"John?"

"Mmm?" Acknowledged the John in question from the adjacent armchair.

"What is it, love?" Sherlock, blushing at John's new fondness of nicknames, gave himself a moment before he continued.

John vowed silently to use pet names more often. Scratch that - as often as humanly possible.

"There are two things... That I'd like." As he spoke, he brought his long, pale fingers up in an Atheist's prayer. Pensive. Sure.

"And what would that be?" The shorter man inquired, cocking his head to the side and cracking a grin. A small, devious smile manipulated Sherlock's supple lips, in turn.

"I'd love a good murder," his smile mused.

"A triple homicide would be lovely. Those are my favorites." The words sprawled out comfortably in the air between them, a serious humor in its darkness. John wasn't sure whether to be concerned or to laugh, so he decided on the latter. Soon the pair were chuckling together, basking in the bliss of domesticity.

Once the laughter died down, Sherlock's hands fled from the arms of the seat to their position under his chin. He adjusted himself closer to he seats plush edge, letting his body follow his piercing gaze.

"But first, I'd like to take you to bed."

Elevated heart rate; dilated pupils. Pink in the cheeks and a throat full of cotton.

John's eyes, dark and framed with a thin circle of deep blue, could be read like a book.

"Are you... Are you sure?" a dry, cracking throat stumbled out. Sherlock smiled once more, dark and brooding and /damn/, that was sexy.

"Of course, if you are."

"Oh, god yes."

John collected the other man's smile with his own, a clamor of lips and tongues and teeth. He picked up all the pieces and they arranged them together. Not quite the puzzle they set out to complete, but this was better. So much better.

"I love you," John breathed. It carried through them, around them, and then it carried them away.

Three simple words. That's all they were, really. Seven measly letters.

But why did they warm the detective to his very core - why did it clench his very heart in an embrace? Why does he only now feel complete... And why was he being so damn sentimental? There's only one thing, really, that he can be sure of. Usually that would drive him up the wall, not being sure. But now he knows all he needs to know.