Summary: What happened when Eugene took Rapunzel to the library in the musical montage in the movie? story told from an outside observer's point-of-view (I can't be the only one who thinks the entire village scene was like an extended Eugene/Rapunzel date, can I?)
Disclaimer: I don't own Tangled. Too bad, because I would sure love to own Maximus.
Writer's Note: I loved the whole village musical montage scene and thinking about the part where they go to the library made me think of this.
Cassandra yawned and stretched out her arms over her head, wincing at the crick in her neck. It was the day of the annual lanterns and already it had been a long day. Cassandra stood up slowly, pushing the chair into the desk at which she'd been cataloging books for the past few hours.
Frowning thoughtfully, Cassandra wondered for the tenth time why she hadn't simply agreed to close the library that day. She'd been the librarian at Corona for over 25 years now and save for the first few years when the place had been bustling, very few people came in anymore on lantern day. Everyone was too busy getting their families ready, making their way to the village square, renting boats, buying lanterns and flowers for the lost princess, partaking in the usual village revelry, so on.
Cassandra sighed. It was hard enough working when no one seemed to want to come read anymore. It had gotten worse when the princess had disappeared and the king and queen had slowly lost hope, when during the earlier years the queen herself used to visit to read in the library's solarium once a week. It seemed so long ago now that the king had regularly donated shillings to help with their small collection and repairs.
Well, no more. The place was completely empty, had been for hours. Cassandra had insisted the library assistant and her apprentice library worker leave three hours ago to attend the ceremony with their families.
No one else was going to come in today. Time to close. She started to gather up the books on her desk and place them on her shelving cart when she heard the door open. Frowning again, Cassandra's head snapped up toward the door where a young man stood with a young lady who had a long blonde braid full of flowers.
"Hello," said the young man. "My, um, friend and I were wondering if we could look around for a while if that's okay?" The young man glanced a little uncertainly at Cassandra, then turned his gaze back at his blonde friend, his expression immediately changing to affectionate as he smiled at her.
The girl, however, did not notice his gaze since she was marveling at all the books around her, her jaw dropped open, whirling around to glance from shelf to shelf. The young man, noticing her reaction, gave Cassandra an embarrassed grin. "She's never been to a library before. I promised her I'd bring her to see all the books."
Cassandra hesitated. She was exhausted, so tired that she had half a mind to skip the lanterns herself and head straight home. As far as she was concerned, the lanterns would never do any good anyway. She was about to apologize to the young man and his girlfriend when -
"Look what I found!" The blonde's voice was several decibels above the library voice level Cassandra approved of, not to mention the disapproving way she was brandishing and rapidly flipping through the book she was holding in her hand. But Cassandra couldn't help herself smiling at the girl's joy.
"What's that, blondie?" The young man smiled at his girlfriend, just as affectionately as before. In response, the girl tossed the book to him and he caught it as Cassandra debated whether she should give the young lovers a lecture on proper library materials use.
"Ah...yeah." The young man suddenly looked very sheepishly at the book in his hands. "Where did you find this?" he asked his girlfriend, his voice a blend of horror and amusement.
Before the giggling blonde could respond, Cassandra cleared her throat. "I'm afraid I was just about to close the library, actually..." Her voice faded as she noticed the crestfallen expression on the young girl's face and the gently concerned look her boyfriend gave her.
Oh, what the heck, thought Cassandra wearily. It wouldn't hurt to stay open half an hour longer. "But," she added quickly, "you two are welcome to stay here for as long as you like." Cassandra blinked. Where had that come from? She was just going to tell them they could stay another few minutes.
"Oh, thank you, thank you!" cried the girl ecstatically, grabbing her boyfriend's arm and dragging him toward the staircase. Cassandra once again couldn't help smiling. Well, at least someone wanted to come read something. And the girl certainly was the most enthusiastic patron she'd seen since the queen had stopped coming to the library.
And any young man who brought his date to the library was definitely doing something right in Cassandra's book, so to speak.
"Come on, let's go read this upstairs!" The girl happily dragged her boyfriend toward the stairs.
The young man cringed. "Rapunzel, trust me, it's not really that interesting of a book. It's pretty cheesy, actually."
"I don't care, I want to read it!" Their voices faded away as the two of them bounded up the staircase to the wide, quiet reading room.
Cassandra started to sit back down at her desk. Suddenly filled with curiosity, she got back up and walked to the empty shelf space to see what book the girl had pulled the book off the shelf. A familiar-looking leather-bound volume with a purple frayed bookmark was missing.
The girl had grabbed the library's last remaining copy of The Tales of Flynnigan Rider.
Well, I'll be, thought Cassandra. I never thought I'd see the day that thing gets touched again, much less read.
The girl's boyfriend had been right - the book was utterly, ridiculously cheesy, yet it was one of those books that never quite went away even thought its popularity has considerably lessened in the last few years. It had been a big hit with the younger girls and boys when it was first published, so much so that Cassandra had finally reluctantly - and grudgingly - agreed to buy a few copies of it for the library. Three had been bought and over the years, one was lost and one never returned by the person who checked it out so that only the leather-bound one remained.
Her curiosity continuing to get the best of her, Cassandra pulled open the lower left-hand drawer of the desk and pulled out some past library book records. Thumbing through them, she finally found the records she was searching for.
Although she herself hadn't been there the days it happened, all the checkout records indicated one name as the last person to check out all three copies of The Tale of Flynnigan Rider (and not return two of them). Not just one name, noted Cassandra with amusement, but the exact same name.
Cassandra's mouth quirked. She didn't know who this Eugene Fitzherbert was, but apparently his library etiquette was certainly no better than the young man's upstairs.
Writer's note: There have been so many fics now mentioning The Tales of Flynnigan Rider, I had to throw my hat into that mix, too. Thanks for reading!