AN- This story was inspired by Memento, which is a fabulous movie. The plot bunny stuck in my head, and of course I had to write it. I just didn't plan on it going in the direction it did, but that's plot bunnies for you!
30 minutes. 30 minutes was the amount of time it took John to boil water on the stove in his first flat. 30 minutes was the amount of time it took to listen to one of those amusing radio shows about the aeroplanes. 30 minutes was the amount of time it took to write a blog post, solve a murder, bake a cake. 30 minutes was all it took to enjoy a cup of tea, interrogate a suspect, perform an experiment.
And yet, so very little could be done in only 30 minutes.
Life could not be lived in 30 minutes.
No matter how many of those 30 minutes you had.
That was all he had left now.
It wasn't like it was overly important all the time even. Sherlock could look at a crime scene, rattle off his deductions, and be done in less than twenty minutes.
But not all the time. And contrary to what Sherlock would have many believe, their life wasn't just crime scenes and murders. There was a lot of time in between those few cases deemed acceptable by Sherlock, and John knew it had to be filled somehow that didn't include shooting walls or exploding microwaves. It was hard to keep Sherlock occupied before, and even worse now that something would only hold his attention for a short time before he forgot that he was.
It was an advantage in that he could redirect Sherlock back to the same thing a dozen times without him knowing he'd done it already. Of course, Sherlock was often too clever to fall for that more than once, if at all.
Win some, lose some, John figured.
But it was hard knowing that things you had done together, stupid things really, things that you would want to remember, inside jokes and secret plans like eight-year-olds made in their tree-houses. They'd never be able to have those again, to arrive home after a chase or something, and John could refer to something that happened only an hour ago, and they would both laugh, almost falling down the wall like that first case together.
No more of that. And it hurt.
Of course, it was always amazing to watch Sherlock's eyes light up when John brought out, what, was to him, a new book.
And he did it every day.
But the look on Sherlock's face was almost worth the rest of the suffering,the rest of the loss.
The rest of it was made up for by the brilliant twinkle when he reached a deduction, how he excitedly explained his deductions to everyone else, how every time he saw Mrs Hudson was like the first time he'd seen her in weeks, always greeting her with a hug and a kiss, and the moment when he realized for what was the millionth time, even before he lost his memories, that John genuinely liked him, genuinely thought he was brilliant, and genuinely wanted to be around him.
And Sherlock didn't even have enough time to get angry about it. He only had thirty minutes. Sometimes his bad moods would spill over, and he would spend an entire day on the couch, muttering into the cushions some profound secrets that he'd forgotten he'd told them before.
And John was fine with that. Because it did suck. And just because Sherlock remembered how much it sucked every thirty minutes did not make it suck even less.
But John could always tempt him with a cold case, an interesting crime, one of the ones Sherlock had left the flat for when it was new, and that he kept around now just in case, for times like this.
And Sherlock was brilliant and amazing and utterly fantastic, but even he couldn't live in thirty minutes.
No one could.