This was written for a prompt by ficwriterjet for the Holiday Bingo:
Elementary Season 3 Episode 1 – Joan/Sherlock
Sherlock realizes how much he hurt Joan by taking off the way he did, and offers to submit to a punishment of her choosing because he wants her to forgive him. She refuses, saying he can’t take the easy way out. She says it’s going to take time and effort on his part for her to trust him again. He tries to cajole her into it, and suggests a slap to the face, because in his experience that seems to appease most women. That irritates her, and she brings up the fact that he ran away like a child instead of talking things out like an adult. She says if she were to hit him, it would be a spanking, not a slap to the face. He immediately agrees.
Some lines are taking directly from the show. I used ficwriterjet’s Elementary story “The Sub Who Knows How to Fake It” as a prelude to this one.
Summary: Joan is still disappointed that Sherlock left without a word at the end of Season 2. Sherlock desperately wants her to forgive him and for everything to go back to the way it was.
Disclaimer : I don’t own any of these characters, and I’m not making any money from this story.
Warnings : consensual spanking of an adult.
“Can I come in?” He stepped aside, letting her pass, and closed the door to keep out the cold. “Place looks good.” He didn’t, though. She had noticed his haggard and gaunt complexion the moment she had set eyes upon him at the Brownstone. It hadn't improved over the last few days and Joan assumed that he must have deprived himself off proper sleep and rest again.
“I wanted to let you know that-”
“Elana March has been brought to justice. Again. Yeah. I saw it on the news. You are to be commended, Watson. If not for your doggedness –”
“I told Captain Gregson I was okay with you coming back to the precinct,” she interrupted him before she lost her nerve and left again without actually getting it off her chest. “I’m even okay with Kitty.” Her words surprised him, she could see.
“Well, I’m very glad to hear that,” he said with a relieved smile on his lips.
“We’re still not partners,” she quickly ploughed on, immediately chasing the relief from his face. “We’ll work on our own cases, of course. But if you ever need a consultation or fresh eyes on something, whatever, I’m available.”
“As I am to you.”
“I wanted to ask you one thing. – Why are you here?”
“I live here.”
“No, not the Brownstone. New York. London didn’t work out, but I know you. You could have gone anywhere. So why here?”
“Isn't it obvious? – I belong here. – As do you.” She nodded, a bit miffed at herself that she had expected a proper answer (and that he was right) and stepped around him towards the door. He let her pass, and she thought that was it, but before she could open the door, he spoke again, “What can I do to earn your forgiveness?”
She stopped in her tracks, hand hovering above the lock, and breathed heavily.
“It’s not that easy, Sherlock.” She didn’t turn around. She didn’t want to see his sad face, although he deserved to feel unhappiness at her continued detachment. “I need time.”
“But we don’t have time,” he replied with that note of petulance in his voice that she detested so. “Murder investigations await.”
“That’s why we won’t be working directly together,” she repeated, still facing the door. “We’ll both have our own cases.”
“You can’t deny that we worked well together. – We were good.”
“You left, Sherlock!” she snapped, whirling around. “You left and all I got was a note! – I didn’t hear from you for eight months!”
“But I apologised,” he whined, then cleared his throat and repeated himself without the whine.
“Sometimes an apology isn’t enough.” She couldn’t stop her finger from pointing accusingly at his face. “Did you even think about the fact that I worried about you? Is that thought so foreign to you?” He opened his mouth, probably to whine again. “You could have at least called,” she said softly before he could speak and shame flashed across his face at her candid words. He glanced at the floor and shifted his weight from foot to foot. The silence was heavy between them. Joan wanted to forgive him, she liked him. Liked working with him. But the pain was still too fresh. Seeing him again had ripped open a wound she thought had healed some time ago.
“Is there anything I can do to fix this?” he asked, with a quick glance at her face. “Repercussions of some sort perhaps?”
“This is not fixed by some humiliating act on your part. I’m not Everyone,” she spat, anger and disappointment making for a toxic mixture that shoved the hurt away temporarily but very abruptly. The mere suggestion was an affront to their partnership and it angered her that he even had the nerve to say it. “No, you will just have to work to earn my trust back.”
“Then punishment. – That ought to make you feel better,” he suggested. “I offer my cheek.” He tilted his head slightly, gesturing towards it. “In my experience a slap across the face appeases most women.”
“Don’t you dare ridicule this!” she warned, tone dire. The shame and apprehension that washed across his face brought about a brief feeling of satisfaction and he flicked his eyes down again, opting to stare at her feet as he swayed in place. She let him stew for a few moments, noticing the way his eyes kept darting guiltily to her face before quickly dropping to stare at the floor again. In moments like these she couldn’t help but think that he looked like a child about to be scolded by his parents.
“You can’t expect me to forgive and forget just because it is now convenient for our work. – You ran away because you didn’t get your way, like a child throwing a tantrum. A habit you’re awfully consistent in, by the way.” His ears and face flushed red and he winced at her candid words. “Instead of talking about it like an adult. – If anything you deserve a spanking, not a slap across the face.” She didn’t let the surprise about her own angry words show on her face, as Sherlock’s head snapped up in astonishment.
“All right,” he said almost immediately. “I agree.”
“What?” she replied, taken aback by his immediate acceptance. It wasn’t a completely foreign thought and she most certainly did not mean to jest when she had said it, but it certainly was unusual. There had been that one instance very early in their partnership, when she had still been his sober companion employed by his father, where she had slippered him for wrecking her car and putting his life in jeopardy with one of his tantrums, but that had happened almost three years ago. She had been tempted to – more than once – throughout the years, but had always refrained.
“I’ll submit to whatever you deem I deserve,” he explained with a nod. She studied his face carefully, judging if it was just another ploy to get back in her good graces, but there was nothing but genuineness. “I have just one small request.” She nodded slowly, prompting him to continue. “I ask that Kitty not be in the Brownstone. I shall ask her to leave for the duration of the proceedings. – Then I shall submit to your ministrations.”
She nodded and said, “I’ll wait in the kitchen.”
A few short minutes later, Sherlock ushered a suspicious Kitty out the front door while Joan busied herself preparing tea. Her mind churning with doubts and second-guessing as she waited for the water to boil. How was she even going to do this? Could she do it? It was a crazy idea. Positively lunatic. But then again, she had done this once before. There was his penchant for tantrums and her exasperation whenever he hurled various objects across the room or yelled at a victim or suspect that he still hadn't got a complete handle of. And running away when faced with new developments or difficulties that he didn’t like was a very childish thing to do.
Would it help to curve his impulsiveness though? She didn’t doubt that Sherlock could handle a certain amount of pain – he had told her as much three years ago and she had lived with him for quite some time. The Mistress from their case a year ago had made a few appearances and she had been quick to leave the Brownstone on those occasions. But he also seemed to be more stable emotionally after she left. Not so prone to lash out in anger or destroy furniture with one of his fits. So maybe it wasn’t such a terrible idea. But the question remained, could she do it again?
She was pulled out of her musings as Sherlock joined her in the kitchen, looking expectant and nervous at the same time. He clutched a well-worn slipper in his hand that had once been white but now looked greyish with use. He fiddled with it for a moment before thrusting it towards her.
“I- I thought you might need this,” he mumbled, still holding it. “It’s not the same one, of course. That was yours. – This is mine. – I haven’t worn it in quite some time now, but it should do.” He paused, clearly uncomfortable, before rambling on. “You may, of course, use any implement of your choosing. I-I just … it’s …”
“It’s fine,” she said, taking pity on him and grabbing the slipper from his still outstretched hand. She hefted it carefully, slapping it against her palm. It would produce quite an unpleasant sting. She took a moment to really study him. He looked pristine in his suit, as always, a far cry from the ratty look he had preferred after getting out of rehab. He seemed alert, but Joan knew better. She knew him. The dark circles under his eyes and the sunken cheeks painted a very troubling picture for someone making the effort to pay attention. Her brows furrowed in concern.
“When’s the last time you slept?” As hard as she tried, she could not stop worrying about him. In some aspects he was like a child, unable to take care of himself and listen to his body’s needs.
“I sleep,” he hedged. “You of all people should know I do.”
“Not enough, you don’t,” she replied, but immediately sensed that she wouldn’t get a proper answer out of him. “After we’re done here, you’re going to bed.”
“I know my body. I don’t need sleep.” His hands clenched at his sides, and he stared at her petulantly.
“Would you rather write a few lines about the necessity of sleep first? Because that can be arranged.”
“No.” He blushed, glaring at a chair as if it had personally affronted him, before exhaling sharply and turning his head back to face her. “How do you wish to proceed?” Sherlock asked, arms rigid at his sides, as he eyed her warily.
“You have got to stop throwing a tantrum whenever things don’t go as you wish or you do not get your way,” she lectured calmly, deciding that getting him to bed was a battle best fought after tanning his hide.
“I wouldn’t call them tantrums…”
“Well, I do,” she interrupted him sharply. “You’re not a child, Sherlock. You need to talk to me if something is bothering you. – You know, with actual words. I know you know a lot of those.” She watched as a blush crept up his neck to stain his cheeks, as he fidgeted in place, unable to look at her. Joan took a moment to look around the room, gathering her stray thoughts, and taking the kettle off the stove. Tea would have to wait; she didn’t really want any anyway, she had only needed something to keep herself busy. Then she faced Sherlock again, who had most likely followed her every move with hawk-eyes.
“Take off your jacket,” she ordered and he complied quickly, draping it over a chair, all the while eyeing the slipper warily. “Drop your slacks and bend over.”
“Watson…” he started with a whine, flushing again.
“You agreed to go along with this,” she reminded him, pointing with the slipper. “We’re doing this on my terms. Not yours. – Pants down.” He sighed, face still flushed bright red, then fumbled with his belt and the fastenings of his trousers before pushing them off his hips. He hesitated, glancing at her face, while one hand crept to the waistband of his boxers.
“You can leave those.” Relief spread across his face and he quickly turned to the table and put his hands on the surface, holding himself up. Joan took one last deep breath, stepped to his side and with gentle pressure on his back pushed him down until he had to rest his weight on his elbows. A soft whine escaped him and his neck and ears turned red again. She flicked the tails of his dress shirt up, before resting her hand on his back to keep him in place, but also to reassure him.
She hefted the slipper in her hand, taking aim by tapping it against his backside and he tensed visibly, then jumped and grunted when she smacked him the first time.
“You do not throw a tantrum when you don’t get your way,” she lectured, bringing the slipper down on the other cheek, while cataloguing his reactions. He didn’t appear to be enjoying this, if the twitching and squirming were any indication. “We’ve had this conversation before. Did we not?”
“Yes, we did!” he agreed, then grunted with the next smack.
“Apparently I did not make a very lasting impression.” Another two smacks followed her statement and he buried his face in his hands.
“Your behaviour was incredibly childish. Especially for someone as intelligent as you are.” He groaned with the next smack, shifting his weight around. She increased the pressure on his back, keeping him still as she peppered his butt with four quick slaps.
“Ow!” he exclaimed, rising up on his toes and hitting the table with one hand. “I’ll do better! I promise!”
“It hurt. When you left without a word.” The slipper descended again, once on each cheek.
“I’m sorry!” he immediately said, his hand twitching to reach back, but he quickly snatched it back and held it under his chest.
“You’re an adult. Use your words when you're unhappy.” Another four smacks followed her lecture and he twitched with each one, rising up on his toes and shifting his hips from left to right.
“Yes!” She didn’t stop, yet, bringing the slipper down several more times to make the message sink in. She hadn't given him a specific number to focus on, because she wanted him to commit every smack to memory. “ Watson,” he implored, as a particularly heavy smack caused him to suck in a surprised breath. “Ow!”
“I hope you remember this the next time you feel like letting your temper dictate your actions,” she lectured, smacking the slipper down lower on his backside, four times in quick succession, and he let a high-pitched whine emerge in reply.
“I will! I will!” he agreed quickly. She slapped him twice more, one for each cheek low on his rear, then stopped. He heaved a stuttering sigh of relief, body slumping heavily. Putting the slipper down on the table, she used the hand already on his back to soothe him with gentle rubbing. He stayed bend over the table for a few moments, his breath hitching every now and then, and she kept up her gentle ministrations, running her hand along the tense line of his spine and over his shoulders.
When his breathing had quieted, he pushed up from the table, almost shrugging out of her touch and backing out of reach. He stood there, awkwardly shuffling his feet, pants still pooled around his ankles and looking at everything but her.
“Fix your pants,” she ordered, turning around to give him some privacy. She kept her ears tuned on him, of course, listening to his awkward sniffling and the belt jingling, then she turned back and patted his shoulder again. He flinched, of course, but she kept her hand on his shoulder anyway.
“I hope, I won’t have to do that again,” she said sincerely.
“As do I. – I’m- I’m truly sorry.”
“It’s okay. You’re forgiven. It will still take some time until I can fully trust you again. But you took that really well.” She squeezed his shoulder one last time before stepping back and taking another close look at him. In contrast to his normally very stoic and rigid stance, he was subtly shifting his weight from foot to foot, in a poor attempt to soothe the sting on his backside. His fingers twitched, obviously itching to rub the unpleasant feeling away, but he didn’t succumb to the urge.
“Okay,” she said. “Go get ready for bed. You need sleep.”
“Watson…” he started.
“I wasn’t kidding about the lines, Sherlock,” she interrupted him quickly, raising one eyebrow questioningly. She clearly remembered his own words as he had told her that the worst kind of punishment for him were repetitive tasks and she planned to take full advantage of that if he didn’t relent. His face flushed again, expression darkening, but he didn’t move to comply with her orders. “Do I need to fetch some paper?”
“No,” he bit out, turning sharply on his heel and exiting the room without another word or glance back. She heard him stomp up two flights of stairs and didn’t even try to bite back the grin at his petulance, shaking her head in fond exasperation.
She stayed until she was certain that he’d retired to bed. It wasn’t very hard to deduct as the stomping of feet and slamming of doors stopped, closely followed by the creek of his bed, as he undoubtedly flung himself on it, all the while cursing her fair assessment of him and her unfair treatment.
As much as he pretended to be an adult, sometimes all he needed was someone who called him on his behaviour and made sure that he didn’t neglect his bodily needs. She hoped Kitty was up to the task.
And with a smile, she switched off the light and quietly left the Brownstone.