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Thursday, September 29, 2016

TLR Chapter 88

Ryan always let little Castiel sleep with him. He enjoyed his purring and was curled up with him in bed when he heard a knocking at the door. He rolled out of bed, placed the kitten on his shoulder and rubbing his eyes sleepily went to open the door. "Who's there?"

"‘Can't ask for more, so open the door,' said Barnacle Bill the Sailor!" Mutt sang                                    .

Ryan laughed and opened the door.

"Heya Ry," Mutt said with a smile. "How's it going today?"  Torren and Adam, who both stood slightly behind and to each side of Mutt, greeted him with smiles and waves.

Ryan grinned. "It's goin' fine. Coral is out takin’ care of some things, come on in fellas, let me wash up a bit and get human." Castiel meowed and swiped at Mutt.

Mutt scooped the kitten up and began to scratch gently under his chin. Cas began to purr and closed his eyes in pleasure. The three men went inside and headed straight for the cat toys. "We'll keep Cas busy while yer takin' care o' business," Adam said, dangling a feather on a stick to tempt the kitten to play.

Ryan shook his head and said, "'Kay, but make sure you don’t spoil him too much while I'm in the shower." The young man went into the bathroom to clean up and get dressed. Castiel watched Ryan for a moment from the cradle of Mutt's arms, then jumped down and scampered along with him to the bathroom. He sat at the closed door and meowed in protest, scratching at the door.

Ryan opened the door a crack and said, "No Cas, naughty! Stop that. I'll be right out... go play with Mutt and the guys." He closed the door tight.

Castiel then caught sight of Adam and the dangling feather.  He ran over to it and pounced on it.

The other two men, not wanting to be left out of the fun, picked up two other toys and began a mock competition to see who could get the kitten playing with the toy in their possession the most.

"C'mon, Cas, ye know ye wanna," Adam cajoled.

He was disappointed when the kitten chose to chase the simple strand of yarn that Torren was snaking across the floor.

Mutt chose a catnip ball and gently rolled it across the floor, catching Castiel's attention.

The kitten promptly lost interest in the yarn and pounced on the ball, biting and clawing it playfully as he rolled on his back.  Then Cas saw a little fluff ball rolling toward him that Mutt had sent after the catnip one and pounced on it and began batting it around and biting it, holding it and then dropping it to scurry after it once more.

Ryan soon came out of the shower, toweling dry his hair and seeing Cas playing with the fluff ball laughed. "That's his favorite toy. He even brings it to bed with him."

"I cry foul then!" Adam said theatrically. "Mutt used 'is favorite toy that immediately disqualifies 'im from the competition."

"Seconded," Torren grinned wickedly.

The three men began to debate then, forgetting the kitten for the moment.

Ryan laughed and asked, "You guys want something to drink?"

"Sure, sounds good," the usually quiet Torren said, following Ryan into the kitchen. "Whatcha got?" he asked.

Ryan put a little bowl of milk down for the kitten and said to Torren, "I have water, juice and soda."  He wrinkled his nose. "Coral won't let me have anything else, not even one of those energy drinks, and no Mountain Dew. Says the caffeine pumps me up too much."

Mutt looked nervously over at the kitten who was lapping eagerly at the milk.  He got up and took the bowl away before the kitten could drink much more.

"What're you doin'?" Ryan asked indignantly, approaching Mutt to take the bowl back.

"I remember from when I was a kid that kittens and cats aren't supposed to drink milk because their systems can't break it down properly. It can cause them to get sick to their stomach and their litter boxes can get pretty messy as a result."

"It hasn't happened so far," Ryan replied frowning. "I give him milk all the time, and isn't that what you're supposed to feed kittens so that they grow properly?"

"Only their mother's milk," Mutt said. "And Cas is already weaned.  The only thing he should be drinking is water, Ry. I wouldn't have done what I did if I didn't care about Cas, and you.  I know you'd be really upset and worried if he got sick. I know you'd blame yourself and that wouldn't be good for either of you."

Ryan, determined to prove Mutt wrong, went into the living room and took some papers out of a drawer.  He brought them to Mutt and said, "These are the care instructions that Shorty gave me, and it doesn't say anythin' about not givin' Cas milk."

Mutt poured the milk down the drain and rinsed the sink and bowl and filled the bowl with water for the kitten before he took the papers and scanned the pages. He then pointed out several paragraphs toward the end instructing that the kitten not be fed cow's milk and the reasons why.  "But look here," he said, "it says that there is cat milk available in pet stores, and you can feed him that on occasion. It's safer for him."

Ryan blushed a little. He was ashamed to admit that he hadn't read that far, only concentrating on the things that he should do.  He was tempted to throw Mutt from the house again, but then he remembered how Coral had handled that situation the last time, so he fought down his temper and took a deep breath as Coral had instructed him to do.

When he calmed down he asked the guys what they wanted to drink.

"Soda, please," said Mutt.
"Same here," Adam chimed in.

"If Castiel wouldn't mind, I'd like a glass of milk, please," Torren replied, earning surprised looks from his friends.

Ryan poured Torren a glass of milk. "Cas don't mind." 

"Thanks Cas." Torren grinned down at the kitten and took a sip of his milk. He smiled at the ice cold liquid and drank it slowly, relishing the flavor.  "What are you having?" he asked Ryan.

“A soda. If I have anythin’ else other than what Coral said I can I’m in trouble,” he confessed as he grabbed sodas for Mutt and Adam and one for himself and handed them all around.

Castiel lapped eagerly at his water. After the kitten finished he went over to Torren and rubbed against his leg purring.

Ryan smiled. "I think he likes you, Tor."

"For some reason, cats seem to like me," Torren said. "But dogs... that's another matter." He laughed, leaning down to pet the cat who lifted his head into Torren's caress.

After the men had finished their drinks Mutt leaned back contentedly and asked, "So what would you all like to do next?"

Ryan grinned at the other young men. "You guys want to see my latest video game?"

"Excellent!" Torren exclaimed happily. "Bring it on, Ry!"

"Sounds great," Mutt said more sedately, although he couldn't help but to smile at his friend's enthusiasm.

Adam smiled and gestured Ryan to lead them to the living room.

Ryan grinned and led the other men into the room.  "I was playing it the other night for a bit before I went to work so it's already set up." He turned on the game and quickly became engrossed in playing with the other three men.

Momentarily forgotten, Castiel stopped playing with the fluff ball and looked into the living room where the men were shouting and laughing good naturedly. He took the opportunity to nose around the kitchen, looking for scraps of food that might have been missed. It was then that he noticed the door ajar.

He stopped at the door and sniffed cautiously. The smells enticed him and he slipped sinuously through the narrow opening and went outside.

When he came upon a thing that looked like his scratching post he scratched on it and then the smell of it drew him into it and he began to climb and stopped about midway, snuggling into the branches of the Eastern White Pine tree that grew alongside the bungalow, it's upper branches nearly touching the edge of the roof.

Ryan realized his kitten was missing when he noticed Castiel was not on his shoulder which was his usual perch and frowned. He looked around and then at the other guys. "Does anyone see Castiel?" 

Mutt and the others tore their attention away from the game and looked casually around.  " 'e couldn't'a got very far," Adam said. "Th' place isn't that big. C'mon guys, let's find th' lit'le fur ball."

The men put down their controllers and began their search, looking under the furniture, into the carrier and anywhere else they could think of that a kitten might be.

That was when Ryan noticed the kitchen door slightly ajar.

The young man bit his lip and said, "Umm...guys, who left the door open?"

Mutt, Adam and Torren all looked at each other. None of them could remember who had been the last one in, and none of them could remember shutting the door. They looked at Ryan guiltily. "I think that would have been all of us," Mutt replied.

"Do you think he could have slipped out?" Ryan asked worriedly, rushing to the door and opening it wide, hoping to see some sign of the kitten nearby.

Mutt and the others filed past Ryan as quickly as they could, searching and calling for Castiel. Adam frowned and shushed everyone, holding up his hand for their attention. It was then that they heard a plaintive, 'Meow'.

Ryan looked around and up, but couldn't see anything. Then another distressed meow came from the long needle pine tree. Ryan said, "He's up in that tree...I'll try to climb up and get him."

"Whoa, hold on!" Mutt said worriedly. "You'll break your neck if you climb up there and try to climb back down one handed!"

Ryan looked up.  "He'll sit on my shoulder. Then I'll have two hands," he insisted. "Besides he's my fur ball."

"Yours or no, Ry, it ain't safe," Adam said. "I know a lit'le bit abou' cats, Ry, an' they're sneaky little buggers. 'E might climb higher, or even come back down while yer tryin' ta get up there."

"And then there's your backside you have to consider," Torren added.

 Ryan said, "Only if Coral finds out. I'll have him down before he gets back, I think."

"Let me go get a ladder," Mutt said. "I know just the one. Hang on. Don't do anything rash, ok Ry?"

Ryan kept eyeing the tree, trying to see Castiel up there and plotting the best way up.

"Don't do it, Ry. I'll be right back with that ladder," Mutt argued.

Ryan looked at Mutt and said, "Alright...but hurry back."

Mutt saluted, then turned away and half walked, half ran to the maintenance shed to retrieve the extendable ladder he had in mind.

Ryan watched the kitten nervously. Castiel meowed several times and was wriggling around. Ryan, fearful that his pet might fall out of the tree said, "Mutt's takin' too long... I'm goin' up." He grasped the lower branches of the tree and began to climb. He was getting close to the kitten when it startled and climbed higher into branches Ryan knew for sure wouldn't hold his weight and he looked nervously at the precarious position the kitten was in now. "Damn," he said, realizing what Adam had said was right. He hurriedly climbed down, dropped to the ground and then quickly surveying the situation made what he believed to be his best choice. Before the other guys realized what Ryan was doing he shinnied up the drain pipe to the edge of the bungalow roof and inched his way over to the tree and Castiel. He began to reach over for his kitten.

"Don't do it, Ry!" Torren said hoarsely, trying not to startle the young man.

"Get down, Ry! Wait fer Mutt t' get back!" Adam said urgently.

Ryan said quietly, "I almost... have him..." He stretched out a little further.

Coral, who had approached unnoticed, heard the young men's entreaties to his boy and watched, heart racing, as Ryan stretched further and further toward the tree. He passed Adam and Torren and stood beneath where Ryan was balanced precariously near the edge of the roof. Mutt had seen Coral and had nearly dropped the ladder and run, but he straightened his shoulders and continued on his way to the bungalow, hoping that he wasn't too late.

Coral cleared his throat to get Ryan's attention, trying not to startle his boy. "Get. Down," he ordered, quietly but sternly.

Ryan looked down a bit surprised to hear Coral's voice. He had thought they had more time. He called down quietly, "I almost have him... just a little further and he can jump onto my hand."

Coral's teeth clenched but he remained calm. "You're off balance as it is, Ryan Jerome. If Castiel did somehow manage to land in your hand, his weight and momentum will cause you to fall. Now I want you to back away slowly and come down. Now!"

Ryan, hearing his full name being used, and the intensity of the older man's tone, backed away and sat on the edge of the roof and pouted. "I almost had him."

Mutt came up seconds later and saw Ryan on the roof. "Get down, Ry! I've got the ladder. Just get down and we can get Cas safely down."

Mutt leaned the ladder against the bungalow so that Ryan wouldn't have to jump down and possibly get hurt. "C'mon, Ry. We'll get him," he reassured the young man.

Castiel, then jumped from the tree to Ryan's shoulder the unexpected move making Ryan teeter a bit, which caused him to grasp the edge of the roof to prevent himself from falling. Once he steadied himself he petted the kitten and then carefully made his way down to the ground using the ladder Mutt had placed for him.

Coral immediately pulled Ryan into a hug, relieved that he'd gotten home in time to prevent Ryan from getting hurt. He glared a little at the other men, knowing that they'd all tried to keep Ryan from pulling this foolish maneuver but still angry that no one had apparently done more to prevent it, and also angry at himself for not being there to stop it to begin with.  He knew it was irrational, but he wasn't feeling particularly rational at this moment.

Ryan as always leaned into Coral's hug. He knew he was in big trouble but was relieved to have his beloved kitten safe and sound as Castiel purred loudly in Ryan's ear still on the boy's shoulder.

Ryan said quietly, "We're all right. Both of us are fine."

"For the time being," Coral growled in Ryan's ear. He turned to the other three men who looked on nervously and said, "Thank you for trying to help, especially you Mutt, for bringing the ladder, but it's time for you all to go." His tone was polite but left no question that it was an order.

Ryan stiffened slightly in Coral's arms as he heard him ask his friends to leave.

Mutt swallowed hard. "You're welcome, and yeah, it is getting kind of late now guys, we really should be going. See you soon, Ry."

Ryan said, "Thanks for comin' over guys we had fun." He bit his lip.

"An' we will again," Adam replied. "Next time we'll meet at my place. I'll talk to Eric abou' it an' we c'n set up a day."

Ryan said, "'Kay, sounds good Adam."

The other two men said their goodbyes and the three of them turned to leave, helping Mutt with the ladder as they did so.

Once they were gone Coral turned back to Ryan, a frown on his face. "Let's go inside, shall we?"

Ryan looked up into Coral's dark brown eyes and knew there was no other answer other than, "Yes Sir."

Once inside Coral gently removed Castiel from Ryan's shoulder, lovingly petted him and then put him in his carrier with the door shut tight. The kitten was very protective of Ryan and Coral didn't want him to accidentally get in the way of what was coming next.

Ryan watched as Coral placed Cas into his carrier and shifted nervously, not quite knowing what was to happen next, but knew it couldn't be good if Coral contained his kitten.

Coral turned toward Ryan with serious eyes. "I'm going to let you tell me your side of the story, Ry, although from what I've seen so far I think I have the basics. If you can give me an acceptable reason for being on the roof I may not take you over my knee. But the chances of that are slim to none at this point."

Ryan bit his lip and said, "Well, the guys came over and someone forgot to close the door all the way.  When I realized Castiel wasn't around we went lookin' for him. We went outside and found him up in the tree." Ryan explained, "I was worried he was goin' to fall again, like when he got dropped by the falcon and didn't want him to get hurt." The young man looked at Coral with pleading green eyes hoping he'd understand. "Mutt was takin' too long to get the ladder so I climbed up into the tree. Cas got startled and climbed up higher where I couldn't climb. I dropped down and went up on the roof to try to get him and that's when you came."

"So you knew Mutt was coming with a ladder, and if I know Mutt he probably overexerted himself trying to run with that thing trying to get it to you quickly. I'll have to call Jeff later and find out if Mutt is alright," he said half to himself. Then he focused his attention back on Ryan. "The fact is that you knew it was dangerous. If it was dangerous for Castiel, then it was even more dangerous for you. I saw you nearly lose your balance more than once while pulling that stunt."

Ryan looked down, considering his words, then looked back up and said, "But I didn't and I'm all right and so's Cas."

"If I hadn't come along when I did, there's a good chance that you'd have fallen and been injured, or worse. Do you know what the sight of you on that roof did to me? The thought that you could fall and nearly did while I stood there unable to do anything? I've never felt so helpless in my life," Coral said, taking Ryan's hands in his own, wincing a little as the pine tar on his boy's hands stuck to his. He turned Ry's hands, palm up to have a look and saw several shallow scrapes and cuts from his attempts to climb the tree. "And this just proves to me that you knew what you were doing was dangerous. Ry, I hate to discipline you, but this time you've gone too far. You knew help was coming and yet you still acted rashly... trying to save a kitten that obviously didn't need to be saved."

Ryan looked at Coral a bit puzzled. "He did need to be saved Cor... he was goin' to fall out of that tree!"

"Cats have claws for a reason, Ryan. They're just as capable of getting down from a tree as they are of getting up one. Castiel proved that by walking a branch and jumping onto you while you were on the roof. And," he stressed the word, "you knew Mutt was coming with the ladder. You knew you should have waited. You knew that climbing onto the roof was dangerous because you told me you hoped to get Cas down before I got home."

"What was going through your head, little boy, to make you do something so dangerous when you knew help was on the way?" Coral asked quietly. "Why did you feel compelled to ignore the good advice of your friends who you knew were worried about you?"

Ryan looked up at Coral and then said quietly, "I was scared...I was worried he'd get hurt or...well worse. I love him Coral...other than you it's the first thing I've loved like this and I was really concerned."

"So how do you think I felt when I saw you teetering on the edge of the roof, Ryan? It may not be a long fall but it would have been enough to hurt you, badly." Coral replied gently, "I love you. You're the first person I've ever loved the way I do. And I was worried."

"It's not an old wives tale that cats land on their feet. They're very agile, and even at his young age, Castiel was far safer than you were."

Ryan looked down and bit his lip. "I'm sorry Coral...I never thought of it like that and I didn't know about Castiel bein' all right even if he fell out of the tree."

The young man looked up and said, "Now I can understand about when you said you felt helpless to help me...I guess I was feelin' that way about Castiel too and so couldn't wait for Mutt. It was foolish."

"I'd say rash. You need to learn to think ahead. I believe we've been over this before, hon, and I think you know what I have to do."

Ryan squirmed at Coral's words, but knew and understood he deserved this. He nodded, "Yes Sir."

"Then let's get this over with. I have some lines I want you to write afterward that I think will help get the point across."

He went to the drawer where Ryan kept his notebook and wrote something down quickly but neatly, then closed the book and turned back toward his partner.

The young man began to protest..., "Coral!" He closed his mouth and hung his head, his stomach aching as he watched his partner's actions. He bit back a sigh.  He hated writing lines. Luckily his handwriting was good so he wouldn't have to write them over but he didn't like it.

Coral held out a hand to his boy. "Let's do this in the living room. Then you can work on your lines."

Ryan turned his hands up to look at his palms which were somewhat red and swelling a bit. He began to scratch at them.

Concerned, Coral took Ry's hands and frowned when he noticed the slight redness and swelling.  "Come with me.  We need to wash your hands as well as we can. Judging from the look of those cuts the tar is getting into them." He took Ryan by the wrist and drew him into the bathroom. He reached into a cupboard and pulled out a bottle of antibacterial hand soap and turned the water on.

The young man went willingly with Coral. "They itch, Cor."

"I know hon, we'll take care of you. The tar won't come out with a simple washing but we can get the worst of it off and out of those cuts," Coral replied as he continued to wash his partner's hands.

Ryan nodded. "They're feelin' a bit better already.”

"Good," the older man replied as he nabbed a hand towel off of the rack and began to pat the boy's hands dry. Even though he'd used antibacterial soap, he still took out some pain relieving cream and applied it to the worst of the cuts.

The young man jumped at the initial sting of the cream but allowed Coral to minister to him.

Coral watched Ryan closely until he saw the expression of pain pass, and the boy's features returned to normal. He then took Ryan by the wrist again and led him into the living room.

"You know what we need to do now, Ry," he said, taking a seat on the couch.

The young man went along with Coral and as the older man sat on the couch he wrinkled his nose, but said, "Yes Sir." He hesitated and then bit his lip. " do you want me?" he asked not quite brave enough to ask if he should take down his pants.

"I think over your underwear is sufficient for now, considering that you're going to be sitting for some time afterward to write your lines."

Ryan protested, "Can't I write the lines tomorrow?"

"Don't worry about that, you'll be writing them tomorrow as well."

"Can't I just start them tomorrow I can get up early and get them out of the way?" He bargained.

"You need your rest, so no. You'll begin again when you get up at your usual time in the afternoon.  Now, young man, no more stalling. Jeans down and over my lap," Coral ordered.

Ryan frowned, but then thought about how he had felt with Castiel and how Coral had felt similarly about him and said softly, "All right."  Ryan slowly unbuckled his belt, undid the button on his jeans and unzipped them pushing them down to his knees. He then went to Coral's right side and crawled onto his lap.

"Do you remember what this spanking is for, Ry?" the older man asked.

The younger man looked over his shoulder a little incredulous. "I'm not senile yet Coral," he quipped. "It's for puttin' myself in danger."

Coral forgot the paddle for a moment and landed a hard spank to Ryan's backside.

His young partner yipped, "Ouch!"

"No lip, little boy," Coral warned. "You're in enough trouble as it is."

"Yes Sir," Ry said, quickly becoming more serious.

Coral picked up the paddle and asked, "What else are you being spanked for, Ry?"

The young man squirmed. "For not thinking ahead?"

"And that," Coral agreed. He raised the paddle and began to lay down several hard swats, taking time between them to let the sting sink in.

Ryan yelped at the stinging smacks of the paddle. It wasn't usual for Coral to use the paddle, but the young man realized he had really crossed the line this time. He squirmed at the heat that was building on his hindquarters.  It was a lightweight paddle, sure, but the sting it left behind was very real.

Coral laid down about twenty of those hard spanks until he felt Ryan sobbing beneath him. He had never spanked his young partner for so long or so hard, but this time he had to make sure that Ryan remembered the lesson. He put the paddle aside and pulled his partner onto his lap, wrapping his arms around the sobbing boy until he began to breathe more normally.

In a soft voice Coral asked, "Did you learn anything from this, Ry?"

Ryan sniffled and nodded. "Yes Cor... that you love me."

"More than words can say," the older man replied, wrapping his boy into a firmer hug.

Ryan snuggled as close as he could to Coral like he had done in their early days needing the reassurance. "I'm sorry Coral," he sniffled. "I'll work at doin' the way my bottom hurts lots," he complained.

Coral leaned down slightly and kissed the top of his boy's head. "It's supposed to hurt, hon, but the good thing about a spanking is that it doesn't last long. Hopefully the lesson will. And I know you'll look at doing better. Maya Anjelou said, 'Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.'  I know you will."

Ryan looked puzzled for a moment, but then smiled. "'Kay Coral, I'll see if I can do that."

"I know you will. I have faith in you," the older man whispered into his ear. "Now, if you've sufficiently recovered, you have some lines to start."

The younger man frowned and said, "I'd rather cuddle with you."

Coral smiled down at his lover. "For a little longer," he said wrapping his arms around his boy and resting his head atop Ryan's.

They stayed like that for another half hour until Coral felt Ryan falling asleep next to him. "Wake up my little sugar cookie boy," Coral said quietly. "Time to get started on your lines before you have to go to bed, and I need to make you something for dinner."

Ry stretched at Coral's words, then winced at the soreness in his bottom. "I think I'll eat standing up so I don't have to sit," he told Coral as he stood up and then gingerly pulled up his jeans.

Coral chuckled. “No, I don’t think so little boy.  You have a seat at the table and begin. I want this written 200 times," he said.  Then before Ryan could protest he continued, "I expect them to be written over the next four days, fifty times each day, until the message sinks in. And I want you to think about the lines while you write them, don't just become a writing machine and scribble them off without actually reading and retaining the message. Understood?"

Ryan pouted. "Why do I have to do them over four days? I can probably finish them tonight."

"You will write them 50 times each day, no more, no less. You will not rush this assignment," Coral said seriously.

Ryan rubbed his backside. It was the sorest he'd ever had and he wasn't happy about it even though he knew he deserved it. "Can I have Cas sittin' on my shoulder while I write?" he asked.

"Absolutely not. I want your whole attention on the lines and what they mean not on your kitten. He'll stay with me in the kitchen or in his carrier if he won't leave you alone."

The younger man pouted mightily. "I'm too sore to sit that long," he complained. "You spanked me longer and harder than you've ever done before."

Coral resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Yes, he'd spanked Ryan longer than he'd ever done before, but if his boy was actually feeling more than a little heat at this point he knew it was all in his head.

"If you keep arguing and stalling I'll add a little extra warmth for good measure. The seat is wood and will cool you off for a little while by which time you'll have adjusted to it. Now, sit and get to work," Coral commanded.

Ryan eyed the hard wooden chair and grimaced and winced as he put his sore bottom on it. He pulled the book toward him, numbered the page from one to fifty and began to quickly dash off each line.

Coral, jaw clenched, approached his boy and pulled the pen from the young man's hand. He put it and his own hands on the table and leaned forward, dark eyes flashing.  "You're not even reading the line like I told you to, Ryan Jerome. Now, this is what you're going to do... You're going to read the line, really read it, then pick up the pen and write it. When you've done that, you're going to put your pen back down, read the line, commit it to memory, and think about what it means. Then you may pick up your pen and write it again. You will do this exactly as I say, or there will be consequences. Understand me, little boy?"

Ryan bit his lip and nodded.

"Now, read the line aloud. I want to hear you say it."

"Yes Sir," he replied knowing what the consequences would be because he had already been told he'd have a bit more heat added to his backside and it was already hot enough.

"Read the line to me, Ryan," Coral repeated. "Don't write a word until you do that first."

Ry looked up startled. "You mean out loud?"

"Yes, out loud, please."

The young man read aloud, "Thinking before acting is wisdom, but acting before thinking is regret."

"Good. Now I want you to think about what that means and once you've done that you may write it. Then, put your pen down and read it again to yourself," Coral added because he knew how literal Ryan was and could just imagine his boy reading it aloud each time. "Think about what it means, and then write it again. You'll do this assignment in this way either until you've written all 50 or until dinner is ready. Then you'll have time to continue it after you eat.  In the meantime, I have dinner to make, so get started."

Ryan asked, "You don't want me to read it out loud each time I write it? Just to myself?"

"For the duration, yes, just to yourself. Remember to put that pen down between lines and think about the meaning of the words before you write them again. Understood?"

The young man nodded. "Yes Sir." He began to do as his partner said.

Coral watched as Ryan did as he was told for a few moments, and then began to make dinner. He noticed that Castiel kept trying to wind himself around his boy's ankles and when he tried to jump onto the table he scooped the kitten up and gently placed him in his carrier.

Ryan pouted as he saw Coral corral the kitten. "He was all right Cor."

Coral merely gave his boy a look before turning back to the meal he was cooking. "Continue," he said bluntly.

After a while Ryan was squirming constantly, his backside sore against the unforgiving hard wood of the chair.  He said, "Cor... I gotta stand up for a bit."

Coral came around the table and checked the young man's progress. He nodded to himself. "Alright, Ry, take a break. Dinner is almost ready anyway."

Ryan with a grimace stood up and rubbed his sore bottom. He went over to Castiel's carrier and began to open it up.

"No you don't. We don't need him climbing up on you during dinner, and he'll just have to go back in once we're done. He's fine in there. I'll let him out when you’ve finished your lines for today so that you can play with him for a little while before bedtime."

Ryan looked up. "I don't mind if he climbs up on me during dinner."

"I do," Coral replied with finality. "He's shedding and we don't need cat hair all over the food. Leave him there."

The young man turned away from the cat carrier and walked into the living room to stretch out on the couch until dinner was ready. He was feeling disgruntled.

Coral could see that Ryan wasn't happy with his edict but was quietly pleased with his boy for not making more of the situation. Within minutes, dinner was ready and the man called him in to eat.

Ryan crawled off the couch and came into the kitchen. He gingerly sat back down on the chair and began to eat.

"So, Ry, you're making good time with your lines, I noticed," Coral praised. "Have you been thinking about what the quote means as you write it, and how it pertains to you?"

Ryan said sulkily, "Yeah."

Choosing to ignore his boy's attitude for the moment, Coral asked, "So explain it to me." He thought that if Ryan gave a good explanation, that he might just cut the punishment in half.

Ryan said, "If I think before I act then I won't have a sore bottom or have to write lines."

"Wrong message," Coral replied sadly. "I'll expect you to put a lot more thought into the lines as you write them."

The young man looked at the older one. "Wrong? How can it be wrong? It says to think ahead or you'll regret it."

"Put that way, you're correct.  The way you explained it the first time wasn't what I was looking for," Coral replied. He tilted his head to the side and looked at his boy closely.  "Is the only reason that you would try to think ahead is because you're afraid of being disciplined?"

Ryan looked a bit puzzled. "But I regret havin' a sore bottom and havin' to write lines so how can that be wrong?" He thought a moment longer and then shook his head. "No, I wouldn't want to hurt you." 

"The point is that you could have gotten badly hurt if you'd fallen. The fact that you didn't fall has nothing to do with it," Coral explained gently. "You thought in the moment not about what could happen as a result of your rash actions. If you'd been injured, you wouldn't have been the only person hurt. Your friends would have blamed themselves for letting you go ahead and do it. I would have blamed myself for not getting home sooner. We all would have suffered, all because you couldn't wait for Mutt to return with the ladder. And you just said you wouldn't want to hurt me. Don't you think that if you'd been injured, I'd have hurt too?"

Ryan bit his lip. He sighed. "I'm sorry, you're right I didn't think." The young man looked down. "I'll try to do better."

"I know you will, hon," Coral said reaching across the table to cup Ryan's face in his hand. He gently rubbed his thumb down the smooth cheek and said, "I care about you, Ryan Jerome O'Donnell, and so do your friends. We just have to get you to care about yourself enough to think about your own well-being. Am I making myself clear?"

The young man nodded. "Yes and I'll do better thinking about my own personal safety."

"That's my Love," Coral said leaning forward to kiss his boy's lips before sitting back down.

After Ryan and Coral finished their dinner in thoughtful silence the young man picked up his pen without being asked and continued to write the lines. He watched his partner as he washed the dishes. He looked up and said, "Finished these fifty lines."

Coral walked behind Ryan and looked over his shoulder at the pages filled with his boy's neat script. "Good job," he praised, kissing Ryan on the head and giving him a hug.  “I'll get Castiel out of the carrier and you can play with him once you get your shower."

Ryan snuggled into the hug and said, "'Kay Coral." He stood up as Coral released him and rubbed his sore backside and then headed for the bathroom to get cleaned up from his adventurous day.

Coral smiled as he opened the door of Castiel’s carrier. The kitten scampered out and then began to look around for Ryan.

“He’ll be back soon, Cas.  He’s in the shower.”

The kitten meowed as though he understood and the older man laughed.

It wasn’t too long before Ryan came back into their living room, having showered and dressed in comfortable clothes. He grinned at Castiel and picked up the kitten who purred loudly and rubbed his head against Ryan’s cheek. He’d spend the time he had left before he had to go to bed playing with his little kitten.  He gave Coral a tight hug as he came back into the living room. “I love you Coral.”

Coral hugged him back. “I love you too Angel.

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