Author's Note: This story was written for my good friend Jenna, and the basic idea for the story came from her. Happy Anniversary sweetie! This takes place after S2E14 'Manhattan'. Spoilers for everything up to that point, and this was written before I watched the episode that follows, so zero spoilers for any episodes after 'Manhattan'. There is a reference to my previous OUaT story 'Dishonesty Comes With a Price', but you don't have to read that one first to get this story.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I'm not making any money from this story.
Warning: Non-consensual disciplinary spanking of a minor.
Author's Second Note: I do NOT advocate the spanking of children in real life. But I do enjoy reading about any and all fictional characters getting spanked. And really, if you're reading a fanfic for the show OUaT, let's hope you're all well aware that this stuff is completely fictional.A SPELL GONE WRONG
The somber trio drove over the line into Storybrook with mixed feelings about being home.
Rumplestiltskin gently took the scrap of material that had bound his memories to him off his shoulders, and set it on his lap. He ran his fingers over it. If Baelfire were small enough to wear this still… He refused to finish the thought. His son was a grown man now, and he had no desire to relive his childhood. He didn't even want to use his given name. It's not Baelfire, it's Neal now. My son hates me. Rumple sighed heavily, and wished again that he'd been able to talk his son into returning to Storybrook with them.
"Hey Henry," Emma said, interrupting Rumple's thoughts, "We're gonna be home soon. Did you want to stop at Granny's for a late lunch."
Henry kept his gaze focused on the scenery passing by, and refused to look at his mother in the rear view mirror. "No thank you. I just want to go home."
Emma cringed at the cold politeness in her son's tone, and forced herself not to apologize again.
Rumple didn't blame the child for giving Emma a cold shoulder. If he weren't so despondent about his own relationship with his child, he'd have the energy to be angry with her himself.
A few minutes later, Emma parked the car between the loft she was currently still sharing with her parents, and Mr. Gold's store.
Henry jumped out of the car, and ran towards the loft before Emma realized what he was doing.
She turned weary eyes to Rumple and said sincerely, "I'm sorry things didn't work out the way you wanted them to."
"Me too," he said absently, and got out of the car.
Emma watched him limp towards the store, and then closed her eyes for a moment, listening to the silence of the car to calm down before facing her family.
Her mother was at the door to greet her with a hug. Emma hugged Snow back tightly, and tried not to feel jealous when she saw Henry's arms wrapped around David's shoulders. Her father was kneeling on the ground, and holding her teary eyed son close, and Henry was in the middle of telling David his woes.
"…but he hates his father," Henry said, "so he said he couldn't come back with us, even though he wanted to spend more time with me. And Emma wouldn't let me stay with him, even for one night because she said he's not a good person. But people change, I know they do, and it's not fair that she won't even give him a chance, especially when she lied about who my father was the whole time!"
David and Snow exchanged a look. They'd agreed to divide and comfort, so Snow gently guided Emma out of the loft, and shut the door behind them.
"He hates me," Emma whispered.
Snow wrapped an arm around Emma's shoulders, and started moving them away. "No he doesn't hate you. He's just upset, and he needs some time to cool down. He's in good hands. Right now, I want to focus on you."
"Yes you. You just saw the father of your child for the first time in twelve years. The man who broke your heart." Snow squeezed Emma tightly. "So we're going to go to the diner, and you're going to tell me all about it."
For the first time since seeing Neal's face two days ago, the queasy feeling in Emma's stomach receded. "I'd like that."
While they were walking to the diner, Rumple stood in the middle of his cold empty store, and wondered how he could go on. The love of his life, Belle, didn't even remember him, and his son hated him. Hook and Cora were still after him, and the boy who would be his undoing was his grandson. He looked around at his shop, looking for some kind of fix for his all encompassing loneliness, but found none. Without Belle or Bealfire in his life, nothing mattered, not even magic.
Slowly, he made his way to the back room, and tried to convince himself that there was still hope. Magic had saved him before, and it could do it again.
# # #
That night while the residents of Storybrook slept, Neal cautiously stepped over the line and into their town. When nothing drastic happened, he picked up the pace, and sought out the church. He silently thanked his son again for being such a wealth of information about who had become what when they were cursed.
He crept into the church without being seen, and was about to settle himself on a pew for the night, when a nun came into the main area from one of the back rooms. The woman jumped slightly at having a stranger in the church after hours, but recovered quickly. "How can I help you my child?"
"Blue Fairy?" Neal said, remembering her face.
She looked into his eyes, and after a moment she said, "Baelfire?"
"It's Neal now."
She walked up to him to get a closer look. She cupped his face with her hand and said, "What brings you here after all these years Neal?"
"My son, Henry."
She gestured to a pew, and they sat down together so he could tell her about his recent meeting with Emma, Henry, and his father. Once the story was over, Neal said, "I came to you for protection."
"Protection from your father? I have no magic in this human form. I don't know what I could do to protect you, other than saying a prayer, and telling you to leave Storybrook."
Neal held up the one thing he'd saved from his childhood. The silver clasp his father had given him on his tenth birthday to hold his cloak on. "Henry told me the town had found some fairy dust, and I was wondering if you might still have a little."
She looked at the clasp, and then gave him a wide smile. "I may have kept a pinch or two for a rainy day."
# # #
The next morning, Neal left the sanctuary of the church wearing a necklace under his shirt. The silver clasp attached to the necklace felt warm against his chest, and he was filled with hope that it would work to protect him from any magic his father might try to do.
He made his way over to Granny's, rented a room for a week, ordered some breakfast, and waited for Henry and Emma to show up. The boy had told him that his mother stopped off at Granny's almost every morning for a coffee before taking him to the bus stop for school.
He'd finished his meal, by the time a sullen looking Henry followed his mother into the diner. Emma's placating voice drifted across the diner as they entered. "…a donut. That sounds good right? You could have any…" She stopped mid sentence, as soon as she made eye contact with Neal. He smiled at her horrified expression.
"Dad!" Henry rushed up to his table grinning. "You're here! I thought you weren't going to come because of your dad."
Neal couldn't believe the rush of warm happiness that came over him when he heard his son call him 'Dad'. He noticed that the diner had become silent, and everyone in it was staring at them. He reached over and ran a hand through the boy's hair. "Nah. I'm not going to let Rumplestiltskin…" he looked at Emma, "…or anyone else," he turned back to Henry, "keep me away from my son."
There were gasps and harsh whispers all around him. He ignored that, stood up, and put an arm around Henry's shoulders. He walked them both over to Emma. "I'll be staying here at Granny's for the next week. We should set aside some time to talk."
Trying to maintain her cool, Emma nodded and said, "Fine. I'll be here at five. Alone." She grabbed Henry's sleeve, and pulled him over to her side, and said, "Come on, Henry, let's get you to the bus stop."
Henry opened his mouth to ask if he could skip, but thought better of it when he remembered how his grandfather felt about skipping, and instead said, "Why can't I come to dinner too? You guys are going to be talking about me, I should get to come."
She pulled him out of the diner, without getting herself a coffee, and muttered, "Sorry, kid. Not this time."
Neal watched them walk away down the street, and wished he could be walking along with them. He was about to go upstairs to get some sleep, when the one person he wanted to avoid came into the diner.
Rumple stopped halfway through the doorway, and stared at his son. "Bae?"
Neal glared at his father. "For the last time, it's Neal. I'm here for Henry and Emma, not you, and I'd appreciate it if you'd keep your distance." Without waiting for a reply, Neal turned and went up the stairs to his rented room, for some much needed sleep.
Rumple stood there for several seconds dumbfounded. The hopelessness he'd felt since leaving his son in New York slowly dissipated. His son was here. His son had come home. He may have done it for Emma and Henry, but that wasn't important. His son was finally within his grasp, and there was no way he was ever going to let him slip through his fingers again. He quickly turned on his heel, and rushed back to his store. He had things to prepare.
# # #
Three days later, Neal lay awake in his bed, and worried about what his son was going to think of him once they got to know each other better. It had taken days, and several awkward conversations, but Emma had finally been convinced to let Henry spend a little time with Neal. Tomorrow, Neal was supposed to meet Henry and Emma at he bus stop after school, and then he got to spend five hours with the kid. On the one hand he couldn't wait, but on the other hand, he dreaded the thought of Henry asking him some tough questions about what had gone on between him and Emma.
He closed his eyes and tried to relax enough to fall asleep, when he felt an unusual warm spot on the right side of his chest. He opened his eyes, and could see a spot of light glowing through the sheet.
He sat up quickly, and tossed his covers off. The clasp that the Blue Fairy had sprinkled with fairy dust was glowing a brilliant shade of blue. Neal put his hand over the clasp, and pressed it against his chest, hoping with every last fiber of his being, that whatever his father was trying to do to him wouldn't work.
A few minutes later, he felt the clasp cooling against his skin. He lifted his hand, to look at the tiny object. It lay harmlessly against his chest with no trace of a blue glow. He climbed out of bed, checked himself over, and gave a triumphant "Yes!" to the empty room.
Giddy with relief that the protection amulet had worked, Neal felt the urgent desire to see his father and gloat. The man had basically accosted him every morning at Granny's diner, trying to get him to talk, but Neal had brushed him off every time, because he knew the man had something up his sleeve.
Neal yanked his jeans on over his boxers, and slipped a tee shirt over his head. This couldn't wait for morning. He stuffed his bare feet in his boots, and stalked off towards his father's store.
He tried to yank the front door open, but it was locked. He walked around the building, looking for another door. He found a side door, and pulled it open with a satisfied smirk, expecting to find his father's shocked face on the other side of the door. Instead he saw a small figure dart away from him, and hide behind a large desk.
Neal had never been to his father's shop, but the lights were on, so he had no trouble seeing that this was the back room of the store. There was nothing for sale here, just a comfortable place to relax or work magic. Some small bowls and jars of ingredients sat on the large desk next to some old books and papers, and his father's expensive dress shoes lay empty in front of it.
Neal's eyebrows drew together in a frown. Had his father somehow found a portal to another land? Had he changed places with someone else? Neal shut the door behind him, and said, "Hello? Who's there?"
"Please, kind Sir, I mean no harm," a frightened voice called out from behind the desk. "I'm not a thief, I swear it."
Neal walked towards the desk, and said, "It's okay kid, don't be scared. I know you're not here to steal anything." Once he was close enough, Neal leaned over to look behind the desk, unprepared for the sight that greeted him. Cowering on the other side of the desk was a young boy who looked to be ten or eleven. Mr. Gold's suit jacket hung down from his shoulders, and the pants lay on the floor next to him. A pair of familiar brown eyes looked up at him in terror.
Neal shook his head in disbelief, and whispered, "What's your name?"
"It's Rumplestiltskin, Sir. I… I have no memory of how I came to be here, but I… I know I didn't mean to intrude in your home. If you'll please just let me go, I'll never bother you again."
He glared at the younger version of his father, as the pieces fell together. "How old are you?"
"Thirteen?" Neal said with doubt, finding that hard to believe. He was about the same size as Henry, and he was eleven.
The boy nervously backed away a step. "Yes, Sir. I'm small for my age."
Neal shook his head, and scanned the papers and bowls on the desk. He muttered to himself. "Serves him right that the spell backfired. I told him I didn't want to be thirteen again, and he was going to do it to me anyway, and make me forget."
The boy started slowly edging his way towards the door, and away from the large angry man.
Neal saw the movement and snapped his eyes to the boy. "Don't move!"
Rumple started to shake, and tears welled in his eyes. "Please, Sir, please let me go. I know nothing of spells or magic. I haven't yet seen the sorcerer who lives here, and I want to be gone before he arrives."
Neal took a good look at the kid, and had a powerful flashback of his first few moments in this strange new land when he'd been thirteen. It had been terrifying to say the least, and even though he was livid with his adult father, this version of has father had done nothing to deserve his anger.
Neal took a deep breath, and said, "Listen kid, I'm not gonna hurt you, I'm going to help you. The sorcerer who lives here isn't going to be coming home any time soon. You're not going to be able to get home without my help, because you're in a whole new land." He waved the boy over and said, "Come on, take a look outside. You're not in the Enchanted Forrest anymore. You're in Storybrook."
Rumple's eyes darted back and forth between Neal and the door. He desperately wanted to get away, but if the man was telling the truth, there was no where to run.
Neal said, "Go see for yourself."
Rumple edged his way towards the door, while keeping his eyes on Neal. Once he made it to the door, he opened it, and rushed outside. The sight that greeted him filled him with dismay. He was not in the Enchanted Forrest. While his eyes were trying to take in all the odd sights in this strange land, the man came outside, and stood a few feet away.
"Look kid, I know this is scary. When I was your age, I came to this land from the Enchanted Forrest too."
"You did?" Rumple said with shock.
"I did." Neal looked at Rumple's naked legs sticking out from under the ridiculously big shirt, tie, and suit jacket. "First things first, let's go back into the store, and see if there are any clothes that might fit you."
"I have no money for cloths, Sir, but if I could maybe borrow a needle and thread, I can fix the clothes I'm wearing to fit me better." Rumple could not afford to be indebted to anyone if he ever wanted to find a way home.
Neal laughed out loud at the idea of his father sewing his own clothes. He shook his head, and said, "I ought to let you do it, but we just don't have that kind of time. In case you didn't notice, it's the middle of the night."
"But I have no…"
"Don't worry about the money. The owner of the store is my father. I'll pay him for the things we take the next time I see him."
"I couldn't ask you to do that, Sir."
"Stop calling me Sir. It's giving me the creeps. My name's Neal."
"But… I…" Rumple had no valid response to that. He couldn't call the older man by his given name; that was incredibly disrespectful. But not doing as he was told was just as disrespectful, especially since the man was obviously wealthy if his father owned a store.
Neal saw the conflict on the boy's face, and remembered what he'd wished for when he came through the portal. He took a step towards the boy and said, "Until we find a way to get you home, you're going to have to let someone help you figure things out, and I'm the only one offering. You'll be… my apprentice."
"Your apprentice, Sir?"
"Yeah. You help me with my trade, follow my instructions, and in return I'll give you room and board, along with a small wage."
"What is your trade?"
"Depends on the week, but for now I'm looking after my father's store while he's away."
Rumple thought over his options carefully for a few seconds, before holding a shaky hand out in front of him. "I accept the apprenticeship, Sir Neal, until such time as I can find my way home."
Neal took his father's tiny hand, and shook it once. "It's a deal."
Rumple followed Neal back into the store, and soon Neal was rifling through a box of old clothes that was behind the counter. He found a pair of pants that looked like they would fit the boy, and held them out for Rumple's inspection. "Here, try these on."
Rumple stepped into them, held them up with a hand, and gave him a nod. "These will work fine with a strip of rope to keep them up, or if you had a needle and thread, I could adjust them to fit."
Neal searched the box for a belt of some kind, but came up empty. He did have a small sewing kit in his travel bag, and decided he'd have to let the kid sew his clothes after all. "I have a needle and thread you can use in my room." He searched for some shoes that might fit the kid, and soon found a pair of tennis shoes that were only a couple of sizes too big. "Those will have to do for now. Let's go."
Rumple silently followed Neal down the block to Granny's with his eyes wide open, taking in all the strange sights.
Neal made it to his room without running into anyone. He opened the door, and flipped on the light.
Rumple immediately hunched down in fear and covered his head with his arm. He whimpered, "You didn't tell me you were a sorcerer as well."
The man raised an eyebrow, trying to figure out what the kid was talking about. "I'm not a sorcerer. Get in the room, you're going to wake other people up."
Rumple scurried through the doorway, and scrambled to the other side of the kitchen table to put something between him and the man. He was much too afraid to flat out call the man a liar, but he felt the need to point out the obvious. "If you're not a sorcerer, then how do you control the fire in those little globes."
Neal shut the door behind them, hoping they hadn't woken anyone up, and pointed to the light switch on the wall. "With this. You can do it too. This land is very different to yours, and things that will seem like magic, truly aren't. Every person in this land, even a tiny child, can turn the lights on and off. Come over here, and give it a try."
Rumple shook his head no, clearly afraid.
"You agreed to follow my instructions. We made a deal. You're going to have to get used to this modern world quickly, so come over here and learn how to work the lights."
Very slowly Rumple made his way over, and with some encouragement, turned the lights off and then on again.