Discovery - Chapter 4

Jalen worked quietly at his desk. The two young men in the cell had been quiet
as church mice. He hadn't heard a peep out of them since he came back. He
glanced at the pair of them sitting on the bunk quietly waiting. Once Dan
arrived they would sort things out. He began to write on his most recent report
and thought about how he wanted to handle things. Technically Brett had violated
his probation. Since there were no injuries or formal complaint signed against
either young man Jalen supposed he could just chalk it up to two young men
having a bit too much to drink and not thinking through carefully what they were
doing. There were no formal charges unless Jalen himself wanted to press
disturbing the peace, but then he'd have to report it on Brett's next court
report and he didn't really want to have to do that either. He sighed. He
decided to see how Brett handled himself and what Dan was going to do with Cole.


Daniel Fairmont made his way over to the Sheriff's office. He realized Cole
didn't have much experience with young men near or of his own age. With their
gypsy life style it prevented anyone from getting to know them too well and of
their special relationship, but it also had a drawback of his young partner and
even himself not having others to interact with and the first time there was it
made sense these things would happen. Well he knew Cole knew the rules they set
out and which ones he had broken. He'd have to take either the hairbrush or the
little paddle to his backside. He'd have to hear the whole thing before he
decided how to proceed. He had promised Cole early on that he would never use a
piece of leather on him. Cole had been fearful of that and they had discussed it
at length and had mutually agreed it would not be in the implements of
correction, but writing lines, the hair brush or the little paddle were indeed
useful deterrents.

Daniel opened the door to the Sheriff's office and the jail.

Jalen stood up to greet him. "Good of you to come Dan. We need to discuss how
we're going to handle these two."

Daniel shook his head as he looked at how miserable Cole looked and Brett too
didn't look much better.

Jalen shook hands with Daniel and he invited him to take a seat next to his

Dan took a seat and looked at Jalen. He was a little surprised to see him
looking almost as miserable as the boys. "You don't look very happy." Dan said
to Jalen.

"That obvious huh? I don't know what to do…I'm feeling quite a bit frustrated at
the moment."

Dan nodded. "I can understand that…Jalen, it's difficult when you love the
person you need to make decisions for."

Jalen looked at Dan. "What do you mean?"

Dan said quietly, "Cole and me…well we have a special relationship. We love each
other…not in the manner of brothers…it's much more than that."

Jalen's green eyes widened momentarily as Dan's meaning registered and he
discovered that what Dan was telling him was that he and Cole had the same kind
of relationship that he and Brett had and…that Dallas had had with him as well.

"You and uhm Cole love each other in a special way?" He asked hedging a bit
hoping Dan understood.

Dan grinned. "Yes and you and Brett?"

Jalen nodded "Yes…I also had a similar relationship before comin' here with a
gentleman named Dallas Kincaid."

Dan smiled. "So you've had a bit of teaching then. I suspected you and Brett had
a special relationship when we went tree huntin'. Cole and me, well we learned
by trial and error. You know we've been together for six years now."

Jalen nodded. "I knew you two were partners and traveled together, I suspected
there might have been somethin' more there when I saw the two of you this time,
, but I really didn't know you had that special relationship for sure. When you
and Cole were with Brett and me tree huntin' and didn't act shocked by us, it
sort of confirmed things for me. I'm glad to know for sure now."

Dan nodded "It doesn't surprise me you didn't know. It's why I never stayed long
in one place so most people wouldn't suspect that we had our special

Jalen nodded. "I can understand that…but now that we know…we can sort of be
there for each other…that is if you decide to stick around."

Dan smiled at Jalen. "I've been thinking about it, but I'm not sure."

Jalen nodded. "Diamond Springs is a pretty nice town though."

Dan nodded. "As long as we keep our special relationship quiet."

Jalen nodded. "Yes, you're right."


Cole watched Dan and Jalen talking. He had looked up when he had heard the door
open and then his stomach did those not so good flip flops knowing Dan wasn't
going to be very happy with him.

Brett had looked up, but went back to contemplating the floor as he saw it was

Cole asked Brett quietly, "What do you think they're talkin' about?"

Brett shrugged. "Don't know. Maybe when the next train leaves and putting me on

Cole shook his head. "Stop thinkin' like that. Jalen really likes you and I
don't think he'll send you away."

Brett said just as quietly, "He may have no choice."

Cole asked "Why?"

Brett explained to Cole the probation program and the rules and how he had
violated them.

Cole studied Brett and then he said, "Ain't goin' to happen."

Brett looked at Cole and asked, "How do you know?"

Cole said, "I think you and the Sheriff have the same kind of special
relationship like me and Dan. Dan ain't never goin' to throw me out on my own.
Only if I choose to leave."

Brett thought about Cole's words and realized he was right. Jalen had never
threatened to send him away. He had always made it his choice to take the
consequences or be sent away. He decided he wanted to stay and would take
whatever consequences Jalen said.

"I know you're right Cole. I care about Jalen a lot. We got a really special

Cole grinned. "Yeah, just like me and Dan."

Brett asked, "You do?"

Cole nodded. "Yes, we love each other."

Brett bit his lip and then asked, "In a very special way?"

Cole nodded. "Yes, for six years now."

Brett said, "It's only been a few months for Jalen and me, about 5 months now."

Cole smiled. "I'm glad. You two are nice and deserve each other."

Brett gave Cole a little smile. "Jalen used to have this guy Dallas who sort of
raised him and taught him things…about men who aren't attracted to women."

Cole grinned. "Good, then he'll know what he's doin'."

Brett looked at Cole puzzled, but nodded. "I think Jalen knows what he's doin'."


Hearing the soft voices of the boys Dan and Jalen smiled at each other and Jalen
asked Dan, "What are you goin' to do?"

Dan said, "Hold him accountable of course. He knows better than to go off
without tellin' anyone, to leave a job he's supposed to complete, not to drink
when I'm not there to give him permission or to discharge his pistol without
good reason."

Jalen nodded. "Brett and me are continuing to work on the rules. There are the
basic rules of probation like I'm to either accompany him or know his
whereabouts at all times, he's not to associate with any criminals, not to carry
or use a firearm without permission, not to drink without my bein' with him to
supervise, and our own rules like completein' chores, bein' honest, showin'
respect, obey any other rules I deem necessary, including tasks assigned to him
like his schoolwork and chores, not do dangerous things and to curb his temper
and attitude."

Dan listened and nodded. "Yes, it sounds like you're buildin' a good

Jalen looked at the two miscreants still sitting in the cell. "I'm goin' to make
my rounds and then head home…if you like you can come to my place with Cole.
It's pretty private." He said meaningfully.

Dan considered the offer and then nodded. "All right. I'll just let Gabe know…is
it all right if we spend the night?"

Jalen nodded. "Sure, that's fine. I have an extra guest room you can use."

Dan smiled. "Sounds perfect."


Jalen walked over to the cell with Dan at his side. "I'm goin' to make my rounds
and Dan is goin' to take care of a few things. You boys will be comin' home with
me tonight."

Brett looked up, wonder in his blue eyes. "You're not sendin' me to prison?"

Jalen opened the cell door and went in and pulled Brett into his arms. "No, I'm
not my young outlaw. I told you I'm not sendin' you anywhere. The only way
you'll go to prison on my watch is if it's your choice to do so."

Brett snuggled into Jalen's arms. "'Kay, I don't want to go to prison. I want to
stay with you and I want to go home."

The Sheriff asked, "Even if it means that you'll be held accountable for the
things you did today?"

The young outlaw nodded and snuggled as close as he could get to Jalen. "Yes
Sir." He said quietly."

Jalen smiled down at him. "All right. You two stay in here and Dan and me will
be back."

Brett pouted. "Do I have to? Can't I come with you?"

The older man studied the younger man's eyes and then nodded. "Yes, you may.
Come on." He squeezed Brett tight and then gave him a swat, a prelude as to what
was to come.

The young outlaw jumped at the swat, but went with Jalen.


Dan went over to Cole and put an arm around the younger man. "We're goin' to
spend the night with the Sheriff. It will give us enough privacy tonight to take
care of business and also an opportunity for the four of us to talk more in
private surroundings. I don't mind Gabe knowin' what's goin' on between us, you
know he understands, but I don't want or need the whole town of Diamond Springs
in on our special relationship."

Cole nodded. "Yes Sir, I'm sorry Dan." He apologized as he snuggled close to

"I know you are my wild one. I still love you and wouldn't give you up for
anythin' in the world. Besides you know it isn't the end of the world. You've
done some pretty foolish things in the time we've been together and we've
survived every one of them."

Cole said, "I don't want Brett to go to prison on account of me…I made him take
the challenge."

Dan said, "I don't believe the Sheriff will do that. You were both behavin' in a
way many young men do when they've had a bit too much to drink. We'll take care
of things and all will be right with the world again. I promise." Dan told Cole.
"I'm going over to Gabe's, I need to tell him where we'll be and pack a few
things for overnight. I'll hire a sleigh for us. I don't think you'll be wantin'
to sit a saddle tomorrow and at least this way you can have a pillow." Dan said
quietly so only Cole could hear.

Cole gave him a sour look. "You would have to say that." He grumbled.
Dan arched an eyebrow. "We could forgo the cushion."

Cole hastened to object. "No…that's all right."

Dan nodded. "I thought you'd see things my way."

Cole blushed and Dan hugged him tight. "You stay put now I'll be back as soon as
I can."

Seeing Brett going with Jalen he asked, "Can't I come with you?"

Dan seeing the other young man was going to leave with the Sheriff smiled at
Cole. "Sure, come on." He turned to Jalen. "Sheriff we'll meet you back here
when you've finished your rounds."

Jalen nodded. "All right Dan, we won't be too long."

Dan nodded. "Okay." He and Cole headed toward the Diamond Dust while Jalen and
Brett went to do the Sheriff's rounds.


Dan watched as he followed Jalen and Brett in the sleigh with Cole cuddled
warmly up to his side. He somehow preferred the coziness of having his partner
snuggled up to him this way instead of them each riding their own horse. They
were wrapped in warm blankets and hot bricks were at their feet. Their overnight
bag was on the floor and the horses were very responsive. He smiled as he heard
the jingling of the bells on the harness. Jack had told him he had them for all
the harnesses for his sleighs. It made things a bit more festive.


Cole snuggled up to Dan. He was glad the older man had rented the sleigh. He
liked cozying up to Dan's warm body. He knew he was still in trouble, but the
ride calmed him and made him feel more content.


Jalen smiled over at Brett riding alongside him. "It's a beautiful time of year.
The air is crisp and the trees smell so much more strongly than in the warmer
months for some reason." He observed.

Brett nodded. "It does seem that way doesn't it?"

Jalen agreed. "Yes, I like it and I'm so very glad you came alon' so now I can
have a home of my own and enjoy this beauty. I'd forgotten how nice it is havin'
lived in town all that time."

Brett smiled back. "I like it that we have our own place outside of town to come
to. We can be private here." He looked at Jalen. "Uhm…will I need to sleep in
the room that is for me to go to when we have guests?" He asked, remembering
what Jalen had told him about that.

Jalen shook his head. "With Dan and Cole it won't be necessary. I'm thinking
they'll be wantin' to stay together and I see no reason why we shouldn't do the

Brett nodded. "Cole and me, well, we were talkin' and we discovered that all
four of us have the same kind of special relationship, so I was hopin' we
wouldn't have to sleep separately."

Jalen smiled. "Yes, I know. Dan and I talked too and it's nice we all share the
same feelings and that discipline is part of both our relationships."

Brett bit his lip, at the mention of discipline, but nodded. "Yes, I suppose
it's nice to know there are others like us."

Jalen smiled. "Yes, it is."


They soon found themselves riding up into the yard and Jalen turned and greeted
the other men. "Welcome to my ranch. There's plenty of room in the barn for the
horses and the sleigh. I'm sure there's a harness rack in the tack room too."

Dan jumped down and so did Cole. "Thanks Sheriff." He began to lead the team
into the barn.

They all took care of the horses they had come in with and Dan and Cole pitched
in to help with the other horses stabled in the barn. Jalen had milked and fed
the cow and Brett fed the chickens. Every animal had been watered. Jalen had
tried to make it so Ice wouldn't form on the water troughs. When he and Brett
had made the repairs to the barn they had worked very carefully to plug up any
chinks or drafts. They tried to keep out as much of the cold as they could. When
they were home he checked regularly to make sure the water wasn't frozen over
and broke the ice when it formed.

Dan and Cole were impressed with the barn and how it had been carefully tended
to and how clean everything was and how well all the animals in there were cared

Once all was in order Jalen said, "Well gentlemen, andlet's see what grub I can
rustle up for us."

Brett grinned. He had discovered that the Sheriff was a pretty fair cook and was
glad. He couldn't cook much. He could cook some fish or small game on a spit
over the campfire, but that was the extent of his cooking skills.

As they entered they hung their coats and hats on pegs near the door. The
Sheriff went over to the stove and stirred the embers that had been banked and
fed it wood and soon had a good fire going. He also stirred up the fire in the
fireplace in the large living room and laid a couple of logs on it and soon the
room was becoming warm with the heat from the burning wood.

Jalen had started a stew cooking on the stove before he'd left that morning and
he stirred it and added more vegetables to stretch the meal. He got out
ingredients to make some dumplings and put them in the stew as well once it
began to bubble. He made biscuits too and the other three men helped by chopping
vegetables and cutting out the biscuits.

Dan asked, "Where did you learn to cook so well Sheriff?"

Jalen smiled. "Call me Jalen and when I was living with Dallas Kincaid his cook,
Cookie taught me. Told me a man on his own without a woman to cook for him would
starve to death so I'd better learn to cook if I didn't want to be one hungry

Dan and the other two young men laughed at that.

"It has some truth to it though." Dan said. "Traveling from place to place like
Cole and me, well, we mostly rely on the local boarding house for our meals.
Sometimes they were good and sometimes…well they had a lot to be desired."

Cole chuckled. "I always found it interestin' how the woman who ran the boardin'
house always gave us a bed board to put between us when she found we wanted to
share a bed."

Dan chuckled. "Little did they realize we never used them?"

Jalen and Brett laughed.


The four men enjoyed their impromptu meal. The younger boys had made a face at
the number of vegetables they found in their bowls, but said nothing as it was
all they had to eat. They couldn't be too picky.

After the meal Dan went to his belongings and brought out an apple pie he had
secured from the bakery before leaving town as a surprise. Even Cole hadn't
known he'd bought it. "Dessert Gentlemen…dig in." He announced.

Brett and Cole's faces lit up at the savory treat and Jalen grinned at Dan and
shook his head. "It wasn't necessary, but thank you Dan.

Dan said, "Well I was taught a good guest didn't go to a person's home empty
handed. It's funny how those things your Mama tells you all your life stick even
when you're out on your own isn't it?"

Jalen said, "Well, not all my life, but my mentor Dallas told me it was good
manners. I'll go ahead and cut the pie and we'll dish it up. Why don't we take
it into the livin' room? We can relax and talk in there."

Dan agreed. "That sounds fine."

Brett nodded. "Come on Cole, I'll show you the most comfortable chair." He

Cole followed Brett.

Once all the men were settled they began to talk. They shared a bit about
themselves and their lives and their special relationships.

Dan said, "It feels very good to be able to talk openly with another couple who
have the same kind of special relationship as Cole and me."

Jalen nodded. "I agree. It's nice to know you're not alone in all this."

Brett said, "You were lucky Jalen, You had Dallas Kincaid to teach you."

Dan nodded. "Brett's right. Cole and me had to figure things out as we went."

Cole smiled. "But we've had lots of fun figurin' them out haven't we?"

Dan, who was sitting near Cole reached out and ruffled the younger man's hair.
"Yes it has and challenging at times as well."

Jalen nodded. "Dallas and me had our times as well. I try to think about what
he's taught me before I deal with Brett. I wouldn't want to hurt him for the

Dan nodded. "It's the same for me. I wouldn't want to truly harm Cole in any

Brett said, "Jalen's real careful with me. I know I'm loved and it feels good."

Cole nodded. It's the same for Dan and me. I know I'm loved, it's just the
uhm…well the other part that's hard sometimes."

Brett nodded. "Yes, but it's kinda odd how it sorta settles me down and I feel
cared for afterward and mostly forgiven. I have always felt better inside
afterward when Jalen has had cause to…uhm..." He blushed.
Cole nodded. "Yes, I know exactly what you mean. It's like that with Daniel and
me. I had lots of anger inside and so I'd do mean things to try to get rid of
it. Dan's helped me so I don't have to do that so much anymore."

Brett nodded. "I don't always like the way Jalen helps me, but it seems to work
every time."

Cole grinned. "The same goes for me. Even though I don't like it, it seems to
work for us."

The Sheriff and Dan smiled at each other hearing their young partner's

Jalen glanced over at Brett once it seemed the younger man had finished the
discussion with Cole.

"I'm going to clean up these dessert dishes and then Brett you and I need to
have a talk about what happened this afternoon." Jalen said quietly.

Brett cringed and bit his lip. "Yes Sir."

Dan eyed Cole. "I'm going to help the Sheriff. You stay out of trouble while I'm

Both young men exchanged glances and nodded their understanding.


Dan helped Jalen with the dishes. He said casually, "I think Cole's offenses
today deserve a paddlin'. What do you think about Brett?"

Jalen squirmed. "I think he deserves a good sound spankin'."

Dan arched an eyebrow. "No implement?"

Jalen flushed. "Uhm…no. I…uhm…I've never used one before." He admitted quietly.
"Brett's the first person I ever even spanked with my hand." He admitted softly
to Dan. "I thought about it, but first, I don't have a paddle, although I could
use a hair brush, but secondly…well, I haven't talked it over with Brett and I
don't exactly think it's fair to drop something new on him unexpectedly. I think
it's important to talk about using an implement together and agree on when it
should be used. I know he's been spanked with them before by his parents, even
switched, but I don't think I'm ready for any of that and I'd feel better about
it if I talk to Brett first."

Dan put an arm around Jalen's shoulders. "It's all right. You do what you feel
comfortable with and what works for you and Brett. If you ever feel a need to
take a step or two up then talk to me. I'll try to help."

Jalen looked up into the violet eyes and smiled. "Thanks Dan."

"You're welcome Sheriff."

Jalen said, "You can call me Jalen you know."

Dan smiled. "Yes, you told me that earlier. I like callin' you Sheriff, but
Jalen is good too."

The Sheriff grinned and said, "All right…Daniel."

Dan chuckled at Jalen's teasing about being too formal. "All right. Jalen." He
said with a smile in surrender.

"Thanks Dan." The other man returned with a grin.

Dan smiled. "You're welcome. What about logistics? Where shall we go?"

Jalen asked, "Which do you prefer? The woodshed or the barn?"

Daniel considered and then said, "The woodshed."

The Sheriff nodded. "I'll take the barn then. Your room is at the top of the
stairs, second room on the right."

Dan nodded. "All right. Thank you."

Jalen said, "It's already made up. Mrs. Hawkins keeps house for us and takes
care of everything."

Daniel nodded once more. "Good."

The Sheriff sighed. "This is the part of our relationship I don't like."

Dan nodded. "Yes, I understand. It's not exactly my favorite part either, but
it's necessary if we're goin' to keep our partners with us, secure and safe."

Jalen nodded in return. "I know you're right. We'd better go back and let them
know of our plans."

Daniel put an arm around the other man's shoulders in support and gave him a
squeeze. "We'll get through this. It's not the first time they've each been in a
fix from what you've shared about Brett."

Jalen nodded "It definitely doesn't sound like the first time for Cole either."

Dan gave Jalen a rueful smile. "No, you're right about that."

The two men headed for the living room their purpose in mind.


Brett looked at Cole. "What do you suppose they're doin' in there?" He indicated
the kitchen.

Cole said, "Probably deciding our fate."

Brett said gloomily, "I already know I'm going to be in trouble."

Cole nodded. "That goes for me too; I'm in pretty big trouble for breakin' a
bunch of rules."

Brett cocked his head and looked at Cole. "You have rules you have to follow

Cole nodded. "Of course I do…did you think Dan doesn't take care of me?"

Brett shook his head. "No, I didn't think that, I just thought because you're
older than me you and Dan didn't do that anymore."

Cole laughed ruefully. "Not a chance. Dan tells me I'll never be too old."

Brett's blue eyes widened at this proclamation. "Never?"

"Nope, never." Cole said with a little sigh.

Brett bit his lip and glanced up as the two older men came back into the room.

Dan said quietly, "Cole, you and I will borrow the Sheriff's woodshed."

Jalen said, "Brett, we'll visit the barn."

Brett and Cole exchanged glances and both young men nodded and went with their

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