My Brother, My Keeper

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the book series The Dresden Files and I'm not making any money from this fic

Summary: Missing scene to Cold Days. Thomas is not happy with Harry for not making contact

Warning(s): Spanking, with both hand and belt; spoilers for the entire Dresden Files series up to and including Cold Days; references to violence

I don't know how long I stood there for, holding onto my brother and him holding onto me, before Thomas' hand slid down to my backside and he said, quite firmly, "Before Molly returns, I'm going to put you over my knee."

I should explain, really. Thomas had decided to take on the role of disciplining me shortly after we'd discovered we were brothers. I bore it with good grace, at least most of the time. Considering the form of punishment employed by most of the authority figures I knew, being spanked across my brother's knee was tame in comparison. There was no denying that I'd hurt him with my words now and my silence then. I just didn't know if that was the only thing he would be punishing me for. If he included everything before I 'died'? Well, that would be one of the rare (but more common than I'd like) occasions when he decided the belt should do the talking. Except I didn't know how to ask, because how do I say, 'hey, brother, are you planning to use your belt to make your point?' without sounding like a masochist? Besides, I didn't want to put ideas into his head.

Having told me his plan, Thomas didn't waste time letting me dread what was about to happen. Or try to talk my way out of it – not that I would try. I might spend a lot of my time talking my way out of danger, but I had too much respect for my brother's feelings to try to talk my way out of what I knew was a deserved ass-blistering. Besides, the only time I'd tried, Thomas had let me see just how much those actions I'd taken had hurt him, like an open and raw wound.

This was so much worse.

Thomas led me towards the bench seat and sat down before drawing me round to his side. I leaned over, draping myself across his knees and shuffling forward until I felt his strong thighs under my stomach, supporting me. One raised just enough to elevate my backside and then my brother's hand landed with a dull thwap on the seat of my pants.

I'm more than a little familiar with my brother's method of punishment. It's only between the two of us, for instance. He'd never embarrass me in front of anyone else by telling me I was due a spanking. In return, when I know I've earned one (it's a feeling not unlike butterflies in your stomach), I don't waste time in submitting once we're alone.

I can count on one hand and have fingers left over the amount of times my brother has left my pants in place for a spanking. Occasionally, he's taken me over his knee to settle me. I've got antsy. Too much adrenaline. Rather than let me go out and pick a fight when I'm in that kind of mood, he's warmed the seat of my pants for me and focused my attention to that.

The only other time a spanking has taken place over my pants has been as a warm-up for the main event. When I'm due his belt. And then my pants won't stay in place. They just stay up to let me get used to my position.

Guess which one I was facing today?

The swats were comparatively mild compared to what Thomas could dish out, but there was something about their repetitiveness that had me gritting my teeth. I was not going to start whining, at least not this early in the spanking. Trouble was, the warmth was beginning to grow uncomfortable. I bit my lip as he shifted me enough to get to my sit spots better. You know, the sensitive creases between your bottom and thighs, that really hurt when you try to sit down after your brother finishes spanking you. I swear I've seen a smug gleam of satisfaction in his eyes when I've had to gingerly sit down after he's blistered my butt.

Thomas paused and slid his hand under my stomach. I raised my hips obligingly so he could tug down my pants. No sense in dragging it out.

Thomas took his sweet time continuing, instead choosing to rub my heated backside. I ducked my head and let out a moan. Nothing sexual, just rubbing until the sting faded to warmth. It gave me the chance to feel my position over my brother's knees and how high and exposed my bottom was.

I don't normally get a scolding when Thomas spanks me. I like to think it's because he knows I'm intelligent enough to realise when I've done something wrong. In reality, it's probably because he thinks I beat myself up enough over my mistakes. The choices I've made that have hurt and even killed those closest to me.

Like Susan.

Thomas' hand landed with considerably more force on my right cheek and I jumped at the sharp sting, then hissed out a breath as the smack was repeated on my left. Two more hard smacks and the first tears began blurring my vision. A flurry of hard swats had me groaning and writhing over my brother's lap, particularly when his palm landed unerringly on my bare thighs in smacks that felt as sharp as they sounded. "Thomas…please…." My voice came out choked, my throat clogged with tears. "I'm sorry."

"For what, Harry?" my brother demanded. "For not letting me know you were alive? For pulling away from me and the rest of your friends so much?" A sharper tone slipped into his voice as he continued, his palm swatting a bit harder and faster. "Or for letting me know what you really think of me?"

It wasn't even really the spanking that hurt so much. Don't get me wrong. It did hurt. A lot. But Thomas' words were more painful. I'd hurt him with my thoughtless words. With my actions. I could deal with the physical pain. I could deal with fighting and hurting someone that way. But this? Hurting my brother? I couldn't even beg for the spanking to stop. Not knowing how much worse I deserved.

Despite that, I couldn't help whimpering unabashedly when Thomas tugged my boxers down as well. Then, as if my brother was on a mission, he began swatting my backside harder and faster. Or maybe it just felt like he was spanking me harder, because I was bare and the spanking had been going on for a while.

I couldn't feel Thomas' emotions like Molly could, but I didn't have to in order to know how much he was hurting. How much I'd hurt him. I didn't truly believe I deserved forgiveness from anyone, but I definitely didn't feel like I deserved it from my brother. I didn't deserve his loyalty. Didn't deserve him.

"I didn't have to claim you as my brother, Harry."

Thomas' words broke into my thoughts of self-pity where the swats hadn't. My breath caught and held as tears slipped out, trickling down my cheeks. Not claiming each other as brothers…that had never occurred to me. My heart sank as I realised it had to Thomas, however briefly. Was this when he decided I was too much work? I couldn't blame him, but the thought of losing my brother, on top of everything else, struck deep.

"You idiot." Thomas' voice was soft. "You think I'd do this if I didn't want you? If I didn't want you as my brother? I love you."

He was still spanking me, pushing my shirt up out of the way and my boxers down further to give him a better target. Forget being warm. My backside was starting to feel like I'd sat down in fire. A few extra-hard smacks targeted to my sit spots and I threw my hand back for protection. Not that it did much good. Thomas simply swatted what wasn't covered and I wasn't fast enough to keep up with him.

Eventually, the spanking slowed and then stopped. I wasn't full-out sobbing, not yet, but the tears were blurring my vision and I knew it wouldn't be long before I did give up all control. A frightening thought, but I probably needed to on some level.

Thomas' palm now rubbed my bottom. It hurt too much for the rubbing to offer any kind of relief, but it was still a welcome respite from the smacks. And the affection from my brother, after Mab's attempts at killing me, eased something inside me I hadn't even realised was hurting.

"I love you," my brother repeated.

I didn't really need to hear the words, except…I did. Thomas' loyalty and unwavering support was what I counted on, but the words eased something else inside of me I hadn't even realised was broken. I reached down and grasped his ankle, closing my eyes. "I love you too, brother. And I'm so sorry." My voice came out an emotional rasp. I was going to break. Here. Laying across my brother's knees, getting my butt tanned like a child. No amount of torture, either emotional or physical, would do what Thomas spanking me achieved. "Forgive me?" The plea was a whisper. I was suddenly and awfully afraid he wouldn't. That I'd hurt him too much with my thoughtless words. I was a terrible, awful brother.

"I have." His words broke into my thoughts of self-loathing. "I'm just too relieved to have you back." A pause, then, "But I'm still taking off my belt."

I'd been anticipating the sentence, but still groaned. There was already a raging fire in my backside. The belt would stoke that and make me fall completely, with the only one there to catch me my brother. I knew this from experience.

But there was no way I could resist. Sure, I could cast some magic. Stop Thomas in his tracks and run…and then what? We were on my boat. The only way I could get to Demonreach was on it. Unless I planned to waste time commandeering another boat, I'd have to come back eventually. And I trusted my brother. If he thought I deserved the belt, I wouldn't argue with him.

I heard the sound of Thomas removing his belt and I took a deep breath, pulling my hand back round in front of me. I didn't want the leather to land on my fingers.

Thomas didn't often use his belt on me, but the times he did were burned into my head. I felt rather than heard the belt move through the air and I jerked when it hit at the crest of my backside, making me hiss out a gasp. I clenched my fists and had to fight down the instincts that told me to jump up and punch my brother in the face.

The next strike landed directly below the first, leaving another stripe of fire. I'm not ashamed to say I whimpered, but I didn't yell. I didn't cry out. I just breathed deep as the belt covered my entire backside, reaching down to my thighs.

Thomas started using the belt again from the top and I very quickly found myself panting, my fists clenching as I fought down the urge to use my magic to put a stop to this. The belting hurt, lighting up my entire backside from the top right down to the middle of my thighs, until every inch of skin was a raging inferno.

Just at the point it seemed I would grow numb to the individual strikes, Thomas stopped the belting. I had tears running down my cheeks and my fingers were gripping my brother's ankle tight. I breathed heavily through my mouth to stop myself sobbing…and if it was just the pain of the spanking, of the belting, I would have been able to hold back.

But Thomas began speaking. "I don't need to have another soulgaze with you to realise how much guilt you're suffering. You destroyed the entire Red Court. You did that by killing a woman you loved. You think I don't realise that? That I can't see how much making that choice has hurt you?"

"Please…." I almost didn't recognise my own voice. I was begging him. Not to talk to me. Not to understand me. Not to forgive me. I didn't deserve forgiveness. My brother battled against the hunger inside him so he wouldn't become a monster. But I made the choice. I just kept falling into darkness and I had no way to pull myself out. "Don't…."

"Don't what?" Thomas asked. "Don't understand you? Don't forgive you? Don't let you go into the darkness alone? You don't understand, Harry. I don't care what you are or what you've done. I just want my brother. Alive. By my side."

The words broke me faster than continuing the spanking could have done. As the tears continued to blind me, I slumped limp over my brother's lap, crying. I heard the belt drop and then Thomas was pulling and tugging me into his arms. I went willingly, cuddling on his lap and letting him hold onto me with as much force as he'd hugged me earlier. I'm not ashamed to say I clung to Thomas fiercely, burrowing in close to him. "Don't give up on me," I whispered, the words a plea.

Thomas tightened his embrace until my ribs creaked. "Never," he promised, his voice fierce.

"I'd better tell Grasshopper it's safe to come back in." I sighed, not particularly wanting to leave my brother's embrace, but it was a sad truth I didn't get a day off now.

Thomas pulled back enough to look into my eyes. "You need this again? Just try to let me know. Okay?" He smiled and held me close a few more moments before he released me.

I pulled my clothing back into place over my throbbing backside, gave my brother another hard hug and a promise to try, and went in search of Molly.

The End