Author's Note: This story take place directly following the episode 'I'm wide Awake, It's Morning'. Written May 2005
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Warning: Non consensual disciplinary spanking of a teen by a parental figure.
Nathan groaned in pain as he woke up. He looked around the hospital room to see his mom sitting in the chair next to him. She saw he was awake and smiled as she started to cry. She grasped his hand in hers and said, "Oh Nathan"
Nathan had to concentrate pretty hard to figure out what had happened. He tried to talk but it came out kind of funny sounding. He croaked out, "I crashed?"
Debbie nodded and said; "Cooper and Lucas pulled you out. You were in surgery for a few hours this morning. You almost died."
Nathan looked away and said, "Haley?"
"Lucas said you asked us not to call. She doesn't know."
Nathan nodded. The room fell silent except for Debbie's occasional sniffles. Nathan fell back to sleep.
The next time Nathan woke up he looked around and saw his father standing at the window looking out at the hospital parking lot. Nathan didn't know if it was the next day, or later in that same day. He said, "Dad?"
Dan turned around and said, "You're awake. Good. Care to tell me what the hell you were doing on that race track?"
Nathan looked away. That was his dad all right. He said, "Racing."
Dan walked over and glared down at his son. He said, "More like crashing. You know Nate; I can understand you being upset over a girl. I think it's weak, but I can understand it. But attempting to kill yourself over it is just pathetic. You put your own health at risk for her, and she doesn't even care about you. You had such a promising career in Basketball ahead of you, and you've thrown it all way for this girl who has been beneath you all along."
Nathan mostly just felt anger now, and wanted his father to leave. The silence lingered between them. Dan reached out his hand and smoothed the hair away from Nathan's face. Dan said more quietly, "I thought I lost you son. I'm grateful that you're going to be okay. Even if you've disappointed me again."
Dan walked out and left Nathan to his thoughts. He didn't fall immediately asleep this time and five minutes later a nurse came in to check on him. After taking his vitals and asking how he was feeling, she asked if he was hungry. He decided he could eat and she left to bring him some dinner. While she was gone Lucas came in. He said, "Hey."
Lucas just stood there for a few seconds and then said, "Can I call Haley now?"
"No. I don't want her to know."
"Why not? She still loves you. She would want to know."
Nathan looked away and said, "I don't want this to be the reason she comes home. I want her to come home because she misses me and wants to be with me, not because she's worried about me."
Lucas sighed and nodded in understanding. The room grew silent again. Finally Lucas said, "What went wrong out there Nathan?"
Nathan lied, "I really don't remember much after getting in the race car. It's kind of blurry."
More silence, and then Lucas tentatively said, "Because
..it kind of looked like you hit the wall on purpose."
Nathan forced a laugh, which then made him groan. Even with the pain medication the stitches in his chest hurt. Lucas walked closer to him and said, "Are you okay?"
Nathan nodded and whispered, "Just hurt to laugh."
Lucas gave Nathan a minute to catch his breath. Nathan finally looked up at Lucas and said, "I may not remember what happened, but I'm sure I didn't hit the wall on purpose."
Lucas wanted to believe him, but found it difficult. He said, "I don't know Nate, you've been pretty unhappy lately."
Nathan glared, "If you're gonna be an ass, you can get out."
Lucas was surprised at the attack and backed down. He said, "I
.I just want to help."
Nathan sighed and closed his eyes. He said, "I'm sorry Luke. I just hurt all over, I'm hungry, and I'm tired."
Lucas nodded. "Is there anything you need? I could bring you a book or something."
Nathan said, "Actually you could get me some information. I haven't talked to the doctor yet, and I don't know how long I'm supposed to be here."
"I was there when the doctor was talking to Dan. He said at least three days, and maybe as much as five."
Nathan nodded and said, "Thanks."
Lucas looked at his watch and said, "If you don't need anything else, I think I'm gonna go home. I need to get some sleep so I can go to school tomorrow. I'll talk to your teachers and bring your homework by after school."
"Thanks, for everything. Mom said you and Cooper pulled me out. So I guess I owe you one."
Lucas squeezed Nathan's shoulder and said, "You would do the same for me little brother."
Lucas turned and left. Nathan waited another fifteen minutes and then his dinner arrived. It looked kind of gross, but he ate some anyway, and was happy to note that it settled his stomach.
Two hours later he was about to nod off for the night when he heard someone knock on the door jam of his room. He looked over and saw his uncle standing there. Nathan gave him a weak smile and said, "Hey Coop."
Cooper nodded at Nathan and said, "How do you feel?"
"I bet. That tends to happen when you hit a wall at 200 miles an hour."
Nathan could tell his uncle was upset and looked away not wanting to deal with it. Cooper walked into the room and sat down in the chair next to Nathan's bed as he said, "No, actually that's not true. Usually when someone hits a wall at 200 miles an hour they die."
Nathan had no response, and wouldn't make eye contact. Cooper raised his voice and said, "What the hell were you thinking?!"
Nathan mumbled as he lied, "I don't remember."
Cooper stood up and said, "Well you better start trying to remember. I had a long talk with your doctor. He says you'll be back to full health in three weeks, so exactly three weeks from today, I'm coming back to town so I can kick your scrawny ass. And I'm gonna want some answers."
Nathan looked up at Cooper not quite sure what to make of that statement. Cooper was twelve years older than Nathan, and had been a cross between an uncle and a big brother for Nathan when they were growing up. Cooper had often come to stay with his big sister while Nathan was growing up. Cooper would stay with them for a week at a time a few times every year because his sister wanted to be close to him. The age difference between Cooper and Nathan had made Cooper too old for Nathan to see him as an equal, but it also made him too young for Nathan to see him as an authority figure.
Nathan glared as he said, "Look Cooper, I said I don't remember. I don't know what else you want from me."
Cooper glared back. "I want you to think about all the people who would miss you if you were gone. Get better fast Nate. I'll see you in three weeks."
Cooper stalked out of the room obviously still angry. Nathan rolled his eyes in annoyance, and then tried to find the least painful position to fall asleep in.
Three weeks later:
Nathan woke up and looked over at the empty spot beside him. He ran his hand over Haley's vacant spot and sighed. He got himself out of bed and went to take a shower. In the bathroom he examined the scar on his chest in the mirror. The doctor had told him that over the next month the scar would heal a little more, and become slightly less glaring, but that he would always have a visible reminder of his surgery. Nathan ran his fingers over the scar. It was still slightly tender, but that was all. He shook his head at his own stupidity and got in the shower.
Half an hour later he was sitting at the kitchen bar in a tee shirt and his jogging pants sipping coffee. He hadn't talked to his Uncle since that Sunday in the hospital exactly three weeks ago, but he hadn't forgotten what he had said either. He had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand he was pretty sure he deserved to get chewed out for what he had done, but on the other hand, he didn't exactly see his uncle as someone he should take all that seriously. He was still nervous about the possible upcoming confrontation, and hoped again that Cooper had just been angry, and wasn't really going to show up at all. But then Cooper never said something like that unless he was serious about it.
Cooper sat in his car outside of Nathan's apartment. He was gripping the steering wheel trying to talk himself into going up there and doing what he thought should be done. He thought back again to the conversation he had with his crew manager Dave. The night Cooper had gotten back to work following Nathan's crash, Dave had taken him out for a drink and talked to him about it.
# # #
Dave asked, "How long 'till he gets out of the hospital?"
"Three or four days, but he won't be fully healed for about three weeks."
Dave nodded. After a few seconds Cooper said, "I just don't get how he could do it. I should have never said anything about 200 mile an hour therapy. I feel so guilty about the whole thing. I encouraged him to get in that damn car when I knew he was still upset over Haley. But I thought he could use it as an escape to forget about her for a while."
"You couldn't have known he was going to try and hurt himself."
"The little jerk said he didn't remember what he had done! We'll see if I can help him remember, when I go back there to kick his butt in three weeks."
Dave said with sarcasm, "Great, so you plan to beat up the kid after he recovers?"
"No! It's just a figure of speech. I am going to
..well I don't know. Yell at him a lot I guess."
Dave said, "Hmm."
Cooper glared over at him. "What do you mean 'Hmm'?"
Cooper was annoyed. "We've worked together for years now. I've watched your kids growing up. If you have something to say, just say it."
Dave looked over at Cooper. He said, "I'll tell you something in confidence, because I think it will help you, but you can't ever let Daytona know I told you, because it would hurt her."
Cooper raised his eyebrows in surprise, and then nodded in understanding. Dave looked down at his beer and said; "Last year she snuck out of the house and went to the track alone in the middle of the night. She had been begging me to let her drive faster and faster, but I kept telling her no. So she decided to do it when I wasn't there. She had made friends with all the guards, and they didn't think anything of letting her in when she said she forgot her purse in the pit. She got in your car and drove it as fast as she dared. I don't think she counted on the guards calling me when they heard the car start up. Lucky for me we only live a few minutes away. I got there just as she had decided to pull back into the pit on her own."
Cooper said with amazement, "Jeez. Daytona did this?"
Dave nodded. "I couldn't believe it either."
"She was more then a little surprised and unhappy to see me there as she pulled in. I turned to the two guards who had let her in. I told them to get back to their stations out front, and I told them if they mentioned a word of what had happened to anyone I would make sure they got fired."
Dave looked over at Cooper and could tell he wasn't pleased. Dave said, "Sometimes my need to protect my kids overrides my better judgment. I wouldn't have tried to get them fired if they had said something, but I guess they believed me, because they both practically ran out of there. Daytona and I just looked at each other for a few minutes until the guards were out of sight. Then, when I was pretty sure they were out of hearing range, I yelled at her to get out of the car. She got out and got her helmet off. She stood there looking at me with pleading eyes. Wanting me to understand why she had done it."
"Did you know why she did it?"
Dave looked at Cooper again and said, "Yeah."
"Because I told her she couldn't."
Cooper looked confused. "That's it? Nothing bad or dramatic had set her off?"
"She was testing me. I treat her like an adult pretty often. She's a responsible kid and I trust her. So when she thought she was ready to try driving faster and I disagreed, she decided to prove me wrong. The part she didn't understand was that I did think she was ready to go faster, I was just being overprotective because I couldn't stand the thought of her getting hurt."
Cooper snapped his fingers and said, "That was the week she didn't come to the track and you told me she was grounded wasn't it? I kept asking you why, and you just said it was personal."
Dave nodded. Cooper said, "You could have told me. I wouldn't have been upset, or told anyone else."
"Your wife had just left, and you had enough to deal with."
Cooper realized that was true. "I guess you have a point."
"And that wasn't the end of it. I'm telling you this, because I think it will help you with Nathan."
"You think I should try to ground him?"
"No, and if you would shut up for a minute, I'll finish my story."
Dave took a drink of his beer, and Cooper could tell he was having a hard time talking about whatever it was he was about to say. Dave took a deep breath and said, "So she was standing there looking at me, and I just lost it. Before I even realized what I was going to do, I was beside her. I grabbed her arm roughly, and she looked up at me with fear
Cooper didn't like the sound of that, but kept quiet and waited for Dave to finish. Dave shook his head. "I yelled 'What the hell do you think you were doing? You could have gotten yourself killed! I know you know better!'"
Dave sighed before continuing. "She started crying before I was done yelling. She was trying to tell me she was sorry while crying, and still looking like she was afraid of me
..I realized what I was doing and pulled her into a hug. Soon we were both muttering apologies and hugging each other."
Cooper let out the breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. Dave took another drink of beer. He said, "Once we had both calmed down a little, I let go of her. I looked at her, and she looked so much younger then fifteen. I kissed her forehead and said, 'I'm sorry I yelled. I was scared. I love you, and the thought of loosing you terrifies me.' She said she loved me too. Then I said, 'You know what you did was wrong, and it's not going to happen again.'"
Cooper nodded in agreement. Dave said, "We were right next to the car, and before I let her say much else, I sat down on the hood, pulled her over my lap, and spanked her. I hadn't spanked her for years. She was probably six or seven the last time. I was almost as surprised as she was. By the time I was done she was
..more then sorry she had done it, but I still think it was the right thing to do."
Cooper just sat there trying to absorb that information. After a few minutes he said, "You spanked her?"
Dave nodded and found his beer fascinating, while waiting for his best friend to pass judgement on him. Cooper finished off his beer and eventually said, "I can see why you wouldn't want to tell me."
Dave finished his beer and waved at the bar tender to bring him another. Cooper asked, "So you told me this why? Because you think I should spank Nathan?"
Dave finally looked at Cooper and said with conviction, "Yes."
Cooper wasn't sure what to say. Dave said, "I've known Nathan for a long time too. No offence to your sister, but his parents were not there for him very often growing up. In fact the last time he visited us, before this last visit, he was such a monster I thought about not letting him play with my kids. But now I think all that acting out was just his way of asking for someone to step in and let them know they cared. And I think Haley did that for him. I think he finally felt unconditionally loved for the first time in a long time, and now that's gone."
Dave paused as his beer arrived. He looked at Cooper and said with intensity, "Nathan running into that wall is his way of asking for someone to step in and tell him that they love him enough to make him stop."
# # #
Cooper looked up at Nathan's door again and said to himself, "You can do this. It's what Nathan needs. I can't just let him self destruct without at least trying to help."
With that thought in mind Cooper finally got out of his car and walked up to Nathan's apartment door. He knocked, and pretty quickly Nathan opened the door. Cooper could tell Nathan wasn't as happy to see him as the last time he had shown up at his door. Nathan sounded subdued as he said, "Hi Uncle Cooper."
Cooper was pretty sure now that Nathan had taken his comments in the hospital to heart. He said, "Can I come in?"
Nathan nodded and opened the door wider as he stepped aside. Cooper surprised Nathan by stepping in and pulling him into a hug. After his initial surprise, Nathan hugged him back. Cooper let go and said, "How are you Nate?"
Nathan shut the door and walked over to the couch where they both sat down. Nathan said, "I've been better."
"What did the doctor say? Are you back to full health like they said you would be?"
Nathan nodded. He touched his chest and said, "It's still a little sore, but not bad. The doctor said I could 'resume normal activity'."
Cooper nodded. Then he said, "Any word from Haley?"
Nathan shook his head no and looked away. Cooper said, "What did your parents have to say about the crash?"
"Not much. Dad is disappointed, so no big surprise there. Mom is so relieved that I'm okay, she didn't have much else to say about it."
"How about Lucas?"
Nathan smiled fondly, "He made a nuisance of himself visiting me every day in the hospital, and he made sure I kept up with school. Then when I got released he told me if I did anything that stupid again he was going to call Haley no matter what I said."
The more Cooper heard about Lucas, the more he liked him. The room was silent for a few minutes, and then Nathan couldn't take it anymore. He said, "So if you're here to yell at me, let's get it over with."
Cooper sighed and asked; "Do you remember what you were thinking before the crash?"
Nathan turned away and lied, "No."
Cooper didn't exactly yell, but he did raise his voice. "Don't lie to me Nathan."
Nathan turned back and raised his voice when he said, "Why do you assume I'm lying?"
"Okay fine. I'll tell you what you were thinking. You were feeling sorry for yourself. You were so full of self pity over your wife leaving you, that you wanted to hurt yourself."
"No I wasn't!"
"Oh, so now you remember?"
.I just know that isn't what I would have been thinking about."
"Really? Because you seemed to be pretty stuck thinking about her the whole time you were there, and right before you crashed you were talking about the stupid 200 mile an hour therapy that I told you about."
"Yeah?! Well that's just
Nathan couldn't come up with something better to say. He eventually slumped back against the couch and said with defeat, "Okay I was thinking about her."
Cooper's tone was back to normal when he said, "Thanks for the honesty. Now here's some for you. When I saw you crash I went numb with terror. The thought of never seeing you again, or hearing you be a smart-ass, was
..well it was the worst thing I have ever felt. Then in the hospital once I knew you were going to be okay, I was just so angry. Angry that you didn't listen to me when I told you to slow down and bring the car back to the pit. Angry that I had let you drive in the first place. But mostly angry because you had intentionally hurt yourself. It's not okay that you did that Nathan."
Nathan wasn't sure why but he felt a lump form in his throat while his uncle was talking. When Cooper stopped, Nathan didn't trust himself to talk, so he nodded to show he was listening. Cooper thought to himself, 'Now or never.'
Cooper took a deep breath and stole his friend's line as he said, "And it's not going to happen again."
Cooper was sitting right next to Nathan, and had the element of surprise on his side. He reached over and grabbed Nathan's arm and gave it a serious pull. Nathan was half way over Cooper's lap before he decided to struggle, and by then it was too late. As Nathan landed he yelled, "This isn't funny Coop!"
Cooper agreed, "You're right it's not."
Cooper had to work at holding Nathan in place, because he was trying pretty hard to get up. As he held him down with his left arm, he brought his right hand down on Nathan's butt and was surprised at how loud the smack sounded in the apartment. He only paused for a fraction of a second at the noise, and then started methodically spanking his nephew. Nathan was shocked into being still and silent for the first few swats. But soon he found his voice, "Cooper! What the hell man? This is
Cooper kept spanking as he said, "No Nathan, this is right. You crashing into that wall on purpose was wrong. That's why I'm doing this. To make sure you know it was wrong, and that I for one won't put up with it. You are going to keep yourself healthy, and you aren't going to do anything else to hurt yourself. Am I making my point clear to you?"
Nathan thought that was the longest speech ever, as he had gotten a swat every two or three words. Nathan was no longer being still, and he yelled, "Yes! I got it! You can stooop!"
Cooper kept going and asked, "Are you going to hurt yourself any more?"
Nathan was dismayed when the swats kept coming. By this time his body was involuntarily jumping with every swat, and he was still thrashing around trying to get up. But Cooper had a good grip on him and it was useless. Cooper said, "You better be telling me the truth Nathan, because you can believe that I will have no problem doing this again if you're lying to me."
"I'm not! Ahh! I prooooomise!"
Cooper gave him a few harder swats that made Nathan yell out, and then stopped. As he loosened his grip on Nathan, Nathan immediately pushed himself to his feet and backed a few steps away from Cooper. Cooper and Nathan eyed each other warily. Cooper stood and Nathan took another step back. Cooper gave him a sad look and said, "I'm done
Nathan tried to keep his emotions in check, but heard his voice crack as he said, "That really fucking hurt."
Cooper's first thought was, 'I'm sorry.' But he didn't think that would be the right thing to say. He slowly walked over to Nathan, who was against the wall and had run out of space to back up. Cooper pulled Nathan into a tight hug and said, "I'm sure it did. I know my hand hurts. But I'm not sorry I did it. I am more serious than you can possibly imagine about you not hurting yourself again. I love you, and I want you to be around for a long time."
Nathan tried to fight it, but soon found himself crying and hugging his uncle back. Part of him wanted to yell and kick Cooper out, but a bigger part of him wanted the comfort and affection he was offering.
Cooper held onto Nathan for a long time. Finally when Nathan's sobs died down Cooper said, "You okay?"
Nathan let go and nodded as he wiped off his face. Cooper could tell Nathan was embarrassed about crying, and probably about the entire situation. He decided to try and distract him as he said, "Can I have some of your coffee?"
Nathan nodded and tried not to let his voice waver as he said, "Sure."
Cooper patted Nathan's shoulder and walked over to the kitchen to pour himself a cup.
Nathan went into the bathroom and blew his nose a few times and splashed some water on his face. When he came back out Cooper was sitting on a barstool at the kitchen counter with his own cup of coffee. Nathan went to the other side of the counter and grabbed his half-empty cup to sip. They were both quiet for a while. Cooper eventually said, "Do you have plans for the day?"
Nathan shook his head. Cooper asked, "Would it be okay if I just hung out with you? We could watch some TV, or play some video games."
Nathan looked at his empty cup and said, "Yeah sure."
By dinnertime their relationship was close to normal again, and Nathan was positive that he didn't want to give his uncle any reason to ever spank him again. And the more he thought about it, the more he realized he really didn't even feel like hurting himself anymore.
(Feedback makes me happy.)
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