Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters used in this fic.


ENTANGLED

On that fateful night, in a tall tower hidden from the eyes of the world, Gothel makes a different decision, one that will change the destinies and futures of Eugene and Rapunzel forever.

"Think very carefully about your next move, my dear. His very life depends on it…"


to entangle (verb)

a.cause to become twisted together with or caught in

b.involve (someone) in difficulties or complicated circumstances from which it is difficult to escape.


Prologue

"We are going where no one will ever find you again!"

Gothel jerked the chain. Rapunzel yelled the man's name desperately from behind her cloth gag, frantically trying to scramble to his side, but the chains wouldn't let her. As if I'd let you get away from me twice! Gothel thought viciously.

Suddenly she became aware of a small tugging at the hem of her skirt. Gothel looked down to see a green...thing of some sort biting the edge of her skirt. Disgusted, she kicked the little monster away. As she heard it squeak painfully as it collided with the wall, she smirked. Serves it right, trying to destroy my favorite dress. Gothel jerked at the chain once more as its object leashed to its end once more redoubled her efforts to escape its cold, harsh grip.

Gothel tsked in exasperation. "Rapunzel, really!" She gave a mighty yank and met with success as Rapunzel was finally dragged close to the trapdoor. Gothel grunted with the effort.

Who knew the tiny little thing had so much strength.

She growled in frustration. "Enough already!" She grappled with the girl. "Stop fighting me!"

"No!" Rapunzel wrenched the chain from Gothel's grasp and collapsed to the floor, the gag containing her wailing falling with her.

"I won't stop, for every minute of the rest of my life I will fight!" Rapunzel snarled at her. "I will never stop trying to get away from you!" The blonde panted from her passionate declaration of rebellion. A strand of golden hair fell into her face. "But," she straightened slightly as her eyes hardened, "if you let me save him, I will go with you." Rapunzel's face fell in resignation even as her eyes retained their diamond-like hardness, offering Gothel the only option she had if the woman ever wanted her to behave again. Gothel paused, letting the chain slacken as she considered the girl's words.

"No," the thief groaned from his spot lying on the floor, "no, Rapunzel."

How pathetic.

"I'll never run. I'll never try to escape." Rapunzel's face scrunched up into a desperate plea. "Just let me heal him, and you and I will be together, forever! Just like you want." Rapunzel nodded efficaciously as she tried her hardest to convince Gothel of her sincerity. "Everything will the way it was." Resolution shone in her eyes.

"I promise."

The room seemed to still as the words escaped into the tense air.

"Just like you want. Just let me heal him." Rapunzel begged Gothel. Gothel's eyes narrowed. On the verge of agreeing to the girl's deal, her chin jutted out haughtily as she prepared to speak.

And then Gothel paused in thought.

Why should I accept this deal, she thought scathingly. Rapunzel now knows the truth. Gothel couldn't trust Rapunzel to follow her meekly for the rest of the girl's life without rebellion or attempts to escape. The deal was useless. All the better, Gothel thought, for if the thief lived he would surely tell the king and queen of their lost princess' fate.

Suddenly, an idea struck her. Gothel's malicious smile grew colder as she grinned with satisfaction. The thief struggled on the ground, trying to drag himself toward where Rapunzel sat. Rapunzel's eyes flicked toward him, the depth of his pain reflected in her own face, before quickly returning to Gothel once more.

The girl with the magical hair who had only ever lived in a tower, and the thief with nowhere and no one to call home. It was ridiculous. It was utterly pitiful.

It was perfect.

"No." Rapunzel's eyes widened in horror at Gothel's refusal resounded off the stone walls of the dark tower, but before she had a chance to struggle to her feet, Gothel continued. "You will both be coming with me." Rapunzel paused, her confusion clear in her posture and expression. Gothel smiled nastily in triumph. "I cannot trust you to not try and escape from me the moment you have the chance. So, it is clear I must give you some...incentive to obey me." Her cold eyes narrowed with undisguised glee at Rapunzel's growing panic. Gothel jerked her gaze to the form lying prone on the floor a ways away from them. Rapunzel's eyes slowly followed the path of Gothel's scathing glare, until them came to rest in horror... at Eugene.

"No…" Rapunzel whispering in dawning terror. Distressed she once more began to yank at her constraints, until she was tugged sharply back onto her feet. Gothel's arm quickly locked around Rapunzel's neck as her other hand came to rest on the top of her golden hair.

"Think very carefully about your next move, my dear. His very life depends on it." Gothel whispered tauntingly in her ear. Gothel's hand slowly snaked up the side of her face, lightly trailing a line of ice up Rapunzel's neck to her cheek. Rapunzel faltered. Gothel's nails suddenly dug into Rapunzel's cheek, her free hand turning Rapunzel's head, forcing her to look at his prone form.

"Oh dear, I'm sorry but I don't think he'll hold out much longer. How long do you think he can last. Fifteen minutes? Ten?" Rapunzel trembled. "My personal bet would be five, or maybe only four, considering the amount of blood he's losing." Gothel smirked as Rapunzel seemed to freeze as she brutally targeted the girl's greatest fears. "You can either let him die right in front of you, or you can save him. It's all up to you."

Gothel leaned closer. "No matter what, you're coming with me dear."

There was nothing she could do.

"Decide." Gothel whispered in Rapunzel's ear.

Rapunzel had no choice.

"I'll do it." Rapunzel hung her head in defeat. Gothel smiled in triumph and unhooked her chains, as Rapunzel, realizing she was now released, rushed to Eugene's side. Dropping to the floor, Rapunzel looked over him worriedly. "Eugene!" Her hands as gently as possible pulled his head onto her lap, and lovingly brushed the hair from his eyes. She let out a soft "oh" of aching comprehension as she tried to shift his leather jerkin to look more closely at the wound, and realized how much pain he was in. Tears welled up in her eyes as she understood just how much he had been through for her.

Eugene's face fell. "No...Rapunzel, I'm...not worth...your freedom." He gasped out. "I...can't let you do this!" He pleaded with her. Rapunzel shook her head, and smiled sadly, once more smoothing his hair from his face.

"And I can't let you die." She pressed her forehead against his, eyes closed as she found security in his immediacy. Gothel stalked up behind her, roughly grabbing Eugene's wrists, and rolling him slightly to the side to do so, yanked them roughly behind his back and encased them in manacles of his own. He grunted in pain as the woman smirked.

"In case you get any ideas." Gothel stood close as Rapunzel healed the injured thief, before once more chaining Rapunzel. Eugene glared at her as he rose from his position on the floor with difficulty, hands bound tightly by his shackles.

"Ah ah ah," Gothel tutted at him, sounding disappointed with his behavior. The cold light from the window glinted off the edge of her ornate blade, still unerringly clean as when she had stabbed him, as she held it up dangerously close to Rapunzel's neck. "I think it's in your best interest to behave, don't you?" She smiled, a touch of insanity flitting at the corners of her lips. Eugene's eyes widened, and backed off, visibly frustrated at his inability to act. Gothel purred. "Oh, I'm so sorry dearie, but I suppose you'll have to get used to not getting your way." His hands clenched as his eyes burned in anger, but he remained still, the danger to Rapunzel still too close.

"I'm so sorry," Rapunzel intoned softly to Eugene, her eyes downcast with guilt. "I've gotten you mixed up in all of this." It was Eugene's turn to shake his head.

'It was my decision." He reminded her, his tone almost reprimanding in its gentleness. "I got to see you again, right?" He smiled lightly, despite the tense situation.

Gothel's smirk faded from her lips as she grew tired of waiting. "Get over there," she instructed coldly, gesturing to the trapdoor. Eugene walked slowly over, his eyes once more glaring with anger. "Walk." She commanded him. He paused, as if he were standing before a cliff and ordered to step off, before he trekked gradually down into the deteriorating staircase, dusty and crumbling with disuse.

Her mirth bubbled over as Gothel cackled softly with glee. She had done it! She had won against the little brat! They were hers.

You won't be leaving me ever again…my flower.

And they descended into the darkness.


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