I thought my story needed a little introduction Will and his Brother had robed a bank and were running from a posse when they came upon Mark hanging from the edge of a bluff. Will had refused to leave the boy helpless and in trying to rescue Mark he had broken his own leg. when they brought Mark home they made up some story and convinced Lucas to let Will stay on as repayment for saving Mark . Lucas nor mark knew about the bank.

I don't recall the actual episode that this story idea came from. It was a very early one. I made Will a bit younger for my story.

After they made Will comfortable, Lucas motioned for Mark to join him on the front porch.

" Mark, I think we need to have a talk."

" Pa I sure am glad Will came along when he did." Mark said as he follow Lucas to the porch.

"I am mighty grateful to him as well son." " However, if my memory serves me correctly you were no to go near Cooper bluff alone. " " I think you have some explaining to do young man" Lucas almost shouted.

" Well, Pa, I was just taking the short cut from Andy's." " I use it all the time." Mark replied.

whoo.. Lucas took a deep breath,rising from his chair he paced, then stooped to one knee to look the boy in the eye.

" Mark, you mean to tell me, you disregard my instructions regularly?"

"Ah..no ..pa..." Mark hesitated as he realized his Pa was getting Angry "I didn't think of it that way."

" Young man, you were very lucky today. "If Will and his brother had not come along what would you have done?" Lucas shutter at the thought. "you could have died today" " Boy it is obvious to me that since my words don't make a lasting impression on you we will have to try another approach."

Lucas sat down on the porch rocker. Come over here Mark!

"I'm sorry Pa I just did not think" "I'll not do it again" Mark stuttered as he walked toward Lucas.

" I thank you for that son, but, the fact remains that you have disregarded my instructions and place yourself in grave danger." "I can not let this go unpunished" " As much as it pains me to do this, son I want you to have a clear reminder the next time you think of disobeying."

With that he took Mark's arm and guided him over his knee.

Mark at nine years old could not remember every being spanked. He had heard other boy talk of it at school. He had even bragged just the other day that his pa would never punish him in such a childish way.

Swat, swat swat ouch that hurt swat swat swat he was being spanked and boy did it sting. swat swat swat, the spanking stopped. Mark lay crying over Lucas' lap. Lucas rubbed his back. Having to spank Mark caused him almost as much pain as Mark. The thought of losing him brought thoughts of terror.

Will watched this from the window hidden from their view. This was strange to him for it was not anger on Lucas' face.

Lucas stood Mark up. " Please son, don't make me repeat today's lesson." " I could not bear the thought of loosing you." " Mark I want you to remember when I tell you not to do something I mean it."

Mark flung his arms around his Pa. The two hugged for a long time.

Could anyone care that much? Will was puzzled. As Will's leg began to heal,he began to walk and watch from a distance. Slowly he began to become a part of the ranch.

Lucas began to wonder if there was anyway to convince the boy to stay with him and Mark. He did not know, that Will had started to wish for the same thing. He was beginning to like being part of a normal family. But his brother would never allow it. Besides, Lucas was only nice because he saved the boy.

As Will's leg regained strength, Will become sullen and moody at times. Lucas decided to go into town and see if Micah had any news of his brother. as it turned out Micah had news of a bank hold up and Will"s brother was in jail. Lucas talk to Micah about wanting to give the boy a chance. and what could be done.

That night Lucas went to talk to Will. when he told Will he knew about the bank robbery, Will got angry and rude and ran toward the barn. Lucas decided to give him space.

The next morning Lucas went to repair fence and told Mark to stay close to home. Mark notice Will riding off. He decided to follow and left his Pa a note.

Went east with Will be back later. Mark

Will was just about a mile down the road when he heard the horse." Good grief!" why was the kid following him." Mark go home!"

"Not unless you come too." Mark answered.

"I don't belong there, but you do." " I have to go" Will yelled. " Now that your Pa knows what I have done, he will want me gone."

"No He doesn't he told me last night, he was going to tell you last night and you got all mad.' said Mark

" That's not true, nobody wants me around."

We want you to stay. Mark said

I can't stay my brother won't let me. will replied.

"Please just come talk to pa before you leave, please." Mark pleaded.

"Oh alright, Lets go." said Will

About half way back they saw Lucas riding toward them. Lucas ask Mark to ride on back to the ranch, he wanted to talk to Will for a bit.

Lucas dismounted and ask Will to do the same. as soon as Lucas started to speak Will started to argue and spout about how he did not have any reason to talk. He didn't need anyone. He was grown and he could make it on his own. He galloped off.

Lucas vaulted into the saddle and raced after him. Lucas cut him off about a quarter of a mile up the cannon . He grabbed the rains of the horse and pull the horse to a stop

What happened next caught Lucas and Will both off guard.

Lucas drug Will off the horse and over to a log. Before either knew what was happening Lucas had delivered 15 good swats to the backside over his knee. After about 15 more Lucas noticed what had started as swear words, turned to plea's to stop after 10 swats more they turned to cries that seem to release years of anger. The swats stopped

Suddenly, Will realized Lucas was rubbing his back just as with Mark. Could this really be true could Lucas really care for him.

"Will, I'm going to let you up, but before I do I want one thing clear." " You will sit and hear what I have to say, or we will start all over." ' Clear?"

When Lucas got no answer he swatted three more time," I ask you a question son?"

" Yes sir" Will spit out through tears.

Will glanced into Lucas' eyes but surely he did not see concern for him he was nothing.

"Now boy I have learned from Micah that your brother is in jail for that bank robbery last month. it's my guess he's your only family, because of your age, I think you deserve a chance and Mark and I would like to give you that chance." Lucas watch the boy's face. It went from stunned to bewildered. In the end Will's eyes had the look of one who dared to hope.

Let's walk the horses as we talk, Micah has provided what might be your last chance at a normal life he has arranged for you to stay on here as my ward and ranch hand. If you agree. You will have to return the money.

Lucas I really would like to give that a try. Will replied.

By this time they had reached the ranch and Mark stood on the porch

as Will walked toward the porch he rubbed the seat of his britches. Lucas laughed and slapped Will on the back.

Mark looked at Will, with one eye could pa really have spanked Will he was 17.

Later that week Mark dared to ask. " The other day, when you started to leave and Pa stopped you did he, you know a... did Pa spank you? "

"What make you think that?" Will ask.

"You came back rubbing your backside." Mark said.

"Well, Mark lets just say you and I both got our first good walloping, and I for one don't intend

asking to receive another any time soon." Will laughed.

Now, Mark, it's my turn to answer a question." How do I go about asking your pa for advice?"

"You just ask him straight out. That is usually the best way."

The next day as Mark left for school Will decided it would be the best time," Mr McCain could you and I talk?"

"Sure, let's have a cup of coffee." Lucas smiled.

"It's about Rachel and I, I want to court her in the proper way, and I'm not sure I know how." Luke swelled with pride.

He watched as Will grew into a fine citizen. He was equally proud when two years later he stood as best man at his wedding.

Will and Rachel become neighbors to his west just across the creek where he and Mark helped Will build their cabin.

He was never more proud than the day they came to him and ask for a , really big favor," Mr McCain I, we would like

our children to consider you as their grandfather if that OK." Will smiled a little nervously.

That would be more than ok, I would be proud to call you, son and be their grandfather. Lucas replied. grabbing Will

and Rachel into a hug.

That makes me an uncle. Mark replied.