Summary: Flynn Rider had never set out to be a thief. It was the only life he'd ever known and would ever know...or would it?

Writer's note: So I realize that posting a non-Eugene/Rapunzel fic here is tantamount to it getting ignored and unread/unreviewed. But I like to write character pieces so I'm hoping someone here gives this a chance anyway. Who knows, you might even like it and leave me a review. Or dislike and give me a constructively critical review. I'm cool with that. :)

No, I don't own Tangled but I would love to own Flynn Rider. Or Eugene Fitzherbert. I'm not picky.

He didn't set out to be a thief. And yet that was the one thing he did in his life that had treated him right. Do one job, hock his stolen wares, go on to the next. One job, hock, next. And on and on till he had the money in his hands to clothe and feed and sometimes shelter himself.

It was the only life he'd known since he'd run away from the orphanage, so why would he seek another? What was the point in trying to turn it around and go back to a life of begging and misery and struggle? Struggling was pointless.

As pointless as it had been to find honest work when everyone in this kingdom was out to cheat him. Like the blacksmith who'd had him slave over a hot forge day and night and then refused to pay him, claiming the horseshoes Eugene made weren't good enough while selling them to a farmer for twice their worth behind Eugene's back. And laughing and shutting the door in Eugene's face when Eugene threatened to go to the kingdom magistrate over his unpaid wages.

He'd been right to laugh, Flynn thought bitterly. No one would take an orphan's word seriously over a 'respectable' businessman like the many blacksmiths and millers who would cheat him without thinking twice about it.

People walked all over Eugene. But no one was EVER going to walk all over Flynn Ryder.

Flynn Ryder wasn't some poor orphan with a sob story. He had no past, no ties to anyone, nothing to lose. He was confident and arrogant and would do whatever it took to survive, however unsavory it may seem.

Of course, he admitted to himself, there were sometimes when the loneliness of his solitary and nomadic existence took him. He couldn't help but occasionally glance at happy families with children, laughing and playing in the kingdom streets. People who loved and had someone to love them back.

But who would ever love a thief?

Certainly no one in this kingdom. And it wasn't like he was going to stumble into someone like that out of the blue, right while he was in the middle of stealing or running from the guards or hiding somewhere in the woods.

Yeah, right, like THAT would ever happen.

So it was onto one job, then another and then another. And it would probably never stop.


Hiding behind his tall beer glass in the rowdy pub one day, Flynn couldn't help but overhear one of the loudmouth drunk's ramblings at the bar.

"I tell you, that crown is a beauty," the drunk slurred his words but Flynn, listening closely, could catch every single one. "A real beauty, that one. Worth a fortune, too. More shillings than all the shops on this street could make, and the next and the next put together for miles around."

The man sitting next to him rolled his eyes. "It's the crown belonging to the lost princess. Like you could ever get it into your hot little hands."

The drunk whipped his head around in annoyance at the man who'd spoken to him. "Who said anything about – HIC! – getting it? I'z just looking at it…" The man's words faded as he slipped into a drunk stupor.

Flynn got up as quietly as he could and started making his way out of the pub, leaving a couple of shillings on the table for his tab. (Tempting as it was, not even he was stupid enough to skip out on the tab in a place full of angry drunks and hulking guards). He walked toward the woods, not paying attention to his surroundings, his head filled with thoughts.

Of course. The lost princess's crown. Why he'd never thought of it before?

Disoriented as the drunk's ramblings had been, one thing he wasn't wrong about: that crown WAS worth a fortune. Had to be worth more than most villagers' weight in gold. And besides, it wasn't like anyone was using it. What was the point in keeping it locked up for display in the palace? It wasn't like the princess would just drop into the palace one day and try to reclaim it. But the king and queen kept it out of sentimental reasons anyway, hoping one day its rightful owner would return home.


Of course, he thought to himself, robbing the palace's treasury was just about the riskiest, most dangerous thing he could do. It would take months and months of planning, maybe even longer, if he had any chance of getting in and out of there without getting caught.

And, he thought reluctantly, he would have to have help. Possibly from the only lugs he could think of who would agree to do something like this, the Stabbington brothers. No other thief in the kingdom, no matter how big of braggart he was, would even dream of going within a mile of the castle's vaults much less stepping foot inside them.

Flynn did some quick mental calculations in his head. It was spring. In a few months, the king and queen and all the royal officials would be busy with the biggest royal hoopla of the year – the lanterns for the lost princess on her birthday. If he timed everything right, they'd all be too busy making the preparations for that completely pointless ritual and – hopefully – security around the palace would be lighter than usual.

Yes, he said thoughtfully to himself, the day right before the princess's birthday would be the perfect day to steal her own crown. Why not? The kingdom had already stolen so much from him, after all. It was only right that he steal its most precious possession. And then he could swear off this whole village forever. It wasn't like those stuffed shirt royals had anything (or anyone) else he'd ever want.

Flynn grinned to himself as he imagined that crown in his hand. He'd never gotten a close look at it, of course – thieves didn't usually go on tours of the royal palace, but it must have rubies, diamonds, and emeralds for sure. He wouldn't be able to hock it in the kingdom, too risky once the news of the royal theft spread. But escaping to the next kingdom would do the trick. Or melting it down on that treacherous blacksmith's forge and picking out the jewels and selling them. He could figure it out later.

One more job, Flynn thought. One more thing to steal and he'd finally have a way of leaving behind this stupid kingdom forever. The place where his parents died. The place where his friends at the orphanage were sold to slave traders, never to return. The place where everyone mocked, sneered at, or cheated poor down-on-his-luck orphan Eugene.

Flynn stood up straighter now, whistling jauntily as he walked, like he didn't have a care in the world. One more job and he'd leave Eugene behind forever. He'd get the money to buy his island. One more job that Flynn would guess would change his life FOREVER.

He could've never guessed just how much.

Writer's note: Personally, I heartily disagree with fans who think that Flynn was just greedy and stole for selfish reasons before he met Rapunzel; I like to think there was something in his past that had made him that way. Hence this fic. Thanks for reading!