Author's Note: I wrote this story for a friend of mine, and I know more then one of you out there wanted to see a nice guy Dan fiction. I still don't buy it, but I wrote it anyway. This story takes place directly following the season finale 'The Leavers Dance'. Written August 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 teens by a parent.

. . . .
Dan the Man

Dan couldn't stand up. He tried again with no results. He saw the fire was getting worse, and he knew that he would soon be engulfed in flames, but he just couldn't move. Whatever had been in that drink was seriously messing him up, and all he could do was lay crashed over his desk and watch the flames get closer.

His life flashed before his eyes, and he realized he wasn't all that happy with what he saw. Then out of the corner of his eye he saw a movement. He heard Lucas yelling, but couldn't make it out over the roar of the flames. A few minutes later he felt someone trying to lift him, and then he passed out.

# # #
Dan slowly and painfully opened his eyes. It was glaringly bright in the room, and he was in pain. He groaned and a nurse rushed to his side. He passed out again.

Sometime later Dan opened his eyes again. This time the room wasn't so bright, and there was a steady hum of electronic equipment. He looked around and saw that he was in a hospital room, and had an IV in the back of his hand. He was alone in the room. He thought about what had happened. Someone had tried to kill him. He wasn't sure who it was, because the person had been wearing a ski mask. He didn't know how he had gotten out of his office without getting burnt. He looked down and moved the blanket off his legs. He could see that they were bandaged, and realized he probably had been burnt. He wasn't feeling much pain, but he was sure the IV was helping in that department. He pushed for the nurse.

A few seconds later a nurse came in and took his vitals. She asked him how he was feeling, and checked his IV. Dan said, "Can you tell me what happened?"

"Someone tried to kill you yesterday. You had some smoke inhalation, and some burns on your legs, but you were really pretty lucky. You will most likely have some scaring on your legs, but not too much. Your son is quite the hero."


"No, they said his name was Lucas."

"Lucas? Luke saved me?"

The nurse nodded. "He's still in intensive care. We're all very hopeful that he'll pull through."

Dan sat up and said, "What?! What do you mean pull through?! What the hell is wrong with him?!"

"He has sever burning on both legs and his right arm. He's gonna need months of skin grafts and cosmetic surgeries. Even then he'll be scarred for life. He took in a lot more smoke then you did too. If he hadn't had a cell phone, you would both be dead."

Dan just sat there not quite believing what the woman was telling him. After a few seconds of silence, the nurse said, "Are you hungry? I could get you some soup."

Dan shook his head no, and the nurse left him. He didn't understand the feelings that were coming over him. Most people would recognize them as guilt and remorse, but Dan hadn't had those feelings in many years. His mind raced, and every thought made him feel somehow worse. The last things he had said to Lucas were not pretty. Hell, the last things he had said to virtually everyone he knew were not pretty. And now Lucas might die because he had tried to save him.

Dan kept coming back to the question of 'Why'. Why would Lucas risk his life for Dan? It didn't make any sense at all. After the things Dan had done, Lucas should have hated him. Then Dan was struck with an even worse thought. If the tables were turned, would he do the same for Lucas? He wasn't sure he could honestly say yes. That was it. That was the turning point for Dan Scott. The point when he realized he was going to change.

Dan yanked the IV out of his hand and wrapped a small towel around it to stop the slight bleeding. He shoved the blanket off his legs and tried to swing them over the side of the bed. He was able to do it, and he must have been on some good medication, because it didn't really hurt that much. But he found standing to be another issue. He didn't find his balance easily. He thought about Lucas pulling him out of the fire, and getting burnt himself in the process, and he forced himself up. He walked to the door, and said to the first nurse he saw, "Get me a wheelchair. I'm going to see my son."

She said, "I think you should be back in bed sir."

Normally Dan would have yelled and demanded to see Lucas. But today he said with sincerity, "Please. He's in intensive care and he might die. I have to see him. It's urgent. Please."

The nurse thought for a few seconds while searching Dan's face for honesty and then slowly nodded. "I'll get you a wheelchair, and take you there myself."

Three minutes later Dan was wheeled into the room with Lucas and Karen. Lucas was unconscious, and Karen was asleep in the chair beside the bed with her head and arms leaning on the bed. Dan looked at his son there. The son he had refused to claim for so many years. The son who didn't even like him, but had still saved him. He whispered to Lucas, "I promise you that from now on, it will be different Luke."

Dan looked back at the nurse and nodded. She wheeled him back to his room, where he took a lecture from his own nurse about pulling out IV's without even giving her a snide remark in return. Once everyone was gone, he sat there long into the night thinking about his life, and thinking about the things he needed to do to make amends.

# # #
The next morning Dan woke up to the sound of screaming. His eyes opened and Karen was being held back by a nurse while she screamed, "Do you hear me you fucking bastard! You stay the fuck away from my son! If Lucas doesn't make it through this I swear to GOD I'll come back here and kill you, you son of a bitch! I'll KILL you!! I'll KILL YOU!!"

The nurses dragged Karen away while she screamed at him. Dan understood Karen's fear, as he had the same fears himself, but he knew that he could no longer stay away from the son he had shut out for so many years. He hoped Karen would calm down and see reason after some time had passed.

Dan requested to speak with Lucas' doctor, and after breakfast he was able to hear for himself what the doctor thought. He pretty much said the same thing the nurse had said, but the doctor sounded slightly more optimistic.

An hour before lunch Debbie walked in the door, quickly followed by Nathan and Haley. Dan had been thinking about all of them, and knew what he needed to do. Before anyone could say anything he said, "Debbie, I want you to get the divorce papers written up. I'll sign them without argument this time. I think we've hurt each other too many times in our marriage, and I think we would be better apart. I'll pay you a healthy alimony."

Debbie just stopped in her tracks trying to figure out what scam Dan was pulling now. Dan turned to Haley and said, "Nathan didn't sign your divorce papers. I forged his signature. He loves you and isn't happy without you."

Dan turned to Nathan and said, "I've thought about you a lot over the past few hours son. All I can say is I love you, and I'm going to be a better father to you, like it or not."

Haley had been struck dumb by the confession along with Debbie. Nathan shook his head. "I don't know what you're trying to pull Dad, but I'm tired of it. I just came by to see if you were okay, and to tell you that as soon as we get word that Luke is gonna be okay, Haley and I are going out on tour together. We'll be gone for about three months. If Lucas doesn't make it through this, I'll never speak to you again."

Nathan turned around and pulled Haley out the door with him. Dan let him go. Debbie looked at her husband and said, "I'll have the papers here tomorrow."

Dan nodded at her. He said, "Are Nathan and Haley happy?"

"They seem to be. I think your confession should help. You know I was so against their marriage at first, but now….. now I think it's the best thing for the both of them right now."

Dan nodded in agreement. Debbie didn't have much else to say. She turned and walked out.

That night after dinner the nurse who had taken Dan to see Lucas the first time came into his room. He looked at her and said, "Working late?"

"Double shift. I just wanted to let you know that your son is awake. They have moved him from intensive care, and they are pretty sure he is going to make it."

Dan felt himself choke up. He nodded at her and was able to whisper, "Thank you." Before he broke down and cried. She quietly left him alone.

The next day in the morning Dan got another visit from Debbie and her lawyer. She was kind enough to bring Dan's lawyer too. They quickly settled on an alimony amount, decided to sell the house and split the profits, and signed the divorce papers. When it was all done, and both lawyers were gone Debbie looked at her husband of seventeen years and said, "Thank you Dan."

He nodded at her, and she left ready to put that chapter of her life behind her.

After lunch Dan's pain medication was wearing off, and he knew for sure the healing process was going to take a while. Then the nurse who had taken him to see Lucas came by again. She looked almost embarrassed as she said, "I know it's probably not right, because I know his mother doesn't want him to see you, but your son is asking to see you, and his mother is in the cafeteria."

Dan got up, and she helped him into a chair and put the IV on a rolling bar so he didn't have to yank it out. Soon Dan was in Lucas' room. Lucas had his eyes closed. The nurse wheeled Dan up to Lucas' side, and then stood outside the room waiting. Dan picked up Lucas' hand and said, "Luke?"

Lucas' eyes fluttered and then he turned to see Dan. Lucas smiled and said absently with a raw croaking voice, "Just wanted to see for myself. To know you're okay. You can go now."

Dan leaned in closer and said quietly, "Why?"

"Because I don't have anything else to say."

"No. I mean why did you do it. Why would you save me?"

Lucas looked at Dan and said, "You may be an ass, but you're still human. I could never just sit by and watch someone die."

With those words Dan understood the difference between him and his son. He could stand by and watch someone die. But he decided that the new Dan, the person he was going to become, wouldn't. He looked at Lucas and said, "Thank you son. I know you're not going to believe me, but I promise you I'm a different man now, and I'm going to be a real father to you from now on."

Lucas gave a little laugh, which sent him into a coughing fit, and when that was done he just lay there breathing hard for a few seconds. He moaned, "Hurts."

Dan felt an amazing amount of guilt at that word. He squeezed Lucas' hand with his, and then put the other on Lucas' head. He said, "I'm sorry."

Lucas didn't think he heard that correctly. He turned and looked at Dan. Then Lucas told himself to be realistic. This was Dan, so he was obviously not serious. Lucas said, "You saved me once, so now we're even."

Dan shook his head. "No. I didn't walk through fire and injure myself to save you. And fathers are supposed to protect their sons. That was my duty. What you did was…. Heroic."

At that point the door opened and Karen stood there. She dropped her coffee on the floor at the site of Dan. She said with a calm she didn't feel, "Get out before I hurt you."

Dan nodded and started wheeling himself towards the door. When he was next to Karen he said, "Lucas has it."

Karen looked confused. Dan continued, "I should have told you. I should have made him tell you. It was wrong of me, and I'm sorry."

On the bed Lucas looked scared and whispered, "No."

Karen said, "What are you talking about Dan?"

"Lucas has the same heart condition as me."

Karen put a hand on her mouth and looked over at Lucas. Lucas had shut his eyes in shame. Dan quietly wheeled himself out the door. Karen didn't notice the tears start down her face. She walked over to Lucas and sat down beside him. She said, "You hid this from me?"

Lucas looked over to his mom with pleading eyes. "I didn't want you to worry Mom. And I knew Dan could afford the medications and we couldn't. And I…"

Karen put a finger over Lucas' lips to stop him. She said, "You're lucky you're in the hospital mister. You are so grounded when we get home."

Lucas reached out and put a hand on his mother's face. He said quietly, "I'm sorry Mom."

Karen broke down and cried. She stood up and leaned over Lucas to give him a hug.

# # #

Two months later –

Dan knocked on Karen's door. She opened it and smiled at him. She said, "Come in. He's in his room, and he's in a mood. Good luck."

Dan walked in and was thankful for the hundredth time that he and Karen had been able to come to some sort of truce.

It hadn't been easy, but as Karen watched Dan and the people around Dan, she started to believe that maybe Dan had changed. Karen watched while Debbie got herself an apartment, and noticed when she started to smile and hum while she worked. She listened while Debbie talked about Nathan and how happy he was on the road with Haley. And Karen watched while Dan visited Lucas at least once a day every day, even though Karen had been against it at first. She also heard from Debbie and Lucas that Dan was calling and talking with Nathan every night.

But the thing that surprised Karen the most, and the thing that made her believe Dan had changed was how he had started to treat money. Dan had paid Lucas' hospital bills before Lucas was even out of the hospital without anyone's knowledge. Then when Karen threw a fit about it, he told her to think of it as back child support, and handed her a check for one hundred dollars with a promise to give her another one every week.

Dan knocked on Lucas' bedroom door and went in without waiting for an answer. Lucas was in bed reading a book. Dan smiled and said, "How are you doing today?"

"Crappy. I'm not in the mood to talk."

Dan gave Lucas a smile and said, "Your mom said you were in a mood."

Lucas raised his voice and looked out the door as he said, "I'm not in a mood, she's just mean."

Karen appeared in the doorway quicker then Lucas or Dan were expecting and said, "Excuse me? Did you want to still be grounded when school starts? Not the best way to start senior year I would guess."

Lucas looked down at his bed and said, "No. Sorry."

Karen gave him a curt nod, and walked away. Dan walked over and sat on the foot of Lucas' bed. He said, "What happened?"

Lucas blushed and said quietly, "I asked Mom if I could go see a movie."

Dan understood the problem. Lucas had been able to come home from the hospital two weeks after the incident, but he had to go back every few days to see skin specialists. His feet had been mostly protected because of his shoes, but his lower legs and upper right arm had been badly burned, and were taking time to heal.

Karen had been extremely unhappy about Lucas lying to her about his heart condition. She had grounded him for the entire summer. Lucas had never been grounded for more then two weeks before, and he couldn't really believe his mom was serious about it. But two months had passed, and Karen still seemed set on it. Dan thought part of it was that Karen had been afraid of loosing Lucas, and wanted to keep him close to home, but he also agreed that what they both had done to hide the truth from Karen had been wrong. Dan said, "Then what?"

Lucas looked down at the bedspread and said, "She said no, and I argued."

Lucas looked over at Dan again and said, "You think she's being unreasonable don't you Dad? I mean all summer? It was just one little lie."

Dan still couldn't believe how happy it made him to hear Lucas call him Dad. He had heard it before, but now he knew Lucas had been saying it just to get to him, and not because he meant it. But last week Lucas had just said it while they were talking like it was the most normal thing ever. Dan said, "Well, what I think about it doesn't matter that much. She's in charge, and she thinks you deserve it. But you and I both know it was more then one lie. It was a bunch of lies to cover up a life changing event you went through."

Lucas glared and said, "Fine, be like that. I don't want to play cards or a game today. I'll see you tomorrow."

Lucas picked up his book and started to look at it. Dan plucked the book from Lucas' hands and said, "Too bad. I only get an hour with you today, and I'm not going to watch you read. How did the doctor's appointment go this morning?"

Lucas sighed. "Fine. Doc said my arm is done, and he thinks another month or less for both legs."

"Can I see?"

Lucas pulled up his sleeve, and showed Dan his right arm. As Dan was looking Lucas said, "Doc said the red will fade with time, but it will always be a noticeable scar. Glad it wasn't my face."

Dan put a hand on Lucas' face. "Me too."

"Did you talk to Nathan last night?"

Dan nodded. Lucas asked, "What are they up to?"

Dan told Lucas all the news about Nathan and Haley on the road.

# # #

Three weeks later –

Nathan and Haley had arrived home late on a Thursday. Dan picked them up from the airport, and they had all gone to Karen's Café for dinner because Karen, Debbie, and Lucas were all working there that night. They all sat around and talked long after the Café was closed for business, and caught up with each other.

The next morning Nathan and Haley were talking about school. There was one week of summer left, and they decided to have a welcome home party to get back in touch with all of their friends before school started. They started to make a list of people to call, and then Nathan said, "What about Luke? Do you think Karen would let him come?"

They had both heard last night that Lucas had been grounded all summer, and was still grounded until the first day of school. In fact Nathan had laughed his ass off at the news while Lucas glared and turned red. Haley had kicked Nathan under the table, which made him yelp, and look at her. After one look, he had decided that Lucas' situation wasn't all that funny and stopped laughing.

Haley shook her head. "No I don't. Seems a shame to have a party without him though. Maybe we should wait until the first weekend after school starts."

Nathan shook his head. "No, I want to see everyone before school starts. But you're right that it won't seem like much of a party without him."

They continued making a list, and soon were calling people. As the afternoon wore on, Nathan kept thinking about Lucas, and came up with a plan to surprise his wife, and to get his brother out of the house for a while. Nathan felt kind of bad for Lucas. Three months seemed like a really long time to him, especially after Lucas had saved Dan's life.

Nathan told Haley he was going to go buy beers for the party, which he did, but he also made a call on his cell phone before going home. He called Karen's Café and Karen answered. Nathan said, "Hi Karen, this is Nathan."


"I wanted to ask you a favor."


"I know that Luke is grounded, and I understand why, but I was hoping you would let him help me and Haley tonight."

"Help you with what?"

"Our entire apartment is in need of painting, and we need to repair a couple of holes in the wall. I don't know if anyone told you, but when things were really bad between Haley and me, I got a little out of control in the apartment, and it's a mess. So this morning I got all the paint and supplies we need, and Haley and I were going to work on it this afternoon, but her publicist called, and now she has to go do some CD signing deal. Dad always has to work late on Fridays, and I know Fridays are busy for you and Mom at the Café. So do you think Luke could come and help me paint and clean stuff up?"

Karen said, "Sure Nathan. I think it will be nice for the two of you to spend some time together doing something constructive. And I'm out of chores to give him around the house and the yard anyway. He was here this morning, but he headed home about an hour ago."

"Thanks Karen. He might be home pretty late unless you need him home at a specific time, because I want to get it all done tonight."

"If you aren't done by midnight, then have him give me a call so I won't worry."

"Got it. I'll go pick him up right now. Thanks again."

Nathan drove up to Karen's house and went to knock on the door. Lucas answered and gave Nathan a big smile. "What are you doing here?"

Nathan said, "Bustin' you out of jail bro."

Lucas chuckled and said, "And did you clear this with the warden?"

"Of course."

Lucas lost his smile and said, "I don't get it."

Nathan put his arm around Lucas' shoulders and started them walking towards his car. Nathan said, "Haley and I are having a welcome home party tonight, and we couldn't have it without you, so I told your mom you were going to help me paint my apartment."

Lucas shrugged off Nathan's arm and said, "Whoa, wait just a minute Nate. I've been grounded all friggen summer because I lied to her, and now when I'm almost a free man, you want me to lie again?"

Nathan said, "Don't be a pussy Luke. She's not gonna find out. I told her we would be up late, and she told me to have you call if you were going to be later then midnight. I bet you could even call her at midnight and tell her you were going to crash at our place for the night. Dad works late on Fridays, and he already saw you today at the Café, so he won't be a problem, and both of our moms are busy late today at the Café. It's the perfect set up."

Lucas thought about it for a few minutes. He shook his head. "She'll find out Nathan. Someone will see me there and then word will get back to her."

"Damn it Luke, Haley missed you so much this summer, and I did too. We want to spend time with you before school starts. Haley won't have any fun at the party if you're not there. I promise you it will be fun, and we'll tell everyone who comes through the door that you aren't really there. We won't invite anyone we don't actually know."

Lucas closed his eyes for a second and then nodded his head. Nathan patted Lucas' shoulder and said, "Come on. Haley's gonna love this."

As Nathan headed for his apartment he asked Lucas, "So can you even drink?"


"I bought some beers, but with all the medications you're on, are you supposed to drink?"

"Let's see, I'm taking one pill for my heart every day, two different pain killers for my legs, and two other pills that are supposed to promote skin growth and prevent infection or something. I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to be drinking on top of all that."

"Jeez man, you're like a walking pharmacy or something."

Lucas laughed and said, "Yeah. Who knows what the alcohol would do mixing with all that other stuff."

Nathan turned to him and gave him a smile that never meant good things. He said, "You wanna find out?"

Lucas shook his head no. "I'll just stick to visiting thanks."

Soon they were at Nathan's apartment, and he opened the door yelling, "Honey, I'm home!"

Haley was on the couch and turned around. She couldn't believe her eyes. She got up and said, "Luke?"

"Hi Hales."

"Your mom let you come?"

Nathan stepped in and shut the door. Nathan and Lucas both said, "No."

Haley gave them both a look. Nathan said, "Now don't get upset, the party will be much more fun with Lucas here, and Karen did say he could come over here and help us out."

Haley crossed her arms and said, "Help us out with what?"

"Painting our apartment."

Haley looked over at Lucas. She said, "And you went along with this?"

Lucas said, "I've been grounded for almost three months. THREE MONTHS Haley! I needed a break."

Haley slowly nodded. She said, "Okay, but if Karen finds out, I wouldn't want to be you."

Nathan said, "That's why we're telling everyone not to say anything about Lucas being here."

Haley said, "Oh, that reminds me, I called Tim to invite him, and he said his parents are out of town for the weekend. He said we could have the party there if we wanted. His folks have a full bar, and a huge pool. I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to have it there. Especially since someone could call the cops on us again if we're too loud here."

Nathan nodded. "Great idea, and that would mean no mess for us to clean up too. Let's call him and tell him yes."

Two hours later Nathan, Haley, and Lucas were all on their way to Tim's house, along with half the other teenagers in One Tree Hill.

At the party all three of them had a good time talking to old friends and classmates. The only thing Lucas missed was Brook, who still wasn't home. Nathan had a few drinks, and then teased Lucas relentlessly about not drinking, and soon had a group of other kids teasing Lucas too. An hour later Lucas rolled his eyes and grabbed the beer Nathan had been trying to get him to drink. He took a swig and said, "There. Will you shut up now?"

All the guys cheered loudly, and Nathan put his arm around Lucas. He said, "Now I have a big brother I can be proud of!"

Lucas didn't really intend to drink the beer, but he got to talking to people, and half an hour later the beer was gone. Nathan quickly supplied Lucas with another. Lucas said, "Where's yours?"

Nathan made a face. "Haley made me promise to only have four. Something about my mother and having an 'addictive personality', and it being in my family's genes. Blah, blah, blah. Stupid I know, but I'm working really hard to keep her happy, because I don't think I could live through another separation."

Lucas put his arm around Nathan's shoulder this time and said, "I'm really proud of you for making it work with her little brother."

Nathan was embarrassed at how happy those words made him. He tried not to show it by rolling his eyes and saying, "You haven't had enough to drink to get sappy. Have another."

Karen and Debbie closed down the Café at 11:00pm. They were both tired, but Karen said, "Hey Deb."


"I was thinking maybe we could take some of the leftovers over to the boys. They've been working hard all evening, and I'd like to see how things are coming along."

Debbie nodded in agreement. She said, "You should have seen the place when Nathan left. It was a disaster, so yeah; I'd like to see what they've done too. And Haley should be home by now."

Soon they had a few take out containers full of food, and they headed to the apartment. They knew something was wrong before they even got out of the car. Debbie said, "Why are the lights off?"

They both walked up to the door, and Karen knocked. Getting no response she knocked louder and called out, "Nathan? Lucas?"

Karen and Debbie looked at each other. Debbie tried the door, and then got out her spare key. The women walked in and turned on the lights. The sight that greeted them wasn't good. Debbie turned to Karen and said, "They haven't done a thing to the apartment."

Karen glared at the pink spot on the living room wall and got out her cell phone. She called Lucas' number.

Lucas felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He got it out and saw his mother's number. He set his second beer down, and ran towards the front door. He made it across the street in record time, and figured he was as far away from the noise as he could get and still answer the phone in a reasonable amount of time. He answered, "Hello?"

Karen said, "Hi sweetie, it took you a while to answer, is everything okay?"

"Oh yeah, I just had some paint on my hands, and had to wipe them off."

Karen glared at her phone, and then said in a calm voice, "How is the apartment coming along."

"It's good, but I don't think we're going to be done for at least another two hours. Is that gonna be okay?"

"Sure. Did you want me to bring you guys some dinner?"

Lucas said a little too loudly, "No! I mean, we've already ordered pizza, so don't bother."

Karen had had enough. She said, "Really, because I don't see any pizza boxes here, and actually while we're on the topic, I don't see any paint either."

Lucas didn't know what to say. He felt his pulse increase, because he knew he was caught. Karen waited for a few seconds. Then she said, "Where are you Lucas?"

Lucas thought about the past three months, and how much he had gone through. There had been quite a bit of pain involved with his injuries, and then to be grounded for so long had seemed unfair to him. He took the phone away from his ear and closed it. It immediately started to ring again, and he turned it off. He looked at the phone in his hand and said, "Shit."

He looked back to the house and ran back to frantically look for Nathan and Haley. He found Haley first. He said, "Turn off your cell phone."


Lucas raised his voice and said, "Please Haley! Just turn it off for me."

Haley took out her phone and turned it off. Lucas ran off in search of Nathan and Haley followed. Lucas found Nathan with his phone to his ear. He over heard Nathan saying, "No, that's okay Mom, we'll be fine. In fact we're almost done, so we were going to go to sleep soon."

Lucas pulled the phone away from Nathan's ear and turned it off. Nathan said, "Hey!"

Lucas said, "They know."

Haley caught up with them and asked, "What's going on?"

Lucas looked slightly panicked. "They know! Both of our mothers are at your apartment right now. Fuck! How did I let you talk me into this?!"

Nathan held up his hands and said, "Take it easy Luke. It's not the end of the world."

"Easy for you to say! You don't still live at home!"

"I'll tell your mom it was my idea. I'll tell her that I gave you the same story that I gave her, until you were here at the party. Hell, I'll even tell her I tied you to a chair and forced the beers down your throat if you want."

Lucas sat down on the nearest couch and put his head in his hands. "She's not stupid Nathan. I don't want to be grounded for another month. It's completely unfair!"

Nathan sat down next to Lucas and said, "What about Dad?"

"What about him?"

"Well, he keeps telling you that he wants to be a real dad now right?"

"Yeah, so?"

"So go to him and have him smooth things over with your mom. Or even ask to live with him again. He's pulled me out of more then one jam before. Who helped me when I was taking drugs to help my game? Who got me out of trouble for taking the school bus, and driving drunk? He helped cover it all up for me, and I'm sure he'll help you too."

Lucas thought about that. He did always think it was unfair the way Dan got Nathan out of every jam, while Lucas seemed to pay twice for every mistake he made. Lucas nodded and said, "That's a really good idea Nathan. Can you drive me there?"

Haley said, "No he can't after four beers, but I will. I've just had soda."

Lucas gave her a smile. All three kids got into Nathan's car, and Haley drove them to Dan's apartment.

They pulled up to the apartment, and as they started to get out of the car, they saw Dan coming out of his apartment and putting on his jacket as he left in a hurry. They waited for him at the bottom of the stairs.

Dan's apartment was on the second floor, and as he started down the stairs he saw Nathan, Lucas, and Haley at the bottom of them. He stopped and stared for a second. Nathan said, "Hey Dad, Lucas needs some help."

Dan looked over at Lucas and said, "I just got off the phone with your mother for the second time tonight. Fifteen minutes ago she was raving mad. Now she's crying."

Lucas felt bad about that and looked at his shoes. Dan said, "Come on in, all of you."

Dan went first, and soon all three kids were sitting on Dan's couch while he took off his jacket and hug it up. He handed Lucas the phone and said, "Call your mother, and tell her where you are."

Lucas reached for the phone, but his hand stilled before it got there. He shook his head and said, "No."

Dan put the phone to his own ear and started dialing. Nathan stood up and took the phone away as he said, "Just wait for a second! Listen to our side of things first at least."

Dan looked at his watch and said, "Five minutes."

Nathan hung up the phone and sat back down. He said, "Karen is way over the top with Lucas and you know it. Lucas needs you to talk to her, and let her know that she needs to give him a break, and if you can't talk some sense into her, then maybe Lucas could live here with you."

Dan just looked at Nathan like he had lost his mind. He turned to Lucas and said, "Why don't you tell me where you guys were."

Lucas said, "We went to Tim's house for a party."

Dan put his hands on his hips and said, "A party? You both lied to Karen and Debbie about fixing up Nathan's apartment so you could go to a PARTY?! That's just ridiculous. You only had one week left Lucas. What were you thinking?"

Lucas got angry. He said, "Mom is being unreasonable! It's been three months, and I'm done with it!"

Dan shook his head with dismay. Nathan said, "Dad, we came to you for help. You keep telling Lucas that you want to be a real father to him, so I thought you would do what you always do for me."

Dan looked a little worried and said, "And what is that son?"

"Make the problem go away."

The room was silent for a few seconds while Dan thought about that. He said, "I'll be right back."

He went into the kitchen and got himself a glass of water while he thought. It wasn't always easy for the new Dan Scott to come up with the 'right' answers. He could see lots of possibilities, and lots of ways to resolve the issue, but he wasn't sure which way was the right way until he thought about it. Doing the right thing wasn't automatic for Dan the way it was for some people, and he had to make a conscious decision to choose the right path.

His mind was racing, 'Make it go away? Make it go away. That is what I always did for Nathan. I could make it go away. Let Lucas live here. I would enjoy having him here. Karen got to have him for all those years; maybe it's my turn. But that's what I want, not what's right. Lucas shouldn't have lied, and shouldn't have gone to the party. He needs to go home and face his mother. But they came to me for help, so I can't just turn him away. That would be what I always did before. What would Keith do? I wish he would come home. But then what? Let him take over for me again? It's not his job, it's mine.'

Dan looked at his watch. The five minutes was going quickly. His mind kept going, 'Make it go away. All the times I did that for Nathan, was I really doing it for Nathan, or was I doing it for me? I wanted to see him succeed where I didn't, and I wouldn't let anything get in the way of that. And because of that, Lucas has a clearer picture of right and wrong then Nathan does. Karen said Nathan was completely convincing while he lied to her about what they were going to be doing. Both of them were out of line tonight, and I have to get them back in line, but how?'

Dan went back into the living room and sat down on the edge of the coffee table. He looked at Nathan and said, "So let me see if I've got this all straight. You called Karen and told her that you guys were going to be painting your apartment, but really the plan all along was to go to this party."

Nathan nodded and then Dan turned to Lucas and said, "And you thought this was a good plan because you were tired of being grounded."

Lucas nodded. Dan turned back to Nathan and said, "So you went over to Tim's house and visited with your friends and drank."

Haley wanting to be helpful said, "Oh, but he didn't drive over here. I knew both of them would probably drink something, so I stuck with sodas. I wanted to make sure one of us could drive us home safely."

Dan looked at Haley. He had thought a lot over the summer about her. He couldn't decide at first why he hadn't liked her. But eventually he had realized that she reminded him too much of Karen. Too smart, too honest, and too wholesome to be a Scott. He gave her a smile and said, "Thank you for your foresight as always."

Then he glared over at Lucas and said, "YOU were drinking? I mean I would expect Nathan to have a few at a party, but you're taking all kinds of medications, and you're still not all the way healed. And that's not even taking into consideration your heart condition."

Nathan raised his voice, "Cut the crap Dad. Don't pull this 'holier then thou' shit on us. Luke had two beers, it's not the end of the world, and please don't tell me that your heart condition has kept you away from your scotch. Are you going to help us or not, because if not, we might as well go home."

Dan felt his temper flare. He pointed at Nathan and opened his mouth to say something mean, and had to force himself to stop. A memory flittered across his mind. He could remember a similar situation with his own brother and father. Keith was a senior in high school, and Dan was a sophomore. Keith had taken Dan to his first party while telling their father that they were going to study at a friend's house. Dan had gotten a little drunk. That night when they got home, their father had been waiting for them. Their father had yelled at both of them, and then he had spanked Keith right there in front of Dan, and then pretty much let Dan off the hook.

Dan hadn't really thought about that night from his father's point of view before tonight. When he did, he kind of hated him. And when he thought about it a little more, he realized that was the way it had always been in that house. Their father expected Keith to be responsible, and he expected Dan to be a basketball star. Dan looked at both of his boys who were looking back at him, and didn't understand how his father could have done it.

Dan knew he had written Lucas off early in life, but if he had been a part of Lucas' life, he couldn't have treated his two sons so differently. He could see now that he had been wrong to let Nathan get away with the things he had done in the past, but Dan knew that if Lucas had lived with him too, he would have done the same for him. And somehow Dan knew that while that wouldn't have made him a good father, at least it wouldn't have been as cruel as what his father had done.

Nathan, tired of waiting while his father sat there in a stupor, stood up and said, "Come on Luke, this was a mistake. I'll help you with your mom. You can crash at our place if you need to."

Dan snapped out of it and stood up also. He said, "No. Sit down."

Nathan yelled, "No. I won't. We're leaving!"

Dan almost shoved Nathan back down on the couch, but stopped himself in time. He said with a calm he didn't feel, "I'm going to help you son. I'm going to help both of you, I promise."

Nathan considered this for a second and sat back down as he said, "Well it's about time."

Dan sat down too and looked at Haley. He said, "Could you do us a favor?"

"Of course."

Dan said, "Will you please drive back home to your apartment? Karen and Debbie are both there waiting for me. I told them I would come over so we could come up with a plan to find you kids. Tell them that we're all here at my place so they don't worry, and tell them we will all be over as soon as I'm done talking with these two."

Haley looked at Nathan who nodded at her. She said, "Okay." and headed out the door.

Silence fell over the room, and soon Dan heard Nathan's car start up and drive away. Dan thought about Keith and about his father. He knew that if Keith had done what either of his boys had done, that his father would have spanked him. He also knew that Keith was hard working, honest, and had the respect of the people around him. Between the two of them, Dan decided he would rather see his boys turn into men like Keith then become like Dan himself had become. He nodded to himself and made up his mind. He was eighty percent sure it was the right path to take, and since it seemed like the hardest and most unpleasant path, he was pretty sure he was right.

Lucas asked, "Are you okay Dad? You seem kind of…. Out of it."

Nathan turned to Lucas and said with humor, "Too much scotch."

Dan shook his head. "I haven't had anything to drink since the night someone tried to kill me."

He looked back and forth between the boys, and decided Nathan would have to go first, because Nathan would run. Or at least Dan knew he would have run if his Dad had told him he was going to get spanked after Keith. And he knew that Keith wouldn't have run, and doubted Lucas would, because they would know it was wrong.

Dan said, "I promised to help both of you, and I will, but you're not going to like it. Both of you did things tonight that were wrong. Things that you should be ashamed of, and if you can't see that now, then I hope you can by the time we're done here. I have done a lot of things that I regret in my life, but none of them come close to what I did to the both of you."

Dan turned to Lucas and said, "I shut you out. Made you believe I didn't care about you and refused to be a part of your life. I will never be able to make that up to you, but I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying, because I love you."

Lucas looked like he might cry.

Dan turned to Nathan and said, "But I think what I did to you was even worse. I made you believe that I only cared about you for your talent. I tried to relive my life through you, and by focusing so hard on basketball, I made the mistake of not teaching you right from wrong. I love you too, and I'm gonna try to teach you that now. But you're a smart kid, and I'm sure you're gonna catch up quickly. Especially with me, Haley, and Lucas all helping you out."

Nathan said, "I don't know what the hell you're talking about Dad, but you're kind of rambling."

Dan scooted over on the coffee table, so that he was right in front of Nathan. He leaned forwards into Nathan's personal space, and Nathan leaned back against the couch. Dan said, "You lied to Karen and your mother, and you encouraged your brother to do the same. You've been drinking and probably encouraging your brother to drink too. Then instead of being a man and facing up to what you had done, you ran over here to me hoping I would cover things up the way I always have before. I'm telling you right now Nathan, that I will never do it again. From now on I expect you to own up to your mistakes, and if you don't, I'll make you."

Nathan had mixed emotions about what his father had said. At first he felt guilty, but by the end he thought Dan was being hypocritical. Nathan opened his mouth to retaliate, but Dan grabbed his upper arm and yanked him forward. Nathan hadn't been expecting it, and soon found himself butt up over his father's left leg. Dan had his legs open when he had pulled Nathan over his lap, and now that Nathan was in position, Dan closed his legs so that both of Nathan's legs were caught between Dan's. Then Dan wrapped his left arm around Nathan's back and waist, effectively pinning him in place. Nathan caught his upper half with both hands on the floor in front of him. He screeched, "What the fuck Dad?!"

Dan said, "I'm going to spank you for what you did tonight."

Before Nathan could come up with a suitable reply, he felt Dan's hand make a loud connection with his rear end. Nathan started to struggle with everything he had. He thrashed around trying to get free from Dan's grasp. Dan was a little surprised at Nathan's violent reaction, but held him fast, and continued to assault his backside with his hand.

Lucas had pushed himself as far back as he could into the corner of the couch, even raising his legs up so that his knees were by his chest. He wasn't sure what he should do. His first thought had been to try and stop Dan, but as he watched Nathan try to get out of it, he decided not to. He thought about all the things Nathan had done over the past couple of years, and knew without a doubt that Nathan deserved what he was getting. The only thing he wasn't sure about, is weather Dan was the one who should be doing it. But he truly believed that Dan had changed, and decided not to try and intervene.

A few seconds after he started to struggle, Nathan yelled, "You fucking hypocrite! You're spanking me? How many times have you lied in your life?! How many people did you manipulate to get your own way?! Do you think this is gonna mean anything to me coming from you? I can't even remember a time when I respected you, so you can take your new found conscience, and shove it up your ass!"

Dan felt the words bury themselves like needles into his heart, and responded to his son by pulling down the jogging pants Nathan was so fond of wearing, along with his boxers. Nathan's vocabulary became more vulgar, and he called his dad several rude names. Dan resumed spanking the naked butt in front of him. Nathan craned his neck around to see Lucas who was slightly behind him on the couch. Nathan called out to him, "Lucas, don't just sit there! Help me!"

Lucas looked at Nathan sadly and shook his head no. Nathan stopped his struggles and lay still. He looked at Lucas and said, "Please Luke, Ahh! Please!"

Lucas said, "No Nathan. Dad is right. What we did was wrong."

Nathan didn't have respect for his father, but he did respect his brother, and if his brother thought he deserved what he was getting, then he was probably right. He felt his eyes filling and hung his head back down. Nathan was curiously quiet and still for the next few seconds while Dan continued to spank him.

Dan spanked and talked at the same time, "You may not respect me Nathan, and maybe you never will, but I swear to you that I am not going to be the person I was ever again. I will not lie or manipulate people any more, and I will call you on your behavior from this day forward, so you have fair warning."

Dan felt Nathan shuddering, and realized he was crying quietly. Dan's hand hurt, and he imagined that Nathan's butt felt much worse. Dan brought his hand down lower on Nathan's upper thighs, which were a stark white next to the dark red butt. Nathan bucked and yelled out in pain. Dan could clearly see the handprint he had left on Nathan's right thigh, and put a matching one on the left. Nathan yelled out again, and his crying got louder. Dan gave him ten more hard swats on his sit spots, and Nathan begged, "Please Dad! Please stop! PLEASE! DAD!". Dan stopped.

Nathan lay there and cried for a few seconds, and then tried to get up. Dan held him in place. Dan said, "I want to make sure we're done before I let you up."

Nathan stopped trying to get up, and waited to hear what his father had to say. Dan said, "Tell me why I spanked you."

Nathan sniffed loudly, and wiped at his face with his sleeves. He took a few shaky deep breaths and said, "Be…because I lied."

Dan rubbed Nathan's back and said, "That's right. And….?"

Nathan shook his head not knowing. He guessed, "Because I drank?"

"No. Because I love you, and I want you to remember this the next time you're about to lie, and then make the decision not to."

Nathan nodded and said, "Okay."

Dan gave him six more swats, and Nathan yelped through them. Dan said, "Okay what?"

"Okay I will! I'll remember! Please no more, I'm soooorrry."

Dan let go of Nathan's waist, and pulled his pants and boxers back up over his behind. Nathan got to his feet, and stood on shaky legs. Dan stood up too and pulled Nathan into a hug. Nathan tried to push him away and said, "Don't touch me."

Dan didn't want to, but he did let him go. He gave Nathan a sad look and said, "I'll let go for now, but if I catch you lying again, I'll spank you again whether you want me to or not."

Nathan looked away and didn't respond. Dan said, "Sit down."

Nathan shook his head no, not wanting to. Dan got a little irritated. He said, "Nathan, sit down right now, or you can go back over my lap. Your choice."

Nathan moved back a step and gingerly sat on the opposite end of the couch from Lucas. Dan sat back down on the coffee table and slid over to sit in front of Lucas. He said, "You were already grounded for lying, and tonight you lied to your mother again. You were drinking, and you know you can't do that with your medications. And then to top it all off, you tried to get out of facing up to what you did by trying to get me to fix things."

Lucas felt his face heat up and he nodded once in agreement. Dan said, "I'm going to spank you too, and when we're done, we're going to go meet your mom at Nathan's apartment. Then you are going to tell your mom everything, including that I spanked you, and you will take whatever punishment she wants to add. And you better believe that if she says you are grounded for a whole year, that I'm going to back her up and help her keep you in line."

Lucas was too ashamed of himself to keep eye contact and looked down at his knees and nodded again. Nathan shook his head and said, "Lucas saved your life Dad, and now you're going to repay him by beating his ass for him? How is that different from who you were before?"

Dan wasn't sure how to explain it, and wondered if maybe Nathan was right. Lucas said, "It's different because he cares about us now Nate. He isn't doing it to make things better for himself, he's doing it to make us better people. If Uncle Keith were here, he would agree with Dan."

Nathan shook his head not believing it. "You don't know that for sure."

Lucas snorted and said, "Yeah, I do. He spanked me twice last year. Trust me, he'd agree."

Nathan just starred at Lucas. Lucas swallowed the lump in his throat, and wiped his sweaty palms on his pants as he stood up. He looked at Dan and said, "Did you want me to…."

Lucas pointed at the fly of his jeans. Dan was trying to get over the shock of hearing Lucas admit that Keith had spanked him. He looked at Lucas and said, "What?"

Lucas, not brave enough to bring it up again, mumbled, "Nothing."

Dan could see that the waiting was hard on Lucas, so he reached up and pulled Lucas' arm slightly to get him to lie over his lap. Lucas awkwardly lay himself over both of Dan's legs. Dan looked down at the jeans and then at his already sore hand. He was about to have Lucas stand back up and take his pants down, but then he noticed his slippers on the floor beside him. They were moccasin style slippers with rubber soles. He had just taken them off and put on his shoes after Karen had called him the second time. He leaned down and picked one up.

Lucas desperately wanted the whole spanking over, and wondered why Dan hadn't even started. He felt Dan shifting, and looked back in time to see that Dan was holding a slipper. He heard the 'Thwack' and felt the sting at the same time. He jumped a little and groaned.

On the couch, Nathan muttered, "Shit." with disbelief, and squirmed.

Lucas already felt bad about what he had done, and didn't try to get away. But within seconds his body started twitching to get away from the pain. Since Dan didn't have his legs pinned, Lucas found himself kicking after the first ten swats. Unlike Nathan who hadn't apologized until the very end of his spanking, Lucas started right away. He said, "I know that what I did was wrong, and I'm really sorry about it Dad. I swear it's not going to happen again."

Dan wasn't sure if he should stop or not. Lucas was telling him he was sorry, and that he wasn't going to do it again, so that should mean that they were done, but somehow that didn't seem right to Dan. Lucas was close to tears already and said, "I'll agree…Ow! to whatever Mom says too, Ow!… because she doesn't deserve…Ah! to have me lying to her."

Dan nodded in agreement, and his arm slowed down, but he kept bringing the slipper down. Much sooner then Nathan had, Lucas started to cry and choked out, "Please Dan, I promise I won't do it again."

Dan couldn't do it anymore. He stopped the spanking and tossed the slipper back on the floor. He wondered if he was being unfair, because he had spanked Nathan much harder and longer then Lucas. But he decided that their reaction to the spanking was what had dictated that, and not anything he had planned to do differently to each of them.

Dan helped Lucas stand up and was amazed when Lucas sat right back down on his lap, upright this time, and hugged him hard. Dan recovered quickly and hugged Lucas back. Lucas continued to say he was sorry, and Dan shushed him and said, "I know, and I'm sure that there won't be a repeat offense. It's gonna be fine. We'll go back to Nathan's, and I think you'll feel better once you tell Karen everything."

Lucas nodded on Dan's shoulder. Dan sat there for a few minutes thinking about the difference in both of his boy's reactions to the spankings while comforting Lucas. He thought the difference was trust. A few minutes later Lucas let go and stood up. He wiped at his face again and said, "I'm gonna get some tissues."

Lucas walked into the bathroom and Dan looked over at Nathan. Nathan was looking at him with hate.

Nathan had sat there and watched while his father spanked Lucas. He didn't understand why Lucas wasn't trying to fight it, and he was disgusted when he heard Lucas apologize right away. But then when he saw his father throw down the slipper and let Lucas up so soon, Nathan thought he understood. He told himself that if he ever ended up in that position again, that he would force himself to be still and apologize too if it meant getting a lesser spanking.

But then when he saw Lucas dive into his father's lap for comfort and forgiveness Nathan felt burning rage course through him. He felt hate for his father. There were so many reasons he couldn't even name them all. But the main two things that kept running through his mind were; Dan knew how to be a good father, but had chosen not to for the past seventeen years, and that the thing that had eventually changed Dan was Lucas. He felt anger, resentment, and jealousy towards Lucas. Anger because Lucas had given in and trusted Dan so quickly, when he didn't deserve that trust. Resentment because Lucas had at least had Uncle Keith growing up. And jealousy that Lucas was able to accept, and was getting, the comfort, love, and acceptance that Nathan found he still wanted from his father.

As soon as Dan saw the look he acted without thinking. He moved quickly to the couch, sat beside Nathan, and pulled him into a hug too. Nathan fought him again, but Dan held him tight. Nathan yelled, "Let me go God Damn It! Don't touch me! I fucking hate you! I fucking hate you I said! I fucking hate yooooou…."

Nathan broke down into loud sobs, and stopped trying to get away. Dan kept holding him and said, "I love you Nathan. I love you. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you for so many years, but I will be now. It's gonna be okay Nate. Things will be different between us now. Things will be better."

Ten long minutes later Nathan had mostly stopped crying. Dan let him go and looked at him. He wiped some of the tears off his face and said, "We need to go. Your mom and your wife are waiting."

Nathan nodded and looked around for Lucas. Lucas was now standing by the coffee table, and handed him a few tissues and gave him an understanding smile.

The ride over to Nathan's apartment was mostly silent. All three of them were quietly thinking about the night. When they pulled up to the apartment Lucas whined, "I so don't want to be grounded when school starts."

No one commented. Before they even got to the door Karen yanked it open and yelled at Lucas, "You don't turn your cell phone off when I'm talking to you Lucas! Do you understand me?!"

Lucas nodded and said, "I'm sorry Mom." to the welcome mat at his feet.

Karen opened her mouth, but Dan beat her to it by saying, "Could we step inside before you start yelling? Lucas has some things he needs to tell you."

Karen glared but opened the door wider for everyone to enter. As soon as Haley saw Nathan, she knew he had been crying. She quietly went over to him and put her arm around his waist and leaned her head on his shoulder. Once the door was closed and they were all inside Dan said, "Go on Luke."

Lucas gave him pleading eyes and said, "Here? In front of everyone?"

Dan looked around. He looked back and said, "We're all family."

Lucas looked back at his feet and said, "Nathan came by home today and told me that he had made up a lie about us painting his apartment so that we could go to a party. I went along with him, and while we were there I had two beers. Then when you called I panicked because I knew you were so angry, and went to Dad's apartment to ask him to help smooth things over with you. Dad wasn't happy with me or Nathan for what we had done, and he spanked us both before bringing us back here."

Karen couldn't quite believe her ears. She looked over at Nathan who had turned beet red and was also contemplating his footwear. She looked at Dan who was looking a little nervous about her reaction. She put both hands on Lucas' face and forced him to look at her. She could see he had been crying, and was being completely honest with her. She pulled him into a hug and looked over at Dan with a questioning look. Debbie couldn't be quite any longer. She went to Nathan and said, "Are you okay Nate?"

Nathan nodded and said, "Yeah."

Haley hugged him tighter, and he hugged her back. They would have time to talk everything over when everyone else was gone.

Dan said, "And what else Lucas?"

Lucas kept hugging his mom and said quietly over her shoulder, "If you decide I'm grounded for even longer, Dad says he'll help you make sure I stay on track."

Karen looked over at Dan and said, "I never thought I'd live to see you like this Dan. I'm glad I have. Thank you."

Karen let go of Lucas and said to him, "I don't know what I'm going to do to you, but I do know that I'm too tired to decide tonight. Let's go home."

Lucas nodded and started to follow her to the door. Then turned to Dan and said, "See you tomorrow Dad. I am sorry about tonight."

Dan was still relieved that Karen hadn't attacked him and just nodded. Then Lucas walked over to Nathan and whispered in his ear, "The next time you come up with a brilliant plan like this one, little brother, I'm gonna knock you out before you can put it into action."

Nathan snickered and shook his head. Lucas walked out and the room grew quiet. A few seconds later Debbie said, "Karen and I brought over some food for you. It's in the fridge if anyone wants it. But I'm tired too, so I think I'll go home."

Nathan let go of Haley and went over to his mom. He gave her a hug and said, "I'm sorry I lied to you Mom."

Debbie couldn't quite believe any of this, and decided she needed some time to absorb the information. She left quickly. Dan went and gave Nathan one more hug and said, "I'll see you tomorrow too."

Nathan hugged him back and said, "Okay."

Once they were alone, Nathan and Haley went to bed and talked for an hour about what had happened. Nathan was unhappy to learn that Haley seemed to think Dan had done the right thing too. He eventually fell asleep exhausted.

Two days later on Sunday, Karen did something rare and closed the Café for the day. Karen, Debbie, Dan, Lucas, Nathan, and Haley all painted Nathan and Haley's apartment together. It only took them half a day, and they spent the rest of the time just hanging out.

Lucas was very happy to relay to Nathan that he was only grounded for one more week after school started, and confided to him that his mother was often much more lenient about grounding him after his Uncle had spanked him. Nathan was sorry to say that Haley had nixed any more parties until after Lucas was back to ungrounded status, but in reality he was fine with that. Nathan had grown tired of people around them all the time when he and Haley had been on the road.

Dan just sat on the couch and watched his family around him. He hated to think about all the time he had wasted in his life trying to scheme his way into happiness, when all along it had been right at his fingertips if he had just grabbed a hold of it. When his brother Keith came home, and he hoped that would be sometime soon, he knew he would have to spend quite a bit of time making things right. He even toyed with the idea of letting Keith spank him for all the things he had done. But he also knew that whatever it took, he would keep trying to make things right between them, because it would be worth it. Because now he knew that just one day of happiness with his sons was worth more then a year of his unhappy old life.

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