Story has some spoilers for Tangled, if you've never seen it. ^^ Most of the story isn't written yet, but I did write this one little bit on Tumblr and I thought you all might enjoy it as well!! It takes place near the beginning of the story, and Miguel and Tulio unknowingly interact with their son for the first time in over twentysomething years.
Also, just a note - while the plotbunny as a whole is based on slash and mpreg, the following snippet contains no male x male romance or mpreg and can be read as a stand-alone fic, though some things go unexplained - such as why Tulio has aged and Miguel hasn't.
Enjoy!! And please let me know what you think!! ^^
Rapunzel's very presence seemed to affect those around her in astounding ways. Every waking moment she radiated warmth and light, and constant exposure to her could gradually lift the mood of... well, anything, or anyone. Just making small talk with her put people in a good mood that lasted for weeks, like a suntan on their spirit.
It was unfortunate, then, that the light she radiated wasn't actually visible, and that her warmth was nigh impossible to feel through a crowd of sweaty passer-bys on a warm spring day. In the bustling afternoon crowd, Flynn couldn't figure out where the heck his fiancée had run off to, and it terrified him.
She was still... well, she was young and naive. Crime in her own kingdom had disappeared completely; Eugene knew this for a fact, and being as intimately familiar with criminal society as he was, he knew where to check. As a result Rapunzel was able to mingle with her people freely without care for her own safety or well being.
Now, however, was different - they were traveling, outside of the kingdom, outside of her safety zone, where crime was still rampant. Even these past few months of being with Rapunzel, Eugene still wasn't used to worrying about someone besides himself.
They'd gotten separated close to the pier, so Eugene resolved to start there and work his way closer to the heart of town in his search. He wasn't at the panic stage, not yet, but he was getting there. It was still midday and the sun was unrelenting in its heat, only accentuated by the sticky humid air. Port towns, Eugene thought with a grimace, whether or not you jump in the sea, you still end up soaked.
The town had been planned, at least, and the buildings were close together, leading to a sort of crude grid of buildings that made for easy searching. As Eugene pushed through the crowd of burly sailors, soldiers, laborers, and all around strong, capable men, Eugene couldn't push away the thought of how easy it would be for one of them to grab Rapunzel by the arm and drag her into an alley, or a house, or worse yet, onto a ship - in a moment she could be gone forever. He took a deep breath as he craned his neck and scoured the streets for her.
Well, if someone dare lay a hand on his Rapunzel, Eugene had no qualms about resurrecting Flynn Rider for a bit of... criminal justice.
His Rapunzel. Eugene shook his head. As accustomed as he'd been to stealing ladies' hearts, never once had he thought he'd have a lady steal his.
Somewhere nearby there was a commotion - cheering, whooping, it sounded like quite the gathering. Eugene paid it no heed - at least, not until he heard a woman's warm, heartfelt laughter join in with them. He knew that voice anywhere, and with a quick turn on his heel, he headed down a nearby alleyway toward the commotion. He skidded to a halt as his way was blocked by a crowd of large men gathering around... something. Eugene pressed his lips together and found an opening, slowly weaving his way through the cramped, smelly alley to whatever had caught these men's attention.
Suddenly he came to the front of the crowd, circled around a small yard behind a building where three roads met. He was still trapped behind a row of large men with no space to wedge through, but at least he could see the source of the commotion. There at the center of the men's attention sat Rapunzel, on her knees, focused on something on the ground in front of her.
At the sight of his fiancée, all of Eugene's fears evaporated, leaving only a swell of relief. He glanced around, analyzing the situation. Across from Rapunzel was some old man with a long, angular face, and long, graying hair pulled back in a ponytail. There was just enough black in his locks to indicate that had once been its color, and just enough shape in his face to remind any onlookers that he'd once been young. A touch of dark gray hair accented his chin, spreading out into stubble across his face.
The old man was cupping something in his hands, and Rapunzel looked on excitedly as she spoke to him.
"I can't believe it!" She cried, beaming.
She had a beautiful smile, Eugene noticed. He always noticed.
Rapunzel looked down at the pile of gold coins at her knees as she continued. "I mean, I can't really run the numbers right now, but I'm pretty sure the odds are really low!"
The old man flashed a grin, shaking his head. "I've gotta say, in all my years, I've never seen anything like it!" His palms opened, revealing a pair of red dice. "You've cleaned me out, milady!"
Eugene's heart froze and dropped into his stomach so fast he might have heard a thunk.
They were gambling. Rapunzel was gambling. And Eugene knew from experience that the naive and hopeful were great suckers to pull in to games of chance.
Before he could react, there was a strum of strings and a second man appeared, a young blond Flynn hadn't noticed before. He stepped out from behind the old man and toward Rapunzel, mandolin in his arms and a flirty grin on his youthful face. He was strong-built, wearing a loose red shirt that showed off his chest, and a goatee framed and accentuated his grin.
"Why, Tulio," Blondie said giddily, glancing at the old man shooting craps, "I do believe this young lady has a gift!"
Rapunzel's grin brightened, and she bit her lip. "You think so?"
Eugene felt something stirring within him - just a tiny burn in the pit of his stomach, a rush of emotion he couldn't quite identify. His lip twitched a moment before it curled into a scowl.
"My dear," Blondie's smile softened as he leaned forward until his face was just a span from Rapunzel's, "even before you played a round, I could see your potential - the magic in your smile, the sparkle in your eyes."
Eugene would have normally rolled his eyes at such a droll pickup line, but there was that flame again, that burning sensation within him that he couldn't pit a name to. His hands clenched into fists.
"Really?" Rapunzel's cheeks were turning red - why was she blushing? Her smile only broadened... was she swooning? Why was she swooning? When did she ever swoon for cheap lines like that?! Eugene's scowl deepened as he felt that burning course through his veins and make his head spin with rage.
"Really," Blondie replied softly. "In fact... I bet you could even raise the stakes a little higher." His voice was smooth and confident, and he quirked his eyebrows and lips into a finely crafted expression designed to lure women in with just a passing glance.
Oh, hell no.
"Rapunzel!" Eugene cried suddenly, pushing through the men blocking his way, trying to calm his shaking limbs. The rage and jealousy was making it difficult to not bust Blondie's face in, but he managed to keep his composure. "Come on, we're leaving. Take your money and let's go."
He placed himself quite deliberately between them, facing Rapunzel and trying to flash her one of his winning smiles. You know, just to remind her who her fiancé was. But it felt awkward and twisted, trying to flirt in such an emotional state - it must have come out twisted, too, because Rapunzel only looked frustrated.
"I was winning!"
"Yes! And if you walk away now, you still win!" Eugene said in a mock-cheerful voice. turned to glare at Blondie, who had stepped back toward his partner in crime. Eugene's turned his glance to Tulio, then, who was fussing with his sleeve - there was a bulge at the elbow, just small enough to look like a wrinkle. Looks like he's already switched the dice, Eugene thought. Sorry, pal, but you and your son aren't screwing my girl in any sense of the word!
Tulio's eyes were sharp, and his expression dark. Guys like him, Eugene knew, were the type to plan and plot - and they didn't like their ideas intercepted.
"Miguel," Tulio said quickly, clearly biting back anger.
Blondie - Miguel, then? - approached Eugene. "Good sir," he said, playing a cheerful tune on his mandolin, "surely you'll-"
Eugene grabbed the neck of the instrument to silence it. "Just talk."
Miguel grimaced, but continued. "Surely you'll give my uncle here-"
Tulio sputtered. "Your uncle?!"
Miguel and Tulio exchanged a quick glance.
Eugene's rage calmed as he held back a chuckle. Whoever these two were, looks like they didn't settle on a cover story beforehand. Amateur mistake.
Turning back, Miguel was smiling as broadly as ever, though nervous. "Surely you'll let the lovely lady give my uncle a chance to win back what he lost!"
"Yeah," Rapunzel chimed, "at least let him-"
"No," Eugene said sternly, "we don't have time. We have to get to that thing, remember?"
Rapunzel stared at him, eyes narrowing.
Eugene grimaced, then raised his hands, gesturing wildly in attempt to make some sense. "That thing. With... with Maximus and the... the stuff."
Rapunzel sighed. "Fine," she mumbled, gathering the gold into her satchel. Eugene flashed a smirk at Miguel and Tulio, who looked on in horror.
"N-now hold on, one more play!" Miguel cried, "It won't take long! I-"
He stopped when Rapunzel grabbed his wrist, dropping a large handful of gold coins into his palm. He stared blankly at it and cocked his head before looking back up at Rapunzel.
"Thank you for the game, Miguel," she said sweetly, closing his fingers over the gold and stepping away. "It was fun!"
With a huff, Eugene grabbed her gently by the shoulders and firmly marched her away from the duo, through the dwindling crowd and back into the less seedy part of the city.
Miguel stared after them, watching them go - watching Rapunzel go. A small smile crossed his face, a genuine, affectionate one.
"Your uncle?" Tulio's voice broke into his thoughts. "Really?"
He pulled Miguel into a secluded alleyway, holding out a coin purse for the coins Rapunzel had given.
Miguel dumped them in and shrugged. "Well, do you really think they'd believe we're the same age? I can't help it if I've aged gracefully, while you've, you know, actually..."
Tulio's expression darkened.
"...aged?" Miguel dodged a swipe from his fist. "Oh, come on, Tulio. At least we got a payout. I think she gave us more than we started with!"
Tulio raised an eyebrow, glancing in the purse. "You think so?"
"Come on, let's go find Chel, see what she made today."
x-posted to rapunzel2010, eldorado, disneytangled, someidiot