"If it could be easily induced and temporary, I might quite like having amnesia," Sherlock mused. "What a challenge! What a mystery! Pity it's wasted on you, John." He was draped on his back over the couch and he tossed a ball of blue putty-like substance into the air and caught it.
John shifted back into his chair uneasily, took a swig of tea and waited for the next pronouncement. His overnight bag, still not unpacked, leaned against his leg.
Sherlock rolled his eyes, impatiently. "You no doubt prefer your memories all right where they are - sorry, were - easily accessible," he said.
Dead silence. "Are you always this much of an insensitive wanker?" John asked.
"Well, since you don't remember me at all, I suppose I have to tell you yes, in fact," Sherlock said, tossing the putty into the air again.
John squinted dubiously and sat forward a little. "And I don't mind?" he asked.
"You never have before, no. Not significantly," Sherlock admitted, looking up at him, and threw the putty against the wall, where it stuck for a moment to the wallpaper.
Interesting, John thought. "The hospital couldn't do much for my memory," he said.
"Of course they couldn't," Sherlock snorted. "They didn't know you in the first place."
"Have you got a better idea?" John asked, curious.
"Of course," he said, propping himself up on one arm, "Let's try a little game. Basic body memory and deduction."
"For example, can you figure out where the ashtray is?" asked Sherlock.
No sign of current smoking habit, not tidy, but furniture decent shape, John thought, and looked around. "There, under the glass you left on top of the desk," he said.
"And the spare beakers?" Sherlock prompted.
The ratty old box wedged next the television didn't have them when John checked, but the bottom of the bookshelf behind the couch did.
"Good, good," said Sherlock, "And do you remember where you kept the chocolate biscuits?"
John took in the messy kitchenscape and limped over decisively. "Well, this cupboard's a likely spot--" he began.
"Wrong," called Sherlock, "Try again."
But the door was already open. John stared. "I'm sorry," he said, holding grimly onto his calm, "Is this a toenail collection? Some of these look diseased."
"Well spotted!" Sherlock congratulated him, happily.
"Do you usually..." John asked, waving a hand vaguely.
"Don't be absurd," Sherlock dismissed, "They're for a case. That shelf is something in the nature of a rotating collection."
John squinted at him. "I live with this? Really?" he asked.
"Mmm," agreed Sherlock, "And what do you deduce from that? No hurry, I'll be here all day."
Going on the bullet scar smiley face on the wall, there was a gun in the house. Besides which, John was fairly sure he could figure out several other means of murder, and Sherlock was still entirely alive. This wasn't the only flat in London, but still, here he was.
"I must like you an awful lot, still living here," John offered.
"Interesting," said Sherlock dryly, "Tell me more."
"Give me back my phone," John said, after a moment's thought. Sherlock leaned over, unplugged it from the charger and tossed it to John.
John caught it and scrolled through the call list. Nothing there. He checked the messages and struck gold.
"Three or four somewhat insulting texts bothering me for attention, then ten messages asking if I was angry. And, if I'm reading you right, your version of begging for forgiveness," John said triumphantly, "You don't just like me, you're besotted."
Sherlock tipped his head with a quirk of a smile, "I wouldn't have put it that way, precisely. But do, go on."
"And I put up with it, don't I? All of it, every day. Has to be love. So, am I right? I'm right aren't I."
"You're very perceptive," Sherlock said.
"Our relationship has always been... somewhat hard to explain,"
"Awkward?" John asked.
"So. I'm, what. Gay now?" John wondered, bemused. "Funny, it doesn't feel any different..."
"You are aware there are more modes of human sexuality than 'gay' and 'straight.' Have you tried 'bisexual' on for size?"
"Right, yes. That." It fit, sort of, surprisingly. "So how did we, you know, get started?"
"The night of our first case, I took you out to a nice little Italian place, I know the owner. The gnocchi is worth mention, not that you had any, since we spotted our suspect and dinner devolved into a foot chase through town," said Sherlock.
"That's a shame."
"It was, rather, we completely lost him," Sherlock admitted. "But yes, things took their course and that was the first time we went out together."
"...Really? We got together that soon?" John asked. It seemed a bit fast.
"Well, I don't know when you'd count it from," Sherlock remarked, raising his eyebrows. "You told me you weren't gay about four times that night."
John winced. "I'm sorry. That was sort of awful of me, wasn't it?"
"It wasn't my favorite moment in our relationship, no."
"But now I'm okay with -- all this?" asked John, with a handwave.
"I don't know," Sherlock asked, "Are you?"
"Right, I'll just... Go unpack, then. Where do I keep my things?"
John had just put away his pants (slightly dingy, need to buy more) and socks (the same but in a wider variety of colors) and had come back into the sitting room to put back his amuse-the-patient reading from the hospital when his phone went off. It was Lestrade, checking on him.
"I'm involved with a detection-obsessed lunatic. Why didn't you tell me?" John asked.
"Is your memory going again?" Lestrade asked in a concerned voice, "I told you: tall fellow, doesn't eat, drags you off on cases?"
"No, you distinctly said roommate," John reminded him.
There was a marked pause on the other end of the line. Then Lestrade exploded. "I knew he'd experiment on you. I KNEW it! Were drugs involved or did he just... talk at you?"
That was an odd reaction. " ... No, actually, he just asked me some questions," John said.
"Hold the phone up so he can hear it and put it on speaker," Lestrade demanded, so John did. "OH COME NOW, SHERLOCK THAT'S JUST NOT FAIR!"
"Lestrade, I'm not responsible for whatever conclusions..." Sherlock placated.
A certain suspicion awoke in John's mind.
"You keep telling yourself that, Sherlock," Lestrade said, with some heat. "Honestly, the things that man puts up with."
"It was an ideal chance to test my hypothesis!" protested Sherlock.
Yes, that would be it.
Lestrade sighed. "Interviewer bias makes for bad research design, Sherlock," he said.
"That depends entirely on what you want to find out," Sherlock grumbled.
And wasn't that a telling way of putting it?
"Would you like me to hit him for you?" Lestrade asked, amusement and concern warring in his voice. "Want a place to stay?"
John thought, and thought again. "I fully intend to hit him myself, thank you, but I expect we'll make up after that. After a nice, long talk, right, Sherlock?" John said, with a dark sort of humor, and made the talk sound more threatening than the supposed violence.
Through the cellphone, Lestrade sighed. "... You couldn't just buy him a drink, could you? You just couldn't do it the easy way."
And as Lestrade hung up, John could swear he heard Sherlock say, under his breath, in total earnest, "... This was the easy way."