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“Egészségedre!”

“Egg – what?”

“Egészségedre!” Lestrade says, grinning. “Means 'to your health'. Cheers!”

The apricot brandy makes John splutter, but his second attempt to pronounce the toast goes better than the first.

“Where did you learn all this Hungarian, anyway?” he asks jealously.

Lestrade tells himself he shouldn't enjoy that note in John's voice, but you'd have to be a saint to pass up the chance of sex with John Watson when he's on his mettle.

Always thought Watson wasn't his type, but Christmas in Baker Street had proved him wrong. He'd been pleasantly surprised when John turned out to be a good cook and such good company. More than pleasantly surprised when Sherlock's supposedly straight flatmate turned out to be a bloody marvellous shag.

Bit awkward, of course, Sherlock coming back early from Christmas with Mummy and Mycroft, breathing fire and brimstone about all those unanswered texts he'd sent John and then throwing a strop when he found the two of them in bed together.

John's calm in the face of all that had been – impressive. Amongst other things. Apparently Lestrade now has a taste for BAMFs. One particular BAMF, anyway. Unflappable, solid and determined. Not to mention the quickest learner Lestrade's ever had the pleasure of working under. Mmm.

“Spent a fortnight in Budapest in the 1980s,” Lestrade says casually. “Picked up a few words and phrases.”

John gives him a look that says And?

“And a librarian called László,” Lestrade says.

It was László who'd introduced him to the joys of pálinka – plum, peach, cherry and especially apricot – though the stuff they drank together had been a lot rougher than this. Budapest in the late 80s: the soft end of Communism, already showing the signs of capitalist progress (unemployment, pin-up calendars with Page 3 lookalikes...). They'd gone to all László's favourite places – Margaret Island, that little café on the hill in Buda, taken a boat trip up the Danube Bend to the artists' colony at Szentendre, climbed on the roof of the cathedral at Esztergom, eaten dobos torta at Gerbeaud, bought tomatoes, peppers and onions at the huge indoor market to cook lecsó fish in László's bedsit flat. Nearly got caught snogging in a corner of the big library in Pest where László worked. Had a lot of energetic sex and not much sleep in László's narrow single bed.

Librarian,” John says, as if it's a new swearword. “Was he beautiful without his glasses?”

“With or without,” Lestrade says meditatively. “Always liked it when he took them off, though.”

John doesn't need subtitles for that. Pulls Lestrade into a kiss that takes his breath away, hard and possessive, hands all over him, one thigh pushed between Lestrade's.

“Slow down,” Lestrade protests half-heartedly. “I'm an old man, remember?”

(Eight years older than John, thirteen years older than Sherlock, don't think about Sherlock, still haven't told John about that and there'll probably be hell to pay –)

“Bollocks to that,” John says, groping him shamelessly.

“Nngh,” Lestrade says, trying not to go cross-eyed. His brain seems to be short-circuiting, not surprising with John's hand doing that thing just there, oh god –

“Bed?” John says. Laughing at him, but Lestrade doesn't care.

“Mmf,” he says. “I mean, yes.”

“What's that in Hungarian, then?” John teases, and licks his neck.

“Igen.”

“I said, what's that in Hungarian?” John says.

Igen,” Lestrade manages, as John unzips him and thrusts a hand down his boxers. “It's Hungarian for – ohh.”

“Didn't know Hungarians had a different word for ohh,” John says, running his fingers teasingly along Lestrade's erection.

“Christ, Watson, are you trying to drive me insane?” Lestrade groans.

“Might be,” John says, gripping him harder and giving a wicked twist of his wrist that makes Lestrade see stars. “Is it working?”

Lestrade's answer to that isn't what you'd call verbal, though it's pretty loud. Just as well they're not in Baker Street. It's a wonder they make it as far as the bedroom, but John knows what he wants and he's going to get it. Which is fine by Lestrade, just fine.

Anyway, exercise is good for the heart, everybody says so. If it doesn't kill you first.

 

“So what happened to him?” John says, taking a break from planting kisses across Lestrade's chest. Doesn't sound jealous any more. Sounds pleased with himself. Understandably.

Lestrade has to think a bit before he can remember who John's asking about. Bloody hell, that was a shag and a half. Not sure he'll be able to move for a while. Bones seem to have melted and everything's slowed down.

“László? Don't know,” he says. “He couldn't come over here, I couldn't get leave, we sort of lost touch. Nice while it lasted, though.”

“Did you ever go back?” John asks.

“No,” Lestrade says. “But I'd like to some day. See how things changed after the Wall came down. There's a pálinka festival in Budapest in May, if you're interested.”

“Could be dangerous,” John says, grinning.

“Sure you'd cope,” Lestrade says. “Head of teak, you.”

“Wasn't thinking about the hangovers,” John says. “More about having to see off all those randy librarians.”

Lestrade strokes his back, enjoying the increasingly familiar sensation of John's warm skin under his hands.

“Think I can promise you that won't be a problem,” he says. “Not if you're with me.”

John looks a bit sceptical, but he doesn't argue.

“Do you think the President of the United States knows he's named after a kind of apricot brandy?” he asks, nuzzling Lestrade's shoulder.

“Not the same thing at all. It's pronounced borotsk,” Lestrade says sternly. “Come on, Watson, you've got your tongue round harder things than that.”

John snorts with laughter and says “I might need a refresher course.”

“I'll put you down for Advanced Beginners,” Lestrade says. “The intensive course is pretty good, though you need plenty of stamina for that one.”

“Bring it on,” John says. “Always up for a challenge.”

“Fine,” Lestrade says. “Once more with feeling: Egészségedre!”