Notes: This was written for my good friend Darkness-Chill (who is a lovely writer in addition to being a lovely person), as congratulations for reaching 10k on her NaNoWriMo novel. Shameless fluff ahead!
Flynn grimaced at himself in the full-length mirror. "This is weird." And he meant more than his appearance; it was weird to be standing in front of a gold-framed mirror in the princess's dressing room, weird to be allowed to roam the velvet-carpeted halls freely, with nobody trying to tackle him or murder him or whack him upside the head with a frying pan.
Mirror-Rapunzel tilted her head so that a few strands of cropped brown hair fell across her eyes, and Flynn had to resist the urge to turn around and brush them aside. Not like he could, anyway, with the way this stupid nobleman's coat was pinning his arms to his sides. Rapunzel just laughed at him as he twisted and pulled at the ridiculously detailed embroidery on the sleeves. (Sure, he could appreciate a nice coat better than most men, but this? This was just tacky.)
She assumed a very prim voice that did not at all go with the tunic and breeches she was wearing. She'd been out riding Maximus earlier. Her dad, making up for years lost, Flynn supposed, was teaching her horseback riding. "You have to dress your part, Eugene," she teased.
Somehow it was always a surprise when she called him that. He'd trained himself into being Flynn for enough years that the name was engraved in his consciousness. In fact he had probably been Flynn longer than he'd been Eugene, when he really thought about it, and lately he'd had a lot of time to Really Think about stuff like that.
He wasn't sure he liked it much. Thinking.
So he pulled a face at Rapunzel and struggled a moment longer in his gaudy embroidered bonds before letting out a huff of frustration and holding his arms out to her – as far as he could hold them out, anyway.
Rapunzel raised her eyebrows. "Stuck?" she asked.
"Fix it," Flynn – no, Eugene – said. "Um. I mean, please."
"Oh, come on," Rapunzel sighed, striding over to unbutton the cuffs of his sleeves. "If you want me to believe you're serious about this then you're going to have to learn how to wear this sort of thing."
"I don't know," said Eugene, watching her fumble with the buttons, a slow smile sliding over his face. "I think I'm reconsidering my offer."
"Oh, don't be – aaah!" Rapunzel yelped, jumping as a particularly fierce tug at the sleeve sent every engraved metal button flying up into the air. She proceeded to trip on the rug, fall forward, and slam Eugene to the ground, elbowing him in the stomach on the way down.
For a moment they just stayed like that, Rapunzel lying across him, still digging that elbow into his stomach and looking comically perplexed. Eugene's ears rang from the impact – velvet carpet or not, hitting the floor headfirst still hurt – and for a moment he wondered why he was always getting injured around this girl, and then all he could think about was Rapunzel looking sheepishly down at him, smelling like horse sweat and leather and fresh air, and there was a little bit of hay woven into her hair, sticking out just –
"There," Eugene said, reaching out and plucking the hay stalk from behind Rapunzel's ear. "Now I can move my arms."
Rapunzel laughed again and lifted herself off of him, and they stumbled to their feet in unsteady unison, reaching for each other in their search for stable ground.
"If I ask the tailor to make you a bigger coat, will you reconsider reconsidering?" Rapunzel asked, one hand on his arm and the other running through her hair in search of more hay.
"Depends," Eugene replied. "Do you plan on tackling me out of said coat again?"
Rapunzel rolled her eyes pointedly. "Eugene," she said, but she didn't resist when he took a step closer, moving his hand to her shoulder.
It was always a surprise when she said it. He had taken that name from himself, had locked it away somewhere and left the key in the dust somewhere along that road he'd gone running blindly down. But she'd found it, and she had given it back to him.
"Rapunzel," he said, and reached out to brush the hair from her eyes. She looked at him, half-exasperated and half-amused.
"You know I don't go for the smolder," she told him, softly.
"I know," said Eugene, though he refused to turn off the charm. "But do you still wanna marry this smolder?"
She frowned. "Well…"
"You already said yes!" Eugene protested, a cold flurry of panic starting up in his chest. "No take backs!"
Rapunzel grinned. "Just kidding," she said cheerily, and leaned in to kiss him while he blinked in confusion.
Confused and injured, Eugene thought, was probably going to be his default state for the rest of his life.
And he was pretty much okay with that.