First Light (A Tangled one-shot)
By- An Unknown Foreign Beauty
Step one: Close your eyes- not completely but partly.
Step two: Pucker your lips.
The book lays open on the half torn mattress of the little bed at the corner. The yellowish red rays of the dying sun have illuminated the picture of the ruthless rouge armed with sword, posing proudly with the trademark grin on his face. Comparing to the other books which are scattered all over the tiny bed, it is new, not literally but at least it has none of its pages torn or dog- eared or eaten yet. A pair of busy brown eyes is moving quickly from the instruction in the book to the reflection of the little boy on the mirror. He shuffles the messy brown hair that adorns his little head, closes his eyes (not completely but partly- as the book says), puckers his lips like the rouge in the picture, poises the wooden sword high and looks at his reflection in the mirror again.
Nay. Not again. It is nothing like Flynnigan Rider's infamous smolder. Disappointed, he throws the wooden sword to the corner and again rushes near the book. Last night he had snatched the newest copy of the "The tales of Flynnigan Rider" before anyone could lay his hands on that and he was especially proud of this little thieving event. None of the Corona orphanage has as charismatic finger as his. He literally squeaked when he saw the most awaited chapter which the writer promised in the last volume "The guide to be Flynnigan Rider." He read the whole book in one sitting, although the matron caught him in the middle of the night for burning the precious oil in the worthless task like reading and prized him with a pretty good beating. But the future Flynnigan Rider didn't mind. Actually great futures cost something.
Now he is mastering Rider's infamous smolder. His eyes moves to the next instruction-
Step three: Now say Hello to the princess with your best convincing tone.
As the footsteps of the head girl Mary get closer, Eugene quickly folds the book and snuggles into the covers to hide the stolen treasure.
"Eugene. Where are you?" Mary's voice rings across the room, her freshly washed skirts are flowing in the gentle spring air.
He dives deeper into the covers, pulling the blanket over his head, making sure that none of his parts left behind. Sure he doesn't want to lose the book to the voracious bunch of readers. But unfortunately the slightly moving pile in the topmost bunker at the corner doesn't escape Mary's eyes. A huge grin crosses her face. "Hmm…let's see what is keeping our little Flynnigan Rider busy." Without warning, she springs forward and trickles Eugene, who, caught completely off guard, throws back the covers, holding the stolen book over his head.
"Opps!" Eugene's eyes grow wide with the revelation of his stolen treasure.
"You got the book!" Mary's eyes grow wide. "But you can't have it until the girls finish reading this."
Laughing, Mary grabs at the book, but somehow Eugene is able to scramble out from underneath her. He bolts away from her, laughing, and Mary scurries to her feet as she races after him. Joyous energy surges through his being, as they play this little game. At last Mary is able to catch up with him and scoops him up in her strong arms, kissing his little cheeks.
"Give me that book." Eugene tries to put on the new found smolder "Please." Sadly it has no effect on Mary. Instead he gets a slap on his shoulder.
"I know about that face Eugene." Mary smiles, dropping him down. "I've read the book before you."
Then suddenly she remembers the purpose of being here. "Hurry up, Eugene. We're getting late." She drops him down and quickly begins smoothing his wrinkled shirt.
"I'm going anywhere before I can finish this book." Eugene shakes his head.
"We must be quick." She now begins buttoning his vest "The princess has arrived."
. "Really?" Light sparkles in his gorgeous brown eyes, and a wide grin spreads across his face.
"Really." She cups his little chin, tilts so that he is looking at her. She knows that he is waiting for this occasion through this week. Everyone knows Eugene Fitzherbert is a downer, a looser. She knows he is none of that. May be he isn't so strong like the Stabbington twins or so smart like Marvel. He isn't realistic like Browney either. But he is beautiful in other ways. He is cute, innocent, and different. It's sad that all others treat him so badly. So this time he becomes truly desperate to prove himself to everyone, to show the world that Eugene can do something. He can greet the princess properly like a gentleman.
"Can I do this?" As Eugene snuggles closer, Mary holds him tight. She can feel this little boy's pain. It is his last chance.
"Future Flynnigan Rider doesn't lose." She holds him in her arms length and kisses his cheeks, putting an extra emphasis on her words "See, the princess will like you." Joy sparkles in his eyes as Mary quickly grabs the comb in order to tame the unruly mess of brown hair on his head.
"Really." He shakes his head with excitement, messing up all the attempts that Mary has made with his hair.
When Eugene makes to the great hall, he is welcomed by the usual crocked grin from Stabbingtons, disgusted smile from Marvel and annoyed look from the matron. "You are late." She mouths as he finds a place at the end of the greeting party. The ceremony has already begun and the royal couple has arrived minutes ago. The queen, who is absolutely a beautiful woman, is shaking hand with every child, while other maids are carrying gift baskets behind her. She is giving each and every child chocolates and new clothes. But Eugene's eyes aren't watching her, his eyes are busy in searching for the long awaited princess.
"Mary, where is she?" He whispers to the head girl standing beside her.
"There." Mary eyes to the maiden behind the queen with curly ginger hair and a face full of acne.
"She." Eugene's heart sinks. She is certainly nothing like princess. Rather than she looks like old witches in the story books. "But she is old." He wrinkles his nose, clearly disappointed to find no match between his dreams and the reality.
'No, not that one." Mary gives him a sideway glance, shifting a giggle "The one in her arms."
Eugene's eyes grow wider. This time he is more shocked than before. That one? That tiny creature with chubby legs and tiny throwing arms? He blinks. In Flynnigan Rider books, there is no mention of a princess so tiny like this one.
"But she is so little." He looks totally disgusted "And with too much hair."
"She can tangle you up with that." Mary whispers.
"Tangling me?" Eugene rolls his eyes "Nothing can keep Flynnigan Rider grounded…."
"Who is tangling whom?"
Eugene is cut off in mid-sentence as Mary's grip tightens around his wrist and someone speaking from behind. Confused, he looks around, and his heart freezes as he meets her paper white face and the speaker herself.
"Your highness.." Eugene throat feels like desert, he can hardly swallow. The Stabbingtons seem very amused and the matron looks truly angry. So Eugene has messed up everything again. What he has done? Speaking against the princess? A great crime (he can remember what his teacher said in last history class).What she will do with him now? Throw him in jail? Hang him? His eyes meet the Stabbingtons. One of them wraps a scarf around his neck and pretends to be hanged. Oh, no. He can feel his lips turning white, the fingers getting numb. What he'll do now? Run away? But that will prove him as loser one more time. His eyes moves to the baby princess, who has also stopped throwing her chubby legs and watching him curiously. All on a sudden he realizes that she has green eyes, the most beautiful green eyes he has ever seen.
"What's your name, darling?"
"E…Eugene." Eugene can barely speak. He knows that all the other children are watching him curiously too.
"You seem too much interested about my daughter." at last it's the queen who breaks the tension with a smile "Do you want to talk with her?"
Eugene looks at the queen, then to Mary who is shaking her head affirmatively. To his surprise, the queen takes his hand, leading him to the tiny human bundle in the maid's arms. "Come on greet her."
Eugene gratefully follows the queen and stops near the baby princess who is still observing him curiously with her big jade green eyes. Eugene's eyes catches Mary's smile as he takes a big breath and then bows before the baby princess, takes her hand and plants a kiss on the top of that like the way Flynnigan Rider does in the books.
"Nice to meet you, princess."
In answer he gets a toothless giggle from the princess, which makes him smiling too. "She is funny." He murmurs to himself "Just like all the babies I've seen." Her face is really alluring, and her toothless grin is so captivating that he can hardly look away from her.
"Do you want to hold her?" the queen pats his shoulder "But.." The matron's jaw practically hits the floor, so does the others in the room. The Stabbingtons look like that they aren't happy with this. But the queen ignores them and places the baby princess in his arms "I think she likes you. You can keep her though the ceremony."
"See." Eugene eyes the other children proudly as he holds the little princess, Stabbingtons seems totally disappointed, and Marvel is shocked. Holding a princess? What an honor! None of this orphanage has this chance before. Mary gives him a proud pat on the shoulder even he receives a huge toothless grin from the princess in his arms. He grins back.
But soon his pride begins melting. He has never held any baby before, let alone a princess. May be she looks good but soon he discovers, how fluffy, drooling creature she is. She is practically drooling all over his shirt, bathing him with her saliva. He wants to give her back but the queen seems busy with the other children now.
"Princess," Now he is totally covered with her saliva, tries to convince her "Please don't drool over me."
In answer he gets another big grin from her, pouring more saliva over him.
That's not a really good way to meet a princess. Soon the princess becomes too interested with his brown locks. "Ouch." A tear well up from his eyes as she grabs one of his unruly locks with her tiny fingers, and pulls that with her full strength.
"That's not fair, princess." He glares at her, but she pays no heed to his warning. She continues the tug-Eugene's-hair play happily. Even when the queen comes to his rescue she begins screaming loudly.
"May be she likes you too much." she sighs "You better stay with her for a while."
Really too much.
"You leave me no choice." At last a sigh escapes from his mouth. He remembers the instructions from the book about convincing a princess. He closes his eyes not fully but partly and puckers his lips, wearing his best convincing look.
Sadly it doesn't work as he has expected because this time he receives a poke on his nose from her tiny fists.
So he spent his times babysitting her though the whole party till evening while others celebrate. He watches them eating, singing, talking with the royal couple while he sits with the princess at a corner, feeling bored to death. Everyone is cheering, dancing, singing and he is here unable to leave this annoying little creature. She refuses to go to anyone even to her maids. Unable to find any other option, at last Eugene decides to have a conversation with her.
"Hi, Princess." He carefully moves her hand away from his collar which she is tugging at that moment "Do you want to hear a story?"
"Eee…" she settles her big eyes upon him, with another drooling smile.
"A Flynnigan Rider story?"
"Guuu….gagag..agaa…" she cheers, with the sudden interest she finds in chewing the corner of his vest.
"I can't understand a word you are saying."
"Euuuu…." She cheers again, pouring more saliva on him. This time Eugene reaches at the edge of his temper. "Stop drooling on me, princess." He glares at her.
'Boo…" this time he gets another saliva bath plus a tug on his hair.
"Hey, I say…" he really tries to warn her but the princess simply ignores his glares and continues drooling on his face happily. So Eugene sits there, with not so happy face watching the other enjoying. At last after the supper when she decides to retire, Eugene is able to hand her down to the queen. Even the queen is shocked when she finds her daughter's babysitter's appearance- completely soaked and hair sticking out in every possible direction.
"Thank you, Eugene." The queen kisses his cheeks before leaving "You are really wonderful…" She is saying something else but Eugene isn't listening anything. He must be happy that at last for getting rid of the annoying princess but instead a strange sadness begins consuming his heart. Unknowingly his eyes move to the sleepy little princess, who yawns lazily in the maid's arms. When their eyes meet once more, the princess gives him another toothless smile. Once again something breaks inside him, all on a sudden he realizes that he is goanna miss her. May be she is a drooling, annoying little thing; still he will miss her cute toothless grin, her annoying plays.
The queen is a sensible woman and the growing bond between these two children doesn't escape her eyes. She believes in destiny which may sounds weird but she knows that she can't ignore it.
"Eugene." she drops on her knees before him and cups his little chin, so that he is looking at her. "Will you miss her?" The boy says nothing; instead his eyes meet the matron's glare. The queen understands, may be the boy is so young, but he already knows the truth.
She leans close to him and whispers, "What if I invite you to visit the castle tomorrow?"
Eugene's heart almost stops at the generous offer. Visiting the castle? That is his dream. No one in the orphanage has gotten this chance before. He eyes at the Stabbingtons who have opened their mouth but forget to close.
"I think the princess will miss you too." The queen smiles "Will you come?"
Eugene's eyes moves from Mary's smile to the matron's glare and then to the queen's tender eyes. "Yes." He shakes his head, excitedly. A huge grin spreads across his face and his chest swells with pride. Tomorrow he'll visit the castle? Oh, my gosh! A step closer to becoming Flynnigan Rider. He can't wait.
As the royal carriage wheels away; Eugene stands at the door watching them going. Suddenly his eyes meet the baby princess who is still watching him through the carriage window.
'What?" Eugene forgets to breathe for a while. What does it mean? In Flynnigan Rider books, when a princess winks to Rider… Oh, my gosh! Blood begins creeping up to his face. Does it mean…
"Well, well, Flynn Rider." Eugene's thoughts breaks with Mary's voice "You need a good shower before you can visit the castle."
"But.." He tries to insist, still blushing. But Mary catches his arms and begins dragging him to the shower.
So later that night, when the princess sleeps in her golden cradle, Eugene snuggles into his torn blanket, little eyelids fluttering with the happy dreams of princesses and castles.
Until then none of them knows that tomorrow both of their lives will take a different turn.
Reviews? Faves? It is a crazy story written in only 20 minutes, completely unplanned. Even I got a bit dizzy while writing this. I've always wished to write with little Eugene and Rapunzel. I don't know how much I can keep them in character. But I really like having feedbacks (Please don't flame. I'm going through hard time, so the writing quality is decreasing.)
Thanks for reading