John turned his body slightly away from me, then leaned back, the angle giving my hand more freedom as I stroked the tips of my fingers over his... no, my tattoo. I knew it was unlikely to feel raised for much longer – I would have to make myself fully aware of its exact location from every angle of approach before it became unidentifiable by touch alone.

I was still processing all the things he had said earlier and felt distinctly shocked by some of it, especially the phrase 'No' means 'No', which was echoing in my head in a way that suggested it would be with me for a long time.

However, nothing compared to the fear which had struck me when he said 'we need to talk', losing John is probably the only thing of which I am really afraid. I knew I couldn't be an easy person to be involved with, but I would do my best to respect what John had told me - and also to make sure that he didn't let things go this far again if he were unhappy. I didn't agree with everything he'd said, but the fact that he believed it was enough. I lowered my head to rest against his. I could not risk John.

Our kisses in my room had been a great relief, setting the worst of my worries to rest, but now the last two weeks were catching up and I wanted more... much, much more. It was strange to think that I had lived for so many years without feeling any sexual interest at all, yet now, with John, two weeks seemed like an outrageous length of time. A corner of my mind was replaying the last time that John had topped and I wondered if I should suggest that again; if he might prefer it, after what he had said.

I hoped not, because I knew full well that as soon as I got him stripped and saw that tattoo again, I was going to want to take him - and not in a quiet way. I shifted a little in my seat, attempting to redirect my thoughts, but with John's skin under my hand, the heat of his body against my side, his smell, the movements of his breathing, the way his pulse sped up when I spoke in his ear, it was impossible.

The opportunity available via the new access point in his jeans was tempting and I cautiously slid my fingers a little further, knowing that his jumper would cover my movements.

"Stop," he whispered, and I did. I moved my hand back to its original location and he turned his head again, looking up at me. 'I love you,' was written all over his face. 'I want you' was in the grip of his hand upon my leg and the racing of the pulse I could see beating in his throat. 'I'm yours' was etched upon his hip. I pressed my lips against his temple and checked my watch again... how much longer could this journey possibly take?

Ten minutes later, I was mentally running through the sixteenth version of what I might do to John as soon as we got home, when Mycroft tapped on the driver's partition until it rolled down slightly.

"Code seven," he said. "Straight to Baker Street." The car accelerated smoothly as he turned back around, muttering under his breath. "The Ministry can wait a little longer. 'Queen and Country' is one thing, but no-one can be expected to put up with this." For once, we seemed to have wiped the smugness right off his face... Christmas was looking up.

We stared at each other as the car drove away, Mycroft having virtually thrown our bag out after us.

"Inside," John said, which certainly seemed the best plan. He moved to unlock the door, while I picked up the bag and followed, unable to resist pressing in behind him and kissing the side of his neck. It took him three attempts to get the key in the lock... there was no way he was going on top tonight.

I desperately wanted to grab him as soon as we got through the door, but I didn't want to have to stop once we'd started - there had been quite enough of that for one day. He seemed to be of the same mind and quickly led the way up the stairs, bypassing the lounge and going straight to the bedroom – we had used my room at first, but John was more inhibited when he was worried that Mrs Hudson might hear us. The relocation had proved an excellent move.

He held the door open for me, then closed and leaned back against it, watching me as I dumped the bag on the floor, switched on the lamp, and turned to face him.

We stared at each other, then I took off my jacket and started unbuttoning my shirt, his eyes following the progress of my fingers, staring avidly at every inch of skin as it was revealed. I pulled the shirt out of my trousers but didn't remove it, just waiting.

After a moment, he caught on, and stood up straight, grabbing the hem of his jumper and pulling it over his head. Normally he wore a shirt underneath in the winter, I had packed one for him, but he had forgotten to put it on. I felt a pang when I remembered why, but I couldn't regret the result as my eyes ran over his upper body now.

Everything about him was appealing to me, from his shorter height, even though I guarded my expression most carefully when thinking that, to the light dusting of hair across his chest, his strength, the solidness of him, like a rock; he grounded me. Even the scar on his shoulder, without which I might never have met him. I slipped off my shirt to match him and let it fall.

Shoes next, me first, then him, followed by socks, each of us watching the play of muscles across the other's back and arms as we bent and balanced. I reached for my belt and unbuckled it, then pulled it completely free of my trousers and immediately dropped it… he had let me restrain him a few times, which I had quite enjoyed, but I didn't think that now would be a good time to remind him. Anyway, I hadn't liked his not being able to touch me; I wanted to feel his hands on me tonight.

I waited for him, but he shook his head.

"Go on," he said, his voice low and a little unsteady; he was leaning back against the door again. I quirked a brow, but obeyed him, unfastening my trousers then pushing them down and kicking them off, before straightening slowly to stand before him in only my underwear.

His gaze was running up and down my legs and over my body. I closed my eyes and could feel his desire as if it were brushing against my skin. When I opened them, he was unclasping his belt.

He pushed his jeans down and off and I took a step towards him without even thinking about it. He tipped his head to the side in query and I stopped. "Together?" he suggested. I nodded. Moments later we were both naked.

I stepped forward again and this time he did the same, raising an arm as he reached me to wrap his hand around the back of my neck. He stretched up as I leaned down and then we were kissing, devouring each other, all of the emotion and upheaval of the day working its way out of our bodies as I silently promised to treat him with more respect in the future and he made it clear that he would never leave me, that I could believe the tattoo.

He pressed closer and we were together, fully in contact from our mouths down to our knees. I wrapped my arm around his waist and held him against me, feeling him hard, so very hard, against the top of my thigh. My hand skimmed down his hip automatically, my thumb grazing my initials… I knew what I wanted to do.

"John, will you sit on the bed?"

He turned us both and started backing towards it, his grip keeping me with him each step of the way. When he reached the foot of the bed he sat down, his hands skimming up the backs of my thighs as he reached for me, clearly anticipating what I wanted.

I put my hands on his shoulders and he glanced up, surprised. "Lie back?" I asked him. I was almost sure that he wouldn't have minded if I'd pushed him, but felt it was best to be cautious for a while, until I had worked out exactly what he wanted and what he was happy with. It was unacceptable for John to feel in any way lesser because of me, he was the best person that I had ever known.

He did as I asked and I dropped to my knees, moving between his legs as he lay there. I could feel trembles running through his abdomen as I leaned forward, and briefly pressed my lips against the tattoo before taking a more familiar route and sucking him into my mouth, swallowing around him. John still couldn't do this, although he had tried, but his gag reflex was too strong. Not that I cared, I loved everything he did and it made me proud, in a way, that I could do it despite my previous inexperience. The websites he so mocked had actually provided some useful tips.

I moved my hand to the tattoo as I worked on him, watching as I traced my finger over the letters repeatedly. This was the most incredible thing that he could have given me and I would always regret that the revelation of it had been overshadowed by other events of the day, although the upset had probably been for the best in the end, since it had spurred him into speaking up and I felt more in tune with him and confident of our future than perhaps I ever had. I recalled the occasional silences and shadows to which John had been driven by my behaviour – never again would I let them pass uninvestigated. I knew that I was not good at relationships, that I didn't understand most of the unwritten rules which everyone else seemed to take for granted, but I would make him explain them to me if they mattered to him.

For now, I concentrated on giving him some good associations to go with his gift. It certainly seemed to be working; he was moaning and rocking his hips on the bed as I alternated my technique, swirling my tongue around him in the way I knew he loved, then humming in pleasure as I sank back down along his full length.

"Sherlock!" He was clearly getting close to the edge, his hand grabbing at my hair as he tried to dislodge me. Before today, I might have made him come anyway, confident that he would be back in action before too long. His stamina was actually very impressive in relation to the statistics for men of his age. However, that clearly wasn't what he wanted, so I pulled off and used my left hand to grip and hold him back, moving my mouth to kiss the tattoo again, just to reinforce the good feelings connected with it. If things went according to plan, he'd be turned on just by my looking at it before the month was out.

He was panting, gasping for breath as I slid up the bed until I was level with him, propped up on my elbow as I looked down at his face. I lowered my head to kiss him and he brought up his hand to the back of my head and gripped my hair, returning the kiss passionately before grabbing my left wrist and pulling it off him, raising it above my head as he brought one knee up for leverage and rolled us over.

I was now positioned as he had been earlier, lying back on the bed with my knees bent and my feet on the floor, but he was sitting astride me. He released my wrist and stroked his hand down the full length of my arm as he leaned forward and kissed me, then moved his attention down over my chest until he could dip his head to lick and suck at my nipples, gradually allowing more of his weight to settle as he leaned forward and rocked against me.

The combination of sensations was threatening my concentration. My nipples had never really got any less sensitive, and John's actions still felt as if they might short-circuit my brain, just like the very first time he had done it all those months ago. I had got a little better at coping with the feeling, however, and didn't let it distract me from my ultimate goal.

"Will you let me inside you, John?"

He gave me a brilliant smile. "Lube!" he exclaimed, sitting up before lurching his upper body off the bed, holding out a hand for me to counterbalance him while he rooted through the bag which I had dumped on the floor.

I was going to take that as a 'Yes'.

"Got it," he said, and I pulled him up, sitting up myself at the same time. He already had the bottle open and was soon slicking his hand over me. I leaned back on my hands and tipped my head to the ceiling, closing my eyes to relish the feeling and knowing that even this could not compare with what was about to happen. When I looked again, John was preparing himself, then he simply rose up onto his knees and sank down onto me, one hand holding on to my shoulder, and the other helping to guide me inside him.

He took it slowly, it having been a couple of weeks, and probably also to torture me a little bit, which was fair. I looked down. The sight of part of me being taken into John's body was in my top five list of visual experiences, all of which actually involved him. He seemed to be fascinated by it also, although it was obviously more difficult for him to observe. The vague idea I had entertained of purchasing a large mirror suddenly coalesced into a definite plan. That would make an excellent Christmas present for John, even if it was a few days late.

My thoughts stuttered and failed as he impaled himself on me fully and I fell back onto my elbows, watching his face as he adjusted to the sensation of having me inside him. He was biting his lip, his eyes closed in concentration. He looked absolutely gorgeous.

After a moment, he raised himself slightly, then dropped back down, then he did it again, and again, varying his angle until he found the one which made his head tip back and a loud moan escape his lips.

The sound resonated through me. The louder and more vocal he was, the more my brain seemed to shut down, allowing instincts long buried and unsuspected to the fore. I wanted to roll us, I wanted to be driving into him instead of lying on my back, but I forced myself to stay still. My gaze dropped to the tattoo and I gripped his hips, not trying to control his actions, just following them, my thumb stroking over the letters as he shifted, my initials rising and falling with his movements.

I looked up and he was watching me. "Go on then," he invited.

My hands flexed before I could stop them. "Are you sure? Don't say that just for me, I want you to be happy."

He smiled, but then shivered as he sank down onto me again, his eyes falling closed for a moment. "Do it. I want you to." He looked at me. "Fuck me, Sherlock. Do it now."

I growled and sat up, wrapping my arms around his back to support him and focusing power in my legs, using my leverage from the floor to shift us further up the bed as I twisted, until John was lying with his head on a pillow and me looming over him, still buried deeply inside his body.

I lifted his right leg over my shoulder and pushed another pillow under his hips, leaving his left leg down so that I could see my mark as I rocked into him, rubbing my thumb over it before sliding my hand across to stroke John in time with my movements.

He arched his back when I gripped him and I could see the tendons in his neck straining, his hands grabbing fistfuls of the quilt as he tried to deal with all the sensations... this wasn't going to take long.

My brain was shutting down, the constant swirling vortex of facts, theories and connections getting further away and quieter, so blessedly quiet as my head filled instead with John's face, his voice, the heat of his body surrounding me so tightly, so very, very tightly, until he was everywhere and there was nothing else, just John wrapped around me, body and mind, bringing me the peace only he could ever provide.

I dropped my left hand from where it had been holding his leg and reached down, prising the quilt out of his grasp and linking our fingers together. His grip was desperate and he looked at me, panting, his body shaking and echoing the trembles I could feel running through my own.

"Sherlock, I..." He gasped for breath, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment before focusing again, although it was clearly an effort. I could feel the tightening in my body and tried to hold on, to wait for him.

"Together?" he said.

I nodded and thrust into him fiercely, my pace speeding up, watching his face, listening to his sounds, until he squeezed my fingers and we both let go.

He was loud; shouting that he loved me, that he was mine. I focused on my name on his skin just before my eyes forced themselves closed and I could hear my voice answering him, but I couldn't even tell what I was saying. It was glorious.

It was some time before we recovered enough to clean up and then we just got into bed, even though it was still quite early. We were both still behind on our sleep, and this had been a very busy day.

"What did I say this time?" I wasn't actually sure I wanted to know, as I was confident that it would have been something shockingly possessive, but John loved that he could do this to me, he seemed to view the ability to switch off my brain as one of the crowning achievements of his life.

"You said I belonged to you," he told me, and I groaned, dropping my head to his shoulder.

"Bloody hell." It was an expression I had rarely used before meeting him. "I'm sorry, John."

He laughed. "So I take it you like your present?"

I smiled at him, thankful that he wasn't angry. "Maybe Christmas isn't so bad. Perhaps next year you could go for somewhere I won't mind other people seeing?" It was worth a try.

"Forget it." He was yawning. "This was strictly a one-time thing, for your eyes only."

Too right, I thought smugly and he chuckled.

"You might as well have said that out loud," he pointed out. "But you're right." He stroked his fingers through my hair one last time, before settling his hand on my neck. "I am yours, Sherlock," he said. "Yours, and no-one else's. Always." He shrugged. "It's fair to say that I belong to you."

I shook my head. "We belong to each other," I corrected. He smiled, but was already fading into sleep. I looked at his beloved face. One day, I'm going to have those words engraved and put them around your finger, I thought. I kissed his head, and pulled him towards me, allowing myself to join him in slumber.

Everything was right.

Author's Note

I realise that there are questions which I have not resolved in this story, such as Sherlock's father etc, but I felt there had really been enough talking (to say the least, you may be thinking) and it was time to move on.

I have hugely enjoyed revisiting this world, so who knows - I've left myself a little temptation to return one day... Thanks for reading!