This idea has been burning me up for AGES, it's been a bit of a toil to write but also fun, such is the way of things.
(Making sure that the Tangled fandom doesn't forget meeeeee)
'The party lasted an entire week, and honestly, I don't remember most of it.'
It was an event that would go down in history – the happiest day in the Kingdom. Corona's beloved princess had been returned, and there wasn't a soul who couldn't smile for her. The party started in the main square, a few minstrels playing songs in tribute to the no-longer Lost Princess, and folks sitting in a nearby tavern wandered over with their pitchers and casks of wine to enjoy the music and celebrate. Then a shopkeeper decided to open a bottle that he had been saving for a special occasion and share it with spectators; others soon followed suit, sharing their goods and drinks with everyone, while the musicians played on, their numbers swelling by the hour.
By the time Eugene and the Princess arrived to greet the bustling crowds, there was already uproar and celebration – and they were the two guests of honour.
"Horray for the Princess!" the crowds roared. "Horray for Flynn Rider!"
"You can call me Eugene!" Eugene bellowed, hands to his mouth, but he wasn't sure if anyone paid attention.
Although he did his best to introduce himself as Eugene Fitzherbert as the day went on, he ended up being greeted as 'Euflynn Fiztrider' by one of the thugs from the Snuggly Duckling. The one with the hook, who had on this occasion changed it to a screw-on ale flask, which was constantly being topped up by generous crowd-goers.
"Heya buddy," he croaked merrily, slinging his free arm around Eugene's neck and breathing in his face. "Good job on that princess and all."
"Uh... yeah, thanks," Eugene murmured with a despairing lack of enthusiasm. "All in a day's work."
"Have a drink," the thug offered, jabbing out his flask-hand. Eugene regarded it with sceptism.
"I'm all right, actually," he declined. "Don't you need that hand for things?"
"What? This old stump? For Flygene Riderbert, no price is too high!" With this, he pulled the cask straight off the end of his arm and forced it into Eugene's hands. "On the house, buddy," he slurred with almost endearing, but not actually-endearing, sincerity.
"Gee, thanks," Eugene forced, and then took a comradely sip from the detached appendage. He then raised his eyebrows approvingly. "Is this mead?" he asked, and the thug nodded; he took a deeper drink. "Not bad," Eugene professed brightly. "Not bad at all."
Within the hour, he was wearing a crown fashioned by the appreciative crowds and had been riding around on a chair set atop the shoulders of various heavy-set men.
"A TOAST!" he cheered to the crowds, who all cheered back and took a preparatory drink of their drinks. "TO THE PRINCESS!" He drank so far back in his cup that he fell backwards, and dangled like a doll with the stuffing pulled out. When he regained enough sense of up and down to realise he was in the wrong position of the two, he hauled himself back up and peered through the mob for Rapunzel, spotting her at the centre of a dancing circle. "Rapunzel!" he hooted, flapping his arms about and spilling the few remains of his drink onto unfortunates nearby.
She didn't seem to hear him, so he fought his way to the ground and shouldered through the crowds, getting a top-up on his drink for good measure, then finally forcing his way to the centre of the crowds. "Rapunzel!" he cried again, gaining her attention at last.
"Eugene," she replied with elation, breaking away from the dancing to run to him. "I thought you'd gotten lost."
"Well, I found me again," he said merrily, taking a swig from his drink. He smiled at her in what he must have believed to be a very charming way , but came across as a goofy grin with a touch of the awkward. "I'm glad to see you," he added soppily, and reached out his free arm to hug her, moving almost instinctively for a kiss – this was a new step for them, and he was clearly keen to exploit it.
"Uh, Eugene," she said warily, moving away from him, rather than into. "Don't you think it's a bit.. um... public?" Although it was unlikely she would have known it was inappropriate to openly embrace Eugene on the city streets, Rapunzel's mother had explained as such before the festivities began. She'd made it clear that they weren't trying to deny her and Eugene's romance, but that it was generally seen as a little shocking for young ladies to kiss handsome young men anywhere in public, much less ones that were princesses. Rapunzel had agreed to do the best she could.
"What?" he replied bluntly, furrowing his brow.
"Well... mo- mother said to me that it's best not to, you know, kiss and stuff, if there are a lot of people watching," she explained. Eugene looked around in disbelief.
"Okay, but there's no one watching, who here is watching us?" he asked rhetorically.
"I am," came a small, breathy voice, and they both turned around to face a short man with thick glasses.
"See," Rapunzel retorted. "Also, all of those people." She pointed to a line of no fewer than fifteen, all stood still and blatantly staring at the two of them. Eugene, however, did not seem put off.
"Don't be silly, that's just your imagination." He crossed his arms, manoeuvring them carefully around his unspilled drink, and then whistled for a few seconds. "How about now? Now there's no one watching. They all got bored and-" There were in fact more people than before, and Eugene resorted to pouting. "This party sucks," he announced, draining his cup, then pouting again. "I need a new drink."
"You're acting a little... weird," Rapunzel remarked. "Are you feeling okay?"
"I'm great," he whooped brashly. "I saved the lost princess!"
"... I know?" she said uncertainly; she was, of course, there for the most part.
"Isn't it wonderful?" he said in an undeniably chuffed tone, and then looked back down at his empty flask. "I need a new drink. You stay and dance, I'll sort this out. See you later," he added brightly, then pressed a sloppy kiss to her cheek and wandered back into the crowds. Rapunzel was still for a moment, trying to process what had just happened, and then gave up and went back to the party.
By the time she found Eugene again, several more hours had passed and the sun was beginning to set – not that the festivities were slowing down at all. She discovered him sitting in the midst of a band of guards, and after listening for a few minutes discovered they were swapping stories of their 'days in the war'.
"So, what regiment were you in?" one soldier asked Eugene, after he finished a particularly moving tale about defending a bridge with nothing but a slingshot and a pile of dirty laundry.
"Regiment?" he said quizzically. "Uhhhhh... same as him," he slurred, pointing at one of the other men.
"I enlisted after the war," the man in question said stiffly.
"That would accoun' for how I ain't seen your face before!" Eugene said encouragingly, and then noticed Rapunzel. "Rapunzel! Hey!" He bounced to his feet, then swiftly bounced back down, and rose again a lot slower. "Meet the guys," he announced amiably. "They're uh... uh... well frankly I have no damn idea who any of them are," he admitted bashfully, "I wasn't even a real soldier."
"I knew it!" someone snapped, and Eugene shot them a dirty look.
"Hey," he barked. "Where's your princess? Anyone who didn't save a princess can just pipe down. Now, you... you," he trailed off quietly, holding out a slightly-swaying finger at Rapunzel, "what about you?" He clearly realised that she was important for some reason, but he couldn't quite remember why.
"I... I am a princess," she answered, and he clapped his hands together merrily.
"Brilliant!" Eugene shouted. "That calls for a drink!" Judging from the unfriendly looks he was receiving, Rapunzel astutely guessed that Eugene's presence was no longer appreciated, and did her best to lead him away from the unwelcoming guards.
"Are you okay, Eugene?" she asked worriedly, noticing how he staggered and offered friendly greetings to total strangers. "You're acting very strange."
"Ohhhh, I'm not as thunk as you drunk I am," he said reassuringly, patting her on the shoulder. "I only had two... wait... or was it... no it was more like twelve." He started counting avidly on his fingers, and Rapunzel made a beeline for the castle, coaxing in an increasingly distracted Eugene to the study where her new mother and father waited for her.
"Ah, you're back," the King said happily. "Oh, and Mr. Fitzherbert too."
"Eurider Fizthergene, your honour," Eugene announced with an exaggerated bow. "At your... your... well whatever you fancy." As he ducked far forwards, Eugene lost his balance and wobbled in a worrying fashion, having to put his hands out to prevent himself from falling on his face. He made it upright again as if he were trying to climb up his own body, and nearly toppled before he was stood straight once more.
"What's wrong with him?" demanded Rapunzel, clearly distressed. "He's acting so funny... it isn't because of the magic, is it? I couldn't... I don't want him to-" Her mother interrupted, laying a comforting hand on her arm.
"Be calm, dear," she said soothingly. "I believe Eugene has just had a little too much to drink."
"Drink!" Eugene piped up. "Now there's an idea." He shot a cheeky glance at the King, who grinned, got up and then went to a cabinet, wordlessly pulling out a bottle of brandy and two glasses. He poured a generous amount into each, then gave both a glass and the bottle to Eugene. The Queen gave her husband a none-too-favourable look.
"Dear wife, if this day is not a cause for celebration, then I don't know what is," he replied with amusement, and clinked glasses with Eugene. "Off you go, man," he ordered warmly. "I am sure the festivities are missing you."
"Yes sir your highness sir!" Eugene barked, saluting and then hitting himself in the head with the bottle. He looked around accusingly, but discovering no perpetrator to the mysterious assault, so kissed the armchair next to Rapunzel goodbye and then staggered back out into the city.
"Is he... going to be all right?" Rapunzel asked worriedly, sitting down next to her mother – she had enough celebrating with the people of the city for the day, and wanted the rest of the night to catch up with the parents she almost never knew.
"Tonight? I imagine so," the King remarked jovially. "Tomorrow, however..."
Eugene woke up face down on a sandy riverbank – his shoes were curiously absent, and beside him slept a large mime. Or so he assumed from the way in which he was made up; he was fairly sure it was one of the thugs from the Snuggly Duckling, as a matter of fact.
"My head..." he groaned, trying to spit all of the sand out of his mouth as his large painted companion stirred. "Hey," he greeted as the mime sat up and made eye contact. "Some night last night, huh?"
The mime nodded.
"I don't remember all that much."
The mime shook his head.
"You wouldn't happen to know where we are, would you?"
To his pleasure, the mime nodded.
The mime said nothing, pausing as if in thought, and then made a tapping gesture with three fingers against his arm, and pulled on his ear.
"Uh... three syllables... sounds like..." Eugene mumbled, and then closed his eyes, took a very deep breath and thought very hard about not punching anyone in the face. "Wait, how about this. Do you know which way the castle is?" The mime nodded again and pointed. Eugene looked up and remembered that it was always possible to know what direction the castle was, because it was the highest and most visible point in the whole of the Kingdom. He felt more than a little stupid, which was depressing considering his company. "Great. See ya, buddy."
He stood up on shaky legs, discovered his shoes hanging from a bush, but full of sand, so set off barefoot towards the centre of town. As he moved towards the town square, he was alarmed to hear music still playing – bad music, but still music. A piano sounded a little like it was being murdered, and as he reached the main plateau, Eugene came upon the one-handed thug beating away on a long-suffering instrument with an expression of joy that seemed incomparable to anything Eugene had ever felt.
"Rider! I mean, Eugene! I mean... buddy!" the thug crowed. "Look at me! I'm playing!"
"I can, uh, see that," Eugene groaned; the music was doing nothing for his hangover. "Do you think you could maybe keep it down a little? Just in case my skull cracks open..." He put a hand to his forehead and pressed, then miraculously the piano stopped.
"Ahh, I know that face," the thug crowed. "I tell you what you need, buddy."
"A large breakfast and warm bed?" Eugene suggested.
"No!" the thug barked. "A drink! Hair of the dog, my friend. It never fails." While the thought of another drink turned Eugene's stomach, he decided that humouring the burly man was certainly better than listening to him play any more piano, and allowed himself to be taken for an early-morning ale and a slap-up breakfast.
"You know... this wasn't actually a bad idea," he mumbled through a mouthful of bacon, mopping up grease with a bread crust and swigging happily from a tankard. "I feel a lot better."
"That's wunderful, bud," thug replied, and noticed Eugene's empty cup. "Why don't you have another?" Eugene considered it, then shrugged.
"The first certainly seemed to do me good," he remarked. "Barmaid! Another beer!"
By noon he was, of course, completely trashed again – as were a great number of other people, some of whom did not appear to have actually stopped drinking at all. When Princess Rapunzel came to rejoin the festivities, she was alarmed to discover Eugene arm-to-arm with a number of thuggish men, singing his heart out while the hook-handed man played piano.
"What is the malten liquor? What makes you drunken quicker? What comes in tankards or in flasks? BEER!" was what they appeared to cheer; however, when Eugene caught sight of Rapunzel he broke away.
"Good morning!" he bellowed enthusiastically, wrapping her up in a hug and spinning her around. "Isn't it a wonderful day? I love you!" he added casually, and failed to notice Rapunzel going very pink in the face. Eugene then turned to a thug who had been holding his drink for him. "An' I love you too, fellah!" he professed, and the man clashed tankards with him, then they both drank.
"Um... Eugene?" Rapunzel said worriedly. "Have you been drinking again?"
"Jus' a little," he whispered secretively, pulling her close and hanging an arm around her neck. "Don't tell the princess, though. She'd get mad at me."
"I... am... the princess..." Rapunzel murmured – it still seemed strange to say it, but she supposed that she needed the practice. Eugene yelped and took a step back.
"Gah!" he barked, looking her up and down. "So you are!" The music was playing, as always, and then broke into a merry dance tune. "Come on, let's dance," he cajoled brightly, tugging Rapunzel into the mash of people. However, he didn't get very far before he tripped over, almost taking her with him.
"I'm... not sure you can dance, Eugene," Rapunzel said tentatively. "Maybe we can dance another time. You aren't hurt, are you?" she inquired.
"Only my pride," he replied sadly, pulling himself to his feet. He rubbed a hand over his face, and suddenly seemed a great deal more haggard. "I think I might need to sleep," he muttered groggily. "Is it bed time yet?"
"No, it's only just gone noon," Rapunzel said a little more sympathetically. "Would you like to come back to the castle? I'm sure there will be a place you can sleep." Eugene nodded quietly, a little lost-child-like, and allowed himself to be led by the hand into the palace.
"Hi mom, hi dad," Rapunzel chirped as she presented Eugene to them. "Eugene's not feeling very well, is it all right if he has a nap here?"
"Of course, dear," the Queen said warmly, and then shot her husband a suspicious look as he got up and walked to the drinks cabinet.
"Well, I'm sure he could use a night cap, then," the King explained with a subtle grin.
"I think he's had plenty of caps, actually," Rapunzel replied unsurely, letting go of Eugene so that they could notice his gentle swaying when standing unsupported.
"Brandy for me," Eugene said obliviously. "With ginger, if you have it."
"We do," the King responded, pouring himself a straight brandy. "Sit down," he said brightly, pointing to a chair as he handed Eugene his drink. "I am sure the nap can wait a while."
"Sure, sure," Eugene agreed, sipping from his glass. He was feeling better already.
Several hours later, a drunken King of Corona and even drunker Eugene laughed like old friends and puzzled the curious vacancy of their bottle.
"Wha did I come here for?" Eugene questioned vaguely, the Queen and Rapunzel having long since retired and left the men to their increasingly-drunken rambling. "Other than a drunk, a drink, I mean," he added.
"Hmmm, I don't recall," the King murmured. "You'll remember later. Prolly."
"Yeah," Eugene agreed, breaking into a yawn. "Now, where was I? Right, Rapunzel. Man, that girl is great, Your Highness! Now I know you've only known her for like, two days, but I've known her at least four, and she's hon'stly fantastic. I mean, wow. What a gal. I mean, you shoulda seen her with the hair. I called her goldie, she had like, like a hundred metres of this stuff."
"Of what?" the King drunkenly inquired.
"HAIR!" Eugene burst. "Long blonde hair. Wen' on for miles an' miles. She used to loop stuff with it."
"Loop stuff? How did she... loop stuff?" the King questioned bemusedly. Eugene threw up his hands in an admission of ignorance.
"Beats me!" he declared. "Came outta nowhere, suddenly HAIR wah-thunk!" he onomatopoeically described, with added hand actions. "Looked swell though," he reminisced, "but nicer now. Heh, I always said I gotta thing for brun-" he broke off upon realising he was conversing with Rapunzel's natural-born father, and this was therefore clearly not a suitable topic. "Uh, anyway," he snapped, and then paused.
"Anyway?" the King prompted.
"Wait a... why... why am I here?" asked Eugene curiously, looking up as if he'd only just realised where he was. "Who... aren't you the King?" he added with even greater confusion. The King looked down at himself as if he weren't sure, then nodded. "The... the heck?" Eugene murmured. "I swear last time I checked I was a wanted criminal... how... how did I end up in the castle with the King getting drunk and chatting about his... his... daughter... the... princess..." he trailed off again. "That's it!" he yelped, and the King nearly fell out of his chair in shock.
"What is, man?" he replied. "Speak up!"
"Your daughter," he explained. "Rapunzel! She did it."
"She DID," he echoed, and reached out to shake the King by the hand. "Fine girl you got there, sir. Finest kind, for sure. Saved my butt many times. Best kind of daughter there is. I'd have one myself, if I didn't want to marry her already in the first place." The King looked at him with a sudden bolt of clarity.
"Marry?" he echoed, and Eugene stared at him with broad-eyed fear.
"Did... I... just... say..." he breathed, and then passed out in shock right in his chair, leaving the King to share the awkward silence alone. He got up on shaky feet, threw his abandoned robe over the more-or-less sleeping Eugene Fitzherbert, and wobbled away to find his wife, where he incoherently told her that they better start planning now or they'd never get anything done on time.
She quite reasonably ignored him and went back to sleep.
Eugene woke up and felt fine. Finer than fine, even. He felt pretty good.
Then he stood up and realised the floor was still moving underneath him. That wasn't a good sign.
He passed by a number of waiters and house-servants (or castle-servants) who all seemed to look exactly alike, desperately trying to find something to drink, as his mouth had the consistency of sandpaper.
"Can you direct me to the..." he managed to say to a number of people, but hadn't as of yet decided where he was going to go, so therefore was unable to ask for directions. When he burst onto a balcony and discovered it was a wonderful sunny day, he promptly decided that the best thing to do was keep up his liquids and work on his tan, so he stripped to the waist, had a nice refreshing drink out of a bird bath, and then fell asleep spreadeagled in the sun.
He was woken by three shadowy figures some time later, and realised that their shadowy status was due to the sun beaming down overhead.
"Is it time to flip?" he questioned blithely, and rolled over onto his front, relishing the change of position.
"Eugene?" he heard a voice he recognised as Rapunzel's.
"Rapunzel?" he said, and felt a number of toes that were most likey hers prod him in the side. "Hey there," he murmured fondly, dropping his face onto his arms. "Nice day, eh?"
"Are you... all right?" she asked politely.
"I'm doing okay," he replied assuredly. "The floor even stopped spinning."
"Spinning? When was that?" she questioned worriedly.
"Oh, not too long ago," he answered brightly. "It might have been heat stroke, though. Never sure."
"What have you had to drink?" someone who sounded like Rapunzel, only not quite, asked him – so he safely assumed it was her mother.
"I've been using that fountain over there. I'd love a tequila sunrise, though. Anyone in here know how to make one of those?" he said with remarkable cheer, although it may have been delusion-induced.
"That fountain is for birds, Eugene," the King remarked dourly, clearly suffering from the aftereffects of his night's drinking.
"I don't mind sharing," he replied guilessly, and turned back over to face them again. "Seriously, though. Tequila sunrise?"
"You've had an awful lot to drink," Rapunzel's mother remarked. "Are you sure it's wise?"
"I'll stop when I'm sober," he reassured her, and then sat up with a violent flipping motion. "Eesh. Too fast," he muttered, cradling his head. "Slowly slowly," he murmured, and got carefully to his feet. His eyes came to rest on Rapunzel, and he quickly broke out into a grin. "Oh!" he practically chirped. "There's this great place I should show you. They make the best tequila sunrises, it sits right on the shore – on a day like this it'll be a regular beach party."
"Beach party?" Rapunzel echoed. "I've never been to one of those."
"Time to start!" Eugene whooped, then stopped and shushed himself. "No partying until I've had more drinks," he said quietly, and after Rapunzel gained a tentative approval from her parents to go and experience this beach-bar, Eugene dragged her off to the other side of the city, right onto the shores of the capital island, out to a small cabana where the barman greeted Eugene as 'Flynn' and set him up with his 'regular'.
After several cocktails, Eugene was feeling much more festive, as did the rest of the patrons, and having the one and only Lost Princess stopping at their humble retreat was quite the honour – so much of an honour that her escort-come-rescuer was entitled to drinks on the house all night. A privilege Eugene thoroughly abused.
"Eugene, what are you drinking now?" Rapunzel asked after running up, breathless and excited. "It has a little umbrella in it, that's so cute!" He tipped it towards her.
"Wanna try?" he offered, and she took a tentative sip, then pulled a disgusted face.
"Ugh, it doesn't taste as nice as it looks," she murmured.
"It isn't for everyone," he replied. "The bartender can mix you up something you'd like," he offered, but she shook her head.
"I'm just going to go and carry on dancing," she said, and leaned forwards quickly to give him a peck on the cheek before running back onto the beach. Eugene couldn't miss the bartender giving him a look, and the goofy smile on his face was impossible to hide.
"Nice, Rider," he commended, pushing another drink towards him. "Very nice."
"Yeahh," he slurred, still grinning as he moved his umbrellas across. "She's, uh... pretty special. Oh," he added. "I'm droppin' Rider, by the way – you can call me," he paused, finding it hard to go against the schooling he'd been giving himself since sixteen, "Eugene."
"Sure," the bartender agreed uninterestedly, moving on. Maybe he didn't care, but Eugene figured that even drunk, he should start getting used to going by his real name again. He wasn't sure how he felt about it yet, so just kept on drinking.
By the time the fire dancers had arrived and more or less revolutionised Rapunzel's world, Eugene was a great deal more drinks down the line than he meant to be, and thought it best he didn't try to get up from his stool or make too many sudden moves. By the time they started limbo-dancing, he'd changed his mind and thought that joining in was quite possibly the best idea he'd ever had.
Rapunzel won, and he nearly set his hair on fire, if they hadn't raised the flaming bar at the last minute. After that, things took a much hazier turn, and for the second time in a week, Eugene Fitzherbert passed out face-down on a beach, his shoes curiously absent.
To be continued
It was long enough that I split the fic into two, the rest of the week is soon to follow!