Title: A Sore Loser
Rating: T for innuendo and uh…extended kissing
Disclaimer: Tangled stole my heart. I stole the characters.
Summary: Eugene's a sore loser.
Author's Note: I watched a particular episode of Doctor Who and suddenly wanted to write fic for every fandom I love, using a line from it for inspiration. I didn't exactly do that, but I did write this…
A Sore Loser
Eugene had been staring out the window, when Rapunzel announced her triumph. He frowned and looked down at the checkered board. Sure enough, his king was threatened with capture and he had no hope of meeting that threat.
"Well done, darling," the Queen called softly from across the room.
He rocked the top of his threatened king back and forth with his index finger. It was too late to move a piece while she wasn't looking. All right, cheating at chess against his blameless girlfriend sounded pretty bad, but he'd quickly learned that nobly letting her win was absolutely unnecessary. He hadn't won a game yet, and lately he'd had a lot of practice. At losing, that is. Admittedly, she looked awfully darn cute when she won with her hands pressed together and a wide, bright smile. So, he spared her a smile of his own before slouching back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest, and stretching a leg out.
"Don't be sad," Rapunzel urged him.
"Sad? Why would I be sad?" Hadn't he just smiled? Or was it that blatant that he was beginning to grow a little tired of constantly losing? It wasn't so much the losing, but the never winning that bothered him. Because, he suspected if he could only succeed in winning against her, she would be mightily impressed, and who wouldn't want to impress Rapunzel? Impressing Rapunzel resulted in her mouth agape, squeals of delight, clapping, hopping up and down, and arms flung around his neck. It was quite a demonstration. She was worth impressing, and his usual methods of impressing the ladies either had no effect on her or were simply out of the question. What he was doing here was not impressive.
"You sure? Because, it's okay to be sad sometimes."
She sounded like her mother. Even when you had a castle at your fingertips and were surrounded by people who loved you, it was still okay to feel sad. But he wasn't.
He looked down at his fingers curled into his palm, pretending to examine his nails. "Sad? I wasn't even paying attention. I didn't even pull out my good moves."
"You have moves?"
He had an answer primed, but her mother was within earshot. The bland response he gave instead took a moment to formulate. "I'm sure I could do better."
"So, does that mean you want to play again?" she asked, as she leaned forward, gripping the sides of the ebony table. She looked eager enough to climb atop it and it was delicate and little flimsy looking. He wouldn't put it past her, even with the Queen sitting in the corner working on a piece of embroidery. He got ready to steady the table in case she attempted it. "You can pay attention and it'll be a better game this time." She nodded hopefully, biting her lower lip.
"You want a challenge."
She wrinkled up her nose. "Well, you weren't even trying."
Unfortunately he had been trying, but it would be embarrassing to admit it. It would spoil his cultured, cool, couldn't care less persona. Besides, he really did lose focus at some point, thinking about what Rapunzel's new gown might feel like under his hands, as he gazed vacantly out the window. That was the key to inappropriate thoughts: you had to keep your face totally blank so no one would suspect you were thinking them. So the Queen wouldn't suspect he thought about her daughter that way, although by the sidelong glances she sometimes cast his way, he suspected the gig might be up. By staring blankly, he'd no doubt succeeded in appearing thickheaded, and as if to prove his distinct lack of intelligence, the game had suffered.
Rapunzel looked down at the black and white board and outlined one of the empty squares with the tip of her finger. "A challenge would be nice."
He wasn't exactly the champion chess player of Corona, as the past few months of play had amply demonstrated, but he could pose a challenge for a pretty girl. He had some practice in that sort of thing. Speaking low so her mother might not hear, he rocked forward, nearly bumping noses with her across the board. "I think I could help you with that."
She laughed, jumping up from her chair with a hop. "Oh, Eugene. You're so funny."
Somehow he felt like more than just his game playing skills were being ridiculed. "Funny, huh?" he groused, even as he allowed her to ruffle his hair—something he would never have permitted anyone else to do. It always fell back perfectly, but it was the principle of the thing.
"Where are you going, my dear?" the Queen asked, looking up from her handiwork with a serene smile.
"Mmm…I need a more challenging chess partner." Rapunzel responded, before clasping his shoulder in her delicate hand and frowning apologetically as she looked down at him. "So, I'm going to go find Pascal."
***On Your Mark***
Rapunzel skidded in the pea gravel of the garden path, her slippered feet dragging pebbles with her as she came to a halting stop. Her shoulders heaved once as if that was all it took to recover from the effort of dashing through the formal rose garden. She spun to face him and giggled as he continued to stroll towards her.
She might not be breathing hard, but her cheeks were as rosy as her dress and the flowers that lined the path. She was very pretty all flushed, and his thoughts began to wander to other ways he could make her blush, when she exclaimed: "I win!"
He smirked as he shoved his hands in his pockets. "What'd you win this time?"
"I got to the bench before you," she explained, as she collapsed onto the wooden garden bench and swung her feet back and forth underneath herself.
He'd watched her play another round of chess against the frog and tried to ignore her mother's amused smiles at his demotion, but then he'd casually suggested and ultimately cajoled until she agreed to a walk outside. Fresh air, he'd said; no games, he'd thought.
He stopped before the bench. "I didn't realize we were racing. I was—you know—walking like a normal person."
Rapunzel tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she looked him up and down. He would normally be satisfied by such a frank visual perusal, but her mouth was twisted in a crooked pout that didn't seem to indicate she was entirely satisfied with what she saw.
"Walking is boring, Eugene."
He pulled a hand free of his pocket to rub his chin. "You're right. Walking is boring. The way other people do it."
"But not the way you do it?"
"Exactly. I have a laid back saunter if you will. Born with it. True story: I was the only five year old in the orphanage ambling around the yard as suavely as I do now." Actually, he'd spent a good part of his fifteenth year working to perfect this gait. It proved to be even more effective once he'd put some weight on and wasn't all lanky arms and legs. "Don't tell me you haven't noticed." He'd cultivated it so women would want him and men would want to be him, after all.
She tilted her head, "Sure, I know how you walk. I just didn't know it was special."
He scoffed at that, because anyone could see that his way of walking was special. Rapunzel might very well be in need of glasses, for all he knew.
"I have noticed you make a funny face when you're sleeping though." She batted her eyelashes as if that was supposed to charm him.
He pointed at her. "Let's not tell anyone else that, okay?" Not just because 'funny face' wasn't something he cared to be paired with his name, but because the Princess wasn't supposed to know what he looked like when he was asleep.
Rapunzel pushed herself up off the bench and aligned herself with him. "Okay then. I want a special walk too: teach me how to saunter."
He contemplated putting his hands on her hips and guiding her through the paces, but he shook that thought off when he remembered that Pascal was perched on his shoulder just waiting for an excuse to do something vile. Like bite him or soil his favorite new vest. An entirely blood free vest.
He scratched behind his ear before nudging Rapunzel in the side, who was still staring up at him in anticipation of her lesson. "You know, I don't think sauntering really wouldn't be your style." She was more the careening, flinging, dancing type, and while he normally watched her antics outwardly nonplussed, she was never boring and completely authentic—unlike his coolly composed strut—and he wouldn't really want that to change. That's why he looked at the world a little differently than he had before: because there was a girl in it, who believed skipping through life was great fun, and she was worth believing.
"That's okay. I understand," Rapunzel said, as she began to pull him further down the path. He let himself be led, as she tugged on his forearm. He rarely dug in his heels when it came to what Rapunzel wanted. "You're afraid I'll beat you at sauntering the way I beat you at racing and playing chess and name that tune and…"
"Hey, now. In a real race, Blondie, I'd leave you in my dust. My speed has saved me a time or two. I'll have you know, I've run from…" He didn't get to finish, because Rapunzel had abruptly let go and dashed haphazardly down a branching path, as if to prove she could outrun him. "Hey!" he called after her, but she was either somehow already out of earshot or ignoring him altogether. The latter, most likely.
Oh, he'd catch her, and then he'd impress her all right. He'd remind her that there were lots of things he was good at—no!—not just good…the best.
Having finally caught up with her, he'd wrestled Rapunzel to the ground by a collection of lilac bushes, which were in bloom—a fact that she was commenting on between breathless giggles until he silenced her with a kiss. He fisted the thick, spring grass beneath his hands as she placed her hands on his cheeks and opened her mouth to him.
This he was good at.
If he wanted to impress her with his skills, he could also steal her a loaf of bread, no problem, but he didn't think she particularly wanted that, since they were greeted with impossibly lavish spreads at every meal. The little noise she made in the back of her throat, however, seemed to indicate that she did want this. Him.
And she was damn good too. She had proven to be a very quick study, because she threw herself into mastering kissing—like with everything else—with a gusto. It just so happened that this was the kind of study he didn't mind partaking in, unlike her dance lessons and etiquette classes, to which he had thus far managed to avoid being assigned.
He could quite satisfactorily study the art of kissing with Rapunzel all day or at least until it was dinner time, as long as Pascal hadn't turned traitor and skittered off to go find a guard. This late in the afternoon no one should be roaming around the grounds inadvertently stumbling upon the Princess being mauled by her unusual companion. Of course, it still probably wasn't his best decision, but as her tongue softly met his, he concluded it was an excellent decision nonetheless. A gamble, yes, but he liked to take a chance.
He slowly skimmed a hand down her side, as he changed the angle of his mouth against hers, and hummed approval at the slick feel of the fabric beneath his touch. Silk, maybe—something expensive he'd had no personal experience with until the girl he fell in love with turned out to be a princess. It felt as good as he'd imagined it would, which was gratifying, since he'd lost their chess game even more quickly than usual by devoting too much brain space to his fantasy.
"I like your dress," he murmured against her lips with a lazy smile.
She rewarded his compliment with a firm bite on his lower lip. It wasn't the usual playful Rapunzel love bite he'd grown accustomed to; heck, he'd taught her that move. No, this was…
She bit him again. Harder.
"Ow! Babe, that's kinda rough," he protested as he pulled back from her. He sucked his lip into his mouth to see if she'd broken the skin, but he failed to detect the metallic tang of blood.
She seemed undeterred and unrepentant as she threaded her fingers in his hair and drew him back down. Her kisses were softer this time, and when she ran her tongue over his much abused lip soothingly, he forgave her. Perhaps she had simply gotten a little too excited. A little carried away in her enthusiasm. She was young and in the first bloom of experimentation. He wasn't so jaded and far removed from his own youth that he couldn't understand getting carried away, particularly as she began her own exploration of his body, her hands mapping the planes of his chest, down his stomach, which tightened in anticipation, and finally settling—a little disappointingly—on his hips.
He'd almost forgotten that he was supposed to be impressing her, when he nudged her face to the side, so he could taste the spot just below her jaw. She was sensitive here, something he'd discovered rather quickly, and he knew he could get her to fidget and keen under his touch if he kissed her there. As if in sympathy with his thoughts, her fingers dug almost painfully into his hips, so he could very nearly feel the half crescent of her short nails marking through his trousers. Her pulse fluttered beneath his lips: it was racing: she was more than a little carried away.
He could handle this one of two ways. Stop and walk her back inside where they would not be tempted so sorely. Or press on with renewed…
"Damn it!" he cursed. His hand flew up to cover his neck, where his shirt fell open and she'd just dug her teeth in. "Are you hungry or something?"
She blinked at him, seemingly baffled by his reaction. "Did I hurt you?" she asked on a warm exhalation that made the hairs on his arms stand up.
He almost said, hell, yes, but he paused and reflected for a moment. It would be pretty pathetic to admit that Rapunzel's little teeth had actually hurt him. He'd certainly been in rougher…situations. "No," he responded a little gruffly.
"I'm sorry, Eugene. Let me," she begged, before she pressed a little wet kiss to the spot she'd attacked moments earlier.
When she drew the flat of her tongue up his neck, Eugene squeezed his eyes shut, completely forgetting the unexpected violence of his girlfriend. He could have groaned, when her lips closed firmly against his pounding vein, but he was not so untutored as to lose himself entirely. Even when she began to tug at his skin, sucking with light pressure until…
"Okay, no." He sat up, abruptly disentangling himself from her.
"No?" She looked so crestfallen, as she propped herself up on her elbows, pouting her kiss swollen lips.
"Just—no." His hand palmed his neck once more. Her soft sucking had once again quickly become something else altogether. "That's going to leave a mark, babe." And the last thing he needed was a hickie on his neck. The King would notice something like that immediately. "What the hell has gotten into you?"
She rested her head on her shoulder, running her tongue over her lower lip as she considered, her eyes twinkling with some mischief. Eugene wasn't sure he was going to like her answer.
She flashed him her most innocent smile. "Biting's excellent. It's like kissing, only there's a winner."
Eugene sunk his head into his palm, groaning. She was a monster. A competitive, overactive, kissing monster. Then again, if she could only practice at being not quite so rough, when she was busy winning, he might not even mind.
"Blondie, I think your next lesson needs to be in winning gracefully. So I'm not quite so sore."
Yes, he might as well work at perfecting the art of losing, because he was beginning to think she was never going to lose.