Author's Notes: This story is from the short lived Television show called 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers', not from the movie.
Hanna pulled back the curtain and looked out towards the long and empty road leading to their farmhouse and tried not to panic. She looked over her shoulder at her brother in law Crane who was usually the voice of reason in these situations but was unhappy to see as much concern on his face as she ever had. "Oh my Lord Crane what if they all die?"
She struggled not to give in to the sobs that had been struggling all afternoon to escape at that thought. She felt Crane pull her away from the window and sit her down on the couch and put a consoling arm around her.
"They are all going to be fine Hannah. Adam and Brian and the rescue team will bring them all out."
Hannah stifled a cry at the thought of her three younger brothers in law being brought out unconscious or even dead. As if he were reading her mind Crane tipped her chin up so that she was looking into his serious blue eyes. "Alive, they are all going to come out alive. At least until Adam gets through with them anyway."
He had said it just trying to lighten the mood but unfortunately she leapt to her feet again now clearly angry,
"They all knew better than to go into that old boarded up mine. What exactly do you suppose they were thinking about? Where they trying to get themselves killed?"
Crane shook his head unsure himself of the answer to that question. It was the same one that had been rattling around in his brain all afternoon. "I guess it has a certain appeal to a kid. Both Adam and Brian snuck into that mine when they were about Daniels age and both ended up getting their butts blistered for their efforts too."
Now Hannah turned to look at him again. "And what about you Crane?"
He couldn't help the smile that crossed his face. "Nah I was the guy who always tried to learn from my older brother's mistakes. And trust me dad made both of them sorry they had ever even heard of that mine. I wasn't real interested in exploring after that."
They both heard the sounds of vehicles and Hannah pulled back the curtain and fought tears of relief as she watched her husband, Brian, Daniel, Ford. Evan and Guthrie climb out of the ranch's two white pick up trucks. She threw open the door and looked from one soot covered face to the other.
She had been married to Adam for several years already and rarely had she seen him look this grim. She went to and hugged each of her brothers in laws except Daniel who stepped back as if not wanting a hug. "Guthrie, Ford and Evan all of you go to your rooms and I will be up in a few minutes. No sense putting it off."
Now Hannah saw defiance on Ford's face. "Adam I don't think...."
Adam stopped his protest with a dark look and a low and menacing voice. "I said go upstairs and wait for me and that is what I damn well meant."
Hannah saw all three of her husbands youngest brothers look to Adam and seeing the resolve in his face dropped their glances and trudged up the stairs. "What do you think you're gonna do anyway Adam?"
Her husband answered Daniels question by pulling off his belt. "The same thing dad would have done. And as far as you are concerned you are grounded for the next month and in all your newfound spare time you can do all of Brian's chores as well as your own."
Daniel looked to his older brother with disbelief and no small amount of anger. "You can't do that I won't be grounded and Brian can do his own damn chores."
Now he shrank back as he saw the look that was directed his way. "You are grounded and you are going to do Brian's chores for the next month or you can take what everyone else is getting. I think that's a fair choice."
"Well you have no business..."
And before Daniel could finish his thoughts Adam had grabbed him by the front of his shirt. "Don't you dare tell about what rights I have. If you had listened to me none of this would have happened. They were doing it because they didn't see any harm and they really believed the worst that they were doing was disobeying me. You knew just exactly how dangerous it was and yet not only did you do it but you let them do it with you."
Brian tried to step in knowing just how upset Adam was who still had a hold of Daniel's shirt. "Look Adam maybe your being alittle harsh here..."
Adam turned a furious gaze to his oldest brother. "Stay out of this Brian; this is between Daniel and me."
Again turning towards Daniel he released the front of his shirt. "You are grounded for the next month. No TV, no going anywhere and you will do all of Brian's chores just like I said."
Turning one last unhappy gaze towards his brother Adam slowly climbed the stairs. Daniel looked over at his two older brothers and Hannah. "Who the hell does he think that he is? He can't tell me what to do and who died and made him God anyway?"
Brian watched Hannah flinch at Daniels poor choice of words and then he saw her stare at Daniel again clearly furious. "Is that supposed to be funny Daniel? Who died? You know damn good and well who died. And if you think for one minute your brother enjoys spending every waking moment being dad to all of you then you couldn't be more wrong. But after your parents were killed someone had to make sure that the bills could be paid and the taxes met and that all of you didn't end up getting yourselves killed doing something stupid like exploring an old mine shaft that you knew you weren't allowed to go in. But if you think this has been any kind of fun for him you are dead wrong. So yes you will do Brian's chores and be grounded and any other damn thing that Adam tells you to do and frankly Daniel you should be ashamed of yourself and how you have acted."
They all heard the sound of the punishment, which had started in Guthrie's room at the top of the stairs and Hannah's eyes filled with tears and turning she headed for the kitchen leaving three astounded brothers in her wake. Daniel closed his mouth surprised by how effectively Hannah has pointed out the error of his behavior and taking off his coat placed it on the chair and headed upstairs to Adam and Hannah's room. His progress was halted by Crane placing a hand on his upper arm to stop him. "Where do you think that you're going?"
Both Brian and Crane were surprised to see Daniels eyes shining with tears. "Upstairs- Adam said that I had a choice didn't he? Well I guess I'll just take my licks the same as everyone else."
Crane released his arm and Daniel slowly walked up the stairs as Brain and Crane exchanged a look and headed into the kitchen to try and talk to their sister in law because they both realized just how upset she was. They found her standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes and crying. Brian placed his hands on her shoulders and gave her a comforting squeeze. "Hey are you okay there Rocky?"
She turned and walked into the hug that Crane had waiting and just let herself be comforted. "It just makes me so mad that the two of you and Adam work so hard for this family and no one even seems to care. The disobedience is getting out of hand and Daniel is the worst offender of all. I just don't know what Adam is going to do about him. I realize that he is angry but even given that..."
Both Brian and Crane exchanged a look. "What?"
"Well I don't think Daniel's attitude is gonna be a problem anymore, do you Brian?"
Hannah watched Bryan shake his head and wondered what they meant. "Okay someone want to clue me in on what it is that the two of you are talking about?"
Brian sighed and answered her question. "Well because he just went up to find Adam that's why."
Now Hannah bristled again "Why so that he could complain some more?"
Now Crane shook his head. "No he said something about taking his licks along with everyone else."
Hannah looked like perhaps she hadn't heard correctly. "Do you think there is a chance that is gonna happen?"
She saw Crane raise his eyebrows clearly surprised that she had even asked. "Ahh yeah I think there is more than a chance that is gonna happen in fact I would count on it."
"But he isn't twelve years old anymore."
Brian chuckled "Well when Dad was alive his policy was that you were too old when you stopped doing stuff to get your butt blistered for."
Now Hannah saw Crane smile "Yeah and for some people like Brian here that time still hasn't come."
Crane found himself on the receiving end of a good natured punch on the shoulder from his brother.
Hannah sat down at the kitchen table and sighed and both Brian and Crane sat down beside her and noticed that she was almost crying again. "Oh this is just horrible."
Now Crane smiled at her and shook his head. "What happened to all that fire and fury in the other room? Daniel deserves whatever is going to happen upstairs and we all know it. He has needed for this to happen for some time and has been all but begging for it. And if dad were alive still this would have happened a long time ago. Adam has been much more patient than dad would have ever been."
The three sat at the kitchen table for a while even though they all had things to do. But both Crane and Adam sat with Hannah trying to give her some support while then waited for Adam to finish with their younger siblings. While a spanking in their household was not an occurrence that they were unfamiliar with they both understood that this was new for Hannah and they wanted to make it as easy for her as they could.
Daniel quietly opened the door to his oldest brother and sister in laws bedroom, went in and stood at the window looking out at the farm and the barn and the farm buildings. His heart was pounding and it wasn't made any easier by the fact that he could hear most of what was going on in Ford and Evans room and it sounded like Adam was punishing as hard as dad did if not worse. A few tears rolled down Daniels face and he wondered why he had felt so compelled to do this. Both going to the mine which he knew was forbidden as well as constantly taunting his older brother. He had known that eventually it would come to this show down.
He stood there for a good long while listening to the sounds from the other room with his heart in his throat waiting for his turn. It really did twist his gut to hear his brothers being punished because he knew that what Hannah had said was true and he had been responsible. But every since his parents had died there had lived such anger inside of him and he had not known exactly how to deal with it. He still felt as if Adam were just his brother and had no power over him or what he did. He thought that perhaps that perception was gonna change.
The door to the room opened and Adam walked in still carrying his belt and Daniel noticed that he was wiping tears off of his face and for a moment he felt a stab of conscience about what had happened. His older brother looked more than surprised to see him. "What are you doing in here? Come to complain some more?"
Now he looked down at his feet ashamed. "No Adam I came to say that I'm sorry and you are right I am responsible for the whole mess."
"Look Daniel I would rather not discuss this right now. If you want to know the truth whipping your brothers has not exactly been the high point of my life. So why don't you just take your little so sorry speech and get out of here and leave me alone. I'm feeling pretty awful right about now."
Daniel wiped his damp palms down the sides of his jeans and realized that it was now or never. "Adam you said I had a choice, well I'll take the same as everyone else it that's all right by you."
While he said it in a forceful voice he felt like he wanted to cry and Adam looked at him closely. "What are you trying to say Daniel?"
Looking towards what his brother was holding in his hand and not wanting to he pointed towards the belt. "Use it, just do it and get it over with."
Now he saw Adam look at him with serious concentration. "You really mean this don't you Daniel?"
Now Daniel was fighting the tears with all he had and still several escape and roll down his face. "Yeah I meant it so just do it already!"
He knew that if his brother waited any longer he would not be able to keep his conviction. "All right Daniel unzip your jeans and lay across the bed."
He swallowed a huge lump in his throat. "Unzip my jeans?"
Now he saw some anger on his brother's face. "That's right kid, what did you think was gonna happen? Did you think I was gonna swat you once or twice and that would be that? This is the real world Daniel and what you did was serious. Add to that you are old enough and smart enough to know better. Now enough talking unzip you jeans and the briefs need to come down as well. I want to see bare skin."
Daniel was already crying and for some reason he realized that Adam was in charge and wondered with as obvious as it was how he never really saw it before this moment. He lay across the bed and was amazed by how much the first swat hurt. And if that hurt he was completely taken aback by the sting of the second and they just kept coming. He could remember being spanked before by dad but that was nothing compared to this. It took every ounce of concentration he had to stay still and accept what was being done to him. He knew that Evan and Ford were in the next room and he didn't want them to hear him yelling and begging Adam to stop but unless something changed he was afraid that was exactly what was going to happen.
He buried his face into the soft bedspread and tried to take deep breaths and continued to fight giving in. But that resolve was short lived as Adam placed four fast swats down across the backs of his legs and he just couldn't keep the crying at bay any longer. He allowed the sobs to come and realized that he was unsure what he was crying for. Certainly for the painful and stinging swats that continued to come but also for the grief that he had held back for so long.
While the painful lesson that his older brother was impressing upon his behind had his full attention he still was overwhelmed with the pain of his grief that he had held in for so long. Finally being able to stand it no more he gave in and just wailed. It didn't change Adam's actions with the belt but for some reason he felt like he had let go of something that was monumental. And then finally when he was feeling as if every inch of his behind was on fire he couldn't hold out any longer and begged his brother to stop. After what seemed like an impossible length of time Adam did just that.
Daniel stayed where he was sobbing and hurting all over from his head all the way down. He felt Adam sit on the bed next to him and rub his back alittle and even that
made him cry for if there was anything he felt he didn't deserve it was kindness. Adam was thinking of a hundred things that he would like to say but unfortunately none of them
came out of this mouth. The brothers sat like that for a few minutes and finally Adam stood back up again. "You can pull up your jeans now we are done here."
And with great difficulty Daniel struggled to his feet and pulled clothes up over a behind that felt like it had been set afire. And while even that action hurt he knew he would feel better once his clothes had been restored. But standing there still crying and fighting the urge to reach behind and rub he still felt all of five years old.
"Adam I'm so sorry I didn't mean to cause all of this." He was surprised to find just how much he meant that apology. He noticed for the first time that his brother had tears on his face as well and if possible he felt even worse.
"I'm sorry to Daniel I wish it could have been some other way, any other way believe me. I got no pleasure at all from doing that."
Daniel was further surprised when his brother reached for him and pulled him over so that they were face to face and held onto him by his shoulders. "Don't you ever, ever put me in a position where I have to do this again. Understand?"
Having said that he gave Daniel a little shake. "I hated to whip you; I absolutely hated having to hurt you and it made no difference to me that you deserved it."
The conviction that Adam said it with combined with the pain evident on his face and even the little shake were all too much for Daniel to handle with all systems on overload. He went to put his head on Adam's shoulder and cry and was stopped by Adam cupping his chin and looking into his eyes. "Tell me that you understand."
Now Daniel took a deep breath and in a small voice said "yes sir."
And was rewarded for his comment by the feeling of being pulled into a hard hug where his brother was holding on as tightly as he was.
Adam held onto him for a good long time and he found himself crying again and he knew that it was all of the things that had happened recently but mostly his pent up feelings about how all of their lives had changed when their parents had been killed. Finally he seemed to be settling down and Adam released his hold of him. "Go on downstairs now Daniel I need to be alone for a little while."
Daniel shook his head and went softly closing the door behind him almost unable to believe what had just happened between himself and his older brother.
He walked into the kitchen and found Brian and Crane sitting with Hannah and didn't miss the look they exchanged when they saw him. He wiped a hand over his face and tucked his shirt tails back into his jeans. Both of his older brothers stood up and Crane planted a kiss on the top of Hannah's head while Brian gave him a comforting shoulder squeeze on his way out the door. He felt his eyes welling with tears again as he saw the evidence of tears on Hannah's face as well. "I am so sorry Hannah I owe you such an apology, I've caused so much trouble for all of us."
She still hadn't said anything and Daniel knew that he needed to press on anyway. "Sometimes when dad was alive and Brian or Crane or Adam would do something really, really bad he would take them out to the barn and use the belt on them. He even had a name for it, it was called a "down to it whippen" cause it was done on a bare behind. And it was only for really bad things and I never got one from dad although I know that Brian did lots of times and Adam maybe a few. I guess today was my first time."
Hannah stood up looking shocked at the realization of what her young brother in law had just revealed to her. "Adam did that to you Daniel?"
Now fighting tears again with all he had he just nodded not trusting himself enough to speak. She reached him in two steps and wrapped him in a huge hug and told him that they loved him and forgave him and that he was a good kid. And the last thing made him cry all the harder because he felt so far from being good or deserving of forgiveness. "What did he say Daniel?"
Now Daniel wiped his face again and answered her question. "At first I thought that he was really mad but then after it was over he made sure I knew that he didn't ever want to have to do that again. And then he hugged me and he cried too."
At first Hannah was somewhat angry at how harsh Adam had obviously been with Daniel. While she understood that his actions could have gotten all of the boys killed she still felt bad. But hearing her brother in law talk about how Adam had cried her heart went out to him as well. She gave Daniel another hug. "We will just go on with our lives now and maybe you understand Adam alittle better and maybe he understands you as well. It isn't easy to suddenly be in the position of having a whole family of kids to be responsible for and as far as you go I realize that it isn't easy to suddenly have to mind your older brother either."
She saw that he was again fighting tears and she prodded. "Daniel is there something else?"
She watched as he struggled to regain control. "Well there is one more thing. You have done nothing but love me and take care of me and I have been terrible to you lately. You have been as much a mother to me as mom was and I have just been awful. All I've done is cause trouble and be a smart mouth and a huge jerk. Can you please forgive me?"
Her answer was to open her arms and again hug him. "Oh Daniel the nice thing about families is that each and every day we get a fresh new start. I forgive you and I know that Adam does too. With all that has happened we never even got to eat dinner so why don't you help me put some things together and then we will round everyone up and we can at least eat some sandwiches. And Daniel if you ever want to talk about anything I am always here to listen."
Her brother in law nodded but she could see the gratitude shining in his eyes as they set about to make a late meal for the family.
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