A/N: I don't own any of the Elementary characters and I am not making any money from writing this.

Please forgive any minor spelling or grammar mistakes, English is not my native language.

She choked back the bitter tears, feeling an excruciating pain rip through her muscles, her body writhing at the sensation while her head had been coated with drops of cold sweat. She desperately wanted it to stop, but knew that wasn't an option. She clenched her fists and bit at her lower lip, withholding a scream.

Sherlock held at her hand gently, looking at her with concern and worry obvious on his face, his lower lip quivering. "You are strong", he assured her, trying to hide tremors in his voice. "You are going to make it", he said, his voice almost cracking. Joan had no strength to keep her eyes opened, she just nodded her head without even giving the statements enough time to sink in for her to believe in them. The room smelled of antiseptic, and the air was heavy. The sharp piece of metal kept piercing through her delicate skin, and knowing that it had to be done was making it hurt even more. She shivered as Sherlock stroked her hair: she managed to open her eyes for a moment, something in her chest aching once she had seen how pale her partner looked.

"It's OK", he was whispering, trying more to convince himself than her. "It's OK."

Seeing him so worried hurt her almost more than the proceeding. She was there because of her decision. Inspired by him, but due to her decision. But she was too weak to say anything.

She finally let out a scream, albeit a silent one, after the instrument had gone in deeper than usual, nibbling at her flesh. Chills went through her body, her limbs almost feeling frozen, the smell of blood burning up her nostrils...

And then suddenly there was none of that.

Nothing.

Gone.

Sherlock gasped, his eyes widening. He felt his heartbeats up in his throat.

"It's over.".

Joan groaned, tears running down her face, as she sat straight up on the table, her arm still hurting due to a pressure. Strangely, Sherlock's embrace that had followed turned out to be in no way, physically or psychologically, painful to her. "I'm so proud of you!", he cried joyfully. "It looks great."

She couldn't help but let out a chuckle, due to a relief if nothing else. It was finally over.

But damn. Who would have thought that getting your first tattoo would end up being so painful?