When Flynn woke up the next morning, he remembered being told he was married to a princess, but he did not remember marrying her. Great. He was still clueless.
Flynn knew that the day was going to be a repeat of the day before, of people trying to make him remember, which he guessed was fine. He saw it as sort of selfish on their part: did they ever consider that maybe he was happy being a thief? Course, Flynn figured he was being selfish for not wanting to remember; his life was simple and he liked it that way. Still, he had to remember he had a wife, as hard as that was to swallow, and as a husband he had to think about her. It must be hard on her.
Even having made a decision, Flynn wanted time to himself to think, or not think, or think about thinking about nothing. In any event, he wanted to be alone.
So before anyone could check on him in the morning, he skipped out of his room window, but he did leave a note to be found later by Rapunzel and her parents.
Don’t worry, I didn’t run. I just wanted to be alone before I’m bombarded again with “memories.” I’ll be back around noon.
Well, one can be sure that Nicolas didn’t like that Flynn had run off.
“How can we trust him? He’s under the influence of Flynn Rider.”
“Dear, please have a little more faith in your son-in-law,” Isabelle said soothingly. The king blew out his cheeks in response.
Rapunzel stared at the note.
“He’s not lying. Eugene never broke a promise, and neither does Flynn Rider.”
The king and queen just had to take their daughter’s word. They shuffled off, to attend to their usual duties before they picked up where they last left off again with Flynn.
Rapunzel stayed in Flynn’s room. She wanted to know where he had gone. The guards in the hall said they hadn’t seen him, so he probably left through a window. Rapunzel inspected all of them and indeed find one that was unlocked. She poked her head out of it and looked up.
She knew Eugene liked heights.
Flynn stared out across the village and to the forest beyond. No matter where he went, he could never get high enough to see the other side of the horizon.
“But I could get used to a view like this,” he said to himself, smiling.
“You always did like the palace view.”
“Gah!” Flynn put a hand to his chest and spun around. The princess was standing there. “Geez, you scared me.”
“Sorry,” Rapunzel mumbled. “I always forget that I can sneak up on you.”
Flynn cocked and eyebrow at her. “Why?”
“I don’t wear shoes.” Flynn looked down at her feet. She was barefoot.
“I just never did.” Rapunzel sat down next to him. “I’m sorry. I know you said you want to be alone, but, it’s weird not being with you.” Rapunzel glanced up at him with her big green eyes and Flynn willed his blush to go away.
“No, it’s fine if it’s just one person.”
They didn’t say anything for a good many minutes.
“How’d you find me?”
“You like heights. That’s why our room is on the highest floor.”
Again. They said nothing for a great length. It was so painfully awkward, that neither could stand it.
“Soooooooo…” Flynn started, “three years.”
“Yep. Three years.”
“Three years of us, being married. Being husband and wife.”
“Mm-hm.” Rapunzel looked down at the roof and picked up a little stone. She began to beat it against the roof. “Three years of marriage.”
Damn, Flynn was getting absolutely nowhere. This was why he wanted to be alone. It was easier to deal with his “wife” in the room if there were others around. He finally sighed and turned to her.
“I’m sorry, this is awful… not you and me, but… just…aw damnit.” He put his head in his hands. He felt Rapunzel’s hand on his shoulder.
“It’s okay, Flynn. This all is awful. I understand.”
“Heh, mind telling your parents that? I got put through the ringer yesterday after you left.”
“Hm, I’m sure you did. Papa can be…well, influential when he wants to be.”
“That’s a diplomatic way of putting.”
“I am a princess. Politics have to be in my veins, right?”
The two chuckled.
Flynn’s gaze went back to the landscape.
“I never thought that three years could feel like an eternity.”
“Huh?” Rapunzel cocked her head at Flynn.
“Three years of my life are gone. With what everyone has said, it’s like an entire lifetime is gone.”
“It’s okay, Flynn.” Rapunzel dared to put her hand over Flynn’s. He didn’t flinch away. “I remember all of it.”
“But from your point view.” He locked eyes with her. “It’s sad.”
Rapunzel retracted from Flynn. The look in his eyes was so sincere, just like Eugene’s, when he was talking to her, just her.
“You’re right, it is sad, but we’ve been through worse things than this!” Rapunzel got on her knees and assumed a positive face. “Nothing stops us.” Flynn smiled.
“Not even death.”
They chuckled again, a little more genuinely than the last time.
“See,” Rapunzel said as she settled back down next to Flynn, “you’re not completely gone. That was purely Eugene.” But Flynn didn’t respond. Rapunzel worried she’d said the wrong thing when;
“Do we have any kids?”
“We’ve been married three years. We’ve got to have at least one kid…right?”
“Oh, uh, no, we don’t have any children.”
“We don’t? Do we just not…do it…?” Rapunzel blushed and looked away. “Okay, I’ll take that as a ‘we do.’ But why don’t we have kids?”
“Well…we decided, before we got married that… we’d wait. You know, to have time for us, for awhile.” Rapunzel paused. “I take herbs that cancel out conception.”
“Oh. Okay.” Flynn looked back out over the village again. “I like kids. Never thought of myself as being a dad, but I’ve always liked kids. Guess it was the influence of the orphanage, always being one of the older kids.”
“I kn-“ Rapunzel stopped herself. Telling Flynn that she knew that seemed wrong. She realized he was trying to connect with her. She held her tongue.
“Did I ever tell you about the book I always read to the younger kids?”
“Mm-hm. It’s where you got the name Flynn Rider from.”
They grew silent.
“Flynn, it’s almost noon, and my father has a plan to help with your memory.”
“Really? Does it involve pain?”
I hope not, Rapunzel thought.
“No, of course not. My father wouldn’t endanger family.” I hope.
Flynn had never wanted to run more in his life. The princess had led him to the jail cells and left him there alone with the king.
“Why am I here?” he asked, hoping he didn’t sound scared.
“Well,” the king started, “I said I had an idea to help with your memories.”
“Which involves the dungeons?”
“Not the dungeons specifically, but someone in the dungeon.”
“Who?” asked Flynn.
The king put his hand on a door handle. “The Stabbington brothers.” Nicolas opened the door and two men as large as a house and both built like brick walls were led out in handcuffs.
Flynn had heard of these two, but he never thought that they were so…big.
“Well, if it isn’t Flynn Rider,” growled the one with the sideburns and scar.
“Finally! Someone who actually knows who I am.”
The brothers looked at each other, confused. “I thought he went by Eugene now.” The one with the eye patch shrugged.
“He’s supposed to,” said the king, “but-“
“You know, you guys look just like your wanted posters,” Flynn interrupted. “The exactness is uncanny.”
The brothers glared at Flynn, then looked at the king.
“Is this some kind of a joke?”
“Unfortunately, no. Eugene hit his head and is now convinced the last three years never happened. He doesn’t even remember working with you two.”
“Now that hurts,” the older brother said to his younger.
“Gentlemen, I was hoping you’d indulge us,” said the king, putting his hands together. “We’re trying to make Eugene remember the last three years and you were the first people he had contact with three years ago.”
“And why should we help him?”
“Exactly, why should they help me? I mean, I took the crown from them that we stole together and left them to take all blame. They got thrown in jail because of me and you think they’d be willing to help me.”
“You remember all that,” asked the king.
“Yes, I was told that yesterday.” Flynn looked at the two towering criminals. “So, why did we work together? I mean, you two work alone, I work alone; together it doesn’t add up.”
“Before we say anything, what’s in it for us?” growled the older brother, turning to the king.
Nicolas crossed his arms at the brothers. “Need I remind you two that Eugene is the reason the two of you were not executed. You owe him a debt.”
“Wait, I am!”
“Yes,” said the king, addressing Flynn. “After you brought my daughter back to my wife and me, I pardoned you for all your crimes. Then you asked me if I would not execute these two.”
Flynn stared blankly at the king. “Wow. That does not sound like me at all.”
“That’s because it wasn’t you, it was Eugene.” Nicolas looked back to the Stabbington brothers. “Now then, gentlemen, answer Eugene’s question.”
The brothers looked at one another and sighed.
“We came to you. We were having a problem of getting caught and the like. We knew you were so proud of your twinkle toes stealth and that was just what we needed. We did a few jobs and gotten quite a bit of wealth. Then you had the crazy idea to steal the crown. Something about you wanting a castle. And then I guess you know the rest.”
“So you two came to me? Wow, the two most nefarious murders asked me for help. That would look good on a resume.”
“That wasn’t the point, Eugene.”
“Alright I guess we’re done here,” said the king exasperated. He rubbed his temples and sighed. “Please take them back to their cell,” he said to the guard who had stood silently at attention the whole time.
The Stabbington brothers were led back through the door.
“You know, those two don’t seem as bad as everyone makes them out to be. And those sideburns look really good on that one with the scar.”
“Er, yes, Eugene.”
King Nicolas sighed. His plan hadn’t worked, but he had a few others.
“Come on then, Flynn,” the king said, putting his hand on his son-in-law’s back. “Why don’t we join our wives for lunch? Then we’ll get back to business.”
“Joy,” Flynn mumbled, and he allowed himself to be taken to a very awkward meal.