Sink or Swim

Co-written by: Jo and LJ

Kyler smirked as he sneaked up behind Cameron and drummed on the bar with his hands. He burst out laughing when the man he’d just startled turned around and glared at him.

“Hey Cameron, I caught you day-dreaming, man,” he teased, not at all put off by the cold look coming his way. “I got an invite for you; that is if you’re up for some fun.”

Cameron grinned. He could never stay mad at Kyler for long. “How much trouble will I get in if I say ‘I’m in’?” he asked, sounding a little dubious. “What I consider fun and what Chad considers fun can clash badly.”

“I don’t think we can get in any hot water with this; cold yes, hot no.” Kyler laughed harder at the look of confusion that passed over his friend’s face. Then he relented and began to explain his visit to the lounge when he really should be elsewhere. “You remember my friends Ruthie and Jackie, right? You met them just over a year ago when you accompanied me to a frat party.” He paused to wait for a sign that Cameron knew who he was talking about.

“Yes, I remember them; the lesbian couple. I really liked them,” Cameron replied, just managing to suppress the wince as he remembered Chad’s reaction when he got home from that party.

“Well, they called me to see if I’d be interested in river rafting and of course I told them I would be. What do you say? Would you also be interested?”

“Sounds cool; that’s where you float down a river on an inner tube right? Where do we get the tubes from? Chad's got me on a tight leash, money wise.” He grimaced at his friend who knew the whole story. “Do we mention this plan to the Tops?”

“I’ve already talked it over with Hugh and Patrick but you can tell Chad whatever works for you. My partners don’t mind me going because I’ve been before. The three of us went last summer with James and Quinn. That time though, they brought small rafts and the river they chose was a lot faster and rougher than the one we’re going to with the girls. We can rent the tubes at the start of the ride and turn them in at the end where we grab the bus that takes us back to the parking area. We were planning to go tomorrow. It’s Friday and I know you have to work in the evening but we’ll be back in plenty of time for you to make your shift. So, are you game?”

“Yeah, I'm on. Chad’s at the mine but I’ll run it past him tonight and make sure he’s okay with it.”

“Great! I’ll pick you up at eight-thirty tomorrow morning. Grab a towel and don’t be late,” Kyler called out as he headed for the door.


Later that night while cuddled together on the sofa, Cameron brought up the river rafting trip to Chad.

“Hmmm,” Chad suspected his partner had lost interest in the movie they were watching, so he turned down the sound. “Who all is going on this escapade? I trust it’s someone with some experience.”

“Well Kyler invited me and he’s been rafting before. Ruthie and Jackie, a couple of his friends, are going and asked him. I’d really like to go along. It’ll be a blast and I promise to follow all safety rules.” Cameron looked at Chad, his blue eyes pleading.

Chad smiled at the puppy-eyes staring up at him. After asking a few more questions and comfortable with the answers, he slowly nodded his head. “Aside from playing safe, which is a given, the only other stipulation is that you get back in time to work your shift, okay?”

“I don’t see any problem with that,” Cameron replied. “I took that as another given.” He looked at Chad and started to play with his buttons. “Umm,” he began and then took a deep breath. “I need some money,” he admitted, “to rent a tube and chip in for supplies. I’m not sure I have enough in my account.” Cameron blushed red; he really hated this aspect of his punishment for the guitar incident.

“Okay,” Chad agreed, twisting slightly to get his wallet out of his back pocket. “Here’s forty dollars. It’s just an advance right?”

After watching the money disappear into Cam’s pants pocket and getting an affirmative nod, Chad began slowly undressing his partner. “Now, if there’s nothing else you want to talk about…..” He left the rest hanging as his hands began a methodical exploration of the younger man’s body.

Chad knew all Cameron’s erogenous zones and didn’t leave a single one untouched. He soon had his love aroused to the point of panting and begging to be made love to. Quickly shedding his own clothing, Chad more than willingly obliged.

Sometime later, Chad had to wake his well-sated and slumbering lover in order to get him upstairs and in bed.


Kyler arrived at the Cavenaugh/Jackson residence earlier than promised. He pulled into the driveway behind Cameron’s vehicle and beat out a bit of a staccato tempo on his horn. Then he got out of his car and walked into the house where he ran into Chad getting ready to leave for the mine.

“Hey!” he hollered when a hard hand swiped at the seat of his shorts.

“That’s for disturbing the neighbours,” Chad explained, a soft chuckle taking the sting out of the mild scolding. He rolled his eyes when both Brats laughed and followed him outside.

Cameron kissed Chad goodbye. “See you tonight at the lounge.” He turned to his friend, his blue eyes sparkling. “Let’s get this show on the road,” he suggested as they got into Kyler’s car. “Do we have to stop for supplies first? Beer and chips are what we need, right?”

“That’s it, unless you need suntan lotion or something. Patrick made sure I packed some, plus a hat and shades.”

“Yeah, I got all that as well as sun block,” Cameron laughed. “I guess it’s in the Top handbook: make sure all Brats are well protected from the sun at all times.” They made a stop at the local shop and picked up the items they felt were needed. “I should have thought,” Cameron moaned. “We could have got the beer from the lounge. Although to be fair, I’m not sure of Chad’s views concerning beer on water. When we’re on the boat, we don’t drink.” Cameron glanced at Kyler. “You’ve known him for ages. Did he ever mention it that you know of?”

Kyler shrugged. “I know he and Kipper used to have one or two when they were waiting for the fish to bite. Of course, that was in the small flat-bottom and nearer to shore. They never drank when in the pleasure craft out in the deeper water of the lake.”

Cameron thought for a minute. “Well I guess as long as we don’t get drunk, it’ll be okay. Not that I can get drunk because I have to work tonight.”

“I don’t plan to drink much either, being as I’m driving. The girls are packing a picnic lunch so we’ll have plenty to eat. They’ll be ready and waiting by the time we get to their place this side of Kelowna. From there it will only be another hour or so to the channel in Penticton.” Kyler turned the radio up when the news and weather came on. He smiled broadly when high temperatures were reported along with a day of sunshine.

Ninety minutes later, four young people sat in an idle car, complaining of the hold up.

“I forgot about this road work. Not that I could do much about it as it’s the only route to where we’re going,” Kyler explained.

“Would you like a sandwich? We’ve got ham and cheese, egg salad, and salmon,” Ruthie offered as she rummaged through the large picnic basket in the back seat.

“What? All together?” Cameron teased. He was having a blast, laughing and joking with the two women and Kyler. “Hey, we’re finally going somewhere,” he announced as the cars waiting with them slowly began to inch forward.

Kyler slipped the car into drive and carefully followed behind the row of cars in front of him. Five minutes later, he was able to pick up speed. “Man, I’m glad to get that construction and dust behind us.”

Another forty minutes and they were piling out of the car in the small parking area near the start of the channel. The girls gathered up everything they wanted to take on the water while the two young men went to make arrangements to rent a raft big enough for four to ride on.

“I though we were each taking a tube and one for the beer and food?” Cameron was confused.

“Ssssh, don’t say ‘beer’ too loud. Even though it’s against the rules, no one enforces it because they know lots of people do it regardless. The only waves we wanna make are on the water. We have several options,” Kyler pointed out. “The girls wanted to be together and they don’t mind watching out for the refreshments. But you and I could each get one of our own. It shouldn’t cost that much more.”

They found the cost for a medium–size raft and two tubes reasonable enough, but baulked at having to pay for life-jackets.

“I thought you provided those!” Kyler exclaimed and was informed that too many went missing, hence the charge now. “I’m not gonna bother getting one. Hugh, Patrick and I didn’t use them when we went on rougher waters last time, so why bother now?” He turned to his friend. “You wanna fork out the extra ten bucks, Cameron?”

Cameron bit his lip. He knew Chad would insist he use a lifejacket. However, he was also conscious that paying out another ten dollars would cause him to run short of cash. Doing that in front of Kyler was okay because his friend knew about the restrictions Chad had on him, but he didn’t want to have to admit to the girls that his partner had so much say in his finances.

“No,” he finally decided. “After all, what can go wrong? It’s an easy river and we’ll be in tubes all the way.” He grinned at Kyler. “This is going to be fun.”

Once the equipment was paid for, all four young people worked as a team to secure the items they were taking with them to the sides of the tubes, with the picnic cooler put in the raft with the girls. Then they all quickly stripped down to their bathing suits, slathered themselves with sunscreen, and pushed off the bank.

It was noon, the sun high in the sky and the cold water so very refreshing. Keeping close together, they were easily able to pass food and beverages to each other. Once their stomachs were full, they lay back to enjoy the light breeze while the channel’s current moved them along.

They drifted back and forth, laughing and splashing one another; all agreeing this was one of the best ways to spend a hot summer afternoon. The valley had endured temperatures well above the normal high for over two months now, with no end in sight.

They were beginning to doze off, knowing they were secure without fear of overturning or falling out of their small water crafts. Off in the distance behind them, a bit of rebel rousing could be heard.

Kyler reluctantly opened his eyes and looked around. “What the hell is going on back there?” he inquired of no one in particular.

Cameron just kept his eyes closed. “Don’t worry about it,” he suggested. “They probably won’t bother us.”

Settling back again, Kyler opted for following his friend’s example. His determination to just chill out slowly dissolved as the noisy crowd steadily closed in on them. He tried to ignore the rowdy bunch but it became impossible to do so; especially when his tube was rammed. He barely managed to grab onto the sides when he was rammed again. It was the third attack that had him falling into the water.

Kyler surfaced to see the troublemakers moving on passed him and his friends, hooting and hollering with laughter. He saw Jackie treading water and holding on to both his tube and the small raft Ruthie was in guarding their personal items.

He helped Jackie into the raft and climbed back on his tube. Looking around, he asked if they’d seen Cameron. His friend was no where in sight.

“There he is!” Ruthie excitedly pointed out after a moment or two of frantically searching the immediate area.

“Holy Shit!” Kyler exclaimed as he dove into the channel. Cam was floating face-down a little distance away near the bank.

Kyler reached him in seconds and turned him over. His heart was in his throat when he realized his friend wasn’t breathing. “Jackie, come help me!” he called out as he dragged Cameron up the embankment and started resuscitating him. “Ruthie, around the bend is the end of the ride. Can you get there yourself and ask for help? Tell them to call 911.”

While Ruthie went for assistance, Kyler and Jackie took turns breathing into the lifeless man’s mouth and pumping his chest.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity later, water spewed from Cameron’s mouth and he began coughing. Kyler almost wept in relief. He’d really thought his friend was a goner.

“What the hell happened, Cameron?” Kyler demanded; his anxiety at an all-time high.

“Some bastard hit me from behind,” Cameron managed to gasp out between coughs. “Don’t remember what happened after I fell in.”

“Did you hit your head on something?”

“Can’t swim,” Cameron admitted as a blush spread across his pale features.

Before Kyler could respond to that, an ambulance siren could be heard.

“I’ll climb up and flag them down,” Jackie offered as she moved towards the steep incline.

“What the fuck do you mean? You can’t swim? For God’s sake, didn’t it cross your mind to mention that fact before now?” Kyler angrily inquired through clenched teeth as soon as Jackie was out of hearing range.

“Can’t we talk about this later when I’m not half-dead? Can you ring Chad for me? I think the big guy needs to know why I’m not going to make it in for my shift.” Cameron knew Kyler could read through the lines and know he just wanted and needed his Top.

“Look, buddy, the paramedics are here. I promise to try and get a hold of Chad as soon as possible, okay?” Kyler stepped back to make room for the medical personnel to do their job. He didn’t want to upset Cameron by reminding him that their cell phones were in his car back at the parking lot. He knew if it was him hurt, his partners would be the only people he’d want to see right then. But Chad was a good two hours away and that was without taking into account the blasted road work being done.

He and Jackie watched together as Cameron was lifted onto a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance. As the vehicle drove out of sight, they waited for the bus that would return them to the start of the Channel.

Fifteen minutes later, Kyler unlocked his car door and dug through his clothing in search of his phone. This was one call he was not looking forward to making. He shuddered as he punched the speed dial to Chad’s cell. It was answered on the second ring.

“Chad? It’s Kyler. There’s been a bit of a mishap. Cameron almost drowned.” Kyler cringed when Chad’s voice came through so forcefully as the big man demanded to know if his partner was all right. “It looks like he’s going to be okay. The medics took him to Penticton General to have him checked over. We’re heading there now.”

Kyler listened carefully to the instructions he was being given by a man who Kyler knew was working hard to keep his emotions under wrap. “Okay, I’ll tell him you’ll be here as soon as possible and even if he gets released from the hospital, he’s to wait for you. We’ll stay with him. Bye.”

“That is one unhappy boss-man,” Kyler muttered as he turned to Jackie and Ruthie. “Thanks for getting everything packed in the trunk. Let’s go change into dry clothes and go to the hospital to see how Cameron is doing.”

Another twenty minutes passed before the three young people were being shown to their friend’s curtained-off cubicle in the ER.

“You’re looking better than when we last saw you, Cameron,” Kyler commented. “And before you ask, Chad’s on his way. Did the doctor say if you had swallowed a lot of water? Does he know if your lungs are clear? Anyone happen to tell you when you’d be free to go?”

“I didn’t swallow that much and my lungs checked out okay. But they still want to keep me overnight for observation,” Cameron grumbled. “They seem to think almost drowning is a good enough reason. I hate hospitals and really want out now.” His eyes focused on Kyler as he tilted slightly his head to one side. “Did you say Chad is on his way? Maybe I should stay until he arrives,” he mumbled this last bit and then looked up at his friend. “Kyler, I’m really sorry I scared you like that. I should have told you I couldn’t swim. It’s just my stupid pride got in the way.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it. You’re being okay is more important. Chad probably won’t be here for awhile, so I promised him we’d hang around until he arrives. Hope that’s okay with you,” Kyler offered, dragging a stool over to the bed just as Ruthie and Jackie stepped around the curtain. Each of them had small chair that they’d confiscated from other areas of the ER.

“More than okay,” Cameron replied. “Even better if you could protect me from the damn nurses and doctors.” At that moment, a nurse approached the bed. “Just leave me alone,” Cameron snarled at her.

Ruth and Jackie exchanged shocked glances. Cameron has always been so calm and cool in their presence.

Seeing the exchange, Cameron hurriedly repeated an earlier statement. “I really hate hospitals.”

Cameron’s three visitors waited the few minutes it took the nurse to check his vital signs and updated his chart. Everyone seemed relieved when she left the cubicle.

“Anyone for a game of cards?” Ruthie asked, pulling a deck from her carryall.

“How about 500?” Cameron suggested. “Me and Kyler versus the girls. I haven’t played that since high school and it might help keep me awake.”

They all eagerly jumped at the opportunity to participate in an activity which would hopefully help make the time go faster.

It was only forty minutes later when Chad pulled back the curtain for find his partner struggling to stay awake and take part in the quiet conversation going on between his three friends.

Upon seeing Chad, Kyler, Jackie and Ruthie briefly exchanged greeting with the big man and slipped away, leaving him alone with Cameron.

Chad stepped up next to the bed and lightly combed his fingers through Cameron’s hair. “How’s it going, Mugs?” His face showed the strain of him having worried over the most important person in his life, but his voice was gentle and full of love. “I got here as soon as I could; thanks to some help from a friend.” He bent slightly to drop a kiss on his partner’s parted lips.

Cameron sighed in pure pleasure when his partner kissed him. “You got here really fast,” he said, sitting up and studying Chad’s face. “Hey, I’m fine and the doctor says so too,” he tried to reassure his lover. “Trouble is, he still wants me to stay put for the night, but I want to go home with you and the sooner the better. I just got knocked off my tube and Kyler was there quickly to help me.”

Chad suspected there was a lot more to the story but chose to get the details once they were in the comfort and privacy of their own home. “Give me a few minutes to make some arrangements, babe.” He smiled back at the less than happy young man and went in search of the doctor on duty.

“Okay, Mugs, here’s the scoop,” Chad announced on his return several minutes later, as he merrily waved a sheet of paper. “This is your release form. I was able to get it in return for a promise to see Dr. Dean at the slightest sign of trouble.”

“You’re the best,” Cameron whooped, tossing aside the blanket and throwing himself enthusiastically into Chad’s arms and kissing him before drawing back and smiling happily at his lover.

Chad frowned when he saw his love wearing only a still damp t-shirt and swimming trunks. “Is that all you have to wear, Mugs?”

Cameron blushed slightly. “The rest of my clothes are in the car,” he admitted. “I hope someone retrieved my Rayban sunglasses. They’re pretty expensive and I sure can’t afford to replace them.”

“Then I guess it will have to do. I’m pretty sure there’s a blanket on the helicopter.”

“A helicopter?” Cameron bounced.

“You heard correctly,” Chad laughed, hustling the younger man towards the elevator leading to the roof. “I pulled in a big favour to get me here as quickly as possible. Chase Howards, who flies patrols for the forestry department, flew me over. He said if I wasn’t any longer than twenty minutes, he’d be able to fly us back to the mine. So let’s get a move on or he’ll take off without us.”

“I haven’t been in a helicopter in ages,” Cameron confided to Chad and the pilot as they flew home. Within moments he fell silent, leaned into Chad and calmly fell asleep.

Chad felt bad about having to wake up his partner. Cameron had put in a rough day and had been sleeping for less than half an hour. He sighed and gently shook the younger man’s shoulder. “We’ve landed, Mugs. Let’s get to the Ranger and then home, okay?”

“Okay,” Cameron mumbled. “Home’s good.”

Chad helped Cameron out of the helicopter and got them both away from it. He waved to Chase and covered his love’s head to protect him from the cloud of dust that rose in the wake of the departing chopper. Then he walked his unsteady partner over to his vehicle and settled him in the passenger seat.

Less than two hours after the fated phone call, Chad and Cameron were walking through the front door of their home.

Not a word was spoken as Chad steered his weary partner up the stairs and into the master bedroom. He quickly stripped Cameron of his two articles of clothing and tucked him in bed. Hastily removing his own clothes, he slipped in beside his love and pulled him into his arms, tenderly caressing him.

“Hmmm,” Cameron purred. “Feels good; almost worth what happened to me at the river. Chad, I was scared; really scared.” He tensed up but then slowly relaxed under Chad’s repetitive stroking.

“Would it help to talk about, sweetheart?” Chad manoeuvred the smaller man’s body around until he was able to spoon around him and softly rub his stomach. He strongly suspected Cameron of having a lot on his mind, but was willing to let him tell his tale in his own good time. That is until Chad felt his partner of withholding vital information, then he’d get a lot more persistent.

“Not really,” Cameron replied. “Mainly because I don’t remember too much; just that there was this pack of fucking dickheads who rammed me and Kyler. I saw him get knocked out of his tube and then I was next. All I remember is hitting the surface and going under. The next thing I knew, I was on the bank coughing up water.” Cameron was so agitated, he wasn’t aware of swearing. It was a habit he’d cut back on since hooking up with Chad.

“Shhh,” Chad soothed. He ignored the language and concentrated on keeping the man in his arms calm. He knew they’d never get anywhere if his Brat got too worked up. He quietly put together the bits and pieces of information he’d received from Kyler, added it to the little Cameron had given him and frowned when a sudden thought hit him. “Tell me, Cameron, were all or any of you wearing life jackets?”

Cameron felt his stomach sink. This was a question he didn’t want to answer, but he’d vowed never to lie to Chad. “No,” he whispered. “They cost extra, so we decided we didn’t really need them.” He had very little illusion that the excuse would hold any water with his Top.

“Hmm, I see.” Chad paused to think on this latest bit of information. He sighed deeply before speaking his thoughts out loud. “I know the channel is relatively smooth and not terribly wide, but I would have preferred that you had worn one, Mugs, and we will be discussing that shortly. Even good swimmers can run into difficulties, as you found out today. Why were you unable to swim over and climb up on the bank? Did you hit your head or something?”

Cameron closed his eyes and groaned softly. Could he dig himself in much deeper, he wondered. “I can’t swim; never had the time or need to learn.”

Chad worked at keeping his anger under control. He rubbed his fingers across his forehead as he sorted through his memory to the many times they’d been at the lake. Cameron had always adhered to the rule involving life jackets when on the boat; but when swimming? Chad realized he could not remember a time when he’d witness his partner actually swimming. Cameron always had an excuse; the water was too cold, he had just eaten or didn’t feel like it and Chad had never questioned him about it.

“Just when did you plan to share this little tidbit with me, Cameron?” Chad’s voice clearly indicated his displeasure, as did his actions when he sat them both up to face each other.

“Um, it just never came up,” Cameron stammered. His brain wasn’t working as fast as he wanted it to. He hated it when Chad called him by his full name instead of the affectionate ‘Mugs’. “I hadn’t really planned to tell you at all.”

“How could you possibly think it was something I didn’t need to know about?”

“Guess I wasn’t thinking at all.”

Chad roughly raked his fingers through his hair. “You really have no idea of how I’d cope if I lost you, have you? Well let me tell you, it doesn’t even bear thinking about, Mugs, because I don’t know if I’d want to go on without you. Apparently I put greater value on your life than you do. Either that or my expectations are too high.”

He sat silently watching Cameron nervously plucking at one corner of his pillowcase for several moments. “Was Kyler aware of your inability to swim?” Chad needed a couple more questions answered before he decided on how to handle this situation.

“No,” Cameron replied. “He was pretty mad at me when he found out.” Despite the trouble he was in, Cameron’s heart had soared at Chad’s words. He knew that on the outside he and Chad could be seen as an odd couple, but all he knew was they fit well together.

“Bet he was. I can see him not bothering to use a life jacket in those circumstances as he’s always been a strong swimmer, but at the same time he’d be upset by someone taking foolish chances. Especially someone he cares about.” It was not Chad’s intention to overburden his partner with guilt, but he had to make sure Cameron understood the gravity concerning his apparent disregard for his own safety.

“I expect you to exercise care and caution when it comes to keeping yourself safe, Cameron. And just so you know, I would have appreciated the thumbs up about your lack of water skills. As it is, you greatly endangered yourself today and that is totally unacceptable.”

Cameron was feeling sick and it had nothing to do with his near drowning. “But it wasn’t my fault I got knocked out of the tube,” he protested. “I admit I should have worn a lifejacket, but I didn’t want to be seen as a wimp by the girls.” Cameron was slowly learning to believe in himself but occasionally relapsed to the old attitude of ‘image is everything’.

“True, the accident wasn’t your fault. But it was only one a many things that could have gone wrong. Your wanting to make an impression is hardly an adequate reason for putting yourself in danger and I am certainly not going to take it into account.”

Cameron really didn’t have any answer for this. Any defence he put up could not over-ride the basic fact that he had not worn a life jacket. A thought suddenly hit him. “Am I in trouble for not telling you I couldn’t swim? Obviously I know I’m in deep over the life jacket?”

Chad racked his brain for a way to explain things better. Placing his hands on Cameron’s shoulders to ensure his undivided attention, he looked the younger man right in the eye and began speaking. “Had you been able to swim, the not wearing a jacket wouldn’t be that big an issue in this instance, Mugs. It is the combination of the two that put you in a potentially risky situation. I had thought by now we would have established better communication between us. This not being able to swim was a rather pertinent piece of information you chose to withhold. My not having come right out and asked ‘Cameron, can you swim?’ doesn’t exonerate you from never having told me. You’ve often made excuses for not participating in certain activities at the lake. Wouldn’t just telling the truth have worked out better?”

Cameron chewed his bottom lip. “Yes, but it just seems silly to admit things like that. Sometimes I don’t know what to share and what is inconsequential.” His eyes began to sparkle; he could never be deadly serious for long. “Like I don’t think an inability to knit is crucial to our relationship.”

“There is nothing amusing about this, Cameron, and I do not appreciate you being facetious about it. I believe you are more than capable of determining what is important and what isn’t. However, if you put so little value on your life, then maybe it is because you also put as little value on my feelings and our relationship.” Chad was somewhat hurt by his partner’s seemingly indifference and lackadaisical attitude.

Cameron sobered right away. “Our relationship is the most important thing in my life. I do value my life and I’m scared right down to my bones about what happened. I really care about you and your feelings, and I’m really sorry I worried you. You’re right. I should have told you the first time we went to the lake. I can’t make any excuses for my actions and you know I resort to inappropriate humour when I feel stressed.” Cameron’s eyes were radiating sincerity and regret for his actions.

“All right, I understand you feeling somewhat stressed. But now that you are here safe and sound, just what are you still frightened about?”

“I almost drowned. I scared you. I scared Kyler. I’m scared that my friendship with him may never fully recover and I’m hoping our relationship is not affected.” Cameron’s voice broke.

Chad looked into the brimming blue eyes and his stance immediately softened. “I’m inclined to doubt that you’ve permanently damaged your friendship with Kyler. After all, he’s also a Brat and can probably empathize with how your mind works at times. And I’m positive you haven’t irrevocably harmed our relationship. Together we’ll hammer out any little dents.” He gently stroked the back of his fingers over his love’s cheek. “True, you almost drowned and badly frightened a number of people in the process, including yourself. But you’re going to be fine and we’re going to see that it doesn’t happen again.”

Cameron leaned in the caress. “So I get to take swimming lessons, right?” he questioned. “But what else?”

Chad tapped Cameron’s nose and smiled somewhat sadly. He piled up the pillows in order to sit with his back against the headboard of the bed, talking as he made himself comfortable. “Learning to swim is a given. I plan to call Kyler’s partner, Hugh, tomorrow and arrange private lessons. While I’m doing that you’re going to practise some communication skills by compiling a list of ‘inconsequential’ facts about yourself that you have not told me about. You might consider including things like allergies, if any, to peanuts and seafood, or possible medical problems like high blood pressure and warts, along with any other proficiencies you may lack that could lead to you endangering yourself. When you get that done, you can write out the following line ‘I will share pertinent information about myself with my life-partner’ two hundred times.”

The older man’s eyes narrowed slightly as his voice grew firmer. Chad was not angry, only determined. “Right now though, you are once again about to learn that the way out of trouble is never as easy as the way in.” He reached over and snagged his partner’s arm. With one quick yank, he had Cameron face-down over his lap. “Can you tell me how you earned this spanking, Mugs?”

“For withholding pertinent information from my life-partner.” Cameron yelped as a swat landed. “Okay,” he quickly amended. “For not telling you I can’t swim and for not using a life-jacket on the tubing trip.” He suddenly felt horribly exposed, although he’d been bare during the whole discussion.

Chad rubbed his palm over the red handprint he’d left on Cameron’s right butt cheek. “Not quite! It’s for the latter part only. You know; the part where you put yourself in danger.” He raised his arm and brought it down hard, making a matching mark on Cameron’s left cheek. He didn’t lecture as he concentrated on the task at hand. His arm kept rising and falling as he steadily turned the younger man’s bottom a deep fiery red.

Cameron was never mixed up as to how or why he ended up over Chad’s knees having his butt change colour. Every time he was spanked, he determined it was never going to happen again. He had completely surrendered to Chad very early in their relationship. He knew putting himself in danger was always going to result in a serious spanking, and this was no exception. The one thing he never did was beg Chad to stop. He trusted his Top never to go too far and subject him to more than he was capable of handling. By the time the spanking ended, Cameron thought his butt was on fire and he was sobbing his heart out.

“I hurt,” he sniffed into Chad’s shoulder a little while later.

“I know, sweetheart, I know. But I’d rather you be in my arms and hurting some, than completely free from pain and dead.” Chad gently mopped up the tears on his love’s face and kissed him. “I couldn’t stand to lose you, my precious one. You make my heart sing and I want to be able to hear the music for a very long time.”

The End

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