I want to say thank you for the follow and review! It definitely helps motivate me to know there are people out there reading!

Flynn discarded the trolley back in its storage cupboard – no one would notice he hadn't gotten all of his work done, surely – and made his way outside. The sun had gone down, but most of the year was warm in Corona, and he didn't need a jacket. There was no wind. The moon was bright in the sky and he knew further out of the city he'd be able to see thousands of stars. On top of the summer seeming to last nine months here, rain was a rarity. It had been named the Kingdom of the Sun centuries ago for a reason. Now there was no monarchy in rule, but the title stuck.

It would take him ten minutes or so to make his way to the bar where his friend was waiting. He had a car, but he decided to walk most of the time. Everything he needed was within walking distance for him, and he wasn't one to drink and drive. Even he wasn't stupid enough for that.

There were few people on the streets that night, being mid week. Mostly couples looking for some dinner or people on their way home from work. He avoided eye contact with anyone. The majority of the city was reasonably friendly, with that old town charm where they'd smile and offer a greeting, but he wasn't the kind of person out to make friends.

He was just exiting the shadier side of town when he got the feeling he was being watched. He looked over his shoulder, turning and stopping very suddenly when a familiar mop off blonde hair caught his eye.

For the first time, she looked a little ashamed at her actions. She was still barefoot, her shapeless outfit was hiding her figure as she stood, not three feet from him, on the footpath.

"I want you to take me out with you," she said innocently, as if this was a perfectly reasonable thing to say.

He was speechless, which was something he couldn't remember ever happening before. "What?"

"You said you were going out…I've never been out. I want to go out with you." Her eyebrows raised themselves even higher on her forehead as she looked at him hopefully. Her words and tone sounded wrong in his ears. Plenty of girls had asked him out before, and usually he said yes. But she wasn't asking in the way they usually did. There was something completely innocent in the way she looked at him, as if his face or figure or fantastic hair didn't affect her in any way.

He wasn't stupid – he knew he was an attractive man. Girls were never too shy to let him know, especially when he was out for the night and alcohol was involved. This girl was either too young or too unaware of her surroundings to realise. Or a really good actress. He was traditionally attracted to girls who looked a little more in place of the city; tight jeans, styled hair, a bit of makeup. The fact that she, herself, didn't seem interested wasn't what bothered him about this situation. It was the fact that there was a girl out there who didn't seem attracted to him at all.

"I'm meant to be catching up with a friend, I don't know if she'd appreciate someone else tagging along," he hoped she wasn't clueless enough to pick up on his hint to leave him alone.

"Your girlfriend?" she asked. Again, no jealousy. She merely appeared to be curious.

He crossed his arms, maybe to shield himself from her never-ending questions. "No, I don't do girlfriends."

"Why not?"

"I just don't."

"If she's not your girlfriend, maybe she wouldn't mind if I came with you? She might be my friend too."

He tried to imagine the two of them in a conversation, but failed. This girl seemed like she'd arrived from another planet, and he couldn't see anyone he knew entertaining her for long enough to have a conversation. So why was he?

He looked around, as if trying to find something that would help him get her to leave quicker. There was nothing he could think to say that would make her realise she was better off without him. He needed something to make her want to leave him alone, or he'd be doomed every time he washed the floors. Something to make her think leaving and going home was her idea.

The sound of a glass shattering and a loud round of cheering sounded from across the street, and they both turned their heads to look at a small, shabby pub lit from the inside. The door was closed, but the music and conversation was loud enough for them to be able to hear that it was a collection of gruff, male voices. The paint outside was peeling and the LED sign that bared the name of the pub was so old that only a couple of the letters were still lit up.

The Snuggly Duckling. Flynn hadn't been there before himself, but it was constantly mentioned in stories in the newspaper for being a place of bad dealings. The pub had been taken over by an outlawed motorcycle gang decades ago, and in turn the area had become less and less inhabited, until it was just the gang and other people rough enough to join in with their business who visited the pub and lived in the surrounding houses and apartments.

He pulled his eyes away from the pub to find her watching him again. He found he wasn't as creeped out by her as he'd been earlier. Maybe he was getting used to the size of her eyes. Maybe he had a concussion.

"I'll make you a deal. How about I take you out, just for a little while? We'll go get a few drinks, have a chat. And then I'll take you home and I'll go meet up with my friend later. I'd hate for you to have to walk home all the way from where I'm meeting her in the middle of the night. This way you'll be safer. And we'll start somewhere small, work your way up to the bigger, scarier places." He said the last part through his teeth as he attempted a smile. The place he'd been destined to attend was a nice joint. Not expensive, but clean and classy. If he wanted to do this right, he had to make sure he'd terrified her enough that she never wanted to go out with him again.

"Really?!" she seemed delighted, and she leaned toward him excitedly. "That's great! Where should we go?"

"Well, I hear the Snuggly Duckling's good…very quaint. And it's so close to where you're staying!" it was easier than he expected to mimic the excited way she spoke.

"Well…" she looked over her shoulder at the pub, apparently unaffected by the noises they could hear from within. It currently sounded like someone was having a table thrown at them. She looked back to him, her eyes holding nothing but excitement. "I do like ducklings!"


She followed him across the street, his new shadow, and he pushed the door open with enough force that it bounced off the wall behind it. And for the first time, he saw her hesitate. The pub was full of men who looked to weigh at least three times what Flynn did. There was an overturned table right inside the door, and two men holding their faces on either side of it. One had a bloody nose, and it dripped down his hands and arms, into his grubby sleeves. A short, bearded man was lying on his back in the centre of the room, his arms outstretched beside him, wearing nothing but his underwear. They could see from where they were standing that he was missing a couple of teeth.

The noise died down dramatically when the patrons spotted the newcomers. They were met with over a dozen stares, and Flynn saw Rapunzel swallow dramatically beside him.

"Smell that?" he took her by the shoulders and guided her inside, to the bar, seating himself on a tall stool and watching her as she hopped up to get on her own. "Take a deep breath through the nose," he leaned toward her and she did the same, fear present in her wide eyes.

The smell was of bitter beer, and what he thought might be stale blood. It didn't seem to have been dusted for years, and he gritted his teeth as he leaned his arms on the bar in front of him. The floor had been sticky, sections of the carpet underneath his feet squishing with moisture and he knew on her bare feet it would have felt filthy. From here they could see the white outline of a body on the worn-through carpet, as if it had been part of a crime scene, and he caught her staring at it for longer than necessary.

"What can I get you to drink, Blondie?"

She looked away from the scene to shake her head at him. "I don't know…what should I have?"

"You don't know what you want? Have you got ID?" he doubted anyone would say anything about serving a minor in this place, or about her bare feet. There were about ten things more illegal he could see in his surroundings at the present time. He just needed to act disappointed that she was underage and say he'd have to take her home. Her wide eyes and pouted lips were those as of a young person, and her constant questions made him think she was even younger than she looked.

"Oh!" she dug her hands into one of the big pockets on her cardigan, pulling out two twenty crown notes, a scrunchie, a wilted flower, a key and a state-issued photo ID card. Of course she wouldn't have a driving license. He reached to take the ID out of her hand and held it up to his face, frowning as he read the information it held.

"Rapunzel Doe, huh?" it looked like the government had issued her name as well as he ID. He twisted his lips when he realised she was eighteen – the legal drinking age in Corona. It looked like he'd have to wait until she was too terrified to stay any longer.

"That's what my ID says," she sighed as she took the card back from him.

"What? That's not your name?"

"I don't know what my name is…" she just got weirder and weirder. He didn't bother asking her what she meant by this. He didn't care. "I don't know what to get to drink."

"What have you had before?"

"Water," she stated simply. "And apple juice."

"I'll get you something yummy," he reached for a sticky drinks menu as the barman finally made his way over to them, leaning threateningly over the bar. Flynn ordered his beer of choice, then the cocktail with the most amount of spirits and the least amount of sugar he could find. Something really filthy, that she wouldn't like the taste of. That would show her.

"You Flynn Rider?" the bar man asked in a growl.

That was unexpected. It seems his reputation was as good as the bar's. He looked up and raised an eyebrow. "Who wants to know?"

"We had someone in here last week who was trying to round up a team to go looking for you. Says you owe him a lot of money." The bartender leaned over him even further, looking around as if to try to find the man in question. His arms were spread wide on the bar, and Flynn wondered whether he was trying to appear like he was about to lean forward and grab him. He had a hook for a hand. Flynn resisted making a pirate joke and waved the menu in front of the man's face.

"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. The only money I have to my name I worked hard to get. I'm not in the business of screwing anyone over. Now, are you going to take our order, or not?"

Hookhand, as Flynn decided to dub him, chuckled sarcastically and looked down at Rapunzel. "Something wrong, Princess?"

"What happened to your hand?"

Flynn dazed out at this point, firstly to appear as though he barely had a connection with this girl who he figured was about to get more than a stern talking to from the enormous man in front of her, and then he just gave up on the conversation completely because his grand plan had gone horribly wrong. He didn't like failing.

He didn't know how exactly, or when it happened, but somehow Miss Crazy made some kind of connection with the beastly men surrounding her. Flynn stared at the bar through his beer while Rapunzel entertained ten or so thugs.

She ended up hating her drink, so Hookhand had offered her something pink and bubbly "on the house" after he explained the long and devastating story of losing his hand in a previous line of work. She liked the second drink. Flynn didn't know if it contained alcohol or not, but when she started singing to a man with an abnormally large nose about dreams, he kind of figured it did.

They loved her. They genuinely seemed to think she was the most fantastic thing since sliced bread. Flynn didn't get it – she was loud and annoying and asked too many questions. And how had she managed to make her way around the pub twenty times and still had no glass in her feet?

He was starting to feel the effect of his alcohol, and he checked the time on his phone before sighing and pushing back into his pocket. His friend had long since left the bar, and he was sitting here next to a cross-eyed goat wishing he'd just gone home to bed.