Author's Notes: This is the final chapter. Woo hoo! Thanks to all of those that have stuck with me all this time, especially to my lovely reviewers. Reference to Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Adventure of the Norwood Builder', as well as 'Hound of the Baskervilles'. Contains a rather explicit sex scene.

Six Months Later.

"How is he?" Stamford placed his half-full wine glass down on the table.

"Sherlock's a lot better. He started working again, did you know?" John said, twirling his carbonara with his fork.

"Good to hear. Great to hear." He picked up the wine glass again and took a sip, as John brought the fork to his mouth.

His mind was suddenly blighted by a memory of merely two weeks before. Sherlock, kneeling before a body, the other officers cleared from the room.

"Lestrade's the same but the others… they don't know how to act around me, now. I'm no longer just the freak. I'm the freak that was raped by one of their own."

John now knew him well enough to hear the stunned distress buried beneath the cold, detached tone.

"I remember that night." Mike brought him back to the present. "What that bastard did to him…To be honest, John, his injuries were so vicious… made me sick."

John internally winced.

"He specifically asked for you." John said. "Said he trusted you the most."

"We do go back a long time." Stamford looked thoughtful and then smiled. "But then, so do you and I."

This is a good man here.

"We should do this more often." John made an internal vow to mean it, this time.

###

"So?" Mycroft said, stepping into apartment 221b.

"Hmmm?" Sherlock lay on the couch, fingers pointed towards his chin, seemingly deep in meditation.

"Did you get the results?" His brother took off his coat and scarf and hung them on the coat rack by the door.

"Oh… that…' Sherlock jumped up and moved to the kitchen.

"I can presume by your complete calm that you're clear."

Sherlock poked amongst his latest experiment- a dozen human hands- in the fridge, found the orange juice and took it out.

"Cleared of any STDs." He wasn't going to add that the good Doctor Watson was also clear. Sherlock had been insistent that he also be tested.

"Well, I can say that's beyond a relief." Mycroft said, as Sherlock poured the juice into a glass. "How's the therapy going?"

"How's the diet?" Sherlock countered.

"Fine."

"Fine too."

Both brothers stared at each other a long moment.

Mycroft broke the standoff by smiling. "Delighted to hear."

In that instant, the key turned into the slot. Sherlock felt the usual warmth spread through him as John walked through the door.

"Hi Mycroft."

"How's Stamford's wife?" Sherlock asked.

"Well… yes, she is pregnant. That's what I was about to-" John looked, as ever, baffled by his deductions.

"Ok, how did you know, this time?"

John you are far too easily read.

"How is the consulting business going?" Mycroft turned to Sherlock.

"No." Sherlock said.

"Whatever are you talking about?"

Sherlock saw straight through Mycroft's feigned perplexion.

"I already have a case. John and I will be leaving tonight."

"This one is very important, Sherlock. It involves national security."

"Then solve it yourself."

"Sherlock…" Mycroft laughed a little. "I can reward you handsomely."

"It's not a question of reward. It's simply a question of me saying no."

Mycroft looked to John, as though for leniency. The doctor leant against the lounge chair with his arms folded.

"You know I haven't been to a wedding in a while. Will I be made best man?" Mycroft joked.

"Oh do shut up, Mycroft." Sherlock said, not harshly.

"So I can't make you reconsider?"

"No."

Mycroft looked to John, seeming to finally realize that he was beaten.

"Remember, you're making the turkey this year for Christmas. And please don't overcook it, like last time."

'See you in two weeks." Sherlock smiled, almost a little too cheerily.

Mycroft walked with his usual grace over to the coat stand, put on his coat, wrapped his scarf around and stepped out of the door.

John stepped up to Sherlock and lazily kissed him.

"You know it's not such a bad idea." He said, after they released.

"Forget about Mycroft's case, it will be the usual-"

"I meant getting married."

Sherlock scowled. "I'm not going to justify an outdated concept that has been traditionally used to subjugate women and prejudice against gay and bisexual people. I love you, John and I don't need a piece of paper and a ring of gold to prove it."

"That's quite interesting, because…" John took his wallet out of his pocket and located a gold coin, as well as a pen and paper. "I do have a piece of paper and gold to prove I love you." He scribbled on the paper, and then handed it, as well as the gold coin to Sherlock. Written on the paper was.

John Watson Loves Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock laughed. "Definitive proof, Watson. Definitive proof."

###

Mycroft climbed back into his backseat, suddenly aware that he wasn't alone.

"Have I been forgiven my little bit of naughtiness?" The man opposite him mock pouted.

"I really need to better screen my drivers." Mycroft sighed. "What did you do? Threaten or bribe them to get into the car?"

"Both." Moriarty smiled.

"I'm surprised you've taken so long to try contact me or Sherlock. It's been at least six months."

"Other affairs, unfortunately. But it's oh so good to be back. Tell me, how did it feel to know that Sherlock favours John's life over yours?" Moriarty's eyes went cold.

"What is it you want?" He asked, voice equally as icy.

"I've been watching the great detective. He seems a lot better, wouldn't you agree? The therapy is working. Or could it be because he's all loved up with his great Watson? I'm glad. Means I can start the game up very soon. Maybe wait until after Christmas, though. Always good to play after a nice big meal. And I do like to watch Sherlock work. John and Molly aren't his only admirers, you know."

"Leave my brother alone." Mycroft said slowly.

"Oh but he's so much fun! You both are. By the way, that case you've been working on. General Hooper is the killer. You'll find the missing documents locked in his safety deposit box. The combination is 3316."

"Why are you helping me?"

"Because I'm bored." Moriarty shrugged. "You tell that pretty pretty brother of yours I said hello. Ciao, Mycroft. I'll see you soon."

He swiftly climbed out of the vehicle and was predictably gone before Mycroft could even begin to trace him.

###

"I have no doubt it'll be a match to Mcfarlane." Anderson said to Lestrade, who knelt down to examine the bloody thumbprint more carefully.

"It's not enough." Donovan frowned. "What we really need is the body."

Lestrade looked over to the left and frowned down at the charred remains of what was supposedly the victim. Echoes of Toby Toll, again. He could sense the friction amongst the gathering of officers. Something was not quite right.

Laughter sounded behind them. All heads turned in its direction. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson were walking towards the police tape. John appeared to mumble something to Sherlock, who laughed once more, then whispered something back.

"If anything, he's even more annoying now that he's found true love." Anderson snarled. Donovan laughed in response. Lestrade deliberately refused to respond. It was still less than a year since Sherlock's attack. Though he seemed, for the most part, to be recovering, there were moments when he saw the terror in the young man's eyes; the horrid certainty that his personal being had been breached.

Sherlock stepped under the police tape.

"You got my message?" Lestrade asked.

"Mm hmm…" He could already see Sherlock's mind working. He bent down and examined the ash on the floor.

"We found a thumb print. We're pretty sure it will belong to our suspect." Donovan said.

"I spoke to Mcfarlane, myself and he seems quite persistent that he's innocent." Sherlock didn't bother to look at her.

"They all say that." Anderson scoffed.

"John." Sherlock now moved to examine the bloody thumbprint. "How easy would you say would it be for someone to obtain a man's thumbprint from, say, a glass he's been holding then replicate it onto, say, a plaster wall?"

"Oh come on! Do you really believe someone would go to all that trouble?"Anderson's face had turned magenta.

"I'd say yes it's… possible…" John said.

Sherlock lay face down on the floor, face intense, as though listening for something.

He suddenly stood up and walked over to the open fireplace at the far left corner of the room. He lifted up a log of wood and placed it down where he'd just lay.

"Sherlock… what the hell are you doing?" Lestrade said.

"Messing up our crime scene, that's what!" Anderson responded

"Help me, John." Sherlock said, walking over to the fireplace to pick up another piece of wood.

"Sherlock, what are you doing?" John asked, as Sherlock put the wood down by the first piece of wood.

"Anyone have a lighter?"

"Oh this is ridiculous." Donovan shook her head.

"Here, use mine." Lestrade was intrigued where Sherlock was going with this. He handed it to the young detective, who bent down and set the wood alight, causing the others around to start shouting in consternation. Sherlock ignored them, stepped back and started to yell.

"Fire! Fire!"

In that instance, the ground before them started to bulge, then lift. All watched in astonishment when the secret trapdoor buried in the floorboards opened and a bald headed man rushed out.

"I can't believe it." Lestrade said, as the man went to run to the door, and then, finally noticing that he was surrounded by police officers, meekly put his hands up.

"There's your 'dead body'." Sherlock smirked.

###

"That was… fantastic!" John said, upon entering 221b Baker Street. Sherlock took off his scarf and coat and smiled back at him. "You constantly surprise me." He started to laugh. "The look on Anderson's face!"

Sherlock smiled once more but something was distant in his eyes. John felt his stomach churn.

"Something wrong?"

"No." Sherlock said, but his expression said something different.

"How was therapy yesterday?" John never asked any more. Mainly because it seemed to be working. Sherlock had been, for the most part, acting like himself. Though he still got the occasional flashback or nightmare, John at least now knew how to cope. He simply held Sherlock until his heart rate slowed down, until his labored breath was under control. The punching bag they'd installed in the back room also helped to work off any excess rage.

"Fine." Sherlock sat down on the couch and templed his fingers together. "Oh, I forgot to say, I got a message from our dear friend today. Seems he's back in town." He handed John his mobile. Feeling slightly nauseous, John flicked through until he found his most recent message. He suddenly felt the urge to give the punching bag a good work out.

Miss me, pretty?

The game will be on, soon enough.

M.

He handed it back to Sherlock, and then climbed next to him, putting his hand behind him to massage his back.

"Are you sure everything's alright? Is it Moriarty?"

"Moriarty… No."

John kissed his ear. "Then what is it?"

Sherlock turned and kissed John on the lips, running his hands through his short hair. The kiss deepened, Sherlock reaching to pull John closer to him.

"Are you sure?" John asked, as Sherlock started to kiss him on the neck.

Sherlock pulled back. "Let's go to the bedroom."

"What's wrong, Sherlock?" John asked again.

"I want you." Sherlock's pupils were dilated. "Let's go."

John allowed Sherlock to stand him up and hold his hand as they walked upstairs to their now shared bedroom. Sherlock's old bedroom now housed the majority of his experiments.

Once upstairs, Sherlock started to ferociously kiss John, then pushed him down on the bed, climbing on top of him and tearing at his shirt. As much as John loved this new, dominant Sherlock, he found himself a little unnerved.

"Wait…" He cupped Sherlock's face. "What's going on here?"

"I want…" Sherlock suddenly sat up, so his knees on either side of John's waist. "I'm ready."

'No, we don't have to do anything you don't want to."

"I want to." Sherlock insisted. "You told me you'd show me what it's meant to be like. I want to feel what other people feel. How it's supposed to feel."

"I just I don't want to hurt you or… I just need to be a hundred percent sure this is what you want."

"What I want is for you to give me my 'first time'. What he did, didn't count. I know that now. It had nothing to do with love or lust. He wanted to hurt me, humiliate me. I know you would never do that."

While John felt the usual rage spread through his body at the mention of that loathsome figure, he also felt pride at Sherlock for attempting to conquer his obvious fears.

"Ok.' John relented. "Tell me the safe word."

"Salt."

"Good. You say it, the moment you start to feel uncomfortable, ok?"

Sherlock nodded. John could see the slight fear in the pale irises.

"It's ok." John kissed his neck, as he began to undo his shirt. "It's going to be wonderful. You see." He flicked the shirt open and kissed his way down Sherlock's body, unzipping his trousers and boxers and pulling them down. He openly admired Sherlock's naked body, earning a blush from the young detective.

"Damn, you're beautiful…" He murmured, then kissed down his stomach, eager to kiss and fondle and suck the organ that made Sherlock moan and groan. The detective didn't disappoint.

"John… more…" He sighed, hand running through John's hair, urging him to go quicker.

Sherlock started to moan so he picked up pace. Finally, after a few minutes, he pulled up again. Sherlock looked at him quizzically, as he pulled off the remains of his shirt and unzipped his trousers. Sherlock did likewise with his own clothes. Both were now naked before each other. Sherlock trembled slightly, breath a little labored.

"I've got…" Sherlock reached into the bedside drawer and pulled out lube.

"Ok." John suddenly realized that he was nervous. What if he didn't perform well? No condoms needed, seeing as they were both clear, which at least took that hassle out of the way. He leant down and kissed Sherlock; gently tugging at him as he tenderly probed his opening with his fingers, first one, then two, then three. Sherlock's trembling increased.

John pulled back and started to pile the lube onto his own erection. "It's ah… it's probably better if you're on your front. The angle… it just hurts less." He couldn't believe they were having this conversation.

"He fucked me on my back." Sherlock said blandly.

John winced. "We can stop. We don't have to-"

"No. Keep going." Sherlock rolled over onto his stomach. John bent over and kissed him messily on the back, reaching around to stroke his flagging erection. He felt his lover tense as he put his weight on his back, tenderly kissing his neck. "We can stop whenever you want."

"No. Keep going."

John responded by continuing to stroke him, kissing his neck and shoulders. Sherlock started to pant.

"Yes, please…" Sherlock said.

John positioned himself and slowly slid in. Sherlock tensed once more, breath exerted.

"I don't know if I can…"

"Ok…" John started to pull out again.

"No! Keep going. Keep going."

John went in as slowly as he could, not happy that he was clearly discomforting his lover. He finally came to a rest and simply lay on Sherlock's back, unmoving, continuing to stroke him, to kiss his shoulders and neck. 'You ok?" He whispered. Sherlock nodded. John started to move, slowly at first, then faster. Suddenly, Sherlock jumped, groaned loudly. John realized that he'd hit the right spot. He concentrated all of his focus on hitting it again and again, his hand stroking on the other side, causing his partner double pleasure.

"Oh John, that's…" Sherlock moaned. John grinned and sped up his strokes. "Oh! Oh!"

That's it beautiful, that's it. Moan for me beautiful.

Sherlock's moans grew louder.

"John! Oh fuck John!"

Damn you're fucking hot, babe.

Sherlock was now moving with him, keeping tempo with his thrusts.

Come for me beautiful. That's it. That's it.

Sherlock cried out loudly. John felt his seed spurt all over his hand and stomach. His partner satiated, John concentrated on finding his own release.

"Ah Ah!"

"John…" Sherlock sighed.

John could no longer control himself. He thrusted frantically, his moans building.

"Sherlock!" He screamed, finding release so hard it was almost painful. He collapsed on Sherlock's back, unable to move a long moment. Finally, he pulled up and very slowly pulled out. Feeling wetness on his cheeks, he wiped at his eyes.

I actually cried. That's something.

He quickly wiped his face dry and Sherlock turned around to face him, a lazy smile on his face.

"That was… nice."

"Nice?" John lay his head down on his chest, resting his body on Sherlock's. "It was bloody wonderful." He suddenly looked up. "You sure it was alright?"

"There was a moment when I felt… him. But I told myself that this is John. To begin with… yes it did hurt. But then, when I got past that…it was… yes, it was bloody wonderful!"

"Good. Good. I'm glad." John kissed his chest.

"You've now got my semen all over your stomach."

"Probably." John said, not particularly caring.

Sherlock suddenly wrapped his long legs around John's waist. "I have you now. You can't get away."

"I see. Well, we'll see about that. "A few months before, John had discovered, to his delight, that Sherlock was ticklish. He now started to take advantage of that fact, relentlessly torturing the consultant while he squawked and laughed.

###

Mrs. Hudson wasn't sure what she was hearing, at first. The block was old, so had its share of noises. She dismissed it as creaky floorboards, or the structure settling. But then the noise started to be constant, metal squeaking, followed by groans, followed by a voice. Sherlock's voice.

"John! Oh fuck John!"

Mrs. Hudson rolled over in her bed and covered her ears with her pillow. Sure, she was happy for the boys for clearly taking that step but did they have to let the whole damned block know?

Sherlock cried out louder.

Good, hopefully that means-

Then John's voice.

"Ah! Ah!"

Mrs. Hudson started to laugh to herself, as the moans grew louder, ending in a final triumphant cry of

"Sherlock!"

Then blessed silence.

Good. Now I can get some damned sleep!

She didn't want to think about the embarrassment of when she saw them, the next day.

###

John found himself watching his lover, peaceful in his sleep. The blanket had fallen down, exhibiting the pale line of his back, the gentle curve of the tip of his buttocks. He leant over and kissed him softly between his shoulder blades.

Sherlock rolled and opened his eyes.

"Good morning, beautiful." John said softly, stroking his hair.

"What time is it?" Sherlock asked, yawning.

"Ah about six thirty."

"Mm…more sleep." He closed his eyes once more. "We don't have to get up till eight."

John struggled to recall what they were meant to be doing, that day. Then it came back to him. A case had come to Lestrade's desk concerning a man supposedly killed by a demonical hound from hell. Lestrade had, certainly, payed no attention to it but Sherlock seemed rather excited. He insisted on going up to the very manor to which the man belonged and investigating the case, himself.

"Stop looking at me and get some rest. You'll need it today. We're going to find ourselves a hound."

John smiled, leant down and kissed his nose. "Do you think we were a bit loud, last night?"

"Most probably. The walls are thin. I can sometimes hear Mrs. Hudson snoring downstairs."

"Oh no." John covered his face with his hands. "I'm going to be mortified when I next see her."

"Ah well…"

John smiled, content to simply watch him.

"I love you." He said.

Sherlock opened his eyes. "Is this what happens after great sex? You sit there and stare at me with an incredibly dopey expression?"

"Well, right now, I feel like doing cartwheels down the street!"

"Mmm…" Sherlock smiled. "It was that good, wasn't it?"

"It was very brave of you." John said. "I can't even imagine how hard it must have been."

"Hard being the correct word." Sherlock's face broke into a mischevious smile. It broke upon seeing the seriousness in John's face. "I trusted you that it would be alright. To be honest, it went beyond my expectations." Sherlock closed his eyes once more.

John was content to watch him. Sherlock was right. He did have a stupid dopey expression on his face. He couldn't help it.

"I beat him. He wanted to destroy me. He failed. I've got you. I've got my work. I've got Mycroft… as irritating as my brother is, at times. I'm still Sherlock Holmes." He opened his eyes and put his head up to kiss John. "I wouldn't have made it without you, John."

"I think you underestimate yourself." John said. "Now sleep or I'll tickle you."

Sherlock smiled, put his head down, once more. "Are you going to get some sleep or are you going to watch me some more?"

"I think I'm content to just watch you. You're very watchable." John teased. "I'll just lie here and think about how beautiful you are. Then I'll make a plan for the day. I'll plan to get up at eight. I'll have breakfast. You won't. Then we'll take a train out to the country side to look into your hound thing, where you'll undoubtedly come up with some brilliant deductions, which other people will think are crazy. Then we'll have dinner at a nice restaurant nearby. Then we'll find a nice motel and, if you want, I'll make brilliant love to you and we'll both wake up all of the people around us. How's that for a plan?"

"Sounds great. Especially the last bit."

John laughed and kissed Sherlock once more on the nose. He lay down on his back and was rewarded with Sherlock moving to half lie on top of him, head resting on his chest. John pulled the blanket over them both, feeling the heat of the consultant's naked body on his, as he wrapped an arm around his back.

"What happened to watching me?" Sherlock asked.

"This feels better."

"Mm… true…thank you John for… last night."

I should be thanking you. That was incredible.

"Thank you for… just… being you. Every day I wake up and I see you and I'm reminded how wonderful life can be."

"Sherlock…" John hugged him tighter. "Bloody hell, that was… I love you so much. So much."

"Mmm… love you too."

"We have to get up in an hour. We'd better get some sleep."

"Mmm… is that doctor's orders?"

"No, it's more that I'm really intrigued to find this demonical hound of yours."

He could feel Sherlock's rumble of laughter against his chest. John closed his eyes, allowing himself to drift off, knowing that Sherlock was protected and, most of all, loved. Whatever came their way, be it demonical hounds or serial rapists, he knew that love would see them through

Fin.