snuffoutthelight: (The world is not my playground)
☾ snuff out the light ([personal profile] snuffoutthelight) wrote2010-08-05 08:30 am

Shadowland (Chapter 2)

Title: Shadowland
Summary: Okay, so the house wasn't abandoned.
Rating: PG
Warning: Themes of darkness, literal and otherwise; mentions of human sacrifice.
Fandom: Disney
Verse: Shadowland Verse
Characters/Pairing: Rapunzel, Kuzco
Word Count: ~929
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Disney does, and I make no profit.

“Hey, Goldilocks! Wake up!”

Rapunzel didn’t so much as think before pushing the body away from her. But as her eyes flew open, she realized she recognized the man… Sort of. She’d never met him in person, but he looked just as he’d been described in stories she’d heard and books she’d read.

“Emperor Kuzco?”

Well… Not an emperor anymore, was he? Not since Yzma had taken over. Case in point, though he still wore royalty’s robes, there was no crown on the young man’s head. There was just one problem with this whole meeting…

“Uh, yah. Now who are you?”

“Princess Rapunzel, but… But I thought you were dead.”

“People are supposed to.”

“What?” Rapunzel stared in confusion as Kuzco picked himself up off the ground, dusting off his clothing carefully.

“People. Are. Supposed. To.”

“Why?”

Now it was Kuzco’s turn to look bewildered. “Because Yzma wants me dead. If everyone thinks I am, I won’t, you know, be used as a sacrifice. Duh.” Rapunzel couldn’t help but glare. Here was a man whose kingdom had been taken, and he didn’t care to do a thing about it. All that was important to him was saving himself. So yes, there was anger… But also a bit of pity. What must it be like not to have a love for one’s land driving them? To have no dreams of things being better? “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Rapunzel shook her head. “Because I’m trying to save my kingdom… And the whole world.”

“Mmmhmm, okay. First… What does that have to do with me?” Kuzco asked with a blank but heavy-lidded look. “Second, why do you think you can stop Yzma?”

He was hardly in a position to turn her over to the wicked magician, so Rapunzel decided to explain. Touching her hair, she told him about the legends of the flower; her mother’s illness; her own birth.

“…So you have sun in your hair. Yeah, okay, that’s not freaky or anything.”

Rapunzel bristled. “Who cares if it’s freaky? It could save everyone! Don’t you care about anyone but yourself?”

“Not really, no.” Rapunzel rose from the bed at that, brushing past Kuzco. “Hey! Hey wait, where are you going?”

“Why do you care?” came the call from down a flight of stairs.

“I don’t! I thought we just covered that!”

Rapunzel groaned in disgust. Forget pity. How could he be so selfish? It was horrible; truly sickening. She’d keep quiet about him for now, of course; she wasn’t about to cause his death. But perhaps after she’d saved everyone -- if she did, but she was quick to dismiss the possibility of losing -- she would tell Kuzco’s people of their emperor’s cowardice. They deserved to know the truth, and find a proper ruler.

“Hey, Goldilocks?”

Rapunzel jumped. In her thoughts, she hadn’t realized Kuzco following her down to the kitchen, where she was gathering the few items she’d brought with her or found along the way. “What do you want?”

“You’re leaving?”

“Of course I am. Why would you want someone who’s going to make Yzma mad in your little hideaway?” She might have imagined, but she thought she saw something sad flicker across his face when she said that. For a moment, he’d looked… Lonely.

“You’re being really stupid, you know. She’ll probably kill you,” Kuzco pointed out, helping Rapunzel pack while drawing as little attention to the fact that he was doing so as possible.

“I have to try. It’s not fair that I’ve been guarded for so long when everyone else suffered.”

Kuzco looked away. “You’re not going to tell anyone that I’m alive, are you?”

“No. Don’t worry, Emperor, you’re safe here.”

“Well, why shouldn’t I stay safe? Why should I die, too?!”

“…You shouldn’t. But you should fight this.”

No. No, I really don’t think that’s part of my job--”

“Aren’t you mad at her?”

“Yah, duh, but I’m more--”

“Scared?”

Smart.”

“Cowardly,” Rapunzel muttered under her breath. Kuzco must have heard, for her narrowed his eyes at her and shoved her satchel into her hands. It was only then Rapunzel realized what he’d been doing as they argued. “Why did you--”

“I just want you out of here!” Kuzco said quickly. Perhaps too quickly for Rapunzel, who raised an eyebrow at him.

“You could really help, you know. I’m sure you know your kingdom really well.” Kuzco shrugged. “Well, you must at least know about the palace? I could use you to--”

“Not gonna happen.”

Rapunzel huffed. “Fine. Then I might as well go, right?”

“I still say you’re being stupid.”

“I’d rather be stupid than your idea of smart.”

Silence for a moment, and then Rapunzel turned to leave…

“You know, there are people out there who will help you.”

The princess turned back around. “The resistance? It’s real?”

“Mmmhmm. I mean, they’re total freaks and complete lunatics, but that probably means you’ll get along with them, right?”

“Kuzco, where can I find them?”

“Well… There’s one guy pretty nearby. I guess I could take you.”

“Suddenly willing to leave?”

“Hey, don’t get excited, it’s not like I’ll be taking on Yzma. And I do want my throne back, so… More power to you, I guess.”

Rapunzel smiled in spite of everything. Maybe the former emperor wasn’t so bad, after all...

“Plus, you’re a woman. That means you can cook, right? I haven’t had real food in forever. I mean, come on, I’m an emperor. I’m not supposed to be fending for myself here.”

…Or maybe he was.

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