Disclaimer: Tangled belongs to Disney. I'm not making any profit off this.

Author's Shameless Self-promotional Note: This piece can be standalone, but it's really meant to follow my novel-length story Bad Influence. (If you read that and liked it, there are a lot more short pieces from that setting on my Tumblr page, which is linked in my profile.) That story shows why this modern AU Rapunzel relishes trusting him so much, so if you like this one-shot but don't know the backstory to it, that's where you can find it out. Basically, though, in this setting, they live in modern-day Washington DC. He goes by Flynn, he is a novelist and ex-lobbyist, and she is an artist and the granddaughter of a former senator. Max and Pascal are human.

Author's Explanatory Note: I consider the implications of their opening conversation to be canon for my Bad Influence AU. I don't consider that a retcon of anything in the epilogue. This story is meant to take place about a year after the end of that one, and one main theme of that story is that people can change. They can have new dreams to replace the old, but they can also have new dreams to supplement their current ones.

Rating & Warnings: This is primarily smut, but the smut itself is not very graphic. The story is more sensual and mental, and there is nothing too niche-fetishist in it, just a mild dom/sub dynamic (trust me on this, it is mild). Still, there is really no question about what its rating should be.

Safe Place

Rapunzel gazed across the concrete parking garage as she clung to Flynn's arm, the pair of them hurrying toward the elevator. They had just returned from a very enjoyable evening in the city, where a lecture had been put on by a well-known novelist about supporting creative writing in children and teens. Following the lecture, most of the attendees had gone to a nearby black-tie restaurant to eat and socialize, and after the lecture and dinner, Rapunzel and Flynn were ready to call it a night.

Flynn turned to her as they got into the elevator. They were alone, and he relaxed as he punched the button for the lobby of their condominium tower. "You know," he said thoughtfully, "there were a lot of rich people there tonight."

She stifled a laugh. What sort of comment was that? "I guess so, but you're rich," she said. "We're rich by any definition of the word."

"Yes, but I mean really rich, like multimillionaires. And it got me to thinking. Education reform these days is never about encouraging creative interests. It's teacher accountability, making sure kids know a lot of rote facts, et cetera. And I think..." He paused, unsure about whether to continue.

She looked encouragingly at him. He took a deep breath and plunged ahead. "I think I could go back to K Street and start up my own little firm with that focus. Lobby for good education reform bills, grants for libraries and community centers to hold youth writing fairs, art fairs, you get the idea." He was getting excited about this.

The elevator stopped, the doors slid open, and the pair faced the opulent, well-lit front lobby of the building. Rapunzel looked at him, surprised at what she had just heard. "Who would the clients be who would pay you?" she asked. Then she recalled what he had just said, and comprehension dawned on her. "Oh. Right."

"A lot of philanthropist-type people were at the lecture," he said as they walked past the rushing fountain. "The interest is there. The cause just needs people willing to do the ground work with the politicians."

"You're sure you want to do that?" she asked. "Go back to K Street? I thought you liked writing."

"I do, but you've probably noticed how I become stir-crazy if I don't have a story to work on. I need something to do as a 'regular' job in addition to that, and this—this would be different from before, Rapunzel. This would be a good thing. It's what I thought I could do on K Street when I first came to DC, only now, I have the resources to actually do it."

She considered this. It was true enough; lobbying for a noble cause was quite different from what he used to do before he met her, and if she were completely honest with herself, she actually wouldn't mind—nor be particularly surprised—if the comment became reality at some point. He had been prone to boredom and "cabin fever" working at home, and she had noticed. If he did turn out to be serious, he would probably do well at it, as a novelist and (for the time being) former lobbyist himself. He would have credibility.

"Well," she said softly, squeezing his arm affectionately, "you know what I think about things like this. You should follow your dreams."

He smiled gently at her and squeezed her back. They stopped at the elevators and pushed the button. The doors opened immediately, and they stepped inside. As it began to ascend, Rapunzel took deep breaths. Nobody else was there with them, and they had certainly had their share of private elevator kisses before, but she knew that they couldn't get too carried away just yet.

She tried to digest what he had just said, but she found that it wouldn't stick in her brain. Her mind was focused elsewhere, as it had been for much of the event. Whatever possible aspirations he might have formed, and however enjoyable the whole event had been, Rapunzel was glad it was over, because she wanted to be alone with him. She had scarcely left her husband's side the whole time, because she had felt a burning need to be close to him—to have physical contact with him—ever since the two of them had put on their clothes for the event. That was really what set this off, seeing him all dressed up.

She was not sure exactly when it had started, but at some point during her relationship with him, she had developed a very strong attraction to how Flynn looked in a tailored suit. –Of course, she thought, she would find him attractive in ratty jeans and a T-shirt, but there was just something about seeing him dressed up that turned her into putty in his hands if he wanted her to be. Especially when she herself was intensely conscious of the shortness, tightness, and straplessness of her own dress. It made her feel sophisticated, but also sensual and vulnerable, a feeling that was only heightened by comparison with his powerful master-of-the-universe look when he was dressed up. Several hours earlier, when he had emerged from the bathroom suited up and smelling of cologne, she had felt a thrill ripple over her body that had never quite gone away even when they circulated. She needed to have contact with him, to feel his warm dry hand around her waist or lightly touching her bare shoulders, to feel the cool metal of the ring on his left hand and instinctively touch her own ring in reaction, to brush against his side and breathe in his scent.

And now she needed a great deal more than that. Her imagination had been running on overdrive the whole time, because for the past four hours, she had been utterly unable to do anything to relieve her urge. She couldn't grab him up and kiss him, not in front of all those writers, agents, think tank-ers, and philanthropists. She certainly couldn't press herself against his chest and slip her hands under his suit jacket, nimble fingers finding small shirt buttons, popping them open. Touching him in chaste, refined, venue-appropriate ways really only made the urge worse, for all that she kept doing it. She couldn't help herself. But now, after four hours of being close, with only a few layers of fabric between them, reveling in the tactile sensations, she had a problem, and it had to be fixed soon.

Ding! The elevator finally stopped at the top floor, where their condo was. In the moment before the doors slid open, Rapunzel felt a light stroke trace her hip and trail toward her back, following the curve of her ass.

"Flynn!" she exclaimed, feeling heat rise in her cheeks, as she whipped her head upward to meet his gleaming eyes. He merely smirked back at her, raising one eyebrow suggestively. Oh yes, he knew what she had been thinking the whole time. –Though she supposed she hadn't exactly been subtle about it, at least not to the person who knew her better than she knew herself in some ways.

Quietly they hurried down the short hallway until they were at the door. Flynn unlocked it, opened it, and they walked into the condo. All the rooms were dark except for the living room. In there, a single lamp glowed dimly with a low light, and as their eyes adjusted to the darkness, the pair immediately picked out the forms of their best friends passed out on the blue sectional couch.

Or... maybe not passed out. Max's eyes popped open. He stretched his arms, nudged Pascal next to him, and gave a weak smile to Flynn and Rapunzel.

"Have a good time?" he asked in a raspy voice.

They nodded together. "It was great. I hope you two didn't have too much trouble," Flynn said.

"None at all," Max replied.

"Is she asleep?"

In response, Pascal placed his fingertip over his lips to indicate quiet. "Her door is closed, but yeah, we got her to nod off about two hours ago."

"Well, I don't want to keep you here any longer when you're both obviously tired and probably want to get back home," Flynn said. He pulled his wallet out of his pants pocket and opened it up.

"Oh, for—" Max began to object.

"Please don't," Pascal protested. "We're friends, not a for-profit baby-sitting service."

Flynn raised an eyebrow. "I was going to give you something for the cab fare to get you to the Metro," he said.

They exchanged glances. "Well..." Max trailed off.

Flynn took advantage of their hesitation to pull a twenty out of his billfold and push it at them. "Just take it," he said. "Asking this of friends for free is one thing... asking it at a cost to them is another."

Rapunzel couldn't help but wish that they would comply with his wish and hit the road. As much as she liked her friends and appreciated their willingness to look after her and Flynn's one-year-old daughter, she wanted them to leave so that she and her husband could... carry on. Her hips still tingled from that touch in the elevator.

Reluctantly Max accepted the bill. He and Pascal stood up and stretched again. "Well," Pascal said with a sideways glance at Rapunzel, "I'm glad you had a good time, but I bet you want to be alone"—he grinned at Rapunzel—"and to be honest, we are both tired, obviously, and ready to get home ourselves."

"So enjoy the rest of your night," Max said. "See you later."

When the front door finally shut behind them, Flynn turned to Rapunzel with a smirk on his face. "Now where were we?" he said.

Rapunzel smirked back. "Your hand was misbehaving."

He broke into a toothy leer. "Oh, right," he said. Suddenly he lunged forward. His hands found black satin wrapped tightly around feminine curves. "Like this?" he growled, grabbing and squeezing her ass unabashedly now.

She yelped at the ferocity of his movements. A fuzzy haze of lust was starting to come over her, like it always did whenever she was in this condition and he was doing something like this. But she retained just enough awareness to realize that this could get noisy fast, and the door to their daughter's room—which used to be the study, before they moved the desks into their bedroom and the bookshelves into the living room—was the first door down the hallway, a mere ten feet away. She didn't want the baby to wake up, not now. "I—oh!—let's... go to the—"

Flynn didn't need her to finish or to be any more articulate than that. He understood. In a fluid motion he swept her up in his arms. Her legs dangled over one arm, while his hand somehow found its way up her thigh, bunching her dress up, tickling perilously close to her panty line. She gave him a heated glare, but there was no actual anger in it, and he could tell. Winking lewdly at her, he carried her back to the master bedroom and immediately closed the door behind them as they went in.

Her breaths were coming faster and faster as she felt herself deposited on the floor, his hands remaining firmly on her waist. She found her footing and managed to look up at him. What she saw sent shivers down her body. His eyes burned with a fire she had seen only on rare occasions, and his facial muscles were set in a cockily determined expression that seemed to shout, "You are mine, I'm going to have you, and there's not a thing you can do about it."

Rapunzel loved it when he looked at her that way. It made her heart race a little bit faster.

Flynn's hands had never left her waist, but as her gaze met his and the shiver ran over her, she felt them begin to trail up her sides. She shivered again. Her knees were starting to feel weak.

His hands curved around her back, converging toward the top of her dress... she closed her eyes in anticipation of feeling him unzip her dress... but no. He went farther up by an inch. Slightly coarse fingertips found smooth warm skin, and in a microsecond, she let out a yelp as a physical shudder ran down her back muscles. She shook; her muscles twitched and rippled—and she heard a soft, smug laugh. Her eyes fluttered open again and locked with his.

Then she heard the low zzzzzzzip and felt the gentle tickle of the zipper down her back as her dress fell open, exposing her skin to his touch. The sheathlike black dress fell to the floor immediately, and as it slipped off her body, her breath hitched in her chest. If she had felt vulnerable in the cocktail dress, she felt completely, utterly at his mercy now, standing before her filthy rich well-dressed corrupt-ex-lobbyist-turned-writer wearing nothing but her panties and strapless bra. The sheer novelesque aspect of the situation would have amused her if she had not been... preoccupied with other thoughts.

Flynn breathed heavily and focused his gaze upon her. He ran his hand up her left side very lightly—deliberately so, because she knew that he knew a light, teasing touch would have a much greater effect on her than a hard, possessive grope. That, she realized, would come a bit later... but for now he wanted to touch her lightly enough that her response would be that much more out of proportion to what he actually did. He wanted to relish her reacting to the slightest touch of his.

And she did. She shivered, trembled, her breaths grew shorter and faster and increasingly turned into gasps, as his fingers gently traced down her bare skin. Maybe she could stop some of this, she thought for a moment, control herself a little better, but she didn't want to do that. She wanted this. She wanted to react to his every touch, to give herself over to his mercy—or more aptly, mercilessness.

It couldn't have been more than a couple of minutes that he spent softly stroking her sides, but when he finally stopped, Rapunzel was practically gasping for breath. This had had the effect he wanted it to have, all right. She wanted him so badly and there he was, but he was still fully dressed. She breathed deeply, trying to cool the fires for just a minute, and reached for his tie, meaning to start removing his clothes.

But Flynn had other ideas. "Nope," he said, taking her hands and holding them. "You don't do that. You..."—he turned to her with a wicked smirk—"...you sit down on the bed and watch me." He released her hands and leaned in, centimeters away from her, his breath hot against her face. "Watch me, and think about what I'm going to do to you once they're off," he said in a fierce hiss.

She swallowed hard as she crawled on the bed, kicking off her shoes. "Are you?" she managed to get out.

He smirked. "I am." He untied his necktie and slipped it off. "And you're going to let me." He unbuckled his belt and slipped it through the belt loops, clearly determined to take his time and remove every article of clothing separately as she watched.

She could not keep her eyes off him. Transfixed, she watched as he quickly took off his clothes. She found herself involuntarily slipping her hand between her legs; then, when it caught his eye and a smug grin spread across his face, she quickly drew it away and began discreetly rubbing her thighs together, feeling pitiful as she did, but helpless against the lust and desire growing in her.

At last, when he was wearing nothing but his trousers, he climbed onto the bed next to her and lunged greedily at her. She squealed as skin found heated skin and fell backward, pinned against the mattress by him, feeling a hard bulge press against her lower abdomen already. He leaned in and kissed her full on the mouth, hard, as his hands found their way under her body and expertly unhooked her bra. He pulled back from the kiss, drew the undergarment out from under her, and cast it upon the floor.

"I've been thinking about this," he growled. His hands began to wander over her body once more, pausing on her breasts. "About getting you right here—right where you belong—and just..." He trailed off, leaving the threat of ravishment all the more enticing for being unspoken, and let his hands slide down to his own waistline. In one sweeping movement he removed pants and underwear and tossed them aside, barely lifting himself off her as he did. Then he found her hips once more. Fingers slipped under the small bikini waistband of her panties. Slowly, tantalizingly, he began to slip them down her legs.

Sometimes Rapunzel wanted to be feisty, because she could somehow tell that that was what would drive both of them wild, but not tonight. She didn't want to say no even if they both knew it was a lie and both knew how the game would end anyway. Tonight, there was nothing more appealing, more erotic, than to continue what she had been doing since they began, and to surrender to his touch—to trust him completely with her body. In the world outside, she had to withhold some degree of trust from everyone, something that was natural for her after years of having her trust exploited—perhaps too natural. She needed times like this when she could trust someone with everything she had. It was the one safe place to do that, and the fact that she knew she could trust him so completely only increased her attachment to him.

Breathing heavily, she bent her knees and drew her legs up to help him get her underwear off. He shifted his weight off her, slid the thin satiny undergarment down her legs, and, smiling wickedly, stretched his arm over the bed to drop it smoothly on the floor. For a moment she held her breath, knowing what came next.

He shifted back on top of her, now with absolutely no barriers between them. Instinctively she drew her legs apart a bit to let him settle his weight in the middle. One hand of his trailed across her jawline and down her neck. She hissed in pleasure and tilted her head back to give him the access that she knew he wanted. His eyes gleamed and he leaned in to trail kisses down her neck. His wandering hands found her sides once more—but she suddenly wanted something much more possessive than that from him.

"Flynn please," she gasped.

He drew back and regarded her. "Yes?" he said.

"Please," she said again, hoping he would understand. She wasn't sure exactly what she wanted him to do, but she did know that she didn't want to tell him what to do. That would spoil it. Telling him what to do was not the point. She didn't want to be in control. She wanted to trust him. Utterly. She gazed at him with wide, pleading eyes.

As he peered into her eyes, he suddenly seemed to understand. An evil smirk spread across his face. He ran his hands down her arms quickly. She sucked in her breath. He enclosed her wrists in his hands and brought her arms above her head, transferring both wrists into the grip of his left hand.

She closed her eyes in bliss. "Yes," she moaned. This was definitely what she wanted.

He chuckled and leaned in to give her a firm, devouring kiss that would probably leave a mark—at least she hoped it did. She struggled beneath him, trying to move her arms, to see if she could break free of his grip. She didn't actually want to succeed, not at all. She wanted to reassure herself that she couldn't, that he was too strong. She wanted to feel the restriction with her sense of touch, to know it was there, and to give in to it.

His grip on her slim wrists increased with her movement, exactly as she wanted. Yes. She couldn't get loose even if she wanted to. He had her pinned good and she now had no choice but to give him the absolute trust that was so intoxicating to her. A sigh of contentment escaped her mouth as her struggles stopped. She relaxed against the mattress.

He chuckled again. "Satisfied you can't get out?" he hissed in her ear.

"Yes," she whispered back. Oh yes, he knew what she loved, and he loved to give it to her. She gazed into his eyes longingly. Her lips parted just a bit as she exhaled through her mouth.

He leaned forward and pressed his mouth against hers, not even letting her close her lips first, just devouring her as she pulled forward to meet and devour him in return. He stroked his free hand across her hips, her lower abdomen, the inside of her thighs, torturing her with the sensation while refusing to give her anything approaching completion. She could feel the tip of him in position, and tried time and again to shift downward to take him in, but whenever she did, he captured her lips with his and tightened his grip on her wrists to prevent her from moving—a wicked, torturing smile on his face every time he pulled back from kissing her. He didn't want her to be the one to control this, and she knew it.

For what seemed like an eternity, there was nothing but her increasingly desperate moans, their lips, and the heat of skin on skin. They couldn't get close enough to each other—at least like this, at least not as long as he insisted on tormenting her.

"Flynn please stop doing this to me," she moaned, pulling away from a particularly deep kiss that still wasn't enough.

"Stop doing what?" he said in a hiss. He leaned in and nipped her lightly.

She gasped. "Stop torturing me."

His hand trailed across the inside of her left thigh, deliberately close but not there. "I'm not sure you understand, my dear," he drawled around a smirk, "but you're not calling the shots."

She groaned in dissatisfaction. "Please. Please take me."

His wandering hand stopped moving on her thigh. He drew back and looked at her, smiling wickedly. "You really want me to?" he teased.


He smirked. "All right. I'm ready to take you."

With his one free hand, he pushed her leg aside hard. Instinctively she moved her right leg as well, opening herself to him as far as she could. He slid in quickly and easily. She gave a gasp of breath in relief, but the relief did not last long. She wanted him to move. Involuntarily she tried to pull her wrists free of his grip so that she could reach around his back and feel his muscles ripple. Her movement was unexpected and forceful, taking him by surprise, so she was able to move her wrists down in front of her face. But he quickly recovered his strength and pulled her arms above her head once more. She closed her eyes in bliss as a shiver rippled down her. Then—at last—he began to move.

She loved every second of it, every time they did this, for the feeling of being connected to him in every possible way. Even after being with him for almost two years now, she was awed at that feeling, but it seemed that tonight especially, it was absolutely wonderful, a sweet sweet surrender that she loved being able to offer to him. –Not just for herself, but because she knew what it meant to him too—and what it did to him.

He kept his eyes focused on her, watching ecstasy build in her face toward a crest that they both knew was coming. He briefly reflected on how lucky he was to have found her after years of loneliness, isolation, and the replacement of real love with love of money and influence. She was so special and so beautiful. As he gazed down on her face—her eyes wide and her lips parted as quick breaths passed over them—he relished the way she was clearly enjoying this position. She was giving him total trust over her body. He, the gifted kid no foster parents trusted because he was "weird," and whose previous career of corruption and self-interest would generally suggest that no one should trust him. She had seen past that, identified it for the coping mechanism that it was, picked out the good person underneath, and trusted him anyway. It was an incredible feeling.

Now she trusted him over and over with her whole person. She put herself into the most vulnerable positions, let him hold her arms immobile, opened herself up to him as much as possible, just to revel in the fact that she could. And he loved it. He loved creating this delicious friction deep inside her. He loved making her toes curl, her breaths catch, her whole body tremble as a reward for that special, unique trust. It always, always sent him over the edge to watch it happen to her and know that he did it, that he could make her feel that.

And it was soon going to happen. They were quickly approaching their peaks. She kept struggling beneath him, almost moving her arms again, though she wasn't trying to. She just couldn't help it. She did move her legs, in turn bending her knees, stretching her legs and feet while curling her toes, and finally wrapping them around him to dissipate the tension.

Her face clenched up and her breath went ragged as she had her release first. He felt her whole form shake and shudder beneath him and around him. The sight, the sound, and the sensation were too much for him. He let go, breaking his grip on her wrists at last as he emptied himself, feeling her now free hands find him and delicate fingers lace into his hair.

Neither one could ever say how long this period lasted, when total ecstasy gradually settled into a warm, satisfied, possessive desire for closeness and affection. But when it did, and they were finally able to speak again, he turned to her with contentment and not a little smugness written on his face and said teasingly,

"Was that what you wanted?"

She turned over and grinned at him. "All evening long."

He smirked. "I just bet you did. Thought about it the whole time, did you?"

She smirked back. "More or less. Does that surprise you?"

"Nope, not at all," he said. "I don't blame you, either." He winked, knowing that she would love the narcissistic implications of the remark.

He was not wrong. She raised an eyebrow and lunged, attacking him immediately to try to wrestle with him. She knew how he would respond, she knew what the outcome would be, and sure enough, when his large hands found her arms and pinned her body next to him so she couldn't move, she gave a sigh of contentment and relaxed. He smirked again and planted a kiss on her lips.

A contented smile formed on her lips as he broke away, and she snuggled against him, trying to get close. "Round two in a bit?" she murmured against his chest.

Wow, he thought, she had been busy with her thoughts. He winked at her and began to caress her back gently. He certainly had no objections.