John woke in the morning to the sound of the violin being played. Not tortured, as it usually was when Sherlock was mid-case, but a beautiful lilting melody, speaking of pleasure and joy and warmth. He couldn't help but feel it was Sherlock's way of saying thank you for the previous night, and John smiled to himself as he lay back down on the couch to enjoy it. Until it stopped with a screech and the detective came racing out to the lounge shouting "John, John, I've got it - we have to go to Marble Arch right now - the clue was in the way the cat food was arranged."

As he watched the detective dash back into his room, robe flying out behind him, John sighed with relief. Clearly things were back to normal.

oOo oOo oOo

John watched Sherlock all day, amused at the sight of his friend bounding along, getting caught up in his enthusiasm now the case was almost solved. Luckily for them both, there were no cabbage-strewn chases to dampen the mood. Even Sally Donovan came over at one point to enquire exactly what Sherlock was on, because he was acting 'even more freaky than usual' as she put it. John just shrugged and said he knew nothing.

It wasn't until after the suspects had been taken away, and statements had been written up, that the men were able to take a moment. As they got into the taxi to travel back to Baker Street, John noticed Sherlock wince slightly as he sat down. John's eyes danced as he imagined the bruises causing the discomfort. Sherlock looked at him and muttered "sadist".

John's amusement turned into full on laughter, and he turned to his friend. "Don't complain. You loved every second of it." And Sherlock, despite himself, couldn't help but smile in agreement. He leaned in closer to his friend and murmured quietly "If I ask very nicely, do you think we could try the riding crop next time" and watched with satisfaction as John's breath hitched and his blue eyes darkened at the thought.

A/N - thanks for reading! I've written a sequel, called 'a decision made' where some of the themes from this story are expanded on. This story was intended to be a stand-alone piece but I enjoyed writing about this version of John and Sherlock too much to let them go just yet...

As always, comments and reviews are gratefully received.