The incongruity between the words themselves and the commanding tone in which they've been delivered clears John's head enough for him to give some sensible instructions.

'Lube first,' he says softly, 'it's ...'

'Top drawer. With the condoms. I know.'

'Should I ask how?' he feels his lips quirking as he speaks.

'Logic,' Sherlock retorts and they both giggle a little, John watching Sherlock watching him, sharing a smile for one heart beat, then two, then Sherlock's leaning down, eyes never leaving John's, as he rummages in the bedside cabinet and locates the bottle and a silver packet.

'Let me,' John takes the foil before Sherlock can protest, taking the opportunity to caress Sherlock's cock again, smearing pre-come over the swollen head and down the shaft and watching with a mixture of lust and awe as it thickens further, flushing a deeper red and straining up against the pale, taut skin of Sherlock's belly. By the time he remembers what he's supposed to be doing and begins rolling the condom on Sherlock is keening, hands in a white-knuckle grip of the head board as he fights to stay upright and not thrust into the circle of John's fingers.

'I'm ... you need to stop ...' he pants out as soon as John's completed the task, eyes squeezed tightly shut and throat working convulsively. John releases him immediately, giving himself a few strokes to relieve the insistent pressure of his own erection before he retrieves the lube from where Sherlock abandoned it and clicks the cap open.

'Oh, no you don't,' Sherlock practically snarls, grabbing it and liberally coating his own fingers. 'You said you wanted me.'

'I did,' John agrees, slumping back against the pillows, bending his knees and then letting them drop away so he's spread wide, giving Sherlock full access. The dichotomy of the alpha edge in both Sherlock's voice and gaze set against the hesitancy of Sherlock's hands as they ghost down his inner thighs and over his buttocks is as startling as it is touching and a warmth that it much more than just arousal surges through him. 'And I meant it. I've never wanted anyone to do this to me before but I want this from you, Sherlock. So much. I'm giving myself to you and I … I want to feel your fingers circling my hole, pr…. Nnngh … uh, yeah, just like that …. Right there … now start pressing in, ever so gently … uh … teasing me open, touch … by touch until ... uh ... I ... Oh!'

His body jolts and then flexes, tensing and yielding into the push and crook of Sherlock's finger as it moves inside him. He can't seem to get enough air in his lungs, nor he can keep his eyes open for more than a few seconds at a time. He's completely undone by the onslaught of feelings; unable to control the way his hands are gripping and twisting in the sheets or do anything about the fact that his attempts at instruction have degenerated - now two of Sherlock's fingers are inside him - into gasps and panted half sentences.

'Yeah, just … Fuck! Sherlock! ... 'S never felt … this good when I've … I've ... oh fuck, yes! There! …. More … please! More.…'

oOo

He'd thought the sight of John draped on the bed, waiting, just for him, had been the most wonderful thing he'd ever seen but that was quickly subsumed by how John looked when straddling him, eyes devouring and warming in equal measure while he worked hands and mouth, playing Sherlock's body every bit as skilfully as Sherlock plays his violin. Sherlock is used to being noticed but to see in John's face, in every line of John's body, that Sherlock is the centre of John's consciousness, of John's world, is spectacular.

But not even that could stand against how amazing John looks right now, spread out beneath him, compliant, yielding and coming undone because of what he is doing. It's heady and powerful and Sherlock pauses for a moment, desperate to fix this vision of wonder in his mind forever.

'Huh?' John's eyes fly open and lock onto Sherlock's as he wrenches one hand out of the tangle of sheets and reaches out in mute appeal. When Sherlock dips his head and kisses John's fingertips but does not resume his actions John finds his voice. 'Sherlock, please … don't stop. That felt so … Oh! Mmm.'

'Not stopping. Just contemplating,' Sherlock murmurs as he pumps his fingers into John again; once, twice and then pulls them out completely - just for long enough to drizzle extra lube on them - and then presses back in, oh so slowly, with three this time. John's breath shatters into hard edged almost-sobs and he arches into the contact; Sherlock momentarily mesmerised by the sight of John stretching round his hand. It is beautiful, seeing John like this; sweat damp skin glowing golden in the light from the street, balls drawing up and cock twitching as it steadily leaks pre-come across his belly thanks to Sherlock's gentle skimming of the edge of his prostate with every other stroke.

John trusts me, Sherlock realises with the suddenness of a lightning strike. He truly trusts me. He isn't sure that anyone - other than Mrs Hudson, who clearly doesn't count because she's decided he's the son she never had - has genuinely, completely trusted him. Ever. And yet here John is - scant hours after Sherlock's failings almost got him killed - giving Sherlock everything; opening himself up mentally and physically, in the full knowledge that Sherlock could hurt him but doing so anyway, because he believes Sherlock won't.

Gift is right, Sherlock thinks, bending forward to kiss his way down John's chest, relishing the twitches he produces when he times light nips to the skin on John's navel with each stroke of his thumb over John's perineum, the most extraordinary gift I'll ever receive.

'Sh-sherlock,' John stutters, hand coming up to tangle in his hair, 'please …'

'What do you want, John?' Sherlock leans into the touch, lifting his eyes so he can see John's face again. 'What do you need?'

'Inside me … need you inside me.'

'Are you …'

'I'm sure, I … Ah! Fuck that's good!' Sherlock hadn't mean to twist his fingers as he pulled out but after that reaction he repeats the motion. And then does it again, and again, each time changing the angle or the speed or the degree of movement until invectives are falling from John's lips in almost as continual a stream as the come drizzling from his cock. Sherlock leans down, entranced, breathing in the musk-and-salt tang that makes his own ignored erection throb even more painfully, completely enraptured by John and the fact that he is the only person who has ever seen him like this. That this is all for him, all down to him, and he can't help but dip his head and lick his way up John's cock, tasting and nuzzling and suckling and …

'Sherlock stop!' John shouts and Sherlock freezes immediately, chest tightening and throat constricting.

'John, I …' his voice is shaky and he can't find the words, nor can he meet John's eyes.

'It's alright, Sherlock, you haven't done anything wrong,' John pants out, fingers back, reassuringly, in Sherlock's hair. 'Honestly, love, it's all good. In fact it's all pretty amazing.'

Sherlock angles his head so he can examine John out of the corner of his eyes while John keeps talking.

'It was just … Your mouth. I've … oh God, how I've fantasized about you doing that and if I'd let you keep going … well ….' John gives a shaky laugh, 'I'd have come and … I don't want to yet. I-I want you inside me when I do.'

Sherlock can read the truth in John's words from his eyes and his body, never mind the desperation tinged certainty in his voice and he lets his breath out in a rush that leaves him dizzy.

'In that case …' carefully he eases his fingers out of John's hole, watching it twitch and flutter as John whimpers at the loss even as he grasps blindly above his head for a pillow.

'Here,' Sherlock cradles John's arse and lifts, helping him wiggle the pillow into place under his hips. He can't help taking in how tight John's stomach muscles have become, the way John's chest is heaving erratically and noting that his own breathing is similarly ragged.

Carefully, because John isn't the only one right on the edge at this moment, he locates the lube again, douses his hand and then coats his erection once more, groaning with relief at the touch despite the awareness that if it weren't for the latex barrier he would be losing control right now.

'So beautiful, Sherlock,' John growls, planting his feet and rocking his hips in obvious invitation, 'you are so fucking beautiful.'

'Hmm,' Sherlock manages as he considers what he's about to do. 'I … um … I've never …' he waves his hand at the diminishing space between their bodies as he insinuates himself right between John's legs, leaning into the warmth radiating from John's body and pressing his cock against John's arse.

'Me neither,' John says with a wobbly smile, briefly cupping Sherlock's face with his hand before gripping the sheets as he plants his feet and tilts his hips up again. 'But I've been where you are. Go slow … slow as you like. You'll need to guide yourself in.'

'OK. Um …'

John's smile goes soft, 'You're not going to hurt me. I promise. I … I'm so ready for you. And I'll say if it's uncomfortable.'

Sherlock hums his acquiescence, closing his eyes for a moment, trying to centre himself, to prepare for what is to come. He wants this so much it's visceral, this need to be inside John, to connect with John as closely as is physically possible and it's almost overwhelming. For a moment he's held – trembling - in check by his own body as his desire renders him immobile. But then John, his John, with his instinctive ability to understand Sherlock and to know what he needs, pulls him closer, arms comfortingly solid around Sherlock's shoulders and thighs warmly bracketing Sherlock's hips and the spell is broken.

Sucking in a much needed lungful of air – the sight of John almost undone beneath him combined with all these new sensations seems to continually rob him of the ability to breathe - Sherlock shifts his weight to his left arm, brushes a grateful kiss over John's undamaged right shoulder and then slides his right hand between them and down. He lets his fingertips circle John's hole, testing and teasing until he's certain he's no longer about to come from the press of his palm on his erection and John is moaning plaintively and trying to force the issue by hooking his legs round Sherlock's and pressing closer. And then, with an exhalation that seems to come from his toes, he rests the tip of his cock against the - Oh God that really is exquisite – heat of John's hole and begins the slow push in.

oOo

This is …Oh, fucking hell … this is intense, John thinks somewhat haphazardly as Sherlock begins to sink into him and his nerve endings make an attempt to electrify his whole body, and bloody marvellous. Sherlock is taking it incredibly slowly but he isn't pausing and the inexorable pressure and stretch he's creating fills John with an aching sweetness that - even without the effect Sherlock's voluble groans of pleasure are having on him as they rumble through his entire body - eclipses every sexual encounter he's ever had.

He knows that he, too, is far from silent; moaning and gasping out Sherlock's name as he clutches at Sherlock's shoulders and tightens his legs round Sherlock's waist in a desperate – and futile, Sherlock is a lot stronger than he looks – attempt to pull him deep inside now. But Sherlock is doing this at his own pace, is most definitely the one in control here. The moment John acknowledges that his body yields, muscles relaxing as he melts into the mattress and Sherlock moves with him,

'God, John,' Sherlock pants into his ear as he continues to press in, 'this is … this is … oh, John!'

The final exclamation is made as Sherlock seats himself fully inside and John moans so loudly he half wonders if he can be heard in the street outside. This is nothing like having his fingers inside himself, it's ... he can't find words, he can't think of anything other than how good it feels, how right it is to be this close to Sherlock ... to be filled and taken and ...

'I love you,' he gasps, pressing kisses over every inch of skin he can reach on Sherlock's neck and shoulders, 'I love you, Sherlock.'

'John,' it's more of a breath than a word and suddenly Sherlock's mouth is over his, kissing him with such desperate desire that John doesn't realise, for a moment, that Sherlock's started to move. It's not much, rocking his hips in tiny thrusts that keep them pressed together but somehow, impossibly, pushes him deeper into John each time as well as rubbing John's cock; trapped tightly as it is between their belly's. It's almost too much but at the same time not enough, the fire burning deep but just not quite where he needs it and he's breaking the kiss to keen Sherlock's name and arch up, tilting his hips a fraction until ...

'Fuck! Sherlock, I ... don't stop ... don't you ever stop ... so good! You're so fucking good! I ... I'm ...'

John's consciousness narrows to the throbbing deep inside and, for an instant, he's hanging on by a thread as Sherlock brushes his prostate with every pass and then Sherlock says his name again, so reverently it takes all the breath from his lungs and he's gone; drowning in Sherlock's scent, his touch, his voice and feeling everything, all at once as he starts coming so hard his vision goes white.

When he comes back to himself Sherlock is still moaning his name, over and over like a mantra, body jerking and hips stuttering, 'John! I-I ... Oh God I'm going to ... I ... Jooohn!'

It's more a wail than a word as he pulses inside John, arms giving way as he does and John holds him, kissing his forehead and murmuring reassurances as Sherlock shakes himself apart in his arms. Finally he stills, burrowing his head into the crook of John's neck and tightening his hold round John's torso. Eventually, once they've both calmed enough, they move; Sherlock shifting just enough to pull out and get rid of the condom before curling himself back into John's embrace, head resting against John's chest.

How did I not know? John thinks blearily as exhaustion crashes over him, how did I not know it could be like this?

'The same way I didn't,' Sherlock says into his skin and John realises he spoke this thoughts aloud, 'because we didn't know each other before.'

Sherlock wriggles so that he can look up into John's face. His eyes, lit only by the light from the street, are a perfect mix of blue, green and gold that make John think of swathes of stars in the Afghan night sky and they are looking at him with such awe John wonders if it is possible to die from having a heart so full of love and joy you can barely think.

'I meant it,' he says at last, pulling Sherlock closer, 'I love you.'

Sherlock doesn't reply, just blinks solemnly several times before brushing a kiss over John's mouth and then burying his face in John's chest again, body still trembling slightly.

John smiles into the night and then closes his eyes. Sherlock may not be ready to say the words but he doesn't need to. That he's here, in John's arms, is enough.