author's note. HYPERVENTILATING because of the Tangled cameo in Frozen. Seriously cannot even. The two movies are set in the same universe and that gets me so excited I want to write all the things. Someday I will write all the things but in the meantime this will have to do. These are two short scenes that I hope someday I can turn into a longer, multi-chaptered fic. And I banged this thing out in like thirty minutes so I accept all blame for any mistakes.
Man to Man
"Which one are you?"
Eugene glanced across the banquet table at his wife, desperate to be spared the awkwardness of these niceties. Three years and he still hadn't gotten the hang of small talk - but his bride was deep in conversation with a double-chinned noblewoman and, to her credit, actually appeared to be enjoying herself. And the young man at his left elbow was staring at him, waiting for a response.
"Eugene." He rubbed the back of his neck. "Ahh... Prince Eugene. Of Corona."
"Corona," the young man said knowingly. Eugene was certain he was prince of somewhere-or-other. "Of course. You're the thief."
Eugene hefted the monogrammed silver knife in his hand. Across the table his wife caught his eye, gave him the teensiest shake of her head. No stabbing anyone at the dinner table, darling. "Reformed thief," he corrected. "I'm the head of palace security now."
"Of course," the young man added with a knowing wink. He extended a hand. "I'm Hans. Of the Southern Islands." Of course. Eugene remembered three or four raucous redheads at his wedding - must have been Hans' elder brothers.
"Good to meet you," Eugene said, taking the proffered hand. Yet there was something about this smooth-talking youth that raised his hackles. He couldn't put his finger on it, and he knew Rapunzel would chalk it up to his inability to trust anyone who wasn't a jewel thief, but still.
"I've got to say, Eugene," Prince Hans went on, "we're all wondering how you did it."
Eugene played along. "How I did what?"
" I mean, Corona... They were going to be left without an heir in another generation." The boy sounded... wistful? Jealous, even? "And you turn up with the long-lost princess and she just happens to be in love with you."
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean by that." If he couldn't use a knife, maybe a fork? Poke the boy full of little tiny holes?
"Come on, you're a thief." Hans lowered his voice conspiratorially. "What does a guy like you do to end up with a girl like her?"
"You really want to know?" Eugene was used to being treated as an interloper, if not a downright crook, but he'd be darned if he was going to take it from this redheaded whelp who probably didn't even shave yet. "I died for her."
Eugene let the heavy iron door slam shut behind him and leaned against the stone wall. Casual, arms folded, legs crossed at the ankle.
"Oh good, it's you," Prince Hans said with all the sarcasm one could be expected to muster in his situation. He'd certainly seen better days. One eye was nearly swollen shut; he had a split lip and the remnants of a bloody nose and his once-pristine uniform was dirty and torn. And he was, of course, shackled to the wall. "Try not to enjoy this, all right?"
"Do you think I enjoy this?"
Hans laughed bitterly. "You're the thief, and I'm the one in chains. Go ahead and laugh it up, Your Highness."
Eugene extended one hand, casually flexed his fingers. "I've gotta say, man, I had my doubts about you. And you? You exceeded even my stunningly low expectations of you."
"Shut up. You don't know."
"You left a girl to die," Eugene said. "I've known some real dirtbags in my time, but you... wow."
"That wasn't my plan," Hans whined. "It just... happened."
"I suppose it wasn't in your plan to kill Queen Elsa, either?"
"I just went a little crazy, all right?"
"Yes, well." Eugene smiled coldly. "Thank goodness there are still some people around here who have maintained their sanity."
"You don't know what it's like," Hans retorted. "I'm thirteenth in line for the throne. Thirteenth! And I have to watch a guy like you be crowned the king someday. Do you even know what that's like? To grow up without any kind of hope?"
The prince of Corona laughed. "I didn't even own a pair of shoes until I was ten years old. So no, I can't imagine. That must have been... that must have been terrible."
Hans shrank back against the wall. "Do you want to take a swing at me?" He gestured to his battered face with a manacled hand. "You and I both know that's why you're here."
Eugene adjusted the cuff of his shirt. "Tempting." His fist had been itching to punch something since the whole story had come out. But that good woman he'd gone and married had made him promise. "But no."
"Then what, exactly, do you want from me?"
Eugene squatted down to the prisoner's level. "I don't want anything from you," he said calmly. "I may be a thief, but you're a coward. And you have to live with that for the rest of your life." He lifted a hand, and Hans flinched. And when he opened his eyes again, Eugene Fitzherbert was gone.