Sea monsters and mermaid princesses

As she settled down further in her blankets, she sleepily marveled on the silent tranquility of the early morning, when the night kissed the morning awake, and the sun was just about to smile on the cloudless sky. The peace and quiet were deserting the ocean as the seagulls were only starting to fly, but the sea was still mellow like soft sand on the morning. Until, of course, a loud scream had to pierce the dawn.

"Ariel WAKE UP!" his voice roared in her ear and he scrambled around their cabin, frantic and loud as a tornado.

"My goodness, Killian, what is the matter?" she muttered and rubbed her eyes and searched for her pirate. He was against the window, shadows in his eyes and the early morning light around him like a cloud.

"She's not here." he whispered, his voice cracking with panic.

She rose slightly and looked at the window, where the emptiness pulled at her heart strings, but when she turned, he was already stomping to the door, hasty and desperate, holding her blanket.

"Bugger!" he swore, as he yanked the door open.

Outside, the crew was preparing the ship for the day. They grunted and talked softly to each other, not wanting to wake up the captain and his lady. But they stopped in shock to see him so disheveled.

"Alright mates!" he yelled loudly, and they gathered in front of stirring wheel. "She's missing! You know what to do. Don't let any corner, any crook of this old boat unsearched! Hurry!"

The sailors starting running around like headless chickens, and Killian turned to his wife as she came out of the cabin. Killian was holding the blanket to his face, it was pink and embroidered with sea shells, and sea turtles, her favorite animal. The lace and yarn were a deep contrast against his beard and his dark blue eyes. Those sky eyes were desolating in their worry, and she stared at him, with heaviness in her heart. Her poor pirate was not very good at handling the stormy unpredictability of her just yet.

"Come here, love. She'll be alright." she reassured him as he gathered her in his arms, but he trembled and she thought a ship during a strong had never shaken like he did now. He clinged to her, the small red haired mermaid comforting the mighty pirate.

"I woke up and," he mumbled against her neck, and she imagined the warmth and saltiness of a stray tear travelling down her collarbone, "she was gone. I have never been more frightened in my life."

He bit his bottom lip and tried to stop the reckless race his heart was doing inside his chest. Ariel hummed and caressed his head, the warmth of the gesture natural and common nowadays. She had woken up many mornings to find him on the window, holding her and blabbering to her about mountains and sea castles, about princesses and towers. She had stayed in bed, silently crying out of joy, as he kissed her and promised to slay dragons and protect her always, to show her rainbows and give her a star for every birthday she would have. During those moments, she loved him so much, the seams of her heart threatened to rip and to cover them in light and adoration, as he hummed and swayed in front of the window, teaching her to welcome the morning with a smile and a song. He brought her seashells and stayed with her for hours making castles and silly games, and her giggles could be heard all around the deck. There was even a small turtle in a glass bowl he had bought at the market, and he would place the diminute turtle on her small legs and the turtle, Sunny was his name, would crawl over her and she would squeal and laugh and his face during those afternoons with Sunny and her was like a sunrise, pure and open.

But as lovely as he was, she worried about him. He was so overprotective, the perfect example was right now. How his eyes were blank and unstaring, fixed in the horizon, as the bottomless concern of not knowing where she was, eat away his soul. The pain of seeing Killian like this was something Ariel had yet to fix, yet to teach him how to control.

"Captain!" a yell came from the bottom quarters, and giggles could be heard from the darkness of the stairs. His muscles relaxed under her hands and he was about to sprint towards the sound, but she grasped his hand. He turned to her and his eyes were like the ocean trying to escape restrain, distressed and powerful, but she held on. She knew her ocean just fine, she could tame him down.

"Daddy daddy!" the soft, childish voice rose from the pit of the stairs as the cook John carried her and she squirmed in his arm to get to where they were. Ariel smiled at the sight of her fierce pirate trembling like a rackety palm tree hit by the strong ocean breeze at night.

"Kailani, come here!" he stammered and as soon as she was set down on the deck, she ran and the sailors let a collective sigh. Killian crouched in front of Ariel and their one year old daughter dogded legs and boxes. Her red hair was bright and exquisite and the curls tumbled and danced behind her as she darted to her parents. She looked like an orchid, all white creaminess and startling red against the clear light blue morning sky.

Kailani reached her father's arms and he held her and covered her rosy cheeks with kisses. The baby shrieked as her father's beard scratched and started slapping her father's face away.

"Daddy no! Bad daddy, itches!" she insisted and her chubby hands grabbed Killian's nose and gave a good pull. Killian yelped, and the sailors sniggered loudly and he threw a glare over his daughter's head. She smiled beautifully and gave his nose a kiss, but wiggled in his arms and crawled to her mother's feet.

"Mama mama, Sunny hungry!" she beamed as she showed her the small turtle hidden in her pocket. Ariel laughed unrestrained at her sneaky little daughter who stole her pet and went to the bottom quarters looking for food.

"Little sea monster, how did you get Sunny out of his tank?" Ariel inquired and Kailani winked at her with those big sky blue eyes. She might have Ariel's peaches and cream complexion, and the scarlet curls that stood out against the sea background, but her eyes were all Killian, playful and alluring. She was every bit the daughter of sea and sky, as her name conveyed.

"Thank you John" Killian acknowledged and the cook smiled at the family as he turned back, hiding a smile. The captain was a good father, even though he worried himself sick. But the little Kailani was just like her mother, always exploring and curious. She was a handful for the crew, but Ariel always had patience and a smile to give to her daughter. Killian, on the other hand, was about to throw himself overboard every time the little redhead escaped him for five minutes.

Killian stared at his two girls and decided his daughter was getting an earful, she couldn't be running around a pirate ship, it was dangerous, it was dreadful and she was too small and too precious to be doing that sort of nonsense. Ariel was feeding Sunny as Kailani touched the turtle's shell, they were both smiling, and when he cleared his throat, two very similar faces turned to him. The same nose, small as a closed rose, the bee-stung mouth with pale cherry lips, the long lashes that touched their reddish eyebrows, and the adoration clear in their wide eyes. His own face softened at the sight, but it was loving apprehension that made him scold his daughter.

"Kailani, you can't go running off in the middle of dawn because of Sunny. You have to stay in your crib and be a good girl, you know that." he commanded, but as the baby's lip started to quiver, a full wail about to explode, he regretted his harsh words. Kailani started crying in earnest, and buried her face in her mother's chest. Ariel's scowl turned to stony anger, and he almost felt like a sea wave had sunk him and punished his foolhardiness. She lifted her daughter and her glare froze him to the spot, her mouth was like coral, hard and unrelenting, and she turned her back to him. He could hear the soothing lullaby she sang as she rocked the baby and they whirled and the wails calmed down. Kailani was sucking on her thumb as Ariel looked to him and promised with her glower: "We need to talk".

When she returned, Kailani was talking and gesturing to Mr. Smee and she was dressed in a light green dress. Ariel beckoning him closer and her faces was calmer, like a shore after an especially rough night under the tide's power. She touched his chest, her hand on his heart and his face was regretful, but he tried to hide it.

"Love, we've talked about this. You can't protect her from everything. She's a baby and babies like to crawl and discover. I love you Killian, but I won't have you restricting our daughter. She's not be keep safe in a glass castle like a fragile princess. She won't have my childhood, she's allowed to learn and be curious and disclose the world." she dictated. Her voice was implacable, but her eyes were soft, extending him a pardon over his mistake.

"Lani and I are going to the beach for a while. You can join us after you reconsider your words." she added and kissed his cheek.

As the sun burned high in the sky at midday, the freshness of the sea barely enough to cool him down, he watched his baby swim and splash her mother. Ariel was clapping and splashing Kailani back, their laughter was a mermaid song of glee and he sat on the beach, trying to see how he went wrong. He loved his baby girl, more than his own air, more than his own heartbeat, more than any treasure he could ever possess. She was his sea and his sky.

But his fear of his past and his wrongness bordered on his mind, always reminding him of his true nature. He was never meant to be a father, he had been cruel and evil to the Lost Boys, that past couldn't be buried. He was like a rotten tree, and those were never meant for good foundation. Bless the seas for Ariel, she was kind-hearted and sweet-spoken, tender and caring, her little princess was content in her mother's arms from the very moment she was born and opened her eyes to reveal astounding blue-green depths. As she grew, as she learned to crawl, as she mumbled her first "dada" and her hair started to brighten into coopery curls, her eyes cleared to aquamarine blue just like his. It never failed to amaze him, seeing a bit of himself in the fiery restless miracle that was Kailani.

Ariel noticed him and waved at him, she grabbed the baby and tried to come to him. A wave strong enough to tackle them down made her go under and he stood up, his heart in his throat. But the pair just came up spluttering and laughing, Kailani screeching and hooting. Ariel balanced the baby on her hip as she came to stand in front of him.

"Hello stranger." she spoke and Kailani made grabby hands at him. He complied and she tried to crawl over his neck.

"Daddy, horsey." she asked. He putted her in his shoulders and she laughed delighted, and gave his head a kiss. His hand held her back as she grabbed his hair and yanked, like a horse's reins, and he made horse sounds to please her. Ariel smiled at the father of her baby and marveled how he could possibly think he was not a good father? He would usually watch her sleep, he carved her sea turtles and castles in wood, he collected shells for her, and he even painted her crib. But his fear of his own ineptitude would drown Kailani in a world of restrictions if he didn't learn to control that.

"Did you reassess?" Ariel questioned him, while Kailani mumbled on about sea horses and crabs. He looked like a sky about to break into heavy thunder and painful rain, she seized his hand and gave it a squeeze. He stared into her green eyes and tried to apologize, but she kissed him, a sweet light kiss of forgiveness. Kailani kissed his head again and he smiled against Ariel's lips. What more could he want from his two favorite girls?

"I don't know how to change." he confessed, a cheeky smile but his eyes were still clouded. She caressed his chin and smiled at him, that ever flowing love coming between them and she knew things would be ok.

"I'll help you every time. Kailani loves you very much and so do I."

"Love you daddy!" the baby screamed and startled them both. They laughed and Ariel tried to grab her from her husband's shoulders. She was still too small and she huffed in annoyance. He put Kailani down and she started to run away from them, back to the ocean.

"Mama, swim again!" she said and Killian looked ready to have a mental breakdown. She pinched his arse and he yelped, surprised.

"She'll be fine, Killian."

He looked as the baby splashed and grabbed shells. She spread her arms wide open and hugged the wave that came, covering her in sea foam and sand. He smiled with understanding.

"Aye, she will. She's a mermaid princess after all."

Ariel rested her head against him and giggled.

"A pirate princess as well. You think she'll run away with boys and drink into the long hours of the night, like her papa did?"

Killian groaned and started jogging to his daughter. He turned to Ariel as he was almost with Kailani and yelled:

"I'm reconsidering the whole glass castle thing, mermaid, so don't tempt me!"

The end

A/N: This baby one shot was inspired by tumblr user annuhliese who made an adorable graphic last night and I couldn't help myself. Also, many ideas were originally by Abby, tumblr user withahappyrefrain. I hope you liked, please please review!