*I do not own Tangled*

Since Rapunzel could remember, she would wake up at 6:45am each and every morning. There was no particular reason why, it certainly wasn't because of her hectic schedule; it just became habit. Usually her wake-up calls would consist of a sweet melody from the twittering bluebirds at her window or an impatient chameleon nudging her shoulder till she got him breakfast.
The wake-up call she received today however, consisted of an aching back, bruised wrists and a pounding headache. She grimaced as her eyes slowly flickered opened. It took a few seconds to clarify her vision.

What had happened last night?

Rapunzel found herself sitting on the cold tiled floor in the centre of her tower. She was up against a wooden post with her wrists painfully bound behind her back. She was chained up like a common dog.

But why?

Everything from last night was in such a haze that it hurt just trying to think about it.

A cold stream of light conducted by the newly risen sun danced throughout the tower. It was the rays reflecting off the shards of broken glass that gave her an instant flashback of the events of last night…

Gothel struggled her way out of Rapunzel's grip only to knock into the mirror, sending it crashing to the ground, shattering the glass. Rapunzel took one last glare at the woman before making her way to the window.

That was the last straw. Gothel was keeping her flower one way or another. "You want me to be the bad guy? Fine now I'm the bad guy." She said darkly.

Before Rapunzel could take another step, Gothel grabbed her by the elbows and hauled her back forcefully away from the window. "Let me go!" She cried through gritted teeth. But her plea only tightened Gothel's grasp as she pulled Rapunzel back with even more cruel force. Rapunzel resisted with all her strength; wriggling and thrashing about like a fish out of water to get out of her sharply manicured clutches. But even Rapunzel's best efforts appeared fruitless. From behind, Gothel captured her in a tight embrace, coiling her arms around her, restraining her.

"Let go!" She cried. "Let me go!"

"And then what?" She huffed. "Have you run off again? Well sorry flower but like I said to you before; the world is a dangerous place…" Gothel stooped her head to Rapunzel's ear. "You could get hurt." She hissed. And it was clear that she didn't mean it as a threat, but as a promise.

"Please… Stop!" Rapunzel panted, but only to have her voice fall on deaf ears. Hot tears of pain and terror started rolled down her cheeks. Seeing her once loving mother like this was such a disturbing shock to the system that Rapunzel's motions and instincts were lagging. Wasn't it just less than a half an hour ago they were enjoying hazelnut soup together? Gothel was now holding… no, smothering Rapunzel so tightly that it became a challenge to catch a breath. The struggle on Rapunzel's half became less vigorous, she was regretfully aware that Gothel's strength surpassed her own by far.

"And if this is the only I can get through to you-" Gothel abruptly threw Rapunzel to the floor with great force, smacking her head on the tiles.

The sudden blow to the head caused her vision to impair rapidly. It felt like her entire world was closing in on her; crumbling down to nothing but dust.

"…Then so be it." Gothel glared down coldly at the girl and watched as Rapunzel's world slowly turned bleak.

But not before silently whispering her last plea;

"Eu…gene"

XXxxxXXxxxXXxxx

"Oh wonderful, your already up!" Said an unusually chirpy voice emerging in from behind Rapunzel. She was so startled by the voice she almost got whiplash from jerking her head around.

"Moth-" Rapunzel quickly prevented herself saying that word; especially towards her. It was bewildering how that word… that name she had called her all these years, since she found her voice at 11 months old, now seemed so inappropriate. That was not who she was. Not anymore. Rapunzel felt her stomach lurch at the thought. "Why… why are you doing this?" Rapunzel had intended to sound stronger and more demanding then that pitiful cry, but fatigue had gotten the best of her. Nevertheless she stood her ground.

Gothel strode proudly across the tower floor, not even attempting to disguise the wicked smirk across her face. She made her way over to the windowsill and leaned back leisurely on it. She then folded her arms loosely on her chest and narrowed her eyes directly at the battered young blonde before her.
Upon taking notice of her injured-spirit, Gothel pursed her lips. "Just a little precaution I was forced to take. After all you gave me no choice after last night's performance."
Rapunzel only replied with an irritated glare. There she was again. Chiding her like a mother she admitted she wasn't. Gothel gently pushed herself from the window and walked steadily over to her. The room was silent, apart from the faint sound of a ticking clock and Gothel's heels clacking on the tiled floor, one slow step at a time. Rapunzel dropped her eyes to her curled up toes. With each step that brought the woman closer to her, Rapunzel became more and more aware of her racing heart. When Gothel approached her, she bent down and met Rapunzel at eye level. "When will you ever lean darling, that I only do this to keep you safe?" Her bittersweet voice dripped with faux sincerity.

Feeling a touch of courage she lifted her face and daggered her eyes at the woman. "This is how you keep me safe?"

"Well, did you honestly think for one second that I would just let you walk out on me again?" Gothel scoffed as she stood straight again to pace the floor. "Besides, this is only until you learn your lesson. Like those times when you would misbehave and I sent you to bed without supper… only this time it will be more than one meal you'll be missing out on and you are being kept were I can see you at all times."

"I wasn't taking about this!" Rapunzel raised her voice exasperated, clanked her chains. "I meant the tower! The fact that you weren't keeping me safe, you were keeping me hidden."

"Same difference." Gothel muttered.

"Same differ- Is that all you can say? Rapunzel Demanded. "You took me! You stole me from my family, my home, my life-

Just then something inside Gothel snapped "Mine, mine, mine. I had no idea what a spoiled little brat I was raising." She spat out, obviously still persistent in keeping up the futile 'Mother' charade. "For your information missy, I hadn't stolen a thing. I was merely retrieving what belonged to me! The way it always had." She rested her hand on the post that Rapunzel was chained to and leaned in to whispered menacingly, "the way it always will be."

"You don't own my hair…"

"I couldn't care less about your hair; it's the magic that's mine!" She snapped at Rapunzel's ignorance that proved too much for her nerves handle. So much so, that her next choice of words poured out like running water- "I found it, I protected it, it belonged to me and me alone!"

Rapunzel creased her brow. She had a feeling it wasn't her that was taking centre-ring of the topic any more.

Noticing Rapunzel's evident confusion, Gothel sighed pitched the bridge of her nose. "Rapunzel honesty, did you really think you just happened to have magic hair the day you were born by some strange coincidence?"

"What are you taking about?" Truth be told the thought never crossed her mind. Of course Rapunzel knew she always had magic hair but never quite took the time to ponder on anything beyond it.

"I'm talking about the 'magical golden flower.'" She clarified blatantly. "Created from a single drop of sunlight and had the ability to heal the sick and injured blah de-blah blah." She stated in a 'not-this-same-old-spiel-again' tone. "It was mine. I was the one who found it and I was the one who protected it." Her expression turned hard as iron. She was no longer talking to Rapunzel anymore but merely thinking aloud; narrating the fiasco as it played in her head.
"
At least it was until it was taken from my grasp. Who would have thought? The high and mighty king of all Corona no better than a common thief? He took my flower, destroyed my youth and all to save his precious little wife and their unborn princess!" She spat it out like a curse.

Rapunzel gaped. Taking in all that new information in less than thirty seconds was a lot to handle. She was… no, is the lost princess. Of course already knew that from last night but to hear it come out like that made her a little uneasy. She probably would have been feeling dizzy by now, were it not she was already sitting down. Rapunzel was taking deep breaths now while trying to digest all those answers to questions she didn't even knew she had. Just think of it; a father… She had actual father who was only trying to save his family, but was proofed in vain seeing how they lost Rapunzel anyway.

Gothel eased up a little and turned back to a compressed Rapunzel. "I was only taking back what rightfully was mine in the first place. And besides, if I hadn't then no doubt someone else would have found you out. Probably sell you on like a common trinket. You should be grateful for everything I've given you."

"Grateful?" Rapunzel snapped. Nuh uh, if she thinks that one of her notorious guilt trips or manipulation attempts are going to work on her after that little confession, then she clearly has another thing coming. "You kidnapped me! You took away everything I didn't know I had. You told me nothing but lies about the world to keep me here, and now I should be grateful about it?"

Gothel paused. Her facial expression showed no evident sign of emotion, like she was wearing a mask of some sort. Her hands were balled up into fists by her sides and she stood strong, poised, still undefeated. "If you know what's good for you, than yes you should be." She responded coolly through gritted teeth.
"As for them, well- they had it coming after what they did… as did your friend." Her words were sinister but were tied up in a pretty ribbon of calmness conducted by her voice.

Rapunzel averted her eyes from her and regarded her bended knees against her chest (she would have hugged them were her hands not chained behind her back). She wouldn't dare look back at Gothel; she could read Rapunzel's face all too well. Just a glance and she probably would have seen the relief in her eyes.

She still had Eugene.

And despite that cruel revelation that Gothel just shared, she managed to savour the little, tiny comfort that Gothel still remained ignorant towards Eugene's still existence. In fact just the thought of him alive and well was just enough to-

DING DONG DING!

Rapunzel's eyes were saucers again as her gaze suddenly turned to the hanging clock chiming seven. Her breath was trapped in her stiff lungs and her entire body tensed. Terror was reigning over her as she recalled a now ill-fated agreement from last night.
"Come back tomorrow." Rapunzel said to him. "In the morning, she's usually gone by then." She told him. She promised him she'd think about it, and now Eugene is on his way right now to get his answer. The answer she had so wished to give him last night if doubt and uncertainty hadn't of interfered. She had wanted to go with him. She wanted to hang the consequences and leave it all behind, as he had basically put it. But then guilt started to close in on her. Guilt for leaving her so called mother again and feeling utmost responsible for truly crushing her heart and soul (both of which now had questionable existence). But what's done is done. There was no point in wishing the past was different. If it were, then she would have never found Gothel's true nature. She'd be dragging pointless guilt and ignorance for the rest of her life.

But what was she to do now? This was the first time in years that Gothel hadn't left before seven to do God- knows-what. She wasn't supposed to be here, that's why she had told him that morning would be safest. But now look at her. Chained up, bruised, battered and having her 'loving mother' glaring down at her like some problem that needed immediate fixing.
She needed to think fast before-

"Rapunzel let down your hair!"

…EXACTLY THAT HAPPENS!

Rapunzel bravely shot a peek at Gothel. It was clear that the hardness on her face had cracked and taking its place was a mixture of true horror and fury. Yet she was quiet. Her once proud posture was disintegrating rapidly. Her eyes danced in her head a little; darting from all angles as if she were trying to concentrate on a buzzing fly. Rapunzel remained silent on the floor. She stared panic-stricken at the window and then back at Gothel. She stole a quick second to wonder if this was how she looked last night. When Eugene came back after she had thought he'd taken the crown and left her for good. Left her forever.
Gothel, somehow, regained feeling back into her feet and stalked towards the window (Rapunzel was much too petrified to do anything to stop her). She approached the windowsill hesitantly and leaned over. A sudden gasp immediately escaped her lips in horror, she looked as if she'd just seen a ghost (and heard one in this case).

"Those idiots, he was supposed to be dead by now!" She snapped. Alright no matter, I'll just handle him myself. As if I'm really going to let just one man-
What if it not just one man. What if he told someone about the tower, about Rapunzel! Would he have told the guards too? Surly they wouldn't have believed him. But still the risk is too great. The tower isn't safe, not any more. We have to go now!
But first…

Gothel suddenly turned back to Rapunzel, grinning with her usual mother-knows-best smile "Good news flower, I've decided to give you what you've always wanted. We're leaving the tower, now!" She quickly scurried across the floor to find something her top drawer while Rapunzel just sat there, stunned at her totally unexpected change of attitude towards the situation. What was she up to? And what did she mean leaving? Leaving where!

"Rapunzel?" Eugene called out anxiously for her again. She could just imagine the worry lines form on his forehead, his hand on his hips. Wondering, or perhaps a little worried, as to why she was taking so long.

"…But first I need to tie up a few loose strings." Gothel stated as she pulled out a dagger. She narrowed her eyes and held it up to the light, letting the blade gleam in the streaming rays of early sunlight.

"What? No, you… you can't! Don't hurt him! Please I'll do-"

"Shut it you little brat!" Gothel snarled whilegatheringa hefty amount of blonde hair and heaved it out the window, letting it drop with a thud on the ground below."We wouldn't be in this mess if it wasn't for you."

"Please!" Rapunzel cried again with pleading eyes where tears threatened to spill. "Don't do this. Please, I'll go with-"

"Now now Rapunzel, when in the presence of a guest: A lady should be seen not heard". Gothel came up from behind Rapunzel, where she was most vulnerable. And as hard as she did try and fight back, thrashing her head around, kicking and screaming; Gothel proofed herself to be stronger and succeeded to conceal the girl's beseeching voice with an old white rag.

"No… please wait." She cried out. "Eugene! Euge…mmmph."

"Just remember Rapunzel, you brought this all on yourself." Gothel hissed as she lurked beside the window, hidden in a cloak of shadows.

Rapunzel felt slight tugs on her hair. Eugene was on his way and at an alarming rate. He'd most likely be here any second now and all Rapunzel could do was thrash, scream muffed-out warnings, stand on her feet but fall back again... All of which turned out completely unhelpful.
She was bound and restricted. There was no way to save him, no way to warn him off. As soon as he crept through that window once again, she knew with a hopeless heart that she would lose him. She'd lose him just like everything else she ever cared about… Like her freedom, like her true family…and like her mother. It was incredible of what could happen in just one morning.

And she didn't even get to tell him about her new dream…

XXxxXXxxXXxxXX

Or so she thought.


A/N:

And that's pretty much were the rest of the movie takes off.
So anyway, there it is- signed, sealed and delivered. My very first fanfic completed. *wipes forehead* phew…

Sorry if it wasn't what you were expecting. I never really planned for this to become a full length story, more like an 'alternative version gap-filler' sort of thing. A practise-run, if you will, before I start my real story. So some constructive criticism would be helpful, not preferred, but helpful.

A Special Thank You to Everyone who followed my story, your comments really gave me a push I needed to continue on.

And as always, Lots-O-Love

xXsunlillyXx