Keeping A Friend

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from BBC's Sherlock and I'm not making any money from this fic

Summary: Sherlock's apology wasn't good enough. Written for the coerced square in the Advent Holiday Bingo blackout

Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for seasons one, two and three of Sherlock; references to violence

Author's Note: Unless the challenge gets extended...this is the final story I'll be able to write for the blackout. So I didn't manage to succeed there, but at least I managed to do several lines

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John walked into the flat, shaking his head as he listened to Sherlock muttering behind him. The other man was nearly impossible to deal with. How had he forgotten about that when he'd wanted the other man to come back?

"I need another case." Sherlock pushed his way into the flat; not quite shoving John out of the way, but close enough. "I missed this. John, you have no idea how difficult it's been to...to limit myself."

John turned fully to face Sherlock, unable to quite hide his irritation with the other man. "Just like you have no idea what I went through when I thought you were dead!" he ground out.

Sherlock paused, tilting his head to one side and narrowing his eyes in confusion. "I apologised for that."

"That wasn't a true apology. That was..." John shook his head. "Never mind," he muttered, turning away from the other man. "I don't know why I expected any different."

"Even if the timing was to manipulate you, the words were sincere."

"Were they?!" John turned on Sherlock. "I realise you consider yourself a god above us 'mere mortals', but at least try to have some compassion. I thought you were my friend."

Sherlock watched him consideringly and then said, "Sit down."

"For what? To see if there are any more cases for the great 'Sherlock Holmes' to solve?" John sat down on the couch anyway. He was fairly sure that, if he remained standing, he'd allow his hurt and anger to grow strong enough to cause him to walk out. And since he lived here, that really wouldn't be very productive.

As soon as John was settled and leaning back comfortably against the couch, Sherlock walked over and bent over his knees.

John blinked and stared down at his friend. Sherlock's weight was warm and even though John thought he should push his friend off his lap, he couldn't quite bring himself to do that. "What are you doing?"

"Would you rather I took my trousers down?"

John opened his mouth, but couldn't quite find the words. Finally, he said, "You want me to spank you?"

"You clearly believe I wronged you when I hid the fact I was still alive," Sherlock replied. "My apology was not good enough. Therefore, I'm giving you permission to punish me."

"You're giving me...?" John shook his head. "The problem was that your apology wasn't sincere. You only made it to manipulate me." Once again, he thought about just pushing Sherlock off his lap and going to bed. But he was hurt. He felt betrayed. And he couldn't shake the certainty that he was more emotionally invested in this friendship than Sherlock was. "Do you even realise what you did wrong?" he asked.

"Please credit me with some intelligence, John," Sherlock responded. "I know you're angry because you feel like I took our friendship for granted."

"I'm not angry."

There was a very long pause and then Sherlock said, in a much softer voice, "Then I hurt you."

"So I should hurt you in return?" John shook his head, wondering at his own sanity. Why was he even considering this?

"Don't be ridiculous, John. If you were to hurt me in the same way, you would leave me to disappear and believe you...were dead."

John wasn't sure if he imagined that pause. That slight hitch of breath. He let his hand touch Sherlock's backside. Lifted it. Let his palm fall in a firm pat. Repeated the action.

Sherlock lay still and quiet for ten of those pats and then he said, "Would you like me to educate you on how to spank properly?"

"I don't need you to 'educate' me." John raised his hand higher and slapped it with more force on Sherlock's backside. When he delivered several more at the same force, he felt Sherlock beginning to shift. "Is it effective now?"

"Is there a reason you're allowing me to keep my trousers on?"

There were all sorts of reasons that went through John's mind. The problem was that each of those reasons had a counter. Sherlock had hurt him. And if he couldn't force his friend to change his behaviour through words, then perhaps this would have more of an effect.

John slid his hand underneath Sherlock's stomach and unfastened his jeans. As he pulled them down, he thought he heard the other man sigh.

Running a hand over Sherlock's boxer-clad backside, John could feel a faint warmth from the smacks he'd already given. When he brought his hand down firmly, he felt Sherlock jump. Repeating the smack caused a hitched gasp and as John settled quickly into a pattern of smacks down to Sherlock's thighs, he felt the other man begin to shift from side to side.

After two more circuits, though, Sherlock stopped reacting to the swats. Quickly realising his friend was anticipating where each smack would land and was therefore able to prepare himself, John yanked down Sherlock's boxers, removing the last layer of protection, and then began to smack his bared bottom.

This time, John abandoned all pretence of a pattern, first swatting Sherlock's right thigh and then the centre of his left cheek five times before he quickly swatted the right and then down to Sherlock's thigh.

After perhaps a minute of the continuous random smacks, Sherlock threw his hand back to cover his bottom. "That's enough, John."

"You know what, Sherlock? I don't believe the end of a punishment should be left up to the one being punished." John resumed the smacks, watching as Sherlock tried in vain to predict where the next smack would fall and cover that part of his backside. "In fact, I think this is so effective, I'll use this way to punish you every time you do something that hurts or disappoints me."

As if in response to those words, Sherlock slumped limp over John's lap, whispering in a voice that hitched slightly, "And then you'll forgive me?"

John couldn't help himself, gently rubbing the warm, pink bottom across his lap. "If my forgiveness means that much to you, yes. You have it."

Sherlock began to shake and John heard the quiet sound of his friend's tears. He rubbed Sherlock's back until they stopped and then helped his friend to stand.

Wiping at his face, Sherlock then pulled his clothing back into place and stood looking at John, an uncertain, almost vulnerable look on his face.

Unable to help but respond, John stood and wrapped his arms around Sherlock, somewhat surprised to find the hug reciprocated.

The End