Title: Little Bird

Rating & Warnings: G, none

Word Count: 961

Summary: Rapunzel is delighted when she receives a visitor for the first time in the Tower.

*Little Bird*

Rapunzel spent most of her mornings in the tower doing chores. When she finished, she would spend her afternoons doing leisure activities: reading books, arts and crafts, puzzles. Most days (other than her birthday) tended to run together and it was hard to tell them apart but there had been a few days that stood out.

One of those days had been the day that he (or maybe it was a she?) flew into her life. Rapunzel was all alone in the tower, but she was used to that. Mother had gone on one of her frequent overnight trips. Rapunzel was lying on a small circular rug in the main room of the tower completing a jigsaw puzzle. She was very careful with it and she still had all the pieces, it was just that it was her only puzzle and she had finished it so many times that some of the edges had become dull and would no longer hold a tight fit. Rapunzel had absent mindedly remarked on this a few days before and Mother had grown angry with her. Mother had scolded her and told her this was the reason she could not have nice things.

As Rapunzel was completing the puzzle, she heard a loud thump on the wooden shutters that covered the large window in front of her. It had been a windy day and she had closed the shutters to keep out stray leaves and little bits of debris. Mother would notice if she let any dirt into the tower and so she was mindful of keeping the elements out. The sound had startled her and so she hid under the kitchen table.

After a few minutes of silence, curiosity got the better of Rapunzel (it always did) and she decided to investigate the sound. As she crawled out from under the table she reached for her trusty frying pan and cautiously approached the shutters. She slowly placed her ear next to the slab of wood that covered the large window and listened intently. There was a faint chirping sound coming from the other side. Of course, she could not understand the meaning behind these chirps but there was an urgency to them. She could sense the pain and despair embedded within them.

Forgetting her fear, Rapunzel quickly pulled on the shutters. They opened inward so she was not worried about dislodging whatever was making that chirping sound. Her eyes widened as she saw a small bird lying on its back on the ledge of her window. He had a bright orange face and chest, a small bill and brownish gray feathers. Rapunzel could tell from the manner in which he was laying that the little bird had broken its wing when he flew into the shutters. She immediately wrapped a strand of her long blonde locks around the little bird and began singing to him.

After she had healed him, Rapunzel had expected the little bird to fly away but he seemed to like her. The little bird remained with her in the tower. She was delighted to have company. She talked and sung to it, she even laughed as it zipped past her and flew around in circles inside the tower, good as new. That night, Rapunzel used some fabric scraps to make a soft, small nest on her bed for him. For the first time in her life, Rapunzel slept in the same bed with someone. She was so happy she could hardly sleep. Mother never let Rapunzel crawl into her bed when Rapunzel had a nightmare or during thunderstorms or even when Mother had returned from a particularly long trip and Rapunzel had missed her terribly.

The next evening Mother came home. Rapunzel was excited to show Mother her new friend, her first real friend. Mother was furious with her. Mother told her that all birds were evil, that they carried diseases and pecked people's eyes out in their sleep. Rapunzel was surprised by Mother's reaction. She tried to explain to Mother that this little bird was different from all the others, that he was her friend. Mother would not listen to her. Mother snatched the little bird perched on Rapunzel's extended index finger and took him into her room. Mother locked the door behind her and did not come out the rest of the night. Rapunzel was confused, why would Mother take the little bird into her room if she was afraid the little bird would peck her eyes out? But Rapunzel had learned not to question Mother.

Mother was already gone when Rapunzel awoke the next morning. So was the little bird. Rapunzel was all alone in the tower again. There were no windows in Mother's room and there were an awful lot of stray feathers. Rapunzel tried to console herself by telling herself that Mother had probably taken the little bird back to his nest. Rapunzel was used to consoling herself, but sometimes she was not very convincing. Rapunzel thought that perhaps if another little bird or small animal ever paid her a visit again she should probably not tell Mother.

Years later, when she had access to more than three books, Rapunzel learned that the little bird that had flown into her window had been a robin. Seeing the picture in the book of a robin standing between some bare tree branches made her eyes water but then she looked at Pascal who was safe and sleeping soundly on the table next to the book. Rapunzel startled Pascal as she scooped him up and placed him on her shoulder. She nuzzled him with her cheek and whispered, "Thank you," to her oldest, surviving friend. A perplexed Pascal shrugged his shoulders and fell back to sleep.

AN: This is one of two writing projects I've been meaning to do for a while. I have a collection of Tangled drabbles that are scattered all over the place. Some of them you may have already read from various writing contests I've participated in this year (although I will probably edit them so they won't be the exact story), others are plot bunnies that have been patiently sitting in my hard drive just waiting to see the light of day. They probably won't be in chronological order, but the stories will be in the same universe, meaning they'll be consistent with each other. The other project is a multi-chapter fic which I hope to start early next year.