AN: Wow, this took a long time to write. A couple of months actually. I just couldn't get past the first few lines. But now it is done, and I hope you all like it! :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Tangled. Disney does.
Leaning against one of the trees that ruffled the edge of the small lake within the castle ground, Eugene couldn't help but let out a low, loud, long suffering sigh.
He was bored.
Of course, that isn't to say the he was unhappy, for he wasn't. Life in the castle, life with Rapunzel, was almost more joy then he knew what to do with. He was loved by a wonderful woman, he had three large meals a day, seven days a week, and except for the terms of his community service that they had come up with, his hopefully soon-to-be in-laws were actually pretty okay people. So, no, he was perfectly content with what his life had become after meeting the wonderful young woman who just so happened to be the missing princess.
The only problem he was currently facing was the fact that his lifestyle just wasn't 'him.'
For as long as he could remember, his life had been nothing more then one struggle to survive after another, a constant battle that he had been lucky to win so far. From wrestling with rats for scraps when the orphanage couldn't afford enough food to keep them all fed to his many close calls with the many law keepers he had been forced to avoid during his time as a thief, Fate had often wanted him dead. There had been no 'protection of the law' for him, so he had been forced to protect himself, which was difficult when even your name marked you as an outcast. He had learned to fight, to kill if necessary-though luckily his hand had never been forced against a human, only some of the dogs that had been sent after him-and to be perfectly honest, he had been okay with that. He had long since accepted his lot in life, realizing that trying to change it was futile, and so he had done the best with what he had been given and had tried to stay alive long enough to see retirement.
Which had come a lot sooner than he had thought.
Which, of course, was part of the problem.
Except for the times his 'service to the public' called upon him to break into houses and the castle so that he could tell them the best way to deter 'people like him,' he now spent most of his days by this very lake, catching some sun and extra sleep as Rapunzel caught up on all the palace life she had missed these last eighteen years. Occasionally, when the classroom was too confining or stuffy, Pascal would come to join him, keeping them both entertained as they tried, and mostly failed, to communicate. Other times, some of the younger, more forgiving of the guards would invite him over to the guard house for a pint or two, allowing for the sharing of stories that had marked the beginning of some actual friendships with the men.
But most of the time his life was spent exactly like this, lying against the side of a tree as he watched the lake ripple in the slight breeze that was an almost constant force within the walls of the castle.
It was days like this that he really wondered why he had ever stopped being a thief.
Sure, the life was dangerous, and yes, he was almost guaranteed to die young, but at least it had been exciting. The constant knowledge that, at any moment, he would find a blade in his back or his throat grinning for him had kept him on his toes, had forced him to be aware of his surroundings even when he had been asleep. He had always had a dagger or two hidden somewhere on his person, for he had learned to never trust others, and he had been more then prepared to use them, should the time ever come. Sleepless nights as he cased a place and hungry days when his plans didn't turn out exactly like he wanted them to had turned him lean and hard, had forced him many times to cross and double cross old companions to keep number one alive. He was a man of all survival, all instinct, and to him, these walls were almost nothing more then a prison.
So why hadn't he run away when he had had the chance?
It was a question that had often haunted him during these hours left alone to think, one that he was forever puzzling over even though he had long since figured out the answer. It really would have been easy. His room was situated at the end of the east alleyway on the third floor, a room normally reserved for visiting dignitaries but that had been given to him once his crimes had been cleared. It looked over the gardens, this very lake and tree, in fact, and was a beautiful sight to behold under the full moon. Due to the way the castle had been built, it was one of the hardest rooms to break into, for the window had no ledges and there was nothing close enough either above or below to attack a rope to. With the trees having been cut back so that their limbs didn't scrape against the stone, it was the perfect room to deter a thief.
But with that being said, it was the perfect room to leave by.
Having been built with privacy in mind, the room was tucked away in a corner, out of sight from both the main entrance and the guard house that served as the men's resting place, allowing for almost anything to go on without notice. Although it was almost impossible for someone to jump from the tree into the room, it was child's play to jump from the room to the tree, the extra couple feet of height allowing the jumper to easily land amongst the safe leaves. From there it was a simple climb down the tree, up the side of the wall, and out into the city, where someone could easily just waltz out the main gates without being stopped. At any moment, in under an hour, he could be gone, off on one of the new adventures that he just knew were waiting for him.
So why stay?
"I thought I'd find you here Eugene."
Open one of the eyes he hadn't realized that he had closed, a smile graced his lips as the woman he loved settled herself down next to him, her head already claiming his chest as a pillow with a small, content sigh. Moving his arm so that it draped over her like a blanket, Eugene turned his head to place a small kiss on her forehead, grinning now like a fool as he took in her every feature.
"Are you already done with class Blondie?"
A shake of her head, with could have either been a 'no' or just her snuggling closer to him, though he could do with both.
"I decided to skip and spend some time you you."
For a long while they laid in silence, listening to the rustle of the wind though the leaves above mix with the sound of the others' breathing and beating heart, a melody that almost had them asleep within moments. Forcing himself to remain awake for one more minute, Eugene gently used his hand to brush a strand of short brown hair from her face, allowing him an unblocked sight of the one he stayed for. Placing one more soft kiss on the top of her head, careful not to wake her, Eugene muttered one last sentence before allowing himself to drift off and join her in sleep.
"I have to love you Rapunzel, because by the Fates I'm going to stay."
Sure, his life could be boring at times, but he wouldn't trade it, or her, for all the adventures in the world.