Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the television series Arrow or the Flash and I'm not making any money from this fic
Summary: Written for the Lonely Prompts Challenge. Fills this prompt: Arrow/Flash, Oliver/Barry, Barry can't stop feeling guilty about changing the past. Oliver decides to help him learn, and get past it.
Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers up to season three of The Flash; minor spoilers up to season four of Arrow; violence
It was getting harder and harder to let go of his sense of guilt. Barry had assumed he'd got the timeline entirely correct this time...but his actions had much further reaching consequences than he could ever have imagined. How could his messing around with the timeline have caused Diggle's baby Sara to become baby John instead?
The rest of the team hadn't noticed anything. Of course they hadn't. The only one who knew everything that had changed was him. But how could he put it right when he didn't even know what change had erased baby Sara and left baby John in her place?
Barry walked out of the Arrow's hideout with only a muttered, "I need some air," to explain himself before he stood on the street outside the club. He was in his 'civilian' clothes, as they hadn't planned on going on any missions. It was just as well, considering he was so unfocused, he couldn't imagine he'd be able to run as fast as he needed to. And maybe that was for the best, as he'd been messing so many things up recently.
"Your friends are worried about you."
Surprised, Barry turned round to face Oliver, who'd come up behind him. "What? Just because I came out here for some fresh air?"
Oliver came up beside him, looking out onto the street. "Did you try to change the timeline again?"
"No!" Barry couldn't help a guilty flinch, though, as he knew he'd been considering trying to go back and undo whatever had caused the change.
Oliver raised his eyebrows. "Are you sure about that?" His voice was quiet, but he was clearly expecting an answer.
Barry shifted from one foot to the other, feeling like the other man was more his boss or superior than an equal and a friend. "No," he repeated, quieter. "But something else got changed. Something I only just found out about." He glanced uncertainly at Oliver's face and swallowed. "Diggle and Lyla...they didn't have baby John before I messed everything up."
Oliver frowned, looking into Barry's eyes. "They had a different child?"
Barry nodded, looking down as he mumbled, "It was baby Sara the first time."
Oliver was quiet for a few moments and Barry looked down at the sidewalk. He wouldn't blame the other man if Oliver walked away and left him alone. Alone to deal with his guilt. That was his punishment, after all. To never be able to forgive himself.
Caught in his own sense of self-loathing, Barry almost didn't hear Oliver say, "Look at me."
Barry couldn't help but feel like he was a child again, caught by Joe doing something he shouldn't. He made himself look into Oliver's eyes, but his face heated in embarrassment as the other man said, "You were warned – by everyone we know, not just me – that you shouldn't be messing with the timeline."
"I know. And I'm sorry." Worried that Oliver wouldn't believe him, Barry tried to sound as sincere as possible.
"I know you are." Oliver hesitated and then seemed to come to a decision. "I know the damage guilt can do. Sometimes it feels like I'll never be fully able to let go of it," he muttered, in a quieter voice that Barry wasn't sure he was meant to hear. Before Barry could question him, he continued, "But before I came back to Starling City, I did have someone who was able to help me. And I'm going to do what he would have."
Half-tempted to ask the other man who had helped him, Barry instead questioned, "What are you going to do?"
"We'll talk inside." Oliver turned and walked back into the club.
Unsure of what was about to happen, Barry followed him. They ended up inside the office and Oliver closed the door, then turned to face Barry. "I'm going to spank you."
"What?" Barry backed up a step, a startled laugh escaping him. "You're not serious!"
Oliver's face didn't change expression. He watched Barry closely as he said, "I know the idea of a physical punishment is daunting. You don't have to agree. I'm not going to force you, but I believe you'll feel better emotionally after this."
If he didn't sound so damn reasonable, Barry would have found it easy to refuse. He got a mental image of him bending over the desk while Oliver stood behind him and... Shaking his head, Barry quickly blurted, "It won't work anyway! I heal too fast for a s...for that to work."
"Yeah, I'd probably wear my hand out long before you reached the needed point," Oliver said wryly. "But that's why I'm going to use my belt." He unfastened it from around his waist, pulling it through the loops and then doubling the leather in his hand. "Take your pants down and bend over the desk." He moved to one side.
Barry knew he didn't have to submit. He could say no. Oliver was his friend and equal. He believed him when he said he wouldn't force the issue.
But Barry did feel guilty. And he trusted Oliver wouldn't suggest this unless he really thought it would work. Still, his hands fumbled with the button on his jeans before it came undone and he shoved them down, stepping over to the desk and quickly bending over it, jeans pooling around his ankles.
Oliver's hand rested on his lower back as he said quietly, "You were told repeatedly to stop messing around with the timeline. I understand why you felt the need to change things. Believe me, I do. But doing so was reckless and dangerous and ended up hurting your friends."
Barry tensed as he heard the belt whistle through the air and then jumped as it snapped against the crest of his backside. He couldn't stop a gasp as the second landed in the exact same spot, just as if a target had been painted there. The third and fourth each elicited a sharp yelp from him and he gripped the desk tightly to keep from reaching back.
The next series of stripes didn't offer much relief, even though they landed just below the first. By the time the belt landed on the creases between his buttocks and thighs, tears were welling in his eyes and he was fighting the urge to stand and run until his healing factor kicked in and the burning pain ceased.
When Oliver began the strapping again from the top, Barry clenched his teeth and gripped the far end of the desk even tighter. His eyes were swimming with tears and he couldn't stop himself from beginning to sob. His bottom was burning fiercely and all he wanted to do was put an end to the horribly painful punishment.
Oliver paused, his hand resting on Barry's lower back as he said quietly, "I'm going to give you ten more. And then that'll be an end to it. The punishmen will be finished and you can forgive yourself."
Barry let another quiet sob. He didn't know how he could take another ten strokes on top of his already very sore backside, but when he felt Oliver's hand on his briefs, he quickly threw his hand back to try and stop the other man.
"You're not getting out of here until the punishment's over, Barry," Oliver said seriously. "Move your hand."
"But it hurts...!" Barry wasn't sure why he was telling Oliver that, since the other man clearly knew it hurt. He was almost certain he couldn't take more of the belt on his briefs, let alone bare.
"I know." Oliver's voice was entirely too sympathetic as he asked, "But inside?"
Barry swallowed back his tears as he admitted quietly, "Better." Unable to keep from whimpering, he pulled his hand away, blushing as Oliver pulled his briefs down.
The belt snapped down with burning force on Barry's bare backside and he jumped, hissing out a sharp gasp. The second and third strikes landed before he had a chance to fully absorb the sting from the first and he stuttered out pathetically, "Oliver, please..."
"We're almost done," Oliver responded. "And when we are, you won't have to feel bad anymore. And you'll also know that, the next time you go against the advice of your friends and allies, this will happen again."
Barry thought he should probably protest that promise. As four and five lashed down across his sit spots and thighs respectively, he thought he should feel offended that Oliver was choosing this for him. That he would be expected to submit to the other man if he crossed a line. But all he could feel was relief. That when he messed up again, he would be punished...but would be able to forgive himself. More tears trickled down his cheeks and he slumped weakly over the desk, no longer resisting.
The last five strikes were comparatively lighter, although they still stung and drew more tears from Barry. He heard Oliver replace the belt and then gently rub his lower back once more. "It's over now," he said quietly. "You don't need to feel guilty anymore."
"You forgive me?" Barry asked, sniffling.
Oliver exhaled slowly. "Yeah."
"Thanks." It felt odd, thanking Oliver for giving him a belting, but the words were still sincere. Barry slowly stood, pulling up his briefs and jeans with a slight wince. His healing factor was already beginning to kick in, but his backside was still sore. He rubbed a bit and took a deep breath, wiping at his eyes. "I think I'd better wash my face," he muttered.
"As soon as you're ready, why don't you join us downstairs again?" Oliver suggested. "We can figure out where to go next from there."
"Yeah." Barry smiled, a bit surprised that it felt sincere. "I'll see you in a few minutes."
Oliver nodded and left the office. Taking a deep breath, Barry sneaked in one last rub and then followed him.