hello, again. before we get started, i wanted to just give a shoutout to my beta who is helping me figure this story. she's awesome but doesn't want me to say her real name, so her alias is LibertySquare McPickle. we've been roleplaying the story back and forth and its really helped figure out where i want to take this story. so here's to you, mcpickle.


To The Man She Loves

Chapter Six

Rapunzel had a strong will. She tried to keep her head up and never let things get to her enough for them to affect her outward appearance and attitude towards others. She had a spirit that couldn't be tamed. As a princess, she had to remain strong, quiet, and forth coming.

But Robert was testing her and testing her, and she was finally breaking.

And when Robert took her into one of the guest rooms, Rapunzel knew exactly where the situation was headed. Yet after all the running, bickering, and fighting, she decided that she needed to stand up tall and play the hand she was dealt with.

So she gave up.

And it was awful. For a split second, she told herself it might be like how it was with Eugene, but her false hope was quickly diminished when his movements became harsh and determined. He wasn't soft, or gentle, nor did he whisper sweet words like Eugene did. His face was serious and intense, and she felt like she was just another job he had to do as a prince. And that's what she decided it was. Making love to her husband was her duty. And that was that.

That night, she laid next to Robert feeling numb and emotionless. She pretended to sleep, tears silently falling down her cheeks and sobs bubbling up in her ribcage, until he began to store, and she felt herself starting to break down.

Once she was sure he was asleep, she slowly got out of bed and went over to the supply of herbs she would take after she and Eugene had been together. They seemed to have work so far, so she quickly made a poultice and ate it all. She took twice the amount she usually took, just to be safe.

She barely slept that night, and when she woke up the next morning to a chambermaid drawing the curtains, she let the sadness take her over.

"Close them," she said quietly. "I just want to sleep.

….

The box in his hands was light, and he kept his satchel on top of it to keep all the drawings in it from blowing away. It made him uncomfortable to know that this was it – his entire life's contents inside this ragged box in his hands. He had his old Flynn Rider garb, his satchel, a few gems he had snuck away with, and drawings that Rapunzel had done for him. It was like he was holding a dead Flynn Rider in his hands, and it made him feel empty.

Eugene decided that he needed some space and to stop living in the castle. The King had offered him a job working in the stables, which he hoped would keep him out of the princess's eye, and still gave him a small but steady income, all the while he was still there in case something were to happen to her. It wasn't much, but it was something.

He felt guilty for leaving her alone, and he couldn't figure out why.

All the apartments in town were too expensive, full, or didn't want him living there, so he was sharing a place with Vladimir, who kept to himself, and Gunther, who kept the place not looking like a trash pit. Hookhand let him clean up the bar and serve beer to help pay for rent during the evening and on weekends. It wasn't a pretty life, but it was his, and he was doing it on his own, and it made him feel more like his own person.

He just hoped this was the right decision.

….

Rapunzel floated in and out of consciousness, between nightmares and dreams, for the rest of the day. It wasn't until late in the evening, as the sun was just starting to set on the horizon, was she woken up with a soft hand on her shoulder. She didn't know who it was, but she welcomed it. She wasn't used to a soft touch; a comforting hand.

"Rapunzel, sweetheart. You must wake up and eat something," her mother's voice was soft and gentle. Rapunzel stirred, rolling over so she was facing her.

The Queen lightly brushed Rapunzel's hair out of her eyes and looked down at her worriedly. "Dear, is everything okay?"

Rapunzel didn't meet her eyes. "I've just not felt good today." Or yesterday. Or the day before. For days. For weeks. For months.

The Queen sighed gently, running her fingers through her daughter's hair. It was so hard to talk to her in situations like this, due to their strained relationship. Through the years, the Queen believed it would be magical, perfect even, if Rapunzel ever came back. She'd have the daughter she always wanted and they would have a wonderful relationship. But the truth was far from it. It was hard knowing that she had already had a mother, no matter how wrong it had been.

Rapunzel, on the other hand, was stuck. She wanted to tell her mother everything, but she knew she couldn't. She was too scared of what would happen. Word would get back to Robert and her body physically shivered at what that could mean. Not to mention, she had duties. And her duties were to be a princess to her prince; a wife to her husband. If her mother could do it, then so could she. Princesses were expected to have heirs. It was going to happen one way or another.

Her mind drifted, and a image of little brown-haired boys running through the castle being chased by Eugene flashed through her mind, causing her breath to catch and her heart to stutter.

The Queen knew something else was going on, but she held her tongue. She couldn't rush Rapunzel – you had to be slow with her.

"If you need me, you know where I am, dear," she said quietly, standing up. She leans down and kisses her temple, and stops in the doorway. "Robert is away until tomorrow." With that, she closes the door.

For once, Rapunzel feels a wave of relief wash over her. At least I can have the night to myself. After sleeping all day, and hearing this news, she feels strangely rested. Her heart skips a beat when she discovers what this means.

She stumbles to her feet and changes into a simple dress before grabbing her drawing book and her pencils. She has new drawings she wants to show him.

She walks down the hallway quietly, her book and pencils in one hand and an apple in the other. Pascal sits quietly on her shoulder, changing colors to match the lights as they pass them.

She walks down the stairs to the servants and guards quarters, a smile bubbling on her lips. She knows that he'll make all this pain and hurt go away; he always does. He's always so gentle and caring with her. Oh, she loves when he runs his fingers along her cheek. He knows just the right things to do.

She stops at his door, and takes a deep breath before knocking. Her breath catches as she realizes that the door is open, and her knocking had nudged it open.

"Eugene?" she says, opening it a little more. Nothing.

"If you're in the bath, tell me!"

Nothing.

Her heart skips a beat and she looks at Pascal. He shrugs, pointing with his tail for her to go in. She takes a deep breath and pushes open the door.

Empty.

Her eyes gaze around the room, which has been cleared out. Nothing sitting on his dresser. His satchel isn't hanging on the chair like it always did. His bed is empty except for a pillow.

She walks in, and everything feels like it's in slow motion. She checks the draws, and leaves them open when she sees that they're empty. When she comes around the bed, she sees the remains of the picture frame scattered on the floor – broken into tiny pieces.

Her head pounds, her heart falls, and her knees give out. She falls onto the bed and onto the pillow, and his scent still lingers on the fabric.

He left. He quit.

He's gone.


i just want to apologize for the short chapter. i didn't want to add anything else because it needed to be in the next chapter. i hope you're all enjoying this. if im going too slow or too fast, just let me know. i appreciate your feedback and your reviews. it makes my entire day.

lazf