Betadine is cold, always. It's a law of the universe. Sherlock flinches lightly as the technician swirls circles of the disinfectant over his chest. He's nervous – years of intravenous drug use hadn't exactly inured him to the pain of a needle sliding its way into his skin, but the payoff at the end was worth it, the bliss of complete oblivion. From the intent and heated look on John's face, he's pretty sure the reward for this bit of painful endurance will be just as good, if not better.

Sherlock closes his eyes as he feels the first clamp bite down around his nipple, holding it steady, ready for the needle.

"I have a proposal for you," John says one evening, fingers circling Sherlock's right nipple. Whatever he's thinking of makes John eye him hungrily, even though they'd crashed to an amazing finish just moments before.

Sherlock's still feeling the aftershocks of his orgasm and the jolt from every pass over his oversensitive skin makes him twitch and moan. Whatever it is, Sherlock's sure he'll want it. John reads his body like a book, drawing his pleasure taut and quieting the clutter of his mind before an explosion of bliss so perfect, so deep, that Sherlock's sure he'll never need anything else, ever again.

"You ready?" The technician asks, needle paused right above his chest. He nods and catches John's hand.

"They'll be gorgeous, love," John whispers in his ear. "Just two little pinches and we'll go home."

Sherlock takes a deep breath and holds it, feeling the sharp burn of the first needle pushing through his skin.

"I think you'd look so sexy with some silver rings, don't you?" John murmurs, dragging his lower lip across Sherlock's nipple. The wet heat makes Sherlock arch. He's starting to tremble, the stimulation almost too much to handle. His nipples have always been sensitive, and the idea of John's tongue playing with little sliver hoops makes him quiver. Perhaps he would tug on them, too, a little harder than Sherlock might be comfortable with.

"So lovely, Sherlock," John croons in his ear. "One more, and then we'll go home and you can have your reward. "

Fuck it hurts, the burn working all the way down his stomach, but despite it, Sherlock can feel himself hardening, the heat of arousal mixing with the pain of the piercing. He's through the first one, then, and only one more to go. He grits his teeth as the second needle pushes through, feels the tug of the tiny silver ring being pushed through the hole, the relief as the second clamp is released and the technician starts cleaning up his chest.

Sherlock opens his eyes, looks down at the two rings glinting in the bright work light, then tips his head back, opening his lips to beg a kiss, needing to feel John's approval, his pleasure.

"You are utter perfection," John says, and kisses him deeply.

John waits patiently in their bed for Sherlock to come in from the shower. He knew Sherlock was still wound up, earlier, still a bit floaty from the adrenaline rush of the piercings, and the best thing John could think of to get him to relax was to send him off to the shower and let the hot water and quiet give him some time to process.

The door to their room opens and he's there, blue dressing gown hanging open over his nude body, the lamplight flashing warm over his infinity necklace and the new silver rings on his chest.

I can't believe he did this for me, he thinks, as he beckons Sherlock over to him to sit on the bed.

John rises, insinuates himself between Sherlock's parted knees, and pushes the robe from his shoulders. "God, I can't get over how gorgeous you are," he says, running his hands through Sherlock's wet curls, kissing him on his forehead, his eyes, his cheeks. Sherlock hates to be coddled, but he does love to be praised, and John's words have him preening, a smug smile on his lovely face.

"I believe I was promised a reward," he says, raising one eyebrow, humor lighting his sea-green eyes.

"You certainly were. So scoot up there and let me give it to you." Sherlock moves up the bed to the pillows, lying back and eyeing John speculatively. John loves this part, where Sherlock tries to deduce what he's about to do. Sometimes he's right, sometimes he's wrong, but he's always eager, wanting.

John wastes no time in kneeling between Sherlock's legs and splaying his hands across Sherlock's narrow hips. He's already hard, cock twitching slightly in anticipation and John follows the line of it up his stomach, along his solar plexus and to the temptation of those two little hoops that John aches to touch but can't until they heal.

John leans up to steal a kiss, then sinks back between Sherlock's legs to lay on his stomach and push his hands under those slim thighs, kissing and nuzzling to encourage Sherlock to lift his legs over John's shoulders.

"Oh!" Sherlock exclaims, finally catching on and suddenly scrambling to pull his legs up and open for John's eager mouth.

"Finally got it, did you?" John smiles, and begins.

John loves taking Sherlock apart, watching him become a beautiful nexus of need and want. The first touch of John's tongue to the soft skin behind his balls sends him off, long fingers twisting the sheets, his gasps and moans echoing in the quiet room.

"God, John... you…I, fuck." Sherlock's heel digs into John's back when John starts to work his tongue in earnest, laving his gorgeous arse, pushing in as far as he can go, tasting sweet skin and nosing up behind Sherlock's balls a bit before he finally grasps Sherlock's cock.

"Come for me," John says raggedly, stroking Sherlock's cock with one hand, "come on, let me see it. Let go." Sherlock is more than ready, John can feel him close to the edge, the way his body coils and tenses, so John drops his head to kiss and lap at his cleft again. The moans from up the bed turn to sustained cries as Sherlock comes, arching and writhing above him.

Despite his best intentions, John's desperate to get himself off. The friction of lying on his stomach across the bed has been maddening, so he gets to his knees and begins to stroke himself over Sherlock's stomach. Sherlock starts to reach for him until John bats his hand away.

"No. Just for you, tonight."

Sherlock's eyes are satisfied, his mouth still slightly open as he watches John jerk himself. A few sharp pulls are all he needs before his come is mingled with Sherlock's.

John sighs and sinks back to his haunches. Sherlock is so beautiful like this, debauched and sated, his eyes sleepy, his brain hushed. John turns to snag a small towel from the bedside drawer, gently wiping down Sherlock's belly and his own hands. The room is quiet and dim as John settles in behind Sherlock's back, wrapping an arm around his waist and tucking his head behind Sherlock's neck.

They simply lie together for a while, John careful not to disturb the short time Sherlock allows himself to be still. John loves the tranquility of listening to Sherlock breathe, running his fingers along Sherlock's skin, his stomach, his hips; kissing between his shoulder blades. Sherlock certainly gave him a beautiful gift, something indelible, and the sort of pledge that John never thought he'd have the right to expect. His hand drifts to Sherlock's chest, intending just to press gently against his rings to make sure the entire experience wasn't just in his imagination. When he feels one under his palm, John can't help but brush his finger along the cool metal.

Sherlock flinches away and grabs his wrist. "That hurts!"

"Damn, I'm sorry!" John immediately starts beating his head against the metaphorical wall. Stupid, stupid, stupid, of course they hurt you idiot, he's just had them done a few hours ago. Nice. Can't even control yourself, much less him. "Are you all right? Let me check; make sure there's no bleeding."

"Stop fussing, John, I'm fine. Just…give me a little while."

The technician had given John a wink on the way out the door, with a cheerful "Three weeks, loves, and six before rough play. Don't want to get an infection." John had blushed at her knowing tone, but he knew she was right. It would take at least three weeks for the holes to heal enough for light touches and kisses, six before John could even consider some of the things he had in mind. And here he was just fiddling around, his carelessness and inattention causing Sherlock pain.

Sherlock looks over his shoulder at John's face, and whatever he sees there has him turning completely over. "Stop. I told you, I'm fine. Stop worrying about it."

John looks at Sherlock in the low lamplight, his normally pale skin burnished gold, his curls in a wild halo around his head. He's the most stunning thing that John's ever seen, and he aches to touch him again.

He wonders if he'll be able to make it the entire three weeks. But just as he resolves to find a way, he has an idea. Sherlock does like games, after all.

"I'd like to conduct an experiment," John says.

Sherlock looks down at his crotch, willing the hard-on he's had for the last hour and a half to go down. They're two weeks into John's three-week ban on any kind of sex, some sort of exercise in restraint until Sherlock's piercings have healed enough that John can touch them. Sherlock scowls at his lap again. The ban covers Sherlock's nipple rings, too. He's not allowed to touch them, either, except to clean them. Just the stimulation of his shirt at this point is making him lose his mind. The rings themselves still feel a little intrusive, feeling aware of them at almost every moment. He's been edgy and unmoored these last two weeks without John to center him, to keep him grounded.

"You want to WHAT?" Sherlock says in astonishment. "Why in God's name would you want to stop having sex for three weeks?"

John smiles. "Three weeks isn't that long. You'll be healed up, and think about all of the lovely things I can do to you then. Not to mention how good it will be since we haven't had any in so long. Like water in the desert."

Sherlock's a little miffed. He really doesn't want to deny himself, but why the hell did he go through this painful exercise, anyway, if it wasn't to please John, to increase pleasure in their more adventurous escapades? Is this some sort of test? He eyes John carefully. "Are you ordering me?"

"No, Sherlock. I won't demand you comply with it, but I'm not going to touch you again until you've healed, and I think I'm man enough to control myself when it comes to…self-gratification. But if you aren't up to it, well…"

Sherlock snorts at this. "You're joking."

"I'm not." John's tone turns playful. "What's the matter, not capable of being master of your domain?"

Sherlock pouts. "I thought that was your job."

John chuckles. "It is, but you also need to work on your self control. If you agree, then we're on for the next three weeks. No cheating, no lies. Don't make me get out the leather strap, Sherlock. I'm serious."

Sherlock shivers, remembering John's dark tone. There was a time that Sherlock would have just had a wank, anyway, and then lied through his teeth when John asked him about it. But these days John would see through the lie in an instant; one look at Sherlock's face and John would have him confessing inside of three minutes. And John's leather strap is something Sherlock would rather keep hidden in the bottom drawer of his bureau.

Regardless of punishment, though, that isn't the kind of relationship Sherlock wants anymore. The silver chain around his neck reminds him every day of the promises he's made, and besides, he wants to please John, make him happy. Doing so gives him more satisfaction than he's ever thought he'd get from being committed to another person.

But he knows a few tricks, too, and he'll be damned if John manages to win this little contest of wills.

So the next day, he decides to fight dirty.

The heat is helping with his plan, giving him the perfect excuse to wear his lightest, tightest, thinnest linen shirt; so tight, in fact, that John's eyes go wide when he sees the little dimples in the material made by Sherlock's piercings. Before John can say a word, Sherlock's mobile chimes with an incoming text. He waves the mobile under John's nose, the call to a case plainly visible.

"Come on, John, we need to get going. Lestrade's already had to head off the coroner's team once." Sherlock bolts for the door, mind already running a dozen scenarios for the simple words "Husband and wife, dead in kitchen."

John just rolls his eyes, mumbles something under his breath, and grabs his mobile from the table.

Twenty minutes later, Sherlock dives from the cab, stalking off to find Lestrade. He knows John is following, but the thrill of the chase is settling in, distracting him from the constant, nagging arousal he's felt since the day John issued his edict.

The bodies are clearly a murder-suicide, both using poison, one at least a week after the other. The wife's body is posed as if she were sitting at tea in the kitchen; the husband slumped over the sink. Sherlock forgets his plan as soon as he sees them, completely fascinated by the tableau as he is by anything that shows a degree of madness in the method. But as he struts around the kitchen explaining the finer points, he notices John's expression getting stormier and stonier. He also takes in Lestrade's flushed face and Sally's expression of stunned disbelief, and is abruptly reminded of how he must look.

John leaves the room and Sherlock goes after him, following him across the courtyard of the block of flats and around to the back alley.

As soon as they're out of sight, John whirls on him.

"I ought to have you over my knee," he growls. "Turn that pretty white arse of yours red."

Sherlock stills, chills running down his spine. "Oh yes, please, John."

"On your knees, now."

Sherlock drops immediately, knees hitting the concrete harder than they should have, but he never can deny John when he commands. Sherlock tries to keep the triumphant smile from his face and fails miserably. John goes for his belt and Sherlock opens his mouth obediently, meekly.

"Oh, no you don't," John snaps, stilling his hands on the buckle. "I don't know what you thought you were doing, tarting yourself up like that. Throwing Donovan and Lestrade in my face. Christ, I think I know which end's up, next minute I don't know where the hell I stand with you. With this." John finishes unbuckling his belt, slides the leather from his trouser loops, and folds it over his hand.

Sherlock closes his mouth quickly, nervousness flaring, overwhelming his arousal and making him start talking, fast. "John, please, I forgot about the shirt when Lestrade texted. And I haven't cheated, I swear I haven't, I was only trying to tempt you a little, make you want me. Please. I need you. I belong to you. I don't even think of them." Sherlock's breathing hard, panicking over his tactical error, fingers twitching desperately to reach out and grab John's hips and crush John to his body, assuring him of the simple truth that there has been and will be no other, ever again.

"God Sherlock –" John steps in front of him, grabs a handful of hair and pushes Sherlock's face into the front of his trousers. "See what you do to me? Christ." Sherlock rubs his cheek against the hardness he can feel, mouthing along John's shaft through his trousers. He's just about ready to reach up and start working on John's flies when John pulls his head back until he's looking straight up into John's face.

"There are days I have no idea what I'm going to do with you. Invest in a shock collar, probably." John sighs, releases Sherlock's hair and strokes his scalp soothingly.

Sherlock grins, relief at John's understanding releasing the tightness in his chest. He should have known better than to try John's patience, really, but next time he'll try harder. Sherlock reaches again for John's trouser buttons.

John jumps back and slips his belt back on. "Oh no. I know what you're trying to do. And no, we're still on. I hope you got a good feel, because it's the closest you'll get for the next six days."

With that, John spins on his heel and walks away, leaving Sherlock kneeling in a dirty alleyway and staring longingly after him.

Those six days went a lot faster than John ever expected they would, with Sherlock finishing up the murder suicide case one day and starting an art theft two days later. He can tell Sherlock has an eye on the calendar, too. Sherlock's really not cheated once that John can tell, and he's taken to watching John with a hungry, predatory expression whenever John walks in the room. It's hard to resist Sherlock at his most appealing, and when he turns that laser-sharp focus away from what he's doing to rake his gaze down John's body, John wants nothing more than to shove him up against the wall and take him.

But John manages to resist, and if he does take to wandering from the bathroom naked or taking the opportunity the thoroughly organize and sort all of their toys – on Sherlock's worktable – well, Sherlock's pleading expressions are quite lovely to behold, after all.

When John wakes in their bed the day the hiatus is over, his first instinct is to reach for Sherlock, make sure he wasn't called out on a case. John smiles when he feels Sherlock's body next to him, curled up with his hands tucked between his knees, his torso pale and gleaming in the early morning light.

"Sherlock," John says, shaking him lightly and kissing him on the shoulder. "Wake up. It's time, love."

Sherlock blinks sleepily, squinching his eyes closed for a moment before suddenly opening them wide and grabbing for John's arms.

"Today, isn't it?" he says, sitting up quickly and shaking his head as if to clear it. He starts to slide from the bed, ready to slip into his waiting position, but John stops him with a hand.

"We have all day," he murmurs against the shell of Sherlock's ear. "Why don't you take a shower first, have some breakfast. I think," John draws his thumbnail in a shivery line up Sherlock's arm, "you'll need the energy."

John watches Sherlock close his eyes and draw a deep breath. God, John's missed this, watching Sherlock disengage, putting aside his ego to accept John's direction, his authority. When his eyes open again, his expression is soft, compliant.

"Yes, John," he says, and rises gracefully to walk to the bathroom.

John's careful to keep his expression fairly neutral, but inside he's rejoicing, feeling his soul slot back into it's proper place. While John could indulge by giving Sherlock some minor, neutral orders these last three weeks, it's nothing even as close to as satisfying, for both of them, as a full intimate scene. John hums happily as he drops bread into the toaster.

Sherlock's out a few minutes later, robe tied securely around his waist. He looks pained at the ordeal of sitting to tea and toast and eggs, but he does so obediently, John pointedly ignoring the slight eye-roll and sigh. He eats steadily, finishing everything, then sits back and waits for John to finish his own plate.

"How do they feel?" John asks, watching the material of Sherlock's robe shift and open slightly as he sits back in his chair.

"They're fine," Sherlock says, slightly put out. John knows Sherlock's itchy to begin, and so is he. But preparation is essential.

"Do the rings slide freely without sticking? Without any pain?"

"For God's sake, they're fine!" Sherlock huffs.

"Attitude, Sherlock, or you'll be watching me have a wank from across the room. And I'm pretty sure that's something neither of us wants." Sherlock's stress and impatience is making his obedience break, so John better get started before he unravels completely. "Go brush your teeth and wait for me. I'll be with you in a minute."

Sherlock bolts for the bathroom barely before John is finished speaking. God help him, it's like being a lion tamer – a big, powerful creature barely held in check, able to turn on you in a heartbeat, but so soft and loving and compliant when you stroke them the right way.

John puts the plates into the sink and goes to brush his own teeth, pausing to strip down to just his black hipsters. Sherlock likes these on him, says they "accentuate his assets," so John's more than happy to indulge him. He pauses to wash his hands and catches his reflection in the mirror above the sink. His face is flushed, his eyes bright, and John knows he's too keyed up, too excited. He stops for a moment, trying to find his own reserve of self-control before heading into the bedroom.

Sherlock is waiting just as John asked, kneeling in the center of the bed with his bum resting on his heels, his knees slightly parted and his hands resting on the tops of his thighs. His head is bowed, his dark fringe hiding most of his face. Sunlight glints across the infinity necklace John reverently placed around his neck eight months before and shatters in little points of light on the piercings John's ached to touch for weeks.

"So bloody beautiful," John says reverently, as he traces his fingers along Sherlock's shoulder, across his collar bone and up his throat. He lifts Sherlock's chin to kiss him softly at the corner of his mouth, the nearness making John quiver inside. John's fingers skim down Sherlock's chest, circle his right nipple and make him arch slightly. Sherlock's head drops back with a gasp as John finally touches that tempting bit of flesh and metal with a fingertip, lifting and flicking it lightly. The reaction to this small touch alone gets John hard, makes John want to draw more and more from him, to make his body sing.

Sherlock fully expected to have John's cock in his mouth first; while not always how things go, John is pretty partial to Sherlock's mouth, and Sherlock loves the rush of satisfaction he gets from making John lose himself, surrender to him for once. So when John leans over his body to kiss his chest instead, Sherlock's mind goes blissfully, completely blank for a moment. The soft swipe of John's hot, wet tongue, the slight tug from his teeth, is exquisite torture. At this moment Sherlock thinks getting pierced was the most brilliant idea John Watson ever had.

"God, I've wanted to do that for weeks," John growls, and bends to Sherlock's chest again.

Sherlock grasps his hair, pulls him in to hold him close. John's indulgence is always Sherlock's pleasure, and never more so than now, their desires working in concert. Even so, he wants more, so he snakes a hand down to where John's erection is straining the front of his underwear, stroking lightly.

"Please, John?" Sherlock asks, giving John his favorite smile, the one that looks innocent but really isn't.

"No, not yet," John says, swiping his tongue along Sherlock's nipple one last time before he sits up. "Have a little something for you first. Turn over, put that pretty arse in the air."

He does, getting on his knees and elbows, bending low and spreading his thighs. He knows what's coming and burns for it, trying to wait patiently as John opens the bedside drawer and draws out a little black pouch. The glass plug falls into John's hands and he cups them around it for a minute to warm it. Sherlock watches John slick it a little, then drops his head to his folded arms and shudders out a long, slow exhale as the toy slides home, John's broad hand curved over his hip.

John kisses the dimples at the base of his spine. "Let's get the rest of you taken care of, shall we? Close your eyes and sit up now, I found something new for you."

Sherlock pushes himself upright to balance on his knees, the plug bumping lightly against his prostate, making him jump and twitch and clench down as he shifts positions. He opens his eyes to watch John carefully. John's back is to him, and when he turns around, Sherlock feels his mouth drop open a little.

John's holding a length of silver chain with a clip on each end. The chain looks weighty, and when John shifts the chain to hold one clip in each hand, Sherlock feels his entire body flush, knowing there's only one place that gently swinging chain could go.

"I see you've already figured out what this is for," John says, smiling. "It's not as heavy as it looks, as you're not healed enough for that yet. But you'll feel it."

Sherlock wants it, wants the pull and weight of it, so he scoots forward to the edge of the bed and tips his head back, holding his breath, trying desperately to be patient.

John clips one end of the chain to each of Sherlock's nipple rings, and releases the silver to lay lightly across Sherlock's pectorals. The chain drags down slightly, but not painfully. It just feels there, and the steady pull on his nipples makes Sherlock moan his approval.

"Fuck, that looks gorgeous," John mutters, and he pulls Sherlock in for a messy, hard kiss. "Get your hands on the headboard. Don't move them or I'll have to tie you down, and frankly I don't want to wait that long."

Sherlock scrambles to comply, gripping the top of the headboard and spreading his knees, his arousal spiking, his cock rigid and tapping a wet smear on his belly as he moves. He shifts, trying to settle, and when he drops his head between his arms to lean over a little further, the chain swings gently, pulling rhythmically and sending a jolt of arousal straight to his dick. My God. He's buying John anything and everything he needs to keep finding brilliant ideas like this.

Sherlock's need to see and deduce and understand starts to betray him, and he lets his brain engage enough to try to puzzle out what else John has planned . Before he can, a sharp snap of a riding crop to his rear jolts him.

"I know you want to know," John chastises. "But focus on me. On this."

Five more strokes of the crop and Sherlock's mind is running completely streamlined, arousal and need shutting down every other distraction but the sound of John's voice calling to him over the rush of blood pounding in his ears, the heat low in his groin from the sharp strikes on his arse and thighs.

The warmth of John's body settles in behind him, making him shiver and his spine curl. All of John's deliberate preparation has him teetering on the edge, his cock aching, ready to do something, already. John's reserves of patience seem almost limitless at times, but even so, Sherlock can feel eagerness in the way John's hands move, the way they skip and slide over his skin, rarely lingering to caress. The plug is slowly pulled from Sherlock's body, as John presses kisses to his back, then tucks up against the back of his thighs.

"Perfect. Lovely and open for me," John says, stroking his hands up Sherlock's legs, over his hips and up his back. Sherlock can't help but reach back and grip John's thigh, trying to pull him in, earning himself a slap to the flank.

"Patience," John whispers, leaning around Sherlock's back to turn his face into a kiss. "Focus, Sherlock, make it last." With that, John grips himself, knuckles brushing along the underside of Sherlock's balls, lines up and pushes smoothly, almost up the hilt in one deep thrust. Sherlock's hands spasm on the headboard and a deep moan seems to drag from his body in concert with John's, who has folded over Sherlock's back with an arm wrapped around his hips.

Sherlock pulls himself off slightly and thrusts back in a quick stoke. "Fuck, John, yes," he breathes, the motion making the chain on his chest swing and tug. Yes, this is what he wants, what he needs, John's competent direction, his knowing touch. He can feel the slide of John's cock with his entire body, the back of his neck tingling with the sharp relief of their physical and mental connection.

John's hands skim down Sherlock's back and sides, muttering encouragements and praise with every kick of his hips that jolts his body into Sherlock's. The time away has Sherlock almost too sensitive, and the constant stimulation of his nipples has him walking the edge of coming in an incredibly short period of time. He wants to come, he wants to reach behind himself and pull John to him, and the longer John strokes into his body, the stronger the urge is. His brain is getting fuzzy with adrenaline and pleasure, and when John suddenly pulls Sherlock's hands from the headboard to cross behind his back and forces his head to the bed, Sherlock's overcome, his orgasm hitting sharp and bright, making him cry out and spend into the sheets.

"Sherlock, Jesus. Yes," John rocks into his body harder, levering his weight on the back of Sherlock's shoulders and shudders to his own completion. The aftershocks of Sherlock's orgasm set him shaking under the assault, his mind full of nothing but his devotion, his adoration, his love for the man who always gives, but from whom Sherlock will never truly take.

The crash after a scene is usually intense enough that John and Sherlock sleep for at least a few hours, if not all night. But John finds himself staring at the ceiling, lightly rubbing Sherlock's dark curls where they're splayed across his chest. He can't believe Sherlock managed to get through the entire three week ordeal without cheating, but it seems that he had. Sherlock has a much harder time lying to him these days than he ever had before, and he rarely tries. The trust he's built the last few months has solidified the bond they share beyond anything John expected. Sherlock's playful obedience is a joy, his intense and heartfelt submission achingly sweet.

John looks down at Sherlock's sleeping form, catching a glimpse of his infinity necklace. Once they'd worked through the obstacles Sherlock's rather unorthodox relationships threw in their path and settled into their own, John can honestly admit he's never been so happy. He'd be perfectly content if this was his life forever.

It could be, if you had the guts, he says to himself, then shakes his head. Sherlock certainly isn't the type to be concerned with social convention, and besides, John's got a lovely promise around his neck right now. And even if he were to ask, what's he supposed to say? "Listen, I really love ordering you about in the bedroom, and I know you love it when I take a riding crop to your arse. It seems to work for us, so why don't we just make it official?" Not hardly. There's so much more to it; cases and maniacal experiments and dodging Lestrade's team, running after criminals and saving each other over and over again. Sherlock's life is mad, insane, and not for the faint of heart.

And there John is, the center of the whirlwind. The anchor in the storm.

John understands in a heartbeat that he loves being that person, loves all of it, and he fits Sherlock's life like no other has fit, and Sherlock like no other has fit him.

A snatch of a phrase bubbles up from deep inside and drops in a whisper into the quiet room; not yet for Sherlock's ears, but soon.

"With my body, I thee worship."

Lower down the bed and below John's chin, his head laying across John's chest, Sherlock hears six quiet, muffled words, and smiles.

Title from George Michael, "Father Figure"