Author’s Note: Written for the Lonely Prompt Challenge over on the LiveJournal Group spanking_world, for the following prompt from ‘Daria234’:
Once Upon a Time, Charming/Hook, AU where Hook the pirate is captured and it's Charming's job to reform him into a well-disciplined subject
Author’s 2nd Note: This turned out to be very A.U. Posted September 2018
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters, and I’m not making any money from this story.
Warning: Non-consensual punishment of adults. Well they’re over eighteen, so they would be adults in real life, but in the world where the story is set, they’re considered minors until the age of twenty-one, so it depends on how you look at it.





HOOKED


David saw the purple smoke coming for the castle, and ran with his beautiful infant daughter, Emma, in his arms to hide her in the enchanted tree before the spell Regina cast could get to them.

“Charming?”

David woke with a start, and looked into his wife’s concerned face. She brushed the hair away from his eyes and said, “You were having a nightmare.”

“I was dreaming about the spell Regina tried to cast nineteen years ago. We couldn’t get Rumple on our side, and we had to send Emma away.”

Snow leaned in to kiss him on the forehead. “It was just a dream.”

There was a knock on their bedroom door.

“Yes?” Snow called.

Emma walked in with a smile and said, “I’m going riding. I’ll be back at noon.”

“Take your guard detail,” David said.

“Daddy, that’s ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to take them everywhere. I’m in no danger here on the castle grounds. We have acres and acres.”

“Take your guard detail, or stay home,” David said firmly. “If you go without them again, I’ll turn you over my knee.”

“Fine.” Emma huffed, and stormed out, shutting the door with slightly more force then necessary.

“Charming,” Snow chided gently. “She’s almost nineteen. Don’t you think she’s a little too old for you to be threatening to spank her?”

“She’s a little too old to be running off and pulling dangerous stunts,” David countered. “Besides, it’s the only threat that still works. None of our other children are nearly as bull headed as she can be.”

Snow chuckled. “All five of them are just as bull headed, you just don’t see it, because they’re all boys.”

He frowned and shook his head. She kissed the frown away and said, “Besides I know you secretly love that about Emma, because it reminds you of me.”

He smiled a bit. “She does have your temperament.”

She glared at him. “That better be a compliment.”

Laughing, he pulled her into a hug and said, “It is, my love.”

“You’re just grumpy because you have to deal with Hook in court today.”

“If someone had told me that being the king meant sentencing criminals to die, I might not have taken the job,” he muttered.

She squeezed him and said softly, “Hook has been a menace for the past six months at every port up and down the southern coast. He’s taken enough gold from the kingdom that the people are starting to talk. You have to make an example of him.”

“I know, I just don’t like it.”

“You’re lucky Rolland went home to see his sister’s wedding. If he hadn’t been in that bar, he never would have heard Hook bragging about his conquests.”

“You’re right.” David agreed. It was astounding luck that one of his Admirals happened to be at the same seedy bar where Hook happened to be drinking. He just hated this part of being king. Sighing, he got out of bed and went to get dressed. Rolland had sent word of the capture, and he was scheduled to arrive at court this morning.

# # #


Two hours later, Admiral Rolland came walking through the big hall doors, towing along Hook in irons behind him.

Appearing quite pleased with himself, Rolland bowed and said, “Your highness, I present to you the criminal Captain Hook, accused of piracy and treason to the crown.”

“Is this some sort of joke?” David asked.

“Joke?” Rolland asked with confusion.

David pointed to the scrawny teen and said, “Are you seriously trying to convince me that this boy is the famous Captain Hook?”

“I’m not a boy!” the young man said defensively, and struggled to get his good hand free from the chains.

“This is the pirate who strikes fear in my royal navy?” David asked. “The pirate who has taken more gold than one ship can carry?”

“Yes, your grace.” Rolland said. “He’s quite good with a sword, and a clever strategist on the high seas.”

“He’s sixteen!” David shouted.

“I’m twenty-five!” Hook said.

David pinned him with a glare. “That’s obviously a lie.” He turned to his right hand man, Graham, and said, “Where’s Rumple? We’ll need one of his truth potions.”

“I’ll check his rooms.” Graham bowed and went to find the court magician.

Looking decidedly nervous, Hook said, “There’s no need for that your highness. I’ll be truthful. I’m twenty.”

Refusing to talk to the boy until he’d had the potion, David turned to the court recorder who kept the official court records. “Are there any other cases today?”

“No, Your Grace.”

David sighed. A few seconds later, Graham and Rumple came walking in together.

“Sorry I’m late,” Rumple said, “Our youngest has a fever, and Belle was up with him all night.” He held up a little yellow vial and said, “One truth potion, as requested.”

David gestured towards Hook, and the young man shook his head and tried to back away, only to be held still by Rolland. “Okay,” Hook said, “I’m nineteen! But I’ll be twenty next month! That’s the truth!”

Rumple waved his hand and Hook’s entire body froze in place except his eyes, which darted around the room frantically. Rumple walked up, tilted Hook’s head back slightly, and poured the potion down his throat. Then he waved his hand again, and Hook immediately flailed and tried to spit it out. He hacked and coughed, but nothing came up.

“Too late, Dearie.” Rumple said. “Even if you force yourself to vomit, you’ll be telling the truth for the next twenty-four hours.”

Hook clamped his lips shut, and locked his jaw while glaring at the older man.

Rumple chuckled and said, “That won’t work. You’ll be compelled to tell the truth when asked a direct question.” He turned back to David and said, “With your leave, Sire, I’d like to get back to my wife.”

“Of course.” David said, “I’m sure Snow will come and visit once she hears little Antonio is ill.”

Rumple bowed and left.

David turned back to Hook and said, “Let’s try this again. How old are you?”

The whole court watched while Hook fought to keep it in, but within seconds he’d spit out the word, “Nineteen.”

“Are you actually Captain Hook?”

“Aye,” he said proudly, with no struggle. He jerked his thumb towards Rolland and said, “If you could tell him to give me back my hook I’d look the part.”

“What’s your real name?”

He clamped his jaw shut again, but the words came out through his clenched teeth. “Killian Jones.”

“And how did you come to be a pirate captain at such a tender age, Killian?”

Hook glared hatred towards David and said, “I became a pirate the day you killed my brother, Liam.”

That made David sit up straight. “Liam? I don’t recognize the name.”

“Of course you don’t,” Hook said with a jaded bitterness beyond his years. “You’re the king. You order soldiers to fight and die for you every day, but you don’t know their names. He was just one of a hundred who sailed out on The Jewel of the Realm to fight the giants in your war.”

David closed his eyes and lowered his head slightly. That ship and all its crew had been lost at sea. He opened his eyes, looked straight at Hook and said with sincerity, “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry doesn’t bring him back! I watched my mother open a letter from the crown informing her that her son was dead. It broke her! It broke me, too. And if that wasn’t enough, you sent along a purse with twenty gold coins. As if that would somehow replace him, or make up for our loss!” Hook was on a roll, and wasn’t even trying to keep his words in as he spewed his anger out. “I wanted to kill you that day.”

There were gasps heard throughout the court at such treasonous talk, but David didn’t flinch or look away, and Hook kept talking.

“I went to the docks to book passage here to the castle, but at the docks I heard some men gossiping about the ship that had gone down, and stopped to listen. They said it hadn’t actually gone down at all. They said that the giants had made a pact with the local mermaids. The mermaids attacked the ship, killed the crew, and left the empty boat to sail aimless and lost.”

He struggled for a few moments not to tell the next part of his tale, but the words came out anyway. “Instead of using the gold to buy passage here, I used it to pay a dark magician to do a blood spell. If my brother was killed on that ship, I thought it likely that his blood would still be onboard. She did the spell and gave me a compass that always pointed towards the ship holding my brother’s blood. I stole a small skiff and some food, and went to find it. A day later I was onboard.”

He gave David a smirk and added, “Mermaids can be quite reasonable, and even pleasant if you’re fighting for the same cause. They want to see your demise as much, if not more, than I. They helped me get the ship to port without a crew. She’s the Jolly Roger now, and I’m her captain. My crew is loyal, and my friends in the sea help me find your ships, and beat them so I can take your gold and cripple your fleet.”

David stood up and glared at the young man. “No one is required to join my army, not even in times of war. That means Liam joined of his own free will, knowing full well that the risk of death during a battle was a possibility. The money that was sent to your mother wasn’t to replace your brother, it was to replace the money Liam would have earned during a year of service. I am beyond sorry that your brother is gone, but being angry with me won’t bring him back.”

Hook opened his mouth, but David held up a finger and said, “No. It’s my turn to speak. I didn’t kill your brother, the mermaids did. And then you went and made a deal with them?! You’re helping them win the war, even though the mermaids and the giants are responsible for killing hundreds of my subjects every year. And on top of that you stole my ship. Do I have all of that right?”

Hook flushed a deep red, and scowled at the king, but the truth came out, “Aye.”

“This morning I was planning on having you executed.” Hook’s eyes opened wide with shock, and he swallowed hard. David continued, “But taking into consideration the recent loss of your brother, a flogging and some time in my dungeon might be more appropriate.” Hook paled, and shook his head. David sighed. “Or that would be appropriate if you were an adult.”

“I am an adult!” Hook yelled and then instantly regretted it. He shouldn’t be trying to talk David into having him flogged and imprisoned.

“The age of majority in my kingdom is twenty-one,” David countered. He turned to Rolland and asked, “What do you do to the cabin boys who step out of line on a ship?”

“I’m no cabin boy!” Hook yelled.

Ignoring him, Rolland answered his king, “Most cabin boys are young enough to be kept in line with a cuff to the back of the head or a few open handed slaps to the backside. But for the young men who are apprenticing to become a soldier, it’s six with the small cane for most offences, or thirty with the strap for more serious offences.”

“A strapping sounds about right,” David said. “Tomorrow morning at ten here in the throne room Hook will be strapped, and any who wish to attend may do so. Then instead of the dungeons, he’ll be assigned an apprenticeship with a guardian here at the castle until he is of age.”

Murmurs of approval went up around the room.

Hook’s face was so red with anger, that David could picture steam pouring out of his ears. Good, the criminal should be angry. David turned to Graham and said, “For tonight, put him in a cell by himself, and make sure he’s fed a meal.” Graham nodded and went to take a silent Hook away. David turned to the lords and ladies of the court and said, “Your queen and I will be here after the midday meal to hear any issues of the realm that need attending. Please give your name to the court recorder,” he gestured towards the old man to his right, “if you’d like an audience.”

David waved to Rolland and once the man was close he said, “I’d like a word with you. We could share a meal in my private rooms with Snow and the children.”

“I’d be honored, Your Grace.”

# # #

Emma was still a bit disgruntled with her father when she got home from her ride, but her two guards had done their best to stay back and give her the illusion of freedom and privacy, so she tried not to stay upset.

When she arrived for the midday meal with her family, she was surprised to find her rowdy little brothers all avidly listening to Admiral Rolland and her father discussing the criminal Captain Hook and his upcoming punishment. When she first overheard that he was to be strapped instead of executed, she was beyond confused until they started discussing his age. She found it difficult to believe someone her own age was a pirate captain. Her father asked Rolland himself to carry out the punishment, because he wanted assurances that Hook’s strapping wouldn’t be overly harsh, and there were plenty of David’s men who held a personal grudge against the young man. He also lamented the fact that it had to be a public thrashing, but after everything Hook had done over the past six months, the masses might lose faith in David as their king if he didn’t handle the matter swiftly, and publicly.

Emma blanched at the idea of a public strapping. Getting spanked was humiliating in and of itself; having an audience of strangers would be a hundred times worse. The more she heard about the criminal, the more curious she became. When her father learned that Hook’s ship and gold had not been captured along with the criminal himself, he told Rolland that they’d need to go have a second talk with Hook before the truth potion wore off. They made arrangements to meet at the criminal’s cell once the afternoon court session was over.

After hearing all that, Emma started trying to come up with excuses to miss her afternoon training session of magic with Rumple. Then her father told her mother that Rumple’s youngest was ill. Smirking to herself, Emma tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, hoping neither of her parents would ask her about her afternoon plans. She wasn’t technically forbidden to go to the dungeon, but then she’d never gone to visit of her own volition before, and she suspected her parents wouldn’t approve.

Soon her brothers were all in their afternoon studies, her parents were in court, and Emma was left to her own devices. When the coast was clear, she went down to the dungeon.

The two guards at the entrance were clearly surprised to see her, and the older of the two said, “Can we help you with something princess?”

“I wish to see the prisoners. Captain Hook specifically.”

The two men looked at each other, and the older said, “I don’t think that’s the best idea, Princess Emma. Does the king know you’re down here?”

“Of course he does,” she lied. “I’m to ask the prisoner a few questions.”

The older guard shook his head, and said to the younger one, “Go check her story with Graham.”

Scowling, Emma held her hands up said a quick spell, and used her magic to put both of the guards to sleep. As soon as she’d done it, she regretted her quick temper. When her father found out about this, and there was no doubt in her mind that he would, she would almost certainly be getting spanked. It had been over two years since the last time, and she’d hoped to never be in that position again, but it was too late to reverse the spell, so she might as well make use of her time. Straightening her shoulders, she marched into the dungeon, and shut the door behind her.

She saw a young man alone in the very first cell, dressed in all black, and missing one hand. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw his face. She’d never seen a more beautiful man in her life.

She must have gasped, because his eyes snapped to hers. Emma had often heard her parents talking about love at first sight, and considered it a bunch of romantic poppycock, but as she looked into his brilliant blue eyes, she had to reconsider that thought.

He stood with his mouth agape, walked to the bars, and simply stared at her for several long seconds. As if suddenly realizing how rude it was to just stare, he muttered, “Forgive me, my lady,” and gave her a little bow, “I wasn’t expecting company.”

She walked closer so that they were less than a foot apart. “Are you Captain Hook?” she asked.

“I am.” He bowed with a flourish and said, “Killian Jones, at your service.” He stood and held his hand out towards her, “And who do I have the pleasure of speaking to?”

Without thinking about the fact that he was a seriously dangerous criminal, she put her hand in his and said, “Emma,” with a small curtsey.

He brought her hand to his lips, kissed the back of it, and said, “You’re the most lovely woman I’ve ever seen, Emma.”

“Thank you,” she muttered, blushing bright red. “You’re lovely as well.”

He let her hand go, and frowned, “Lovely isn’t exactly the look I was aiming for. Roguishly handsome sounds much more manly.”

“Yes, of course,” she said, feeling flustered and not understanding why. “Roguishly handsome is what I meant.”

“Tell me, Emma, what is a beautiful lady of the court doing in the dungeon with the likes of me?”

“I heard you’d been captured, and I heard you were much younger than my… than people expected you to be, so I wanted to meet you myself.”

His eyes narrowed. “To what end? Have you come to gloat that I’ve been captured? There will be plenty of time for that tomorrow during my…” he seemed to struggle with the words, but eventually spit out, “…punishment.”

“No,” she answered with sincerity, and moved to put her hand over his on the bars. “Absolutely not. I definitely don’t plan to watch that.” She shuddered. “I came to see you mostly out of curiosity, but now that I’ve met you, I’d like to keep you company, and distract you from thoughts of tomorrow.”

“Why would you want to be kind to me? I’m a traitor to the king.”

She’d heard her father talking, and she knew the king wouldn’t have put it that way. “My mother says that showing kindness to those who have wronged us is the only way to clear the darkness from a heart.”

He smirked, “Well you’re not the first woman to try and convert me.” His eyes opened wide with surprise, and he slapped his hand over his own mouth before muttering, “I’m so sorry my lady. That was rude and inappropriate…” he seemed to struggle for a moment before adding, “…but true.”

Finding him even more attractive when he was flustered, she reached her hand out to him. “It’s alright. I understand. I know you were given the truth potion, and I’m not here to make you tell me things you’d rather keep to yourself. I just want to keep you company. I’d love to hear about some of your adventures out at sea. I’m sure you must have some stories that would be safe to tell me.”

He thought it over for a few seconds, and stepped up to take her hand. “I doubt my stories will be nearly as entertaining without the embellishments that I usually add, but I’d be more than happy to share them with you, if only to remain in your presence for as long as possible.”

Smiling shyly, she said, “I’ll stay as long as I can to hear them.”

# # #

Three hours later, Hook and Emma were sitting side by side on the floor holding hands between the bars, and happily chatting away when the door to the dungeon slammed open.

David rushed in holding his sword and looking around franticly. When his eyes landed on Emma, relief crossed his face, followed instantly by rage.

“Daddy?” she asked cautiously as she watched him take a deep breath, and put his sword away.

“Daddy?” Hook asked, while snatching his hand away from hers. He pushed himself up off the floor and backed away a few steps. “Emma as in Princess Emma?!”

David reached her in three long strides, pulled her up off the floor by her arm and said, “What the hell do you think you’re doing, young lady?”

She swallowed hard, tilted her chin up to glare at him and said, “Showing kindness to turn a heart.”

A fraction of his anger faded, but there was plenty left over. “You skipped your lesson with Rumple, you used magic without your tutor to put the guards to sleep, you came into the dungeon unattended, and you put yourself in mortal danger by getting close enough to let a prisoner get his hands on you.”

“I would never hurt her,” Hook protested.

David ignored him and added, “Not to mention you practically gave your mother and me a heart attack when we realized you were missing.” He turned her to the side and gave her an almighty smack on the backside.

“Ow,” she yelped. Tears sprung to her eyes from the pain. Her father had never smacked her that hard before. She also turned a brilliant shade of red at being swatted in front of Hook.

“Hey!” Hook protested again. “She was in no mortal danger! That’s wholly unnecessary.”

“Go to your room and stay there,” David ordered, before letting her go. He turned back to his guards standing by the dungeon door, and said, “Escort her, and stand guard until I get there.”

“Yes, Sire,” the guard said.

“And let the queen know she’s been found.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

David turned his furious glower towards Hook.

“Daddy?” Emma said softly.

He turned back to face her, and she looked up at him with tears in her eyes. “It’s not his fault I came down here, it’s mine. He was a perfect gentleman the entire time, so please don’t be angry with him for this. You’re already having him strapped tomorrow for his actual crimes, which is more than enough. You can’t add to it for this.”

David scowled at his daughter for a few seconds, but then visibly tried to calm himself down by closing his eyes, and taking a few deep breaths. When he opened his eyes again, he put a hand on the side of Emma’s face and said, “You remind me of your mother, always fighting to protect others, even when you’re in trouble yourself.” He kissed her forehead and said, “I’m not going to add to his punishment for your bad behavior. I’m only going to ask him a few more questions while he’s still unable to lie. Then I’ll be dealing with you.”

A tiny whine was her only response.

“Go on now,” David said, nudging her towards the guard, “before I decide to put you over my knee right here.”

Still blushing, she quickly moved towards the guard, and headed to her room.

Hook and David sized each other up for a few seconds, before Hook looked away and muttered, “She was in no danger from me.”

“Where is my ship?” David asked, getting right to the point.

“It’s my ship now!” Hook hissed.

David raised an eyebrow at that. Clearly the teen believed that to be true, but he was sadly mistaken. “Where is your ship?” he asked.

Hook clenched his jaw, but the words came out anyway. “Off a small island due west from Port Bail.” He sneered and added, “But even if you find her, you won’t be able to sail her.”

“Why not?”

“I’ve had her magically bound to me through blood. No one can sail the Jolly Roger but me, even if I die.”

Momentarily surprised, David had to admit that was a smart move on Hook’s part. He’d wondered how the teen had gotten a crew of men to follow a kid without having a mutiny, and now he knew. He started to understand why Rolland seemed to admire the boy.

“Where is my gold?”

“My men are well paid, but the majority of your gold is on the ocean floor.”

“What?” David asked with dismay.

Shrugging, Hook said, “I have no need for gold, I just want to keep you from having it. I toss it piece by piece over the side as we sail. It’s cathartic.”

He didn’t want to believe it, but David could tell Hook was telling the truth. Scowling at the floor, David muttered, “I’ll have to get Rumple to work on a spell.” The king turned and started to leave.

Hook went up to the bars and said, “Please don’t be angry with your daughter, Sire.”

Turning back to stare at the young man, David scrutinized him, not sure why the criminal would care.

“She had good intentions, and she showed me more kindness than I’ve seen since…” Hook struggled, but then continued, “…since my brother died. Please don’t punish her for that.”

David’s first instinct was to let his anger take over, and yell at the kid to shut up, but he knew Snow wouldn’t approve of that, and did his best to stay calm. “Not that it’s any of your business, but that’s exactly why I am going to punish her. She can’t let her kindness override her common sense. What if she’d come in here and talked to anyone other than you? She could have easily been killed today. I might not be quite as angry if she’d been talking to you at a safe distance, but she was holding your hand.” He scowled with extreme disapproval at that.

“I’ll take the punishment for her,” Hook said softly, “I was the one who initiated the touch by reaching out to her, and I’m betting she wouldn’t have moved closer to any of the others. She could tell I posed no threat to her.”

David took a step closer and said carefully, “You’re saying you’d take a spanking from me right now, even though you know you’ll have a harsh public strapping tomorrow?”

Hook had to grab the bars of the cell to keep himself upright, and he appeared nauseated, but he looked David in the eyes and said, “Aye, if it will save her the pain, then I will.”

Sighing, the king had to begrudgingly admit that every time he spoke with the teen he had more respect for him. He shook his head and said, “That’s a brave thing to offer, but Emma needs to be held accountable, as much as I may detest it.” He thought it over and added, “And the public needs to see you held accountable for your crimes, as much as I may detest that as well.”

David turned and walked out before Hook could think of anything to say to that.

# # #

When David got to his daughter’s room, he excused the guard, went inside, and shut the door behind him. He found Emma nervously sitting on the edge of her bed waiting for him. Wanting to get it over with as quickly as possible, he sat next to her on the bed, and immediately pulled her across his lap.

“Daddy,” she whimpered, but didn’t struggle.

He lifted her skirts, bunched them up at her lower back, and held them in place by putting his arm around her waist.

“You, young lady, are not allowed to use magic without Rumple, you are not allowed in the dungeon by yourself, and you most certainly are not allowed to consort with criminals.”

“We weren’t consorting, we were just talking,” Emma said.

David pursed his lips. His daughter never gave in easily, even when she was over his lap. “That’s not the point, and you know it.” He raised his hand and started slapping the seat of her bloomers, while keeping his force in check. He wanted it to sting, not bruise.

“Ow,” she whined, and grabbed her quilt with both hands.

“Do you have anything else to say for yourself?” he asked while spanking at a steady pace. “An apology maybe? An admission of guilt for your blatantly bad behavior?”

“I’m sorry,” she said in a small voice. “Ow, Daddy, not so hard.” Her toes drummed the floor as the slaps continued.

“You could have been killed today. I’m being lenient.” He gave her several much harder swats.

“Ow!” she cried out, and her whole body flailed to get away, but she was held fast. “Daddy, stop! Please! I’m sorry!” When she couldn’t get away, she put a hand back to cover her bottom.

He quickly captured her wrist in his hand and pinned her hand at the small of her back. “You’re going to be much sorrier by the time I’m done.” He started slapping her bottom again with moderate force.

Those words were Emma’s breaking point. She started to cry, and her struggling became a reaction to the pain rather than an attempt to get away.

Normally David would be about done at this point, but the fear he’d felt while she was missing, and the terror he’d felt when he found her in the dungeon holding hands with Hook made him continue. Emma was practically an adult. He would have expected this type of behavior from her when she’d been thirteen, but at eighteen she truly should know better than to put her life in harms way for no reason. Instead of stopping, he did another full circuit of swats, covering her entire rear end with stinging smacks while she cried.

Once he was done, he let go of her wrist and gave her a few seconds to calm down before he said, “Are you going to go to the dungeon alone again?”

“No,” she said while rubbing her face on the quilt to dry her tears.

“Are you going to use magic without Rumple there to guide you?”

“No, Daddy, I won’t.”

“You’d better not.” He let her skirts fall back into place, pulled her upright, and situated her so that she was sitting on his lap, and wrapped his arms around her.

He let her cry on his chest for a few minutes while rubbing her back and waiting it out. When her tears were mostly gone, they heard a tentative knock on her door. It opened a crack, and Snow stuck her head in. “All done?” she asked.

“Yes,” David answered. “You can come in.” He slid Emma off his lap and onto the bed next to him, so that she would be between her parents.

Snow gave Emma a strong hug. “I was so worried when we couldn’t find you.”

“I’m sorry,” Emma said softly.

“Did the guards tell you where she was?” David asked.

“In the dungeon talking to Hook,” Snow answered.

“Not just talking to him,” David corrected. “Holding hands with him.”

Snow gasped and looked her daughter in the eyes. “You were holding hands with a criminal?”

“I love him,” Emma said.

David’s entire body tensed. “That’s not possible. You should never joke about love, Emma.”

She turned her red rimmed eyes on him and said firmly, “I love him, Daddy.”

A mix of fear and anger rushed through him. He stood to tower over her, pointed a finger in her face and yelled, “You do not love him! If you don’t stop with that kind of talk, I’ll have you confined to your bedchambers for a month!”

Snow stood up as well and stepped between her husband and daughter. Speaking sharply she said, “David, if you can’t be calm, I’m going to need you to take a walk and come back when you are.”

Startled by his wife’s vehemence David took a step back and then took a deep breath before responding. “You’re right. I’m sorry. Let’s sit down and talk about this calmly.”

“Thank you,” Snow said, as they both sat down next to their daughter.

Snow took Emma’s hand in hers and said, “Can you tell me why you think you’re in love, sweetheart?”

“Before when you and Daddy would talk about love at first sight, I used to think it was ridiculous. Now I understand. From the moment our eyes met… I felt this rush of feelings inside my chest. The same type of feeling I have for the both of you and my brothers, but so much stronger… almost overwhelming. I couldn’t look away, and I couldn’t leave. Then when we touched…” She shrugged helplessly, “…I knew I loved him. That feeling only grew stronger the longer we talked. I believe he feels the same way as me.”

David and Snow exchanged a glance, and David could see the despair he felt reflected in his wife’s face. “Emma, he’s a criminal,” David said gently, but his mind replayed Hook’s offer to take Emma’s spanking, and suspected that Hook loved her back.

“I know,” she said, her tears coming back. “It doesn’t matter.”

“But it does,” he disagreed.

Snow shook her head. “You know as well as I do that it’s just as possible for our daughter to fall in love with a common criminal as it is for her to fall in love with a prince. You should know that better than most. Our daughter has never claimed to even be infatuated with anyone let alone to love someone. Nothing you do will stop this if it’s true love, Charming, and you know it.”

“Daddy?” Emma said, “You said Hook will be assigned an apprenticeship here until he turns twenty-one. Do you think he could apprentice as one of my body guards?”

The thought of that criminal being in charge of his daughter’s protection made David queasy, “No, absolutely not!” He quickly stood and muttered, “I’m going for a walk,” as he headed for the door.

Snow sighed, and he heard Emma said, “Mom?”

“I’ll talk to him later, sweetheart. He needs time to adjust to his little girl growing up.”

David shut the door behind him a little more forcefully than necessary, and stormed down the hall. He went straight to the stables, and took his fastest horse out for a run, trying to get away of the images of his sweet innocent little daughter in the arms of that jaded despicable pirate.

Hours later after night had fallen, and the castle was quiet, David came home. He went straight to the dungeon to tell Hook he needed to leave and never come back the instant his strapping was over. He found the nefarious pirate captain asleep.

Like any other sleeping teen, Hook was dead to the world, and even the sound of the dungeon door slamming hadn’t actually woken him. The nose had only made him rollover and mutter, “A few more minutes, Mum.”

Almost all of David’s anger seeped away. When Killian was asleep he looked impossibly young and innocent. David walked over, reached a hand through the bars, and put it on Hook’s shoulder to shake it once. “Hook?”

The teen stirred slightly, and opened his eyes a crack. Once he saw David, and remembered where he was, he jerked himself into a sitting position and backed away on the cot.

Getting straight to the point David asked him point blank. “How do you feel about Emma?”

Hook’s eyebrows went up and he slapped a hand over his mouth while shaking his head, but the words, “I love her,” came through loud and clear.

David’s shoulders sagged, and he hung his head. “That’s what I was afraid of.”

Hook took the hand off his mouth and added, “I’d rather not love her, because I know there’s no hope for us. She’s much too good for the likes of me.”

Feeling worse, David sighed and walked out without commenting. When he got to his bedroom, he found his wife sitting up in bed reading a book.

“You waited up for me?” he asked while taking off his jacket.

“Of course, my love.” She set her book aside and watched him undress.

Once he was down to his underclothes, he slipped into the bed with her, and they snuggled up together face to face to talk.

“He loves her, too,” David said softly.

“True love,” Snow said.

“I’m afraid so.”

After a long silent spell, Snow said, “Hook will likely be our son-in-law.”

David groaned and hid his head in the pillow.

Snow put her hand on his face, and made him look at her. “Emma is in love. There’s no changing that fact. But what we can change is Hook’s course in life. He’s still young and impressionable, and we have a full year before he’s of age. During that time you can turn Hook into the kind of man that Emma deserves. If we let him and Emma see each other during that year, they’ll be so in love that he’ll have to stay. Then we can keep working on him for another full year until Emma comes of age, and they can be wed.”

David’s mind quickly took in what his wife was saying, and realized it was the best solution he was likely to get in this situation. “Make him family before he’s actually family.”

“Exactly,” she said. “Teach him to run the kingdom without explicitly telling him that’s what you’re doing. Bring him into the family with love, kindness, gentle guidance, and a firm hand when he’s out of line. Treat him like one of your children, instead of like the criminal he currently is, and he’ll grow to love and respect you.”

“Or he’ll grow to hate me for keeping him here.”

Snow chuckled, “I didn’t name you Charming for nothing David. There’s a reason almost everyone in the kingdom loves you. The only reason Hook hates you now is because he’s mourning the loss of his older brother. With time you’ll be his older brother and father figure all rolled into one, and he’ll find you just as charming as I do.”

David pulled her closer and whispered in her ear, “No one finds me as charming as you do, my lovely wife.”

She giggled and agreed as he kissed her neck.

# # #

The next morning, David went to Rumple early in the morning, and asked the court magician to get a binding spell ready for Hook to keep him on the castle grounds for the next six months. He didn’t plan to tell Killian about the spell, and if the kid didn’t try to escape, he’d never find out.

Next David went to the dungeon to talk to Hook before the truth serum wore off. He found the teen sitting on his cot next to his untouched breakfast.

The two men regarded each other for a few seconds before David said, “You have two options. Option number one is an apprenticeship under Rolland in the Royal Navy. If you pick that option, he’ll be strapping you, and it will be forty lashes. You’ll be bent over a table with your pants down, your undergarments up, and a guard will hold your arms in place. Option number two is an apprenticeship under me. If you pick that option, I’ll be strapping you. It will be over my lap with your pants down, undergarments up, and no one, other than me, holding you down. No specific number of swats, I’ll just keep going until I think you’ve learned your lesson. My guess is it will be less than forty, but if you’re stubborn it might be more.”

Hook had started to shake his head in horror before David was done with the explanation of the second option.

David held a finger up to stop the teen from saying anything yet. “I spoke with my daughter last night.” He pursed his lips with distaste. “She loves you, too.”

Killian gasped, stood, and moved closer to the bars. “She loves me?”

“Unfortunately.” David sighed and said, “So if you go with option number two, the queen and I will make sure you have supervised time with Emma every day. You’ll take your meals with my family, you’ll have tutoring sessions alongside my children, and you’ll share a room with my oldest son, Neal.”

Hook had to grasp the bars with his one hand to keep himself upright. “But…” After a few seconds thought, the only thing he could come up with was, “…tutoring?”

David nodded solemnly. “You said yourself that you’re not good enough for my daughter, and I agree. But in a year’s time, maybe you will be. And for the sake of full disclosure, any wrong doing in that year will earn you another trip over my knee, but I won’t use a strap on you again after today. My children seem to find my hand more than sufficient when it comes to teaching them right from wrong.”

Hook took a few moments to think it over, and then a blush stained his cheeks. “Does it have to be over your lap?”

“Absolutely. Right now the public sees you as a pirate and a criminal. We’re going to change that perception. When the court sees you squirming and yelping over my knee, it’s going to be difficult for them to see you as a hardened criminal.”

Killian cringed at that mental image.

“I know,” David said. “It’ll be a serious blow to your pride, but honestly that’s part of it, because it’s been a serious blow to my pride to find out that the infamous Captain Hook is a teenager. And honestly I think I should be the one to punish you. Your brother was a loyal soldier in my Navy. Do you honestly think he’d be happy to hear that you stole my ship and my gold by working with the mermaids, especially when they’re the ones who killed him?”

David could see Hook trying to keep his words in, but eventually he blurted out an angry, “No.”

“So what’s it going to be, Killian?” David asked. “Keep your pride, become part of my Navy, and never see Emma again? Or humbly accept your well deserved punishment, become part of my household, and see Emma every day?”

“Is there a third option?”

“No.”

“Can I have some time to think it over?”

“No. You decide right now, and once you’ve made your decision, there’s no taking it back.”

Hook scowled at the ground thinking it over. “It’s emotional blackmail,” he muttered.

“Yes it is,” David agreed. “If it helps, I hope you take option number two. Not only will that make Emma happier, I think if you’re working with me rather than against me, we’ll have a much better chance of ending the war with the giants, and then no more of my men will have to die.”

That idea seemed to help Killian come to a decision. He nodded and muttered, “Option two.”

“Good decision,” David said before leaving the dungeon. He went to find Rolland first to let him know about the change in punishment. Next he went to Rumple and had him perform the binding spell on Hook. Lastly he went to see his wife to tell her his plan, and to make sure she kept Emma in her room for the morning, so there would be no possibility of her seeing Hook’s punishment.

# # #

At ten o’clock, David was a little disappointed to see the throne room packed with spectators. But in the end, a large crowd would be best, because the gossip of what happened would spread that much faster, and the public would soon see Hook as a misguided teen rather than a nefarious criminal.

Graham came in pulling an unshackled Killian along with him. Per David’s instructions, the teen was no longer dressed in black. Instead he wore a white shirt and brown pants, the same as any commoner might wear. Instead of boots, he had on plain brown shoes. All of his jewelry had been removed, he was clean-shaven, and his metal hook still hadn’t been given back, so his shirtsleeve had been tied off to hide the stump of his left arm.

The teen was clearly nervous, and David could hear a murmur go through the crowd of onlookers once they saw Hook’s new appearance.

Graham brought Hook to stand in front of David, who was sitting on his throne. David held up a hand, and a hush went through the crowd. He turned to the court recorder and said, “Read the charges.”

The old man cleared his throat, “Killian Jones, also known as Captain Hook, you are hereby charged with piracy on the high seas, and treason against the crown. Both charges carry the penalty of death by hanging.”

The older man looked back at David who gave him a nod and stood to address the court. “Yes Killian was a pirate, and yes he did commit treason, but the crown has never, and will never hang a child. Killian is nineteen, and in my kingdom that means he is underage, and will not be held to the same standards as an adult. Due to his age and the circumstances surrounding his decision to become a pirate and to commit treason, I’ve decided on a penalty that I find more fitting for his age. He will be strapped, the same as any misbehaving teen who is apprenticing to become a member of the Royal Navy, but isn’t of age to enlist yet. And as of today, he is under my personal guardianship until his twenty-first birthday.”

That last bit of news caused a much louder murmur of surprise to go through the crowd, but David ignored it. He moved forward so that he was less than a foot from Hook and Graham, and held his hand out palm up towards Graham. The guard handed him a standard issue strap, the type that all ships carried, as well as many households in the realm. The strap was about a foot long, an inch and a half wide, and it had a handle attached for easy use.

Once David had the strap in hand, he grasped Hook’s right upper arm, and Graham let the teen go at the same time. Graham stepped to the side to await further instructions, while David pulled a relatively compliant Hook up to the throne. The king sat on the edge of the throne, put the strap down beside him, and used both hands to undo Hook’s pants. A small whine of protest came out of the teen as his pants pooled around his ankles, but David doubted anyone could hear it other than himself and Graham. He quickly pulled Hook face down across his left leg, so that the teen’s hips were directly on his thigh, his feet were on the floor on one side, and his hand was on the floor on the other side. David clamped the teen’s legs down with his right leg, put his left hand on Hook’s waist, and then picked the strap back up.

Speaking quietly so that only Hook would hear, David said, “Stealing my ship was wrong.” He lifted the strap up and snapped it against Hook’s white boxers. He felt the teen’s body tensing and heard a small gasp, and then silence as he laid down more swats. After a total of ten, Killian was holding himself as stiffly as possible, and most likely holding his breath to keep from yelping or otherwise humiliating himself.

David paused long enough to say softly, “Stealing my gold was wrong.” During the pause, Hook had to breathe, and when the strap started falling again, a small grunt of pain escaped. David kept a steady pace, moving the swats from the crest of Hook’s backside, all the way down to the young man’s upper thighs. By the fifth strike, the teen couldn’t hold himself still. Little jerks and twitches rippled across his form as he fought the urge to flail in pain. By the eighth strike, the teen couldn’t be silent. Tiny hisses, whines, and grunts came out of him with each blow.

David had to admit that he was impressed. None of his children could have taken so much without loudly complaining and crying, but then his children were younger, and they’d never felt the need for stoicism during a spanking. Unfortunately for Hook, David had no intention of stopping until the entire court had seen the teen break down.

Pausing after ten licks, David said, “Becoming a pirate was bad choice, and attacking the ships in my Navy was wrong every time you did it.” This time when David started again, the teen yelped and squirmed at the first blow. David tightened his legs to keep Hook from kicking too much, and continued with the same pace and pattern as before, starting at the top of the rear end, and moving down to the thighs. Each blow elicited a noise, a yelp, a whine, or a pain filled hiss. By the sixth strike, Hook’s hand came up off the floor and started to reach back, but Hook jerked it forward again. David watched the kid struggle for the next couple of blows, but by the ninth, he couldn’t keep it in front anymore, and tried to cover a portion of his backside.
The king immediately stopped and Hook snatched his hand back to the front when he realized what he’d done.

Not bothering to keep his voice down, David said, “Give me your hand.”

When the arm stayed where it was, David set the strap down on the kid’s back and said, “I’m not going to accidentally hit your one good hand with the strap Killian, so…” he raised his hand and gave the teen a solid slap with each word, “…Give. Me. Your. Hand.”

“Ah!” Hook yelped at the new sensation, and immediately put his hand back.

“That’s better,” David said, grasping the teen’s wrist, and holding it at the small of Hook’s back. He picked up the strap, and gave him the smack that he’d tried to block.

The teen hissed, but didn’t say anything else. .

David murmured, “Working with the mermaids after they killed your brother was very wrong, and you should be ashamed of yourself for it.”

A very tiny repentant sounding whine came from the teen.

Raising his arm a little higher than before, David put his shoulder into the next round of lashes, hoping to break Killian down sooner rather than later.

“Ooow!” he cried out as his body struggled to escape the fresh burning on his ass. With each new strike, the teen’s cries got louder, and after the fifth he cried out, “Please! Please stop!” On the ninth strike his struggles increased, and he begged for it to stop again. When it didn’t stop, and strike number eleven landed, audible crying could be heard coming from him, and with number twelve his struggling slowed down to become reactionary movements to the pain instead of an attempt to get away.

David centered the last six blows on Hook’s sit spots, and the kid’s crying became wailing. Once he heard that, he decided it had been enough, and set the strap down on the throne. He hadn’t planned on dishing out so many, and he could actually see Hook’s skin glowing a dark and angry looking red through the white boxers. He let go of Hook’s wrist, and patted his back once as he said, “It’s done.”

The king looked towards Graham and motioned him over. Together they helped the teen to stand, and Graham helped get Killian’s pants back up into place. David handed Graham the strap, and said, “Take him out into the hall and wait for me.”

“Your Grace,” Graham said with a nod of the head, and then towed the still crying Killian out the side door and closed it behind them.

Once the door closed, David turned to the court recorder and said, “Please make note of Killian’s punishment, and that he is now acquitted of all charges.”

While the older man started writing, David turned to the crowd and said, “If any of you have personal grievances against the former Captain Hook, you are to take those up with me and the Queen, as his guardians. Speaking of my wife, she and I will be here tomorrow and it will be back to business as usual. But for the rest of the day, we’re not to be disturbed.”

When no one shouted out any kind of protest, David walked out the same door Graham had just used. He saw Graham a few feet away talking quietly to Hook, and squeezing the teen’s shoulder gently. David went over to Graham, and said, “I’ll take it from here. Thank you, Graham.”

Graham bowed once and then left them. Once they were alone, David put an arm around Killian’s shoulders and started leading him towards the royal family’s private rooms. “This way,” he said as they walked.

The teen was no longer actively crying, but stray tears would roll out of his eyes every few feet. David led him up two flights of stairs, and down a short hall. In the hall, David pointed to the first door on the right and said, “That’s my bedroom.” He pointed to the left, “That’s Emma’s bedroom, and if I ever catch you in there with her, you’d better believe I’ll be spanking you both.” He pointed to the next one on the right and said, “This is now your room. You’ll be sharing it with my son, Neal.” He stopped in front of the door, but pointed down the hall and said, “There are two more bedrooms on the left, those belong to my other four boys, and the last door on the right is a bathroom.”

David knocked once on the bedroom door, and when no one answered, he opened the door and pulled the teen in with him. David saw the kid gape at the room. There were two newly made beds, a desk, a shelf with books, two dressers, and a couple of chairs. Hook’s black clothes were folded nicely and set on the end of the bed, along with a box of his jewelry. There were also three other stacks of clothes that Killian didn’t recognize.

David finally let go of the boy’s shoulders once they were standing in front of the bed. He put his hand on a stack of clothes and said, “These are for you. I’m not going to have you running around dressed as a pirate. You can wear the pants with a normal shirt, or the shirt with normal pants, but no more being dressed all in black for the foreseeable future, because I don’t want the public reminded of what you used to do.” He pointed to a dresser. “That one is yours. You can organize your clothes however you want, as long as they are put away, and not piled on the floor. If there’s any article of clothing that you want or need, just let my wife or me know, and we’ll get it for you.

Hook looked over at David with confusion. “You got me clothes?”
Squeezing the teen’s shoulder, David said, “I meant what I said in court. You’re acquitted of all charges, and I forgive you. The queen and I are your guardians for the next year in every sense of the word. Now we need to work on moving forward together.” He let his hand drop and patted the bed. “After you put your clothes away, you should lie down and rest for a while. You had an incredibly stressful morning, and I know you’re in a fair amount of pain. I’ll have a lunch sent up to you within the next half an hour, since you didn’t eat any breakfast. I want you to stay in this room until someone comes to get you for dinner.”

“Dinner?”

“You’ll be eating with me and my family. It’s mandatory for all of my children every day, even on the days when they’d rather not sit to eat their food. We’ll talk more tonight.” David patted the teen’s shoulder and walked towards the door. Once he opened it he said, “For today, I plan to have a guard standing outside the door, so if you need anything before dinner, you can tell the guard.”

When Killian’s only response was an absent nod while looking at his new clothes, David sighed and left quietly to find Emma and reassure her that her new love wasn’t actually damaged, and that the punishment was over.

# # #

David had told all of his children to stay away from Killian for the afternoon, so the teen could recover on his own without being pestered or harassed with questions by his younger boys. But an hour before dinner, he told his oldest, Neal, that he could go in and introduce himself. At seventeen Neal was usually more responsible than Emma, and he was a naturally serious person and a leader, even though his parents hadn’t actively tried to instill that in him. David was certain that Neal would be a good influence on Hook, and if the older teen happened to help Neal relax and have a little bit of mischievous fun now and then, David wouldn’t mind that at all.

Even though David truly wanted to go in with Neal and make sure the boys got off on the right foot, he forced himself to stay out, but did mumble an order for the guard to go in if he heard any kind of squabble.

Relieved when it was finally time for dinner, David went to get the boys himself. When he opened the door, they were both standing together by the window and looking out at the castle grounds, and Neal was saying something about their horses when they turned to see who had come in.

David smiled and said, “Time for dinner,” and waved them towards him.

Neal walked over with a smile, but Killian cringed and walked over with a stiff gait. David knew the kid would likely have some bruising after such a harsh strapping, and felt slightly bad about making him sit for dinner, but the chairs were padded, and he needed to get used to his new routine.

When they got to the dining area, they found the rest of the family already seated. David wasn’t pleased to see that Emma had an empty spot on either side of her, ensuring that Hook would be sitting next to her, no matter which spot he picked, but he didn’t comment. He knew he had to get used to them being close, and went to stand near the head of the table.

He watched with irritation as Emma blushed and appeared flustered just by the sight of Killian, but then when David looked at the young man, it seemed he was just as affected if the goofy smile and pink cheeks were any indication.

The younger children quieted down and stared at Hook as he walked past. Their youngest, Harry, looked at the empty doorway and asked, “Where’s Captain Hook, Mama?”

“I’m Captain Hook,” Killian said, holding up his stump for the child to see.

Harry’s mouth made a little ‘o’ as he stared at it.

“Not anymore, you’re not,” David snapped, and pointed to the chair that was between him and Emma. “You’re here.”

With a slight grimace, Killian sat, and did a commendable job of hiding his wince.

“Auntie Red said you got a whipping today,” Harry said.

Killian turned bright red, and David muttered while glaring at his wife, “Auntie Red needs to watch what she says around little boys.”

Snow patted Harry’s hand and said, “Was Auntie Red talking to you about that Harry? Or was she talking to someone else?”

Harry’s eyes darted over to his father’s with worry, and then said, “Well… she was talking near me.”

David sighed. “What have we said about eavesdropping Harry?”

“Not to, but I wasn’t trying to Daddy! I just couldn’t help overhear what she said.”

David nodded, believing his son. He knew his wife’s friend was quite the gossip, and she didn’t always pay attention to who was listening in. “Just because you overhear something doesn’t make it true, and it certainly doesn’t mean you need to repeat it.”

“Sorry, Daddy.” Harry said.

David looked around the room and said, “Everyone, this is Killian Jones.” He gestured towards the teen. “In the past he was known as Captain Hook, but from now on he’s going to be referred to as Killian.”

He looked at Killian and said, “You’ve already met Emma, my oldest, and Neal my second oldest.” He pointed across the table to a blond boy and said, “That’s James, he is sixteen. Next are the twins Robert and Leopold. They’re thirteen. Harry our youngest is six. And at the other end of the table is my lovely wife, the queen, also known as Snow White the fairest in the land.”

“Sit down, Charming,” she said with a wry smile.

Once he was seated, Snow rang a little bell, and a couple of servants came in carrying plates. Once everyone had a plate in front of them, David gave his kids a nod, and everyone started to eat. He turned to Killian and said, “Go ahead and eat now that everyone has been served.”

The teen picked up his fork, and started to eat.

David turned his attention to his youngest and said, “Harry, tell me about your day.”

The little boy rambled on about his tutoring session, and a game he played with Auntie Red’s daughter Callie. Once Harry was done, David went up the line to each of his children and asked about their day. When he got to Killian, instead of asking about his day, he said, “Killian is going to be living with us for at least a year, so I thought you kids could tell him about the rules.”

“No lying,” Harry called out.

“That’s a really important rule,” Snow said, smiling proudly at her youngest.He nodded in agreement. “It’s one of the spanking rules. There’s only three of those. Most of the rules are sit in the corner or go to bed early rules.”

Killian chuckled at that, and Emma smiled at his amusement.

“What are the other two big ones?” David asked the room at large.

“No fighting.” James sad, and then clarified for Killian. “Which isn’t the same as no arguing. No fighting means no hitting, throwing things, or screaming at each other.”

“And the other big rule?” David asked, while turning to his daughter. “This one should be fresh in your mind.”

Scowling at her father, Emma said, “No wandering off alone.” Turning her eyes to Killian she said more softly, “You’re free to go anywhere on the castle grounds, as long as the guards know where you are, and what you’re doing.”

“Other rules?” David asked.

“No jumping on the bed,” Harry said.

Several of the kids chuckled at that one, including Killian.

“What?” Harry asked.

Robert rolled his eyes and said, “That one’s just for you because you’re little, Harry. No one else wants to jump on the bed.”

Harry scowled at his plate.

“What other rules are there?” David asked.

Leopold said, “No skipping out on tutoring, be respectful to your elders, and follow orders from the adults that are trustworthy.” He made eye contact with Killian and said, “You’ll have to follow our lead for a while until you figure out who all of them are. Just ask if you don’t know.”

“I think that’s it,” David said. “Any others that we forgot?”

Neal said, “Always try to do your best, no matter what task you’re given.”

David hadn’t ever thought of that as an actual rule, but he didn’t disagree, so he nodded.

“Always come to dinner, even when you’d rather not,” Emma said with a small squirm, because she was a little sore from yesterday’s spanking.

“Always brush your teeth,” Harry said.

Several of the older kids laughed.

“It’s not funny!” Harry said with irritation.

“Aye,” Hook told the little boy solemnly. “That’s an important rule. I’ll be sure to follow it. Thank you for telling me.”

Surprised at the teen’s compassion for his youngest, David smiled. That was until he saw Emma smile and put a hand over Hook’s hand on the table. After that his smile vanished.

David cleared his throat and said, “I’ve talked to the court sculptor about making you a prosthetic hand.”

Killian’s eyes snapped to David’s. “What?”

David reached over to a box that was beside him on the table, and opened it. He pulled out a metal hook and held it up. “I’m giving this back to you, and if you prefer it to a hand, I won’t stop you from wearing it, but if you hurt anyone with it, you’ll be getting spanked, and the hook will go back in the box for a week.” He set it on the table next to Killian.

“Hurt?” Hook asked indignantly. “Who do you think I’m going to hurt?”

Before David could start to lecture, Neal jumped in and said, “He doesn’t think you’re going to hurt anyone. Dad just likes to plan for the worst and expect the best. You should have heard the laundry list of things I could get spanked for when I started practicing with a sword. Then when nothing went wrong, and I actually did well, all Dad said was that he knew I could do it.”

Emma nodded. “The same thing happened when I started practicing magic. Dad made a huge production of telling me everything that would get me into serious trouble, but he never expected me to do any of those things. He expected me to do well.”

Defending himself, David said, “It’s important to know what’s expected of you, and it wouldn’t be fair to punish you for something if you didn’t know it was against the rules.”

“Father,” Neal said with some exasperation, “Please don’t tell me that you had to specifically tell me that I’d get spanked if I tried to stab one of the guards with a sword. I’m pretty sure that goes without saying.”

“Or that I’d get spanked for trying to do spells on you and mom to get away with things you wouldn’t approve of,” Emma added.

David looked at his wife and said, “Our children are slandering me. Aren’t you going to come to my defense?”

Snow shook her head. “I think they’ve got you figured out.”

Emma smiled at Killian and said, “So the point of all that is that Daddy expects you to be perfectly able to handle yourself with the hook. He just needs to point out the obvious before he lets you have it.”

David sighed and said, “Yes, I do expect you to handle yourself just fine with the hook, but please don’t let my children’s teasing make you believe that you can ignore my warnings. I do spank my kids when they break the rules.” He glared at his two oldest. “Don’t I?”

“Yes,” the both muttered.

With a nod, David turned back to Killian and said, “For the next couple of weeks, you’ll follow Neal’s daily routine. You’ll tutor with him, practice swords with him, and work in the stables with him. Then we can adjust your schedule once we see what your skill levels are.”

“Can he have horseback riding lessons with me, Daddy?” Emma asked.

“Not this week, but maybe next.”

“May we be excused, father?” Neal asked. “I told Killian I’d show him the stables.”

“I want to come,” Robert and Leopold said at the same time.

“Me, me. I want to come, too,” Harry said, “Please Neal, can I come too?”

Neal sighed and turned to Killian. “Do you mind if they come along?”

“The more the merrier,” Killian said before turning to Emma. “Will you come as well?”

She blushed and nodded.

David frowned, but said, “You can all be excused, and you can all go to the stables together, but take a guard, and Hook… I mean Killian and Emma are not to be alone together. That’s a rule specifically for them, and all of you children will help enforce it.”

Both Killian and Emma glared at David, but he didn’t care. “Consider yourselves lucky that I’m letting the kids help, because otherwise I’d have to come along every time you wanted to spend time together.” David waved a hand towards the door and said, “Go on. Get out of here before I change my mind.”

As the children were getting up, Snow said, “No riding. It’s too late. And I want all of you in bed on time.”

The older kids acknowledged her orders, as they were leaving. David watched Emma pulling Killian out the door along with his five boys who all seemed to be talking to him at the same time, and thought that his wife’s plan was going to work beautifully.

Once they were alone, Snow got up, walked to David, and sat in his lap. They kissed and she said, “Hard day?”

“It was.”

“Should we go eavesdrop on the children in the stables, and see how they get along?”

He laughed out loud, and eventually said with a twinkle in his eye, “We can’t let them catch us.”

Giggling, she stood, and pulled him up with her. “It will be an excellent test of our skills. I’m sure we’re rusty.”

They walked out the door hand in hand, full of hope for their children’s future.


The End



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