I said I wouldn't be too long, and here I am! Under suggestion and realising that ridiculous levels of drinking are worth of a T-rating, I have henceforth increased the rating of this story. I'm sure you'll see why :P
When Eugene woke up for the second time in a week face-down on a beach, at least he recognised where he was this time. Rapunzel was nowhere in sight – he would have been bothered that she clearly abandoned him, but he really couldn't remember, and considering he was wearing a grass skirt and about eight flower necklaces, he didn't blame her.
Thankfully the morning staff recognised him, and fixed up a drink that was half hangover cure and half hair of the dog, so he accordingly thought it was best to pull up a lounger and catch a few more hours sleep in the continuing sunshine. That was until it started raining, at least.
Wet and now dressed in a lot of wet paper, he decided it was clearly time to rethink his plan for the day, and set off in search of something to eat. He hadn't been in possession of money for a while, so wandered from stall to stall until someone recognised him, intending to be bought a generous lunch.
When he heard the yell of "Riderrrr!" though, he should have trusted his first instinct to run.
"Howdy," he replied, spinning around only to find himself nose to nose with the Captain of the Guard, otherwise known as his number one fan. "Oh. I guess you aren't going to buy me anything to eat, are you?" he said disappointedly, and the Captain only scowled.
"... Why? You hungry?" the moustached man snarled, and Eugene made an indifferent gesture. "Fine," the man snapped, and set off toward the nearest place to eat. "But behave yourself for once in your depraved life."
"Whoah, whoah," Eugene rushed, trotting behind him with an only slightly unsteady gait. "You're... being nice to me?"
"Not if I can help it," the Captain snapped. "Don't expect it to happen again," he added as he handed over a number of gold coins and told the server to give Eugene whatever he wanted.
"Is it poisoned?" he questioned. "Wait, no... drugged? Poisoned and drugged?"
"It's food, Rider," he growled. "You've poisoned yourself more than enough already, by the looks of it." He gave Eugene a derogatory look. "I've no reason to come after you any more... unfortunately," he muttered. "The King and Queen have issued a full pardon."
"They have?" Eugene mumbled through a mouth of much-appreciated food, eyes widening. This week was going even better than he'd realised.
"Yes. Don't give them reason to revoke it," he threatened, and Eugene nodded. "This is... my way of offering thanks," the stern Captain added so quietly Eugene almost missed it. He half-choked on his mouthful and looked up at the man in shock and suspicion. "For rescuing the Princess," he explained, and then his temper soured. "What? Isn't a man allowed to be patriotic?" he burst.
"Not when it involved me, I figured," Eugene replied, wiping his mouth on a napkin.
"Some things are more important than you, Rider," the Captain sneered, but his temper softened again. "The Princess is one of those things. It's a blessing for the whole Kingdom," he said solemnly, and offered up a hand to Eugene. "So thank you."
Eugene took his enemy's hand and shook it.
"No problem," he replied a little awkwardly. "Any time."
Their moment of heart-warming reconciliation over with, they parted ways agreeing never to tell anyone of what happened, and to continue hating one another so as not to let things get confusing. Eugene was almost feeling sober when he was accosted by some people he didn't remember knowing.
"Heyyy, it's FlynEugene Fitzriderbert!" one of the men Eugene swore he had never seen in his life cheered. "It's been a while, buddy. You were really somethin' the other night."
"I... sure was?" Eugene murmured worriedly. "Sorry, when did I meet-"
"I mean, I never seen a man drink a whole pint while standing on his hands like that," the mysterious man continued; Eugene was a little impressed with his drunken self, he'd lost the ability to do that sober years ago.
"Yeah," he chuckled a touch awkwardly. "What did you say your name was aga-"
"And the archery contest!" the man whooped. "Picked up the bow the wrong way round, then put an arrow through Bertie's hat with him still in it!" A man that Eugene presumed to be Bertie waved shyly, still wearing a bowler hat with an arrow straight through the top. Eugene groaned; he'd been allowed to go shooting with people?
"Sorry bout' that," Eugene muttered. "I should, uh, go to the castle probably, so I'll see you guys-"
"What? You can't go," the leader of the bunch stated. "You need to join us for a drink."
"That sounds swell," Eugene said evasively, "but maybe later." The man took a threatening step toward him, and Eugene suddenly felt very outnumbered.
"I don't think you understand," he breathed, setting a dirty and bruised hand on Eugene's shoulder. "You're havin' a friendly little drink with us, get it?"
"Oh," Eugene gulped, inwardly apologising to his own liver. "Right."
Eugene remembered a lot of things about the previous night, but there were definitely more that he didn't. Greater still were the things he wouldn't want to remember, even if he could.
He was fairly sure he recalled being tied to a long pole and carried like a hog on a spit; he also remembered drinking through a funnel, possibly against his will, at the same time. He wasn't sure if he imagined playing a button box concertina in a folk band or if it actually happened. He couldn't play the accordion, so if it was real then he must have sounded awful.
When he woke up, he wasn't wasn't totally sure where he was, but it didn't look like anywhere in the capital city, and he had what seemed to be a pair of crudely-fashioned antlers strapped to his head. Not to mention there were numbers and dotted lines drawn all over his body – even in places he really didn't want to think about having revealed. Reaching into his pockets, he pulled out several handfuls of stones, noticing that his hands were bruised and cut in places that suggested he'd been fighting; with a brick wall, by the looks of it.
He couldn't tell if he'd slept through a hangover or hadn't reached it yet, but he at least felt lucid enough to hitch a lift on a hay cart back into the city. The ride took at least an hour, not including the time he dozed off without realizing, and he wasn't sure he even wanted to know how he ended up this far out, or what he'd gotten up to in the process.
He made his way to the centre of town and slumped town on a bench in the main square. About five minutes later, he heard his name, and inwardly winced.
"Eugene!" a brash male voice cheered, and he opened an eye to see the one-handed thug who had started the whole mess running up to him. "How're you doing, buddy?" Eugene just shook his head, and with a sigh, the man sat down next to him. "Not so good?" he guessed, and Eugene nodded.
"I think I destroyed my life last night," he groaned unhappily, and to his surprise, the thug gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.
"That's too bad," the thug crowed. "Hey, I knows a place what lets you sleep upstairs when they got space. Guy like you what brought the princess back, I'm sure they'd let you stay. You wan' me t'show you round?" Eugene picked his head up and looked at the thug like he was the only friend he had in the world.
"You'd... do that for me?" he asked with an almost painful joy.
"Well o'course," he replied, getting up and brushing himself down. "C'mon, it's just a little ways away." Had Eugene not already been in love with Rapunzel, he think he would have fallen for the one-handed man right now – no gesture of kindness had ever been more appreciated, and settling himself into a clean, comfortable, free bed he fell asleep with a huge smile on his face.
When Eugene woke up in an actual bed for the first time since he'd... actually, the last time he'd slept in a bed was before he pulled the heist to steal the Princess's crown, his first thought was that maybe it had all been a dream. A strange, scary, life-changing dream.
However, when he looked down at himself and could find the neatly-healed scar where he had been stabbed, he realised that it really had happened – everything he remembered, and even the bits he didn't remember very well, they were all real. Which also meant...
"HEYA EUGENE! HOW'D YA SLEEP?"
Why the thug with one hand had decided Eugene was his new best friend was beyond his comprehension – at least, it was this early in the morning. For once, thankfully, he didn't feel drunk or hungover. He actually felt, well, normal. Which was nice for a change. Considering he'd dragged his steaming, half-alive carcass into the city yesterday and crawled into bed without so much as a drop passing his lips, it wasn't too surprising. He was, however, famished.
"Uh... morning," he mumbled uncertainly, sitting up and rubbing his face; he was in dire need of a shave, but his rumbling stomach demanded priority. "Does this place have food?" he inquired, and the thug twirled one end of his moustache and nodded.
"You bet they do," he said brightly. "All the boys are downstairs already."
"Ah," Eugene replied, not quite getting the invitation he was betting on. "Can I... join you?" he asked, and was a little surprised at how... un-Flynn he sounded.
"What? Of course!" the thug bellowed with a grin missing teeth. "You're the guest of honour!"
Luckily, that also meant free food, so Eugene enjoyed a huge breakfast and actually got to know some of the men who'd helped save his – and Rapunzel's life. They were nice guys, really, nicer than the Stabbingtons or folk that he used to hang around with, and breakfast trailed into brunch, which turned into lunch... which naturally, came with a drink.
"Ale all round!" one of the thugs said brightly to their server.
"Could I just have a..." Eugene started, and then found the eyes of all the men on him. Suddenly the phrase 'apple juice' sounded like 'lacy pink parasol', and he immediately backed down. It was just one beer – after the week he'd had, it couldn't hurt.
Unfortunately, that was what he said the second, third, fourth, sixth, sixth, eighth and eleventh times as well. He'd become so caught up in chatting with the thugs, joining in with their rounds of beer, that he'd completely overshot the 'casual drink' margin and ended up in the 'hoplelessly, godforsakenly drunk' margin again. When he stood up a great many hours later, he'd expected the world to stay in the same place while he moved. Instead it seemed to be going the other way around.
"Uh... oh," he hiccuped quietly. "I thunk I... I drank a... I... I..."
"Eesh, you all right?" someone asked. "Y'lookin' pretty green, bud."
"Go outside for some air," another thug suggested, and Eugene nodded shakily, and resisted the urge to crawl towards the door. It seemed safer lower to the ground, less distance to fall.
When he got outside, he discovered that it was one of the main taverns on the city square, and the party was still going strong – or had suffered a revival to celebrate almost a week since the Princess's return. Either way, there were too many people, noises and smells for Eugene's liking, so he gripped the wall and stumbled clumsily in the direction of a quiet side-street; there would surely be a gutter that he could roll into and die.
It was only after he'd stood up and walked a while that he realised how profoundly drunk he'd accidentally become, and how thoroughly sick his body was of the week's abuse. He stumbled and fell against a wall, and suddenly the large breakfast, lunch and brunch he'd had seemed like a horrible idea, because they were about to return from whence they came. He had just about enough cognitive function to point at a gutter before he threw up, and it was followed by a lot of chatter in which he was fairly sure he heard his name in various incarnations mentioned.
The problem with notoriety and celebrity, was that people recognised you at your bad moments as well as the good ones. Returning the Lost Princess had been a great moment for Eugene. This was not.
He didn't, however, care enough to be bothered by this, and walked his hands down the wall, slowly but surely edging towards the ground. He had been slumped against the wall for some time, sporadically vomiting into the street and deciding he hated each and every one of his new friends, when he heard his name again.
"Eugene?" came the cry. "Eugene!" it repeated, and then he heard a silent patter of feet. He held up an unsteady, swaying hand.
"I'd be car'ful," he slurred weakly, and then gestured down at the floor. "No shoos. Som'one's bin sick round here."
"Sick?" Rapunzel yelped, grabbing handfuls of her skirt and pulling it up. Eugene at that point leant over again and demonstrated the process in action. "Ew!" she yelped; a few minutes ago she had been dancing and enjoying the festivities with her new people – her people. Now she was fearing for Eugene's life. "Eugene, what happened to you?" she rushed, crouching down and trying to look at him, but his eyes were glazed and distant.
"No, no, don't min' me," he muttered, putting his hand over his mouth self-consciously. "You don' need t'see it like this." He heaved again, but managed to keep control of himself. He felt Rapunzel's hand in his hair, and wished that people had just left him to roll around in the street alone – he'd done it before, he'd be fine. Getting Rapunzel involved was the worst possible thing that could have happened.
"What? Why," she questioned, petting him tenderly. "You're sick, Eugene. I want to help you."
"Noooo, I'm jus' drunk," he moaned. "Drunk an' I messed up. Too many drunks I had."
"Eugene... you're not making any sense," she hushed worriedly; someone had just tapped her on the shoulder and asked 'if that thing over there was hers' – Eugene had been drunk before, in fact she'd seen little else of him in the week, but this was completely different. "Do you want me to get help?"
"Nooo," he moaned, shaking his head, then freezing and trying to stop his chest heaving. "Leav' me. Too drunk. Let me go," he mumbled, and tried to lean against the wall again, but Rapunzel pulled him insistently and he fell against her warm, comfortable shoulder instead.
"Shh, it's all right," he heard her soothe. "I'm not going to leave you. Not ever." For a wonderful, sweet moment Eugene thought that he was going to be all right, and then the next he lost the fight against his own digestive system and lurched forwards to throw up again. Rapunzel squeaked and darted back, and Eugene's hand formed a fist against the floor.
"Jus' go," he snapped suddenly, spitting into the drain and avoiding at all costs looking Rapunzel in the eye. "Go," he mumbled brokenly. "I don' wan' you t'see me this way."
"Why not?" she replied softly, brushing the hair out of his face with the back of her hand; if he thought a bit of sick was going to put her off, he was very much wrong.
"Bec'aus I lov' you," he hiccuped, and Rapunzel's heart bounced from her stomach right up to her throat and back again.
"What?" she dared to ask.
"I love you," he repeated with remarkable clarity, and managed to turn up and look at her, his eyes wide and disappointed. "But this isn' my fin'est moment." He looked down again, putting a hand to his face. "I feel bad," he clipped. "Sorry." Rapunzel would have hugged or even kissed him, but considering his state of being, she decided it could wait until tomorrow. Until he'd washed and brushed his teeth, actually.
"Eugene I... I love you too," she responded, and though he didn't look, his hand found hers and squeezed it. "But, whether I love you or not," she added bluntly, "you aren't going to lie around in the street being sick all night."
"But... I lik' it," he argued in vague protest. "Works."
"No," she scolded. "I'm going to go and find your friends, and they're going to apologise for getting you so, so... whatever this is, and they're all going to help you come back to the palace with me. Is that clear?" she dictated with an intimidating bossy streak, and Eugene paused, trying not to throw up again, and then nodded.
"Kay," he burbled, spitting into the gutter in disgrace. "You win."
He remembered being alone for a while after that, and then of there suddenly being far too many people around him, talking and chattering in their unintelligible voices. He recalled being hoisted up too far from the ground, and immediately having to stop and be set back down so he could throw up again. Somehow they must have made it to the palace, and the King and Queen evidently didn't take one look at him and throw him straight back out – which if they had any sense at all they would have. Irrational affection for him must run in the family, he considered, as he was undressed by a servant who was very sadly not Rapunzel or even female, and then rolled into the recovery position on a forgivingly comfy bed. He passed out in seconds.
Eugene woke up with a small bug-eyed lizard quite literally staring him down.
"Oh god," were his first words of the day. "Don't stick your tongue in my ear," he groaned, and then put his head down and went back to sleep. Pascal seemed a little hurt, but maintained his vigil over Eugene until he woke up a second time, fumbled around until he found a large jug of water, drank half and poured the rest over himself, then went soggily back to sleep.
He slept until well after noon, and woke up feeling pretty rough around the edges, but considering the week he'd had it could be a lot worse. Perhaps he hadn't been too bad last night, he wondered hopefully; although, he had no recollection of how he got to the palace or why he didn't have a shirt on. An excitable part of him thought it might have something to do with Rapunzel, but as he didn't remember it he decided to hope that wasn't the case – if anything happened, he'd want to remember it at least.
He wandered around corridors he pretended he recognised, until he at last found his way to some kind of main hall, staffed by cheery-faced servants. From them he was able to find Rapunzel, who sat on a sunny terrace with her parents, and greeted him with a smile that almost made his hangover go away. Almost.
"Good morning," she said brightly, rising up and going over to him. He smiled, and wanted to lean in to give her a kiss on the cheek, but she evaded him with a hesitant glance. "Have you, um... brushed your teeth recently?" she asked.
"What? No, I... oh no," Eugene groaned. "I was sick last night, wasn't I?"
"You don't remember?" Rapunzel queried, but Eugene's defeated expression seemed to confirm it. "Oh, there, there," she tried to comfort. "It wasn't... that... bad."
"I'm sure it was," he replied grimly. "It makes sense now. Kind of." He glanced up at her. "How did I end up here?"
"Your friends brought you," Rapunzel answered, which only earned her a sceptical look. "Well... they said they were your friends."
"Oh hell," Eugene sighed, putting his head in his hands and sinking into a chair, not even greeting the King and Queen out of shame. "I'm so sorry," he muttered to Rapunzel. "I'm really sorry."
"It's okay," she rushed. "It's not like you threw up on anyone. Well, except for yourself," she added guiltily, and the mystery of his lack of upper-body clothing was solved. If he hadn't been feeling too sorry for himself to notice, he might have seen Rapunzel giving him a very thorough eyeing.
"Ugh," he grunted. "What a mess. And here I thought I might have behaved for once." He stretched his legs out, noticing his boots must have been cleaned before they were put neatly by his bed side, and stared determinedly at his toes.
"Do you... really not remember anything?" Rapunzel asked after a while, still hovering near him. He shook his head. "Nothing?" she continued the inquest. "Not even... telling someone, something?"
"What?" he replied uneloquently. "The last thing I remember is leaving the tavern. Being carried sounds familiar." He shrugged and flashed a guilt-ridden smile at the Queen, who was looking his way. Some hero he was showing up to be in front of them. He'd be lucky if they didn't chase him out of the palace as a drunk and miscreant.
"Wow," Rapunzel remarked. "It sure is funny stuff." She hadn't realised exactly how deep an effect alcohol could have on someone.
"Somehow I don't feel like laughing," he replied glibly. Rapunzel reached out and grabbed his hand.
"Eugene, last night, you seemed worried," she said seriously. "You said didn't want me to see you, and you were sorry for being so... unwell," she phrased delicately, "but I just want you to know that you don't need to be. It's okay."
Eugene looked up from his feet at her, and wondered – not for the first time, and definitely not for the last – what he had done to deserve such an amazing, wonderful girl caring for him.
"... Thank you. It won't happen again," he replied softly. "Well, not for a while at least." Probably the same time next year, knowing the people of Corona.
"So, how are you feeling?" she questioned politely, and Eugene took in a deep, steadying breath.
"Okay," he lied. "I could go out. Once I get a shirt, of course," he added, and Rapunzel flushed as if she'd forgotten.
"Everyone is still out in the square," Rapunzel said brightly. "There's a market on because it's the weekend at last. I'd love to-"
"Of course we can go," he interjected, and seeing her face light up was worth struggling through a thousand hangovers. "If you help me get ready, we can go now." Rapuznel did just that, and was thrilled to actually start a day with Eugene, rather than bumping into him – most likely drunk – half way through the afternoon.
He also outright refused to have a drop of alcohol this time, not that his stomach could take it, and for the first time all week specifically spent time with Rapunzel; he decided, after about an hour, that it was probably what he should have done from the start, as it was twice as entertaining and felt at least five times better.
"Princess!" a woman that Rapunzel had evidently befriended called. "Princess! How are you?"
"I'm great, how are you?" Rapunzel replied cheerily, and watched as the woman poured a light, honeyish coloured liquid into a cup.
"A sign of my hospitality, Princess," the lady offered. "We've run out of anything else to offer." Rapunzel brought the cup to her nose and sniffed it, Eugene had been staring off into space for a moment, and snapped back suddenly.
"Smells good," Rapunzel announced, putting the cup to her lips and drinking. Eugene reached out a hand to stop her, and then reminded himself that just because he was swearing off alcohol, that didn't mean Rapunzel had to either. Of course, she just hadn't realised that she'd been offered a sweet wine. "Wow, this is nice," she professed, and before Eugene could stop her she downed the entire glass. "Really nice! Thank you!" she chirped, attempting to hand the cup back, only to have it refilled.
"On the house, milady. As much as you want," the vendor insisted, and flashed Eugene a cheeky look as he quite clearly glared at her. Rapunzel took a refill and then rushed along to the next stall, and then the next; however, her cheeks steadily grew pinker, and she quickly finished the second glass in a fit of thirst.
"This stuff is great," she cheeped, hiccuping out of the blue and then putting a hand over her mouth and giggling. "Where did that lady go?"
"She's uh, Rapunzel," Eugene started cautiously. "Do you know that you're drinking wine?"
"Wine?" she echoed brightly. "What's that?"
"Well it's a drink," he explained.
"I noticed," she interjected. "It's a nice one." The sweet wines weren't very strong, but Eugene hadn't expected it to set in so fast.
"What I meant was that it has alco-"
"OH LOOK! There she is!" Rapunzel shot so loud it made Eugene's hangover wince and cower, and he made a last minute grab for her that just missed, and she was wriggling through the crowds and refilling her cup before he could intervene.
For some reason the introduction of alcohol to her system somehow made Rapunzel evasive like a cat and as flighty as a bird. She could not be kept in one place for more than a minute and Eugene lost track of ever every other. One minute she was up to her elbows in paint, and then the next was going around shaking hands and spoiling nice clean walls with handprints – handprints that would be kept and treasured for many years, no doubt.
Eugene lost track of her at one point, and when he discovered her again she was – full glass in hand, and he was going to throttle the scheming woman who'd succeeded in getting the princess drunk – dancing completely alone in the middle of the square, a number of residents circled around her clapping and cheering.
She still looked graceful, and to Eugene's eyes, certainly beautiful, but she was quite clearly drunk, and there were a number of laughs being had.
"Okay, okay," he charged in grumpily. "Nothing to see here," he growled, grabbing Rapunzel by the hand and taking her glass off her, only to discover she'd drunk it all.
"Eugene!" she gasped, throwing her arms around him and hugging him affectionately. "Wait, don't stop them I'm dancing," she argued suddenly. "I was having fun."
"I bet you were, sweetie, but I think it's time we-" he started diplomatically, but Rapunzel got away from him, somehow managing to combine dancing and running at the same time, and she hared off into the crowds and disappeared.
Eugene set after her, but she had an unfathomable ability to disappear at will, and he didn't find her for about a quarter of an hour. This time she was learning how to braid hair with the little girls who'd once braided hers, and Eugene got the impression he arrived just in time, because she looked about to tear up, a hand clutching the back of her neck – reaching for what wasn't there any more. When he set his hand on her shoulder, she turned and quite literally threw herself into his arms, pressing her face against his chest, breath heaving.
He just held her, patting her back a couple of times and giving the girl scouts apologetic looks. They weren't to know, no one was. Although some of the thugs and guards had seen how her hair used to be, he was the only one to really understand what it had been to her, how much it had mattered. She'd practically defined herself by her hair, so she was bound to get upset about it sooner or later – the wine had just helped.
Not wanting to take advantage of her in a slightly inebriated state, but feeling it was sure to brighten her spirits again – and he hadn't brushed his teeth for nothing – Eugene took her by hand and found a nice out of sight hollow.
"Eugene?" she sniffed curiously, when he took her face in his hands, tilted it upwards and then kissed her. She quickly and enthusiastically put her arms around him, and he soon felt her smile against his mouth; when he'd mustered enough self-control to pull away again, he backed off and stepped out into the street again.
"Better?" he inquired, and she nodded, following after him like a lamb.
"You love me," she announced suddenly, and Eugene almost fell over his own feet.
"What?" he yelped, looking around as if she'd accused him of being stark-naked. "Where did that come from?"
"You don't remember," she explained. "It was last night. You said you love me, but didn't remember it."
"Oh, oh," he mumbled, feeling a lot more like a terrible person – a feeling he'd been beginning to assuage. "Sorry."
"Why are you sorry?" she asked. "Sorry for not remembering, or sorry for not-" Eugene stopped dead in the street, turned around to face Rapunzel and put his hands evenly on her shoulders, looking her square in the eyes.
"I would never be sorry for," he hesitated, "loving you," he confessed – for the first time sober. "Never think that."
"Oh," she replied, eyes wide and awe-struck; like she was surprised that someone loved her – it baffled his mind that anyone could not love her. "Okay." She broke out into a tentative smile, and glancing around quickly, pressed another quick kiss against his mouth. "I love you too."
Although Eugene felt like he'd been kicked in the stomach, emotionally speaking at least, he just smiled back, and turned an ear towards a familiar sound.
"I think I hear music," he remarked warmly. "Do you want to go and dance?"
"YES!" Rapunzel cried, jumping at him again – like he was her personal climbing frame – then quickly swinging back to the ground and sprinting away with him in tow. He was a little embarrassed to admit that Rapuznel could dance a lot better when she was drunk than he could, but seeing as she slipped away and got a top-up on her desert wine a few more times than he was happy with, that didn't last for too long.
Suffice to say, she was dancing alone by the time night fell, her erratically and interpretively flailing limbs likey to hit anything within their radius. Eugene had resorted to simply sitting on the side making sure she didn't hurt herself or any bystanders. With his hangover still in force, he'd really rather be somewhere nice and comfortable in bed, but Rapunzel of course was having none of it.
"Do you want to go home yet?" he inquired for possibly the tenth time.
"Dancing!" was Rapunzel's short and concise answer. This pattern was repeated another ten times, until even the musicians had packed up and gone home, so the only music Rapunzel was dancing to was in her head.
"Okay, twinkle toes," Eugene announced at last, hauling himself to his feet and dodging around a number of limbs to get close to Rapunzel, wrapping an arm around her shoulder and pulling her against him – mostly to keep her still. "I think mom and dad are going to want you back at some point. Come on." He gave her a gentle haul, and although she walked along with him, she didn't seem pleased about it.
"But I was having fun!" she protested. "I was dancing!"
"I could see that," he remarked sardonically. "I'm sure you'll get a chance to do more soon. Heck, do it on your bed for all I care."
"That sounds like fun!" she chirped, and he was torn between exasperation and thinking she was completely adorable. "Today has been really great, Eugene," she babbled. "I did all sorts of nice things, but they were even better because you were here with me. I don't know what I'd do without you, I really don't."
"Easy goes," he murmured, guiding her carefully up a flight of steps. "Of course, honey," he added fondly, giving her hair a ruffle. "And I wouldn't enjoy myself without you."
"Really?" she squeaked, and then tried to throw her arms around him for a hug, but tripped over a combination of his and her feet and went tumbling onto the floor. "Ow!" she yelped, and Eugene had her back up in a heartbeat.
"Whoah, whoah, are you okay?" he rushed. "How did that even happen?"
"I don't... I don't," she murmured, and then looked down at her feet. "My toes hurt."
"Oh jeesh, come here," he sighed, and in one easy movement scooped her up in his arms and set off twice as fast. "I told you the wine was alcoholic," he warned with amusement, as lecturing kept his mind off Rapunzel with her arms around his neck and being so obscenely close and so terrifically beautiful.
"I... I didn't," she mumbled, and let out a small hiccup. "Am I going to be sick?" she asked worriedly, realising that this time she was the one who'd ended up drunk.
"No, you're fine," he reassured her; she need a lot more to be anywhere near the state he was in last night. Had been for most of the week, in fact.
"Will I forget everything?"
"Probably not," he answered. "You're just a bit tipsy."
"I think I can walk," she remarked.
"I know." He kept on carrying her, so Rapuznel just bit her lip and tried not to blush. It was probably faster to be carried than walk anyway, what with her racing about all over the place, falling over things and getting into trouble. Even so, it was after midnight when Eugene finally knocked on the door, a now very-sleepy princess glued to his side.
"Delivery for the King and Queen," he announced as the door opened, and the footman gave him a suspicious look. He guided Rapunzel inside, left her in the capable hands of her mother, apologised to her father, and then let himself be directed to a guest room and fell asleep after only managing to take his shoes off.
It had been a hell of a week.
He couldn't wait for the next.
And that is what I think happens in the week after the movie leaves off. PEACE OUT!