay. It's okay, Rapunzel," Eugene said soothingly. He really wanted to hold her and comfort her, but he was sure she wouldn't allow that. "I'm sure we'll find him."
Rapunzel acted like she hadn't heard him, now feeling even worse than she had before now that she was worrying about Pascal again.
He sighed. He wanted to make sure she was alright, but he didn't know how. He waited again until she seemed a bit more stable before talking. "Whatever you want to make you feel better, and I'll do it. Okay?"
Rapunzel was weary to allow his help, even though she knew she probably should. She held her knees in her hands, crying a little. "I think…I just wanna get out of here. I…oh, I don't even know," she said, shaking her head. She couldn't really think straight. She didn't want him here but at the same time she was eternally thankful that she wasn't alone right now. As long as she stayed here in the forest, she couldn't help but feel like something bad was going to happen again.
"We will. We'll get you out of here. I promise," Eugene said quickly. He would want to leave too, if he was her.
Rapunzel dried her eyes, deciding that she would do her best to talk to Eugene normally, though it was very hard not to just break down again. "I really am glad you're here," she muttered. "But…I kind of just want my mother here." She hadn't seen Gothel since last night at the campfire. She didn't know if she was back at the tower or what. Rapunzel just wanted to be with her right now. She had been right – men were evil. She never should have left the tower. But Rapunzel supposed Gothel wasn't all right, because Eugene was still being nice to her.
Eugene frowned at this. To be perfectly honest, he wasn't sure about Rapunzel's mother. Keeping her in a tower for eighteen years just so no one used her hair? It seemed a little drastic. But he had promised to take her home safely when they made the deal. Earlier tonight, a part of him was hoping she would change her mind about that… "Yes, of course," he said. "I'll get you back you home."
"Thank you," Rapunzel said, wiping more tears away.
"Do you feel ready to get up?" he asked. "There's no rush or anything."
Rapunzel simply sat up, leaning against a tree and clutching at her side. "I…I don't understand what happened to me."
Eugene just watched her. No words came to mind. Of course she would be confused by this. She hardly knew anything about the outside world.
"What they were doing to me…" she continued. She cocked her head to the side a little. "It's like they were having sex with me, but…but I thought that was between two people, when they were in love…" Gothel had never gone into detail about anything like this, but Rapunzel had gathered that much from all the books she read.
Eugene sighed. "It usually is, Rapunzel. That's how it should be." Oh god. How was he possibly supposed to be explain this? "What they did to you, making you have sex with them when you didn't want to…that's really rare. Only horrible people do that and they can get in a ton of trouble for it. In fact, when we get back to the kingdom we can report them for this, and hopefully they'll get what they deserve…"
Rapunzel think she understood this. It was just that it was all so new. "Why would anyone even want to do that?" Rapunzel asked. "I mean it just hurt so much."
Eugene couldn't take the look on her face when she said that. No one should have been allowed to hurt her like that. "Well, it…it doesn't always feel like it," he said awkwardly.
Rapunzel nodded. She didn't understand, but she nodded anyway. There was silence for a little while. Rapunzel's head was reeling and Eugene sat across from her, looking down. Finally she had the courage to talk again. "I know that sex is how people make children…" Rapunzel said, expressing what she had just been worrying about. "So does this mean I'm pregnant?" she asked, her voice shaking a little.
Eugene frowned at this, looking up at her. He noticed she was actually looking into his eyes now, and she looked extremely scared. "No. Women don't get pregnant every time they have sex," he said. "So it's possible, but I really don't think you are." He was definitely not about to ask her the details of what happened. Just thinking about the fact that she might be pregnant was revolting enough. He didn't what to know anymore than he had to.
Rapunzel didn't want to think about the fact that she might be, so she focused on Eugene's guess instead. "Can we please, please get out of here?" she asked after a short silence. "Please?"
"Yes, of course we can," he said. Anything to make Rapunzel feel better. He stood up and held out his hand to her.
Rapunzel looked him hesitantly for what felt like a long time before she finally took his hand and got up. He let go of her hand once she was up, but quickly put his hand on her back when she stumbled a little. "You okay?"
"I'm alright," Rapunzel said, taking a deep breath.
Eugene removed his hand and slowly started walking the direction of the boat. "I think it's this way." Rapunzel followed him, looking rather uneasy and checking behind her as she walked. If there was ever a noise she would jump a bit before deciding that it was nothing to worry about it.
"Do you want to walk by me?" Eugene offered. "Come on. I'll protect you." He held his arm out for her.
Rapunzel looked at him and then flung herself against him. Eugene put his arm around her shoulders, keeping her close to him as they started to walk again. Out of nowhere he bent his head down and kissed her forehead. This action did not go unnoticed by Rapunzel, but she chose to act like nothing happened. Still, it was nice.
They didn't talk much until they reached the shore and found the boat waiting for them. Eugene removed his arm and they made their way over to it. Eugene noticed that Rapunzel was being very quiet, more than she had at any time since they met, but that was definitely understandable. Rapunzel suddenly squealed in delight and ran up to the boat, letting a small green reptile climb up into her hands. "Pascal! Oh, I'm so glad you're here!" she said, almost crying again from happiness. She sat down and Eugene got in after her. He smiled a little bit, glad to see that something had cheered her up a little.
"He found the boat!" Rapunzel said, holding Pascal out in her arms. Eugene pet the chameleon's head softly. "You smart little thing," she said, snuggling Pascal against her face.
"I knew you would find him," Eugene said.
Rapunzel felt much now that she had a friend here. Eugene was her friend, but she had only known him for two days, not years like she had Pascal. However, it was very hard to be happy after everything that happened. She frowned a little and Pascal seemed to notice, turning blue and looking at her sadly. Rapunzel knew she didn't look too amazing right now. She put Pascal down on the seat beside her and frowned, looking out at the water as Eugene started to row.
"Where are we going?" Rapunzel asked after a minute or so, having just realized their direction. "Isn't my tower…that way?" She pointed towards the general direction she thought it was. She hadn't gotten the geography of this place figured out quite yet, but right now it seemed like they were heading back to the kingdom, and she knew that wasn't the right way.
Eugene had sort of automatically started heading back to the kingdom without thinking about it. "Well, we need to return the boat either way." It wouldn't really be 'stealing' if they left it somewhere, but Eugene had decided to change his ways, and it would be responsible to put it back where he got it. Besides, though he would do whatever she wanted, he wasn't sure if he wanted to take her home immediately. "But…are you sure you're up to going home right now?" He didn't want to sound like her wants didn't matter – it was perfectly rational for her to want to go home – but he hoped she would hear him out. "I mean, it'll take a few hours to get there. You might want some rest."
He had a point. As much as Rapunzel wanted to see her mother and cuddle up in her own bad, hiding from the outside world, she did agree with him. She didn't feel up to doing a lot of traveling. She was tired and she just wanted to relax. "Okay, well what do you suggest?"
Eugene thought for a moment. "Well we could find a room in the kingdom," he said. "We could sleep there tonight and if, by tomorrow, you feel up to going home then I'll take you." He really would too. He didn't want to see Rapunzel go back home, but if he had to…
"I guess…I guess that would be okay," Rapunzel said. She was a little uncomfortable with the thought of sleeping somewhere besides her tower (sure, she had done it last night, but she wasn't scared then), but that would probably be best for her right now, and she appreciated Eugene's offer.
Eugene was glad she agreed. Rapunzel was quiet for the rest of the boat ride, looking down. Within a few minutes they reached the shore of the kingdom. Eugene tied the boat up and got out before taking Rapunzel's hand and helping her. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"Mostly," Rapunzel said.
That was good enough. He started leading her through the streets, noticing after a minute or so that he was still holding her hand. She didn't seem to mind, but he let go anyway. He didn't want to do anything that made her uncomfortable. It was pretty late out, and there was hardly anyone outside. Which was probably a good thing, because now would be a horrible time to get arrested. Also, he doubted Rapunzel would like having people around.
Rapunzel followed him wordlessly. She wasn't paying attention to anything that she was going on; her mind was still other places. But she trusted him. She didn't think anything bad would happen if he was around.
"I'm just looking for an inn. We'll be there soon," Eugene muttered. Rapunzel gave no acknowledgement that she had heard him. He sighed, looking forward again. He hoped he was doing an okay job with this. He wasn't really sure how he should be comforting her. Now, he was just happy that she was with him right now. It was a little unfortunate that he would have to take her home in the morning. He didn't want to let her go that fast, especially so soon after something like this. He kind of felt like it was his job to take care of her, and if he took her back to the tower…well, he just wasn't sure about that. He reminded himself that he had convinced her to stay with him tonight. Maybe things would change in the morning.