~xXx~


"I didn't expect you'd be back," Lestrade confessed as Sherlock strode resolutely into his office.

Sherlock stopped, fastening his hands behind his back. "I need to speak to Moran again."

"What for?"

"I didn't get his third confession about Mrs. Yaskoff." Obviously. Why else would he have left his nice, warm, John-filled flat?

Lestrade blinked. He set the papers he'd been holding down on his desk, which Sherlock sincerely hoped would remedy the vacant expression on his face. It didn't. "Sherlock...he's already confessed to two murders."

"Yes, and if you'd stop delaying me, he might already be confessing to the third."

"You've all but guaranteed him two life sentences. I'm not sure adding a third on will really do much."

Sherlock glared at him. "That's not the point."

"Then what is?"

"Unfinished business."

Lestrade pushed a heavy breath out his nose. "So it's personal then? Is that why John isn't here with you?"

Sherlock felt himself bristle, the nails of his right hand digging into the palm of his left. Moran had no business being in John's presence ever again. He had no business being within ten square miles of John. The mere idea of it made something under Sherlock's skin crawl. "John doesn't need to hear what I have to say."

Lestrade didn't look convinced. "Sherlock," he paused, his brow furrowing, "Moran's already been locked up for the night. Why don't you just come back tomorrow?"

"Because I'm here now." Really, Lestrade did ask the most obtuse questions sometimes. Yet another thing John saved him from.

"Yes, I can see that, but he's locked up."

"Then take me to his cell."

Lestrade huffed. "Sherlock—"

"I'm not leaving until I talk to him, so I suggest you save your arguments for people they'll be more useful on."

Lestrade looked at him for a long moment, his resolve flickering like a waning candle before Sherlock finally snuffed it. "Fine," he said gruffly. "Come on then. I can get you five minutes with him. Maybe. But only because you're back from the dead and it's still sort of freaking me out."

Sherlock smiled. "I'll only need two."

A short walk later saw the pair in the lower chambers of the Yard where they kept the holding cells where they held all their freshly convicted prisoners. They called them tanks. The smell of iron, blood and indignation hung heavily in the air, making Sherlock nearly lightheaded with delight. It was one of his favorite smells. Lestrade escorted him down the hall a ways before coming to a stop in front of the lower occupancy tanks. Lestrade seemed to have put Moran in with a serial rapist, and a sketching drug smuggler. Interesting.

Moran, who had been quietly sitting on the bench, looked over, his eyes locking with Sherlock's. A rancid smile curled on his thin lips as he stood, his limbs extending in a languid, unhurried fashion. For some reason, at that moment, it was very hard for Sherlock to keep his fists from clenching.

"Lestrade," Sherlock said without breaking Moran's gaze. "I believe you said five minutes."

Sherlock could feel Lestrade's confusion like the sting of a bee on the side of his face. "I can't leave you alone down here. It would mean my badge if—"

"I'm sure some of your other prisoners are feeling quite lonely this evening."

Heaving another heavy sigh, and grumbling under his breath, Lestrade stalked off down the hall. Sherlock made a mental note to pick up a bottle of Lestrade's favorite wine on the way home.

"Mr. Holmes," Moran purred, slinking up to the bars. "Didn't think I'd be seeing you again. To what do I owe this pleasure?"

"I want to finish our game."

Something in Moran's eyes sparked. "Do you?"

"I'll answer your last question if you'll answer mine."

Moran shrugged elegantly. "If that's what you wish, Mr. Holmes."

Sherlock took a deep breath. He could do this. "You asked me when I first knew that I was in love with John Watson, and the answer to that question is," Sherlock glanced at his watch, "I've known for precisely 52 minutes and 38 seconds—the amount of time it took me to shower, dress, take a cab to the Yard, and convince Lestrade to let me down here to see you."

"Ah, so something happened then, did it?"

Sherlock ignored him. "Now, if you had asked how long I have been meant to love John Watson—a far superior question, I think you'll find—then my answer would have been quite different. Instead, I would have replied with the answer of thirty-four years, twenty-eight days, seventeen hours, and nine minutes."

For the first time since Sherlock had seen him, Moran looked disconcerted. Sherlock watched his eyes shift back and forth as he thought. "That would be—"

"The day I was born, yes."

Moran's face was blank for but a moment before it crinkled with a laugh. Sherlock stepped back, not liking the feel of Moran's hot breath on his face. "Forgive me," Moran chuckled. "Forgive me, Mr. Holmes. I can't help but laugh at things that disgust me. And I can't think of anything more disgusting than sentiment."

"It's not sentiment," Sherlock retorted.

"You didn't even know him."

"Hardly my point," Sherlock could feel his own laugh bubbling up his throat. "I've known every decision I've made since I was aware of my own consciousness. I've made my decisions precisely, with consideration of every possible outcome. I have no regrets, even in my mistakes. So, in this way, my decisions have lead me down a very particular path—one without intersections or curves or bends—and that path has lead me straight to John Watson. It would have always lead me to him, just as it would have always lead me to Moriarty. Just so you understand, I'm not talking about fate here, Moran. I'm talking about the fact that the things that happened could not have happened any other way. And if you'll remember—which I know may be getting hard now, but do try—Moriarty was just like me. He said so himself. All of his decisions were final, regardless of how changeable he claimed to be. Moriarty would've always given me John, and therefore, I was always meant to love him."

Moran's mouth opened and closed several times before a sound finally emerged. "I—you're wrong. Mr. Moriarty gave him to you. Mr. Watson belongs to Mr. Moriarty and Mr. Moriarty alone."

Sherlock grinned. "Not anymore. Now, I believe I'll be needing that confession about Mrs. Yaskoff."

"No," Moran spat. "No, you're wrong!"

"Think what you like," Sherlock replied, shrugging deeper into his coat. "But I'll still be needing that confession. Come now, my two minutes are almost up."


~xXx~


"Sherlock? That you?"

"It's me." Sherlock closed the door behind him and sprang up the sixteen steps to the flat, pulling his coat off along the way. He stepped in through the door, hung his coat on the hanger, and set Lestrade's bottle of wine down on the floor next to the sofa. He turned to see John, sitting in his chair with a cuppa, pretending to read the day's paper. Something about it made Sherlock's insides go warm.

"That took less time than I expected."

"I knew you would be worried," Sherlock explained. He walked across the room and took a seat in his chair opposite John, feeling incomparably content.

John looked up at him, his eyes very blue. "I wasn't worried."

The corner of Sherlock's mouth lifted in a smirk. "What story were you just reading?"

A beat of silence. Exasperated, John threw the paper aside. It landed in a crumpled heap on the floor. "Fine, alright, maybe I was a bit worried."

"There was no need. Moran was behind bars the entire time."

John rolled his eyes. "That's not why I was worried and you know it."

"John," Sherlock stretched out his leg, the side of his foot resting against John's calve. He felt the doctor go stiff. "It's all fine. I'm back. I expect the newspapers will be littered with the announcement tomorrow after all the chatter I caused at the Yard today. Reporters will be swarming out front by morning—you should prepare yourself."

"That'll be a nice surprise for Mrs. Hudson to come home to."

"Oh, yes. When is she back from Amsterdam by the way?"

"How did you know it was—" John shook the question away. "Sunday. She's back Sunday."

Sherlock shrugged lazily. "I suppose the reporters could be gone by then."

Something in John's gaze sharpened. "I don't give a damn about reporters, Sherlock."

Sherlock's attention was snapped like a wire pulled taught. Feeling the tiniest of sparks ignite in his chest, the detective steepled his fingers beneath his chin. "Then what do you give a damn about?"

John's brow knit itself together. "Earlier—I—I feel like I overstepped some boundaries—"

"You didn't."

"I did, Sherlock. I did. I didn't mean...I didn't mean for things to go that far. I got carried away, and for that I'm sorry. It won't happen again."

Sherlock frowned. If only Lestrade hadn't kept him for so long. "What if I want it to happen again?"

The detective didn't miss the slight dilation in John's pupils. He swallowed. "I'm not sure I can trust your judgement on that."

"Why not?"

"Because this isn't like anything you've ever dealt with before. And it's—well—it's very human, Sherlock. And it's not science exactly, but even so there's a certain...order to things. We can't just leap into the sack together straight off. I don't—we don't even know what the hell we are to each other right now. We don't know what we want."

Oh. There it was. Doubt. And here Sherlock thought he'd made it so clear. Did John really value himself so little? Slowly, Sherlock rose from his chair and lowered himself to his knees. He moved towards John, the palms of his hands sliding up the doctor's thighs and wrapping around his waist. He felt John shudder beneath him and a small thrill raced down his spine as he slid into the space he created by pushing John's legs apart.

"You want to know what I want, John?"

John looked like he was concentrating too hard on breathing to speak, so Sherlock continued.

"I want this. I want you. I want hard lines and the smell of tea when I breathe you in. I want to know every last thing about you—even the things you may not know about yourself. I want to memorize the curve of your elbow, and the number of freckles on your chest, and the feel of your fingers when they're threaded with mine. I want to devour you, John. I want to consume you whole. And it's not going to be normal, and there's not going to be order. I can never be any of that for you. So if that's what you want then just say the word and we can go back to how it was and never speak of this again. But if you want the violent, frantic jolt of adventure—if you crave the rush like I know you do—then I'm yours. And there will be nights when it's beautiful, and everything is saffron lights and soft words, and there will be nights that are black and angry because that's just how I am. One minute I'll be possessive and needy, and the next I might not talk for days, but whenever I fall asleep it will always be next to you, and I'll hold you so tightly you can't breathe because you're mine. I want that night in Baskerville, where I could feel every inch of you pressed against me. I want to give you all the things I've never given to anyone, John, all the things I don't even know how to give, but they're yours. They've always been yours."

"Jesus...Sherlock." John's cheeks were blotched with emotion, and his eyes were filmed with tears threatening to spill over. For a moment neither of them moved, and Sherlock felt a cold dread coiling in his stomach. But then John leaned forward, and Sherlock felt the heat of his hands sliding against his cheeks.

Sherlock let out a breath he hadn't even realized he'd been holding, and allowed his eyes to fall shut. John's thumb brushed across his cheekbone, and Sherlock thought for a moment that he might burst through his skin. Then, he felt John's lips against his forehead, and really, it didn't make any sense. His body shouldn't feel this hot. His chest shouldn't ache like his heart was about to crack in two. "Is it alright, John?" Sherlock asked, only to find the words dry and rough in his throat.

"It's more than alright, Sherlock." John's breath seemed to melt against Sherlock's skin. "I don't even know how to tell you how alright it is—how much I've wanted this. Look at me. Look at me and tell me you can see it."

John's hands guided Sherlock's head back. Sherlock forced his eyes open and he looked at John. Really looked at him.

Record.

There it was—plain as day. The look. He could see everything—all of it—wrapped up in a single moment. He could read the lines on John's face like a script. He could decipher the light in John's eyes like constellation. I want you to devour me. I want you to consume me whole. And I don't want normal and I don't want order. I want the ferocity and the rush, and the light and the dark. I'm not even sure you're a man—you must be some creature that God sent down from heaven to torment me—because how could you possibly be real? How could so much wonder be trapped inside one person, and how did such a wonder end up here with me? But I want it, God, I want it. I want to need you and I want you to need me. I want you to need me so much it physically hurts when I'm not there. I want our souls to be tethered. I want to feel every inch of you pressed against me. I want to be the one to show you all the things you've never known, and I want to be the only one who ever shows you—the only one you ever want to show you.

The air seemed charged with something magnetic, and Sherlock could taste it like a tang on his tongue. It was steadily becoming more difficult to breathe.

"Do you see?" John asked, sounding as if he was about to shatter into a million pieces.

"Yes," Sherlock whispered. "I see everything."

John's thumb was gliding along his cheekbone again. He smiled, and it was soft and glowing and filled to the brim with warmth. "You're amazing."

And as soon as the words were said, Sherlock took the memory into his palace and placed it in a little golden box in John's room. It was probably one of the most beautiful moments he'd ever experienced. Someone wanted him. Someone wanted him. And it was human, and it was emotion, and it was ugly, but it was real. He'd wanted this. He'd wanted this so very deeply there had been a hole inside of him where this piece of his humanity had been missing. But now, he could feel the hole filling—filling with John. Only John.

He wanted more.

"So when I said I wanted every inch of you against me…"

John's pupils dilated even further.

"Care to start that part now?"

"Oh God yes."

John's hand slid back around his neck, and suddenly his lips were crashing against Sherlock's. The detective released a possessive growl as their teeth clacked and their mouths parted. He wasn't sure his craving for John's taste would ever be satiated. He hungered for it in a way that he'd never hungered for anything before. That taste of tea and mint and chamomile, and something richer that Sherlock had no name for yet, but he was definitely going to coin one.

John broke the kiss, panting heavily against Sherlock's lips. "Bedroom. We should go to the bedroom."

Sherlock didn't quite understand what the living room couldn't adequately provide that a bedroom could, but there was no arguing with the heat in John's gaze. "Yours or mine?" Sherlock stood, hauling John up with him.

John's hand lowered and his fingers laced between Sherlock's as if he'd done it a thousand times. A small grin pulled at the corners of his mouth that plucked at the strings of Sherlock's heart. "Mine."

They clambered up the stairs messily, teeth bashing and hands roaming freely. John proceeded to ruin the buttons of yet another shirt, but Sherlock couldn't bring himself to care. Buttons were stupid anyway. They took too long, and as a fastening mechanism they were utterly—oh! Sherlock gasped as John slammed him back against his bedroom door, his fingers tangling deep into Sherlock's curls. The strangely sweet pain scorched down Sherlock's body, making his toes curl.

"Here with me, Sherlock," John whispered against the skin of his neck. "Stay here with me."

Sherlock ran his hands down the smooth lines of John's arms. How could he possibly stay here when every inch of him was hot and alive and evaporating into the air? "I'll try," he whispered.

And then John kissed him again, and the moment seemed sealed like an old letter, with hot dripping wax and a metallic brand. They stumbled over to the bed, and fell onto it in a tangle of limbs. John's hands seemed to be everywhere—working on his belt buckle, running along the curves of his ribs, sliding up the arch of his spine. Sherlock felt as if the layers of his skin were being peeled back, exposing the raw wires of his nervous system as they jolted and sparked.

Heat racked him as something smooth, and not altogether unpleasant, slid along his torso. It was only then that he realized that neither of them were wearing clothes anymore. When had that happened? When had they—ah! John's hand slid between his legs, wrapping him in a luscious velvet heat. That was—God, that was…

"I feel like I'm dreaming," John breathed into his ear, sending all sorts of tickling electrical signals skittering across Sherlock's cheek. "I feel like all of it has been a dream, and I'm going to wake up and be alone in that horrible flat again and you won't exist. How can you exist? You defy everything."

Sherlock felt like he was drowning—his lungs desperately pulling in oxygen that just wasn't enough as John's body melded into the curves of his torso. Flesh met flesh, until it felt like their molecules were fusing together. John rocked against him, breathing soft words into Sherlock's neck, and bursting his vision with white hot stars. The lines of their hips met perfectly, one slotting into the other as effortlessly as a lock slides into a latch.

"Fuck, Sherlock. God, I've never…"

Teeth grazed Sherlock's shoulder and nails dug into the small of his back. All Sherlock could do was hold on—hold on to John just as he'd always held onto him: too tight and frantically afraid. John. His John. The one person who was absolutely necessary.

They moved together, their breath mixing and their bodies tense and slick with sweat. It was so much. Too much. Wonderful explosions of sensation that clouded everything beyond the moment. He seemed to be sinking deeper into John—deeper into the lovely thrumming vibrations of his vocal chords.

"Look at me," John whispered. "Please, God, look at me."

Sherlock opened his eyes, and their gazes met. It was like lighting a match. Sherlock had never seen anybody look at him like that before—like they were complete. John's hips moved faster.

"John."

Sherlock could feel the heat from his limbs pulling in and dropping down deep into his stomach. It festered there, curling up into a tight ball and vibrating like a cluster atoms on the brink of reaching critical mass.

"Sherlock."

This was it. Sherlock had never thought there would be anything beyond the work, but this was it. This was where he really existed. All of him, bared and open, laid out for John like an offering. And John saw it—saw him. 100%. And still here he was, his eyes shining like dark nebulae and soaking up Sherlock like a dry sponge.

"John—you know I—you must know I..." It was too hard. It was too hard to talk with John's breath filling his mouth.

"God, Sherlock," John moaned. His hips snapped, harder and harder until the bed creaked beneath them with each undulating wave. "You can't say it. You can't. I'll come undone."

But Sherlock was already falling apart. The ball inside him shook, ready to burst. His fingers tightened around John's waist. "I love you, John."

"Jesus Christ, Sherlock, stop."

"I love you and that makes you mine. Do you understand, John? You're mine." Sherlock tucked himself into the crook of John's neck. "Say it. Say you're mine."

John keened. Sherlock could feel his body quivering like a violin string pulled taught. "I can't—ah—Sherlock!"

"Say. It."

"Ah—Sherlock—I'm yours!"

The words vibrated beautiful chords into Sherlock's skull as his entire body jolted, pushing him over the edge. "John!" His tongue formed the word again and again as the heat in his blood churned in quivering spasms. He'd never known such a beautiful name in all his life.

John fell right after him, his fingers curled in Sherlock's hair and gripping tight. Warmth spread across Sherlock's abdomen, dripping down the rivets of his muscles in slow, thick lines. They lay there for long fogged minutes, simply breathing each other in.

Sherlock hummed, burrowing deeper into John's throat. "Much better than cocaine I think."

John laughed, sending those delicious notes down to settle in Sherlock's skin. "Not sure I can say I'll have a problem if this becomes an addiction."

Brilliant.

John's pulse pounded softly against Sherlock's temple, and the detective counted each beat as the seconds ticked on. It sounded so delicate—so finite. Sherlock pulled John in closer, willing visions of Semtex and bullets far from his mind. This was no time for those things. John was here. John was safe. John was his, and that was all that mattered. Danger would come to their doorstep again—that much was inevitable—but they would ready, and they would face it together.

Together. Sherlock had never realized how fond he'd grown of that word.

"I love you, Sherlock," John whispered into his hair. "No matter how I got here—I—I don't care. Being with you...I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Sherlock smiled, one of his rare smiles that only John could ever seem to pull from him, and felt the hollow space in his chest overflow with something inexplicably warm. Sentiment, maybe. But for once, he welcomed it. "I would never let you."


~fin~


Well! I hope everyone enjoyed that! Reviews/comments/suggestions are always appreciated (and cuddled with)! Until next time!