Title: For the Restless
Disclaimer: Not mine. Nope. Nuh-uh. Disney's. Theirs.
Rating: PG-13 for now.
Spoilers: Post Movie
Pairings: Eugene/Rapunzel, King/Queen
Summary: Eugene and Rapunzel deal with their new lives, as well as their former ones.
A/N: Feeling a little shaky about this one, but I'm enjoying writing it so far, so I thought I'd share.
It wasn't that four-year-old Eugene Fitzherbert didn't hear his mother; He just wasn't all that bothered that she was calling out his name.
It wasn't as if she wasn't going to follow him through the brush and into the clearing where there was a GIANT TOWER HOLY MOLY!
"A GIANT TOWER HOLY MOLY!"
His mother laughed as she followed him. She was tall and slim, but muscular, with dark auburn hair, and rich brown eyes much like his own. "Eugene, when I say your name, I expect some sort of response. Even if it's a 'leave me alone, mother.'"
"Mommy! Giant tower!"
She knelt down and looked up, squinting in the sun. "I see. It is very tall, isn't it?"
Eugene bounced up and down. "Let's climb it!"
"No no no, you." She snagged him by the back of his shirt and held him in place. "People could live up there, and it's not nice to climb people's homes. That's called 'trespassing' which could easily lead to 'breaking and entering' and those things are bad."
"Yes, Eugene. But! This is the perfect place for our picnic."
"Yes, food. Now sit."
"And how is Eugene?"
"Ridiculous, Sire. As per usual."
"As all young boys should be," The King told Dame Anne Fitzherbert, the Captain of his Royal Guards.
She sensed the sadness behind his smile and cleared her throat softly. "I believe I may have a lead, Your Majesty. With your permission, I'd like to pursue it. "
The King nodded slowly. "Captain, you have the full weight of the crown behind you in any endeavor to bring my daughter home."
"I'm close, I can feel it."
Eugene watched his mother from his spot at their small kitchen table, as she poured over maps and documents, her dark auburn hair up in a bun, wearing the simple brown dress she often wore when she wasn't working. They lived just the two of them, just outside the castle in a small cottage.
He had tried to look at the maps his mother so voraciously poured over, but couldn't make any sense of them, being only five.
"Yes, Eugene?" she said without looking up at him.
She looked up, her brown eyes wide and surprised. "What time is..." she glanced at the clock on the far wall and jumped to her feet. "Oh, I'm sorry, it is dinner time! Your mother has lost her mind, clearly." She hoisted him up and onto her hip as she started preparing a meal.
"You're gonna find the princess?"
"You bet I am," she grinned at him. "And when I do, there'll be a big party, and I will talk the royal cooks into making all your favorite foods, and we'll stuff ourselves silly!"
Eugene giggled and clung with strong little fingers to his mother's sleeve.
A knock on the door after dinner made both of them look up from their respective reading; Anne, her work and Eugene, his picture books.
Anne got up slowly and walked to the door, opening it up. An odd breeze blew through the house, causing Eugene to shiver, and accompanying that shiver was a petite woman with raven curls, wearing a red dress, and a serious expression on her face..
Anne narrowed her eyes. "Eugene? It's time for bed."
Late that night, the door to his bedroom crashed open and his mother bounded through the room, grabbing him out of bed.
"Mommy?" he tried to say, but only wound up coughing. Smoke had filled the room and behind his mother, he could see fire engulfing their home.
She dashed through the house, quickly, dodging falling debris and inflamed furniture.
He gripped onto her, feeling tears spring to his eyes, and he could almost see the front door; they were almost out.
But the house groaned around them and a support beam from the ceiling started to fall.
His mother set him down and then shoved him to the door, just as it came down on her.
"Go," she rasped out weakly. "Go, Eugene. Go."
He stood, paralyzed, watching as the life left her eyes. He felt the flames and smoke engulf him, and It wasn't until a castle guard broke down the door and yanked him out that it really registered that his mother was really gone.
People called it an accident. They said it was no one's fault and that sometimes fires happen.
As Eugene stood in front of the tombstone, he thought about the wind that had blustered through the open door; he thought about his mother's lifeless eye and he wondered what would happen next; where he would go.
A strong, firm hand came down and gripped his shoulder as he felt himself sniffle, and when he looked up, he found the King standing over him, along with the Queen.
Clumsily, as he'd done every time he was in their presence, he bowed, and felt a tear drip down his nose.
The Queen reached forward and wrapped her arms around him tightly.
In the end, with no living family, and no other adult willing to take on the responsibility of such a small child (with no title), Eugene wound up where all orphans wind up.
The cot was cold and the nuns were strict, but at least the orphanage afforded him the chance to grieve, and with so many other children, it was easy for him to disappear when he wanted; bury himself into the few books in the small library and be left alone.
In the early years, he was adopted a couple of times, but brought back. The first time for being too quiet and skittish and the second time for screaming bloody murder when his new "mother" lit a fire in the hearth. It was just as well; His second "father" had beat him bloody for his screams.
As he got older, he shook off some of his more "peculiar" behavior, and took on the responsibilities of helping out with the younger children. He learned magic tricks to entertain them and read to them, and at the age of fourteen, learned to steal at the feet of the slightly older boys.
He found it easier to pretend that he was someone else than to be sad, damaged little Eugene Fitzherbert, and when he turned seventeen, and left the orphanage for good, he left Eugene behind with it.
He could be anyone he wanted, he realized, and it wasn't hard to choose to be a suave adventurer, molded on the hero of his favorite book.
Eugene Fitzherbert was no more, as he turned the corner away from the orphanage. Flynn Rider had taken his place, and the world was his oyster.
It only took a year for Flynn Rider to build up a reputation and an arrest warrant.
He was great at being a thief, and amazing at playing the part of a swashbuckling cad, and over the next several years it served him well.
But although he put on a carefree facade, he knew that he hadn't really left Eugene behind at the orphanage. Eugene was always right there, just beneath the surface of his Flynn Rider act; the quiet, lonely boy who wanted to disappear.
And what better place to disappear than some tropical island, surrounded by the riches he'd stolen, away from anybody who would shove him aside or hurt him?
That all seemed like such a long time ago now, even if only three or four years had passed, but staring at the portrait of the thin, muscular woman with dark auburn hair and brown eyes that matched his own, the portrait that hung with the rest of those depicting former Captains of the Guard, it brought it all back for Eugene.
Someone behind him softly cleared their throat and he shook his head out and turned.
"Sir. The royal family awaits," the King's valet, James, informed him. He was a tall man with gray hair and a large nose.
Eugene nodded. "Hey, James. Do you know if there are any other portraits of this woman?"
"I...I'm not certain," James told him. "I would have to check with our artwork archives." He arched a wary eyebrow. "Why?"
No one in the castle particularly trusted him, even if he did walk in with the lost princess. Now that the week-long celebration had ended, Eugene had heard a few of the royal advisors counseling the King on what the most gracious way of making him leave would be.
Eugene gave the portrait one last glance, before following James. "No reason," he said, smiling charmingly. "Just curious."
"Of course you are," James muttered to himself.
"Do you know who she was?" Eugene asked as he followed along toward the dining chamber.
James gave a long suffering sigh. "A captain of the guard, which is why her portrait is in the same hall with the other captains of the guard. She took the job shortly after the princess was abducted, but died a few years later in a fire. Sad, really. She was very talented. An extraordinarily capable woman."
Eugene grinned just a little, but said nothing.
"She had a young son if I'm not mistaken," James went on as they approached the door. "But with no remaining family or someone to look after him, he was placed in the orphanage. Lost to the winds I suspect, poor lad. He was an energetic boy, and the King and Queen were quite fond of him."
"Yeah," Eugene nodded slowly. "Poor little guy."
"I wouldn't expect you to understand," James sniffed. "A spoiled thief such as yourself."
"Yeah, that's me, James," Eugene smiled jovially. "The happy-go-lucky outlaw!"
James groaned to himself and opened up the door. "Your Majesties, I have fetched Rider for y-"
Before he could finish, Rapunzel squeaked and launched herself at Eugene.
"There you are!" she cried. "I was starting to think you'd gotten lost in this big old castle."
"Something like that," he grinned at her, taking her hand.
She smiled brightly and tugged him toward the King and Queen. "Mother, Father, we can eat now."
The Queen chuckled, obviously amused by her daughter's enthusiasm.
"Sorry to hold things up," Eugene said with a grin as he sat down next to Rapunzel. "I was just admiring one of your portrait galleries."
"Let's hope he wasn't admiring it too hard," James said, more to himself than anyone else.
"That will be all, James," the King said, giving him a mildly harsh look. "I think we're fine here."
Eugene grinned at James widely. "What he said."
The nudge from Rapunzel was well worth it.