Chapter 1: An Unexpected Return
John Watson turned the corner of Baker Street, plastic grocery bags in his hands, and came upon a most interesting scene. Almost directly in front of 221 was a young woman set upon by three men who were attempting to force her into a car. She put up one hell of a fight- kicking, scratching, and throwing punches. Though she held her own, John knew instinctively that the three large men would eventually succeed in getting her into the car, something that she was vocally protesting against.
"NO! I will not get in the car! HELP! I'm being kidnapped!" She shouted, continuing to scuffle and throw her fists wildly.
The grocery bags hit the sidewalk as John decided to intervene, rushing into the fray. Though the men were taller and outweighed him to varying degrees, John had the advantage of his military training which enabled him to subdue the would-be kidnappers. Sporting broken noses and bruises, the men finally surrendered and left in their vehicle.
After watching the black car with tinted windows drive away, John turned back to the young woman, his doctoring instinct full on. "Are you alright?" John asked, approaching her slowly. "Did they hurt you during that scuffle? Put up quite a fight, you did." He couldn't keep the grin from his face as thought of her taking on those men by herself. John reached out, took her chin, and tipped her face to the side, frowning at the small cut on her cheek.
"Got backhanded," she said quietly. "But I'm alright. Prolly deserved it, I bit him." She gave John a cheeky little grin. "Thank you for coming to my rescue, I truly appreciate it."
"Not a problem at all. I'm John Watson, by the way. I live right here, 221B, and I'm a doctor. If you'd like, you could come up for cuppa and I'll treat that cut for you," John offered.
She smiled and nodded, her blue-gray eyes lighting up at the offer. "That would be good, thank you," she agreed. "I'm Rose." Rose extended a hand and shook John's before following him into the building.
"Lovely name, it suits you," John decided as they headed up the stairs. "Kitchens right in here, I'll start the kettle and then get my supplies and tend to your cheek. Take a seat at the table. Biscuits?"
"Mm, please," Rose eagerly agreed. "You're too kind. Please don't feel obligated to fuss over me."
"Happy to fuss," John replied, flashing her a smile."Part of my job. Be right back with my kit." Leaving the kettle on the pot to boil, John went up the stairs to his room to retrieve his first aid kit. The kit had expanded significantly since he'd moved in with Sherlock as injuries he'd not thought of treating at home had occurred during their investigations and needed more than basic first aid.
Just as he returned to the kitchen, the door opened below and Sherlock began calling up the stairs as he climbed them. "John! John! Mrs. Hudson tells me there was a fight out front and you were involved, what…" Sherlock stopped speaking as he turned the corner and entered the kitchen, catching sight of the young woman at the table.
"You," Sherlock said quietly, his eyes narrowing. "What areyou doing here?"
Rose's eyebrow quirked as she sized him up. "Nice to see you, too, dear. Have you been well? By the way, My will be here shortly. John sent his men packing when they tried to abduct me."
"Wonderful!" Sherlock shouted. "That's just what I needed today, Mycroft." He pointed a finger at Rose and turned to John, "This is my sister."
John, who had just returned with his first aid kid, frowned and felt a bit confused. "I didn't know you had a sister," he pointed out rather needlessly.
"Neither did I, the last eighteen months. Disappeared without a trace," Sherlock retorted angrily. "No texts or emails; no phone calls; no letters; not even a bloody postcard. And Mycroft, even with his vast resources, has been unable to find her. Didn't bother to leave a note when she left either, just disappeared into thin air!"
Rose, at least, had the sense to look ashamed of herself. "My was suffocating me, I couldn't take it any longer Sherlock. I needed to get away and not be found for a while. I wanted to contact you, but there was no way to do that without him tracing it and you know that."
"I do know that," Sherlock admitted. "But that's not an excuse. I. Was. Worried. Rosenwyn."
"You were worried?" John asked. Sherlock rarely worried about anything besides curing his perpetual boredom between cases, let alone people.
"Rose, not Rosenwyn. You know I like it better," Rose countered.
Sherlock nodded. "And I refuse to call you that when I'm angry with you. I could call you by your first and middle name if you'd prefer, Rosenwyn Aramantha." He turned to John after Rose scowled darkly. "Generally calling her that is accompanied by bellowing on my part, and sometimes a chase as well."
John frowned. "A chase as well?"
Rose's face flushed red. "Not in a while. I learned better. Mycroft doesn't pursue, he just waits for me to show up again. Sherlock, however, does pursue and is, unfortunately, quite good at doing so," she grumbled.
"I'm sorry I don't follow," John said, moving to pour the tea. "And angry or not Sherlock, she was a bit roughed up and I want to see to her injuries. Without your angry, glaring presence in the way, preferably. If you want to be angry at someone, first be angry with Mycroft's men, one of which backhanded her." He reached for Rose's chin and tilted her head for Sherlock to see.
Sherlock's eyes narrowed, though whether they did so at Rose or Mycroft's henchmen was unclear, but dutifully he stepped out of John's way.
John opened his first aid kit and took out some gauze and rubbing alcohol to clean the cut on her cheek, tilting her head once more to get a better look at it before doing so. "You know, Rosenwyn is a nice name as well. Just as fitting," he murmured, more to make conversation than anything else. Though John had to admit to himself the odd selection fit right in with the names Sherlock and Mycroft.
"I know, but Rose is special," she replied quietly. "Sherlock called me that, from the day I was born. Mum said he refused to call me Rosenwyn because it was much too big of a name for such a tiny babe as me."
John smiled; imagining Sherlock as a youngster always gave him a bit of a chuckle. He must have been a terror to raise! Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sherlock's lips curl at the corners. "Alright, cheek is taken care of then," he announced, setting aside the alcohol and gauze. "Anything else hurt?"
She nodded. "My ribs are sore, but I don't think they're broken."
"Let me press on them a bit, tell me if it hurts," John instructed. He pressed gently against her right ribs, moving slowly downward and did the same on the left side. Though Rose winced a bit here and there, he detected no breaks. "Just bruised I think. They'll hurt for a bit, so be careful, but you'll be right as rain. Take aspirin for the pain. In fact, I'll get you some now." He gave Rose a smile before leaving the kitchen to retrieve the pills.
"So she's fine?" Sherlock asked when John returned. "No broken bones, no serious injuries?"
John shook his head. "She'll be just fine. Maybe rest a bit for the next few days, those bruised ribs will hurt, but otherwise she's alright."
"Perfect," Sherlock replied, a grim look coming over his face. "You, with me. Now," he told Rose before addressing John once more. "Might I borrow your room momentarily? We need to have a bit of a discussion, Rose and I, and it could get noisy. More privacy up a floor," he explained.
"Noisy?" John repeated. "Uh, yeah, sure."
"No!" Rose said firmly. "No, no, no. We are not having a discussion Sherlock. I am nearly twenty years old; there will be no discussions today or any other day." She crossed her arms and gave Sherlock a penetrating look, hoping he would acquiesce.
"I do not recall asking your opinion on the matter, miss," Sherlock replied in a very stern tone, adding a glare for effect. "Do I have to count? Don't make me count Rosenwyn, you know I hate that."
"No! No counting, no discussions, nothing Sherlock. I won't allow it!"
As brother and sister argued, John stood off to the side in the kitchen feeling rather confused. He was quite sure something was going on that he wasn't fully aware of and was uncertain what that might be.
"Fine, no counting," Sherlock agreed with a nod. In one swift movement, he closed the space between them, lifted Rose from the chair and put her over his shoulder. "See? I didn't count." His tone was smug and had Rose been able to see his face, she would have found a smug look there as well.
"Put me down Sherlock! Immediately!" Rose ordered, outraged. Her directions were completely ignored as Sherlock easily carried her from the kitchen and up the stairs to John's room, shutting the door firmly behind him.
"You can't spank me, I'm nineteen Sherlock! That's completely unreasonable," she protested when Sherlock finally put her back on her feet.
"I'm unreasonable? You go missing for eighteen months, might have been dead for all I know, and expect me to not be angry when you suddenly show up again?" Sherlock questioned, hands on his hips. "Your choice, Rosenwyn, left much to be desired and you cannot possibly tell me that you didn't expect to get spanked when you came here today!"
Rose began shuffling her feet a bit, clearly uncomfortable under his scrutiny, and decided studying the carpet was much more interesting than looking at her angry brother. She couldn't truthfully say that she hadn't expected this reaction, but Rose had really been hoping to be proven wrong. Someday her brothers were going to need to acknowledge the fact that she was a woman and stop hovering over her protectively- and that included spankings.
The room was silent for a few uncomfortable moments as Sherlock studied his sister. Fidgeting, avoiding eye contact, very much like the last time he'd spanked her. Rose's behavior never really changed over the years, no matter how many times he'd disciplined her. It had been three years since that had last occurred, though Sherlock knew Mycroft had taken her in hand at least a few times since then.
"Tell me, when was the last time you and I were having this type of conversation," Sherlock directed. "Do you recall what you'd done?"
There was a slight pause as Rose tried to think back that far and when she recalled that spanking, she left out a groan.
"Ah, you do remember. Very good," Sherlock murmured, sounding far too pleased. It didn't bode well for Rose and she knew it! "Tell me."
"I was sixteen and I'd stayed out all night, with friends, after promising to be back at home by curfew. I even managed to avoid the police Mycroft sent to find me," Rose recalled in a meek tone. "You found me though. That didn't end well for me."
"Precisely. And I dislike repeat offenses Rose," he warned. "Not only did you repeat the disappearing act, you stretched it out for months and months, leaving no real trace of whether or not you were alive. That, Rosenwyn, is completely unacceptable, and you are going to be soundly spanked for it."
Sherlock turned away from her and entered John's bathroom to retrieve his hairbrush. It was large, oval shaped and made of wood; he was sure it would pack a good sting. Holding it in his hand he returned to the bedroom and took a seat on the bed. "Come here, Rosenwyn, it's time for our discussion."
"You know, I truly hate that phrase, because there's no actual talking that takes place," Rose mumbled, even as she obeyed and went to Sherlock's side. When his eyebrows went up, she sighed and pushed her leggings down to her knees before bending over his lap.
"Torso all the way on the bed," Sherlock instructed. "Try to make it as comfortable as you can for your ribs." Rather than waiting for Rose to adjust herself, he merely moved her to his satisfaction and proceeded to pull her panties down to her knees, baring her bottom for the hairbrush.
"Do you have to do that? Can't I keep those up?" Rose pleaded. She received no response from Sherlock, other than the first smack of the hairbrush. Apparently, he did have to. She yelped in response to the stinging spank and reached for one of John's bed pillows, promptly hugging it tightly as she fought to take her spanking quietly. There was no reason to alert everyone in Baker Street of the fact she was getting smacked!
Her fight to stay quiet quickly proved to be a losing battle and Rose let out a series of "Ouch! Ow! OW!" in response to some particularly sharp swats and began pleading after receiving the first dozen. "Sherlock please! Ow! Please, I'm sorry!"
"Please what? Please spank you properly in proportion to disappearing for over a year? I most certainly can and will do that," Sherlock responded firmly. He wasn't about to let her pleas get to him this early on.
Before long, Rose was in tears, squirming over his lap in an effort to remove her bottom from the line of fire, letting out yelps every few smacks as Sherlock brought the hairbrush down over and over again. He peppered each cheek thoroughly with the brush before moving to the other, and made certain her sit spots, where she would feel it most, were given equal attention. After all, if he was going to give a spanking, he might as well do a proper job of it!
Meanwhile, John couldn't help but wonder what Sherlock and his sister were doing in his room. He could hear a bit of raised voices floating down the stairs, which wasn't surprising. He and Harry had had some very vocal rows over the years, too.
The sound of raised voices ended as John drank his tea and worked on putting away the groceries he'd purchased. He didn't realize it at first, but as a few moments ticked by, John suddenly stopped and frowned. New noises were coming from his bedroom that sounded like loud whacks followed by a quieter sound that he couldn't identify. A moment later, it finally dawned on him- there was definitely some sort of smacking noise and the sounds of crying out were floating down the stairs. A wail followed shortly thereafter and John felt very uneasy about it.
Determined to make certain everyone was still alright, John hurried up the stairs, and the noises grew louder the closer he came to the door. When he opened it, John stopped in his tracks, jaw dropping. There was Sherlock, sitting on his bed, with Rose over his lap, thorough paddling her bottom with John's own hairbrush. "Oh, my god," he murmured.
"Problem?" Sherlock asked, pausing to address his flatmate. "We'll be done shortly."
Had Rose's bottom not been on fire, she would have been completely mortified by the fact that John had opened the door and seen her bare bottom being spanked. As it was, she had more important things to worry about, like squirming and crying, and paid no attention to John whatsoever.
"Sherlock!" John shouted. "What… What are you doing? You're going to hurt her, especially with those bruised ribs. And she's not a child," he felt compelled to point out.
"I'm well aware of her age, John," Sherlock replied in a bored tone. "And I don't care what age she is. Putting her life in danger is not something I'm willing to tolerate and she knows that. Rose knew exactly what was going to happen when she showed up here today."
"Putting her life in danger? You're hardly one to talk," John pointed out, with a shake of his head. He very clearly remembered all the times Sherlock had behaved recklessly in pursuit of a case or during an experiment, in the short time they'd lived together. He could only begin to imagine the dangerous scenarios he wasn't aware of!
"Well, we aren't talking about me, are we John? We're talking about Rose, who I am sure would wish you anywhere but here if she weren't so concerned about how much her bum hurt. If you please," Sherlock waved in the direction of the door. "Despite her caterwauling, I'm not actually injuring her."
John stared at Sherlock for a moment longer before throwing his hands in the air and heading back downstairs. Who was he to get involved in a brother and sister issue?
As soon as he left, Sherlock resumed the spanking, lighting up Rose's sit spots to a bright red hue that matched her bottom. With that accomplished, another dozen smacks, harder than the others had been, rained down before Sherlock ended the punishment and tossed the hairbrush in the direction of the bathroom.
With a gentleness that would have surprised anyone who knew him, Sherlock eased Rose's clothing back up over her bottom. Upon restoring her modesty, he helped Rose to her feet before wrapping his arms around her and pulling her onto his lap, adjusting her position to accommodate her sore bottom. "Shhh, all done Rosie," Sherlock murmured, holding her tight. "There, there. It's alright now, shhh."
Rose pressed her face against his chest and cried out her tears, one hand clutching his shirt; Sherlock knew that meant she was really hurting and his heart twisted painfully. It had been a very long time since Rose had clung to him that way. He rested his chin on her head, continuing to murmur soothingly to her. At times like this, it was hard to remember that Rose was in fact almost twenty. She had always been rather petite and even now, when it was unlikely she would grow any taller, stood at only 5'2" as compared to his height of 6 feet. She still fit relatively easily in his arms, and unfortunately for her, over his lap.
Though it took several tearful minutes for Rose to be comforted enough to calm down, there was no complaint to be heard from Sherlock, despite the growing wet spot on his shirt from her tears. When it came to her, Sherlock was surprisingly affectionate and more human than many would believe him capable of. Since the day Rose was born, they'd been close and he had always taken his duties as her older brother very seriously. That had not stopped them, however, from being occasional partners in crime, namely crimes against Mycroft, and many of Sherlock's experiments as a teenager had included Rose when he was certain she wouldn't be hurt.
"I'm sorry," Rose whispered after her tears had begun to subside. "I'm not sorry I escaped Mycroft's suffocating attention, but I am sorry I worried you Sherlock. And that I worried him, too." Though she and Mycroft had very different views on what she should do with her life, which had prompted her disappearance, she did in fact love her eldest brother too and knew he'd been concerned.
"I'm not asking you to be sorry that you escaped Mycroft," Sherlock assured her. "I'm asking you to never disappear that way again. I understand Mycroft is very overbearing and how unpleasant that can be, but you cannot just wander off without a word to anyone at all.
"And just so you're aware, I used the hairbrush the entire time because this was the second time you have vanished and caused me to worry," Sherlock told her. "You know I hate repeated offenses; one time should really be sufficient to learn your lesson. If this should happen again, I'll find something else to use and you won't like it a bit. Am I clear?" He glanced down at Rose with an expectant look on his face.
Rose hurriedly nodded. "Yes, quite clear. Should have remembered that," she admitted. "But honestly Sherlock, I am sorry that I worried you so much, and I meant what I said before. I would have reached out, but then Mycroft would have tracked me down. You know there's very little that goes on in Britain that he isn't aware of."
"I do know," Sherlock admitted. "And I accept your apology. Though you should say you're sorry to Mycroft as well." He paused briefly and a smile spread across his face. "Oh, you are clever, my girl. Very, very clever," he praised. "You knew exactly what Mycroft was going to do when he got a hold of you and that's why you came here first." It wasn't a question, but rather a statement of fact. "Very clever indeed, Rose."
She blushed bright red and nodded. "Well, to be honest, I've always preferred you for… this."
"Can't bring yourself to say it, can you? The word is 'spanking,'" Sherlock teased. "The only real question is why. Six of the best would have been over much faster, and with a similar level of pain as the hairbrush. So aside from the obvious, knowing you hate the cane as does any sane person, why me?"
"You can't deduce it all on your own?" She teased before turning serious. "Because of this. You're gentle after. That means a lot to me."
Warmth spread through Sherlock's heart at her words. "That's how it should be done," he said firmly.
"Mycroft doesn't, and hasn't in a long while in fact, since I started getting older. Not that I don't think he cares, mind you, but I need comfort afterwards. A very quick hug and pat on the cheek isn't enough when I'm crying my eyes out," Rose explained. "And I hate the cane and that tends to be Mycroft's go-to when I've been particularly out of line."
"I'll never stop cuddling you after," Sherlock promised very solemnly. The word 'cuddle' sounded strange coming out of his mouth, but that's precisely what he was doing just then: practically cradling her in his arms as she rested against his chest, while he attempted to soothe the tears he'd caused. "And not just after a spanking either."
He pressed a kiss to her forehead, brushing her dark curly hair, so much like his own, away from her face. "You've always craved cuddles, to almost an alarming rate when you were small," he murmured. "There were days when it felt like I was constantly holding you, or you were attached to me, arms around my leg, looking up at me with those wide eyes."
"And to your credit, more often than not, you scooped me up for one, even while letting out those long-suffering sighs you're so fond of," Rose said, giving him a smile. "I remember all those times; they're locked away in my mind palace." She loved teasing Sherlock and he made it all too easy for her sometimes.
"As fun as this reminiscing is, I'm quite sure Mycroft has arrived by now and is waiting for you. I think John is as well, he seemed quite concerned when he came up here mid-spanking," Sherlock told her.
"Oh, my god, I was hoping that wasn't real," Rose moaned as she stood up from his lap. "How utterly humiliating."
"How very like the good doctor," Sherlock countered. "Always concerned about his patients. I think the noise alarmed him, to be honest. You were quite loud; caterwauling in fact."
Rolling her eyes, the best response Rose cared to put together at that moment was to stick her tongue out at him before exiting John's room. "Time to face the music," she said aloud and started down the stairs.
Rose descended the stairs with Sherlock right behind her and let out a sigh of relief when Mycroft was nowhere in sight. John, however, was sitting in his chair and her face went bright red when they made eye contact.
"Uh, I'm sorry Rose. For… interrupting," John said quietly. "It wasn't my intention to embarrass you, I was just slightly alarmed by all the noise. It didn't occur to me that the noises corresponded to…"
"John, are you shy about that word as well?" Sherlock teased. "Spanking. The noise corresponded to a spanking."
John coughed a bit and nodded. "Yes, that. Right," he muttered. "But your ribs aren't hurting any worse are they?" This was directed at Rose, who was trying desperately to avoid looking at him.
"No, Sherlock was careful, he always is," she hurried to assure him. "I'd like some tea, may I make some?"
"I'll start the kettle," Sherlock offered, heading into the kitchen. "Make yourself comfortable somewhere. I'm more than a little surprised that Mycroft isn't already…" The sound of the main door opening downstairs ended that train of thought. "Spoke too soon. Hello Mycroft."
The eldest Holmes ignored his brother entirely and went straight to where Rose stood near the island in the kitchen. Putting his hands on her shoulders, he gave Rose a good shake and bellowed, "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! I have been worried sick about you!" Mycroft added another shake before pulling her into a tight hug. It was an uncharacteristic show of affection that took even Sherlock by surprise.
"Hello," Rose replied in a soft, anxious tone. She was uncertain what to make of the spontaneous hug, but she didn't have to wonder for long. Mycroft ended the hug, used one hand to pull her to the side and the other landed several hearty smacks to her bottom, making Rose yelp and begin to cry once more.
"You are so absolutely outrageous, I can hardly fathom it!" he thundered, paying no attention to her tears. "Gallivanting around who knows where doing God only knows what! Between you and Sherlock I am going to die an early death, I swear it! And you are going to tell me about all your fake passports or whatever it is you used to get around without being found!"
As Mycroft raised his hand to continue spanking her, Sherlock's voice rang out like a firecracker. "MYCROFT!" In the few seconds that it took for Mycroft to pause and look over at Sherlock, the younger Holmes brother had closed the distance between them and stood between Rose and Mycroft.
"It has been taken care of," he said in a firm tone. "That is enough. I have handled it sufficiently, your input is unnecessary."
An eyebrow rose as Mycroft turned to look at Rose, who was crying quite hard, harder than she should have been had she not already been spanked. He immediately released her and watched as Rose brushed the tears from her face, finally pulling out a handkerchief for her. "We are going to have a long talk, you and I. This will not happen again, ever, young lady."
"I'm not talking to you about a thing if you send anyone else to abduct me off the street," Rose shot back. "That was uncalled for, I would have come to find you soon enough!"
"She's right, no more of your men and mysterious black vehicles," Sherlock said firmly. "They hurt her, Mycroft." He cupped Rose's chin and tipped her head, showing Mycroft the cut on her cheek.
"And her ribs, don't forget they bruised her ribs," John added, reminding them all he was there watching this family spectacle. "She could have seriously been hurt Mycroft. Though I'm quite sure I made the unacceptability of their actions clear earlier. You don't man-handle ladies, not even when the lady is your sister."
Rose attempted to stifle a laugh and failed miserably. "Not even when the lady is your sister, John? Really?" She gave in to the laughter, the melodic sound of it breaking the tension that had been rising in the kitchen, and turned her attention to the now-boiling kettle.
"I apologize that you were injured, Rose. That certainly wasn't my intent, but I didn't exactly have good reason to trust you, given the fact that you've been gone for eighteen months," Mycroft stated firmly. "We do need to talk and reestablish some rules and parameters and I do mean it Rose, this will not happen ever again. You are not allowed to go off whenever you please. Now, my car is waiting outside and I will take you home before returning to the office."
"No, I don't think so," she decided, blowing on her tea before sipping at it. "I don't want to go home Mycroft. I'm not a little girl and I don't want to live at home anymore, nor do I want you to make decisions about my future without even discussing them with me. You know that is precisely what will happen if I go home today and I don't want to be suffocated again."
Mycroft's eyebrows rose. "So, you won't come home then, young lady? Where exactly do you believe you'll be staying then, Rose?"
"She can stay here, for a few days. We have a couch," Sherlock interjected. He took considerable pleasure from the look of annoyance that crossed his brother's face at his offer.
"Sherlock, really!" John scolded. "She's your sister."
Sherlock looked over at Rose, amusement twinkling in his eyes. "Not good?"
"A bit not good," Rose replied, chuckling.
"Alright, alright, you insufferable brat. I'll give you my bed, in exchange for a hot breakfast. This isn't a boarding house after all," Sherlock teased.
"I want to talk to you Rose. If not today, then tomorrow. We have a lot to talk about," Mycroft said.
"I'll send her 'round tomorrow. No cars," Sherlock stated firmly. "In fact, she'll be escorted. I'm busy, but John should be available." He looked out of the kitchen towards his flatmate. "Care to escort my sister to Mycroft's office tomorrow for a chat?"
John nodded his agreement. "If that's what it takes to keep her from being abducted, I'd be happy to."
Sherlock smiled. "Then it's settled! Goodbye Mycroft."
With a sigh, Mycroft decided to take his leave, having been summarily dismissed by Sherlock. "Rosenwyn, look at me," he ordered. When he had her attention, he continued. "Please behave, alright? And Sherlock, make sure she does!"
Rose nodded her agreement then watched him go back down the stairs to exit the building. "Thank you for letting me stay, Sherlock. You too, John." She flashed the ex-soldier a smile, receiving one in return.
"I was serious when I said for a few days. I am not extending an invitation for you to become a permanent fixture of our flat," Sherlock warned her. "However, until suitable arrangements can be made with Mycroft, you're welcome to stay. Even though John is forcing me to surrender my bed to you."
She laughed once more, shaking her head. "Don't worry, I've already got a plan in mind. Wouldn't have come back without one."